Yorkshire Weddings - Hannah and James Haigh, Headingley
- Credit: Archant
For Yorkshire cricket nuts James and Hannah Haigh the venue just had to be the Headingley Experience
“Long before our wedding day, Headingley had a very special place in our hearts – not just because it was the place that we met!
The stadium is a unique place because it’s the home of both the Leeds Rhinos rugby team and Yorkshire cricket and there are not not many function rooms where you can see two world class grounds for two different sports by looking out of the windows!
For both James and I it was a very special place because it was where we got to know each other.
I was at university in Leeds studying French and German where I got a bar job and James was the bar supervisor at the time. With all the functions and matches that took place it was inevitable that we would be thrown together and we just got closer and closer.
That was good news for me because I’d liked him for quite a while! We’d been together for about eight years before he finally popped the question.
We had got a house together so it was inevitable I suppose looking back, but we made sure it was a very special moment and it’s one that we’ll both treasure forever.
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It was December 2010 when we decided to have a holiday of a lifetime, travelling to Australia and staying in both Sydney and Melbourne so we could go and see the Test Match as we’re both cricket fans.
It was a very special trip for us and it was also just before my 30th birthday which we were also celebrating out there.
We were sitting in a lovely restaurant in Sydney Harbour when James proposed – and of course I said yes. A magical moment and the perfect place to do it.
James is now the Conference and Events Manager at Headingley and at first he was reluctant to hold our reception there because he felt it might be a bit of a busman’s holiday.
We looked at about 15 other venues and there was just something wrong with all of them – with James being in the trade he knew what to look for!
In the end James’ boss said that they would do a fabulous job for us and it just made sense to hold it there and of course I liked the sense of history about it because it was where our romance began.
We had planned to get married at Kirkstall St Stephen’s Church which is quite near where we live, so I decided to spend the night before at the Headingley Lodge, the hotel at the ground.
I know it’s unusual for the bride to do that as it’s usually the groom who spends the night away but we lived in walking distance of the church and I wanted to arrive by car! We had a fabulous 1950s Austin Princess so I really did it in style.
After the ceremony, we headed back to Headingley with our 80 guests for the wedding breakfast in the Taverner’s Suite.
The chefs had really done us proud and they’d told us they’d cook anything we wanted so we had a smoked salmon mousse with prawns in a Thai dressing to start and then roast beef with all the trimmings.
I decided on two different desserts- a trio of chocolate for the men and a trio of lemon for the women, which meant that people could swap if they liked one more than the other.
We’ve got some amazing pictures from the day, firstly getting some taken at Kirkstall Abbey, which was a superb backdrop and then on the pitch at Headingley.
Some of those were fabulous, it was like a team shot with everyone on.
I had two bridesmaids and James had two best men, he couldn’t really pick between his two friends so had them both.
We were so lucky with the weather as well as in the run up to the day it had been torrential but there were bright blue skies and sunshine.
The evening event was held in the Executive Suite, where we were joined by another 50 guests and where everyone partied the night away to our live band, The Dead Beats.
It all ended around 1am but a lot of our friends and family were staying at the Lodge so we were all able to havebreakfast together the next day.
We had an absolutely brilliant day and the staff at Headingley just couldn’t have been any better.
They really pulled out all the stops for us!.
The Headingley Experience: 0113 203 3899
Photography by Barnaby Oldrick