While on a routine and mandatory Christmas visit from Dubai to Embsay in 2012 to feast with family members, Lewis Adams andReem Aboulhosn decided to get married. After a walk around Bolton Abbey, Lewis reminisced of his weekends and summer evening with family around the Bolton Abbey estate and the river Wharfe. Upon returning to Dubai where they both live and work, the planning commenced.
Getting married is a wonderful affair. That is to say, it is wonderfully exciting, nerve-racking and terrifying at the same time, especially when planning it from the other side of the world. My husband and I both live in Dubai, a world away from the picturesque rolling hills of North Yorkshire. A destination wedding was really our only option, given the fact that neither of us live in our home countries.
To no surprise, and after little deliberation, we both decided that North Yorkshire was the ideal location for our wedding. With very little time to plan, just under eight months, we set out to find the perfect venue for the ceremony and reception. First and foremost, we were very blessed to have the privilege to be married in Bolton Abbey Priory, a dream location for such a special day, which was made even more special by the fact that many of the guests in attendance had never been to England.
With a wedding party that was so diverse in cultures and backgrounds, it was important to us to make everyone feel at ease, so finding a reception venue which has a warm, intimate setting and atmosphere was very important to us. We were also very blessed to have hired the Cruckbarn at Craven Arms as the wedding reception venue. Only a short drive from Bolton Abbey, it was the ideal location given our intimate number of guests, just shy of 50 people.
The wedding ceremony was perfect in every way, thanks to the Rev John Bennett, who gave the most gracious and heartfelt wedding sermon. The choir and organist set a magical mood to the ceremony. As soon as the first notes filled the air, as the ceremony began, we were elevated to truly sacred and intimate space which opened up our hearts and allowed our vows to be made with immense presence, gratitude and joy. Following the ceremony, we were fortunate to have clear weather to take photos outside the Priory and around the Bolton Abbey grounds.
Our photographer Pete Twist was very professional and friendly, which resulted in some fantastic photographs to be taken. At first, we were quite concerned that the overcast weather would get in the way of some lovely shots, but as it turns out, that kind of lighting is ideal and it really shows with photos.
My husband, who is a former Upper Wharfedale School student, and I are both graphic designers, so it was an extremely personal project for us to design our wedding invitations and other printed items. We decided creating a traditional family crest design, which incorporated elements from both our cultural backgrounds, something we hope to keep for a long time.
The wedding reception was especially charming and quite special for us because we could decorate the space ourselves. All the flowers decorating the Cruckbarn were handpicked and assorted the day before the wedding, with the help of my very special bridesmaids. The amazing staff at The Craven Arms did an exceptional job putting everything together for us. They really paid attention to our every request and were so friendly and courteous. This allowed us to quickly relax and feel at ease.
To help bring in a middle eastern element to the reception, we brought across some fun Arab and oriental decorations which dotted the tables; small lanterns, miniature shisha pipes and Arabian lamps. The most fun we had was putting together the musical playlist for the evening, which included a wonderful mix of jazz and Motown tunes mixed in with some beautiful Arabic music.
The real fun started, however, when the bridal party took over the dance floor to showcase the traditional Lebanese dabke dance, as well as some much anticipated belly dancing. Much foot stomping and clapping ensued. The English guests had a wonderful time joining in; it was truly the highlight of the night.
We are both extremely happy with the way things went and are filled with immense gratitude to everyone who was involved in making our big day so special, not to mention all our family and friends who shared in the tears of joy, the laughter, and the hip-shaking dancing.