A Grand Day

Posted on by Anita O'Donovan

By Sam Melton, Event Sales Co-ordinator

Saturday 5th July in Yorkshire, whilst the rest of the region were all awaiting the Grand Depart I had spent the last eight months planning the National Coal Mining Museums first commercial wedding and had been keeping a keen eye on the weather forecast!

Vicky and Andy approached me in late 2013 when they realised the logistical problems of trying to organise a wedding in a venue on the Grand Depart route. Vicky lives locally in Flockton and the Museum held a special fondness to her as she had had worked at the Museum when she was younger. Vicky asked if she could have her wedding at the museum and of course we said “yes”.

Vicky was a dream to work with, she knew exactly how she wanted the room to look, she had made her own centre pieces all around a ‘Cadbury’s purple colour theme. A wedding at a Coal Mine is not most bride’s first choice of venue and it was a real museum team effort to pull together those special touches to give them a perfect and totally unique wedding day that guests would not forget.

I decided it would be good to use as much of the site as possible on the day and decided it would be lovely to include the old Hope Pit area of site to provide some good photo opportunities. Obviously the Yorkshire climate brings it own challenges so we had the foresight to put a small marquee up should the weather turn, it’s always best to be prepared.

How would we transport guests to and from Hope Pit, especially ladies in fine frocks and high heels?

We have a Mine Train that runs through the summer months and we thought it would certainly be a unique way to travel. The train is our train driver John’s pride and joy but it’s not the prettiest. So we set John to work scrubbing up the train ready for our special guests. A trip to Country Baskets to buy some trimmings (all on purple colour theme of course), a pile of crisp white table cloths to cover the seats and protect those special dresses then Sharon our Bookings Officer and craftiest employee set about transforming the train for the wedding party. A bright clean set of overalls and John scrubbed up pretty good too!

Vicky had loved to spend time with our ponies and horses when she worked at the Museum so we wanted to get them involved too. Finn, our stunning Clydesdale horse was a perfect choice. The Horsekeepers worked hard with him in the months leading up to the wedding to ensure he was in tip top condition and looking truly handsome. Fully tacked up in his finest on the day Wendy and Neil escorted Finn up to Hope ready to greet guests and he looked totally splendid, everyone wanted their photograph with him.

The day of the wedding finally arrived. I was up early and looked out the window, it was a grey Yorkshire day, my heart sank. By the time I arrived at the museum the sun was trying to break through the clouds, maybe, just, maybe. Vicky and her family had come down the day before to make a start on dressing the room, inflating balloons, dropping off favours etc. I walked in to meet Katherine from Sashes n Covers who was about to dress the banqueting chairs but we found the helium balloons Vicky had displayed had drooped over night and were looking a bit sad and sorry. Katherine quickly jumped into action, drove an hours round trip back home to collect some professional helium and replacement balloons that were thankfully in the colour scheme. New balloons inflated tied and displayed and we were back on track. The cake arrived courtesy of Linda Hofmann and the room looked lovely.

The caterers were busy preparing the wedding breakfast and getting the fizz ready for guest’s arrival and then the sun broke through in all its splendour, it seemed like we were in for a fine day, phew.

Vicky had mentioned she would like a brass band, I had met with Grimethorpe Youth Band a few months earlier and suggested they might be a good option on the day. 40 excited young band members arrived along with family from all around the country. They set up at Hope and started to practice so they would be perfect for the grand arrival.

And then we were off, guests arrived by coach from Flockton church and were welcomed by the note perfect brass band who played both old and new songs to please the crowd whilst they enjoyed a few glasses of fizz. Then Vicky and Andy arrived in a vintage car to join the party at Hope.

Once guests had had their fill of fizz our train Driver, John, announced ‘all aboard’ and guests giggled with excitement to ride the mine train back down to the Caphouse Suite for a good old Yorkshire wedding breakfast and party. After dinner guest were entertained by a live 60’s band and some dancing. Later that evening Vicky’s choice of hearty bacon sarnies and wedding cake went down a treat before some more tunes and dancing.

Certainly a grand day to remember. We all enjoyed being part of Vicky and Andy’s day and hope it will be the first of many weddings at the Museum.

The museum offers a purpose built function suite and unique outdoor spaces and photo opportunities. We are currently working with tepee and marquee suppliers to make the most of the outdoor spaces and give couples more personal and bespoke wedding options.

Contact Sam Melton and Olivia Turner in the Events Team on hire@ncm.org.uk or 01924 844 581 to discuss your wedding or other event ideas.


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Brian Thompson

Excellent day. A well organised event. The weather was good, but contingency plans had been made if poor weather occurred. The inclusion of drinks and brass band at Hope pit was a great idea. All the usual standing around at the 'standard wedding' was avoided and there was something of interest all the time. Well done to all.

Sam Melton

Thanks for your kind comments Brian. It was such a lovely wedding and we were so happy to be part of Vicky and Andy's big day.

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