A Small Outdoor Lake District Elopement With Martina Liana and Inbal Dror Dresses

Just 22 guests joined Lucy and Johann Gründlingh as they tied the knot on the shores of Grasmere and ventured into the mountains for their photos.

Lake District Real Wedding - Lucy and Johann

If you’re looking for inspiration for a Lake District wedding, Lucy and Johann used the stunning backdrop of Grasmere to beautiful effect for their April 2019 elopement.

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Doctors Lucy and Johann met while working together at the Royal London Hospital’s Emergency Department. South African Johann whisked Lucy off for a romantic weekend in the New Forest to propose. On a snowy winter day, they decided to guess how many steps it would take to walk around two giant Sequoia trees. Johann guessed correctly for the first tree, and when Lucy rounded the second, Johann was waiting for her, kneeling in the snow with a ring.

Less than two months later, they eloped to The Daffodil Hotel in Grasmere in the Lake District with 22 of their closest friends and family. It was a relaxed, intimate day, topped off with two beautiful wedding dresses and an unforgettable first dance. Don’t miss the wellies Lucy made herself!

Photography by Robin Goodlad

Lake District Real Wedding - Lucy and Johann
Lake District Real Wedding - Lucy and Johann
Lake District Real Wedding - Lucy and Johann
Lake District Real Wedding - Lucy and Johann
Lake District Real Wedding - Lucy and Johann

The Wedding Dress

Lucy was drawn towards a classic, but figure-hugging gown from Martina Liana for her ceremony dress, which she bought at Angelica Bridal in Islington. With only an eight week turnaround time until the big day, it was down to her amazing alteration team to get both her dresses ready (yes, both! More on that later).

Accessorised with “something borrowed” pearl earrings from her mum and Jimmy Choo cream satin heels, it was a group effort to get the dress picture-ready on the day.

“I tried on about 15 dresses before ‘The One’, and had looked at at least a hundred others online! Then I found an ivory, V-front, V-back, smooth silhouette crepe dress with a train, designed by Martina Liana. I will always love it!

“I bought it from Angelica Bridal in Islington. It is the most wonderful wedding dress shop! The staff – particularly Gemma – were so personable and understood the style I wanted immediately. It was so special to have my mum there to decide on ‘The One’ with me.

“My mum, Anne, and my now mum-in-law, Marianne, both helped to steam my dress. It was a late thought (I had the dress on), but it was funny – all of us working together with minutes to spare in odd poses – but a great memory!

“I wore my engagement ring on my right hand. I also pinned a safety pin with a blue crystal (as my ‘something blue’) and a ‘lucky sixpence’ onto the ribbon on my wedding bouquet.”

Lake District Real Wedding - Lucy and Johann
Lake District Real Wedding - Lucy and Johann
Lake District Real Wedding - Lucy and Johann
Lake District Real Wedding - Lucy and Johann
Lake District Real Wedding - Lucy and Johann

The Wedding Morning

The couple had arrived at their hotel the day before the wedding. Johann hired a Mercedes-Benz E220 saloon car to travel to the wedding, the mini-moon and back home as newlyweds, “which felt super grand and special!”

The couple chose not to have any bridesmaids or ushers. Lucy got ready with her mum and mother-in-law at the hotel, having met up beforehand with her make-up artist and hair stylist Jo Coole at a salon in Warrington, halfway between London and the Lake District.

Johann got ready at The Daffodil Hotel too, in a Hugo Boss tuxedo with matching “very shiny” black shoes and a pocket square. Although they didn’t have those bridesmaid/best man moments, there was plenty of wonderful memories made.

“We had a great dinner with both sets of parents the night before. They had not met each other before as my parents are South African and live near Cape Town,” said Johann.

Lake District Real Wedding - Lucy and Johann
Lake District Real Wedding - Lucy and Johann
Lake District Real Wedding - Lucy and Johann

The Wedding Ceremony

Great childhood memories of the Lake District for Lucy and the stunning surroundings of hills and the lake brought them to The Daffodil Hotel, Grasmere for their ceremony.

“We had a civil ceremony outside under the gazebo next to the lake and surrounded by the gorgeous hilltops that circle Grasmere. We absolutely loved that it was outside! It was windy during the ceremony but this just made my veil look even more dramatic!

“Johann met the guests as they arrived and I went down to the ground floor to await walking down the aisle once Katie, our wedding coordinator, let me know everything was ready. The my dad walked me down the aisle, which was wonderful.

“Putting the rings on and becoming husband and wife was my favourite moment of the day.”

Lake District Real Wedding - Lucy and Johann
Lake District Real Wedding - Lucy and Johann
Lake District Real Wedding - Lucy and Johann
Lake District Real Wedding - Lucy and Johann

The Wedding Flowers and Cake

Lucy and Johann opted for a pink, white and green colour scheme for their day. Their talented florist Kerry at The Floristry in Windermere was also the one to make their wedding cake! She arranged a posy of 15 pink peonies to represent their wedding date of the 15th April, plus candles interspersed with a garland of peonies, foliage and gysophila along the centre of the wedding breakfast table.

“The wedding cake was was a two-tiered chocolate cake with white chocolate ganache around it. We served it on the night because it was too good to wait! We cut it with a big knife and served it as an after-dinner treat.

“We decided on two tiers because we thought it looked nicer and we thought it was unlikely that everyone was going to finish it, which meant there would be cake left that we could take with us on a walk in Grasmere the next day and then eat on the top of a mountain somewhere.

“As it turns out we went hiking the next day on Helm Crag, which was beautiful. We ate the cake on the top of the mountain – bliss!”

Lake District Real Wedding - Lucy and Johann
Lake District Real Wedding - Lucy and Johann
Lake District Real Wedding - Lucy and Johann

The Second Dress

Lucy chose an incredible second dress for her reception, which she accessorised with DIY ‘Mrs’ wellies for their mountaintop shots (and Johann got a pair of ‘Mr’ ones!). Crafty Lucy bought her wellies from Next, transfers online from Etsy and got a cobbler to put in eyelets for the ribbon.

“I changed into a second dress for the evening! I thought, why not? You only get married once.

“I wanted a more revealing party-like dress for the evening, so I bought a gold bridal dress by Inbal Dror at Morgan Davies, Islington. I then had it altered by Bride & Alter from spaghetti straps to a plunge V-neck by using the material from the original longer train. The Bride & Alter team were fantastic – welcoming, gave great honest advice when asked and completing all adjustments within just three weeks!”

Lake District Real Wedding - Lucy and Johann
Lake District Real Wedding - Lucy and Johann
Lake District Real Wedding - Lucy and Johann

The Wedding Favours and Entertainment

Guests were spoilt by all the lovely touches that the happy couple put together. We love Lucy’s idea to design a booklet with crosswords and quiz questions about themselves and the guests to keep everyone entertained during their photos.

“We also asked every woman to move two spaces in an anti-clockwise direction after every course to mix up conversations and help everyone to get to know each other – slightly crazy but so fun!

“We had flip-flops tied with white silk ribbon for any of the women to wear in case their feet got sore from wearing heels all day, and heel-protectors.

“There were also games that Lucy prepared (boules, croquet etc.) and umbrellas for everyone in case it rained (luckily, it didn’t). The confetti was neatly packaged in individual envelopes for guests to throw. There were sunglasses for everyone (they were very popular) and a wedding board with the announcements.

“We also had a road-sign made that was put up on a lamppost on the road that pointed towards The Daffodil Hotel and stated that it was Johann and Lucy’s wedding.”

Lake District Real Wedding - Lucy and Johann
Lake District Real Wedding - Lucy and Johann

The First Dance

Lucy and Johann chose guitarist-singer Owen H to perform before and after the wedding breakfast, mixing up acoustic ballads and upbeat tunes. But they chose a showstopper for their first dance.

“If I Ain’t Got You by Alicia Keys. We had been taking dancing lessons with the amazing Nuno at Dancebuzz in London since we first started dating and this had great lyrics and beat. The dance itself was great but also the few hours of preparation for it were so fun and exciting too!”

The honeymoon had to wait for the busy doctors. Instead they enjoyed a minimoon in the Lake District for a few days after the wedding, spending time both with family and by themselves. A rain spell compelled a day in the spa, while glorious sun took them to the top of Helm Crag for their wedding cake packed lunch.

Lake District Real Wedding - Lucy and Johann

The Newlyweds’ Advice

Despite spending more than double their budget, Lucy and Johann picked up lots of wonderful tips along the way, especially for an elopement. Enjoy the day, do what you want and not what anyone else wants, and make a playlist so you can listen back to the soundtrack of your big day were all key.

“Don’t stretch out the engagement either. Keeping it short is great and actually makes you less stressed on the day and in the preparation. We think if you have too much time then you will stress, overthink about decorations and lose sight of the wonderful reason you’re celebrating – your love for one another!”

They recommended finding professionals and suppliers you love too to help with the swift planning. “Planning a formal elopement/intimate wedding in two months is so exciting, but also was made possible by these people embracing the idea. By the end you all felt like close friends – thank you so, so much!”

The Suppliers

Venue: The Daffodil Hotel & Spa
Photographer: Robin Goodlad
Wedding Dress: Martina Liana from Angelica Bridal; Inbal Dror from Morgan Davies Bridal
Alterations: Bride & Alter
Groomswear: Hugo Boss
Flowers and Cake: The Floristry
Entertainment: Owen H from Alive Network; quiz book printed by doxdirect.com
Dance Lessons: Dancebuzz
Rings: Hearts of London, Hatton Garden
Stationery: e-vitations by greenvelope.com; orders of service by hiphiphooray.com

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Thank you to Lucy and Johann for sharing their wonderful day with us.