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Real Weddings

KITRI Studio for an Elopement Wedding at The Gilpin – Kat & David

Sarah Symonds

We just love the romance and seeming inevitability of the way today’s small but perfect featured wedding came together as everything else in the UK was falling apart. Let’s head to the Lakes to hear all about Kat and David’s swoon-worthy elopement…

When the dream venue is all set and then the government announces that it’s scuppering all of your best laid plans, it might seem like all is lost. But when our bride Kat spoke to The Gilpin about cancelling their arranged mini moon, the hotel and staff came to the rescue with their new elopement package – featuring our UNVEILED Network Member Anna Sorbie on the glam squad – and everything started to fall back into place.

An intimate ceremony just for two, a typically Lake District torrential rain shower during the ceremony and a cosy celebration in the pub afterwards was just what our couple needed, and the big party that follows is going to be monumental!

We’ve heard all about the struggles Kat experienced when she was hunting for her dream dress and how, in the end, she went a little off piste, and how handing all responsibility over to their amazing venue was the best thing they could’ve done.

Let’s hear all about the day that Kat and David merged their surnames to become the new Mr and Mrs Thanes!

With photography by Dominic Lemoine Photography


Kat says: Our engagement story is a bit of a saga but after many failed attempts during a trip to Edinburgh, Dave panic proposed at a pub in Manchester, when we were both a bit tipsy on our way to see Fall Out Boy at the MEN in 2018. He forgot the ring was in his pocket and didn’t want security to blow his secret. It was actually pretty perfect and very us. Cheap beer in plastic cups, rain and on the way to a gig.

I didn’t really realise what was going on and the first thing out of my mouth was “Where did you get that ring?”. He had a ring that was identical to one I nearly got for myself a few years ago that was limited edition, only five in the world. Mine isn’t one of those though, he got this one custom made for me with the same designer. We told a few friends there and then swore them to secrecy until we told our families.


We got married on 3rd October 2020, I always wanted an autumn wedding and this date worked with our photographer. Everything else was booked around that, I was not prepared to lose Dom and Ruby!

Our original wedding was booked at Great John Street in Manchester. We absolutely loved this venue. It was small and personal, with loads of history but also really chic with a beautiful terrace, plus they do the best Negronis! GJS was also the first venue we spoke with that would let us do whatever we wanted, there really were no limits. We aren’t very traditional so this was important to us, nothing was too much for them and there was no cookie cutter wedding like other venues we saw. Unfortunately, thanks to the pandemic we had to cancel this wedding.

We ended up eloping to The Gilpin in the Lakes, we had viewed this as a wedding venue but it was way out of our budget, so we’d booked a couple of days for our mini-moon instead. When we spoke with them about having to cancel our wedding they mentioned their elopement package, everything from there just fell into place. The Gilpin is stunning in every way possible and the team couldn’t do enough for us. We ended up getting married in their conservatory while it threw it down outside, just the two of us with all the big doors open and it was perfect. They organised witnesses and a bottle of champagne for afterwards, all we had to sort was a registrar which was much easier than it had been trying to sort out one in Manchester. When the rules started to relax we managed to book a private room in a local pub, The Flying Fleece, for dinner with just the family. The team at The Fleece were amazing, the food was incredible and they were so welcoming considering the rules were still changing the day of. They let us have anything from the main menu as long as we pre-ordered, we can’t thank them enough.


No theme at all! Our main focus was that people had fun and were comfortable, but it also had to reflect us. I think now we would describe it as glamorous, rainy and fun, I laughed all day and I think everyone else did too looking at the photos.

We didn’t have a set colour scheme either, it was such a last minute thing that we just got what we could, especially for decorations at the pub. It all seemed to work out ok though!


I ordered a dress from KITRI Studio online after a friend recommended them to me, it was perfect. Stylish and chic, not too showy and comfy!


Dave loves a three piece suit, so he got a lovely suit from Ted Baker. I decided he should go for a patterned shirt and plain tie because he normally would wear a patterned shirt if we went somewhere nice. It came together really well.


I got my bridesmaid a dress in a flash sale online, but she hasn’t got to wear it yet. It was a one shoulder, chiffon, floor length gown in navy. She looked beautiful, and still a bit edgy. We were still deciding on Dave’s suit when we cancelled so didn’t get anything for the Best Man. We are hoping to have a proper reception when we can so hopefully they can wear them then!


Anna Sorbie, who has a studio in Kendal, came recommended by the Gilpin. I went for a trial, we made a couple of minor tweaks and then she gave me exactly what I wanted on the day – and it even held up through several rainstorms!


We went with Dom and Ruby of Dominic Lemoine Photography. It really was only ever going to be them for us. We’ve followed them on social media for years and love their style, we prefer candid pictures and the atmosphere they create is amazing. I never wanted standard wedding pictures, I wanted art and it’s exactly what we got.

We met with Dom and we all got on really well so it just seemed like a perfect match. Not only are they amazing photographers, they are also really nice people so the thought of spending all day with them was never an issue. We had such a good time, essentially they were the only people at the wedding we knew, they even offered to be our witnesses. At the end of 2018 we booked an engagement shoot with them and it rained the entire time, so when the forecast got worse and worse for our wedding day we knew they could manage it and we felt really confident with them the whole time, even though we got soaked!


I had no idea on the details of the styling! I never wanted a bouquet or button-holes. The Gilpin arranged table flowers for us for the registry table, I just had to choose a colour. I chose a deep red to match my ring and nails, they followed us around the hotel for the rest of the stay, appearing on the table at dinner which was a nice touch!

The other decorations for the pub were from Ginger Ray and they were assembled by the Vanes family under the watchful eye of Dawn, my mum!


We didn’t organise any favours, but my mum got sweets for everyone and popped them on the tables.


We didn’t have one, neither of us like cake so it didn’t seem authentic for us!


Everyone got to chose their own meals at the pub in the end which was nice and took some pressure off us having to find a menu that suited everyone.


Because of the 10pm curfew we couldn’t have a DJ or anything so we did some quiz games instead, like match the wedding tradition with the origin and a good old game of Mr and Mrs. A graphic designer friend of ours made us some gorgeous paddles for everyone with Kat or Dave on.


Special touches

The best part for me was, after spending months discussing music, the only song we noticed was the one playing while we signed the register. You Me At Six, Take On The World. I’ve been a huge fan of theirs for years so getting them in as part of my wedding was very us.

This wasn’t an easy wedding to plan, plans changed time and time again and some people couldn’t understand that our hands were tied with a lot of decisions. There were a lot of tears and a lot of wine drunk during the process, but in the end the day was perfect. When we eventually get to have a proper reception it’s going to be chaos, everyone has been holding on for this party for a long time! We still haven’t even had our first dance!

Thanks to

The Gilpin is beautiful, the staff are wonderful, we didn’t have to ask for anything. The day after our wedding they were already calling me Mrs Thomason, which confused me a lot because I am not Mrs Thomason as we’ve actually combined our surnames to make our new name! The attention to detail at the Gilpin is why people go back time and time again – and also the food!

Best bit

The first time we saw each other was my best bit. I really wanted a first look photo and I got exactly the reaction I wanted. I just remember trying to take everything in and having a massive smile on my face. I loved the ceremony being just us, I felt no pressure from other people, no whispers in the crowd, it was just about us.


Pick people who can handle a crisis and trust them, things were changing on the day for us and things went wrong, but the people around us dealt with it and we didn’t have to worry about anything. They dealt with it, no questions asked, just sorted it. I’ll always be grateful for that, because it left us to focus on the bigger picture; the fact that we were getting married!

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