Wednesday, 30 March 2016

How to write an amazing father of the bride wedding speech

This is the story of Danielle Shaw, her new husband Jay and her dad Graham. It is with their permission that we share their special story.

Sadly Graham passed away earlier this year but together the family and Holdsworth House hopes that Graham's wonderful Father of the Bride Speech inspires other dads to get just the right amount of humour, pace, digs at the groom and toe-curling tales to ensure a rousing applause, as Graham's did.

Please share this story, even if you're not getting married. Graham's creativity and delivery is wonderful to watch (look out for the groom's reactions) and includes stories that everyone can relate to. Click to watch the video and scroll down for Danielle's story.

Our special thanks to Danielle and Jay.

"My boyfriend, Jay, proposed in the most perfect way – under the Eiffel Tower in Paris in August 2014. Wedding talk began immediately but I assured Jay there would be no rushing - we agreed that the marriage wouldn’t take place for two years. 
Months later, in the October, my dad was told that the cancer he had been battling for two years was terminal. With advice from the consultant we brought the wedding forward a year. Though Jay needed a paper bag to breathe into initially (!) he knew it was the right thing to do. Whilst my dad continued with gruelling chemotherapy to help suppress the cancer, planning was in full swing and we managed to book a date at Holdsworth House on the 2nd of August, 2015. Dad loved this place – he had been to weddings here before and spoke highly of it.
A few months before the wedding he began to think about his speech; something he was actually really nervous about! He always had a great way with words and it didn’t surprise me when he told me he was writing a poem. I always knew the day was going to be so emotional…. I am a daddy’s girl who loved nothing better than spending time with my dad – him giving me away was always going to be so special.
My wedding day was Heaven on Earth; we could not have asked for a better day. Thoughts of my dad’s illness were tucked away for the day - it was our special day and we were going to enjoy every single second. In the car and walking up the isle I clung onto my dad so tightly!! We were both so nervous and excited. The sun shone and we just had the best time with everyone we love celebrating with us.
Throughout the meal he was getting more and more nervous, knocking the red wine back a little too fast!!! I think my mum thought she might have had to read it for him, but he did it. It blew me away. I sat there hanging on to every word, every rhyme, holding my breath as to what he was going to say next! He did me proud. To this day everyone mentions my dad’s speech to me – it was so memorable for everyone.
What I also love is how amazing my dad looks on the video – people always commented on how well he looked. He continued with chemotherapy and up until February 2016 was still fighting hard. Unfortunately the cancer got the better to him and the cruel disease had spread to his brain. My dad lost his battle with cancer in March. 
He always said to me that the speech was his legacy.  I finally got around to editing it and I’m so made up that we can share his fantastic work with everyone else."

This blog post is dedicated to the memory of Graham Shaw.

Thursday, 24 March 2016

A Real Bride's Guide

Mr and Mrs Ramsaroop were married at Holdsworth House in August 2015. Here they share their story: 

The Venue...

"Right from our first visit to look around Holdsworth House we knew we had made the right decision. The house is beautiful and the gardens are outstanding."

The Planning...

"The wedding team was readily available throughout the whole planning process to answer any questions. We booked the Pain Free Package - and it really was pain free! Our tasting evening a few months before the wed- ding, to try different dishes and wines, was really helpful. The staff were incredibly helpful too in assisting our guests in booking rooms for the night of the wedding, including family from Canada and South America.

In the final run up to the wedding we were able to visit as much as we needed to plan how we wanted the rooms decorated and to check we could leave decorations at the hotel the day before, to reduce the stress on the big day."

The big day...

"Everything went perfectly, the staff were amazing especially Tracy who is a real asset to Holdsworth; she took charge of arranging all the decorations, checking the bride and groom parties were all OK getting ready. She was even on hand to tidy up the groomsmen and put their buttonholes on correctly! Throughout the day everything just flowed and the staff were always a step ahead of us, so we could just relax and enjoy the day.

We were married in the Abraham Brigg room with its intimate feel, then held the wedding reception and party the Stuart room. We were lucky to have glorious sunshine on the day and have some amazing photos with the gardens in full bloom.

The wedding breakfast was very tasty with very generous portions. We chose the peking duck salad, then leek and potato soup, followed by roast sirloin, with sticky toffee pudding to finish.

The rooms are lovely, they are not very large but this is in keeping with the hotel and are all individually designed and full of character. The bridal suite with its rose petal turndown, champagne, chocolate dipped strawberries and box of chocolates is a lovely touch. In the morning we had a delicious, cooked breakfast with all our guests which was a great way to finish."

Our lasting thoughts...

"Holdsworth House is very special; we cannot recommend it highly enough!"

(Pictures courtesy of 2007bc Photography)

Monday, 7 March 2016

Charlottle Bronte's Bicentenary Year

If you're a Bronte fan you'll be excited that 2016 marks the 200th anniversary of Charlotte Bronte's birth. The Bronte Parsonage Museum, in nearby Haworth, West Yorkshire, has lots of events taking place to mark the special occasion on April 21st, the same celebration date as the Queen's birthday.

As well as wreath laying and a party in Charlotte's name, the Museum is hosting a brilliant exhibition curated by novelist Tracy Chevalier. You'll be able to see the Bronte's writings, their household artifacts, their clothes and of course where they lived and wrote many of their world-famous novels.


Holdsworth House is a beautiful country manor hotel, on the outskirts of Halifax and a scenic 20 minute drive to the centre of Haworth, where you'll find the Bronte Parsonage Museum. Built in 1633 Holdsworth House was once owned by the Wadsworth family.


In the early half of the 1800s Holdsworth House was lived in by Elisabeth Wadsworth whose family was of a similar standing to the Brontes. Whilst Elisabeth's precious diaries, which are with the Halifax library, do not mention meeting the Brontes there is reference to Elisabeth seeing the famous violinist Paganini. It is believed that the Brontes also went to a performance of Paganini - perhaps it was the same one, we will sadly never know.

Holdsworth House offers a Bronte Break, which includes an overnight stay with breakfast and two adult tickets to the Bronte Parsonage Museum. If you're a Bronte fan and attending any of the bicentenary events then come and stay here.

A Happy Angela Pleasence in the Happy Valley

Series two of the BBC's police drama Happy Valley has been a hit right form the off. Filmed in sites across Calderdale and West Yorkshre, writer and director Sally Wainwright has certainly put her childhood county on the map once again.

Holdsworth House was lucky to welcome some of the cast again to stay at the historic manor during filming. One such guest was the very lovely Angela Pleasence who plays Winnie, Catherine's neighbour. As the series unfurls we will discover how important Winnie will become to the plot.

It was Angela's birthday during her stay at the hotel and it was very lovely of her to pose for this snap for us.

Congratulations to Sally Wainwright, her exceptional cast and team for another belting Halifax and Calderdale series. Long may it continue!