ts sumptuous transformation is all down to the vision of owner and interior designer Claire Thomas, “It was a lot of hard work but the result is absolutely amazing and everything I wanted it to be. There’s a real joy in hosting weddings for people, not just from the UK, but from all over the world who want to get married in stylish surroundings in a picturesque location. International guests are certainly impressed by Yorkshire and all it has to offer too.” Wharfedale Grange is home to mother of four Claire and the place she spent many happy years with her partner Richard Snowden on their 200 acre farm, producing wheat, oats, micro vegetables, soft fruits and 10,000 lettuces each week! The sprawling agricultural hub had been in artist and farmer Richard’s family for decades and as he cultivated the land, Claire was kept busy with her interior design business, revamping top of the range properties and stately homes. Sometimes though, life throws a catastrophic curveball and in 2010 Richard was diagnosed with cancer and given just six months to live. “I needed to spend what precious time we had left together and put my design business on hold, but I had to do something at home to keep things ticking over financially,” explains Claire. A marquee was borrowed and promptly erected in one of the fields and the determined entrepreneur put her creative skills to full use, decorating to a high standard and ensuring the stunning setting appealed to couples wanting to tie the knot in the heart of the Yorkshire countryside. It was a huge sell-out success and weddings were arranged with brides and grooms from across the globe. “One couple from Sweden had seen the beautiful images of Yorkshire on TV when watching the Tour de France Grand Départ in 2014 and knew that their perfect marriage location was right here. They were not disappointed.” Claire explains. Richard went on to receive treatment for the next 4 1/2 years, continuing to work as an artist and on the farm, as Claire arranged stylish weddings, allowing time for the pair to be side by side and a crucial support for one another. After Richard’s passing, Claire realised that farming wasn’t for her. “Not with my nails!” she exclaims. One thing she knew she could do and do well, was arranging wonderful weddings and parties. Claire had four barns, acres of land and a fabulous farmhouse, plus the enthusiasm and skills to completely convert the place into not only a luxury wedding location but an ideal events venue too. “From bar mitzvahs to birthday bashes, we’re open for business,” Claire proudly declares. Proud, she should be too, after many stressful months of jumping through hoops and planning permission challenges, the result is astounding and final details were being finished to the highest standard right down to the wire. As the first bride and groom to celebrate their nuptials at the newly renovated Wharfedale Grange arrived and the crunching of wedding car wheels could be heard on the sweeping gravel drive, Claire was bustling workers, still fixing the final skirting boards to the walls, out of the back door.