December 12th, 2013 | Julia Braime
Brides Up North reader Cristina is clearly a lady who likes her own way, and her beautiful Celtic influenced wedding in Northumberland shows that when it comes to your wedding – your way is the right way. Delicious.
With images by Leighton Bainbridge Photography.
Cristina says: We didn’t get engaged as such. As I always said I would never got married, Kevin gave up but one day I realised that I wanted to marry him (when you find the right person), so I started suggesting places where I’d like to do it, but he always thought I was joking. One day I just said ‘Hey, I changed my mind, right?’ so on the 28th of April 2012 we agreed! In June, for my birthday, he gave me a beautiful Celtic engagement ring.
We got married on the 21st of July 2013 at Longhirst Hall near Morpeth. We chose a Sunday because it was easier for the Spanish party to travel on the Saturday/Friday. I spent the whole year wishing for a sunny day, as I didn’t want to hear my family complaining about English summer. It was warm and perfect!
Kevin asked me if I wanted to get married in Spain and I didn’t. I hate weddings at the registrar office, and that’s the only option if you don’t want a church wedding. I saw a brochure about weddings in Northumberland, and checked some places. We both liked Longhirst and went for a look around. We fell in love with this 19th Century building, and having accommodation was perfect, as we had people travelling, so we booked it!
We started planning this wedding with some Celtic elements in mind (like the rings), but it ended up being a little bit of everything we like. We chose a burgundy and black colour scheme.
I had a bouquet of burgundy calla lilies and roses and my bridesmaids carried only calla lilies, which were the flower for the buttonholes too. The first time I saw this sort of flower I knew I wanted it for my wedding, but lots of florists overcharge you for it. We went to a wedding fair and we met Greener Interiors; they offer very interesting packages which included this flower, so we were really happy. When I first saw my bouquet, I couldn’t believe how perfect it was!
As I never thought I would get married, I didn’t have any ideas about what dress I wanted to have for my wedding. I knew I would get it in Spain, as I wanted my mum and my sister to be there with me. I went for a weekend to Madrid and we used one day to visit as many shops as possible. We were in the street, making time for the next appointment, when I guy gave us a flyer from a shop we didn’t know, called Nathaly Novias… my dress was waiting there! I chose a few to try on, but not ‘The One’. However, the girl thought I would like it, and I loved it! Its a romantic dress, mostly lace, with a medieval touch: just perfect for me.
I wore the most beautiful shoes, from Irregular Choice. I wanted something different, and something I could wear again after the wedding…they make amazing shoes.
My bridesmaids (my sister and a friend) wore black long dresses from a shop in Spain called Vertize. They are very different girls, so it was hard to get a dress both would be happy with. My friend Cristina wouldn’t wear a light colour dress, and my sister didn’t want a short dress. I thought black was the easiest colour (which sort of decided the colour scheme) and we went together to choose it. It was a very simple but elegant dress.
We tried to personalise as much as we could. We chose to have two readings during the ceremony (done by both Mums), and I have to say that the entrance music was a bit special
Kevin’s niece works in a hairdresser’s in Ashington (Venue Hair Salon) and her boss is also a friend of the family; so she was invited to the wedding too. They did my and my bridesmaids hair as a wedding present. We didn’t have a hair trial, but they’re awesome and did our hair just the way we wanted. Leah at Make Up By Leah did my make-up on the day and she was fantastic.
We chose Leighton Bainbridge to take our photos. We weren’t going to get a photographer, as part of our family are media people and they offered to do it, but we realised that it wasn’t fair on them, because they couldn’t enjoy the day and we wouldn’t get enough photos because they were there as guests.
We found Leighton on the net, and we decided to book him. We had a first meeting to decide some things, and we had a pre-wedding shoot a month before the wedding. This was a great opportunity to get to know each other and feel comfortable on the wedding day (and we got some amazing pictures). When we saw the photos from the day, they were so perfect.
We handmade as many things as possible, not just to save some money, but because I wanted to be involved and I used it as a break from my PhD. All the stationery had to be made in two languages, and it was quite hard to find a supplier that made half in English and half in Spanish. I made the invitations, a program with the whole ceremony translated in Spanish for those who wouldn’t understand a word.
We made the favours – mini bottles of Spanish wine/cava, with some Swiss chocolates – and a heart brooch for the girls. We also made some labels to add to the bottles and my sister made some lovely ‘bride & groom’ pegs to add to the favours.
I made the seating plan and we had every table named after a Northumbrian castle. The centrepieces were white birdcages with some dried flowers (which we dried for months in the house) and my mum made some table runners. We added some mini Spanish/English dictionaries for the wedding breakfast.
After the meal we had a pub quiz; We thought it would be a great way to get people to know each other and interact a bit, as each table from the meal was a different team. For the night-time, I put together a sweet table, with jars and candles we collected through the year; it looked lovely.
We decided to get a two tiered cake: the bottom tier was vanilla and strawberries and the top one was carrot cake (my favourite). We wanted something different, so we asked Nicola, from ‘A Zombie Stole My Cupcake’ (from Bedlington), to make us a black cake! Then she added some Celtic decorations in burgundy, and it looked lush… it was a big surprise for the guests. For the evening buffet, she made some lovely cupcakes, in two flavours: mint choc chip and cookies and cream. We couldn’t ask anything better than this, she did a great job!
As there were a few children at the wedding, we decided at the last moment to get a bouncy castle, and not just the kids enjoyed it!
For the night, we had a DJ, but we made our own playlist, as we are a bit ‘fussy’ about music, and we really wanted to dance! We prepared CD’s with the playlist for everyone to take home; we still get messages about how great the compilation is. Kevin brought his guitar with him, and he played a few songs (my nephew, who is five, is his number one fan, so he was over the moon).
We went to Crete and Santorini for our honeymoon. We had lots of different destinations in mind, but we have both wanted to go there for years, before we met, and see the Palace at Knossos, and we thought it was the perfect occasion for it. We had a great time.
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to follow your heart; I had people trying to change my mind about some decisions I made for the day, but it never worked… remember, it’s your day! And during the day try to enjoy every single second, it really flies by!
Congratulations Cristina & Kevin!
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Former lawyer and bride to be Julia founded Brides Up North in 2010 with a chip on her shoulder. Frustrated by the poor Northern presence in glossy bridal magazines and online, she decided to do something about it herself. Astounded by the rapid growth of her blog and brand, Julia now manages Brides Up North’s online content alongside their busy wedding exhibition season, industry events and related commissions. And she’s always, always, got a new project on the go…