February 7th, 2017 | Julia Braime
The moral of today’s real wedding – every cloud has a silver lining! For Karen and Robert had originally planned to marry in the lakes, but due to excessive flooding they had to cancel their big day plans last minute and return to the drawing board. In doing so they found a dream setting in Le Petit Chateau, a new venue to the North East that’s brimming with wow-factor.
Leaving the details to the unique venue, Karen and Robert picked an elegant champagne colour scheme and stunning calla lily blooms to complete their wedding vision.
And Karen looked the perfect fairy-tale bride within the story-book like setting in a gorgeous Madeline Gardiner gown, which provided just the right amount of big day sparkle.
With images by Barnaby Aldrick Wedding Photography
karen says: We got engaged on our ten-year anniversary. Robert surprised me with a night away to London at the Oriental Mandrin. He had booked us into a suite and when we arrived there was champagne awaiting, strawberries covered in chocolate with a huge bouquet of flowers. We then had a lovely stroll down to Buckingham Palace where we could take in the sights and have some well-deserved ‘us time’. When we arrived back at the hotel there were more surprises in store – spa treatments – and he had booked us in Heston Blumenthal’s restaurant within the hotel. The meal was absolutely beautiful and just before our desert Robert got down on one knee and proposed. All of the staff knew he was going to propose so once he popped the question, and obviously I said yes, they were ready and waiting to send their congratulations and brought us champagne and a chocolate cake with “congratulations” written on. The whole day was just perfect, I couldn’t have wished for a better day!
We got married on 11th June at Le Petit Chateau, Northumberland. This wasn’t actually our first choice of venue as we’d originally booked our wedding in 2014, which meant that Le Petit Chateau hadn’t been built and didn’t exist so we didn’t even know about this place at the time. We were originally due to get married in the lakes, but due to the flooding in December 2015 our wedding venue cancelled on us last minute. When searching for an alternative venue it was Le Petit Chateau’s sister venue Newton Hall that put us in touch. Although it was still under renovation and we only had drawings to go off, we took the chance based on the beauty of its sister venues and booked Le Petit Chateau.
We chose a champagne colour scheme for the wedding, which we felt would be an elegant addition to the day.
My wedding dress was by Madeline Gardiner. It was the complete opposite to what I originally thought I would go for, but when I put it on I cried so I just knew this was the dress for me. It was stunning!
Robert wore a navy blue Hugo Boss three-piece suit. He always knew from day dot he would wear Hugo Boss so it didn’t take him long to pick his outfit.
The bridesmaids wore dresses from Ami’s Bridal and groomsmen wore suits from Next.
Our chosen wedding photographer was Barnaby Aldrick, who is based in Leeds. He is such a fantastic photographer – he captures the day beautifully and I would recommend him to anyone.
Calla lilies was our choice of flowers for the wedding and these were provided by The Finishing Touch Company.
As venue décor, we had calla lilies and willow centrepieces, which were beautiful. As favours we gave our guests little packs of mints, which also looked lovely on the tables.
For that extra wow-factor, we hired some five foot “love” letters from Coco Luminaire.
We went for a three-tier wedding cake from Polly Potters, in Newcastle. As our little boy, Joshua, loves cake, we let him choose what went in the tiers – he chose chocolate, lemon and strawberry sponge.
There were so many gorgeous food options to choose from at Le Petit Chateau for our canapes and meals, that we were spoilt for choice! In the end we chose canapes of beef crostini with onion jam and horseradish, mozzarella arancini balls and tempura king prawns with sweet chilli, served with a choice of champagne, Sol, innocent strawberry blonde mojito or kids’ mocktails. During this time we also had a magician, called Magic Bob, to perform and entertain guests. He was excellent, all our guests were talking about him days after the event so I would definitely recommend him.
The wedding breakfast starter was a choice of Thai beef salad with rice noodles and palm sugar dressing or Thai spiced sweet potato soup with lime crème fraiche, followed by a sparkling sorbet course. Main was 12-hour slow cooked pork shoulder with mustard mash, green beans and cider gravy or grilled pistachio coated goats cheese, Italian vegetable salad and olive and tomato salad. Finally, dessert was a choice of sticky toffee pudding with sticky sauce and vanilla ice cream or sorbet and fresh fruit.
For our evening food, we went for fish and chip cones and hog roast pork sandwiches with crackling, stuffing and apple sauce.
When deciding on the evening entertainment, we always knew we wanted to have a band, so after a lot of searching we found a band called Kings of the Dancefloor, who were great. They sang our first dance song too by Take That, which was perfect.
As we had quite a few children including, two of our own, we wanted to do something fun for them too, so we got a sweet cart by Victorian Sweet Cart Company. It was fantastic and the kids loved it – not forgetting the adults too!
Without question, I would recommend Le Petit Chateau to other wedding couples as we had the most amazing day. Everything about the venue has the wow-factor; from the rooms to the food and the staff to the attention to detail. The gardens are stunning too with palm trees and fire pits and a fantastic fire on water feature. Five months on and we still have our wedding guests talking about it being the best wedding they have attended and how amazing the whole day was from start to finish, which always puts a smile on my face as one thing that I wanted out of our perfect wedding day was that guests would be wowed and would never forget one of the biggest days of our lives.
Looking back, it’s difficult to pick my favourite part of the day as the whole day was perfect but just before walking down the aisle and seeing the whole room packed with family and friends and then seeing Robert standing next to the beautiful giant fireplace was probably one of my favourite parts, knowing that in the next 15 minutes I would become Mrs Barber – a long time in the making after waiting 12 years!
We decided against a honeymoon with having two small children so instead we went away, the four of us, to Majorca. We’ve said that when the kids get older we will do a honeymoon, which will make it extra special waiting a few more years.
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be – try and take in every single minute of the day as it goes so quick. Another bit of advice I was given was to take half-an-hour out with your new husband just to take everything in together, which we did.
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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…
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