June 2nd, 2017 | Alexis Forsyth
To finish off your week in style, we’re sharing the big day of Anna and Ryan, which provides a fabulous example of how to carry off a beautiful wedding without the hefty price tag. Cue a few trips to Hobbycraft, some thrifty online shopping purchases and gorgeous floral displays courtesy of a local college and you’ll start to get an idea of just how savvy our couple was with their planning!
Newlyweds Anna and Ryan tied the knot at the gorgeous Newton Hall – a dreamy, contemporary venue set in Northumberland. As you’ll see, this was a picture-perfect backdrop that was beautifully transformed by the bride and groom.
We just love how much time and effort they poured into their special day. From their handmade photo booth and alternative cheese cake, to their caricaturist and special hangover kits – there’s lots of quirky ideas to inspire you on the blog today.
With images by Dru Dodd.
anna says: We got engaged on the beach, under the stars whilst eating lobster and drinking Moet in the Dominican Republic on New Year’s Eve. Ryan had always said marriage was a long way off so I was really surprised. Romantically, Ryan said he was nipping off to the toilet, but in fact was getting the ring from the room to propose, whilst I was sitting with my meal getting cold waiting for him to get back, keeping it real! He proposed at midnight UK time which was really special as I was able to call family and friends with the exciting news.
We got married on 19th March 2017. We chose this date as we really wanted to get married at Newton Hall but had a budget to stick to. For any brides completely ruling out venues based on cost, this is a great way to meet your budget. We got married on a Sunday in March and it was sunny and dry! I found out afterwards that both my parents and my grandparents got married on the 19th of the month, too, which was a special touch.
When we both first stepped into Newton Hall, we knew it was where we wanted to get married. One of our first dates was to Mr Lynch in Jesmond, which is a sister venue to Newton Hall. Ryan had also taken me on a date to Low Newton for a picnic, which is where the venue is situated.
We didn’t have a particular colour scheme or theme for our wedding. I wanted to bring in shades of copper, apricot, blue and blush. We’re a laidback, fun couple so we wanted to incorporate that into our day whilst also maintain the traditional wedding that I had always dreamt of.
I dressed the venue myself (with the help of my bridesmaids), and bought and made all of the decorations myself. We incorporated some fun ideas on the day, such as hangover kit wedding favours and baby pictures as table numbers. We had a craft night with all of my friends in the run up to the wedding, which was great fun.
When it came to my attire for the day, I knew that I wanted a fit and flare lace dress with a long veil that covered my face and ended up buying my gown from Wed2Be in Gateshead.
From the moment my mam and I stepped into Wed2Be, the service was fantastic. I tried on a dress and knew straightaway that it was the one. The fit and cut was just perfect. I also purchased my veil from Wed2Be as it was exactly what I had been looking for. My total outfit came to just £669. A special mention also goes to Kayleen the dressmaker for all of my subsequent alterations.
Ryan bought his suit from Master Debonair in East Boldon. Ryan wanted to look a bit different and was after a wool, tweed check suit. Master Debonair specialise in menswear for the ‘modern British gentleman’ and their suits are truly beautiful. The service in the store is also amazing. Ryan bought his suit, ushers’ and wedding party suits at £150 for a full three-piece suit.
For my bridesmaids, I searched high and low for blue/grey dresses. I saw a dress from John Lewis in a magazine and the following day, went into the store and the dress was even more beautiful in real life! I ordered five – I had bridesmaids in London, Essex and Dubai so getting them all to try them on was quite a feat, but I’m sure you can see in the pictures they all looked absolutely stunning. The dresses were priced at £90 each and come in a range of colours, as well as short and full floor length.
Me, my mam and the bridesmaids stayed in Doray Cottage in High Newton the evening before the wedding and also got ready there. Chloe at Madame Beauty, North Shields styled my hair beautifully on the day, and for my makeup I booked Jemmy Cherry Lou Makeup. Jemma is an artist and got all of our makeup spot on.
I originally planned to walk from the cottage to Newton Hall for the wedding, however Ryan managed to convince his friend to lend us his brand new white Maserati. My dad drove me and my mam to Newton Hall and that was so special; a moment I will treasure forever.
Our photographer on the day was Dru Dodd photography. I know Dru as he used to come into work and take some corporate headshots for the website and I decided to follow his photography page on Facebook. I loved his style, and his pricing is also very reasonable. Ryan and I met with him and he explained that his style is more natural. That was perfect for us as the most important part of our day was celebrating with our family and friends and we wanted a photographer who could capture that. Dru and his assistant dressed like wedding guests on the day and they totally blended in. One of my bridesmaids was particularly worried about ‘gaps in her fringe’ as the day went on, and Dru was sure to warn her pre-photograph if she needed to get out her comb!
I used Tyne Metropolitan College for my wedding flowers. I work in corporate events and we regularly use them for events. When I found out they do weddings too, I arranged a meeting with Michele, the teacher on the floristry course. I had a clear vision of what I wanted in terms of colour and style, and the college totally delivered – they were perfect. All of the students involved in producing the flowers spend some days in industry and others in college, so this was a great opportunity to get photographs and experience for their CV. In total, all of my flowers (five bridesmaids’ bouquets, bridal, 12 buttonholes, centre pieces, top table and gifts) came to just over £600, which is amazing, and the quality is absolutely no different to that I have seen elsewhere. I loved being able to support the college.
All of the wedding decorations I bought and did myself. I spent many nights trawling eBay and Hobbycraft. I also bought lots of pre-loved items from Gumtree and that was really special, as I met with brides who had recently got married and were still in the buzz. My bridesmaids and I set up a lot of the décor the evening before the wedding, and Newton Hall did the rest. Working in events, I’m a bit of a control freak but Newton Hall were so easy to hand it over to and they did an amazing job
I created my own photo booth for the evening too, creating an old suitcase of props as well as borrowing an Instax camera from a friend. This was a real hit, there was even a queue at one point!
For our favours, we gave out hangover kits to the adults, purchased from eBay, as we knew there would be a few sore heads in the morning! I then filled them with coffee sachets, sweets, a plaster, Alka Seltzer etc.
For the children, I bought personalised wedding colouring books and for the older teenagers wedding eye spy and wedding bingo cards, all from eBay. Lots of the suppliers on there are small businesses trying to grow and I loved being able to support them.
Ryan doesn’t like sweet things, so we decided to go for a wedding cake made of cheese. We bought it from The Cheese Shop in Morpeth. We had a great visit tasting all of the different cheeses and decided to go with produce from the Northumberland Cheese Company. I think we now have everyone hooked on nettle cheese. And, to keep the grandmas happy, I also went with one layer of salted caramel cake from Pet Lamb Patisserie.
For the main meal, we went for Newton Hall’s ‘Something Traditional’ three-course wedding breakfast. We had mozzarella wrapped in Bayonne ham with roasted vegetable salad to start. This was followed by a roast chicken dinner for main, (it was Sunday after all!). Father of the Bride is my family’s all-time favourite film, and like Annie, we went for the ‘cheaper chicken’, which made us laugh. We then had sticky toffee pudding for dessert. In the evening, we served fish and chips, and then our wedding cheese cake with crackers.
To keep guests entertained during our post-ceremony drinks reception we had Barrie James Caricature Artist. In the evening, we had the Andy Usher Trio plus a saxophonist. We knew we wanted a live band that played a mix of modern songs and classics to get everyone up dancing. We heard Andy and the band play in The Botanist and thought they were great. We also had the addition of a saxophonist as mine and Ryan’s first holiday together was to Ibiza and in lots of the bars and clubs they had live saxophonists. It was a little personal touch that was special to us. Andy and the trio learnt our first dance song, which was also from our Ibiza trip, and my dad-daughter dance, which was absolutely amazing.
Newton Hall is a truly magical venue. Working in events, I found it really hard to hand over my wedding – the biggest event of my life – to somebody else. Our wedding co-ordinator, Holly, managed our wedding from start to finish so well. She was always on hand to answer any questions, big or small. Newton Hall also meet with you for three hours ahead of your wedding to go through absolutely every fine detail which really puts you at ease. The evening before the wedding and on the day, the team were amazing. They couldn’t do enough and made every detail of our wedding perfect. The attention to detail at the venue is truly amazing, in each room our guests were left ingredients to make cocktails, which was a nice touch. As you get exclusive use of the venue, you really do feel like it’s yours for 24 hours and all the staff make you feel like you are at home. I could not recommend this venue highly enough.
On reflection, my favourite part of the day had to be the ceremony. I’m quite traditional when it comes to weddings. My sister and one of our friends did a reading, both of which were beautiful. That moment when I walked down the aisle with my dad and saw all of my family and friends there supporting us both was just magical.
After the wedding, we went on honeymoon to Dubai and Thailand for three weeks. As Ryan runs his own business we’ve never been on holiday for that long so we savoured every day. We travelled to four different places in Thailand and stayed in some amazing hotels. Lots of special memories that we’ll cherish forever.
My top tip for other Brides Up North is, enjoy the planning. Throughout the run up to my wedding, everyone kept asking why aren’t you stressed, you’re so calm? I tried my best to enjoy every bit of the planning. Like every bride and groom, we had sleepless nights over chair covers and centrepieces and arguments over whether to go for chicken or beef, but aside from that, I have special memories of the planning stages – from dress shopping and our craft night to late night trips to Hobbycraft with Ryan.
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Originally from north of the border, Alexis has lived in the North East for the past 15 years and considers herself officially an adopted Geordie. A qualified journalist - Alexis took up the position of editor at the region’s longest running business publication in 2015 before moving into a marketing role for one of the UK’s largest independent arts and craft galleries. Alexis currently edits her own lifestyle blog, where you can find her latest musings on all things Newcastle-related, together with a smattering of her Instagram-worthy cocktail and foodie pics. Yet to find Mr Right herself, Alexis sees this as a mere formality when it comes to tying the knot, as she’s already picked out her dream wedding dress, theme and venue...
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