Charlotte Balbier
Brides Up North Wedding Fairs

real wedding recap 2017: a french inspired wedding at le petit chateau, northumberland – rachelle & liam

July 2nd, 2017 | Julia Braime

A Wedding at Le Petit Chateau (c) Sean Elliott Photography (55)

It’s holiday season here on the blog, and as the editorial team take a short break, we’ll be leaving you with a reduced blogging schedule so that you still get your daily dose of wedding lovely. Usual service will recommence on Monday 3rd July 2017 but in the meantime watch out for recaps of some of our favourite Real Weddings from the first half of the year so far. 

Drop in every day for the very prettiest, most unique wedding inspiration and – if you are a Brides Up North bride – to see if your real wedding was one of our top picks.

From the venue’s name, you’d be forgiven for thinking that this is an overseas wedding, but in fact the stunning French inspired venue can be found in rural Northumberland.

Cheerleaders Rachelle and Liam fell whole-heartedly in love with its unique styling and charm, planning a big day with French shabby chic touches to complement their surroundings.

So, let’s get straight into the pretty. Ready? Ok!

With images by Sean Elliott Photography

A Wedding at Le Petit Chateau (c) Sean Elliott Photography (51)

rachelle says: We got engaged in Bangkok, Thailand, in November 2013, while we attended the seventh World Cheerleading Championships, in which we both were competing together as part of Team UK.

We set the date for 30th July 2016 – the beginning of the school holidays as Liam is a teacher and we wanted to make sure we had time to fit in a good honeymoon before he went back to work.

A Wedding at Le Petit Chateau (c) Sean Elliott Photography (58)

Our ceremony took place at St. Peters Church, Harton, South Shields at 12pm as it had sentimental value to Liam. We then held our reception in Le Petit Chateau, Otterburn. We originally booked a different reception venue when we first got engaged but when we discovered the plans for Le Petit Chateau, we fell in love and decided to lose our previous deposits and change to Le Petit Chateau, despite never actually seeing the venue until a month before our wedding. After seeing the venue, it looked a million times better than what we’d expected from the plans and knew we had made the right decision to change our wedding

We didn’t have a theme as such but it was almost aimed towards French shabby chic. We incorporated old books and watering cans into our centrepieces. Our table plan was a mannequin with French inspired shabby chic labels pinned to it containing the table plan to incorporate the French fashion scene. We added a cheerleading bow to this as that was how we met and how we’d got engaged. We picked our favourite looks from Pinterest and the shabby chic appealed to us the most. When we found our new venue, we tailored it more to suit the style and it worked perfectly.

We chose a coral colour scheme, as it was a very summery colour that we thought would brighten the photos. When we first saw the venue, we were excited to see that the same colour was used on the external walls of the Belle Epoque!

A Wedding at Le Petit Chateau (c) Sean Elliott Photography (56)

I chose my dress – an ivory Mori Lee gown – from The Bridal Factory Outlet, and had a wonderful shopping experience there. My dress was a full A-line dress with a slight sweetheart neckline. The bodice was covered in a heavy lace with pearls and crystals. It had a lovely crystal belt that tied into a lovely flowing tulle bow at the back. The skirt kicked out at the waist into layers of tulle. I picked the dress to show off my waist and as a cheerleader, I wanted sparkle but I didn’t want to go too overboard.

I also picked a shorter knee length dress for the evening, which was a white Sherri Hill dress that had a bodice full of pearls and a full tulle skirt with lace detail at the bottom.

A Wedding at Le Petit Chateau (c) Sean Elliott Photography (28)

Liam wore a grey three-piece suit from Slaters with a white shirt and black Ted Baker shoes also from Slaters, and a coral and ivory paisley silk tie and pocket square that I’d found on Pinterest and sourced from Amazon. They matched the colour scheme perfectly and were such much nicer than a block colour.

I won my bridesmaids dresses from Brides Dream in Newcastle, from a wedding show in 2014 and picked them from a wide range at their store in summer 2015. I picked a coral floor-length gown with an illusion sweetheart neckline. The top of the dress was a coral mesh with a lovely delicate lace detail on the shoulders. The dress also had an illusion low back, that accented my wedding dress.

I had a man of honour in my bridal party too, my best friend Ben Pardey, who helped my maid of honour, Olga Crehan. They were my two best friends from university and I couldn’t have got married without them both by my side with a main role in the wedding.

A Wedding at Le Petit Chateau (c) Sean Elliott Photography (2)

Our wedding transport was a 1965 Jaguar from Merlin Wedding Cars – the driver was so lovely. We also hired coaches for our guests from J&M Travel.

A Wedding at Le Petit Chateau (c) Sean Elliott Photography (11)

We chose Sean Elliott Photography for our wedding and also had his team to make us a stop-motion wedding video. We picked Sean after seeing his work and noticing how creative and fun he was. We thought he’d be perfect for shooting a cheerleaders wedding as we knew he’d be up for anything. We would definitely recommend Sean as his work is beautiful. We were beyond happy with our photographs and stop-motion and have had many lovely comments about our photos. There are so many photos, and all of the highest of quality. He was so lovely and got on well with our guests, and even ended up taking photos of our guests blowing raspberries. These made for great viewing when we received our photos back.

A Wedding at Le Petit Chateau (c) Sean Elliott Photography (19)

For my wedding flowers, I carried a bouquet of roses, carnations and sweet peaks from BDazzled Florals. They also provided the watering cans and floral decorations for the venue, which were made up of roses, carnations, sweet peas and chrysanthemums.

A Wedding at Le Petit Chateau (c) Sean Elliott Photography (21)

We used Rhino Blue for our table numbers, monsieur and madame sign, monsieur and madame chair signs and our guest book. Our chair bows and table runners were provided by Favour-It-Ism.

Instead of giving individual gifts, we did a sweet table and a popcorn cart for the wedding favours. We spend a lot of our time at the cinema together eating sweets and popcorn so thought we’d share this with our guests.

We chose a four-tier wedding cake designed by Kelly Ann’s Cakes that included small references to our cheerleading team along with bows and flowers. As flavours, we chose carrot cake, red velvet, blue velvet and vanilla sponge. The cakes were delicious and everyone loved the cake flavour variety.

A Wedding at Le Petit Chateau (c) Sean Elliott Photography (22)

For the drinks reception, we picked the Le Petit Chateau Cherry Drop cocktail and bottles of Heineken (relating to Liam’s stag do to Amsterdam). We also served canapés, including chocolate covered strawberries, mozzarella arancini balls, lamb koftas, mini toad in the hole and bruschetta.

The wedding breakfast main course was sirloin of beef and lamb dinner, and a yellow Thai curry as our vegetarian option. This was followed by white chocolate and Baileys cheesecake, which went down a treat. For our evening food, we had a hog roast served from their van on the patio with crackling.

A Wedding at Le Petit Chateau (c) Sean Elliott Photography (29)

Entertainment-wise, we chose Colin Cook to DJ as he was a recommended supplier from our initial reception venue. When we spoke to him and looked at his reviews and we liked how professional he was. I handpicked all of the music that was played through the night specially to reflect us and our guests. Liam had picked Children of the Night and surprisingly, the whole room went wild!

We also added Groovy Heads to our wedding entertainment as a surprise for our guests. Our parents had been telling us for years about how good photo booths are and how we need one for the wedding but we played it down and said we weren’t interested. Groovy Heads was a green screen where guests mimed along to songs and their heads were superimposed on to a video. It was a really big hit with our guests! They all took home their own copy of their DVD and we got a compilation CD to watch everyone’s from the night.

A Wedding at Le Petit Chateau (c) Sean Elliott Photography (33)

As a special touch to the wedding, a dance friend of Liam, Tracey, kindly choreographed our first dance. We chose Westlife Flying Without Wings as he throws me around in cheerleading and the words were beautiful. Tracey made our dance special and had us perform a few lifts to tie it back in with our cheerleading background. Everyone loved the dance and that was something we had also kept quiet. We did a dirty dancing lift at the end of our routine, and the crowd, including photographer, went wild when they realised what was coming.

A Wedding at Le Petit Chateau (c) Sean Elliott Photography (35)

After our wedding, we would most definitely recommend Le Petit Chateau to other couples. It is the most beautiful venue that we have come across and the attention to detail is beyond belief! Nothing has been done by half. The interior is in line with the theme of the venue, the bedrooms are beautiful and quirky and those who stayed absolutely loved the décor. The staff were beyond fantastic. They were really supportive when changing venue became stressful and somehow made everything great. The organisation and the constant checking on you on the run up to the wedding to offer support and help was more than helpful and it made you feel like you were important. Kat did an amazing job at organising the day and gave us exactly what we wanted with no flaw. On the day, Anna and her team were great too. They made sure that everything ran on time and that nothing went wrong. The master of ceremonies, Ian, is second to none! There is a reason he was headhunted and he made the day for us, our parents and our guests. It was such a professional service throughout and we could not have asked for more.

I challenge anyone to find a venue that comes close to this in regards to décor, attention to detail, staff, professionalism and organisation. If we hadn’t changed venues, I may go as far to say I’d have been gutted that I didn’t get married there. Our guests loved it and commented on how lovely everything was.

A Wedding at Le Petit Chateau (c) Sean Elliott Photography (57)

My favourite part of the wedding day was the speeches. They were very funny and lovely at the same time. When we came to the best man’s speech, everyone was in fits of laughter as Liam had done some modelling for a friend many years ago and his best man had sourced all of the embarrassing photos, printed them out and distributed a set to each of our tables. As embarrassing as it was for him, it was hilarious. The bar staff eventually got hold of the photos and mounted them behind the bar.

A Wedding at Le Petit Chateau (c) Sean Elliott Photography (53)

For our honeymoon we went to Kuala Lumpur and then on to Bali. We enjoyed city life and the shopping centres in Kuala Lumpur, with a visit to the Petronas Towers. We discovered China town too. In Bali, we stayed in Ubud, which is near the monkey forest. It was lovely, and full of culture and relaxation. We had our own villa with pool in Ubud Village and their main pool was an infinity pool that looked on to the rice paddies. It was the most beautiful hotel we’d ever stayed in and was what honeymoon dreams were made of. We then moved on to the Laguna in Nusa Dua. Again, this was a stunning location, with its own beach. From here, we travelled around Bali and discovered Kuta and Seminyak. We also went on a day trip to the Gili islands which were beautiful. It was clear water, and fish galore with white sand. As the islands are very small, there are no cars, only horse and carts. The culture from our honeymoon was exactly what we wanted.

A Wedding at Le Petit Chateau (c) Sean Elliott Photography (64)

My top tip to other Brides Up North would be to have people help as much as possible and put people in charge of things for on the day. As much as you don’t want to burden anyone else with your day, or want to do everything yourself, you can’t without it leading to a lot of stress.

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about the author

Julia Braime
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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