July 10th, 2017 | Laura McDonagh
Fern and Andrew’s glorious barn wedding in the Northumberland countryside has us reaching for our sunnies – and maybe a glass (or two) of Pimm’s.
Healey Barn is an incredible backdrop to this couple’s laidback rustic day, with its vaulted ceilings and exposed stone decked out in fairy lights and flowers. Think ‘country chic’ and you’ve got it: tweed jackets, bunting, flower petal confetti and photographs featuring woodland walks and hay bales. Gotta love a hay bale!
With photography by Chocolate Chip Photography.
fern says: I managed to ruin the first proposal attempt by Andrew – he had put the engagement ring on our cat’s collar thinking when the cat jumped up on me I’d see it. Needless to say I didn’t, and let the cat outside with the engagement ring around her neck. I didn’t know anything about this until the second proposal!
Jump forward to the evening of 1st January 2012, when Andrew thought it’d be easier (and less likely to give him a heart attack) if he just came downstairs and got down on one knee.
We got married on 29th July 2016. We thought it would be best to get married on a Friday as a few of our guests needed to travel down from Scotland and up from Milton Keynes and we figured they’d have a longer weekend if they didn’t have to travel home the day after the wedding.
Our venue was Healey Barn, Riding Mill, Northumberland. We chose it quite simply because we thought it was absolutely stunning. We also felt it would be great to have a barn wedding and it fitted our style quite well – very ‘relaxed rustic’.
Theme-wise, we just wanted a relaxed atmosphere. This was the main drive behind everything, including the choice of our two major suppliers – the venue, Healey Barn, and our photographers, Chocolate Chip Photography. We felt they could both offer the stress-free approach we love.
Our colour scheme was green and purple: it’s all about me! They’re my favourite colours.
I purchased my dress from I Do Bridal in Bill Quay, Gateshead. I couldn’t rate them highly enough: the staff were amazing and the alternations service was superb. It was a tea-length dress; I loved the style plus I’m super-clumsy, so no long flowing dresses. My wonderful shoes were from Ruby Shoo.
Andrew wore a green tweed jacket with corduroy trousers hired from Most Suitable in Newcastle.
The groomsman, best man and father of the bride also hired tweed jackets (but blue ones) with corduroy trousers, from Most Suitable.
My bridesmaids wore Phase Eight dresses; the style was ‘Nicola’ and the colour was ‘Fern’, coincidentally enough! Our flower girl wore a dress from Marks & Spencer.
For the wedding transport, we hired a vintage 1969 VW camper called Tilly from Lovedub Cars. They kindly decorated the van to tie in with our colour scheme.
Shazia from Chocolate Chip Photography was our photographer, and we would recommend 100%, not only Shazia but the whole team at Chocolate Chip. Chris offered to help at any moment and kindly sent me contact details for suppliers they recommended after I was struggling. Shazia was amazing the whole day; she made everyone felt at ease and we have the most brilliant set of photos.
Flower-wise, the bridesmaids and flower girl had hand-tied arrangments courtesy of Flowers Unlimited in Hexham. However, as I suffer from hayfever (I know, who gets married in a barn in July when they have hayfever?!), and so I had a handmade paper flower bouquet, made by Louise from L’unique Gifts.
Flowers Unlimited also supplied the table centres, some amazing large flower balls, which hung from the ceremony ceiling, and also covered the mantelpiece. They were made up from phlox, lisianthus and stocks, with some ferns and foliage for good measure. We also hired Lottie bunting from Emma Bunting.
For favours, we gave guests homemade gingerbread biscuits. My mam and sister lovingly baked and decorated them a few days prior to the wedding.
Helen from Vanilla Teas made our three-tier cake. We had three different flavours: vanilla, lemon and chocolate orange.
Prior to the wedding breakfast we had a variety of appetisers, from bruschetta to honey-covered cocktail sausages – yum! For the main meal we chose butternut squash soup as a starter, a mixed grill barbecue with green beans and roast potatoes and the choice of treacle pudding and custard or strawberries and cream to finish things off.
As our entertainment, we hired a band called The Reprise via hireaband. They came highly recommended to us by Andrew’s sister and brother-in-law who had seen them at another wedding.
Gift boxes with activities in kept the smaller kids occupied at the table and we also had a few outdoor games such as snakes and ladders. We also had sparklers and marshmallows on the evening as we’d opted to have the fire pits lit outside.
After our wedding, we’d definitely recommend Healey Barn: the staff were lovely and helpful, the chef accommodated our requests and our guests loved it. The whole day went off without a hitch. My mam actually recommended the barn to a colleague after viewing it but they were booked up – sob!
Looking back at the day, I don’t think we could single out one specific moment that trumped the rest. I loved climbing on hay bales for some photos and just spending time with friends and family.
Sadly Andrew’s yet to organise our honeymoon as his work schedule is so irregular! But it’s coming…
My top tip to other Brides Up North is, enjoy the day! Accept that there may be problems but if you surround yourself with trustworthy people they will help in any way possible. Also, definitely ask suppliers about who they would recommend as it takes the stress out of the searching. Finally, I’d recommend taking out wedding insurance. We got ours from Debenhams and also got a gift voucher from them. We didn’t need to use the insurance but it gave us peace of mind.
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Laura is a true Northophile: she married Adam in Durham in 2011 accompanied by 200 Northumbrian lamb shanks and a Mackem 1950s tribute band who did a rockabilly cover version of Celine Dion's My Heart Will Go On. They honeymooned in Northumberland in a 1972 MG convertible, went surfing in Alnmouth and made it to the Edinburgh Fringe (let's ignore the fact that it rained all week). Her big mantra is 'no regrets'...but if she could travel back in time and wear a wedding dress with a Peter Pan collar and pockets, she'd pretty much die happy.
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