Charlotte Balbier
Brides Up North Wedding Fairs

princess perfect. ronald joyce for a blush pink wedding at matfen hall – rebecca & robert

October 12th, 2017 | Julia Braime

A Romantic Wedding at Matfen Hall (c) David Lawson Photography (20)

We’re rather excited about today’s real wedding as it takes place at a venue where we will be hosting a very special Luxury Wedding Fair alongside UNVEILED magazine, to reveal the results of an impressive refurbishment.

Already a gorgeous Northumberland venue, the developments will see Matfen Hall taken from stunning to super-stunning. But we can’t tell all just yet, you will have to join us there on Sunday 4th March 2018, to see for yourselves.

This morning’s featured couple, Rebecca and Robert, are equally as passionate about the venue as us, and knew instantly it would be the perfect place to stage their big day. Plus, the hall formed the setting for Robert’s incredibly well-thought-out and crazily-romantic proposal too – seriously, full fiancée marks!

There are many beautiful elements to this classic big day, including super-pretty blooms, décor and cake, plus a Ronald Joyce gown fit for a princess!

With images by David Lawson Photography.

A Romantic Wedding at Matfen Hall (c) David Lawson Photography (4)

rebecca says: We got engaged on Christmas Eve 2015. I used to be in a choir when I was in middle school and always said to Robert I would love to see a carol service on Christmas Eve. As I went to settle in for the night Robert said there was a carol service at Matfen Hall and we should go and see it.

The Great Hall that we were shown through to had a huge magical Christmas tree, a choir and chairs set up for the carol service but every chair in the audience was empty. As we took our seats I whispered to Robert that we must have got the wrong time.

No sooner had we sat down, the choir started singing. After three carols Robert stood up and took my hand (I was rather confused) he stood me next to the Christmas tree and handed me an envelope, inside was a card listing all the reasons he loved me (not expected from a rugby-playing farmer). Once I looked up from reading his beautiful words he was down on one knee. I don’t even think I gave him a chance to ask me ‘the’ question – I threw my arms around him and said “yes”, crying my eyes out!

A Romantic Wedding at Matfen Hall (c) David Lawson Photography (31)

Our wedding date was Friday the 14th July. We always wanted to get married at Corbridge St Andrew’s Church, this is our local village and the church just sits so idyllically in the market place.

We held our wedding reception at Matfen Hall (it is our favourite place and having got engaged there made it all the more fitting!) We had our wedding breakfast within the Great Hall, which is slightly different as normally the wedding breakfast is in the Terrace Room. We just felt the Great Hall is amazing and really wanted to make the most of such an amazing space. It is so dramatic when you walk through the entrance doors and see the huge fireplace and stained-glass window!

A Romantic Wedding at Matfen Hall (c) David Lawson Photography (9)

We wanted to keep the wedding as classic as possible so in ten years’ time we can look back at photographs and it won’t have dated too much.

We kept the colour scheme very simple and had blush and creams throughout. We had gorgeous blush sequin table runners and chair sashes. And the most amazing flowers, which were the focal point of the day.

A Romantic Wedding at Matfen Hall (c) David Lawson Photography (48)

When it came to picking my dress, I had no idea what I wanted. I just took my mum with me as I wanted to keep my dress a surprise for everyone (even the bridesmaids!) I decided to go to A J Bridal in Newburn, they had come highly recommended.

The ladies at A J were so welcoming and asked me to look through the dresses and pick ones I liked the look of, I was instantly drawn to a princess style dress so picked that along with a few assorted styles. I tried on the first dress I had be drawn to and that was it – love at first sight! I proceeded to try on a couple of other gowns just to make sure I was making the right decision but I was certain the first dress was ‘the one’ I almost felt regal in it. I picked a Ronald Joyce dress, it doesn’t have a lot of bling just around the waist and had a full bottom with lace. Robert and I go to dinner dances and I get the chance to wear some lovely ball dresses and this was the sort of dress I would only get the chance to wear on my wedding day and it made me feel like a real-life princess.

The ladies at A J suggested trying it with a cathedral-length veil and a gorgeous diamanté head piece which sat slightly to the side. Once I had these on I fell in love again!

A Romantic Wedding at Matfen Hall (c) David Lawson Photography (1)

On the day of the wedding, Danielle from Dani.Mua did an amazing job of my makeup. I’m quite picky when it comes to my makeup and Danielle just did it perfectly. Mine and the bridesmaids’ makeup lasted all day with no touch ups!

Kim Chambers Hairdressing did a fabulous job of our hair too. I basically let her take control – I said I would like everyone’s hair up and she did the rest, no fuss.

A Romantic Wedding at Matfen Hall (c) David Lawson Photography (2)

Robert, my dad and all of the groom’s party hired morning suits form Waltons Formal Wear Hire, Grainger Street, Newcastle. Robert wanted traditional morning suits for all of the groom party, something very traditional and timeless. These were worn along with blush pink ties and hankies.

We also gave a present to all of the groom’s party of cufflinks, monogramed with their initials, which was a lovely finishing touch.

Myself, the bridesmaids and my mum made a real day of getting the bridesmaids dresses and went for cocktails followed by a shopping trip to Coast at the Metro Centre. My main concern was all the girls were comfortable and that we found a style that suited everyone.

The girls tried on a range of styles but all agreed their favourite was blush floor-length gown with a lace detail top and a diamanté belt.

As gifts, we got the bridesmaids handmade earrings and bracelets from Sareli Jewellery, a Durham-based company. I worked with Sarah form Sareli so these were completely bespoke with silver and pearls, these were also monogrammed.

A Romantic Wedding at Matfen Hall (c) David Lawson Photography (3)

My dad arranged the wedding cars – we wanted something with the wow factor but which would be comfortable on the country roads from my parents to the church and back. Dad found us an amazing Rolls Royce through Rickerby Wedding Cars, it was absolutely stunning, not only on the outside but inside too. It was a real head turner! My bridesmaids travelled in a Mercedes.

A Romantic Wedding at Matfen Hall (c) David Lawson Photography (12)

I came across our chosen photographer, David Lawson Photography, at a wedding show at Metro Radio Arena. Straight away I knew they were the photographer to use. I got talking to David’s son Josh and instantly knew I wanted to book up. I got home and told Robert about Josh and looked on the website and we booked up the next day. I couldn’t recommend David Lawson Photography any more highly.

The entire process was amazing from our engagement shoot to the wedding itself! The wedding photographs have blown us away and it was like reliving the entire day again looking at them. I don’t think there was an element of our wedding that Josh missed he captured it all perfectly.

The best man commented on how amazing Josh was how we didn’t feel like we had had to stand around for ages when the photos were being taken – it was all very fun and natural and we hardly noticed that Josh was there!

A Romantic Wedding at Matfen Hall (c) David Lawson Photography (14)

I’m not the kind of girl that knows the names of different flowers, if they look nice I get them. That said, I knew instantly who would be doing my flowers for the wedding – my valued friend who has just started a new business venture – Margaret Telfer at The Flower Shed, in Bellingham. There are not enough words to describe the amazing job Margaret did. I literally told Margaret we wanted “pretty flowers in light pink and white” not really a lot to go on but I had so much trust in her.

I had a round bouquet with beautiful roses and all of the bridesmaids had a smaller version. The button holes were also a very small version of my bouquet, the lady’s buttonholes were a delicate orchid.

In the run up to the wedding, my mum spent months buying roses and drying out all the petals, then handmade cones in the style of our wedding with ribbon. These were then each filled with the dried petals. The confetti cones were then handed out at the church and created and amazing confetti throw for us leaving the church it really looked amazing.

What Margaret at The Flower Shed created for the wedding reception can only be described as a masterpiece. The table centrepieces were gorgeous tall vases with full arrangements, we had the top table draped in flowers and the whole of the fireplace was adorned. Margaret also created a gorgeous urn at the bottom of the grand staircase which was breath-taking. We also had pedestals in the main entrance hallway to greet the guests, alongside two chalk boards from The Chief Chalker, they were a perfect touch. We had one board welcoming guests to our wedding and the table plan on the other, these were the traditional white chalk with accents of rose gold to tie in with the colour scheme. Dani – The Chief Chalker was brilliant I gave her an idea of what we wanted and the finished result was perfect.

A Romantic Wedding at Matfen Hall (c) David Lawson Photography (22)

We sourced tealights, sequin runners and lanterns ourselves. The sequin runners looked amazing with the golds tealights, the lanterns dotted around the hall looked perfect and added a nice touch.

Everyone refers to us as Becks and Sedge so we wanted to use this throughout the day, from our chalk boards to the menus, we used our nicknames which I thought was a lovely little touch.

A Romantic Wedding at Matfen Hall (c) David Lawson Photography (28)

For favours Robert’s uncle hand-made strawberry and vanilla fudge. The fudge was delicious and you could tell it was homemade is was just beautiful and melted in the mouth. It was also a lovely touch that a family member had made it.

We wanted a very classic wedding cake to tie in with the theme but something with the wow factor. Every time we have a family birthday or celebration we always use Kay Armstrong Cake Design. Kay has designed and made us numerous birthday cakes and our engagement cake so she was our first choice. Robert wanted lots of cake as Kay’s cakes taste delicious and wanted everyone at the wedding to have a chance of trying some. We went for five tiers all white with a very classic icing style of each tier. In-between each tier we wanted fresh flowers, Kay worked alongside Margaret to make sure we got the same flowers used throughout the wedding. And she displayed them beautifully between each tier of cake. To finish the whole thing off we have our initials monogramed in gold on the top tier. We also had a little Lego bride and groom stood with the cake.

Possibly one of the best things you will do when wedding planning is the food sampling! We were invited to Matfen Hall to the Library for a taster day. We each picked what we thought we may like and picked the menu form there!

We decided to have welcome drinks of rhubarb and ginger gin with elderflower tonic and a slice of fresh ginger for the women and bottle of Corona with a lime wedge for the men! We were lucky enough to be blessed with gorgeous weather so everyone headed straight to the beautiful gardens at Matfen and hors d’oeuvres were served of tempura prawns, mini Caesar salad and bruschetta. For the wedding breakfast, we started with ham hock terrine and peas pudding, a real crowd pleaser. This was followed by chicken wrapped in prosciutto with vegetables. So tasty and not to heavy! For pudding we had passion fruit cheesecake with sorbet in a brandy snap basket – my favourite course.

Later on, once the night time guests arrive we had a huge sweet cart then we had an American style buffet.

A Romantic Wedding at Matfen Hall (c) David Lawson Photography (35)

During the day, my mum and dad surprised us with singing waiters (The Best Singing Waiters)! They were absolutely amazing, all day they had been serving food and drinks and blended in with the other staff at Matfen. Then in-between the main course and pudding, posed as new staff and started singing! All the guests soon realised these were not waiters and everyone was on their feet. Then they got the groom’s party and bride’s party to have a dance off which saw everyone laughing till they cried. I can honestly say they were great and really got everyone involved, from bridesmaids to grandparents.

A Romantic Wedding at Matfen Hall (c) David Lawson Photography (36)

Following our wedding, I couldn’t recommend Matfen Hall highly enough. You are allocated your own wedding co-ordinator and they take all of the hassle and stress out of the whole process. My friends know I am quite controlling and must know everything is perfect and they couldn’t believe how relaxed I was. This was because I knew we were in safe hands!

They set all of the room up, from putting out the favours to setting up the easels with the chalk boards – every element of your wedding is taken care of. They made sure the whole day ran smoothly and nothing ran late. We couldn’t have dreamed of better!

A Romantic Wedding at Matfen Hall (c) David Lawson Photography (45)

Looking back, we both agree our favourite part of the day was when I walked down the aisle. We had Fools Rush In played on the organ and it sounded amazing. Robert said he was just overcome with emotion (as was I) as I walked towards him. It was the most perfect moment and I felt like I was in a dream!

Personally, I must say the journey to church with my dad was really special to me too. I’m very close to my mum and dad (the three musketeers – now 4!) and it was lovely just to have that time with him in a quiet environment after the bustle of getting ready.

A Romantic Wedding at Matfen Hall (c) David Lawson Photography (50)

To make our honeymoon something to look forward to, we had booked three weeks in New Zealand for the winter where we are going to travel from North to South and visit family along the way. So, I assumed after the wedding we were going on a camping minimoon in the UK – was I wrong! Throughout the morning of the wedding, I kept receiving little presents sent up form Sedge; first was a card with a poem and a handmade bracelet form Saunders & Pughe, in Corbridge it had an engraved heart with ‘R&R love you always and forever’. Then I received another card, were both keen cyclists and this card arrived with a cycling top. Lastly, there was a photograph form our cat Mouse – this came with a message wrote in Mouse’s hand writing! “Mum, hope you and dad have a great day” then a “?”. Once we had been married and got in car to the reception there was an envelope with the same “?” on it. Inside were boarding passes for a week in Marbella. I could not believe it, we left on the Sunday and had the most perfect week! And we still have New Zealand to look forward to!

My top tip to other Brides Up North would be – trust your first instinct, do not doubt yourself. If you like something go for it and try not to over think everything!

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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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