April 3rd, 2018 | Laura McDonagh
Chocolate hangover and intense back to work dread anyone? We hear you.
We know what you need: chilled festival vibes, rustic homespun details and bride on a zipwire! We’re picking up the blog after the Bank Holiday with a real wedding which ticks all the inspiration boxes.
Adele and Michele were married last summer at Northside Farm, Northumberland, home to a beautiful converted barn and some stunning rural views. The couple paid homage to Michele’s Italian heritage with live ‘pop-up’ accordion music sessions and a sumptuous menu featuring Parma ham, mozzarella and Prosecco (obvs). Food wasn’t the only priority, though – fun was also top of the agenda with an appearance from a magician, a table plan featuring cringeworthy snaps of guests and a photobooth guestbook.
Our favourite features, however, have to be Adele’s floaty boho-meets-Grecian-style lace dress, literally last-minute bouquet and showstopper of a flower crown, which result in a laidback earthy look with bags of originality. We likey – and we suspect you might, too!
With images by DPR Photography.
adele says: We got engaged on 13th May 2015, which was also our little boy’s first birthday. I was changing Enzo and discovered he was wearing a babygro saying “Daddy has something to ask you downstairs”. Even then I didn’t guess what was about to happen! When we came down, Michele was on one knee holding my ring with candles and rose petals on the floor. I had to walk back out the door and back in again, so he could actually ask the question because he was crying so much!
Our wedding date was Saturday 15th July 2017. We knew we wanted to get married on a Saturday in the summer, so we went ahead and booked the wedding – and found out afterwards that I was pregnant and my due date was 15th July 2016! Our little girl Alba arrived five days early but in the run-up we thought we might end up preparing for a wedding and a first birthday!
We got married at Northside Farm, Northumberland. We visited the barn when it was only a lot of bricks and a shell. We sat down with Ralph and Olivia and looked over their vision and instantly fell in love with the place. I always wanted a barn wedding and this place was a hidden gem. Ralph and Olivia tested it out themselves by getting married there first.
We had exclusive use of the venue and the wigwams for the whole weekend. Michele and his groomsmen stayed in the wigwams on the Friday and had a takeaway and drinks. We then had a barbecue on the Sunday after the wedding, which was so chilled. We absolutely loved the fact that we turned our celebrations into a weekend party rather than just one day.
Michele’s family are Italian so we wanted to add our own little Italian touches; not in-your-face-Italian but more of a subtle nod to his ancestry. We also wanted everyone to feel relaxed and enjoy themselves. Our guests were able to camp on site so we ended up with tents, campervans and teepees everywhere – exactly the vibe we wanted!
We didn’t have a colour scheme but we kept everything very rustic, using wildflowers and a lot of personal handmade touches throughout the venue. The venue décor was already very much to my taste so not a lot needed doing.
Dress-wise, I tried on a few different styles, but I just couldn’t find ‘the one’. However, I eventually came across Bex and her amazing shop Bexbrides, and I’m so glad I did. I knew I’d find my dress as soon as I walked in! I ended up going with Bex’s own design, which was an amazing white lace dress and we worked together on adding my own touches including a very long train. I was over the moon with the finished dress knowing it was completely bespoke and unique to me.
On the wedding day, a local makeup artist called Carla Donnan MUA did mine and my bridesmaids’ makeup; she arrived bright and early and fitted in effortlessly.
Tiffany V Hair did the bridesmaids’ hair and my older sister/bridesmaid created my wavy do. I didn’t want anything out of the ordinary and wanted my headpiece to take the attention instead.
Enzo, our little boy, wore black skinny jeans, white shirt and a brown tweed waistcoat. We wanted him to look as similar to Michele as possible.
Alba, our little girl, wore a white lace dress and I made her a flower headpiece which matched mine.
My bridesmaids’ dresses were from Little Mistress; I loved the vintage-looking brooches! Our groomsmen wore their own black jeans and white shirts and we bought their tweed waistcoats and ties the same as Michele’s.
I travelled to the venue in style with my family in a VW Camper from Brooklands.
Our day was captured by David Rackstraw from DPR Photography. I’ve known David for a few years and love his photography style. I’d recommend him to anyone; all of our guests commented on how cool David was and how he made everyone feel so relaxed. We forgot he was even there!
I decided to do my own flowers and went to our local flower market a few days before the wedding to choose what I wanted. I only made my bouquet on the morning of the wedding; I’m a very last-minute kind of girl!
My bridesmaids carried dried flowers that I found on my hen weekend in Krakow. I fell in love with them instantly when I saw them in the flower market and just knew I had to get them home. I bought an extra bouquet just in case and I’m so glad I did as we used them to decorate the cake.
I used a lot of wild flowers, gypsophila and eucalyptus for the tables. I also arranged cream roses, jasmine vine and fresh foliage in random vases I‘d collected from our local market. I tied lavender to the chairs on the aisle walk way so guests got a hint of its beautiful scent during the ceremony.
For our table names we used Michele’s dad’s old postcards from around Italy which he’d collected over the years. I created polaroid pictures of everyone and they had to find their face to see where in Italy they would be sitting. This was a big hit with guests – I went way back on people’s social media to find some extremely cringeworthy pictures! The photos got everyone laughing and talking to each to explain what the story was behind their photo – a great result!
I couldn’t decide about favours – to have them or not? In the end we bought bottles of the Italian drink limoncello for all the tables and we decided to double the “favour” up, which was a jam jar shot glass as a name place. Unfortunately, I ended up coming home with most of them as everyone thought they were part of the venue’s glasswear! Quick tip: if you decide to do this, get your master of ceremonies or best man to let guests know they’re to be taken home!
My best friend and bridesmaid made our wedding cake. She makes the most amazing cakes so I knew whatever she made, I’d love it. The cake was vanilla sponge and she also made a huge chocolate cake to be cut up and served just in case there wasn’t enough wedding cake.
We had a choice of Pimms or prosecco for our arrival drinks and we used Jacksons caterers for our food. They were absolutely amazing and really ran with our request of Italian-themed food. They served Italian-inspired canapes: mini pesto pasta, mini pizza bites, tomato mozzarella and basil skewers and more. For our main we had roast chicken wrapped in Parma ham with light red wine sauce and pea shoots. The food was even presented with little Italian flags! We couldn’t choose a single dessert, so we went with a trio. We had red and white Italian wine on the table with a glass of prosecco to toast.
For our evening food we had Truly Madly Pizza, who set up their traditional pizza oven in the courtyard. Guests chose their favourite kind of pizza which was then made in front of them and served in a pizza box. They were absolutely gorgeous and really finished off our Italian theme nicely.
As entertainment, my friend Joe played guitar and sang Dusty Springfield’s Only Want To Be With You as I walked down the aisle and a few other songs as we were signing the register. Michele’s dad and friends also provided traditional Italian music throughout the day; his dad sang while his two Italian friends played the accordion and guitar. Although it was always planned for them to do this we didn’t give them times so it was all very spontaneous as to when they would start up again.
We had a magician too – Mike Donoghue, Master Magician – who went around doing the most spectacular magic tricks for the guests while we were having our photos taken.
In the evening we had a DJ and photobooth from the DISCO Co. We used the book from the photobooth with all our guests photos as our guestbook; it made for very amusing reading the next day! We’d asked for song requests on our invites so we had everyone’s favourite tunes ready to play. My bridesmaids also organised a surprise game of Mr and Mrs, which we did very well at, thankfully – every incorrect answer incurred a penalty drink!
Following our wedding, we would definitely recommend our venue; we absolutely loved celebrating over the full weekend. The farm has ten wigwams on site which our family stayed in on the night of the wedding. The staff at the farm were so amazing and made the whole organisational aspect so easy – nothing was too much trouble. There’s also a playpark and zip wire at the venue to keep the kids entertained – not many venues can boast that! I was hoping for some lovely pictures in the fields but it rained and I was wary of covering my dress in mud. However, even though we opted for less messy locations there were so many scenic spots and stunning picture opportunities.
We had lots of other personal touches to make the day unique and as ‘us’ as possible. I provided flipflops for all the girls as I reckon there’s nothing worse than aching feet at a wedding; I took my own shoes off straight after the ceremony! I also purchased our own snapchat filter so when everyone was using snapchat they could create a lovely little memory. One of the most touching moments of the day was when my goddaughter Macy did a beautiful reading. I kept it a huge secret and there wasn’t a dry eye in the place once she’d finished.
It’s actually impossible for me to pick a favourite part of the day or weekend. There were so many amazing moments and having all our friends and family under one roof was so magical.
Honeymoon-wise, we left the farm on the Monday morning and went straight to a lovely house in the middle of nowhere in Carlisle with the kids to relax and spend some quality time as Mr and Mrs. We’re hoping to sneak away abroad sometime this year.
My top tip to other Brides Up North is – it’s your day, this is what you’ve waited for so take time to stand still and look around at everyone and everything.
I spent quite a bit of time stressing about my children: “Who’s looking after them? Are they ok?” My bridesmaid made a point of telling me to calm down and pointed out that everyone we loved was under one roof, so they had plenty of people looking out for them.
In the run up to our big day I used Brides Up North a lot – I was constantly jotting down ideas from real weddings. I knew I wanted my wedding to feature just so I could give some inspiration back to fellow readers!
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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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