This afternoon we are staying in the North East as we join Brides Up North reader Claire and her new husband Ryan for their classic Real Wedding inspired by British history. Strike up the band…
Images by Helen Russell Photography.
Claire says: We got engaged on holiday in Majorca in 2011 when Ryan asked me on a cliff top overlooking a gorgeous beach and the Med. Ryan kept us standing there for ages whilst he waited for other passers-by to clear. I was wondering why we were waiting there so long until he asked me to marry him.
We got married on 20th July 2013 at The Gibside Chapel and Pleasure grounds followed by Eslington Villa in Low Fell. I always dreamed of a classic wedding. The North of England is blessed with a wealth of amazing historical venues and Gibside Chapel and surrounding Pleasure Grounds provided the perfect setting to make our dream wedding come true.
We feel Eslington Villa, Gateshead is one of the best kept secrets in the North East. The Victorian mansion house, with its fantastic gardens and Victorian décor was the ideal venue for an intimate wedding reception. We also really liked the fact Eslington Villa allowed us to give our guests the option of three choices for each course of the wedding breakfast. So we were able to send a little menu card in our invitations so each person could choose what they preferred. We thought this was a very nice touch.
We chose a very classic theme “Best of British” (Georgian and Victorian). The amazing buildings, scenery, history and décor of the wedding venues we decided upon really inspired us. In the end we decided we didn’t want to be tied to a specific colour scheme, as long as everything matched the classic theme I was happy with that.
Arriving by horse drawn carriage (North East Carriage Company) through a stunning avenue of trees towards the gorgeous Georgian chapel which was once owned by the Bowes Lyon family (the family of the Queen mother) all pre wedding nerves were gone as I felt like a character from a Jane Austen novel and arrived with a huge smile on my face to meet my lovely fiancé. The wedding service in the chapel was beautiful and was followed by drinks and canapés in the Sundial gardens and photographs in the stunning surrounding estate.
The bridesmaid’s dresses were from Laura Lea Boutique in Newcastle. Ryan wasn’t keen on the idea of the groomsmen all wearing the same suit as him so they all had their own individual suit.
In keeping with the classic Best of British theme I chose very simple, yet classical looking blue Hydrangeas (that were commonplace in Victorian gardens) with white roses and simple green foliage by Flowers By Design.
We chose a very Victorian inspired cake to compliment the décor of Eslington Villa, the cake – by The Ivory Cake Company – was very different to others we’d seen but we were absolutely delighted with it.
Having both been huge Beatles fans for as long as we can remember the songs have really provided a soundtrack to both of our lives; so each table included an original retro 1960′s Beatles vinyl record single, and each table was named after a carefully selected Beatles classic. We sat at the table named "All you need is love".
For table decorations, reception flowers and favours we used 5th Avenue.
We chose a great guitarist and singer called Eddie Miller who played a wide range of classic covers from the Beatles right through to Oasis. After Eddie finished with the guitars he then played a great rock and roll/ indie DJ set. This proved to be a huge hit with all the guests as we had people of all ages up dancing and was a bit different to your typical wedding disco.
For our honeymoon we went to the south of Italy, we stayed in Sorrento but also visited the amazing Capri, Almalfi Coast, Postiano and the fascinating Pompeii. It’s a stunning part of the world and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a potential honeymoon destination.
My top tip for Brides Up North sounds so clichéd yet it’s so true… it would be to make sure you enjoy every minute of the day as it really does fly over. Also I’d say try not to be too nervous before hand as once it gets started the nerves will all go and you will love every minute of it.
Congratulations Claire & Ryan!