Charlotte Balbier
Brides Up North Wedding Fairs

blissed out bride: matfen hall

November 15th, 2017 | Rachel Parry

Sean Elliott Photography at Matfen Hall (2)

We’ve been out on the road again all in the name of research to share with you our experiences of the North’s finest hotels, getaway retreats and spas, providing inspiration for pre- and post-wedding relaxation, and sometimes also a setting for the big day itself!

Cue our recent visit to Matfen Hall – a stunning stately home set in 300 acres of lush parkland in the Northumbrian countryside. The award-winning Hall houses fabulous function spaces, accommodation and spa and leisure facilities, making it an option for sophisticated hen dos, romantic getaways, such as a minimoon, plus a dream wedding venue too.

All images by Sean Elliott Photography.

Sean Elliott Photography at Matfen Hall (6)

Ahead of a super-exciting wedding refurbishment at Matfen, we were invited to view the current celebration spaces and to see what’s in store to take this already gorgeous venue to the next level. And my word, are couples saying ‘I do’ to Matfen in for a treat! Keen not to give away too much at this stage, we will be following up with a Dream Venue post soon that will detail the stylish refurbish plans in more depth.

Furthermore, on Sunday 4th March 2018, we will be holding a Luxury Wedding Fair at Matfen to reveal the results of the quarter-of-a-million-pound-refurbishment programme first-hand – so be sure to mark the date in your diaries!

Sean Elliott Photography at Matfen Hall (8)

But for today’s post, we return to our visit. During our blissful overnight stay, we experienced Matfen’s warm and welcoming hospitality, making use of its leisure facilities, restaurant and accommodation.

Sean Elliott Photography at Matfen Hall (13)

We began as any busy business ladies should, with a trip to the spa! Hotel guests can enjoy access to such facilities or there are a number of full and half-day ‘Escape’ packages to choose from, comprising different treatments, food and drink, so ladies (and gents) can pick which best suits their needs and wishes.

There is a 16-metre swimming pool and spa pool, plus thermal suites including an aromatherapy room, steam room, sauna, ice cold bucket shower, monsoon shower and ice fountain. We worked our way round, prioritising the warmer options, to relax and revive weary muscles, before indulging in a little chill time around the pool.

Matfen’s treatment choices cover off facial, body and massage therapies for men and women, as well as ‘Finishing Touch’ treatments such as nails, waxing and tinting.

Sean Elliott Photography at Matfen Hall (10)

Feeling in need of a radiance boost part-way through our autumn season of wedding fairs, we both opted for the Skin Specific Facial. Having been led to quiet, candle-lit treatment rooms, our knowledgeable therapists took time to enquire about our skin concerns before tailoring our facials to help combat such issues using heavenly Elemis products. We both emerged with hydrated, glowing complexions and super-soft skin (if only we could indulge one of these treatments every week!).

Leaving the spa feeling super-relaxed, it was time to freshen up (and wake-up!) before dinner. We were staying in one of Matfen’s stunning Principal Rooms in the original part of the Hall, that was spacious, comfortable and boasted gorgeous views of the garden.

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dream venue: newton hall

July 3rd, 2017 | Rachel Parry

A Timeless Wedding at Newton Hall (c) Melissa Beattie Photography

If you’ve been tirelessly scouring the internet for a dreamy wedding venue with unspoilt surroundings, stunning function rooms and luxurious accommodation, then we might just have brought your search to a holt! As this afternoon, we’re introducing a breath-takingly beautiful new Sponsor venue to Brides Up North, that’s enough to send most brides weak at the knees.

Situated on the gorgeous Northumberland Coastline, Newton Hall offers a tranquil coastal and countryside setting that can lend itself to a whole host of themes and can cater to a wide range of budgets, making it both an impressive and accessible venue.

Owned by North East leisure operator Apartment Group, who also own popular venues As You Like It and Le Petit Chateau, the team are experts in individual weddings that are truly memorable and offer outstanding service and impeccable style as standard. So, let’s now hand over to those behind the venue to explain more about its fabulous wedding offering…

With images by Brides Up North Sponsor, Melissa Beattie.

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Where is Newton Hall located?

newton hall say: The venue is situated in Newton-by-the-Sea, on the beautiful Northumberland Coast – an area of outstanding beauty, which is approximately an hour from Newcastle.

Tell us a little about the history of the venue…

Newton Hall is a quirky, 18th Century Georgian Mansion at the heart of one of England’s greatest stretches of natural coastline. Today it’s a coastal and countryside luxury hotel specialising in unique indoor and outdoor weddings, and provides spectacular backdrops for those all-important big day pictures.

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What facilities does it have? 

The venue boasts a range of unique event spaces, including the Old Hall, Glass House and Garden Suite, as well as the Joiners Arms, our village pub and inn that’s just a few minutes’ walk away. The boutique hotel also provides 5-star accommodation through its 21 individually designed bedrooms and suites themed with four poster beds, private roof terraces, roll top baths and gardens. The Joiners Arms also has an additional five suites that are available to wedding guests.

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contemporary class. a styled bridal shoot at brinkburn northumberland

March 2nd, 2017 | Julia Braime

Contemporary Styled Bridal Shoot at Brinkburn Northumberland (c) Melissa Beattie (61)

Today on the blog we have a styled shoot that focuses on the venue and decor aspects of a wedding – and features not one, but two of our fabulous Brides Up North Sponsors.

Captured by the talented Melissa Beattie Photography at dream wedding venue Brinkburn Northumberland, this shoot aims to show how old can be mixed with new to create a stylish and unforgettable setting for those all-important “I dos” and big day celebrations.

Located on the banks of the river Coquet, Brinkburn provides a relaxed and informal backdrop for couples looking for an unusual historic and quirky venue. Offering use of its stunning White Room, Tipis and the 12th Century Priory Church for the ceremony and reception, alongside its comfortable accommodation in The Stables, Priory Cottage and Bel House, the venue has everything a wedding party could desire all in one place.

Here to show us more of this gorgeous venue whilst talking us through the details of the shoot, is Brinkburn’s wedding coordinator Jan-Marie…

With images by Melissa Beattie Photography.

Contemporary Styled Bridal Shoot at Brinkburn Northumberland (c) Melissa Beattie (65)

Contemporary Styled Bridal Shoot at Brinkburn Northumberland (c) Melissa Beattie (2)

jan-marie says: In doing this shoot we wanted to capture, the natural vibe of Brinkburn, taking inspiration from our mantra, “The Hills, The River, The Woods, The Quiet, Ssshhhh”.

The idea was to show the juxtaposition of contemporary design amongst the historic buildings and natural surroundings.

Contemporary Styled Bridal Shoot at Brinkburn Northumberland (c) Melissa Beattie (37)

Contemporary Styled Bridal Shoot at Brinkburn Northumberland (c) Melissa Beattie (7)

In terms of styling and colour we took our inspiration from the natural palette of Brinkburn. Christine of Lavenders Blue really does know Brinkburn inside and out so her brief was short and sweet. Fabulous greens from the lush and relaxed foliage set against the natural sandstone of the walls and the canvass of the tipi. Almost as if the viewer had stepped into their own decadent secret garden.

Christine foraged for foliage with stronger hues of green, fresh fern, ivy and rhododendron leaf in the woodland at Brinkburn and paired this with eucalyptus, olive leaf, rosemary and bay leaf for the tablespaces. The tipi poles were adorned with a cascading soft ruscus.

Contemporary Styled Bridal Shoot at Brinkburn Northumberland (c) Melissa Beattie (54)

The simple brass belted glass vases we used are from a collection at Tutti & Co, along with all of the table accessories from their wedding table styling range.

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believe the hype: brides up north visits le petit chateau

August 17th, 2016 | Rachel Parry

Le Petit Chateau (c) Scott Spock

Image by Scott Spock, all others by Sean Elliott

There are wedding venues with the wow-factor and then there’s the likes of Le Petit Chateau, a brand new venue to the North East, which pushes the jaw-dropping bar even higher.

When we first learned that the award-winning Apartment Group were working on a new wedding venture following the success of their other venues, including the gorgeous Newton Hall, we were told to expect something luxurious and different – and that’s exactly what they’ve delivered.

Le Petit Chateau (c) Sean Elliott (8)

Situated within beautiful countryside in Otterburn, Northumberland, Le Petit Chateau started life in the form of a 17th Century Coaching Inn, in its previous incarnation as The Percy Arms Hotel, but it has now been transformed into a first class wedding venue, complete with spectacular function rooms, boutique bedrooms and perfectly manicured Mediterranean Gardens.

As we heard more about the venue during its development stages the excitement grew, we were intrigued by its South of France influences and talk of a breath-taking ceremony room, and then as images of the venue started to emerge, we became desperate to see for ourselves if Le Petit Chateau lived up to the hype.

Thankfully we didn’t have to wait long as the wonderful Apartment Group team invited us for an overnight stay at Le Petit Chateau, not long after opening its doors. As Julia had not long welcomed her beautiful second daughter Lili, I took one for the team (it’s a hard life) and snapped up the invitation, taking my mum along with me for a girly weekend away (much to my boyfriend’s disappointment).

Le Petit Chateau (c) Sean Elliott (1)

On the weekend that we visited the venue was hosting no less than three weddings, one on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, which proves its instant popularity. As an exclusive use venue Le Petit Chateau only ever hold one wedding per day and the building has been cleverly designed so that brides, grooms and guests don’t clash with previous wedding parties, or members of the public.

Upon arrival we enjoyed a drink in the William de Percy, Coaching Inn and Creperie, which sits on the site of the old Percy Arms. Its warm atmosphere and chic rustic décor give us a slight taste of what’s to come. It’s not long before we are shown to our room and the real opulence and extravagance of Le Petit Chateau is revealed. Passing through reception we climb to our first floor twin room, which causes us to gasp as we enter. Looking like a bedroom that one would expect to find in a luxurious French manor, the décor and furnishings were nothing short of stunning. Known for their incredible attention to detail the Apartment Group have thought of everything to make guests’ stay both a unique and unforgettable, with each of the 29 bedrooms individually designed for to create that certain je ne sais quois.

Le Petit Chateau (c) Sean Elliott (4)

After the incredible detail, the next thing to hit you about Le Petit Chateau is the hospitality. All the staff are friendly and attentive, creating a warm and enjoyable atmosphere which encourages people to instantly relax and have fun. During our visit we were incredibly well looked after by the General Manager Dale, while the wonderful Master of Ceremonies Tim took time out to give us a tour of the function side and the venue and head of housekeeping was proud to show off the rooms that she and her team lovingly look after. Beyond that, all the bar, waiter and events staff also go about their work in a happy and enthusiastic manner, which all in all says to me that couples marrying at the venue would be incredibly well looked after!

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dream venue: le petit chateau, northumberland – plus a massive 50% off venue hire in 2016

July 4th, 2016 | Julia Braime

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Prepare to fall in love ladies, for this afternoon we’re introducing another of our Dream Venues, and this one is both beautiful and brand new!

The fabulous Le Petit Chateau, brings French charm and style to the Northumberland countryside, providing an individual and impressive setting in which to say those all-important ‘I dos’.

From its spectacular function rooms to its boutique bedrooms and perfectly manicured Mediterranean Gardens, this venue is sure to tick your dream wedding boxes.

Better still, Le Petit Chateau is celebrating opening its doors with a super special wedding offer – 50% off all venue hire in 2016! Plus according to those behind the venue – the award winning Apartment Group – there are lots more amazing freebies that you won’t want to miss out on! We’ll let the Apartment Group take the blogging reigns now to tell us more about this fabulous French fancy…

Images by Sean Elliott Photography.

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Tell Brides Up North a little about the venue and its history…

apartment group say: Le Petit Chateau is a unique North East wedding venue in the beautiful country side, Otterburn, Northumberland. Hospitality at Le Petit Chateau started in the 17th century Coaching Inn, in its previous incarnation as The Percy Arms Hotel and has welcomed visitors across the decades – but never quite in the spectacular style it is today.

What facilities does the venue have? 

It houses a bar, function rooms and 29 beautiful boutique bedrooms indoors, while outside there are stunning Mediterranean Gardens and a fabulous outdoor terrace. We also have a second phase of development planned with a spectacular riverside terrace coming soon!

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Is Le Petit Chateau licensed for civil ceremonies and is there a choice of ceremony rooms/spaces?

Yes, Le Petit Chateau is an exclusive wedding venue with purposely built ceremony space. We have both indoor and outdoor spaces to suite all different shapes and size weddings. Our beautiful Belle Époque room is perfect setting for your vows, or if an outdoor wedding is more your style, our Mediterranean gardens full of tropical palm trees create a stunning backdrop for a garden ceremony. We can cater for up to 160 guests throughout the day and 220 on the evening.

What makes Le Petit Chateau a special wedding venue and sets you apart from others?

Le Petit Chateau is a fabulous new, unique wedding venue from the people who brought you the fabulous Newton Hall and the North East’s award winning premier leisure operator Apartment Group. Bringing the South of France to Northumberland, Le Petit Chateau’s décor is absolutely breath-taking and certainly offers the wow factor. Our exclusivity allows the wedding day to run exactly how our couples desire.

Is there a certain room or feature of the venue that instantly impresses couples? 

The stunning Belle Époque room beautifully designed as the perfect ceremony setting is definitely a hit with brides and grooms. Outdoors meanwhile couples are impressed with the garden’s Mediterranean palms, fire pits and the spectacular fire on water fountain. All in all it creates a one of a kind venue, like no other!

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It’s All Rosy! Ronald Joyce For A Real Wedding at Doxford Hall, Northumberland – Clare & Chris

July 29th, 2013 | Julia Braime

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Well hello there Brides Up North!  Welcome to another week.  I hope you all have had a lovely weekend.  This weekend I’ve been having a rather special “busman’s holiday” attending the gorgeous nuptials of our family friends Chris & Lisa.  I’m such a sucker for a bit of romance, and I’ll never tire of a proper knees up!  Lisa also surprised her guests with some unique styling that was out of this world pretty.  I’m looking forward to sharing the details of their big day with you soon.   But let’s let the newlyweds enjoy their honeymoon first…

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We are definitely in the thick of wedding season!  My little family were invited to no less than three celebrations this weekend alone.  Now, I’m good at multi-tasking – but not that good!  Big love to Becky & James and Ellie & Alexei, who we couldn’t be with, but who we love very much.  I can’t wait to see your photographs and hear all about your days.

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Today, we join another happy couple for their beautiful Real Wedding at Brides Up North dream venue and Featured Supplier Doxford Hall Hotel & Spa.  With images by Matt Ethan and Sarah-Jane Ethan, Clare and Chris’ day is classy, intimate and really rather romantic, awash with pretty pink gowns and blousy roses.  Enjoy!

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Clare says:  Chris proposed to me on Newcastle Quayside on my birthday in January 2012, and we tied the knot on Friday 24th May, 2013 at Doxford Hall Hotel and Spa, near Chathill, Alnwick in Northumberland. 

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I went to a wedding open day at the venue with my Dad and little sister and immediately fell in love with Doxford Hall and its beautiful surroundings so much so that I returned with Chris and my parents soon after.  We booked our wedding there and then.

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We went for a classic, vintage feel and our colour scheme was soft rose, ivory and lime green. 

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My dress was called "Tiffany" by Victoria Jane Collection for Ronald Joyce. It was in ivory lace, a mermaid style fishtail dress with a sweetheart neckline. I bought the dress from a lovely bridal shop from Newport in Wales called All About Eve. My headpiece was from the Jon Richard Luxe range at Debenhams and was a triple mixed crystal stone headband.

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My hair and makeup was done by Princess Hair and Beauty based in Greenside, Tyne and Wear. 

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Chris wore a mid grey morning suit hired from Slaters in Newcastle and the bridesmaids wore Coast  "Symphony" maxi dresses in Soft Rose. 

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A lovely local lady called Lesley who runs her own business named Stem Ginger, based in Washington, Tyne and Wear made my flowers, my three bridesmaids’ bouquets, all the buttonholes and my flower girls’ fairy-tale wands and cake topper.

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My bouquet was a round hand tie with a mix of vintage ivory and vintage pink soft touch roses interspersed with small clusters of green, ivory wax flower and green anethum heads, the stems were partially exposed bound with ivory ribbon and secured with pearl pins.

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My bridesmaids’ bouquets were a smaller version of mine but with more vintage ivory flowers than pink.

The men’s buttonholes were a single semi open vintage rose with rose leaf foliage and Chris’s buttonhole had an extra touch with a cluster of green and ivory wax flower and green anethum similar to that in my bouquet.

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Although we had an absolutely brilliant day and night our favourite part of the day would have to be the ceremony itself which was conducted by Alnwick Registrars who were personal, sincere and added the correct amount of humour in the right place. For the ceremony itself we added our own personal touch by choosing our own ceremony music, vows, readings and we also designed our own ceremony pamphlet. 

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We also had a fantastic local photographer on our wedding day called Matt Ethan who was assisted by his wife Sarah-Jane Ethan who is also an accomplished photographer in her own right. Both Matt and Sarah-Jane were professional and innovative, putting us and our guests at ease to get the perfect photographs.

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All the food and drink on the day was provided by Doxford Hall who use local produce from local suppliers. 

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Apart from the main table flower arrangements (by Julie of Alnwick Florists) we decorated the tables ourselves with rose petals, coloured crystals and tea lights.

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We made the table place name cards, the favours and the table name cards which were named after Northumbrian Castles. The table name cards featured a picture of each castle on one side and information about the history throughout the ages on the other side.

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We also put together our own sweetie bar using different sized jars and a variety of popular retro sweets and lollipops decorated with labels, bows and stickers which we hand made.

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We went for a traditional three tier round wedding cake made by a local bakers who my family have used for nearly 30 years, James Ford and Son in Berwick upon Tweed. Two of our tiers were a traditional fruit cake and one tier was vanilla sponge. The cake was decorated in ivory and white icing with ivory ribbon and our cake topper was a smaller version of my bouquet.

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We decided to book an excellent local North East Singer, Tom Wyllie,  who had come highly recommended. We also hired a local disco called Genetix who played a fantastic range of music and had a fantastic range of coloured lighting and shapes which really gave our evening that special touch we were looking for. Both Tom and Genetix disco did several spots each throughout the evening and kept our guests thoroughly entertained making it very memorable and enjoyable.

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After deliberation we decided to split our honeymoon into two periods.  Straight after the wedding we had a four night break to Rome and in September we have booked for a two week trip to the Caribbean!

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Our top tip for any bride and groom to be would be to try and do as many of the small little touches yourself. This way it is personal to you both and will save you money in what can be an expensive event.

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Congratulations Clare & Chris!

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To see your own Real Wedding live on Brides Up North, contact me

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog – Images © 2013 Sarah-Jane Ethan & Matt Ethan

Doxford Hall is a Brides Up North Featured Supplier, but this is not a sponsored post

Contact Brides Up North to submit your business as a Featured Supplier

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