A fine stately home was the setting for Caroline and James’ big day in the North East. The couple incorporated a rich colour palette of champagne gold and ivory into their celebrations resulting in one very stylish affair.
Extra sparkles were added in the bridesmaids dresses and decor while bride Caroline dazzled in her fabulous Mori Lee fishtail dress, complete with Jimmy Choo heels.
Images by Focal Point Photography.
caroline says: James romantically proposed to me on 31st August 2013 at Slayley Hall in Northumberland. He hired a private function room with champagne afternoon tea, after the proposal we had a romantic walk along the grounds and returned back to my parents’ house for further celebrations.
Saturday 20th December 2014 was our chosen wedding date. We both agreed that there is something about winter weddings that bring a fairy tale touch to the day’s celebrations. We also loved the early evenings that come with the winter season – this meant that there was more celebration time, lots of candles and glitter. Although the evening was darker earlier, it allowed us to create our own light with a soft, romantic and inviting mood for our guests.It also enabled us to have our dream honeymoon in the Maldives in their peak season of January.
We chose Ellingham Hall in Northumberland as our wedding venue. We stumbled across the location of Chathill during a countryside drive one weekend and when I later researched that it was in fact a wedding venue, there was no need to look anywhere else. The thought of taking over our very own grand, stately home within secluded grounds for our December wedding wasn’t going to be just a dream… our dreams were about to come true with just over a year to plan.
Ellingham Hall offered us the entire hall for a three-night stay, this included three reception rooms with cosy log burning fires, eighteen bedrooms, along with twelve estate cottages within the grounds.
The cottages proved to be so efficient for our family travelling from far afield as Australia, Hong Kong and New York, as well as offering a private space for James and his groomsmen to prepare for the big day ahead.
Our theme throughout was champagne gold and ivory. We felt this was appropriate for a winter wedding and it definitely worked on the day.
I chose a stunning, elegant Mori Lee all over tulle fishtail wedding dress in ivory. The dress was purchased from a bridal shop in Morpeth, Kathryn Trueman Bridal. As the dress was so simple and elegant, it allowed me to customise the dress to my exact wishes. The customised service at the bridal shop made the winter theme that extra bit special by adding a Swarovski crystal sash as a belt and also some detailed lace sleeves. The Jimmy Choo ivory silk satin peep toe pumps with crystal detail were the icing of outfit.
James wore a bespoke navy blue three-piece suit, a white crisp shirt, a sevenfold champagne gold silk tie and lace-up brown brogue shoes. James is fortunate to have an uncle who owns a well-established suit hire company in Durham city, Troughear Suit Hire.
For my six stunning bridesmaids, we found the perfect sequined gold maxi dress from Little Mistress. The two flower girls wore the matching dresses and fur shawls. On the wedding day each bridesmaid had personalised dress hangers, dressing gowns and we also presented them with Tiffany bracelets during the speeches.
The majority of the bridal party stayed within the hall, or within the grounds, from the Friday until the Monday so the only transport needed was our wedding car to take us on the short two minute journey to St Maurice Church in Ellingham. For this journey we were fortunate to be gifted the use of James’ Director’s Bentley Arnage.
Photography is such an important aspect of your wedding day and those photos are lifetime memories to cherish, so with this in mind I chose a photography company which I had previously dealt with at my brother’s wedding a few years ago. Focal Point Photography were so professional and both David and Paul worked incredibly well together. With a winter wedding and the poor visibility, they still made the photographs just perfect – we both can’t recommend them enough!
I am fortunate enough to have my own floristry business – Poplar Tree Florist, with a team of florists at hand to make the flowers perfect. With it being so close to Christmas, we themed the church flowers with Christmas red and golds and the hall itself was very gold and ivory. The florists decorated the hall and church with Christmas trees, garlands and candelabras galore! My wedding bouquet and bridesmaids’ flowers were Vera Wang and consisted of cream avalanche roses and ranunculus flowers, with the two adorable flower girls carrying little gypsophila pomanders.
We chose simple gold candelabras for the table arrangements with an array of white avalanche roses and hydrangeas situated below the candles. Again these were provided by Poplar Tree Florist. For our chair covers we used Flawless Weddings and Events in Morpeth and also used Crosby Hire for the white limewash chiavari chairs. I would highly recommend these suppliers.
With my family connection in landscaping and garden centres we chose to incorporate this and our theme of a winter wedding all in one for the favours. We chose mini Christmas tree seedlings wrapped in hessian with personalised name tags for each of the men and for the ladies we had gold chocolate Ferrero Rochers – as they are James’ favourite chocolates.
We had an elegant, four-tiered ivory iced wedding cake with our initials displayed on the top tier.
Each tier consisted of a deliciously different flavour, including red velvet, chocolate and spice and Victoria sponge. This was made by the lovely Amy at Pretty Sweet.
For our wedding meal we chose a traditional menu of peppered tomato soup, Northumberland beef roast dinner, followed by orange chocolate cake. To accompany the meal we selected three of our favourite wines for each table – a red, white and rose, kindly gifted to us as our wedding gift off our good family friends at Lanchester Wines.
We had Anna Reay as a wedding singer during our church ceremony. We then chose Marty Scott as a wedding singer for the duration of the day. Marty provided us with the perfect background music during our wedding breakfast, followed by more live singing afterwards.
We enjoyed every single moment of the day, but our favourite part was saying “I do”.
For our honeymoon we visited the Maldives for just over two weeks in January – it was a dream come true and we hope to revisit the island again in the near future.
My top tips for other brides up north would be to enjoy every single moment without any stress. When you walk down the aisle, try to look at each of your guests and take it all in slowly. Also try to take you and your husband away from your guests for just five to ten minutes in a quiet room to chat about how your day is going – this is important because you both struggle to find time to be together during the day as you’re so occupied chatting to your guests.