Ah Friday, how we love you! To kick-start the weekend (and give you a lovely distraction from your ‘to-do’ list) we’re sharing the stunning wedding of Sarah and Bryan on the blog today.
Having found the perfect venue in Northumberland’s Ellingham Hall, Sarah had her heart set on a relaxed wedding day that was both simple and elegant.
Looking at the images below, we’d say she most certainly achieved it. From Sarah’s gorgeous Stephanie Allin structured gown, to the regal wedding transport and pale blooms, everything about this beautiful big day says ‘class’.
So while you await wine-o’clock, pour a cuppa and enjoy the pretty…
With images by Barry Forshaw Photography.
sarah says: We got engaged on 8th September 2014 on Gwithian beach in Cornwall. We had both done the Great North Run the day before and then driven down to Cornwall to our family’s holiday chalet on the beach. It’s a very special place for us with lots of happy memories of family holidays. One of our traditions when we are there is to go down into the sand dunes and watch the sun set. On this occasion we were both pretty sore from the run and feeling a bit tired and grumpy but still went to watch the sunset. When we got to our usual spot, Bry called out my name and as I turned round he was down on one knee and asked me to marry him. When we returned to the chalet we opened a bottle of fizz and rang our friends and family to tell them the happy news.
We got married on 24th September 2015, the day after my birthday. We didn’t intentionally pick the date for that reason, but it worked out lovely as it meant I got to see all my friends and family the night before the wedding for my birthday.
Our venue was Ellingham Hall in Northumberland. We knew we wanted a really relaxed wedding but not in a hotel – as soon as we arrived at Ellingham we just knew it was the venue for us. The house is stunning and set in beautiful grounds, with the reception room being just perfect for a relaxed family wedding. Our ceremony was at St Maurice’s Church, in Ellingham village, which meant guests were able to walk through the grounds of the hall and down the lane to the church. Luckily we had the most perfect weather and it all worked out exactly as we planned!
The hall also has cottages to hire so we hired one for the week leading up to the wedding and I went to stay there with my mum and dad from the Monday, which meant we could have some special time together before the big event. It also meant that we were able to put together the details and finishing touches on site, which made things a lot easier!
We didn’t really have a theme, I just knew that I wanted to keep everything really simple and elegant. The main colours that featured in the wedding were creams and greens with a few accents of dusky pink and lavender.
Originally I had been going for the typical fitted lace dress and did try on some beautiful ones on but none shone out to me. I kept being drawn to Loren but had avoided it as I didn’t think it would suit me, but then I was persuaded to try it. As I put it on and walked out I had the strangest reaction to it – I couldn’t look at myself in the mirror and choked up, I just felt like I wasn’t special enough to wear such a special dress. Jennifer at Darcy Occasions was really supportive and talked me through how I was feeling and helped me realise this was my dress. I loved it, I truly felt like a bride in it and each time I went back for a fitting I became more confident that I could wear it – and I’m so glad I did!
Tracey from Beautiful Bride Makeovers, took care of my hair and makeup on the wedding day – it was perfect. Tracey is just so lovely, it was just like having an old friend join us for the morning getting ready.
Bry wore a navy blue Prince Edward cut suit with cream waistcoat and dusky lavender cravat from Greenwoods.
My bridesmaids wore light grey, lace dresses from Debenhams while the groomsmen wore the same suits as Bry but with cream cravats, again from Greenwoods.
Despite the church being literally down the lane I was worried about the weather so we had a Daimler limousine, supplied by Alnwick Wedding Cars, to provide transport. Bry and the guests walked to the church from the hall. I’m really glad we hired the car as I was able to have some alone time with my dad while we were waiting for the car to come back from dropping my mum and bridesmaids off.
Our photographer was Barry Forshaw, who was just fabulous and who we wouldn’t hesitate to recommend. He blended into the day and really just became part of the wedding, all the guests commented on how lovely he was. Barry really took the time to understand what we wanted to capture form the day and the results are amazing!
My bouquet had cream hydrangeas mixed with cream roses and freesia with some eucalyptus in to add a hint of green. The bridesmaids meanwhile had a mix of dusky pink and lavender coloured roses. These were all provided by Marcelle from Atelier de Fleur, who created the table decorations using cream lisianthus, cream roses and gypsophila too.
When it came to decor, we wanted to fill the hall with flowers so we ordered them in bulk from the Dutch Flower Auction in Newcastle. On the lead up to the wedding day my lovely mum worked tirelessly to create vases full of flowers to go on the window sills and arrangements to decorate the staircase, all with cream lisianthus, cream roses and eucalyptus, to go with the theme. We also had three displays of stunning cream hydrangeas. I collected lots of tea light holders and spread these throughout the hall and reception room. It all looked just beautiful.
For the table names we had our favourite places in Cornwall with a photo and a memory written on the back. The favours were pebbles taken from the beach at Gwithian, which doubled up as place cards. We wrote our guests’ names on one side and our initials and wedding date on the other. Bry loves Jelly Belly jelly beans so we also had organza bags of jelly beans and chocolate hearts for everyone.
We had a five tier cake, which featured a layer of fruit cake, lemon sponge, sticky toffee sponge and vanilla sponge (the bottom tier was fake). It was covered in icing with flowers cascading down. My friend Jeanette from Booootiful Cakes made it for us, and it was absolutely delicious! Bry loves Lego so for the cake topper I bought a Lego bride and groom.
Following a canape and drinks reception we had a two course wedding breakfast of braised featherblade of beef with a shallot and red wine jus, and Yorkshire Pudding (because we are both from Yorkshire), followed by apple and blackberry crumble with custard (because me and Bry had our first fight over a crumble – it’s a long story!). In the evening we had hot sandwiches of Cajun chicken and goats’ cheese and vegetables, with spicy wedges and served our wedding cake for pudding. We also bought a selection of our favourite cheeses from The Cheese Shop, in Morpeth, which went down a treat!
For the entertainment we had a DJ from AMDJ Services, who were one of Ellingham’s recommended suppliers. We had considered a live band but needed to keep the costs down. To make sure the music was personal to us we gave the DJ a list of our favourite songs.
We included lots of special touches throughout our wedding day to help reflect us as a couple and also to make the occasion more memorable for our guests. We had photos of me and Bry together and growing up and placed them around the hall in frames. We also collected our parents’ and grandparents’ wedding photos and displayed these on the piano.
In all the guests’ rooms I left a ‘who’s who’ of the wedding party along with an itinerary of what would be happening. We placed jam jars in each bedroom tied with lace and purple ribbon filled with gypsophila and my godmother made shortbread hearts imprinted with our names and the date of the wedding, which we wrapped in heart cellophane. We then also made hangover bags for the morning after with Haribo, fizzy pop, water and paracetamol in.
We would most definitely recommend Ellingham Hall to other brides and grooms. The staff, particularly Geoff and Liz were wonderful, from the very start they made us feel very welcome. The venue is just stunning and enables you to have a private and relaxed wedding surrounded by your family and friends.
On reflection, it’s hard to pick a favourite part of the wedding day. I really enjoyed the morning and getting ready with my mum and bridesmaids. I even went out for a very early run with my maid of honour at dawn and watched the sun come up, it was really lovely to have that time with her.
Seeing my mum look so beautiful in her outfit was another highlight, as was waiting with my dad in the sunshine for the wedding car to collect us. My nan was unable to make the wedding due to ill health but staff at the hall helped us to facetime her before we went to the church so she got to see me in my dress, which was another very emotional moment.
Turning down the aisle and seeing Bry waiting for me was definitley one of my favourites – I just couldn’t wait to see him, and I’ll never forget when we went up to the main alter during the ceremony for the prayers him leaning in to me and saying “I’ve had a Jaagerbomb – I’m a little bit tipsy!”
For our honeymoon went to the Paradise Cove Hotel in Mauritius for two weeks of pure relaxation! It was total luxury and something we would never normally do. The food and setting was amazing and the staff were so attentive: we had slices of cucumber brought to us on a morning while we were sunbathing, drinks brought to us, cold towels in the afternoon to cool us down and even our sunglasses cleaning! We were totally spoilt but it was just what we needed after the busy build up to the wedding.
My top tip to other Brides Up North would be to make a list of what you and your partner would both like from the wedding and what is most important to you, then try to make sure you incorporate that into your day. Keep going back to it to remind yourselves when things get a bit hectic/stressful. Remember it is your day and you can’t please everybody – it’s what you want as a couple that is the main thing!
I’d also say to stretch out the wedding celebrations over more than just one day. On the night before the wedding we went for a meal in The Pack Horse pub in the village which enabled all the guests to get know each other and relax. Then, the day after the wedding we invited a group of close friends and family to come for a walk at the beach before heading to The Northumberland Arms in Felton for lunch. This was really nice as it enabled us to talk to people properly because it is all so hectic on the actual day. Doing these two things meant that it felt the wedding went on longer and really gave people the chance to relax and get to know each other properly and spend some time with me and Bry.