Here at Brides Up north HQ we like to see things doing things differently, so when we heard about today’s couple’s ‘back-to-front’ wedding, we were intrigued to find out more.
With guests coming from near and far to celebrate their special day, bride and groom Colette and Peter, were keen for their guests to mix up, get to know each other and have fun. To assist, Colette and Peter planned a tea, scone and drinks reception, games, speeches and the meal all to take place before the ceremony – so come the main event and party that followed, all were totally at ease and well acquainted. Guys, we like your thinking – this could catch on!
With images by Brides Up North Sponsor Paul Liddement Photography.
colette says: We got engaged on my birthday, 20th September, in 2014. Peter took me for a lovely lunch at a beach resort hotel in Ystad Sweden. After some food and wine we went for a walk along the beach and next thing he was down on one knee and asked me to marry him. Of course I said yes immediately.
Our legal wedding date was 16th May 2015. We got married at City Hall in Sweden, where we both live, when I was heavily pregnant. Although we were technically married I didn’t want to give up my dream wedding and dress so we decided to have a proper wedding and party the following year. The exact date was already taken at the venue so we decided to have it a week before. Now we can have two wedding anniversaries to celebrate!
I’m from Billingham in Teesside and so we had our UK wedding in the North East at Newton Hall in Northumberland. We chose the venue because we felt it was a romantic yet quirky venue with its modern and traditional twists, which suited our personalities perfectly. As we had friends and family coming from Sweden, Denmark and the UK, the venue’s good transport links to nearby airports and great accommodation for our guests was also a plus point.
The theme of the wedding was chic, romantic and fairy-tale. I picked this theme because I wanted my wedding to be my idea of a perfect wedding. I wanted to feel like a princess so I wanted a big dress, pink and sparkles but wanted it to be romantic and chic also.
We did our wedding sort of back-to-front so we had guests arrive at 1pm for tea and scones, then at 2pm a cocktail reception with Pimms and popcorn, at 3pm we had the speeches and sit down meal, at 6pm I went to change into my second dress, at 7pm the ceremony took place outside and then at 8pm we had the evening party with a live band.
We thought a back-to-front wedding would be a good idea to mix the wedding up a bit as we were already married we wanted it to be fun and for our guests to be relaxed and in good spirits. Also many of our guests hadn’t met each other before due to being from different countries so having the games and the speeches and meal first enabled them to get to know each other.
The wedding colour scheme was dusky pink and white. I picked it because I loved the colour combination and think it’s timeless. When looking at wedding inspiration pink looked the most romantic and fairy-tale like too.
I had two dresses. The first dress was from a bridal shop in Sweden. It was a slim fitting one with an open back with sparkles all around. The second dress was Mori Lee by Madeline Gardner. I felt with the wedding being back-to-front one big dress wouldn’t work all day so opted for the slimmer one for the day time celebrations and the bigger one from the point of the ceremony at 7pm. I’d dreamed of a voluminous ruffle dress and I’m really glad I picked the big dress – I loved it!
Peter wore a smoking jacket suite from a store in Sweden. He also had two bowties; a floral blue and pink for the day and a black bow tie for the evening ceremony and onwards.
My lovely bridesmaids wore knee-length dusky pink dresses from Next, to match the colour scheme.
Our photographer was Paul Liddement. The pictures we got from the wedding, especially of myself in the field, were amazing and so unique. Paul was friendly and really made us at ease from the start. Our guests also commented how friendly he was and that he fitted into the wedding like another guest.
The wedding flowers were form the same company that did our venue styling, The Whole Sch-bang. Kathryn who arranged it all was absolutely amazing. I couldn’t recommend her enough! She really understood all the flowers and my ideas for venue styling and the outcome was fantastic. For the bouquets we had pink and white roses and avalanche roses with some greenery in them. My bouquet was a bit bigger but the bridesmaids had a thinner style. The centre pieces were tall domes of similar flowers with small hanging vases from the centre pieces with roses inside. My mam made the place settings and menus to complete the set up.
Through Lovelight Hire we hired some big “love” light-up signs, which were great and really made such a difference to the room décor. To help make the day personal we also had signs about the place with quotes, including one which featured the story of how we met. In addition made a “meet the maids” big poster and put funny pictures of the bridesmaids on for our other guests could get to know them.
Meanwhile to help our guests get to know each other we had games when they arrived, during the tea and scones and the drinks reception. Every man and woman got a post it note on their back with famous Disney characters and famous couples and the game was you had to find your other half by asking questions about who was on the post it note on your back. It was a great ice breaker and really encouraged the Swedish, Danish and English guests to chat to each other.
As favours we gave out wildflower seeds. On the packet it said “let love grow” with our names and date of the wedding on. We thought it would be a nice reminder of our wedding day so when the seeds blossom in the spring guests will think of our wedding day. We also had flip-flops so anyone with sore feet in the evening could change into something more comfortable.
Our wedding cake was a three-tier white design with scattered white rose petals over it, created by The Master Cakesmith. Dawn who made it is a pastry chef by trade so we also had a desert table supplied by her with macaroons, cookies, candyfloss, chocolate pots, fudge and cupcakes – it looked and tasted amazing!
For the wedding breakfast we had a starter of motrorella wrapped in parma ham, then main of chicken wrapped in bacon with pesto and crème brulee for dessert. To drink we had white wine and prosecco and we also had some Swedish snaps shots to incorporate the Swedish side.
To provide entertainment we hired a six-piece band called Sugar Honey, from Scotland. It was a male and female singer who were just great. On their second set we had some Celtic dancing. None of us knew how to do it but we had such a laugh trying!
Following our wedding we would absolutely recommend Newton Hall to other couples. It was bold, romantic and fantastical! The staff provided a professional service throughout and nothing was too much trouble. I couldn’t imagine getting married anywhere else.
Looking back, the best part of the wedding for me was walking down the aisle. We had Etta James At Last playing. The temperature was just right, everyone was in good spirits and the birds were signing when we said our vow renewals, it was just gorgeous! We walked back down the aisle to Nat King Cole Let There Be Love, and it just fitted the theme beautifully.
What I’d say to other Brides Up North who are planning their wedding is – when people tell you no body notices the details, it’s not true. Everyone said to me how nice all the small details were about our wedding and I really appreciated them noticing because so much time and effort goes into planning the small details.
I would also say pay for as much help preparing as you can instead of doing everything yourself. Even if its setting the tables and decorations out for you, as on the morning you just need to relax and enjoy the moment rather than stressing over the final place of things. If the venue can help with that, then great!