Having often dreamt about weddings since being young, us girls can easily get carried away when it comes to planning our big day but it’s important that we respect our partner’s wishes too. Today’s bride goes as far as to say that without the groom’s input their wedding would not have been as special or as successful, as the two of them worked together to make planning their dream day from abroad possible.
Looking at the images below it’s fair to say that team work certainly made the dream work, as Ashlea and David enjoyed a beautifully elegant big day at the stunning Newton Hall complete with a pretty colour palette and sparkling pops of gold.
With images by Danny Birrell Photography.
ashlea says: We got engaged in Ottawa, Ontario, the capital of Canada, on 18th February 2014. Dave was visiting Canada for a year while I was finishing university and we decided to take a trip during my winter break. One of our favourite pastimes in the winter is skating and in Ottawa the canal freezes over to create more than three miles of rink. After spending the day touring around, and me suffering with the flu of the century, Dave convinced me to brave the -20C whether once more to go skating at dusk and watch the sun set. Once we were thoroughly frozen we decided to head back to the start but Dave stopped half way back, and began to tell me how much he loved me and where he saw our lives going. Before I knew it he was down on one knee on skates.
We set the date for 22nd June 2016, as we both felt it would be the best time of year for a wedding – not too hot and not too cold! It was also the perfect timing between Dave finishing his degree and his graduation.
We got married at Newton Hall in Northumberland. I started researching places shortly after we got engaged and being in another country meant everything was through Google. I instantly fell in love with the pictures and the whole idea behind Newton Hall. I think it just fit our quirky personalities and was something completely different to both of us. We had it booked from in May 2015 and Dave went to the open house by himself and called me in Canada at 6am telling me it was absolutely perfect! It wasn’t until three months before the wedding that I got to see the venue for myself – and I was just blown away by everything!
I’m an artist by trade and when we began planning our wedding I was really inspired by the vintage English look, but I think as time went on it began to evolve into something a little more personal, mixing in vintage with whimsical and a little bit of floral. I also took into consideration the look of the hall itself and picked things that would complement it.
Our colour scheme was dusty blue, gold, pastel pale pink, and ivory. I started with the colour of my dress which was ivory over light gold, and my bridesmaids dresses, which were dusty blue and then used a third colour, the pink, that I knew would complement them both. From there I used the colours in the little details like the bunting, flowers, and the cake.
I chose a fitted A-line dress that was lace over silk and a bolero to create the illusion of sleeves. My ‘dress requirements list’ was lace, sleeves and buttons because I liked that vintage modern feel. It was hard to find something with sleeves in Canada because strapless is the trend with the summer months being so hot. I chose my dress because I fell in love with the scalloped lace detail around the bottom. It was so different from everything else I tried on. The shop fitted me with a lace bolero that blended in with the dress to give me an off-the-shoulder 3/4 sleeve, which gave the dress more of a classic romantic look.
Dave wore a tonic blue suit from Greenwoods with a waistcoat, gold rouche and brown brogues. He wanted to choose something that would stand out, but to be vintage and modern at the same time.
My bridesmaids wore floor-length strapless dressed from Superior Bridal in Canada, and the groomsmen wore the same suit as Dave but with gold bowties.
Victoria Alder and Amy Robson Harbottle, were absolutely amazing in taking care of hair and makeup on the morning of the wedding and did a stunning job on my bridesmaids, my mom and me. It’s really difficult to find vendors being in a different country, but I was lucky to have found these ladies who were so helpful and supportive. Both of them completely understood my situation planning everything from abroad, and offered to help me find anything else I needed.
Our photographer was Danny Birrell. It was a challenge to find my vendors from overseas, but I stumbled across Danny’s website, thinking he had to be too good to be true, so I sent Dave to meet with him. Both of us don’t have enough words to describe how amazing Danny has been throughout this journey. We would recommend him, not only because he is a very down to earth and friendly individual, but also because he’s committed to doing the best he can do and making your day easy and effortless. His style is very natural, which has allowed us to be able to relive our special day in a different way.
My bouquet was made up from a mixture of greenery and handmade paper flowers that my mom and I created, using peonies, ranunculi and a variety of roses. We took our stems to Wendy at Thanks a Bunch in Hebburn, and she was able to create the bouquet of my dreams with real greenery.
The majority of our wedding decorations were handmade by myself, family or friends. My mom made more than 150 crepe paper flowers, that included dahlias, carnations, different types of roses, ranunculi, and daisies. We mixed them with stems of fresh filler stems that I bought and arranged them in a mixture of collected bottles and jars. We used them with old linen bound books and handmade crocheted doilies for our centrepieces. The bunting was bespoke from a friend in Canada, while the smaller details, such as the signs, guestbook, cake topper, and other decorations were made by myself, or with help from my lovely maid of honour and bridesmaids.
We tried to do a unique personal twist on our favours by combining our nationalities. I bought small muslin bags, and filled them with a maple sugar candy from home, and a brewing bag of Dave’s favourite walnut green tea. We went with the idea of something sweet from her and something nutty from him.
Our wedding cake was a two-tiered sponge design with chocolate filling in one layer, and jam in the other, decorated with buttercream and fondant and accented with beautiful sugar roses that went with our colour scheme. We also had a selection of different flavoured cupcakes, also topped with sugar roses. Tracey Hunter from Tracey’s Cakes in Hebburn, did a beautiful job on creating exactly what we had in mind.
For the wedding breakfast we chose a barbecue menu with a selection of white, red and rose wine and prosecco for toasting. We chose a barbecue because we had such a small group of people and wanted to keep things a little more casual for dinner.
Looking back on the day I think there was a special touch in almost every element; from the guestbook, to our programs and menus, and our candy bar at the night time. I tried to customise and make everything that went into the day to make it all that more special. The guestbook sign was an idea that it would be something we could hang in our house and see every day. The programs, menus, and seating chart were designed and made between myself and my maid of honour, with hand painted floral designs. Our DIY candy bar was made up of locally made old fashioned English sweets from Beamish. We also included other handmade details, such as an old painter’s ladder with cut out letters to spell “love”, a variety of hand painted signs designed and painted by myself, and my hand sculpted cake toppers. I think the fact that most of the things involved in our wedding were made specially with so much love and consideration made it all the more special for not only us, but also for our guests.
Following our wedding we would absolutely recommend Newton Hall to other couples! I think a lot of people were confused as to why we would pick something so far away from where Dave is from but once the saw the venue I think they understood why. The staff are incredible, the rooms are breath-taking, and the amount of care and consideration they take into your special day is amazing. They really go above and beyond to make your day perfect.
My favourite part of our wedding day was definitely the ceremony. I think after waiting for two years, living apart for most of it, and vigorously planning for the past 13 months, to have it all come together and to see Dave standing there was just so overwhelming. At the end to walk down the aisle with everyone throwing confetti was just amazing and felt like I was in a fairy tale. The whole moment was just perfect.
We decided not go on a honeymoon because we will be doing the wedding all over again in Canada for our friends and family!
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be – don’t sweat the small stuff. I really mulled over the little details which often ended in frustration. I forgot something or things weren’t working the way I had hoped to, even having accidents like a bottle of glue exploding in a suitcase full of decorations. But when it came to the day and seeing everything come together, and then the most important part of walking down that aisle to the person you love, none of that other stuff seemed to matter and I thought to myself why I stressed over it in the first place.
Also, I feel that lot of the time there is a stigma that the groom isn’t really involved in the planning process, but I don’t think it has to be that way. I don’t think our day would have been as special and successful if it wasn’t for Dave. He had to do a lot of the meetings on his own and organise things that I wasn’t able to. We worked as a team and a lot of people were surprised to find out when he was enjoying it. I think it was a great bonding experience and he felt just as proud as I did when everything came together in the end.