We’ve made it through to Friday once again, and to celebrate we’re sharing the beautiful north east wedding of Emma & Gareth.
Everything about this wedding says elegance, from Emma’s gorgeous satin dress with dainty detailing, through to the romantic blooms and timeless colour palette.
The stunning venue provides the perfect backdrop and we love that the bride and groom decided to hire it for a full weekend to stretch the celebrations across more than one day.
With images by Brides Up North Sponsor, Paul Liddement Photography.
emma says: Gareth proposed during a surprise weekend away for my birthday in Croatia. We were staying in Hvar and rented a small boat to go out exploring all the small islands just off the coast. We’d found a secluded bay when we got out to have a swim and whilst we were in the water Gareth got done on one knee and popped the question.
We set the date for 28th May 2016. It was the Saturday of the bank holiday weekend. We had a lot of people travelling a long way so we wanted to make a weekend of the wedding.
We got married at Ellingham Hall. We were living down south at the time but we knew we wanted to get married in Northumberland as the north east was where we met. Ellingham Hall is such a beautiful place and when we looked round, every room we looked at got us excited. Exclusive use was really important to us and the fact we could hire Ellingham for the whole weekend and could have people stay in the cottages surrounding the hall as well as the house swung it for us. The staff were so flexible with our arrangements and we hired Ellingham Hall and all the surrounding cottages from the Friday to Monday so we could have an extra barbecue and games day on the Sunday.
We didn’t really have a theme – I was going for classic elegance – I didn’t want to look back at our wedding in five years and think it looked really dated! The colour scheme was blues as it’s both of our favourite colour. I put my bridesmaid in navy and cornflower blue dresses and luckily this matched in quite well with the tartan that boys were wearing.
I must have tried on close to 100 wedding dresses before I found the one! I just couldn’t find what I liked and I was so lucky to have gone to Si Bridal in Low Fell. I tried on about five dresses there before Agnes, the manager, brought a dress out for me to try. It was totally not what I was looking for but the moment I put it on, I knew it was the one! Agnes had listened to everything I’d said with the previous dresses and had figured out what all my body hang ups were and what I did and didn’t like and pulled out the perfect dress! I couldn’t recommend the place enough! I ended up going for a plain satin dress with a low back with beautiful beading. I wore it with Rachel Simpson shoes and my hair on the day of the wedding was done by Gillian Radcliffe, to complete my overall look.
Gareth wanted to represent his Scottish roots at the wedding and so wore a Prince Charlie kilt in navy with the Black Watch tartan. We hired it from McCalls in Edinburgh. The groomsman wore kilts matching Gareth’s, with slightly different bow-ties, again hired from McCalls in Edinburgh.
My bridesmaids meanwhile wore brushed satin dresses from Coast, with half wearing it in navy and the other half in cornflour blue.
Paul Liddement was our photographer for the day. We picked him because he captures great relaxed photos that reflect the wedding rather than a lot of formal photos. I would definitely recommend him – we have so many photos from the day that I love.
My flowers were by Joanne’s Flowers in Birtley. I really wanted in season flowers and she recommended delphiniums with cream roses, dill flowers and silver sage leaves.
For the wedding décor we had a long and low flower arrangement for the top table and one of the fireplaces and then used the bridesmaids’ bouquets to decorate the windowsills. I did the table decorations myself and used hurricane vases with navy pillar candles on the tables and on the top table I had a row of tea lights.
Instead of putting favours on the table we had Ferrero Rocher stand for guests to help themselves to.
My friend Heather made our wedding cake. We had four tiers with carrot, lemon and chocolate cake. We kept it simple with blue and navy ribbon to match the colour scheme. My bridesmaid made a cake topper of an ‘E&G’ decorated with buttons and Campbell tartan to represent our surnames. I loved that it was made by people I knew.
Ellingham Hall provided all of our food for the wedding. We did a tasting session and had a tough time choosing as it was all so good. For the wedding breakfast we chose a prawn, brown shrimp and crayfish cocktail to start, pork loin in a mustard cream sauce with crushed potato for mains, and crème brulee to finish. We made sure we had canapes in the break between the ceremony and wedding breakfast as we’d been to many wedding where we’d been starving! And then we had cold buffet in the evening with some of our favourites – ham and pease pudding stotties and pork pies.
Gareth is renowned for buying Sambuca shots on nights out, so for something a little different we had the staff bring out shots for his final toast following his speech.
To provide the entertainment we had a band called Arcadia 5 – a five-piece from the north east. We knew we wanted a band as we both love live music and thought it would be the best way to get the party started – which it definitely was. We chose them as they had both male and female vocals. They played a selection of hits from the 80s till now and the dance floor was packed!
We loved everything about our wedding at Ellingham Hall. We had the whole place to ourselves for the weekend and it felt like our home during that time. The staff were fantastic – they were so flexible, knew exactly what they were doing and were more than willing to help with any requests.
Looking back I’d say my favourite part of the day was when I first stepped on to the aisle. Seeing so many friends and family there and Gareth waiting at the end of the aisle was just the best feeling. All of the nerves and stress that I’d had building up to the day just disappeared and I couldn’t have felt happier.
Also, during our ceremony we had two readings from my brother and a friend, which we let them pick themselves so we didn’t hear them until the on the day. It meant so much to us both that they’d spent the time picking such fitting readings that really suited us as a couple.
The day after the wedding we had a big barbecue and a games, pitching the bride and groom’s families against each other! We had a tug of war, three-legged races and assault courses. We didn’t invite children to the wedding but did to the barbecue so hired a bouncy castle and inflatable assault course to keep them entertained. It was a great way to spend a bit more time with the people who had come and a great finish to the weekend!
We went on honeymoon to Belize in Central America. We both enjoy diving and had seen a photo of the blue hole (a sink hole in the sea) a few years ago and decided that it was our next diving destination – we just needed a good reason to go all that way! We spent the first week on the beach relaxing and diving, before heading in to the jungle for five nights to visit Mayan ruins, go caving, tubing and hiking. We then spent the last couple of nights back on the beach. It was fantastic!
My top tip to other Brides Up North would be – delegate! People love getting involved and its worth making the most of the skills your family and friends have – it makes your job so much easier and makes the day so much more personal – I wish I’d realised it earlier!