Today’s gorgeous real wedding provides oodles of inspiration for those of you planning pretty country style weddings.
Chris and Emma’s rustic celebration was pieced together perfectly with an elegant colour palette, homemade décor and seasonal blooms. We’re also huge fans of the wedding party’s fine attire, with Emma and her leading ladies in long flowing dresses and the boys in tweed, waistcoats and chinos.
Finally we must give a special mention to Chris’s gran for the stunning cake (48 eggs you say?!)
With images by Brides Up North Sponsor, Paul Liddement Photography.
emma says: We got engaged on 18th April 2015. We were going for a picnic in Keswick and decided to hire a rowing boat to row to one of the islands in Derwent water. Chris seemed really nervous, but we carried on rowing until we got there and then walked around the beach area of the island. Chris decided it was a good place to take a picture, so he set the camera up and I posed, unbeknown to me he was recording it. He positioned the camera on a tree then ran into the picture too and got down on one knee to propose.
The wedding date was 23rd of April 2016. We choose the date because we had found a venue we really liked, but there was only a few dates left in the April, or one date in the October, and we were too excited to wait that long, plus we thought the weather might be a bit better in April.
We got married at St Nicholas Church in Gosforth and then had the reception at High House Farm Brewery in Matfen, Northumberland, with a marquee provided by Collingwood Marquees. We chose this venue because we are both from farming/country backgrounds. We had initially thought of having the reception on my parents’ farm but they were moving and it was going to be too complicated. We also liked the flexibility of High House, as they don’t offer a package – you can create your own wedding unique to you.
We went for a country rustic theme. As weddings nowadays are so expensive we tried to cut costs in various areas, so I created a lot of the decorations myself; I made signs from floorboards that we had salvaged from our house refurbishment, I decorated jam jars and created a candy corner with a bookshelf that I had upcycled. My mum meanwhile made 150 meters of bunting from curtains from charity shops that I had found in the desired colours.
We had pale pastel colour palette of pale blue, pinks and greens. Blue has always been my favourite colour so the bridesmaids wore pale blue lace dresses from ASOS while the bunting was more pinks – it all worked together so well.
During my search for the perfect wedding dress, I had been to a lot of shops around Newcastle and tried on a lot of dresses but not found anything that I felt was very “me”. Chris’s mum Kathryn and I were chatting when we were visiting them in Dalston, Cumbria, I knew there was a little dress shop in the village, called The Wedding Boutique, and had asked Kathryn if she would like to come with me to look at the dresses there. She was delighted as she had two sons so never thought she would get to do that sort of thing.
When we were looking I found a dress that I absolutely loved! It was very elegant and floaty. I had an extra lace train added on to add a bit more sparkle and had it personalised by the seamstress Julie. It was a Great bonding experience for Kathryn and I, as we both went to all the fittings together, she was very touched that we got to share that experience together and my mum was happy that I had found a dress that I loved.
Chris chose to wear a tweed suit jacket from Slaters with a Marks & Spencer charcoal waistcoat and beige chinos from Next. He completed his look with brown brogues and a wool checked tie that he found on the internet. To match the groomsmen also wore tweed jackets from Slaters with slightly darker beige chinos and wool ties. Their waistcoats were made by my mum.
When it came to the wedding transport we travelled in a 1930’s Rover that was a friend’s car; as a wedding present he was our driver for the day, which was very kind of him. The bridesmaids travelled in a Bentley Continental and Porsche Boxster, which we borrowed from friends and family, and we hired a big red 1961 London Routemaster bus to take our day guests from the church to the reception. This was from Henry Cooper Coaches.
Paul Liddement was our photographer for the day. He was lovely, very professional and got some great shots. He is obviously very experienced and had great banter, which made us feel at ease.
The wedding flowers were created by two different florists. Nicola Allinson, from The Secret Garden in Heaton, Newcastle, did my bouquet, the bridesmaids’ bouquets, the flower girls’ hair pins and the button holes, as well as the table decorations at the reception. My bouquet, which I loved, contained pink avalanche roses, blue thistles, pheasant feathers, veronicas, gypsophila and pale blue delphiniums.
The church florist Lorna Oliver took care of the church flowers, which matched perfectly and looked so lovely. She got the flowers from Grainger Market and following the wedding these were donated to the Freeman Hospital Chapel, which is where I work.
A lot of the other decorations where handmade. Friends and family collected jam jars for the table centre pieces while Chris’s brother, who is a landscaper, provided the wood slices. Another friend who works in forestry was also able to cut a log stump for the wedding cake stand.
I also was given some metal milk buckets from my parents’ old dairy which I grew hydrangeas in as a more rustic looking decoration. My chief bridesmaid and I also sanded down and painted some wooden stepladders from the farm, which we used for the table name board, complete with little pegs and string. It’s amazing the ideas you come up with when browsing through the internet – I tried to be as resourceful as possible.
We also made some small sitting areas at High House Farm by wrapping square hay bales (borrowed from a farm owned by Chris’s colleague’s dad) with bedsheets and old curtains.
As favours we gave our guests wild flower seeds. We had the packaging personalised with the wedding date on the front and asked our guests to sow them as a reminder of our wedding day. It fitted in very well with the theme of the wedding.
Chris’s gran made our wedding cake. She is an excellent cake maker, being in the Women’s Institute for many years she had lots of practice, although I think it was an unusual request from us which perhaps challenged her at times. Needless to say she did a wonderful job, it looked stunning, and our photographer even said that he thought it had been made by a professional baker. It was a ‘naked’ style cake with layers of jam and butter cream icing between layers of sponge. It was based on a Madeira cake recipe, to hold the weight and moisture of it and it was decorated with real flowers. Chris’s gran had to use 48 eggs in the process of making it. You could tell she had made it with a lot of love and attention to detail.
For the wedding breakfast we couldn’t decide what to have from the venue’s menus and so instead, Heather, the wedding coordinator at High House, asked us what we like to eat. We chose a starter of melon, a traditional Sunday dinner for main and then a selection of desserts to finish – sticky toffee pudding, crème brulee and Pavlova and strawberries.
We provided the tables with house red and white wine and the toasting drinks were prosecco. There was also a nice selection of beers and ales on at the bar – with the venue being a microbrewery we weren’t short of alcohol!
The evening food was a buffet, which included a cheese wheel cake from The Northumberland Cheese Company, decorated with fruit and served with a selection of crackers.
We choose a ceilidh for the evening entertainment as they are so much fun. They always get everyone up and dancing, and it is a lot less awkward than a disco. At one point I think there were eight men all dancing together, which you would rarely see.
Following our wedding we would definitely recommend High House Farm to other couples. Heather was very helpful and obviously has a lot of experience in weddings. It was very reassuring putting our trust in her to help coordinate our wedding and she was able to give suggestions in ways we could cut costs in certain areas – the whole day was lovely. The venue itself was very rural and had a cheerful country vibe. The staff were all very professional and were even able to accommodate one or two evening guests that accidently turned up for the wedding breakfast!
On reflection the ceremony was my favourite part of the day. We had gone to our local church for six months running up to the wedding and we really liked it, we were made to feel so welcome by everyone. We had our marriage preparation on a one-to-one basis. The vicar invited us to his house the week of the wedding for a last minute prep talk and cocktails, it felt very cosmopolitan! Because of this it felt like a friend was marrying us and the whole thing was very special. We had lots of tears through the ceremony and lots of laughs, it felt so special as it had such a wonderful vibe.
Another special moment of the day was my brother John collecting our little Cocker Spaniel, Bracken, so that he join us in some of the photographs. We were really happy to see him and have him in some of our pictures because we had missed him so much.
Following the wedding we went to Thailand on a two-week honeymoon. It was lovely – everyone was so welcoming and pleasant. We booked through the travel company Kuoni, and so we had guides to help us with the travel logistic; the whole thing was very well organised it took the stress out of the honeymoon. It was very exotic, especially for Chris as he had never travelled out of Europe before. Whilst there I did miss having a proper English tea, but I soon got used to the herbal teas and the Pinacoladas! We went on lots of excursions and lots of adventures, from getting a cuddle off an elephant to 4x4ing through the foothills of the Himalayas.
When planning a wedding there can be a lot of pressure from family and friends, as they all want to be a part of your special day. As such my top tip to other Brides Up North would be to try to give those closest to you a job where possible, so that everyone feels involved. It creates a much better atmosphere.