North East Wedding

roses & romance. mori lee for a vintage style wedding at newton hall – holly & ben

16th September 2016 | Rachel Hirst

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We all know that while you can plan a wedding down to the finest detail there are some elements of the day that are entirely out of your control, most notably the weather.

Today’s real wedding couple are a shining example of how to not let the unpredictable British weather dampen your big day celebrations.

Despite the downpours outdoors, the bride, groom and their guests got on with enjoying themselves inside the beautiful Newton Hall, rather getting hung up on the fact that the sun hadn’t made an appearance.

The wedding was beautifully styled, as were the wedding party, and we’re super impressed with the stunning portrait images captured by their photographer considering that he was confined to just the indoors. Excellent work Ally!

With images by Ally M Photography.

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holly says: We got engaged at Claridge’s in London in November 2014. Ben had planned to propose in Dubai a few months after this date, however we had cancelled the trip as I found out I was expecting our daughter Mia! Ben can luckily rely on me to order a dessert whenever we go out. He had the staff write ‘Holly, will you marry me?’ on the plate. At first I was annoyed that precious dessert space was taken up with writing, then I realised what it said. I forgave him and said yes!

We got married on the 17th June 2016. As all couples who decide to marry in Britain do, we played Russian Roulette with the weather and just hoped we would win with a June wedding (we lost…badly!).

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We got married at Newton Hall, Northumberland. It had everything we could possibly have wanted. It’s surrounded in beautiful British countryside and it also sits near the stunning coastline they have there. We were searching for “different and quirky wedding venues” and Newton Hall popped up. The pictures were stunning so we booked a visit. I didn’t dare believe it would be the one given it was the first we’d viewed, but I immediately fell in love with it as we pulled up the driveway. I love how they’ve kept the traditional feel of the house whilst also adding so much fun to it. Every room is just gorgeous. We’re also one of the last of our friends to get married so it was nice to find somewhere we could have our wedding where we hadn’t been before. It just meant it felt more special to us.

Ben gave me full reign over the theming of the wedding (this made us both very happy) and I always go for girly/pretty! I wanted it to be vintage and beautiful so it could blend with our fabulous venue.

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With two little girls, our whole life is already in pink so I just naturally went for subtle and dusky shades if pinks and purples for the colour scheme.

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My good friend, Laura Hill, owns Elizabeth George bridal shop in Middlesbrough with her sister, Katie, which is where I found my dress. I thought I knew what I wanted in my head but the girls immediately insisted they knew the dress for me. It wasn’t what I had imagined but as soon as I put it on I said “Wow! How did you do that?” And that was that, I didn’t need to search anymore. I couldn’t believe my luck! It was an ivory Mori Lee gown with a beautiful, simple lace on the top and a full, plain skirt with a train. I also went for a full-length veil, which I hadn’t planned on doing, but I’m so glad I did.

I accessorised my dress with some pearl drop earrings that I found online and also a lovely, delicate bracelet made of fresh-water pearls that my mum surprised me with on the morning of the wedding. I didn’t go for anything else as I felt the dress called for as much simplicity as possible.

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We looked at lots of suits for Ben and nothing was feeling right. We just didn’t feel like it fitted with the venue and the type of wedding we had gone for. We just wanted it to be fun. In the end Ben found a blue Hugo Boss jacket which he wore with mustard chinos and a multi-coloured tie! Which ‘on paper’ probably sounds a bit bizarre for a wedding, but I obviously thought he looked pretty handsome and we had some nice comments about the choice of outfit. Which, I might add, was the only job he had and he left it until last minute!

Ben’s two best men and two ushers wore blue blazers from Next, a darker shade of Ben’s, and grey chinos from House of Fraser.

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Our four gorgeous bridesmaids meanwhile wore Dessy dresses from Elizabeth George. I went for different shades of pinks and purples and they looked amazing. My daughters were our flower girls who wore Monsoon dresses and fairy wings and three of my seven nephews were our page boys. I dressed them in knitted, blue blazers from Zara, a short sleeved shirt and salmon shorts from M&S.

On the morning of the wedding Cherrie Earl MUA, did mine and my bridesmaids’ makeup, and I can’t thank her enough for how perfectly she did everything. I didn’t want it to look too heavy and I was really nervous as I just don’t suit it (I wanted Ben to recognise me as I walked down the aisle) but she managed to get the balance just right. Our hair meanwhile was done by Louise from The Cutting Lounge, in Eaglescliffe and Hartburn. Again, I was just so happy with everything she did. Both girls are so creative and I was so relieved that I could trust them. In preparation for the wedding, my bridesmaids and I also all had our eyebrows done at my sister’s salon, Paleschi.

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Ally of Ally M Photography captured our big day for us. I can’t put in to words how wonderful he, and his fiancée Lucy who works as his assistant, was. We met him in The Lakes for a pre-wedding photo shoot, which helped calm the awkwardness of being in front of the camera on the big day (it constantly rained then as well come to think of it!). He had a tough job on the day really as the weather was so bad we absolutely had to stay inside, which meant he had to get creative whilst also being constantly surrounded by all of our guests who were becoming more and more drunk by the minute.

I don’t know what I had expected from the photos and by the time the big day came, I felt a bit panicked and sad that I hadn’t hired a videographer. I felt I was going to lose all the precious memories from the day, but once I saw the photos from Ally I just cried. He had captured and documented everything perfectly so I don’t feel that I needed a videographer after all.

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My bouquet was mostly made up of vintage roses, hydrangeas and peonies and my bridesmaids had posies made up of colours to match their dresses. Sandra Rose of Yarm did all of my flowers and she was just wonderful. Her favourite thing to do is weddings, and you can tell. She is a very talented, lovely lady!

I was let down, relatively last minute, with my décor hire for the venue and so I went to Sandra Rose in a panic and she just took control of it for me. She carefully went through everything I wanted, we clubbed together what we had between us (such as old books, fairy lights, candles, cups and saucers and jars etc.) and she did it all for me on the morning of the wedding.

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The tables at Newton Hall are beautiful, wooden 6ft rounds and I didn’t want to hide them with table cloths so we kept them bare. Lavender was tied to some of the chairs and mostly roses and hydrangeas were used in the table décor. Everything was mix-matched rather that uniform and I loved that each table was different. Hollie Hart Creative provided all of my stationary so the table names were in the centre and on each chair I hung the guests’ names. We named our tables after Sopranos characters. We both love the series and it was pretty much the only thing we could agree on!

To form our seating plan I hired a lovely wooden and iron spiral staircase/stepladder from Strickland and Holt in Yarm. They do wedding hire of lots of beautiful items and they decorated it in flowers and fairy lights for me. I put each of the table seating plans in individual photo frames and placed them on each of the steps. I was so happy with the result.

On our card and gift table I used a couple of old suitcases, which I decorated with pearls and ivy. One of them was my late grandad’s from when he was a boy, which was nice to incorporate into our day.

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As wedding favours we decided to have drinks tokens made, with each token entitling our guests to two drinks. We had signature cocktails and non-alcoholic drinks available behind the bar. We had been worried our guests wouldn’t have enough to drink, but judging by the state of everyone at the end of the evening, we needn’t have worried at all.

When it came to the wedding cake, I found a design that I loved on Pinterest and Gemma from Love Lily Cakes, made it for me. It was three-tiered with hand-painted flowers. My mum, sister and I and one of our guests have coeliac disease so the top-tier was gluten-free. Gluten-free cakes are usually very dry but Gemma didn’t let us down! Each tier was a different flavour too, which seemed to go down well with guests.

The cake topper was a personalised clay model of Ben and I, and our girls. Canny Little Cake Toppers made it and she paid such attention to detail. I absolutely love it and I can keep it forever!

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We were adamant that we wanted the wedding to be as relaxed as possible and our food choices for the day were picked with this in mind. We had canapes and prosecco at the reception and for the wedding breakfast we decided to have a barbecue, which provided the sort of atmosphere we were going for. The wines were house wines provided by Newton Hall and they were lovely. We then had cocktails that had been made for our drinks tokens. I made a token for myself too but mine suspiciously disappeared, though I’m pretty much 100% sure the thief was my husband.

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Our entertainment for the wedding was provided by a band called The Fallen, following a recommendation from my brother-in-law as they had played at one of his restaurants, The Bay Horse in Hurworth. They were just amazing! So, so talented and so much fun. They really got us all dancing straight away and absolutely everyone commented on how brilliant they were. Ben and I were dancing on the tables by the end of the night (probably fuelled mostly by Ben’s extra cocktails). They played music which was just to our taste and they made our evening the big party we wanted it to be! They came into the crowd and got involved with all the guests, and even let one of our nephews have a go on the guitar!

We also had a photo booth for the reception, which was provided by Not Just a Pretty Face, and it was so much fun. Especially as we couldn’t go outside due to the rain, it was great to have something to keep us all occupied. We got a guest book at the end of it with some pretty hilarious messages and pictures in and we have all the pictures on a USB too! Some of them will most certainly be used for future blackmail of our friends and family.

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Following our wedding we would absolutely recommend Newton Hall to other couples. It’s a dream venue and it just felt like something a little different to us. They only do weddings there so they’ve pretty much got everything down to a fine art. There are always going to be little things that go wrong, but nothing that really affected our day. The staff were so friendly and they provided the most wonderful Master of Ceremonies who kept everything upbeat and made sure everything ran smoothly. He was fantastic. Also, the rooms of Newton Hall are truly amazing. That part alone was a treat!

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The wedding really was the best day of our lives! I just wish I could do it all again. I particularly loved getting ready in the morning, it was a really special time with my daughters, mum, sisters and close friends and I will never forget it. Ben and I were relieved to get the ceremony bit out of the way and, of course, Ben, my dad and the best men, could relax once they did their speeches, which we planned for before the meals so everyone could then focus on having some fun! The party that followed was definitely our favourite part. It was so important for us to have that celebration. We wanted to dance and sing and drink with our favourite people, and that’s what we did. We didn’t want it to end.

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We have planned our honeymoon for October this year. We’re spending five nights in The Royal Meridian in Dubai, and we can’t wait! It’s been nice to have it to look forward to. I was lost once the wedding was over! We’ve had such a busy year and Dubai would’ve been too hot for us right after the wedding, so we decided to book it for later in the year.

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It’s easier said than done, but my top tip for other Brides Up North would be to believe that whatever happens your day will be the best of your lives. I think it’s easy to get swamped with all the little details and do nothing but worry about how it’s all going to go. If I could go back to myself now I would tell myself to get a grip! Not everything went perfectly, the weather for one, but in our eyes it was still the perfect day. We married each other in front of our most loved friends and family and we had the best party to celebrate. It really is all that matters.

Oh and another tip, don’t let your husband near your drinks voucher!

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