North East Wedding

a little blush. justin alexander for an elegant wedding at seaham hall – kirsty & ryan

08th November 2016 | Laura McDonagh

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Today’s bride Kirsty, says that the perfect wedding dress took her by surprise by being everything she supposedly didn’t want. The dress in question – a romantic, swishy Justin Alexander creation – was a truly stunning choice from what we can see!

Kirsty also said she wanted her day to be defined by the words “classy” and “romantic”. Well, mission accomplished, just take a look at the stunning photographs!

Ready for some serious pretty? Let’s dive right in…

With images by Leighton Bainbridge Photography.


kirsty says: Ryan and I got engaged on 1st August 2014 while on holiday in Mexico. Ryan had organised a private, romantic meal on the pier, looking over the ocean where we could watch the sun set. We had a gorgeous meal with champagne. Once we’d finished our meal, Ryan got down on one knee and the waiter presented my ring on a silver plate. It was perfect and the waiter caught it all on camera so I will always be able to look back at that moment. I had no idea, which made it even more special.

We got married on 6th August 2016. We always wanted to get married in the summer and this date worked well around my work. I’m a teacher and wanted to have a few weeks off before the wedding as well as being able to go on our honeymoon before the new term started. Plus, we hoped that in August we’d have sunny weather – which we did!


We were married at our local church in Houghton-le-Spring and then went onto Seaham Hall in County Durham. I’d always wanted to have my wedding there. The hotel is so beautiful I couldn’t imagine going anywhere else. Plus, we loved the fact that we could have an exclusive wedding with the whole venue and facilities to ourselves. We booked all 20 of the hotel rooms, which meant our close family and friends could stay over. The hotel boasts a sports room with a pool table, which was ideal for the men, plus there was a quiet lounge for the ‘oldies’.

I’d always wanted a big wedding and Ryan just went along with it! The two words I wanted to define the day were “classy” and “romantic”. When we got engaged the rustic, vintage theme was very popular and I loved the idea of lots of little details. However, I still wanted the overall feel to be contemporary as Seaham Hall is quite modern.


Making a decision on the colour scheme wasn’t difficult. I’m a girly girl and knew I wanted pink. We decided on a very soft blush; we knew it would suit both bridesmaids as well as the groomsmen. The bridesmaids’ dresses were from Mia Sposa in Newcastle; I chose a full-length lace gown in blush pink. They chose their own shoes so that they were comfortable on the day.

The choice of my own dress took me by surprise. It was everything I supposedly didn’t want. I chose a Justin Alexander dress also from Mia Sposa in Newcastle (the girls there are fab!) It had a full skirt, long train and lace straps, creating a ‘v’ shape at the front and back. The lace detail went all the way down the fitted bodice and past my hips where it faded out and then also all around the hem of the skirt. I loved the buttons at the back as they too went all the way down the skirt. When I spun it swished around me; I really felt like a princess! I also wore a veil, which was the full length of my dress and decorated with small crystals.

Mel Hedley did the bridal party’s makeup for the wedding. She was fantastic! Francesca Hair Design in Pelton, then did the bridal party’s hair. We had such a laugh getting ready and they all went beyond the call of duty!


We hired Ryan’s suit from Just Perfect in Shotton Colliery. He wore a French navy suit with a tweed waistcoat. He had a blush pink tie and tan shoes. The combined effect was gorgeous. The groomsmen wore the same as the groom however their waistcoat was the same French navy as the suit, also from Just Perfect.


On the day of the wedding, the bridal party travelled in a vintage VW camper van and I travelled in 1930s Beauford Convertible. I loved the car! We hired them from Brooklands Wedding Cars in Lanchester.


Our photographer was Leighton Bainbridge. I would highly recommend him to anyone; he was absolutely fantastic! He captured every precious moment of our day without us even knowing he was there. Our video was by George Cummings from a company called To Have and To Hold. The finished product is stunning and I’m so pleased we had one made.


I carried a large bouquet of white and nude roses, avalanche, wax flower and majolica flowers tied with a blush pink ribbon. Our florist was Wild and Wonderful in Fencehouses. They also created two blossom trees with hanging votive candles for the altar at church.

On each table at the reception was a tall cylindrical vase with a large arrangement which matched the flowers in my bouquet. Kay from Wild and Wonderful hung crystals and votive candles from them and arranged silver and pink candles around the base. The blossom trees from church stood on either side of the doors leading into the lounge area and we hung white drapes on either side of the doors to the reception room with large floral tiebacks. Kay and her team from Wild and Wonderful did it all so everything was ready for when we arrived. They were stunning.


The Little Love Card Company did all our stationery for the wedding. Helen was fantastic and the quality was stunning.

As favours we decided to give everyone a jar of old fashioned sweets with personalised labels.

For the cake, we decided on an enormous six-tier affair made by a family friend. Three of the tiers were edible and we chose rainbow sponge, salted caramel and chocolate fudge flavours. Iced models of our dogs added a little personal touch.


Organising the wedding breakfast was Ryan’s favourite part of planning! For our canapés we had cheese straws, chicken satay, lamb skewers and quail eggs with black pudding. The starter was slow-pressed ham hock, followed by mains of slow-cooked braised beef with smoky potatoes and seasoned vegetables. For dessert we had chocolate mousse with raspberry ice cream. In the evening we had a buffet of hot and cold food, which included a mini burger bar and mini doughnut selection. It’s so hard to pick something that you think all of your guests will like but we think we did quite well!


Entertainment-wise, we found Marty Scott on the internet and went to see him perform ahead of the wedding. On the big day he was fantastic and sang all of our favourite songs. Everyone commented on his voice and he kept us entertained until the very end of the night.


Limelight provided a large light-up heart for the main room and the love letters for in the bar area. They also provided our photo booth during the evening reception. We got some great photos! We also had a wishing tree at the evening reception for people to write down date ideas for our first year of marriage. We’ve had some great ideas from it!

To complete our day, Reaction Fireworks provided us with one of the best firework displays I’ve ever seen! We gave them our favourite songs and they did the rest. The fireworks were timed to the music and it was utterly amazing!


We would absolutely recommend Seaham Hall to other wedding couples. It is stunning inside and out. It’s unique and intimate and offers everything you could want. The grounds are beautiful and provide the perfect backdrop. But the staff were just amazing! They couldn’t have done enough for us to ensure our day was perfect.


For me the standout moment of the day was seeing Ryan’s face when I walked down the aisle. I’ve never seen him look at me in that way. For Ryan, it was the firework display. Seeing our family and friends standing on the terrace watching the display was just magical.


We had a couple of extra special touches to the day too, which included a video that my dad created, featuring photographs of Ryan and myself growing up and our time together; it was so lovely! The children in my class also created a wooden heart for Ryan and me, with a recipe of love on it and a poem, which we displayed at the wedding too.


For our honeymoon we went to the Maldives for ten days and then to Dubai for four days. We wanted to go somewhere hot, beautiful and romantic. The Maldives is one of the most amazing places we’ve visited; it’s so relaxing. In Dubai we just didn’t stop as there’s so much to see. We went on a desert safari, which was incredible. We watched the sun set in the desert and had a barbecue under the stars. It was an amazing trip and we’re already planning to go back for an anniversary.


My top tip to other Brides Up North would be to remember that it’s hard to speak to all your guests as the day is so jam-packed. We used the time between courses to mingle and chat. But really, I would just say enjoy every minute. We blinked and the day was nearly over. If anything goes wrong, you probably won’t know and you certainly won’t care!

the big picture

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