Following a picture-perfect proposal in New York city, today’s couple Caitlin and Mark tied the knot at the Grade I listed Capheaton Hall in Northumberland. This is a truly stunning venue, complete with parkland and landscaped gardens, and as you will see, the couple really made the most of this backdrop in their beautiful wedding photography.
With a nod to Caitlin’s birthplace of South Africa, their special day brought together fantastical outdoor tipis, toasted marshmallows, a hearty barbecue and the perfect cake topper for fans of Disney – but we’ll let the couple tell you all the wonderful details…
With images by JPRShah Photography.
mark says: We got engaged in New York, in Central Park in a section called Shakespeare’s Garden. Caitlin surprised me with tickets to New York for Valentine’s Day in 2014. I knew there and then that Caitlin was the girl I wanted to marry. We ended up missing Valentine’s Day due to delayed flights. Caitlin was so sad but I kept telling her it would get better. On 15th February I took her to Central Park. I felt nervous but excited at the same time.
caitlin says: It was snowing so much that day! We had been walking around Central Park for a while and I couldn’t understand what he was looking for! We got to Shakespeare’s Garden and the view was beautiful! Mark pulled me close and started saying all these lovely things to me. I had turned to look at the view and when I looked back at Mark, he was down on one knee asking me to marry him! My first response was, “are you serious?” as I couldn’t believe it! Of course, I said “yes”, but I think I had him second guessing for a moment!
We got married on 16th July 2016. We knew we wanted to get married in July as Mark’s birthday is in June and mine is in August, plus it was easier for our family members due to their jobs.
We tied the knot at Capheaton Hall – a romantic venue that’s full of history and culture. A lot of people have never heard of Capheaton Hall so that made it stand out, too. The venue only takes a handful of wedding bookings each year so we felt very lucky to secure a date with them. It’s very secluded and has beautiful views, which was perfect as we hosted our ceremony outside.
Our wedding style was a combination of romantic, elegant, African and Disney. Mark and I both wanted a very elegant wedding, however we wanted to add our own touches too. I was born in South Africa so I really wanted a part of home with me on the day so we hired two giant tipis for the night time reception and a South African company provided the food. I don’t think Disney needs an explanation – everybody loves Disney!
The colour scheme was blush. I just fell in love with the colour while looking for bridesmaid dresses. It’s a very romantic colour and it was very ‘in’ this season.
My mum bought my dress from Mia Sposa Bridal in Newcastle city centre. I had originally chosen a fitted mermaid style dress, however after trying on about a million dresses (we’ve all done it) I fell in love with the stunning Pronovias Dagen gown. It was a tulle princess dress with lace appliqués, a draped tulle bodice, sweetheart neckline and a grosgrain belt with gemstone embroidery appliqué in the centre. It was the perfect Disney fairytale dress.
My bridal makeup was done by Jenny Daglish. She was the only makeup artist to actually listen to what I wanted and understand my skin type.
Mark wore a three-piece suit from Hugo Boss. It was a charcoal/navy blue colour.
The bridesmaids wore No. 1 by Jenny Packham rose pink ‘Lily’ waterfall evening dresses from Debenhams, and the groomsmen wore their own choice of suits.
For our photography, we booked John Shahabeddin and his wife Christina Shahabeddin, known as JPRShah Photography. We would definitely recommend John and Christina; they were amazing from start to finish. Everyone felt so relaxed and comfortable around them – they were fun while professional at the same time. John understood the type of photographs we were looking for and I think the photographs speak for themselves.
My flowers consisted of sweet avalanche roses and cream avalanche roses. I sourced all of my flower displays from Victoria at Boo!-K Floral Design. As for the centre pieces, these contained sweet avalanche roses, cream avalanche roses, delicate pink lisianthus, goldenrod and hard ruscus.
By contrast, family members handpicked the flowers that were used to decorate the venue. We also had the odd protea, which is otherwise known as a fynbos flower from South Africa.
Shawnee Quinn, an amazingly talented artist, created our hand painted seating plan. I asked Shawnee to paint a safari sunset and the profiles of African animals walking along the sunset. Then the guests’ names were placed under each animal to match the tables.
Our wedding cake was made by a lady called Karen, from North Shields, of Mickeymoomoos Bespoke Cakes. We had a Victoria sponge with buttercream icing around it. Our cake topper was a statue of Simba and Nala on pride rock. I then used The Lion King ribbon to wrap around the cake.
We wanted to make the wedding breakfast suitable for everyone so we kept it nice and simple. We had smoked salmon as a starter, Hunters chicken with vegetables for mains and a mini trio of desserts, consisting of cheesecake, brownie and bakewell. For the night reception we had a South African Braai – who doesn’t love a barbecue?!
For the evening entertainment, we hired a DJ, which was perfect as we gave him a playlist and guests could request their own songs.
I think the tipis were a real special touch to the wedding as no one was expecting them! They are very unique and completely magical for a wedding.
Helen from Vanilla Teas is absolutely incredible; she provided chair covers, centre piece displays, a flower display on the outdoors arch where we got married, 100 mini cupcakes (which tasted like little pieces of heaven) and personalised wooden slates with African animals burnt into the wood. This lady can do everything and anything and was very patient with my ever-changing ideas.
Following our wedding, we would definitely recommend Capheaton Hall to other couples. This venue is just pure magic. You can rent out the West Wing accommodation for the weekend of your wedding which makes it extra special. I was able to spend time with my bridal party and family members the night before the wedding and the morning after. We also enjoyed breakfast together and reminisced about our magical day! The family that own Capheaton are amazing and we just can’t thank them enough!
Looking back there were so many special moments to the day. Mark says his favourite part was seeing me for the first time, about to walk down the aisle. He felt so happy and excited. My personal highlight was sitting at the table with Mark during the wedding breakfast, listening to everyone’s speeches, and loving the fact that I was being called ‘Mark’s wife’!
For our honeymoon, we went to the Dominican Republic for a week. It was a beautiful place; the sea was crystal clear and the weather was amazing! I fell ill with food poisoning though, which put a downer on the holiday, so we plan on ‘re-doing’ it next year.
My top tip for others Brides Up North is, make time for yourselves. Your wedding day is so important and it will be amazing to share it with all your friends and family, but if you can, pull yourselves away – even if it’s just for five minutes. Take a breath, watch everyone laughing, talk to each other, hug, kiss and take a few funny selfies!