It might be Monday morning but we have something super-pretty to brighten up your day, as we head to Northumberland to relive the beautiful wedding of Charlotte and Michael.
Taking place at the stunning Newton Hall, bride Charlotte was set on a relaxed and romantic big day that would stand the test of time – and looking at the images we’d say she certainly achieved her goal.
Stand out elements for us include Charlotte’s gorgeous mermaid style dress, the delicate blooms and the idyllic seaside setting #swoon!
With images by Melissa Beattie
Charlotte says: We got engaged while were on holiday in Spetses (a tiny and remote Greek island). We had hired a quadbike for a couple of days to explore and Michael suggested we take a picnic up to a remote viewpoint in order to watch the sunset over the sea. As the sun was setting Michael popped the question with a ring-shaped rock he’d found on the beach that day.
We set the date for 5th September 2016, rather unconventionally a Monday! We didn’t want a long engagement (little over a year) and so were limited by the availability of the venue we had fallen in love with. Getting married on a Monday also meant we could save on the venue hire and splurge on the food and drink for our guests.
Our chosen venue was Newton Hall, in rural Northumberland. It was the only venue we viewed but knew it was the one. It’s a beautiful Georgian country mansion within a few minutes’ walk of some of the most unspoilt and beautiful beaches in the UK. As Newton Hall only does weddings, we had the whole place to ourselves all day. As our guests were travelling from all over the country, we decided to make a weekend of it and have a pre-nuptial barbecue on the beach the evening before the big day. It meant we got to spend more time with everyone as well as making our wedding celebrations last that bit longer!
We didn’t particularly theme the wedding, it just a timeless and romantic English wedding with vintage touches. We wanted something relaxed but classy and fun.
Our colour scheme was grey and cream was with muted pastel shade flowers with silvery grey greenery.
I chose my wedding dress from Lisa Bilotti, a small, independent bridal boutique in Bedford (my home town). My friends had told me that all brides go to the bridal shop with an idea in mind and end up with something entirely different. I didn’t, I knew exactly what I wanted and that’s (luckily!) what suited my shape – a full lace vintage style mermaid number which I loved from the moment I tried it on. It actually looked like a pair of old lace curtains on the hanger so I very nearly dismissed it but Lisa listened to my description of my perfect dress and urged me to give it a try – I’m so glad I did!
Michael never wears suits for work (more likely a hard hat and steel toe cap boots) and would have been extremely uncomfortable in the traditional top and tails get up. We wanted something relaxed, quintessentially English and a bit of fun so we ended up choosing a slim-fit woollen tweed checked jacket matched with smart navy cords and brown brogues from Most Suitable in Newcastle.
The groomsmen all wore tweed check jackets and navy cords from Most Suitable too.
My three bridesmaids wore bespoke mail order octopus dresses in matt slate grey which were hand-made in America by Coralie Beatrix. The dresses were a bit of a gamble as we never got to try them on before ordering and were basing them on photos on the internet and a 5cm by 5cm swatch of fabric. Luckily, we all loved them! My bridesmaids were all different body shapes (including my sister who had only given birth the week before!) and the octopus dress meant that they could tie the dresses however they wanted to best suit their shape. My niece Abigail was my flower girl and she wore a dress from Marks & Spencer.
We stayed at Newton Hall the night before the wedding so didn’t need any transport! Having breakfast and getting ready was a rather relaxed affair. Cheryl from Goldilocks Bridal Hair was amazing on the morning of the wedding and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend her – she is so talented!
Melissa Beattie captured our day and she was fantastic! For most of the day we didn’t even notice she was there – we wanted mostly natural shots and had seen some of Melissa’s work and knew it would fit the relaxed and romantic style of wedding we wanted but were totally blown away when we received our wedding photos. Melissa perfectly captured the essence of the day and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Melissa.
Our wedding flowers were provided by Fern, based in Morpeth. I had a loose, handtied bouquet of English garden flowers in muted shades with hints of silvery-green thistle and eucalyptus. They also provided some small pink roses and wax flower for my hair. The bridesmaids wore matching wrist corsages and the groomsmen thistle and wax flower buttonholes.
Décor-wise, in order to keep costs down, we decided to double up the wedding breakfast table centrepieces as aisle decoration during the ceremony. I purchased my own grey urns from the internet which Fern filled with muted blooms and silver greenery to complement my bouquet.
In addition to flowers, Coco Luminaire provided huge light up letters ‘The Robinsons’ which looked fabulous against Newton Hall’s panoramic glass window both during the day and at night.
We made all of our invites ourselves, as well as a lot of the other bits for the wedding; order of service blackboard, menus, table names etc. It was a lot of hard work but it meant my bridezilla moments were minimal as I had everything in hand and finalised well ahead of the big day.
As something a bit different, we wanted a fun way to get guests to their table so came up with the idea of using balloons. We filled them with confetti along with the table name, attached a name tag and pin and asked guests to find their balloon and pop it to reveal their table name. It took a lot of planning and time to set up but it looked great and was a lot of fun!
As favours, we bought luxury Italian chocolate truffle cigars for the men and alcoholic lip balms for the girls (e.g. Gin and Tonic, Strawberry Daiquiri and Prosecco flavours!).
We deliberated so long about the wedding cake – whether to splurge or save – that we actually ended up leaving it far too late to get a cake made. In the end, we ordered a three-tier iced sponge cake from Marks & Spencer (two vanilla tiers and one chocolate tier) which the chef at Newton Hall kindly assembled and Fern decorated with real flowers. In total it cost us less than £100 and we were delighted with the result, we only wish we’d bought an extra tier as it went down so well!
After the ceremony we served guests strawberry mojitos and local bottles of beer followed by a selection of canapés.
For the wedding breakfast, we opted for local cheese soufflé to start and then gave guests a choice of either roast sirloin of beef or pan-fried seabass (mainly because we couldn’t decide as both were delicious). Finally, sticky toffee pudding and locally made vanilla ice cream were served for dessert.
When it came to arranging the entertainment, we initially weren’t keen on the cheesy wedding disco but realised that this is exactly what is needed to get people up and throwing shapes on the dance floor. We hired a DJ but gave him a strict playlist to follow (based on our guests’ choices which we collected from them when they RSVP’d).
For the evening we also hired a photobooth from Snaparazzi, which included a guest book service. Our guests had so much fun with the props and the pictures and comments in our guestbook are hilarious!
At the reception we provided sparklers and pic and mix too, in order to add to the fun atmosphere.
After our wedding at Newton Hall we would definitely recommend it to other couples. Aside from the venue being stunning, the service we received was faultless; from the pre-wedding day planning to the military precision on the day. Everything was totally perfect and meant we could both just sit back and enjoy every single minute.
On reflection, my favourite part of the day was walking back down the aisle together knowing we had chosen to spend the rest of our lives together. The rest of the day’s celebrations with our most favourite people in the world were pretty awesome too!
For our honeymoon, we spent 16 days of pure unadulterated luxury on Mexico’s Caribbean coast. Michael speaks fluent Spanish so befriended the waiters which meant we were totally spoilt and never without our favourite drinks. The beach was the most amazing beach we have ever seen, we even got to help newly hatched baby turtles find their way to the sea and were lucky enough to be there for Mexican Independence Day celebrations – Viva Mexico!
My top tip to other Brides Up North is – enjoy every single minute and don’t stress about the guest list, it’s your wedding so invite who you want!