Matfen Hall provides the dazzling backdrop to today’s real wedding on the blog.
The special couple – Emma and Mike – got engaged on their ten-year anniversary while in the picturesque city of Rome and then tied the knot in Northumberland a year later.
Opting for a simple yet classic white themed wedding, the bride and groom complemented this traditional look with a soft palette of silver grey and peachy pink, plus some of the most beautiful floral arrangements of white hydrangea and gyp we have ever seen.
With images by Darren Irwin Photography.
emma says: To celebrate our ten-year anniversary in September 2015, we took a very special trip to Holy Island, spending time outdoors taking in the beautiful Northumberland coast. It was perfect! We then flew straight out to Rome. Mike had visited Rome on a university trip and always said he would take me there one day. On our first full day in the beautiful city we visited the Trevi Fountain, Pantheon and Piazza Navona, but the best was saved till last.
It was 7pm and the sun was setting at the Spanish Steps, we found a quiet spot on the rooftop of a little wine bar overlooking the steps. I was snapping away with the camera whilst Mike disappeared. The waiter then appeared, handed me a phone and said: “Madam, would you please play this video.”
Mike had recorded himself outside of our school, where we first met, and outside my house, where we shared our first kiss. The video continued to play photo snap shots of our lives together, from when we first met to the present day. I was in floods of (happy) tears and by the time it finished, Mike appeared by my side, got down on one knee and that’s when he proposed!
We got married on 4th September 2016, one year after our engagement.
In terms of the venue, we really wanted our entire day to be spent in one location, as opposed to travelling from place to place, so when we visited Matfen Hall it ticked every box. The Great Hall where the ceremony took place feels like a church setting and is such an impressive room. The grounds are immaculate and there is so much outside space where guests can enjoy their welcome drinks. There’s also a separate bar and dining room, as well as a vault bar downstairs, which has a club-like atmosphere for a real party setting. We had sparklers out in the courtyard area, too.
The majority of our accessories were white, to match our idea of a traditional white wedding. We complemented this with a silver grey and soft peachy pink colour scheme.
When it came to dress shopping, Si Bridal in Low Fell, had caught my eye, as I drive past their window every day and the dresses on display always look stunning! I knew the style of dress that wouldn’t suit me, so that was my starting point. Pinterest was a massive help. I showed my ideas to the girls in the shop and they picked out a selection of dresses they thought I might like – and my dress – the Demetrios 595, was one of them! The detailing on my dress was incredible; a mixture of lace and beading, as well as to the back. The dress I tried on was ivory with a nude underlay – couture in style – however I ordered it white on white, in keeping with the theme of the wedding. It was made in New York and sent over a few months later.
My shoes were from Jimmy Choo Lottie sandals in champagne glitter. I wanted to get married in Choos, as I knew this would probably be the first and last pair I would ever have the pleasure of owning! They were just perfect. Super glittery and comfortable.
Mike wore a full three-piece suit from Next in navy blue, with a silver tie, pocket chief, tie clip and cuff links. He also wore a brown belt and brown leather shoes. The best man, groomsman and fathers also wore the same.
The adult bridesmaids wore silver grey floor-length dresses from the Debut range in Debenhams. Meanwhile, the younger bridesmaids and ring bearer wore floor length peachy pink dresses from BHS. They all wore their own shoes in whichever style they preferred, with the glitter theme.
The groom and groomsmen travelled to the venue in a black Land Rover Discovery, covered in white wedding ribbon. My bridesmaids and I stayed at the venue the evening before the wedding and so didn’t require transport on the day.
For our photography, we booked Darren Irwin Photography. We had a pre-wedding shoot on the Quayside in Newcastle, which got us used to being with the photographer, posing in front of the camera. We would definitely recommend this. The photographs were also a lovely contrast to our wedding album. Darren is really friendly and approachable, and our friends also commented on this. Our wedding photographs are memories we will treasure forever and we are so grateful for his beautiful work.
Jean Hepple provided our flowers. She is a local florist to Matfen and featured at the top of their recommend supplier list. We decided on gyp, hydrangea, lisianthus, freesia and roses. My hand-tied bouquet consisted of white hydrangea, freesia and gyp. The adult bridesmaids carried hand-tied bouquets of white hydrangea and gyp.
Michael wore a special white lisi buttonhole with gyp and silver looped wire, meanwhile the groomsmen had single white lisi buttonholes with silver looped wire.
To decorate the Great Hall fireplace, we used our own candles and an arrangement of white roses and gyp. Then for our tables, we chose white hydrangea heads, gyp collar with gyp between the hydrangea and three stems of silver ting.
Matfen Hall also provided a white Royal Mail wedding post box as part of the package. This was another classic touch to our traditional wedding theme.
We made our own table plan on a large white-framed mirror, printed on white card backed onto silver and finished with silver bows.
For our favours, we handed out a lovely little laser-cut pearlised white box, which we made up ourselves containing a white chocolate Lindor ball. Our name place cards matched; a laser-cut pearlised heart which sat on a wine glass.
We went for a traditional four-tiered fruit wedding cake, made by my Nana Pat. She is the queen of cakes and homemade food in general! The cake was then professionally iced and decorated by Truly Crumbtious Cake Shop. We went for pure white icing with a waterfall of iced roses cascading down the four tiers.
For our wedding breakfast, we had starter of terrine of ham hock, homemade Pease pudding, Cumberland sauce; and wild mushroom, potato and leek pave, truffle and Madeira jus for our vegetarian guests. For our mains we had caramelised shallot and artichoke tart tatin, glazed goats cheese, and braised rump of regionally sourced beef in Matfen Magic Ale, smoked bacon, baby onions and button mushrooms. To finish, we tucked into warm sticky toffee pudding, butterscotch sauce and vanilla ice cream, followed by coffee and chocolate truffles.
We were invited to Matfen for a menu tasting dinner and that was when we decided on our wedding breakfast menu. The food was unbelievable and cooked to perfection. We prefer classic dishes that you can guarantee everyone will love; our menu was perfect for our guests and us.
For our entertainment, Matfen Hall provided a DJ, who was part of the wedding package. We spoke to Tim (the DJ) prior to the wedding and talked through our preferred music. He was great and the dance floor was full all evening.
We also hired Jack Craggs to play the piano and sing. He is a local guy who is currently at university. Michael’s mum had previously heard him play at a charity evening and once we heard him on YouTube we knew we had to book him. Not only very talented on the piano, his voice is incredible. He played before, during and after our wedding ceremony.
As a special touch, we organised a Polaroid guest book. Everyone really enjoyed using the props, Polaroid camera and leaving us lovely little messages in the guest book.
Love Light Hire provided our love letters and we had a sparkler send off at 10pm in the courtyard. Each guest was given a large sparkler to play with. This was a great point in the evening to bring everyone back together for final photographs and sing-alongs before some guests departed for the evening.
It only takes one visit to Matfen Hall to appreciate what a beautiful venue it really is. For us, Matfen Hall has everything! Not only are the building, location, grounds and food outstanding, the staff ensured everything ran perfectly too. From the day we booked Matfen, Victoria, the wedding events manager, looked after us and guided us through every decision. Our Master of Ceremonies, Jade, also looked after us on the day, guiding us through every stage. Not once did we have to ask what was next or check the time. Jade has a calm, friendly and organised personality, which really put our wedding nerves at ease.
On reflection, I’d have to say that walking down the Great Hall staircase and down the aisle was the fairytale moment from the day for me. The evening party in the Vault Bar was so much fun too. Everyone had a great time dancing and we all really enjoyed ourselves.
For our honeymoon, we stayed at the Zilwa Attitude hotel in Mauritius. We usually go backpacking and adventuring when we go on holiday, but for our honeymoon we relaxed on the beach most days, visited the spa and took little boat rides to Zilwa’s private island.
My top tip to other Brides Up North would be to use Pinterest, it’s amazing for wedding ideas. Another top tip is to create an excel spreadsheet which lists all the guests, cost per head, outfits, stationery, flowers…everything! For us, this was an accurate way to keep track of our budget, what we’d ordered and whom we’d paid.
We would also recommend that once the venue is booked it is never too early to get organised. It felt like we were buying something for the wedding every week, but the months just flew by! This also meant that in the last few months leading up to the wedding itself we were relaxed and organised.
Michael’s brother John captured the whole day on his Go Pro, which was a last minute decision but it hugely paid off! We have watched our whole wedding day from start to finish from a guest’s perspective. From conversations between guests and crying at the speeches to busting some serious dance moves!
Our wedding day was amazing, however it really does pass by so quickly and it’s difficult to take in all the little details you have spent so long planning. Michael has edited the videos and we can now watch our wedding back and re-live those special moments.