Today’s real wedding has a sprinkling of Disney magic – surely, the stuff that happily ever afters are made of?
Our couple, Ellen and Jason, tied the knot at the beautiful Eslington Villa in Gateshead. Complete with camper vans, Micky and Minnie balloons and candles – this is a wedding that’ll be sure to put a big smile on your face – and get you reminiscing about your favourite Disney princess.
With images by GS Studio.
ellen says: Jason proposed on Christmas Day 2014 in my Auntie Kim’s living room. My parents, brother, auntie, uncle, cousins and grandparents all gather at my auntie’s every year to celebrate Christmas together. After lunch we started to open our presents, everyone had finished unwrapping gifts, just chatting amongst ourselves, until Jason said, “Ellen has one last present.” I was sitting on the sofa next to my Mam. He handed me a large grey box tied with a white ribbon, I opened the box to find it full of fake snow, another square box and a ceramic heart which read “loved you yesterday, love you still, always have, always will”. I opened the square box to discover a glass bauble, I held the glass bauble up to see a little piece of paper inside – it read ‘Ellen will you marry me?’ When I looked up Jason was on one knee holding out a ring! Of course, I said yes after much blubbering.
We got married on Friday 30th December. We chose this date as Christmas is our favourite time of year! We knew lots of our friends and family would already be off work, too.
We got married at St John’s Church, Sherriff Hill. I have been a member of the congregation since I was christened many years ago. Ever since I was a young girl this has always been the place where I dreamed I would get married. We were married by the previous Vicar of St Johns, Reverend David Tully, who is now Rector at St Mary & St Cuthbert’s Chester Le Street. David has known me since I was six-years-old, playing table tennis on our yearly Church weekend to Blaithwaite. It was only fitting that he conducted our ceremony, I couldn’t imagine anyone else doing it.
We held our reception at Eslington Villa, in Team Valley, Gateshead. The building is beautiful and the surroundings are breath taking! You wouldn’t believe you are in the middle of a residential area! My father has always liked to give business to the local shops, restaurants and cafes, so it was his idea to consider Eslington as a possible venue. We knew the food was fabulous and the service was impeccable, so why pick anywhere else?
Our theme was Disney Hollywood chic. I am a huge Disney fan; the films are constantly playing in our house. We holiday at least once a year to Orlando to visit the Disney castle and all the characters. Originally, there was no Disney at all in the wedding as I thought Jason wouldn’t like the idea, but after a month or so of planning he suggested we call the tables different Disney films, and that was it – I had the go ahead for the Disney theme! After all, it was our day and we deserved to be our very own Prince and Princess!
The Hollywood chic was Jason’s idea, he knew how much I love sparkles and glitter so he thought, why not add a touch of Hollywood glam? It would allow us to make a lot of the decorations and put our own spin on the theme.
Our colour scheme was white and silver with a touch of pink. White and silver worked perfectly with the glitter and sparkles, and pink is my favourite colour so I was happy we were able to subtly incorporate it too.
I wore a White Rose ivory lace fishtail dress with long buttoned sleeves, extended train, and glitter under layer, teamed with a cathedral lace edged veil, diamond headband and BHS ivory Mary Jane style shoes with pearl detailing. I purchased my gown and accessories from Brides and Beauty on Old Durham Road in Gateshead.
I always knew I wanted a fishtail dress but after visiting numerous bridal shops they all tried to push me away from the idea. One Thursday afternoon, my Mam suggested we try the bridal shop close to my Nanna’s house. As soon as we went into the shop Ali and the team were ever so welcoming, asking exactly what I wanted and, of course, they let me try on a fishtail. When I tried the first dress on – me and my Mam just looked at each other – we knew it was the one. The original dress I tried on had short cap sleeves, no glitter and a short train. I explained to Ali I wanted a princess look, so she showed me a variety of ideas and samples. After another hour we had created my perfect dress, which I was going to wear to marry my Prince Charming!
My bridal makeup and hair were both done by Savannah Miller, who is based in Sunderland. I have never felt so beautiful in all my life, my hair and makeup were just perfect, I couldn’t have asked for anything more.
Jason’s suit was from Slaters in Newcastle city centre. He wore a skinny fit grey check three-piece suit. He wore brown leather brogues, also from Slaters.
Jason and my twin brother John – the best man – regularly go to the barber shop, Smiths Barbers (SB Barbers) in East Boldon. The team are amazing, super skilled and very accommodating, they even opened early for them both to have their hair styled ready for the big day ahead. Who said it’s just the women that get pampered?! The slicked back skin fade they both have went hand in hand with the skinny fit suits; when they first tried them on me and my mother both said though that they should be on the BBC show Peaky Blinders!
Our lovely bridesmaids wore BHS Rosie long rose pink dresses with flower detail. The dresses complemented both of our bridesmaids and thankfully they both loved them! We added an ivory ribbon around the dresses to tie them in with my dress. They also wore a simple lace Mary Jane shoe and a fur bolero with pearl detailing.
The groomsmen wore the same three-piece skinny grey check suit as Jason, with matching brown brogues. I have never seen them look so handsome!
We hired a VW camper and a split screen VW camper from Brooklands Wedding Cars. The cars looked amazing and the drivers were very polite and professional.
We booked the amazing and very talented Gemma Smith from GS Studio to capture our day. She also brought her assistant Jo, and together, they were amazing! I can’t believe the wedding photos are actually ours! Gemma kept everyone organised throughout the day. Jo was with Jason and the groomsmen at our house during their morning preparation, meanwhile Gemma was at my parents’ house with me and surprised to see us all so calm watching Shark Tale! When we received our photographs four weeks later we were blown away by how many photos were actually taken without us even noticing. We would recommend Gemma 100%.
Our flowers were incredible and put together by the fabulous Low Fell Florists.
I carried an extra-large white rose and gypsophila bouquet with ivory ribbon and a diamante pin. Jason wore a white rose and gypsophila button hole, also with a diamante pin.
The bridesmaids carried large gypsophila bouquets too and the groomsmen wore gypsophila button holes.
Kat from The Whole Sch-Bang provided sequin table cloths for all the tables at the venue and beautiful silver candelabras with white roses, foliage and pears as the centrepiece. She also provided ivory sashes for every chair with a sprig of gyp tucked into the ribbon to finish off the look.
As soon as the wedding was booked, every family member began to collect jars for me, we were over run! We thought it would be a great idea to make some of our own decorations, not only to stop the price from rocketing, but to add a more person touch to our day. I glittered, tied, glued and stuck for hours on end. The finished product was amazing – hessian in the buffet conservatory and sparkles in the dining room. The top table was all decorated with handmade items. Without the help of Melanie from Eslington Villa it wouldn’t have looked the way it did. She provided the roses and gypsophila and arranged the candles and jars to look fabulous – not forgetting the finishing touch of our Mickey and Minnie wedding ornament from my hen party in Disneyland Paris.
For our favours, we gave Yankee Candle ‘Wedding Day’ candles to the ladies and the famous Lindt chocolate balls to the men.
The fantastic Ashley from Mrs BouCake in Birtley did us the honour of making our cake dreams come true. We wanted an out of the ordinary cake which described us, so we chose a beautiful three-tiered suitcase cake. Triple chocolate, lemon and white chocolate and raspberry, with stickers from all the places we have travelled together as a couple. The attention to detail was amazing, the cake received so many compliments on both its look and taste, Ashley definitely did us proud.
Mulled wine was our welcoming drink as we thought it would warm everyone up on that cold winter’s day. The food was taken care of by the in-house chefs at Eslington Villa. We had tomato soup for starters, followed by braised beef tender, creamed potato, carrot puree and thyme sauce for main. Then, for dessert, we had white chocolate cheesecake with chocolate ice cream.
After the wedding breakfast, we had an amazing acoustic set by the fantastic Pat McMahon. This was one of our treats from my father Michael (thank you Daddy).
We chose the DJ services from James Entertainments for the reception. They also provided our photo booth and light up dance floor. The photo booth went down a storm, young and old dressing up in masks and silly hats!
We used Coco Luminaire for the large light up ‘E&J’ letters and the red light up personalised heart. They were amazing, super organised, and they even left spare bulbs that came in handy!
Other special touches on the day included naming our tables after one of our favourite Disney films with a dynamic duo or couple. Each table had hidden in the candelabra and foliage the characters to match the name. I also wore Mickey Mouse diamond earrings that we purchased while on my hen party in Disneyland Paris. We had large balloons in our party room, made into a bride and groom version of Mickey and Minnie – these were a huge hit!
My Grandma and Grandad Watson and Jason’s Grandad Baines are no longer with us sadly so it was a must for us to incorporate them into our day. I wore one of my Grandma’s famous brooches on my garter so she was by my side all day. We created a mural with wedding day photographs of our parents and grandparents, along with a short heartfelt poem.
We had a wooden photo frame that acted as our guest book. We wanted something we could hang up in our house rather than a book which is never looked at again. Each guest could sign or write a message on a little wooden heart and post it in the top.
Other suppliers and people who contributed to our day included, Centrepiece who supplied our ceramic post box, and Sarah’s Sweet Balloons where I ordered our Mickey and Minnie balloons from. Our fabulous neighbour Nathan McCluskey designed our beautiful Order Of Service (thank you for putting up with my demands and constant emails!). Helen from The Little Love Card Company made all of our stationery and did an amazing job, and the talented Janice Ramsay made our beautiful hessian Mr & Mrs Thompson bunting for the buffet room – amazing!
The venue was also amazing, with fabulous staff, super comfy beds and most important of all – unreal food.
Looking back, I’d say my favourite part of the day was walking down the aisle and seeing my Prince standing at the top. Our first dance, the wedding breakfast dessert and the speeches were other highlights.
We went to the Dominican Republic for our honeymoon. We normally go on jam-packed holidays, so Jason thought it would be a great idea to have an all-inclusive beach holiday for a change. He made the right choice, as it was amazing.
Our top tip for other Brides Up North would be – make sure you spend five minutes alone, just the two of you, so you take in what has actually just happened. We went into the disabled toilet and just laughed, wow did that really happen?!
Whilst planning the wedding, we attended the Brides Up North wedding fairs, which are always a great place to find inspiration. I also loved reading the real weddings section on the blog as it gave me so many amazing ideas for my own wedding. I hope mine can do the same for other couples.