Have we got a gem of a real wedding for you this morning!
Marrying on the biggest party night of the year – New Year’s Eve – today’s real wedding couple really got into the celebratory swing of things with more sparkles and bling than you could shake a diamond-encrusted stick at.
So, prepare to be dazzled (we are getting a little carried away?!) as we travel to the North East to relive the gorgeous big day of Nicola and Scott…
With images by Jamie Mac Photography
nicola says: Scott and I first met at a New Year’s Eve party on Gateshead quayside in 2009. I lived in Liverpool and had come to Newcastle for my best friend’s party. At first, we had a long-distance relationship with us travelling between Liverpool and Newcastle but after 18 months I moved to Newcastle and then after six months of living there, Scott proposed on New Year’s Eve, exactly two years from first meeting. It was nice and low key, exactly how I would have wanted him to do it had I had a choice. It was at home – we were watching Jools Holland with a bottle of prosecco and at midnight he got down on one knee and proposed.
We got married on New Year’s Eve 2016. We chose this date as it was obviously of special significance to us as we had both met this date and then got engaged this date.
We wanted a city centre wedding, instead of a stately home, barn or hotel. We had guests travelling from America, Ireland and Liverpool and wanted them to stay in Newcastle city centre for the weekend and enjoy the city as well as the wedding.
We arranged to be married by Glyn our vicar at St Andrews Church. The church is in the heart of the city and really is special. It is the oldest church in Newcastle and has so much character.
When looking for a reception venue we couldn’t find anything suitable at first then my friend (coincidently the same friend who had first introduced me and Scott) told me about St Mary’s Heritage Centre on Gateshead quayside. I booked an appointment to view the venue and Scott and I instantly knew this was the venue for us and we booked it there and then. It was so different, an old church with lots of history and space. It had amazing views of the Tyne Bridge and city centre too. It was exactly what we were after. An added benefit for booking it was it was available New Year’s Eve and the quayside fireworks would also be going off at midnight. The venue was a blank canvas but I wasn’t deterred by this, I quite liked that I could put my own stamp on the place.
Given the timing and location of the wedding, we wanted the theme to be very city centre ‘new year’s glam’. We wanted lots of sparkle and bling. The groom and best men/ushers wore dinner suits and my dress was very sparkly. The centrepieces were falling crystal chandeliers with added crystals on the tables with sequin tablecloths, we also used lots of chalkboards as Scott is a teacher and thought this would add a quirky ‘teacher touch’ and break things up nicely.
We kept the colour scheme simple with the men in black dinner suits and bridesmaids in champagne dresses as we wanted the look to be timeless and classic. The men (apart from the groom) wore champagne dicky bows to match the bridesmaids. We also tied the whole look in with champagne sequin tablecloths.
I knew when I was looking for a dress that I wanted it to be very sparkly due to the wedding being on New Year’s Eve. I went to nearly every wedding dress shop there was in the north east looking for a sparkly dress and I eventually found a dress by Alfred Angelo (part of the Disney range) in a shop called First Glance in Sunderland. The dress is called the Disney Cinderella 2016.
The whole dress was embellished in pearls, crystals and stones and the material also had additional shimmer all over it as well. Not content with all this bling I also customised the look by adding the Ronald Joyce Odessa necklace (also from the same shop) to it so that my chest did not look so bare.
I found it difficult to find a makeup artist for the wedding. I was let down by one and then other trials I had were disappointing. In the end I found a makeup artist on Facebook called Marta Make Up and I literally could not recommend this woman enough. She made my bridesmaids’ and my makeup look so flawless. She is definitely one of the most talented makeup artists I’ve ever used. My makeup lasted all day and night. Anyone getting married should contact her.
My hairdresser was Lucy Brown of Lucy Hair and Tan from Westerhope. She came out to hotel and did my hair as well as my five bridesmaids, my mum and sister-in-law. She was really affordable and did exactly what I asked.
Scott, the best men and ushers all got their dinner suits from Burton.
The bridesmaids wore dresses by Biba from House of Fraser. All the bridesmaids were various sizes and these dresses flattered everyone’s shapes as well as photographing really well.
On the day of the wedding, the bridal party all travelled in VW camper vans. We hired two of these from Brooklands Wedding Cars in Lanchester. They were the most affordable company we came across and they were very professional, helpful and reliable.
We also had a red vintage double decker London router bus for the guests to travel from the church to reception in. This was hired from Henry Cooper Coaches, and again, they were very reliable and helpful when speaking with them in the lead up to the wedding.
Our photographer was Jamie McElderry of Jamie Mac Photography. His photos speak for themselves. He has done numerous friends weddings and there was no doubt I would be booking him for my wedding. Jamie is extremely professional and organised. He got all the pictures we had asked him to get for us and more. I can’t recommend him enough.
We also had a videographer on the day and this is the one piece of advice I would give to anyone getting married – hire a videographer! The day goes by so quickly and photos are good at telling a story but the video captures the ceremony and speeches and words, which over time you will forget. We used VideoFX and Sean was fab. His prices are some of the best around.
The bouquets for my bridesmaids and myself contained hydrangea, ranunculus, anemone, wax flower, eucalyptus and roses. I absolutely adored them. They complemented my ivory dress and the bridesmaids’ champagne dresses perfectly. My flowers were from Thoughts of You Flowers in North Sheilds. The staff there were so friendly and kind they designed my bouquets exactly how I wanted them to be. They also supplied the roses for the wedding cake and supplied additional flowers for the tables.
As the venue was an empty shell I had to bring a lot of various companies in to give it the wow factor. I had a look in mind and I had to make it happen. I specifically wanted the louis ghost chairs and Crosby Hire in Newcastle supplied these for me. The sequin table cloths, falling crystal centrepieces, crystal votives, crystal candelabras and mirror and easel for my table seating plan were all supplied by The Whole Sch-bang. They were both so professional.
I also bought a roller banner in a chalkboard style to welcome our guests, and we had chalkboard bunting around the venue with our names and wedding date on.
As favours we had mini shot glasses on the tables with a tag attached saying “now we’ve tied the knot, take a shot” these were for everyone to keep. We didn’t want the usual name cards on the table so in keeping with our chalk board theme we had mini heart-shaped chalk boards pegged to each shot glass with everyone’s name chalked on. We also handed out as an additional keepsake small chiffon bags with a Perspex lucky six pence in it. This was engraved with our names and wedding date.
We wanted a slightly different wedding cake and loved all the chalkboard cake designs we had seen on Pinterest. We wanted something simple yet quirky. We were very lucky to have a friend offer to make us one as a wedding gift. The cake had different flavoured layers: lemon, chocolate and cherry madeira. It exceeded our expectations and we can’t thank our friend enough for such a kind and considerate gift.
Given the nature of the venue, we had to hire outside caterers to supply the food. We used Ramside Event Catering and they were amazing. We provided them with prosecco and they served this to all the guests as a welcome drink and for the toasts. They provided all the food and silver service. We wanted to keep the menu simple and non-pretentious. We also wanted everyone to have a choice of food. I came up with a three-course menu and so did Scott and then we let our guests choose a combination of foods that they wanted from each. My menu consisted of mushroom and goats cheese bruschetta to start, Cajun chicken breast with sweet potato wedges for the main and chocolate orange sponge cake for dessert. Scott chose vegetable soup with thyme dumplings to start, steak and ale pie with mustard mash for the main and apple crumble for dessert.
Ramside Event Catering also supplied the bar, which had every kind of drink. The staff were very professional at all times and at no point did it feel like outside caterers had been brought in.
For the evening food, we had a hog roast (again supplied by Ramside) it came with fresh floured stotties, rosemary and thyme roast potatoes or there was an option of vegetable lasagne.
As an extra foodie treat were gifted a large white sweet cart from a friend so we made our own ‘McGreevy Sweetshop’ sign for it and we had a large selection of jars of sweets and tongs set out on it. We had sweetshop bags with McGreevy’s Sweetshop printed on them.
When it came to the entertainment, we decided that we didn’t want a band and as the venue had its own surround speaker system we supplied all our own music on an iPod. That way we got to choose all the songs played and knew we would like them.
Instead of a usual photo booth for the reception, we had a ‘moonbooth’. It meant that we could have a vintage photo taken of our guests sat on the moon and they also got a photo to take away with them.
Our chosen wedding venue is something of a hidden gem. Everyone was blown away at how stunning it was. If you want a city centre wedding and something different and quirky then St Mary’s Heritage Centre is a great choice. You need to be prepared that you will need to get lots of outside suppliers in and therefore will be making some extra work for yourself. It was more stressful having our wedding this way as I had to source the caterers and chairs, decorations etc. but the results speak for themselves and it was totally worth it.
Looking back, my favourite part of the day was probably the fireworks at midnight on the quayside. When we went outside the atmosphere was buzzing, the quayside was packed and we had our own little viewing platform in St Mary’s grounds all to ourselves. The fireworks were out of this world and better than I could have imagined and we were right there in the middle of it all. It really was special and an amazing way to see in the new year.
After the wedding, we went to Cameron House in Loch Lomond and then to the Angels Share Hotel in Edinburgh for a minimoon. Our official honeymoon is in April – we are off to New York, then Colorado and then driving to Las Vegas.
My top tip to other Brides Up North would be (as mentioned) get a videographer, to capture the moments you will forget over time and book a reliable photographer. I’ve known so many people get messed about with photographers in the past, which is not what anyone needs in the lead up to their wedding. I’ve known Jamie through friends’ weddings over the years and knew I could trust him.