Happy Valentine’s Day to our beautiful readers! And what could be more fitting on this super loving day than one of the most romantic and intimate weddings to have graced our pretty pages?
Brimming with beautiful blooms, dreamy styling and a hint of that ‘je ne sais quoi’ thanks to their stunning venue – the French-inspired Le Petit Chateau in Northumberland – Natalie and Matthew’s big day that we’re reliving on the blog today has it all!
Sometimes, less is definitely more, with Natalie and Matthew hosting a wedding day with only 20 guests, followed two weeks later by a larger reception party. As you might expect from a small wedding, their day was peppered with plenty of personal touches – from readings about love and friendship by their close friends, to an individually curated playlist of songs that meant something special to the couple and their guests.
Other details to pore over include their quaint afternoon tea style canapés, heart shaped gingerbread biscuits for favours, tables all named after locations of significance to the newlyweds, and a smattering of uber stylish pumpkins, of course!
And so, if like Natalie, you’re a bride that’s all about the intimacy on your big day, then this real wedding is just for you!
With images by Katy Melling
Natalie says: Matthew asked me to marry him on holiday in Thailand in November 2016. It was very unexpected and totally out of the blue – it was the biggest and best surprise of my life! We had enjoyed a dream day, jam-packed with adventures, exploring the beautiful island of Koh Samui. Following a wonderful Thai meal and watching a fire show on the beach, we walked back along the shore to our beautiful hotel. There had been a supermoon whilst we were staying in Thailand and we had spent every night looking up at it and commenting how stunning it was. I didn’t think anything of it when Matt stopped and pointed out the moon, only this time, a sparkling diamond ring appeared in front of me and he popped the question! Matt hadn’t told any of our family and friends he was planning to propose so it was even more wonderful to hear their surprised reactions when we phoned them to announce our happy news!
Our wedding date was 31st October 2018 – Halloween! Although we didn’t specifically choose our date to tie in with Halloween (it was a date available at our venue and all our guests were able to attend) we love that our wedding date is even more memorable.
We held both our ceremony and reception at Le Petit Chateau in Northumberland. We live in Lancashire but wanted to keep our venue options open and find somewhere really beautiful and unique. We think Northumberland is a gorgeous part of the country and came across the Chateau online. We visited one of their open days and instantly fell in love with the venue, it was so romantic and different to anywhere else we had come across.
We didn’t have a specific theme for our wedding, but we made choices for the styling which were in keeping with the romantic, French character of the venue. Having a romantic feel to the day was very important to us.
We didn’t purposely choose a colour scheme at the start, as we didn’t want to restrict our choices whilst wedding planning, however, it soon became apparent we loved the colour blue! The groomsmen’s suits, bridesmaids’ dresses, the invitations and our table names were all shades of blue. We felt was this was a stylish choice for a winter wedding and was a nice contrast to the soft, feminine colour palette at the venue.
My dress was from Zavana, an Australian designer, and I bought it from Brides at Charnock Farm. I spotted it in the shop window by chance and absolutely fell in love with it. At this point we hadn’t even booked the venue, but I told my friend and bridesmaid Jennifer all about it and she insisted we go and try it on, as I couldn’t stop thinking about it – and I’m so glad she did! As soon as I tried the dress on, I knew it was perfect for me. Prior to that, I had no idea what style of dress I wanted, but it had so many beautiful details and fitted so nicely it ticked all of the boxes. I did try other dresses on to be sure and I was open to other styles, but none seemed to give me the feeling of joy that my dress gave me – wearing it really did make me feel special and so happy and it is my dream dress!
To wear with my dress, Jenny leant me her beautiful veil, dotted with diamantes, which was my ‘something borrowed’ and I accessorised with a fresh flower hair clip made by our florist Peony and Gold.
Matthew bought matching navy three-piece suits by Remus Uomo for himself and his two best men, from Nigel Clare Menswear. He wanted suits that were stylish and modern but formal enough to be fitting for the occasion.
I had two bridesmaids – my two best friends Stacey and Jennifer. They wore full-length dresses in pale blue from TFNC at ASOS and looked stunning. The colour suited them both perfectly and we loved the simple, elegant cut. They had a deep V-back and a satin band around the waist, which tied in a bow at the back. The satin from the bow ran the full length of the back of the dresses, and to tie in with this, their bouquets had long, flowing ribbons in matching blue satin.
My mum, two bridesmaids and I had our hair done by Leanne from Get Up and Pin Up and our makeup was done by Marta from Costa Chic. Both were fantastic, and we would highly recommend them, they were lovely to have around whilst we were getting ready. I didn’t have a set style for the hair and makeup and my bridesmaids and me each chose different styles. Leanne and Marta totally understood the style each one of us wanted and captured our personalities.
Our photographer was Katy Melling, who was absolutely wonderful. We chose Katy because we loved her light and romantic style. From first contact with Katy she was a total professional and we feel like we have become friends with her and have kept in touch since our wedding. Katy put everybody at ease and was a pleasure to have at our wedding. Matthew and I are quite camera shy, but Katy made us feel completely relaxed – most of the time we didn’t even notice her taking photos, especially during the ceremony. Her photos tell the story of our day and she captured all of the little details beautifully. She even took the time to edit out fire signage in the background of some of our photos. Her attention to detail really is incredible and Katy went to every effort to ensure our photographs were perfect for us, and we will cherish them for a lifetime.
Our flowers were put together by Laura from Peony and Gold. I absolutely love flowers, so the flowers on our wedding day were really important to me. My bouquet was made up of David Austin Patience roses, spray roses, cream lisianthus, cream matthiola and eucalyptus. I wanted a soft and elegant bouquet and love how cream flowers and eucalyptus work so well together and look so romantic. The bouquet was tied with a taupe satin ribbon. My bridesmaids carried smaller versions of my bouquet, tied with long, flowing pale blue ribbons to match their dresses.
Although I love beautiful, fresh flowers, we were keen not to go overboard or over budget with the flowers, for us, less was more. We chose an arrangement of cream hydrangeas and roses for the fireplace in Belle Epoque – the room we had both our ceremony and reception in, so we really felt these were worth spending money on.
To tie in with this, our centrepieces were white hydrangeas, in simple grey flowerpots, which we felt were just as effective as large, extravagant centrepieces. Finally, we had a beautiful arrangement of flowers on a vintage mirror Matthew’s dad had given us, which we had written on in chalk paint by Kate Illustrate and used as a ‘welcome’ sign for guests.
We had lots of varieties of real pumpkins dotted around the venue too, as a nod to our Halloween wedding date – all shapes, sizes and colours. Some of these we had decorated by Kate Illustrate, with phrases such as ‘I do’ and ‘Mr & Mrs’.
We had three tables at our wedding breakfast, each named after places close to our hearts – Thailand, Scotland and the Lake District. Each of these places has played an important role in our relationship and we wanted to incorporate them into our wedding day.
We had a stunning neon sign from Coco Luminaire which read ‘amour’. This couldn’t have tied in more perfectly with the romantic French styling of the Chateau and had a modern twist.
Our favours were heart shaped gingerbread biscuits, with white icing, into which was stamped our names and wedding date. We were keen to have favours that our guests could enjoy.
Our cake was a wedding present from Matthew’s step-mum, and was made by her friend who runs a cake business – Cake by Diane. Due to only having a small number of guests, we only required a single tier and kept the design very simple and chic. It had a navy ribbon to tie in with our blue colour scheme and fresh flowers arranged by our florist. The cake was Victoria sponge to suit all tastes and was delicious.
Our canapes were afternoon tea themed, and included finger sandwiches, mini quiches and mini scones washed down with Prosecco cocktails. Our wedding breakfast was a traditional three-course meal as we thought this would suit all tastes. The sticky toffee pudding dessert was utterly delicious!
We chose John Gatenby as our evening entertainer. We had seen John perform at a wedding open day at the Chateau and loved his relaxed style and amazing voice. As we were only a very small wedding party, we didn’t want a large band, just some laid back, live music to dance to in the evening. John let us choose the playlist which meant every song was one we both loved, or we knew individual guests would love, making the evening that bit more personal.
My ‘something blue’ was having Matthew’s name stitched into the lining of my wedding dress.
It was really important to us that the ceremony was personal and romantic, it was the most important part of the day for us. We chose all the music for the ceremony ourselves and each song meant something to us. I walked down the aisle to I Can’t Help Falling In Love by Haley Reinhart, which is really special to us.
We had two close friends do readings during the ceremony, which they did beautifully; one of the readings was about love, and the other friendship. Our friend Susan’s little boy George even wanted to stand with her at the front and hold her hand whilst she did her reading, which really was a special moment!
We would absolutely recommend Le Petit Chateau to other couples. The inside of the venue, the exterior and the gardens are all equally stunning. Even in winter, we got beautiful photographs outside. It is romantic, magical and unique and if you would like a memorable venue, set in stunning countryside, it would be the perfect choice.
Every minute and every little moment of our wedding day culminated to make the most perfect and happy day of our lives – we couldn’t just pick one part!
Neither of us wanted a big wedding – there were just 20 of us in total for the whole day – the ceremony was really important to us. We didn’t want our wedding day to be about anything other than making our vows in front of the people closest to us and having plenty of time to share with those people throughout the day. We think that is what made our wedding so special and unique to us.
We spent our honeymoon in the Lake District. We both love the outdoors and have lots of great memories in the Lakes. We stayed at the beautiful, romantic Rose Cottage and enjoyed walking, a spa day and wonderful meals at the Lakeside Hotel and Swan Hotel. As it wasn’t a long journey, we were able to take champagne we had received as a wedding present, some of our wedding cake and my bouquet, which I put in a vase in the cottage.
Our tip for other Brides Up North would be to plan the wedding you want and don’t worry about sticking to traditions if they aren’t for you. We had a small, intimate, romantic wedding with just 20 people in attendance and loved how personal and special the day was, it gave us the chance to take everything in. We then had a big evening reception party for all of our family and friends two weeks later at Charnock Farm, a rustic barn venue close to home, easily accessible for all our guests. It meant we could relax and party and spend time with all the guests. We had a singer, DJ and confetti cannon – it was a real party atmosphere! Splitting our wedding like this was a bit unusual but worked perfectly for us!
Matt’s top tip is for grooms to give themselves plenty of time to prepare their speeches!
During the planning, I loved looking at the styled shoots on Brides Up North for ‘professional’ inspiration, but also loved looking at the real weddings section to see what great ideas real brides and grooms had brought to life at their weddings and what advice they had given.