Real Weddings

Lace & eucalyptus for an Italian-inspired wedding at Doxford Barns, Northumberland – Abby & Paul

13th May 2019 | Alexis Forsyth

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Weddings don’t come much chicer than the stunning big day of Paul and Abby that we are sharing with you on the blog today.

Taking inspiration from dreamy Italian weddings and a certain Mrs Clooney, this stylish couple injected elegant Mediterranean vibes into their Northumberland-based celebrations at the captivatingly-beautiful Doxford Barns. And just as the venue stole the hearts of Paul and Abbey, prepare for it to take a hold on yours too, as its effortless rural charm, exposed stone and beam interiors and idyllic countryside setting are instantly appealing.

Love what you see? Then you’re in luck, as Brides Up North in collaboration with UNVEILED will present The Wedding Creatives – a luxury wedding show – at Doxford Barns THIS SUNDAY 19th May, 1pm till 4pm, FREE-ENTRY, and we’d love for you to join us! Not only will the event provide the perfect opportunity to see the true beauty of this venue first hand, but visiting couples will also be able to meet Doxford’s friendly and knowledgeable team to discover more about its exceptional big day offering. Furthermore, its stunning spaces will be filled with 25 + of the area’s top wedding suppliers, offering inspiration on everything from photography, styling and cakes to dresses, florals and entertainment. For more details and to pre-register for the event, click here.

Now, back to the pretty. There are so many details of Paul and Abby’s wedding that have us exercising our pinning-finger – the bride’s gorgeous lace dress for one and the lush all-white blooms, not to mention the effortless styling in trailing botanics, romantic pillar candles and magical festoons!

With images by Dan McCourt Photography.


Abby says: We got engaged in Venice on the 5th October 2016. Venice was a special place that we always wanted to visit, as some of my favourite photos of my late mother were taken there.

Paul proposed on the edge of the grand canal after taking a photo of Abby – he had smuggled the engagement ring down his trousers (in a box) for close to six hours, including a four-hour train journey from Bologna. Abby had absolutely no idea what was going on and did not see it coming, so it really was one of the purest surprises ever, something we will always enjoy the memory of.

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We got married on the 8th September 2018. We didn’t have any specific dates in mind – we just knew we wanted a weekend wedding and the venue was perfect for that time of year.

We got married at Doxford Barns. We picked the venue because of where it was, and how it looked – we loved the idea of being out in the country side with just our family and good friends for the weekend.

The ceremony was held in the Threshing Hall, which couldn’t of been more perfect on the day – it really was beautiful!

The reception was held in the Main Barn, which was an amazing place to be for the day – from the outside it looks like a little barn/house, and when you get inside the whole place just opens up and welcomes you. It really did have a special feel to it that we loved from the moment we stepped foot inside, before we had even booked the wedding.


We wanted the wedding to be simple/classic – we took a lot of inspiration from Italian style weddings set in old churches/buildings.

The venue was so beautiful to start with and we felt that doing too much would take away from its presence. The flowers were all we really added – hydrangeas, olive leaf, and eucalyptus.

I spent a lot of time researching different looks on Instagram/Esty that helped us get exactly what we were wanting visually.

The colour scheme was mostly black and ivory.

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I wore an Italian lace wedding dress with an embellished low v-neckline and low back. The veil was from Si Bridal and the earrings were from Liberty In Love.

I loved Amal Clooney’s look on her wedding day and so took inspiration from her.


Paul and the groomsmen wore three-piece suits and shoes from Next with a black wool knitted tie, finished off with a silver collar pin and silver cufflinks.

They took some inspiration from the Peaky Blinders for their attire.


The bridesmaids wore black bardot, floor-length gowns from Jarlo London, and were gifted diamond earrings from Liberty In Love.

Our flower girl Cassie wore an ivory lace dress from Debenhams.


Makeup was taken care of by Jemma Lou while hair was styled by Katie Rouse of Keep It Pinned.

I work for Tom Ford beauty, and so, of course, had to walk down the aisle wearing my favourite Sable Smoke lip colour. My perfume was Armani Prive Rose Alexandrie.

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Dan McCourt was our photographer, who we found on Instagram.

From the minute we met Dan we knew he was the right person for us. We got on straight away and having him there on the day was amazing – he played a big part in our wedding, and we will always be thankful for what he did for us.


Our flowers were done by Christine at Lavenders Blue. She really understood the look were going for after just one meeting and to be honest, the photos don’t do justice to how beautiful her flowers were on the day, and that’s saying something!

Laura at Etch Cut did our table numbers, cake toppers, acrylic and perspex sign etc. Laura was nothing short of amazing in her work and was another person who did a lot more than they had to for us.

We also had a photo backdrop frame made and finished off with an acrylic sign saying ‘Mr and Mrs Collins’ as well as decorated with flowers.


We had three cakes: one traditional cake, one tower of Krispy Kreme donuts (Paul’s favourite) and one cake made up of cheese.


The food was all done by Doxford Barns, and we were lucky enough to give our guest the options of picking from three different starters, mains and desserts, which we selected after a tasting menu at the venue.

Food was another factor in our decision-making process for the venue, and Doxford Barns came with a great reputation.


We kept it quite simple with the evening entertainment and had a DJ from Bride and Groove. We just wanted to dance to our favourite songs and enjoy the time with our guests, something we felt a band would take away from.

Special touches

We had my mam’s photo with flowers and a sign next to us at the alter when we said our vows, and we also had it placed in the Main Barn throughout the rest of the day. Laura from Etch Cut made a sign with lyrics from my mam’s favourite song on it too.

I also learnt to do calligraphy so that I could do all of the place names myself and customise and personalise our invites.

When planning the wedding, we wanted to try and use local businesses and suppliers, where possible. As such, we got our cheesecake from the lovely girls in the Grainger Market, we got the chocolate cake from Pet Lamb Patisserie, and we got all of the candelabras and candle sticks from Fenwick.

Thanks to

After our wedding, we would highly recommend Doxford Barns to other brides and grooms. Every single part of the weekend was perfect, and that’s down to all of the hard work the staff put in, from the minute you arrive, all the way up until the minute you leave. Thank you all!

Best bit

The entire day was amazing, so it’s really hard to pick one point that was our favourite, but if we had to it would probably be seeing each other for the first time in the Threshing Hall, as well as the speeches.


We went to Italy for ten days on our honeymoon. We flew in to Florence and then got the train to Milan, Venice and eventually Bologna.

We also went to Seaham Hall a week before the wedding to relax and kick off our wedding week the right way, just the two of us. We were upgraded when we got there and had a chilled bottle of champagne on ice waiting for us in the room, so a special thanks to the staff for that little gesture.


My top tips for other Brides Up North would be: do what makes you happy; spend money on the things that are important to you; remember it’s your wedding so don’t worry about what other people have done, let it be your vision; embrace working as a team – it’s great practice for the rest of your married life.

During the wedding planning I followed the Brides Up North Instagram for inspiration. We also attended a Brides Up North wedding fair, not just for our wedding but for my maid of honour’s wedding as well.

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