Using Kielder Forest and its stunning starry skies as inspo, our couple today journeyed from their home in Singapore to the Northumberland National Park to tie the knot and celebrate with all of their friends and family.
Clara and Matt knew that when it came to wedding planning, they really wanted to travel halfway around the world to come back to Matt’s childhood home for their wedding, and they chose The Comb as their gorgeous venue. Planning a wedding from the other side of the world isn’t the easiest of tasks but our couple worked with some lovely local suppliers and, despite the time difference, have managed to pull it all off with panache.
Wearing a gown by a Singaporean designer but surrounded by English woodland, Clara and her groom brought together elements of Asia and Northumberland to truly create a day that was unique to them. Complementing a neutral palette with pops of pale blue and sunny yellow, adding in some handmade origami flowers for a little something extra, and then serving up some locally foraged food and partying the night away ceilidh-style really offered guests something totally different!
For tips on how to DIY on a budget, and details of all that overseas planning, we’re bringing you the fabulous details of this relaxed and happy international wedding. Read on to find out more!
With images by Fiona Saxton Photography
Clara says: We got engaged on Alnmouth beach. We were out for a walk and then went for a quick dip in the water. When we got out, Matt surprised me with a proposal!
We got married on 15th June 2019. We wanted a June wedding, both for the warmer weather and also to coincide with the Singapore school holidays, as my family (including a school-going niece) were coming over.
We held the ceremony and reception at The Comb in Tarset Valley, Northumberland. We wanted to do something in Northumberland as Matt grew up in Newcastle and spent a lot of time with family in the Northumberland countryside, including Kielder Forest. We picked the Comb as we loved the beautiful, rustic setting in the heart of Northumberland. We also liked the way that Pat and his team had refurbished the old farmhouse and shed into the beautiful venue that it now is!
We went for a rustic woodland style as the venue is in the middle of Kielder Forest.
We wanted a natural palette, so we mainly went with woodland colours with blue and yellow accents. I love sunflowers and blue flowers. We didn’t totally stick to the colour palette as we also ended up incorporating flowers from Matt’s father’s garden into the wedding, as well as making our own origami flowers which were in a wide variety of colours.
I got my dress from The Wedding Present, a wedding dress boutique in Singapore. The dress was designed by Patrick Chan. I chose it as I really liked the lace detailing. And it was discounted in the sale!
Matt decided to keep things simple by wearing a suit that he already had from Next. The groomsmen were just told to wear whatever they wanted to wear!
The bridesmaids wore long teal multiway dresses which I bought from Qoo10 (a Singaporean online marketplace). I wanted my bridesmaids to be able to choose their own style of dress. The flower girls wore white dresses which their mother (my new sister-in-law!) chose.
My hair and makeup was done by Ashleigh and Amber of Mink Studios. They also did my mum and sister’s hair. They were amazing to work with, especially since I actually only managed to book them at the last minute due to a very understandable cancellation by the original hair/makeup artist! The rest of the bridal party did their own hair and makeup.
Fiona Saxton was our photographer and would absolutely recommend her because she took such stunning photos and was such a joy to work with!
We got flowers from Katharine Norris of Northumbrian Flowers. She did my wonderful bouquet, floral hoops for the bridesmaids, gorgeous buttonholes made from succulents for Matt, his groomsmen and my father, and the flower girl crowns. Katharine grows her own flowers locally in Wark, and all her flowers were super amazing.
Katharine also provided jars of flowers for the table decorations, as well as a eucalyptus garland for the high table.
We made jars and bowls of origami flowers for table decorations. Matt’s parents helped us to gather pinecones and other woodland items to decorate the table with as we were not able to do so ourselves, given that we’re based in Singapore.
We wanted a cake made out of cheese because I just love cheese! It was from Waitrose and it was pretty awesome. We thought we would have a lot of cheese left over to take with us on our honeymoon, but we sadly did not!
We gave out little packets of snacks and personalised wine charms which also functioned as place names.
We had food from Northern Wilds, who are also based in Tarset Valley, because we liked that they offered a selection of food that was locally foraged. They provided canapes, as well as individual wood-fired pizzas baked in a wood stove housed in their very cool army truck. Our guests loved the food! Matt’s parents chose the wine for us as neither of us are wine experts.
We knew from the start that we wanted a ceilidh at the wedding, so we engaged Northern Lights ceilidh band. Paul Knox, who is part of the band, also played the Northumbrian pipes during the ceremony.
We arrived in the UK two weeks in advance of the big day so that we could prep for the wedding.
We made our own wedding arch for the ceremony backdrop. The arch structure was made from willow branches. We then weaved ivy, from Matt’s father’s garden, through the structure and finished it off with some flowers, of which some were also from Matt’s father’s garden. We also made our own seating plan using one of Matt’s old bicycle wheels and made an order of the day sign using an old wooden pallet that Pat at the venue had. We’re particularly proud of the seating plan as we managed to get the wheel spinning. We printed out tons of photos and got our family and friends to help put them up around the shed, together with fairy lights.
We hired North Star for audio and visual, and also Arden Hire for extra catering stuff. We also organised a meal the day before the wedding, for our family and friends who were helping us set up. This was catered by Tim Fyfe, who did a Mediterranean barbecue that was a massive hit!
We would definitely recommend our venue to other couples! In addition to The Comb being such a beautiful setting, Pat and his team did a great job of making the whole day ran smoothly and without stress for us! Having everything held on one site was also very convenient as we did not have to worry about transport.
Because we’re based in Singapore, we are really grateful to all our suppliers for being so amazing and accommodating, given that we had to plan our wedding from so far away!
There were many awesome moments throughout the day but two moments that really stand out were me climbing over a gate in my full-length wedding dress so that Fiona could get some shots of the two of us in a nearby field, and seeing everyone really enjoying themselves at the ceilidh.
We went to Cornwall where we hired a yellow vintage VW campervan called Daisy from Camper Hire Escapes. The honeymoon was really amazing as we got to enjoy some lovely Cornish beaches and food. I personally really enjoyed all the photo opportunities with Daisy!
My top tips for other Brides Up North would be to look to fellow brides-to-be Instagram accounts for useful ideas. I also used Brides Up North to find some inspiration on the real wedding pages!