After originally meeting at Newcastle University, it seems rather fitting that newlyweds Fiona and Martin would choose to tie the knot up north at Healey Barn in Northumberland.
Drawn in by its natural beauty and exquisite food, this was the perfect venue for the couple’s big day back in May. Keeping things colourful and fun with a vibrant coral palette – they incorporated their love for animals into their theme too, complete with origami creatures for their favours!
A perfect nod to the bride’s Scottish heritage, the groom even sported a traditional kilt and they danced the night away to a ceilidh. As for the bride’s dreamy attire, after discovering ‘the one’ while visiting her parents in Brisbane, Fiona went on to purchase her beautiful lace, cap sleeved ensemble from a shop back in Newcastle. Destiny if you ask us! Ready to find out more? Fiona recounts all the day’s highlights…
With images by Linus Moran Photography
Fiona says: It was my 30th birthday, December 15th 2017. Martin had told me to pack a bag for a birthday weekend away but that was all I knew. We got in the car and headed north until we arrived in Newcastle, where we first met seven years earlier.
On the morning of my birthday it was frosty but beautifully sunny. We love hiking and the outdoors, so Martin took us for a walk along Hadrian’s Wall. We stopped at a place known as Sycamore Gap and he gave me a birthday card. It was beautifully written, talking about our relationship and qualities he loves about me. I read it with my back to him as I felt emotional about the kind words! Still with no clue a proposal was coming, I got to the end of the card where I saw the letters “P.S W.Y.M.M?” and turned around to face him confused when I saw him on one knee!
We got married on 6th May 2019. We have always loved May with spring being in full swing and it often has lovely weather, although it was sadly freakishly cold on our wedding day!
Our full day was held at Healey Barn in Northumberland. We met at Newcastle University and got engaged up there so whilst neither of us are from Newcastle, it holds a very special place in our hearts.
When looking for venues we went to an open day at Cripps Barn and Stone Barn in the Cotswolds, having seen an advert for them and loved the idea of a barn wedding. We fell in love with them both, but knew we wanted to get married up North. So, imagine how pleased we were to find that Cripps had a sister barn – in Northumberland! We went to see it and instantly knew it was the one. It was so naturally beautiful, in the countryside where we feel most at home and what really sealed the deal was tasting the food. As big foodies, the meal was an important feature for us, and the Cripps Group really know how to do amazing food!
We didn’t so much have a particular theme, but we wanted it to be colourful and fun. Animals feature quite a lot in the art around our home, having collected pieces from around the world, including Africa and the Middle East, so we wanted to incorporate a few similar touches into our wedding, such as our origami animal table theme.
I loved the idea of bright happy colours like corals and oranges with natural foliage. I felt it would bring an overall feeling of happiness and suit a spring wedding.
My parents have relocated to Brisbane, so I knew it would be difficult for my mum to be part of the dress experience. So, when visiting Brisbane around 13 months before the wedding, we decided to look for dresses together, even though I hadn’t planned to purchase out there.
I actually saw my dress on a mannequin in the window and thought it looked amazing. It was called Suri by Catherine Deane. I had tried on around 30 dresses but this one just felt right. I loved the delicate lace, the cap sleeves and the hint of a train. I knew I wasn’t going for the princess type, though did have fun trying those on! I had pictured myself in a figure hugging, long sleeved dress, but they just weren’t very comfortable.
Given that our wedding involved a lot of Scottish ceilidh dancing, I knew I needed to be able to move in the dress. The Suri gown just felt like it was made for me, I felt great every time I looked in the mirror and never wanted to take it off. I also hadn’t seen a gown like it before and have since been told it was very unique. I tried it on a few more times when back in the UK and eventually purchased it from Marrime Bridal in Newcastle.
My shoes were my ‘something blue’- powder blue shoes by Rachel Simpson. They caught my eye straight away and I loved the little splash of blue.
My veil was by Pink Margaret, a lady who makes veils in her home who I found on a wedding blog. She did an amazing job and is a fraction of the price of veils in boutiques! I didn’t take my veil off all day, despite it being longer than floor length!
I am Scottish but Martin is from Essex, so I had never really expected him to wear a kilt. When he told me that was what he wanted him and his groomsmen to wear, I was really touched. He knows that Scottish tradition means a lot to me and that I miss Scotland a lot, so him trying to incorporate as much of my country into our wedding was really special. Plus, kilts look absolutely gorgeous! They were hired from Slaters Menswear.
The groomsmen wore the same tartan as Martin, all from Slaters.
My three bridesmaids wore beautiful flowing peachy gowns from ASOS. I wanted the colour to be as neutral as possible to allow the colourful bouquets to stand out and not clash. The girls all looked stunning. My two nieces were my flower girls, they wore matching white dresses from John Lewis.
My hair was done by Julie Law, my current hairdresser who works at Zanders Hair Design. She has been doing my hair for years and knows me really well, so I really trusted her to do an amazing job.
As for my makeup, this was done by Melanie Hedley who I found online. She was incredible and so easy going, she didn’t force me to have a makeup trial and knew exactly the style I was going for.
My dad organised our cars. He hired a beautiful old royal Jaguar drop head coupe for myself and him to travel to the barn from Brooklands Wedding Cars.
Our photographer was Linus Moran, a wonderful Dorset based photographer who had actually captured two of my colleagues’ weddings. I had seen his Facebook page pop up on my feed and he was advertising a competition in which we ended up coming runners up!
His documentary style suited us down to the ground, especially as my husband hates posing for photographs. I would 100% recommend him, he was so easy going, allowed us to just enjoy our day without worrying about posing constantly or missing anything and we couldn’t be happier with the finished result. His pictures are amazing and allow us to relive the day every time we look at them.
My parents booked Wayne from Green Biscuit as a surprise for us. We had seen his videos and they are the best we had ever seen. He was so professional and lovely and in no way intrusive. We barely noticed he was there half the time! We haven’t yet seen the video of our big day but can’t wait! Sadly, Martin’s gran was too ill to make it to our wedding so this will be the perfect way to allow her to share in our day.
I loved the idea of a natural, wild bouquet not too perfectly shaped. My favourite flowers are ranunculi and peonies so I was really keen to have these in my bouquet. There were also hypericum berries for the bright orange pop of colour, some roses and lots of foliage, tied together with a white satin ribbon. It was the most perfect bouquet!
For the table flowers, I was keen to keep the theme consistent with the bouquets but with the addition of another unique flower which I love – the proteus. It is so bold and unusual that I felt it would go well with the feel of our wedding. The flowers were in wooden crates which was in keeping with the natural rustic feel we had been going for.
Sharon Wright from Wild with Love florist is the most amazing florist I could have ever asked for. Nothing was too much trouble she somehow knew exactly what I was looking for and I couldn’t have been happier with the flowers on the day.
My mum is amazing at cooking and baking and we really wanted as many personal touches as possible, so she kindly made gingerbread hearts with our initials on them as favours. Plus, each table was linked to a different origami animal, so each guest had their own animal depending which table they were at.
My friend Hannah is incredibly talented at baking and as our gift she offered to make our wedding cake. She made a wonderful three-tiered cake; lime and coconut, salted caramel and white chocolate and raspberry covered in a beautiful orange marbled icing and finished with gold leaf. It was stunning.
The food at Healey Barn isn’t your standard wedding fayre. We loved their ‘feast’ style as it felt more relaxed and fun. We started with cured beef with celeriac remoulade, then roast chicken with creamy tarragon sauce and sharing plates of dauphinoise (our favourite potato dish!) and a feta and quinoa salad. For the veggies we had a goat’s cheese and roasted beet salad then a leek and goats cheese tart with a sweet potato, mint and tahini salad. The meal finished with a delicious lemon tart with thick double cream.
The wines were all gorgeous and chosen specially by the Barn’s sommelier. We went for a French red: Château Planères de Saint Jean Cotes de Roussillon and a French white: Château Les Miaudoux Bergerac Sec. Plus on the top table we had a special red that Martin and I love, Contino Rioja Reserva which will forever be our ‘wedding wine’.
For the ceremony and drinks reception we hired John Gatenby, an amazing solo singer and guitarist. We knew we wanted the day to feel relaxed, happy and natural and those were the exact vibes we got. He is immensely talented and performed my walk down the aisle song (Grow Old With Me by Tom Odell) perfectly. His version of Drake’s One Dance is something I could listen to all day!
In the evening we knew we wanted a ceilidh and luckily we found the Jenni Gibb Band (with Steph standing in as the main singer) and they did such a great job. The ceilidh brought so much fun and laughter to the evening and they did the best job of learning our first dance Never Too Much by Luther Van Dross.
Healey Barn is already beautiful on its own, so we didn’t add too many other decorations. We had my favourite essential oils candles by Susie Mak in Brisbane in rose gold holders.
We also had a guest book with a Polaroid Snaptouch camera for guests to take pictures of themselves.
Martin’s best friend sadly died a few years ago and his mum brought a picture of him which we placed on the top table and we had a gorgeous picture of my nana and grandad in their youth.
Healey Barn is a stunning venue, set in beautiful Northumberland countryside. There is a beautiful woodland area which is perfect for private couple’s pics. The whole day was coordinated so well, I was really impressed with the staff there, especially Jack who was always checking if I was happy with everything! Their chefs are incredible, and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the barn to another couple. We had so many compliments on the whole day.
It is so hard to pick a favourite part because the whole thing was the best experience of my life. The first time I saw Martin in his kilt standing at the fireplace as I walked down the aisle with my dad was a really special moment for me.
As we had written our own vows, reading those aloud to each other was also incredibly special.
I think having everyone we love in one room for probably the only time in our lives is a huge part of why a wedding is so amazing.
We spent three weeks travelling around Bali for our honeymoon. We were keen to go somewhere with sunshine and a mix of activities as we are really active people. We also knew that the type of luxury you can only justify on honeymoon is a lot more affordable in South East Asia!
We visited Seminyak, Munduk, Ubud, Uluwatu and Canggu. We spent our time surfing, hiking mountains, eating the most incredible food, taking cooking classes and having wonderful Balinese massages. The places we stayed in were incredible. We were even lucky enough to get a free upgrade at the Munduk Moding Plantation to an incredible villa set in the secluded mountains with an infinity pool looking over the jungle. It is a holiday we will never forget.
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be – just don’t stress! The tiny details you might fret over really don’t matter on the day, you will probably forget you even wanted that exact style of napkin or colour of name card! What matters is dancing with your new husband, chatting with old friends, or getting to eat the beautiful cake. If it rains, don’t worry. If you forget something, it’s OK. You’ve waited for this day for a long time – make sure you enjoy it!