A countryside setting and a relaxed, fun-filled vibe were key to Rebecca and Tom’s gorgeous Bank Holiday wedding.
After a beautiful Christmas time proposal (of which more later), Rebecca and Tom decided the spring Bank Holiday was the perfect time for their ‘I do’ moment – yes, the force was officially with them for their May 4th nuptials.
A marquee celebration was the order of the day for their party, with rustic countryside twists accentuating the relaxed, bohemian mood they wanted to create. Sweet, romantic touches also peppered the proceedings, with love radiating through every decision and detail.
But don’t just take our word for it, read on for Rebecca’s account of their big day; from the proposal all the way through to the evening pizza feast.
With images by Chocolate Chip Photography
Rebecca says: We got engaged at High Sweden Bridge in Ambleside on 28th December 2016. Tom’s family is from York and mine is from Carlisle, so we would usually go to our families separately at Christmas. In the lead-up to Christmas 2016, Tom had arranged lots of different surprises – a trip to the Whitley Bay ice rink where we had our first date, a meal out at our favourite pub, visiting all the places we used to go when we first started dating… it was really magical and such a lovely lead-up to Christmas.
We parted ways just before Christmas, looking forward to seeing each other again just before New Year’s, which we’d be spending together. To my surprise though, on December 27th, when I was arriving back at my parents after a day out with my dad, I saw my mum walking up the country lane with Tom and Rusty (the trusty family pet)! Tom had arranged to surprise me with the help of my parents – and they’re terrible at keeping secrets from me, so did very well to keep quiet!
The following day he drove us over to Ambleside in the Lake District. It was a typical winter’s day – snow on the hills and very chilly but the sun was shining. We really enjoy hiking and he’d planned a local walk. He popped the question on a remote but idyllic High Sweden Bridge. Only the two of us were there; it was so personal and just the way I wanted.
We set the date for 4th May 2019 , as it fell on a Bank Holiday. Our friends and family would be driving from all over, so we wanted the wedding to be like a mini holiday for them, meaning they didn’t have to worry about going back to work the next day. It also means our wedding anniversaries will usually be on a Bank Holiday, too!
We had our full day at High House Farm Brewery in Matfen. We wanted the day to be a chilled-out celebration and this is exactly the vibe we got when we first visited the venue. As we love spending time outdoors it was perfect: the scenery was beautiful, and the space gave us so much scope to plan what we wanted. Heather at High House was really accommodating and gave us help where needed but also let us do our own thing – this included decorations, food and so on. It was important to us that the day was personal and reflected us as a couple, so having the freedom to do it was great.
We were quite concerned about the weather, so decided to opt for a marquee through Collingwood Marquees who were recommended by the venue. It looked great on the day – and proved a very good decision as the rain clouds set in!
The general theme of the wedding was bohemian country. We both liked the rustic feel and it fitted in perfectly with the venue. We wanted the theme to remain quite natural so included a lot of pastel colours. We liked the dusty pinks and they worked really well with the groomsmen’s blue suits so decided to stick with it!
I finally picked my dress from Wed2Be in Gateshead. I wanted the dress to feel comfortable and really liked those that gave a lot of coverage but without looking too big on me. My friend recommended Wed2Be: in theory, it sounded great, particularly as you could try the dress on in your actual size rather than trying to imagine yourself in one that fits, but I wanted to see it for myself. The choice at Wed2Be was great and after trying on a couple of dresses it soon became quite apparent that this was the one – even before any alterations I loved it! We changed it up a bit and added some sparkle with the buttons that run all the way down the back. The finished product was just what I wanted, and I felt amazing on the day.
Tom wore a Marc Darcy suit. We were on a mini family holiday in Northumberland and took a day trip to Berwick upon Tweed where we walked past the most incredible suits in a Hainsworth’s Menswear shop window. We just had to pick them! The suits were chequered and fit in really well with the rustic theme. As Tom often wears a suit for work, it was important that this one be a little different from his day-to-day look. These had more of an old-school/rustic vibe to them and they all looked great together.
All of our groomsmen suits came from Marc Darcy; we found they fitted perfectly and felt quite light compared to full tweed suits. They were also really easy to order online so helped remove the stress of getting everyone to the one shop.
We got all of the bridesmaids and flower girl dresses from Debenhams. The bridesmaids’ dresses were a dusky pink and flowed really well. We found it quite difficult to get matching dresses for the flower girls as they were different ages but did eventually find some at Debenhams – they loved dressing up for the day and you couldn’t keep them off the dancefloor in the evening!
My hair was done by Hannah at Very You Hair – she was fabulous! She was so relaxed and calm both on the trial and the day it really made a difference when things started getting a little hectic. I’d even changed my mind about my hairstyle after the trial and she adapted really well, absolutely nailing it on the day.
On the morning of the wedding, myself and my dad travelled to the venue in a classic Morris Minor which we hired from Northumbria Classics. We first saw them at a wedding fair and liked that the cars were a little more old-fashioned and classic compared to the general wedding cars that we’d seen before – something a bit different. My dad’s first car was a Morris Minor so it was really nice to be able to treat him to this (albeit a bit of a bumpy ride!).
We also organised buses for all of our guests and the rest of the party; we wanted everyone to be able to enjoy themselves and for there to be as little fuss as possible on the day. We used Keith’s Coaches in Hexham. It all ran smoothly on the day and everyone arrived right on cue!
Chris from Chocolate Chip Photography took our wedding photos. We first met Chris at a wedding fair – we’d met a lot of photographers that day but Chris and Shazia’s work stood out to us by miles! Their work was creative and timeless, and we had no trouble in deciding they were the right ones for us. Running up to the big day, we met up with Chris. Not really being one for posing for the camera, I was a little nervous that the couple photos would feel unnatural (and look it) but he completely put us at ease. We loved that he was going to try out a few new things and were happy to give him free reign to do this!
On the day, Chris arrived a couple of hours before we were due to leave. Being such a lovely, genuine guy, he fitted in really well and was actually really reassuring to have there! Throughout the day he had a relaxed approach, and the guests loved him. The couple shots were really enjoyable, and it was really nice to head out for some quiet time and to get some pictures in the nearby fields.
I found it really difficult to choose flowers. It wasn’t something I was used to and I didn’t really know where to start. I’d seen The Little Flower House on Instagram and looking through the photos the style seemed to be just what we were after. After meeting Sharon face-to-face, she seemed to just get exactly what I wanted – showing us loads of pictures and styles – and she was able to guide us really well. The flowers on the day were beautiful and all parties loved them. Our flower girls adored their flower wands, which we’d chosen as something a bit different to the usual basket of petals.
We’d seen both The Little Flower House and The Artisan Wedding House quite frequently tagged in the same photos online so it seemed common sense to meet them both. Miriam at The Artisan Wedding House helped us decorate the barn and our marquee from scratch – we’d seen some ideas on Pinterest and when we showed them to her, it was all no problem.
Whilst listening to our ideas she also provided help and guidance based on her experience, which we really appreciated. As a lot of her decorations were for hire rather than purchase, this meant it was really convenient for us – we didn’t want to have the hassle of selling the decorations after the wedding and as we had no way to store them anyway, this was ideal.
We were really impressed with how Sharon decorated the venue and marquee on the day – we’d asked her to decorate for us on the morning of the wedding so it was something we wouldn’t have to worry about. It was totally worth it, and I’d recommend this to anyone. Just knowing that everything was sorted before any guests arrived was such a relief – and she has such a flair for it, too.
We really liked the idea of a sweet table at the wedding but didn’t know quite know how to fit it in initially. After quite a lot of searching on Pinterest, we decided these would be perfect as little favours. I don’t think we could have made a better decision for the day and everyone loved it – both kids and adults! Quite often we’d look over and see a queue had formed around the table as everyone filled up their bags. It also looked really good and added something a little different to the marquee.
Our cake was by Lauren Ashley Bakes. After seeing her designs on Facebook and chatting to her, it was just obvious to work with her – she was really friendly, and Tom knew her from back at uni so it was nice that it was someone we could trust.
As I’m gluten-free and Tom has a nut allergy, she had a difficult couple to cater for! We’d originally planned to have a normal (non-GF) naked cake for the guests but on the day, I arrived to find three mini cakes also there – all in the same style – that were gluten-free! Tom had organised this in secret. They were all delicious and we barely had any left to take home!
We really struggled to pick our menu choices to start with. Speaking to Heather at High House, she gave us some good advice and told us to pick what we would like to eat, so that’s what we did! High House was so flexible with the menu – they could make practically anything we requested.
We decided pies and seasonal veg would be ideal – both of us love our homely food so it seemed like a good fit. The food on the day was spectacular. Everyone was stuffed and couldn’t compliment it enough. For dessert, we wanted people to start moving around and not just stay at the table so chose to have an ice cream stand. This went down as a massive hit – though we found it really difficult to narrow it down to just four flavours!
In the evening, we kept it simple with pizzas. These were spread out amongst the tables for everyone to help themselves to. Most of us were still full from the pie but after a spot of dancing, it was ideal to head back to a table for a quick bite to refuel. We also made the most of the fact High House is a working brewery and were able to take full advantage by offering a pull-your-own-pint station with our own customised beer tap labels. Not only did these come in handy throughout the night, but they were also a perfect alternative to prosecco after the ceremony and during the speeches!
We chose ICON Entertainments as the DJ for our evening. We’d contemplated a band but wanted to hear all the classics songs just as we remembered them. We met up with Ian a couple of months prior to the wedding and really liked his attitude: he was so dedicated to planning every aspect of the music for our day and completely guided us through it all, which was a total relief.
We hadn’t really considered until then what music we would need before, during and after the ceremony but he had a set plan and helped us work this out. He even provided us with his iPad for the day, which he’d already put all of our playlists on. He really did go above and beyond in the run up to our big day and we’d consider him as much an event planner as a DJ.
On the evening itself, everyone loved ‘DJ Ian’ (a nickname that seemed to catch on quickly!). We left it open for song choices but did ask for a couple of favourite songs which he slotted in seamlessly. We’ve been delighted to hear some fantastic feedback about Ian from our guests since the wedding.
We’d definitely recommend High House to other couples. Heather and her team were great at staying in contact and helping us plan the day – they let us do as much as we wanted to by ourselves but were always there to help when we asked. On the day, everything ran smoothly; even a short thunderstorm didn’t faze them, and a basket of brollies suddenly appeared at the door of the marquee. They are a highly competent team and we were right to have every faith in them.
For both of us, our favourite part of the day was the ceremony. It was something we were both pretty nervous about in the run-up but the team at Alnwick Registrars were absolutely fantastic – they helped make the ceremony so personalised and made us feel really relaxed! When we were standing at the end of the aisle next to each other, it felt like it was just us two and we loved every minute of it.
We spent a few days at home straight after the wedding. It was nice to have some time to ourselves, but we soon wanted to get busy again after so much wedding planning prior to the day! We booked a cottage in Richmond, Yorkshire, for the following week – the weather was beautiful, and it felt like a right treat (particularly with the hot tub).
We wanted to be able to look forward to a big holiday next year (and needed to save up a bit more after the wedding). I’d always wanted to go to Disney World, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity to persuade Tom – though it turned out he didn’t need much persuasion! We’ve booked it over our first wedding anniversary and can’t wait.
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be not to get caught up on all the little things: the main thing is that if you enjoy yourselves, your guests will have a fab time, too. We’d honestly choose to do it all again – our day was magical, and we wouldn’t change a thing.
I used Brides Up North to browse ideas in preparation for the wedding – it was lovely to see how other local couples had planned their celebrations and what ideas they had. It also made us really excited in the run-up to our day!