Real Weddings

Real Wedding Recap 2019: Maggie Sottero for a beautifully personal wedding at Matfen Hall – Laura & Dave

Sarah Symonds

It’s holiday season here on the blog, and as the editorial team take a short break, we’ll be leaving you with a reduced blogging schedule so that you still get your daily dose of wedding lovely. Usual service will recommence on Monday 6th January 2020 but in the meantime watch out for recaps of some of our favourite Real Weddings from the latter half of 2019. 

Drop in every day for the very prettiest, most unique wedding inspiration and – if you are a Brides Up North bride – to see if your real wedding was one of our top picks.

Bride Laura returned home to the North East with her groom, Dave, for a very special and meaningful family wedding in Northumberland, filled with both pretty and poignant touches.

Since she was a little girl Laura had dreamed of one day tying the knot at the beautiful Matfen Hall and, earlier this year, her dream of a simple and elegant Matfen wedding finally came true.

With so many thoughtful touches near and dear to the couple’s hearts – from ways of acknowledging beloved but absent family members, to a very personal theme and a cameo from the bride and groom’s toy poodles – this is one wedding that really emphasises the importance of creating a day that’s unique to you.

With images by Fiona Saxton Photography


Laura says

: Dave proposed on our two-year anniversary in March 2018 while we were in Dublin. He handed me a special key card for the hotel we were staying in which, when inserted into the elevator, took you straight up to the private sky bar. He had hired the full bar as a surprise! When the lift doors opened I was greeted with a red carpet entrance to the bar and our favourite Oasis song was playing.

Whilst I was admiring the view, Dave asked me to look at my mobile phone. He had sent me a picture of our two toy poodles Liam and Luna sat with a sign saying “Will you marry our dad?”. Then Dave went down on one knee and proposed! We sat in the bar drinking bubbles, listening to Oasis and planning our wedding day that very evening!


We chose to get married at Matfen Hall on Easter Sunday. My parents got married on Easter Sunday, exactly 25 years before our wedding day, and I was bridesmaid, so the date was memorable to me.

As a child I used to holiday in Northumberland, in Ingoe. We would drive past Matfen Hall and I was always overwhelmed with how beautiful the building was. We had the privilege of attending a wedding there when I was a teenager and I had always said to my parents, since I was a little girl, that I would get married there one day.

When I showed Dave he also fell in love with it, especially the modern improvements that Matfen have done. It was clear to us that this was the venue. It was the only place we viewed.

I am originally from Hartlepool but now live down south, which is where I met Dave, so coming back ‘home’ for our wedding was very special.


Our wedding was music themed. We decided the theme on the day of our engagement and luckily both loved the idea! We are both heavily into our music and have exactly the same musical taste. During our early dates it was evident that we were going to get along just on this alone!


I chose the Maggie Sottero Nola dress which was purchased from The Ivory Wardrobe in Woburn Sands. I loved the lace detail and how it fitted my body. I instantly felt like a bride in it. The detail on the back of the dress was my favourite – it had lace with satin buttons and a beautiful lace train.

I actually have my own wedding garter business, Lew Elle Wedding, and design bespoke garters for brides, so the garter that I wore on the day was made by me and was then featured in British Vogue magazine!


Dave wore a blue three piece suit from Debenhams, finished off with a mauve pink tie and handkerchief. He also wore a personalised pocket watch which was one of his groom gifts from me.

The groomsmen had suits matching Dave’s.


My flower girl’s dress was from Monsoon and the bridesmaids wore a mauve coloured maxi dress from Marks & Spencer.


My hair was done by Lisa Cameron (who I actually found while reading one of the Brides Up North blog posts!) and my makeup was by Kitty Kerry.


Fiona Saxton was our photographer for the day. I saw a couple of photos on her website while doing my research and just fell in love with them, her editing style and the way she captured special moments. We were excited to book her. I would highly recommend her and have reviewed her on every social media platform!


We had A&G Productions filming for us. They were very discreet on the day and we can’t wait to see the video.


With our musical theme, we decided on vinyl records as centrepieces and named each of our tables after a band or song which has been memorable throughout our years together.

For the colour scheme of the wedding we went for mauve pink. We loved the colour and, as we were having a slightly rock and roll themed wedding, I wanted to add a touch of femininity so we went for the combination of vinyl and roses. We had jars of flowers placed on antique books with our vinyl records; these jars were filled with offcuts from my bouquet.

I carried a bouquet of white peonies, antique roses, thistle, quicksand roses, eucalyptus and gyp created by Secret Garden in Hartlepool. I also had a photo charm of my nana woven into my bouquet with blue ribbon.

Coco Luminaire provided huge ‘D & L’ LED letters and an ‘I bet that you look good on the dancefloor’ neon sign, which worked well with our music theme. There was also a photobooth provided by Matfen Hall.


We had a two-tier buttercream cake with mauve coloured roses made by Yummy Treats. Our cake topper was a little clay model version of me, Dave in his police uniform, our two dogs, Liam and Luna, and a tiny vinyl record player.


We had our dogs Liam and Luna attend the wedding during the ceremony and drinks reception. They had Pawsecco and doggy beer, and instead of traditional wedding favours, we gave out dog treat favours, as most of our guests own dogs!

I also did something special for Dave and the lads, and created a ‘cigar and whiskey bar’. We had Jack Daniels, cigars and a funky sign saying “Cigar Bar courtesy of the Bride”, that went down very well!


Aurora Strings, a string quartet, played during our ceremony and drinks reception. They played Whatever by Oasis as I walked down the aisle towards Dave, and they played the Superman theme tune for my brother during the drinks reception, which was an utterly special touch.

For the evening entertainment, we had a DJ playing our favourite tunes. We also gave the guests an opportunity to place a music request on our wedding website prior to our big day.

Special touches

I lost my brother suddenly last year and we added a lot of special touches on our wedding day to remember him. As my something blue, my dad had some of his ashes made into a blue glass Pandora charm for me to wear on the day. I also had his hip flask filled with some Dutch courage!

My brother was a huge Superman fan so we had a chair reserved for him at both the ceremony and wedding breakfast, with his superman cap and a photo of us together placed on it. During the family photos me, my mam, dad and Dave had some photos taken of the cap, and I even had one taken with me wearing it. It was a very special moment.

Thanks to

We would absolutely recommend Matfen Hall to another couple. The venue is not only beautiful but every room has the ‘wow’ factor. The evening entertainment in the vaults wowed all of our guests and the courtyard with fire pit and sparklers, and the fairy lights hanging outside, were just stunning!

Best bit

My best bit has to be my dad walking me down the aisle. Six weeks prior to our wedding he suffered from a huge stroke and was unable to walk. Having him there with us on the day and being able to walk me down that magnificent staircase in the Great Hall was the most special moment ever!

My highlight of the night was the dancing! Dave was spinning me round all evening and we danced to some awesome music.


After the wedding we flew to Mexico. We stayed in the honeymoon suite at the Secrets Maroma Beach Hotel. It was very relaxing, although I think I grossed out my new husband by eating snails in a French restaurant! He earned his husband points by coming on an hour-long walk along the coast to find a swing in the ocean that I’d found on Instagram when we booked the trip. That made my day!


My top tip for other Brides Up North would be that you don’t need a huge extravagant wedding just to impress others. Have a wedding that is personal to you as a couple! We chose our theme based on what reflected our relationship, and that was music. That’s our hobby and what we both love.

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