If you’re planning to wed during the cooler months of the year, then Sara and James’ gorgeous November wedding is sure to provide plenty of ideas and inspo.
From their atmospheric choice of venue to the sparkling bridesmaid dresses and perfect seasonal palette, they’ve hit the nail on the head for a relaxed and elegant pre-Christmas celebration without a single festive cliché in sight.
Highlights for us include Sara’s stunning boho lace Made With Love dress and the wow-worthy floral displays, including suspended ‘flower bombs’ made up of foliage, white roses and thistles. Just dreamy!
With images by Chocolate Chip Photography
Sara says: We got engaged on the morning of New Year’s Eve 2018. James and I were up at my dad’s house on the Northumberland coast (Newton by the Sea) one of my favourite places in the world. When we first met, I always said there was one view that I loved so much up there. So, on the morning we took our dog out for his walk and he got down on one knee in the mud right at the best viewpoint of Dunstanburgh Castle. I couldn’t believe it when I turned around and he was down on one knee. Obviously, I said yes and grabbed the ring and put it on my finger – I didn’t realise he was supposed to do that part.
We set the date for 30th November 2019, as we wanted a winter wedding. We also love the festive season and so it was the perfect pre-Christmas party.
Our chosen venue was Healey Barn in Northumberland, for both the ceremony and reception. We both wanted something a bit more rustic but that had style. When we were searching online separately, we both said we had found a great venue and both of us had concluded on Healey. We only looked at that one venue and instantly loved it. The views and the layout were amazing, and we also loved the food choices and had heard great reviews from other friends and family who had attended weddings there previously.
It was a winter wedding, so we kept to more winter colours – white, greens and blues – when picking flowers and dressing tables/chairs.
For the tables we did have a Northumberland theme and so named them after local castles or popular tourist spots.
I went with the Riley Boho dress by Made With Love. It had the most stunning pattern on it, and I loved the V-neck back and front. I did not want anything too big, fussy or formal. I wanted more of a relaxed, elegant style.
I purchased it from Marrime Bridalwear in Jesmond, Newcastle upon Tyne. I absolutely loved the selection of dresses there and the girls were amazing, making me feel so comfortable and picking amazing dresses that suited me.
James is a money saver, so he had a suit from Marks & Spencer, teamed with a flamingo tie to keep it not too formal.
One of the groomsmen also wore an M&S suit while the other had his own kilt and Scottish attire.
They had lovely grey/blue sequinned dresses from Monsoon which they matched with their own choice of shoes.
Mink Studios in Monkseaton, took care of the beauty side. They were great throughout and were so patient with us when we were wanting to change little bits on the day of the wedding. The end result was great, I wanted something quite subtle and natural.
Chocolate Chip Photography captured our day and they were fabulous. I had never had any professional pictures taken before (other than at school!) but they made me and James both feel so comfortable and relaxed. We loved their style of photos and were blown away by the finished product.
We didn’t have a videographer, but Chris and Shazia from Chocolate Chip put together a three-minute short video summary of the day, which was really great to look back on. We didn’t realise they did that but was a wonderful addition.
Healey Flowers took care of all the florals, with arrangements made up of winter foliage, white Roses, and blue Thistles. Décor-wise, we had three amazing flower bombs hanging in the main ceremony hall, then we had gyp on the ceremony chairs. There was also a gorgeous flower arrangement above the lit fire.
For the tables we kept it quite small and just had a selection of winter foliage and flowers in glass jars. There was also ivy wrapped around the beams with tea light holders suspended from them.
We gave our guests cocktail wedding favours by World of Zing.
My sister and I made the cake – a three-tier Victoria sponge decorated with flowers.
We loved how Healey Barn has a sharing/help yourself vibe to their menus. We went for the ‘British Feast’ one which included a selection of starters (mixed beats salad, prawn cocktail, Charcuterie with sourdough), then mains of beef with Yorkshire puddings, roast potatoes and seasonal greens, and our dessert was apple and blackberry crumble. In the evening we had wood fired pizzas.
The venue was very good at managing dietary requirements too as we had a lot of nut allergies and gluten free guests and the team adapted the menu accordingly.
Drink-wise, we had a selection of white and red wine which we chose on one of the feast nights Healey put on to let its couples try a selection of the food and drink available. This was probably one of the best bits about wedding planning!
We hired the Blue Lion Band. We loved that you could pick the size of the band you wanted and what instruments. So, it felt tailor-made to your likes and needs. We had lots of comments off guests about how much they loved the band.
As some extra entertainment, we had a Polaroid camera for people to take little snapshots of the day. We also had some sparklers for outside by the fire pits.
We had lots of babies and children at the wedding, so we provided them with little activity boxes on each table.
After our wedding we would definitely recommend Healey Barn to other couples on the venue hunt. The day ran very smoothly, and the staff were all so helpful on the day. It was wonderful in the winter but would also be great to use to the courtyard more for a summer wedding.
I literally loved the whole day! Everything was so perfect, and I couldn’t stop smiling. Just having everyone there celebrating with you both is the most amazing feeling ever.
We went to New York for four nights then on to Barbados for seven nights. We didn’t go until two months after the wedding, which I recommend as it gave us time to appreciate the day and wind down from the wedding. It also meant we had something to look forward to and reduced our post wedding blues.
New York was very cold, but we loved wandering around going to local cafes, parks, and restaurants we also went to a show. Barbados was our time to chill and switch off, so we went to an all-inclusive boutique resort which was exactly what we wanted/needed.
I did a speech and I would highly recommend it – I was never one for public speaking but I felt so good after it.
Also, everyone would say to us before our wedding how quick it goes – and the day really does fly by, so just take some time to step back and enjoy.
Finally, don’t get tied down to talking to one great, great aunt… move on swiftly!
During the planning I looked at the real wedding section on Brides Up North to get some inspiration on colour themes and accessorising wedding ideas. I like how there are the handy tabs which summarise what season/theme/area the weddings were located, so you can easily view what’s most relevant/appealing.