Real Weddings

Leigh Hetherington for a Winter Wedding at As You Like It – Elizabeth & Mark

28th May 2020 | Julia Braime

Effortless, ethereal and uber romantic is how we would sum up the gorgeous city centre wedding of Elizabeth and Mark.

Taking place in February before the national lockdown, their beautiful day reminds us of all the amazing weddings to come on the other side of this pandemic, when brides and grooms can put on a day that is oh so perfectly them and enjoy it with all with their nearest and dearest, just as today’s newlyweds did.

Keen for a meaningful church ceremony followed by an intimate city centre reception, Elizabeth and Mark’s celebrations were the perfect mix of tradition and individuality, allowing both their values and personalities to shine through!

There are so many gorgeous elements to inspire here, from the gorgeous gold and forest green colour palette to the wonderfully whimsical muted florals and quaint table décor. Not to mention Elizabeth’s bespoke backless Leigh Hetherington gown complete with statement crown. Serious. Bride. Goals!

With images by Jamie Mac Photography


Elizabeth says: We had discussed getting married for years beforehand, however with two children and a new house, it had always been demoted further down life’s list! I had always told Mark, my ideal proposal would be something simple and meaningful, and it was just that. A rare lie-in at home was interrupted by our nine-year-old son and three-year-old daughter, with Mark following, through the bedroom door. He got down on one knee and asked the question. There lying amongst my Eggs Benedict, Champagne, and fresh coffee, was a beautiful vintage engagement ring! Beautiful! The eggs were not too bad either!


We set the date for 20th February 2020, for no other reason other than it was a weekday date. We knew planning a wedding within a strict budget was going to be hard. A winter wedding, a weekday, a city venue, and it had to be half term for the children! After coming back from the venue, we realised what a cool wedding date it was, when written down in numbers (20/02/2020). It had a good look about it! I think everyone thought we had deliberated long and hard over the date and sought a cool and trendy date, though it wasn’t the case.

We were set on a church ceremony and then chose a city centre reception venue that would suit our guest numbers. As You Like It in Jesmond, Newcastle, stood out when we visited because of the intimacy in the wedding area, whilst still being part of a larger venue. The decor for us, was eclectic and quaint. I am a lover of a good cocktail or two, and the pair of us enjoy eating out at many of Newcastle’s superb eateries, so a venue with an impeccable reputation for food was extremely important to us. Our guests commented on the standard of their wedding breakfast saying it was the best they had ever experienced! I can echo this! It was amazing. Mark and I, stole a few moments together, before entering the room, and enjoyed a quiet cocktail together. I was looking forward to that Caipirinha all day and it did not disappoint! Provided bit of Dutch courage for the bride’s speech too!


We didn’t have a theme as such, but if anything, it was classy and gold. One of the first items I bought was my What Katy Did Next gold headpiece, which embodies both of those. The rest followed.


I searched for what seemed like forever for a long-sleeved dress, which I had looked towards Spanish designers for inspiration.

I visited Leigh Hetherington in Newcastle and saw one of her dresses and decided to ask her to design my perfect dress. This allowed me to wear a backless, but long-sleeved gown, made from an amazing classic, satin. The dress felt absolutely amazing on, and the fabric was simply divine. It was simple, but beyond classic, with a backless twist.

My veil was a big part of the look I had envisaged, and I wanted a classic drop veil look. The North- East wind on the day tried its best to pull it off though, and at one point our photographer Jamie was wearing it as a scarf after a big gust!


Both Mark and our son Finlay, wore matching suits from Master Debonair. They wore personalised copper tie pins, engraved with a small message from myself.

Mark’s best man, James, wore his own choice of suit.


The bridesmaid gowns were so beautiful, and I was so pleased with the colour. They were Dessy gowns from The Wedding Wardrobe in Chester Le Street.


Sarah Stonehouse at F.A.C.E Makeup Artistry took care of the beauty while Kim Swindells Hairdressing styled the hair.


Jamie McElderry of Jamie Mac Photography was our photographer. He is one of the best in the North East, and it just so happens he is from my hometown! I have been privy to a few weddings he has done over years, simply by being social media friends with other brides and grooms. I had always admired his work from afar. I also later discovered that we were also friends with his sister, Holly! Our sons play football together and she sung her brother’s praises highly when she found out we had chosen him.

His style seemed relaxed yet emotive. He captures the moments that may pass you by throughout the day and include them as part of the story.

On the day of the wedding Jamie was absolutely amazing and slotted into the day faultlessly. He put my parents at ease, which was important to us, and the pictures he caught of our children were fabulous. My three-year-old told me that Jamie kept waving at her, and I can see why, when looking back, as he has managed to capture her glow perfectly. I will treasure these pictures always.

We received our images from Jamie in the first week of lockdown! Essential travel only had not yet even initiated, so they were handed over at a safe distance of two meters by Jamie on our driveway!

I went through them after a long shift at work, as both Mark and I are police officers, and cried my eyes out! The whole day came flooding back to me, and made my emotions soar with happiness, at a time of immense anxiety from our roles at work!

We simply could not afford a videographer, and this was a distant regret, however, we adored the slideshow Jamie made of our images.

Having Jamie at the helm, made me feel far less anxious about the day. I do believe I am a slight perfectionist, and worried constantly in the upcoming months that the day wouldn’t be how I imagined. Capturing the day, to produce memories as he did, was one of the most important parts of our wedding. Jamie made me feel he was open to my wishes, whilst ultimately being a master at what he does. I would recommend him in a heartbeat.


My florist – Joanne’s Flowers – was so lovely, even when I gave her screenshot upon screenshot of flowers and colour schemes! I wanted Eucalyptus and green Ferns, with a blush tone for all our bouquets. She did not disappoint. The flower crows for the flower girls were the icing on the cake, although our daughter Anna wore hers for all of 30 seconds!

I collected brown bottles for months before hand, for our table decorations. I think every police officer in the station brought in their recycling for me! I loved the final look with the flowers and photo frames from home.

We also had a botanical love heart and giant light up letters supplied by Coco Luminaire and our menus and signage came from HelloPrint.


We had a semi-naked cake created by Holly’s Delicious Cakes. We managed to eat as much as possible before heading off to Dubai on honeymoon! We can confirm her brand name is a good choice! It was delicious!


As You Like It’s wedding breakfast menu that we could choose from was outstanding. We opted for feather-blade of beef dish and a Palma ham chicken dish. Our choice of Greek starter was a big hit – our family holiday in the Greek Islands a lot, and we are both lovers of Greek food. The cocktails went down a treat too!


The first supplier I secured was our guitarist John Gatenby. Once heard, I challenge anyone not to book him. We gave him track lists, which he nailed in his laidback and unique style. Simply amazing. He played our first dance…I honestly think it was better than the Tom Odell version! I have never seen so many phones held aloft taking videos of the wedding entertainment. He deserves all the acclaim he receives.


A church wedding ceremony and the readings we had were very important to us. Both our children were baptised at the church, and our nine-year-old son gave one of the readings. He did this without falter, or worry, and strode up to the lectern as if collecting a football trophy! We have never felt pride like it, and I can honestly say, sat there listening to him reading with love and sincerity was one of the finest moments of our lives.

As a special touch at the evening reception we had sparklers. It was so funny to get everyone involved and get all the sparklers lit! Again Jamie, and the staff at As You Like It, stepped up to the mark, and consequently the shots are amazing! Jamie captured the moments so well with the sheer happiness on ours and our guests’ faces are priceless!


As You Like It ensured our day ran so smoothly, from our amazing wedding co-ordinator Megan to the waiting staff on the day. They were so friendly, and I knew immediately we were in good hands. When I first arrived at the venue, I scurried downstairs, adjusting my veil after Storm Desmond did its worst during our cityscape photos, and Bailey, the manager, showed me a peak of the room. My breath was taken away, as it was exactly how I envisaged. My styling was simple, but I had put a lot of effort and months of planning into how I wanted the place settings and flowers to be set. Bailey and her staff had taken my direction and set it up beautifully. I couldn’t wait for our guests to see it!


My favourite part of the day was definitely in church. I had wanted a church wedding so much and it meant the world to me. Standing at the back of the church with my dad, feeling as if my heart was going to beat right out of my chest will stay with me forever. It was the oddest combination of happiness and anticipation. This was mine and my dad’s big moment – and I knew it. I was bursting with emotion. Seeing Mark at the altar, just added to this, as I turned to him and he had tears in his eyes! I whispered to him “Don’t you start!”, which, now I think about it, wasn’t the most romantic thing I could have thought of to say to my future husband.


Set your budget and don’t worry about the small things. Chose a venue that lends itself to your character and will make you feel at ease with during the day.

Also, try and plan your wedding day morning to enjoy it with your bridal party. They are special moments too.

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