Real Weddings

Morilee by Madeline Gardner for a Pretty Pastel Wedding at Slaley Hall – Amy & Gavin

Sarah Symonds

If you’re into pastel shades, personal touches and posies of roses, then Amy and Gavin’s pretty wedding day with a touch of a travel theme might just be right up your street.

When Gavin popped the big question in The Big Apple it started the couple on a journey to their big day and then beyond. We’ve caught up with the groom and his bride, Amy, to get all the juicy details from the planning of their wedding.

The lovely and picturesque Slaley Hall, a romantic and classic venue set in 1,000 acres of greenery and golf course, was the perfect venue for today’s real couple. As practical as it is beautiful, hosting the wedding at Slaley meant all of their guests could easily stay over and make a whole weekend of it.

Having decided on a theme of ‘travel’, the couple had centrepieces made of souvenirs, mini suitcases as place names and a world map with luggage tags for a seating plan. We do love a good theme! And, even with all the planning, there were a couple of elements to the day Amy and Gavin didn’t actually know about too… a surprise fireworks display will always ensure things go off with a bang!

With photography by Mark Hedley Photography


Amy says: We were in New York in March 2019 for our five year anniversary. We had been there for a couple of days doing the normal touristy things and ended up in Central Park. We wandered off track to find a little bench overlooking the lake. I was oblivious, taking pictures of the scenery and turned around to find Gav sat on the bench with a ring, asking me to marry him. It couldn’t haven’t been any better as he knew I didn’t want it to happen with lots of people around.


We got married in August at Slaley Hall in Northumberland. We love summer so knew we wanted a summer wedding. We couldn’t have been luckier with the weather on the day, our guests were served drinks and canapés after the ceremony outside in the sun. It was perfect summer weather.

Slaley is a lovely hotel with beautiful surroundings. We knew instantly, as soon as we looked around, that this was our wedding venue.

Gav’s family live in Preston so we thought it would be nice if the whole family could stay in one place. In the end, my family stayed there too. It was lovely having everyone together for the whole weekend.


We both met while we were travelling in Australia in 2014. We love to go on holidays and see the world, therefore our theme was travel. The centrepieces were souvenirs from some of the countries we’ve been to over the past few years, our seating plan was the world map with luggage labels and the place names were mini suitcases.

The colour scheme was pastels; mint, pink and blue for the bridesmaids dresses and the groomsmen’s ties. The groom’s tie was yellow to be a little different and stand out. We thought those colours suited our theme and summer wedding.


Before I went to try on any dresses, I sort of knew what style I wanted, just by looking online. I was after a low back, high neck and tight fitting. I found my dress on the first day of looking at Wedding Wardrobe in Chester-le-Street, Durham. All the dresses in the shop were amazing and the service was fantastic. My dress was the Riva Wedding Dress by Morilee by Madeline Gardner.


Gavin wore a three piece suit from Slaters in Preston, navy blue with a yellow tie.

My gran handed down my grandads pocket watch to Gav to wear on the day. We would have loved my grandad to be alive so having his watch here felt like was close to us on the day. We had it polished before the wedding so it was looking pristine.

The groomsmen also wore navy three piece suits from Slaters in Preston.


I got the bridesmaid dresses from ASOS. They were loose fitting as I wanted them to feel comfortable day and night.


Hair was done by Emma Percy from Hair by EKP. Makeup was by Kate Lilley.


Our photographer was Mark Hedley. I would definitely recommend him, he is a fantastic photographer and put everyone at ease on the day. Very professional and friendly.

We had a pre-wedding shoot with him in Jesmond Dene. I would definitely recommend this. It helped us to feel at ease on the wedding day and we knew exactly what to expect.


Petal Pushers made our bouquets, top table arrangement, corsages and buttonholes. The bridesmaids and I carried cream and pink roses. All the flowers on the day were beautiful, pretty simple but went well with our pastel colour theme.

We had ‘Mr & Mrs’ signs for the night time which were the backdrop to our dance floor. These were supplied by AG Events. We also hired a magic mirror from them which the guests loved. All the digital files were uploaded to social media within days.

We had a huge balloon hoop from Balloon-ilicious which was a big hit with guests.

We did use the Brides Up North website too. We looked at the real wedding blogs and took inspiration from them. Lots of things you see online are staged wedding shoots so it’s nice to see real natural weddings too! We also visited a wedding show.


Our cake was made by Burnett 4 Cakes. It was three tiers; salted caramel, chocolate and madeira. Again, the cake was travel themed – the bottom was a suitcase, middle was a map of the world and the top was an aeroplane.


Starter was leek and potato soup served with a bread roll. Main was sirloin of beef and Yorkshire pudding, served with goose fat roast potatoes, roasted root vegetables, herb and red wine jus. The vegetarian option was butternut squash, emmental & quinoa roulade pan fried spaghetti vegetables. Dessert was sticky toffee pudding served with toffee sauce and vanilla ice cream.

We wanted to pick something that everyone would like. You can’t go wrong with a Sunday dinner! It’s nice and traditional, all the guests loved the meal. We offered the guests a choice between white and rose wine during the meal.


During the ceremony we had live singers Ben Helm and Holly Ritchie. They sang for us before and after the ceremony and also whilst I walked down the aisle.

As a surprise my mum had booked a singing waiter. After we had our meal one of the waiters burst into song. It was a lovely surprise for everyone and got everyone singing and dancing in their seat. It kept the mood and buzz of the day lively after a filling meal.

Special touches

My mum, Michelle, and Gav had organised fireworks for the night time. They were the only ones that knew about it so, again, it was a lovely surprise for me and everyone else.

The entire wedding party was asked to come outdoors for a final group shot. After our photographer had taken this I was pulled to the side and asked to press a button which then set off an amazing firework display. We walked to the bottom of the stairs and looked out onto the golf course with all our loved ones behind us. This was the perfect ending to the day.

Thanks to

Slaley Hall! I would definitely recommend the venue. It’s beautiful inside and out but the staff were amazing. Both Balloon-ilicious and AG Events were great, they stayed in contact throughout.

Best bit

My favourite part of the day was standing at the top of the aisle and looking at all of our guests and seeing Gav standing at the bottom. I knew I couldn’t have wished for anything more.


Due to the pandemic, our honeymoon in the Maldives was cancelled. Hopefully next year we can go and it’s still something for us to look forward to.


Things can get stressful at times, it’s nice to plan things together but also have time away from wedding planning and just enjoy being engaged. It can take over your life so take a breath and things will fall into place.

Try to remember, it’s only one day and if things don’t go exactly to plan, it won’t spoil everything. You probably won’t even notice. Just remember it’s your day, no one else’s, so do what you both want.

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