Real Weddings

Suzanne Neville for a romantic last minute wedding at Le Petit Château – Rebecca & Tom

14th October 2020 | Sarah Symonds

When lockdown is looming magical things can happen! Get ready for a happy ending and the start of married life at the dreamiest of venues, Le Petit Château, set in gorgeous, green, Otterburn.

We’ve got another wedding against the odds story today as once again love beats Covid-19 and lockdown! With a silver and grey palette and heaps of foliage, Rebecca and Tom’s big day was always going to be perfect, but they weren’t expecting a global pandemic to derail their plans!

Bride Rebecca is a Senior Occupational Therapist for the NHS and has worked throughout the crisis on the front line alongside her colleagues. This has been a challenging year and the wedding was certainly a driver to keep her going but when new restrictions were brought in, it looked like their dream wedding wasn’t going to happen. Thankfully their team of chosen suppliers really pulled it out of the bag.

We couldn’t be prouder of the wedding industry and how all of our couples, venues and suppliers are managing to make things work despite the nightmarish circumstances. And we do love it when a plan comes together! Let’s hear all about it from the bride herself…

With photography by Sean Elliot Photography

Proposal

Rebecca says: We got engaged on a holiday with my family in Portugal 30th July 2019. Tom took me for a tapas meal next to the Palace of Sintra, Portugal. We had a lovely meal, and took a walk to a small courtyard which Tom had spotted the previous day, he got down on one knee, and I said yes!

As our mums were not on holiday with us, they were the first people we called to let them know before returning to the villa to share the news with my dad’s family.

Setting

Our original date was 5th April 2020. There was no sentimental value with the date, we didn’t want a long engagement and the venue had this date available, which was perfect being in Easter half term as Tom’s parents are teachers.

14 days before our wedding date we went into national lockdown, forcing us to postpone. I called the venue, and asked for “any dates in September”, thinking (naively) we would be Covid-free by then. We were offered 28th September 2020.

The English government then brought in tighter restrictions for English weddings meaning we would have had to half our guest list for the second time, but our amazing venue and suppliers pulled it out of the bag and managed to bring our wedding forward by 24 hours to allow us to get married on the 27th September 2020.

We were married at Le Petit Château in Otterburn, Northumberland. Tom found the venue via an online search and sent it to me as a joke, with it being over four hours away from home in Warwickshire, and over seven hours away for some of our guests! But as soon as I saw it, I loved it.

We arranged a viewing for the August bank holiday weekend 2019, and we booked our wedding the same day. As soon as I walked into the venue, I fell in love. Everything about it was just so ‘us’. The Belle Epoque is stunning and we love the French theme to the venue – our first holiday as a couple was to France so it felt even more special. This was the only venue we viewed, as there was never a doubt in our minds this was it..

Theme

The Mediterranean gardens at Le Petit Château are so pretty and different to any wedding venue I had been to as a guest, so I wanted more relaxed flowers to incorporate how green the gardens are.

With the colour scheme, I was led by my bridesmaids as I wanted a colour they would be happy with and suit. We chose silver and grey for the bridesmaids and groomsmen.

Bridesmaids had all foliage bouquets which looked stunning with the silver dresses.

Dress

My dress was made by Suzanne Neville, the Florianna style. I went shopping with my mum, just the two of us, and she booked us into three dress shops in September 2019. I went with a very open mind and screenshots of dresses I liked, but friends who have got married have always said “you end up choosing something you never thought you would”, so I was open to anything.

The amazing ladies at Serendipity Brides in Weedon Beck told me to choose three gowns, my mum to choose three and then they choose some too. My mum chose a dress and I said “absolutely no way!” but was willing to give it a try and this then ended up being my dress! As soon as I put it on it felt like me, it just felt right. It has a small amount of detail but not too much fuss. My dress was chosen in the first shop we went to!

Groomsmen

Tom wore a grey tweed suit hired from Peter Posh, Warwick, with a Liberty of London tie. All the grooms party wore the same grey tweed suits hired from Peter Posh as Tom. Our

Our pageboy wore a matching suit from Peter Posh.

Bridesmaids

Two of my bridesmaids wore Maya Deluxe dresses, and my flower girl in a Maya mini dress to match her bridesmaid mum. My Maid of Honour’s dress was from Silk Fred.

Beauty

Hair and makeup was completed by Ashleigh at Mink Studios Makeup and Hair.

Photographer

Sean Elliot Photography captured our day. He was recommended by our venue on their recommended suppliers list. I followed all of the photographers recommended on social media to see a range of photographs and styles. As we are not local to the venue we booked in a telephone appointment with Sean. We clicked right from the start, he was so relaxed and clearly knows the venue well, he reassured us that whether there was sun, wind or rain he would still be able to get photographs to document our day.

Styling

Flower arrangements were created by Laura at Peony and Gold. My bridal bouquet was a rustic style, with roses, thistle, eucalyptus, foliage and bridesmaids had all green foliage bouquets.

We had fireplace flowers and registry table flowers which were moved to the ball room for the reception. Table centrepieces were wooden log slices with terrariums and succulents arranged on them.

Favours

We chose not to do favours as these are often left behind at the end of the night (or maybe it is just me that forgets to take them!) and instead we had wooden place names popped on top of white napkins.

Cake

Our cake was made by Kayley at Paperkale. This was a last minute swap as regionally we had chosen Colin and Connie wedding caterpillar cakes but these are not currently being made in the wedding version. Kayley is local to me and she saved the day with a last minute two-tier white chocolate and raspberry semi naked cake. Flowers were added for decor by Laura at Peony and Gold. Tom’s mum also made an amazing fruit cake, which featured an iced Percy (our little cat).

Dining

We chose butternut squash soup, chicken in Bayonne ham for main and white chocolate Baileys cheesecake for pudding. The food at Le Petit Château was amazing which made menu tasting fun but very difficult. We chose food which we thought everyone would enjoy and we have had lovely feedback on our menu choices. We added the ‘sparkle’ course as a bit of a surprise for our guests. This is sorbet, topped with limoncello and Champagne!

Entertainment

We had a live singer, Faye at AMV live music. We wanted our guests to have as much fun as us and live music creates a lovely atmosphere.

In the evening we had a magician, David Taylor Magic. David is a family friend who moved to Northumberland two years ago so it felt right to include him. He specialises in close up magic which was perfect for entertaining our guests whilst seated in their ‘table bubbles’.

Ryan Boden provided our low level music for the evening, playing a range of different songs to suit all of our guests.

Special touches

We had a donut wall made by my dad and we made sweet bags and had handmade biscuits for guests to help themselves.

I created a memory board to remember those guests who are no longer with us and a sign which read “If heaven weren’t so far away, we know you would be with us on our special day”. This was coupled with polaroid pictures of late grandparents, friends and family.

Flowers from the top table and fireplace were taken home and given to my gran, Rose, who was too frail to attend our wedding, and other flowers were also placed on my late grandparents’ grave.

Thanks to

Le Petit Château 100%! There are not enough words for how amazing the venue has been throughout, postponing the first time round and then changing our date again five days before our wedding to allow us to get married before new restrictions came into place. The venue has been so supportive, keeping us regularly updated with guidelines and changes and just getting to know us as a couple.

The day ran seamlessly, there was never a moment I felt stressed and had things to sort, the whole day was taken care of by the amazing staff at Le Petit Château. They really do know how to run a wedding venue!

All of our suppliers have been amazing, allowing us to change our date twice, and still bringing their A-game with such a positive attitude on our day after what must have been a very challenging year for them all. They put in so much effort, not one of them looked deflated by what is going on in the world right now. Laura at Peony and Gold created our dream. We just showed her our vision and she smashed it!

Sean Elliot deserves a special thank you too. The pictures are beautiful! He made us feel so relaxed from the moment he arrived, at times we didn’t know he was there and photography did not take over our day. We had time with friends, family without being pulled off for shots.

Faye at AMV Live music stepped in at the last minute and I now think this was fate. She sang beautifully and we made the right choice.

Ashleigh at Mink Studios, when I called in a panic on Tuesday night to ask if she would accommodate our wedding on Sunday instead of Monday, rearranged a course she was providing to ensure she was there for our wedding day. All of this is exactly why we chose the suppliers that we did. They have shown so much commitment to us as a couple, considering we don’t know any of them personally, but it really did feel like they were friends by the end of the day.

Best bit

Can I say all of it?! We loved it all. If I had to pick, I would say the moment I walked into the ceremony when I knew it was really happening. After all of the uncertainty recently I didn’t want to allow myself to believe it was happening until we met at the aisle!

Honeymoon

We have booked to stay for a week at The Bay Talland in Cornwall. We didn’t want to risk travel quarantine restrictions on return as I work in the NHS and cannot work from home if we needed to quarantine. We are looking forward to exploring Cornwall as we have both never been.

Advice

My advice would be to enjoy every moment. Take time to sit and just watch the day with your new husband/wife. Absorb it all because it really does go in a flash.

Any brides and grooms wondering whether to postpone due to current restrictions, speak with your venue and suppliers to discuss how the day will look with restrictions, I promise it is not as scary as you would think. The day was perfect, I can’t even imagine what our day would have been like pre Covid. Our guests were so respectful of government guidelines, with the occasional reminder from our Master of Ceremonies, but they stayed within their social bubbles and wore masks when required.

Prior to our wedding, people asked us why we were getting married when the guests all have to wear masks but this is the reality of the time we are living in. I hope one day we can show our children and grandchildren that we managed to get married in the middle of a global pandemic and our guests had to wear masks! What an achievement.

I followed Brides up North on Instagram right from the moment we booked our venue, along with our suppliers. The page was great for keeping us up to date with guidelines and positivity in the build up to our day (twice)! Social media was the best way to get inspiration for our day, seeing what other couples had for their days, hair and makeup ideas, table centrepieces – you name it and I have a screenshot, separate wedding album and a list for it!

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