Have we got a wedding for you today! Think light and bright photography, pale pinks, mauve and purple and a last minute rejig of the plans when the venue suddenly went under!
For our lovely couple Carly and Jason, things went from bad (Oh hi Covid) to worse when their amazing first choice of venue went into liquidation just before the wedding! With only five weeks to find a new venue and plan an entirely new wedding, the bride, groom and their amazing suppliers lept into action. Did they manage? You bet they did, and the result is a beautiful, intimate ceremony at The Hammer & Pincers pub just outside Newton Aycliffe.
Thankfully these two are a fairly chilled out pair and didn’t let it completely derail their plans, because we love the result; a pretty English country (beer) garden complete with tipi, pizza oven and lots of big, blousy summer blooms, just perfection for an August wedding.
Let’s find out how they pulled it all off and with such a crazy deadline!
With photography by Carn Patrick Photography
Carly says: We got engaged in Rome, January 2019. I had no idea. Jason had taken his usual impeccable planning to the next level, he had carefully watched the coliseums live camera every day to see what time sunrise was and when people started to arrive so that we could be there on our own. He booked us a ‘sunrise tour of the colosseum’ (I later found out there was no such thing) so we were up early and we set off with our (photoshopped) tickets in hand for the 7am tour. There was much moaning from me all the way there that it was cold, I wanted a coffee and some breakfast, but Jason brushed it off and hurried me along. A few months prior he’d bought an Apple watch, though I wasn’t sure what for as I thought he wouldn’t ever use it… until now. We posed for a picture in the spot that he had chosen, with the camera propped up on a wall and the image displaying on Jason’s watch and there he was, on one knee with the most stunning ring that he’d designed.
Our wedding date was the 15th of August 2020, it had no relevance at all to us but we knew we wanted a Saturday summer wedding.
We chose our initial venue, Crook Hall & Gardens, in Durham city centre as we fell in love with it as soon as we saw it. It was the first venue we had actually seen in real life and it was everything we could have ever wanted. Unfortunately, 6 weeks before the wedding, we received a dreaded email from a solicitor to say it had gone into liquidation. We wallowed in self pity for a week or so and it made us realise how much we really wanted to be married. We then had five weeks to find, book and plan a new wedding. We ended up getting married at The Hammer & Pincers in Newton Aycliffe, a really relaxed pub and garden with a tipi.
Our whole wedding was very relaxed, we didn’t really have a theme, we’re very laid back people and although we’re very articulate and particular, Jason is a designer and I’m a design and technology teacher, we just went with what we liked.
The colour scheme was a blend of pinks and purples, from dusky pink to mauve. The decor bits were a mix of matte black and rose gold. We liked all of the colours and rather than try to colour match everything, we went for a range of shades.
I wore two dresses. The first was a WED2B dress which I customised with cape style sleeves and a rose gold belt to tie in the rose gold decor. I knew I wanted something quite low key and sleek and, seeing my mum’s reaction when I tried it on, I knew it was the one. The second dress was an ASOS bridal dress. I’d seen it in a magazine and had to have it but it was sold out! I spent weeks checking the website and eBay for one and struck lucky when one must have been returned on the ASOS website.
Jason wore Reiss and Dr Martens and he didn’t want the typical formal suit so opted for no tie and chinos. Our guests were really pleased with this comfortable style. The groomsmen didn’t wear jackets, just chinos and shirts from Reiss.
We knew we were in for a challenge to find the right dresses for the bridesmaids as they are so varied in shapes and height. We decided on a multi-way dress. I bought the fabric from eBay, created a pattern and made them myself. Our flower girl dress was from eBay which I customised with a rose gold belt to match my dress.
Jason and the groomsmen stayed in a hotel near to the venue and they just drove themselves first thing to finish setting everything up. The bridal party was driven by family in ribboned cars and my dad drove me, following behind.
One of the main reasons we didn’t want to postpone our wedding was due to our photographer, Carn Patrick, who was already fully booked for the dates we looked at for 2021 and we didn’t want anyone else. Jason joined endless photography forums and spent weeks tirelessly looking for a style that we liked. Carn’s work is just phenomenal and really won us over. Little did we know what an amazing guy he is too! Carn really took the time to get to know us as a couple and when the whole wedding went to pot he was with us at every stage of planning the new wedding with encouragement and advice. Carn knew every in and out of our wedding, he knew the guests by their first names and he couldn’t have made the day any more special for us.
Off topic, but on Christmas Day 2019, myself and Jason cooked a three course Sunday dinner for 30 elderly people who didn’t have any family around them or anywhere to go and Carn took time out of his day to come down and spend time with the guests and to take some incredible photos. We cannot recommend or thank him enough!
Since getting engaged, I kept having nightmares that the florist didn’t turn up to the wedding so I decided to make all of the arrangements myself (with some help from my sister) to save ever being in that situation. All of the flowers were faux and silk and I randomly picked them up wherever I saw them. All of the bouquets, hexagon frame arrangements, top table, entrance table and tall centrepiece arrangements were all faux and arranged by myself.
The decor was made by me, my dad and a work colleague. My dad made the hexagon frames, a colleague made the centrepieces which I then painted and arranged the flowers for and I made and decorated the welcome sign. Jason, a designer, did all of the invites, welcome signage, order of the day etc.
The favours weren’t used as they were intended in the end, I had made rose gold marbled coasters which were supposed to have everyone’s name on top as a name place, but due to the number reduction and no seating plan they were no longer needed. We did scatter some of the coasters around on the tables and left the extras in a tray for people to take. I had obviously made 50 too many! Instead, I quickly made some little packets of personalised chocolate buttons which were pressed with our personalised wax seal stamp from the invites.
Our cake was made by Bella Sweetie Cake Design. We opted for a three tier, lemon, white chocolate and raspberry and a chocolate. Each tier was a different design, semi naked with rose gold, grey marble and plain fondant, with our initials in rose gold.
After already planning and organising three courses for all of the guests for the original wedding we didn’t have the time (or energy!) to start planning in that sort of detail again. We went for a simple afternoon tea style lunch (on separate plates to avoid sharing in Covid19 times) and the venue had a large pizza oven so we had pizza for evening food. Simple but perfect.
The entertainment was second to none. We had Finn Forster Music and Billy Smith on bass, (Billy is in a band called Moon Wax). We knew there were restrictions on live singing at ceremonies however things were due to change on the 15th of August (our wedding day!) Finn and Billy had gone out of their way to pre-record our aisle song to play just in case, which unfortunately we did have to use, but it was still perfect. They played later from a distance and we wouldn’t have wanted anyone else singing and playing for us. Jason had sorted different playlists of all our favourite artists and songs from Spotify to use throughout the day.
Our dog Toby came! Our beagle is our absolute love. When we’re off travelling, working late or just for a treat day, Stacey and Dom look after him at The Barking Lot. Toby absolutely adores Stacey, Dom and all of the staff there. He has the time of his life with all of his friends. Stacey brought him for a few hours for pictures and looked after him while he was there.
Our photographer! As you can probably tell from my previous mention of him, he was just amazing! We cannot thank him enough for his knowledge and help. The time he takes to go above and beyond to get to know you as a couple and a family shows in his work.
What a hard question! The whole day went beyond our expectations, the help and generosity of our family and friends really puts life in perspective. Having to fight for our wedding the way we did made it so much more special and meaningful.
Due to Covid19 our trip to Bali was cancelled. Jason had spent months planning it meticulously. Instead he looked at places which didn’t require a quarantine period on return to the UK and, luckily, our favourite Italy wasn’t on the list. We travelled down the east coast visiting Bari, Polignano a Mare, Matera, and Oustuni.
Our advice would definitely be to take out wedding insurance! We were very fortunate in that we had insurance. It was the best £50 we have ever spent. You never know what will happen in life.
We also attended a lot of Brides Up North wedding fairs in the initial stages of planning and they really helped get an idea of what we liked.