Today’s wedding – our first one back after our jollies – is an extra exciting one as it’s our Feature Writer Sarah’s little sister’s big day! After two postponements and a surprise multi-million pound refurbishment of their venue in the interim, Kate and Simon finally walked down the aisle – and we are obsessed with the details! Over to you Sarah…
Bias aside, this really is one stunning, elegant and classic white wedding. The Matfen Hall buyout and subsequent extreme makeover has been a roaring success, and really couldn’t have provided a more perfect backdrop to this couple’s personal style if it had been designed just for them.
With luxe and personal touches throughout, there’s plenty here to inspire you brides and grooms-to-be, from Jimmy Choo and Savin London, to the bespoke bow ties, handmade stationery and team of incredible local suppliers. Not to mention the fact that photographer Amy has done an incredible job, capturing the sheer joy of the day that an intimate guestlist of family and friends were finally allowed to reunite and celebrate after a year apart!
With photography by Amy Lou Photography
Kathryn says: For my 30th birthday Simon took me to New York. The evening we got there he gave me a photo album he had made, as a birthday gift, filled with photo memories from our time together.
The next day in Central Park, following an ice cream picnic, he produced the last page of the album – with the most perfect diamond engagement ring tied to it with ribbon. He then got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. We spent the rest of the day exploring the city, facetiming family to share the news and ended the evening watching an American football game and eating hotdogs.
Little did I know, he had visited my Dad prior to our trip to ask for his permission – something which is important to me.
We originally booked and planned for the 17th September 2020, then 29th April 2021, but we were finally married on the 4th June 2021!
We unfortunately had to postpone twice due to Covid and were therefore looking for the earliest date that at least 30 people could be present. Friday in half term meant that all of our guests could attend, even at short notice.
Ceremony and reception were both at Matfen Hall, Northumberland. We knew we wanted to get married here as soon as we saw the venue. The views over the golf course and the ‘wedding wing’ decor made it an easy decision. I took my mum and sister for an open day the week after, which confirmed our decision. We were also lucky to be one of the first weddings following their latest extensive renovations which, without doubt, made the setting even more breathtaking than when we first visited!
Our style was very much classic and romantic; lots of floral arrangements, string quartet and a simple yet elegant décor. The venue matched perfectly with this theme too. Although, that said, we did manage to slip in a couple of sausage dog related items as we are obsessed with our Miniature Dachshund, Alfie, who was enjoying his time at a dog hotel during our wedding weekend.
The main colours we used were emerald green, and pale pink and oyster with gold accents.
William Morris ‘Strawberry Thief’ fabric was used for the face masks and pocket squares. Then funnily enough, when we turned up to Matfen Hall after their renovation, they had used the same fabric in some of their décor so it all matched in!
I wore the ‘Sophia’ dress by Savin London, with their signature neckline. The dress had spaghetti straps and was adorned with beading – both of which I fell in love with. My mum and sister attended the fitting, and all three of us instantly knew it was ‘the one’ the minute the curtain was opened.
The dress and veil were purchased from Y.A.P Bridal in Newcastle, where the lovely Brogan made me feel comfortable and showed endless patience. I then attended fittings with Groom & Co in Jesmond prior to the day, to make sure it fitted perfectly
My auntie had sent a ‘for the bride’ poem card in the post prior to the wedding. On it was a silver sixpence which I placed in my shoe. The shoes themselves were Jimmy Choo.
The bow ties were all made from the fabric of an additional bridesmaid dress. We asked the dress fitter to create the bowties for the men so they’d all match.
Our cute three year old pageboy and nephew, Harrison, wore a Charles Class suit in grey herringbone tweed. His shoes were from Next and his bow tie was made from the excess fabric cut off the bottom of his mum’s dress!
Despite being the only child in attendance, he was an absolute pleasure the whole day and laughed throughout the ceremony (particularly when Simon said a confident-but-premature “I do” before the registrar had even finished speaking), making everyone else laugh.
My only bridesmaid and Maid of Honour was my big sister, Sarah. She wore the Claudia dress from Ghost London in the colour Emerald Sea.
Our photographer was the talented Amy Lou Photography. Amy actually shot another wedding we had attended and is a good friend of my sister’s, and we instantly knew that her style of photography appealed to us. We loved her attention to detail and the romantic, light and ‘airy’ shots that she achieves.
We were so pleased with how she captured our day. The love and happiness really shone through in all of her photos. She made everyone feel comfortable and really listened to what we wanted, at all planning stages, and everyone has since commented on how amazing the finished photos are. We couldn’t recommend her enough. We cannot wait to have our album on the coffee table to look at (daily)!
All flowers were by Helen at Bels Flowers. She used a mix of garden roses, peonies, stocks, hydrangea, olive and eucalyptus.
I carried a neat hand-tied bouquet of different texture roses with touches of foliage throughout and round the edges of the bouquet and Sarah had a smaller version of mine. The buttonholes were a quicksand rose with small white spray rose and foliage tied with ribbon.
We made the most of the fireplace in the Great Hall with a large, statement flower display with trails of foliage, including hydrangea, stocks and roses, and a loose garland style arrangement on the top table. We then had tall arrangements on each table and fresh flowers on the cake too. We also hired a ‘Mr and Mrs Walker’ heart light for the morning room from Coco Luminaire.
My sister (waves!) did a beautiful job of our stationery and invites. She runs a very popular greetings card business as her ‘side hustle’ – What Are We Celebrating Again? – and helped us out, doing all of the designs and printing for us.
On each table setting we placed a packet of forget-me-not ‘let love grow’ charity seeds from Macmillan Cancer Support. This was a little nod to some of our close family members who unfortunately are no longer with us.
We had a two-tiered cookie and cream flavoured cake, with white chocolate ganache and gold foil, all designed and created by The Great British Cupcakery.
We have saved one tier, which we’ve cut into sections and frozen to then take when visiting all of our guests who should have been at the original wedding, but were unable to attend due to the Covid restriction on numbers.
Matfen Hall were so accommodating to our guests, all of whom had a range of dietary requirements, but our main wedding breakfast was a starter of goats cheese panna cotta, main was shoulder of beef, followed by dessert, warm pear and almond tart.
Our chosen evening meal was half fish and chips and half pizza. This was the first thing we had opposing views on, so went with an even split on two options!
Our string quartet were Andrelli Music. They played the ceremony and drinks reception. Again, they came highly recommended – and we were pleasantly surprised to find that they would be able to learn our page boy’s favourite song, Shake It Off by Taylor Swift, to play on the day!
Our guests all said they thought they were a wonderful addition and it again added to the romantic, elegant and classic atmosphere we intended to create.
Ellen and the Funktones from AMV Live Music played our reception. We liked their setlist from viewing their online clips, and they came highly recommended. They really made the evening party come alive!
We opted for the garden games package on the green, that Matfen offered, which was especially enjoyed by our little page boy in the hot weather.
My Dad read a poem during the speeches that my late Grandma had written a long time ago, which has been read at many of our family weddings since.
My mum also ordered the ‘wedding gift box’ of Biscuiteers biscuits for us ladies to nibble on during the morning of the wedding, to go with the champagne we sipped while we were having our hair and makeup done! This was a lovely treat!
We are so pleased that we chose Matfen Hall as our venue, and were lucky to experience all of the impressive changes that have occurred under new ownership. The staff were consistently attentive and meticulous in how they orchestrated the whole day. They were professional, with a friendly, personal touch, which made us both feel comfortable throughout.
The girly bridal party and my friends all headed to Matfen Hall the evening prior too, to enjoy the spa and a dinner together, and I would definitely recommend this. Then Matfen supplied us with a breakfast hamper basket in the bridal suite on the morning of the wedding, which was a lovely touch when getting ready.
We particularly commend Desmond, who could not do enough for us and our guests throughout our full stay at Matfen Hall. I even shared a dance with him at the end of the evening!
We would also like to thank our wedding coordinator Rachel, who had helped us to plan not one, but three weddings by the end! We look forward to returning to the venue.
So many! My Dad’s face when he first saw me, and the hug that followed. We haven’t properly hugged like that since pre-Covid, so it was a very special moment.
We just loved being able to see so many of our friends and family together at the same time, something which we haven’t been able to do for so long. We enjoyed partying with everyone until the early hours, and the incredible summer weather felt like we were abroad!
Our top tip would be to work with your photographer to discuss which photos you definitely want. Don’t be afraid to ask for certain groups or decor to be photographed, as you can’t ever go back and redo it. And your photographer isn’t a mind reader!
Amy was absolutely lovely, and really good at ensuring that there was an even split between group shots and also candid photos of our guests and us socialising together.
When saying your vows, try to forget that there’s other people in the room and really focus on the other person. Put meaning to the words, rather than just repeating after the registrar.