We’re travelling to Northumberland today for the beautiful wedding of WWW readers Sophie and Dominic which took place on 31st August 2019 at Hexham Winter Gardens. Their celebrations took place in an absolutely stunning Victorian glasshouse and I think you’re really going to fall for the rustic DIY decor that they put together for their day.
Leighton Bainbridge Photography was on hand to capture all the details and goings on of the day. We’re really happy to be sharing these images today so thank you very much Leighton.
From the floral styling and foliage runners to the ever so cute handmade favours on the place settings, this one really is a beauty of a wedding. I’m absolutely loving Sophie’s dress too, an ASOS find too, so good! Enjoy WWWers!
Dom proposed very near to our five year anniversary. We love travelling and within our five years together we have visited many countries as well as living in Australia for a year. Therefore, he thought it be very appropriate to propose in one of our favourite destinations, my parent’s house in southern Italy. One night after returning home after a lovely meal, Dom took me to the rooftop (one of my favourite places in the house) and got down on one knee under the stars.
We really wanted a relaxed day filled with fun and plenty of love. I love foliage, especially eucalyptus so I ensured that the tables, bouquets and the two chandeliers were all filled with foliage in the main glasshouse. The colour palette I choose was lilac and various shades of grey as I felt this complemented the summer vibe. The other room was a wood panelled room with a stage, perfect for the band and dancing in the evening. We wanted this room to be kept dark, decorated with canopy lighting and a neon sign.
The venue we chose was an empty space, therefore, everything needed to be hired in and organised by us. Another advantage of hiring an empty space was the ability to provide our own bar, in our case we decided to make this a free bar all day and night for the guests. It was a bit more work as it required buying in all the drinks, hiring the glasses and finding bar staff, however it was really fun. We even typed our own bar menus on little clipboards to put at the bar!
Although I would say choosing a DIY wedding requires a lot more thought and vision, it was enjoyable planning the whole day.
The Planning Process
We didn’t want a long engagement as we plan on going travelling again in January 2020 so booked the wedding for 31st august. Therefore, the wedding was planned in 10 months alongside Sophie completing her dissertation for her masters degree, so the planning consisted of spreadsheets which helped with the organisation along the way.
Dom trusted me to organise the day and I consulted him along the way.
I used Pinterest for ideas on the decor including the flowers and venue styling.
The budget not including the honeymoon was £20,000 and we spent around this amount.
I think I saw the venue on an Instagram post and booked an appointment to view the venue with my mum and dad. The venue is actually part of a school, therefore, we viewed the venue after school had finished for the day. I would say it was necessary to have a vision in mind when viewing the venue as it was difficult when all the school tables and chairs where in the room etc. However, after researching on Instagram prior to visiting the venue, I knew the potential the venue had as the beautiful big victorian glasshouse spoke for itself really. The venue is called the Hexham Winter Gardens located in Hexham, Northumberland. The venue has a beautiful glasshouse, alongside the wood panelled hall with a stage and a walled garden.
Your Outfits & Accessories
I found my dress on the ASOS website in the bridal section. One of my lovely bridesmaids allowed me to order around six dresses to her house from ASOS.
We had a lovely day trying on the dresses and chose the one, celebrating with champagne and a home cooked lunch. As the dress had so much detail on it, I wanted the accessories to be kept simple. I didn’t have any jewellery, but I chose a veil from a local wedding and prom dress shop. The shoes were Roland Cartier, silver and consisted of a gem embellishment all over.
Dom and I bought the same light grey suit for the four groomsman and my dad from Next. It was their suit to keep after the wedding. The groomsman and my dad wore their own shoes. Dom’s suit was also purchased from Next, it was slighter darker and had checks on so he could stand out. His shoes were a gift from our friends whilst we were living in Australia, they were handmade and dom always knew he was going to wear them on his wedding day. The lilac ties and pocket squares were all from New Look. I had the tie clips made on Etsy with their initials on.
The four dresses were from Dorothy Perkins. Their range was great as it came in petite and tall in the same dress, it was £48 for the dress so a bargain! One of the bridesmaids didn’t feel comfortable in the dress so got it altered to suit her shape.
I asked for the bridesmaids to wear nude shoes, two of them wore their own and the other two I purchased theirs from Dune and Carvela. I bought them all nude clutch bags from an online shop called Stackers where I had their initials put on the bag, they were all thrilled!
The Readings & Music
Our ceremony was humanist, conducted by a wonderful celebrant called Brad. He got to know us beforehand and the ceremony was so personal. We chose two readings, one was ‘Union’ by Robert Fulghum, this was read out by Sarah, one of the bridesmaids. The other reading was ‘Weird’ by Dr Seuss, read out by one of the groomsmen Andrew.
We chose ‘I was made for lovin’ you’ by KISS to be sung by our acoustic singer for me to walk down the aisle. The acoustic singer played throughout the reception.
For the meal, there was a grand piano in the glasshouse that would have been a shame not to use, so we had a pianist play during the meal which was beautiful.
During the evening reception, we had a fantastic band called ‘Hip Operation’ play. They were all well dressed and kept coming down into the crowd to get everyone involved, we were even doing the Conga at one point! So many of the guests commented on how fun they were. It was a gamble hiring a wedding band that we had never even seen live before, but after various recommendations, we just went for it and it paid off.
During the two sets, we did our first dance which was to ‘Of the night’ by Bastille as this was one of the songs we remember was on the radio all the time when we first got together. I also decided to have a dad and daughter dance to ‘Blitzkrieg bop’ by the Ramones as we always have a little dance to it at the football match. Dad stole the show, he was amazing with his air guitar!
After the band finished, Dom and I created a playlist which went down really well. I don’t think the dance floor was ever empty. Our last song ‘Angels’ by Robbie Williams was cheesy, however, very memorable as everyone decided to stand in a massive circle holding hands.
I found my hair stylist on instagram and instantly fell in love. I met Leanne for a hair trial and she was absolutely lovely. I trusted her completely and asked for a half up half down with soft curls and two plaits meeting to form a fishtail plait.I showed her a photo on Pinterest to give her an idea.
For the bridesmaids, I let them have whatever they wanted and all I had to do was send these images to Leanne prior to the wedding day. She was so laid back which helped us so much to keep calm on the day and all our hair looked perfect, she is super talented.
We also arranged for one of the bridesmaids to curl my mum’s hair on the morning as there wasn’t enough time to fit my mum in with Leanne as well, it looked beautiful.
With the make up, I had two trials with my make up artist to perfect the look. I also hired another make up artist as there was me, my four bridesmaids and my mum as I didn’t want there to be a rush in the morning. We absolutely loved getting ready in the morning. I had rented a gorgeous cottage, the morning was filled with calmness and laughter.
The florist, Karen from Ruby Tuesday Events that we chose was also our on the day co-ordinator, so we were able to have an in depth meeting as well as exchange various emails. I showed Karen various photos on Pinterest regarding the flowers and colours I would like in the bouquets and buttonholes. I was blown away when I received them on the morning of the wedding, they were absolutely beautiful.
The bouquet was a classical style full of roses, astilbe, Veronica and eucalyptus. The bridesmaids had a small version of the same. With the venue, Karen decorated the two long chandelier planks with mixed foliage which were suspended from the ceiling. We had three rows of long tables as well as the top table. These were all decorated with mixed foliage runners as well. Bud vases with the same flowers as my bouquet were also dotted around the venue.
Our photographer was Leighton Bainbridge, an amazing photographer and I always knew I would use him without a doubt. He is the husband of a work colleague and friend. After hearing so many people recommend him, I had actually recommended him to one of my bridesmaids who got married the year before. The photos that he takes are so relaxed and natural. I didn’t want to have lots of posed shots and Leighton understood that. He also insisted on a pre-wedding shoot which we had in my mum and dad’s garden which really helped put us at ease on the day as we were used having our photo taken.
I found our videographer on instagram. He is called Dan Lewis from ‘We Were Here’ films. Dan specialises in documentary style wedding films and it was exactly what we wanted. You couldn’t even tell dan was shooting during the day he was so discreet and so many people were shocked after to hear there was a videographer!
I think it is so important to have a videographer to watch in the future and remember all the moments that you may have forgot or missed.
The Details & Décor
As the venue was an empty space, all the details and decor were organised by ourselves. We spent the whole of the day before the wedding setting the venue up.
We had a company called festoon lighting come in to set up the canopy lighting in the hall, the two long chandeliers with various lightbulbs and the large rustic wood panel with the light bulbs that we stood in front of during the ceremony.
We also hired the neon sign to put in the hall and an illuminated ‘Bar’ sign for the main glasshouse. The cake was placed on an old vintage dressing table and the sweets were on an old sewing table. This furniture alongside the long rustic tables in the glass house were hired from an amazing company called Birdcages and Dragonflies who have collected lots of mismatched furniture along the way. They also provided a rustic five door screen which was placed in the glasshouse alongside a 15 panel window pane where I wrote the table plan on with chalk pen. I had the table number cards and name place cards made by Jessica Kinnersley, who also did the invitations. I showed her my ideas from images I had seen and she created the most wonderful designs.
The long tables were decorated with the foliage, pillar candles and grey linen runners.
The place settings were decorated with rose gold charger plates, light grey place cards and dark grey napkins. Each place setting also had two favours, one handmade lavender bath bomb, created by a friend and a shortbread iced biscuit with our initials on created by Ashley at the Little Cakery who I found on instagram.
The wooden bar we hired along with all the glassware and bottle fridges. It was great creating the bar and setting out all the different gins we had bought. Dom and I made the two grey pallets that we used for the ‘order of the day’ and ‘take a seat’. He painted them and I wrote on them. We also put flip flops and toiletries in the bathrooms which was such a good idea.
Our wedding car was a gorgeous VW split screen camper van, it was so fun having my mum and my bridesmaids all in together for the journey. We also hired a VW Photo Booth for the evening reception which fantastic and there was always a queue for it! It was great as they had put all the photos in a book for everyone to sign so it saved us having to do a guestbook.
The evening food was a wood fired pizza van that created the most amazing pizzas which was a saviour after the free bar. Dom and I had chosen around five pizzas prior to the day and they had been written on a blackboard which was great. Everyone commented on what a good idea it was to have the pizza van and they churned them out so quickly!
We had never been to America together so we planned a two week trip driving from San Francisco through LA to San Diego. We then flew to Vegas, stayed there then picked up another car to drive through Death Valley and to Yosemite. We had an amazing honeymoon and would love to go back to America, we only just scratched the surface!
The cake was made by Jaqueline’s Cake Company, who I met at an alternative wedding fair in Newcastle. Jacqueline had a dark celestial style cake on show at the fair and I fell in love with it. So I asked her if she would do similar galaxy style pattern but in a lilac shade, alongside cupcakes and brownies. The cake was a two tier, one salted caramel and one red velvet. Dom made the log slices that the cakes were placed on.
Travelling in the VW camper van with the bridesmaids and my mum, nearly stalling on the steep hills!
Walking down the aisle and seeing Dom was just magical.
Taking a moment during the meal to look at the beautiful space we had created with everyone enjoying themselves was very special.
Dancing all night and having so much fun!
Advice For Other Couples
Make sure you just take a moment to take everything in as the day goes so fast.
Don’t get too drunk as it is a long day and it is best to remember it all.
Make sure you have spreadsheets for costs, menu choices etc as it helps so much when finalising all the details.
Credit Where Credit Is Due
Leighton Bainbridge Photography
Hexham winter gardens
Caterers and Bar Staff
Jacob and Tori
Florist, Event Styling and On the Day Co-ordination
Karen Alexander, Ruby Tuesday Events
We Were Here
The Little Cakery
Fire & Dough
Birdcages & Dragonflies
Glassware, Chairs and Wooden Bar
Instagram Style Sign
Festoon Lighting Hire
Neon and Bar Sign
Sophie’s Wedding Ring
Old Eldon Jewellers
Dom’s Wedding Ring
What a gorgeous day you had, I love all the touches! Thank you so much Sophie and Dominic for sharing everything with us. Rachel x