We’re off to Northumberland today and I can’t wait to show you Sarah and Nick’s nuptials. Everything took place on 6th July 2019 and they really took advantage of the beautiful surroundings of their venue with an outdoor ceremony. Sarah’s parents live in the walled garden of Callaly Castle in Northumberland and our pair were lucky enough to hold the whole wedding there.
Their day was an absolutely incredible blend of traditions with Vietnamese lanterns and Sarah’s ao dai side by side with Celtic traditions like the piper and ceilidh band, so personal.
Sarah was already acquainted with Rachael Fraser Photography and knew she would do a fantastic job of capturing their wedding day. Thank you so much for sharing these fab images with us today Rachael.
Nick proposed by the lake at the base of Cader Idris, a mountain in Snowdonia. It’s a special place to us as five years previously, inspired by a painting we’d seen at the Royal Academy in London, we decided to find the unique looking mountain in the painting, and climb it. Nick presented me with a stunning family ring, I said yes, and as neither of us knew which hand it went on, stuck it on my right hand, and headed on to the nearest pub to phone our families to tell them the news.
We wanted our day to reflect us — bringing together a mix of Celtic and Vietnamese cultures, and highlighting the delights of Northumberland, the setting for our wedding. From the start we knew we wanted a ceilidh band, sharing platters and Vietnamese lanterns!
The Planning Process
We had 15 months between the proposal and our wedding date so for the first couple of months, we just enjoyed being fiancés!
A friend had passed on to me her extremely organised “wedding spreadsheet” which came in really useful as a checklist and guide for ordering activities.
First up was choosing a venue.
After a sunny weekend back at home with my parents, who live in the walled garden in the grounds of Callaly Castle, 9 miles from Alnwick, we knew it had to be there.
We then quickly booked out local accommodation for our guests, then started on booking the marquee, caterers, photographer and ceilidh band. We can’t recommend each of these people enough – BestIntent, Boldon Farmhouse Pantry, Rachael Fraser and Kilter were just a dream. Once we had those key elements down, everything else fell into place.
We are really fortunate that my parents live in the stunning grounds of Callaly Castle in Northumberland. We wanted to make the most out of the grounds, so kept our fingers crossed for good weather and had the ceremony and reception on the lawn and dinner and dancing in the marquee by the castle, overlooking the grounds.
Your Outfits & Accessories
I’d visited one dress shop in London and then on a whim, whilst on holiday in Thailand, decided to get my “western” white dress made in Bangkok. I got my simple veil a couple of weeks before the wedding on Etsy and my shoes from Jigsaw.
My au dai (traditional Vietnamese outfit, red for a wedding) was made by my mum’s friend in Vietnam. My mum also brought back with her the traditional necklace and bracelet to go with it.
I asked my bridesmaids to choose their own dresses for a couple of reasons – I wanted them to feel comfortable, to allow them their own style and wear them again! My guidelines (with power of veto) were; a range of yellow to rusty orange, below the knees and without patterns. It was amazing seeing them all together in their dresses on the day, perfectly mis-matched.
To unify the team we all had white flower crowns.
My talented bridesmaids did my hair and make up.
The Readings & Music
I walked with my dad and bridesmaids over to the ceremony to the sound of the bagpipe. It was magic.
Nick’s cousin conducted the ceremony, with a Led Zeppelin reading from Nick’s sister, and a reading written by one of my friends.
Our first dance was Gay Gordon’s, a ceilidh dance, with my bridesmaids and Nick’s groomsmen. It was the first time most of our guests had danced a ceilidh and what we lacked in experience was made up by enthusiasm!
My dad grew them and my mum arranged them for the tables, marquee and groomsmen’s button holes. We borrowed potted plants from neighbours to dot around, and on the morning of the wedding, my bridesmaids and I cut and arranged our bouquets from the garden.
Will and Alan created a beautiful spread of various cakes from Waitrose, alongside a selection of amazing Northumberland cheeses.
The talented Rachael Fraser whom I met through my sister. I’ve always enjoyed seeing Rachael’s holiday shots when she and my sister travel together, and I knew Rachael would be the person to capture the atmosphere of our day perfectly – she really did capture the excitement and magic of the day’s events.
We tasked a friend with a 360 camera / video to capture some motion shots from the day. It’s been great fun being transported back to the day through our geeky looking VR headset (hopefully one day they’ll make them look cooler).
The Details & Décor
The colourful Vietnamese lanterns really lit up the marquee, and we had the Vietnamese flag flying above the castle. My mum made damson gin gifts, and the table numbers were wine bottles from our favourite place in France. Our table names were places that were special to us, including Cader Idris where Nick proposed.
We headed north to Scotland. Staying first at the Fife Arms in the Cairngorms, before heading to Loch Ness and on to Aberfeldy to climb some munros
There are so many! But if I have to choose one it would be walking to the ceremony, through the beautiful grounds with my bridesmaids and dad, hearing the bagpipe fill the grounds and seeing all our guests for the first time.
Advice For Other Couples
If you’ve got time, enjoy being engaged for a bit before diving into the organising, and once you do, get the big ticket items (venue, catering, music, photographer) done first.
Do what you want to do – it’s your day!
Make time for yourself on the day to soak in the atmosphere and see all your friends and family!
Credit Where Credit Is Due
Rachael Fraser Photography
Boldon Farmhouse Pantry
Cotton House, Bangkok
Bride’s flower head piece
The Artisan Dried Flower Company from Not on the High Street
Bridesmaids’ head pieces
Thank you so much Sarah and Nick for sharing your wonderful wedding and its mix of traditions. What a day! Rachel x