What a delight it is to be sharing WWW readers Sarah and Mark’s wedding today. They were married at Newton Hall in Northumberland on the 4th May 2019, with a relaxed and botanical vision for their splendid celebrations. Every wedding planning decision they made, was centred around creating that relaxed atmosphere, both for themselves and their loved ones. Isn’t that just lovely?
The styling of their wedding was fresh, natural and bohemian with a classic twist. Think lots of lush florals with an abundance of greenery, personal touches and beautiful stationery. I just adore their pale grey cake, the pretty signs and the fun guest book.
Sarah looked stunning in her Rembo Styling gown, Mark together with his groomsmen were suited and booted in T M Lewin and the bridesmaids looked wonderful in dove grey frocks. Such a stylish and romantic celebration indeed.
Huge thanks goes to Carn Patrick Photography for sharing these super gorgeous images with us. What a feast for the eyes.
Mark proposed to me in Paris on my birthday in 2017.
I really wasn’t expecting it so managed to make it quite difficult for him on the day!
It was a perfect surprise when he finally produced the ring – which he’d literally handmade for the occasion!
After a number of challenging years with multiples losses on both sides of the family our vision for the day was really to create an event where we could all come together and relax and just celebrate something good!
Feeling relaxed was an absolute must for both of us – and this vision permeated every decision we made about the wedding from venue, to outfits, to decoration. Everything was designed to allow us and our guests to have a really nice day.
The Planning Process
Mark and I worked really well together in the lead up to the wedding. We started conversations early and drew up a comprehensive plan and budget to help us get organised.
Towards the end, when the nerves were starting to hit we even took to Trello to turn our thoughts into action!
While I would say we worked together on every aspect of the wedding: Mark took care of the big bookings – venue, coach, accommodation etc. and I took care of the finer details including invitation design, gifts for groomsmen/bridesmaids and decoration.
I won’t say exactly how much we spent but we kept to the budget we agreed at the start. I think it’s very important to spend some time working on a budget when you start planning your wedding. And don’t forget all the small things (do you want to have your nails done? will you want nice pyjamas? etc. etc.) it racks up really quickly.
Lots of people had warned us to keep some extra money aside for the couple of weeks before the wedding and this was really good advice. We spent quite a lot in those last few days – even though we felt we’d been organised in the lead up to the day!
Newton Hall, Alnwick.
This venue was a perfect choice for us. We loved that we could have the ceremony and reception all in the same place. The staff were so friendly and VERY organised which is a bonus!) and the Hall itself is just an all-round magical place to be.
I’m not usually a big makeup wearer so I was quite nervous about this part of the day! We couldn’t have picked a nicer hair and make up lady than Lucy from La Belle Vous. She really listened to what I wanted and helped me and my bridesmaids feel incredibly relaxed during the morning’s preparations.
As a gift to me on our wedding day Mark treated me to some perfume I’ve always wanted but never been able to justify buying – some Chanel Mademoiselle. It gives me butterflies when I smell it and am so happy that it will always be the scent that reminds me of my wedding day!
Mark’s grooming routine was far less intense! Ha! But he looked gorgeous as always!
Your Outfits & Accessories
I wore a beautiful Rembo Styling dress called Graal which I bought from a boutique on the Chatsworth estate called Alexandra Anne. I paired it with a full length Joyce Jackson veil and some really pretty Rachel Simpson shoes. Our wonderful florist Sharon from Wild With Love prepared some white wax flowers to pin into my hair and I wore some sentimental jewellery gifted to me by my dad before he passed in 2016.
Mark wore a tailored blue suit from T M Lewin with a crisp white shirt and pale pink tie. On the morning of the wedding I gifted him a handmade silver bird pin which he wore on his lapel. A reminder of his dad, an avid bird watcher, who passed in 2018.
The Readings & Music
We asked one of Mark’s groomsmen to do one of the readings and my uncle to do the other.
We really struggled to find readings that we both liked that we really felt summed us up as a couple.
In the end we decided to write our own. We based our readings on some that already exist but tweaked the words so they meant something to us.
Re. music – we chose an amazing singer and guitarist called Richard Sutton through AMV Live Music. He played an incredible acoustic version of Jose Gonzalez’s ‘Heartbeats’ as I walked down the aisle, and played us out of the ceremony with a great rendition of ‘Signed, sealed, delivered’ by Stevie Wonder. It was perfect.
Mark chose his brother and two great friends to be his groomsman – it was a decision he deliberated over for a long time as he is so blessed with a big group of amazing friends.
They wore the same suit as Mark but without the waistcoat. We had some worries about the fittings (one of the groomsmen flew over from New York for the wedding so there was no room for error!) but, thankfully, everything worked out and the boys looked absolutely tremendous on the day.
I chose my sister (and best friend) to be my maid of honour and my two closest friends from university to be my bridesmaids.
When searching for the right bridesmaid dresses I felt like I looked at 99.9% of all the dresses ever made! It nearly drove me crazy!
I finally asked Mark to head out on a shopping trip with me and, lo and behold, in the last shop I entered (which happened to be Marks and Spencers) the exact dresses I’d been searching for were hanging up in front of me!
To make things even better, they were on sale AND they only had the sizes I needed left in stock. Talk about a fortunate find!
I paired the dresses, which were a lovely dove grey colour with some nude sandals from Wallis. The girls said the shoes were really comfortable which I was very pleased about!
I specifically wanted multiway dresses because my bridesmaids are all very similar sizes but very different shapes. I knew that each of them would want to hide and accentuate different parts of themselves. I loved the idea that they could choose to wear their dresses in the way that made them feel best.
We chose to have our flowers done by Sharon at Wild With Love. She was recommended to us by another florist at a local wedding fair in Morpeth.
Sharon was the perfect choice. Not only is she a fabulous florist who really listens to her clients, she is also the kindest woman I’ve ever met!
I had an idea to use plants at our wedding: fatsia, ferns, herbs etc. which I knew might be a little controversial. Sharon LOVED the idea. She completely ran with it and the result completely blew us away.
We chose an incredible photographer based in North East to take our photos called Carn Patrick.
He really made our day – not only is he a really impressive photographer but he’s also just such a nice guy who helped put us and our guests at complete ease.
We absolutely love our photographs from the day and will treasure them always. We had lots of comments from guests saying how great he was throughout the day and have already recommended him to two friends who are getting married next year.
The Details & Décor
Newton Hall and Wild With Love were instrumental in setting up for the day but Mark and I sourced/made most of the smaller details/decor ourselves.
Originally we had thought we’d skip on the cake – but after some persuasion (and generosity) from Mark’s Mam we decided to order one – and I’m so glad we did.
Dawn the Master Cakesmith is a credit to her name and made the world’s most beautiful (and delicious!) cake!
It had a really simple yet elegant geometric design. The flavours were: coffee, lemon and carrot cake… and they were all SO tasty!
Our honeymoon was designed around a very exciting restaurant reservation (Mark and I love our food!) at the 3rd best restaurant in the world, Mirazur in Menton.
We spent a week exploring the South of France – staying in Monaco, Menton, Cannes and Nice before returning to the ‘real world’ as Mr and Mrs Newman!!
It might sound cheesy but its true! – the whole day was memorable. It was exactly the day we wanted for us and our loved ones.
We are so enormously grateful to everyone who helped us tie the knot.
The only problem now is that I want to do it all over again!
Advice For Other Couples
Have a conversation with your partner about what’s really important to you on the day of your wedding.
For us this boiled down to 2 things:
- Getting married
- Giving our family and friends an opportunity to unwind and celebrate
When you’ve pinned down what’s really important to you it’s much easier to have perspective when the colour of the peonies or the style of your guest book is starting to feel like the most difficult decision that’s ever been made.
Don’t sweat the small stuff, breathe and enjoy the day.
My last piece of advice would be to sit down with your partner and run through the details of the day together. Chat through the whole day in chronological order visualising every element as you go. I worked in events in my last job and found this to be a really useful way of spotting any small (or large!) details that may have been missed. (The groom arrives at the venue. Where are the button holes? Is the florist bringing them? Have we confirmed that? Will the photographer be there to greet the groom? The guests arrive. What will they see? The welcome sign will be there on arrival (who will have put it there?) Will the bar be open? Will music be playing?…and so on) It might sound tedious but it genuinely really helps.
Credit Where Credit Is Due
Carn Patrick Photography
Sharon Wright, Wild With Love
The Master Cakesmith
Oh so divine. Sarah and Mark, thank you both ever so much for sharing your very special wedding story xo Lou