It’s hard to believe that this magical gem of a venue it set within the UK. Nestled in the Northumberland countryside, Alnwick Garden Treehouse is just so unique and woodsy. Perfect for the relaxed nuptials of Bill and Kate who wed there on the 31st July 2017. Top on their priority list was a day which was super easy for their guests; with the day starting off at 4:30pm to allow for chilled preparations, a free bar and the ceremony and reception being held in the same location. It made for a really laid back, happy day, which by the way was captured oh so beautifully by Matt Penberthy. I am pretty sure these images will knock your socks off, especially the evening fairy lit shots, wow! Thanks for sharing them with us Matt.
Our pair didn’t go for a theme and simply chose things they love. I am coveting the glorious wooden signage, the magnificent cake table filled to the brim with treats and the gorgeous attire all round. The pretty pink roses and fluffy gypsophila blooms really brought all the elements together so well. Moments to look out for? KitKat throwing down the aisle and wands instead of confetti. I also really recommend taking in Kate’s planning advice below, it’s a must read!
THE PROPOSAL | Bill proposed in St Malo, France. Bill had arranged a weekend trip for my birthday. The proposal itself was beautiful. Situated on a secluded part of the beach, facing the walled city. Bill asked if I had enjoyed my birthday and said he had one more present to give me. With a pause, he got down on one knee and asked if I would marry him. At this point I wish I could say that I elegantly accepted. However, in reality, my mouth gaped as I asked if he was serious before bursting into uncontrollable floods of happy tears!
THE VISION | Relaxed. We wanted the day to be enjoyed by everyone. We moulded our choices to give everyone an effortless day. Everything from the time of day to start the wedding, the shoes people would wear, the free bar, the use of one venue for the whole day contributed to this feel.
THE PLANNING PROCESS | Perhaps a little unusually, we booked our venue before we had even seen it in person. In fact, we had never even been to the area before! We live in Jersey and our family are from different areas of the UK. Therefore, there was no one area that we felt best to host the day, so we began to look elsewhere. We decided to try somewhere completely new, somewhere we had never been before. A place that both we and the guests could explore for the first time together and make new memories. We began searching the internet for unique places to get married and came across The Treehouse in Alnwick, Northumberland. The venue looked like a fairy tale! It is a mesmerising venue, whilst at the same time is beautiful in its simplicity. The wooden structure was perfect for the natural and relaxed vision we had. Everything then followed from there. Once you find your venue, you find your theme! After this, we found quality suppliers for the day and began sourcing decorations to suit the venue and our personalities.
Once you have these elements, you just need to have a little faith. I am a Grade A control freak! The biggest issue for me was letting go. Top tip: You have to! In the week leading up to the wedding I spoke to each supplier to confirm everything was set and the day before the wedding I arrived at the venue with all my decorations. I gave clear instructions to the amazing co-ordinators who were going to set up the venue and I left. I loved walking down the aisle on our wedding day and seeing the venue dressed for the first time in all its glory with our decorations in place. Trust your suppliers – they are the professionals. They do this all the time, I don’t!
THE VENUE | The Treehouse. Alnwick, Northumberland. The venue is also a restaurant and I would highly recommend a visit. The venue is spectacular. The food is amazing. The staff were supportive, professional and welcoming. In short, The Treehouse is magical!
THE DRESS | Robyn by Ronald Joyce. Mae Bridal. Witney, Oxfordshire.
I went to two shops before finding ‘the one’. I vividly remember coming out of my first shop questioning all these brides that proclaimed, ‘when you know, you know!’. However, I am now eating a huge slice of humble pie, because when you know, you know. It wasn’t because the dresses in the first shop were not beautiful, in fact I nearly bought one. I just did not have the feeling. Once I tried on my dress, I felt incredible. It was the absolute opposite to what I thought I would wear, but I had been looking at it completely wrong. I expected to see a dress on a hanger and know if I like it. I should have been putting a dress on and seeing how it made me feel. My dress made me feel like a bride.
GROOM’S ATTIRE | Hugo Boss: suit, shirt, shoes and tie!
THE READINGS | We asked a friend of ours to pick his own reading. We were relatively relaxed about the readings and so thought this would be a nice surprise – to this day I still do not know what the poem is called! We also had a ‘knot poem’. We both have Scottish heritage and so held the tartan of both our families, which had been joined together, and Bill’s sister delivered a reading about the joining of two families.
THE MUSIC | It was really important to us to have live music. For the welcoming of our guests, our ceremony and reception drinks we had an incredibly talented guitarist called Dave Niskin, who played acoustic versions of well-known songs. He played ‘Go The Distance’ from Hercules as we walked back up the aisle as husband and wife! We also had a live band for the evening – The English Country Gentleman. The band were a huge hit and the dancefloor was full all night!
BEAUTIFUL BRIDESMAIDS | The bridesmaids wore beautiful navy dresses (ASOS) and soft pink wedges (Monsoon). Wedges were a touch of genius by my mum. The venue had wooden boards and rope bridges, which made the choice of heels interesting. We went for wedges to suit the venue, but they proved a very comfortable choice for all concerned. The bridesmaids also wore a simple drop pearl necklace from Jersey Pearl – to bring a little bit of the island we call home to the wedding.
THE FLOWERS | We used Flowers by Julie, based in Alnwick for our flowers. They were stunning! A beautiful collection of gypsophila and pink roses. The flowers looked beautiful in our small jars (bought from The Range). At the end of the evening we encouraged our guests to take home a jar with the flowers in. We did not initially know what we would do with all the jars after the wedding and this seemed an elegant solution. The flowers lasted for such a long time and it was so nice to hear from our guests after the wedding about how they were still enjoying them.
THE CAKE | We used Dawn at The Master Cakesmith for our cake. We had a cake table! It was brilliant. Not only was it beautiful and a talking point on the day. It also meant that we didn’t have anything left over. We had everything from cake, to cupcakes and lollipops to truffles. My mum made beautiful takeaway bags and all the guests took home what they couldn’t eat on the day (which wasn’t much).
THE PHOTOGRAPHER | Matt Penberthy Photography. Matt was just incredible. Having seen Matt’s work online we knew we were in safe hands. Matt offered something that we didn’t feel everyone did; a style that suited both Bill and me. Matt’s natural style of photography was not the only reason we loved him though. He was so enthusiastic on the day and found lots of unique places for us to have photographs taken. Matt caught those moments you would not want to forget! Matt also turned around the photographs after the wedding in record time! We had a short video slideshow of a selection of the pictures within a day or two and the full suite of photographs within a few weeks. We have had so many wonderful comments on our photographs and we couldn’t have been more delighted.
THE DETAILS & DÉCOR | Do not get trapped by your theme. We picked items that we liked for the wedding and then tied it together with small elements, such as similar styled jars for the flowers, using the blue and pink from the outfits for the ribbon on our favours and leaning into the theme already in place at our venue, in our case nature and wood. It was also important for us to get across a bit of our personality in our day. We named each table a place we had been together, we used our families’ old classical books for our centrepieces and had Jersey fudge as our favour.
Have fun with your day! It is the little touches that will make your day different and memorable. Two items that really stood out for us were firstly our page boys (our nephews) threw KitKats down the aisle! About 6 months before the wedding one of the boys had misunderstood that it was only the flower girls that would need to throw flowers as they walked down the aisle and had told his mother that they did not want to throw flowers like the girls, but would throw KitKats. This stayed with our nephew and we decided to let him do it! It was so much fun, the boys thoroughly enjoyed it and the guests thought it was great – especially when they got to eat them whilst we signed the register.
We also had a glow stick guard of honour to finish the night, which was great fun for everyone and a lovely way for us to leave for the night!
THE HONEYMOON | Touring Sri Lanka and then off to the Maldives.
ADVICE FOR OTHER COUPLE’S | Here are our top tips:
Prepare your day in a way that allows you to actually enjoy it! Do not have things that you need to do on the day. Your job that day is to have a good time.
Do your research and then trust your suppliers.
We started our wedding at 4.30pm. This helped the flow of the day. We discussed having the wedding earlier and making the ‘most of the day’. However, I am really glad we decided to start later. The guests got to tour the local area in the morning, there were no lulls of activity for the guests and we both got a lie in!
Take some time to just be together and watch your wedding happen. Bill and I took ten minutes to slip away to a balcony at the top of the venue and just watched our guests having a nice time. It was one of my favourite memories of the day.
Try and be relaxed – things will happen on the day that are out of your control but it doesn’t matter. We forgot the hoop for my dress, we spilled champagne on it just before leaving for the ceremony, the kids cracked the glow sticks before it was time and the dog nearly ate the KitKats! Take it from me, none of this matters. If anything, it made the day better. Be relaxed and go with the flow. Your day is perfect no matter what happens, because it is your wedding day.
Most importantly, enjoy it. It really is over before you know it!
CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE |
Photographer | Matt Penberthy
Venue | Alnwick Garden Treehouse
Flowers | Flowers by Julie Alnwick
Cake | The Master Cakesmith
Guitarist | Dave Niskin Music
Bridal Shop | Mae Bridal
Hair and Make Up | Church Hairdressing
Just perfect from beginning to end.
Bill and Kate, thanks ever so much for sharing your remarkable wedding story with us xo Lou