Bride Lotty had a clear vision to fill her dry hire venue The Winter Gardens in Northumberland with greenery, and oh my the results are spectacular. Wildflower florist along with her family and friends absolutely transformed the glasshouse into a botanical haven. Complimented beautifully with crisp white maids in mis-match dresses from the high street, and Mumford & Sons inspired Groomsmen outfits of tweed and tartan adding a boho edge. Lotty also bravely ordered her gown from the internet. But if there was ever a dress more fitting for a Bride it's definitely her Grace Loves Lace Emme gown. She looks absolutely stunning. Topped off beautifully with a heavenly flower crown. This gorgeous couple nearly didn't have a photographer until they stumbled across The List recommended supplier Sarah-Jane Ethan’s fabulous work. And we're SO glad they did as we now get to share their Pin-spirational day with you lovelies.
VenueLotty the Bride: Both of us shared the same vision for our day -we wanted it to be relaxed, informal and fun. I really liked the idea of getting married in my Mum and Dads garden and having a BBQ -but once we started looking at guest numbers, we realised this wouldn’t be viable! We both grew up in Northumberland and have strong family ties there, so we started googling unusual wedding venues in the area which would allow a DIY-style event (we’re both total control freaks so wanted to do it all ourselves!). I stumbled across the most amazingly beautiful wedding in Hexham Winter Gardens online captured by Sarah-Jane Ethan and was completely inspired! I don’t think we even looked at other venues or other photographers!
PhotographerWe didn’t actually think we wanted a photographer originally. But after seeing Sarah-Jane Ethan’s photo’s, we quickly changed our minds. I think it was the first bit of our wedding we booked! SJ is so talented at her job and completely lives up to her reputation as a photographer ninja! Both of us are a bit awkward about having our photo taken, but SJ is so professional and warm -we actually started to enjoy it!
BrideI had already seen a dress on Instagram that I loved years before getting engaged, and decided that if I got married -I would wear that dress. Dress-shopping was therefore super easy -I just didn’t do it! Unfortunately, the dress came from the furthest place in the world from me (Australia), and was bought over the internet. I really hate clothes shopping, so although it’s often the bit people are really excited for -wedding dress shopping just did not appeal. My dress was the Emme- waisted dress from Grace Loves Lace and I absolutely loved it!! It was the most ‘Me’ dress -and it felt relaxed, feminine and beautiful all at the same time. I decided I would wear a veil -just because it was the only opportunity I would have to do so!
Wedding Party FashionMy gorgeous bridesmaids are all completely different shapes and sizes, and I’ve never really liked the matchy-matchy look -so we just went for completely different dresses. I didn’t want any colour, so we stuck with us all in ivory. The year up to the wedding, I just picked up boho-style dresses that I spotted in high street stores which I thought would suit a particular bridesmaid. Because time was on my side, I could often wait until they went in the sale too so many of them were half price. I know this sounds far too easy and relaxed -but it worked! All of the girls loved their unique dresses and because they were relaxed styles -there was no adjustments needed. Perfect! For the boys -it was the same deal. No matchy-ness and no colour theme. We asked the boys to just wear what they wanted rather than buy them outfits. We gave them the brief of ‘Mumford and Sons video’ -and they all rocked up in brogues, tweed, and waistcoats. They looked fab! I’m really attached to my name, and because my Dad doesn’t have any siblings -it means my sister and I are the last Maxwells in our family. I therefore decided that I would double barrel my name - and Alex wanted to do the same so that we had the same surname. Because we were adding Alex to the family, we used the Maxwell family tartan for boys bowties and the girls bouquets. It’s a pretty tartan and added a nice subtle splash of colour to the theme.
FlowersOur vision for the day was boho with lots of leafiness and greenery. I spent hours on Pinterest searching for greenery bouquet inspiration for my maids, but couldn’t really find much. Before talking to Hannah at Wildflower, I was a bit nervous about the idea of not having flowers and wasn’t really sure people would ‘get it’. However, Hannah was all over it and got my vision better than I think I did! Because everything was a bit eclectic, I wanted to pull the look together using the greenery. My maids had floral side headpieces and bouquets made from unusual greenery and botanicals. I had the same, but with a few white roses added. My thistle crown was my absolute favourite bit -I just didn’t want to take it off.
DecorWe decorated the Winter Gardens the night before the wedding. We truly have the most amazing friends and family! Everyone turned up armed with greenery, fairy lights, bunting and secateurs. Because the Winter Gardens is dry-hire, we got to decorate the whole place exactly how we wanted it. It’s such a light, beautiful building -we just wanted to bring the outside in. We covered the place in ivy and laurel from our Mum’s gardens. My Mum-in-law made the most fantastic floral arrangements from birch branches and twisted willow from her garden. She also made a gorgeous top-table arrangement. My Sisters Boyfriends Mum made us a beautiful willow arch for the ceremony, covered in greenery, moss and flowers. My Sister-in-law made metres and metres of bunting made from hessian and lace. My Dad-in-law painted signs directing guests to the venue, and also the seating plan. And my Sisters Boyfriend covered the hydro hall in festoon lights for the evening. David, one of our best friends, was in charge of the ‘children's corner’ and toiletries for the bathrooms. It reminded me of the episode of friends when Phoebe is given the job of bringing ice for a party... the bathroom baskets were filled were everything you could possibly need -from deodorant, blister plasters, mints, to fake moustaches. They were so handy -particularly when my Dad cut his finger just as we were getting out of the wedding car inches from my dress, and was in desperate need of an emergency plaster!
FoodThe food -oh the food! We really do love our grub -so this was a very important factor. We didn’t want a formal sit-down meal, so we decided on a picnic style wedding breakfast. We were originally thinking we could source bits and put it together the morning of the wedding -but as the time went on, we realised this would be super stressful so we started looking at a supplier that could do this for us. Knitsley Farm were the answer -and were absolutely amazing! Danielle and the team were so unbelievably accommodating -literally nothing was too much trouble. We borrowed picnic baskets from friends and family, and dropped them off to Knitsley a few days before. Danielle then filled the baskets with delicious homemade farm foods, and dropped them off at the Winter Gardens on the morning of the wedding. It was perfect! In the evening, we hired our favourite street food van ‘Scream for Pizza’. These girls are amazing! After an afternoon of drinks and plenty of dancing, the freshly made pizzas went like hot cakes! If you haven’t experienced one of the Scream Teams pizzas, you are missing out -I couldn’t recommend them enough! Our cheese ‘cake’ was from Northumberland Cheese Company -which was delicious! It was accompanied by Mary Berry’s celebration fruit cake made by myself, which I made a couple of months before and fed with brandy fortnightly. Alex’s Mum is from Yorkshire, so we’ve been conditioned to eat fruit cake alongside cheese (trust me it works really well!). Alex’s brother makes incredible homemade chutney -so he kindly made huge batches of the stuff to go with the cheese.
CeremonyNeither of us are religious, so we just wanted the ceremony to feel unique to us. There is a beautiful grand piano in the Winter Gardens, so we made a last minute decision to make use of it and booked Stuart Collingwood to play. We were so glad we did -it felt so special and romantic. Alex chose the music that I walked down the aisle to; an instrumental version of ‘She’ by Elvis Costello, and we had Florence’s ‘You got the Love’ as our exit music. Alex’s Dad opened the ceremony with a reading from Captain Corelli’s Mandolin. My best friend read Bob Marley’s ‘He’s not perfect’, and Alex’s Stepdad sang The Beatles ‘Here There and Everywhere’. Alex and I also wrote our own promises to say to each other. The ceremony felt so special and meaningful to us -it was my absolute favourite part of the day. I was completely sure that I would cry all the way though (I’m a crier), however Alex and I were the only ones with dry eyes in the house!
EntertainmentWe wanted something fun for the evening, so we hired the ceilidh band, the ‘Hedgehogs Skin’. It was so much fun!! Even the guests that I thought wouldn’t dance joined in -in fact, we couldn’t get some of them off the dance floor! It’s such a sociable thing to do -it requires little skill, and provides lots of laughter! We had asked guests to request a song choice in their RSVP, which we used to compile a very eclectic playlist for the evening. Copies of this on a CD also made a nice little favour for guests to take home to remember the night.
AdviceAround 5pm on the wedding day, I suddenly felt absolutely exhausted! I grabbed Alex, and we just had a quiet 10 minutes to spend with each other and take in the day. It’s such an amazing day but it’s so emotional and happens like a whirlwind, so having a short ‘time-out’ to have with each other was really lovely. I would really recommend couples do this -I’m so thankful that we did. I had read somewhere about having a ‘wedding scent’, which I am now a great advocate of! We chose each others wedding colognes which we only wore on our wedding day and on our honeymoon. I wore Jo Malone’s Velvet rose and Oud, and Alex wore Jo Malone’s wood, sage and sea salt -which together compliment each other. Because smell can be so powerful in triggering memories, now whenever I smell it, it completely transports me back to our wedding. It also means we can wear it on anniversaries and will evoke happy memories from the day.
Final ThoughtsMake it completely your own - don’t worry about it not working or being a bit unconventional -it feels right on the day. And don’t stress about other people -it’s easier said than done, but everyone just wants you to have a great time -so make sure that you do!
Dress Designer: Grace Loves Lace - Emme | Bridal Shoes: Soludos | Bridal Jumper: Toast | Bridal Hair: Fayes Carth Hair | Makeup: Lucy Ingram | Venue: Winter Gardens | Florist: Wild Flower Florist | Caterer: Knitsley Farmshop | Scream for Pizza | Cheese Tower: Northumberland Cheese | Furniture: Event Furniture | Pianist: Stuart Collingwood | Ceilidh Band: Hedgehogs Skin | Transport: Brooklands Wedding Cars | Bridesmaid Dresses: Zara | Mango | Great Plains | French Connection | Phase Eight | Bow Ties: Scots Connection