This shoot is simply beautiful. Brinkburn looks like a absolutely idyllic venue and if you’re planning a wedding in Northumberland, I’m envious! It has that perfect combination of grandeur and intimacy, the countryside surrounding it is stunning and it’s an elegant yet neutral space.
I just love what Helen at Bels Flowers and Katy the photographer have done with the space. Beautifully organic and sumptuous floral displays, the prettiest table styling and a golden hued Badgley Mischka dress that is out of this world.
Rock My Wedding readers Rich and Caroline were married at St Mary’s Church, Gainford with a reception at The Morritt, Greta Bridge, County Durham.
We have a fashion filled rural dream for you today. Jenny Packham set off with not one but two different head pieces. As if that wasn’t enough we also have PEACH folks…. The firmest of firm favourites currently here at RMW.
Caroline is here to fill you in on all the gorgeous details, all of the ace photography is by Karen McGowran.
My dress was Minerva by Jenny Packham. I had initially set out to find a Kate Moss-esque wedding dress, the rules being… not strapless, a bit bohemian in style and a train that could collect leaves and twigs as I walked along the country lanes! I tried on all sorts of different shapes and styles which I enjoyed but I was starting to get worried that I wouldn’t find anything I liked enough until my sister booked me an appointment at Jenny Packham’s London shop.
I had a list of all the dresses I had wanted to try on but was a little disappointed my favourite (Parma) wasn’t yet in stock. This disappointment didn’t last long because as soon as I tried on Minerva I loved it! Minerva hadn’t been a serious contender for me so my sister told me to quickly get changed as it was nice but not what I was after (big skirt was also a no-no!). Every other dress I tried on after that didn’t compare and I didn’t want to take it off so I knew that was the one for me! I must admit I did have a few weeks of worry afterwards thinking it wasn’t what I had originally set out to buy and I had also loved a pretty lace dress by Claire Pettibone but on the day I knew I had absolutely made the right choice as it was so much fun to wear and I loved swishing the skirt around!
Gypsophila In My Hair
As my hair style was relatively relaxed I knew I wanted an accessory in it. I tried on a range of Jenny Packham’s amazing hair accessories but ended up wearing a little River Island number! I bought two hairbands and did some DIY so that the detailing went all the way around my head. After the wedding breakfast, I wore a garland made of gypsophila in my hair that my florist made for me. After I saw ‘The Woodland Flower Fairy’ wedding post on RMW with the bride’s amazing hair garland I knew I had to have one and I love the simplicity and prettiness of gypsophila.
I was quite disorganised with deciding on what jewellery to wear. I knew I wanted to wear my late grandma’s engagement ring and apart from that the rest of my jewellery was decided on the day. My sister gave me a beautiful bracelet & Rich surprised me with a gorgeous necklace that I had spotted online by a New York jewellery designer months before the big day. All of the jewellery was a mix of yellow and white gold which was a lucky coincidence.
I had wanted to buy some sparkly flat sandals to wear with the dress, I even liked the idea of being barefoot (thank goodness I didn’t as my toes would have been frozen). The girls thought the sandals I liked were too WAG-like (they weren’t, honest!) and that I wouldn’t stand up straight on the day if I didn’t have heels, so we headed to Oxford Street and I ended up with a silver pair from Next that were really comfy (I normally can only cope wearing heels for a few hours) and only cost £30…bargain! So now I had a designer dress and high street accessories = happy bride-to-be!
A Whiter Shade Of Pale
I knew immediately that I wanted a veil and for it to be a full length one. I didn’t want to spend too much on it as I wanted a really simple, plain veil. I had tried on my mum’s veil but it was too white for my dress and I had spoken to my friend who had ordered hers from the internet with disastrous results. This led to us visiting a haberdashery in Tooting which specialises in wedding dresses and accessories and buying enough tulle to make the veil. Once we had checked the colour matched the dress (who knew there could be so many different shades of ivory!) my mum had the task of cutting the veil to size and attaching it to a comb from John Lewis. Thanks mum!
The day before the wedding was spent getting pampered. I had an Essie manicure and decided on a pale lilac colour as I wanted to wear the sort of colour that I normally choose to wear rather than a traditional bridal colour or french manicure. I also had eyelash extensions which I loved and would definitely recommend, especially as they lasted for 2 weeks which was an added bonus for the honeymoon. I did my own hair and makeup on the day. I had been to Space NK for a Laura Mercier makeup evening a few months before the wedding and used these products as well as bits from Chanel, Bobbi Brown and Mac.
Too Much Prettiness
Our florist was the lovely Helen at Bels Flowers. As soon as I contacted her she filled me with confidence as she understood what we were after (although that didn’t stop me bombarding her with pictures… there is too much prettiness on RMW!)
We wanted a mixture of soft colours in the arrangements and for the bouquets to have a “swept up” feel. There were David Austen roses, sweet peas, astillbe and lavender amongst others in my bouquet which was tied with lace. I absolutely loved it. Each of the bridesmaids had slightly different bouquets with peonies and stocks included. Helen also created a heart wreath of flowers which we hung at the church gate and decorated the pew ends with flowers and lace. The table arrangements were also relaxed arrangements in kilner jars and jam jars.
Find Of The Wedding
The bridesmaid dresses were the real find of the wedding. This will sound very tight but hey ho… they were £15 each! My sister had spotted them in a wedding mag whilst we were stuck on a 2 & 1/2 hour train journey. They looked so perfect we didn’t hang about and went straight on the website (using my phone so the pictures were tiny!). I couldn’t believe they were in the sale and snapped up the last 4 without even consulting the other bridesmaids, eek! Luckily they all liked them and the girls looked so beautiful on the day.
The bestman and ushers suits were from Next and they all wore their own shoes. We weren’t concerned about everything being matchy matchy so the boys ended up in lavender ties rather than matching with the bridesmaids’ dresses.
Rich’s suit was from Reiss, he knew pretty much straight away that he didn’t want a traditional morning suit and liked the idea of a suit he could wear again in the future but looked different to the normal work suits he wears. His shoes were also from Reiss and when I saw him looking so smart in the church I felt like a very lucky girl. The ties weren’t as easy to decide upon and Rich only really knew what he was going to wear a few days before the wedding day. He finally went with a floral skinny tie from Next which worked well with the relaxed and countryside feel of the wedding.
Get Me To The Church On Time
Karen McGowran was our photographer and she and her husband Neil were absolutely fantastic. Karen played such a big part in making our day enjoyable and helped me keep track of the time on the wedding morning, if it wasn’t for her I may have been even later to the church than I was! She is so passionate about what she does and this shows not only in her photographs but the whole service she provides leading up to the day and afterwards, with a preview of the pics available in less than 24 hours. This helped to make for a very excitable post wedding day.
Fruit, Chocolate And Sponge
My mum did such a good job making the wedding cake. It was 3 tiers made of fruit, chocolate and sponge and decorated with handmade iced flowers. On the wedding day, Rich didn’t get a chance to eat any cake so luckily the sponge was saved for the following day and we got to enjoy it then whilst swapping stories about the day.
As soon as we started planning the wedding, Rich was adamant that we were to have a live band. We planned the wedding day in 7 months and so that meant our first choice of band was already booked up. However, this worked out for the best as our band Hudson (who came over from Liverpool) were brilliant, playing a range of songs from The Beatles to Oasis and a handful of cheesy classics. Lots of the guests commented on how brilliant they were. They even invited the guests to help out with the vocals on a few songs and my bridesmaid and I couldn’t resist the chance to pretend to be part of the band!
God Only Knows
We had the Beach Boys God Only Knows as the song for our first dance. Rich and I had listened to this song whilst we were on holiday just after we had got engaged and think it is a song that we will love forever.
The favours were homemade coconut ice & fudge (we gave up on making the fudge ourselves after three attempts). We spent the Saturday evening before the wedding placing the sweets in cellophane and tying each one up with a velvet ribbon. My sister and I were the bow police!
Woodwork Skills And Homemade Touches
In addition to Helen’s gorgeous flowers we decorated the venue with homemade bunting and wooden signs made by my dad. My dad also put his woodwork skills to good use in making us a wooden crate which was used to collect our cards. We decorated jam jars which were filled with tea lights and flowers. My parents’ house was full of donated jam jars from family and friends and we used various ribbons, doilies & gems to decorate them. Ebay was vital for that!
For each of the guests’ place setting we used luggage tags which I stamped with each name and were attached to a flower made from icing (my mum was kept very busy with the wedding preparations!). Rich designed the table names which were London street signs which we thought was a nice link to where we currently live as the wedding was held up North.
One of our close friends helped us design our save the dates and invitations and a few of us got together to make the orders of service for the church. It really did make the wedding feel more personal to have lots of homemade touches.
My lovely dad drove his MGB all the way from Kent to County Durham! It was fantastic to be driven to the church by him and then Rich drove us to the reception venue after the church service which was amazing. Unfortunately the freakishly cold weather meant we didn’t have the roof down but at least that meant I didn’t need to worry about my veil flying off!
My advice for brides-to-be is to try not to feel too pressurised to please everyone and get as many family and friends involved with the preparations as possible. A tip from Rich is to set a 9pm rule. After that time I wasn’t allowed to mention the wedding and had to stop reading blogs which forced us to have conversations unrelated to the wedding. I managed to just about stick to this until a few weeks before the big day.