#10 North by North-East
Our Brides #10 – Sarah
Nottingham bride Sarah headed north (and a bit east) to Northumberland for natural, relaxed wedding vibes at Newton Hall near Alnwick.
As a Harry Potter nerd, I know the first two films were shot at Alnwick Castle, and there’s definitely some magic in the air in these photos! (Sorry, I couldn’t resist.) Nerdy or not, I know you’ll agree the Graal dress by Rembo Styling looks sublime in such a dreamy setting.
Congrats Sarah and Mark! When my other half took me to Alnwick all I got was a broom-flying lesson…
How would you sum up the style of your wedding?
We wanted the wedding to be relaxed but with a little touch of class. Plants were an important part of the theme for me – giving a very natural, botanical feel to the day.
Where and when did you tie the knot?
We got married at the amazing Newton Hall in Alnwick, Northumberland on 4th May 2019.
And what was your wedding dress?
Graal by Rembo Styling. I chose the dress for its beautiful flowing fabric and delicate lace details.
How did you two first meet?
We met in Nottingham the year after I graduated through a mutual best friend of ours. Incredibly, until that point our paths had never crossed but we do have many spooky connections from the past.
What about the proposal? When, where, how?
Mark proposed to me with great difficulty on my birthday in December 2017.
We have an annual tradition of going away for my birthday and in 2017 Mark surprised me with a lovely trip to Paris.
The ‘difficulty’ for Mark was that I genuinely wasn’t expecting it! We’d been together 10 years at this point so I really didn’t think it was going to happen…
Mark spent the whole day trying to engineer a romantic situation in which to pop the question but in my ignorance I kept ‘ruining’ it:
Romantic Ferris wheel – ‘I’m terrified of heights!’
Romantic stroll along the river – ‘Don’t you think it smells down here?!’
Of course, when it actually happened it was absolutely perfect. I said yes. There were tears. There was laughter. And then there was champagne.
Did you have an idea of what you wanted when you first started looking for your wedding dress? And did you stick to it?
I had an image in my mind of the sort of dress I might choose but when I went to try on dresses I completely changed my mind.
I realised very quickly that the structured dresses of my dreams just weren’t for me. When I came across the Rembo Styling dresses I knew I was on to a winner.
How did you find the whole experience of searching for the right dress?
At first, really tough! I thought I’d feel good in any of the dresses (I mean they’re wedding dresses – surely they’re all gorgeous, right?).
The reality was that I needed to try on quite a lot of dresses to get a sense of what suited me and what made me feel good. This was a bit of a surprise. Still, overall, I did enjoy trying on lots of lovely dresses too!
My final appointment at Alexandra Anne, where I found my dress, felt like it was meant to be. The weather was beautiful and the dress I chose was the first I tried on. A little like my proposal: there were tears, then laughter, then champagne!!!
What was it about your dress that made it ‘the one’?
All the Rembo Styling dresses are made with beautiful flowy fabrics that feel so gorgeous to wear and are very flattering. I loved the lace details and the back of the dress was so delicate but still a real show-stopper.
One of the things I loved most about the Graal dress was that I felt beautiful in it just as I was on the day I first tried it on.
Originally, I had this vision that I use the wedding as an opportunity to make myself into a ‘perfect’ bride but in this dress I just felt lovely without any of that. That was a real game-changer for me. I could be me and I could move, I could be comfortable… and that felt wonderful.
How did you feel once you’d made the big decision?
It was a lovely but a little strange feeling! I brought my mum and my sister-in-law with me and they got a bit teary.
Jess at Alexandra Anne popped open a little bottle of fizz for us. It was a very special moment in my life!
Do you have any top tips for other brides out there shopping for their bridal gown?
I have friends whose chosen wedding dress was the first they tried on and others (like me) that had to try on lots and visit lots of different shops before choosing the right dress.
Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to find THE dress at your first appointment. Take your time and don’t be afraid to go to a couple of shops on your own to suss out which styles you like.
For me, finding a designer that I liked really made all the difference. I could then focus on wedding shops that stocked those dresses. The nice thing about this is that shops that stock the make you like are likely to have other dresses in a similar style.
THE BIG DAY
Tell us more about your outfit on the day. How did you complete your look?
I wore a full-length Joyce Jackson veil during the ceremony and for some of the photos, and some beautiful Rachel Simpson shoes (they were high but SO comfortable).
My florist also prepared some little white wax flowers that were pinned in my hair.
And your bridesmaids?
My bridesmaids wore some beautiful dove grey multi-way dresses that I actually found in M&S! They were a gorgeous floaty fabric and the girls looked gorgeous!
What do you remember about the morning?
The morning was so lovely. I was nervous, of course, but mainly really excited to marry Mark and looking forward to seeing all the people I love most in one room together.
Who did your hair and makeup?
Who took your wedding photos?
Did you follow any traditions? Or was there anything unusual about the ceremony?
We couldn’t find a reading we liked so after much discussion we decided to write a poem of our own!
We based it loosely on another we found but focused it on things that Mark and I find amusing/enjoy.
How did your dress feel when you were walking down the aisle?
It was absolutely perfect.
What are your favourite memories of your wedding day?
The ceremony itself was definitely what I was most nervous about but also my favourite memory of the day. It was everything I hoped it would be and will always be one of my most treasured memories.
What gave you the biggest laugh?
Mark decided not to have a best man at the wedding (there were too many people to choose from) but Mark’s mam (Mark’s from the North East) asked if she could say a few words.
I think we were all a little apprehensive about the stories she might tell but she was absolutely amazing and had the whole room falling about with laughter.
I think more weddings should include a speech from the groom’s ‘Best Mam’!
What got the tears flowing?
A whisky toast my brother made in memory of my dad who passed in 2016 and Mark’s dad who passed in 2018. It was a lovely, celebratory, tribute.
If there was one piece of advice you could give to a new bride-to-be, what would it be?
Try to make sure you make time to remind yourself about what’s really important: your new marriage! Be organised, but don’t get so caught up in the colour of the peonies that you forget about the truly magical stuff!
And last but not least, where is your wedding dress now?
Freshly dry-cleaned and sitting in my wardrobe. I’d love to think that I will get a chance to wear it again some day! (*Hint to Mark: a vow renewal would definitely be on my list of things to do in the future!!).
Graal by Rembo Styling
Veil by Joyce Jackson
Shoes by Rachel Simpson
Newton Hall, Alnwick, Northumberland
Hair and makeup
We bought/made everything but Newton Hall put it all out :)
Sharon at Wild with Love (Alnwick)
I designed and printed all the stationery
Table plan theme
We went with traditional numbered tables, decorated with potted plants (fatsia paperplants, herbs, etc.) and small bottles with individual sprigs of foliage
First dance song
Celine Dion – The Power of Love :D
In raptures over Sarah’s natural wedding look?