Real Weddings

Stella York for a rustic wedding at Doxford Barns – Abbie & Joe

Alexis Forsyth

Newlyweds Abbie and Joe chose the exquisite Doxford Barns for their big day back in March, won over by the charm of this Northumberland-based venue and the fact they could celebrate with guests over not one, but three days!

What’s not to love about a weekend-long wedding celebration, and if Doxford Barns warms your heart too, then be sure to join us for our UNVEILED presents The Wedding Creatives Luxury Wedding Show, Sunday 13th October, 1pm to 4pm, free entry, to see the setting in all its rustic glory.

Now, back to Abbie and Joe! Accentuating the venue’s captivating rural, woodland vibes, the couple brought this theme to life in their floral arrangements, centrepieces and styling elements – cue pretty lanterns, white rose petals and romantic candles – all beautifully offset by a sophisticated grey and purple colour palette. Candles were something of a focal point – with tealights lit to remember loved ones and candles given to their guests as favours.

For us, the couple’s adorable pooch Rubi steals the show in many of the photographs – even making her grand entrance and walking down the aisle! We were so sad to hear that she passed away after the couple’s wedding, but as Abbie reflects – the couple can cherish their memories of her forever thanks to these wonderful wedding photos. Let’s take a look and pore over all the heartwarming highlights…

With images by Chocolate Chip Photography


Abbie says

: We got engaged on 29th September 2017, in Croatia. Joe had arranged for us to have a meal on the beach while watching the sunset. He fibbed saying it was too busy and wanted to change the night we had the meal, but when we arrived it was just us two. Our food began to arrive, and Joe was blabbering on, then he got down on one knee and that was that! I was so shocked I didn’t even give an answer straight away I just stared at him saying, what are you doing – get up! It was such a surprise, but the best kind, and made the holiday the most memorable week of our lives. It was perfect.


We got married on Saturday 16th March 2019. We originally went to book for 2020, but there were dates available for the previous year – we were going to do it anyway so why not a year earlier? (Plus, we were hungover so we were being impulsive!)

We got married at Doxford Barns. We decided to go for the three-day package from Friday to Sunday. We both loved the idea of having a wedding in a rustic barn with nothing else around and no other people apart from our wedding guests, as well as having the facilities to stay on site overnight.

We chose to have the wedding over the three days as it made it a bit more special being able to spend the night before and the day after the wedding with all our friends and family too.

The meal the night before the wedding made it feel more intimate and special because everyone was just as excited as we were. We loved the fact that everything was in the same place and that people didn’t have to travel to get from the ceremony to the reception. At Doxford Barns wherever humans go, dogs can go too – so that had us sold!


Doxford Barns is such a beautiful rustic venue, it didn’t really need much added to it. The Threshing Hall and The Great Barn both had fairy lights and a woodland rustic feel so we carried on with that theme with our centrepieces and flowers.

Our colour scheme was grey and purple. We both love these colours together and felt like they matched the rustic theme and the flowers that we knew we wanted. We both liked grey suits and Joe didn’t really have a say in the hints of purple as I knew that’s what we were having as soon as he proposed!


The dress I chose was the total opposite to what I thought I would get. It was a Stella York dress from a lovely little shop called The Blue Bow Bridal Company in Bowburn. I loved the top of the dress and how simple it was even though it was completely different to all the others I had tried. After trying it on, I knew it was the one. When choosing my dress my mam, step mam, mother in law, grandma and sister all came along with me and their reaction to the dress confirmed that it was the one!


Joe wore a light grey tweed suit with darker grey stitching to make the tweed pattern. He also wore a purple tie in keeping with the colour scheme of the wedding. The groomsmen wore the same suits as Joe although they wore grey ties instead. Everything came from Master Debonair in East Boldon. The staff at the shop were so helpful and really made the experience special. Joe and the lads booked an appointment at the studio, so they had the shop to themselves to try on the different suits whilst having a few beers.


There were five bridesmaids in total (six if you count my pooch Rubi!). They wore floor-length grey dresses with silver embellishment on the top covering their chest and shoulders, all from Quiz Clothing. I wanted everyone in the same dress but for each bridesmaid to feel comfortable for the whole day.


Carly Taylor did the bridal party’s hair on the day. I decided to go for an up-do as I wanted something different that no one would expect me to have. Carly was so lovely and helpful throughout the morning and everyone was so happy with how their hair turned out. I went for a hair trail with Carly and showed her a photo of the kind of style I liked, and she managed to do it first time – and even better than the photo! She is so friendly and made everyone feel calm and relaxed on the day.

Georgia Bartley from Studio 92 did our makeup on the day. We did not want anything too dramatic or harsh for our makeup and she did it perfectly. She took everyone’s personal preferences into consideration and always asked if we wanted anything added or changed. She was so calm and friendly which made everyone else feel calm and at ease, making the getting ready process stress free.


Our photographers were Chris and Shazia from Chocolate Chip Photography. We could not recommend them enough. Just from seeing their style of photography on their social media we knew they were perfect to capture the happiest day of our lives.

We had a meeting before the wedding to go through what kind of pictures we wanted. On the day, Shazia was with me in the morning and Chris was with Joe and the lads. They work so well together and are very organised so they know exactly what they are doing and when they are doing it. Our guests also loved them and commented on how efficient and friendly they were.


We didn’t have a videographer and in hindsight I wish we did. Although our photos by Chocolate Chip Photography are amazing and are full of moments that we can always look back on, I would have liked a videographer to re-live the day with words. The day goes by so fast and I would love to be able to see the ceremony and speeches. My little dog Rubi passed away two weeks after the wedding so I would have loved to have seen her walking down the aisle and everyone’s reactions to first seeing her, as no one believed me when I told them!


The flowers on the day were provided from Charlton’s Florist in Durham. The bridesmaids’ flowers were the same but smaller versions of mine. I had sent a photo of some flowers that we liked and explained that we were having a rustic theme and wanted this reflected in the flowers. The bouquet consisted of ocean song roses, gypsophila, eucalyptus, lavender, ranunculus, white/cream lisianthus and purple campanula.

We used the same flowers as featured in the bouquets for a large arrangement on top of the fireplace in the Threshing Hall and then transferred these onto the top table for the wedding breakfast.

At the end of the aisle we had two large lanterns draped with white flowers and white rose petals down the aisle.

Our table plan was made on a rustic ladder also draped with flowers and lights – both of these were provided by The Balloon Fairy. On each chair in the Threshing Hall we had two small glassine bags. One printed with “For Your Happy Tears” and it contained a tissue, the other “For The Happy Couple” and contained dried petal confetti ready for the confetti shot! I ordered each of these individually from eBay and put them together myself.


We gave everyone a candle that had a white and silver sticker on it that said:

“Joe & Abbie, 16th March 2019, Let Love Glow”. We had alternating colours of grey and white candles placed on each table setting. We chose these because we both love candles in our house, so they meant something to us.


We chose a semi-naked, three-tier cake consisting of vanilla sponge, lemon and salted caramel. Every layer was delicious – we couldn’t pick a favourite! Emily – who actually started off as our wedding coordinator at Doxford Barns – made our cake after she left and decided to pursue her baking career. I looked at her other creations and knew that it would be perfectly suited to the style of venue. Emily even contacted our florist to match the flowers on the cake to our other arrangements on the day.


We chose one fish, veggie and meat dish for starters and mains so that everyone had a choice on the day. For pudding we chose cheesecake, sticky toffee pudding and apple crumble. It was so hard to choose which desserts to have as they all sounded so nice! But we decided to go with traditional puddings that everyone would love. All the food was amazing, and we could not fault it one bit, neither could any of our guests.


We chose to just have a DJ, T-REX mobile disco. We all love to party and have a dance, so we didn’t feel the need to have any other entertainment as once the music is on – we are all each other’s entertainment!

Special touches

Joe and I have both lost members of our family who we would have loved to have been able to be there on the day, and so we had a photo of each loved one lost with a single tea light candle lit next to it to show that they had not been forgotten.

The biggest special touch of the day was having my dog Rubi walk down the aisle. It was such a special memory that we will cherish forever and Chris and Shaz captured it perfectly.

We had Mr&Mrs light up lights and a personalised backdrop made too. The backdrop was such a nice touch to the day; it had draped white material with flowers, lanterns and candles and in the middle it said “Mr & Mrs Boag” so people could use that to get their photos taken. All of our decorations and extras were supplied by The Balloon Fairy who is so creative, she can make all your thoughts and ideas a reality.

Thanks to

All the staff at Doxford Barns were so helpful and friendly and made the experience so much better. They were so attentive and ensured everything was running smoothly on the day. The day before the wedding we went up a bit earlier to start setting up and have our final meeting. They ran through everything and answered any questions and concerns that we had and it made us feel a lot more at ease that they were in control of everything and knew what they were doing.

The venue itself is perfect. It looks fab on the pictures and it has such a warmth to it as soon as you walk inside.

Best bit

Our favourite part of the day was the speeches. Sitting on the top table and seeing everyone you love, who have come together to celebrate the love you have for each other, and all listening to the same thing, is such a personal and emotional feeling. All three of the speeches (father-of-the-bride, best man and groom) were amazing and had all of our guests laughing, crying and drinking!


We went to Italy for a week and travelled around – it was amazing. We started off in Rome, visited Naples, Praiano, Positano, Amalfi, Ravello, Sorrento and Capri. We have always wanted to go to Italy and for our honeymoon we didn’t want to just sit around a beach doing nothing; we wanted to explore and see as many places as we could in the time we had. All the places we visited, food we ate, people we met – there is not one thing we would change about our time there.


My top tip for other Brides Up North is, don’t get stressed! Everything runs perfectly on the day and even if the smallest of things go wrong – you don’t notice as you are so engrossed in everything that is happening around you. All the time and effort is so worth it and seeing it all come together is amazing.

Also, during the planning we used Brides Up North to keep up to date with local wedding fairs. They helped us to find local suppliers and give us ideas about things that we wanted. I looked at the real weddings section on the website for inspiration too. And I just love weddings anyway!

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