Real Weddings

Martini Liana for a Elegant Wedding at Newton Hall – Kirstie & Lee

Sarah Symonds

Sit back and relax into Kirstie and Lee’s quirky yet lovely day of celebrations at North East favourite Newton Hall, set in the picturesque countryside near Alnwick, but a mere moment away from the stunning Northumberland coastline.

We love it when a wedding ticks all the classic wedding boxes and then throws in some cute, personal touches – which in this case have come in the form of caricatures of the guests and a canny little handmade cake topper featuring the bride, groom, their son and the family dog!

On top of all that, we’ve got some seriously bridal styling – check out that Martini Liana ball gown! Lace – tick! Tulle – tick! Flowers – tick! Sequins – tick! Doggy sidekick – tick? Yep, that’s right, our couple even found a way to include their pooch in the festivities on the day, making sure none of the family missed out!

With photography by Edward Ashley Photography


We went to Wales to celebrate Lee’s birthday with a long weekend in a lovely dog-friendly cottage, surrounded by open fields and sheep. On Sunday morning, 29th September 2019, we decided we were going to go on a long walk with our dog, Lola the Siberian Husky, and have a little picnic on the walk.There were some leaflets in the cottage for different walking paths, so we had a look and picked one. 

The scenery on the walk was UNREAL. We decided to have some food overlooking an amazing view from the top of a mountain. Just as we finished eating, Lee said to me “oh look Lola’s dog tag has fallen off!” and he pointed to it in the grass. I bent down to pick it up and there was an engraving on the tag which said “Will you marry my Mammy?” and, as I turned around, Lee was down on one knee. I was shocked as I didn’t expect it at all!


We wanted a summer wedding so we originally chose to get married the 10th July 2021 – but due to COVID things changed and we ended up getting married on the 3rd July 2022, almost a year later.

We got married at Newton Hall, in Alnwick. We picked Newton Hall because we absolutely loved everything about it. The ‘wow’ factor when you drive up the driveway, the lovely homely vibe you get in the entrance and the stunning décor in the chapel was breathtaking. We instantly loved the venue when we viewed it and knew that it was where we wanted to get married.


We didn’t have a theme but I wanted an elegant feel to our wedding when it came to the décor. Colour schemes for centrepieces were champagne and cream accessories. Bridesmaids had deep cabernet red dresses.


My wedding dress was a modern ball gown wedding dress designed by Martina Liana. The dress was ivory, with a sheer bodice, layers of tulle and a sweetheart neckline. From the waist, the tulle skirt extends into a full ball gown, with a long train and a lace hem. It was embellished with 3D flowers, sparkle tulle and sequins. The back was a zip up back with crystal buttons. 


Lee’s navy three piece slim fit suit with an ivory cravat was from Waltons Menswear in Newcastle Upon Tyne. His groomsmen wore matching suits to the groom, only they had a burgundy cravat to match the bridesmaids.


My four bridesmaids wore cabernet coloured chiffon, floor-length, empire bridesmaid dresses with a sweetheart neckline. Two of the bridesmaids had strapless sweetheart bodices with cross-over ruching which really suited them and the other two bridesmaids had the same style but with straps. 

Our flower girl wore an A-line, scoop, ankle-length dress made of lace, satin and tulle. The dress was ivory and the satin bow on the sash was cabernet red, to match the bridesmaids. It had a sheer scoop neck bodice and floral applique and the skirt was trimmed with a delicate scalloped lace. The dresses were all purchased online from JJ’s House


I chose Lisa Jones Hair & Makeup artist. She’s based in Newcastle Upon Tyne


I stayed at Newton Hall the night before the wedding with my bridesmaids, and Lee drove up in his car the morning of the wedding so we didn’t hire any transport.


Edward Ashley was our photographer. I’m not sure I can put into words how amazing Ed (and Max) were on our wedding day. So friendly and easy to get along with, it really puts you at ease in front of the camera. My partner and I really hate our photos being taken but Ed makes you have fun while having them done and you feel so comfortable. We couldn’t recommend him enough. He captured our wedding perfectly and we couldn’t have asked for anything more. 

We didn’t want to feel like we were missing out on our wedding day because we were busy getting photos taken all day long and Ed made sure this wasn’t the case. We quickly got our couple photos done and then off we went back to our guests, while Ed and Max were still taking shots of everyone else in the background. Our photos were very natural and that is exactly what we wanted. 


Made Simply Perfect provided the flowers. My bouquet was a medium hand tied bouquet using a white and blush colouring and light accents of burgundy with sage foliage. They included white peonies with O’Hara and Dorchester roses, filled in with white lisianthus and astilbe. Burgundy accents were added and foliage was a mix of eucalyptus variations, populus and cinerea. Stems were wrapped in ribbon.

For the wedding breakfast we had a mix of fresh foliage and artificial flowers in the centrepieces, which featured a white chiffon table runner ruffled around the centre of each table with a gold speckled vase of flowers on top. We also had tea lights positioned around for more décor.

We had white rose petals sprinkled down the aisle edge and for the chair décor we had a white chiffon drop tied centre with a fresh blush Dorchester rose coupled with a sprig of eucalyptus tied onto the back.

The very first wedding fair I attended was actually one of the Brides Up North wedding fairs, and I met some lovely suppliers and got loads of leaflets which come in very handy when planning our wedding. After leaving the wedding fair, I left feeling very excited to start planning our big day.


We had caricatures as name places for all our guests, which was also a little keepsake favour for everyone to take home. Everyone found it hilarious, and you could hear everyone laughing at the pictures as they were taking their seats for the meal. They were by Barrie James Caricature.


Vanilla Teas made our three tier wedding cake, who are based in Cullercoats, near Newcastle. One tier was vanilla flavour, the next was chocolate flavour and the third tier was chocolate orange flavour with white buttercream icing.

We then had a custom made cake topper of a bride, a groom, our son and our husky, all from a website I saw online called Artful Cake Toppers. As the final touches on the cake, there were some flowers which matched the bride’s bouquet to tie it all in.


Post ceremony drinks were prosecco, Tiger and an Innocent Strawberry Blonde Mojito as the non-alcoholic option. We then served red, white and rose wine and pink lemonade for the kids. 

Our food was canapes followed by carrot and coriander soup or ham terrine, roast chicken or leg of lamb or pork loin – all served with yorkshire puddings and vegetables. Then dessert was a white chocolate and Baileys cheesecake or Eton mess. We chose this food as we attended a food tasting event at Newton Hall prior to the wedding and we really enjoyed it.


We hired a solo singer called Claire Grehan to sing during our drinks reception. Claire is based in Glasgow and travelled down for our wedding. I came across Claire on Facebook when we were planning our wedding and we thought she was amazing, so we were very grateful that she was willing to travel. For the evening we hired a Magic Mirror from AG Events and a DJ from AMV Live Music.

Special touches

Because Lola, our dog, was part of the engagement, we knew we wanted a venue that was dog friendly so she could also attend the wedding. We then enlisted Precious Pampered Pooches, who are based in Whitley Bay. Rachel was amazing, she helped to look after our dog on the day of the wedding, collected Lola the morning of the wedding, took her for a walk, brought her up to our wedding venue and gave her a mini pamper before the wedding so she looked pretty for walking down the aisle. Rachel stuck around to help with Lola for photos etc and then she brought her back home for us and dropped her off at a family friend’s house. Rachel was very helpful on the day and Lola loved the attention she got off her. 

When the registrar needed our rings, she called for Lola who brought our wedding rings down the aisle for us in a velvet ring box, which was inside of a bag attached to her collar. 

Also, as my Nana passed away 11 months before the wedding, I had some of her pearls wrapped around my bouquet so she was there with me, walking down the aisle.

Thanks to

Newton Hall! It is a stunning venue, the food is amazing and the fact it is dog-friendly is a huge bonus (for dog lovers)! The staff went above and beyond on the wedding day. Although every staff member was amazing, Craig, the Master of Ceremonies was unreal. He went out of his way all day long to look after us and we couldn’t ask for anything more. 

The morning of the wedding, our chocolate fountain lady cancelled on us and, when Craig heard the news, he totally went out of his way to find us a replacement. He rang a number of different companies last minute for us to see if anyone could help out and had any last-minute availability and although he couldn’t find anyone, we really appreciated him even trying for us. We didn’t ask him to do it either, he did this of his own accord which was lovely of him. 

Also, one of our guests’ feet were hurting by the afternoon and he found a spare pair of flip flops for her. These things may sound really minor to some, but he didn’t only just go out of his way to look after me and Lee, he was there for everyone all day long. He was truly amazing. All his care and attention to the little details meant that Lee and I could really enjoy our day with no worries.

Best bit

It sounds very cliché but I loved every moment of the day, I don’t think I have ever smiled more than I did that day! But if I had to pick one moment, it would be the moment I walked down the aisle, feeling so much love from all our guests and locking eyes with my soon-to-be husband was a moment I don’t think I will ever forget.

I asked Lee what his favourite moment was, and he said, ‘it was the moment I saw you walking down the aisle and the big smile on your face. Seeing you in your dress for the first time was an emotional moment that I won’t forget’.


Going to the Maldives for ten nights was PARADISE. We had a water villa which was unreal. Being able to relax on the bed while looking out into the Indian Ocean was truly a once in a lifetime experience. Snorkelling in the reef with the sharks and all the colourful fish, paddle boarding in the open waters, beach parties and fire starter performances, the beautiful boat sunset experience.. Every moment in the Maldives was magical.

The staff were so caring and made it feel so special, they really look after you. From a special greeting on arrival, to complementary treats on arrival and during the stay on the island. The different towel animals and floral artwork that were left on the bed were just amazing!


My advice would be to not let anyone spoil your day. In the lead up to the wedding, if anyone tries to have an input on your day, ignore them! This is your day not theirs! 

Enjoy every moment, from the planning to the actual day. It’s supposed to be enjoyable, not stressful.

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