Real Weddings

An off-the-shoulder gown for a garden party wedding at The Fig House at Middleton Lodge – Ellie & James

Sarah Symonds

Today’s couple marked exactly nine years together by getting married on the day they first started dating, making a special day even more special! An August bank holiday is the perfect day for a garden party, and The Fig House at Middleton Lodge is certainly the perfect setting for the occasion!

We’re big fans of Middleton Lodge’s pared back yet luxurious style, and Ellie’s vision for botanical simplicity sits perfectly with the vibe of the venue. Think sage greens, potted plants, herbs and heaps of mixed florals all adding to the overall feel of the day. 

Top MOB skills too! Ellie’s talented mum was able to set her daughter’s bridal style apart by customising her daytime look and then making an entirely bespoke evening outfit, in the form of an incredible ivory halter neck jumpsuit – perfect for throwing some shapes on the dancefloor all night long! We do love an outfit change here at BUN HQ, and a jumpsuit ticks all the boxes!

With photography by Peter Hugo Photography


We got engaged in August 2020 at King Edwards Bay, Tynemouth. We had always talked about a sunrise picnic at the beach, so James took the opportunity to get us up at 4:00 in the morning to head along to Tynemouth. We had a spectacular sunrise and James proposed on the beach, with just us two there. 


Our wedding was on the 26th August 2022, which was within a day of two years from James proposing, and exactly nine years since we started dating. The bank holiday made it a great excuse for family and friends to make a holiday of the weekend also. 

We got married at the Fig House, Middleton Lodge with both our reception and ceremony there. This was a venue that we instantly knew was the place when we visited; beautiful gardens, light filled Fig House, lots of old buildings and a perfectly unique option. 


I wanted the day to feel like a big garden party with friends and family, so we had quite relaxed flower arrangements, terracotta pots and lots of herbs. Our colours were sage green with a touch of dusty blues, because I liked the simplicity and freshness.


I chose my off the shoulder dress as I am a petite size and found a lot of dresses swamped me when trying them on due to my height. This one felt light and simple, but fitted like a glove. I loved all the covered buttons also. It was from The Outlet in Northallerton

My mum and I DIYed an old pair of comfy shoes into mother of pearl covered platforms with liberty print lining to match the groom’s tie. Mum also made my veil and covered it with tiny pearls. 

For the evening my mum sewed me a bespoke ivory halter neck jumpsuit to dance the night away in, so I could jump around as much as I liked. I should explain that my mum was a wedding dress designer and pattern maker in the 80’s and 90’s so she’s magical at this sort of thing (but won’t ever admit it!)


James wore a three piece blue custom suit from Moss Bros in one of their collections. We both loved the colour and wanted a contrasting colour to the groomsmen. The ties were all handmade by my mum, in Liberty print floral fabrics. 

The rest of the groomsmen wore hired three piece suits from Moss Bros in a dark blue. They all looked great, albeit a little hot when we were blessed with the sun during the ceremony! Their ties and pocket squares were again handmade by my mum.  


I said my bridesmaids could choose their own dresses from ASOS, but they were all in sage green. 


Kelly Robson did our hair and KH Makeup Artistry was in charge of our faces. 


We stayed at Middleton Lodge the night before and just walked across to the venue – this was actually something that attracted us to the place.


Peter Hugo was our photographer. He was amazing, and took beautiful photos of course, but he was also calm and relaxed, super friendly, and he just fits into the day perfectly. He was also very understanding of our increasingly drunk guests requesting photos as the day wore on! 


Sharon from Wild With Love created beautifully messy bouquets and just totally understood the ’vision’ with greens, whites and blues.

I wanted the decorations to be quite subtle, as The Fig House speaks for itself and I liked the rustic simplicity of the space. Sharon potted up herbs in terracotta pots I’d aged over the year for the tables, and Middleton Lodge laid out the simple ivory cloths, sage velvet napkin ribbons and tea lights.

Sharon also created an amazing top table flower display, which ran along the floor, creating the impression of a flower bed. 

I loved looking at the real life weddings on the Brides Up North site, as seeing what everything actually looked like on a real wedding day, rather than a staged photo shoot, was so helpful. Now I hope our wedding does the same for other couples!


The mother of the groom handmade all the favours for us, through her company Flamme Rouge. They were personalised scented candles in boxes, tied with ribbon. They also doubled as the place names. 


Where The Ribbon Ends made our cake. We wanted a simple but unique cake which would tie into the summer, wild garden theme, hence the sprigs of flowers and the rough icing. And it tasted delicious! 


We served ham hock terrine, roast pork and an apple tart with gingerbread icing. We chose these courses as, on the tasting day, these were the most delicious. As simple as that!


We had Jonny on the acoustic guitar as we walked down the aisle and during the drinks reception, then Las Vegas Vinyl Club for the evening. I loved their fun energy and guitar-heavy sound. They also encourage a bit of guest karaoke! 

Special touches

We tried to DIY as much as possible and buy second hand – for instance a DIY Photo Booth, the antique cake knife my mum had engraved and some pearl jewellery from a market stall in London. My mum also hand-embroidered the guest book. She really is so creative and was such a superstar, even though she insists she’s not! We handmade all the wedding signage and upcycled mirrors, which we bought second hand.

Thanks to

Middleton Lodge! It’s stunning and they’re real wedding professionals. They’re so calm as they do this day in and day out, you just don’t have to worry about anything as they already have it covered! 

Our suppliers really were all just so amazing! I picked people who felt relaxed and fun when I spoke to them, and looked at their socials or websites, and we were so lucky they all just understood what we wanted and got on with it. Just perfect! 

Best bit

How to choose?! I think we loved dancing away with our friends and family so much. Or maybe it was the ceremony where we had a few special poems read in the sunshine, looking across the gardens. 


We are currently on honeymoon in Japan while writing this! We delayed going so we could be here for the blossom season and what a place! It’s already been so amazing with incredible food, the cities, countryside and culture. Everywhere you look is fascinating.


It’s easier said than done, I’m sure, but just try and relax and enjoy it all. Don’t sweat the small stuff, you honestly won’t remember it in the whirlwind of the day, and just let the professionals get on with it! They know what they’re doing. I’m terrible for micromanaging but on the day, you’ll just want to soak it all up!

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