Real Weddings

Evie Young for a Peony Season Wedding at Newton Hall

Sarah Symonds

From the dramatic tones of the Newton Hall decor, to the deep pinks in the bouquets, jazzy florals on the boys’ ties and pocket squares, and the pops of colour in the bridesmaids gowns, Kathy and Chris haven’t shied away from bright and bold choices in this lovely, summer wedding.

The perks of getting married minutes from the water’s edge include the fact that the groom can go for a quick pre-wedding dip with his groomsmen first thing on the day of the wedding, and still make it to the altar, suited and booted and on time! Our couple also managed a romantic stroll along the beach post-ceremony too, to revel in being husband and wife, in that perfect golden hour glow.

And yes, things might not always go to plan (we’re looking at you,scaffolding!) but rolling with the punches, our couple has been able to see the funny side and even incorporated the scaffolding on their venue into the photos and the speeches! 

With photography by Edward Ashley Photography


We got engaged on the 23rd of April 2019 in an overwater bungalow in Lan Ha Bay, Vietnam. This was one of Chris’ favourite places from previous travelling and he wanted us both to enjoy a trip there – which we certainly did! He proposed over cocktails at sunset overlooking the bay, which was very romantic. 


Both the ceremony and reception were held at Newton Hall. We wanted a space in Northumberland with access to the beach, and a room big enough to Ceilidh!

The date was the 28th of May 2022 because we wanted some time to save up and it simply had to be peony season! We also liked the idea of a bank holiday but turns out the Queen’s jubilee switched that up for us anyway. We were very lucky we planned so far ahead to avoid cancellations.


I took my bridesmaids to try on dresses at Joy’s Bella Bridesmaids in York. Due to their complexions, we ended up with two dresses which suited them best; a red-burgundy dress and a more pink-mauve, so that became our colour scheme!


My dress was from Sisters of Grace and the designer was Evie Young, specifically the dress ‘Raven’.

I spent a while trying to find the ‘perfect’ one. I loved the unusual lace design for the Raven gown and its clever placement to compliment your figure. The team at Sisters of Grace really made me feel comfortable in my own skin, their vibe was so welcoming and not my experience elsewhere. 


Chris wore a three piece suit in navy check from Woven in Durham. Groomsmen also wore a slightly different three piece from Woven.


My bridesmaids wore Motee Maids dresses in two colours, from Joy’s Bella Bridesmaids, as mentioned above!


MubyLeigh is a really special lady! She’s able to calm an entire room of energised people and make sure that each has a wow moment of their own in the lead-in to the ceremony.


The girls and my family stayed at Newton Hall, while Chris and his groomsmen stayed in a cottage we rented by the sea for the night before.


Ed Ashley is simply the best. He offers an ‘engagement shoot’ ahead of the big day so you can get used to the experience and get to know one another. We had lots of fun. He was so patient with us and our wee dog Bruno, who he captured some beautiful shots of despite him being very energetic!

On the big day, Ed really delivered! We have so many beautiful photos that capture the moments. Ed is organised, easy to plan with and takes a fun and relaxed approach throughout the day. Our family and friends commented on how easy our photos were compared with previous experience.

We asked people not to take pictures during our ceremony but actually, as it turned out, people didn’t take many photos all day! So we hadn’t actually seen any photos and asked Ed for a few highlights to enjoy when we got back from our honeymoon. We were lucky enough to be sent our whole set far quicker than we anticipated though! We couldn’t recommend him more highly.


I carried a bridal bouquet featuring peonies, stocks, sweet peas and more from Jess at Sprig and Thistle. We had a long and low piece on our signing table that became the top table, and the bridesmaid bouquets became centrepieces. Then we had a series of small vases with individual flowers on the remaining tables and the cake table. All were created by the very talented Jess. We had used the Brides Up North online directory and wedding fairs for inspo! The stationery was all designed by a brilliantly talented friend.


For favours we ordered some small boxes with a heart tie and filled them with a selection of our favourite sweets.


A family friend made our cake. We had three tiers with chocolate, Victoria sponge and lemon. The colours were designed to complement our bridesmaid colour, with one tier watercolour buttercream and the other two with decorated fondant.


For our wedding breakfast, the starter was soup, main was lamb and dessert was an incredible Baileys cheesecake.


We are lucky to have a very musically talented family! My walking-down-the-aisle music was adapted for my uncle, cousin and auntie to play. My brother, Harry, played during our drinks reception and a late night set. Finally we had a Ceilidh band, Reel of Fortune. This was chosen as we both enjoyed Ceilidh growing up and my Mum’s side of the family are Scottish. It was great fun!

Special Touches

We had a number of special touches! Chris and I wrote a letter to each other to open in the morning, and then Chris and the groomsmen all went for a dip in the sea! We later enjoyed a first trip to the beach together as husband and wife, after the ceremony.

My twin sister did a speech during our main speeches – couldn’t let it be all men!

Then we had a first dance together and then a family Ceilidh dance with Chris’ and my immediate family only, before inviting everyone to join us.

We did love our day at Newton Hall but unfortunately we ended up with scaffolding covering the front of the building while we were there. Of course, this was disappointing but on the day we were just so excited to celebrate, and the team delivered such a high quality experience throughout, which meant that it didn’t have quite as much impact as we had feared. 

My Mum even wrote a poem about the scaffolding being a metaphor for how all our guests can support us in married life! She has a real way of finding the positives and for that I’m very grateful. The boys also threw a hard hat on Chris as he arrived at the venue, which is one of the funniest photos I’ve seen in a wedding album.

Thanks to

Leigh was effortlessly calm while making everyone feel beautiful and tailoring her skill to our personal styles so well. Ed Ashley, who was calm and collected in all the big moments, able to handle all personalities and capture our day exactly as we remember it! My brother Harry because he’s unbelievably good at what he does and bringing the party to any environment. Finally, Jess at Sprig and Thistle as our flowers were incredible and she added extra touches like cake flowers and sprigs for the place names.

Best bit

I think the best bit was the Ceilidh! It was such a good chance for everyone to let their hair down and celebrate.


We went to Skye and were blessed with outrageously good weather. Everyone there was sunburnt! We planned a few whisky distilleries for Chris and plenty of walks, paddleboarding and delicious food. It was an awesome opportunity to spend time together after the wedding.


Our top tips for another couple are to slow down and take it all in. Plan moments into your day just for the two of you. Don’t fuss over the small details, as those are things only you’ll notice! Even if something doesn’t go to plan, remember why you’re there and focus on each other.

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