Real wedding: An eclectic wedding at Newton Hall with a vintage-inspired wedding dress
"The proposal was a complete surprise to me, I was not expecting it at all. I had just returned from holiday, and John had come to collect me at the airport dresses as a chauffeur - don't ask!!....That evening, we went out for a meal to my favourite restaurant, The Fat Buddah in Durham. We ordered the same thing we always do as we share a love for Honey Chilli Chicken. I should have clicked that something was not quite right, as John had not eaten a lot, which is not at all like him, however I was too focused on enjoying my food to realise. After the meal, John asked me to go for a walk along the riverside. However, I was tired and said I would prefer to go home. He didn't take no for an answer, so reluctantly I took his hand and went for the 'stupid' walk. We wandered along the riverside, and stopped when we were under the main bridge to Durham City Centre. Then to my surprise he got down on one knee and proposed to me. It took my breath away."
The day's eclectic look was inspired by their venue, <a href="http://www.newton-hall.com/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Newton Hall</a>: an elegant country house exterior hiding enticingly inventive interiors in a riot of colours and textures. Charlotte's playful, individual sense of style also came into play, from the four opulent wedding cakes to the lace cards printed with guests' nicknames.
In keeping with the personalised aesthetic, Charlotte decided on a bespoke gown. "I wanted something a bit different but for it to still feel and look like a wedding dress." She took her ideas - dark champagne satin overlaid with lighter lace, a detachable train at the waist, and a heart-shaped back - to <a href="http://www.bespokeweddingdressesnortheast.co.uk/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Special Occasions</a>, which created a suitably sumptuous frock. A lace and pearl headband and cream Irregular Choice shoes provided the finishing touches.
"At first I thought about a tea-length poofy dress for myself, but I also knew that's what everybody would be expecting me to wear so I decided to go for that style for my bridesmaids. Their dresses were mainly ivory; each had an ivory skirt with lots of netting underneath and the tops were ivory lace. Underneath the lace each bridesmaid had a colour: Alex had gold, Laurie had pink, Victoria had blue and Melissa had lilac. They then had a touch of lace and colour popping out of the bottom. They all had <a href="http://www.irregularchoice.com/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Irregular Choice</a> shoes in colours that kind of went with their dresses."
The groom wore a slim-fit suit from <a href="http://www.moss.co.uk/suits" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Moss Bros</a>, it was a pale Grey, three-piece suit with a very fine burgundy check. He accessorised this with a matching slim tie and pocket square. He wore brown pointed brogues, and black ray ban glasses so he could actually read his speech!
The couple decorated their chairs in various shades of pastel, which they ordered from <a href="http://www.clasicallycovered.co.uk/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Classically Covered</a>.
"Nothing quite matched," says Charlotte, "but it all worked out in the end!"
As a professional florist (<a href="http://www.charlotteshouseofflowers.com/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Charlotte's House Of Flowers</a>), Charlotte created her own bewitching arrangements using bell jars, fishbowls, lanterns and martini glasses. Each guest received a buttonhole in a mix of gypsophila and lavender.
The groom had two requirements. "John wanted a traditional top table, which we had," says Charlotte. "But his request to arrive on an elephant was sadly declined!"
The couple also used cute details to reference the December date: a restored theme park decoration of Santa and his sleigh for the gift table; pine cones and faux snow on the tables; and mini Christmas trees adorned with gold baubles.