Real ceremonies

Read real life stories about different Northumberland ceremonies and venues.

Read real life stories about different Northumberland ceremonies and venues.

One of Northumberland's Registrar's gets hitched!

Ed and Claire have been a couple for 9 years, they became good friends when Ed joined Claire’s middle school and they started dating whilst studying for their A-Levels together.

They chose this special date to be wed as it was exactly one year since Ed proposed to Claire in the magical city of New York, during a horse and carriage ride around Central Park.
The couple also loved the idea of having a December wedding as it’s such a fun and festive time of year.

As a Registrar, they had a tough choice choosing a venue as Claire has seen all of Northumberland’s fabulous wedding venues but her first thought was immediately with Newton Hall as it still ‘wowed’ her every time she visited.

She just hoped Ed loved it as much as she when they went to view it…and luckily he did. Ed said it blew him away and he knew this was the place he wanted to marry Claire. 

Their favourite thing about the venue, aside from the spectacular look of it, was how great the staff 
are. So friendly, caring and professional…Ed and Claire knew they would be in safe hands so they could relax and enjoy their special day.

They married in the beautiful glass house in front of all of their family and friends with an ivory and
navy theme throughout.  

The inspiration for all the touches to the wedding came from many places, Claire taking inspiration from other weddings she has conducted and from the Registrars wedding fair they hold at The Town Hall in Morpeth.

Claire knew she would use all the local suppliers who attend the very popular wedding fair that the Registrars host.

We asked the couple why they chose Northumberland as their location and here’s what they said: 

“Northumberland is such a beautiful county, with so many stunning venues to choose from. Due to my job as a Registrar and a member of the wedding co-ordination team, I know just how passionate all of the Northumberland Registrar’s are about making ceremonies personal, special and unique and this is exactly what we wanted for our special day!

We were lucky enough to have not just two colleagues, but also good friends performing our ceremony and they did a wonderful job!”

Asking the couple their favourite part of their day, they said: “It’s difficult to choose just one thing but we’d say that the ceremony itself was our favourite part of the wedding day, with readings from both our Mam’s and our gorgeous seven year old niece, Emilia and our own personal promises, making it so special to the two of us.

We’ll always remember that Ed said ‘I do’ before he was supposed to, we were both very nervous so this really relaxed us and got everyone giggling!

The speeches were also fantastic and not as embarrassing as we expected from the best men. Our evening entertainment, a caricature, was a big hit with our guests! Another highlight was our Rottweiler, Coco, coming for a visit during the drinks reception. We just can’t wait to receive our photographs and video back and watch the whole day again!”

Ed’s personal highlight of the day was seeing Claire walk down the aisle, he said she looked truly stunning and he couldn’t believe how lucky he was, made all the more special by Claire’s brother, Jason, playing the guitar and singing the couples favourite song during the bridal party entrance. 

Claire’s personal highlight of the day was during Ed’s speech, when he surprised her by getting down on one knee as he hadn’t been able to do so during his actual proposal!

We asked the happy newly-weds for some advice to other couples planning their special day. “Our advice is to enjoy the planning as the time goes so quickly but don’t get caught up on things that don’t really matter, as long as you get married to the love of your life that’s the important thing! 

Choose suppliers who you can trust and like, we were so lucky that all of our suppliers were AMAZING and really added something special to our day, even keeping us relaxed and making us laugh on the day.

Make the most of your ceremony, even if you’re nervous… it’s such a lovely touch to have friends or family doing a reading, if you’re stuck for ideas contact Northumberland Registrars who’ll be happy to advise you.

But most importantly, savour every minute of your special day so you have memories to treasure forever.”

Credits to:

Venue: Newton Hall, Newton by the Sea

Photographer: Scott Spock Photography

Videographer: One Digital Image (watch a short clip of Ed and Claire’s ceremony here) 

Florist and Decor: The Finishing Touch Company

Hair: Lisa Cameron

Make-up: Dani MUA

Dress: The Wedding Dress Company

Alterations: Dexters of Prudhoe

Cake: Sandra’s House of Cakes

Stationery: The Wooden Ladybird Company

Favours: The Old Stables, Alnwick

Entertainment: Mike Giblin Caricature and AMV DJ Services

An enchanting Christmas romance

Langley Castle formed the stunning backdrop for Michelle and Dave’s festive renewal of vows ceremony, exactly 30 years to the day they first met. 

The couple were the lucky winners of the council's Valentine's Day competition, which offered them the chance to renew their vows free of charge.

Held on the 23 December 2013, the beautiful 14th Century castle was the perfect venue for the couple from Simonburn, near Hexham. Nestled in the Northumbrian valley of the South Tyne, the medieval Langley Castle proved to be a truly magical venue for the couple.

Michelle said: “we have often discussed renewing our vows so it was a wonderful surprise to win this competition and the perfect time, our 30th anniversary of meeting. We are both enormously grateful to everyone who has been so kind and helped us plan our special day.”

Photos accredited to Sarah Thew Photography.


Fly me to the moon

Airline pilot Andrew and cabin crew Jill felt sky-high at their romantic Valentine’s Day wedding in the beautiful Slaley Hall.

 After attending a wedding fair at the Edwardian mansion, the couple from Newcastle were won over by Slaley Hall’s elegance and eye-catching Japanese winter garden. They shared their big day with around 90 guests and even went on to spend three days at the venue with family.

Andrew and Jill work all over the world and so some of their guests had travelled from as far as Hong Kong to witness their special day. A reading of ‘Fly Me To The Moon’ was a lovely and appropriate choice during their ceremony.

The couple were blown away by the customer service they received from staff at the venue. “The whole team at Slaley Hall were excellent in all respects. Nothing was a hassle for them, everything just seemed to fall into place. The council’s wedding co-ordination team were also really helpful throughout the whole process of planning our big day. They were very reassuring, putting any nerves we had at rest. We were given a fantastic ceremony pack with lots of advice on how to make our day special.”

Jill’s advice for couples planning their big day? “Plan well in advance and try to remember that the day is about the two of you. Family and friends will be there to support you no matter what, so try not to let nerves take over and enjoy every minute!”

Photos accredited to David Lawson.

May the fourth be with you!

With the groom dressed as Admiral Marcus and the best man as Captain Kirk, this must be one of the most ‘out of this world’ weddings Northumberland has ever hosted! 

Brent and Rachel, avid fans of Star Wars and Star Trek, celebrated their wedding with a difference at High House Farm Brewery in Matfen. The couple’s love for both each other and sci-fi TV shows, meant that 4 May was the perfect day to tie the knot. The theme was carried through the whole day, with Star Trek badges and music and even a Klingon reading before the vows.

The couple chose the venue because of its fantastic barn and large outside area, giving them a relaxed, child friendly and extremely special feel. What’s more, how many people can say they were married at a brewery?

Rachel said: “the venue was unique and the setting of the Northumberland countryside was beautiful - we will certainly be back for anniversaries. We really did have a fantastic day of celebrations and it was great that everyone got involved in our theme, even the registrars! One of the best parts of the day was my seeing my dad’s face when he saw me in my dress and obviously walking down the aisle and seeing Brent. Our children looked beautiful!”

“My advice to any couple planning a ceremony is to try not to worry, as it doesn’t help! Use the Northumberland wedding co-ordination team too - we were really pleased with the support we received from them. Everyone in the team is so helpful and always on hand to help with any queries.”

Photography accredited to Richard Shepherd Photography.

A ceremony by the sea

July saw Northumberland’s first same-sex wedding and what a wonderful wedding it was!

Nikki and Michele chose the stunning location of Newton Hall and with the summer sun shining, were able to hold their ceremony outside on the terrace. As well as the beautiful grounds, Newton Hall also has direct access to the beach, giving the couple the opportunity for amazing photos.

Nikki said: “We fell in love with Newton Hall as soon as we saw it. It is unique and fitted in perfectly with our vintage theme. Although we originally thought about getting married abroad, we realised how important it was for us to be married in front of our friends and family and we didn’t need to look far to find our fabulous venue. Being so close to the beach was really an added bonus and getting our photos taken there will be one of my lasting memories of the day.”

The couple from Washington, who have been together for 10 years, explained that Northumberland was a perfect choice and our team really helped to make their day run smoothly. “We have always loved the county and often come for day trips and long walks with the dogs. The scenery here is amazing. We felt like the registrars were very positive about our same-sex marriage and were so helpful and efficient in advising us on what we needed to do and when. The ceremony itself was fantastic and really tailored to us as a couple, which meant a lot.”

Their advice for any couples getting married? “Try to get everything planned and sorted out a good month before the wedding. Then you won’t need to rush around at the last minute and you can relax and enjoy your special day.”

Photography accredited to Erika Tanith Photography.

Lady luck smiles on the ace of hearts

Poker champ Ian Simpson turned out to be the ace of hearts when he married his bride Emma at the stunning Ellingham Hall in a summer wedding.

Ian and Emma’s romance has had Lady Luck smiling on them throughout, with Ian pulling out a diamond and proposing right after receiving a diamond flush of his own and being crowned winner of the Irish Open Poker Tournament.

When searching for wedding venues, the couple’s lucky streak continued as they happened upon Ellingham Hall by chance and instantly fell in love. The couple were drawn to the venue’s spacious, secluded and private gardens and idyllic hall. It allowed them to make their wedding a true family affair, with plenty of room for everyone to stay in some of the hall’s 18 luxurious country house style rooms or 12 luxury estate cottages.

The summer wedding sported a poker theme and the atmospheric wood-panelled ceremony room saw 104 guests witness the happy couple take their vows. The celebrations continued with a BBQ and game of rounders on the eve of their day.

Emma and Ian’s registrar helped their day reach the jackpot. Emma said: “the registrar was so helpful, friendly and relaxed and really made the wedding ceremony personal to us, throwing in a few poker puns to keep everyone entertained. She really got involved in our theme and made the wedding special to us.”

Emma and Ian loved their wedding day venue so much they will be returning to the enchanting Ellingham Hall to relive the memories of their special day. This diamond couple are forever.

Photography accredited to SDS Photography.

An entrance to remember

Penny and Billy are certainly a couple who know how to make an entrance.

When they tied the knot last August at Newton Hall, guests were treated to a superbly choreographed dance down the aisle involving the full wedding party – ushers, bridesmaids and, of course, the bride and groom themselves!

Penny said: “Just before the wedding, when most groom’s parties would be in the bar settling their nerves, ours were squeezing in a much needed dance rehearsal while attempting to hide from the arriving guests! We thought long and hard about what we wanted from our wedding. We have always said that it is a celebration of who you both are and that it’s something you share with the important people in your life. We wanted every person to come away thinking that it was one hell of a day!”

Penny explains that the music and dance inspiration didn’t stop at the entrance either. “My favourite part of the day would have to be when Billy surprised me with a dance montage video of Pharrell Williams’ song ‘Happy’ during his speech. I had no idea he had secretly been putting it together – it was brilliant seeing our family and friends on the big screen.”

There was no doubt that guests had a day to remember and the location will certainly have helped. The couple said, “for us it had to be Northumberland. We both love living here and feel that it really is the best kept secret in the country and getting married anywhere else just wouldn’t have been right. We have always loved the Northumberland coast and fell in love with the style and staff at Newton Hall. Plus, Billy is a bit of a history geek and getting married so close to Bamburgh Castle was something he wanted to do.”

The couple, who have been together for seven years, share their top tip for the big day: “time goes incredibly fast on the day itself and there are so many details that you can miss. A good photographer or videographer is a must, it means you can take it all in when the day is over! The council wedding co-ordination team were brilliant too – totally un-phased when we decided to dance at them! They made the whole process simple and easy, and one less worry when you’re planning a wedding is a big deal.”

Watch Penny and Billy’s brilliant entrance here and their version of ‘Happy’ featuring all their wedding guests here.

Photos accredited to Sarah-Jane Ethan photography.

It's been a cracking day

The festive period was more magical than ever for Elaine Chaplin and Iain Caufield, who tied the knot on Christmas Eve at Morpeth Town Hall. 

Christmas time is extra special for this couple. After getting engaged on Christmas Day, Christmas Eve made the perfect choice for their wedding day.

Keeping things local was important to Elaine and Iain, who both grew up in Morpeth. A wedding fair at the town hall confirmed their ideal venue and, as cheese lovers, their wedding cake was made entirely from local cheeses! The day was made even more memorable with the appearance of the groom’s brother, who made the journey all the way from New Zealand.

Instead of receiving wedding presents, the couple asked their guests to make a donation to the Amble lifeboat appeal. The charity was raising money to buy a new boat and as the couple’s five children are all very keen kayakers, the family know the importance of the charity’s life-saving service.

Elaine told us about her day. “The wedding co-ordination team gave us all the advice needed which was great to have on hand as to what could or couldn’t happen. We had arranged for local caterers to do the food for the afternoon reception in the town hall. It was fantastic to be able to have the room set up on the day before, as it would really have been a struggle to fit in all in on the day.”

And Elaine’s advice to others that are planning their big day? “Try to spend some time comparing things or choices and don’t just go for the first thing you see. And don’t be afraid to go online. eBay has some great options, even brand new dresses for a very good price.”

After the reception, the couple travelled to Edinburgh to carry on the celebrations.

Photos accredited to Paul Murphy incidentlight, Cramlington.

A winning couple

Graeme Ballands and Stacey Normandale tied the knot on 18 September 2015 at the fabulous Linden Hall. 

They’ve known each other for 12 years and been a couple for four. 

Graeme proposed on Christmas Eve after a group including him, friends and family sang a romantic Christmas song on the karaoke. Stacey described it as “unexpected, romantic and a little bit cheesy".
The new Mr and Mrs won their wedding via a competition on Metro Radio. The couple had already looked at Linden Hall and loved it, so they were over the moon when they won the wedding there.

Graeme and Stacey had to play a game of Mr and Mrs to see how well they knew each other – and they got through this round no problem. They then had to change a bed together, timed, to see how they worked together. Again, they breezed through this round making it to the final six couples.

The final challenge was to raise as much money as possible, in two weeks, for Cash for Kids. Graeme and Stacey raised a staggering £13,000, pipping the others to the post and winning their dream wedding.

Stacey told us her favourite part of the special day had to be the speeches by her dad, new husband and best man Paul. There were tears and laughter through all of them.

Even Graeme had happy tears which was lovely to see. Mr and Mrs Ballands will always remember that Stacey almost forgot Graeme’s name during the ceremony due to nerves. She said it was really embarrassing but really funny too.

The couple said: “Northumberland’s wedding co-ordination team are really great! Booking and personalising was so straightforward and it’s great that the team are in touch throughout the process, to reassure and answer any queries. The gentleman who conducted our ceremony was fabulous, keeping us both calm and giving a personal and relaxed ceremony.” 

We asked the bride for some advice for any couples who are planning their wedding.

She said. “It was hard work planning the entire wedding in six months when working etc, so set a realistic timescale.

"Do what makes you happy, it’s your day and you should do what makes you happy, not others.

"Go to plenty of wedding fairs and open days to get ideas and find reliable suppliers.

"On the day, just relax, enjoy and don’t stress. Make sure you get as many pictures as possible to keeps as treasured memories forever.”

Photos accredited to Lena Sto. Dimingo – Casa Blanca Photography. 

A little taste of Italy

Rachel and Anthony were flying the flag with their Italy-inspired wedding ceremony at the spectacular Otterburn Castle. 

In fact, it was the venue's suggestion of flying the Italian flag from its flagpole for two days around the service that helped clinch the deal for the bride and groom, though they were head over heels in love with it to start with.

The couple were keen on getting married in "beautiful" Northumberland and staff at Otterburn Castle went that extra mile to make sure all their needs were catered for.

Along with the flag flying, they were able to release 12 white doves at the entrance and have sugar almonds and money thrown as confetti, as is tradition at Italian weddings, by their 25-30 guests (50-60 in the evening).

The wedding matched the green, white and red of the flag, with the bridesmaid donning a fantastic red gown and the venue's Garden Room dressed with flower garlands made up of the colours.

The couple loved the intimate ceremony at a castle that was not a major tourist attraction but something different to the norm.

After their wonderful first dance, they stayed for two nights and enjoyed the gardens and outlook from the "fantastic and beautiful" venue.

Rachel and Anthony were helped in the preparations for their big day by Northumberland County Council's wedding co-ordination team, and the registrars even donned sashes made up with the Italian flag colours for the ceremony.

The couple said: "They have been absolutely fantastic, so friendly.

"We could not have asked for anything more from either Otterburn Castle or the Northumberland registrars.

"They were both so accommodating, friendly and professional."

Rachel's wonderful dress was provided by Miaspora of Newcastle, the stunning flowers came from Fantasia in Byker and Walton's Suit Hire offered a great service in kitting out the groom. 

Butterchurn Guest House were very accommodating for wedding guests.

Asked if they had any tips for couples looking to get married, Rachel and Anthony said: "Explain everything you want to the venue to get the bespoke wedding you ask for.

"On the day, try to relax and enjoy it, and make every moment special."

The couple certainly did enjoy everything about their special day and venue, so much so that they recently spent their first anniversary, having tied the knot in November 2014, by staying at Otterburn Castle again.

They intend to do the same for every wedding anniversary.

Photos accredited to Gillian Cross Photography.

Love will always find a way

Karen And Davy were wed in The beautiful Ballroom at The Morpeth Town Hall on Saturday 6th August 2016, with 70 of their closest family and friends there to witness their marriage ceremony….even if it did take 33 years for the marriage to happen! 

This love story started 33 years ago when Karen was 17 and Davy was 20. Karen’s Granddad originally lived in the lovely port of Amble but moved to County Durham during the Second World War after meeting his wife. Her Granddads family remained in Amble, meaning Karen often visited. Davy had just moved to Amble and met Karen in a local café where she was working during the school holidays and so their romance began!

After the holidays, Karen returned to County Durham and the pair went their separate ways. A beautiful summer romance to remember they thought.

However, fate intervened and the pair met again 5 years later at a wedding reception. But the couple again went their separate ways due to Davy’s move to Manchester for work.

The couple lost touch until 14 years ago when a mutual friend was out in Amble and wished Davy a happy New Year. She returned to her friends but quickly came running back over with her mobile phone….On the other end of the phone was childhood sweetheart Karen! The pair kept in touch over the years via emails and texts.

Sadly, 6 years ago, Karen suffered a heart attack due to a generic Heart condition and she took this painful time to reflect on her life. At this stage she wrote 3 letters, one to her best friend, one to her two sons and one was addressed to Davy…Her letter to Davy explained that her biggest regret in life was not becoming his wife and Davy just knew he felt the same.

 However, due to various circumstances the romance didn’t blossom again until 1 and a half years ago when they both realised just how much they meant to each other and how in love they were. This is when they decided to plan their special wedding and where else but in Northumberland where it all  began.

Neither Karen nor Davy has married before, but they say the 33 year wait for each other was more than worth it.

Asking the new Mr and Mrs Brown their advice to other couples planning their special day, they said “We would definitely recommend Northumberland for your marriage, the wedding co-ordination team have been brilliant from start to finish and the lovely Registrars who conducted our ceremony were excellent and made us feel so comfortable! They also advised couples to follow their heart and do what makes them happy; love will always find a way!

One final twist to this lovely story…..the couple were born on the same day and Karen’s Great Aunty actually delivered Davy at Alnwick Hospital, where she worked as a midwife…it was always meant to be!

The most wonderful surprise

Popular Author, Barry Stone and his partner, Paul Simpson met 33 years ago when Barry accidentally gate-crashed Pauls 27th Birthday party and Barry said he couldn’t help but notice the stunningly, handsome Paul!

The pair entered into their Civil Partnership in April 2013 at the Alnwick Register Office and what a wonderful event it was. A truly fun-filled couple, whose love is apparent to anyone that meets them, they then had a huge fancy dress party with all their family and friends to celebrate their union.

In March 2014 we had the excellent news that same-sex marriages were approved and shortly afterwards we had the news that all couples who were already in a Civil Partnership could now convert into a marriage.

Barry took this opportunity to give Paul the most magnificent surprise in June 2016, arranging a surprise Conversion the day before his 60th birthday.

Paul thought he was simply coming to the appointment office to have the legalities taken care of, what he didn’t know was that Barry had contacted us to arrange a beautiful conversion ceremony in the original room their Civil Partnership took place.

A few lies had to be told and some secret emails were exchanged between Barry and the Northumberland Wedding Co-ordination Team to ensure this surprise was kept under wraps! We even managed to get the same two Registrars who had conducted and registered the original Civil Partnership to do the surprise Conversion.

Barry and Paul arrived and were taken to the appointment office where the legalities were completed. Paul even asked at this point if he could see the Registrars who did the civil partnership, as it would be great to meet again and we had to lie and say she was on holiday!

Paul believed everything was taken care of and that he was leaving, but to his astonishment he was led to the ceremony room where Barry opened the door to reveal 30 of their closest family and friends, along with the Registrar. Needless to say Paul was amazed and the couple made a very emotional entrance.

The happy couple then had the most wonderful ceremony, exchanging heart-felt promises and even had a guest sing-along which was so much fun.

 Barry really worked hard to guarantee the most perfect day and it was an absolute pleasure to announce that they were no longer civil partners but now united in marriage!

Speaking to the couple afterwards they were thrilled at how helpful our Wedding Co-ordination team were and couldn’t be happier with the service we provided from the booking process to the actual ceremony. We wish Barry and Paul a long, happy and exciting future together.

NB Please visit Barry Stones website to discover more about his fabulous books:

A love that can't be extinguished!

Eva, who has been a Registrar in Northumberland for just under a year; was married to partner Jack, at the elegant Eshott Hall, on the 9th of December 2017 in front of 50 of their closest family and friends.The couple knew that their wedding had to be in December as they love the festive season and knew that their colour scheme of deep purples and greens would be the perfect fit for a winter feel.

Eva and Jack began their search for their dream wedding venue before Eva began her role as a Registrar. However, they attended one of our popular Wedding Fairs at The Northumberland Hall in Alnwick and used our online wedding guide to search for that ideal place to say ‘I do’. As soon as they visited Eshott Hall, they knew they’d found the venue for them. 

Talking to the happy couple, they said they loved the relaxed and intimate feel of the Hall and particularly liked the reading room, just a short walk from the Hall, where their marriage ceremony would take place. They also liked that there were multiple rooms for guests to sit in and enjoy, so if people had enough of the disco and dancing, they could retire to one of the other rooms for a drink and chat with their friends.

The happy couple and many of their guests also made use of the beautiful bedrooms and cottages at Eshott Hall, staying over the night prior and the night of the wedding. Allowing the time to relax and enjoy getting ready. Jack and Eva even plan on returning to Eshott Hall for their first anniversary for a luxury, overnight stay.

We asked the newly-weds what they enjoyed most about their special day and they both said “The ceremony itself, of course and we’ll always remember that our gorgeous St Bernard, Reuben, decided to bark just as we were announced as Mr and Mrs, it was perfect timing!” 

They were delighted with the personal and professional service from Northumberland Registrars and made the most of the ceremony with readings, their own personal promises and also included a lovely ring-warming; allowing their guests the opportunity to hold and imbue the wedding rings with a wish of love for their future marriage. They said: “Northumberland Wedding Coordination team really go that extra mile, to allow you to have a unique and personal ceremony with lots of lovely touches.”

After the ceremony the couple made their exit as husband wife to the Austin Powers theme tune, giving all of their guests a good giggle!

They were then greeted by a fire engine and a guard of honour for Jack, a retained firefighter, making their day extra special and it was a perfect photograph opportunity.

One of the couples personal highlights from the day was during their wedding breakfast, when all the power went off! Luckily, the

 centerpieces were candelabras, allowing enough light to enjoy their meal. Jack and Eva said it made for a very romantic, relaxed atmosphere and all of their guests loved it too.

We asked Eva and Jack if they had any advice for couples planning their special day and they said: “Find a venue that suits you, the internet is a great resource and features all of Northumberland's beautiful venues! Make sure you’re comfortable with your choice and that it's not just for other people! Use sites such as Pinterest to get inspiration for colour schemes and themes, but most importantly enjoy every minute of the planning and the day itself.”