So it’s here, we are in the last week before Christmas, the Christmas countdown is...
Do you remember the episode of don’t tell the bride where they got married in a tree house? well todays wedding takes place in that very same Treehouse! Set in the gorgeous surroundings of Alnwick Gardens in Northumberland, this Tree house is the perfect venue for anyone looking for something quirky, personal and that bit different! Neil and Dalia pulled together a fanatic wedding and as they are both designers at Hallmark Greeting Cards the amount of design and detail that went into the overall look is amazing! I am just loving this wedding, so full of personality, definitely up there as one of my favorite venues! Thanks to Craig Goode for the images.
Neil and Dalia were married on the 14th Sepetember at The Treehouse, Alnwick Gardens, Alnwick. ‘We visited the Treehouse one valentine’s weekend a few years ago and had fond memories of the area. And so, once we’d decided on a wedding with an outdoor feel, it was top of the list! We had 76 guests including the band, and it took 9 months of planning. Many people commented that this wasn’t very long to plan a wedding but it’s plenty of time.’
How they met
We met at work – we’re both designers at Hallmark Greeting Cards in Yorkshire. I spotted Dalia in the work canteen and plucked up the courage to ask her out. That was 7 and a half years ago!
Last year we spent Christmas with Dalia’s family in the Philippines. I decided to propose whilst we were out there. And so after a late night chat with her Dad and a frantic dash around the local town markets for a (temporary!) ring I proposed on Boxing Day. During a stroll along a quite white sand beach I popped the question – getting one knee sandy in the process! She said yes between laughs and we walked on back to tell the family.
How did you allocate your budget?
We always planned on designing and making our own stationery, decorations and props. So with that in mind, the majority of budget went towards the Alnwick Treehouse full private hire package, which included food and drink for all guests. Wedding attire was the next big spend.
Why did you choose your photographer?
We’ve known Craig for years. We met him through his wife Abbi who is also a designer at our work. We’ve become good friends over time, Craig has done photoshoots and music videos for Neil’s band, and we’ve seen him in action at a few weddings. And so, when choosing a wedding photographer he was always the first and obvious choice. He has an amazingly gentle and natural approach to photography, with great attention to details. Just what we wanted
The dress is a Justin Alexander design. Dalia bought it at Abigail Bridal Boutique in Leeds who provided a great personal service including a lovely card and bottle of bubbly when we picked it up! Bolero by Blue Ribbon Co. Bag and shoes were from Monsoon.
The Suit and Bridesmaids
The suit was a mix and match from ASOS, Topman and vintage accessories. Bridesmaids dresses were from Karen Millen
Theme or colour scheme?
I guess the theme was to fit in with the Treehouse environment but also be very personal to us. We looked on websites and blogs such as this one, and pinterest, – these all helped us settle on an overall feeling. We settled on a colour palette of duck egg blue, salmon pink, dusty grey and a mint green. The colours were linked through the bridesmaid’s dresses, flowers, men’s ties, bunting, stationery and props.
We made many metres of bunting (I cut the triangles and Dalia stitched it together! My amazing Mum made the bunting that hung above the top table – this was a lovely surprise gift! We were given a beautiful willow heart hanging, hand-weaved by our friends Chris and Paula. The 3 wooden crates were bought second hand and given a lick of white paint – we filled these with personal belongings and memories. The longboard (skateboard) was assembled ourselves – we chose a blank wooden deck so we could hand-paint ‘Just Married’ on it. The venue itself was full of so many wonderful decorations and objects of interest – we had to be careful not to over-clutter!
The bouquets were ordered from Simply Flowers in Alnwick. They were a collection of delphiniums, roses, carnations, lambs ear, baby’s breath. They did a great job. We did the table flowers ourselves. We bought a mix of roses, delphiniums, chrysanthemums and foliage from the local flower market and arranged them in old glass bottles that we collected over months from car boot sales and ebay (they took a lot of cleaning and TLC!)
After an amazing free tasting session at the Treehouse restaurant we decided to give the guests 3 choices for each course. Starters were Pork Terrine, Prawn Cocktail or Sweet Potato soup. Main was Lamb with mustard mash, Roast Chicken and new potatoes or roasted vegetable cheese strudel. Dessert was Flowerpot cheesecake, Eton Mess or Chocolate Orange Tart.
We had 80 cupcakes baked by Neil’s Mum and friend Amy White. The top cake was fruitcake from good ol’ M&S. The cake stand was made by my Dad (Ron Clark) using wood cuts from the timber yard and a chunk of the family apple tree! He’d never made anything like this before but has since had offers to make more! The cake-toppers were blank wooden peg dolls that we painted and dressed ourselves.
We had a lively jazz trio from our local pub back home – I’ve known Eddie, Neal and John all my life, which made it so special. We also had an accordion player called Mike Hirst who we tracked down through a small local folk club.
Buy or DIY your Stationery?
We designed the stationery ourselves from scratch. It was a team effort consisting of Dalia’s hand-drawn text, Neil’s laser cut design and many hours spent printing, cutting, sticking and clipping the rounded corners (thanks to Hobbycraft for the corner cutter!). We even made the envelopes for the invites – we bought a stack of A4 duck egg blue paper- each sheet folded to make one envelope. This meant we saved money but also got the perfect colour we wanted. We flowed the same design style throughout all stationery – the invites, the song sheets, the table numbers, the gift tags and guest book. We printed out our seating plan and pinned to a canvas to sit on my old painting easel.
Personal or handmade touches
Special moments or highlights
It’s hard to pick out particular moments, the whole day was amazing. The ceremony itself felt perfect, we were so lucky with the weather, being able to stand, sing and say ‘I do’ outside in a setting like that was a dream come true. The speeches were a definite highlight. The first dance was also a special moment. The photographs taken after dark were lovely – it was so peaceful and relaxed.
I surprised Dalia with a late night serenade. Unknown to her me and two friends Chris and Steve had been learning ‘Til there was You’ by The Beatles on ukulele. The song was a planned part of the marriage ceremony- with guests all singing together. But no one knew about the ukulele version during the evening do. Also the weather being so good during a dull week in September was a nice surprise!
Advice for other couples
I think a DIY approach is great. Yes it makes for more hard work and more late nights, but it feels so much more personal and is so satisfying when looking back at the big day! And it saves money! We set ourselves a deadline for everything to be made and ready a week before the big day. That way you can both relax in the run up to the wedding rather dealing with last minute stresses! One big tip I would give is to not give your guests a choice of food – a set menu would’ve saved us a few headaches during the admin stage! Do it your own way, your style – I know everyone says that but it’s true. It’s YOUR day!
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