Real wedding: A charming rustic celebration at Newton Hall, Northumberland
Natalie opted for a mermaid style wedding dress, designed by Mori Lee, while Adam chose to wear a celtic inspired tweed suit from Next, to tie in with their theme, which consisted of earthy tones and nature inspired decorations.
With an elegant and unique theme, Natalie and Adam's wedding perfectly represented their laid-back approach and everything about the day, from the colour scheme to the wedding favours, was beautifully thought out and reflective of the couple themselves.
Click through our real wedding gallery for inspiration for your own big day on everything from bridal style, to wedding cake options to groomsmen outfits.
Photography | Helen Russell>
Back to the start
Despite a magical wedding day, Natalie and Adam's romance didn't have such a fairytale beginning, with their first date featuring a worse-for-wear Adam.<br /><br />"We met back in early 2009 through friends. We didn’t really see much of each other except on nights out until one day I got a surprise invitation from Adam to go for a coffee and do some Christmas shopping," Natalie divulges.<br /><br />"I remember he turned up incredibly hungover and he later confessed he had felt really ill but hadn’t wanted to cancel and miss the chance to see me. Our friendship developed from there but it wasn’t until May 2010 we actually started dating."
2010 saw Natalie move to Aberdeen, with Adam following in July 2012. Talk turned to their future together, yet Natalie didn't see a proposal on the horizon.<br /><br />"As Adam is quite traditional he had asked my dad’s permission and told his own family his plans before Christmas and so I think people were expecting a Christmas proposal," Natalie shares.<br /><br />"He actually kept them all waiting and proposed January 13th 2013. We were on our way out for dinner and he asked me to close my eyes and when I opened them he was on one knee with a ring!"
Saying 'yes' to the dress
First on the to do list was to find the perfect dress, yet despite hitting the shops with a clear idea of her dream dress, Natalie ended up with a totally different gown to what she had imagined.<br /><br />"Before I went dress shopping I had an idea of what I wanted. I knew I didn’t want a lot of detail on my dress as I already had statement accessories in mind and I was convinced I wanted a ball gown style, preferably tulle as I love the floaty, feminine look of it," Natalie shares.<br /><br />"However after trying on a lot of different dresses in these styles in various materials I just felt more like the dress was wearing me, rather than the other way round."
The dream dress
After deciding her initial idea for her dress wasn't going to work, Natalie was persuaded to try on fishtail and mermaid dresses, despite ruling out this style beforehand.<br /><br />"I found that I absolutely loved the the mermaid and fishtail dresses!" Natalie exclaims. <br /><br />"My advice to brides when dress shopping is try on all styles, don’t be put off by what you are told will suit your figure. After deciding on a mermaid style I still didn’t want to lose the full appearance of a ball gown skirt so I started looking for a fitted dress but with a voluminous bottom. As soon as I saw my dress I loved it and couldn’t wait to try it on. Once I had the dress on I just didn’t want to take it off!"<br /><br />Natalie's <a href="http://www.morilee.co.uk" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Mori Lee</a> dress in Style 5180 came from<a href="http://www.kathrynstrueman.co.uk" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"> Kathryn Trueman Bridal</a> in Morpeth.
Acing the accessories
Natalie went on quite the mission to secure her wedding shoes, eventually getting them shipped over from the US.<br /><br />"I wore bridal shoes by Betsey Johnson from the <a href="http://www.betseyjohnson.com/thumbnail/SHOES/BETSEY-BLUE/pc/3902/3956.uts" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Betsey Blue</a> range which I had to have shipped over from the USA as they were discontinuing the shoes I wanted and no UK supplier had my size left in stock," Natalie explains. "I was obsessed with finding these shoes as the soles are blue, which I thought was such a perfect detail!"<br /><br />Other accessories included a two tier tulle chapel length veil and a statement pearl headband with a matching cuff. <br /><br />"My headband and cuff were by <a href="http://www.floandpercy.com" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Flo and Percy</a> and were one of the first things I decided on for my bridal look. I liked the idea of having something I could keep after the wedding and maybe one day pass on as a ‘something old’.
Natalie added her own unique touches to her <a href="http://www.lavenders-blue.talktalk.net" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Lavenders Blue</a> bouquet for a truly personal feel.<br /><br />"In my bouquet I had vendella and combo roses, which are cream and caramel coloured. I had arabacum flower and chrysanthemum daises (which are both small white flowers with black centres) with lots of green and brown foliage," she comments.<br /><br />I also included herbs in my bouquet to give a lovely smell – rosemary with trailing jasmine and mint. I added in pheasant feathers to both my bouquet, Adam's buttonhole and the centrepieces to reflect to our woodland theme. The bridesmaids had smaller versions of my bouquet without the addition of the feathers."
Having lived in Scotland for three years prior to getting married, Adam knew he wanted a celtic theme to his wedding day ensemble, without going all out and opting for a kilt.<br /><br />"As well as wanting a Scottish feel to my outfit, I also knew I wanted a more relaxed style than a traditional formal wedding suit. With that in mind, I went for a mix and match look, pairing a tweed style jacket and waistcoat with a pair of every day suit pants," shares Adam. <br /><br />"My suit jacket and waistcoat were from <a href="http://www.next.co.uk/men" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Next</a> and they were one of the first things I bought for the wedding and they stayed in a suit carrier in my wardrobe for over a year!"<br /><br />"My shoes were from <a href="http://www.dunelondon.com/mens-dept1002/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Dune</a> and the style of them was something different to the usual wedding shoes you'd see. On the morning of the wedding Natalie gave me a rose gold pocket watch which was a nice surprise and completed my look perfectly."
Securing the outfits for the groomsmen was a little on the tricky side, since Natalie and Adam wanted them to wear brown, which was difficult to get hold of in the summer.<br /><br />"Brown suits just weren't in season for summer weddings and nowhere seemed to stock anything like the colour we wanted," laments Adam.<br /><br />"Luckily, we called into <a href="https://www.slaters.co.uk" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Slaters</a> in Newcastle they had just had a new suit delivered that was the perfect colour to go with the theme of the wedding; we snapped them up there and then!"<br /><br />The groomsmen were left to their own devices when it came to shoes, only being told that they had to be tan or brown. <br /><br />"I didn't want my groomsmen looking too regimental and it was good for them to put their own personal touch on their outfit," Adam adds.
Outfits sorted, it was time to look for a location for their big day. After deciding they wanted to get married in the north east, Natalie and Adam set about scouring the internet for their perfect venue.<br /><br />"I came across <a href="http://www.hitched.co.uk/wedding-venues/newton-hall_5784.htm" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Newton Hall</a> online and hadn’t heard of it before. As soon as I saw the images online I loved it, it was so unlike any other venue I had seen," enthuses Natalie.<br /><br />"The décor was so different and quirky and the ceremony/reception space was exactly what we had been looking for. When we visited the venue it had such a lovely, intimate feel to it without being too small and we loved the unusual details in all the rooms."
With the dream venue in the bag, it was time for Natalie and Adam to start considering the little details of their big day, including table decorations, all of which were to fit in with their overgrown woodland theme for the day.<br /><br />"I did a fair bit of DIY for our decorations," explains Natalie. "I made our table numbers, jar decorations, table plan and place cards." <br /><br />"I collected a variety of jars and bottles to add to the decoration for the wedding. I used a combination of hessian, lace and twine to give different to designs to the jars and bottles and asked our florist to fill them with feathers and flowers and place them around the ceremony and reception space."
The crafts didn't stop at the table decorations, as Natalie and Adam also put a lot of thought into the design of the aisle.<br /><br />"For our aisle decorations we had slate hearts, mason jars and bottles filled with flowers and feathers on the sides of chairs down the aisle as well as on the registrar's table," Natalie shares.<br /><br />"We had rose petals scattered down the aisle and two vases of tall twigs either side of the aisle which were then transferred to the top table later in the day. All of our chairs were left uncovered, as Newton Hall has lovely chairs. All we did was add a lace bow."
Natalie and Adam's woodland theme with an elegant edge carried through from the ceremony to their reception, where as well as stunning light up letters spelling out 'love', Natalie and Adam added personal touches throughout.<br /><br />"The whole day was just very ‘us’ down to the styling, the décor and the campervan wedding car," explains Adam. "We were looking for something relaxed and a bit different to a traditional wedding in terms of style but still wanted to keep the day elegant and beautiful."<br /><br />"We used hessian and lace runners on our tables, however we chose not to cover the guests tables at Newton Hall as they fit in with our theme so well being made of wood," Natalie comments. "The flowers were in centrepieces that looked like little logs and were surrounded by echivira and moss."<br /><br /><br />
Social media savvy
The couple embraced social media on their wedding day, creating a personalised hash tag for the guests to use. <br /><br />"We had Instagram cards on each table with our <a href="https://www.instagram.com/explore/tags/radfordwedpics/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">wedding hashtag</a> so guests could share and see each other's photographs," says Natalie.<br /><br />Another item Natalie slaved over for the wedding were the place cards, as she explains: "Our place cards were definitely the most time consuming element. I used an ink pad to print the name of each guest on to a luggage tag which was then glued into a wooden disc and decorated with moss – this was one of the details that our guest all commented on."
Do me a favour
Adam and Natalie added another personal touch to their big day with their wedding favours. <br /><br />"Instead of providing traditional wedding favours we made a donation to <a href="http://www.hitched.co.uk/wedding-venues/newton-hall_5784.htm" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Cancer Research</a> and gave each of our guests a pin badge and card. Unfortunately both of our families have experienced losses due to cancer and this was a way of remembering those who weren’t able to be there with us."
As a real foodie, Adam took charge when it came to the menu, with Natalie commenting: "Adam loves to cook and is really into food and so this was definitely an area of the wedding I was happy for him to take over." <br /><br />"The menu didn’t tie into our theme as such but was absolutely delicious, especially the amazing white chocolate baileys cheesecake desert and the ‘touch of sparkle’ pallete cleanser after the starter (gin, midori, prosecco over champagne sorbet!). Our starter was Thai spiced sweet potato soup and our main was chicken and sage wrapped in ham."
Let them eat cake
The wedding cake perfectly embraced Natalie and Adam's woodland theme thanks to the adorable topper.<br /><br />"Our wedding cake was made by <a href="http://www.thepuddingparlour.com" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">The Pudding Parlour</a>," Natalie shares. "It was three tiers of chocolate, vanilla and black forest sponge and tasted amazing!" <br /><br />"The design of the cake fit in with our theme perfectly as it was decorated to look like three stacked log slices with little leaves on and our cake topper was two handmade little birds in a nest which we bought from <a href="https://www.etsy.com" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">etsy</a>," she continues.<br /><br />"The birds' outfits and colour scheme were coordinated perfectly – the groom bird even had on a tweed waistcoat!"
Adam and Natalie kept guests delighted throughout the day with a variety of entertainment including a Northumbrian piper and fiddle to welcome them to the venue, lawn games including croquet and swing ball and a photo booth, provided by <a href="http://www.theguestbooth.co.uk" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Guest Booth</a>, so guests could pose to their heart's content. <br /><br />The couple chose <a href="http://www.festivalweddingband.co.uk" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Festival Sons</a> to play at the reception, with the band performing two sets with a DJ slot in the middle. <br /><br />"One of their sets was in an acoustic Mumford & Sons style and the second an electric set more in the style of Killers & Kings of Leon," explains Adam.<br /><br />The first dance was set to Drops of Jupiter, by Train, a song that both Adam and Natalie love. <br /><br />
Words of wisdom
"The best planning advice we can give is to work together," suggest the couple.<br /><br />"The idea that a groom just has to ‘turn up on the day’ definitely wasn’t the case for us," adds Natalie.<br /><br />"Planning a wedding is so stressful I think I would have had multiple breakdowns if Adam hadn’t helped! Whether or not you allocate responsibilities in the planning or just organise things together I definitely would say the planning process was made so much easier (and far less stressful) by Adam taking over certain aspects."