A rustic and romantic wedding at Le Petit Château in Northumberland
02 Mar 2020
Natalie Andrews and Siobhan Davies celebrated their wedding in style with their son, Sebastian, and actress Anna Friel among their 90 guests
How did you meet?
We met on Match.com after Natalie ‘liked’ Siobhan’s profile and Siobhan messaged back convinced that Natalie’s profile was fake. Our first meeting in person was spending New Year’s Eve together in Soho, London only a few days later with Natalie’s friends, Scott and Craig, who were guests at our wedding.
Tell us about the proposal.
On landing into Heathrow from Los Angeles, we hopped onto a plane to Dubai to spend New Year's Eve with Siobhan’s family who were living out there at the time. Siobhan’s aunty and uncle overslept and forgot to pick us up from the airport, then Natalie wasn’t allowed a nap as Siobhan had a surprise for her. This surprise involved another shambolic journey to the wrong Burj building and getting totally lost trying to find the tallest building in the world.
When we finally made it up to the top of the Burj Khalifa, the restaurant was closing but they took pity on our booking for afternoon tea and allowed us to have a couple of glasses of champagne. After suggesting a photo opportunity and walking into a set of glass doors, Siobhan finally popped the question (in probably one of the riskiest countries to do so). How could Natalie not say yes?
What was the theme for the day, and did you have a colour scheme?
The theme for the day was romantic and rustic with a bit of gold glamour. Ivy and fairy lights complemented the venue along with gold decoration and candles.
What venue did you choose and why did you choose it?
Siobhan had booked a night at the venue as a Valentine's surprise for Natalie. Not only had Natalie never been to Le Petit Château, she had never been into the Northumberland national park so she really had no idea where they were going.
Although we were engaged, we hadn’t really thought about a wedding. We absolutely fell in love with the venue as soon as we walked through the door. We knew that nowhere else would ever compare and Le Petit Château was made for us.
Within two hours of being at Le Petit Château, we had secured a date for our wedding and that morning, over the most delicious breakfast, our deposit was paid. We could not recommend Le Petit Château enough, it’s a dream venue.
Most of our guests travelled a very long way for our big day and, up until the big day, we think they were a bit confused as to why we had booked something so remote. However, it all fell into place when they saw the location, the décor and met the amazing staff. Everyone is still gushing about what a unique and truly special place Le Petit Château is.
When did you know you’d found ‘the’ dresses?
Natalie: Dress shopping was risk. I was only six months post-partum on our wedding day and I hadn’t found a dress before getting pregnant. Feeling the pressure, I went dress shopping three months after our son, Sebastian, was born. The staff at Confetti Bridal were so attentive and friendly.
I tried on about eight dresses, but the the very first dress I had tried on was the one. It was an Essense of Australia lace gown in a sable colour. Once I had found the dress, I gave myself the remaining three months to find the body to fit into it.
Siobhan: Given I don’t like shopping at the best of times, I was a little apprehensive about dress shopping. However, the prosecco on offer at the majority of places we visited certainly helped. Lesley at The Bridal Rooms, Hoylake made me feel really comfortable and her selection was affordable and varied which made choosing the right dress so much easier.
I only spent one day dress shopping with my mum and sister and had tried on more than 10 dresses before finding my dress in the last shop we went to that day. It was by Eternity Bride and didn’t need any alterations.
Who were the bridesmaids and what did they wear?
The two younger bridesmaids, Siobhan’s cousins Sophia and Emily, wore Monsoon Estella dresses in gold and they walked down the aisle in front of Siobhan. Natalie's nieces, Georgiana and Ruby-Kate, were bridesmaids. At 12 and 14 they were too old for the Monsoon dresses, so we had to look for bridesmaids' dresses that complemented each other. We found their dresses on ASOS and had a tailor sew fabric into the deep V at the front so that they weren’t so low cut, as obviously they were designed for adults.
What did the mothers of the brides wear?
Both mothers of the bride wore dresses from John Lewis. There was a moment when they discovered they had both bought their outfits from the same shop and worried that they had bought the same dress.
Tell us about your floral arrangements.
We sourced all the artificial ivy from Amazon and eBay and then added in eucalyptus and white roses for the garland that ran along the top table. For the brides' and bridesmaids' bouquets, we watched a video on YouTube on how to make an artificial bouquet. We bought a selection of flowers and eucalyptus sprigs from The Range along with some florist wire and tape. It was surprisingly easy to arrange the bouquets and it was a lovely touch on the day to know that we had made them.
Often the aspect that makes a wedding original to the couple is the detail – tell us about the details of the day.
- The plan for the wedding was that we just wanted to party! We had a short ceremony followed by only 30 minutes for reception drinks, then straight into the wedding breakfast. We kept speeches short and got on to the dancefloor as soon as we could.
- The day was kept seamless and at our requested pace by the unforgettable master of ceremonies at Le Petit Château, Tim. He was the star of our day and thanks to him it ran like clockwork.
- There was no question as to if we would use the venue's photobooth. We spent many afternoons looking for props in charity shops and ended up with a basket that was bursting full of hats, glasses and horse heads.
- Our wedding favours were New Year scratch cards in personalised envelopes. We also had wooden names made for each guest’s place setting, which were spray painted and dipped in gold glitter.
- For our mothers and our best women, we had personalised make-up bags made with the date of the wedding. For our fathers and Siobhan’s brother, we bought engraved tankard glasses. The younger ones were given gifts rather than scratch cards; the bridesmaids received little bracelets and gold body glitter for the evening party, and the ring bearers had a toy to keep them amused on the day.
How did you feel as you walked down the aisle?
We both felt incredibly excited to see each other in our dresses and of course, to see all our loved ones in one room. Siobhan was focussing on not passing out (she had even been to hypnotherapy in preparation for it) and Natalie was trying desperately not to cry, which was helped by a hip flask of rum.
How did you make the ceremony personal to you?
We had a humanist ceremony led by Ross Hutchinson. We had met up with him on a few occasions so that he could get a good idea of us and our story. His ceremony was incredible, so personal with jokes about us and our family and friends too.
Our good friend, Nicholas, wrote a lovely Churchill reading that he read during the ceremony. We had a traditional handfasting that included our son and our friend, Lindsay, read the words, which was a really touching moment.
What was your most memorable moment?
There are a few, but as cliché as it sounds, it would have to be walking down the aisle in the stunning Belle Époque ceremony room to the pianist and violinist playing Pachabel’s Canon. Our son led the procession in the arms of Siobhan’s cousin. It was a very special moment.
The funniest memory for us will always be Siobhan’s sister Erin’s speech, and spending the day in the capable hands of our fun, professional and ingenious photographers, Scott Spock & Ko, was also a highlight.
What was the most challenging aspect of planning this wedding?
Making all the decorations, centrepieces and everything else that you need for a wedding while caring for a newborn. The planning process definitely kept us company during the night feeds and nap times. We are going to have so much more time on our hands now.
What was the most important investment for you?
The most important investment was doing everything we could to make sure our loved ones enjoyed themselves. We knew that if the food, drink and music were good then the party would be unforgettable… and it was.
What song did you choose for your first dance, and why?
We were watching Tina Turner: The Musical and at the end of the show, the song Simply The Best is sung and everyone gets up on their feet. This is exactly what we wanted at our wedding, so we got all our guests on the dancefloor to join in as we aren’t really the slow dancing types.
Did you have any evening entertainment?
On our RSVPs we asked for each of our guests to pick a song to be played on the night of our wedding, so our song list was made up solely of our guests' varied selection. We booked a DJ from AMV music and he was amazing.
Tell us about your wedding cake.
We just wanted something simple yet elegant that fitted with the theme. Siobhan’s friend, Rosh, very generously offered to make our cake with her mum, Teresa. They did an incredible job and finished it off with a piece of artificial ivy. It was stunning.
If you could go back and change anything, what would it be?
The only thing we would have done is had a videographer. Our photographers, Scott Spock & Ko, were unreal and having now seen their video work too we wish we’d had one made of our day. You miss so much of the day, so it would be such a gift to be able to have the opportunity to watch it all back.
Did anything go wrong on the day?
Not to our knowledge, however we found out later that our son had weed over our lovely friend Lauren’s dress just as she was getting him into his suit. Then he threw up down it two minutes before walking down the aisle.
Was there anything you wish you’d known before?
We would say don’t sweat the small stuff. Weddings are as stressful as you let them become, that tiny detail that is driving you mad won’t even get noticed on the day.
Where did you go on honeymoon?
We are going skiing in February 2020 for four nights (without our baby son), so that’s our minimoon. We are hoping to return to South East Asia for our honeymoon, but haven’t decided if we’ll be packing Sebastian yet.
Do you have any advice for couples in the planning stages?
Trust that you are in capable hands. Our amazing wedding organisers, Jacyln and Claire at Le Petit Château, had every single part of the day covered so that it ran without a hitch and we didn’t have to worry about a thing.
Also, don’t get too hung up on the people that can’t make it as it will really take the shine off something so magical. Concentrate on the people that are coming and appreciate them.
Steal their style:
Photography: Scott Spock & Ko
Venue: Le Petit Château
Dresses: Natalie - Essense of Australia from Confetti Bridal; Siobhan - Eternity Bride from The Bridal Rooms, Hoylake
Hair: Georgia at Méia Hair and Make Up
Make-up: Chelsea at Emily Emmett Make Up Art
Pianist and violinist: Mark and Vincent from Music Newcastle
DJ: AMV Music