An outdoors summer wedding in Durham

09 Dec 2019

Emma Hall and Michael Watson booked their wedding two years in advance and their relaxed approach to planning paid off with the perfect pink-themed day

How did you meet?

We met through mutual friends at work. We had worked in the same workplace for a number of years and seen each other around but never formally met, I sent Michael a friend request on Facebook and he stalked the life out of me after that. 

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Tell us about the proposal

Michael proposed on my birthday, it was unexpected. We went for a meal at a local Italian restaurant and after the meal Michael very calmly told me he hadn’t gave me all my gifts and one was still outstanding. To which he pulled a box out and opened it to the most beautiful ring ever. The ring was so gorgeous, I couldn’t say yes for crying, but I eventually did though. 

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What colour scheme did you choose for the day? 

Our colour scheme was pink. The older bridesmaids wore pink; the little ones had a pink bow on their white dresses; we had pink flowers; the men wore pink cravats, pink handkerchiefs and pink buttonholes; the room was dressed in a sea of romantic pinks with flowers everywhere. It was like something out of a fairytale, so beautiful.

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Tell us about your wedding venue

Bowburn Hall was the first venue we visited. We loved everything the manager, Charlie, had to offer us that day; he was honest, genuine and gave us reassurance that nothing would be too much trouble.  We visited two further venues but nowhere felt as homely and warm as Bowburn Hall, so two weeks later we visited again for a wedding showcase and seeing the room dressed for a wedding sold it for us. We reserved our date that night and booked the registrar the next morning, we didn’t want anything to delay being able to secure Bowburn Hall. 

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How did you know you'd found the dress?

I tried on different styles of dress at a local shop and from there found the style I loved, however the shop could not supply the colour I liked. A few weeks later, I visited the Blue Bow Bridal Company in Durham where the staff were fabulous. I tried four dresses on in other styles, just to make sure, before trying on the style I knew was for me, I settled with a Stella York wedding dress; it was perfect, and exactly me. I could have burst with happiness when I said yes to my dress. 

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Who were the bridesmaids and what did they wear?

I had my four best friends as bridesmaids: Louise, Sarah, Leanne and Gemma, as well as our daughters, Millie and Robyn, as our flowergirls.

The older bridesmaids wore pink dresses by Amanda Wyatt with a white lace overlay on the top, so elegant and the perfect complement to my dress. We bought them from Pressed Prom and Bridal in Durham. The younger girls wore white satin dresses from Monsoon with a cute pink ribbon and flower round the waist and a beautiful large white satin bow on the back.

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What did the mother of the bride wear? 

She wore a beautiful pink dress with silver shoes and a silver fascinator.

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Where did you find the suits? 

the groom and his party wore navy blue suits with a white shirt, navy waistcoats and pink cravats, all from Troughear in Durham. 

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Tell us about your floral arrangements

Our flowers and room décor were from a local shop in Horden called Roses R Red, it is a florist both my family and I have used for many years and they have always been amazing. The wedding day was no different; our bouquets were gorgeous, made up of peonies and cala lillies and roses. The bridesmaids all had matching versions of my bouquet. The room was filled with spray roses and individual flowers, which smelt amazing. 

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Tell us about the details of the day

  • We were married outdoors in the gorgeous grounds and guests were treated to canapés and drinks in the garden while our wedding singer, Lottie Willis, sang an array of romantic and current songs.
  • During our wedding breakfast and before the dessert, our guests got a surprise when our waiters turned out to be singing waiters. They had everyone on their feet dancing and singing. Everybody really enjoyed it and it lifted the mood for the evening.
  • Later on, we had sparklers, a disco, a local band called The Arrival and a photobooth. Nobody had time to be bored.

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How did you feel as you walked down the aisle? 

I felt excited and very emotional while walking down the aisle. I saw some family and could tell they were emotional and it set me off. I walked down the aisle to a song that was special to my dad and I, Elvis Presley's I Can't Help Falling in Love with You.

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What was your most memorable moment?

It’s hard to define a memorable moment; the ceremony meant everything to us, we both admitted there could have been a thousand people sitting watching and we still felt like there was only us two there - we just looked at each other smiling the entire time.

Another sweet moment was when our little girl, Millie, came into my room when we were getting ready. She was sobbing and we all thought something had happened, when she confessed she just felt really happy and she already knew it was the best day of her life (she’s only seven-years-old). As you can imagine, we were all set off at that point. 

Also, my dad’s reaction when he saw me in my dress as I could see how proud he felt. 

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What was the most challenging aspect of planning this wedding?

Nothing was a challenge, looking back it was all very easy. Two years is long enough to get things sorted without stressing. We truthfully never stressed over a single thing. 

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What was the most important investment for you? 

The reception and food was most important to us. Everyone remembers what they’ve eaten at a wedding, don’t they?

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What song did you choose for your first dance? 

We chose Gladys Knight's You're The Best Thing That Ever Happened To Me. 

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Tell us about your wedding cake

Natalie Mann of Cakes by Natalie designed our cake and dressed it so beautifully with flowers from our chosen florist so they matched our bouquets. We had three tiers: Victoria sponge, Battenburg and lemon drizzle cake...and an extra spiced cake on the side to add that traditional touch. 

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Did you have a wedding hashtag? 

Yes, our custom hashtag was #watsonwedding. 

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Where did you go on honeymoon? 

We visited Rome for a little honeymoon five days after the wedding. It was beautiful and we visited all the sights as well as enjoying some gorgeous meals in the cutest of restaurants. It was all we had hoped, and with family and wedding commitments it was our first holiday together. 

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What advice would you give to a couple in the planning stages? 

My only advice would be to give yourselves at least two years to plan. It feels like a lifetime but it’s much more realistic to save in this time. We worked hard to save and vowed we wouldn’t book anything we couldn’t afford. It was nice to make the final payments prior to the event, while scary to see how much we paid out. However, it felt like an achievement.

Steal their style:

Venue: Bowburn Hall
Photography: Kane Young Photography
Venue styling: Party Forever, Coxhoe
Cake: Cakes by Natalie
Flowers: Roses R Red, Horden
Wedding dress and veil: Stella York from Blue Bow Bridal Company, Belmont)
Men’s suits: Troughear, Gilesgate
Bridesmaids' dresses: Pressed Prom and Bridal
Flowergirl dresses: Monsoon
Hair: Emma Lawrence
Make-up: Perfectly Polished by Leigh Thorne
Stationery: Kaya Rodgers of Fancy Little Favours,Hartlepool
Welcome boards: Geoff Watson
Singing waiters: No1 Singing Waiters
Photobooth: Highlights Entertainment
Videography: Little Bow Brides
Band: The Arrival
Wedding singer: Lottie Willis

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