Russian-born Sasha met Geordie Daniel when they both started at work on the same day. "I kept teasing Daniel by telling him to stand up straight and stop slouching," says Sasha. "One day he looked cross with me, so I told myself to leave him alone, as he was never going to be the father of my kids… How wrong I was, as we now have a son – although his posture's still bad!"
After being a couple for four years, Daniel popped the question. "I'd secretly known it was coming, as the year before he'd asked my father's permission – and my dad told me straight away!" laughs the bride. "It took a whole 12 months for him to find the right time – in a park in my home city of Vladivostok. I'd waited so long that it was kind of a surprise in the end!"
It took the couple nine months to plan their wedding, with Sasha doing most of the organising. Here, she tells us more about their big day…
A wedding fair at Newcastle Racecourse led to Sasha and Daniel finding their dream venue and photographer. "I was adamant I wanted us to get married on the 22nd June, but no venues we spoke to were available,"continues the bride. "The last stall we visited, and as I was about to lose all hope, was the newly-opened Shotton Grange – and it was everything I'd ever wanted. The house was beautiful, the rooms tastefully decorated and the walled garden stunning – plus it was just 10 minutes away from Newcastle city centre. I couldn't believe my luck when they said our date was free."
Booking Shotton Grange on the spot, Sasha raced back to another stall to a photographer whose work she'd fallen in love with. "I knew Margarita Hope would be our photographer the second I saw her display," says Sasha."I wanted to book her that second, but we didn't have a venue organised, so I reluctantly had to walk away. The minute we secured Shotton Grange I ran back to book her! We also signed up for a pre- and post-wedding photoshoot, and all three sets of pictures are incredible."
Sasha knew what she wanted when it came to finding her wedding dress, falling in love with a design she'd seen online. "I tried on a couple of other dresses while I was waiting for mine to arrive from the Pronovias flagship store, but my heart was set on the Marsella gown," says the bride. "I like my legs, and while I wanted to have a traditional long lace dress I also wanted to show off some skin. Marsella has a slit in the middle, which makes it look striking while being comfortable to walk in. It was beautiful, elegant and fun, and I couldn't have picked anything better."
The groom and his attendants were also dressed to impress for the big day. "Daniel chose a long tail suit, while his six best men – and yes, that meant six speeches!– all wore the same suit in a regular-length cut," explains Sasha.
"My six bridesmaids looked beautiful in their cornflower blue gowns with lace and pleating. I took the worry out of finding their outfits by making their dresses a priority. I chose a style I liked and bought all six, then asked them to be my bridesmaids by presenting them with the dress. It was a risky decision that paid off – they all loved my choice and looked incredible on the day."
Flowers and mementos of family were the order of the day when it came to dressing the couple's venue. "Our florist did an amazing job, listening to my descriptions and looking at my Pinterest board before creating beautiful bouquets, buttonholes and arrangements," says Sasha. "Our wedding featured peonies, delphiniums, bush roses, cornflowers, chrysanthemum, craspedia flowers, wax flowers, foliage and freesias, displayed in milk churns and flower jars in the garden.
We also featured a memory ladder as a focal point, with pictures of family who couldn't be there for different reasons. One such loved one is Dan's Gramps, who suffers from Alzheimer's and doesn't remember who he is. Having her photo as pride of place in our beautiful venue meant she was included in our day, as she is so dear to all of the family."
Considerate touches were also important to Sasha and Daniel, who wanted every single guest to be catered for. "We hired a vintage ice cream bike, which was a huge hit with the kids, and chose an incredible singer to perform in the walled garden,"continues the bride. "We even made sure the venue set up well-organised sitting areas for tired feet –and put painkillers, plasters, beauty products and flip flops in all of the toilets!"