After being together for nearly 15 years, Graeme proposed during a romantic walk through their hometown. Louise comments, “We were walking across a bridge with stunning views over the river when he popped the question – it was a complete surprise!”
The couple legally got married in Iceland in August 2020, and later that month had a blessing in Northumberland with friends and family. The couple's original venue closed down due to COVID-19, but they instantly fell in love with Doxford Barns after searching the North East for a new location. Louise says, "Everything about the venue was perfect from the Threshing Hall, the barn, outdoor spaces, food and drink options and the fabulous accommodation all on-site. We took our six-year-old son Jack to view the place and he was happy as soon as he saw the combine harvester and tractor."
Another bonus for the couple is that Doxford Barns is dog-friendly, meaning that their three-year-old vizsla pointer cross called Forrest could attend! A rustic theme was picked for the wedding and was highlighted throughout the day. The bride says, "Our centrepieces included rustic logs with flower arrangements on, photos of us in Iceland and wooden table names in Durham gin bottles." Each table was named after places the couple had visited together in Iceland and guests could find their seats with help from the rustic table plan.
The childrens' table included a centrepiece of activities such as planes to build, scratch art masks/shapes, note pads and pencils and puzzle toys. Loved ones could find a giant Connect4 and Jenga to play outside and additional activities scattered around to entertain the little ones including bubble wands, I spy cards, bingo cards, inflatable musical instruments and dress-up items.
When picking the perfect florals, the couple took inspiration from the Icelandic poppy and picked similar orange and natural colours as the original flower wasn't in season. Louise's natural bouquet was beautiful and wrapped in burlap fabric. She says, "We had flowers draped over the mantelpiece in the Threshing Barn, a pedestal arrangement in front of a hay bale and hanging baskets and white planters at the barn's entrance for guests to see as they arrived."
When it came to the wedding favours, guests were given a Macmillan bee brooch and two chocolate hearts to thank guests for coming to the day.
A formal sit-down meal wasn't something the couple wanted and opted for sharing platters instead. A ploughman's platter was offered first, followed by a Sunday lunch platter with all the trimmings and chocolate brownies to finish. Street food such as fish and chips, nachos and lamb kebabs were offered in the evening.
The three-tiered cake looked incredible in photos and included lemon, blueberry and cherry Bakewell flavours which went down a treat with guests. The bottom layer had a wooden effect and poppies made from icing, while the top two layers were plain white with a wooden Mr & Mrs sign on top. A lovely touch was the red velvet cake created for Jack to cut!
When it came to finding the perfect gown, the bride-to-be didn't want anything too complicated with difficult buttons or ribbon fastenings as she would need to fasten the dress herself in Iceland. She says, "I chose an A-line dress with a lace bodice, sleeves and a cowl back. The whole experience felt a bit surreal after being together for so long, but I felt comfortable and elegant in my dress." The bride added a bracelet with a cariad charm and earrings to finish off the look. The groom looked dashing on the day in a blue tweed checked suit with a waistcoat and plain white shirt.
After getting ready in the morning, their son Jack wandered off to see all the guests arriving. But upon his return, Louise overheard the photographer whispering, 'quick clean him up or his mum will go mad'. It turns out he'd been running around in his wedding suit and had already got his knees muddy before the entire thing had even started – a funny moment looking back!
Another amusing anecdote from the day was when one guest showed up five hours late after mixing up the timings with the original plans, but he luckily made it in time for the wedding breakfast!
A special moment from the day was when the father-of-the-bride made a toast, Louise says, "His words were very thoughtful and funny and brought tears to many eyes – a definite highlight of the day."
The couple both felt extremely grateful to be surrounded by their loved ones. The bride says, "It was extra special that our family and friends were able to be there together on the day – some guests had travelled a long distance to join us." She adds, "We felt that our day was fate, and everything worked out the way it was supposed to. The original venue going into liquidation and then Doxford Barns being available on the same day was a miracle. Then the UK restrictions had eased enough for us to go ahead with the day and lockdown started again shortly afterwards. We haven't even been able to share our wedding album with most of our guests as we haven't seen them since the day!"
The couple share their wedding advice saying, "Savour every minute of the wedding as it goes so fast and don't stress over anything. Plan who you want to have photos with on the day and make sure your photographer knows so you don't miss anything."