Blogging is so much more than simply writing. We have a huge blogging community in the North East and through meeting at various events and constant chatter across social media, I have met some truly wonderful people and formed strong friendships with other North East bloggers. One of these ladies is Chloe (aka New Girl in Toon) and I was delighted when I was asked to join in with her recent wedding celebrations.
I text, snapchat, tweet and message Chloe every single day, we regularly go out on double dates with Steve and Simon and have enjoyed a few mini breaks together too. Yet I've never met any of Chloe's family and her closest friends as they all live elsewhere. So when Chloe and Simon decided to host a pre-wedding dinner at one of our favourite pub's St Mary's Inn (which would also be where we were all to stay for the weekend) there was no way I was going to miss it and I think I probably even just invited myself along without being asked! Haha!
I think I visited St Mary's Inn close to 20 times now. I just love it. The food is always homecooked and faultless and the welcome warm. We had been provided with a private dining room for our meal which was a first for me and an excellent way for us to all mingle and chat with drinks and good food.
Some of us had more 'fun' than others and it's fair to say that Steve's post-dinner appearance on Snapchat was a real talking point of the wedding. I think the less we say about that the better though.
After a lovely night's sleep, followed by a hearty Northumberland breakfast, it was time to get ready. The wedding ceremony wasn't until 2pm and it was a real treat having lots of time to pamper ourselves. Katie Jane joined us for a couple of glasses of fizz in our room beforehand. The Parlour at Blagdon is only a £10 taxi journey from St Mary's Inn and rooms start at just £85 including breakfast for two - if you are ever attending a wedding at the Parlour or looking for accommodation for your Bridal party, I cannot recommend St Mary's Inn enough. We were well looked after.
The Blagdon Parlour can be found just next door to Northumberlandia and Chloe and Simon had booked exclusive use. The staff really made the effort to ensure the grounds were beautiful and the gardens were filled with beautifully fresh flowers.
The wedding breakfast (and evening dancing) took place in the Willow Room. It just looks stunning doesn't it! Chloe really did a fantastic job choosing lots of local suppliers to help with the decor.
The day before I had been given the task of helping Simon collect the wedding cakes from the Pet Lamb Girls in the Grainger Marget. What a responsibility! I'm pleased they arrived safely though and they looked (and tasted) delicious.
The ceremony was held in the parlour's tearoom which had been transformed and was unrecognisable. As Chloe walked down the aisle we all agreed that the ceremony and setting couldn't have been more perfect.
I was asked to read a poem that Chloe had written herself - it was lighthearted and very funny with references to the life of blogging husband, X-box, cake-obsessions and their life together. I thought it was hilarious and it was an honour to read something so personal and be part of Chloe and Simon's special day like this. I've never had to deliver a 'comedy piece' before and I was a bit nervous - what if everyone was serious and nobody laughed? I really didn't need to worry though as at some points there were actual roars of laughter and I had to pause to let everyone settle down on a couple of occasions. Sorry for over-using the word but it was perfect - if you are creative, I can highly recommended including your own story or poem as part of the ceremony rather than something generic you grab from the internet. It really adds a lovely touch and stops the ceremony feeling too stuffy I think.
Don't they make a lovely couple - Chloe looked absolutely stunning (and Simon handsome). I am pleased I managed to catch the detail on the back of Chloe's dress as they walked up the aisle as husband and wife.
We were blessed with the weather and able to enjoy drinks in the Parlour's garden as the wedding party had their photographs taken. It was a fantastic chance to catch up with friends old and new. There was a caricaturist too who provided much amusement.
Chloe had also handed me the job of 'unofficial photographer'. Chloe and I have the same camera but Chloe is a much better photographer than I am - no pressure then! HAHA! All jokes aside, of course I couldn't resist taking some snaps and even hid in a few bushes to get that perfect shot :-) I know bloggers can be a bit of a pain at weddings but Chloe's official photographer (Katie Byram) handled it very well and I tried not to get in the way.
The gardens at the Parlour are perfect for taking photographs but Chloe and Simon also escaped to the fields of Northumberlandia next door - I can't wait to see those snaps. We headed into the Willow Room where we took our seats and listened to the heart-warming speeches and I couldn't help but shed a tear on more than one occasion. Then it was time for food. Yeah!
I won't lie when I say this was the absolute best idea for a wedding breakfast. A 'Northumberland High Tea' was served with homemade pies, thick slices of carved ham, roast beef and mustard, mini scotch eggs, well-dressed salads AND a huge platter of Northumberland cheese. We were in our element tucking in and really filled up. My mouth is actually watering as I type this!
Then it wouldn't be a 'New Girl in Toon' wedding without cake and we couldn't believe our eyes as we were served our own plate of 5 individual cakes and desserts plus a scone! WOW! It was all homemade and heaven on a plate. I started to regret over-induging in the earlier platters of food as I couldn't finish it all. Sob!
As darkness creeped in around us, the Parlour looked even more magical as it was transformed from a beautiful floral garden to a cosy night time setting with it's twinkling fairy lights, candle lit outbuildings and heated terrace. Guests dispersed between the Willow Room for dancing, the tearoom for an evening buffet (there was no way I could even look at food after our lunch time feast so no pics), the other outbuildings for a quiet chat and the gardens for some fresh air. There was somewhere for everyone.
The cake was cut and the dancing commenced - despite me previously criticising most of Chloe and Simon's playlist, it was actually perfect and they proved me wrong. Who doesn't like a Girls Aloud megamix at a wedding?
We retired back to St Mary's Inn as the clock struck midnight and collapsed into our bed, tired but happy. It was lovely to meet the bride and groom for breakfast the following morning and enjoy a leisurely check out before sadly heading home.
Huge Congratulations to Chloe & Simon, it was an honour to be part of your special day xx
We stayed at St Mary's Inn, Stannington (we paid for all food, drinks and accommodation ourselves) and the wedding was held at The Parlour at Blagdon, Northumberland. If you'd like to find out about any of the other fabulous local suppliers featured in the photographs, simply tweet Chloe @newgirlintoon and she'll be more than happy to help.