A Charlie Brear Dress + Fringed Jacket for a Walled Garden Wedding at Middleton Lodge

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Take one elegant, family owned Georgian country estate in North Yorkshire with a newly restored ‘secret’ kitchen garden and fig house, add one super-cool and relaxed couple and a colour palette of vibrant mustard yellow and sage green, and you have all the makings of a charming and beautifully styled spring wedding that you won’t want to miss.

Meet visual merchandiser Rachael, and Neil, who is a sales consultant. They celebrated their marriage on the 2 March 2019 at Middleton Lodge, North Yorkshire. Set within the estate’s two acre walled kitchen garden is the Boiler House, where the couple’s ceremony took place, and the Fig House, where they held their reception.

Images by From The Smiths Photography

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I love the graceful simplicity of Rachael’s beautifully cut Charlie Brear dress, with its lovely box pleat skirt, v-neck and low back. Rachael tried on the dress at Newcastle boutique, Marrime Bridalwear, before sourcing it pre-loved from another bride, from website Still White.

“I was open to trying different options to get the dress that I loved without spending a fortune, so decided to look online at second hand dresses. I found the website Still White, where brides sold their wedding dresses, searched for the dress, and there it was in my size, located in London, and being sold by a lovely woman called Laurel.”

“After arranging with Laurel, we booked a weekend in London where I tried on the dress and it was nearly perfect, with just a couple of alterations needed. I saved £1000 on my dress, and was so happy with how everything worked out. Neil also bought his suit while we were there, so everything came together nicely.”

“I instantly felt comfortable and confident in my dress. I initially thought I would go for a dress with lace, long sleeves and a round neckline, but ended up going for a sleeveless dress with a deep V at the front and back. I really loved the low back detail. It has a lovely box pleat detail at the front and back, and then just flowed into a soft skirt with a slightly longer train. The fabric was crepe, and it sat perfectly and wasn’t restrictive, which meant I could enjoy the day and the food!”

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Rachael’s pretty make-up was by Wildflower Make-up and Beauty, and in her softly curled hair, she wore a cut edge church length veil of light tulle by Britten Weddings.

Gold hoop earrings and delicate chain necklaces came courtesy of & Other Stories, and Rachael also wore a bracelet gifted to her by a friend.

“My perfume was Chloe. It was a present from Neil; it’s a scent that he bought me when we first got together, and I’ve loved it ever since, and it’s now my signature scent that always reminds me of him.”


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“I found my shoes at Kurt Geiger. I knew I didn’t want ‘wedding’ shoes, I wanted something that would stand out, so opted for a pair of pony hair leopard print shoes that I knew I would wear again and again.”

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“My family found the venue, and there are debates over who takes credit! We had only seen a couple of images of the Kitchen Garden, as it was a brand new venue and wasn’t finished, but we knew we were onto something good. We booked a viewing and instantly fell in love! We loved the light in the Fig House, and that you had your own private walled garden for the day.”

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“We met at Northumbria University, where Neil studied Fashion Marketing and I studied Fashion Design. We were both out for a mutual friend’s birthday at the old Jazz Cafe in Newcastle when we got talking, and ended up dancing down the street hours later.”

“Neil proposed on Longsands Beach at Tynemouth 8 years later in 2015). It was a sunny but very windy day, and the beach was practically empty. I cried and Neil got a soggy knee from kneeling on the sand! We had been engaged for nearly 4 years when we got married.”

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Making their way down the aisle first were Rachael’s sweet flowergirls, carrying hoops of greenery, and wearing floral print dresses and cardigans from John Lewis.

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Rachael was accompanied down the aisle by her dad, Dave, and thought she would be nervous, but in the end she was calm and collected! For her entrance music, she chose Kina Grannis’ version of the Beach Boys’ song, God Only Knows.

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The couple decided to keep their vows short and sweet, and exchanged rings chosen from independent makers. Neil’s silver, sand etched band came from Wooden Gold on Etsy.

“He loved how the ring was produced with unique markings from the sand in the cast. My ring was from a local jewellery designer based in Northumberland, Sarah Hickey. I chose a chevron hammered band in rose gold to complement my engagement ring and create a stacked look.”

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Neil’s Best Man Jak gave a short and lovely reading – the lyrics to the song Bring Me Sunshine, which Rachael and Neil chose because they felt it summed up their relationship perfectly, wasn’t too serious, and would make their guests smile.

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“Before the wedding everybody said to us that it would fly by and it would be over in a flash, but it didn’t at all. We loved every minute,seeing everyone’s hard work come together and all of our guests become friends and enjoy the day. There was a moment just after the ceremony had finished, the guests were making their way outside and Neil and I had a few minutes to ourselves. It was lovely just to take everything in and breathe (and have a glass of champagne!).”

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Rachael’s bridesmaids looked lovely in white polka dot tops and pink, pleated skirts from Marks & Spencer, and cosy cardigans from Boden. They wore mustard yellow sandals from Matalan, and jewellery from H&M and Tutti & Co.

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The bridesmaids carried wild and natural bouquets of foliage, whilst Rachael carried a spectacular bouquet that included pops of vibrant colour, with blue waxflower blooms, lilac and purple anemones and clematis, sunny orange ranunculus and sea holly. They were all made by the talented Pip, of The Flower Folk.

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“As soon as we walked into Pip’s shop, we loved everything about it. We wanted seasonal spring flowers in burnt oranges, blues, whites and pinks, with lots of beautiful foliage.”

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Neil wore a fantastic blue tweed suit by Cos, which he wore with a white shirt from Marks & Spencer, shoes by Loake, and a yellow pocket square, yellow geometric print tie and tie bar from Jaeger.

“We wanted Jak, our Best Man and our dads to wear what they wanted. We didn’t like the idea of everyone wearing matching suits, but different suits that complemented each other and Neil. All the suits were a range of blue and grey that they had chosen themselves, or that they already owned. Everyone felt comfortable and they all looked very smart.”

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“We loved the soft, rustic feel the venue had, and didn’t want to overpower it with too much decoration. We focused on colour, florals and textures, and we wanted quite a strong colour palette running throughout our day.”

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Rachael and Neil designed their modern, botanical inspired stationery with Rachael’s dad, who is a digital printer at Team Digital, and I really like the palette of mustard along with simple white and sage green.

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What a wonderful space Middleton Lodge’s Fig House is, with its elegant full length windows, and fig trees climbing over the beautiful old brick walls. Rachael and Neil decided to use plants as the focal point of their decoration, and florist Pip from The Flower Folk provided potted plants in baskets and ceramic pots.

“We had a backdrop that we made from copper pipes and festoon lights. We also had our DIY personalised light boxes with our new married name, ‘The Barracloughs’, our wedding date and one of
Neil’s favourite song titles This Must Be The Place, by Talking Heads. We made these using photo frames, vinyl and paint. We’re creative people, so we really enjoyed making them. We’ve actually put them up in our flat now.”

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Hanging from the walls were colourful handmade macrame creations by Rachael, and for favours, guests were given brown paper bags of marshmallows made by Rachael’s sister, and tied with ribbon.

“The venue had big fire pits on the terrace, so we decided to have marshmallows to toast for the favours. Unfortunately it rained on the evening, but they still went down very well!”

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Everyone sat down to a delicious wedding breakfast from the Middleton Lodge team, followed by cake, made by none other than Rachael’s sister, who runs her own business, Jacqueline’s Cake Company.

“Our cake was beautiful. We went for a two tier, white on white geometric design with real flowers for decoration and colour. We had a separate tier with our personalised toppers on, and everything matched – outfits, flowers and even Neil’s beard! For flavours we went for lemon with a lemon curd filling, salted caramel and chocolate.”

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The kitchen garden was filled with the lovely textures and faded beauty of a winter that was just coming to an end, along with exciting new signs of spring. Rachael and Neil strolled together ahead of dinner, and these moments and more were captured exquisitely by From The Smiths Photography , whose work we’ve featured before on our pages.

“SJ and Simon were perfect on the day, they made us feel so comfortable, and we really enjoyed spending time with them. We love their style and we were so happy with our photographs. As well as lovely images of Neil and I and our guests, they captured every little detail of the venue and all the special touches that we had created. We can’t recommend them enough, they were everything we hoped for and more.”

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To keep out the evening chill, Rachael wore a fabulous beaded fringed jacket by Jenny Yoo, which she found via BHLDN.

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In keeping with the fun and relaxed feel of the day, the couple’s evening entertainment was a playlist of lovingly curated music of special significance, with speakers rented from Ingram Audiovisual Solutions.

“Our first dance was to Ooh La La by The Faces. We wanted a song that everyone could dance to, nothing too slow and something a bit different. It’s a song that we both love. It’s hard to describe, it’s just a really great song.”

“We wouldn’t change a thing about our wedding day, everything was perfect, even the conga line through the garden in the rain was perfect!”

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Words of Wedded Wisdom

“We didn’t have an original budget as such, we just knew we wanted to save as much as we could where we could. Making sure the big and important items, such as the venue and photographers, were exactly what we wanted. I didn’t mind saving on items such as my dress and the DIY aspects of the day, that’s what made it special and unique.”

“We really loved planning the day, once the big items were booked in, we gradually planned the rest. Try to enjoy the planning and don’t do things just because it’s the way other people do it. It’s your day and it should be unique to you both. We had so much fun on our wedding day and I think that’s how it should be.”

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I couldn’t agree more! Rachael and Neil, congratulations and huge thanks for this lovely, colourful gift of a day, all brilliantly captured by From The Smiths Photography – thank you so much.

With love,


Credits & Thanks

Laura Callan

Laura Callan View all Laura's articles

Laura is a freelance writer and content creator who loves telling stories. She has keen eye for photography and art, and lives with her husband, cats, and huge amounts of books.