Gardener Matthew and his nature-loving bride, Frances, went with an au naturel theme for their Northumberland big day

Meeting by chance as they sat side by side at a music festival in Newcastle's St James' Park, Frances and Matt's first encounter had all the trappings of a first date, even if it hadn't technically been arranged as such. “The day we met was like a first date, I sat next to Matt while listening to a band playing in the bandstand and we got talking, then spent the day watching different acts together. Matt bought me an ice cream and then walked me to the train station. We swapped numbers and eventually I had to ring him to arrange the 'second' date,” explains Frances.

Matt pulled it out the bag for the proposal, however. As Frances recovered from a tough day, he opened a bottle of wine, lit candles and popped on some music before dropping to one knee as one of their favourite songs played. “I was wearing my onesie and just thought he was being nice,” laughs Frances. “It was very romantic and he told me he'd always be there for me on down days.”

The couple allowed a year and a half to plan the wedding, with Frances taking on the majority of the organisation. “One of the trickiest things to book was the church as we live outside the parish and had to get special permissions,” she notes. “I enjoyed most aspects of the process though; I had a big spreadsheet for the budget and loved looking through magazines for inspiration.”

Here, Frances tells us more about the big day…

A natural look: Image 1
St Michaels & All Angels was my childhood church and I'd always pictured getting married there. On the day, I walked down the aisle to the tune Matt had played as he proposed, performed on the violin by my former teacher.


A natural look: Image 2aMy mum made metres and metres of bunting to decorate the hall and we added strings of festoon lights and pom poms too.

A natural look: Image 2 My mum and I made the cake. The
bottom tier was fruit, followed by a
lemon layer and carrot cake on top. We
decorated it to look like a birch tree to tie
in with the table names.


A natural look: Image 3
My dad first suggested the town hall for the reception and my initial reaction was 'no', as I'd had many a childhood party there. However, after struggling to find a suitable venue, we realised it could be perfect – the intimate space we were after, full of special memories and a blank canvas we could make our own for the day.


A natural look: Image 4
I wrote each place name on a laurel leaf, which we collected the day before. Each table was named after a tree – we both enjoy the outdoors so much, I wanted a really natural feel.


A natural look: Image 5aAs Matt's a gardener, flowers were an important part of our wedding. I looked at lots of bouquets to get a feel for the relaxed, unstructured style I liked. My bouquet contained gypsophila, paper white narcissi, pink roses, white eustoma, purple clematis, lilac freesia and thlaspi.

A natural look: Image 5 I decided to wear my hair over one shoulder to complement the dress. I wanted my make-up to be natural, but extra special and Sally French got it spot on – I loved wearing false eyelashes for the day.


A natural look: Image 6
Matt wanted something a little different and not too formal, so he chose a grey three-piece suit from Slaters, teamed with a teal tartan bow tie. The groomsmen all wore the same style of suit, but with a straight tie and slightly different buttonhole.


A natural look: Image 7
The wedding breakfast was fantastic, as was the hog roast in the evening, provided by WMH Butchers – Frances


Matthew & Frances' contact book

Bride's dress
Amilou Bridal

Bride's hair
Emily Best Hair
Tel: 07572 873376

Bride's make-up
French Beauty Lounge

Tom Murphy

Ceremony venue
St Michael & All Angels Church

Edinburgh Sounds

Evening hog roast
WMH Butchers
Tel: 01434 684990

The Flower Shed

Groom's suit

Diane Makepeace Photography

Reception venue
Newbrough Town Hall

Fintry Creative

Wedding night
BestWestern Beaumont Hotel


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