Real wedding: Sophie & Mark's romantic, rustic and relaxed wedding day

Real wedding: Sophie & Mark's romantic, rustic and relaxed wedding day Reading Time: 7 minutes

What a special wedding we have for you today, Sophie Lamb and Mark Carter, now ‘The Carters’, both from South Shields, tied the knot on the 12th July 2014 at Whitburn Parish Church with a vintage, rustic and relaxed wedding. Their reception was held at the beautiful Redworth Hall Hotel, Darlington. 
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The proposal

My youngest sister used to babysit for Mark’s niece years ago, and we met after being set up on a blind date by Mark’s brother Bri, after I had told my sister that I really fancied Mark. We went on a few dates and we quickly became inseparable. We then bought our first home together in 2005, and the relationship blossomed from there. We added an addition to the family, which was our dog “Alfie Moon” and a few years later in 2011 our son Caleb was born. Six months after this, whilst on a little day out to Hamsterley Forest (which is a very special place to me, as I used to come here all the time when I was young and my Grandad’s ashes are scattered in the forest), Mark made me trek up into the forest with me carrying Caleb in a sling, and asked me to take a seat on a big wooden log. It was there that Mark told me how proud he was of me and of our family and that he wanted to make our family complete.

He then took a beautiful ring out of his pocket, and asked me to marry him. I screamed and then cried, which made Caleb wake up, smiling may I add, and it was such a perfect moment.

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The theme

The main theme for our wedding was vintage and rustic. We wanted to make it very personal, so although I had spent hours on Pinterest, browsing wedding magazines and looking at blogs for ideas, we wanted to make it our own. I loved planning and prepping and spent lots of time making things or sourcing props that we could use. I was very specific about what kind of flowers I would like, in order to fit with our relaxed theme. After spotting a picture of a beautiful bouquet in a wedding magazine, i contacted Christine, who did both our flowers and our cake. I sent her a couple of pictures and she was able to make an identical copy of them, they were absolutely perfect.
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One of the most important things about our wedding was having all of our family and friends together. I (Sophie) come from a very close family, so my brother Matthew walked me down the aisle and my mam made a fabulous mother of the bride speech. My two sister’s Jessica & Kate who are my best friends, along with my two other best friends Danielle & Rachel were bridesmaids. Our son Caleb was Page boy & ring barer and our nieces Annabelle & Eden were flower girls. It was extremely important that our son Caleb played a big part in the day, as if it wasn’t for him I don’t think Mark would have proposed in the first place!
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The dress 
My dress was absolutely stunning, it was a vintage 1920’s evening dress, which had 100 year old vintage French lace added to it. I have never seen anything like it. I found it at a vintage wedding fayre in Newcastle and I didn’t really have much hope of finding anything at the fayre itself to be honest, as it was quite small. I was walking around starting to lose hope when I noticed Bex’s stall, it was very different from the others and all of the lovely headpieces and jewellery really caught my eye. We got chatting and my sister noticed a dress behind where Bex was standing. She told me to try it on or she would!

Five minutes later, we all went behind a big curtain at the side of the room and as soon as I had it on, we all knew it was the one! There were tears and group hugs all round. I was informed by Bex that it had been tried on several times but didn’t actually fit any of the brides to be, it was definitely fate!

We asked if there were any headpieces that I could also try, as I wanted to wear some sort of flower garland and wanted to get an idea of what it would look like. Bex brought out 2 headpieces, one of which looked absolutely perfect, I knew in that moment, that this was what I would be walking down the aisle in. Five minutes later, I had paid a deposit and had found my amazing wedding dress.
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My bridesmaids looked absolutely stunning in navy blue, floor-length dresses from Phase Eight. My flower girls wore dusky pink dresses from Next and Caleb wore a light blue suit from there too. Mark, his two best men and ushers also wore suits from Next, which were navy blue.
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The venue

We went out one Sunday for a drive, with the intention of checking out a few different wedding venues when we came across Redworth Hall. We instantly knew it was “the one”. The thing that we most fell in love with were the stunning grounds and the style of hotel.
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Sophie said:

Myself and Caleb slept at my mam’s the night before and after having a little catch up tea and a couple of drinkies with my bridesmaids and family, we all went to bed. Of course, I couldn’t sleep very well that night, and as a result ended up getting up at 5am! My mam made me a breakfast of smoked salmon and scrambled eggs on toast and a glass of champagne, which was fit for a king. Shortly after, Caleb woke up and then the chaos began…My friend Amy who was doing my make up arrived armed with a big shiny box, filled with every piece of make up, followed shortly after by my sisters, one of which was doing my hair. Before we knew it, we were getting ready to leave the house in our beautiful wedding cars, which were vintage Bentley and Daimler limousine.

Walking down the aisle with my brother and son, followed by my beautiful bridesmaids and flower girls and seeing all of our guests and my hubby to be was definitely one of the proudest moments of my life.

I can honestly say that I have never felt so nervous in my entire life…my heart felt like it was going to jump out of my chest, but as soon as we heard A Thousand Years by Christina Perri playing from inside the church, I knew it was time and the nerves died down.
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Mark said:

I had two best men, who stayed the night at my house on the evening before the wedding. We woke up around 9am and had bacon and egg sandwiches from the local butchers. It was a warm summer morning so we ate them in the garden, it was then that a few nerves started to set in. The rest of my ushers arrived around 11.30am and we started getting ready. We had a bottle of beer and had some light hearted banter before Corrina the photographer arrived. After Corrina was finished getting the photo’s she wanted, we headed to the pub for my last pint as a single man!  My favourite parts of the day were seeing all of my friends and family gathered together in the church in order to share our special day and the fact that I got to spend quite a lot of time just me and Sophie on the journey down to our venue as it was a 40 minute drive away.
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The speech

I had an idea of how I wanted my speech to sound. Humour is a big part of my personality, but I also wanted to express my love and thanks to the people who had played an important part in my life so far. I looked online in order to help put some structure to my speech and after doing the traditional thank you’s etc, I just put my own spin on how me and Sophie had got to this stage in our lives. It was also a perfect opportunity to throw some light hearted banter towards my best men and brother!
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The honeymoon

The week after the wedding myself and Mark flew to Tenerife for 4 child-free nights, it was bliss but we missed Caleb like mad. It was nice to spend some quality time together after a crazy few months.

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What advice would you give to couples planning their wedding?

Be organised! I would also say, whatever isn’t done… isn’t done! Don’t stress over the little things, as no one will notice but you.

The credits

Photographs by Corrina Atkinson – corrinaphoto@hotmail.com
I would like to say a huge thank you to Rebecca Lombard-Earl, owner of Bexbrides, Bespoke and Preloved Bridal Studio for my stunning dress. Thank you to Neal & Annette and both drivers, from Classic Wedding Cars North East for our beautiful wedding cars. I also want to thank our Christine Staines for our beautiful flowers and cake. Also, my friend Faye from Button’s and Bows by Faye, who made our beautiful decorations for the church.

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