Real Life Weddings: Jo and Alex Ross

Jo and Alex Ross celebrated their wedding reception at CastleGate in April, believing the Blank Canvas option could help make their dream of a unique and personalised wedding come to life. Their masterpiece was realised in a whistful blue and white theme with gorgeous hanging lanterns as well as some quirky DIY details. To continue our ‘Real Life Weddings’ series, Jo tells us about her planning journey and why she was so delighted with the result. 

After getting engaged on a sunny Friday in August 2014, it wasn’t long before we were bouncing ideas back and forth about what our ideal wedding would look like, and how we would go about making that happen! We both knew that we’d like to have a wedding day that could include all the people we’re closest to, and because we’ve been around collectively for 61 years, that’s quite a few people indeed! We’re both a little unique in style and probably a bit particular about how things should look, so finding a venue that was a “blank canvas” for us to build our own wedding was exactly what we needed! Behold, after many hours of extensive searching, along came The CastleGate!

Alex and Jo-519pano
We had already decided prior to this that our wedding ceremony would take place in a church in Gosforth. We then visited CastleGate, had a look around and met with wedding planner and just-at-the-end-of-the-phone Becky. We were immediately sold, and at a price that beat all others we’d seen…bingo! This would be the place we’d spend the rest of our special day and evening.

Choosing a wedding dress came easily. Once we’d coordinated two shift-working bridesmaids and found a further two little-people outfits for niece and nephew, it was starting to look like a wedding!

Getting our heads down and recruiting our family and friends for their creative talents was the next big job and before we knew it, we’d come up with a real life wedding idea that just needed to be created. Our beautiful wedding day was on Saturday 25th April, and we were allowed full access to The Turbine Hall on Friday 24th to transform the hall into a dream, and that’s exactly what we did!

Alex and Jo-496minuscredit

Many man hours went in to hand decorated lanterns that were strung across the high ceilings, and hand crafted table names in the colour theme of the day (white bride, blue bridesmaids!), order of service and personalised favours. Our table names were of particular taste, or so I’m told. To us, it seemed fully fitting to have “plop trumps” cards showing pictures of animal poo marking each place our friends and family would eat their dinner! (perhaps bad taste, who can say?!)

Speaking of dinner, we hired a company who are familiar with the CastleGate called Spitting Pig, who supplied us with enough pork and beef to feed all 140 of our guests, and have pork sarnies again later! The chairs were elegantly decorated by Styled and Seated, and our guests had the delight of dancing their socks off to two bands during the evening, a local ceilidh band and then The Baldy Holly Band who got everyone off their seats!

Alex and Jo-549minuscredit

Another thing that got everyone moving was the excellent bar provided by The Cumberland Arms that set up in the back of the hall, and supplied our guests with enough fine beer and wine to keep them going forever! But it’s never a true party without cake! 140 cupcakes beautifully made by a friend’s business (including gluten free ones!) and a traditional cake to cut, were laid out at the side of the hall, and created another opportunity for out Best Man to say “Mr and Mrs Ross” one more time! If that wasn’t enough, we had 9kg of Northumbrian cheese from the wonderful people at The Morpeth Cheese Shop. It all got eaten, believe it or not.

A truly wonderful day, facilitated by CastleGate, made possible by our friends and family, and a perfect way to celebrate finding each other!

Alex and Jo-527minuscreditAll photography by James Sebright

For more of our Real Life Weddings blog posts, please click here.


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