THE NORTH EAST isn’t short of incredible places to say ‘I do’ but as wedding season gets underway, new research has revealed the best hidden gems for couples who want to do things a little differently.
The research, carried out by international bridal expert and wedding celebrant Jo Stott of Love Jo Ceremonies looked at the venues with the highest reviews, but the lowest amount of tags and check-ins on social media, and couples are spoilt for choice when it comes to picking a perfectly personal place to tie the knot.
Jo said, “As a celebrant I work with couples to make their day completely about them, this includes everything from the vows right though to creating the right atmosphere in their chosen location. I’m lucky enough to have been part of ceremonies at some truly stunning places in the North East, and the beauty of working with a celebrant is the freedom to choose somewhere that fits perfectly with who you are as a couple.
“We recently carried out research that showed over 80% of couples in the UK wished that their wedding ceremony had been more personal and the venue is a huge part of that. 2023 couples want a venue that fits with their love story and we are so lucky that there are plenty of options here in the region. A celebrant led ceremony means that you can tie the knot in any location that means something to you as a couple – that could be a traditional venue, but it could be a garden, an art gallery or even a boat on a lake. With the laws looking to change in the next year or so to allow celebrants to legally perform ceremonies, that opens up a whole world of opportunities for couples to explore when planning their big day.”Here are Jo’s top hidden, unique gems to tie the knot in 2023
- High Force Hotel and Waterfall (Co. Durham)
If fresh air, adventure and dark skies are part of your love story, then the High Force Hotel and Waterfall offers a dramatic backdrop to celebrate your story. The hotel is set in within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, surrounded by some of the most unspoilt scenery in the country. The falls offer a dramatic backdrop to your photos and the hotel offer beautiful, thoughtful attention to details for those couples looking for a more laid back approach to the big day – a space where you can truly do it your way.
- The Barn at the Bay (Northumberland)
This gorgeous venue is perfect for those couples who are torn between a rustic, barn wedding and a little bit of extravagance. Choose to get married under the twinkly lights in the stunning barn (which can fit up to 150 guests) or say your vows overlooking the sea, a short walk away in the paddock. Dolphins have even been known to make an appearance!
- Full Circle Brewery (Newcastle)
One of the newest and most unique venues in Newcastle, Full Circle Brewery can be found in Hoult’s Yard. Just a stone’s throw from the spectacular Quayside it is perfect for couples looking to break the mould with an unconventional space, complete exposed brick, brushed steel and industrial vibes. If you enjoy a craft ale as a couple and are the first to try the trendiest new venues, Full Circle should be top of your list. They have 16 beer lines onsite and a wide range of partner food vendors who can offer everything from pizza and tacos to ‘low n slow’ sharing platters.
- Common Room of the North (Newcastle)
Where better to start the next chapter than surrounded stories heritage? The Common Room of the North is nestled right in the heart of Newcastle City Centre, a stone’s throw away from Central Station. Begin your journey with an intimate exchange of vows in one of their smaller spaces or celebrate in heritage style with family and friends in the Lecture Theatre or Wood Hall. Play a part in the history of the city and add your story to the thousands of books that line the venue.
- Woodhill Hall (Northumberland)
You might have heard of Woodhill Hall, but their new Olive House is simply stunning. The Hall offers a variety of spaces where you can say ‘I do’ in your own perfect way, including the imaginative new Olive House where Santorini meets Northumberland, including fabulous cool white interiors with imaginative details. Couples can really add their own personality to the space by personalizing a magnificent oversized fireplace that can be dressed however you wish is a statement piece!
- Webster’s Ropery (Sunderland)
There really is no better way to ‘tie the knot’ that at a ropery! Steeped in maritime heritage, this quirky venue is perfect for couples looking to do things in their own unique way. Built in 1793, Webster’s Ropery has been recently refurbished and with all history restored, keeping the original open beams and exposed stonework, original brass handrails and an open fireplace, it is the perfect place to create new traditions and memories surrounded by history.
- Allerton Castle (North Yorkshire)
This striking, gothic style castle is one of North Yorkshire’s best kept secrets. The iconic stately home was owned by the premier Baron of England, Lord Mowbray, Segrave and Stourton and Prince Frederick (the ‘Grand Old Duke of York’ and brother to King George IV)! Allerton Castle also doubles as a film set and you’ll definitely feel like a movie star exploring the beautiful gardens and gliding down the breathtaking statement staircase in the Great Hall.
Jo Stott in the international bridal consultant and celebrant behind Love Jo Ceremonies. Today her expertise has taken her around the world, working with some of the biggest names in the industry, and with laws likely to change to grant celebrants legal rights to perform weddings in England and Wales, even more couples will have the opportunity to make their big day all about them.
Post-pandemic Jo has seen a 100 percent increase in bookings for her services as a celebrant and is already booked well into 2023 and 2024, with couples looking to really personalise their big day and put their love story at the heart of the celebrations, and she is now planning to expand to meet the rising demand.
On 19th July 2022, the Law Commission published its final report into wedding law reform in England & Wales. It is now in the hands of the Ministry of Justice, which has until July 2023 to submit its full response which could see wedding celebrants granted legal powers to perform weddings in England and Wales.