Record-breaking year for Northumberland weddings
Northumberland is currently experiencing a wedding boom, with a record breaking number of couples tying the knot in the county over the past year.
Over 1,752 marriages were officiated in 2015/16 by Northumberland’s registration service, which handles the registration of births, deaths and marriages. This is an increase even on last year’s record breaking number, and over half of the couples getting married came from outside of the region.
The figures also reveal a considerable rise in the number of same-sex weddings in the county, with 75 couples getting married, an increase of 32 on last year.
Boasting ancient castles, golden beaches, rolling hills, rugged moorland, and historic market towns, Northumberland is an idyllic wedding location and its popularity continues to rise, with over 1,600 ceremonies already scheduled for next year.
Kathryn Guy, Superintendent Registrar at Northumberland County Council’s registration service, said: “We have been incredibly busy this year and seem to be getting even busier, which is fantastic!
“We’re delighted that couples are choosing Northumberland as the location for such a special day in their lives. Blessed with breath-taking countryside, miles of unspoilt coastline, and a rich cultural heritage, Northumberland really is a magical place – unique and romantic.”
Northumberland County Council’s award winning registration service has been recognised for the high levels of service it has achieved and forward thinking approach – tailoring ceremonies to each couple through small personal touches and hosting local wedding fairs to support local businesses.
Cllr David Ledger, deputy leader of the council, said: “I am immensely proud of all the staff involved in the ceremonies. They have received a huge number of compliments each year and have earned the service an excellent reputation both throughout the region and further afield.”
With almost 80 licenced venues already, six more locations have registered to the service since January alone. This is the highest number of venues that have been licenced in Northumberland for civil marriages.
The venues, including stately homes, manor houses, castles, hotels and halls have earned Northumberland a reputation as a truly special place to get married, with locations to suit every taste and budget.
Alison Gordon and Zsanett Ruff were married in April this year at Newton Hall, a Georgian boutique hotel located on the spectacular coast of Northumberland.
Zsanett, who is originally from Hungary, and Alison, who was born in the area, now live together in Wallsend.
Alison said “We love travelling so have visited a number of countries but we chose to get married here because there’s nowhere as beautiful as the Northumberland coast.
“The day itself was marvellous and actually exceeded our expectations. The ceremony set the tone for the day; it was relaxed, light hearted, and full of laughter and love. Many of our guests commented on how well the registrar conducted the ceremony. It was very natural - exactly how we wanted it to be.”
The current most popular venues include Morpeth Town Hall, Newton Hall, Matfen Hall, Ellingham Hall, Woodhill Hall and Alnwick Gardens.
One of Hexham’s most iconic buildings, Hexham House, a grade 2 listed building with dramatic views over Hexham Abbey, is also being brought back to use as a register office and wedding venue together with a number of holiday apartments.
The £1.5m scheme will involve the creation of a new Register Office and two wedding ceremony venues with seven luxury holiday apartments, potentially forming part of a wedding package for couples and enabling wedding parties to stay at this spectacular location.
Weddings and civil ceremonies have previously been held at the Queen’s Hall, where the council plans to relocate a number of County Council services. This will include adding Tourist Information and Customer Services to the existing library service within the building – encouraging greater community use and making it easier for residents and visitors to access a range of services under one roof.
The joint redevelopments are part of Northumberland County Council’s review of its buildings and assets in the county’s nine main towns, which aims to regenerate the county’s market towns and improve local services.