Set within 200 acres of picturesque Northumberland countryside sits Northside Farm; a family-run wedding venue dedicated to making each celebration unique and memorable. At Belle Bridal we’re HUGE fans of this setting and today we’re sharing with you an exclusive interview with owner, Olivia Lockey, where she shares with us the amazing story behind the launch of this wedding venue, what trends she foresees and what new additions are coming to Northside Farm very soon…
What was the inspiration behind the launch of Northside Farm?
“It was a very natural progression actually. With having three small children, I had dreamed of becoming my own boss after graduation to allow for the flexibility of being a young working mum. It was whilst I was in my second year at University in 2011 that I, along with my partner Ralph, decided to invest in six luxury wooden wigwams by our paddocks to launch a small, access-for-all glamp site on the farm.
“After a couple of years, we were able to invest in four more wigwams and completed the site with each pod boasting its own orchard, seated decking area and fire/BBQ pit, along with developing a luxury shower block and fully functioning kitchen to bring more offerings to the site.
“It wasn’t until the end of 2013 when we were finding more and more requests were beginning to roll in for marquee weddings and use of the wigwams for guests as a ‘wedding weekend’. They became such a success that we decided to apply for planning permission to renovate a 150-year-old derelict barn on our land ourselves in an ambitious project which took us three years to complete and Northside Farm as a wedding venue and glamp site was born.”
How would you describe Northside Farm to couples who haven’t seen it yet?
“Northside Farm is a family-run business based on a working farm in the heart of the Northumberland countryside. Weddings take place in a beautiful converted barn that we restored ourselves by hand and we offer full wedding weekends which means the bride and groom can have exclusive use from Friday to Monday. The attraction is being able to set up on the Friday, get settled on the glamp site and be able to continue the celebrations the day after. The weekend includes use of our luxury wigwam pods on site with additional space for those who wish to bring their own tents which makes for a lovely, intimate space for families and friends to enjoy even after the ceremony.
“We work very closely with couples on the run up and we give them our time and advice and work however they want it to work. Some people like to set up themselves, others like to show us how they want it set up so we can do it identically – it is their day, so they can have it their way. I’m a perfectionist myself so I understand they might want that control and flexibility to do it themselves but we are always on hand. In brief, it is affordable, luxurious, rustic glamour in beautiful surrounding countryside giving couples flexibility to make their wedding their own. We hold a ‘no restrictions’ policy to ensure couples get exactly what they want (besides anything illegal and which doesn’t cause damage of course!) A wedding is personal to each couple so we do our best to ensure their day is how they want it not necessarily what is the easiest way for us – no matter how unusual or wacky.”
What does Northside Farm offer that brides can’t source anywhere else?
“Flexibility and time. It is either our wedding and events manager, Sam or I that they deal with between the initial booking and their wedding day and that contact will be consistent throughout. It’s nice because you feel like you are going on a journey with the brides and are always there to offer help and support. It is lovely to have the full wedding weekend exclusive use from 12pm on Friday to 12pm Monday as it gives couples the time to spend to get it right for them and have the time to enjoy it – weddings can often feel hectic so it’s important to relax and enjoy every second without rushing around before or after their big day.”
When it comes to venues, what trends do you predict for 2018/2019?
“I think people are heading towards less formal and a more laid back and relaxed vibe, wanting more time to soak it all up. The exclusivity of a venue as well is important. It is nice to be able to walk around freely and have full run of the site, undisturbed like a little sanctuary in the middle of nowhere surrounded by friends and family having a real celebration.”
Do you have any advice for brides who are searching for their wedding venue?
“Each bride is different so the venue needs to suit their style. Make sure it’s right for you and not for other people – it’s your day so do it your way. It is important to also be aware of any hidden charges in some places. We are very upfront about explaining that everything in the venue hire is included in the price for their peace of mind which includes accommodation, co-ordination, linen, props, fire pits, sound systems etc.”
How did it feel being the first bride to marry at Northside Farm?
“It was very surreal as we had been working on the barn ourselves for so long. It was a relief to finally have it finished in time for our wedding as well as being very exciting. It is a very special feeling to have been married in the barn that we lovingly hand created. In the end, it felt like a celebration of love – like a fairytale. We were passionate about making it just right not only for us but for the couples that had booked in to begin their own memories and married life at Northside Farm.”
Looking back, is there anything you’d change about your wedding?
“I probably wouldn’t stress so much about it. Brides tend to spend their time worrying about other people enjoying themselves and catering to others’ requirements. Your guests are there for you at the end of the day so it shouldn’t feel like the other way round. I’d also make my 3-year-old (at the time) walk down the aisle as she insisted on being carried. My dad had to carry my bouquet! Other than that I wouldn’t change a thing. I love the fact that our three girls were our bridesmaids so it wasn’t just about Ralph and I becoming husband and wife, it was cementing us all as a family.”
What can brides expect in the future from Northside?
“We are currently converting the Gin gang by the barn to become a dedicated ceremony room ready for next spring. It is exciting as it will be the only circular Gin gang to be used as a ceremony room in the whole of Northumberland so it’s very special and different. We are constantly adding and redeveloping the venue and site and have lots of exciting ideas and plans for the next few years so watch this space! One thing that will always remain is a first class service from our team and a unique wedding for all of our couples to be remembered and cherished forever.”
To find out more about Northside Farm, or to enquire about weddings, please visit www.northsidefarm.co.uk
Images by Imogen Kate Photography and David West Photography