Brides Up North

Wild Thing! A Real Wedding – Alison & Tris

October 21st, 2011 | Julia Braime

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I’ve saved something special to round off the week today as this Real Wedding submission comes from one very fabulous lady.  Today’s bride has travelled the World, beaten cancer, bagged a groom online and to top it all off chose to get married at the zoo, in one of my favourite Jenny Packham designs of all time.  She even recorded her feelings in the week leading up to her wedding for posterity on Facebook (see her sweet and hilarious status updates below!).

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I am totally in awe of this remarkable lady and kind of want her to be my new best friend.  Alison’s positivity and life life to the full attitude shines through, and I love that.  With that in mind, have a brilliant Friday Brides Up North!

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Brides Up North Wedding Blog: FourT4 Photography.

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Alison’s Facebook musings, the week of her wedding:

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Sat 4th June
Hells bells – this time next week I’ll be on my way to Chester to get married. Bl**dy hell ……. Bl**dy hell ……. but in a good way!!

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Sun 5th June
I’m told that as this week progresses, I will plunge deeper & deeper into meltdown & that I should give daily updates so you can all chart my nervous breakdown! My main concern today is if I will be able to wear a vest under my wedding dress! I’ve been googling weather websites & finally found one for Chester which said it would be 30 degrees. I was very excited until I realised it was Chester Arizona!

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Mon 6th June
5 days to go! Have discovered that magic knickers aren’t really magic at all. They just push the flab up into your arm pits. No bride wants B(r)ad Pitts on her wedding day.  Have emptied M&S of every kind of flesh coloured pants. Am not taking any chances!

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Tues 7th June
Is very excited to confirm that the ceremony is being performed by a media celebrity! No, not Liza Minnelli – while watching the ‘Andy & Hannah from Colwyn Bay’ edition of ‘Don’t Tell the Bride’ (for the second time) – essential viewing for all Brides to be – I spotted our lovely registrar Carol, doing the ‘I do’. How weird is that!
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Weds 8th June

3 days to go! Was woken up in the night by the cat trying to eat a dead bird in my new wedding shoes. If I could replicate what happened next, I’d be giving Usain Bolt a run for his money in next years Olympics! Bad Charley!
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Thurs 9th June

2 days to go – and it’s also five years today since Tris and I went on our first date. What a 5 years – I’ve travelled round the world, been made redundant twice, Tris moved in, I got cancer, got engaged, I got a new immune system (& new hair), kicked cancer’s butt (hopefully) and in 2 days I get to marry the man who has stuck with me throughout this crazy roller coaster. I’m a lucky girl.  Manicure & pedicure – check. Lime & ginger scrub and body glow – check. I’m starting to transform into a bride!!!

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Fri 10th June
1 day to go – and Charley is now wearing his special wedding collar! To all our guests travelling from far and wide today – have a good journey and travel safely. Am so excited, trying hard not to bubble over and peak too soon. Oh My God – I’m now entering the ‘Wedding Weekend’ planning spreadsheet!  The Sale and Altrincham Messenger have been on the phone – and we’re on! They want to do an article! I’m like Max Clifford!  Tris is in Chester, I’m in Sale with Dad and sister. I’ve ticked the last thing off my list. Night night Alison Staples. Tomorrow a whole new chapter begins!

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Sat 11th June – Wedding Day!
Holy Matrimony Batman! I’ve had no sleep – but the sun is shining. Right – breath – gather – shall I go and get married? Absof*****lutely!!

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Brides Up North Wedding Blog: FourT4 Photography

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Over to Alison for the full story:  Tris and I met when I fibbed about my age and went boy shopping on the internet three weeks after having booked a five month around the World trip.  We not only survived this separation, but my cancer diagnosis which culminated in me having a stem cell transplant in April 2010.

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Brides Up North Wedding Blog: FourT4 Photography

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We got engaged just after I became ill on ‘The Lovers Island’ (pure fluke) off Anglesey with Tris buying me a fabulous vintage style Steven Stone engagement ring which was much admired over the next eight months by my chemo nurses!

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After a positive scan result we took the plunge and decided to set the date (timed to put enough distance between my illness and the wedding for my hair to grow back). There was only one place that felt right. With my degree and PhD in Zoology and Tris having lived in Africa for two years – Oakfield Manor at Chester Zoo was perfect.  In addition, with all the help and support that we had received from family and friends, I was determined to put on a really big party to say thank you and with nearly 50 children invited what better place than the zoo?

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Brides Up North Wedding Blog: FourT4 Photography

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Brides Up North Wedding Blog: FourT4 Photography

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When you have a fabulous venue like a zoo, you don’t need to worry any more about other gimmicks or themes, though there were quite a few blue butterflies dotted around on invitations, orders of service and bridesmaids dresses.

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I tried hard to save money where I could so that the budget could be used to invite more people and add little touches which would make a big difference. For example, as a nod to Tris’ London roots we booked a red London Routemaster wedding bus to transport guests from the centre of Chester out to the zoo, while I arrived in a peacock blue Rolls Royce Silver Shadow.

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I continued the butterfly theme by wearing a Jenny Packham dress called Papillon and a Flo & Percy headpiece. My flowers were huge blue and purple orchids sculptured by The Design Element.

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Brides Up North Wedding Blog: FourT4 Photography

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Brides Up North Wedding Blog: FourT4 Photography

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Brides Up North Wedding Blog: FourT4 Photography

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Click through to read the rest of their story and see all their Real Wedding pictures…

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As reference to my man’s marathon running exploits, I walked down the aisle to ‘The Trap’, by Ron Goodwin (the theme tune to the London Marathon) and half an hour later we walked out to ‘The Lion Sleeps Tonight’ much to the delight of the guests.

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At the height of the day over 170 guests enjoyed afternoon tea of scones, jam and Pimms, while the children played on the lawns or upstairs with the two child minders that we had hired – very popular with the parents!

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After speeches on the terrace, and once the zoo had closed to the public, our guests were divided into three groups, The Cheeky Monkeys, The Graceful Giraffes and The Kings of the Jungle, and taken on a private safari of the zoo with the keepers. In addition to seeing all of the above, our guests also saw penguins, flamingos and jaguars to name but a few.

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Returning to the Manor House, a BBQ was served which guests tucked into along with a fabulous sacher torte wedding cake made by a friend and cup cakes from Lilybud Cupcakes, before dancing it all off with a massive school disco fuelled by a candy bar full of retro sweets.

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.Brides Up North Wedding Blog: FourT4 Photography

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We left just before midnight to the sounds of ‘Moon River’, spending the night in Chester before heading off to Paris for a mini-moon full of treats bought as wedding presents by our guests.

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The whole day, which was full of love, laughter and the mere joy of life was captured by one of Tris’ university friends, Jon Roach of FourT4 Photography.

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  – Images © 2011 FourT4 Photography

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about the author

Julia Braime
Former lawyer and bride to be Julia founded Brides Up North in 2010 with a chip on her shoulder. Frustrated by the poor Northern presence in glossy bridal magazines and online, she decided to do something about it herself. Astounded by the rapid growth of her blog and brand, Julia now manages Brides Up North’s online content alongside their busy wedding exhibition season, industry events and related commissions. And she’s always, always, got a new project on the go…

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