November 11th, 2015 | Rachel Parry
Today’s bride and groom made their big day all about feeling relaxed and having fun. Though not wanting a church ceremony, Helen and Michael didn’t want to miss out on having their ceremony in a grand and historic building and so booked Chester Town Hall in which to say their ‘I dos’.
The party then got underway at their tipi reception complete with afternoon tea, barbecue, ice cream and a live band – what summer days and nights are made of!
With images by Marky Kirk Photography.
helen says: We got engaged on a trip to The USA and Canada in summer 2013. We were in a Canadian Canoe in the middle of Lightning Lake in the Rocky Mountains of British Columbia when Mike got down on two knees (to stop the boat from rocking!).
We chose 25th July 2015 so we could have plenty of time to plan the wedding and have fun doing it. Also, this happened to be the first weekend of the summer holidays. We got married at the Chester Town Hall as we wanted a non-religious ceremony but somewhere with a more traditional feel.
We also wanted a nice relaxed feel for the wedding without losing the historic grandeur usually offered by a church wedding, so the town hall fitted the formal side of the ceremony. Afternoon tea with a South African themed barbecue and ice cream in a tepee in a field followed, which provided the relaxed environment we wanted for the wedding breakfast and evening celebrations too.
Our colour scheme came about as I let Mike choose his suit before I started looking at bridesmaid dresses. Mike picked a sage green colour which was a nightmare for dress hunting but it turned out to be the perfect choice for the day in the end.
I didn’t want a huge dress as I knew I’d have to fit in a Portaloo! I wanted a nice lacy, vintage type dress and found exactly what I was looking for in Copplestones Bridal, Liverpool. My bridesmaids wore dresses from Coast.
Mike wore the silk tailcoat and trousers from 1860 suit hire by Greenwoods. The groomsmen were fitted out identical to the groom.
We travelled from our houses to the town hall in a vintage red bus, from the lovely Fred at Chester Heritage Tours. Unfortunatley there were two fire engines blocking my route to the town hall so we all got out of the bus and made the final distance on foot. You can’t beat a bit of last minute drama!
Marky Kirk was our photographer for the day and we couldn’t have asked for more perfect photographs. He was discreet and let us carry on with our day as well as capturing some gorgeous moments. I think the photos speak for themselves.
I arranged the wedding bouquets with flowers, which we bought direct from a wholesaler in Liverpool. The 4am trip, two days before the wedding was well worth it!
Family members helped us put the rest of the flowers together using lavender from my mum’s garden and roses from my Aunty Jane’s garden. Michael’s mum, Andree, and my cousin, Laura, made stunning bunting to decorate the tepee. My artist friend James made a beautiful table plan along with table and place names and jam jars were decorated by bridesmaids and family. It really was a joint effort!
Our table names showed pictures and stories from our travels across British Columbia, where we got engaged.
For our favours we hired a sweet trolley and put together a tasty pick ’n’ mix with customised sweet bags for guests to help themselves to.
We wanted a relaxed occasion, so rather than a formal three course meal, we chose an afternoon tea from Vintage Afternoon Teas. Later we topped this off perfectly with a South African style barbecue from Darren at Big 5 Catering. He also ran the bar for us. Later in the evening we finished with all-you-can-eat ice cream from Denis and his vintage ice cream bike at Isabelle’s Ices. We chose the local Frodsham Brewery to provide a selection of real ales, with which Barry provided pump labels personalised with our own names and pictures. Michael’s mum Andree made our beautiful wedding cake.
To provide entertainment we hired The Speakers band as they were very friendly and professional and we wanted a large band with a saxophone. We knew they had also played in a tepee before so would have no problem setting up. They definitely made the evening a night to remember!
As a special touch we had a smokeless fire pit in the tepee surrounded by jars of marshmallows for toasting. We also chose to have a Polaroid camera by our guest book so that people could stick their photo into the guestbook beside their message.
We would highly recommend all of our suppliers to other couples; they were all incredibly professional and friendly. Chester Town Hall is a fantastic building and provided the perfect setting for the ceremony. The rest of the day and planning was all built around the tepee, supplied by All About Me Marquees & Events. When we first saw it exhibited, we thought the tepee was a little expensive but it allowed us to relax and enjoy the sun in a beautiful field with a lake in the Cheshire countryside. We also had camping available for our guests, which gave the wedding bit of a festival feel.
I thoroughly enjoyed the whole wedding day as it was such a relaxed and fun event. I’d say the best part was being able to share it all with our wonderful friends and family. Mike says the best part of the day was once the speeches were over!
For our honeymoon we went to Dubrovnik in Croatia and spent a week in a couples resort on Kolocep Island. We went jet-skiing into the sunset, the perfect end to our wedding!
My top tip to other Brides Up North would be to plan the day to be as relaxed as possible – we enjoyed every second of our wedding and hope our guests did too! Also, don’t plan too rigidly as you’re bound to be disappointed in something not working out. Our planning was very fluid and we swapped and changed things regularly with little stress.
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Rachel joined the Brides Up North editorial team as Features Editor in February 2015. Rachel draws on her news reporting background, experience in features, bridal & lifestyle editing for previous regional titles and time spent working for Yorkshire’s most successful PR agencies. Yet to tie the knot herself, Rachel's own wedding looks set to be very, very pretty...
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