Charlotte Balbier

doing things differently. a laid back & personal wedding in chester – milli & kris

September 27th, 2016 | Rachel Parry

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We’re not quite sure where to start with this morning’s real wedding in Chester as there are so many fabulous elements to discuss!

I guess what we love most about Milli and Kris’s big day is that they did things 100% their way rather than sticking to the ‘wedding rule book’.

After marrying at quirky boutique hotel Oddfellows, the bride and groom took their guests off around Chester for drinks, ice creams and photos, before returning to the hotel for their wedding breakfast and reception.

The setting, styling and attire all get top marks from us, and in particular Milli, whose hair, makeup, bouquet and dress we absolutely love!

With images by Jess Yarwood Photography.

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milli says: We got engaged in July 2015. It was my day off and I had been for a facial that morning, I picked Kris up from work mid-afternoon. Myself being completely oblivious, Kris thought he was acting very shifty as he had been trying to Skype call my dad at work to ask for my hand in marriage. It was a nice day so when Kris suggested a picnic in the park and I agreed. The Grosvenor Park is a gorgeous space in the centre of Chester and happens to be around the corner from our house. Just as I had wanted it, in a moment that was just ours, Kris asked me to marry him. The shock meant I was far from demure but I of course said yes!

Our wedding was on 23rd July 2016. We had always known we wanted to get married fairly soon after getting engaged and with me wanting a spring/summer wedding, we randomly picked July. We booked the wedding exactly a year to the date.

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Our chosen venue was Oddfellows in Chester. I had always wanted a wedding that wasn’t too traditional. Our initial thinking was that we wanted something outdoorsy and to get married in the Roman Gardens in Chester. Then, whilst we were trying to get in touch with someone from the council to find out if this was possible, we walked past Oddfellows. I had seen that it was on the list of registered wedding venues and suggested we take a look. We loved its quirky style straight away and I knew that was where we wanted our wedding. We met and first lived together in Chester so we were very particular in that we wanted the wedding local in the place where it all started.

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We didn’t have a full wedding theme where everything revolved around it but we styled the day on the 1920’s/ Great Gatsby era. I always wanted to look back out our wedding pictures and it look classic and timeless.

We wasn’t keen on having a bright colour scheme and had always thought I would have black bridesmaid dresses. However, with us having a summer wedding and Kris being very set on having a blue tux, I searched Pinterest for some ideas and decided on blush pink, even though I hate pink! Everything else was white and then we had mixed metal accessories.

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I found my wedding dress at Bespoke Brides in Chester. Having been to about four or five bridal stores I had a good idea what I was after but couldn’t find a dress that was perfect. When I tried on my final choice, I knew there was nothing I didn’t like about it and that I could style it up in my own way. It was the right amount of sparkle, hugged my body and made me feel special.

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Kris’s inspiration for his wedding day attire was James Bond. We both agreed that we wanted him to have smart tux and not a traditional wedding suit. He found the perfect blue suit at Moss Bros. The groomsmen meanwhile wore black tuxedos, also from Moss Bros. We wanted them to be smart too but wanted Kris to stand out.

My bridesmaids wore dresses they had picked themselves. Having looked on Pinterest for inspiration I decided I wanted my girls in different dresses. My bridesmaid were aged 34, 26, 12 and eight so with massive age gaps and different body types I wanted them to feel comfortable. All dresses were from ASOS apart from my eight-year-old niece’s who’s was from H&M.

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While we didn’t require transport to the venue on the day (as it’s just five minutes away from our house) we did hire a vintage bus, from The Classic Bus Company, to arrive after the ceremony. As we got married early, at 12 noon, we had a lot of time in between the ceremony and wedding breakfast, and so we decided to take people out of the venue for a couple of hours to break the day up. We jumped on the bus and went to The Architect pub in Chester, which is where Kris and I had our first proper date night together and spent most of our first summer together. We then went down to the river for pictures and ice creams, which is something that Kris and I do quite often on our days off.

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Our photographer was Jess Yarwood, who we have already have recommended to many of our friends who are getting married. She has a great style and really made the whole thing easy and laid back, which was exactly what we wanted.

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Kris’s Auntie Muriel is a well-known, experienced florist and so she was our obvious first choice to take care of the wedding flowers. With her expertise and experience she was able to produce the most amazing arrangements. I carried a large waterfall style bridal bouquet made up of lots of greenery and gorgeous white flowers.

As Oddfellows is already a quirkily decorated venue, we didn’t need to do too much to it in terms of styling. I just had varying candle holders dotted around in gold, silver and copper, along with some stunning white flowers, again supplied by Kris’s Auntie Muriel.

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As favours we gave our guests a spirit with a cocktail recipe. Kris chose whisky and I chose gin. We put these spirits in nice corked bottles that we bought online. We thought the idea worked well as I work in a bar and both Kris and I like experimenting with new drinks when we go out.

My best friend’s mum made our wedding cake. She has always been a great cook and made amazing cakes and had recently started baking cakes for family members. I wasn’t too fussed on spending lots of money on an extravagant cake and knew Deb’s cakes taste amazing!

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For the champagne reception we had a selection of canapés, which was later followed by a wedding breakfast of spiced butternut squash risotto for starters, chicken and chorizo for mains and cheesecake for desert. We wanted to make a choice that we liked but that was also likely to please most of our guests. We had lots of compliments on the food after the wedding so we must have chosen well.

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For the entertainment we knew we wanted an acoustic band to sing some chilled out songs throughout the ceremony and so hired an acoustic trio called The Diem, who we knew through a friend. They learnt a song for me to walk down the aisle to and provided the perfect vibe we wanted for the day. Our DJ for the night was my friend Ally Kidd Cameron, he always makes a party great and really made the night for us.

We also hired a photo booth for the evening reception, which turned out to be a great decision. We opted for a booth that fitted in with our theme and produced old school strip photos in sepia. Everybody loved it and it really added a bit of extra fun to the night – we got great guestbook out of it too!

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Following our wedding we would definitely recommend Oddfellows to other wedding couples. The staff on the day were great and everything ran seamlessly. The place is quirky and extravagant whilst still being low key and fun!

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Looking back we both agree that our favourite part of the day was the bus tour, going to The Architect and going down to the River Dee. Everybody in the street congratulating us and all our guests relaxing in the beer garden was great fun.

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We went on honeymoon to Thailand. After searching for tropical places to go, we decided that Thailand would be somewhere fun and different. We stayed on Koh Samui and Koh Phangan while we were there. Exploring different islands, eating the local food and relaxing in paradise made for an unforgettable trip.

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My top tip to other Brides Up North would be to relax, enjoy it and take the whole day in. We had a nice long day so I feel like we relaxed more and had more time to take everything in. I genuinely had a great day surrounded by all my favourite people and just went with the flow. If something didn’t go to plan, I just let it wash over me.

the big picture

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about the author

Rachel Parry
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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