Charlotte Balbier

wild at heart. a shabby chic wedding at chester zoo – sam & dan

July 28th, 2015 | Rachel Parry

A Shabby Chic Wedding at Chester Zoo (c) Yana Photography (42)

Yes you read right, for today’s wedding we’re heading to Chester Zoo to relive Sam and Dan’s gorgeous big day.

Despite how it might sound there were no ‘I dos’ in the lion den or drinks reception in the elephant enclosure, for Chester Zoo has a stunning manor house in its grounds, which is available for ceremonies and receptions.

Not only is this wedding incredibly beautiful, thanks to Sam’s love of all things shabby chic, but it also looks incredibly fun, with guests smiling, laughing and generally having a fab time in the somewhat unusual setting.

But enough from us, we’ll let you see the wild and wonderful day for yourselves.

With images by Yana Photography.

A Shabby Chic Wedding at Chester Zoo (c) Yana Photography (1)

sam says: We got engaged in January 2012, while we were in Madrid. Dan had the proposal planned for a while and I didn’t have a clue. I knew we were going to Madrid but thought it was just for a bit of sightseeing. Dan was trying to pop the question down a cute little street but I was too busy looking around so instead he asked me once we got back to the apartment, after a lovely meal out.

We decided to set the wedding date for 16th May 2015 as we thought it would be a good time of year weather wise.

A Shabby Chic Wedding at Chester Zoo (c) Yana Photography (4)

We got married at Chester Zoo, in the Oakfield Manor House. Dan come across the zoo as a wedding venue on the internet and as we didn’t want a traditional wedding, we thought it would be perfect for us. Which it was. We live quite close to Chester so it was an ok distance to travel for us and our guests.

A Shabby Chic Wedding at Chester Zoo (c) Yana Photography (6)

The theme and colour scheme for the wedding was ‘pastel shabby chic’. I love everything and anything vintage so the styling was always going to be along these lines and pastel colours work really well for a shabby chic wedding.

A Shabby Chic Wedding at Chester Zoo (c) Yana Photography (7)

My dress was from First Lady Bridal in Wrexham. It was the second dress I tried on and fell in love with it straight away, it made me feel amazing. I always knew what kind of dress I wanted and it was just perfect. The dress was full length ivory, fitted, fishtail style, with a huge train. It was full lace with pretty beading detail. My veil, with full lace trim, was the best bargain of wedding – an eBay bargain! My shoes were a light pink/salmon colour from Kurt Geiger.

A Shabby Chic Wedding at Chester Zoo (c) Yana Photography (25)

Dan wore a navy fitted suit from Matalan, waistcoat from Next, shoes from Zara and a navy and white floral printed tie that really worked with the theme, which was from Primark. All the groomsmen were in matching suits, again from Matalan.

I only had one bridesmaid, my 13-year-old sister. She wore a light blue maxi dress, with multi-coloured floral print all over, from ASOS. She had pastel pink shoes and belt to match.

A Shabby Chic Wedding at Chester Zoo (c) Yana Photography (30)

My mum arranged the transport for me as a gift. I had a Jaguar to travel in, which was hired from RB Wedding Cars, Wrexham.

A Shabby Chic Wedding at Chester Zoo (c) Yana Photography (33)

Our photographer was Yana Photography, who we would definitely recommend. Yana was really friendly and helpful with family and friends, and the pictures look amazing!

A Shabby Chic Wedding at Chester Zoo (c) Yana Photography (51)

Flowers were provided by Vivid Floral Design in Wrexham. My bouquet was made up of beautiful pinks, blues, pastel coloured peonies, roses, gypsophila, gerbera among other flowers. I went for a meadow look. My bridesmaid’s bouquet was a mini version of mine, we both had lace and hessian wrapped around to carry on the theme.

A Shabby Chic Wedding at Chester Zoo (c) Yana Photography (50)

All venue decorations were either made by myself, friends or family. I had a very DIY approach to the wedding which fitted the shabby chic theme really well. Decoration wise I had hessian table runners, and chair bows, ditsy print napkins, engraved wooden table numbers made by a friend, bunting made by myself and a friend, jam jars dotted with hessian and lace trim filled with flowers, tea cups and jugs filled with flowers and our name places were little flags with different floral/ ditsy print, which were made by a friend.

A Shabby Chic Wedding at Chester Zoo (c) Yana Photography (9)

Our favours were Tunnocks Tea cakes. They worked well with theme and looked really cute.

We didn’t have a traditional wedding cake to cut, but instead a dessert table for guests to help themselves. My friend (Button Bakes) is amazing at baking so I asked if she would make a lovely selection of cakes: classic Victoria sponge, chocolate cake with raspberries and lemon cupcakes.

A Shabby Chic Wedding at Chester Zoo (c) Yana Photography (11)

To provide the evening entertainment, we hired a DJ called Steve Lewis Entertainments, from Chester. My friends, family and I absolutely love dancing so I wanted someone who was going to play amazing music all night for us to not stop dancing. And that’s exactly what happened – lots of dance offs!

For extra entertainment we had a sweet stall for guests and a dress up corner, which was lots of fun.

A Shabby Chic Wedding at Chester Zoo (c) Yana Photography (53)

As a special touch on the day my brother played the guitar for when I walked down the aisle and after the ceremony. Also, our wedding rings were specially made using my mum and dad’s wedding rings. My dad passed away before I was born, so this was something my mum suggested. A really lovely idea and they mean so much to us.

A Shabby Chic Wedding at Chester Zoo (c) Yana Photography (61)

We would absolutely recommend our wedding venue to other couples. The staff were amazing on day, everything went perfect. The venue is absolutely stunning inside and the guests have the zoo to keep themselves busy. No bored guests at all.

It’s so hard to pick a favourite part of the day but I would have to say the ceremony itself was amazing, a lot more emotional than I thought. I also loved the first dance, it was perfect – I felt so happy and in love. We keep playing the song in the car all the time, as I want to relive that moment over and over again.

A Shabby Chic Wedding at Chester Zoo (c) Yana Photography (63)

Following the wedding we had a short minimoon – a five day break in a log cabin in Keldy Forest, Yorkshire, which included a hot tub, prosecco and lots of food. We just wanted to completely chill out. We took our dog with us too, our little family getaway. Perfection.

A Shabby Chic Wedding at Chester Zoo (c) Yana Photography (56)

My top tips to other Brides Up North would be to look around for bargains and do as much DIY as possible, it adds an extra touch and nobody else will have anything like it. But the main thing is, do what you both want. It’s your day so make it perfect for the both of you! It will be the best day ever so take it all in, as it will be over before you know it. I was crying at the end of our night because I didn’t want the night to end and our guests to leave.

A Shabby Chic Wedding at Chester Zoo (c) Yana Photography (67)

Our day was made perfect thanks to the amazing help we had from family and friends. All my girls chipped in and paid for us to stay in the Double Tree Hilton Chester for the wedding night and they had the room decorated for when we arrived. My two best friends made a video of how Dan and I got together, which we loved – it was so funny. My mum, sister, nan and family members did a surprise routine to Beyoncé for me. They’d been meeting up for months in secret and doing rehearsals – this was the best wedding gift ever! Finally, I had my grandad and step dad give me away.

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it’s a northern disco revolution! a styled wedding shoot in manchester

July 24th, 2015 | Julia Braime

The Northern Disco Revolution (c) Mr & Mrs W (61)

Hey Brides Up North?  It’s Fridaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay!

To celebrate, and maybe (just maybe) get you in the mood for letting your hair down a little, we’re featuring this fun styled wedding shoot which was directed and shot by Kristin and Mark Williamson, from events and photography company, Mr and Mrs W.  By blinding you with lights, neon, glitter and confetti their team are here to remind you just how much fun weddings can be!

The Northern Disco Revolution (c) Mr & Mrs W (14)

The Northern Disco Revolution (c) Mr & Mrs W (13)

The Northern Disco Revolution (c) Mr & Mrs W (17)

kristin says: We took inspiration from 90’s rave to 70’s disco and set it within the warehouse venue B’Eat Street Manchester

The Northern Disco Revolution (c) Mr & Mrs W (4)

The Northern Disco Revolution (c) Mr & Mrs W (3)

The sensational gowns and hair creations were supplied by Manchester based wonder team Jean Jackson Couture (a Brides Up North Sponsor no less)the UV hair styles were created by Claire at Harry Jon MUA and the ‘glittertastic’ make up was applied by Jody Ann Yates at Lynette Page Makeup Artistry.

The Northern Disco Revolution (c) Mr & Mrs W (40)

The Northern Disco Revolution (c) Mr & Mrs W (45)

The Northern Disco Revolution (c) Mr & Mrs W (42)

The neon backdrops with powerful flower statements were made by Manchester’s own Springbank Flowers; the marquee letters with a twist were supplied by The Word is Love and theundoubtedly amazing lighting, complete with glitter balls and confetti, was provided by Lightech Sound and Light.

The Northern Disco Revolution (c) Mr & Mrs W (53)

The Northern Disco Revolution (c) Mr & Mrs W (54)

Our inspiration for this shoot was to show that a wedding should be a fun, rather than stressful event, with the bride and groom plus all their friends and family have a raging good time. Our DJ, Flic made sure we did this on the day by playing us some great  music to get us all into the disco vibe.

The Northern Disco Revolution (c) Mr & Mrs W (59)

As a team we are really excited that the industrial look is coming to the wedding industry as it can be so diverse. We hope we have given everyone a real insight into this style and whilst we know that most weddings aren’t going to look like this, couples can take elements from the images and really turn their wedding party into something really memorable.  

Let’s be honest, who doesn’t love getting the music on and having a really good dance!

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cute & colourful. a quirky wedding full of music & rainbows – hilary & mike

July 23rd, 2015 | Julia Braime

A Colourful Wedding in Leeds (c) Eleanor Woodruff Photography (23)

Today’s bride and groom are currently living outside of the UK due to spouse visa restrictions which have caused them and their families a lot of heartache.  Their wedding was bittersweet as their friends realised that they had to leave the country because they were getting married, which made it all the more important that their celebration was extra special.

Hilary and Mike proved that your big day doesn’t have to cost the earth in order to have the time of your lives.  Full of original styling touches, hand made elements and bursts of bright colour, Hilary & Mike’s perfectly personal quirky wedding day reflects their individuality beautifully.

Images by Eleanor Woodruff Photography.

Wedding of Hilary & Mike Kemp by Eleanor Woodruff Photography

hilary says: Our engagement story is absolutely hilarious and, according to our friends, no one could botch it quite like we did. We were on holiday in Cap Ferret, France in June 2013, and Mike had been secretly planning this for ages… he’d organised the barbecue, the beach, and even the sunset, but when it came to the critical moment he realised he’d forgotten to buy a ring or phrase the question! So looking rather ill (“food poisoning”), he steered the conversation towards “What the Bible says about marriage…”, much to my bewilderment. He finally managed to ask, “So… how ’bout it then?” To be fair, I didn’t get the answering part right either – I laughed and thought he was joking, then sobered up and said yes, then cried and said no, then walked down to the other end of the beach to think about it, and finally came back half an hour later with a definite yes.

Hilary and Mike Kemp's Wedding by Eleanor Woodruff Photography

We got married on Saturday 12th July 2014. We chose Left Bank Leeds for our venue, ultimately for the price and the DIY aspect of the space – which meant that we could rent the building for the day and move furniture around in between the ceremony and the reception, saving us paying for two venues and worrying about transport in between! We had an incredible team of friends resetting the hall for us while guests had drinks and photos taken outside. That Left Bank is a beautiful old church building which was another plus point for us as Christians.

Wedding of Hilary & Mike Kemp by Eleanor Woodruff Photography

We didn’t really have a theme, unless you count “a tight budget” as one! When planning the wedding we were a little daunted by the perfect, fairytale weddings we were seeing everywhere – we’re the least “bridal” couple we know, and as you might have guessed from our engagement story, far from perfect. In the end we just went with what reflected our personality best and made us feel most comfortable, which meant lots of origami flowers in recycled wine bottles, tea lights in jam jars we’d collected all year, and haphazard splashes of bright colour everywhere. This actually made it the perfect wedding for us because it represented our crazy and pragmatic sides so much better.

We used royal blue as a backdrop to hold all the splashes of brighter colour together, and also because everyone in the bridal party looked good in it – a bigger consideration than you might think in mixed race marriages!

Hilary and Mike Kemp's Wedding by Eleanor Woodruff Photography

My dress was from BHS and tailored to size by the lovely Sophie Davies Tailoring. Being 4’11” dress shopping is difficult at the best of times, and I’d got to the point where I was trying on First Communion dresses when I found this one, in the most unlikely of places! It was everything I wanted – a beautiful muted colour from the creamy lace material and champagne lining, not wider than I am tall and with straps to alleviate my fears of a wardrobe malfunction. Sophie did some magic and made the dress fit like a glove, also shortening it (by about a foot) from the waist to save the lace hem – something that a different tailor I had originally gone to wouldn’t do. She is incredibly talented and I couldn’t recommend her highly enough.

My shoes were from New Look and specifically chosen to narrow the foot and a half in height difference between me and Mike! It meant that I had some difficulty walking downhill but it was a small price to pay.

Wedding of Hilary & Mike Kemp by Eleanor Woodruff Photography

Mike is 6’4″ and has different problems altogether when buying clothes. He swears by Marks and Spencer‘s suits, and would do no different for his wedding day. He wore a slim extra-long suit in charcoal grey, a blue-and-white dogtooth bowtie with matching pocket square and, to my chagrin, a pair of Arsenal cufflinks.

Hilary and Mike Kemp's Wedding by Eleanor Woodruff Photography

We were fortunate to find dresses for the bridesmaids in a style quite similar to my dress in New Look! I definitely wanted dresses that they could wear again, and this fit the bill perfectly, also surprisingly in a shape and colour that suits them all. The dresses originally came with brown belts but the girls swapped these out for white ribbons. They wore their own shoes and I loved how this added to all the colour on the day.

Mike had two best men – his brother Andrew and his best friend Mike. Andrew has an amazing waistcoat and bowtie with multi-coloured frogs on a hot pink background which we absolutely wanted him to wear, and we brightened Mike’s wardrobe up with a colourful polka-dotted bowtie. Our ushers (unfortunately not photographed as they were moving furniture) wore royal blue ties with elephants. The blokes that did make the photos were my “Ugly Bridesmaids”, my housemates without whom a lot of the wedding would not be possible. They could wear whatever they wanted.

A Colourful Wedding in Leeds (c) Eleanor Woodruff Photography (22)

We didn’t hire any transport, we were each driven to the venue by our friends/family. Mike’s driver made a detour for petrol on the way to the venue!

Wedding of Hilary & Mike Kemp by Eleanor Woodruff Photography

Our wedding was photographed by the amazing Eleanor Woodruff Photography. Ellie had photographed another wedding at which Mike was best man, and we were drawn by the amount of personality she captured in those photos and how genuine she made the day look. Ellie took the time to meet up before the big day to find out more about us, scout out the venue, and go over a list of family photos. Being far more experienced with weddings than we were she also had many handy organisational tips for the day! The photos of our day are full of character and absolutely perfect, we cannot thank her enough for what a great job she’s done.

Hilary and Mike Kemp's Wedding by Eleanor Woodruff Photography

My bridal bouquet was made by my friend Liv, whose origami skills know no bounds. She’d layered so many papers, textures, and beads – it was more beautiful than I could have imagined.

We didn’t have any real flowers on the day because I was paranoid about hayfever and sneezing my way down the aisle (I opted to trip down it in my 6-inch heels instead). I had the idea to do origami flowers and folded some of them to begin with, but the vast majority of it was down to an amazing team of friends and family who folded away for several hours the day before the wedding. We also had plenty of balloons and colourful bunting for a fun touch, home-made confetti and fairy lights around the hall. The table settings were my favourite – each table had a white tablecloth, a royal blue runner, multi-coloured napkins, candles and a wine bottle-full of colourful origami flowers.

A Colourful Wedding in Leeds (c) Eleanor Woodruff Photography (47)

Mike’s Uncle Keith made the cake based on a picture that we’d shown him on Google. Everyone agreed that he needed a career change from train driving! The cake had three tiers covered in white icing, each made by a different family member and iced by Uncle Keith. He also stuck on individual pieces of edible confetti to form a cascading effect down the side and tied royal blue ribbons around each tier – if anything it looked better than the original that inspired us! The cake was topped by a champagne glass filled with more edible confetti, and engraved with our names and the date of our wedding.

Hilary and Mike Kemp's Wedding by Eleanor Woodruff Photography

Following our DIY-origami theme, we had DIY spring rolls for our first course, a great conversation starter for our guests who didn’t know each other! We also had bring-and-share salad and desserts, which turned out to be a great idea as there was an incredible variety of food to choose from. Our main was a hog roast provided by Boss Hog Yorkshire. There was SO MUCH food and everyone was well and truly stuffed.

Left Bank Leeds provided the drinks: beers and soft drinks from Samuel Smiths Brewery, a local company, and a selection of Fairtrade wines.

Hilary and Mike Kemp's Wedding by Eleanor Woodruff Photography

It made no sense to us to hire a band when several of our friends are musicians, so we organised an open mic for entertainment during the meal. Our friends absolutely did not disappoint and we had such a good evening, with everything from classical violin to 5-piece band. After the meal we pushed the tables aside for a ceilidh, with music from Ermine Street Band. Everyone loves a good ceilidh, and there was plenty of screaming, shouting and laughing.

Our vast height difference does not lend itself well to dancing, so we opted to do a “first duet” instead. We sang the song “Without You” by AJ Rafael, a song which I sang to Mike on Skype while we were long-distance, and made him cry. Mike was on guitar and I played piano.

Hilary and Mike Kemp's Wedding by Eleanor Woodruff Photography

For our honeymoon we went on a cooking holiday in the Loire Valley in France. This was a real treat for us as we’re nuts about French food. We were the only guests at the B&B as we went mid-week, and Lesley went out of her way to make things especially lovely for us! We enjoyed every moment of it and would totally recommend it to anyone else looking for a more hands-on holiday.

Hilary and Mike Kemp's Wedding by Eleanor Woodruff Photography

My top tip for other Brides Up North would be that a spectacular wedding doesn’t have to cost the earth – we managed to source most of our decorations from eBay and Amazon, or supermarkets and discount shops like Home Bargains. High street stores also turned up some pretty surprising and budget-friendly clothing finds for the wedding party! Putting a bit of elbow grease and creativity into the preparations also helped cut costs, and we’re grateful for all the incredible friends we had around to lend us a DIY-hand. Finally, don’t worry too much about having to put on a spectacular show to impress the guests – they turned up to celebrate “us” in all our quirkiness and loved how much the wedding reflected our wacky personalities!

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hey, mr dj? maggie sottero for a festival wedding in liverpool – lucy & craig

July 20th, 2015 | Julia Braime

A Festival Themed Wedding in Liverpool (c) DW Photography (26)

After a romantic, if not soggy, proposal in the heart of Disneyland Paris today’s music loving bride and groom decided to give their big day a festival wedding theme, complete with wristbands and live bands!

Keen that her wedding day also had a pretty edge to it, Lucy incorporated a few vintage touches into the styling and décor using sweet pastels in yellow, blue and pink.

We love all the elements of their big day and find that the festival theme and pretty colour scheme actually blend together really well.

So let’s head to the main stage so you can see all the wedding action for yourselves!

With images by David Walters Photography.

A Festival Themed Wedding in Liverpool (c) DW Photography (30)

lucy says: We got engaged in front of Cinderella’s Castle in Disneyland Paris – not quite as romantic as it sounds as it was pouring, and I mean pouring, with rain and we were wearing Mickey rain ponchos!

Our wedding day was on 2nd May 2015. We chose this date as it fell on a bank holiday. We had a lot of family and friends travelling from all over the country and we thought this way people could make a full weekend of it.

A Festival Themed Wedding in Liverpool (c) DW Photography (7)

Thistle Atlantic Tower in Liverpool was our wedding venue which we chose primarily because of the fabulous view. The hotel overlooks the River Mersey and has the most beautiful view of the famous Liver Building and the waterfront.

We incorporated a festival theme throughout our big day. We had ticket style invites, wristbands, tables named after famous stages and a band themed cake. I also tried to add a vintage twist to make it a bit more girly using pastel colours and birdcage and candelabra centre pieces.

Our colour scheme was pastel yellow, blue and pink, inspired by the vintage twist. I also decided early on that as my bridesmaids were all so unique and different from each other that it would be nice to dress them in varying colours.

A Festival Themed Wedding in Liverpool (c) DW Photography (10)

My dress was Payton by Maggie Sottero which I got from Aristocrats of Chester. I chose this dress because it had the vintage feel I was after and beautiful detail. It was also unlike any wedding dress I had seen before and I think I surprised a lot of people with my choice!

On the wedding day my hair was done by Carol Ellis Thompson and I wore a hairband by Rocks For Frocks. I also had personalised wedding Converse for the evening reception, which I loved!

A Festival Themed Wedding in Liverpool (c) DW Photography (13)

Craig wore a three piece grey suit by ONESIX5IVE from Slaters. Craig doesn’t do tails and top hats, so the slim fit simple tailored suit was perfect for him.

Our groomsmen wore identical suits to Craig’s while our bridesmaids wore Mark Lesley dresses, also purchased from Aristocrats of Chester, in pastel yellow, blue and pink.

A Festival Themed Wedding in Liverpool (c) DW Photography (15)

On the wedding day I travelled to the venue in a vintage VW campervan provided by Nick Connah from Connah’s Cars. Craig’s Mum and I also surprised Craig on the day with the same transport to take him to the venue.

A Festival Themed Wedding in Liverpool (c) DW Photography (20)

David Walters was our photographer and we could not recommend him highly enough! Throughout the whole experience he was creative, supportive and fun. We had a pre-wedding shoot which enabled us to get to know him before the day which was really important. On the day itself he was energetic and made people feel at ease. His photography is documentary style, and has provided us with stunning photos and memories of our day.

A Festival Themed Wedding in Liverpool (c) DW Photography (25)

I carried artificial silk flowers with pearl and diamanté decorations. I wanted flowers that I could keep forever.

Our wedding breakfast and reception decorations were provided by Karla Pritchard from Add A Little Sparkle. We had birdcage and candelabra centre pieces with yellow, pink and blue flowers. The flowers were also incorporated into the back of the chair covers, which looked stunning. My Mum and I made bunting for the ceremony table and top table which was a really nice personal touch.

A Festival Themed Wedding in Liverpool (c) DW Photography (50)

We gave each of our guests a festival style wristband as favours when they arrived at the ceremony. At the wedding breakfast we also had ‘Team Lucy’ and ‘Team Craig’ pin badges on the tables.

Craig and I are very passionate about music and so we had a band themed cake. It consisted of three ‘drum’ tiers, with our favourite band and festival logos on the side. It was made by a family friend, Janet Hamer.

A Festival Themed Wedding in Liverpool (c) DW Photography (31)

To keep guests entertained at the wedding and to tie in with our theme, we had the Ukulele Club Liverpool to perform after the ceremony and then in the evening we had an awesome band called Slinky, who literally kept the dance floor filled all night.

A Festival Themed Wedding in Liverpool (c) DW Photography (35)

Following our wedding, we could not recommend our venue highly enough to other couples. Our day was stress-free and no request was a problem. The staff really made our day special, they were so helpful and fun. We had mentioned to the waitresses previously about our theme, and I said to them about wearing flowers in their hair. I couldn’t believe on the day that they all did, it was really lovely.

A Festival Themed Wedding in Liverpool (c) DW Photography (38)

It’s hard to pick one part of the day over another as my favourite, but I’ve got to say our wedding band Slinky really rocked, and being on the dance floor with all my friends and family around me is something I will never forget.

A Festival Themed Wedding in Liverpool (c) DW Photography (41)

A Festival Themed Wedding in Liverpool (c) DW Photography (48)

As we got engaged in Disney we decided to go to Orlando, Florida on our honeymoon. We spent ten days in Disney and four days in the Universal resort. It was the holiday of a lifetime for us, and the weather was unreal.

A Festival Themed Wedding in Liverpool (c) DW Photography (49)

My top tip to other Brides Up North would simply be – don’t worry about tradition, do what makes you happy.

A Festival Themed Wedding in Liverpool (c) DW Photography (52)

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‘rapped in love. a personal winter wedding at the chimney house – shelley & andy

June 30th, 2015 | Rachel Parry

A PersonalWinter Wedding at The Chimney House (c) Shutter Go Click Photography (33)

There’s no doubt about it, this wedding is a true reflection of the bride and groom, featuring their passions, loves and memories.

After an unexpected proposal, Shelley and Andy searched Sheffield to find the perfect ceremony and reception venues for their relaxed and intimate big day.

We love their unconventional wedding approach which included Shelley buying her gorgeous wedding dress from eBay (for £40!) choosing an Eminem track for their service and heading to a local pub to carry on the celebrations after the reception. Because frankly, why the hell not!

The wedding day also included a very touching tribute to Shelley’s dad, who sadly died when she was just 14-years-old, demonstrating how couples can remember and celebrate those that have been loved and lost on their special day.

With images by Shutter Go…Click Photography.

A PersonalWinter Wedding at The Chimney House (c) Shutter Go Click Photography (9)

shelley says: We got engaged just after we’d bought our first home together. I was busy unpacking boxes in the kitchen, chatting away on the phone to my best friend, Siobhan, while Andy was out. I heard him come back in but took no real notice. About two minutes later I turned around, still on the phone to my mate, to see him bent down on one knee with the ring in one hand and a takeaway Costa in the other (he knew the way to my heart). I said to my friend “I’m going to have to call you back, because I think sh*t is about to get real!”

A PersonalWinter Wedding at The Chimney House (c) Shutter Go Click Photography (6)

We set the date for 20th December 2014, there was no real reason behind the date apart from that we both wanted a winter wedding.

We got married at the Rutland Hotel and had the reception at the Chimney House in Sheffield. We wanted a small intimate ceremony and reception and both venues were perfect for this. The Chimney House was absolutely amazing and was far better than we could have ever hoped for. We chose the Chimney House as it suited our style perfectly; graffiti on the walls, exposed brick work, skull candle – we’d move in there if we could!

A PersonalWinter Wedding at The Chimney House (c) Shutter Go Click Photography (12)

We didn’t have a theme, instead we just went with us and what we liked. We did have a colour scheme though; grey with silver. We chose it because we thought it fitted in with that winter vibe.

A PersonalWinter Wedding at The Chimney House (c) Shutter Go Click Photography (18)

I’m not a dress kind of girl and I’m much more comfortable in some jeans, flat shoes and a leather jacket! However I did buy a really beautiful lace mermaid style gown with a sweeping train from a website without trying any other dresses on! I did really like it but it just wasn’t me. So I ended up going on eBay a few weeks before the big day and getting a lace long sleeved vintage style dress instead – I think it cost about £40 quid!

I also wore a faux fur jacket, second hand from eBay, with Vivienne Westwood shoes. I wore my mum’s veil which she wore on her wedding day and my grandma’s 1950’s veil headpiece, which she wore on her wedding day too. I loved the whole outfit, it was much more me.

Andy wore a navy blue three piece suit with white shirt and silver tie.

A PersonalWinter Wedding at The Chimney House (c) Shutter Go Click Photography (20)

My mum, Anne, made all six bridesmaid dresses. They were vintage Vogue patterns. I was finding it difficult to decide on a dress that both the bridesmaids and I loved and then I found the pattern and my mum offered to make them for me. All the bridesmaids loved them. She did an amazing job, and the girls looked stunning.

A PersonalWinter Wedding at The Chimney House (c) Shutter Go Click Photography (22)

Ryan from Shutter Go Click was our photographer. We would both absolutely recommend Ryan to other couples. I was quite nervous about the whole photography thing (I don’t like having photos and just tend to instantly go awkward as soon as someone points a camera at me). This didn’t happen with Ryan, he made us both feel completely relaxed and at ease. All the wedding guests said how great he was and we loved having him part of our day. The photographs are absolutely amazing and are better than we could have ever imagined. We even joked the other day about renewing our vows, just so we could have Ryan photograph it.

A PersonalWinter Wedding at The Chimney House (c) Shutter Go Click Photography (24)

I chose to have a brooch bouquet which I bought from a seller on Etsy. I then added a few brooches which belonged to my nan and one which Andy’s grandma, Jean gave me. The bridesmaids also had smaller brooch bouquets made by my sister, Sarah.

The flowers and decorations we provided by the Chimney House. They asked if we’d like any particular flowers or theme but we just said to do what they wanted. I’m glad we did, it looked absolutely amazing!

Place names and cards were made also by my sister, Sarah (which also doubled up as favours). They were small toy dinosaurs spray painted silver with a little name card tied round their neck (both mine and Andy’s favourite film is Jurassic Park!) We also put chocolate dinosaurs in a little bag.

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My cousin Stephen did the honour of walking me down the aisle (to Stan by Eminem) as my dad died when I was 14. My sister, Sarah did the ‘father of the bride’ speech, so to speak, and what a speech it was! The event manager of the Chimney House said it was one of the best she’d ever heard. She’s even had a few offers since from our friends’ partners asking if they help write their own best man/groom speeches!

It was really important to me that I did something in memory of my dad so to honour him, I did a video tribute editing clips to the track When the Going Get’s Tough by Billy Ocean, from my childhood with him and the rest of my family and friends right up to the present day. There was some pretty embarrassing stuff on there (me at 15 rapping into the camera, thinking I was the next Eminem and running round the garden naked at five-years-old to name a few) but if he was there to make that speech it was have been 100 times more embarrassing!

People were laughing and crying at the same time! At the end of the video, I ended it with just a clip of me and my dad, walking hand in hand away from the camera which faded to blackness and the words ‘In Loving Memory of Stephen Bingham, Father of the Bride’ came on the screen. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house!

I know for some people they might find it upsetting to do a tribute like this for a close family member on their wedding day, but I’m so glad it, because even if for only five minutes, it felt like his was there with us in the room.

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For the wedding breakfast we went for the menu option which was titled, ‘The House Feast’ – and it was exactly that! All the guests loved the food. The menu included shin of local beef braised with Kelham Island ale served with horseradish dumplings and herbed chicken breast and boned chicken thighs with confit garlic poached with peas, spinach and baby carrots.

We left the wine choice up to my mum (both myself and Andy aren’t big wine drinkers) and we also ordered kegs of real ale and larger from the Kelham Island Brewery.

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The Chimney House isn’t the kind of venue to have a disco/wedding band so instead we opted to just play our favourite music while we ate.

After the Chimney House some of the wedding party went to The Hop pub in Sheffield where one of my friends, Lauren, had organised a special cornered off area with a private bar. There was a live band on and it was great just to sit and relax after a long day. Lots of our friends who couldn’t make it to the wedding (because of the small numbers) came and others kept popping in on their way to the next bar!

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To add a special touch to the day we asked all our family for photos of them on their wedding day and for some of their favourite family photos. We then had a slide show of them playing at the Chimney House on their projector. It really got everyone talking and laughing about old memories.

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We also did a ‘first look’ photo on the garden before the ceremony. Andy stood with his best man, Shane, with his back to me while I walked onto the garden followed by my bridesmaids. I’d seen the idea on the internet and thought we’d give it a try. The thought of walking into a room (even with only 40 people) gave me nightmares, so we thought if Andy and I saw each other first, it might calm my nerves a bit. I’m not sure how these things are really meant to go, but as soon as we saw each other, we just burst out laughing!

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We would certainly recommend the Chimney House to another couple like us who want an intimate and relaxed reception. From the first enquiry, they were so helpful and did everything they could to make our day perfect.

We both have so many amazing memories from that day. I can’t really remember any of the ceremony apart from trying really, really hard not to faint! I’d been so calm all day and as soon as I heard Dido start the verse of Stan…I lost it. I pretty much ran down the aisle clung on to my cousin’s arm. I can just remember trying really hard to stop my legs from shaking while trying equally as hard to concentrate on what the registrar was saying! If I’d have been asked what the best part of the wedding the following day I’d have said getting through the ceremony in one piece! But now after a few months, it’s a tough one. Different parts were so special in different ways. My sister’s speech, the video, but I think the best part was walking back down the aisle hand in hand with Andy and looking at him to see my husband.

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We were planning on a trip to the Maldives for the honeymoon but then Eminem (my childhood hero) announced a US tour four months before the wedding. Without even asking, Andy said, I guess we’re blowing the honeymoon budget on a trip to Detroit then to see Eminem. So we did! We also spent a couple of days over New Year in our favourite place, Berlin.

My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to go with what you want and don’t let anyone try to convince you otherwise. We did our thing and stuck by it (even though we did get a few rolled eyes/weird looks along the way). During the day just take a step back and watch everything that’s going on around you and enjoy it!

Also, don’t leave making your ceremony music playlist until an hour before the ceremony (Andy’s fault!).

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