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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moroccan magic. maggie sottero for a colourful diy wedding in the north west – jen & marc

January 11th, 2016 | Julia Braime

A Moroccan Themed Wedding in the North West (c) Kyle Hassall Photography (85)

Though the temperatures outdoors are dropping, we have something guaranteed to warm up your day – the Moroccan themed wedding of Jen and Marc. Taking inspiration from her travels in North Africa, bride Jen chose vibrant colours and authentic décor, such as ornate metal lanterns, to style their big day.

We love the warm rich tones that feature and also have a huge soft spot for Jen’s Maggie Sottero gown and gorgeous bouquet!

Though Jen says she felt the pressure when planning her big day, we think she did a sterling job!

With images by Kyle Hassall Photography.

A Moroccan Themed Wedding in the North West (c) Kyle Hassall Photography (31)

jen says: Marc proposed when we were on holiday in Barbados. It was completely unexpected!

We got married on 15th August because Marc’s dad offered us the use of his beautiful garden for a marquee wedding and so it had to be a summer date to accommodate UK weather! I didn’t want to spend too long planning the wedding and felt I could turn it around within eight months.

A Moroccan Themed Wedding in the North West (c) Kyle Hassall Photography (49)

Our ceremony was at Chester Town Hall. We chose it because it was close to Marc’s dad’s house where our reception would be reception.

The wedding had a very loose North Africa/Morocco theme. I really wanted to incorporate such influences into our traditional English country wedding as I lived in the Middle East and North Africa for a time and still travel there. The colour scheme was slightly out of control as I’m a big fan of bright colours! I wanted all the flowers and décor to be warm and bright. So orange appeared to be the dominant colour but it was more of an evolution than a conscious choice.

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relaxed romance. a sage green outdoor wedding in chester – helen & michael

November 11th, 2015 | Rachel Parry

An Outdoor Wedding in Chester (c) Marky Kirk Photography (21)

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.

An Outdoor Wedding in Chester (c) Marky Kirk Photography (5)

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.

An Outdoor Wedding in Chester (c) Marky Kirk Photography (59)

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colour pops. a rustic wedding with vintage hints at trafford hall – sarah & daniel

November 4th, 2015 | Julia Braime

A Zesty Wedding at Trafford Park (c) Jessica O’Shaughnessy Photography (13)

We just adore the styling of today’s real wedding; bright, classy and elegant!

Building on their chosen theme of rustic romance, Sarah and Daniel used beautiful blooms and log centre pieces to help set the scene before adding pretty vintage touches in dainty china and luxurious lace for an air of elegance.

The couple’s beautiful burnt orange and sage green colour scheme then pulled everything together perfectly, providing subtle pops of colour.

With images by Jessica O’Shaughnessy Photography.

A Zesty Wedding at Trafford Park (c) Jessica O’Shaughnessy Photography (18)

sarah says: We got engaged on Halloween 2010! We were both in university at the time, and I was living about an hour away from Dan. He was visiting me for the weekend and after we got home from a night out with friends, he got down on one knee and asked me to be his wife. We both knew it would be a long engagement, and it was some of the best years of our lives as we moved in together and started saving and planning for our big day.

We got married Saturday 29th August 2015. There was no special meaning behind the date, we just wanted a summer wedding and the bank holiday weekend was perfect to give guests an extra day to recover!

A Zesty Wedding at Trafford Park (c) Jessica O’Shaughnessy Photography (24)

We got married at Trafford Hall, on the outskirts of Chester. We looked at so many venues at the beginning, and they all seemed very similar and nothing stood out for us. We then stumbled across Trafford Hall, not a lot of people had heard of it and that made it more appealing to us. When we went to visit, we fell in love with it. The building itself is so grand and elegant, with so many period features it doesn’t need much dressing for an occasion! The grounds were breath-taking; acres of woodland and gorgeous sunken gardens, it was the perfect backdrop for a wedding. As a whole, it was everything we were looking for!

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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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the roaring 20s. enzoani for a pretty wedding in chester – rachel & mike

July 22nd, 2015 | Rachel Parry

A Pretty Wedding with Art Deco Touches (c) Ragdoll Photography (48)

With a clear eye for design, today’s bride Rachel, used her creative skills to put the all-important finishing touches to her wedding inspired by the roaring 1920s.

Her stunning Enzoani dress, with amazing back detail, helped to set the theme which Rachel then built upon by designing her own signage and stationery using silent movie and art deco influences.

A soft colour scheme of cornflower blue and yellow complements the men’s grey suits and helps to tie all elements together resulting in a well styled big day.

With images by Ragdoll Photography.

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rachel says: We got engaged on 13th June 2014 at Queen’s Bridge in Chester. Mike had booked a night in Chester for our anniversary (the date we officially got together) and I had no idea he had a ring with him. He carried it around all day inside his phone case (I wondered why he looked uneasy when I borrowed his phone to take pictures) waiting for the perfect moment to propose. It eventually happened after dinner, we went for a stroll over the bridge. Mike had said that he’d been looking for the perfect moment, but nothing had felt right, then suddenly we were on that bridge, it was just us, the sun was going down and it was as if someone had just gone “there you go, this is the time and place”.

We decided to set the wedding date for 11th June 2015 – five years to the day from when we first met at the Isle of Wight Festival.

A Pretty Wedding with Art Deco Touches (c) Ragdoll Photography (11)

The ceremony was at St Mary’s Church, Halkyn, North Wales, which is my parents’ local church in the village where I grew up, and the reception at The Doubletree Hilton Hotel, Chester. We’ve stayed at the hotel a couple of times on special occasions and love it, but what sold it to us was the Abbey Suite – we’d been looking at converted barns for our reception and this had both the lovely modern hotel with the converted stables attached, plus beautiful grounds.

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The theme was subtly based on 1920s. I love this era; the fashions, the crazy dancing, art deco styling etc. I think it oozes class and elegance. Luckily my favourite wedding dress was very 20s too so it followed on from there. From the 20s came the ‘silent movie’ idea – we used it in the design of our invitations and placemats/place settings and then carried it through in the chalkboard style table numbers and bunting.

Our colour scheme was cornflower blue and yellow. We wanted a summery, cheerful theme and it looked amazing against the blue sky and sunshine. Mike supports Everton too, which made it an easy choice for us both.

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My dress was an Enzoani number. I didn’t want anything big or OTT and this particular dress struck me as simple and elegant with a touch of glamour and sparkle. It is 1920s inspired which suited our theme well. I chose it for those reasons but also because it struck me as so different from all of the dresses I’d seen. I bought it from Cheshire Rose Bridal, Chester. My shoes were by Rachel Simpson, my necklace, bracelet and earrings from Debenhams and my headpiece was also from Cheshire Rose Bridal.

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Mike wore a light grey three piece suit from Reiss with a cornflower blue tie. He chose to buy a good suit over hiring tails as neither of us are huge fans of tails and he now has a very special suit to keep. Along with his suit he wore shoes by Jeffery West and a tie pin from The Little Homebird on Etsty, which was a gift from me. It was personalised with the coordinates of Queen’s Bridge where Mike proposed.

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Our adult bridesmaids wore a light blue Biba maxi dress from House of Fraser and the flower girl had an ivory dress with blue ribbon from a local occasion wear shop. The groomsmen all had a three piece suit from Next and blue ties.

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We used Grosvenor Classic Cars to transport us on the day of the wedding. Mike and I travelled in a blue and silver Beauford and the bridesmaids in a Daimler.

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Rosie of Ragdoll photography was our photographer and she was brilliant, we would definitely recommend her! She put everyone at ease on the day with her fun, down to earth nature which resulted in a fun, relaxed series of photographs. She captured us and our family and friends and the essence of the day beautifully. I would recommend Rosie to anyone who wants a natural, relaxed, fun feel to their wedding album. We couldn’t have wished for better.  We also used Gray Weddings to film our big day. They were also amazing and so discreet you wouldn’t have known they were there. I can’t wait to see the video when it arrives to find out what we missed! They were so accommodating and flexible in our pre wedding meeting and on the day itself.

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Fresh of Chester provided our flowers. The beautiful natural bouquets for the bridesmaids and I were made up of lovely blooms in yellow, blue and white.

The reception flowers by Fresh of Chester were placed in vintage vases, provided by Pollyanna Vintage who also provided vintage books and pearls for centre pieces and on the card table, along with a vintage suitcase for cards and a large picture frame with easel for the seating plan. Other knickknacks such as old cameras and photo frames I borrowed or bought from vintage and charity shops and my mum provided lots of candles! I’m a graphic designer and so made my own 1920s inspired signs for the guest book/photo booth instructions, cocktail menu, cake quote and ladies toilets perfume quote. I also designed our invites and save the dates, plus some unique placemats/place settings inspired by silent movie frames, through my company Racoon Graphic Design.

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As favours we gave sweets from the past provided by Mr Simms Olde Sweet Shoppe in personalised sweet bags.

Cake Chester provided our lovely wedding cake. It was a simple 1920s design, inspired by a combination of cakes I found in my search for the perfect cake! I made a feather brooch which they kindly added onto the front for me. The bottom tier was fruit cake and the top tier was Madeira sponge.

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A Pretty Wedding with Art Deco Touches (c) Ragdoll Photography (33)

As entertainment we had a 1920s jazz band called 52 Skidoo who were great! They played upbeat jazz for a couple of hours and then the resident DJ played until 1am. He played all our favourite songs and finished with Hey Jude, which is really special to us as we met at The IOW Festival where Paul McCartney was the headline act. At the end we all linked arms in a big circle singing ‘Nah-nah-nah-nah…’ it was epic!

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One special touch of the day was our first dance. Dancing is really dear to me so I wanted to really go for it! We learnt the Argentine Tango and danced it to Coldplay’s, Magic. The song starts with a 1920s introduction so I started with a Charleston as Mike stood and looked perplexed (intentional). We loved it.

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We would definitely recommend The Doubletree as a venue to other couples, it’s an amazing setting. It has the best of both worlds – a lovely modern hotel and the gorgeous Abbey Suite (converted stables), perfect for photographs. The grounds are also beautiful. The staff on the day were brilliant, in particular the toast master. He couldn’t do enough for us. The venue was perfect for – smart and sophisticated but relaxed and not over the top.

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I couldn’t possibly choose one moment from the wedding as my favourite but there are some moments in my head that stand out: coming down the stairs to my dad who was waiting to see me in my dress for the first time and travelling in the car with him to the church. The ceremony, we both surprisingly enjoyed that part more than we expected to. We didn’t feel nervous, just elated and excited and the vicar put everyone at ease and cracked a couple of jokes! And the speeches, they were all brilliant, funny and heartfelt in their own way.

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We haven’t booked a honeymoon yet but we are hoping to go to New Zealand sometime in January next year with a stop off on the way.

My top tip to other Brides Up North would be don’t try to include everything you want on your wedding day. I had so many ideas, some I wasn’t able to make happen but they really didn’t matter on the day. Simplicity and personality are key. Think about who you are as a couple and how you would like your wedding to be remembered. Our guests all said what a ‘fun’ and ‘happy’ day it was and in hindsight we wouldn’t want it any other way. And, enjoy the day for what it is, a celebration of marriage with all of your favourite people.

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