Charlotte Balbier
Brides Up North Wedding Fairs

wild hearts. a wedding at chester zoo – ruth & marc

January 24th, 2017 | Alexis Forsyth

A Pastel Wedding at Chester Zoo (c) Jack Knight Photography (49)

We love it when a wedding offers up something alternative and today’s couple certainly hosted a day to remember – complete with guests of the furry variety!

Ruth and Marc exchanged vows in the magnificent St Elphin’s Church in Warrington before hosting their wedding at Chester Zoo. Guests then enjoyed a private safari with the zookeepers, with other highlights including a trip on a London Routemaster bus, afternoon tea and a special performance from the choir that first brought the couple together.

Opting for a pretty pastel palette, this wedding combines classic touches with the unconventional. Here are all the dreamy details…

With images by Jack Knight.

A Pastel Wedding at Chester Zoo (c) Jack Knight Photography (8)

ruth says: We got engaged on Monday 14 December 2015 on top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris. We were on holiday in Disneyland at the time and had gone to Paris for the day. After soaking up the culture in the Louvre, visiting the Christmas markets and enjoying some lovely food, we went up the Tower that evening to enjoy the spectacular view of Paris at night. I can remember looking at Marc on the way up and thinking he looked really nervous – which was odd because he isn’t particularly scared of heights. As we were looking out at the beautiful twinkling lights I heard Marc saying my name behind me. I turned around and there he was on one knee! It was all very romantic!

We got married on Tuesday 30th August 2016. We wanted a date that was in the summer holidays as I am a teacher and so are lots of my friends.

A Pastel Wedding at Chester Zoo (c) Jack Knight Photography (38)

We tied the knot at St Elphin’s Church in Warrington, which is a truly spectacular church. I lived just round the corner when I was growing up and used to love listening to the bells. I always hoped I’d get married there!

Our reception took place at Oakfield Manor at Chester Zoo. As soon as we began looking for a venue we knew this was the one for us – we didn’t even look anywhere else! There are so many reasons why we loved this venue: it is a beautiful building with beautiful surroundings, it was budget friendly and incredibly flexible, and it’s something a bit different. We loved that we were able to have a private safari once the zoo closed, and our guests loved it, too. And even better, all the money went back into the charity so we were helping the zoo’s conservation efforts too whilst having the most amazing day!

A Pastel Wedding at Chester Zoo (c) Jack Knight Photography (41)

We didn’t have a them, but just put together a day which reflected us. I made a lot of things myself, and some friends and family made things for us too, so the whole wedding had a slightly handmade, rustic feel.

We chose pastels for our colour scheme because neither one of us wanted to choose one specific colour. I loved this choice because it gave me more freedom; provided everything was a pastel shade – it was ok! No stressing about finding things that matched an exact shade.

A Pastel Wedding at Chester Zoo (c) Jack Knight Photography (16)

I chose a White Rose dress from Wife to Be in Warrington. The staff there are amazing and so lovely. I went along with my mum expecting to just have a look and try a few styles but ended up finding ‘the one’. It was just perfect for me. I knew I had to have it when my mum started crying, which then made me cry – the shop assistant gave us all a group hug as she got caught up in the emotion too! When I went for my first fitting, the dress fit absolutely perfectly – not a single alteration was needed. It was definitely MY dress!

continue reading

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterGoogle+share on TumblrPin on PinterestShare on LinkedInEmail to someone

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.

continue reading

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterGoogle+share on TumblrPin on PinterestShare on LinkedInEmail to someone

Up For Discussion: Achieving The Perfect Level Of Wedding Morning Zen

November 11th, 2011 | Julia Braime

.

Poppy Day.

Well, whaddya know?  Its only Friday!  Yippee!  What have you got planned for the weekend?  Two days of intensive wedding planning, some time out, a hen party celebration (speaking of which, have you read my top tips for planning a hen do or entered this little giveaway yet?), or maybe, just maybe, its time to say I do?!  Whatever you are up to, I hope you have a good one.

..

Before we get there though, It’s 11.11.11 today – so please do remember to wear your poppy with pride. 

.

Today, our guest blogger and newlywed Alison is back on the wedding blog with another reflection on getting hitched.  You all loved her novel way of choosing a marital name last Friday, so I thought I would put my feet up, dunk another ginger snap in my brew, and let her take the floor…

.

.

.

.

Over to Alison: When I was planning my wedding at Chester Zoo, like all brides, I aspired for perfection. I was convinced that I could organise the best wedding people had ever been to.

.

.

Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog: FourT4 Photography

.

.

I remember reading an article in one of my wedding magazines about the perfect wedding morning. In my quest for the perfect day, I gobbled up all the advice and aspired to achieve a similar level of Zen. 

.

Apparently, the magazine told me, I should be aiming for a good night’s sleep, awaking from my princess slumber refreshed, excited and ready to float through my perfect day.

.

The reality was rather different.  While hubby-to-be stayed in Chester the night before our wedding, I was at home in South Manchester with my dad and sister. With only one spare room, my sister slept on an inflatable mattress at the end of my bed – which farted loudly every time she turned over – which was a lot. I think I got 20 minutes sleep and when the alarm went at 7am I shot out of bed and promptly tripped over my own eye bags. It wasn’t the image of impossible glamour I was aspiring towards.

.

The article then advised me to have a breakfast of smoked salmon and scrambled eggs – light enough for the guests not to be able to see what I’d had for breakfast, but substantial enough to see me through until my second (wedding) breakfast.

.

I didn’t quite manage that either. The lack of sleep coupled with an overdose of adrenaline meant that I managed to shove a third of a bowl of ‘oats’ down my bridal neck before feeling sick and giving up.

.

My perfect wedding morning was also to include a relaxing bubble bath, favourite calming tunes on my ipod and half an hour of quiet meditation.

.

In theory – what a nice idea. In practice – you’ve got to be joking!  I was surviving on adrenaline and a third of a bowl of oats. If I relaxed I’d be asleep! I opted for an alternative strategy and drank red bull and coffee.

.

After loading the car I spent the next hour barking at my dad to sit down, be quiet and refer to his wedding spread sheet – it didn’t bring out the ‘good daughter’ in me. I then drove like a lunatic along the M56 wishing traffic be gone and praying that the car wouldn’t break down.

.

.

Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog: Alison Staples

.

.

When we arrived at the hotel in Chester where we were getting ready, we were still statistically within the margin of error on the wedding timetable. I’d bought croissants and champagne so I allowed myself a brief moment of relaxation and un-corked my first smile of the day.

.

Unfortunately the ‘fizz’ was fleeting. With five bridesmaids and myself waiting for our transformation, it came to light that the salon only had one pair of hair straighteners. By the time my hair was finished we were nearly an hour behind schedule. My make-up artist was pacing and despite having an extensive pre-wedding make-up consultation to find the perfect wedding look, by this point I was willing her to just slap it on and finish. Red danger lights were flashing and I was about to turn into a whistling kettle.

My sister reminded me to breathe!

.

We hired a wedding bus to collect guests from various points in Chester and transport them to the zoo. I was still having my face fixed when it arrived – and luckily I had a bit more time before my car turned up. Thirty minutes later I was sprinting through the hotel in my Jenny Packham wedding dress, heels and bouquet, with my poor dad trailing in my wake, trying to make up time.

.

It was only when I was actually sitting in my wedding car (and back on schedule) that I started to relax into the day. Little did I know that our wedding bus had got stuck in the hotel car park and was only two minutes up the road ahead of us!

.

No matter how much you brief people, no one knows the big picture of your wedding like you and although the day ran like clockwork from then on, every so often I had to prod proceedings to keep them on track:

.

“We should be having the group shots now.”

“They should be serving afternoon tea.”

“Can you round people up for the speeches.”

“Time to cut the cake.”

.

And so forth. Luckily I had my ‘Best Woman Gill’ who would go and make things happen and ensure that while my little duck feet were paddling away like Michael Flattery, to my guests I was gliding like a beautifully elegant swan.

.

I guess what I’m saying is, plan your perfect day, plan your perfect wedding morning. If you manage to achieve the required level of Zen then I take my tiara off to you. But if it doesn’t quite run to plan, take a deep breath, try not to panic, embrace the story it will give you and if you don’t get to the church quite on time – it isn’t the end of the world.

.

.

FourT4 Photography

.

.

So, Brides Up North – what are your plans for wedding morning zen?  Do you think you can achieve it?  And if you have been there and done that – what was your secret?  Tell us!  It’s officially up for discussion. 

.

.

To read Alison’s post from last Friday and to find out a little bit more about her, click here

.

Alison writes her own lifestyle blog over at – http://alison-staples.blogspot.com – check it out!

.

HEARTIt’s also Alison’s six month wedding anniversary today!  See her real wedding here. Congrats! HEART

.

.

  – Images © 2011 Alison Staples and FourT4 Photography

This is not a sponsored post

Contact Brides Up North to submit your business as a Featured Supplier 

.

.

Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterGoogle+share on TumblrPin on PinterestShare on LinkedInEmail to someone

Wild Thing! A Real Wedding – Alison & Tris

October 21st, 2011 | Julia Braime

.

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!).

.

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!

.

.

Brides Up North Wedding Blog: FourT4 Photography.

.

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

.

.

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!!

.

.
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!

.

.
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!

.

.
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!
.

.
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!
.

.
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!!!

.

.
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!

.

.
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!!

.

.

Brides Up North Wedding Blog: FourT4 Photography

.

.

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.

.

.

Brides Up North Wedding Blog: FourT4 Photography

.

.

Brides Up North Wedding Blog: FourT4 Photography

.

.

Brides Up North Wedding Blog: FourT4 Photography   Brides Up North Wedding Blog: FourT4 Photography

.

.

Brides Up North Wedding Blog: FourT4 Photography

.

.

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!

.

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?

.

.

Brides Up North Wedding Blog: FourT4 Photography

.

.

Brides Up North Wedding Blog: FourT4 Photography

.

.

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.

.

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.

.

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.

.

.

.

.

Brides Up North Wedding Blog: FourT4 Photography

.

.

Brides Up North Wedding Blog: FourT4 Photography

.

.

Brides Up North Wedding Blog: FourT4 Photography

.

.

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

.

.

continue reading

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterGoogle+share on TumblrPin on PinterestShare on LinkedInEmail to someone