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personal & unique. victoria kay for an intimate wedding at the belle epoque – stephanie & gary

June 9th, 2016 | Julia Braime

An Intimate Wedding at The Belle Epoque (c) James Tracey Photography (24)

The saying about quality and quantity could not be truer of the lovely real wedding that we are sharing with you on the blog today.

With a modest guest list of 38 day guests and 53 evening guests, Stephanie and Gary wanted their intimate wedding to be a reflection of them as a couple, whilst also being an enjoyable and memorable event for their guests.

Picking a unique venue and prioritising elements such as the photography, food and entertainment, whilst getting stuck into some DIY décor, meant that Stephanie and Gary could have the special day they had dreamt of, whilst remaining still within budget. Excellent work guys!

With images by Brides Up North Sponsor, James Tracey Photography.

An Intimate Wedding at The Belle Epoque (c) James Tracey Photography (27)

stephanie says: We got engaged on the 28th May 2014. I had my suspicions that Gary was going to do it soon as he’d booked for us to go for afternoon tea at the Hilton in Manchester. We were in the process of buying our house and the Wednesday before when we were booked for afternoon tea, we’d had our final meeting with the bank to say the mortgage had been agreed. We went to the pub after to celebrate and then came home. I got my PJs on, put the bins out and put the washing on, just usual things to do on a Wednesday, and turned round to find Gary with two glasses of whiskey. He asked me to come with him into the front room and gave me a glass and then got down on one knee with a ring. It took me by surprise! I never wanted a huge spectacle of an engagement so what he did was perfect. He’d even been on his own to get the ring and got it spot on!

We were married on the 24th March 2016, the Thursday before the bank holiday weekend. We got together on the 27th March 2008 so knew we wanted a date around when we got together and we wanted a weekday wedding. The Thursday was a good choice because most people then had the bank holiday Friday off work to recover!

An Intimate Wedding at The Belle Epoque (c) James Tracey Photography (19)

We got married at The Belle Epoque in Knutsford, Cheshire. It was the only venue that we went to look round and we knew straight away it was the one for us. We wanted somewhere that was unique, intimate and personal. From our first meeting there, all the staff were so incredibly helpful and we loved that it was a family business and not part of a large chain of hotels. We could pick and choose what we wanted for our day and we could stay there the night of the wedding and have breakfast with family the day after. The setup of the venue was ideal too; we loved that each part of the wedding was in a separate room and guests didn’t have to be shipped off somewhere whilst the room was re-organised and that people could sit away from the DJ during the evening do and chat. Generally, it’s an absolutely stunning venue!

An Intimate Wedding at The Belle Epoque (c) James Tracey Photography (4)
Gary and I are self-confessed beer geeks, so beer had to feature heavily in our wedding. I also wanted to still keep it girly and vintage-y too so I guess the theme was ‘Beer and Birds’ Each table was named after one of our favourite breweries and we had a selection of their bottles as table decorations with fake roses in. The men’s buttonholes were made of beer bottle caps and I had beer bottle caps on my bouquet. All the stationery featured vintage birds and we had a birdcage table plan. I got the design from Dollface Design on Etsy. My mum was unsure when I told her my vision but everyone said how unique and ‘us’ is was.

I am quite girly so pink was the colour theme but very subtly! I didn’t make Gary wear anything pink. We just had pink roses in the table decorations and my bridesmaid wore pink. The buttonholes did have small pink rose buttons on, which my bridesmaid and I also had in our bouquets.

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teal appeal. a personal and rustic wedding at newton hall – jess & andy

May 30th, 2016 | Julia Braime

A Rustic Wedding at Newton Hall (c) Eve Photography (108)

Oh how we love a blissful Bank Holiday. However you’re spending the bonus day off be sure to put your feet up for a few minutes to take a look at today’s stunning real wedding.

The first thing to strike us about Jess and Andy’s big day was the stunning attire worn by the bride and groom, as well as the groomsmen and bridesmaids. Impressively, all the gorgeous outfits (including Jess’s two dresses!) were made by hand at Jess’s mum’s shop, located in Newcastle.

With a parent in the industry, knowledgeable Jess had her dream venue and suppliers in mind from the moment Andy placed a ring on her finger. Looking at these images it’s clear the girl has style and knows a talented supplier when she sees one!

With images by Eve Photography.

A Rustic Wedding at Newton Hall (c) Eve Photography (40)

jess says: Andy proposed at the Malmaison in Newcastle in November 2012. I had been at University all day and we had planned to go Christmas shopping after uni and work. I arrived at my mum’s shop to be picked up by my dad who told me that I had to go with him. In the car there was a handwritten  letter from Andy explaining that he was sorry that we weren’t going shopping tonight but that he was waiting in the penthouse of the Malmaison, I was dropped off there and went up to the room. There I found him standing with a house made out of Lego with my engagement ring in the garage of the Lego house. At the time, Ed Sheeran’s Lego House was one of my favourite songs so he had incorporated it in to the engagement. We were engaged for almost three years before we got married.

Our wedding date was 6th November 2015. It had never occurred to us that we would have a winter wedding but we thought that it might be something nice for people to look forward to after the summer but before Christmas.

A Rustic Wedding at Newton Hall (c) Eve Photography (73)

We got married at Newton Hall in Alnwick. We have always been fans of the Apartment Group venues and how they are styled – we felt they reflected our personalities and tastes as a couple and pretty much looked like a bigger version of our own house. We had our engagement party at Nancy’s Bordello and knew we wanted something similar for our wedding. As soon as we walked into Newton Hall we knew it was the one and didn’t actually look at any other venues. We booked it there and then. The venue didn’t need much styling but we loved every little thing about it, we liked the fact it was an exclusive-use venue and also that there were bedrooms for our families to stay in as we had a lot of them coming from different parts of the country.

A Rustic Wedding at Newton Hall (c) Eve Photography (98)

We didn’t really have a theme for the wedding, though the look and feel of it was quite rustic. As the venue reflected us and our tastes, there was little that we need to do. Andy’s nana made the hessian and lace chair bows and we sat and decorated jars with various ropes, strings and twines just to add that little bit extra and something more personal. Some of the jars had been dug up from Andy’s nanas and grandads house foundations when they built their house so were very old and fragile but we felt they added a little history to the wedding. We had pine cones for the table name holders, which were picked from a local forest. Everything we did, we tried to do ourselves.

We decided to go for a teal colour scheme so there was a pop of colour throughout the wedding and something that was a little bit vibrant with it being a November wedding. The rest was made up of rustic materials, such as wood and twine.

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show stoppers. a bespoke dress for an eclectic wedding at the bowdon rooms – emma & chris

April 13th, 2016 | Rachel Parry

A Vintage Wedding at The Bowdon Rooms (c) Matt Bowen Photography (103)

Today’s real wedding is one big party filled with all the things that the bride and groom love (as it should be, right?)

Taking place at The Bowdon Rooms in Altrincham, Chris and Emma have drawn on the vintage ballroom setting and complemented it with their striking choice of attire, décor and entertainment.

If you’d like to follow in their footsteps with a personal wedding in a truly unique venue that you can really make your own, then you must come along to our Luxury Wedding Exhibition this Sunday to view this fabulous venue for yourself. Better still, we’ll be joined by some of the area’s top suppliers to help take care of the all-important details too!

With images by Matt Bowen Photography.

A Vintage Wedding at The Bowdon Rooms (c) Matt Bowen Photography (37)

A Vintage Wedding at The Bowdon Rooms (c) Matt Bowen Photography (129)

emma says: After 14 years together, Chris proposed to me while we were on a weekend away in the Lake District. He’d been to see my parents earlier in the week to ask my dad’s permission to marry me and also my dad was the keeper of the engagement ring. Both engagement and wedding rings were handed down to me from my grandparents.

Chris had originally planned to save the proposal until the evening, but as the day went on he became more anxious and knew he couldn’t last until then. So as we were unpacking our bags, I put the kettle on then Chris came out of the bathroom, got down on one knee and said “I’ve got something to ask you”. I said yes and we went on to have a fantastic weekend.

We set the date for August 30th 2014. We’d had in mind a wedding sometime between June and September to hopefully get some good weather and the date itself was picked due to our chosen venue’s availability.

A Vintage Wedding at The Bowdon Rooms (c) Matt Bowen Photography (70)

The Bowdon Rooms in Altrincham, was the setting for our wedding reception. It’s a fantastic quaint Edwardian building with a ballroom inside and a fully sprung maple dance floor. One of the main criteria for our venue was that we wanted our guests, and obviously ourselves to have an unforgettable party, with great music and plenty of dancing. The ballroom gave us the space to make that possible. We had about 130 people there in total once the evening guests arrived and it was just an ideal space to fit everyone in. From booking the venue through to picking up all our belongings after the big day, the staff and organisers couldn’t have been any more helpful and catered for out every need. They helped make the day run so smoothly and were so accommodating. In particular our wedding co-ordinator Suzanne was just incredible and was on hand whenever we had any queries and gave so much support and advice.

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graceful lace. stephanie allin for a vintage styled wedding at wood lane, sheffield – charlotte & kyle

September 16th, 2015 | Rachel Parry

A pretty wedding in Sheffield (c) Elouisa Georgiou Photography (39)

Though not set on a strict theme, today’s real wedding couple styled their day perfectly to create a reflection of them and the things that they like.

The pretty affair features playful pastel décor in blooms, bird cages and antique accessories to help set the scene. Add to this a chic VW camper van, a to-die-for Stephanie Allin gown and gorgeous lace mint bridesmaid dresses, and you’ve got one very swoon-worthy wedding indeed.

With images by Elouisa Georgiou Photography.

A pretty wedding in Sheffield (c) Elouisa Georgiou Photography (5)

charlotte says: We got engaged in Paris. Kyle had booked the weekend away as a surprise and told me to pack a small case. He took me first to a hotel in Liverpool airport, and in the room he left two tickets to Paris and Disneyland on the bed for me to notice – I was so shocked! Our first day in Paris consisted of a 38 degree heatwave so we waited until it was dark to venture up the Eiffel Tower. During the lift ride, I could feel his hands shaking but he said it was his fear of heights! As we stood looking over Paris at night, I just remember he got out a ring box and asked me to be his wife still shaking. I will remember that moment forever.

Our wedding date was 9th August 2014. I’m a secondary school teacher and so having the holidays to enjoy our day was important – I really wanted a summer wedding too. Although the day before there was an awful storm and horrendous rainfall, by some miracle the weather was perfect – the marquee we hired from Ascot Marquees had all dried out and we were blessed with sunshine.

A pretty wedding in Sheffield (c) Elouisa Georgiou Photography (7)

We only ever looked at one venue and that was Wood Lane in Sheffield; a grade two listed barn with lots of character and original rustic features as it was built in 1802. We knew we wanted the venue to be all ours and to be on the unique side – so a hotel wasn’t for us. We also loved the fact that Kyle’s mum had helped to dig the pond in the gardens years ago and Kyle went to school right next door.

As soon as I walked into the barn I fell in love with the natural stonework and wood beams and I knew this is where I wanted to marry Kyle. Being a blank canvas, we knew it would be hard work, but we had the freedom to create exactly the day we wanted.

We didn’t have a strict theme as we’re quite eclectic in our tastes: we love old, restored furniture, vintage styling and unique rustic touches and this is what I wanted the styling of our day to represent.

For the colour palette we mainly went for a mix of pastel colours: mint, pale pinks and blues, to fit in with the delicate colourings of the barn and the meadow-like gardens surrounding it.

A pretty wedding in Sheffield (c) Elouisa Georgiou Photography (18)

As a student I worked part-time in River Island (which is actually where Kyle and I met) so fashion and clothes have always been a big part of my life. Having heard great things about The White Room in Sheffield I knew this was the kind of bridal boutique I needed to go to. I fell in love with Loren – a full lace Stephanie Allin dress – and Chloe, the owner, suggested I added lace bolero.

I also wore a vintage crystal headband by Debbie Carlisle. The band was wrapped in satin to match the colour of my hair too. I adore shoes, and so I decided on a pair of white satin peep toe Louboutins. The inside of the shoes are blue for your ‘something blue’, which I loved. My earring were from Swarovski to match a necklace my friends had bought me on my birthday and I also wore a diamond bracelet which Kyle had sneakily bought me and given to my bridesmaids so they could surprise me!

My and the girls’ hair was done by Jade from Identity in Rawmarsh, Rotherham. She knew exactly what I wanted and did an incredible job. I wanted my make-up to be subtle so I felt like me. I’d seen Laura Turner’s work on Facebook and she created a perfect natural vintage look for me.

A pretty wedding in Sheffield (c) Elouisa Georgiou Photography (22)

Kyle didn’t want a traditional wedding suit, so he went for a slim line blue Lambretta suit and brown leather brogue shoes from Slaters. His best man Ryan, and his dad, John also wore the same suit with my uncle and cousin wearing a slightly darker version. They all wore the same ties from Primark – which had to be the biggest find of the wedding! And pocket squares from River Island. I also ordered Kyle, Ryan and John socks with their name and wedding title sewn on from eBay as a bit of fun. Kyle and Ryan also wore a tie pin, both belonging to their grandfather.

I found the bridesmaid dresses in BHS. I knew I wanted something a little different, and I wasn’t searching for a colour it was more about the style of the dress and making sure all the girls were comfortable and happy. We decided on full lace dresses in mint with a tie around the waist and matching mint peep toes satin shoes, again from BHS. The girls had so many compliments.

A pretty wedding in Sheffield (c) Elouisa Georgiou Photography (19)

We wanted to introduce the wedding party to all the guests on arrival, so with a little help from the best man and my bridesmaid, we made a ‘wedding fan’ with introductions to everyone tied with mint ribbon and James, our usher, made sure everyone had one.

A pretty wedding in Sheffield (c) Elouisa Georgiou Photography (34)

Kyle and I knew that the traditional wedding cars didn’t really fit with the vision of our day. We visited a wedding fair in Doncaster and found an amazing VW camper van from All Luvd Up. The VW had enough room from myself and the bridesmaids to arrive together and we could enjoy a bottle of Moet on the journey too! They also decorated the van with ribbons and gorgeous flowers. It was great to have all my bridesmaids around me to keep me calm!

A pretty wedding in Sheffield (c) Elouisa Georgiou Photography (29)

We’d known our wedding photographer for about six years as we met at River Island when we were all students. After leaving University, Elouisa started her own business – Elouisa Georgiou Photography – and I’d followed her work on Facebook. We loved how she captured such natural photos and you felt like you really understood the emotions of each wedding day by the way she portrayed the guests and the bride and groom in the images. I’d been scouring through Pintrest, blogs and magazines to find inspiration and Elouisa just knew exactly what we wanted and that we didn’t want an album of all traditionally staged photos. Looking back at the photos, I can’t even remember noticing her taking them! She was brilliant at capturing all the precious memories but without even being noticeable – we would definitely recommend her.

A pretty wedding in Sheffield (c) Elouisa Georgiou Photography (31)

We found our florist at a small wedding fayre at Wood Lane – Fantail Designer Florist. Sam understood immediately what I wanted and made some beautiful suggestions. In my bouquet I had memory lane roses tied in with gysophila, which my bridesmaids also had, and beautiful pastel accents. Sam wrapped the stems in vintage lace and finished with a silver broach which belonged to Kyle’s grandmother. When she delivered them on the morning of the wedding, I was overwhelmed – they were just perfect.

Sam also created the most stunning centrepieces using rustic birdcages I had bought from The Range. The flowers were sat in a bed of natural moss and they looked incredible. She mounted the birdcages on plates of natural tree trunk, which I bought from a local farm. We also had natural bark planters and ivory around the natural stone window behind where were said our vows.

As well as the flowers, we hired ‘love’ light-up letters for our evening reception. They looked amazing as it went dark.

A pretty wedding in Sheffield (c) Elouisa Georgiou Photography (32)

For our table names I bought a collection of vintage records to represent all our favourite bands that we have seen together in the past eight years, and I made the table plan using half a birdcage from Hobby Craft and backing it on some vintage style paper from Paperchase.

I really wanted to create an English tea party feel to the wedding breakfast, so Kyle and I had been collecting vintage tea cups from charity shops and car boots and with some help from Kyle’s mum and then hiring some more from a lady on Gumtree we managed to make sure everyone had their tea in their own tea cup.

A pretty wedding in Sheffield (c) Elouisa Georgiou Photography (38)

After the ceremony, I didn’t want to go just straight into the photos; I wanted people to relax and enjoy the day. As the gardens were so stunning, we bought a batch of hay bales from Wood Lane and added blankets so our guests could sit and enjoy drinks, mini cartons of popcorn and delicious scones and cakes made by my bridesmaid’s mum.

For the favours Kyle wanted to buy the men scratch cards which was really fun, and I chose shabby chic doves with twine for the women. Kyle’s mum brought back some handmade chocolates from France and put them in little boxes for everyone too. They were delicious!

Our amazing cake was made by Donna-Jane Cakes. She’s so talented. I saw her on Facebook and loved her designs. We had three tiers: chocolate, vanilla and one red velvet and they were all delicious. We’d already had the cake topper for over a year as we bought it in Disneyland Paris on our engagement weekend, so it meant a lot to us. Donna did a brilliant job of surrounded it with pastel flowers and an edible lace trim.

A pretty wedding in Sheffield (c) Elouisa Georgiou Photography (40)

With the nature of our venue we had to hire outside catering and so I was recommended Hazel’s Catering by Wood Lane, and they were fantastic. We loved their presentation of the food; our starter was spicy tomato soup with fresh warm bread and they served it in little casserole pots on a slate. Our main was tarragon chicken and our dessert was their own recipe of a chocolate and fruit tart with raspberries and cream. Everyone commented on how nice it was.

A pretty wedding in Sheffield (c) Elouisa Georgiou Photography (41)

I always knew the entertainment was going to be an important part of our day. We’d been going to gigs and festivals since we were young and we both loved indie bands such as the Arctic Monkeys and Oasis. I found our band – Hudson – on Function Central’s website. The guitarist had played with Sir Paul McCartney at the Liverpool Empire and my husband and his brother are huge Beatles fans so we knew they’d be perfect. They created such a cool, indie atmosphere like we had our very own gig with everyone dancing.

For our first dance I asked my very good friend Pete to sing Elton John’s Your Song. He’s an incredibly talented singer and sounds just like Elton John! The band played live whilst he sang and I think even they were taken back at how good it was. It was such a special moment.

A pretty wedding in Sheffield (c) Elouisa Georgiou Photography (45)

One of the most special touches to the day, was the wedding arch made by Kyle’s dad. He did such a good job of recreating what we wanted and it meant a lot to us that he’d worked so hard on it as we said our vows stood underneath it.

As a bit of a unique touch, before the wedding I asked the married guests to send me a photo of their wedding day. We bought an old led window from a second hand shop and I painted it green and added ‘Love is all you need’ in scrabble tiles at the top. On each window pane we put one of the photos so our guests could share in the weddings of others. It was quite fun as the guests were trying to work out which wedding photo belonged to who!

I also put together a vintage style sweetie stand using an old desk from eBay, which Kyle’s dad restored, some vintage scales for £4 from a car boot, which Kyle’s mum restored, and old jars from charity shops and car boot sales.

A pretty wedding in Sheffield (c) Elouisa Georgiou Photography (43)

We also had a photo booth from Dave Spink Photography. It was incredible fun. They created us a book or all the images and the guests wrote some sentimental but also hilarious messages in it! The guests could also keep a copy of the photos to take home too.

A pretty wedding in Sheffield (c) Elouisa Georgiou Photography (48)

We would definitely recommend Wood Lane to a couple thinking of moving away from the traditional hotel wedding. Of course it’s hard work, but to have a venue which is a stunning and natural blank canvas where you’re able to create a wedding that represents who you are as a couple is relatively unheard of for many venues. You have the venue from the Friday to Sunday, so it takes so much stress away to have that time to style your wedding as you want it and to know that you’re the only people there is just amazing.

A pretty wedding in Sheffield (c) Elouisa Georgiou Photography (50)

We’ve both always wanted to go to America, so we booked our own little American tour as our honeymoon. We stayed in New York for four days then we flew into Orlando and Kyle’s dream was to drive a Mustang so I hired a white convertible one as a present. He was in his element! We actually stayed in Clearwater in the Sandpearl Hotel overlooking the beach, but we did visit Universal and Kyle’s family in Orlando, who weren’t able to come over, so that special to include them too.

Weddings can easily become about everyone else. My top tip for other Brides Up North is that when you stand at the front of your venue saying your vows, or sit down for your meal or dance the night away, just make sure those moments are as you wanted them to be. Stay true to who you are as a couple as you won’t please everyone, but the day isn’t about everyone, it’s about just you and your partner.

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love & lace. justin alexander for a vintage inspired wedding at the stables – abby & matt

September 10th, 2015 | Rachel Parry

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Today’s teenage sweethearts tied the knot during a traditional church ceremony and vintage inspired reception after more than ten years together.

Picking an elegant dove grey and pale pink palette to complement their chosen vintage theme, bride Abby then focused on her own attire picking a stunning lace Justin Alexander gown for her moment in the limelight.

Images by Phil Vaughan Photography.

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abby says:  Matt and I had been together for almost ten years when Matt proposed to me two years ago – it was a week before my 24th birthday. Matt asked me to marry him when we were in our cottage on our own. It was just perfect as I’m not someone who likes a lot of attention, but saying that I loved every part of the wedding day being all about us.

I always loved the idea of a spring wedding with the blossom still on the trees, so when the church and the venue were both free on 30th May 2015, we thought let’s get it booked! Sadly not all of mine and Matt’s grandparents, and one of my uncles, are still with us but all the way through the planning I had this strong feeling that they were watching over us and would make sure the sun was shining for our day. The Friday before and Sunday after the wedding it rained but sure enough on the Saturday from start to finish, it was sunny.

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Ever since I was a little girl I knew that I would love to get married at the Wesley Church in Epworth, close to where we live. The service there was just beautiful with my little sister Josie, who was my maid of honour, doing a beautiful reading for us.

We had looked at a few potential reception venues before we found The Stables in High Melton, Doncaster, but when we looked around it we knew it was the one. It has such a lovely courtyard where the guests enjoyed canapés and fizz and it looked gorgeous lit up by lanterns at night.

Our whole wedding was about our family and friends coming together for mine and Matt’s special day. We wanted to create a relaxed wedding that had a vintage feel with soft pastel colours as we both love that style.

We chose a dove grey and soft pink colour scheme as the two colours looked so pretty and delicate together. The bridesmaids wore soft grey dresses and the groomsmen and best men had grey suits with silver waistcoats. We also had grey and pink bunting made by Bunting Boutique for the courtyard.

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I took my mum and sister with me when I went shopping for my dress. We had been to a few shops before we picked to go to Emily’s Bridal Wear in Sheffield. I was starting to feel disappointed that I hadn’t found ‘the one’ but Emily found me my dream dress – it was the first one that she had picked and was by the designer Justin Alexander. As soon as I walked out my mum and Josie started crying and when Emily showed me in the mirror I just knew that this was the dress that I wanted to marry Matt in. I just loved the back detail and little lace cap sleeves. I wanted a little bow at the back and the girls at Emily’s designed one and fitted it onto the belt of the dress. I cannot praise the girls at Emily’s enough they are all so kind and caring and when I went to collect my dress for the last time we were nearly all in tears!

Matt’s suit was hired from Jeff Banks and looked so smart and lovely. He originally didn’t want a suit with tails, but when he tried it on he loved it. The groomsmen’s suits were also hired from Jeff Banks, they had a silver tie and Matt had a charcoal one.

My bridesmaids wore lovely dove grey, one-shoulder, long dresses from Monsoon – they all looked beautiful!

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To transport us on the wedding day, we hired an old vintage Rolls Royce from Tyson Cars. It was navy blue and cream, beautiful inside and out and fitted with our traditional but vintage theme.

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We used Phil Vaughan Photography to capture our day. Phil and his wife Nic, were brilliant and helped create some beautiful, relaxed and natural shots. They were so friendly and professional and we would definitely recommend them to others.

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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.

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.

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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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