November 25th, 2015 | Rachel Parry
When looking through the images from today’s real wedding there are some things that are instantly clear to see: the couple have fabulous taste going on with the venue and vintage wedding décor, they also have style – just look at their attire – but above all they have a wonderful connection, with their heartfelt smiles, tears and kisses all captured beautifully on camera.
Quite simply, a perfect partnership!
With images by S6 Photography.
kathryn says: We got engaged whilst on holiday in New York. It was a complete surprise and George had even gone to great lengths to make sure I didn’t suspect a thing!
We set the date for 22nd July 2015, 11 months after we got engaged. Our chosen venue was Wentworth Castle Gardens in Barnsley, Yorkshire. We saw pictures of its beautiful conservatory and the long barn online and decided to visit. Upon doing so we instantly fell in love with it and knew it was the place where we wanted to become husband and wife.
November 16th, 2015 | Rachel Parry
If you’re craving some pretty on this Monday morning then you’ve come to the right place, as today we’re sharing Hayley and Ross’ gorgeous celebration, complete with pastel wedding colours and handpicked style blooms.
As well as the setting being stunning, so too are the bride and groom with Ross opting for a slightly unusual bottle green suit and Hayley wearing a slim-line vintage style gown with exquisite detailing.
Above all we love that the day is beautifully styled but has a very chilled out vibe to it too – well until the reception that is when it appears some rather competitive moves went down on the dancefloor!
With images by Knot Just Pics.
hayley says: We had been together for eight years and were travelling around Australia and New Zealand visiting family and friends when we got engaged. Ross’ mum lives in New Zealand and she planned a big trip for Ross, myself, her and her husband around the South Island. We stayed in lots of small out of the way places, one of which was called ‘Barb’s Bach’ in the Marlborough Sounds (A bach is a holiday cottage). It was a fair drive from anywhere so really peaceful and remote. Ross and I were sleeping in a ‘sleep out’ which is essentially a spare bedroom down a walkway in the garden. Ross is not an early riser so I was getting suspicious of him getting up so early to make coffee in the mornings. Little did I know that these were failed attempts to get the ring from his mother’s handbag where it was safely hidden! Eventually he got down on one knee next to the bed and proposed. It was a total shock, having been together for so long, I just did not see it coming!
Our wedding date was slap bang in the middle of the school summer holidays as I am a primary school teacher. I needed both time to sort things out and then time to go on a honeymoon before school started again.
Ross is from South Africa, I’m from Shropshire and we live in London, so no matter where we got married, people would have to travel from somewhere! In the end, we decided on Shropshire as it was the most affordable option for people having to travel. It is also one of the most beautiful, unspoilt places in the UK (although I may be a little biased!). Our venue was somewhere that I had often been to with my family for special occasion dinners although it took us ages to think of it as a wedding venue. We had been looking for places with accommodation and had no luck. During a family Sunday lunch we had a quick look around The Mytton and Mermaid Hotel and it was pretty perfect! Coincidentally my grandfather had booked my parents a room there on their wedding night but there was a mix up with the booking and they didn’t stay. Thankfully my parents were able to get over it – 36 years later!
October 15th, 2015 | Julia Braime
The setting for today’s real wedding is rurally located Georgian manor house hotel with beautiful gardens and countryside views.
It ticked all the right boxes for bride Claire and groom Phil, as they had their hearts set on a relaxed vintage wedding that they could enjoy partly outdoors.
To the hotel’s impressive events space, the couple added homemade decorations to help set the scene whilst also putting an individual stamp on their big day. The result is both pretty and personal!
With images by Ragdoll Photography.
claire says: We got engaged on 24th July 2012, which was our tenth anniversary. I was in bed after having had an anaesthetic for a minor procedure during the day. Phil made a trail of candles from the bedroom to the bottom of the garden where, under a tree hung with dozens of nightlights, a table was laid with chocolates and champagne. A portable stereo was playing ‘our song’ – I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing. On the stroke of midnight Phil woke me up and said “follow the candles” then went down the garden before I’d fully woken. When I arrived Phil proposed – I said yes, of course.
Our wedding was on 24th July 2015. This was the date of our first kiss and the date Phil proposed on our tenth anniversary. The date is also 24-7, which is kind of cool and was used on the stationery.
Our chosen venue was Goldstone Hall Hotel. It was the perfect venue and it was available for the date we wanted.
We decided a vintage chic theme as we wanted a relaxed and informal semi-outdoor wedding. In terms of colours, our bridesmaids were in dusky pink and the groom and groomsmen were in beige and cream.
My wedding dress was a floor length vintage lace design over light toffee with heavy embroidery and pearls. It fitted in well with the vintage theme.
Phil wore beige chinos, a taupe shirt and a brown wool waistcoat. He decided against wearing a jacket or tie.
Rosie Hunt of Ragdoll Photography captured our wedding day. We would definitely recommend her to anyone; she is very sweet, genuine and unassuming which makes her really relaxing and fun to work with. Her style is nicely alternative with a retro eye and her framing and background choices really lend themselves to a fun, creative, vintage theme. We requested unplanned ad-hoc shots to capture the essence of the day and Rosie provided these wonderfully. We were very happy with our photos.
My wedding bouquet was made up of roses, eucalyptus and gypsophila, provided by Alexandra Maccioni. For decoration we had posies which matched my bouquet displayed in vintage silver tea pots.
As favours we gave small sweet jars with mixed penny sweets to the men and test tubes filled with strawberry and cream liqueur to the ladies.
Our wedding cake was a three tier design with sugar flowers made by Tracey Williment Cakes. Each tier was a different flavour: carrot cake, ginger cake and fruit cake.
For our wedding breakfast we chose to keep things relaxed with an afternoon tea served with a selection of white, red and rose wines. We hired vintage crockery and cutlery from The Vintage Occasion, who we would recommend as they deliver and collect across a large area and were happy to tailor their package to suit our requirements.
We would definitely recommend Godstone Hall Hotel to other couples. The venue has dining rooms and conservatories on the main house, an oak pavilion licenced for marriages in the gardens and a marquee leading from the house suitable for evening receptions.
After the wedding we went on honeymoon to Paradise Cove, a boutique hotel in the north of Mauritius. It’s a beautiful hotel with only 68 rooms in a great location and the staff were all wonderful. Even though it was their winter the weather was great and we got to explore the island, go on boat trips, sunbathe lots and drink plenty of local rum.
My top tip to other Brides Up North would be to book your venue as early as possible – the good ones go really quickly, sometimes years in advance. Everything else falls into place after that. Also, make as many of the extra touches as you can (Hobbycraft is great!), as it makes the day personal and gets you more involved.
October 7th, 2015 | Rachel Parry
When planning their big day, today’s couple initially decided on a 1940s theme inspired by their chosen transport – a vintage bus. However worried that she might get carried away with just one set theme, bride Jodi chose to keep the remainder of the wedding modern and simple with elegant pastel pops in the bridesmaids’ dresses, décor and flowers.
The result is a pretty and up-to-date big day with just a touch of vintage.
With images by Paul Swift Photography.
jodi says: We got engaged on the 2nd August 2013. We had gone for a few days away in Grasmere, Cumbria. After a fantastic day boating on Lake Coniston we went back to the guest house to get changed and go into Grasmere for something nice to eat and a few drinks. On the way back from the restaurant was a wishing well, which we stopped at for a while. Jack told me to throw a penny in and make a wish, I did. He did the same, he asked me what id wished for and I told him I wished we could be this happy forever. I asked him what he wished for, he said he wished for his dream to come true, and for me to be his wife, as he pulled a beautiful diamond engagement ring out of his pocket. I didn’t really quite understand what was going on until he actually asked me to marry him. It was the biggest shock of my life! I was so happy I cried for the rest of the holiday!
We decided to marry on the 1st August 2015 as we wanted two year’s planning and saving time, a summer wedding and the nearest date to our engagement date.
We got married at St Peter and St Paul’s Church in the village where we live. I have lived in Rishton all of my life, as have most of my family. My parents, grandparents and great grandparents married at the same church and ever since being a little girl I dreamed of walking down the aisle there.
We had the reception and evening celebrations at Astley Bank in Darwen, Lancashire. It’s absolutely beautiful and the food is amazing! A friend of mine had had her wedding there in 2008 and from that day I loved it. I’m from quite a big family and didn’t want a venue that a family wedding had been held at before, I also wanted somewhere not too close to home but a close enough distance for people to be able to travel to easily, so it was perfect. I took Jack to see it before we had even talked about it properly and on entering the grounds he pretty much made his mind up there and then that it was the place for us.
I thought I wanted a modern wedding until Jack came home from work saying someone he knew had hired a wedding bus. I’ll be honest, I thought it sounded awful! However, I had a look online and saw a bus that we had seen before during a charity walk, I loved it so much! It was a navy and cream 1947 Leyland double decker. I loved the idea that it could take everyone from the church to the venue. I then started to plan a theme around the bus, especially as I love the style of the 40s, but as I did more research I decided I didn’t want to be stuck to one particular style/era. I’m a little OCD with fine detail, if we had gone for a 40s theme literally everything would have had to have been 40s! So we decided that we would go for a modern wedding with a slight vintage twist, which is a good job as the bus I’d based my planning on was involved in an accident two days before the wedding!
We chose a colour scheme of pastel green with peach/coral and ivory. I wanted light, bright, fresh colours that I hadn’t seen at other weddings. I had seven bridesmaids and two flower girls. Choosing the bridesmaids colour was the hardest decision of them all and I wanted to be clear about that before planning anything else. My maids couldn’t be any different from each other with skin tone, hair colour etc. and although I knew I wanted a summery colour I needed something that suited all of them, it was a tough decision! And I’m not convinced they all loved it, but they looked incredible!
On the wedding day I wore the third wedding dress I had bought! The first was from eBay and was an absolute disaster! I hated it so much I cried when I unpacked it. The photos were beautiful but the real thing was such a disappointment!. The second I think I panic bought! The neckline was same as the bridesmaids’ dresses so I think that’s what made me get it. I loved it but then the more I looked at myself in it the more I realised that it really wasn’t me! By this time Lindsey at Anne Whittakers Bridal Wear in Accrington had got to know me a little and agreed it wasn’t right for me. I tried on what felt like a million other dresses but had kept looking at the gorgeous one on the model in the middle of the shop. I tried that on last. I loved it! So much so I nearly cried! It was a beautiful lace Ronald Joyce dress with a low button up back and gorgeous lace train. I’m not a girly girl at all! I don’t do bling or sparkle but it had just the right amount of detail around the middle to make it a beautiful dress without being too much. Lindsey swapped the dress no problem, I really can’t thank her enough! She and the seamstress Shareen were both amazing! My wedding makeup was done by Rebecca Brown and my hair stylist was Gemma Brown.
Jack wore a three piece grey suit from Amelia’s menswear in Clitheroe. By the time it came to choosing the suits I’d become a wedding geek! I’d noticed that most of the suits I had looked at hadn’t changed much over the last 20 years and I wanted something more traditional looking yet with a modern cut. Amelia’s was definitely the best choice, I had seen a photo on their website and knew straight away that it was perfect. The ties were a lovely floral print silk and they had them in the exact green I had chosen for the bridesmaids for the ushers and groomsmen, a peach for my dad that matched the flowers, and ivory to match my dress for the groom. Jack chose to wear a tailcoat as he wanted to be a little different from the rest of the men. The staff at Amelia’s need medals! They put up with the husbands fussing and flapping and his entourage of 11!
The bridesmaids wore pastel green dresses with frilled alter necks that flowed from under the bust to the floor. I chose dresses that would flatter all the different figure types they have, which was a good job as two became pregnant during the planning! I ordered the dresses to be made to measure from a company abroad. The groomsmen wore three piece suits from Amelia’s with standard length jackets and ties in green to match the bridesmaids. Jack’s twin boys wore the same but without the jackets, and their sleeves rolled up a little with Converse shoes to give a more casual look but still in keeping with the older men.
For the wedding transport we ended up having to have an alternative bus as the one I’d set my heart on had been damaged in an accident. Classic Buses sent us a vintage red double decker London bus after working hard to juggle their already full schedule. The driver was a lovely lady who made it even more special. We arrived at church on the bus and after the ceremony it brought our entire wedding party back to Astley Bank. Nobody had to worry about driving or parking or not being able to drink, it was definitely a great idea and everyone loved it!
We chose Paul Swift as our photographer, which was the easiest and quickest decision we made! I’ve known Paul and his wife Sarah since school days and have followed his photography blogs since he started out. Since the day we asked him he helped us to plan our big day and gave us so much advice and knowledge. Neither me nor jack are comfortable in front of the camera so he suggested a pre wedding shoot. This made such a massive difference to us! Paul made us very comfortable and we had such good fun and a real laugh. On the big day his presence was very calming, we both felt like we were in the best hands and he did so much more for us than just take photographs. Jack said he was really nervous when he arrived at church until Paul turned up and started organising everyone, we honestly can’t recommend him highly enough. A true professional! He was very calm and patient and the 800+ photos he took are all beautiful and the perfect reminder of our wedding day.
Rachel at Garlands Florist made my hand tied bouquet using coral miss piggy roses, white hydrangea schneeball, thistles, veronica and rosemary, tied with ivory lace ribbon. Rachel incorporated a bangle into my bouquet which belonged to my mum who passed away in 2008 aged just 49. I wanted to carry something of hers with me on my big day, this also became my something old. She also made the most adorable little gypsophila head dresses for the flower girls, too cute!
Rachel then used glassware I had collected as top table decorations with fresh flowers in keeping with those of my bouquet. I’ve worked in science since 1999 so I wanted to use some scientific glassware to incorporate my love of chemistry into our day. Wedding Creations of Oswaldtwistle dressed the venue with seat covers with peach and lace sashes, huge candelabras with hanging pearls and diamantes. There were also little vintage bottles, pots with flowers and hessian and scatterings of pearls, peach roses petals and diamantes on the tables. Our table names were the dates of our parents and grandparents weddings and each had a photograph from their wedding day. The guests loved this personal touch! The top table had our wedding date and a photo from our pre wedding shoot. I made these myself along with the place name cards and seating plan in the same style as I’d made the invitations and orders of service.
Our favours were bath salts for the ladies and heart shaped mints for the men in corked test tubes tied with brown twine for a ‘sciencey’ vintage feel.
Our cake was made by my sister-in-law Charlotte as a wedding present – it looked and tasted amazing. We has three tiers of ivory iced chocolate and vanilla sponge and a clever clear Perspex tier filled with vintage buttons and pearls to match our theme. It was decorated with a row of threaded buttons and topped with the flowers I had used to make the bridesmaids bouquets. So simple and so beautiful.
The wedding breakfast was absolutely fantastic! We chose from the set menu and tried to pick food that would suit everyone. Everything was cooked to perfection and all the guests complimented it.
To provide entertainment, we had the DJ who was hired by the hotel as part of our wedding package and we also hired a photo booth from Style My Event. This went down a treat with all of the guests!
As a special touch at the reception we had a beautiful handmade guest book made for us by one of my roller derby team mates Johannes. He made a hinged drop top guest book with ‘branch slices’ cut from recycled wood for guests to write their messages on. The design of it means that it can stand freely like a book displaying our messages or hang on the wall like a picture. We currently have it standing on the sideboard but plan to hang it on the wall in the future.
Following our wedding we would certainly recommend Astley Bank to others. The venue is beautiful, the staff are brilliant (so warm and caring), the food was outstanding and the grounds are incredible. I can’t fault a single thing, absolutely perfect!
Our favourite part of the day would have to be the church and ceremony, though we all loved it! The vicar Michael Woods and the vergers, especially Mrs Schaefer, were so caring and welcoming. The service was beautiful, flowers were gorgeous and everything went exactly to plan. My daughter Elisse did a reading by Dr Seuss, we had the church bells rung by a team of incredible bell ringers one of whom is a friend, another friend sings in the choir so she came along to provide some much needed tone! The street outside was lined with well-wishers. It was perfect, a real fairy tale wedding.
After the wedding we went on a Mediterranean cruise for our honeymoon. We started in Mallorca and visited places such as the south of France, Monaco, Italy, Corsica, Spain before returning to Mallorca. The highlight for us was travelling to Barcelona, such a beautiful city with so much culture, we will definitely be going back.
My top tip to other Brides Up North would be to plan, plan and plan some more! Research everything and be sure you know what you want! This is your big day!
August 17th, 2015 | Rachel Parry
Wow, where to start with today’s village hall wedding? It’s absolutely gorgeous, from the bride’s bargain wedding dress to the pretty afternoon tea reception, and all that’s in-between!
As they were footing the bill for the wedding themselves, Claire and Matt where careful to stick to their budget, looking for areas in which they could make savings but without cutting corners, whilst also calling in favours from family and friends along the way.
Their vintage vision came together perfectly and provides so much inspiration for couples wanting to follow in similar themed footsteps. So let’s take a closer look at the pretty…
With images by Andrew Keher Photography.
claire says: We got engaged on my 30th birthday in November 2013 while in Belfast. I was born in Northern Ireland and my family still live there so Matt wanted to take me home to get engaged. Matt managed to plan the whole thing and keep it a secret – I had no idea! Throughout the day we arrived Matt was secretly recording little videos and pictures and sent them to an email account he set up for me. He later told me he had the ring with him all day but couldn’t find the right moment to ask the big question. He decided to ask me on my birthday so when I woke up he showed me the email account and got me to read all the messages he’d sent through. When I got to the final one he was down on one knee and before I knew it had asked me to marry him. We were both in tears at this point – it was perfect! Plus he chose ‘the ring’ I’d seen – a vintage 1920s engagement ring that was in a local jewellers, Mr Allan’s. Every time we went past we would look at it but then one day I noticed it had been sold – I was sad until I realised he’d saved up and bought it for me!
We set the date for 6th June 2015. We’d been together for nine years on the 4th June 2015 so this was the closest date we could get to that.
We got married at our church, St Oswald and St Edmund Arrowsmith Catholic Church in Ashton-in-Makerfield. We both went to the high school there and some of Matt’s relatives are buried in the church grounds so it has a special connection for us. It’s a beautiful church – the photos from Andy really show off the church at its best. We chose Dunham Massey Village Hall for our reception as we love the area and the nearby National Trust Park. We also loved that it gave us the freedom to do what we wanted with the space. The price was so reasonable it was perfect for us as we were paying for the whole wedding ourselves.
We went with a vintage theme but it wasn’t really a conscious thing – we just love everything vintage! We were really keen on having afternoon tea which lends itself to the vintage theme really well.
We didn’t really have a set colour scheme. The colour came from the flowers – when we met Clare from The Flower Farm we decided on seasonal flowers with pinks, purples and blues to add some colour to the venue.
I was set on a dress in a vintage style. I knew I wanted lace and tried on a few styles before I found ‘the one’! I tried Ali by Augusta Jones in a local bridal shop and knew instantly it was the one but it was way out of my budget – £2,000! I tried to find something similar on the high street but couldn’t get this dress out of my mind. In the end I found it for sale for £600 on eBay and arranged with the seller to go and try it on. I would recommend that anyone buying second hand does the same and be 100% sure you’re happy with it before you hand over any money.
To go with the dress, I wanted some shoes that were special so I knew I’d find something from Rachel Simpson. The Gardenia style in powder blue were just what I wanted and were so comfortable to wear – I kept them on all day. I kept my accessories really simple with a pair of drop pearl earrings from Marks & Spencer and my engagement ring.
Matt was keen to wear something a little different and special for the big day. After a ‘few’ shopping trips he eventually found his suit in Reiss – the Claymore. After that nothing compared so it had to be that one. He paired this with a slim fit shirt from TM Lewin, navy bow tie from Red Herring, navy braces from Next and tan brogues from Autograph at Marks & Spencer. Matt’s best man wore a navy suit and shirt from Next.
We booked a vintage double decker bus from Belle Vue Coaches in Stockport as our transport. I travelled with my bridesmaids and mum to the church in the bus and then we travelled down to the venue after the wedding. Alan the bus driver was a legend – he managed to navigate the small country roads to get us all there in one piece.
Andrew Keher was our photographer and I would 100% recommend him! Andy was amazing on the day and was fab throughout the whole process of booking and our engagement shoot. Andy does natural really well, we didn’t want to have lots of group shots but wanted to remember those little moments throughout the day. That’s what Andy does so well and after the wedding he posted little sneak peeks to Facebook which kept us going until we received our wooden box in the post. He puts so much thought into what he does and really cares about the whole experience for the couples he works with. Just amazing – money well spent!
On the wedding day I carried a bouquet of wild flowers from The Flower Farm. It was beautiful, smelled amazing and Clare put some peonies in there too, which are my favourite flowers!
To decorate, we bought three buckets of wild flowers from Clare. We had jam jars on the tables so this allowed us to create a rustic feel to the arrangements. Clare also made the bridesmaids bouquets, some flower hair clips and all of the buttonholes. We also bought 100 stems of gypsophila, which we suspended from the ceiling.
Our venue dresser Harri Bradburn came up with some lovely ideas for the venue which included a little area for our guests where they could take a picture using an Instax camera or write us a message using the typewriter. On the tables she put some advice cards for our guests to give us advice for a happy marriage. There were some interesting ones! Harri spent so much time on the little details that really made the difference on the day.
The room just looked stunning! We had lots of bunting, lace panels with fairy lights and lots of jam jars! Our friends were very generous and we borrowed some beautiful pieces to use in the venue. My friend Kath loaned us the tea trolley that the cake sat on and the stepladders that were adorned with flowers on the stage. At my hen do my friends gave me some little trinkets that we used to dress the venue on the day. My bridesmaids both had some keepsakes made for us so we used those as well. It was lovely to include those little personal touches.
For our wedding cake we wanted Victoria sponge (as we both love it) and we were really keen on having tiered naked cake. We met with Annalise from One Sweet Day who immediately understood what we wanted. It was even better that I expected and the bunting was a gorgeous finishing touch. It was delicious too!
We knew early on that we wanted afternoon tea for our wedding meal – we’ve become a bit obsessed! My friend Wendy (from work) and Anne were the perfect choice as this is their forte! They also provided all of the vintage china that our guests used. We met with them a few times to decide what we were going to have – the lemon drizzle cake is their speciality and went down a treat on the day! We also love pizza so early in the planning process we found a few companies that have pizza vans. We knew we had to have one so we contacted Honest Crust who were so lovely and provided us with the best pizza’s we’ve had. The salads were also delicious and went down well. We bought the wine from Majestic Wines and went with a Sauvignon Blanc and a Pinot Blush. Matt was in charge of beer and contacted Dunham Massey Brewery to order a keg of their Summer Meadow ale and cider for our guests. This went down really well especially with the men attending!
At the reception Matt and I decided to have a sweetheart table. We were so happy we did this as it gave us some time to ourselves to catch up after the wedding. Everyone says your wedding day goes so fast but I think this helped us to have a moment for just us.
In terms of entertainment, Matt’s mum arranged for the Haydock Male Voice Choir to sing at the church. We chose a few songs for them to sing: Embraceable You, Cwm Rhondda and a few others – everyone was in tears as it was so emotional and sounded amazing.
For the reception we had an outdoor seating area with some hay bales and outdoor games and we booked a DJ, Paul Leffler, on recommendation from one of our friends. We gave him a list of songs we love and he managed to fit them all in and get everyone up dancing. Our first dance was When I Fall in Love by Nat King Cole – we loved that it is a classic and suited us as a couple.
Others fab suppliers we used on the day included Nicola at Johnson Hairdressing Group in Wigan, who did mine and my bridesmaids’ hair and our makeup was done by the fantastic Mika Johnson. We hired our folding wooden chairs from The Chairman Company, who were very reasonably priced and provided easy delivery to the venue. Our wedding rings were from Mr Allan, the same jewellers that Matt bought my engagement ring from. Matt had his grandad’s ring re-sized and I had a white gold band specially made to fit the round shape of my ring. Our confetti was from Shropshire Petals – we went with the Vintage Daydream mix, which I think this summed up the day perfectly!
We would recommend our wedding venue to other couples that want control over what they do on their big day. The location is in the lovely village of Dunham Massey and has some outdoor space that can be used as well. Andrew, the caretaker is so helpful and lives next door so was on hand if we needed any help. I was amazed when we were looking at venues how much money couples are charged for various things (corkage, cake cutting etc.) so if you want to save some money this is a really good way to do it.
Meeting Matt at the top of the altar was my favourite moment of the day – it was all worth it at that point. I was close to tears all the way up the aisle but managed to keep it together. Matt said his favourite moment was when we were outside on the hay bales with all of our friends.
We haven’t been on our honeymoon yet but we’re planning on going to Italy at the end of September. We want to go to Florence, Rome and then spend some time on the Amalfi Coast. We’re really looking to it – with all the saving for the wedding we’ve not been away for years! We did manage to get a few nights away after the wedding to chill out. We stayed at The Drawing Room in Powys.
Everyone says this but my top tip to other Brides Up North is to do what makes you happy as a couple – it’s your day. It was a little easier for us to do this as we paid for the wedding so we didn’t feel obliged but I think there are ways to get what you want while keeping everyone else happy. And make sure you have some time to just you on the day.
andrew keher photography, Augusta Jones, belle vue coaches, debenhams, dunham massey brewery, haydock male voice choir, honest crust, majestic wines, marks and spencer, mika johnson, monsoon, mr allans, next, one sweet day, paul leffler, rachel simpson, real wedding, red herring, shropshire petals, the chairman company, the drawing room, the flower farm, tm lewin, uk wedding blog, village hall wedding, vintage wedding
July 28th, 2015 | Rachel Parry
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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