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!

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sweet sunshine. beads & boots for a rustic wedding at manley mere – fern & mark

September 14th, 2015 | Rachel Parry

A Sunshine Wedding at Manley Mere (c) Jess Yarwood Photography (35)

Today’s real wedding is filled with sunshine, not only in the form of lots of happy faces, but also lots of lovely sunflowers.

Lining the aisle, adorning the tables and sitting proud in Fern’s bouquet, the vibrant blooms add plenty of colour and character to the big day.

Further rustic wedding touches in the décor and cake help to bring the whole theme beautifully, and we’re pleased to see that Fern was prepared for the venue’s outdoor elements in her handmade cowboy boots!

With images by Jess Yarwood Photography.

A Sunshine Wedding at Manley Mere (c) Jess Yarwood Photography (2)

fern says: We have been together for six years and in that time been blessed with three beautiful little girls.  We never planned on getting married, we wanted to save the expense of a big wedding and so I changed my surname to match that of the children and Mark as were a family in everything but name. However, I remained a Miss. Often I was mistakenly called Mrs and this time it was in front of Mark and I always explained why I changed my name to the person who made the mistake. He asked me if it bothered me that people got it wrong and I said sometimes. He said I should change it to Mrs then but I said I couldn’t without being married – then he said let’s get married and I said yes! That was a year before our big day.

A Sunshine Wedding at Manley Mere (c) Jess Yarwood Photography (20)

Our wedding date was six years to the day since our first date at Chester Races, it was 1st August 2015.

We got married at Manley Mere. It’s a quirky venue that we felt suited the relaxed and informal tone to our day. Plus we hadn’t been to any other weddings there so our day wasn’t competing against something else we’d experienced.

A Sunshine Wedding at Manley Mere (c) Jess Yarwood Photography (29)

We had a rustic and sunflower theme on the day. Mark and I come from a country/farming background and appreciate the simple things in life. We sent out sunflower seeds in the invites so guests could grow flowers to bring to the day and add colour. I wanted to hand make as much as possible to add to the individuality of the day.

For the colour scheme, we put navy with the yellow of the sunflowers and added hints of orange to give a bright and summery feel. The venue is quite outdoor and we brought the sunshine feel inside where we could.

A Sunshine Wedding at Manley Mere (c) Jess Yarwood Photography (32)

My dress was from Wife to Be in Warrington. It had lots of beading over the shoulders and down the back that reminded me of cobwebs! It added to my rustic theme but the pearl beading was so pretty it kept it ‘fancy’ and feeling bridal. I teamed it with cowboy boots as a quirky touch, which were handmade in Spain.

Mark wore a sand coloured Next suit which we bought in the sales keeping the costs down. His yellow tie was from a tie shop in Chester and took ages to find in the right shade. The best men wore matching suits to Mark and navy ties to complement the girls.

A Sunshine Wedding at Manley Mere (c) Jess Yarwood Photography (39)

My adult bridesmaid wore a navy maxi dress from Coast (which made us chuckle when Sally Webster from Coronation Street was spotted wearing it at an awards ceremony weeks before the wedding). The little girls wore navy party dresses from Marks & Spencer, which we customised with yellow ribbon.

A Sunshine Wedding at Manley Mere (c) Jess Yarwood Photography (43)

Mark travelled in a Bentley that his sons arranged as a surprise. I was already at the venue so no fancy motor for me!

A Sunshine Wedding at Manley Mere (c) Jess Yarwood Photography (46)

We chose Jess Yarwood to capture our day. She was simply amazing and would recommend her to anyone. She is full of enthusiasm and creativity, capturing the essence of the day. The guests have gushed over the photos and commented how unobtrusive she was, yet so warm and friendly.

We also had a video done on the day by Unique Videos, which we are waiting to arrive.

A Sunshine Wedding at Manley Mere (c) Jess Yarwood Photography (44)

S&J Flowers in Weaverham, Cheshire, did my bouquet, which was perfect and just as I described.

We did the entire venue dressing ourselves. My family and a team of my girlfriends worked so hard at making decorations such as the decorated vases and painted signs. The majority of the sunflowers were artificial as the ones we planted hadn’t flowered in time!

A Sunshine Wedding at Manley Mere (c) Jess Yarwood Photography (12)

We gave out ‘little bags of love’ with items that told the story of us as favours. They included things like a magnet for the attraction, a scratch card for the gamble, a flower as our love grows.

My best friend Liz Clarke, made our cake. We went for a simple design and she added decorated pine cones to represent me, Mark and our three little girls.

For the wedding breakfast we chose a buffet, which was best to help our day stay informal and feed the huge amount of children who attended. We have lasagne, breads, salads, fish goujons, wedges and nibbles followed by profiteroles and trifles.

A Sunshine Wedding at Manley Mere (c) Jess Yarwood Photography (4)

Mark and I love to gamble be it horse racing or bingo! So our entertainment was casino tables hired from ML Events, which everyone could play. We also had a magician called Danny Jewell, working the crowds who was amazing! In the evening we had a DJ.

As a special touch on the day, we gave our dads their own personalised glass to use; my dad an engraved wine glass and Mark’s dad an engraved whiskey tumbler. We gave our mums and my nanna a personalised engraved vase which contained paper flowers hand made by Danielle Oultram from Little Bird Flowers. They were a lasting memento of the day but also decorated our tables.

A Sunshine Wedding at Manley Mere (c) Jess Yarwood Photography (6)

We would definitely recommend our venue, particularly to those who want a blank canvass to dress in any colour or style. The stunning scenery outdoors provides stunning backdrops for photos too.

My favourite part of the day was walking over the bridge towards to summer house and seeing all the guests and Mark for the first time. Mark’s favourite part was the confetti as he was too nervous during the ceremony but that was when he first relaxed.

A Sunshine Wedding at Manley Mere (c) Jess Yarwood Photography (49)

For our honeymoon, we went to Rhodes and had a week in the 5* Princess Andriana. It was very hot reaching 36 degrees. It wasn’t our usual holiday as we are very active but was a lovely change to simply relax and laze for a week – child free!

My top tip to other Brides Up North would be to get married earlier in the day and get a late bar! The day goes so quickly after the ceremony that I would do anything I could to extend it, even by a few hours. We made the day our own and didn’t follow tradition unless we wanted to, a bit like our regular lives really!

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