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.
May 18th, 2015 | Julia Braime
Today’s wedding couple booked their big day for the middle of summer with the hope of blue skies and sunshine. Fortunately the unpredictable British weather was kind and delivered just that for their teepee reception held at the local cricket ground.
Highlights for us include Fiona’s stunning lace dress and her choice of boho-style, short white dresses for her maids complete with girly gyp headpieces. Ladies you look gorgeous!
In cricket terms we’re ‘bowled’ over by this fab Yorkshire wedding!
With images by Valentina Weddings.
fiona says: We got engaged in October 2012. It was on a rainy day (as it always is) at the top of Cat Bells in the Lake District. We decided to get married on 9th August 2014. Bang in the middle of summer, hoping for some sunshine!
Our ceremony was at our local church, St Radegunds Church in Scruton, North Yorkshire, which we can see from our living room window. We love where we live so it was nice to keep everything local and for our guests to enjoy our fab village. We decided to hire a Papakata teepee for our reception which was pitched at our village cricket ground where my dad has played cricket for years. They were so accommodating and we were able to use the loos in the pavilion which saved us many pennies!
There wasn’t really a set style for the wedding. I seem to acquire lots of random bits and bobs, so these kind of became the props for the day – an old vintage singer, a bargain wooden wardrobe my friend bought from a hospice sale and lovely retro marmalade pots.
I tried on every kind of style of wedding dress you can imagine and had good old laugh in the process! I found that I really liked lace and something quite fitted. I changed the back of the dress, to have more of a full keyhole style back as it was a high neck and added some onto the length to the train. It felt really vintage and quite a lot dressier than I pictured myself in, but I absolutely loved it. I got it from Charlotte at the Bridal Lounge in Northallerton – I can’t recommend this place enough!
James hired his and his boys’ suits from Most Suitable in Newcastle. They were grey with a mushroomy coloured cravat and a grey waistcoat. We also had some handmade cufflinks made through Most Suitable as pressies for all of the boys and a pair of matching ‘Happy Socks’.
Our little page boy Archie wore summer tweed trousers, a white linen shirt and braces, all from H&M, with some Saltwater sandals in blue. Meanwhile our little flower girl Harlowe wore a white cotton summer dress from Zara, yellow Saltwater sandals and a floral head piece to match the other girls.
We used my bridesmaid’s Dad’s camper, Bertie to transport us on the wedding day. He drove me and my Dad to church, and then me and James to the tepee after the service. A big thank you to Les for Bertie the camper! Our friends also surprised us with a hand drawn ‘just married’ sign and beer cans tied to Bertie!
Our photographer was Mark of Valentina Weddings. Mark was recommended to us by friends and we just clicked instantly! He’s so lovely, totally approachable and super creative. Mark listens to everything you say you’d like, styles of shots and compositions you love but equally suggests ideas that he has. We had a Pinterest board going for us both to pin photography ideas to and it’s the biggest photography board you’ll ever see!
Our wedding album, Mark and I designed together, which was great fun. The quality of the album is so high, definitely worth the money! Every one of our guests spoke of how professional and friendly Mark was, and one of our closest friends has already booked him for her wedding off the back of ours!
Mark also recommended to us a wedding videographer – Dom at Bouncing Ball Films and Ryan at Riff Raff Photography. At first we weren’t so keen, but in hindsight we are so glad we did. The finished video has been put together and footage edited so cleverly to create a short snap shot of our day. The choice of music was totally in their hands and perfectly suits our day. We have a huge smile every time we watch it!
The bouquets and headpieces I chose were all gyp bound by natural garden twine, as were the boys’ buttons holes. We kept the church flowers really simplistic, just small tin buckets full of gyp. Churches have so much heritage and beauty that I think you should just leave them be.
In the teepee we had beautiful multi coloured dahlias on the tables in the retro marmalade pots and a wooden crate filled with sunflowers. Again really simplistic but super vibrant creating a contrast from the neutral tones of the bouquets and church flowers. Our florist Lucy Hope was great and she helped with props that we needed too.
I designed our own wedding stationery, a small booklet invitation with foil blocking detail of the teepee illustration and hand rendered typography. I also drew all of the signage for the day and designed the thank you postcards through my business, Plewsy.
The table numbers were created by hanging old cricket score board numbers from the beams of the teepee, it was nice to have a link back to the cricket club whilst it also left us with more room on the tables for wine!
I totally forgot about the cake until two weeks before the wedding. Luckily our local farm shop, Springhouse Farm Shop, came to the rescue and created a beautiful naked sponge cake. They delivered it to the teepee on the morning of the wedding. The caterers layered it with strawberries and cream and we had a cake!
We wanted a relaxed feel to the day and so decided on tapas for the food. Our caterers, Paul and Chris of Indulge in Harrogate, were recommended by a work colleague and again when I met Paul I knew I trusted him to be the caterer for our big day! I had some ideas, but Paul suggested most of the dishes. Canapés were served with prosecco to our guests when they arrived at the teepee. We had crazy amounts of tapas including spicy chicken wings, tabbouleh, vegetable lasagne, chicken paella and chorizo. We served the wedding cake for pudding with berries and cream.
Paul and his team also ran the evening barbecue, serving grilled halloumi, salmon, chicken, homemade kebab skewers, coleslaw and a humongous salad! To drink we went for Rioja and Pinot Grigio for wine on the tables and behind the bar, along with barrels of Black Sheep and Carling (we ran out and had to raid the village pub for more!)
We booked Goldsands, a local band who we had seen play live a couple of times before, to entertain our guests. They are acoustic and were perfect for our venue. Everyone has said how great they were and they have been booked a fair few times by our guests since.
We filled my friend’s retro wardrobe that she lent us full of disposable cameras, tambourines, sombreros, maracas, glitter and other bits and bobs! We also managed to exchange some bales of straw for a few free pints with a local farmer for seating outside the teepee! Oh, and borrowed a retro sofa from the cricket pavilion which was perfect!
As a special touch James and a few of our friends surprised me with a fireworks display, along with a life sized cut out of Guy Martin (long story)!
We would highly recommend Papakata to other wedding couples – Rhian and the team were fab. All the organisation went so smoothly and the teepees are so bloomin’ gorgeous! My favourite part of the day has to be seeing so many of our friends and family together in one place, shaking tambourines and feather bowers on the dance floor!
We flew to Ibiza for a week a couple of days after the wedding day. We stayed near the hippy village, it was really chilled out, super-hot with lots of beer and sunshine. Perfecto! In the October we used our honeymoon pot (set up through Spear Travels) to visit Thailand for a couple of weeks. We spent a couple of days in Bangkok, then flew south to Krabi / Ao Nang for a little while, then spent the rest of our time on Koh Phi Phi. It is such a lovely relaxed country, with beautiful coast lines and a great culture. We rode elephants, went on long boat trips to four small islands and drank a lot of mojitos!
My top tip to other Brides Up North is – don’t stress! The best advice I can give is to go with suppliers that you get on with and click with! I did this with every supplier and each and every one worked their socks off to create our day. If you trust the people you book, this will take the stress away from you! Also people don’t notice if there’s a flower out of place or a mark on a napkin. It might matter to you, but in the grand scheme of things it’s not a huge deal. Just relax and enjoy your big day!
becca hunton, boho wedding, bouncing ball films, bridal lounge, brides up north featured supplier, goldsands, hasbeens, indulge, most suitable, north yorkshire wedding, papakata, papakata wedding, plewsy, real wedding, riff raff photography, saltwater, spear travels, springhouse farm shop, teepee wedding, tipi wedding, uk wedding blog, valentina weddings, zara
January 7th, 2015 | Julia Braime
When I try to find the words to introduce this wedding, I’m stalled.
Because, oh my god that dress.
Ok, so the romantic blousy roses, the chic venue, the super cool milk float ride home and the sparkly Choos are all something else, but kudos to you Lizzy, I think we have a contender for my favourite gown of all time. Those blush ruffles blow my mind.
With beautiful, atmospheric images from Brides Up North Sponsor, Fairclough Photography, I think I better let Lizzie do the talking…
lizzie says: We got engaged on 2nd April 2012 on my 29th Birthday. We went out for a meal at the Michelin starred Sharrow Bay in the Lake District, then went for a short walk when James proposed by the lake.
Our wedding date was 2nd August 2014.
We got married at St Anne’s Church, Woodplumpton which is a beautiful old church near my family home. Our reception was at Northcote Manor in Langho. The food was and is out of this world.
The theme for our wedding was ‘intimate and romantic’. We picked this because we were busy planning on building our first home at the time so we wanted an smaller wedding and a romantic style matched my dress perfectly.
Our wedding colour scheme was blush pink, ivory and gold to match my wedding dress.
I added a long chapel length blush pink veil covered with Swarovski crystals and a garter made by Keli Thompson.
We travelled to the church and the venue in a stunning ivory vintage Rolls Royce from Leacars. We travelled from the church to my parent’s home in my great granddad’s 200 year old milk float!
My bouquet was blush pink and ivory roses provided from Ashton Flower Shop, a local florist.
Our photographer was Fairclough Photography from Lytham.
Well what can I say…we met these two in a pub for a chat and fell love with their passion, ideas, creativity and individual style. Plus there’s two of them so they managed to perfectly capture every special moment and detail of our wedding day. Since our wedding several of our family and friends have booked them but we had them first!
Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
After the church, we had champagne waiting for everyone at the Wheatsheaf Pub opposite the church.
We carried the roses from my bouquet on into our reception decor. Each larger table at the reception had a sphere of blush pink and ivory roses to match my bouquet, and each sat on top of a tall clear vase. Hurricane candles were also used for decoration on the tables.
The favours were blush pink macaroons.
The cake was a three tier confection: the bottom tier chocolate, middle tier vanilla and the top tier fruit. It was blush pink and ivory and decorated with three large edible roses. It was from Ava Rose Cakes in Lytham.
For our evening entertainment, we had our friend’s band, Sold To The Sky. We are good friends with one of the members of the band.
For our honeymoon we went to Kuredu Resort in the Maldives. Complete relaxation – wining and dining on the beach and swimming with sharks! Luckily we got upgraded on the Emirates flight on the way home. A perfect ending!
Our top tip for other Brides Up North would be to come up with a theme based around your own individual style.
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February 28th, 2014 | Julia Braime
These look like dancing shoes to me…
Pale pink sandals by Zara £39.99
This is not a sponsored post
February 26th, 2014 | Julia Braime
I’ve been shouting loudly on these pretty pages about our fabulous Luxury Wedding Exhibition coming up at Allerton Castle this weekend (you ARE coming, aren’t you?), and this morning’s Real Wedding is just a little reminder of why I am so passionate about this beautiful venue.
Stylish ballerinas (how cool is that – dream job alert!) Hannah & Kenny chose this elegant setting for their beautiful, fun and touching big day. With lots of luxury additions and a good dose of craft, this stunning couple’s celebration was both grand and personal. Just lovely and – as Hannah is a dedicated Brides Up North reader – watch out for lots of our Featured Suppliers popping up too!
With images by Joe Dodsworth Photography.
Hannah says: We got engaged in July 2011 in Sri Lanka whilst on holiday, Kenny organised a private dinner on the beach. It was really one of the best moments of my life! I am a huge fan of Brides Up North and just lived on it in the prep for our wedding!
We were married on 28th June 2013 at Allerton Castle, Knaresborough. We chose the venue because it has such a sense of occasion and it’s all exclusive to you and your wedding party for the day.
We just wanted to have a fantastic day and an awesome party! We didn’t set on any one colour or theme. We just chose items and colours that we liked and we felt went with the surroundings.
I wanted a dress I felt comfortable in and could move in but I still wanted it to be a wedding gown, something that you would only wear on your wedding day. I also really wanted Kenny to love it, and he has great taste so I did find the whole shopping for the dress surprisingly stressful. I went for a Jenny Packham ‘Lady Astor’ from The White Room in Sheffield. Chloe at The White Room is excellent and made the whole experience simple and yet still special. I treated myself to a pair of Christian Louboutin heels (I saved £1 a day for a year and a bit) and then I had a simple pair of earrings from Carat, a hair band from Jenny Packham (which I got on ebay) and a silver bracelet that Kenny had given me for my 21st birthday.
Kenny found a great outfit from Vivienne Westwood that was just right for him, individual and a nod to his Scottish heritage.
The bridesmaids wore Sapphire blue dresses from Dessy and they each had a pair of silver shoes from various places, wherever we found ones they liked! The best men had suits from Zara and our dad’s had suits from M&S, all the men had waistcoats that my Dad helped us organise from a tailor in Somerset.
I carried a bouquet of roses, lisianthu and gypsophila. My bridesmaids had very similar ones and the men all had roses or acanthium for button holes. My mum did all the flowers herself!
Joe Dodsworth was our photographer and Will at Cine Reportage filmed the day on super 8mm, both of these guys are great and real artists in their field.
I really enjoy a bit of crafting when I get time, so I had a go at adding lots of bits and bobs. I collected items from the time we got engaged, some things made the cut, other items are still in my loft. I made the table plan, place names with mini sweet jars, a letter box for cards and notelets that guest filled in instead of a guest book and the sweet buffet all the decorations for the staircase and the tables. It all took a long time but I enjoyed it and when I looked around on the day and saw all the bits and bobs that we had put all that effort into it felt like our day.
The ceremony itself was very special and like nothing we have experienced before, but every stage of the wedding was just wonderful. Getting ready with my bridesmaids, mum and mother in law in the morning, seeing each other at the altar, chatting with my dear friends after the ceremony, wondering around the grounds having our photos taken when the sun decided to show up (!) and the party and fireworks and the great food.
We are both professional ballet dancers so live music is a huge part of our lives and we really wanted to include that in our day. We were really lucky and had a singer for our ceremony and a band called Func On The Rocks for the evening. Other than that we had a huge box of garden games that went down a treat! Kenny’s parents treated us to a firework display which was so cool, by Ferrensby Fireworks.
After the wedding we honeymooned in Singapore and Koh Samui in Thailand.
I got really lucky and won the money to pay for our wedding, so we didn’t have that worry but before I did that we had financial concerns. Please believe me when I say you really don’t need to spend a lot to have the time of your life. You are so lucky to have met that person you are ready to live your life with and those feelings will be felt 100 times over on the day and that is what is so remarkable about your wedding day.
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to take a few moments to step back and view what is your day, and don’t rush, relax and be in the moment. Our families really enjoyed being involved and so hand out jobs big or small and give your people little bits of the day that they had a hand in. I dried my bouquet and have it in a vase and think of my mum when ever I see it. Just think about what is important to you as a couple and what you would like to have as your memories after the big day and go from there.
Congratulations Hannah & Kenny!
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