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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Wild Thing! A Real Wedding – Alison & Tris

October 21st, 2011 | Julia Braime

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I’ve saved something special to round off the week today as this Real Wedding submission comes from one very fabulous lady.  Today’s bride has travelled the World, beaten cancer, bagged a groom online and to top it all off chose to get married at the zoo, in one of my favourite Jenny Packham designs of all time.  She even recorded her feelings in the week leading up to her wedding for posterity on Facebook (see her sweet and hilarious status updates below!).

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I am totally in awe of this remarkable lady and kind of want her to be my new best friend.  Alison’s positivity and life life to the full attitude shines through, and I love that.  With that in mind, have a brilliant Friday Brides Up North!

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Brides Up North Wedding Blog: FourT4 Photography.

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

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Sat 4th June
Hells bells – this time next week I’ll be on my way to Chester to get married. Bl**dy hell ……. Bl**dy hell ……. but in a good way!!

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Sun 5th June
I’m told that as this week progresses, I will plunge deeper & deeper into meltdown & that I should give daily updates so you can all chart my nervous breakdown! My main concern today is if I will be able to wear a vest under my wedding dress! I’ve been googling weather websites & finally found one for Chester which said it would be 30 degrees. I was very excited until I realised it was Chester Arizona!

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Mon 6th June
5 days to go! Have discovered that magic knickers aren’t really magic at all. They just push the flab up into your arm pits. No bride wants B(r)ad Pitts on her wedding day.  Have emptied M&S of every kind of flesh coloured pants. Am not taking any chances!

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Tues 7th June
Is very excited to confirm that the ceremony is being performed by a media celebrity! No, not Liza Minnelli – while watching the ‘Andy & Hannah from Colwyn Bay’ edition of ‘Don’t Tell the Bride’ (for the second time) – essential viewing for all Brides to be – I spotted our lovely registrar Carol, doing the ‘I do’. How weird is that!
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Weds 8th June

3 days to go! Was woken up in the night by the cat trying to eat a dead bird in my new wedding shoes. If I could replicate what happened next, I’d be giving Usain Bolt a run for his money in next years Olympics! Bad Charley!
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Thurs 9th June

2 days to go – and it’s also five years today since Tris and I went on our first date. What a 5 years – I’ve travelled round the world, been made redundant twice, Tris moved in, I got cancer, got engaged, I got a new immune system (& new hair), kicked cancer’s butt (hopefully) and in 2 days I get to marry the man who has stuck with me throughout this crazy roller coaster. I’m a lucky girl.  Manicure & pedicure – check. Lime & ginger scrub and body glow – check. I’m starting to transform into a bride!!!

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Fri 10th June
1 day to go – and Charley is now wearing his special wedding collar! To all our guests travelling from far and wide today – have a good journey and travel safely. Am so excited, trying hard not to bubble over and peak too soon. Oh My God – I’m now entering the ‘Wedding Weekend’ planning spreadsheet!  The Sale and Altrincham Messenger have been on the phone – and we’re on! They want to do an article! I’m like Max Clifford!  Tris is in Chester, I’m in Sale with Dad and sister. I’ve ticked the last thing off my list. Night night Alison Staples. Tomorrow a whole new chapter begins!

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Sat 11th June – Wedding Day!
Holy Matrimony Batman! I’ve had no sleep – but the sun is shining. Right – breath – gather – shall I go and get married? Absof*****lutely!!

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Brides Up North Wedding Blog: FourT4 Photography

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Over to Alison for the full story:  Tris and I met when I fibbed about my age and went boy shopping on the internet three weeks after having booked a five month around the World trip.  We not only survived this separation, but my cancer diagnosis which culminated in me having a stem cell transplant in April 2010.

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Brides Up North Wedding Blog: FourT4 Photography

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Brides Up North Wedding Blog: FourT4 Photography

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

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Brides Up North Wedding Blog: FourT4 Photography

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We got engaged just after I became ill on ‘The Lovers Island’ (pure fluke) off Anglesey with Tris buying me a fabulous vintage style Steven Stone engagement ring which was much admired over the next eight months by my chemo nurses!

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After a positive scan result we took the plunge and decided to set the date (timed to put enough distance between my illness and the wedding for my hair to grow back). There was only one place that felt right. With my degree and PhD in Zoology and Tris having lived in Africa for two years – Oakfield Manor at Chester Zoo was perfect.  In addition, with all the help and support that we had received from family and friends, I was determined to put on a really big party to say thank you and with nearly 50 children invited what better place than the zoo?

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Brides Up North Wedding Blog: FourT4 Photography

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Brides Up North Wedding Blog: FourT4 Photography

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When you have a fabulous venue like a zoo, you don’t need to worry any more about other gimmicks or themes, though there were quite a few blue butterflies dotted around on invitations, orders of service and bridesmaids dresses.

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I tried hard to save money where I could so that the budget could be used to invite more people and add little touches which would make a big difference. For example, as a nod to Tris’ London roots we booked a red London Routemaster wedding bus to transport guests from the centre of Chester out to the zoo, while I arrived in a peacock blue Rolls Royce Silver Shadow.

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I continued the butterfly theme by wearing a Jenny Packham dress called Papillon and a Flo & Percy headpiece. My flowers were huge blue and purple orchids sculptured by The Design Element.

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Brides Up North Wedding Blog: FourT4 Photography

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Brides Up North Wedding Blog: FourT4 Photography

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Brides Up North Wedding Blog: FourT4 Photography

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

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