Alternative Weddings

‘rapped in love. a personal winter wedding at the chimney house – shelley & andy

30th June 2015 | Rachel Parry

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There’s no doubt about it, this wedding is a true reflection of the bride and groom, featuring their passions, loves and memories.

After an unexpected proposal, Shelley and Andy searched Sheffield to find the perfect ceremony and reception venues for their relaxed and intimate big day.

We love their unconventional wedding approach which included Shelley buying her gorgeous wedding dress from eBay (for £40!) choosing an Eminem track for their service and heading to a local pub to carry on the celebrations after the reception. Because frankly, why the hell not!

The wedding day also included a very touching tribute to Shelley’s dad, who sadly died when she was just 14-years-old, demonstrating how couples can remember and celebrate those that have been loved and lost on their special day.

With images by Shutter Go…Click Photography.

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shelley says: We got engaged just after we’d bought our first home together. I was busy unpacking boxes in the kitchen, chatting away on the phone to my best friend, Siobhan, while Andy was out. I heard him come back in but took no real notice. About two minutes later I turned around, still on the phone to my mate, to see him bent down on one knee with the ring in one hand and a takeaway Costa in the other (he knew the way to my heart). I said to my friend “I’m going to have to call you back, because I think sh*t is about to get real!”

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We set the date for 20th December 2014, there was no real reason behind the date apart from that we both wanted a winter wedding.

We got married at the Rutland Hotel and had the reception at the Chimney House in Sheffield. We wanted a small intimate ceremony and reception and both venues were perfect for this. The Chimney House was absolutely amazing and was far better than we could have ever hoped for. We chose the Chimney House as it suited our style perfectly; graffiti on the walls, exposed brick work, skull candle – we’d move in there if we could!

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We didn’t have a theme, instead we just went with us and what we liked. We did have a colour scheme though; grey with silver. We chose it because we thought it fitted in with that winter vibe.

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I’m not a dress kind of girl and I’m much more comfortable in some jeans, flat shoes and a leather jacket! However I did buy a really beautiful lace mermaid style gown with a sweeping train from a website without trying any other dresses on! I did really like it but it just wasn’t me. So I ended up going on eBay a few weeks before the big day and getting a lace long sleeved vintage style dress instead – I think it cost about £40 quid!

I also wore a faux fur jacket, second hand from eBay, with Vivienne Westwood shoes. I wore my mum’s veil which she wore on her wedding day and my grandma’s 1950’s veil headpiece, which she wore on her wedding day too. I loved the whole outfit, it was much more me.

Andy wore a navy blue three piece suit with white shirt and silver tie.

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My mum, Anne, made all six bridesmaid dresses. They were vintage Vogue patterns. I was finding it difficult to decide on a dress that both the bridesmaids and I loved and then I found the pattern and my mum offered to make them for me. All the bridesmaids loved them. She did an amazing job, and the girls looked stunning.

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Ryan from Shutter Go Click was our photographer. We would both absolutely recommend Ryan to other couples. I was quite nervous about the whole photography thing (I don’t like having photos and just tend to instantly go awkward as soon as someone points a camera at me). This didn’t happen with Ryan, he made us both feel completely relaxed and at ease. All the wedding guests said how great he was and we loved having him part of our day. The photographs are absolutely amazing and are better than we could have ever imagined. We even joked the other day about renewing our vows, just so we could have Ryan photograph it.

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I chose to have a brooch bouquet which I bought from a seller on Etsy. I then added a few brooches which belonged to my nan and one which Andy’s grandma, Jean gave me. The bridesmaids also had smaller brooch bouquets made by my sister, Sarah.

The flowers and decorations we provided by the Chimney House. They asked if we’d like any particular flowers or theme but we just said to do what they wanted. I’m glad we did, it looked absolutely amazing!

Place names and cards were made also by my sister, Sarah (which also doubled up as favours). They were small toy dinosaurs spray painted silver with a little name card tied round their neck (both mine and Andy’s favourite film is Jurassic Park!) We also put chocolate dinosaurs in a little bag.

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My cousin Stephen did the honour of walking me down the aisle (to Stan by Eminem) as my dad died when I was 14. My sister, Sarah did the ‘father of the bride’ speech, so to speak, and what a speech it was! The event manager of the Chimney House said it was one of the best she’d ever heard. She’s even had a few offers since from our friends’ partners asking if they help write their own best man/groom speeches!

It was really important to me that I did something in memory of my dad so to honour him, I did a video tribute editing clips to the track When the Going Get’s Tough by Billy Ocean, from my childhood with him and the rest of my family and friends right up to the present day. There was some pretty embarrassing stuff on there (me at 15 rapping into the camera, thinking I was the next Eminem and running round the garden naked at five-years-old to name a few) but if he was there to make that speech it was have been 100 times more embarrassing!

People were laughing and crying at the same time! At the end of the video, I ended it with just a clip of me and my dad, walking hand in hand away from the camera which faded to blackness and the words ‘In Loving Memory of Stephen Bingham, Father of the Bride’ came on the screen. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house!

I know for some people they might find it upsetting to do a tribute like this for a close family member on their wedding day, but I’m so glad it, because even if for only five minutes, it felt like his was there with us in the room.

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For the wedding breakfast we went for the menu option which was titled, ‘The House Feast’ – and it was exactly that! All the guests loved the food. The menu included shin of local beef braised with Kelham Island ale served with horseradish dumplings and herbed chicken breast and boned chicken thighs with confit garlic poached with peas, spinach and baby carrots.

We left the wine choice up to my mum (both myself and Andy aren’t big wine drinkers) and we also ordered kegs of real ale and larger from the Kelham Island Brewery.

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The Chimney House isn’t the kind of venue to have a disco/wedding band so instead we opted to just play our favourite music while we ate.

After the Chimney House some of the wedding party went to The Hop pub in Sheffield where one of my friends, Lauren, had organised a special cornered off area with a private bar. There was a live band on and it was great just to sit and relax after a long day. Lots of our friends who couldn’t make it to the wedding (because of the small numbers) came and others kept popping in on their way to the next bar!

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To add a special touch to the day we asked all our family for photos of them on their wedding day and for some of their favourite family photos. We then had a slide show of them playing at the Chimney House on their projector. It really got everyone talking and laughing about old memories.

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We also did a ‘first look’ photo on the garden before the ceremony. Andy stood with his best man, Shane, with his back to me while I walked onto the garden followed by my bridesmaids. I’d seen the idea on the internet and thought we’d give it a try. The thought of walking into a room (even with only 40 people) gave me nightmares, so we thought if Andy and I saw each other first, it might calm my nerves a bit. I’m not sure how these things are really meant to go, but as soon as we saw each other, we just burst out laughing!

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We would certainly recommend the Chimney House to another couple like us who want an intimate and relaxed reception. From the first enquiry, they were so helpful and did everything they could to make our day perfect.

We both have so many amazing memories from that day. I can’t really remember any of the ceremony apart from trying really, really hard not to faint! I’d been so calm all day and as soon as I heard Dido start the verse of Stan…I lost it. I pretty much ran down the aisle clung on to my cousin’s arm. I can just remember trying really hard to stop my legs from shaking while trying equally as hard to concentrate on what the registrar was saying! If I’d have been asked what the best part of the wedding the following day I’d have said getting through the ceremony in one piece! But now after a few months, it’s a tough one. Different parts were so special in different ways. My sister’s speech, the video, but I think the best part was walking back down the aisle hand in hand with Andy and looking at him to see my husband.

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We were planning on a trip to the Maldives for the honeymoon but then Eminem (my childhood hero) announced a US tour four months before the wedding. Without even asking, Andy said, I guess we’re blowing the honeymoon budget on a trip to Detroit then to see Eminem. So we did! We also spent a couple of days over New Year in our favourite place, Berlin.

My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to go with what you want and don’t let anyone try to convince you otherwise. We did our thing and stuck by it (even though we did get a few rolled eyes/weird looks along the way). During the day just take a step back and watch everything that’s going on around you and enjoy it!

Also, don’t leave making your ceremony music playlist until an hour before the ceremony (Andy’s fault!).

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