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sunshine, showers & champagne. an elegant wedding in the north west – melissa & chris

31st October 2016 | Laura McDonagh

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Today’s real wedding is brimming with timeless details to inspire all of those brides-to-be hankering after an elegant, traditional affair.

Melissa and Chris tied the knot at a beautiful local church with a family connection and held their reception at the stunning Deanwater Hotel in Wilmslow. And they didn’t let it rain on their parade – despite the inclement weather, we think these breath-taking photographs radiate pure joy.

So sit back and enjoy Melissa’s account of a day full of sunshine in spite of the showers…

With images by Jonny Draper Photography.

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melissa says: We got engaged in January 2013. Chris didn’t want to be predictable and ask over Christmas; he wanted to catch me completely off guard. He proposed at home, one of our favourite places, on a very ordinary Saturday morning. He presented me with a photo book which contained memories of our holidays, adventures and fun times we‘d had over the ten years we’d been together and on the last page I read the all-important four words. The next thing I knew, Chris was down on one knee and holding out the most beautiful ring he had designed with the help of jeweller Simon Washbrook.

Our wedding date was 14th August 2015, exactly 12 years after we got together. My wedding ring also contained 14 diamonds to represent the date of our anniversary.

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The wedding ceremony was held at Christ Church, Woodford. It’s a meaningful place for us as my parents were married there 33 years ago and I was christened there. And the tradition will continue: my sister is planning her wedding there for December 2016, too!

The reception was held in the Gold Suite at the Deanwater Hotel in Wilmslow. The newly-refurbished suite was a perfect venue for us as we wanted a small wedding which was close by for friends and family.

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In terms of our wedding style, we went for a very traditional a gold, pearl and champagne colour scheme. I wanted something simple and elegant which would stand the test of time.

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My dress was a Watters gown, which I purchased from Agape Bridal Boutique in Bowdon, Cheshire. I also bought my satin-edged veil and Rachel Simpson shoes from Agape. I always knew I wanted a ball gown style wedding dress: I mean, when else will you get to wear one? My dress also had pockets, which I loved, mainly for the fact that I could keep my lip-gloss close at hand during the day! As the dress was so simple, I added a lace bolero made by the amazing Karen at Agape to ensure my outfit was unique. However, in the evening the weather was so warm that I removed my bolero and replaced it with a sparkly belt. The pearl and diamond bangle and earrings I wore on the day were a special wedding gift from my parents

Meanwhile, Chris went for the Regent suit from Moss Bros with black double- breasted tails, a waistcoat and a white bow tie.

The groomsmen wore the same suit as Chris but with a black bow tie. To top off the traditional look, the groomsmen also wore pocket watches which we’d given them as a gift on the day.

The bridesmaids wore long, Grecian-style champagne dresses from Coast. The lace detailing on them complemented my dress perfectly.

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For transport, we hired the Imperial Landlaudette car from Horgans. As the church and the reception venue were so close to both our parents’ homes, both the groomsmen and the bridal party were able to travel to the church in it.

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Our photographer on the day was Jonny Draper. There is only one word to describe him: awesome! He came very highly recommended and was the perfect choice for us. Before the wedding we met up, chatted and did our pre-wedding shoot. This really put us both at ease, especially as we were both so nervous. On the day he captured the tears, laughter and all the emotions in between perfectly and his images told the story of our day so well. Before the wedding, we’d asked Jonny for a unique and epic shot on the day and he did not disappoint, cheekily revealing a smoke bomb in his bag! He really was the perfect balance of excited and relaxed and fitted into our wedding in a discreet and professional way, and was on hand throughout to provide a reassuring word of wisdom when needed.

We also wanted a videographer to capture our special day and chose the phenomenal Silk Wedding Films. Tom was just fabulous and he and Jonny made the perfect team. Tom also captured our wedding day perfectly and we will cherish our wedding video!

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Our flowers were provided by Green Earth in Poynton. Laura was simply amazing, particularly for braving the torrential rain on the day to arrange the flowers on the church lych gate! Chris and I both wanted something classic and neutral so chose cream avalanche and vendela roses with gypsophila for the bouquets and buttonholes.

Green Earth teamed up with Karen from Dressed To Impress to make sure the flowers in the Deanwater matched those in the Gold Suite and our gold candelabras. We also loved our personalised wedding post-box made by Kelly’s Wedding Postboxes.

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For favours we decided to give out Mr Men and Little Miss books which reflected the personalities of each guest. We wrote a personal note in every book to thank them for being part of our special day.

CC Cakes made our wedding cake. For some reason, I had quite a specific picture in my head of what my wedding cake should look like and they managed to make exactly what I wanted. It was a simple three-tier round cake with ivory icing and detailing. The tiers were two flavours: lemon drizzle and Victoria sponge. Green Earth also created a beautiful floral cake topper.

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The food at the Deanwater is renowned for its quality, so we were confident that whatever we chose would be delicious. In the end, we went for chicken liver parfait with onion jam and toasted petit pain for a starter, followed by medallions of beef fillet with a creamy leak, white wine, onion and Dijon mustard sauce, seasonal vegetables and roast potatoes for main. We enjoyed a sumptuous baked vanilla cheesecake with strawberry compote for dessert. Harpist Oona Linnett created a relaxed atmosphere during the wedding breakfast.

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Finally, in the evening it was time to party. Andy Murphy was our DJ for the evening reception. He also came very highly recommended and did not disappoint. Andy met with us to tailor the playlist to exactly what we wanted. He did an incredible set alongside the unbeatable sound of Six15’s Dax on Sax – just wow! We’d loved everything about our day and, with this line-up, we had the perfect evening too. The dance floor was packed and everyone was dancing for the whole night. And to really get the party started, Glacial Ice Sculptures provided us with a personalised vodka luge. Guests could enjoy shots of different flavoured vodka throughout the evening reception – some rather more than others!

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We were delighted with the standard of service we received from all of our suppliers. Lozzi Woo in Poynton, produced all of our wedding stationery. Nothing was too much trouble for Jacqueline. Paul George Hair and Beauty of Poynton were also amazing; Alex, Andrea and Jo were fantastic in the run up to the wedding and on the day itself and made sure my hair and makeup was exactly how I wanted it on the day. And finally, everyone at the Deanwater Hotel was great, especially Barry the wedding co-ordinator. He was so efficient and organised that we could trust him completely and he really took the stress out of it all. The grounds at Deanwater are stunning and one of the particular attractions of the venue; the woods, stream and little bridge are the ideal location for photographs. We would recommend the Deanwater to anyone looking for a special venue for their wedding.

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The standout memory of our day? We loved every second of it but both of us agreed that when I walked into the church and we saw each other for the first time it was the most amazing feeling!

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For our honeymoon we went to the Bahamas. First, we stayed in the Royal Bahamian on Nassau Island. It was just perfect! So romantic – it even had its own island with its own spa and stunning secluded beaches. One of the things we really wanted to do is go swimming with pigs (yes, really!), so we flew to Exuma to stay in the Emerald Bay Resort. From here we got to see the pigs roaming around the island and swimming in the sea. All in all, an amazing experience!

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My top tip for other Brides Up North would be not to get too hung up on the weather. It poured down for us. On the morning of the wedding I felt devastated watching the rain bounce off the ground. I was mainly worried about the photographs, but I was then reminded of how amazing our photographer was and I relaxed a bit. Looking back now on the pictures, I’m actually glad it did rain. We got so many amazing shots with fantastic lighting which I just don’t think we could have captured had it been sunny. So don’t worry about what the weather throws at you – just make sure you’re prepared with some pretty umbrellas!

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