Today’s talented featured couple, Kate and Anton, are in the entertainment biz, which means they had a host of wonderfully talented friends to call upon to add a bit of extra-special magic to their wedding in Chester.
From a friend touring in the stage production of The Wedding Singer, who performed Grow Old With You after the cutting of the cake, to a Disney Cruise Line vocalist belting out a beautiful rendition of At Last during the ceremony, Kate and Anton ensured their celebration was punctuated with meaningful moments created by their close friends.
And, keen not to deflate their guests hopes, they took to the dancefloor to put on a couple of impressive performances of their own. Lights, camera, action…
With images by About Today Photography.
kate says: Anton and I used to work together on the cruise ships; I was a singer and Anton was a dancer. During our contract in November 2016, my mum and stepdad were cruising with us around the Caribbean. We had planned to take them on our favourite excursion to Trafalgar Falls Waterfall on the island of Dominica, which I had completely fallen in love with during our previous contract. Little did I know, Anton had planned a distraction with my mum and, once there, he went off climbing the rocks whilst mum and I swam in a natural pool. I kept trying to get him to join us and thought it was odd that he wouldn’t jump in the water as he normally would. As mum and I got out of the water, he all of a sudden appeared from behind a rock and got down on one knee. The setting was stunning and I was so surprised they’d managed to keep it a secret!
Our wedding date was Thursday 24th August 2017. We chose to have a mid-week wedding during the summer knowing it was a bank holiday weekend. We wanted an outdoor, light feeling to our day, so the summer was the perfect time and we were super lucky with the weather. Also, having it on a Thursday luckily cut costs just a little bit.
When we were planning our wedding, we visited a Brides Up North wedding fair at Chester Grosvenor Hotel, which we really loved. It gave us a lot of ideas and it was great to meet the different suppliers. It was the first one we attended as a couple and I loved getting my ‘bride to be’ sticker!
When it came to the venue, we knew we wanted to stay in one place for the whole day and not have to worry about travel. We came across Pryors Hayes Golf Club in Chester; they were building a new event space and, when we saw the artist’s impressions, we instantly fell in love and knew it was our perfect venue. The venue gave us our dream outdoor ceremony under a pagoda surrounded by beautiful green foliage and the reception area was so beautiful and bright, with wooden beams and exposed brick walls. It was all so new that it really felt like ours. We would highly recommend the venue. Not only is it absolutely stunning but the manager, Richard, and his team did absolutely everything and more for us on the day. From start to finish, Richard was absolutely brilliant.
With regards to a theme, after seeing the venue we decided to keep things very simple and light, especially with it being during the summer. We didn’t want too much of a colour ‘pop’, so chose to go with dusky pinks and to keep the whole theme very homemade and rustic, hand-making most of the decorations, such as the signs and favours. Anton is Ukrainian, so we also incorporated this into our decoration choices and used Polaroid photographs of all the places we had travelled together as decoration and also table names.
For my dress, I didn’t really have a ‘dream style’ in mind, so it was all a bit of an experiment at first. However, my dress turned out to be the third I tried on at The Bridal Room in Hoylake. I saw it on the mannequin in the shop and, as soon as I put it on, I knew it was the one. It had lace detail all over, with buttons all the way down the back, which I totally fell in love with. And I loved the cut over the chest and upper arms. And a little tip: always try a veil on – you instantly feel like a bride! The ladies at The Bridal Room were just gorgeous in every way.
Anton and his groomsmen wore French Connection suits hired from Moss Bros. He wanted to wear a slim-fitting, navy blue suit with a soft, pink tie to match our rustic theme.
The bridesmaid dresses were from Wed2B and, after spending the afternoon trying them on with my girls, we decided to go for different styles for the bridesmaids and the maid of honour to suit their individual figure types, skin tone and also personalities. The bridesmaids wore a beautiful light pink, classic, long gown with thick straps and my maid of honour wore a dusky pink, long gown with a Greek-style sleeve.
On the day of the wedding, I travelled non-traditionally with all my girls, including my mum, in a seven-seater Daimler hired from Classic Bridal Cars, Upton. They were absolutely superb and so lovely to deal with from start to finish and Brian, our driver, was just great at squashing my nerves with hilarious chat on our journey. He also stuck around after our ceremony and took Anton and me on our own little drive, with champagne, so we could spend some time together and soak it all in.
Our photographers were a lovely husband and wife team, Zoe and Tom, at About Today Photography. We were specifically looking for two photographers to capture every moment from every angle because, unfortunately, Anton’s family could not make the journey over to be there, so we wanted to capture the day naturally and as much as possible to then share it at our wedding celebration in Ukraine at a later date. After our initial skype chat with them, we felt really comfortable with them both and looked forward to our pre-wedding shoot, which is included in their package and highly recommended. It allows you to not only meet your photographer before the day but to get the feel of how they work and start to feel comfortable in front of the camera with them. We had such a lovely evening with them full of laughs and the photographs we received from the session are just stunning. I actually cried when we received them! From there, we couldn’t wait for them to capture our wedding, where there was nothing they wouldn’t do for us. It felt like they were our guests rather than photographers and all of our photos were natural, light and exactly as it all happened on the day. There were also thousands of them! We honestly couldn’t recommend these two more.
We also had a videographer and used Phil at Vibrant Videography who, from the moment we met over coffee, made us feel totally relaxed. He was so easy to deal with and on the day was there with his partner, meaning we had footage from two angles – he really did capture everything brilliantly and was really unobtrusive. Phil, Zoe and Tom all went above and beyond for us.
We got our flowers from Angela Adlard at Flourish Flowers. Her bouquets are absolutely stunning and Angela and Jenna are just so lovely. They created a gorgeous, natural and rustic bouquet for me and my bridesmaids, which included all of our requested flowers of gerberas, roses and baby’s breath. We had similar flower arrangements for our centrepieces and used the bridesmaids’ bouquets as decoration later in the day in the jars we had set out around the venue. They also made two beautiful cascading arrangements to fill crates that we used at the ends of our aisle, which we then moved to either side of the top table.
Aside from the flowers provided by Angela Adlard, we also bought a few artificial flowers from Inspirations Wholesale, which we added to the foliage around our pagoda. It gave it a pop of colour with dusky pink roses and baby’s breath and, because they were placed sporadically, it looked really natural. We also provided these flowers to our cake decorator to use around the cake.
All our other decorations were self-sourced or handmade in a bid to keep cost to a minimum. Our venue was so beautiful and provided a lot of its own décor, so we felt it didn’t need a lot of extra decoration, especially with our rustic theme. We got a lot of items from Inspirations Wholesale and also The Range, with eBay providing other little bits and pieces such as hessian runners and wooden confetti for our tables.
Our centrepieces were jagged cut, wooden slabs with a Polaroid on a mini easel as the table name, a hand-decorated jar for the flowers, a milk bottle with a single gerbera and a glass tea light holder. All signs were hand-drawn by Anton and he made big wooden signs to put around the venue, including a palette with the order of the day on it.
Personal touches like a wedding Lego set and a wooden ‘husband and wife’ sign written in Ukrainian sat opposite us on the top table. And we placed bubbles and wooden cup and ball games on every table, which gave the guests more giggles than you would think. We also had a huge dessert table, buffet style, with handmade cakes and scones provided by family and friends.
Our favours were handmade jars of jam, which also acted as place names, with three different flavours. Because we were there all day at the venue and had the buffet-style dessert table, we provided them as an accompaniment to the scones family members had made. This meant that, if anyone got hungry, they could have a scone and jam to keep them going until the evening food.
Our cake was very classic, with a simple ivory-coloured royal icing on a three-tiered vanilla sponge, made by Pauline at Penny Pea Cakes. We used the same hessian ribbon we had used for the jars around each layer and a couple of the artificial roses as decoration. It sat upon the same wooden slab used for our centrepieces and was absolutely beautiful. Pauline also provided us with lots of little vanilla sponge cupcakes with a buttercream top and edible daisy flower decoration, which she placed around the cake. Both were absolutely delicious and all gone by the end of the night!
For music, during the day we played our own playlists and in the evening we used the venue’s resident DJ, Matthew Tolley, who took our massive request list and endeavoured to play every song! We knew that as long as we had a good 80s/90s disco, our crazy family and friends would be dancing no matter what. Matt was really accommodating and also agreed to some last-minute surprises.
In the weeks leading up to the day, I had been worrying that we didn’t have enough entertainment in the evening for our guests, especially as we, and most of our friends there, are from the entertainment industry. So, I quickly organised for my best friend Simon, who was touring the UK in The Wedding Singer at the time, to sing acoustic with his guitar the main song from the film/show, Grow Old With You, after we cut the cake. It was so lovely and meant the world!
Then, later in the evening as the party got started, Anton and I planned to surprise the guests with a little performance of our own. We hadn’t wanted to do anything ‘showy’ for our first dance as we wanted to keep it a special moment just for ourselves, but we knew everyone had expected something! So, we tried not to disappoint, and I surprised everyone with a (tight wedding dress) version of Proud Mary and Anton then danced the full routine for Dangerous by Michael Jackson.
One of my best friends from college, Steph, who works as a vocalist for Disney Cruise Line and was luckily in the country for our special day, sang At Last during our ceremony whilst we signed the register. Her voice is incredible, and she blew our guests away as we knew she would. That was a really special touch, as I have known her for such a long time and she is such a special soul to me. To have our friends sing at our wedding was amazing.
Our favourite part of the day was definitely our first dance. Everybody tells you to take in every part of your day and that it will fly by and it really does! Our first dance was such a special moment and, even though everyone was watching us, we felt like the only two people in the room. It was very emotional for us both and after everything we’d been through to get to that moment, we were together and felt perfectly complete.
When it came to a honeymoon, unfortunately, due to visa restrictions and cost, we weren’t able to go on a lavish honeymoon abroad. However, on the evening of our wedding we stayed at Rowton Hall Hotel and Spa for two nights. It allowed us to wake up together the next day and enjoy time alone after the madness of the run up to the wedding day. We stayed in the hotel all day, enjoying breakfast in our suite, making use of the spa and ending with an amazing dinner in the evening. It was a really lovely reflective time.
The next day we had a barbecue in our garden with all our family and friends who had stayed to celebrate and then spent a week in the Lake District where my auntie lives.
My top tip for other Brides Up North is – enjoy the day the way you want to enjoy it and don’t worry about anyone but yourselves. Have fun and take in every moment.