Gill and Mark married on 28th July 2011 at Oddfellows, Chester.
Sometimes when you have a venue that stands out due to its quirky decor and its individual styling, not a lot needs to be done in terms of D.I.Y or decoration. With Oddfellows, Gill and Mark found a venue they loved and with just a few well chosen items they made it their own.
The imagery today is by S6 Photography.
Classic And Simple
Originally when searching for a dress I wanted a 1950’s style number with a nipped in waist and huge circular skirt. I tried the most beautiful dress on, which was just what I had in my head, and I looked a bugger! I just didn’t have the legs for it. So I had to rethink.
As we were getting married in Chester, I chose to look for something classic, simple, beautifully cut with just a touch of sparkle and full length to hide my legs! Also it couldn’t be strapless as Mark hates strapless dresses… My inspiration actually came from reading a blog post by Kelly Hood at Boho Events about her wedding. Her dress was gorgeous. It was by Alfred Sung. I looked at their website then found a local supplier. I bought the first dress I tried on. It was elegant, had enough cleavage to satisfy my husband to be, and I knew I’d be really comfortable – no structured underwear required!!
I ended up with a total mishmash of jewellery!
I’m not a veil or tiara kind of girl. I knew I wanted a side headpiece but took ages finding the one I wanted. I very luckily stumbled across Claudia Pink Jewellery in Liverpool about 3 weeks before the wedding then found the earrings in Monet at John Lewis about a week later.
My bracelet was a brilliant bargain in the sale at Martine Wester (along with cocktail rings for all my bridesmaids!) It’d taken ages to find one that was super sparkly but with settings that wouldn’t catch on my dress. The watch was ‘something borrowed’ from my mum.
Our wedding rings were made by Mark and Abby at The Ring Workshop in Oswestry who were wonderful.
The locket that was wrapped around my bouquet was my ‘something blue’ My mum had it specially made by Melissa at M Stevenson Designs and it contained a photo of my dad, who we lost 5 years ago to cancer. It was my way of having him walk down the aisle with me.
Bright And Fabulous
Pink shoes all the way! I knew I didn’t want traditional wedding shoes, just something bright and fabulous. Vivienne Westwood Anglomania for Melissa did just the trick. I love them. Though they did give me the worst blisters of my life… I have yet to pluck up the courage to wear them again.
My friend Kate from Kate’s Claws did my nails and eyelash extensions. As soon as I found the pink shoes I decided I was having pink nails. Originally coming from Manchester, finding a bright pink Nails Inc colour called ‘Manchester Square’ sealed the deal! Most of the bridesmaids had that pink too. I did my own makeup using bareMinerals.
My usual hairdresser (and mum of one of my bridesmaids) inconveniently flew out to Ibiza the day before we got married! So she did my colour a week before and on the morning of the wedding I went to Jason Lea for a curly blow dry, which was just across the road from Oddfellows.
Exotic And Different
I met with Clare from Cocoa Flower to discuss flowers, something a bit exotic and different, with bright colours to contrast with the teal of the girls’ dresses and the mens’ ties. She was great, really knowledgeable. We settled on cerise phalaenopsis orchids, cerise roses and cerise/ orange tipped gloriosa lilies for my bouquet.
The gents buttonholes were cerise phalaenopsis orchids to match the bouquet, then mums/ sisters/ grandmothers had the same orchid, but in white so it didn’t clash with whatever colour they were wearing.
The centrepieces were curled cerise Singapore orchids with a swirl of fine bear grass. We made the somewhat controversial decision for the bridesmaids not to have flowers.
Old School Glamour
We didn’t have a theme to start off with, we just wanted to reflect us as a couple. The choices were made naturally; we didn’t set out with anything particular in mind. We wanted the girls to look fabulous; old school glamour with a modern edge. Their dresses were from Repooc Couture, an independent boutique run by Neil Cooper. The original dress we saw were deep purple which Mark and I didn’t feel was quite right for a summer affair – so we got them made up in teal instead. Neil was an absolute god send. He altered all the girls’ dresses so they fitted perfectly, including the heavily pregnant one and corrected my dress when it arrived from the bridal shop a month before the wedding 2 sizes too big!
We bought grey suits for the men from Next; their white shirts and teal ties, to match the girls’ dresses, were from T.M Lewin. Apart from my brother, who stood in to give me away when my step-dad fell ill a few days before the wedding, he wore D&G.
The page boys wore grey linen suits from Obaibi, which ended up being bought by my brother when in Italy as I could not for the life of me find ‘relaxed’ grey linen suits anywhere in the UK. It was important to us that the little ones were comfortable, with no ties and no jackets.
Mark is very particular about suits; a pet-hate of his is ill-fitting suits. So we knew that he would be buying a well cut suit rather than renting a morning suit. The men in our family are far too short to wear tails and a top hat! He went with a grey three-piece suit from Next, stripy shirt from TM Lewin and matching skinny tie. I wanted Mark to look and feel as amazing as I did. I know I’m biased but he did look gorgeous!
The outfit was finished off with a pocket watch engraved with ‘See you at 2 o’clock’ – my present to Mark. Bit of a joke really, as I’m always late.
It is often the bride who gets changed in to a party frock for the evening do. At our wedding it was Mark who decided to swap outfits; putting on a tuxedo for our first dance in honour of the night we got together when he was looking wonderfully dapper in a dinner suit. In fact, my favourite photo of the day is of Mark in his DJ with a bacon butty in one hand and a mojito in the other.
Totally At Ease
We used the brilliant Jon at S6 Photography. I first saw his work when helping my best friend (and chief bridesmaid) find a photographer for her wedding. We had a great laugh on her wedding day. Mark in particular was really impressed with how relaxed and quick the process was. Just a few snaps and it was done – it looked so effortless. So we spoke to Jon before the day was out to see if he’d do a mid-week wedding in Chester the following summer and he agreed, dates permitting. Then Luci’s pics came through and sealed the deal.
It also meant we were totally at ease about being with Jon on our wedding day. He knew most of my bridesmaids already so they happily ignored him whilst he took the ‘getting ready’ shots. Also, he wasn’t in the slightest bit surprised when I found it near on impossible to pose for his ‘serene’ bride shots without laughing my head off!
We couldn’t be happier with our decision.
We had cake pops and a chocolate pizza. Not very traditional (and they confused my Gran!) but we appreciated them. Mark and his daughter Holly love cake and love lollipops so it seemed like a great combination.
The ‘wedding party’ cake pops came from the Pop Bakery, Clare was very accommodating and at a special request, matched up hair colours and even gave my pregnant bridesmaid a little bump!
The other ‘normal’ cake pops came from Stuart Thornley. His cupcakes and cake pops are stocked in the deli near where I work and they’re super tasty. We had a variety of flavours and each one had a different pattern. There was lemon, chocolate, white chocolate and raspberry, red velvet and mars bar. I saw on Stuart’s website that they made chocolate pizzas and this seemed like the perfect solution to the cake cutting tradition. Unfortunately we had left the pizza in the fridge for too long so couldn’t even cut it in the end!
When In Rome…
Mark handled keeping the guests happy, enlisting the help of our friend Aaron from Quizzical Duck who does the pub quiz at our local and did our evening disco (as well as making balloon animals for the kids). He’s also one half of the Wizards of Odd. Aaron worked the room performing table magic whilst we had photos taken. He was such a success that our guests didn’t even realise we’d been missing for 45 minutes… with a Roman!
Mark decided that we should have pictures taken in the Roman Gardens and that he was going to try to hire a Roman Centurion (that usually do the school history tours) to escort us there. Well he managed it.
The Roman Soldier turned up with a conscription notice for Mark and insisted on marching us through the city, shouting at ‘Barbarians’ (also know as unsuspecting passers by), stopping traffic, threatening small dogs with his spear and starting a fight between Mark and his brother in the Roman Amphitheatre.
During the meal Mark became Quizmaster and we had a pub quiz ‘picture round’ as an ice breaker. Each table was a team and we pit them against each other to win a free round of drinks.
In the evening we had a casino in tribute to the Las Vegas themed casino night where we had our first kiss.
Our first dance was to Good Riddance (Time of Your Life) by Green Day. It was impossible to dance to but it was a song that had come to mean a lot to us whilst travelling New Zealand in 2005 and we love it.
Cool And Quirky
We didn’t need to do much to the venue as Oddfellows is such a cool, quirky place. It already has a distinct style so there wasn’t much for us to do. Oddfellows arranged the table linen and chair covers. We supplied the ‘Family’, ‘Love’ and ‘Friends’ signs for the mantelpiece. It summed up what the day meant to us.
Our ‘Love Roundabout’ table plan came from Lela at Doodlelove as it matched the invites we had sent. She also made our table signs. All of the tables were named after places that are important to us as a couple; with a bit of a description on the back of each one and the number of miles from Chester to that destination.
One Day In Your Life
I laughed from the minute I woke up to the minute we went to sleep; we just had such good fun. I loved that the registrar made us write our own few vows to say at the end of the service. Though we were both reticent at first, he was right, that we should use our own words to sum up what the marriage meant to us, instead of using someone else’s words.
I think you need to be true to yourselves. Decide what is important to you and your hubby-to-be and try not to lose sight of it. For us, it was about making our wedding an enjoyable, fun, entertaining event for us and our guests.
Remember that your friends and family are there to celebrate your special day with you because they love and care about you; they’re not there to judge you or your wedding; and if something doesn’t quite go to plan, they probably won’t even know.
Ultimately, it is only one day in your life; try to keep in mind that it’s your relationship and your marriage that’s the most important thing. Oh, and if your wedding guests are prone to drinking mojitos, as ours were, make sure the bar has enough mint in stock to get you through to last orders!
Dress Alfred Sung
Shoes Vivienne Westwood
bracelet Martine Wester
Headpiece Claudia Pink Jewellery
Locket M Stevenson
Hair Jason Lea
Photography S6 Photography
Flowers Cocoa Flower
How cool are those hanging teapots? Very is the answer.
I love some of the light hearted, humerous and even down right crazy details that combined to make Gill and Mark’s big day a triumph… The pub quiz is genius, as are the cake pops that represented actual guests at the wedding – and the Roman Centurian. It certainly is off the wall (like, so far off the wall that it can’t even see the wall!), but I can’t help but love it.
Also, I can’t sign off without mentioning the ‘love round-a-bout’ table plan. Perfect clean design with a witty touch of humour. It sums up this wedding perfectly.