Late May 2014 saw me travelling North West from the midlands for Oliver & Anna-Marie’s St Werburghs Chester Wedding.

It rained for most of the day but it didn’t spoil it one bit. The rain stopped and the sun popped out after the speeches were over and I managed to sneak Ollie & Anna-Marie off for a 10 minute portrait session in the wild flower meadow behind her parents’ house. The ground was sodden but it didn’t stop a game couple at all. Ollie – ever the true gent – carried Anna-Marie in his arms until we made some shorter grass.

A brilliant day, a top priest – “Do whatever you want photographer!” – plenty of flowing booze (for the guests, not me – I’m teetotal) and a marquee full of groovers on the dance floor throwing some great shapes to the live band. Anna-Marie has kindly written a little more about their day below…

“We got married in the local Catholic Church, St Werburghs Chester. I was brought up Catholic so it meant a lot to me. It also made the service feel more personal because the priest knows my family well. He’s actually married my brother & baptised my niece & nephew!

The reception was then at my parents house. I am very fortunate as my parents place is stunning – nicer than the wedding venues in the area.

Having grown up in the house it was full of memories & had huge sentimental value. It also happens to be where Ollie & I got together – nearly 5 years earlier at my brother’s wedding reception!

St Werburghs Chester Wedding
Anna-Marie getting ready at her parents’ house in Chester

[vcex_spacing size=”30px”]I cringe a bit at the idea of wedding style, or even worse ‘theme’! However, if pushed I supposed we went for an outdoorsy, informal style wedding.

The important things for us were the people (we had 145 day guests), the food, the drink (quantity mainly!) and the vibe. We wanted people to feel relaxed & at ease.

We also wanted the homemade touches – Ollie’s mum made the cake, my mum made olive bowls, my brother brewed beers, my sister made biscotti to go with coffee, Ollie’s auntie did the flowers and Ollie & I made sloe gin, amaretto, rosemary olive oil & all the table place names & signage boards.

We wanted the day to reflect us.

St Werburghs Chester Wedding
A tender moment just after the register signing.

[vcex_spacing size=”30px”]Ian was recommended by another photographer who was unavailable. Ollie will know who!

We’d looked at so many wedding photographer websites that I had started to get quite numb to them. However, when I saw Ian’s wedding site I felt real emotion and actually got a lump in my throat. He’d really caught the emotions of the day & Ollie & I knew that was what we wanted from our wedding photos. We didn’t want the day documented we wanted the day to be captured. We would highly recommend Ian!

St Werburghs Chester Wedding
Ollie & Anna-Marie enjoying the best men’s speeches.

[vcex_spacing size=”30px”]Myself, Ollie & our families did as much as we could ourselves. Partly motivated to save money but mainly to make the day as personal & unique as possible. I designed the wedding invites & used my contacts in the printing industry to get them done on the cheap. I got my dress from Morgan Davies in London & I’d really recommend it. Ollie got his suit from Suit Supplier & he would also highly recommend it.

Ollie’s mum made the beautiful cake. After months perfecting the art of making icing flowers! My friend Jill made amazing peg dolls for the top of the cake. My brother brewed 2 beers for the day. Not a drop was left!

Ollie’s very good childhood friend Rose Kentish did our food, which was perfect. My mum, a ceramic artist, threw personalised olive bowls for all the tables

We hired our tipis from Event in a Tent & would highly recommend them. Affordable, helpful, reliable.

My sister made biscotti to accompany the coffee. Ollie & I made sloe gin from sloes we’d picked from my parent’s garden 2 years earlier. We bottled & labelled it. We also bottled & labelled amaretto to go with the biscotti.

The venue flowers consisted of fake peonies (from an old retail display I had worked on) and wild flower from the field next to my parents house. Beautifully displayed by Ollie’s mum & aunt in baby food jars! So totally free! The bridal party flowers came from Wild in Chester & they were gorgeous.

Ollie & I made all the table place names, table numbers, and signage boards.

My shoes were Monsoon and Ollie’s were Joseph Cheaney

St Werburghs Chester Wedding
A break from the rain for some bride/groom portraits in a very wet wild flower meadow…

[vcex_spacing size=”30px”]Our advice for others in the throes of planning their big day is to enjoy the planning! We definitely did. It should be fun, you are planning the best party you are ever going to throw! If things stop being fun you need to do things differently.

Don’t sweat the small stuff, people only notice so much.

Make sure they day is what you both want & it’s got your stamp on it and try to do as much as you can well in advance because as the date nears you will be doing stuff that wasn’t even on your to-do-list at the beginning!”

St Werburghs Chester Wedding
Ollie and Anna-Marie’s first dance… what a night!