My day started at 5am (after just 3 hours sleep!), with the arrival of our amazing hair and makeup artist Nicola Joyce. I can't recommend Nicola enough, my bridal party looked gorgeous and we all agreed that she was an absolute genius.
You may have caught it on social media at the time, but if you didn't, I have to give a special mention to Steph of FAIIINT who designed and handmade my beautiful dress. It's made from an ivory leopard print silk with a faux fur hem and I just adored it. Both Steph and Tara travelled in to attend the wedding, which meant so much to both Tim and I :)
This is Oakfield House where it all takes place. It sits in the centre of the zoo right next to the lion enclosure, so you can actually hear them roar from the ceremony/wedding breakfast room! The building has a lovely open feel to it, and guests can come and go as they please all day. This would have been ideal if we'd had some sunny weather, but it rained for most of the day and though it didn't really bother us, it was a shame that our friends and family couldn't explore as much of the zoo as they might have liked, though brollies were on hand for those that were brave enough!
My handsome groom Tim welcoming his guests before I arrived. His dapper look was from Hugo Boss, and we both loved the contrast of the orange tie and buttonhole against the blue. I always knew I'd want orange flowers because tiger lillies are my all time faves!
Our rings were from Wongs Jewellers in Liverpool. They designed and made my engagement ring, so my wedding ring was made to fit next to it, and Tim chose a palladium and rose gold hammered finish band. The whole experience with Wongs was not only flawless but also a lot of fun, and we made a great friend in Jenny! *waves*
This is one of our fave photos from the day. Our wonderful photographer, Yana of Yana Photography asked us what some of our favourite animals were so she could try to capture them for us on a walk around the zoo while we were finishing our desserts, so I said I was very keen on the Cheetahs! Yana soon returned from her safari and showed us this beautiful pic of another loved up couple having a cheeky kiss in the rain - awww! All of the photos you see on this blog were taken by Yana and lifted directly from our album. Our guests all loved Yana, she's so much fun and a total wedding photography ninja, managing to get amazing photos without you even knowing she is there! We were really lucky to have her with us on the day :)
Yana also took our pre-wedding photographs which I posted about here last summer.
One of the Swarovski Tiger treasures we gifted to our bridesmaids Stephanie and Leanne, Tim's mum and my good friend Donna.How cute?
As you can see, the zoo gardens really lend themselves to a post-wedding romantic walk.
If you get a nicer day or you're a bit more adventurous than me in my super high Kurt Geiger heels, you could even venture further out to the Islands part of the zoo where you can take a boat ride a la Prince Eric and Ariel!
Once the zoo had closed, we were taken on a private safari leading to our chosen focus animal, the beautiful Jaguars. These pretty kitties are normally super elusive but the keepers coaxed them out for us and they sat patiently waiting for their tea while we all cooed over them and took photos galore! The keeper then tempted them to the outdoor enclosure where they put on a fab aqua hunting display for us, swimming in the pool and generally just looking drop dead gorgeous. I'm so glad we included the after hours safari on the day because it's one of our most memorable parts of the day and Yana got some incredible photos.
Finally, I had to include this pic of Oakfield House looking beautiful at night, mainly because if you look very closely you can see a very drunk Steph and Tara pulling faces at the window!
Chester Zoo was the dream wedding location for us, chosen because we love animals, all the monetary proceeds from your event goes back into the zoo, plus anyone who knows me knows that there was no way I was going to pass up the opportunity to theme my wedding with a touch of animal print! The Events Team were so organised and professional, and we were looked after and guided at every step of the planning process. On the day, nothing was too much trouble. The staff were lovely and friendly, the food was yummy and the wine was plentiful! As the evening celebrations got into full swing, I changed into my Converse and danced the night away with my girls as my new husband caught up with his friends, occasionally joining me for a spin to his favourite songs, until we were the last to leave the party and finally put into a taxi happy and married!
In all seriousness, it was the best day ever. I still think about it now and I'd do it all again in a snap! Not that either of us plan to ;)