Real Life Weddings - Stephanie Cooke and Adam Robinson, Chester Racecourse
When Stephanie Cooke found royal blue bridesmaids dresses for her wedding to Adam Robinson at St Winifred's Church in Neston they provided a natural colour scheme for the reception at Chester Racecourse Photography by Alex Davies Photography
Adam and I met while we were studying at the University of Sheffield. When we took our first holiday on the beautiful Greek island of Santorini, little did I know that seven years later it would be the place where he would propose to me. When we got back home we were very excited to start planning our wedding and wanted to get the main things booked straight away, those being the church and our reception venue. We booked St Winifred’s in Neston for our ceremony because it is the church I have attended from a young age and was very special to me. We were to have a full Catholic wedding mass, performed by our family priest Father Gerry.
We had quite strong ideas about what we wanted from our reception venue. We were looking for somewhere a bit different, with bright and airy rooms and an atmosphere where we could relax and be ourselves. We went to have a look at Chester Racecourse and it ticked all the boxes. The fact that we could use several different areas of the venue was a big plus for us. The rooms were very much a blank canvas, which also allowed us to get creative and put our own personal stamp on them.
Once we had our venues booked it was time to go dress shopping. I tried on many dresses before I eventually decided on ‘Alfil’ by Pronovias, which I bought from Blissful Daze in Sheffield. I knew fairly quickly that the strapless mermaid shape suited me and I didn’t want a gown with a big train or lots of bling so I went for simple and understated. The dress originally had a large fabric flower on it, which I replaced with a pearl button I found on an online haberdashery store. I also wanted to keep my accessories simple. My plain ivory shoes were by Rocket Dog and my pearl jewellery was by Vivienne Westwood and L K Bennett. I also had a full veil, again very simply decorated with a few diamantes skimming the edges and in my hair wore some pearl hairpins which I had bought from Etsy.
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My mum spotted the bridesmaids dresses in a boutique in Liverpool and when I saw them I knew they would be perfect. They were gorgeous royal blue, one shouldered evening dresses by Charas and I knew my trio of bridesmaids would look amazing in them. They also matched really well with the groom’s navy blue Hugo Boss suit and floral Liberty tie.
The blue theme continued into the floral design. Joanna from Gretton and Wingett did a fabulous job and my flowers were beautiful. I gave her a few swatches of material and she worked her magic. She used blue hydrangea, cream roses and eucalyptus for the bridesmaids bouquets and white hydrangea and cream roses for my bouquet. Similar flowers were used for the table centerpieces with pink accents to give a pop of colour.
We love music so we decided on a band as opposed to a disco. We came across ‘The Speakers’ on the internet and thought they sounded good. We also wanted the room to have a party atmosphere so we hired Kayad Events to do the room dressing. They used white drapes with blue uplighters and draped pillars with fairy lights. I hired large silver candelabras from the florist to add the finishing touches to the tables.
While looking for a photographer we came across Alex Davies on the internet. We really liked the style of her work and so decided to meet with her. We were looking not only for someone whose work we liked but someone very discreet and unobtrusive. After meeting with Alex and seeing more of her work we knew we wanted to book her.
On the morning of the wedding I awoke to a warm but overcast day. After having my hair done, my make-up artist, Lucy Hill arrived at the house and started making up the bridesmaids. Meanwhile our photographer arrived to catch the bridal preparations and all my details. The bridesmaids nervously chatted in the kitchen while I had my make-up done and then before I knew it, it was time to get dressed.
On arrival at the church, the priest came to meet us and we exchanged a few words before I walked down the aisle with my dad. I remember seeing Adam in his suit and he looked gorgeous. The marriage ceremony was one of our favourite parts of the day and the most important. Father Gerry did a wonderful job of making everybody laugh and feel at ease. Our friend Anna sang a psalm, Adam’s brother did a reading and the organist played ‘All you need is love’ while we signed the register.
We arrived at Chester Racecourse and were greeted with glasses of champagne which we drank while Alex whisked us off to do some photographs away from the watchful eyes of our guests. After about 15 minutes we then returned to our guests and enjoyed Kir Royale and canap�s at the Champagne bar in the middle of the racecourse. We also had music from the duo ‘Twice as Nice’ during our drinks reception. I remember them playing ‘Here’s to you Mrs Robinson’, my new name!
Just before 5pm we moved over to the Leverhulme stand for our wedding breakfast. The room looked beautiful with the flower centerpieces, chair covers and blue sashes. Our love our music was included again with all our tables names after different songs with ‘love’ in the titles. We opted to do the speeches before eating so that everyone could relax and enjoy their meals.
After our lovely meal we had a little bit of time to get some fresh air before moving over to the Long Room. It looked amazing and the transformation that Sam from Kayad had done was spectacular. The band was first class and got everyone up dancing with a range of music to suit everybody. We were so glad we didn’t have to worry about the dreaded empty dance floor!
We wanted our wedding to be traditional but not stuffy and I think we achieved that with the help of everyone involved. It all went like a dream on the day. We had lots of help planning the wedding from our families and we savoured every minute of the run up to the wedding day. The day itself was so special. We loved Alex Davies’ photographs which bring the day alive again and have been a real talking point with friends and family.
Mrs Stephanie Robinson
Photography: Alex Davies Photography, Bolton, 0161 660 2746 www.alexdphotography.co.uk
Venue: Chester Racecourse, Chester, 01244 304600, www.chester-races.co.uk
The print version of this article appeared in Spring/Summer issue of Pure Weddings
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