Updated: Nov 2, 2021
If you told most couples that they only had 6 days to plan their wedding, they'd think it was impossible... but Abi and Alex have proven otherwise. I was browsing Facebook on a Monday morning, when I saw a post requesting suppliers for a couple who were getting married that Saturday. I had nothing planned that weekend and was more than happy to help, so I got in touch.
Going back to the start of their journey together, Abi and Alex met in 2011 when they both started their studies at the University of Dundee, and met through a mutual friend, Solyana. Alex and Solyana were flatmates throughout their 4 years at university, and their flat became a regular meeting place for their group of friends. Both Abi and Alex had been in separate relationships, and remained close friends until they left Dundee for the summer, after their 3rd year was over. Abi confessed to Solyana that she liked Alex and swore her to secrecy, but Solyana must have known that it was meant to be, and went straight home and told Alex. After keeping in touch over the summer, Abi and Alex started their 4th year at Dundee as a couple.
Abi then moved to London to start her Masters and Alex moved back home to Kent. They spent 5 months travelling in and out of London to see each other, before moving in together. In early 2018, the couple moved in with Alex's parents, to start saving for their own place, and bought their first house together in November 2018. The following month, they went on holiday to Florida, and in front of the castle at Harry Potter World, Alex surprised Abi by getting down on one knee.
They originally planned their wedding for August 2020 at Old Palace, Chester. The venue was undergoing a vast renovation at the time, and most of the walls were back to their bare structures. They had to use lots of imagination, with the help of some artist's impressions to envisage their wedding.
But then the pandemic hit, and the chance of their upcoming wedding taking place was uncertain. In June 2020, they made the decision to postpone to August 2021. All the excitement of getting married was lost, and Abi and Alex didn't want to continue making plans, as they weren't sure if the wedding would even go ahead. There was also added uncertainty as to whether the majority of their wedding party would be able to attend the wedding, as they lived abroad. This included three of Abi's best friends who were due to be bridesmaids, and Alex's best man, who was in America. Alex, who is half Spanish, also has many relatives living abroad.
The couple awaited upcoming travel announcements, and then made the difficult decision that they'd postpone the wedding for a second time. Unfortunately, as weddings were now allowed to go ahead in the UK, the couple would have lost all of their deposits, and realised that there was no way they could afford to do so. They decided to go ahead with the wedding (albeit with a much smaller wedding party), and the excitement that was lost, soon came back. Then, the frenzy of planning a wedding in under a week began.
I arrived at Old Palace Chester on a the morning of the wedding, and even though it was a bit drizzly, I was stunned by it's beauty, and it's views over the River Dee. The grade II listed building has been brought back to life, combining original features with luxurious and contemporary style, to create an exclusive wedding venue in the city centre of Chester.
I found Abi, along with her entourage in the Morning Room, where they were supplied with fruit , pastries and coffee. This dedicated room, complete with dressing tables, mirrors, a sofa, and a clothes rail, is the perfect room for preparing for your big day ahead.
Downstairs, the River Room was being prepared for the ceremony by the florist, Tamaryn Treasures. Beautiful cherry blossom trees, with hanging tealights, stood either side of the table; the pew ends were decorated with beautiful hydrangeas and roses; and candle lit lanterns and rose petals lined the aisle.
Abi and her bridal party moved to the opulent Palace Suite where she put on her stunning Enzoani gown, which she luckily had already bought. She enjoyed a few moments with her bridesmaids and parents, before going downstairs for the ceremony.
Their ceremony was beautifully lead by Celebrant, Jen Walker, along with a blessing from Father Emeka. The friends and family who were unable to make it, were able to watch the ceremony via a zoom link. The couple exchanged their vows along with wedding rings that they borrowed from family members.
The ceremony was followed by a drinks reception with delicious canapés, where the couple greeted their guests and welcomed congratulations. Outside the rain was still teeming down, so we decided to have the confetti shot in the grand Arrival Hall.
Shortly after, the rain started to subside and we were able to capture a few group shots outside the hotel. Afterwards, I took Abi and Alex away for a few moments of quiet time. We walked down to the suspension bridge and took some beautiful shots of the couple alone. Abi told me how this was a special place, as she used to enjoy picnics here, down by the river. The couple and their guests then went on to enjoy their delicious wedding breakfast.
Abi and Alex began their evening celebrations with the cutting of the cake. The cake and cupcakes, supplied by The Flour Pot and Baked by El, were decorated with flowers and eucalyptus, and a little 'bill and ben' sat on the table as a gesture to the couples' nickname. The sun decided to make an appearance and the chefs lit the outdoor pizza oven while the guests enjoyed drinks on the patio into the evening.
Even though it wasn't quite the day they'd planned, Abi and Alex were so happy that they went ahead with the wedding. They are hoping to enjoy a honeymoon next year, but for now they are combining Alex's 30th birthday with a mini-moon in Italy in November.
It was a real honour to be part of this very special day and I wish Abi and Alex a long and happy marriage.