Charlotte Balbier
Brides Up North Wedding Fairs

reel love. diane harbridge for a cinema-themed wedding at oddfellows, chester – ellis & joe

January 19th, 2018 | Laura McDonagh

A Cinema Themed Wedding at Oddfellows Chester (c) Carla Blain Photography (36)

We’ve definitely got that Friday feeling as we gear up for our first Luxury Wedding Fair of 2018 at the gorgeous Capesthorne Hall, Cheshire. If any of you North West couples still haven’t got this fabulous event in your diary, take note now – Sunday 21st January, 11am to 2pm, FREE ENTRY, and you can pre-register to attend here.

But before we hop-foot it over there, we’re finishing off a fabulous week on the blog with a gorgeous real wedding that took place over in the North West…

It was love at first sight for today’s couple Ellis and Joe – but we’re talking about when they found their perfect venue rather than their first meeting (although we’re sure that was pretty magical, too!) Oddfellows of Chester brims with style, character and idiosyncratic charm and it’s crystal clear how this laidback couple knew that it would be perfect for their relaxed TV-and-film-inspired wedding.

Here at Brides Up North HQ we can’t get enough of that rich green and purple colour scheme – the perfect complement to Ellis’ flaming hair – and the contrast between grungy garage door shots and more whimsical, romantic portraits. We also love the photographer’s range of quirky shots, angles and close-ups, producing a creative and playful – yet still super-stylish – vibe.

Get ready for gorgeousness galore…

With images by Carla Blain Photography.

A Cinema Themed Wedding at Oddfellows Chester (c) Carla Blain Photography (23)

ellis says: We got engaged on 3rd March 2016, in Las Vegas. Joe took me to the rooftop bar of the Delano hotel, got down on one knee and proposed as we were having drinks overlooking the bright lights of the Las Vegas strip.

We got married on 25th March 2017. There was no particular reason behind the date, just that the venue we loved was available.

A Cinema Themed Wedding at Oddfellows Chester (c) Carla Blain Photography (8)

We got married at Oddfellows, Chester. As soon as we saw it we loved its relaxed vibe and the fact it was a little different to the average wedding venue, which suited us perfectly.

Our wedding had a film and TV theme. We thought long and hard about what felt most ‘us’ and our love of cinema trips and box sets sprung to mind. Our tables were named after fictional places from our favourite films and shows, we had our favourite childhood characters on top of the cake and various soundtracks playing throughout the day. I even walked down the aisle to a beautiful violin version of the Jurassic Park theme.

A Cinema Themed Wedding at Oddfellows Chester (c) Carla Blain Photography (33)

Sage green and purple were our main theme colours. I had chosen green as the main theme colour and then Joe found his suit which had a purple back. Since our wedding I’ve been told the colour theme went really well with my hair colouring, which is the exact reason I picked it!

A Cinema Themed Wedding at Oddfellows Chester (c) Carla Blain Photography (32)

I wore Faith by Diane Harbridge, which I found at her shop in Chester. It was an off-the-shoulder gown which I didn’t really want to try on, but my sister insisted and I’m so glad she did. I had a layer of sequin tulle added to the dress to give it some extra sparkle.

Jemma Stenning from VAIN in Chester, worked her magic with my hair for the day and also for my mum and bridesmaids. I highly recommend VAIN and Jemma – in fact, I won’t let anyone else near my hair. Mandy Rigby was my makeup artist for the day and Jennifer Hughes from The Doll House, Eastham did a fantastic job with the bridesmaids’ makeup.

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dream venue: matfen hall, northumberland

January 19th, 2018 | Julia Braime

Matfen Hall (7)

And just when you thought we couldn’t provide you with anymore inspiration for your big day setting on the blog this week, we come along with another dreamy venue for you to consider.

This time it’s one for all the North East brides-to-be out there, as we’re sharing details of our Sponsor venue, Matfen Hall, which has a lot to shout about in 2018.

Having undergone a first-class refurbishment during the winter months, the team at this award-winning Northumbrian venue are set to reveal the spectacular results of the transformation during a Luxury Wedding Show with none other than Brides Up North and, luxury bridal magazine for the north, UNVEILED.

And the best bit? You’re all invited and it’s FREE ENTRY! So, be sure to block out 11am to 2pm on Sunday 4th March when we’ll be opening the Hall’s doors so you can view this stunning venue, while meeting its super team and a special collection of suppliers from the surrounding area.

In order to give you a glimpse of what’s to come and build the suspense further, we’re getting all the details from the Matfen team on what makes the Hall such a stunning venue, and hearing how the refurb will boost its glowing reputation even further…

Matfen Hall (14)

Where is Matfen Hall located? 

matfen hall say: Set in 300 acres of beautiful Northumbrian countryside, Matfen Hall is located in a picturesque village only 17 miles from Newcastle city centre. The stunning Northumberland countryside Matfen Hall is set within offers so many options for your wedding imagery – from stunning golden corn fields to manicured gardens to wild woodland. The benefit of such dramatic interiors mean that even if the weather is not with you on your big day, your opportunity for photographs with amazing backdrops is still available!

Matfen Hall (18)

Can you tell us a little about the history of the venue?

Matfen Hall and its surrounding estate has been in the Blackett family for more than 250 years.  The Hall was built on the site of an earlier Jacobean house in 1832 by Sir Edward Blackett, the 6th Baronet. Following a massive programme of work to the fabric of the building Sir Hugh and Lady Blackett opened the doors as in 1999. We have so many original features in the Hall, including a fireplace in our Terrace Room that was originally intended for Buckingham Palace.

How would you describe the look and feel of the venue?

Matfen Hall is a unique and historic venue set in stunning Northumberland surroundings; it boasts a luxurious and traditional atmosphere for a wedding. We offer exclusivity of the East Wing, so that our couples can relax in the knowledge that they will be the only wedding taking place that day and have the utmost dedicated team to take care of them with more than 35 years’ experience between us!

Matfen Hall (35)

Matfen Hall is currently undergoing an extensive refurbishment that will transform several of its main reception rooms for weddings. Please can you tell us more about this?

We are delighted with the refurbishment work to the Hall’s East Wing, which has been underway for several months, and that will be completed by the end of February. This investment will transform the Great Hall, Terrace Room and Sir Edwards Bar. We are working with the talented interior designers Space ID, who are Newcastle based, though they have completed some incredible projects across the UK.

Entering the theatrical space that is the Great Hall, eyes will be drawn to the spectacular original oak ceiling, sensitively highlighted with led lights and suspended contemporary orbs of light creating a virtual firework display overhead. A dance of coloured light will spill over the bespoke gold ring seats from the original rose window, across the sweeping oak staircase with teal carpet runner, and will reflect in the antique mirror arches.

Leading from the Great Hall to the left, guests will be entertained within the sumptuous cocktail lounge with crystal lights, enveloping wingback chairs and relaxing music. Sir Edward’s Bar provides a relaxing space, with textured wall finishes, in rich blues and greens accented with artisan brass metalwork on the bar counter.

Leaving Sir Edward’s Bar, guests will be guided to the pièce de résistance, The Terrace Room. The original Jacobean windows with centuries old timber panelling frame the spectacular backdrop of Matfen Hall gardens and golf course. The high ceilings adorned with decorative plasterwork, sympathetically picked out in muted colours to match the panelled walls inset with crystal cut antique mirror panels.

We are really looking forward to revealing the East Wing once the work is complete and can’t wait to host many weddings in the new space.

Matfen Hall (16)

Can you tell us how couples can use the various areas of Matfen Hall on their wedding day?

The Great Hall is the ultimate setting for the most romantic and intimate part of your day, make your entrance down the magnificent Great Hall staircase before taking your vows in front of the large feature fireplace. This room can cater for up to 120 guests for a seated ceremony.

We also have our Dutch garden and cloister courtyard, for a more unique outdoor ceremony! Our private south facing Dutch Garden also makes a beautiful area for a cocktail drinks reception, then venture off into the surrounding woodland and estate, or, on a winter’s day, take your drinks reception in front of the roaring log burning fire in the Great Hall.

For those who would like a church ceremony, our neighbouring village only a short walk away from the East Wing hosts the cosy Holy Trinity Church, originally built by our current owner’s great-grandfather, Sir Edward Blackett, the 6th Baronet who also built Matfen Hall.

The choice of rooms for your wedding breakfast makes Matfen a truly special venue, the high ceilings and garden views out of the bay windows are just breath-taking.

Your evening celebration takes you to the Vault Bar and Cloister, historically the cellars of the original stately home. The décor creates a stylish and unique space for you and your guests to dance the night away! The Cloister courtyard can be used throughout various parts of your wedding day – the magical festoon lit area is perfect for outdoor ceremonies, alfresco dining or your sparkler send off at midnight!

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colour burst: shropshire petals’ spring confetti trends

January 18th, 2018 | Rachel Parry

ShropshirePetals.com Summer Nights £12.25 per litre

We might only be a matter of weeks into the new year, but we’re already excited to see the new wedding trends of 2018 starting to emerge. Expect to see large floral installations, new food trends breaking further away from the traditional three-course menus, and even colourful wedding dresses.

With the vibrant and eclectic mix of colours as predicted by Pantone, the spring wedding season looks set to be full of bold colour fusions with hints of subtle nudes and earthy classics.

Keen to see how such on-trend palettes will convert into couples’ confetti choices, we’ve invited our uber-knowledgeable Sponsor in this area, Shropshire Petals, to the blog to share their inspiring confetti recommendations featuring clever combinations of the top spring hues.

Renowned for their ‘Pick & Mix’ confetti selector, Shropshire Petals enable couples to create their own unique natural petal confetti mixes for their big day. Brides Up North readers that would like to do so can save 10% on confetti orders over £50* by entering BRIDESNORTH10 at the checkout.

Now, over to the experts for that inspo…

ShropshirePetals.com Amethyst £12.25 per litre

ultra violet

Named as 2018’s colour of the year, this magical and intriguing shade of purple is vibrant and playful. We will be seeing lots of couples choosing Ultra Violet as their colour scheme, so keep it simple by choosing confetti to match. Midnight Bloom is a beautiful purple delphinium petal, which is perfect to be used on its own for a colour block confetti shot. You can mix in some contrasting colours to include some of Pantone’s other spring shades or some neutral larger petals for some added texture.

Recommendation: Midnight Bloom or Amethyst. Display your confetti in Confetti Pops or Confetti Wands as they are clear, giving the confetti more impact before its thrown.

pastels

There are some stunning pastel shades predicted to appear this spring, including Little Boy Blue, a dreamy sky blue, Pink Lavender, a cheery shade of pink and Blooming Delilah, a pretty salmon-y pink tone perfect for springtime. Creating a confetti mix using aspects of these pastel shades will give you a wonderful colourful confetti shot without distracting from the main focus – the newly married couple!

Recommendation: Choose Summer Nights or a pick and mix of Candy Floss, Icing Sugar, Parma Violet, Duck Egg and some Heather Grain.

ShropshirePetals.com Confetti Pop with Moulin Rouge £2.55 each (4)

earthy

Earthy tones are classic colours that really create an impact. This spring, we will see Chili Oil, a sophisticated deep red, Warm Sand, an effortless natural shade and touches of rich coffee brown in the warming Emperador colour. We predict that couples will use elements of these colours together to create a sense of warmth and depth. Combine earthy colours together for a richness and include some neutral tones to help them stand out.

Recommendation: You could create a confetti bar using the elements of Moulin Rouge, selecting Burgundy Berry and Icing Sugar with Kraft, Chestnut Red and Rose Gold cones for guests to make their own confetti mix, which would combine Chili Oil, Warm Sand and Blooming Delilah.

ShropshirePetals.com Midnight Bloom and Cerise £14.25 per litre

brights

There are some wonderful bright colours this spring, from the lively yellow Meadowlark and the tempting Cherry Tomato to the charming Spring Crocus and the zesty Lime Punch. When it comes to choosing your confetti, you can be really creative. Decide how you want your confetti moment to look – full of petals or a delicate shower, then have fun selecting the colours that work for your wedding theme and style. If you want to include some of the bright tones, try mixing them with other colours to make them stand out or tone them down.

Recommendation: Pick Midnight Bloom and Cerise for a bold explosion of colour.

Of course, you don’t have to match your confetti to your colour scheme; you could choose something to contrast and display in confetti cones to complement your colours. For example, keep it simple by choosing a classic confetti mix such as the black and white Tuxedo with vibrant Strawberry Red confetti cones.

Choosing your confetti is fun, so take some time to play around with the petals and colours and order your free samples to see what your confetti mix will look like before you buy! Also, be creative with how you display your confetti; you can display in colourful confetti cones, pretty baskets, contemporary confetti pops or in little pouches tied to your order of service.

We’ll be launching some exciting new products in the coming months. Follow us on social media for all the latest news, launches, competitions and offers.

For more inspiration and to shop for your confetti, visit the Shropshire Petals website.

*Discount does not apply to existing special offers.

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planning like a pro: newly engaged? step this way!

January 18th, 2018 | Laura McDonagh

Our-Love-Story-Stephanie-Nathanial-c-Chiascuro-28-580x387

Chiascuro

As we touched on briefly in yesterday’s post, the festive season was a peak time for couples to put on a ring on it with a strong stream of just-engaged selfies filling up our social media feeds through late December and early January.

Firstly, if that was you – congratulations! Secondly, if you’ve wound up on these pink pages thinking ‘what next?’, you’re in the right place! For we’re here to hold your hand and guide you through the first steps on your wedding planning journey. So, open up the first page of that wedding planning journal, and let’s begin…

Our-Love-Story-Catriona-Mikey-6-580x387

Maddie Farris

tick tock

Chances are, questions about the date will start flooding in seconds after you’ve uploaded your first ‘Does this ring make me look engaged?’ photo. Cast your mind forward – are there any big family birthdays, anniversaries or events coming up that you don’t want to clash with – or alternatively, you’d like to honour? How long do you think you’ll need to plan – and save? Trying to predict the British weather is a bit like trying to guess what Britney was going to do next in 2007, but the season or month you choose may have significant impact on the finer details such as colour theme, flowers and dress style, so it’s worth bearing it in mind. Try to come up with a broad range (ish) of dates that would suit, and then it’s onto the venue.

Our-Love-Story-Lindsay-Chris-c-Sarah-Maria-Photography-29-580x387

Sarah Maria Photography

location, location, location!

It might be tradition for the bride to be married in her hometown, but who says it has to be your tradition? Often couples have moved away from their respective homes, or might have a special relationship with another place – a university town, the city where they met or first lived together – and can’t imagine getting hitched anywhere else. Sometimes logistics have to rule – couples often consider venues that are close to or between their respective families or a venue that can cater to particular requirements – offering total exclusivity if that’s a deal-breaker, is licensed for weddings if you’re not having a religious ceremony elsewhere, has disabled access or can manage a rowdy rabble of nephews and nieces.

But before you get too weighed down by shoulds and musts, close your eyes and imagine the day you’ve dreamed of. What do you see? A remote countryside retreat, a candle-lit manor house, an edgy urban rooftop bar? What feels most ‘you’ as a couple? There. That’s your starting point. Get online and get searching in your chosen area. Even better, get yourself to a wedding fair (‘tis the season!) at one or two of your potential venues, get your wedding party on board and get scouting. And speaking of the wedding party…

Our-Love-Story-Rebekah-Rob-c-Stories-Of-I-Do-8-580x387

Stories Of I Do

on the list?

Our advice with this one is to start big. Ignore budgets and venue capacities – you’ll be forced to do some trimming shortly. Who would you have if you could have everyone you wanted, from your long-lost best friend from reception class to that lovely bloke from IT at your last job?

You‘ll also need to consider how much financial help you’re going to accept from parents and in-laws-to-be. If they’ve offered, you’ll need to be sensitive – mum and dad may want (and be entitled?) to ask a few friends, but it’s best to have that conversation and set some boundaries before you start cashing cheques.

Then – and this sounds harsh – start culling. We suggest you get yourself some golden rules – have you actually met cousin Phil’s new girlfriend? No? Then it’s not a ‘plus one’. Have you spoken to Lucy from uni – actually talked to her – in the last two years? Then ask yourself whether you need her there on your big day. It works the other way, too, though – you might not have seen aunty Margie and uncle Derek in the best part of a decade, but is the inevitably nuclear family fallout from not inviting them really worth it?

Get it down to a ballpark figure, and be conservative – 60? 100? 120? Now you need to ask venues about their capacity.

Jessica Stott Photography-30

Jessica Stott Photography

money talks

This really goes hand in hand with the above, but it’s time to talk budget – sadly, wedding planning involves a fair bit of spreadsheet tedium as well as the occasional sprinkling of glamour. Based on potential guest numbers and average venue charges per head (choose a venue that’s currently middle-of-the-range on your list), do your figures. How much have you already got saved/can you get saved by your earliest possible wedding date? How much are family able and willing to contribute, if anything? Stack this against your guest list and bear in mind other big ‘wants’ – is it achievable? If not, you need to trim your list further or reorder your priorities – where can you make some cuts?

Warning: time, patience and compromise required. Think of it as good practice for your marriage!

Our-Love-Story-Ashley-Lauren-c-Amy-Louise-Photography-21-580x387

Amy Louise Photography

snap happy

The final biggy on your list has to be a photographer – good ones are booked up literally years in advance and if you’re having a weekend wedding and you want to get wed in 2019, chances are they’ve only got a handful of dates left. Here once again, the internet is your friend. Make trawling through some wedding blogs and Instagram your priority (this post from Brides Up North being the perfect place to start your search, obvs) and make notes on the kind of style and shots that make your head spin and your heart sing. Don’t listen to friends and relatives who say, ‘Oo, such-and-such was great at x’s wedding’ – ‘great’ photography is so subjective, this really has to be a decision for you and your other half alone. Scour their portfolios, get in touch and – eventually – go with your gut.

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dream venue: bowcliffe hall

January 17th, 2018 | Rachel Parry

Bowcliffe_Hall

Following the festive period, we’re seeing a surge of newly-engaged readers to the blog (including myself – eep – !) and we’re super keen to help you with the first, and possibly most challenging part, of your planning journey – picking a venue.

We’re very fortunate in the North to have such a diverse range of amazing settings for big day celebrations; from cool urban structures, to grand countryside retreats, modern new-builds and fascinating historic venues. But it’s a case of finding the one that’s a reflection of you as a couple and the special day you dream of.

For those on the hunt in the Yorkshire area, we highly recommend adding our Sponsor venue, the stunning Bowcliffe Hall to your ‘to explore’ list. Exclusive and individual, the venue located in Bramham, near Wetherby, only holds a limited number of weddings a year, ensuring those that it does host are totally tailored to the couple exchanging their vows.

With a choice of magnificent spaces and wow-factor-worthy food as standard brides and grooms can have an influence on everything from how the rooms are used on their day to the menu that is served to their guests.

So prepare to take note as we hand over to Bowcliffe Hall’s team now to tell us more about their bespoke approach and personal service…

Bowcliffe_Room

Can you tell us a little about the history of the venue?

bowcliffe hall say: At the heart of the Bowcliffe Estate is Grade II listed Bowcliffe Hall, built between 1805 and 1825. Once home to the Lane Fox family and subsequently aviation pioneer, Robert Blackburn, Bowcliffe Hall hosted many guests including Winston Churchill and Amy Johnson. In 2013, the current owner and custodian, Jonathan Turner, began an extensive restoration and development programme, sympathetically restoring many rooms to their former glory and creating a diverse collection of spectacular event spaces.

Ballroom_Chandelier

How would you describe the look and feel of the venue?

Set in 38 acres of spectacularly landscaped grounds, Bowcliffe is no ordinary country estate. From the Georgian splendour of Grade II listed Bowcliffe Hall with its glamorous Ballroom and sumptuous Bowcliffe Drivers Club, to the multi-award-winning Blackburn Wing, a copper and glass masterpiece which took more than 50 weeks and 30,000 man hours to build, Bowcliffe is a personal and unique venue offering an unparalleled choice of venue space and flexibility for any wedding.

Can you tell us about the ceremony and reception areas and how many guests the venue can cater for? 

Bowcliffe offers total flexibility for weddings of all sizes, with a choice of event space available across the estate. The seriously stylish, multi-award winning, Blackburn Wing is a modern-day treehouse shaped like an airplane wing. The fairytale Ballroom has a romantic and glamorous feel harking back to a bygone era with its elegant sparkling chandelier and art deco bar. The Bowcliffe Room is a splendid drawing room with beautiful Georgian period features and double doors leading to spectacularly maintained gardens. The Bowcliffe Drivers Club is the estate’s private members club. Dark mahogany panelled walls, 1920’s inspired décor and the largest collection of motoring art and artefacts outside London create an opulent, sumptuous and intimate atmosphere. For a larger wedding, Bowcliffe’s 38 acres of beautifully maintained grounds offer a perfect location for a marquee wedding.

Drivers_Club_Briefing_Room

What makes Bowcliffe a special wedding venue and sets it apart from others?

An unrivalled choice of spectacular venue space allows the flexibility to create the perfect day that truly reflects your personal taste and style. With fully exclusive use for every wedding, Bowcliffe offers a truly bespoke approach where exceptional service is a given and the belief is that the food should be as much of a wow factor as the dress or the venue.

What sort of bride would be a Bowcliffe bride?

A Bowcliffe bride appreciates exclusivity, exceptional standards and meticulous attention to detail, whether in the presentation of the venue, food or the service, as well as the opportunity of creating a truly bespoke wedding day based on the flexibility that Bowcliffe can provide.

Blackburn_Wing_Terrace

How can your staff help to make the planning process easier and the big day amazing?

We believe that offering outstanding service should be the norm. Because we only host a limited number of weddings each year, the highly-experienced events team have the opportunity of delivering a very personal service. A dedicated member of the events team will be the single point of contact throughout the whole planning process, taking the time to work with each couple to create their perfect wedding day.

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perfect prep: capturing the morning of the wedding

January 17th, 2018 | Julia Braime

Bridal Prep (c) Jenny Maden Photography (11)

When asked to pick their favourite part of their wedding day, our featured brides on the blog often pick the ceremony (as one would expect), closely followed by the morning of the wedding. For this is precious time that they spend getting ready for their big day with the most important ladies in their lives.

We personally adore looking at professional images taken at this stage in the day, when the prosecco, laughter and tears, are often in full flow. One lady who is in full agreement on this being a super-special stage of the day is Brides Up North Sponsor and Yorkshire-based photographer Jenny Maden.

We’ve therefore invited Jenny to take over the blog this morning, to tell us all about the fabulous images that can be captured during the bridal prep – from the reactions and relationships to the all-important details – so these elements of the wedding can be relived when the big day has been and gone.

With images by Jenny Maden Photography.

Bridal Prep (c) Jenny Maden Photography (2)

Why do you think the bridal prep is such an important part of the wedding day to capture?

jenny says: My main objective when photographing a wedding, is to ultimately ‘tell the story’ of the wedding day through pictures. For me, missing the bridal preparations would omit the first chapter in the story, as the bride gets ready for the ceremony with her closets family and friends. It captures the excitement of the imminent ceremony. It’s a really lovely time and a privilege to capture.

What is it you enjoy most about being present for this part of the day?

It’s great to spend some time with the bride and her crew, before the wedding day gets into full swing. There’s usually a lot of laughing, a lot of tea and prosecco drinking and some fab hair and makeup tips flying around.

Bridal Prep (c) Jenny Maden Photography (36)

Image-wise, what elements do you tend to photograph during this time?

A typical set of bridal prep images would include bridal ‘detail’ shots, such as the dress, shoes, jewellery. But I also document the morning unfolding, from hair and makeup, the giving and receiving of gifts, the bride getting into her dress and the reactions of her family and closest friends. But above all, what I really aim to capture is the ’vibe’ of the morning, so that the morning can be re-lived, through photos, after the wedding day is over.

Is the bridal prep included as standard as part of your packages and, if so, how much of the prep to you tend to capture?

Yes, bridal prep is included in my wedding package. I typically arrive at around the same time as the hair and makeup artists.

Bridal Prep (c) Jenny Maden Photography (4)

Can you do groom prep as well, either yourself or with a second shooter?

It’s not a common request, as I usually meet the groom and groomsmen at the ceremony venue, in advance of the ceremony. But yes, if a couple wanted groom prep coverage too, this can certainly be arranged (the travelling distance between the bride and groom on the morning, would generally dictate whether I would need a second shooter).

Bridal Prep (c) Jenny Maden Photography (44)

What is the feedback like from your brides about images you have taken of the bridal prep, what do they love about the images?

Brides are always surprised at quite how much I have captured of the morning! My coverage at this point in the day is very much ‘fly on the wall’; I just let things unfold around me, but capture them in a discreet yet artistic way. Furthermore, while a wedding day is predominately focused on the bride and groom, the bride’s relationships with her parents and close friends really comes through in the images taken during the bridal preparations.

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