November 25th, 2014 | Julia Braime
We’re going for gold as I welcome back Brides Up North Sponsor Claire of Calligraphy For Weddings. She’s making our pages even prettier this afternoon as she launches her stunning new gold calligraphy service.
You saw it here first… get ready to glisten.
claire says: Gold calligraphy glistening in the sunshine on handwritten menus, place cards, tags and table cards – a wonderful counterpoint to a messy, richly coloured natural setting. I wanted to show brides how to work with a natural theme and bring together sophisticated details and a messy, rustic background. I went back to nature and this intimate shoot took place on the shores of England’s deepest lake on a sunny autumn morning.
The tablescape is all about rich, natural colours: a palette of burgundy and pink tones with mossy greens and glowing gold. The lettering sparkles in the sunshine: metallic gold calligraphy inks are super luxurious and oh so wonderful to see – rub your finger across the letters and you can feel the raised gold swirls under your fingertips.
A rich and colourful place setting was created using mixed textures and materials: moss and branches in their natural setting were complemented by ombre brocades, vintage china plates and rich pink gilded glassware. All of the styling elements were locally sourced from independent businesses – from forks to flowers! Counterbalancing the natural backdrop and messy tangles of brocade was the elegant calligraphy: loops and swirls of gorgeous gold on luxury burgundy paper stock.
I really wanted to create a look which can be remade by DIY brides: vintage china and glassware is everywhere; and mixing natural textures of wood and moss with just a few bought flowers can add magic to every wedding table. It’s what tablescapes are all about – combining elements in a creative way to make unique and charming place settings for your guests. Replace my lakeshore ‘table’ with the real tables at your venue and you’ll have an enchanting reception style your guests will love!
Calligraphy by Claire Gould, at Calligraphy-for-Weddings.com
Gold menu calligraphy from £7
Place name calligraphy £1.40
Table number cards from £4
Thank you tags £1.20
November 25th, 2014 | Julia Braime
Karin and Rob’s beautiful wedding day is chic, stylish and filled with the sort of opulent details that we love here at wedding blog HQ. Lace, crystals, blousy blooms and one stunning setting make this a celebration fit for the pages of Vogue magazine. Lucky for you, we snapped it up first.
Let’s raise the bar a little.
It’s getting haute in here…
With images by fabulous Brides Up North Sponsor, Fyzal Photography.
karin says: Unbeknown to me, when the idea of a ski holiday with friends popped up, Rob pushed for the 3 valleys, France and in particular, Meribel for one reason only….it was his ideal setting for a proposal!
When we first got together (November 2008 and after 7 months of Rob trying,) it left us just a month before Rob flew to France for a 5 month ski season. I joined Rob for a weeks holiday in the January and we both knew then our relationship was to last. Meribel was also where Rob told me that he loved me.
January 2012 was eagerly anticipated by Rob, eventually settling for his SLR camera case to hide the ring through airport security. He got it through and I was none the wiser as to what would happen a few days later. Rob planned to pop the question on a particular piste in the next valley, Courcheval. But due to an avalanche, it wasn’t until the last ski day that it was cleared to ski to.
It was called “Les Piste Indiens” where a purpose built Indian village appeared around a corner. We stopped and Rob knelt next to a plastic fox for a rare photo opportunity. It turned out to be very rare as photos later proved, Rob had the ring out trying to propose while I was trying to take his photo.
We tied the knot on 14 June 2014. I (not superstitious at all!) didn’t want to be married in 2013!
We met whilst both working at Jesmond Dene House and when the decision was to be made as to where we were to be married, it had so much history to it and along with our own history there, the decision was simple.
Our wedding was always going to be straight ahead. I still work there as private dining manager and so have a strong relationship with wedding coordinators Abi and Christina, C & B manager Lukasz and everyone else to be involved on the day. Knowing everyone made us feel secure that the day was to perfect.
We chose a romantic shabby chic theme. Apple crates, coffee bean sacks, old leather suitcases, plenty of candles and wicker hearts all suited the Jesmond Dene setting. Since I oversee weddings day in, day out, I knew what would make our day different to others.
Everything was based around pastel lilac and ivory themes. It worked so well with the grandeur of the dark oak of the hotel’s Great Hall. We also tied in the green of Jesmond Dene into all floral arrangements.
I stayed in the hotel the night before with my mother and the bridesmaids, setting up the decorations until 2am while best man and Rob had a beer and a cheeky Chinese takeaway in the room of the best man!
When choosing my dress, I spent hours online looking for local bridal shops and looked at each designer stocked in each shop until I found my dress. When I came across Ronald Joyce ‘Babetta’, I knew no matter what else I saw, I’d be back for the Babetta.
I spent only a short amount of time in Wild Brides at Heart, Durham after a Ronald Joyce designer weekend and I was out in no time after placing the deposit looking forward to my first fitting. The detail in the lace, the open back, and its long train was exactly what I was looking for and nothing else would match it.
I chose not to wear a veil, instead a headpiece, slightly different to the norm. Flown from Canada, it was jewelled, but not over the top. Sarah Walsh was my makeup artist and hair stylist. Highly recommended!
My look was complete after Rob had a few gifts sent up to me with breakfast on the morning of the wedding. I had pointed out a beautiful Swarovski tennis bracelet a few months before and luckily he took the hint! It matched so well with the Swarovski pearl earrings he had also bought me.
I carried lilac and ivory roses with hydrangea. Helen from Bels Flowers provided all floral arrangements. Hats off to Helen, who did a fantastic job and came as a late replacement for florist after we had been let down by another months before the wedding!
My bridesmaids wore “Debut” Grecian lilac dresses from Debenhams and my maid of honour wore an ivory and lilac floral print dress from BHS. I bought all the girls a brooch to wear as a gift to personalise the dresses.
I would highly recommend Fyzal Photography to anyone!
Both Fyzal and his wife Dawn went above and beyond to capture our day how we wanted it with the eye and finesse you would not get from any other photographer! He took us for an “e:shoot” on the beach where we got to know how it all worked. It also helped Rob relax as he’s not big on having his photo taken.
On the day itself, everything was done with military precision after we agreed an itinerary days before. They both made us feel at ease for the entire day knowing we were constantly having photos taken without even realising they were there.
Even months after the day, Fyzal stays in contact and helps to decide the final images for our album.
Our cake was a chocolate croque-em-bouche produced by our friend, Kristian Branch, head pastry chef at the hotel.
We had Jessica Avison, a local acoustic singer/guitarist play during our reception and then The Paul James Band – known for years through Jesmond Dene house performances, started the evening entertainment. We hired a DJ through One Voice Productions for our “after party” and a Snaparazzi photo booth for use as guest book. Ross, Snaparazzi’s director is a friend via the hotel.
We’re biased but we’d definitely recommend Jesmond Dene House, even if we weren’t! Every member of staff gets involved and consumed in every event that they work at. The hotel as a whole puts 100% into each event to put the hotel on the map in the region and to make a name for itself.
My favourite moment of the day was our first dance, choreographed with help of Caroline of Bela Dance School. I wanted a proper first dance, no swaying as most couples do. We had over 20 lessons to perfect the Viennese Waltz to Christina Perri’s “A Thousand Years”.
We pre-wedding honeymooned in January to Australia due to work commitments after the wedding. We flew via Hong kong where we spent a few hours walking the streets then onto Melbourne. After a few nights in Melbourne we drove the Great Ocean Road and on to Adelaide via the Grampians (narrowly missing the bush fires) to fly across to Sydney, going into the blue mountains as well as the obligatory Harbour Bridge climb! We then flew to Noosa to spend 10 days with best man and bridesmaid who lived there. Surfing, chilling out and getting stung across the face by a jellyfish! Ouch!
My top tip for other Brides Up North is to spend money on the photographer, namely Fyzal, as most of the day is a blur. Only one person can capture it all for you to remember forever, so choose wisely!
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November 24th, 2014 | Julia Braime
Turns out that our talented Brides Up North Sponsors make the very prettiest of brides. Today’s absolutely beautiful wedding at Eshott Hall, starring our own Natalie Power, is a lovely lesson in romantic pastels and pretty detailing. I’ve saved this to share with you for a special start to the week, Pinterest fingers at the ready…
With images by Helen Russell Photography.
natalie says: We got engaged in November 2008, it was my birthday and Warren had surprised me with a trip to Barcelona. If that wasn’t surprise enough, he proposed, I could not believe it, it was so unexpected but perfect!
We were married on Saturday 31st May 2014, at Eshott Hall, Northumberland.
After looking at other possible venues we were becoming a little disheartened but then we arrived at Eshott Hall and as soon as we drove up the tree lined gravel driveway and past the manicured lawns we both knew this would be the venue. We wanted to have exclusive use of the venue for the weekend, stunning scenery and not be constrained by minimum numbers: Eshott Hall ticked all those boxes.
We didn’t have a ‘theme’ as such, we just felt everything fell into place; it was little mix of modern classic with a country edge. We chose a soft colour scheme of creams, pinks and peaches. We wanted to keep things pretty neutral and unstructured.
I wore a fitted Vera Wang wedding dress, which is completely the opposite of what I thought I wanted when I started looking. I had been pinning like crazy on the best wedding tool ever and had my heart set on a Jenny Packham dress. After trying it on I was very disappointed, it just didn’t feel like it was my ‘wedding’ dress so I was back to square one. It wasn’t until my Mum suggested I try on something completely different that I came across the dress, I tried it on once and fell in love. To complete the look I wore Jimmy Choo Crown heels in Nude, a gift from my husband
Make-up was provided by Jo Leversuch of Make-up by Jo, she did a super job and was even able to fit in an extra person on the day – nothing was too much for her, I would definitely recommend Jo. She was able to create a look for each of the bridesmaid that was unique to them, not a carbon copy of one another.
Warren wore a navy double-breasted jacket from Hugo Boss with a crisp white shirt from The Kooples. His cream trousers were also from Hugo Boss and completed his look with a set of braces from Bromleys. His shoes were brown double monk straps from Magnanni.
My bridesmaids wore Dessy dresses, style no. 2909 in Cameo to compliment the soft neutral colouring.
The groomsmen wore their own suits in navy to tie in with the Groom’s suit jacket; they all wore matching pink bowties and pocket squares from Etsy.
My bouquet was a selection of garden roses, spray roses, hydrangeas, soft grey foliage and brunia berries – all very loose and effortless. All of the flowers throughout the day were in the same style as my bouquet, provided by Helen of Bels Flowers. She is fabulous and I would highly recommend her.
Helen Russell was our photographer, we would definitely recommend Helen, she is so lovely and captured the atmosphere of the day perfectly.
As well as creating my own wedding invitations (my daytime job – see Natalie Power’s website) I also made the signage, table numbers and seating plan. Of course, my husband was on hand with his trusty saw and drill.
The food and drink was provided by Eshott Hall, it was beautifully presented and tasted just as good, everyone commented on how tasty it was.
We had a selection of cakes, a dessert table provided by the amazingly talented Bernadette of Dreamworld Cakes. The wedding cake itself was chocolate baileys flavour, victoria sponge cupcakes, mini cakes were chocolate orange flavour, macaroons in both rose and pistachio flavours, cake pops and artisan meringues.
During the ceremony, canapés and wedding breakfast the wonderful Aurora Strings entertained us; they played a selection of classical and pop music, which was perfect.
Our evening entertainment was provided by an amazingly talented band, The Noise, that I found through Warble Entertainment. They did an amazing job and were very enthusiastic, I highly recommend them.
We would highly recommend Eshott Hall. The venue itself is perfect if you are looking for somewhere you can use exclusively, it has beautifully manicured grounds to compliment your photography and décor that will not dictate your colour scheme.
For our honeymoon we decided on a US adventure taking in as many locations as we could. Our first stop was San Diego, from there we moved onto Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, Morro Bay, Carmel, San Francisco, Yosemite National Park, Mammoth Lakes, Death Valley before our last stop in Las Vegas. There were so many highlights from the trip from whale watching in Morro Bay, the tour in San Francisco, a Grand Canyon helicopter flight and watching Cirque Du Soleil ‘O’, it was all amazing! We loved the fact that we got to explore so many different places along with amazing weather and ever changing scenery.
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be when things get on top of you or don’t go to plan remember the reason you’re doing this. To marry the love of your life, that’s what’s important, everything else will fall into place.
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November 12th, 2014 | Julia Braime
Today’s couple, Tracey and Steven, know it pays to keep things classic. Their celebration at the soon to reopen fire ravaged Crathorne Hall (click here for the full story) with traditional detailing, fabulous florals and one killer frock, is a masterclass in elegance.
With images by Phil Smith Photography.
Tracey says: Steven proposed on our two week road trip holiday through Europe, travelling through Germany, Austria, Italy and France in May 2012.
Whilst in Austria we spent some time camping and trekking in the Alps. On the day of our engagement we trekked up one of the most beautiful mountains in Austria. On the way back down the mountain, surrounded by the most stunning Alpine scenery, Steven paused to tie his laces and asked me to take some photos. Whilst I was taking some photos of the amazing scenery, Steven sounding startled asked me to look at the lump that had appeared in his walking socks. He then revealed a personalised wooden ring box and proceeded to ask me to marry him. Of course I was overwhelmed and completely shocked, of course I said yes!
Unbelievably Steven had driven from Sheffield to Alpendorf two months earlier, a 35 hour, 2000 miles round trip, just to find the perfect location to propose! Once he had found the perfect setting, he dug a parcel into the mountain, behind a tree, containing the Champagne, flutes and a little note in German, asking if found, for the parcel to not be removed!
As you can imagine, I was astonished at the time, trouble and effort Steven had gone to, to make our engagement so special. I couldn’t believe someone could have done this for me. The final surprise came from Steve’s back pack, when he revealed a brochure of a 5* spa hotel in Alpendorf for that night! This made a refreshing and romantic change to the Camping.
We were married on 11th July 2014 at Crathorne Hall Hotel. Crathorne Hall Hotel was the venue of one of our 1st Weekends away and after view dozens of other venues it was clear that we had been comparing them all to Crathorne Hall. Its such a beautiful building in superb surroundings. The staff had also always been to friendly and professional.
With such an amazing venue, we wanted to best complement Crathorne Hall and so went with an English Country Rose theme. The flowers were really important in accomplishing this. We chose a colour scheme of dusky pinks, green foliage and champagnes.
My dress was a Maggie Sottero gown, Ivanka Marie. I chose this dress because I wanted a statement dress. The dress has a sweetheart neck line, fitted corset, huge fluffy layered tulle and a very long train with Swarovski detail. When I first saw the dress on a mannequin I didn’t like but when I tried it on I knew it was the dress for me.
Steven wore a grey three piece suit from House of Fraser in Birmingham.
My adult bridesmaids wore dusky pink maxi dresses from House Of Fraser in Meadowhall and the flowergirls wore ivory embellished dresses from Debenhams in Sheffield.
Phil Smith was our photographer. Choosing the right photographer was one of our most important decisions, when planning our wedding. We had decided that we would sacrifice having a professional videographer to ensure we could have the perfect photographer and the best quality photo album we could. Phil certainly was the perfect photographer.
From the first time we met Phil at a wedding fair at Crathorne Hall, we knew he was the man for us. Phil was such an easy person to talk to and nothing seemed too much trouble, but more importantly it was Phil’s portfolio of work that really caught our eye. Phil’s ability to really capture the mood in his shots stood out from the competition. This was really important to us, as we didn’t just want traditional shots.
I carried a bouquet of pink peonies, mixed English garden herbs, such as rosemary and thyme, finished with large oyster pearls and pink blush German lace. All flowers were supplied and designed by Michelle Meehan owner of The Grange Wedding Flowers from Sheffield. The help and guidance Michelle provided was second to none, she really is a superb florist, that’s willing to go the extra mile.
During the ceremony and also outside for reception drinks we had Arco String Quartet playing personally selected tracks, including my entrance music ‘A Thousand Years’ by Christina Perri from the Twilight Saga.
During the reception drinks we also had Laser Clay Pigeon Shooting, this went down very well with all the guests, especially as we had keep this a secret. The Class Laser Clay Team were ultra-professional and extremely friendly, I would certainly recommend them.
We also had a selection of garden games, such as lawn darts, croquet and French boules.
As we had a lovely summer’s day, we had Strawberry Daiquiris and bottles of Peroni for welcome drinks served with a selection of lovely canapés.
For favours, we had lemon drizzle butter cream cupcakes, iced in the colour scheme of the flowers with a Alice In Wonderland style eat me flag. These were placed inside vintage tea cups and saucers on the table. We used Kiss Me Cake Bakery, based near Holmfirth. They allowed us to keep our own vintage tea cup and saucer as a memento.
I choose an Alice In Wonderland inspired three tier cake, two tiers were toffee and the middle tier lemon. The cake was made by Angel Cakes in Rotherham. The cake design was even better than I had imagined. We tried many cake samples at wedding fairs and Angel Cakes was by far the best, extremely moist and lovely flavours.
It’s so difficult to pick a perfect part to our wedding. The ceremony was amazing and the speeches were great fun but the quiet times when we went off with our photographer for some couple shots were a nice way to break up the day and help it all sink in.
We left for our honeymoon the morning after the wedding. We had breakfast with our guests and set off to the Airport at 11am. We flew to Nairobi, Kenya and then on to the Masai Mara for 3 nights safari at the Kicheche Bush Camp.
The Camp was amazing, with zebra and wildebeest coming right up to our tent at night. We literally saw everything whilst on safari, including lion, cheetah and leopard. An evening watching two lionesses and seven cubs play only 20 metres away, whilst the sun went down was a real highlight.
From Kenya we flew to the Seychelles and stayed at the Constance Ephelia Resort on Mahe Island. Rather than just spending our time on the beach, we managed to explore the Island, with some trekking and even managed to try the local delicacy of Fruit Bat Curry!
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to visit and research venues, it is so important to get the perfect venue for you. Similarly ensure you find the right photographer for you, your photographs along with your memories are the items that will last the longest. It’s so important to be happy with them.
For our First Anniversary we plan to visit the spot of our engagement in Austria. I wonder if Steven will be planting anything in the Mountain this time!
November 7th, 2014 | Julia Braime
Packing a zesty punch to end the week on a vibrant high, we welcome Miriam and Richard to the blog with their opulent, colourful and champagne fuelled Algerian inspired wedding.
Get ready to pop the fizz… this looks like my kind of celebration.
With images by Matt Horan.
Miriam says: Richard proposed when we went away for the weekend to the lakes, it was actually my brother in law’s 30th Birthday which Rick kyboshed. We walked up to the room and the bed was laid out with flowers, it took me a while to comprehend what they said and the first thing that came out my mouth was “ I think we are in the wrong room!” anyway, on closer inspection the rose petals said “Will you marry me?” and I turned round and Rick was on one knee. It was a surreal moment but I of course said yes and the champagne got opened.
We were married on Thursday 17th July 2014 at Colshaw Hall in Pever. We just fell in love with this place. It is a stately home and was just beautiful. The owner is also very down to earth which made us want to go with them even more.
It is just the most beautiful venue, gorgeous gardens and you felt you were a million miles away even though you weren’t.
My dress was a Heritage gown, by Amanda Wyatt and Charlotte Balbier. I got it from Love Bridal Boutique and I just fell in love with it. Rick wore a tailored suit that he had especially made for him and my fabulous bridesmaids all wore dresses from Debenhams.
We had a Algerian theme as my dad is Algerian and also a fizz theme as I love Champagne, so all the tables were named after Champagnes. The colours were all middle eastern and the food followed this theme.
Our flowers were from Red Floral Architecture and were very blingy with diamante in them! We also had lanterns and candles.
Matt Horan was our photographer and we’d certainly recommend him! He was very natural and really caught the moment.
We had a videographer, Tom from Silk Wedding Films who was great, you didn’t even know he was there.
We used a wedding planner called Janice who really supported and helped us through the whole process.
We carried the Algerian theme into our wedding breakfast so served a mezze to start which included taboluh, merguez sasuage, humous, feta with harissa, flat breads, we then had lamb and couscous with roasted veg and a trio of desserts.
My dad picked all the wine which included red, white, fizz and champagne.
We gave Algerian sweets as favours and instead of a wedding cake we had lots of mini pavlovas, they were lovely!
The whole day was just amazing but it just went very quickly. We are both foodies so I would have to say the food part was lovely, even though Rick was too nervous to eat as he knew he was going to do his speech!
We went to France, Italy and Spain for our honeymoon.
In France we stayed in a Michelin starred chateaux for 4 nights, we then got the train to Italy for 4 nights where we visited Lake Maggorie and finally relaxed in a villa in the Andalusian mountains for a week.
It was great that we visited a few different places.
I am sure all brides say this but my top tip for other Brides Up North would be to ENJOY every second as it flies by!
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November 6th, 2014 | Julia Braime
Across in our brilliant and busy Brides Up North Facebook group (are you a member yet? click here to join) a regular discussion thread concerns unique ideas for keeping little relatives (never mind the bigger guests!) entertained.
As much as it’s an enjoyable occasion a wedding can be a long day with little lulls here and there that need filling to avoid guest becoming bored and or restless. While a few disposable cameras and a recommended DJ once sufficed as adequate entertainment, many couples are now looking for more imaginative ideas to make their big day not only fun for their guests, but unique and memorable too.
This is easy during the summer, but in the winter months it can prove more of a challenge. So, to cut boredom off at the pass we’ve asked Brides Up North Sponsor Rich at Alive Network Entertainment Agency for some top tips for family-friendly wedding entertainment ideas that everyone can enjoy together, whatever the weather.
Over to the experts…
Set the mood right from the moment your guests arrive at your venue by creating a mini carnival in the car park. Let costumed ice-themed characters guide guests to the door, where Frozen-styled characters stand in the middle of illuminated ‘living’ tables to serve child-friendly cocktails in sugar-frosted glasses.
If you enjoy TV street magicians like Troy and Dynamo, imagine the thrill of them performing at your wedding drinks reception, stunning guests with seemingly impossible tricks and illusions right before their very eyes. Look also at iPad magicians, who combine digital tablets and old school magic into a visually stunning and logic-defying show. What’s more, magicians are like Piped Pipers for kids; if you lose the little ones, they’ll have disappeared to watch that trick just one more time!
Spice up the speeches with a celebrity lookalike who can also act as your master (or mistress) of ceremonies. Image the best man introduced by Marilyn Monroe, your Dad applauded by Prince Charles, or your bridesmaids and pageboys given their thank-you gifts by David Beckham – now that’ll really leave them speechless! For even better value, look for professional lookalikes who offer more than one character, such as John Clees or Prince Charles, or hire two to work together as a double act, such as Basil Fawlty and Manuel.
Let’s face it, wedding days should be filled with chatter, music and laughter, but sometimes a little peace and quiet goes a long way! Hear nothing but laughter when your professional mime artists entertain, combining the skill of classical mime with the much-loved antics of Mr Bean type characters, for a wonderful post-meal show everyone can enjoy – and understand.
Unless your pre-teen relatives are buddy classical musicians, chances are a traditional string quartet is not going to hold their interest long. So, keep those little eyes glued to the antics of a comedy string quartet, that turns classical music into classic comedy at the twitch of a bow. Look for other comic style groups as well, such as Ukulele bands, Oompah bands, or strolling mariachi bands as seen in those savoury snack commercials.
We’ve all done it, held our hands in front of a torch to project the image of a cute bunny, but that’s about our limit. Professional shadow artists take it to a whole new level, creating an animated show of animals, scenes and even celebrities from just their hands and light source. Or hire a sand artist to create swirling pictures and scenes from just a trayful of sand in seconds. If requested in advance, some artists offer a chance to ‘have a go’, something the younger generation will particularly enjoy.
Ditch the disco and get everyone up and dancing with a ceilidh band, regardless of age, agility or the complete absence of any dancing talent whatsoever. You caller teaches the steps, everyone does the dance, and then it’s on to the next, swapping dancing partners as you go, for guaranteed smiles all round.
I told you that these guys were the experts! For more winter wedding entertainment ideas, call the team at Alive Network on 0845 108 5500 or visit their website; they’ll be happy to help with free advice and even more suggestions!
November 5th, 2014 | Julia Braime
Today I’m really proud to make your acquaintance with one of our lovely Brides Up North sponsors, Fairclough Photography. Katie and James, the awesome husband and wife team behind these amazing images: fabulous photographers and all round lovely souls.
Get them booked for your big day, and your wedding pictures could look as good as this little lot.
Katie and James are also offering a free 20” x 14” museum quality canvas print if you quote ‘Brides Up North Is The Best Wedding Blog!’ when making your booking. Can’t argue with that!
All images by Fairclough Photography.
How did you get into wedding photography?
We are both self-taught photographers; Katie’s passion for photography developed through a side project on her graphic design degree course, and after developing her street photography in New York as a student, discovered that people and emotional storytelling were her passion and inspiration to voice through photography. James fell in love with the photography of National Geographic, and after a lot of wet, muddy outings and ruined 35mm film, started applying some of his theatre experience and techno-geekery to the creative lighting we are constantly developing to use with our couples.
Why wedding photography specifically?
Since getting married ourselves in March 2013, we have both been obsessed with weddings! We are fascinated by the whole process, from planning up until the ‘i do’ (and the shenanigans that come after that of course!) and the amazing people you get to meet. We just didn’t want it to end. So to combine both of our passions for photography with another love of ours is the dream.
What is your favourite thing about being a wedding photographer?
There are so many things! If we had to choose one though, it would be sharing our Bride and Groom’s special day, it always feels like such a privilege to be chosen to share in such an momentous occasion. It always brings back lovely memories from our day too!
How do you get couples to relax on the day?
Having been recently married ourselves, we know how the nerves and emotions feel on the morning of the wedding – we don’t go in shooting away straight away, we just become part of the day right from the beginning, which let’s us all be comfortable and relaxed for the rest of the day.
Any advice to any brides who don’t like to have their picture taken?
Definitely come and have a pre wedding/engagement shoot – it’s very important to get to know your photographers, and once you’re used to the camera being around, when it comes to the wedding day you’ll be a natural, and it won’t be such a shock to have a photographer around.
What sort of makeup should a bride wear to look great in her pictures?
Any good make up artist will be able to work with you to create the look you want on your day – it can also influence the types of pictures you want to make on your day too – for example, if you create a film noir look with high contrasts, that’s really going to shine through in the pictures.
Anything to avoid which might look bad in the wedding pictures?
Using too much fake tan can sometimes create an awkward contrast between skin and the white of the wedding dress – also under tungsten lighting in reception venues, it tends to naturally bring out the orange tone, which isn’t desirable for a natural look.
Which celebrity wedding would you most like to photograph and why?
Tim Burton and Helena Bonham Carter’s! We’re both huge lovers of their work and just imagine the type of wedding they’d have with both of their styles and imaginations fused together!
Any really memorable weddings that you have captured?
One of the most memorable was a really intimate, small outdoor wedding in cambridge, perfectly elegant, with the bride and groom walking down the aisle together. We love an elaborate wedding, but when it’s simply driven by the emotion of a tight group of close family and friends, there seems to be a certain magic we can’t get enough of.
Are you married? Tell us about your day.
YES! We said ‘I do’ in Ashton Memorial on 19th March 2013, a beautiful but freezing cold afternoon at the top of Lancaster. We chose the folly as we wanted a grand yet intimate building for our small party of 45, and after a beautiful and emotion-charged ceremony and portraits around Williamson Park, we retired to The Grand Hotel in our home town of St Anne’s for the reception. With a purple, black and white colour scheme, Katie pulled off a stunningly elegant look, with flowers by Flower Design throughout. We had a superb string quartet and a 5 piece jazz band for the evening entertainment, and then headed out to the seafront to let off Chinese lanterns to round off the evening.
Any funny stories to share?
We were recently doing an engagement shoot with a lovely Bride and Groom to be in a little village called Downham in Clitheroe. James was stood in the river photographing (as you do) and Katie is at the side. A ‘lady’ pulls up in her car just beside Katie, gets out and very indiscreetly lets one off! James instantly (and very loudly) blames Katie! How very rude?! Luckilly the couple heard none of this, obliviously schmoozing on the bridge over the river.
What sets you apart from other wedding photographers?
As a husband and wife team, we can be in two places at once on a wedding day, capturing twice the emotion and little moments which make the day special. Katie follows the bridal party from first prep all the way to the ceremony, while James hangs around with the groom and checks out the venue. We can then get two angles on the ceremony, and create more complex and elaborate lighting setups between us to really add some sparkle.
What can a couple who book you expect on the day?
We like to be as unobtrusive as possible on the big day and the fact that we’re a husband and wife team helps us to achieve this; neither of us has a set thing to photograph, we just lurk like photographic ninjas, capturing the fun and emotion in a spontaneous fashion. In the morning, Katie is hanging out with the Bridal party capturing the goings-on, whilst James checks out the venue and photographs the groomsmen’s antics. We then come together to shoot the ceremony. Whilst James is at the front with the Groom nervously waiting, Katie is capturing the emotional last moments before the Bride walks down the aisle. After the happy couple are declared Mr & Mrs, we love to take them away from the hustle and bustle of the wedding party for a portrait session that gives them time to reflect on ‘wow, we are married!’ Even though we’re there, our couples always seem oblivious to that fact and they tell us how magical those moments of alone time are – we always find we make the most natural beautiful pictures this way too. The rest of the day is usually party time, where we continue stalking the guests, photographing the laughter and fun up until the first dance as husband and wife.
What is included in your “package”?
Our most popular package is the Full Day Package and included in that is the following:
*A face-to-face chat about your wedding day and what we could do for you and then two consultations leading up to your wedding so we all know what we’re doing!
*Two photographers (Mr & Mrs Fairclough!) to capture each and every special moment of your big day (up to 12 hours coverage);
*Pre-wedding portrait shoot in a location of your choice – a fun way to build up to the big day and get to know us;
*Professional editing of your images;
*A private password protected gallery for you to view, share and download your images after the wedding;
*Large print quality images on a USB stick presented to you in a stunning presentation box (see the image below
*A CD with a slideshow of the best images from your big day.
Can you give us an idea on price?
Our Full Day Package is £1,350
Any special favours for Brides Up North readers?
Of course! If you quote ‘Brides Up North Is The Best Wedding Blog!’ we would give a free 20” x 14” museum quality canvas print.
How can Brides Up North get in touch with you or see more examples of your work?
Anything else we should know?
We also offer a package that includes an amazing quality 10” x 10” photo album; these are gorgeous hand-made, leather or hessian bound, chunky, lay flat coffee table style books priced at £1,700. There’s nothing quite like a printed photo album, we think it’s such a shame to just get your USB stick, watch the slideshow and then it gets shoved in a draw and hardly thought about!
November 4th, 2014 | Julia Braime
If there’s one thing we know how to do well at Brides Up North HQ, that’s throw a good party. A wedding should be a celebration, and with all the planning and prepping come plenty of opportune moments to let your hair down with your very best people.
We’ve invited Brides Up North Sponsor Louise at Last Night Of Freedom – specialists in the art of having fun – along to share their top suggestions for a girly get together, so you can spend less time stressing over organising the perfect hen party, and more time sipping Bellinis.
Louise says:Here at LNOF Towers, we are proud of our northern heritage and we reckon it gives us the edge: for the flowers – you need a florist, for a suit – you need a tailor and for the hen party – you need a Geordie.
However, whilst we know that pink glittery willy accessories, outrageous dares and flashing L-plates are one hen party’s idea of heaven – we recognise that it’s another hen party’s idea of hell. Not everybody wants to have an oiled-up Adonis gyrating in their face and that’s absolutely fine (though you’re missing a treat, lasses!).
We happily distribute willy straws (273,860 at the last count), but we also offer upmarket, glamorous and terribly refined and sophisticated packages for hens wanting to bring a touch of class to their hen weekend – and all in the glorious north of England.
chocolate making class
Was there ever a more elegant and feminine hen weekend activity than making Belgian chocolate truffles with your ladylike hands? We think not! When you arrive at this delightful workshop, you will be greeted with a chocolate fountain that will run throughout. You’ll then get a little bit of chocolate history before making delicious Belgian truffles. You’ll learn how to mix, pipe, cut, shape, coat and package your truffles and will make 30-40 to take away with you. A simply delectable day out.
perfume making workshop
Forget Chanel and Yves Saint Laurent – pah! We can do better than that! Scent is highly personal and these perfume workshops will teach you all about fragrances that complement each other and the power of fragrance in transforming your mood. From pretty florals to uplifting citrus to sensual musks, you’ll create the perfect perfume for you, whilst supping champagne like ladies. The hen will be treated to a beautiful gift box for her unique fragrance, so she’ll have a special memento from the day.
If you’re looking for girly, tipsy, giggly hen party activities, you won’t find anything better than a bespoke cocktail-making class. One of our cocktail suppliers set up their portable bar at our company launch party and the LNOF staff lapped them up (especially their speciality smoking cocktail). You will be greeted with a drinks reception, get a little bit of history about cocktails and – most importantly – will get to work your magic as a mixologist. There’ll also be shots and cocktail jugs to share throughout, so you’ll be well on your way to starting a fantastic night.
We’ll let you into a little secret. These suits are actually designed for men… but not long ago, at an LNOF office party, we’d all had a few drinks (it was those delicious cocktails) and decided to raid the warehouse and do an impromptu photo-shoot… when we checked out the photos the next morning (with sore heads and big mugs of tea), we realised that all the gals looked absolutely awesome. And why should suits be for the men alone? It doesn’t always need to be tiaras and tutus for the lasses – these suits look incredible on women and they give you a cool, edgy sex appeal. A pair of aviators are a must as well.
We feel terribly hard done to that we don’t get to constantly live as ladies who lunch. Add a touch of sophistication and style to your hen weekend by treating the ladies to a spot of afternoon tea and pretending you’re in Downtown Abbey for the afternoon (optional – maybe that’s just us). We offer various packages and venues, but you’re guaranteed some absolutely delightful delicacies; delicate finger sandwiches, miniature deserts, scones with jam and clotted cream and an unlimited supply of tea – or you could upgrade to champagne if you’re feeling extravagant.
When one is in need of some relaxation and pampering, one needs a spa package befitting of one’s high-class needs. Perhaps you want to book some accommodation that has a pool, sauna, steam-room and Jacuzzi, or maybe you fancy something a little more indulgent? From cleansing facials to perfect manicures and pedicures to calming back, neck and shoulder massages, we can find the right treatment for you – and you’ll appreciate the serene spa experience even more the morning after a Geordie night out!
November 3rd, 2014 | Julia Braime
I’m putting my feet up (or running around after my 19 month old) today after closing our Brides Up North season of luxury wedding exhibitions with a busy and very, very beautiful event in Altrincham yesterday. Massive thanks to everyone who supported us during this – our very best yet – season, whether as some of our talented suppliers or fabulous visiting brides and grooms. I’m so proud of each and every event that we’ve hosted this autumn, and hope that we brought the pages of this wedding blog alive for you.
First things first though, I’m having a day off, and leaving you in the hands of Brides Up North Sponsor James Jebson Photography, and his gorgeous girls, Carla and Sarah, who designed their vintage inspired wedding day their own way. Be inspired!
Carla says: We got engaged in June 2013 in Lytham, the place of our first date, and were married on 31st August 2014 at The Villa, Wrea Green.
We opted for a dusky pink, ivory and grey colour scheme. We chose a vintage travel theme with an English country garden look for the flowers. We sourced vintage black and white postcard for places we had traveled together and used them as our centrepieces, writing the postcards out to our guests, explaining why that place is special to us.
We both wore dresses. We did not discuss what style we were going to wear, we just agreed on ivory as the colour. Sarah wore a vintage lace style dress with buttoned back from Lottie’s Bridal Boutique. I wore a simpler dress with straps and a v neckline, with buttoned back and pearl detail, from The Dressing Room, Winmarleigh.
We both carried bouquets by Flower Design, which were the same yet opposites of each other. One had more pinks and the other had more ivory colours. They included English roses, hydrangea, gypsophila, carnations (these were the flowers that my Dad used to buy my Mum), foliage and rosemary as this is a flower associated with lost loved ones.
I also had a locket attached to my bouquet, which Sarah had bought me, with a picture of my Dad inside. It was so nice to have that with me as my Mum walked me down the aisle. These little touches made it feel as though he was close to us throughout the day.
The moment we walked in to the ceremony we both felt was so special. We each made our own entrance to the same song, ‘How Long Will I Love You’, by Ellie Goulding. We both agreed it was extremely emotional and hard to keep the tears back! We also wrote our own vows, which made the entire ceremony even more special and personal. The whole day was incredible, the first dance, the speeches, seeing all our guests… too many amazing moments to mention!
We hired ‘Barney’ a VW camper van through Little Limos. We wanted all our bridal party to travel to the venue on the day, so we had 4 trips, the ushers and page boys traveling first. After the ceremony they gave us a personalised bottle of champagne with our names and date of our wedding to enjoy on our first anniversary, which was a lovely touch.
We opted for a four tier cake, each tier a different flavoured sponge. We designed each tier differently, including indented hearts, vintage lace and edible lace. We also had iced hearts made and dusted with the pink to match our colour scheme. We kept the top tier for ourselves for the following day!
We did a lot of things homemade, including our favours which were leather luggage tags with a personalised travel quote inside.
We included a memory table and decided to have an extra button hole placed here in memory of my Dad.
We chose to use James Jebson Photography. James is such a genuine and charismatic guy who will capture all the moments you don’t get to see in the day. He worked tirelessly from the moment he arrived to last thing at night. He is extremely talented and captured our day perfectly. The quality of his photos was incredible and he has made memories we will look back on for years to come.
James met up with us on a number of occasions before the big day which helped us all get to know one another. He helped us a lot with our timings and used his expertise to help us plan out our day. By the wedding day, it felt like James had become a friend not just a service and it certainly made us feel relaxed which I feel contributed towards our wonderful images. On the day he was always there if we needed him, whether it be photography related or anything else to do with our day. He played such a huge role and we can’t thank him enough!
We selected our DJ as having a full dance floor was so important to us! Our DJ allowed us to specifically request the genre of music we thought our guests would enjoy the most.
We also thought a photo booth (we used The Mighty Boof!) would be lots of fun for our guests and it brought everyone together as the evening went on. The photo book we received the following day was fantastic, with everyone’s photos and messages! We have recieved so many compliments since the wedding on how much our friends and family enjoyed the booth! A great little extra to your evening.
We also decided to have a sparkler send off towards the end of the night as we thought this would be an amazing photo opportunity. We provided sparklers for all our guests and our photographer orchestrated and captured the moment perfectly.
For our honeymoon we spent 3 weeks in America and Mexico, visiting Florida, Cancun and Las Vegas.
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to start planning early. Take the time to make homemade things. Not only will it save you money but the sense of satisfaction is definitely worth the hard work!
Don’t have any regrets… you only do this day once so do everything the way you want to. We went slightly over budget but were so pleased with the results in the day it was certainyg worth spending that little bit extra.
Finally, it is YOUR day. People will try to influence you but make sure you stay true to yourselves and what YOU and your partner want.
October 30th, 2014 | Julia Braime
A collaborative styled shoot at Carlton Towers brought together a fantastic group of Sheffield based wedding suppliers to showcase the 2015 whiting collection from Brides Up North Sponsor Kelly of KMR Bespoke Bridal Designer.
The Whiting Collection is made up of seven bridal gowns which reflect the label’s signature style and showcase various shapes, fabrics and looks that brides can choose from.
just a little bit absolutely head over heels.
With images by RJH Wedding Photography.
Kelly says: The concept of the shoot was to emulate heritage and inspire brides to embrace the past whilst incorporating modern themes and traditional values. We chose Carlton Towers a grand and traditional wedding venue which we juxtaposed with an ethereal whimsical feel.
The shoot day was fantastic, the team of suppliers involved helped create such amazing results. We were shooting for 12 hours! We were able to use the entire venue for shooting which gave us some fantastic shots in the wedding reception rooms, hallways, snugs, outside and in the bridal suite.
This styled shoot showcased my 2015 Whiting Collection and brand new accessories range which will soon be able to purchase on our website. The collection is named after my late grandmother, who taught me to sew and inspired me to become a designer. The names of the gowns are Grace, Pamela, Ivy, Marlene, Elizabeth, Ruby and Annie.
Grace is an elegant floor length bias cut ivory silk crepe and guipure lace gown. A high illusion neckline is finished with bound silk crepe detailing and delicate cap sleeves. A KMR signature of a keyhole back opening paired with a detachable lace train creates a stunning back. The gown is finished with a silver crystal embellished waistband.
Ivy is a stylish ivory embroidered lace and silk crepe backed satin gown. Elegant lace sleeves and a deep V-shaped neckline at the back of the gown are finished with a delicate scallop lace edging. Creating a figure enhancing silhouette the gown has a bias fishtail skirt with a train to add a feminine touch. The gown is finished with delicate covered buttons and rouleau loops down the back.
Annie is a sophisticated strapless gown with a sweetheart neckline. The elegant circle skirt is made up of layers of silk taffeta and silk chiffon with a beautiful train. The bodice is finished with delicate pleated silk taffeta, a plunging back and fastened with rouleau loops and covered buttons. The gown is finished with a stunning silver crystal motif on the waist.
Marlene is a tea length bridal gown with an ivory silk taffeta circle skirt with layers of net and tulle to create a classic silhouette. The bodice is made from laser cut silk organza with an illusion neckline finished with bound silk taffeta and a floral laser cut finish on the waistband. Delicate rouleau loops and covered silk button create a beautiful fastening down the back showcasing the unusual fabric and floral detail.
Pamela is an ivory floor length lace gown with three quarter length lace sleeves. It has a deep V neckline at the front and back of the gown with scallop lace edge detailing on the neckline, sleeves and hem. The gown is fastened with pearl buttons down the back. We have styled Pamela with a cathedral length KMR veil with a thin lace edging.
Ruby is an ivory duchess satin gown with a low V neck back, large pleated skirt and applique shoulder detailing creating a modern silhouette. Ruby has been styled with one of our bridal belts and headpieces from our new accessories collection.
Elizabeth is an ivory duchess satin, tulle and embroidered lace strapless wedding gown. It is styled with one of our brand new bridal sashes and a beautiful floral crown from Campbell’s flowers with a KMR drop veil.
Showcasing this shoot on Brides Up North has come at an exciting time for KMR Bespoke Bridal Designer. We have just announced that the brand new bridal boutique The Bridal Emporium, in Leeds, will be our first stockist of our Whiting collection and accessories range. Our 2015 accessories range will also be available to purchase on our website very soon.
Rob and Alice at RJH Wedding Photography: Working with other exceptionally talented suppliers on styled or editorial shoots like this gives each of us the opportunity to bring something new and exciting to the mix. Collaborating helps us all to enhance one another’s individual skills and therefore realise something greater as a result.
KMR Bespoke Bridal Designer’s new 2015 Whiting Collection inspired us to produce imagery that complimented the style, elegance and luxury of her collection and Carlton Towers was the perfect setting.
As photographers, RJH Wedding Photography subscribe to a more traditional style where we use a delicate balance of light, texture, colour and form combined with an understanding of the setting and subject to best evoke a desired mood or style. The combination of the fantastically dressed and styled models, in such an impressive setting, really helped to represent the luxury and elegance that we, as photographers, try to capture in every wedding we cover.
We aimed to create a visual tone, in keeping with the period, grandeur and elegance of the setting which equally complimented the grace and beauty of each dress. This concept was kept in mind through the work on the day to post production and we have been proud to help launch KMR Bespoke Bridal Designer’s new collection.
Tracey at Campbell’s Flowers: I designed several bouquets for the shoot, all in my very relaxed, soft, natural, ‘just picked’ style in different shapes to suit the different silhouettes of Kelly’s gowns. Bouquets featured a meadowy cascading, almost sheaf-style in lovely bright locally grown, summery blooms using wheat, lavender, daisies, nigella, ammi, lysmachia and sweetly scented herbs such as clary sage, mint and oregano. I also created a slightly smaller more posy-styled bouquet using similar flowers but with the addition of an alternative variety of daisy and lots of pretty white thistles.
Here at Campbell’s, we’ve found that many of our brides are looking for an unstructured, slightly asymmetric bouquet using seasonal blooms. This I created in muted tones of soft pale pinks, lilacs, lavenders, all of which are very much on trend at the moment. Flowers and foliage were highly textured and included ‘Memory Lane’ roses, peonies, hydrangea, spray roses and campanula teamed with lots of soft trailing ferns, gorgeous silvery senecio and jasmine vines. To complete the look I designed a really full bridal crown using more of the roses and pretty green eustoma, along with wheat and white thistles.
For my final bouquet, I put together stylish, classic ‘balls’ of the babiest shell pink hydrangea to work alongside a slightly more elegant, formal gown, along with a ‘pom-pom’ buttonhole to match, for our groom. Kelly had also dropped off a really stunning silver candelabra which had belonged to her grandmother, which seemed to cry out for balls of hydrangea, softened with wispy asparagus fern!
Lastly, in keeping with the grand, historic surroundings, I designed a really soft, flowing design into an urn I’d brought along with me filling it full of lush, opulent, open peonies, hydrangea, roses and lots of gorgeous foliage kindly donated by the lovely gardeners at the Carlton Towers estate.
Lydia from Sweet Additions: For the cake we created a soft ombré effect using delicate sugar ruffles wrapped around each tier. We chose a subtle dusky pink shade which we gradually faded to white. The gentle ruffle layers created an almost peeling effect which gave the cake a beautiful antique look.
Makeup artist Sarah Gray: With the shoot showcasing all of Kelly’s new collection there were plenty of different styles of dresses from quite classical to vintage to more of a fishtail design so I wanted to show a variation off different bridal looks which could work well with Kelly’s designs. The four looks were designed to appeal to every type of bride whether they would want something very natural to full on glamour.
Tina Howarth from Beau Hair: I created a range of 2015 Inspired Bridal Hair designs to compliment both the stunning bridal gowns and the romantic whimsical nature of Carlton Towers. Three themes were selected and adapted to compliment and to show how the gowns were adaptable to all brides and to show off the various headpieces and veils in the range and how to wear them in various hair designs.
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