Charlotte Balbier

city lights. a cool and classic wedding in new york city – anna & andy

September 3rd, 2015 | Julia Braime

A Central Park Wedding in NYC (c) James Tracey Photography (44)

As soon as Brides Up North sponsor James Tracey, told us he’d shot a Halifax couple’s new york, new york we knew it would be good, but it isn’t good – it’s flippin’ fantastic, as you’ll see for yourselves.

Keen travellers Anna and Andy chose to go all out with their wedding by saying their ‘I dos’ in the iconic Central Park before hailing down a taxi cab, with James in tow, to travel around the city’s top tourist spots stopping for amazing photograph opportunities along the way.

It’s amazing how time seems to stand still for Anna and Andy’s intimate moments on their big day but the bustling city of New York keeps going at lightening pace in background. The Grand Central Station picture is my absolute favourite. All in all, a stateside stunner!

With images by Brides Up North Featured Supplier, James Tracey Photography.

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anna says: Our three-year-old daughter Isabel and Andy woke me up with breakfast in bed one morning. Isabel came in holding a ring box and asked me to marry her daddy. Isabel then opened the ring box she was holding and took the ring out put it on herself and gave me the empty box! Following the proposal, Andy took me to our favourite hotel for the night, The Devonshire Arms, Bolton Abbey.

The date of our wedding was 25th June 2015 – the day before my birthday. My birthday fell on a Friday this year and in New York you can only get married in Central Park Monday to Thursday, so we picked the nearest date.

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We chose to get married at Central Park, New York as the city is very special to us. Last time we were there I found out I was pregnant with Isabel shortly after returning home. We also both love travelling and wanted to do something different whilst also getting married abroad. We had a reception back in the UK in August at 53 Degrees North in Halifax.

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We knew it was going to be hot in New York at that time of year and had planned to travel round the city immediately after getting married with James Tracey our photographer so we could document our day with some of the famous iconic sites of New York. New York is renowned for style so we both wanted to echo this in what we wore.

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I chose a simple but elegant ivory dress wore from Ghost and some Jimmy Choo champagne peep toe shoes. I took some inspiration from Pippa Middleton as thought she looked amazing when she was bridesmaid for her sister and I liked the style of what she wore. I also thought it would look more classic against the inner city back drops of New York. On the wedding day Sharon Becker Hair & Beauty did my makeup and hair which were faultless and stayed on/in place all day without any need for reapplication.

Andy wore a dark blue Hugo Boss suit with a thin black tie, white shirt, black shoes and belt. The best man wore a handmade suit from Saville Row in London.

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On the wedding day we travelled around in a traditional New York yellow taxi and I carried a bouquet of ivory roses wrapped with ivory ribbon.

A Central Park Wedding in NYC (c) James Tracey Photography (29)

We would highly recommend our photographer James to anyone looking for a wedding photographer. He has an amazing eye for photography – the quality of his work speaks for itself. He is easy to work with, friendly, understanding and helps you relax in front of the camera – which is often how you get the best pictures!

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We only told close family we were getting married and then sent anonymous save the dates out for a secret wedding reception party back in Halifax. We announced to everyone that we had got married on the 26th June and then sent out passport style invites to the wedding reception, which were designed by The Wedding Angels in Huddersfield.

A Central Park Wedding in NYC (c) James Tracey Photography (38)

For our reception in the UK we chose to use A Little Bit of Eden, who are based in Sowerby Bridge, to provide the flowers. I’ve used this florist a number of times before and they do great quality flowers with a difference. At the reception we also had a traditional sweet stall and photo booth, which was provided by Dreambooth. Instead of a sit down meal/buffet we had tapas. The chain that own the reception venue, Ricci’s Group, are well known for serving up fantastic food. Andy and I are both foodies and so wanted to incorporate this into the wedding reception. We also wanted our guests to experience something a bit different than the standard wedding sit down meal. On arrival guests were served with either a Hendricks mojito or American beer and the food was a personalised selection of Michael Ricci’s menus from across his three restaurants.

To provide entertainment at the reception, we hired Agent Smith, a live band from Manchester, who did two one-hour sets with a mixture of new and older classic hits. This was followed by a three-hour set of classic 1990s house music.

A Central Park Wedding in NYC (c) James Tracey Photography (42)

New York was so unique and we would certainly recommend the city to other couples looking to get married overseas. Destination weddings are so special because you get to spend more than just a day with your nearest and dearest celebrating one of the most memorable times of your life.

Gail Herring at Travel Counsellors helped plan our destination wedding and bent over backwards to ensure that our wedding/honeymoon went exactly to plan. Whilst in New York we stayed at The Giraffe Hotel, which was the best hotel we’ve stayed at, they couldn’t do enough for us.

A Central Park Wedding in NYC (c) James Tracey Photography (61)

All of it from start to finish was amazing – we couldn’t pin point just one part which was our favourite. James has documented the whole day in a picture diary so we can easily look back and go through it again any time we like, which is extremely valuable to us to have. The pictures, if anything, made our day for us.

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Following the wedding we went on honeymoon to Secrets Silver Sands Rivera, Mexico. We were ready for a week on a beach after five nights in New York. The hotel was luxurious, staff couldn’t do enough for us and we met some amazing people, who were also on their honeymoon. We certainly celebrated in style.

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My top tips to other Brides Up North would be to trust your instincts; be organised because it helps alleviate your stress levels; and relax and enjoy as much as you can as it goes too quickly.

A Central Park Wedding in NYC (c) James Tracey Photography (52)

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breath-taking blooms: forage & blossom

September 1st, 2015 | Julia Braime

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image by Helen Lishman Photography

This afternoon on the wedding blog we’re delighted to introduce you to a very talented wedding supplier and Brides Up North Sponsor, Alice of forage & blossom.

Now here’s a lady who knows pretty! Alice gained a wealth of knowledge in the florist industry before setting up her own business Forage & Blossom, through which she now supplies couples with beautiful and bespoke creations for their special and individual wedding days.

Not only that, but Alice grows many of the blooms which feature in her stunning arrangements herself, further highlighting her genuine passion for the job!

To fill you in more on what she has to offer, we’ll hand you over to the fabulous lady herself. Take it away Alice…

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image by Jackson & Co Photography

How did you get into floristry? 

I came to floristry in a sideways curve; having weaved my way through an artistic education and a range of jobs in the world of design and interiors, I found myself being pulled unequivocally towards floristry. Perhaps it was a path I would always find, having been drawn to flowers as my mum’s shadow in the garden growing up.

I started on the shop floor of a busy florists in London and trained on the job. I plunged blindly in; it was a steep learning curve and sometimes quite intense and tough. I had great colleagues though and if ever things became a bit too much we would let off steam having a good dance around the shop – much to the amusement of our boss and marketing team in the office at HQ with the security camera screens.

I knew what I really wanted to do though was work in weddings. So from there I moved to work as a freelancer for Jay Archer Floral Design. Working for Jay was incredible and an eye opener, she has now become a great friend and a mentor for me creating my own business. She is fearless with some of her ideas and designs (sometimes creating situations of “so I said I would hang that from there – we just need to work out how…” and there is always a way). Jay has a wonderful freeness and fluidity to her style and being, it was amazing to work for her and learn from her.

Leaving Jay was a wrench, but that was when I felt ready to set up on my own and start my own ventures as Forage & Blossom.

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image by Paul Liddement Wedding Stories

What do you enjoy about working in the world of weddings? 

I just knew before I started that I wanted to work in weddings and events. I like working towards an event and also the opportunities of the one -off things you get to create for weddings. I also like building up a relationship with the couple and getting to know them and their individual vision. Plus, I enjoy how each couples’ personality is unique and that feeds into their style. Hence each scheme is individual and different even when the colour palette is similar.

What is your favourite part of your job? 

Well it’s definitely not the early mornings as I’m more of an owl than a lark and I can’t even speak until I’ve had a cup of tea. Strangely though I do quite like being up before the World and seeing things only a few people are awake for, like strange storms and sunrises.

There are many different parts of the job I love. There are the days in the field and cutting garden, doing the digging where the hard labour is oddly satisfying, the childlike excitement when the first seeds emerge, or a rose I have been waiting for finally flowers. I also can get totally lost in my flowers when I love a particular scheme, it’s only the deadline stress which can bring you back to earth. I also really love getting to know a couple quite closely and being involved with their wedding day. I often get to see a secret picture of the bride’s dress because it is quite key to the style of the day. I think I love that every couple is different and hence every floral scheme is unique. So my favourite part of the job is probably the varied elements of it and that each wedding is very different.

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image by Helen Lishman Photography

How would you describe the style of flowers that you create? Where does your inspiration come from?

My style comes, in part, from my artistic background in the design world and a large part from nature. I draw a lot of inspiration from the surrounding world, things I see – be it magazines, shop displays, a painting or a print, and most often the natural world. I feel my style is constantly evolving and I am always learning.

I enjoy more wild and loose designs and flowers being how they are in nature with kinks and flairs. My style is definitely more on the wild and natural side. I love using textures and tones. The natural fluidity and movement in an arrangement is also really key to me. For me, foliage is just as important as the flowers. A big beautiful bloom has far more impact with contrast. The depth, sensuality and movement comes from all the elements in the design working together.

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image by Paul Liddement Wedding Stories

What process will a bride or couple go through if they pick you to supply their wedding flowers?

The process is different for each couple as everyone’s situations are different. Generally I like to have an initial phone or Skype consultation to chat initial ideas and thoughts and to just gather a vibe and a feeling from the couple. Then I have a face to face consultation which I can come to with ideas and prep from the phone/Skype consultation. This can often be at the venue, or I’ll do a separate venue visit. Some of my couples live abroad or far away so with some couples we carry out all our consultations over Skype, which has worked really well and fits in well with people’s busy lives.

I’m in contact with all my couples up until their big day and some couples like to have a Pinterest board on my Pinterest so we can both Pin, comment and share ideas. For Pinterest people (I’m an addict) this can be a great way of easily sharing images and creating a mood board.

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Where do you advise brides to source inspiration from for their flowers?

From anywhere. Some couples have a strong vision of what they like and others are slightly overwhelmed at the beginning. I find everyone has an individual style and after chatting and meeting (even if it’s on Skype) you can get a feeling off people and start to understand and read their tastes.

Once I have started to get to know a couple we can then chat about their venue and see what would work there, fit with the surroundings, their personalities and the vision they have for their day.

I think a florist is there to gather a couple’s taste and then throw suitable ideas back at them to see what they like.

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image by Paul Maven Photography

Where do you source the flowers from for your arrangements? 

I have my own cutting garden, so as much as possible I try to source from that and I also source from other local growers. I can’t grow everything though, so I also supplement from the import market.

My style is very much bred from the flowers I grow in my cutting garden. I enjoy the ever changing seasonality of if it and there are many things that you can grow that just don’t travel well in the import market so they don’t have them. The imported flowers are also grown for stem strength so scent is bred out of them. I love scent; I feel it is so evocative and important to my flowers.

The import market absolutely has a place and use, the scale of the British Growers is not able to compete with the Dutch import market. There is, however, a building movement from British growers who are trying to establish their place in the Floral Industry. People are becoming more conscious of their carbon footprint and wanting to support local businesses. British growers have something to offer and it’s different to what the import market can offer. I’m only a small scale grower myself but, I am very much a keen supporter of the British Flower Movement.

Do you have a favourite type of flower?

Ah, impossible question. I am constantly having new favourite flowers. Seasons come round and I find a new flower and then old favourite returns and I can’t believe I forgot how lovely it was.

The Sweet Pea is a staple favourite and has an element of nostalgia attached to it for me, as I have always grown these with my mum as a girl. This year I have discovered a new favourite, the foxglove. It has just been fantastic in the cutting garden. I love its weird kinks, the beautiful shades of colour it changes through on one stem, the cream ones are gorgeous and then sometimes an odd cross pollination one pops up, which is unusual and beautiful. Oh and then the cornflowers popped up after the foxgloves – I had forgotten how much I loved the deep blue of the cornflowers.

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image by Paul Maven Photography

Any particular styles of flowers proving popular with brides at the moment?

Crowns, crowns, crowns.

In your opinion how do flowers enhance a wedding?

Well I am completely biased. I am obviously mad about flowers and for me they bring the whole style and feel of a day together. Often you don’t really need other decorative elements as you can do it all with your flowers.

Flowers also have nostalgia and personal meaning attached to them; many brides ask for a certain flower in their bouquet which was the first flower their spouse to be gave them/ a flower deeply associated with a lost loved one/ a herb with a certain meaning, such as rosemary and fidelity/loyalty and I read somewhere white lavender’s meaning is everlasting love. So for me there are the many depths of flowers which can enhance your day and just add that extra something.

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What sets you apart from other florists? 

At Forage & Blossom you will receive a very personal service as I feel your flowers should reflect you for your special day. I will take the time to understand your vision and personality so it is fed through the scheme we create for you. I will be personally growing many of your flowers and creating something a bit different to the traditional style. I don’t really go by the rules and enjoy approaching each brief individually and with a sense of inspiration and adventure. If that sounds like the path for your wedding flowers please get in touch.

How can Brides Up North readers get in touch with you or see more examples of your work?

If you want to get in touch please contact me at hello@forageandblossom.com or call me on 07495 160525. You can see and find out more at www.forageandblossom.com as well as on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

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image by Paul Liddement Wedding Stories

Anything else we should know?

Workshops are on the horizon for Forage and Blossom.

I recently did a Flower Crown Workshop for a friend’s Hen Do which was great fun and we wore them all day and night as we partied out on the town. We all felt that everyone needed a flower crown in their life as they just make you feel better when you’re wearing one. So this and more to come – watch this space!

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pretty lovely. willa rose 2016: the full collection.

August 26th, 2015 | Julia Braime

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You know we love charlotte balbier’s beautiful gowns, right?  ^^^ Could we be more obvious?!

Well, if you hadn’t already guessed that we’re gaga for our friend and colleague Ms. Balbier’s beautiful work, look no further. After sharing some sneak peeks from Charlotte’s stunning Willa Rose collection for 2016, we’re back… and this time with the full – and extremely lovely – look book. Here, the designer talks us through each look in the collection.

Eyes down ladies, Wednesday afternoon just got interesting.

(…and very pretty).

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charlotte says: The 2016 Charlotte Balbier, ‘Willa Rose’ collection captivates a bride’s imagination with bohemian free spirited designs to take my brides on a magical journey.

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Willa Rose is the signature gown from the new collection. This dress features a soft flowing chiffon skirt with a delicate floral cotton lace bodice. This gown is the ultimate boho gown for the free spirited brides.

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Alexandria is a beautiful lace off the shoulder gown with button detailing down the back.  The lace top-half opens into beautiful A-line layers of chiffon giving the Alexandra a fabulous shape.

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Aliona has been cut into a lovely deep-plunge neckline.  The back of the gown is sheer with lace detailing flowing downwards into the main body of the skirt.

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Amba is one of the collection’s super playful gowns. Layers of tulle plunge into a v-neckline at the front and the back.  We love the sequin detailing around the waistline.

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Beth embraces the boho free-spirited bride with gorgeous floral straps embellished with hand-cut flowers.  The hand-cut flowers run through the whole gown, decorating a sheer lace back and around the lower back of the gown.

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Camille is all about accentuating a bride’s decolletage with a striking Queen-Ann neckline. The diamond cut adds a further wow factor to the back of the gown with delicate buttons embellishing the silk full skirt.

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Cara comprises stunning sequin patterns decorating a beautiful V-neck and short-sleeved dress.  Silver and ivory sequin detailing runs right down the mermaid shaped skirt.

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Erin is the figure-hugging gown halter-neck gown of the Willa Rose collection.  The back is finished with a lovely art deco silver embellishment.

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preserving memories: eternal images photography

August 25th, 2015 | Rachel Parry

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This afternoon we’re really excited to introduce another of our very talented Brides Up North Sponsors, Neil of Eternal Images Photography.

After showcasing his photography skills in a number of different areas, Neil decided to dedicate his time weddings and portrait photography, becoming hooked on telling couple’s individual wedding stories through his images.

As well as documenting the big day as it naturally evolves, Neil is also keen to snap some ‘wow’ bride and groom photographs that have contributed to his glowing reputation in the industry.

So let’s hand over to Neil to tell us more…

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Tell us about your photography background?

neil says: I have experienced many genres within photography throughout the last ten years; wildlife, aircraft, commercial, weddings and portraits, and can honestly say I have welcomed the opportunities presented to me since choosing to set up Eternal Images Photography Ltd in October 2012, to dedicate my time to weddings and portraits.

I firmly believe in the professional standards because of this I am a member of the Professional Guild of photographers receiving several awards for my ‘high professional standard.’

In June 2015 Wedding Industry Experts awarded me the most popular new photographer for Sheffield and South Yorkshire, I also came third within the UK and third most popular new photographer worldwide.

More recently, Eternal Images was also 2015 finalist in the I Do Wedding Awards Yorkshire, and a 2014 Photography Finalist in the North of England Wedding Awards – both of these awards recognise outstanding customer service and professional standards within the wedding industry, as voted by my clients, it is such an amazing privilege to have received this recognition.

Why wedding photography specifically? 

I have been privileged to be a part of many wonderful wedding stories, each one entirely unique. Weddings are incredible and deserve to be captured creatively providing a beautiful story that illustrates your most precious moments.

I am passionate about the fact that a wedding is not an isolated set of photographs. It’s a unique story of two people in love, shared with family and friends. A couple’s story will remain with them for the rest of their lives which is why I am committed to preserving those memories.

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What is your favourite thing about being a wedding photographer?

Meeting amazing couples – each with an entirely unique wedding – this usually means you have to adapt to different situations extremely quickly. Weddings also allow me the opportunity to be creative with the bride and groom ‘wow’ images that I am recommended for.

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How do you get couples to relax on the day?

Before their wedding day, I offer my time (no obligation) to closely consult and advise the couples who book so they are confident with the professional service I can provide. I also offer a pre wedding shoot to every client, this is a great get-to-know-each-other session, ensuring my assistant and I are no strangers to the couple on their wedding day. This also provides me with the means to recognise what each couple is comfortable with.

Any advice to any brides who don’t like to have their picture taken? 

If the bride feels completely comfortable around the photographer she has booked then this will calm her nerves. Any bride that feels this way should always let her photographer know. I usually get to know this during a pre shoot, so I take a step back, use a zoom lens and let the couple interact without my close presence. I love capturing natural moments as they happen.

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What sort of makeup should a bride wear to look great in her pictures? 

Always use a professional makeup artist. The chosen style of bridal make up is a personal decision, but I have noticed natural and bohemian looks are currently very popular.

Anything to avoid which might look bad in the wedding pictures?

I always check the groom and groomsmen for mobile phones in suit pockets, and check they are wearing button holes before taking photos. Guests chewing gum and holding handbags during group shots!  Also, I always avoid distracting backgrounds and placing a person in harsh sunlight as squinting is not a good look either.

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Which celebrity wedding would you most like to photograph and why?

It would have to be Benedict Cumberbatch and Sophie Hunter’s private wedding Valentine’s Day on the Isle of White. They are such a distinctive celebrity couple, I imagine their ceremony to have been very intimate and personal and let’s not forget Sophie’s silver lace Valentino couture wedding dress.

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Any really memorable weddings that you have captured?

Call me an old romantic, but I distinctly remember the first time I returned to mine and my wife’s chosen wedding venue to cover a client’s wedding. As the beautiful bride walked down the aisle to meet her husband-to-be, just for a split second I thought of my wife, it was an emotional moment.

Any funny stories to share?

Weddings are full of laughter but here are three of my favourite examples:

We arrived for bridal preparation at the couple’s home and the bride’s dad is outside taking a moment in the front garden as we walk down the path towards the house he says: “Now then lads, today’s not a good day to knock on this door trying to sell, haven’t you noticed there’s a wedding going on?”

After a first dance we were congratulating the bride and groom as we were leaving and the groom shook my hand and said “Thank you for coming!”

The best man who decided to mention every one of the groom’s previous girlfriends in his speech. I captured a lot of great reactions that day.

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What sets you apart from other wedding photographers? 

Choosing the right photographer is extremely important because so much of what you’re investing in is about image creativity, quality of service and suppliers and how important your photography is to you both also is a defining factor.

I am often asked how I would define my role and my reply would be that of a distinctive storyteller.  My main purpose is to document events naturally, providing striking and emotive images that capture the essence and sentiment unique to every wedding. I will also work with the couple to integrate a selection of bride and groom ‘wow’ images too.

I limit the number weddings I cover in the year to ensure that every client receives the dedication required to capture your unique wedding day. This does mean dates book quickly so please do get in touch if you like my work and want to know more. Hopefully, your date is still available.

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What can a couple who book you expect on the day? 

During the big day my assistant and I work tirelessly capturing the wedding as it unfolds. We will have already discussed and taken direction from the bride and groom regarding the more formal and informal portraits that they may or may not require, and we will arrange to have some time alone with the couple for those intimate shots that celebrate them as husband and wife.

Afterwards, whilst the couple are on honeymoon I post produce each individual image that evokes its own memory in the story of the wedding day. These images are then uploaded to a client’s gallery for viewing – every image in their online wedding gallery is supplied to the couple on a heart shaped USB with a license to copyright for printing etc.

What is included in your ‘package’? 

I provide my clients with one fully inclusive ‘digital only’ service for £1,000, there are no hidden charges to this service which includes:

– A professional consultation, an informal discussion no obligation.

– My full dedication and time, before, during and after your wedding day.

– A pre wedding shoot

– A framed signing board.

– A choice on when coverage starts.

– Coverage until 10pm with me and my assistant.

– All edited wedding and pre-shoot images, copyright free on a heart shaped USB.

– Post production.

– A personalised wedding blog and private viewing gallery.

I realise how couples choose to present their wedding images is a very personal decision which is why I offer wedding albums, bespoke frames and fine art prints as optional extras, available to order before or after the wedding day.

Personally and professionally I believe that a couple’s wedding memories deserve to be timelessly bound by an exceptional album craftsman. This is why I only offer award winning Folio and Queensbury albums, after all wedding images are a family treasure.

How can Brides Up North get in touch with you or see more examples of your work?

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You can visit my website or take a look at my blog and Eternal Images Photography Ltd Facebook page. I also regularly post on Twitter and Pinterest as well.

My wedding albums can be viewed at various wedding fairs throughout the season and during home consultations, which couples can contact me directly to arrange on 01709 554728 or 07944474092.

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save the date (and a sneaky 10% off)! norma&dorothy

August 20th, 2015 | Rachel Parry

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This afternoon on the blog we’ve got a little something for our newly engaged readers out there *waves* as we take a look at beautiful handcrafted save the dates from wedding stationery extraordinaire, norma&dorothy.

A fairly early task to complete on the wedding ‘to do’ list, sending out your save the dates not only provides guests with the all-important when, where and what details, but it also gives them the first taste of what’s to come. So in order to impress guests from the outset, it’s essential to choose your paper goods with care.

norma&dorothy, which was set up by talented designer Grace Sherriff two years ago, specialises in stationery that has a wonderful rustic and whimsical appearance, making it appealing to a wide range of themes and tastes. All products are lovingly hand-made in the company’s Manchester studio by the talented team, with each member holding some form of craft at degree level – meaning they’re pretty skilled with their hands.

The result is carefully crafted and oh so pretty stationery that has flawless finish to wow brides, grooms and guests! Better still, if you like the look of what you see, norma&dorothy are holding a sale until the end of August, offering 10% of all save the date designs. You just need to enter code 10AUG15 at checkout. Simple!

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Having been sent a wonderful bundle of norma&dorothy’s save the dates through the post this week, we’ve experienced first-hand just how special these pretty cards feel when they arrive through the letter box.

Though concealed within similar brown rustic envelopes, each design has its own character, charm and colourway. There are cute black and white chalkboard styles as well as country-esque burlap and bunting designs, plus bright floral prints and pretty pastel etchings on candy striped backgrounds, to choose from.

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There are also those influenced by the season, baring delicate detailed snowflakes, and others, such as vintage map designs, which focus on the destination/venue of the celebrations.

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For an extra special finish, each of the cute round-edged designs are made complete with detail that stands proud of the card, be it a loop of rustic twine, twinkling gems or elegant pearls.

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And it’s not just the backgrounds and design that differ. The wording on the save the dates is custom tailored and can appear in a various style fonts, giving couples the opportunity to personalise their paper.

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For consistency couples are advised to stick with the same design for the remainder of their wedding stationery, which norma&dorothy can easily take care of with its save the date designs spreading to day and evening invitations, order of service, table plans, place cards, menus, favour tags, and even thank you cards for when the big day has been and gone.

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So what are you waiting for, if you’ve got the venue booked and guest list drawn up it’s time to send out your save the dates, whetting guests’ appetites for what’s to come and, of course, avoiding double bookings. And don’t forget that sale – 10% off all save the dates until the end of August with code 10AUG15.

Visit the website to see the full norma&dorothy range.

 

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