Charlotte Balbier

effortless elegance. justin alexander for a classic wedding at hassop hall – danielle & james

April 28th, 2015 | Julia Braime

a classic wedding at Hassop Hall (c) James Stewart Photography (53)

If there’s one thing we love here at Brides Up North HQ it’s a wedding brimming with elegance, exactly how James and Danielle’s big day that we’re sharing with you today did.

Keen to let the beauty of their local church and the gorgeous Hassop Hall speak for themselves, the couple decided to keep the décor simple with regal sage green accents, enchanting blooms and little vintage touches.

With images by James Stewart Photography.

a classic wedding at Hassop Hall (c) James Stewart Photography (7)

danielle says:  We got engaged at home on Christmas Day after six-and-a-half years together. We were married on August 16th 2013, which we chose as it was our eighth anniversary.

a classic wedding at Hassop Hall (c) James Stewart Photography (9)

Our ceremony was at Christ Church in Dore, Sheffield. We were both keen to have a religious ceremony at our local church. Our reception was then at Hassop Hall, Derbyshire. We chose this venue because several family members had also held their wedding receptions there and the service had been impeccable on every occasion.

For the theme we went for simple and traditional with a few vintage touches added in along the way. We felt that both the church and Hassop Hall were already so beautiful that we just wanted to enhance, rather than overpower, their beauty. We had a dark sage green colour scheme with cream and pink flowers.

a classic wedding at Hassop Hall (c) James Stewart Photography (12)

I chose a beautiful ivory lace Justin Alexander dress from Blissful Daze in Sheffield. I had an idea of the style of dress that I wanted but this changed as soon as I started trying dresses on and realised what really suited me.

a classic wedding at Hassop Hall (c) James Stewart Photography (19)

James wore traditional morning dress with a sage green cravat. The suit was hired from a local tailor and I had the cravat made using the same fabric as the bridesmaids’ dresses.

a classic wedding at Hassop Hall (c) James Stewart Photography (20)

The eldest two bridesmaids wore sage green Kelsey Rose dresses which were also from Blissful Daze. My youngest bridesmaid wore an ivory dress purchased from John Lewis with a sage green sash made from the Kelsey Rose dress fabric. The groomsmen wore traditional morning dress from a local tailor with a cream cravat, with the best man wearing the same colour cravat as James.

a classic wedding at Hassop Hall (c) James Stewart Photography (24)

To transport us on the day we hired lovely vintage cars from Legends Wedding Services in Sheffield.

a classic wedding at Hassop Hall (c) James Stewart Photography (26)

Our photographer was James Stewart. He stayed with us all day until after the first dance. I would highly recommend him as his images captured the day beautifully and his style is relaxed rather than posed.

a classic wedding at Hassop Hall (c) James Stewart Photography (37)

I carried a bouquet of pink and cream flowers provided by Sophie Fletcher of Beau Blossom, Derbyshire, which I loved. Talented Sophie also provided the bridesmaid bouquets, corsages, floral archway at the church, pew ends, confetti and candelabras.

Rebecca Jones of Ever After Designs, Rotherham made all of our wedding stationery and she did a fantastic job. For our wedding favours we decided to make a donation to Cancer Research UK. They provided personalised favour cards and pin badges for our guests.

a classic wedding at Hassop Hall (c) James Stewart Photography (39)

Our cake was a traditional four-tier ivory wedding cake. The bottom tier was covered in ivory roses, rose buds, and blossoms with pearl centres. The second tier contained ivory stripes, the third tier a brush embroidery rose pattern and small pearls. Finally, the top tier was plain with a dome of 3D-iced roses on top. The lovely creation was made by Rachel Edwards, based in Sheffield.

a classic wedding at Hassop Hall (c) James Stewart Photography (54)

We chose a pianist to play at our reception while guests enjoyed drinks and canapés on the lawn. We then opted for a singer called Mickey Fordola and a DJ for the evening. We decided that a mixture of live music and a DJ would suit the different tastes of all of our guests and it worked out really well.

a classic wedding at Hassop Hall (c) James Stewart Photography (51)

As a special touch on the day we placed a photo of my Grandma and Grandad’s wedding day on the piano in the entrance hall at Hassop Hall. My Grandad passed away several years ago and the photograph was a way to ensure that he was with us on our big day. We also asked the pianist to play Wind Beneath My Wings as this was my Grandad’s favourite song.

a classic wedding at Hassop Hall (c) James Stewart Photography (48)

We would absolutely recommend our wedding venue to other couples! Hassop Hall is beautiful and the staff and service are superb!

a classic wedding at Hassop Hall (c) James Stewart Photography (50)

The whole day was perfect to us meaning that we couldn’t possibly choose a favourite part.

a classic wedding at Hassop Hall (c) James Stewart Photography (56)

After the wedding for our honeymoon we toured around Italy visiting Pisa, Florence, Venice, Chianti and a Lake Garda. We had an amazing time and can’t wait to return in the future!

a classic wedding at Hassop Hall (c) James Stewart Photography (60)

My top tip to other Brides Up North is – be as organised as possible! I planned everything meticulously and consequently the day ran smoothly.

continue reading

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterGoogle+share on TumblrPin on PinterestShare on LinkedInEmail to someone

art felt. a colourful wedding celebration at manchester’s media city – rachael & zariah

April 27th, 2015 | Julia Braime

an arty wedding at Media City (c) On Love Photography (41)

Today’s couple prove how a vibrant setting can actually help your big day stand out all the more. Rachael and Zariah combined their love for the arts, entertainment and all things bright to produce a colourful wedding that dazzled, in more ways than one.

I particularly love how happy and natural everyone involved in this special day looks, all captured by On Love and Photography – fabulous pics guys!

an arty wedding at Media City (c) On Love Photography (10)

rachael says: We got engaged on that Olympic Super Saturday 4th August 2012 during a holiday in Paris. Before we went away, some of our friends speculated ‘ooh maybe he plans to propose in Paris!’ which I laughed off. After visiting a variety of stereotypically romantic settings (with limitless opportunities for proposal) – The Eiffel Tower, Sacré-Cœur, banks of the Seine etc. he hadn’t popped the question and so I wrote it off. Therefore it certainly came as a surprise as we got back to our hotel room on the last night and Zariah tells me he wants to spend the rest of his life with me and produces a beautiful aquamarine engagement ring! I cried for a long time; half in shock, half in happiness and woke up the next day with a puffy but very happy face!

an arty wedding at Media City (c) On Love Photography (7)

We were originally going to get married in February 2014. However, when I found out I was pregnant in December 2012, we decided to postpone the wedding so that we could solely focus on getting used to being new parents, without having to plan an imminent wedding too! Thankfully, the venue were so accommodating and happily rearranged it for 28th February 2015.

an arty wedding at Media City (c) On Love Photography (4)

We had our wedding ceremony in our local church, St Paul’s in Sale town centre. The church is down the road from our house so it’s lovely to have that reminder of our wedding every time we walk past. After looking around various different venues for the reception, from stately homes to pubs, we knew from the moment we walked into The Compass Room at The Lowry Theatre that this was the place for us. We loved the urban architecture around, the room is really unique with floor to ceiling views of Media City. We are both also jobbing actors, so the fact our reception was in a theatre was another bonus and made it feel special to us.

an arty wedding at Media City (c) On Love Photography (19)

The thought of planning a wedding has always filled me with dread, let alone the thought of a ‘theme’. That said, as we began to realise how much thought had to be put into each aspect of the day – there had to be some sort of common thread. We wanted the wedding to be bright, fun and personal, with a bit of sparkle.

Our colour scheme was predominantly blue with a lot of brights! My engagement ring is aquamarine, we both like blue so that was our base for the bridesmaid dresses and suits. After trawling through Pinterest I was drawn to all the brightly coloured flowers so we really went for a bit of everything.

an arty wedding at Media City (c) On Love Photography (21)

After visiting several bridal shops in and around Manchester whilst carting Isaac around in his pram, the dress hunt was beginning to lose its sparkle. I was trying on too many and being indecisive. I had realised that the slightly 1950s style princess dress suited my figure the most but I struggled to find ‘the one’. One Saturday in July, on a visit back to my home town of St Helens with my step sister Julia we visited Always & Forever Bridal Boutique. The women in the shop were really down to earth, honest and didn’t beat around the bush, which is just what I needed. It was also the first shop I’d been into where I liked several of the dresses and most were in the Mori Lee range. It was here I found my Madison dress. It was just what I wanted, I loved the romantic tulle, full skirt, simple, but with a bit of sparkle in the belt.

It took a few more months for me to decide on the accessories. I bought some lovely 1950s style Rachel Simpson shoes online. Jewellery wise I wore a locket that my Grandad gave to my Nan on their first date which had their pictures in. I didn’t think I wanted a veil but in the end, I think the plain tulle veil complemented the church ceremony. Rosie Binns from Ethos Hair in Chorlton did my bridal hair and the bridesmaids’ hair on the day.

an arty wedding at Media City (c) On Love Photography (23)

Zariah’s wore a blinking gorgeous electric blue FCUK suit from Moss Bros and Icon tanned brogues from Schuh. I thought he scrubbed up very well!

The groomsmen wore the same as Zariah. Isaac (our son) who was our page boy wore a suit from Mamas and Papas with blue Converse trainers. My bridesmaids wore sapphire blue Dessy dresses we ordered through J’Adore Bridal Boutique in Altrincham. My flower girl (Leah, my niece) wore a very pretty, simple white dress from Next, along with a cardigan with a butterfly clasp and we bought her a heart shaped locket, similar to mine.

an arty wedding at Media City (c) On Love Photography (27)

We hired a beautiful Royal Windsor wedding car from Century Wedding Cars, St Helens, as our transport. We liked the 1950s theme and the company is owned by an old school friend’s mum and dad. It was nice to give them business as a grown up bride-to-be, rather than giving them grief as a teenage tearaway!

an arty wedding at Media City (c) On Love Photography (28)

Our photographers were the brilliant and lovely Giulia and Ben from On Love and Photography. They had photographed our friends’ wedding the previous summer and we fell in love with their pictures. It was a no brainer that we wanted to use them too. Not only amazing photographers, they are such a friendly couple too. We both felt really comfortable around them and loved their observational style shots. They are also quite adventurous in their photography, egging us on for the more unusual pictures! We would highly recommend them.

an arty wedding at Media City (c) On Love Photography (29)

Fletcher and Foley of Sale provided our flowers. My bouquet was made up of orange ranunculus, red parrot tulips, blue muscari, mixed anemones and hellebores and catkins for a touch of spring!

The florist arranged jam jar pew ends at the church made up of brightly coloured ranunculus, daffodils and blue musacri which really gave a hint of spring. Two of our friends then kindly transported the pew end flowers to the wedding venue and arranged them in a row on the top table. We used vases from my sister’s wedding for centre pieces and kept it simple with floating candles and peachy/pink delphinium orchids floating on top. The bridesmaids and I made the table plans, name cards and signage for the venue. The room itself had the wow factor so we didn’t need to go mad on decorations. Special Day Events, who we would recommend, provided organza bows for our chairs. Emma was really quick in her email correspondence and sent me an array of different coloured samples in the post to choose from.

an arty wedding at Media City (c) On Love Photography (33)

Instead of a wedding guestbook, my friend made us a wedding post box with the idea that guests wrote their bits of advice and messages on a postcard, posted it in the box then took a selfie on our camera which we will print out and put next to their message in the guest book.

an arty wedding at Media City (c) On Love Photography (36)

Being big cake lovers, it was only fitting that we had cupcakes as wedding favours. We also had a vase full of sparklers which we lit on the balcony overlooking Media City later on in the evening. The idea was for us to walk through a ‘bridge’ of sparklers – by this point the guests were quite drunk though and I was convinced my dress was going to go up in flames!

As our main cake we bought an M&S three-tiered cake with a mixture of fruit and sponge. Simple and tasty!

an arty wedding at Media City (c) On Love Photography (38)

As Zariah’s family are a Jamaican heritage we wanted to incorporate some Caribbean flavours into our wedding meal and so the sweet potato and red pepper soup was a nod to this culture, whilst the Yorkshire pudding and beef canapés a nod to mine! We had chicken with mozzarella and sundried tomato as our main followed by a coconut Manchester Tart with banana ice cream, which was a big hit!

an arty wedding at Media City (c) On Love Photography (44)

We love music and wanted guests to be in the mood for a party from the start so we hired Taylor and the Mason, two female guitarists to play during the drinks reception in the Quays Bar. Their voices are amazing and they are both gorgeous, funny and northern. We also hired a magician called Dan Tiernan whom Zariah and I have worked with at the Youth Theatre we teach. He was great and kept the guests and kids entertained during the meal.

an arty wedding at Media City (c) On Love Photography (46)

For the evening reception we hired a DJ – Nick Campbell who was recommended to us. He came to our house before the wedding to discuss our tastes in music and was really friendly and chilled. Zariah had written out a long list of requests for the evening which Nick was happy to use. Nick gaged the audience perfectly, the dance floor was never empty – we even ended up doing a Conga to a reggae song around the room. Our first dance was to Our Day Will Come the Amy Winehouse version. We didn’t want anything too smoochy or slow, yet this song meant a lot to us as after being together for seven years and having a baby together, it felt about time we had our first dance!

an arty wedding at Media City (c) On Love Photography (50)

It was really special that my Grandad walked me down the aisle in church. My mum and I lived with him and my Nan until I was four so we’ve always been close. It also seemed fitting that if my Grandad ‘gave me away’, then my step Dad, Graham, who’s been in my life for over 20 years should do the father of the bride speech in the evening. It was lovely that they both got to have special roles.

an arty wedding at Media City (c) On Love Photography (55)

Being a bit of a feminist, I think a lot of our guests (including Zariah) expected me to do a speech along with the traditional male speakers. Whilst it was something I considered, after the pressure of months of wedding planning, the thought of adding this extra pressure wasn’t appealing. Then I came across four young lively buskers on Facebook that I had another idea. I asked Bolton Brass – a four piece brass band, to perform at our wedding as a surprise after the speeches. After watching them online, I just loved their energy (they do dance routines with trumpets) and hearing modern pop songs performed by a brass band just captivated me. The band burst through the doors playing Can’t Take My Eyes of You after the final toast and then leapt into No Place I’d Rather Be, The Final Countdown and a couple more songs. It really geared the guests up for the evening do and was my way of making a speech. They were amazing!

an arty wedding at Media City (c) On Love Photography (52)

As we had a few children at the wedding I made goody bags for the kids table; play dough, colouring books, bubbles and disposable cameras.

an arty wedding at Media City (c) On Love Photography (60)

We loved our wedding venue. The staff were so friendly and accommodating throughout and for those looking for an urban city wedding, The Lowry is perfect. The Compass Room is big and has the wow factor with great views of famous landmarks and endless opportunities for photos. We liked the fact we had our drinks reception in the Quays Bar downstairs, it really made use of the different sections of the venue. We also managed to have some photos taken in one of the theatres! It really was a unique venue and reflected both our love for Manchester and the arts.

an arty wedding at Media City (c) On Love Photography (71)

It’s hard to define a favourite part of the day, we enjoyed it all from getting ready in the morning to doing the Conga in the evening! The vows in church were a really special moment when we both had to hold back the tears. We also really enjoyed hearing the readings we had picked for the church – one was from Isaac’s favourite bedtime book called ‘Me’ by Emma Dodd. It was lovely to have our son with us on our wedding day and fitting that we could include a reading that meant something to all of us. One really unique part of the day was when we arrived at venue and our photographers ushered us to a bridge next to The Lowry for photos whilst hundreds of Man United fans headed to the match. It was moment on our own away from the guests, yet surrounded by lots of friendly strangers from Zariah’s team (Zariah would like to add: we won 2-0 so it was a great day overall). We also had fun later on when we took to the balcony of The Lowry for group pictures with our friends. It was really cold and windy so after a few drinks, we all jumped up and down and started chanting silly songs to keep warm. It just confirmed how lucky we are to have such wonderful friends!

an arty wedding at Media City (c) On Love Photography (78)

Following the wedding we had a two-night minimoon at The Brimstone, Langdale in The Lake District. After a hectic 18 months of bringing up a baby and wedding planning, we just wanted total relaxation on our own. We are also having a week away to Crete in the summer as our honeymoon and taking Isaac with us.

an arty wedding at Media City (c) On Love Photography (84)

Our top tip to other Brides Up North is – plan well in advance, especially if you’re doing a lot of the stationery yourself. We took for granted how long the little bits would take us. We would also recommend investing in good photographers like On Love and Photography. The photos are the memories you keep for life after your day is over. We decided what mattered to us the most and the least, and stuck to that in terms of budget. Have fun on the day! The little things really won’t matter much. It’s about you two and having your loved ones around you what makes the wedding, not the chair covers (even though they did look lovely).

continue reading

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterGoogle+share on TumblrPin on PinterestShare on LinkedInEmail to someone

all together now. justin alexander for an intimate wedding in the lakes – mikki & mark

April 22nd, 2015 | Julia Braime

an elegant wedding in the Lake District (c) Chapter Photography (36)

Today on the wedding blog we’re heading to one of my favourite parts of the country to relive Mikki and Mark’s wonderful big day.

This stylish couple hired an entire venue in the Lake District for their intimate celebration that brimmed with elegance, class and romance.

I especially love that Mikki and Mark chose to have one big banqueting table for their wedding meal to make it more like a relaxed family affair than a formal occasion.

Oh, and can we all just take a minute to admire those fabulous flowers. Just lovely.

With images from Chapter Photography and videography by Love Gets Sweeter.

Mikki and Marks Wedding Highlights from Love Gets Sweeter on Vimeo.

mikki says: We got engaged on 2nd October 2013 when we were on holiday in Menorca (which is our special place to relax). After a beautiful day lying on the beach having a picnic we went for a meal in a seafood restaurant at the top of a hill. We had the whole place to ourselves and Mark proposed in between courses. I couldn’t believe it, I was so overwhelmed. Obviously I said yes straight away.

an elegant wedding in the Lake District (c) Chapter Photography (5)

We chose the 6th December for our wedding. I absolutely love winter and I thought it would be such a magical time for a wedding. I loved the thought of lots of candles and romantic lighting and what better time of year for that!

We got married at Broadoaks Country House in Windermere, Lake District. We love the lakes so much and it’s always a place we like to go. When we went to view the venue we knew straight away it was the one. It was perfect for the intimate wedding we were after. We hired the whole place which meant the whole wedding party could stay over.

an elegant wedding in the Lake District (c) Chapter Photography (17)

We wanted the day to feel warm and welcoming. We didn’t have a theme as such but I wanted it to be romantic. The style was very romantic and our flowers were ivory and blush roses with gypsophila free flowing around the table surrounded by lots of candles. As we wanted an intimate setting we decided to have a banquet table so everyone was sat together.

an elegant wedding in the Lake District (c) Chapter Photography (14)

Our colour scheme was navy, grey and blush. We picked it because it was quite a wintery combination and the blush just added a girly and warm touch.

an elegant wedding in the Lake District (c) Chapter Photography (16)

My dress was from 7th Heaven Bridal in Congleton and the designer was Justin Alexander. It was a lovely lace mermaid gown that has a bateau neckline. It came with a detachable train with matching appliques which Helen from 7th Heaven turned into a veil for me.

an elegant wedding in the Lake District (c) Chapter Photography (20)

Mark wore a navy three piece lounge which was from Marks & Spencer and the groomsmen wore navy suits too to tie in with him.

an elegant wedding in the Lake District (c) Chapter Photography (24)

Our bridesmaids wore navy dresses with navy lace which were from Warehouse and our flower girl’s dress was from Tesco.

an elegant wedding in the Lake District (c) Chapter Photography (30)

On the morning of the wedding I got ready at the Macdonald hotel in Windermere along with my bridesmaids. When it was time to go to the wedding venue my father-in-law drove me and my dad in his car. It was a nice touch to begin the day. My sister-in-law’s husband drove the bridesmaids.

an elegant wedding in the Lake District (c) Chapter Photography (38)

Our photographers are very good friends of ours, Evie and Jamie Wroe from Chapter Photography. It was the obvious choice for us, their work is amazing and they make you feel so relaxed and comfortable.

an elegant wedding in the Lake District (c) Chapter Photography (41)

My flowers were a mix of ivory and blush roses with gypsophila running through by Red Floral Architecture – again, an obvious choice for us as I love their work so much.

Red Floral Architecture also did out the whole wedding venue with flowers and decorations. We had a banquet table which was full of roses and gypsophila and lots of floating candles. It was such a stunning table, we couldn’t have asked for anything better.

an elegant wedding in the Lake District (c) Chapter Photography (44)

Some of our friends call us M&M (Mark & Mikki) so we thought it would be funny to actually get personalised M&M chocolates for our favours. We also has a mini Laurent Perrier Champagne for everyone.

Caroline of Caroline’s Cake Company did our cake. We couldn’t decide which flavour to have as they all tasted so good. In the end we had three flavours: ginger, lemon and chocolate. We had lots of cupcakes and a traditional top tier.

As a little extra we had a sweet table go alongside the wedding cupcakes and instead of a guest book we had a signing frame. Next to these we had pictures of our parents from the day they got married.

an elegant wedding in the Lake District (c) Chapter Photography (51)

In the evening we hired a DJ for our entertainment. We also wanted to add a little something different to the evening so we went with a cartoonist called Robin Grenville-Evans to draw all of our guests. This went down really well as everyone had something to remember the wedding by.

an elegant wedding in the Lake District (c) Chapter Photography (50)

We would absolutely recommend our venue to anyone who wants a magical romantic feel to their wedding. It’s great for small wedding parties like ours as you can hire the whole place. It’s like having your own private house. I also would recommend all of our suppliers as they were all so, so helpful. My hair piece was custom made from Ann McKavney Eleventh Heaven, Love Gets Sweeter did our videography, Flossy and Leigh did our hair and makeup andSteve Lewis was our DJ.

an elegant wedding in the Lake District (c) Chapter Photography (53)

The day was so perfect I don’t think I could actually pick one part that was my favourite. Obviously marrying my best friend was a pretty special part!

an elegant wedding in the Lake District (c) Chapter Photography (54)

We haven’t had our main honeymoon yet, we are going to Dubai and the Maldives in May. We had a minimoon the day after the wedding. We went to Loch Lomond in Scotland for three nights. It was just a complete chill out, we went to the spa and ate lots of lovely food. It was a great time just to sit back and relax after all the planning. It is a special place to us as it’s the first place Mark ever took me when we were dating, so we thought it perfect to be the first place we go as a newly married couple.

My top tip to other Brides Up North would be something that a lot of people told me to do – take a minute to look around at everything on the day and take it all in. It’s surprising what you don’t see because you’re on such a high! This really was a great tip. Also take time out, just five minutes or so with your husband, again to take it all in. The day really does go so fast, I didn’t want it to end!

continue reading

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterGoogle+share on TumblrPin on PinterestShare on LinkedInEmail to someone

fabulous photographer: amanda balmain

April 14th, 2015 | Julia Braime

Amanda Balmain (36)

This afternoon I am really proud to introduce our readers to the sensational work of Brides Up North sponsor, amanda balmain. I think you’ll agree that Amanda’s work is just dreamy!

In this feature interview, we find out all about the lady behind the lens… and it turns out she’s a bit of a romantic.

So she’s definitely in the right line of work then…

With images by Amanda Balmain,

Amanda Balmain (7)

How did you get into wedding photography? 

I have an A level in photography but for a long time photography was a hobby for me. It wasn’t until after I had my children that I started taking portraits more seriously and then joined some friends on a wedding photography course up at Aspire Photography Training in Cumbria. That was when I realised that wedding photography had changed quite a bit since the days of film. No longer limited by how much film you can carry, wedding photography had got way more creative and exciting.

Why wedding photography specifically? 

I love wedding photography because for me its so exciting. You have to think on your feet all day long to manage creative shots with constantly changing light and locations. There is nothing like that feeling when you know you’ve captured something amazing that you know your couple are going to swoon over.

Amanda Balmain (31)

What is your favourite thing about being a wedding photographer? 

I love the romance. Sometimes on a wedding morning I haven’t quite figured out the couple but I love how as the day unfolds it becomes obvious how they fit together. I try to tell that story in pictures.

Amanda Balmain (16)

How do you get couples to relax on the day? 

I like to photograph natural reactions and expressions and so I always ask questions and get brides and grooms talking to each other. It is much easier to relax when you are thinking about something else other than the camera pointing at you. Often my couples have had a pre-wedding shoot and so they will know exactly what to expect ahead of time.

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

Choose a photographer who you are comfortable with and have a pre-wedding shoot. Usually its much better than you expect. Also choose a photographer whose style is more documentary if posing makes you uncomfortable. I shoot a mix of both styles but my posed shots are definitely more relaxed and natural than fashion model.

Amanda Balmain (37)

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

I think a makeup artist for your wedding day is important. It allows you to relax in the morning and your makeup will last longer. A natural look with a good matte finish always looks great in pictures.

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

Tan lines with a strapless dress spring to mind!

Amanda Balmain (4)

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

Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield because I think they would be really funny and cute but only if they got married on a beach somewhere and kept it intimate. Or maybe Prince Harry and Emma Watson with a Harry Potter theme!

Amanda Balmain (27)

Any really memorable weddings that you have captured? 

I cry at every wedding so they are all moving to me! I shot a wedding at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London which is beautiful and very stylish. I have another one there this summer so I’m looking forward to that.

Amanda Balmain (18)

Are you married? Tell us about your day. 

I’ve been married for almost 15 years. We got married at the small village church where my husband was christened and my in-laws got married in Dorset. We then had a marquee on his parents lawn for the reception. We had the ceremony at 4pm so we could carry straight on into the evening. It was July so there was plenty of light for photographs. My photographer was the amazing Kevin Wilson. My favourite memories are eating fish and chips at the hairdressers in the morning, the grin on my husbands face that lasted all day long and drinking champagne at midnight with some random strangers that we met at our hotel.

Amanda Balmain (6)

What sets you apart from other wedding photographers?

The most important thing to me is that you enjoy your day. I make sure I know beforehand what the wedding day plan is and when we are going to get the shots that you want but on the day I am very flexible. I keep things calm and relaxed and never put my couples under pressure.

Amanda Balmain (23)

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

For most of the day I am unobtrusive and try to stay in the background. There are a few key moments when I will get some posed shots. For instance a portrait of the bride once she is ready, group portraits of the bridal party and a killer shot of the bride and groom at the reception venue. Otherwise I go with the flow and photograph the day as it happens with minimal interference. I usually arrive around 2 hours before the ceremony at the brides house and leave an hour or so after the first dance once everyone is in full party mode.

Amanda Balmain (25)

What is included in your “package”? 

My top package includes a pre-wedding shoot, full day coverage, edited digital files, a slideshow of images from your wedding day and a 30 page Bellissimo album. My digital only package is the same without the album.

Can you give us an idea on price? 

My top package is £1250. I am happy to quote for smaller weddings and half days.

Amanda Balmain (3)

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

You can visit my website at www.amandabalmain.com, visit my Facebook page or call me on 07738 166374.  I’d love to hear from you!

continue reading

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterGoogle+share on TumblrPin on PinterestShare on LinkedInEmail to someone

something blue. charlotte balbier for a beautifully styled wedding in the north west – sophie & andrew

April 13th, 2015 | Rachel Parry

a Charlotte Balbier gown for a beautiful blue wedding in the North West (c) Spencer Photography  (36)

Here at Brides Up North we’re lucky to receive so many incredibly styled weddings and today’s is one that would come close to the top of the pile.

Art teacher Sophie clearly has an eye for detail as she combined a cool blue colour palette with Scottish touches and her favourite fabrics to produce one heck of a gorgeous wedding.

Gals, you can pick up plenty of inspiration here for the wedding party’s attire, venue styling and special touches.

Paper and pens at the ready!

With images by Spencer Photography.

a Charlotte Balbier gown for a beautiful blue wedding in the North West (c) Spencer Photography  (39)

sophie says: We got engaged on the 4th September 2013 at Lytham Windmill. It was the last day of the summer holidays (I’m an art teacher) and we decided we’d go out for a meal, so Andrew booked an Indian we like in Lytham. A lovely meal and lots of hand holding we decided we would walk off the meal a little. It was a beautifully clear night with stars everywhere and we wandered along the front and walked right up to the front of the windmill for the best view of the estuary over to the twinkling lights of Southport in the distance. I turned to go down the stairs saying we should probably get home when Andrew just said “wait Soph” and I turned to see him on one knee with an open ring box “will you marry me?” I had always thought I would be so confident in my answer but I could only whisper the quietest “yes” behind the biggest smile.

a Charlotte Balbier gown for a beautiful blue wedding in the North West (c) Spencer Photography  (4)

We booked our wedding for the 18th October, we both love autumn and had originally thought we’d go for the first weekend of the school holiday, however everywhere we liked was either booked or closed! Then the venue that we chose in the end – Charnock Farm – had the weekend before free and after a quick discussion – could we cope going straight back to work on the Monday? We decided to go for it!

We were married at St. Michael’s Church in Kirkham, my church since I was a toddler. Not only is it a special place for me as it holds many happy memories but for a local parish church it is just utterly stunning. A grand entrance and long, dramatic aisle. What more could a girl need?

a Charlotte Balbier gown for a beautiful blue wedding in the North West (c) Spencer Photography  (2)

There were a few little themes running through our day, the main I guess ‘buttons, bobbins and Liberty fabrics’, from the moment we set our date I started collecting and buying up hundreds of wooden bobbins. As well as being an art teacher I’m a textile designer and have a little obsession with buttons. From being pretty young I have adored Liberty and everything it stands for and love working with their fabrics. Lodden is one of my all-time favourites, this print was at the centre of many fabric elements at our wedding.

Our colour scheme was blues – every single one of them! Weddings are so often all about the bride, but blue is Andrew’s favourite colour and is a nod to the traditional rhyme ‘something old, something new….’

a Charlotte Balbier gown for a beautiful blue wedding in the North West (c) Spencer Photography  (15)

I knew I wanted a vintage inspired dress, a nod to the 50s and Grace Kelly. With a pile of bridal magazines and Pinterest I quickly knew that Charlotte Balbier was the designer for me – and more importantly that Constance was almost definitely the dress, but I really wanted lace sleeves! I saw an advert for The White Closet in one of the magazines and they had a meet the designer night quickly after our engagement so I booked myself and one of my bridesmaids in. The White Closet is just gorgeous, I was in love. When asked if I had a particular dress in mind by Eve she made sure that the next changes included Constance, the buttons from the top to bottom of the train were beautiful, I just knew and I hadn’t even tried it on. It was as if Charlotte had been in my head when she designed the dress. I was able to chat with Charlotte on the night and discuss my ideas for extra sleeves, luckily I didn’t offend her. I booked myself in a few weeks later with my mum. I only tried on Constance.

At my first fitting with the help of The White Closet ladies I was also able to design a lace jacket to wear with my dress so I had sleeves, it dipped into a V at the back just as Charlotte’s own wedding dress had. I felt so beautiful in my dress; I didn’t want to take it off!

I also wore a simple ivory cathedral length veil and Rachel Simpson Cora ivory suede kitten heels. My youngest sister Izi made me a garter with fabric and buttons that all had little meanings, it was so very thoughtful.

a Charlotte Balbier gown for a beautiful blue wedding in the North West (c) Spencer Photography  (22)

Andrew knew he wanted a grey three piece suit but no tails. However when the boys went to have a look and try on he changed his mind. This was meant to be a secret but his brother and best man Scott told me by accident! So the suits were hired from Greenwoods but he wore a handmade Lodden tana lawn tie and matching pocket square, teamed on the day with blue spotty Paul Smith socks and dark brown brogue style shoes.

a Charlotte Balbier gown for a beautiful blue wedding in the North West (c) Spencer Photography  (26)

The bridesmaids wore floor length navy In One Clothing dresses their own way, with Izi and Laura wearing Agnes and Norman navy suede heels and Hannah in Rachel Simpson ivory satin sling-backs. Hannah, my middle sister, is wearing them for her own wedding in February.

The groomsmen all wore the same suit as Andrew but their ties and pocket squares were in Betsy print tana lawn.

a Charlotte Balbier gown for a beautiful blue wedding in the North West (c) Spencer Photography  (34)

Andrew and I have a mutual love of VWs so it had to be a camper van for our transport. We used Posh Pampa Campas and I travelled from home to church in Coco, a silver grey split screen, then we travelled from church to on reception via Lytham.

a Charlotte Balbier gown for a beautiful blue wedding in the North West (c) Spencer Photography  (38)

We found photography one of the more difficult things to pick, but through suggestions from different people and a few meetings we met Joanne Spencer of Spencer Photography for a quick drink and we could have talked for hours. Just totally on the same creative wavelength as us and her photos are just stunning. There is something in the colour that just captivates me. We had great fun on a very, windy and cold day on Morecombe front for our engagement shoot and we both felt totally at ease in Jo’s company. On the day Jo and her husband Scott were amazing, there when we needed them but not pushy as we had witnessed at other weddings. Their style suited ours as we didn’t want lots of posed shots, a natural documenting of our day and all the little details we had worked hard to include.

a Charlotte Balbier gown for a beautiful blue wedding in the North West (c) Spencer Photography  (35)

I carried a hand-tied bouquet of white roses, thistles, myrtle and rosemary mixed in with other bits of greenery. I wanted elegant and timeless and that is exactly what we got from Margaret Mason in Preston. Half of my family are Scottish so not only are some thistles blue (to fit the colour scheme) but they’re also the national flower of Scotland, another of our subtle mini themes.

At church we had our own little flower festival, and the church flower ladies led by Christine Lever took my breath away with their work and attention to detail. All of the ladies have practically known me my whole life so it was very special that they were able to do this for our wedding day. Stunning arrangements and an archway in ivories and foliage.

a Charlotte Balbier gown for a beautiful blue wedding in the North West (c) Spencer Photography  (62)

We had a combination of flowers and decorations we made ourselves at the venue. On the top table a traditional long and low arrangement with white roses, thistles, rosemary, pussy willow, gypsophila and other beautiful blue flowers. Then on the guest tables Andrew and I, with the help of a friend, had made our own bobbins on top of which posies of the same floral combinations sat and then tall slim vases filled with vintage bobbins also with a posy on top. Spare bobbins and buttons were dotted around the tables too. We had made loads of blue candles and decorated them with ribbons and ceramic buttons.

a Charlotte Balbier gown for a beautiful blue wedding in the North West (c) Spencer Photography  (50)

Our wedding venue was a barn with stunning exposed beams, from these Andrew and his groomsmen had hung blue and white paper pom-poms and white Chinese lanterns lit up with little LEDs. They did an amazing job on the morning of the wedding and they got it looking just as I had envisaged. We also hired carnival lights from The Word is Love, a huge S&A to light up the dance floor, our guests loved these and they really added something to the already gorgeous barn venue.

a Charlotte Balbier gown for a beautiful blue wedding in the North West (c) Spencer Photography  (40)

We did but didn’t give out favours but instead after the church service guests were invited for shortbread and fizz and a donation to WaterAid was made so that others benefited from our happiness. We only had a handful of children at the wedding but I made them each a personalised drawstring bag – using different blue fabrics and Liberty tana lawns, filled with books, games, bubbles, Lego, personalised pencils and colouring in books. The babies were given tana lawn bibs too – they went down a storm!

We changed our minds a little bit on the type of cake but in the end went for a four tiered fruit cake which my mum made for us and a sponge cake. A friend Caroline decorated our cake for us with ivory flat icing and a cascade of different blue icing buttons. It was exquisite and topped with a tiny floral topper.

a Charlotte Balbier gown for a beautiful blue wedding in the North West (c) Spencer Photography  (57)

Andrew and I both love music and we are quite eclectic in our tastes. But we both agreed that live music was important so we were lucky enough to be able to book The Flip Band, a three-piece on bongos, violin and bass guitar. We have seen them a few times at different venues and they didn’t let us down. They learnt Calvin Harris’ Feel so Close for our first dance, incredible! We also had DJ Gary Mills who had worked with my sister quite a lot and came highly recommended. He too was great fun and very entertaining with his costume changes! Gary gave us a CD of musical highlights from our wedding which was a lovely touch.

As a special touch our tables were named after different activity badges you can gain as a scout (they also happen to be blue), as Andrew and I met through our involvement in Scouts. We also had a homemade photo booth in the form of a giant Polaroid frame with a trunk full of different props for people to enjoy.

a Charlotte Balbier gown for a beautiful blue wedding in the North West (c) Spencer Photography  (56)

Our venue has a lovely outdoor seating area and because it was possibly the warmest October day ever lots of people were able to mingle outside but it did get a little cooler in the evening so I had a basket full of blankets ready for this and also a basket full of slippers for those that just had to kick off their shoes.

We would definitely recommend our venue to others – it’s warm, cosy without being small, spacious without being too big and neutral back drop which would suit many individual styles.

a Charlotte Balbier gown for a beautiful blue wedding in the North West (c) Spencer Photography  (51)

Other suppliers involved in our big day that we would recommend are RA Designs at The Manchester Craft & Design Centre who make bespoke engagement and wedding rings, Chloe Sinclair and Cedar Nail and Beauty in Kirkham, who did the bridal party’s make-up and Barbara Kay and Talking Heads in Wesham, who did the bridal party’s hair.

a Charlotte Balbier gown for a beautiful blue wedding in the North West (c) Spencer Photography  (43)

The whole day was a whirlwind but a particularly memorable moment was when we started to exchange our vows the sun started to shine and it just burst through the church windows down onto us. Perfect. I did also love our photo shoot up at Lytham Windmill, it was time just together on our own (of a fashion) and we couldn’t stop smiling and laughing, especially when my cheek was prickled by the thistle in Andrew’s button hole!

a Charlotte Balbier gown for a beautiful blue wedding in the North West (c) Spencer Photography  (42)

We went back to work the following Monday but the next week we headed off to The Lakes for our minimoon of walking, spa days, afternoon tea and just time together. We are heading to California in August for our proper honeymoon where we are going to drive from San Francisco to San Diego down the coast. We cannot wait!

a Charlotte Balbier gown for a beautiful blue wedding in the North West (c) Spencer Photography  (72)

My top tip to other Brides Up North is – be yourselves. Do not be swayed by what other people think, it’s your day. And make sure you have clear communication with all your suppliers so that they fully understand your vision.

continue reading

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterGoogle+share on TumblrPin on PinterestShare on LinkedInEmail to someone