August 9th, 2017 | Laura McDonagh
Today’s couple, Laura and David, are self-confessed globetrotters, and we just love the fact that they injected this sense of adventure into their special day at Crosby Hall Educational Trust in Little Crosby, back in May.
Paying homage to all the wonderful memories they’ve created together so far, hopping from country to country, their colourful wedding day featured some rather lovely nostalgic touches, including miniature globes and Polaroid pictures aplenty. It comes as no surprise to us to hear that, post-wedding, the newlyweds will also be embarking on a very unique honeymoon experience (more deets on this later).
Swapping the traditional wedding breakfast for an indulgent afternoon tea followed by a hog roast, our couple definitely put their own stamp on the day’s proceedings. A pork pie wedding cake and vintage ice cream camper van are just two of the other scrumptious foodie highlights from their big day. A deliciously different line-up, if we do say so ourselves!
With photos by Hayley Blackledge Photography.
laura says: We got engaged in January 2016. We had gone out for dinner and David arranged for my sister to decorate the living room while we were out. I came home to a candlelit living room with photographs of us in various places around the world attached to balloons saying, “Will you marry me?”.
Our wedding took place on 27th May 2017. We originally wanted a summer date but the venue didn’t have any of our preferred dates available. We then considered Easter, but decided on May in the end. I’m a teacher so I wanted to make sure I had some school holidays after the wedding. We liked the fact it was a Bank Holiday weekend too, as we had lots of people travelling to the wedding and it allowed them to make the most of their time with us.
We had the ceremony and reception at Crosby Hall Educational Trust (CHET) in Little Crosby. The ceremony took place in the old barn. We loved the venue as soon as we saw the space. It ticked all the boxes for us – it was relaxed, pretty, private and allowed us to put our own stamp on things.
We didn’t have a theme as such but we incorporated lots of travel elements, due to the fact we have spent most of our relationship traveling the world! We used globes as decorations and we named our tables after some of our favourite places. We also decorated the walls of the corridors in the venue with photos of us in various locations.
We wanted the wedding to be bright and colourful, with a touch of sparkle. We used lots of bright colours in the decorations and flowers, with touches of metallic gold and glitter.
I got my dress from Wed2be in Liverpool. I didn’t want to spend a fortune on a dress and originally, I went along just to get a feel for the style I wanted. I tried on lots of different gowns, but this dress just felt like ‘me’. I’m not a particularly girly girl and didn’t want anything too traditional. I felt the dress suited my personality perfectly and I felt really comfortable in it.
My shoes were from Irregular Choice. I’d had my eye on them for a while. My mum tried to persuade me to get something else but I’m glad I didn’t listen to her! I really want to wear them again!
August 1st, 2017 | Laura McDonagh
Real bride Gabrielle said that she and beau Dan didn’t really have a theme in mind for their summer wedding at Singleton Lodge: “We just wanted a romantic country-style wedding with beautiful flowers and lots of special touches,” she says. The result is a day that’s effortlessly beautiful, with romance pouring from every stunning image. Bravo, guys!
This gorgeous day captivated us from the Rockerfeller Christmas Tree proposal, had us green with envy at the silver Jimmy Choos and the special touches almost had us on our knees – as an official ‘dog person’, the mention of Spencer the Labrador’s photograph in the order of service along a ‘My Humans Are Getting Married’ message brought me closer to tears than I’d like to admit. All. The. Cuteness.
With images by Jessica Lang Photography.
gabrielle says: We got engaged on the 12th December 2014 in New York. I love Christmas and had always wanted to go to NYC in December and see the Rockerfeller Christmas Tree. On the second day of our trip we went on a 12-hour tour seeing all the sites, including the Empire State Building and Statue of Liberty. Afterwards, we went to an amazing restaurant and to a sky bar overlooking the Empire State Building. Dan said we should do something Christmassy before heading back to the hotel, so we went to see the legendary Rockerfeller Christmas tree – which is where he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him! We also bought a replica of the Swarovski star which was the perfect memento of the most amazing day.
We were married on Friday 1st July 2016. We wanted a summer wedding on a Friday and, luckily, it was the last Friday that our venue had available.
Our ceremony was held at St Nicholas’ Church in Wrea Green, Lancashire, which is in the village where we live. It’s a beautiful church right in the centre of the village and it’s lovely that we walk past it every day with our dog. Our wedding date was the day before the village field day and so there was bunting everywhere which was lovely!
The reception was held at Singleton Lodge Country House. We knew we wanted to get married in a country house style venue with beautiful surroundings and Singleton Lodge was absolutely perfect. From the first glimpse of the driveway, we knew it was going to be the right venue for us. We had exclusive use of the whole lodge, the decor was beautiful and it has a lovely welcoming feel – there’s even a field of alpacas within the grounds, which we absolutely loved!
Theme-wise, we didn’t really want anything too elaborate. We just wanted a romantic country-style wedding with beautiful flowers and lots of special touches. We also went for blush pink accents as they suited the romantic theme.
My dress was by Justin Alexander and I bought it from The White Gallery in Ramsbottom. It was strapless with a long train and lots of beautiful embellishment. I wore it with a thin diamante belt around the waist, a chapel length veil with lace detailing and silver Jimmy Choo shoes. I absolutely loved my dress from the moment I tried it on – I just wish I could wear it again!
Dan wore a navy suit from Swarbricks with pale grey check waist coat with pale blue running through it. He teamed it with a pale blue tie, matching pocket square and a pocket watch, which I had engraved with the words “Forever & Always, 1st July 2016”. The groomsmen wore matching three-piece navy suits with blush pink ties and pocket squares.
The bridesmaids wore floor-length blush pink dresses from House of Fraser. They had a scoop back and diamante detail at the waist.
July 25th, 2017 | Laura McDonagh
When Rebecca and James’ Christmas wedding dropped into our inbox we simply couldn’t believe our luck. In Rebecca we saw a kindred spirit: a girl hell-bent on gorgeousness, glamour, sequins and a festive berry lip. Plus, she tells a blummin’ good story, not just spilling all the pretty details (obvs) but also gets across a real sense of the laughter and love they shared with their guests on the day. All the goosebumps.
Our highlight? Well, that Ritva Westenius gown is a beauty – a slinky statement of a dress with a simple, timeless silhouette – and the gallery setting is something very special indeed – but if the Brides Up North team could direct you to just one detail it would be that makeup. An education in how to do bridal glamour right there. You’re very welcome.
With images by Shane Webber.
rebecca says: We got engaged in 2015 while on holiday in Singapore (this makes us sound very extravagant – it was a treat!) We were sitting drinking cocktails at the long bar in Raffles (as you do), munching away on the complimentary monkey nuts (as you do), when I looked down to see that one had a ring around it. Cue floods of tears from me for the next hour – the poor barmaid didn’t know what was going on. It was a complete surprise (although there may have been some, ahem, gentle encouragement from me in the months proceeding) and the happiest moment of my life (pre-wedding!)
Initially we looked at a September wedding, but struggled to match up availability of our venue and the registrar. I also had a niggling idea about a winter wedding that wouldn’t budge…after a bit of to-ing and fro-ing and wails of “But I thought we’d agreed September!” I think it was actually James who first said “well, what about Christmas?” And that was that. We had a hankering to do something just a little bit different and we both love the festive season, so it felt perfect.
We had both the ceremony and reception at the Manchester Art Gallery. We really wanted to get married in the city centre as it’s local to us, and we both love the paintings there. We looked at a couple of other venues but when we went to look round the Gallery, James (not normally the world’s most effusive about these kind of things) turned to me and said: “I actually feel a bit excited!” I could’ve hugged the woman showing us around! It’s a beautiful building inside and out and such a privilege to marry there.
We loved the idea of an elegant, glamorous theme with a touch of Gatsby. With the ceremony being later in the day at 4pm and the time of year, this theme worked really well. We considered a black-tie dress code for guests but James wasn’t sure. In the end our invites said: “It’s Christmas, it’s evening, so feel free to throw the glitter around and GO ALL-OUT GLAM’”. Sums it up, really!
So the colours? Hints of gold, sequins and dark jewel shades for the best men. And the ‘feel’? Glamorous, warm, festive. We wanted our guests to feel special and essentially have a fantastic pre-Christmas party!
I chose a simple but elegant dress by Ritva Westenius from Isaac Charles in Poynton. It was a sample on its own in the store and when I tried it on I loved how I felt in it. Because of our theme I really wanted something that felt glamorous and luxurious (…and a bit sexy, as I said to my slightly bemused mum) The store and staff at Isaac Charles were lovely and I’d definitely recommend them to any brides-to-be.
James, the best men and both our dads wore elegant white dress shirts, black trousers and velvet dinner jackets from Reiss. The boys wore black and James’ was a dark blue just to stand out a little. They all had contrasting silk scarves, pocket squares and bow ties. I absolutely loved it; they all looked so handsome. James was really keen for something a bit different but also a ‘non-traditional’ suit (that could be worn again for special occasions) and I think he nailed it.
The bridesmaids wore floor-length gold sequinned gowns from Jenny Packham at Debenhams. I had such a strong idea of what I wanted them in that we ended up getting their dresses before mine. Thankfully, they liked them! They both looked so beautiful. Amina at Stockport Wedding Services did a great job with alterations for us all.
July 24th, 2017 | Laura McDonagh
When today’s real bride was planning her big day, she made the unusual move of buying her shoes before she’d even stepped foot inside a dress shop. But who can blame her when the shoes in question were a pair of electric blue jewel-encrusted Sex-and-the-City style Manolo Blahniks?
This super-classy wedding is full of super-pretty details, from white roses and blush peonies to on-trend rose gold accents. The navy/ivory/blush colour scheme is effortlessly chic, and the quaint red-brick charm of their reception venue makes for countless exquisite photo opportunities.
Get ready for some serious gorgeousness, guys.
With images by Jess Yarwood.
jane says: We got engaged on 4th June 2016, in Tatton Park, Knutsford. It was a sunny day and Tom suggested going for a picnic. We found a spot by the lake, Tom put some music on, opened a bottle of champagne and the next thing I knew he was on one knee asking me to marry him!
We married on 3rd June 2017. We picked this date as it was the same weekend we got engaged, so it was a special weekend for us already.
The ceremony was at St Wilfrid’s Church in Mobberley, and the reception was at The Church Inn pub just over the road. We picked The Church Inn as it was our local pub – in fact, we had our second date there. We have lots of good memories of the Inn from over the years. Once we’d picked the reception venue, we decided to have a look at St Wilfrid’s church and fell in love with beautiful, so it was an easy choice for us.
We didn’t really have a theme; we just wanted the wedding to be very relaxed and for people to enjoy the day. Colour-wise, however, we went for blush, rose gold, ivory and navy. I’d always had an idea of how I wanted our wedding day to look and it was based on these colours.
I had a ‘traditional’ wedding dress designed by Pronovias. I bought it from Eternity Bridal. Unusually, I picked my dress to match my shoes as I’d chosen my footwear first! I saw my dress online and knew it was the one. It had everything I wanted: a v-back, long train and could be changed for the evening do.
On the day of the wedding, I used Maxine Smith as a makeup artist. She was fantastic and I would definitely recommend her. My hair was done by Unity Hair Studio. David and Paula did a fantastic job – there was a lot of us who needed our hair doing!
Tom wore a suit from Whitfield and Ward. It was three-piece and navy with a grey waistcoat. Our groomsmen wore the same as the groom but they wore plain navy ties as opposed to a spotty one.
July 21st, 2017 | Alexis Forsyth
If you’re looking for a dose of Scottish charm on your big day, then look no further than Abigail and Daniel’s wedding at Eaves Hall in the Ribble Valley, which has oodles of inspiration, complete with tartan, Scottish tablet and, of course, some rather dashing kilts.
When it came to entertaining guests, we think it would be fair to say they were truly spoilt, with not only an acoustic guitarist and a pianist, but also a funk band, a magician and their very own wedding host! And perhaps unheard of here on Brides Up North, the couple didn’t confirm their wedding date until they knew for certain that the funk band were free. We only wish we could have been there to dance the night away!
Join us as Abigail pores over all the highlights from their special day, from the exquisite five-tiered cake and emotional first dance with their son in tow, to their stunning group photo on the venue’s balcony.
With images by Pixies in the Cellar.
abigail says: Daniel proposed in London on 9th July 2016. London is special to us because it’s where we fell in love. I had bought Daniel tickets to see Stevie Wonder (one of his all-time favourite artists) on the Sunday in Hyde Park but we decided to make a weekend of it. We had no real plans on the Saturday so we decided we would take a trip down memory lane and return to some of our favourite spots. Dan suggested revisiting Buckingham Palace and as we wandered through Green Park, I was greeted by a butler with a lavish picnic and a bottle of pink champagne. With absolutely no clue as to why he had organised such a romantic surprise, I sat and enjoyed the food and fizz until he retrieved one last surprise out of the basket – a diamond ring!
We got married on 29th May 2017. We were so excited to marry each other that when a date became available at our dream venue we snapped it up straight away. We always wanted a spring/summer wedding too, especially for the peonies in May! It was a perfect date for us; it fell on a Bank Holiday and was at the beginning of a two-week half term break for Dan (he is a school teacher). It meant we could take couple of weeks out together to celebrate properly.
We got married at St Helen’s Church in Waddington and then celebrated our wedding reception at the beautiful Eaves Hall in Clitheroe. We always wanted a church ceremony as tradition means a lot to us. St Helen’s Church is located in the heart of a cute little village and we loved its authenticity with an organ, bells and, of course, the lovely (and quite funny) Reverend John.
We chose Eaves Hall for our reception because it was visually stunning both inside and out, which is ideal given the unpredictability of the Lancashire summer weather. The exclusivity is also amazing because you can throw a really good party for all of your guests. It felt like we had our own mini-mansion for the day.
We didn’t follow a theme as such; we just made our wedding really personal to us. I remember our florist describing it as ‘rustic elegance’, which nicely sums it up. In terms of colours and materials, we used kraft, hessian, twine and occasional hints of tartan – this represented the rustic feel of the Scottish twist. Then everything was overlaid with ivory lace, pearls and lavender, which allowed me to incorporate a softer, more elegant style to the day. We also wanted everything to reflect a celebration of our relationship so far, so we named our tables after special dates/events that we had experienced together and the things that we were most proud of.
With Dan being half Scottish he really wanted to revel in the opportunity of wearing a kilt. So that became our starting point for the colour scheme – he chose Spirit of Bannockburn tartan, which was a bold purple with hints of navy blue and green throughout. I thought I would struggle to find a colour scheme to complement the tartan. However, after finding the most gorgeous dusky lilac bridesmaids dresses I finally found a colour scheme we could compromise on! We used dusky lilacs, dusky pinks, and soft ivory and silvery green foliage in all of the flowers and décor, it worked really nicely together.
I found my dream wedding dress from Knutsford Wedding Gallery in Cheshire. I was initially torn between two completely different styles. I have always loved the silhouette of a mermaid style dress and I knew that this would be the style that Dan would love to have seen me in, however I knew my mum would be desperate to see me in a full princess gown. I tried on versions of both styles until the incredible ladies at KWG helped me create something that incorporated both. I opted for an off-white lace and tulle mermaid dress with a sweetheart neckline by La Sposa, Pronovias. This was then teamed with a Rosa Clara tulle train, and a Helen Martin tulle veil, both custom edged with matching lace and delicate beading to create the effect of a fuller, princess style gown with a cathedral length train for the ceremony and wedding breakfast, later removed to reveal the mermaid style silhouette. I also added a Pronovias tulle, pearl and crystal belt to add a little sparkle to the overall look.
Dan and his groomsmen wore full Highland wear, hired from Slaters Menswear in Preston. It consisted of the kilt matched with a white Victorian collar shirt, black bow tie, black Prince Charlie waistcoat and jacket. He wore the full accessories too including gillie brogues, socks, flashes, sporran and ski doo. He looked so handsome; they all did! Although, our gorgeous pageboys Oscar (our son, aged three) and Jenson (best man’s son, aged four) really stole the show in their mini versions!
July 20th, 2017 | Rachel Parry
You will often hear us remark on how imperative we consider a professional wedding photographer to be, in order to capture and record your big day, with fabulous images to look back on forevermore. That said, we do totally understand that some couples are camera shy – or downright terrified of having their photo taken!
There is a compromise however – a pro photographer that specialises in natural and relaxed shots that are discreetly captured throughout the day with the couple in question barely even noticing. One such photographer to embody these skills, is our brand-new Sponsor, Robbie Venn of Venn Photography.
Based in the North West, Robbie takes a photo-journalistic approach to weddings capturing the “real moments” of the day while remaining unobtrusive. This work ethic results in honest and natural photos with at-ease brides and grooms enjoying their special day, and the album of beautiful images that follows.
Tell us a little about your background and how long you have been in wedding photography for?
robert says: I first became involved in photography after I left school in 1999 and went on to complete a HND in photography; this was in the days of analogue photography and I have always continued to take film pictures for my personal use.
After becoming a digital photography convert I travelled around Asia for six months, doing a lot of street photography and portraits which was a great learning experience. Back from travelling, a friend asked me to photograph their wedding as a favour and I ended up really enjoying the experience. That’s how I started my career in wedding photography and I haven’t looked back since!
What attracted you to wedding photography specifically?
I’m really interested in the fact that you have to have so many skills as a photographer; from being a good documentary photographer to capture all the candid moments in the day to being like a fashion or portrait photographer for when you have time with the couple to shoot some more artistic couple shots and even a product photographer when photographing the details like the flowers and the ring. I believe you can really test yourself as a photographer as there is so much involved in wedding photography.
And what is it about your job that you love?
Well just taking photos really! I love the fact I have free rein to take photos all day and in such a nice setting. Being able to share people’s wedding day with them is great, such a nice time to share with people and to document their wonderfully creative days.
How would you describe your style of wedding photography?
I see myself more of a documentary wedding photographer, I like to keep things natural and un-posed, I’ll try to blend into the background for the day and make myself unnoticed and capture those candid moments. I also use natural light mainly, which adds a particular look to photos. I like to give the couples simple, good documentary photos that will stand the test of time when they look back at them in ten, twenty or thirty years’ time and they will help reminisce about the day.
What do your clients love about your approach, service and images?
The feedback has been great so far, people particularly love the natural documentary style of photos which I present to them. The main comments have been about how I capture the emotions perfectly which is something I’m really happy with, and how calm and relaxed I am to work with. The wedding day can be stressful to plan and also can be on the day so I like to be as organised as I can to make the day go smoothly.
What is the top piece of advice you would give to camera shy couples?
I’d say that you should try to have some fun with each other, I like to keep things natural and un-posed during the couple shots and this creates a more natural image. It’s better to try and forget about the camera (and me) and concentrate on each other. Also, I try and be as discreet as I can throughout the day so the couples usually don’t notice me taking their photo so that’s not a problem!
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