Charlotte Balbier
Festival Wedding Exhibitions

the big debate: first look or grand entrance?

April 29th, 2016 | Rachel Parry

Image by Helen Russell Photography

image by Helen Russell Photography

As couples continue to bend the ‘wedding rules’ in order to have a big day that’s done their way, we are seeing more traditions fall by the wayside.

Previously through The Big Debate we’ve discussed whether or not couples should stick with tradition by spending the night before the wedding together or part. It’s a contentious issue as superstition has it that it’s bad luck for the bride and groom to see each other before the ceremony. But for some couples it’s all about feeling comfortable and at ease, rather than running scared of marriage day myths.

This desire to feel relaxed on the day of the wedding has now also led to some couples opting for what’s known as a ‘first look’ prior to the ceremony. So instead of setting eyes on each other as ‘bride’ and ‘groom’ for the first time at the altar, the couple share a private moment together ahead of taking their vows where they can see and speak to each other, calming any pre-wed nerves. In most cases the couple’s photographer would join them for the first look moment to document the ‘big reveal’ emotions, just as they would usually capture it at the beginning of the ceremony.

So today we discuss if ditching tradition in this case will make that big reveal moment more, or less, special?

Image by JPRShah Photography (2)

Image by JPR Shah Photography

rachel says: save it for the ceremony

During our previous debate on the night before the wedding I said I was willing to risk the bad luck factor of spending the night with my hubby-to-be in order to get a good night’s sleep ahead of the big day. However I stipulated that I’d still want to go our separate ways on the morning of the wedding in order to achieve that highly-anticipated entrance at the ceremony, in front of both the groom and the guests, and I stand by that.

I’m certain I’ll suffer wedding-morning nerves, as in case you didn’t know I’m a worrier by nature, (I worry about worrying!) but I fear that seeing the groom just minutes before the ceremony would turn me into even more of an emotional wreck than I’ll already be.

Also, I’ve found that the brides we feature on the blog often say their favourite part of the wedding day was meeting their partner at the altar – the expression on their face and perhaps any words they exchanged is what they remember most. I realise you can still get this with a first look, but I think the big reveal is one of the most memorable parts of the wedding for guests too, and something that they feel blessed to be a part of. For example last year when my cousin got married, she cried as she reached the front of the church and watching the groom wipe away her tears, put a tender arm over her shoulder and make her laugh and smile instantly showed us onlookers how perfect they were for each other – and that moment is now etched in my mind!

There’s no doubt that emotions will run high, but that’s all part and parcel of a wedding day and I don’t think the bride and groom need to keep such moments to themselves. So along with not walking under ladders, smashing any mirrors or putting up umbrellas indoors, I’ll be avoiding bad luck by saving the first look for the ceremony!

Image by Sarah Brabbin Photography

image by Sarah Brabbin

julia says: just the two of us

Prior to my own wedding day, I wouldn’t have been game for a sneaky peek, or “first look”. I was firmly of the opinion that the arrival of the bride should be met with awe and wonder at the end of an aisle… veil down, music high, anticipation huge.

That’s until I learned that my nervous new husband had spent the best part of the wedding morning literally almost throwing up with nerves. Worries about marrying me? Never! Slight hangover? Possibly. Crowd shy? Very.

When we got hitched waaaaaay back in 2010, the whole wedding scene was still pretty traditional compared to now. A first look wasn’t even mentioned, let alone properly discussed.  If it had been, I probably would have discounted it (hey, it was “my moment”!) but in retrospect, it might have worked very nicely for us – him especially – whilst also allowing us a special photo opportunity and a lovely moment of togetherness and anticipation before the ceremony itself.

Some might think that its bad luck to meet before the service, but it’s hardly cheating if it’s on hallowed (or licensed!) ground, is it? For me, a first look only ups the excitement factor, is cute and romantic and is all about togetherness – a stolen moment for just the two of you to cherish.

And hey, if you still want to do the whole big entrance thing, your partner can always sneak in the side-door as The Bridal March starts up.  In fact, no one need ever know it happened at all…

Image by Laura Calderwood Photograph

image by Laura Calderwood Photography

what you said on social:

Natalia says: “We are only having a very intimate wedding of 20 guests so I don’t see the need for a first look ahead of the ceremony as I will be comfortable with everyone that will be present.”

Jenny says: “I’m not good at being centre of attention so we’ve decided to have a first look to help ease my nerves. I know seeing my partner will calm me down and give me the confidence I need to make a good entrance.”

Clare says: “I’m totally superstitious so won’t be taking any chances! I’ll be spending the night before away from the groom and then won’t see him until I get to the altar. I think doing it any other way would lessen the magic and excitement that builds while you are apart!”

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party on. madeline gardner for a fun-filled wedding at crewe hall – emily & david

April 27th, 2016 | Julia Braime

A Fun-filled Wedding at Crewe Hall (c) Lee Brown Photography (269)

What we love most about today’s real wedding is the expressions of happiness, excitement and joy on the faces of the bride and groom – and their (200 plus!) guests.

A wedding day, of course, involves some very serious commitments, but we think it should also be a fun occasion filled with laughter, love and emotions, which Emily and David’s big day certainly was.

From their traditional ceremony and breakfast to their ‘party style’ evening reception, it’s clear to see that everyone is having an amazing time! Throw in the fabulous styling, attire and venue and you’ve got one pretty perfect wedding!

With images by brilliant Brides Up North Sponsor Lee Brown Photography.

A Fun-filled Wedding at Crewe Hall (c) Lee Brown Photography (145)

emily says: We got engaged on 19th April 2014, in New York City. David had arranged a private experience for us in our hotel’s rooftop bar that overlooked Times Square. To keep the surprise, David had told me that we had won this in a Facebook competition, but of course it was all a set up!

Our wedding was on Sunday 29th November 2015. As we had a Jewish wedding, this impacted the days of the week that were open to us and explains why we chose a Sunday. We decided on a winter wedding because David’s profession means that he is particularly busy with work in the summer months and also because we felt that our venue looked that little bit more magical in the winter.

A Fun-filled Wedding at Crewe Hall (c) Lee Brown Photography (272)

We got married at Crewe Hall. We chose the venue because it was perfect for us. We loved that it had the traditional ‘Downton Abbey’ part of the building but also had a modern wing to the hotel. This meant that we were able to have a picturesque wedding ceremony and breakfast in the older parts of the hotel and then move to the modern part for the reception.

We had a reform Jewish wedding. This meant that we had tisch and bedeken ceremonies before the wedding ceremony. Our wedding ceremony was officiated by a Rabbi and took place under a Chuppah. We also took part in some traditional Israeli dancing in the evening.

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ready for your close up? stan seaton photography talks pre-wedding shoots

April 20th, 2016 | Rachel Parry

Wedding Photography North Yorkshire

From speaking to wedding couples day in day out we know the volume of brides and grooms that suffer pre-wedding photography nerves – and trust us, there’s a lot!

The case is often that individual doesn’t like having their photograph taken full stop, never mind during a ‘once in a lifetime’ occasion that will be looked back on for many years to come. As a solution to this common fear, many wedding photographers now offer couples the opportunity to have a pre-wedding shoot, providing a practise run in front of the camera, ready for the big day to come.

For those photo phobes out there what’s important to remember is that the guys capturing your wedding day are professionals – it’s not your mum or dad behind the camera with a shaky hand and bad lighting, these guys know all the tricks in the book to make you look and feel amazing on your big day, leading to both stunning and natural photos.

Two photographers who are big believers in the power of a pre-wedding shoot to calm any camera-shy couples’ nerves are Stan and Jane of Stan Seaton Photography. And so to find out exactly what’s involved and how couples can get the most out of such shoots, were putting our pre-wed questions to the pros…

With images by Stan Seaton Photography.

Stan Seaton Photography talks Pre Wedding Photoshoots (22)

Can you explain what a pre-wedding shoot is?

jane says: A pre wedding shoot is an opportunity for us as photographers to meet with our brides and grooms prior to the wedding day and see how they interact together. At our first couple of meetings the discussion is usually geared towards nitty gritty things like pricing, albums and coverage, so it’s really lovely to get to know a couple as people (after all that is what we are going to see and capture on their wedding day).

Wedding_Photography_by_Stan_Seaton_at_Rockliffe_Hall

Where and when do you advise couples to have their pre-wedding shoot?

We usually recommend that couples choose a location that is special and personal to them, often this is the place where they got engaged or somewhere that they like to go regularly. We have covered shoots in Paris, London, Oxford, as well as many local beauty spots such as Fountains Abbey and Seaham beach. Once we have decided on location we fix a date and time, usually six months prior to the wedding day.

There isn’t really such a place as the perfect location for a shoot, many contributing factors can make a good shoot, this could be good lighting/sunlight, a foggy day or fresh untouched snow and as the shoot date is usually arranged well in advance we really don’t know what we are going to get. However, we always say to couples that living in Britain the same could be said for their wedding day, so if we can get some great shots of them on a  beach, on a blustery February day then their minds are at rest that we will get some amazing photos on their wedding day.

Pre Wedding Shoot Newcastle

What about styling? What outfits should couples where and is this a good time for brides-to-be to have their hair and makeup trial?

We usually recommend that couples wear toning complimentary outfits, scarves and hats usually work well and wellies are good, if appropriate. All black isn’t good as this can have a tendency to look like two shadows in the pictures.

Some girls do choose to have hair and makeup done prior to the shoot and while there can be benefits of this, often it’s lovely to have a set of images which are of the bride and groom in their relaxed natural environment and not necessarily with full makeup and styled hair.

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under the sea. maggie sottero for a teal wedding at allerton castle – nicola & nick

April 18th, 2016 | Julia Braime

A Water Inspired Wedding at Allerton Castle (c) Laura Calderwood Photography (77)

Today’s real wedding has a somewhat unusual theme to it, though we just love to see brides and grooms thinking outside the box and injecting a little of their personalities into the day. This is exactly what Nick and Nicola did by picking an underwater wedding theme to reflect their favourite hobbies: angling and scuba diving.

To complete the look, Nick and Nicola chose a beautiful teal colour scheme, which tied in with their chosen theme, as well as the venue’s existing décor, perfectly.

We will be visiting the fabulous Allerton Castle in Knaresborough, North Yorkshire, ourselves this Sunday to host one of our fabulous Luxury Wedding Exhibitions. The event will give couples the opportunity to see this impressive venue for themselves whilst also meeting some of the area’s top wedding suppliers, several of which were a part of Nicola and Nick’s glorious big day. So if you like what you see be sure to register for the event here, it’s free entry!

With images by Laura Calderwood Photography.

A Water Inspired Wedding at Allerton Castle (c) Laura Calderwood Photography (1)

A Water Inspired Wedding at Allerton Castle (c) Laura Calderwood Photography (78)

nicola says: We got engaged at Thorpe Perrow Arboretum, which has always been a special place of ours to walk and relax. We wandered to our favourite spot with the lake in front of us and the trees behind, next to the giant acorn sculpture! I thought we had just come out for a nice stroll in the sunshine, but as I turned around Nick got down on one knee and asked “will you marry me?” I couldn’t believe it, of course I said yes! Nick had a mini bottle of champagne in his back pack, which we enjoyed in the sunshine. It was such a peaceful place and very romantic. When we went back home, our parents were waiting for us and had decorated the house in banners and balloons, it was such a lovely surprise and I had no idea it had all been planned!

A Water Inspired Wedding at Allerton Castle (c) Laura Calderwood Photography (73)

Our wedding date was Sunday 24th May 2015. We wanted to get married in spring, in the hope for some nice weather on the big day. We chose the Sunday as it was the bank holiday weekend, and it was nice to have the whole family celebrate for a long weekend. It also meant that those who had to travel long distances would not have to take any time off work.

We got married at Allerton Castle, which is a beautiful place. We went to our first wedding fair at the castle and it just took our breath away. As we looked round other venues, we kept comparing them back to Allerton Castle, we just knew straight away it was the place for us. Another practical point was that Allerton Castle were willing to hold smaller weddings on a weekend, requiring 60 guests during the day. Other venues insisted on a minimum of 100, or even 150 guests, for a weekend, which we thought was quite unfair. We had 65 guests during the day and 85 in the evening, it was just the right number for us.

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princess perfect. alfred angelo for a fairy-tale wedding at peckforton castle – maria & tommy

April 14th, 2016 | Rachel Parry

A Fairy Tale Wedding at Peckforton Castle (c) Zen Photographic (38)

Fairy-tale weddings don’t come much more magical than today’s big day celebrations.

From Maria and Tommy’s choice of wedding venue and pretty pink colour scheme, through to their Disney inspired cake and the bride’s sparkling princess style dress, today’s real wedding could be taken straight from the pages of a story book.

So let us start at the beginning. Once upon a time…

With images by Zen Photographic.

A Fairy Tale Wedding at Peckforton Castle (c) Zen Photographic (3)

maria says: We got engaged outside the Abbey in Bath. We were celebrating our two-year anniversary and Bath is one of our favourite cities in the UK. Tommy got down on one knee in front of Bath Abbey as it is a really spectacular landmark, especially when it’s all lit up at night. It was in the evening and it was February so it was quite dark and no one was around – it was just us, so it felt really special. I was so shocked I didn’t actually say anything! We celebrated later on with vodka instead of champagne because I’m allergic to wine!

We got married on Saturday 14th March 2015. We chose this date because we wanted a spring wedding and the date was close to our original anniversary. Because you can’t guarantee the weather in the UK, we knew that booking it in March meant we would be totally prepared for the cold, wind, rain or even snow! We would have been heartbroken if we’d booked an August wedding and it had been a rainy day, so at least this way we were prepared for all eventualities.

A Fairy Tale Wedding at Peckforton Castle (c) Zen Photographic (22)

We got married at St Helen’s Church in Tarporley and then had our drinks reception, wedding breakfast and evening reception at Peckforton Castle. It was important to us both and our families that we get married in a church and St Helen’s is a beautiful church nearby to Peckforton Castle, which made it an ideal choice. We chose Peckforton because it was by far the most stunning and impressive venue we went to see. We both fell in love with it immediately and, when we took my mum and sister back to see it, they agreed it was perfect. It was a dream fairy-tale castle.

We didn’t really have a theme to begin with, we just wanted things which were ‘us’. However, it soon turned into a bit of a fairy-tale theme because of the castle venue. We designed our own invitations, our sister-in-law made an amazing Rapunzel castle cake and our first dance was to Love in an Open Door from Frozen. Also, my dress was from Alfred Angelo’s Disney range!

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understated glamour. sassi holford for classic wedding at rudding park – michaela & ben

April 11th, 2016 | Julia Braime

A Chic Wedding at Rudding Park (c) Laura Calderwood Photography (38)

Prepare to get pinning ladies as this morning’s real wedding is a true beauty!

Having dreamt about her wedding day since being a little girl, bride Michaela knew exactly what she wanted for her moment in the limelight – from her dress to the décor!

The result of her careful planning is a beautifully classic wedding celebration, centred round a romantic colour scheme of white, grey and silver (a Brides Up North favourite!) The attire of the wedding party is a definite highlight for us; from the men’s dapper suits and bridesmaids’ lacy dresses and, of course, Michaela’s fabulous Sassi Holford gown.

With images by our superstar Brides Up North Sponsor Laura Calderwood Photography.

A Chic Wedding at Rudding Park (c) Laura Calderwood Photography (41)

michaela says: We got engaged on the 13th February 2013, in the middle of Central Park, New York. New York was in the middle of a snow storm with below freezing weather conditions so our trip was definitely a cold one. The sun was shining on the 13th and the temperatures had increased so we took a stroll through the park. We started off with a horse carriage ride around the park where Ben had initially planned to pop the questions but our rider had plenty to say and Ben could not get a word in edge ways so he had to change his plan. As we were walking through the park he got down on one knee near the John Lennon memorial “Strawberry Fields” in front of a lot of tourists. I could tell Ben was very nervous  and embarrassed doing it in front of others and it took me a while to get my response out from nervous laughing but I eventually said “yes, of course”.  He said he felt like he was down on one knee for ages with people starring and taking photos.

A Chic Wedding at Rudding Park (c) Laura Calderwood Photography (57)

Our wedding took place on the 1st May 2015. I always wanted a spring wedding as it’s my favourite season and the 1st May is a special day for me as it’s my grandma’s birthday. It was lovely that my grandma got a double celebration on her birthday plus she got to spend it with all her family.  It was a double advantage that it fell on a Bank Holiday weekend so we had an extra-long weekend of celebrations.

We got married at the Rudding Park Hotel, Harrogate. We knew as soon as went to visit that it was the perfect place for us to have our big day. It was a mixture of old and new, modern and traditional, which is exactly what we wanted – plus it had gorgeous grounds, which was another thing on my wish list.

A Chic Wedding at Rudding Park (c) Laura Calderwood Photography (43)

I always wanted a classic wedding with a modern twist so this was the theme I ran with. I had grown up watching American chick flick movies and got a lot inspiration from them when I was a teenager so I knew from a young age things I wanted when the time came for me to have my own wedding.

As our planning got underway we chose a lot of grey, silver and white which came to form the colour scheme. We also added a mixture of mirrored objects into the decor to give it a stylish modern twist.

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