February 23rd, 2017 | Julia Braime
Photographing weddings throughout the North West and beyond, Sarah describes her style of photography as “honest” capturing the magic of the day as it unfolds to compile a full story of a bride and groom’s big day.
As a special welcome gift to Brides Up North readers, Sarah is offering a fabulous 10% discount and an 8×8 album for all bookings made up until the end of May 2017. If you like what you see, just quote “Northern Soul” when enquiring.
So, let’s waste no time in handing over to the lady herself to tell us more about her passion for, and approach to, photographing weddings.
Can you tell us a little about your background? How long you have been in wedding photography for?
sarah says: I fell in love with photography when I was a bridesmaid for my sister about a decade ago. I only had a basic camera but I took pictures of everything, and from that day I was genuinely hooked. I upgraded my camera shortly after, trained, second shot for other photographers and soaked up everything that I could to do with photography. All different types of photography inspire me.
What was it that attracted you to wedding photography specifically?
As sad as it probably sounds, I suppose the little girl inside me who always wanted to find love. I always think that the outside world stops on your wedding day, you’re in a lovely bubble with your nearest and dearest. Everyone deserves that.
And what is it about your job that you love?
It really is an honour to photograph the start of a marriage. When you listen to the promises to love and support each other through whatever life is going to throw your way, it genuinely gets me every time. It’s the feeling that you’re witnessing such a special part of someone’s life as they’re about to start a new chapter.
How would you describe your style of wedding photography?
I’d describe my imagery as honest. I love eyes-screwed-up, mouth-open-wide laughter, photo bombs, kids having an inevitable tantrum, confetti being picked out of the bride’s hair, tears, tissues and a bit of dancefloor mayhem. I just believe in everyday beautiful – if that’s even a phrase!
What is the feedback like from your clients? What do they love about your approach, service and images?
I think my couples are always surprised when they get their images – in a good way! I work as more of a quiet observer and I really want people to enjoy their day. So when couples receive their images and see things that they’ve missed or forgotten, it surprises them.
How do you help couples to relax in front of the lens?
When I nab couples away for ten to twenty minutes, I tell them to take that time just to be together and have a breather. Your wedding day goes so quickly and it is lovely just to have that peaceful moment – whether for a short walk, sneaky kiss or shared drink – before going back to your guests. Sometimes I play a few daft games, which makes people relax and laugh, but most couples are that focussed on one another that they soon forget about the camera.
Are there any weddings in particular that you’ve shot that stand out to you?
Good question – and that’s quite hard to answer because people’s days stand out for different reasons. I second shot a wedding last year in France, which was so beautiful and rustic. The bride and groom were married outside, after the bridal party had spent their morning making the bouquets. It was a real family affair. During the wedding breakfast there was a regional power cut and took them over an hour to get the main course out. But it just didn’t phase the bride and groom, or any of the guests. Everyone was together and that was all that mattered.
I would personally love the opportunity to shoot a proposal and a surprise wedding, that would be amazing!
If you could shoot a celebrity’s wedding who’s would it be and why?
There’s two that spring to mind. The first would be Helena Bonham Carter because I love how she is unashamedly herself. She doesn’t pretend to be anyone else and is comfortable in her own skin. The second is Miranda Hart. I’ve often been compared to her by my friends and she really makes me laugh so that would be a great day.
And where would be your dream location to shoot?
Absolute dream location for me would be Tuscany. One of my first photography holidays was there and we shot at a small abandoned chapel. It was breath-taking and so tranquil. I could imagine a wedding there with family, lots of food and twinkly lights as the sun goes down.
February 21st, 2017 | Laura McDonagh
Today’s glamorous bride describes her agonising decision as to whether to go ‘Cinderella’ or ‘Kim Kardashian’ on the wedding dress front. In the end, her elegant gown was more grown-up princess than KK but every bit a showstopper.
This gorgeous duo really knows how to organise a party: their big day features a ten-piece band, a photo booth and gallons of Champagne. Plus, the photographs of Katherine with her seven gorgeous bridesmaids? Real #SquadGoals material.
With photography by Brides Up North Sponsor Bethany Clarke.
katherine says: I had already picked my ring out at ROX jewellers in Leeds, with Oliver when we got engaged as we’d regularly talked about getting married. I had a very specific style in mind and we both agreed it would be better to pick a ring I loved instead of one I only liked! It was an amazing experience we both enjoyed and will cherish forever. We were greeted with a glass of champagne and chocolate truffles as the glass doors behind us were locked by the security guard. We were the only customers in the store – absolute bliss!
Given that I knew the ring was coming (although I didn’t know when and where!) I told Oliver if he wanted to surprise me he’d have to catch me off guard. He did just that: he asked me to pop downstairs to help him carry something inside the house and as I reached the bottom step he was on one knee – with my ring! Of course, I said yes.
We both wanted to be married fairly quickly and were lucky enough to be financially able to do so. We were engaged August 2015 and were married September 2016. Oliver’s parents were married on the 28th September and my parents were married on the 29th September, so we decided to follow the trend with 30thSeptember. To get married on a Friday was significantly cheaper at most venues than a weekend and that encouraged us to go for a week day.
We visited dozens of venues, but fell in love with Monk Fryston Hall in Yorkshire, immediately. We wanted to find a venue that wasn’t too big (more than one wedding per day at some places), not too small (we both have big families) and that could provide overnight accommodation overnight. We both wanted a church wedding but were willing to organise and pay for the transportation of the guests from the church to the venue. However, this wasn’t necessary as there was a beautiful church, St. Wilfrid’s, just over the road. This sealed the deal for us and we organised a meeting with the wedding co-ordinator.
There was no real theme to the wedding other than the colour scheme, which was lilac – only because I had seven bridesmaids to cater for and found a lilac dress that everyone was happy with at the bargain price of £49 each in the January sales!
Everything was very simple. I wore a white gown with no bling, our cake was white with flowers, we used simple tea lights and hydrangea buds for decoration. It was such a beautiful venue it didn’t need much styling!
Style-wise, I batted between ‘Cinderella’ and ‘Kim Kardashian’ for months! Did I fulfil my lifelong dream of wearing a wearing a poofy ball gown or did I go fashion forward and wear a skin tight fishtail gown? I went to several dress shops until I found Precious Bridal in Garforth – no pushy sales pitch, just a general introduction and then I was let loose in a shop full of gowns. Every bride’s dream! As my mum flicked through a catalogue she pointed out a dress she thought was lovely. I immediately recognised it – I actually had it saved on Pinterest. Donna suddenly revealed that she had it in stock! I had to try it on. Donna names each of her dresses so she can remember them easily, and so out of curiosity I asked what this dress was called. She replied ‘Katherine.’ I hadn’t even seen the dress and I knew it was the one. It was the perfect combination of elegance and a little bit of Cinderella.
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February 20th, 2017 | Rachel Parry
Prepare yourself for some Monday afternoon swooning ladies, as this real wedding at Newton Hall has all the necessary elements to make you go completely weak at the knees.
From the picture-perfect venue, to the dreamy colour palette, and the bride’s show-stopping dress – we are 100% in love!
With images by Helen Russell Photography.
samantha says: We got engaged in November 2010. We had talked about getting engaged in the past and when we found out we were expecting our first child, Mark suggested we make it official and bought me a beautiful engagement ring.
We got married on Friday 4th November 2016 – we had been together for eight years to the date. We both wanted an autumn/winter wedding, something that didn’t rely on the weather being beautiful. However, we were lucky enough to be blessed with some gorgeous winter sunshine.
We got married at Newton Hall in Northumberland. The venue is quirky and beautifully decorated and offers exclusive hire, which was something that was particularly important to us. It has the perfect mix of luxury with an intimate, relaxed and friendly atmosphere. It was the first venue that we visited and we fell in love immediately, each room is decorated so elegantly. We did visit one other venue, but nothing compared; we already had made our minds up.
We didn’t have a theme as such, we just chose finishing touches that complemented the style of Newton Hall. We chose a mix of vintage and rustic accessories to add to the already quirky detail within the hall.
We chose a pale pink colour scheme as I wanted a soft colour which added to my vintage theme.
We booked our wedding back in June 2014 and I couldn’t wait to go dress shopping. I managed to hold off until one year before the wedding as I was afraid I would change my mind. I am quite an indecisive person, and couldn’t believe how easy I had been making decisions leading up to our wedding, surely my dress was going to be the most difficult decision yet.
I booked an appointment at The Wedding Dress Company in Corbridge, as they were holding a Stella York event and I had become really fond of the designer after scrolling through wedding dresses for a number of months. The ladies in the shop were extremely helpful. I explained that I wanted something with a detailed back which was a fit and flare style. With each dress I tried on, I found less things to dislike. Then they handed me ‘my’ dress, it was a Stella York fit and flare dress in champagne with ivory lace overlay. It had beautiful detail and had the most amazing illusion back; it fastened with beautiful buttons. Surely, I couldn’t buy my dress in the first shop I went to? But I did, and it was perfect!
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February 16th, 2017 | Julia Braime
This afternoon on the blog we’re catching up with our fabulous Sponsor and talented wedding photographer, Arusha of Arusha’s Images Photography.
As a self-confessed romantic, North West based Arusha loves nothing more than photographing couples’ weddings in a relaxed yet enthusiastic manner, capturing the big day as it naturally unfolds.
Having built up another year of fabulous photography in 2016, she’s back on the blog today to tell us what it is that keeps her utterly hooked on weddings, and what she can offer to brides and grooms who are currently on the search for a friendly pro to document their big day.
Also, Arusha is kindly offering Brides Up North readers a complimentary signature frame, or framed image from their wedding day, should they book with her, so be sure to mention this when dropping the lovely lady a line.
Tell us a little about your background…
arusha says: I have always loved photography, since being a child and playing in my dad’s dark room as he developed images. As soon as I picked up a camera I was in love, I studied photography, and as soon as I started photographing people I knew that was for me. I have been working in wedding photography and perfecting my style as a wedding photographer for nearly ten years now.
What attracted you to the wedding industry specifically?
I am a romantic at heart, and I adore photographing real people, real moments and real emotions. Wedding days are just packed full to bursting with emotion, which is perfect for my natural style of photography. I also love seeing and photographing all of the gorgeousness of weddings. Working as a wedding photographer I get to constantly be creative in my photography, as all my couples and their weddings are personal and different.
And what is it about your job that you love?
As a romantic, I love having a job that allows me to photograph so much excitement, happiness and love, and involves me being constantly creative. Being a wedding photographer is a fabulous job, yes it is hard work, and long days, but it is totally all worth it when you perfectly capture those once in a lifetime moments on your couple’s wedding days. I love hearing from excited newly married couples when they see their wedding images for the first time, and are just so overjoyed with what I have created for them. That is just a really awesome feeling!
How would you describe your style of wedding photography?
I am primarily a documentary wedding photographer, so this means that the majority of my wedding photography is un-posed. I love to let your wedding day happen, allow you to be immersed in the excitement of it all, and photograph it all as it happens without getting in the way. I do not do a lot of posing. I do love creating unique and romantic images, and having a little play with my couples when it comes to your newly married images. Maybe we will go for a dance in the grounds of your venue, a walk through the streets outside, or to a little hideaway I have found close by beforehand. I love to make people laugh, and work hard to create really relaxed and beautiful photographs.
What do brides and grooms love about your approach, service and images?
I love the feedback I get from couples. I find that they love how naturally beautiful my images are, and how relaxed and friendly my approach is on their wedding days. I often get feedback that my images are romantic, and that I have captured so many of the little moments. I always try to go the extra mile, helping out with advice during wedding planning, if my couples ask for it, and giving little extra surprises when I deliver their images.
How do you help camera-shy couples to relax in front of the lens?
After working as a wedding photographer for a number of years, I have experience of helping even the most anxious and camera-shy couples to relax in front of the lens. I always recommend a pre-wedding/engagement shoot to all my couples. This is a wonderful way for you to ‘have a go’ at being photographed professionally before your wedding day itself, and also allows couples to see that even with couple portraits I photograph in a really natural way. I like to start with getting you to walk together, talk to one another, make each other laugh, whilst I photograph in the background. I find that this approach soon helps everyone to relax and really flourish in front of the lens.
What would you say was your career highlight of 2016?
There were lots of wonderful moments, I loved featuring in a whole range of wedding blogs and wedding magazines over the year. It’s always super exciting for my couples when their weddings are shared with the world.
But, I think that a more personal highlight was being able to photograph the wedding of an amazing couple, whose Lake District wedding was postponed after the bride was diagnosed with breast cancer. I often get to know my couples quite well in the build up to their wedding days, and following this bride’s battle with breast cancer, then hearing the best news that she had been given the all clear just weeks before their rearranged wedding day, and then being able to photograph her day knowing that she was now cancer free, was amazing. Emotions were definitely running high all day, and it felt extra important that I could capture all that celebration of life and love for them and their family and friends. Plus, it was a beautiful wedding!
February 14th, 2017 | Alexis Forsyth
Today on the blog, Jessica and Andrew share with us their quintessentially classic wedding at the captivating Rudding Park.
We adore the couple’s minimalist palette of rose gold, white and blush pink combined with an understated glamorous vibe, and as for Jessica’s Caroline Castigliano dress – you would never guess that she had such an arduous task in finding ‘the one’ as it is simply stunning.
Throw in some sparklers, fireworks, a seven-piece live band, plus face painting and soft play for he kids – and you have the most perfect wedding day for guests of all ages. Jessica tells us more…
With images by Brides Up North Sponsor York Place Studios
jessica says: We got engaged on the 1st March 2015, at Center Parcs in the Lake District. We took a family holiday to get over the winter blues and Andrew surprised me by proposing in the cabin. As he got down on one knee, it began to snow. The day after, we announced our engagement by writing it in the freshly fallen snow. For someone who likes to plan every tiny detail, I was amazed at how Andrew managed to keep the engagement a surprise from me; only my parents knew. Andrew had asked for my hand in marriage a few days prior to our trip.
We got married on 11th December 2016. From the offset we set our hearts on a winter wedding in England and knew we couldn’t guarantee the weather, even in the peak of summer. So we went for a day where the sun set at 3.30 pm and we could have pretty much the whole celebration with beautiful low lighting, creating a very intimate feel.
We chose Rudding Park in Harrogate as our venue. We wanted a location half way between East Yorkshire and Manchester, so started looking at the Leeds area. Nothing we came across had that “feeling” until we walked into Rudding Park. Not only did they make us feel like VIPs from the moment we stepped through the door, they treated Millie, my little girl, like a celebrity too and she loved it there. Millie is three, and not a lot of hotels with Rudding Park status accept children – not only did they accept her, they encouraged her play, her mischievousness and made her laugh every time we went across. Family to us in key and Rudding Park definitely has that family relaxed feel, in a 5 star luxurious environment.
We selected a colour scheme of gold, blush pink, white, rose gold, complimented by a glamorous feel with chandeliers and fairy lights. We wanted a theme that would bring the sparkle, to celebrate the time of year, but not make the wedding about Christmas. We also wanted the colours to look beautiful in the dim lights, so opted for soft pure colours mixed with sparkle and metallic.
My dream dress was a fitted, fishtail, lace gown with sleeves. When I tried on this gown I couldn’t believe how much I didn’t love it. I was really upset. I had to go back to basics and try on a lot of different shapes and then fell in love with a high waist, A-line gown.
I tried on many, but nothing felt like “the one”. As soon as we walked through the doors of The Bridal Collection in Harrogate, we fell in love. The shop itself is magical; I will remember the smell of the Jo Malone candles forever.
I tried on a range of Jenny Packham gowns, again I was disappointed that they didn’t suit my style. I decided to have a look at some of the other designers on the rack, and I noticed a dress hung up that was nothing like I had tried on before. My stomach literally got butterflies when I saw it! Boat neckline, dipped back (not too low), button fastening, high waistline, pencil pleats, cathedral train, A-line, plain, white beautiful gown… the Caroline Castigliano, Hepburn gown! As soon as I stepped into it, I cried. I felt like a bride and this was the gown I was going to marry my best friend in.
My bridesmaids wore a chiffon blush pink gown from ASOS. Meanwhile, the ushers, father of the bride, and father of the groom wore the same as Andrew.
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February 9th, 2017 | Laura McDonagh
Today’s real wedding will really get you in the party mood, with bagpipes, live music, caricatures, Irish dancing, magic and more!
Lindsey and Rory had the perfect countryside church wedding and celebrated afterwards with a rustic-themed do at Heaton House Farm.
You have been warned, though: further reading may result in foot-tapping, seat-dancing and a sudden urge for a glass of stout. Maybe best to leave this one until you’re out of the office…
With images by Jonny Draper
lindsey says: We got engaged in Dublin at Clontarf Castle on 16th May 2014. The beginning of that week Rory asked me to get the Friday off work as he fancied going away for the weekend – then he surprised me and told me that we were going to Dublin. I assumed we would be staying in the centre of Dublin where we have stayed before; however, we carried on and arrived at Clontarf Castle. I still didn’t have an inclination! During the afternoon, Rory suggested we have a few drinks in the bar before getting ready to head out for our meal later on. I remember just wanting to relax but little did I know that Rory had arranged for the room to be made up with rose petals scattered round the room and a dress he had bought for me laid out on the bed, along with champagne and chocolates. As we left the room Rory said he ‘forgot his wallet’ but that was just so he could get the ring from his bag and leave it in the bathroom bin ready for the proposal! After a few drinks we came upstairs and I was surprised at the room all beautifully decorated…I turned around and there he was on one knee! It was perfect in every way and I was glad it was just the two of us sharing the special moment together.
We got married on Friday 11th September 2015. We originally wanted Saturday 12th September, as that was the anniversary of the day we met, but it wasn’t available. Looking back, we made the right decision as the weather was perfect whereas on the Saturday it was chucking it down!
We got married at Gawsworth Church, St James The Great near Macclesfield, and our reception was held at Heaton House Farm. I’d always wanted a church wedding and the church is set in the beautiful countryside – the perfect scene for a wedding. Heaton House Farm is only 20 minutes away from the church and we couldn’t have asked for a better venue for our reception.
Both Rory and I love all things rustic and so a rustic wedding theme was an easy decision. I went for a purple/pink colour for my three bridesmaids and Rory and his groomsmen wore blue suits. Once they were both chosen it was easier to think about a colour scheme for flowers and decorations. Purple was the main colour throughout, however we incorporated other colours that would complement this and even it all out.
I didn’t shop around much for wedding dresses as I found a designer that I loved so it was just a case of looking for bridal shops which stocked her dresses. I ended up going to Amelia’s Bridal Boutique in Clitheroe, Lancashire, where I found my Morilee dress designed by Madeline Gardner. Her collections were just what I was looking for – elegant, feminine and stylish – and my chosen dress was just gorgeous. It was a white, trumpet style gown with a sweetheart neckline with beading and gems to the top of my neck. I also wore a long veil decorated with a few gems so that it would catch the light and complement my dress.
As I’d had such a good experience at Amelia’s Bridal, we decided to get Rory’s suit from there too. It was blue with a white shirt, a blue tweed tie, a grey tweed waistcoat with blue and brown checks on it and brown shoes.
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