April 26th, 2018 | Julia Braime
If you have your heart set on a wedding photographer that will capture your day in a relaxed and natural manner, documenting all the emotions as they unfold then we know just the lady for you – our fabulous North-West based Sponsor, Amanda Balmain, who we are catching up with on the blog today.
As a regional finalist in last year’s Wedding Industry Awards, Amanda’s couples are keen to praise her for the utterly gorgeous and highly emotive images that she delivers from the big day. Blending into the background and putting her brides and grooms above all else, it is Amanda’s main priority to make sure that her couples have “the best day ever”.
A self-confessed hopeless romantic, Amanda’s images are filled with love, energy and joy that brings the special day back to life in an instant.
So, if you too are all heart-shaped eyes over her images be sure to read on for all the details on how this lovely lady works and also take note, as Amanda is kindly offering a free engagement shoot to Brides Up North readers who book her for their wedding. How amazing!
With images by Amanda Balmain Photography.
When did you first start photographing weddings and what was it that attracted you to the industry?
amanda says: Back in 2012 I was photographing children and babies. My only experience of wedding photography was a bride in 2000 when my wedding was shot on film in a classic style. A friend dragged me along on a wedding photography course that I thought would just be good photography experience and a bit of fun. It was so much more than that! Wedding photography has changed so much since switching to digital and the more I learnt, the more I fell in love. Digital technology has allowed wedding photographers to become so much more creative and diverse in their styles.
How would you describe your style of photography and the approach you take to capturing a big day?
My style is somewhere in between documentary and modern creative. Some would call it lifestyle. I shoot mostly candidly with minimal direction focusing on authentic emotion and connection. I love all the details that make up the story of a wedding day but its the people and their emotions that matter the most.
What is it that you love most about your job?
Simply getting to go to so many weddings and hearing people’s stories. I nearly always cry at the speeches. I’m a bit of hopeless romantic at heart, don’t tell anyone!
In your opinion what are the most important things for a couple to consider when deciding which photographer to book for their wedding?
What do they want to see when they look back at their photographs in ten years’ time? What pictures will be most important to them? What style of pictures do they really like? What do they like about them? Check that the photographer they are looking at has those sorts of images throughout their portfolio not just once. Also think about the experience of the wedding day. Do they want a photographer who is quiet in the background or the life and soul of the party?
What sets you apart from other wedding photographers?
I put the wedding day experience for my couples above all else. I work with them to make a plan and we discuss how much time to a-lot for photography depending on their requirements. But on the day, I always go with the flow and work around how they are feeling at the time. I do whatever I can to make sure my couples have the best day ever.
What is the feedback like from your couples?
My couples are often surprised at the shots I get without making any fuss. They love the natural looking images and moments that they may have missed on the day. They like the fact that I fit into their day, that I will chat with their guests and that I’m generally very calm and relaxed.
Do you have a favourite part of the wedding day to capture?
One of my favourite moments is straight after the ceremony when the bride and groom get those first moments alone. They look at each other and the reactions are amazing. They’ve done it, they are married and the happiness on their faces says it all.
What area do you cover and is there somewhere in particular that you would love to shoot a wedding that you’ve not yet had the opportunity to do?
All of UK and I’d love to do some destinations. Iceland is on my wish list and I’d love to shoot more in Scotland. But I also love my home county of Cheshire. There are some amazing venues here and it’s always great to be near home.
June 18th, 2015 | Rachel Parry
Following a romantic proposal in Central Park, New York, today’s couple Kate and Colin set their hearts on a classic wedding by the sea. The Clifton Arms Hotel in Lancashire provided the perfect setting with views of the stunning seafront in Lytham.
To complete their vision, Kate and Colin called upon talented family and friends to help with the cake, flowers and décor, resulting in a very beautiful and personal big day.
With images by Brides Up North Sponsor, Amanda Balmain.
kate says: Colin proposed three years ago during a trip to New York which was to celebrate his birthday. I had no idea he would propose as we had planned a full week of sightseeing. Colin says he carried my engagement ring everywhere during the five days whilst waiting for the perfect moment. Apparently he was planning to propose at the top of the Empire State building but he couldn’t make me stand still for long enough as it was freezing cold in November and I kept doing laps at the top to try and keep warm!
On the third day we decided to go for a walk around central park as this was our favourite place in the city. During this we passed a couple who had just got engaged and were asked to take pictures for them, little did I know Colin was gutted as he says he was about to propose before we bumped into them. Colin later proposed during a very romantic horse and carriage ride around Central Park, this was incredible and so special, it felt like we were in a Hollywood film. Best proposal ever!
Our wedding day was on 11th October 2014. We chose October as we love autumn and all the different colours – it reminded us of walking around central park in New York.
We live very close to the sea which we love and wanted our venue to be by the seaside. We researched local venues and fell in love with the Clifton Arms Hotel, Lancashire. The hotel is situated overlooking the seafront in Lytham. The area has a classic seaside feel with lots of character, a very friendly atmosphere and picturesque coastline which we wanted to have as part of our wedding day.
Classic and traditional was the theme for the day. We wanted our wedding to be a stylish celebration with our all of our close family and friends. The Clifton Arms Hotel radiates a traditional elegance which we wanted to reflect with our wedding theme.
Our colour scheme for the wedding included dusky pinks, slate grey, ivory and silver. With our classic theme we wanted to keep the colour scheme natural.
Finding my dress is one of my favourite memories of planning our wedding. I wore a Sophia Tolli A-line gown called Jillian which had layers of misty tulle and lace. I chose my dress from Bridal Boutique in Bispham where I was able to try on many different styles. I went in thinking I would choose a fitted plain straight dress as I’m quite tall and I didn’t feel a big dress would suit me. As soon as I tried the Sophia Tolli gown on I knew it was the one. I loved the uncomplicated skirt and the chapel length train as well as the lace bodice, which I felt flattered my figure. I added a chapel length ivory veil also from Bridal Boutique and a sparkly hair clip from Debenhams.
Colin wore a Jeff Banks slate grey three-piece suit from Debenhams accompanied with an ivory tie to match my dress. He also wore a very smart pair of Jeff Banks shoes which he says were very comfy and helped him throw some great dance moves during the evening reception! Craig, who was our best man, also wore a three-piece Jeff Banks Suit from Debenhams and a grey tie to match.
We had six bridesmaids which were both our sisters Laura and Katy and my best friends Jenny, Hayley, Pippa and Aisling, who wore black floor length dresses by Mark Lesley from Bridal Boutique in Bispham. Our beautiful flower girl Harriet wore an ivory sparkly dress from Monsoon.
Ian and Paula of Allure Rococo in Poulton-le fylde, Lancashire, did mine and my bridesmaids’ hair on the day which we loved.
Amanda Balmain was our amazing photographer on our wedding day. A friend had attended a specialist photography course a few years ago with Amanda and she had followed some of her photography work online. When we mentioned to our friend that we were looking for a photographer she was able to recommend Amanda straight away. As soon as we met her we knew she was great. We organised an engagement shoot on a beach on the Wirral where she made us feel very relaxed and was able to get very natural, romantic shots.
Amanda managed to capture our wedding day in a very special way, we love our wedding pictures and we can’t stop looking at our wedding album! She is very talented and such a lovely person I have recommended her to all of my friends and family for their weddings.
My Aunty Lisa, who is an independent florist in Norfolk, created all of our flowers. The flowers were purchased from the wholesale Dutch Flower Auction. My bouquet included dusky pink amnesia roses, ivory roses, thistles, wax flowers, eucalyptus, gypsophila, snow berries, astible and some green foliage. Lisa did an amazing job – she took my imagination and made it happen.
My mum Helen and Aunty Lisa created our amazing centrepieces – we had tall candles in hurricane lamps surrounded by the same flowers which were in my bouquet. They also created the top table flower display which included roses, ivy and green foliage as well candles which looked fantastic.
The Wedding Place in Blackpool supplied our white chair covers and lace white sashes – they did a fantastic job and we would highly recommend them!
As a special touch, a family friend created a handmade post box with our names and wedding details on the front, which was used by our guests to post their cards into at the reception.
For favours we gave chocolate miniature hearts and wrapped sweets placed in silver drawstring bags.
Our three-tier wedding cake was a family creation. My Granddad, who is a baker, made the fruit cake. The cake was then decorated by my talented and creative Mum and Gran. It featured layers of Victoria sponge and fruit cake. My mum spent many hours incorporating wedding details such as the ivory colour scheme which matched my dress and handmade sugar crafted flowers which mirrored my bouquet.
Daniel Sings provided our musical entertainment. Daniel provided amazing live vocals, played acoustic and electric guitars and wonderful saxophone. He performed a huge range of songs which had everyone singing along during our wedding breakfast and did not stop all evening. He made our perfect day even better and all of our guests often comment on how brilliant he was.
For the children we provided colouring books and quizzes, which many mums and dads appreciated during the wedding breakfast.
We would highly recommend The Clifton Arms Hotel as a wedding venue to other couples – the food was fantastic and the staff were very helpful which made our day run very smoothly. The hotel is situated in a fantastic position overlooking Lytham Green and the coastline. After our ceremony we were able to walk outside and have our pictures taken on the green, there is also a little wooden jetty by a windmill very close to the hotel which our photographer used to get some stunning photographs. It is a very classy and traditional venue – we would not change a thing about it as it made our day very special!
After our wedding ceremony we were able to go and have some private pictures taken by the sea, which was one of our favourite parts of the day. It was such a glorious sunny day, the water was very calm and it was silent on the wooden jetty. We were able to have a few minutes to reflect that we had just got married and before we walked the short distance back to the hotel for the evening reception – it was lovely to have a few moments to ourselves. We could hear our guests singing in the distance as Daniel performed on his guitar. We had the biggest smiles on our faces and we can both definitely say it was the most fantastic and best day of our lives.
For our honeymoon we spent ten days in Playa del Carmen, Mexico.
Our top tips for other Brides Up North would be to look for ways to incorporate family and friends into your day, this made ours extra special to us as we have a very close family around us. Also, be sure to steal a few minutes away together during the height of wedding celebration to talk, look at each other and take it all in. We would also advise other brides and grooms to book time with their photographer. Our pre-wedding shoot with our photographer was brilliant as we got to know each other and she then knew what we wanted and was able to give us good advice with shots and family group photos.
April 14th, 2015 | Julia Braime
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,
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
How can Brides Up North get in touch with you or see more examples of your work?
July 4th, 2014 | Julia Braime
Its holiday season here on the blog, and as the editorial team take a break to redesign, review and recharge, we’ll be leaving you with a reduced blogging schedule so that you still get your daily dose of wedding lovely.
Usual service will recommence on Monday 7th July 2014, but in the meantime watch out for recaps of our favourite Real Weddings so far this year. Drop in every day for the very prettiest, most unique wedding inspiration and – if you are a Brides Up North bride – to see if your Real Wedding was one of our top picks.
We’re wrapping up our Real Wedding Recap for Summer 2014 (full blog service returns on Monday – hurrah!) with this bright, beautiful and box fresh North West spring wedding, sent to me by bride and groom Laura and Mark and friend of the blog, photographer Amanda Balmain.
Laura says: We got engaged on 2nd June 2012. We were having a house warming party (at our house in Gateshead) and Mark had already planned that this was the night he was going to pop the question and told all of our friends, it was only me who had no idea! He got down on one knee in the middle of the living room with all of our friends around us and then we headed out into Newcastle upon Tyne for some engagement celebrations.
We were married on 12th April 2014, with the ceremony at St. Peter’s Church, Elworth, and our reception at Wychwood Park, Weston. The church has been my local church since I was born and I had always dreamed of getting married there with the blossom trees which line the path to the door out in bloom (which they were)!
We opted for a colour scheme of stormy grey, yellow and white.
The bridesmaids wore Dessy dresses in stormy chiffon. We went for the same style for two of the bridesmaids and a different style for my sister who was Maid of Honour.
Mark had a dark grey suit with black trim that he chose from Burton which he wore with a yellow tie and pocket square. The groomsmen wore the same suit as Mark and ties and pocket squares in the same shade as the bridesmaid dresses.
Tina Haworth from Beau Hair did my hair and the bridesmaids and my Mum went to Strands salon in Cheshire to have their hair done. Emma Williams did all of our make-up – bride, three bridesmaids and mother of the bride.
I had a beautiful bouquet with white and yellow flowers which included freesias, roses, craspedia, wax flower and lisianthus.
I had attached to my bouquet my late grandpa’s signet ring which was my something old and something borrowed and the heart charm from a necklace Mark gave to me for our first anniversary that I wear everyday.
Our wonderful photographer was Amanda Balmain. Amanda has captured our wedding day beautifully and spent the whole day with us which ensured that she didn’t miss a thing!
Our Panther de Ville car was hired from Grosvenor Classic Cars and was fantastic. We loved being driven around in such an elegant and striking car.
Saying our vows was an incredibly special moment and I also loved the evening reception dancing all night on a packed dance floor.
We got a three tier square cake from Marks and Spencer with assorted tiers – fruit, sponge and chocolate.
We also bought a personalised cake topper from Funky Laser but unfortunately no one got to see it as Mark broke it on the morning of the wedding!
All of our flowers and the decoration at the reception were from Faerie Godmothers. They were fantastic and even came to the church after the ceremony to transport our pedestal arrangement to Wychwood Park.
The lovely ceiling drapes complete with fairy lights in the room at Wychwood Park were from a company called Making Moments.
We gave all of our guests badge favours from Parkinsons UK which is very close to our hearts.
I also gave Mark a top hat and cane as one of his wedding presents from me as he had always wanted one. The only rule was that he couldn’t wear them until the reception!
Our DJ from Hipswing Entertainments was part of the wedding package from Wychwood Park and he was fantastic. He really captured the mood of our guests and the dancefloor was full all night!
We went on a mini moon straight after the wedding to Sherwood Forest where we stayed in a lodge cabin complete with it’s own hot tub and are hoping to go somewhere further afield in the summer holidays.
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be don’t worry about your dress, this is the one day you get to wear it so enjoy it. Don’t stress on the day, you are marrying the person you love and it will be fantastic no matter what. We loved every single second and wish we could relive it all again.
Congratulations Laura & Mark!
This is not a sponsored post
March 24th, 2014 | Julia Braime
Welcome to another week Brides Up North! Any “I do”s over the weekend?
This was Team Brides Up North’s first weekend off in quite a long while, and I spent it catching up on sleep, enjoying some quality family time and sampling a few real ales at our village beer festival. Although I still prefer a chilled Sauvignon Blanc, there’s definitely a place in my life for a pint of pale ale, a pork pie and peas and rocking out to a questionable The Killers tribute act with my one year old on my hip of a Saturday afternoon!
However you spent yours, I hope it was glorious.
Talking of great occasions, let’s get things kicked off around here with a trip to Cheshire to celebrate the nuptials of Sarah & Gavin, who wanted a pretty yet modern feel for their big day. Here at wedding blog HQ we are loving Sarah’s gown – which proves that lace and tulle can look contemporary as well as vintage. Just lovely.
With images by Amanda Balmain.
Sarah says: We got engaged on my birthday in January 2012 in Barcelona, where Gav had taken me for a birthday weekend away, and we were married don 26th October 2013 at Statham Lodge Country House Hotel in Lymm, Cheshire.
We wanted a venue where we could hold the whole day and night without doing any travelling and where we and our guests could stay overnight. We looked at lots of places but Statham Lodge was our favourite from the start. The building and grounds were beautiful and we liked that there were different rooms for each part of the day and evening so we felt like we had plenty of space. It has lots of character but as it’s family run it felt quite intimate and not too grand, and the staff were so friendly and couldn’t do enough for us – they really made a difference to the day. We also got an amazing out of season package which included the food, drink, DJ… there wasn’t much we actually had to worry about!
I love lace so that was a thread which ran throughout everything, but I didn’t want to go down the vintage route so tried to keep it quite sleek, modern and laid back. Our colours were deep purple and grey. We really didn’t want ‘Cadbury’s purple’ which is a popular shade for weddings, so trying to find everything in the right shade was a challenge! It’s the one thing I was really particular about!
I chose a Blue by Enzoani dress which I bought from Dreamcatcher Bridal in Kirkham, Preston, and wore it with an amazing belt from Sash & Co. I loved the heavy lace top which was very fitted down to my hips, then the lace faded into a gorgeous tulle skirt which made me feel so special but not too over the top. The belt and lace trim veil I wore were both stunning and were the perfect finishing touches.
Gav and the groomsmen wore light grey three piece suits from Slaters, Liverpool, with deep purple ties and Gav wore a pale grey tie to set him apart from the others. They all looked so smart and the tie, rather than a cravat, made them look and feel much more laid back which is exactly what we wanted.
My three bridesmaids wore purple chiffon maxi dresses from H&M which were a real bargain and the colour was spot on! My lovely designer friend Amy Saville altered them to fit perfectly, adding an extra layer for length and adding the lace cap sleeves and V insert at the back which tied them in with the lace theme. They all looked so beautiful!
As we had the ceremony, wedding breakfast and evening reception in the same place we didn’t need to travel anywhere. I arrived at the venue with my Mum and Dad which was nice as we got to spend some time alone in the car on the way, and everyone met us there to get ready and start the day at Statham Lodge!
I carried a small teardrop bouquet made up of ivory mini orchids and freesias and a couple of deep purple flowers to match the colour theme. My bridesmaids carried small posies of ivory freesias and the Mum’s and groomsmen all had orchid button holes. Our flowers were by 2lips Florists in Stockton Heath.
The music during the ceremony made it really special for us, as we chose the string versions of some of our favourite songs. I walked down the aisle to the strings version of U2’s “With Or Without You” and it still makes me a bit teary when I hear it now!
Amanda Balmain was our photographer and is a genius at capturing those little moments and the general feeling of the day.
We tried to keep the day as small and personal as possible, so I made a lot myself, including the invitations, centre pieces, place names and favours. I made use of lots of small online retailers to source my many materials! The favours which were wine glass charms with each person’s initial as a charm.
My favourite part of our wedding was the speeches, I loved seeing everyone together, having a good time and enjoying the day. My Dad had been nervous about his speech since the minute we got engaged but I was so proud of him, and of Gav and his best man and brother, Jon, who all got the balance of emotional and funny just right! Gav says his favourite part was when I walked down the aisle, which is very sweet of him and despite concentrating so hard on not crying was also one of my favourite bits.
The casino by Fun Casino Royale before the evening ceremony was a lot of fun and kept that day to evening part really upbeat, and at night we just wanted everyone to dance so had Dave Buck as a DJ, who came as part of the Statham Lodge package and was brilliant!
Our honeymoon really was our trip of a lifetime, we went to San Francisco, Las Vegas, LA and finished with a week of all inclusive luxury in Mexico. It was really important to us to not get carried away and overspend on the wedding so we could go all out on our honeymoon and do a trip that we’ve always wanted to do, and the best decision we made was booking the honeymoon for January so we really stretched out the whole wedding experience and there were no January blues for us!
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be: honestly, don’t stress! Do what you want to do and don’t worry too much about all the little details. People are there to see you get married and as long as you’re having the best time, so will they.
Congratulations Sarah & Gavin!
This is not a sponsored post
December 1st, 2013 | Julia Braime
Can you believe its Advent already? I’ve so much gorgeous Real Wedding content to share with you between now and when that New Year’s ball drops that I thought I’d sneak in a pretty Sunday post to welcome the season.
If you’re planning a winter wedding – or just thinking about decorating your home for the holidays – there’s nothing chicer than layering white on white, as this lovely little decor and details inspiration shoot from North West photographer Amanda Balmain and floral designer Sharon Saberi at Aphrodite Flowers shows. Be inspired to create something lovely this Christmas.
Amanda says: Sharon and I actually put together this simple shoot earlier this year, but the ideas would work equally well for a beautiful winter wedding breakfast. We would both love to work on an outdoor wedding and we thought this gorgeous tree in the pretty woodland setting was just perfect. We had such fun decorating the tree and it looked so pretty that we both thought we would like to get married again right there (although we’d have to wrap up warm)! On the day the light was just perfect to give a warm glow to our all white winter floral colour palette.
This is not a sponsored post
We strive to represent the very best in our industry, but Brides Up North cannot be held liable for the products/ services of our sponsors. Any bookings are made at your own risk. Terms & Conditions.
All images © Brides Up North/ original author. Images should not be reproduced without written permission. Terms & Conditions.