Charlotte Balbier
Festival Wedding Exhibitions

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).


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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this sunday: a whole lot of lovely at the bowdon rooms

April 11th, 2016 | Julia Braime

Bowdon April 2016-1

We’re so excited to introduce another event in our so-far so-fabulous autumn 2016 calendar! *Does dance* The finest North West wedding industry talent will be descending upon The Bowdon Rooms, Altrincham, for our Luxury Wedding Exhibition at this unique & authentic vintage venue next Sunday 17th April 2016!

This brilliant, exclusive use venue is as fun as it is special, with it’s high ceilings, sparkling drapes, ornate fireplaces and perfectly sprung dance floor.  Dancing shoes at the ready!  If you are looking for a bespoke and private wedding venue with a little added period pizazz, it’s your lucky day.

We’ve added the very best wedding planners, floral designers, beauty specialists, bridal ateliers, vintage cars and caravans, venue stylists, photographers, videographers, live music, photo booths, cakes, favours (and more!) that the area has to offer, to make sure that every detail of your big day is covered with style.

I don’t know about you, but I feel like a bit of a party…

Martin Hambleton Photography at The Bowdon Rooms Wedding Fair

the bowdon rooms

Brides Up North Luxury Wedding Exhibition

The Firs, Altrincham, Cheshire, WA14 2TQ

Sunday 17th April 2016

11am till 3pm


bride to be?

We’re giving away up to 150 free Bride To Be media packs, filled with glossy magazines and treats from Brides Up North.  As demand is high, to pick up your media pack all you need to do is register.


While stocks last only.

Martin Hambleton Photography at The Bowdon Rooms Wedding Fair

Martin Hambleton Photography at The Bowdon Rooms Wedding Fair

Martin Hambleton Photography at The Bowdon Rooms Wedding Fair

Martin Hambleton Photography at The Bowdon Rooms Wedding Fair

wedding industry professional?

We would love to welcome new exhibitors to the Brides Up North family in 2016. We are now accepting exhibitor bookings for all of our fabulous luxury wedding exhibitions across three regions this year.

Click here to view the full schedule.

Exhibitors will be strictly limited by category and places will be allocated on a first come, first served basis.

Email Julia at for details.

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blessed & beautiful: zen photographic

April 6th, 2016 | Rachel Parry

Zen Photographic (10)

This afternoon on the blog we’re introducing you to another of our talented Brides Up North Sponsors, the fabulous Zenna of Zen Photographic.

Feeling blessed to play a part in a couple’s big day, Zenna loves getting to know her clients and bringing out their natural emotions in front of the camera.

As part of her first feature here on Brides Up North, Zenna is offering our readers a complementary engagement session with all her full-day packages. Just quote ‘BUN16’ when booking. 

So let’s hand over to the main lady herself to find out a little more about what Zen Photographic…

Zen Photographic (18)

How did you get into wedding photography?

zenna says: Wedding photography was a natural progression for me after starting my portrait photography business in 2009.  I’ve participated in many photography training courses, both with independent wedding experts and at Aspire Photography Training up in the Lake District, when first starting out, which really helped me understand all of the elements to the business.

Prior to that, I worked in television production for 13 years producing and co-ordinating mainly documentaries and live news for BBC, ITV and Channel m (TV for Manchester). I have a BA in TV Production and I’m working towards my BIPP (British Institute of Professional Photography) qualification this year.

Why wedding photography specifically? 

For me, it’s when all the stars align to be honest. I’m an organised sociable person by nature, so weddings felt right straight from the get go. I love getting to know the couple’s families and having fun with the bride and groom on the wedding day – which I hope you can see in my images.

Zen Photographic (7)

What is your favourite thing about being a wedding photographer? 

There’s so many elements of the process I love, but on the whole it’s the emotions I witness and document that’s my favourite.  They makes me feel that what I do means something to someone.  I feel so blessed to play my part.

How do you get couples to relax on the day? 

The majority of my couples have an engagement session before the day, which really help with the portraits at the wedding. We generally only get 15 to 20 minutes for these on the day so it’s important couples feel relaxed throughout the session. I also use various techniques which help couples look more natural on camera, getting them to talk and reminisce about things that creates emotions and natural smiles.

Zen Photographic (35)

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

Make sure you book a photographer that you get on with. It’s one of the biggest regrets when I chose my photographer. I just booked on price and not on personality. The photographer is with you through some intimate moments during the day, the prep, the vows and the portraits. They need to be someone you feel at ease with so you don’t look stressed on your photos.

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pure & pretty: introducing rebecca juliet bridal

March 4th, 2016 | Julia Braime

Rebecca Juliet Bridal (64)

Happy Fri-yay! To get your weekend off to a beautiful start, we’re bringing you a fabulous dose of dress candy as we introduce new Brides Up North Sponsor, Rebecca Juliet Bridal, to the blog.

Through her north-west based studio, talented designer Rebecca offers brides-to-be a stunning choice of handmade dresses through her capsule collection and also gives ladies the option of a fully bespoke dress, for something totally unique.

A big believer in delivering quality and fabulousness, all of Rebecca’s dresses are created using pure silks and lace, meaning they feel as good as they look.

In addition to taking over the blog this morning to tell us all about her gorgeous designs, Rebecca is also inviting our readers to her fabulous launch event on Thursday 31st March, at the beautiful Eaves Hall near Clitheroe, from 7.30pm to 10pm.

During the evening ladies will be treated to a catwalk show featuring Rebecca’s designs, advice and inspiration from some of the area’s top suppliers as well as sweet treats and a glass of fizz (of course!) Full details, including where to get tickets, below.

For now we will leave you in Rebecca’s skillful hands…

Images by Sarah Valentine Photography

Rebecca Juliet Bridal (81)

How and when did Rebecca Juliet Bridal come to fruition?

rebecca says: I have just set the business up although it has been dream of mine for many years since I made my own wedding dress in 2002. I am a designer and seamstress and have been sewing since I was 13 and studied textiles and fashion at university so this is my natural domain and I love it!  Rebecca Juliet are my first and middle names and I wanted my business identity to have a strong emotional connection to me personally and so Rebecca Juliet Bridal was born.

How would you describe the feel and look of your studio?

Our bespoke space is a living, breathing studio. The studio is in Chipping in the breath-taking Forest of Bowland, and is a stunning backdrop to creating wedding dresses – it is a truly inspirational place to work! The studio is modern yet intimate designed in my brand colours of muted greys and pinks with a nod to vintage feel with my French style mirror and furniture; there are rolls of gorgeous silks and laces and a rack of carefully handmade gowns, veils and accessories. I have books and photos to inspire my lovely brides-to-be as I want this to be a fun and creative place for them to come and bring their dream dress to life.

Rebecca Juliet Bridal (75)

Tell us a little about your lovely dress designs…

Brides-to-be can chose from one of the dresses in my capsule collection or we can work together to create something completely unique; however I only work with pure silks and lace so I can ensure I create something truly fabulous for them. My sample collection dresses are all currently a size 12, however we can make dresses for any size. Most of my dresses range between £1,000 and £2,000; though some full lace gowns are more.

Do you also offer accessories?

We have a selection of silk tulle veils in a variety of lengths with lace and silk edgings; we also have a number of jackets, capes and belts to complement the dresses.

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