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Brides Up North Wedding Fairs

sophisticated sparkle: morilee for an intimate wedding at styal lodge – rachel & paul

July 25th, 2018 | Aislinn Thompson

A Sophisticated Wedding at Styal Lodge (c) Lee Brown Photography (61)

The bride and groom of today’s real wedding chose a ‘classy not trashy’ theme for their big day and we’re sure you’ll agree they surpassed their goal, with an elegant colour scheme of pink, grey and silver, and just the right amount of sparkle.

Their chosen Cheshire venue is dressed to the nines – the swags draped from the ceiling complete with fairy lights all pulled together by a disco-ball chandelier looks very effective in the cosy lodge setting, especially by nightfall. We also love Rachel’s choice of centrepieces, not only because the martini glasses overflowing with gypsophila and lush blooms look super pretty, but because the beauty of tall centrepieces is they give great impact when guests enter a room, but when they come to sit at the table the display is above their eye line, and so they can easily chat to everyone across the table without obstruction.

And bride Rachel has lots more fabulous tips too; from choosing edible wedding favours and arranging joint planning meetings with your florist and stylist, to attending open days at your chosen venue and booking your desired suppliers ASAP – ladies, you may well want to take note!

With images by Brides Up North Sponsor Lee Brown Photography.

A Sophisticated Wedding at Styal Lodge (c) Lee Brown Photography (71)

rachel says: We got engaged at home. I got back from the gym and Paul said he wanted to go out for something to eat that evening. As we are both rubbish at making simple decisions, he said he wanted me to come up with three choices of where we could go whilst I was in the shower so, when I got out of the shower (with a towel wrapped around my hair and my pink dressing gown on), Paul was shouting my name from downstairs. As I hadn’t thought of three choices, I cheekily just ignored him and pretended I couldn’t hear him but, by the third shout, I thought I had better answer him so when I did, he shouted “Come down here, our song is on!” I thought that was quite sweet, so I went downstairs in my towel and dressing gown and, when I walked into the room, our song was playing, the room was full of candles and Paul was down on one knee. When he asked me, I was speechless (that doesn’t happen a lot). Then I asked if he was joking and then I finally said yes!

A Sophisticated Wedding at Styal Lodge (c) Lee Brown Photography (49)

We got married on Friday 4th May 2018 at Styal Lodge, Cheshire. There wasn’t really a particular reason for the date, other than the weather is usually OK in May and it was the start of the bank holiday weekend.

We would definitely recommend Styal Lodge to other couples, especially those looking for small, exclusive venues. We wanted a small venue as we only had 75 day guests and we felt it was more personal to us. The gardens are lovely and, on the day during the drinks reception, the bride, groom, photographer and videographer get driven to a nearby lake in the grounds for photos. The venue is also easy to find and very accessible as it isn’t far from Manchester Airport, so there are good transport links. Another really nice touch is that each year they hold an event called Bridesmaids’ Brunch, where the bride can take up to three of her bridesmaids to the venue and they have suppliers there to chat to, live music and it is also dressed, which can be good for inspiration. Food and drink are provided and it’s just a really nice atmosphere, as it’s only available to brides who have booked their weddings. They usually have two or three open days each year too, which is helpful to go and see the venue dressed and speak to different suppliers.

Our theme was classy, not trashy and our colour scheme was light pink, grey, silver and a touch of sparkle!

A Sophisticated Wedding at Styal Lodge (c) Lee Brown Photography (58)

For my dress, I chose a princess gown with a love heart neckline. The designer is Morilee and I purchased it from Blush Boutique in Uppermill. I chose it as it was the kind of dress I thought I would want as long as the style suited me – and luckily it did. It also had the right amount of sparkle and I loved the tulle skirt. I had looked on the internet at different dresses I liked before going shopping and saved the designers and style names in my phone. When I went into the shop and picked dresses out to try on, I purposefully didn’t look at what the designers were or the price as I just wanted to try on a mixture. Then, when I tried my dress on for the first time and loved it, I looked at the list in my phone of dresses I had made a note of and this one was the first on the list!

A Sophisticated Wedding at Styal Lodge (c) Lee Brown Photography (8)

Paul wore a grey suit, with a silver waistcoat and a pink cravat, all from Moss Bros. The groomsmen all wore the same suit and waistcoat as Paul, but they had pink ties instead of a cravat.

The bridesmaid dresses were all from Dorothy Perkins and the flower girl dresses were from John Rocha at Debenhams. I also had a ‘bridesman’ who wore the same suit as Paul and the groomsmen but he had a dicky bow instead of a tie or cravat.

Lux did all of our hair and makeup and we were all so happy with it.

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country charm. justin alexander for a stylish wedding at sandhole oak barn, cheshire – nikki & mike

July 16th, 2018 | Alexis Forsyth

A Rustic Wedding at Sandhole Oak Barn (c) James Tracey Photography (46)

Today’s couple, Nikki and Mike, are showing us a thing or two when it comes to stylishly pulling off a rustic barn wedding. Traditional yet contemporary – we think they got the balance just right.

Hosting their big day at the quaint Sandhole Oak Barn in Cheshire, the couple kept things pared back and beautiful, with plenty of rustic feels to complement the enchanting setting, with hessian and wood textures, bunting, jam jars, candles and crisp white floral arrangements just a few of the delightful details to look out for.

The wedding breakfast was a particular highlight for the newlyweds – just take a look at the sublime menu they dished up – not to mention their elegant naked cake with a delectable four different flavours to choose from!

Plenty of inspiration awaits though, so it’s best we hand the reins over to Nikki so that she can talk us through all the magical moments of their big day. Enjoy!

With images by Brides Up North Sponsor, James Tracey Photography.

A Rustic Wedding at Sandhole Oak Barn (c) James Tracey Photography (30)

nikki says: We were staying at a vineyard just outside Bordeaux in May 2016 when Mike proposed. Mike decided to take me for a morning stroll just outside the chateau, which was on the vineyard. We walked though some woodland and then he got down on one knee and popped the question!

We got married on 11th May 2018. The weather has been great the last few years in May, so we decided to hedge our bets and go for that month.

A Rustic Wedding at Sandhole Oak Barn (c) James Tracey Photography (19)

We tied the knot at Sandhole Oak Barn, in Congleton, Cheshire. The setting was just perfect and exactly what we were looking for. We knew we wanted a barn style wedding and Sandhole ticked all the boxes.

We went for a rustic, countryside theme, although we didn’t have a particular colour scheme in mind, it was just more of the rustic feel with hessian and white tied in.

A Rustic Wedding at Sandhole Oak Barn (c) James Tracey Photography (35)

I wore a chiffon A-line gown with a beaded portrait neckline designed by Justin Alexander which I bought from the Bridal Path in Childwall, Liverpool.

A Rustic Wedding at Sandhole Oak Barn (c) James Tracey Photography (14)

Mike wore a blue suit with a grey waistcoat from Suits Direct, in Cheshire Oaks. The groomsmen wore matching suits to the groom, but with different button holes from Mike.

The bridesmaids, meanwhile, wore blue/grey multi-way dresses from M&S with gypsophila worn in their hair.

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authentic emotion: amanda balmain photography

April 26th, 2018 | Julia Braime

Amanda Balmain (18)

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.

Amanda Balmain (14)

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.

Amanda Balmain (13)

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?

Amanda Balmain (2)

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.

Amanda Balmain (8)

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.

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going the extra mile: nik bryant photography

January 29th, 2018 | Rachel Parry

NIk Bryant Photography (16)

This morning we’re catching up with our wonderful Sponsor, North-West based photographer Nik Bryant, who had an epic 2017 and now is all set and raring to go on weddings for 2018.

Keen to ensure his couples have the very best day possible so their joy and emotions are reflected in the gorgeous images he takes, Nik is always willing to go the extra mile for brides and grooms and is often praised for his calm and helpful demeanour.

Furthermore, Nik is eager to offer his couples additional services to document the full picture of the day and so is busy making plans to partner with a videographer. Watch this space!

So, if you’re about to embark on the photography search note the name, as we hear more from Nik on his passion for weddings.

NIk Bryant Photography (8)

How would you describe your style of photography and the approach you take to capturing a big day?

nik says: Describing my style is a little difficult – I am a little bit documentary and a little bit posed photography I would say. So, floating round and mingling with people and capturing natural moments mixed in with fun portraits.

It’s all about being involved and knowing what’s happening and when something will happen and then being in the right place to capture it. For couple portraits it’s about finding some nice places to shoot and then letting the couple have some time to themselves and interact whilst having fun and getting on their level.

What is it that you love most about your job?

That I get to go to weddings and call it a job! I love photography and have done since I started shooting about 12 years ago. To be able to do something I love and constantly be invited to capture parties and say that it’s my job is pretty cool.

NIk Bryant Photography (13)

In your opinion what are the most important things for a couple to consider when deciding which photographer to book for their wedding?

I honestly think the most important thing for a couple when looking for a photographer comes in two parts. The first part being that you honestly love their work. Find a photographer whose work you love, even if you don’t know why you love it but it strikes something with you that’s the first part of the battle.

The second part comes with meeting or speaking to your photographer. Making sure you click with them and they are what you want for your wedding as we are there all day and spend so much time with you.

I love getting to know my couples so when it comes to the wedding day it doesn’t feel awkward having me around.

NIk Bryant Photography (11)

What sets you apart from other wedding photographers?

This is really difficult to answer but a lot of my couples and their families have said that I am really relaxed and easy going but with enthusiasm and excitement throughout the day. I genuinely love my work and get excited for every wedding I shoot.

I find that I have a way of getting on the same level as my couples and it becomes more like having a friend capture their day rather than just a photographer.

I also like to try and capture something of a statement image. Something different and cool!

Do you have a favourite part of the wedding day to capture?

I think my favourite part of the wedding day is probably bridal prep in the morning. That time meeting up with the bride and all her bridesmaids and mum. Its where it all starts and kind of sets the tone for the day.

The morning is so full of fun and emotion its really great to be around for and to have that insight into the dynamic of a group of bridesmaids and the bride.

NIk Bryant Photography (18)

Reflecting on 2017 what would you say was your biggest highlight?

Personally, the arrival of my baby boy has been my biggest highlight (my wife will probably read this so if I didn’t say that I would be in trouble).

However, the biggest highlight for 2017 on a professional level has to be the fact that I feel I have really defined my style and how I work and I am really happy with everything I have shot. It was one of the best years for my wedding photography and I have really built my confidence. I have made some amazing friends with my couples and other wedding suppliers too. I have learnt new skills and just learnt to take on whatever happens on a wedding day.

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river deep, mountain high. anna sul y for a chic garden wedding at eleven didsbury park- jess & craig

December 11th, 2017 | Alexis Forsyth

A Chic Garden Wedding at Eleven Didsbury Park (c) Nik Bryant (20)

Today’s love-struck couple, Jess and Craig got engaged 4,000 metres up the Rocky Mountains, but wanted to come back down to earth with an elegant garden themed wedding. And it was the stunning Eleven Didsbury Park – a luxury villa hotel close to Manchester – that ended up being their venue of choice, providing the enviable backdrop to their celebrations.

Keeping things understated and natural, the newlyweds went for a subtle sage colour scheme complemented by some rather gorgeous florals, including amnesia roses, blue thistle, white veronica and eucalyptus gunnii, not to mention plenty of wood, hessian and candles for decoration.

Though sticking to a strict budget, our savvy couple pulled together lots of special touches and treats, including an indulgent cake table (yes, that’s a whole table of cakes!), and we for one are bowled over by their special day.

With images by Brides Up North Sponsor, Nik Bryant Photography

A Chic Garden Wedding at Eleven Didsbury Park (c) Nik Bryant (4)

jess says: Craig proposed at the very top of the Rocky Mountains, at 4,000m on Peak Eight of Breckenridge ski resort in March 2016. He pretended he wanted to take a photo of us and set up the GoPro, but in fact was filming. He got the whole proposal on film! It was a stunning sunny day, very windy and freezing cold, with the most incredible view. After proposing, Craig produced two small bottles of champagne and glasses, which he’d hidden in his backpack. He almost got frostbite in his fingers as a result of taking his gloves off to give me the ring and pour the champagne!

A Chic Garden Wedding at Eleven Didsbury Park (c) Nik Bryant (1)

We got married on 30th July 2017. We wanted the wedding to be in the summer so that we could have a garden wedding or garden reception. We also chose a date that would mean that all of our close family and friends could be there.

We initially went to the open day at Didsbury House Hotel, and at the end of our visit they asked if we wanted to also see their sister venue Eleven Didsbury Park. We wandered down the road and when we saw the gardens, we completely fell in love with the idea of a garden wedding there.

We had planned to get married in the walled gardens of Eleven Didsbury Park Hotel, however in the end there’d been so much rain the week before that the ground was too soft. Instead we got married in the Blue Room of Didsbury House Hotel, which was pretty perfect and a beautiful back-up plan. We then had the reception back at Eleven Didsbury Park in the gardens there.

A Chic Garden Wedding at Eleven Didsbury Park (c) Nik Bryant (25)

Neither of us are religious however I had a Jewish upbringing. We chose a Humanist ceremony as it allowed us to create a personal ceremony bespoke to us.

Our absolute best decision was using Hannah Wroe Gill as our Humanist Celebrant. It was the one thing we went well over budget on, but she created the most personal ceremony bespoke to us and which had all our guests in tears and talking about the ceremony afterwards.

A Chic Garden Wedding at Eleven Didsbury Park (c) Nik Bryant (47)

We decided against having a strong theme. We felt that the venue itself had such great character and the gardens were beautiful in themselves. We planned a relaxed and understated garden wedding with personal touches and a natural feel.

We wanted the bridesmaids to look fantastic and feel comfortable in their dresses so we picked them out first before deciding on a colour scheme. With two brunettes and one redhead, sage green dresses from Little Mistress suited them best, so we went with that.

The guys then picked out the ties and pocket squares to match – they even took one of the dresses shopping with them to make sure they got it right – what absolute stars!

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all that glitters. rose gold for a glamorous winter wedding at mere court hotel – maxine & alex

June 1st, 2017 | Laura McDonagh

A Rose Gold Winter Wedding in Cheshire (c) Lee Brown Photography (64)

Err, bride Maxine from today’s real wedding, can we be your friend please? Check out these photographs from her wedding to the lovely Alex and try to deny that this wedding belle was seriously good to her #bridesquad girls: not only are they wearing the most beautiful floral dressing gowns in their preparation pics, but she chose floor-length, rose gold sequinned gowns for them for the ceremony. I mean, I’d be literally skipping down the aisle!

Maxine herself wows effortlessly in her slinky lace number, which moved smoothly from the hotel ceremony to the couple’s gorgeous outdoor photoshoot and from day to night. And what a night it was from the look of things – love lights, laughter and leapfrogs. What all good weddings are made of!

With images by Brides Up North Sponsor, Lee Brown Photography

A Rose Gold Winter Wedding in Cheshire (c) Lee Brown Photography (44)

maxine says: Alex proposed to me in Cairns. He had been in Australia with work for six months and I had gone to visit him. He popped the question just after we‘d been scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef. It was perfect!

A Rose Gold Winter Wedding in Cheshire (c) Lee Brown Photography (50)

We got married on 18th February 2017. We wanted to get married fairly quickly; a long engagement wasn’t for us. We knew we couldn’t rely on the weather and liked the idea of a winter wedding.

We got married at Mere Court Hotel, Cheshire, and had both the ceremony and reception there. I viewed it while Alex was in Australia. I knew as soon as I looked at I that it was what we both wanted.  It had a country house feel with lots of rooms for our guests to stay in, an intimate ceremony room with a lot of character and an amazing conservatory for the reception.

A Rose Gold Winter Wedding in Cheshire (c) Lee Brown Photography (82)

For our theme, we went with a winter glamour/Gatsby-type feel. I knew I didn’t want red and knew I wanted the bridesmaids in rose gold sequin maxi dresses and so the ideas just stemmed from there. I love how rose gold, bronze and ivory work together – the bridesmaids looked amazing in their dresses!

A Rose Gold Winter Wedding in Cheshire (c) Lee Brown Photography (107)

I bought my dress at a bridal shop owned by my friend Holly, Dream Dress Bridal. I‘d tried a few dresses on at wedding fairs for Holly and had an idea of the style I liked. I loved the one I eventually chose, particularly its detailed back. I knew I didn’t want a veil but a tiara; it went perfectly with the dress.

Alex wore a blue Signature suit from Next with a waistcoat and taupe tie. The colour looked amazing on Alex and thankfully went with the theme! The groomsmen also wore blue suits from Next.

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