March 28th, 2018 | Julia Braime
If you dream of a wedding album filled with beautiful, natural shots, interspersed by some utterly gorgeous couple portrait images, then we know just the photographer for you – our wonderful Sponsor James Tracey Photography.
Based in the North West but covering big days all over the UK and overseas, James has shot more than 200 weddings over the past five years, developing a signature style for candid shots that are relaxed yet emotive. Blending into the background, James prides himself on his discreet and laidback approach that makes all those around him feel at ease.
Always keen to capture the magic between the newlyweds too, James will steal away the couple just for a short while to ensure he gets some stunning portrait shots that are easily worthy of wall-hanging-space.
Eager to hear more about his fabulous service, we’ve invited James to the blog today to share some of his favourite big day images while updating us on his wonderful wedding offering – which is soon to include videography – you heard it here first!
With images by James Tracey Photography.
When did you first start photographing weddings and what was it that attracted you to the industry?
james says: I’ve always loved photography and I’d been to loads of my friends’ weddings and I’d really enjoyed shooting the day as a guest. I guess as I enjoyed it and people seemed to like the images I’d taken, I started to think about photographing weddings more and more, until finally I took the plunge and started shooting in 2012. For me, working on one of the happiest days of a couple’s life, at nice venues, taking photos seemed pretty appealing to me, so a couple of months after my own wedding I shot my first professional wedding. My first wedding was one that was featured on Don’t Tell the Bride, so there was no gentle introduction to weddings, it was full on but I learnt a lot and haven’t looked back since – I’ve now shot more than 200 weddings!
How would you describe your style of photography and the approach you take to capturing a big day?
I’d describe my style as 90% natural, documentary photography with 10% of lightly directed couple photos. My aim is to blend in, let the couple and their guests enjoy the wedding day and make sure I capture what’s going on as it happens. Of course, I want to capture some beautiful couple photos, so I do spend 20 minutes making sure we capture the couple looking amazing, but the majority of the day my job is to capture the day as it happened. I hate the idea that I interfere and set up moments, I much prefer to let the day happen and find the best moments to shoot as they happen.
What is it that you love most about your job?
I love the creativity and flexibility of shooting weddings. I get to visit amazing venues, with happy people and spend the day photographing what goes on. In reality, it isn’t really a job, it’s far too nice to be a job! I’ve also been able to travel, shooting weddings all over Europe and even as far as New York. No one ever took me to New York for work in my old jobs!
In your opinion what are the most important things for a couple to consider when deciding which photographer to book for their wedding?
For me it is the style of photography they want. Couples need to think about what type of photos they want on their day. Do they want lots of set up posed shots or do they want natural moments? Are they after moody and atmospheric images or punchy, party shots. Are group shots important? Once they work out what matters to them, then search and get recommendations. Don’t just book a photographer because they’ve worked at a venue before or because they shot your friend’s wedding, look at their work, chat to them. Most photographers are more than happy to talk about their style and how they work. It’s great to get along with the photographer but ultimately you want to get the best photos of your day in the style you love. There are amazing photographers who all shoot in different styles, so do a bit of thinking about what you want then find someone who shoots in that way. Almost every couple I ever meet tells me that they just want natural photos and that they’re not into posed or group photos, so from the off I know they want what I offer. Don’t book a photographer then demand they shoot a different style, it’ll just result in disappointment.
What sets you apart from other wedding photographers?
That’s a tough question. I guess it’s my style of shooting, whilst not unique (as there are plenty of brilliant documentary style photographers out there) I guess what I shoot clicks with some couples and they love the natural moments and the story that the images tell. I’m always looking for that moment, something people will look at and remember happening and remember feeling at the time.
What is the feedback like from your couples?
I’m lucky to receive some fantastic feedback from my couples. I’m told I am friendly, easy to get along with and that on the wedding day I tend to blend in. I guess they like my laid-back approach and simple, natural style of wedding photography. I’ve entered the Wedding Industry Awards for the last five years and each year the feedback from the couples comes back to me and it always mentions how they didn’t know I was there for most of the day and that they love their photos. My couples seem pretty happy, and that works for me!
Do you have a favourite part of the wedding day to capture?
Other than snaffling the sweets from the sweetie table (I’d like to say I am joking but I have a shocking sweet tooth) I love shooting any emotional moment. If a groom cries, the father-of-the-bride seeing his daughter for the first time, or when grandparents hug the couple – I love all of those moments. These are the shots that people will look back on over the years that will take them back to that moment in time and remind them how they felt.
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?
I work all over the north and have travelled to Wales, Scotland, the Midlands and I’ve even been brave enough to shoot a few weddings in London! I always enjoy shooting in Manchester and Liverpool city centre and around the many stunning venues in Cheshire, Lancashire and Yorkshire. I’d love to shoot a wedding in Italy on Lake Como, or in Positano on the Amalfi Coast (where I went on honeymoon) and as clichéd as it is, Iceland has always massively appealed to me (I’m a huge Sigur Ros fan so I like to think I was into Iceland long before it became fashionable to want to shoot there!)
March 20th, 2018 | Laura McDonagh
Believe us, it’s tricky task to deliver one gorgeous styled photoshoot in just one day, which is why we were so impressed when a dynamic group of industry suppliers from the North West upped the ante recently and pulled off what was essentially four different styled shoots – yes, you heard us, four – in 12 hours.
The backdrop for the shoot is the stunning Stock Farm on the Tatton Estate in Cheshire, where we will be hosting a Pop Up Wedding Festival on Sunday 8th April, 11am to 3pm, FREE ENTRY. We will be joined there by a collection of the area’s top wedding suppliers, including a few that feature in this very shoot, to help inspire your big day while giving you chance to view this gorgeous venue first-hand.
Falling in love with the venue’s country charm, the creatives behind today’s shoot were on a mission to prove that choosing a farm or barn as your wedding location doesn’t automatically equate to a rustic theme. And with looks and styling as diverse as ultra-glam makeup, edgy bridal separates, urban-style neon lighting and luxe candelabra floral arrangements, we’ve got to say – we’re in agreement.
The professionalism and skills of the team involved here is quite simply phenomenal and if you’re planning a wedding in the North West, we think you’d be incredibly lucky to have any of these guys on board! Over to the lovely Jacklyn now from Precious Things Event Styling to tell us more.
Images by Stephen McGowan Photography.
jacklyn says: As a new venue, Stock Farm were keen to show the versatility of their barn, and so the idea for a ‘Wedding For All Seasons’ shoot was formed. It’s such a beautiful new venue and has been deliberately designed as a blank canvas. We worked in the big barn but also in the outside areas and another smaller barn. We wanted to illustrate how the setting could suit each season and how it could be adapted for any style and theme; from rustic to glamorous.
We used different flowers and styling approaches for the different seasons, of course, to create a range of completely different looks. The summer colour scheme was soft golds, ivories and blush pinks, complemented by avalanche roses and lisianthus nestled at the centre of a gold candelabra, set against a background of eucalyptus nicholii, pink grevillea and gold-dusted eucalyptus cinerea. We dressed the chairs with ivory sashes and gold tulle flowers, used an ivory carpet and positioned ivory lanterns to dress the aisle. Love Lights The Way‘s rustic neon heart finished off the ‘relaxed glamour’ look perfectly. Hattie, our model from Boss Model Management, carried a hand tied posy bouquet of roses, hydrangeas and lisianthus and James, our groom, wore a pink rose buttonhole detailed with lisianthus and gold wire around the stem. The beautiful five-tier cake by Marie Antoinette Cakes complemented this colour scheme perfectly with its soft pink and gold detailing.
Hattie wore a gorgeous boho dress – the Lea by St Patrick – with a chiffon skirt, an open back and an overall light and airy look. 7th Heaven Bridal provided all of the dresses for the shoot and they were real beauties. James wore an Italian stretch fabric jacket by Circolo, a blue shirt, navy Jacob Cohen jeans and shoes from Joseph Cheaney & Sons, all provided by Stephen Muldoon Bespoke.
The menu, created by Top Table Wedding and Event Catering, was dreamy – prosecco, plus canapes of slithers of rare Angus beef on rocket crostinis, lobster mac n cheese, tiger tail king prawns with a Pina Colada dip and strawberry and white chocolate cheesecake.
For our spring photoshoot, seasonal flowers dominated (obviously!) Mixed tulips, anemones and ranunculus were set against a background of sword fern, eucalyptus nicholii and asparagus fern. Hattie carried an elongated bouquet and wore an asymmetrical flower crown while James sported a parrot tulip buttonhole detailed with an oversized bow. The spring table setting was a tulip tree with an abundance of sword fern and rainbow tulips, which were simply gorgeous on their own. Dusky pink chiffon ruffles transformed the chairs and the subtle, elegant table stationery by Inspired by Lisa had just the right amount of sparkle.
For this shoot, Hattie wore some super-cool separates by Charlotte Balbier – the Lyric topper and the River skirt – provided by 7th Heaven. Her makeup, created by Gemma and Amy at Dollface Makeup, was soft and fresh with subtle pink and lilac hues on the eyes and bold matte pink lips. They styled Hattie’s hair in natural, soft and textured boho curls, providing the perfect base for the flower crown. James donned a blue check suit and silk tie by Pal Zileri and a white shirt from Eton.
The canapes were heavenly: mini vegetable garden filo baskets with a red pepper hummus and pine nut pesto, broccoli and Gruyere soufflé tartlets, ham hock and cheddar cheese terrine and lemon and lime panna cotta garnished with a chocolate shard.
Autumn was unanimously our favourite season to shoot – and the mix of burgundy anthuriums, trailing red amaranthus, plum astrantia, blue eryngium, dusky pink cymbidium orchids, dusky pink chrysanthemum blooms, green hellebores and blush pink spray roses set against a background of mixed, berried foliages was just stunning. Pheasant feathers and hydrangeas also featured. We shot autumn in the outside barn area and lit the archway with vintage Edison bulbs and rustic love letters. Hattie carried a relaxed, unstructured trailing bouquet and wore a headpiece of hydrangeas, feathers, leucadendron and skimmia. James wore a boutonniere of spray rose, astrantia, hellebores, berried eucalyptus and feathers dressed with raffia as well as a very elaborate bow tie made of pheasant feathers! The stag-themed, rustic table plan fitted perfectly with this look with its hessian backing and vintage embroidery circles and the stunning hand-painted cake – another of Marie Antoinette Cakes’ creations – beautifully captured the warmth and depth of this beautiful season.
Hattie wore Justin Alexander 8925 with its adorable sweetheart neckline and lace applique. The makeup was bold, with deep burnt orange and bronze shades, black smudged eyeliner and fuller lashes. Matte skin and defined brows were finished off with a dark plum matte lip. Dollface Makeup styled her hair in a lightly structured side bun and some textured curls, while feathers and flowers created a statement feature to complete the look.
Top Table served mini toffee apples, fish and chips with tartare sauce, crispy duck spring rolls and quail scotch eggs with black pudding and homemade piccalilli – divine!
February 21st, 2018 | Julia Braime
We’re having a fabulous spring season here at Brides Up North HQ, spreading tulle and confetti covered cheer as our absolutely epic luxury bridal show schedule continues across three regions.
Have you seen this line up? We’ve been working hard to bring your very favourite – or soon to be favourite – suppliers together under the roofs of some of the most celebrated wedding venues across the North. And we think we’ve done a pretty cracking job of it! Make sure to click the link with your diary on hand to check out the full selection of loveliness coming your way.
For now, we’re delighted to remind you that we’ll be at stunning 5* The Chester Grosvenor in Cheshire on THIS Sunday 25th February 2018, 11am till 3pm, FREE ENTRY. We’re putting on spring’s most luxurious wedding fair at this sensational Chester landmark hotel. Did we mention that you are invited, oh, and did we also mention that it’s completely free?
This one has the WOW factor and it’s yours exclusively for the whole day. We’ve filled it’s beautiful function spaces with OVER 30 of the region’s best wedding industry suppliers, ready and waiting to turn your dreams into reality.
The award winning Chester Grosvenor combines breathtaking architecture with contemporary yet traditional interiors and Michelin star dining experiences. Steeped in history dating back to the 18th century, the hotel sits elegantly next to the Eastgate Clock, where the pillared entrance and black and white timbered exterior provide the perfect backdrop for a fairytale wedding.
From the first appointment with your dedicated wedding coordinator to the minute you say “I do”, The Chester Grosvenor’s wedding team will be on hand every step of the way to make sure your special day is one of the most memorable for you and your guests.
From the Eaton Suite which overlooks beautiful Eastgate Street to the sleek Westminster Suite, designed by world-renowned manufacturer Porsche and the traditional surroundings of the Drawing Room where the dainty side plates and marble fireplace take you back in time, The Chester Grosvenor can accommodate wedding breakfasts and civil ceremonies from 2 to 240 guests.
The spa, located in the heart of the hotel, has five luxury treatment rooms, herb sauna, crystal steam room, salt grotto and a relaxation area, as well as a manicure and pedicure station for the finishing touches enabling you to completely relax before, during and after the big day.
To pre-register for a free Brides Up North VIP Bride-To-Be Media Pack (stuffed with treats and glossy mags, sponsored by UNVEILED Magazine) and FREE ENTRY, fill in your details below. You can collect your VIP Bride-To-Be Media Pack upon entry to the Luxury Bridal Show. Only the bride need register for larger groups. While stocks last.
This event is now sold out on supplier space but we would love to welcome new exhibitors to the Brides Up North family in 2018. We are now accepting exhibitor bookings for all of our fabulous luxury wedding exhibitions across three regions.
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. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for exhibitor booking and pricing information listing the events or area that you are interested in.
Images supplied by The Chester Grosvenor.
February 8th, 2018 | Julia Braime
What do a horsebox, a pizza oven and a donut wall all have in common? Nope, this isn’t our attempt at a bad joke, but rather they all feature in today’s stunner of a real wedding.
The lovely Jessica and her beau Mike booked out all of the cottages at their stunning rural venue the night before the main event and treated their guests to the finest in laidback outdoor cuisine to get everyone in the mood for the celebration ahead. Family and friends ate, drank and were merry, turning their wedding into a whole weekend to remember.
In planning their rustic big day, Jessica and Mike wanted to create the sense that the colours and textures were “organic…the same indoors as out”. Looking at their gorgeous autumnal palette, the groom’s tweed and the bride’s woodland blooms, we think they definitely achieved their mission.
With images by Jess Yarwood Photography.
jessica says: We got engaged on a mini road trip. Mike simply came into the house one afternoon and said “let’s go!’ We started at Drury where we stopped at the chippy, drove all the way to the top of Hope Mountain, found a rocky outcrop and sat and ate chips. As I was looking out over the beautiful views of Wales and Cheshire a ring box caught my eye.
Our wedding date was 27th November 2017. There was no particular reason behind the date, but I’d always liked the idea of an autumn wedding. The colours of the leaves are so beautiful, although I was a little bit worried about unpredictable weather.
Our ceremony and reception was at Combermere Abbey in Whitchurch. We booked the accommodation at Combermere for the night before meaning that both sets of family and friends could stay over and get to know each other. We had a total of nine cottages, which easily accommodated 49 guests. We transported a pizza oven in a horse box and served pizza, nibbles and drinks all night. The bridal party moved onto the Stone Lodge later on, and continued the party.
The theme we picked was rustic to fit in with our surroundings and the Abbey grounds, so we incorporated lots of wood and greenery. Our colour scheme was autumnal to fit in with what was going on outdoors – we wanted everything to flow and feel quite organic; that the colours and textures were the same indoors as out.
I chose a Rebecca Ingram dress – it was a lace and tulle dress in a blush pink colour with white lace and matching veil purchased from Aristocrats in Chester. The staff were extremely helpful and made the process very easy. I chose it because I loved it on the hanger, and my mum told me before I’d even tried it on that it was the one for me. She was 100% right!
Mike wore a tweed suit jacket and waistcoat bought from Chester City Gate. He hired the trousers from Swarbricks in Manchester to match with the ushers’ suits. We’d seen Swarbricks at a wedding show and we loved their range of tweed.
We had three sets of bridesmaids: the older girls wore Jenny Packham from Debenhams, the younger ones wore Next dresses and the babies wore Monsoon. They were all in shades of burgundy and pinks to complement my gown.
January 16th, 2018 | Alexis Forsyth
Ahead of our first Luxury Wedding Fair of the spring season at the stunning Capesthorne Hall in Cheshire this Sunday, we’re sharing the wedding story of Rachel and Omar who chose this fine venue as the setting for their special day.
Exchanging their vows in the Hall’s impressive grounds beneath the lake-side gazebo, Rachel and Omar’s ceremony was 100% picture perfect.
The proceedings gave a tasteful nod to Disney (something we suspect their guests may have seen coming after a proposal by the Alice in Wonderland statue in New York’s Central Park!), and the couple further styled their day with a statement navy and coral colour scheme.
Other special touches to look out for include games on the lawn – something that should be a prerequisite for any garden wedding, we think, and a lovely string quartet to set the laidback ambience.
If you’re on the venue hunt in the North West, be sure to join us at this spectacular venue on Sunday 21st January, for our Brides Up North Bespoke Luxury Wedding Fair, 11am to 2pm, FREE ENTRY. We will be joined by top suppliers from the area as well as the venue’s super helpful team. Pre-register to attend here.
With images by Brides Up North Sponsor, Slice of Pie Photography.
rachel says: We were on a romantic city break to New York in February 2015, when Omar surprised me and proposed by the Alice in Wonderland statue in Central Park, in the snow.
We tied the knot on 30th July 2016. We chose that date as we wanted an outdoor wedding and summer is our favourite season.
The venue – Capesthorne Hall in Macclesfield – was stunning and a great location for our friends and family. It had everything we wanted – outdoor facilities, a stately home and a contemporary feel for the evening reception.
We didn’t have a full theme for the wedding, but we chose certain aspects to show our favourite things and personalities. For example, I walked down the aisle to a Disney arrangement (arranged by my very talented best friend) and our tables were Disney couples instead of numbers. My cousin very kindly painted small canvasses with the couples on.
We decided on a navy and coral colour scheme – we felt it was appropriate for the season, with the six bridesmaids in three different shades of coral and the male members of the bridal party wearing three-piece navy suits.
I chose a lace-up tulle fishtail gown with a strapless sweetheart neckline and pewter lace appliqués, beginning on the body and continuing down the front of the dress and the train. The dress was from The Confetti Box in Eccles. It was just what I wanted; very grand for the venue and something I’d never really seen before.
Omar wore a navy morning tails suit with a grey soft tartan waistcoat, pocket watch and matching tie and pocket square in navy with small white polka dot. This was from Whitfield & Ward in Wilmslow.
January 2nd, 2018 | Laura McDonagh
It’s holiday season here on the blog, and as the editorial team take a short break, 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 8th January 2018 (we’re hoping we’ll be over the hangover by then, right?) but in the meantime watch out for recaps of some of our favourite Real Weddings from last 6 months.
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.
Sarah and Daniel’s glorious big day at Meols Hall, Tithe Barn, is just the ticket if you’re looking to inject some rustic charm and countryside elegance into your ceremony and reception.
There’s a stunningly simple Pronovias gown, homegrown British garden blooms, a subtle colour palette that Farrow and Ball would be proud of and some seriously classy designer elements – Jenny Packham shoes and a Tiffany bracelet as a wedding morning gift from the groom.
These pictures have a lovely sun-soaked charm, full of intimate joy and relaxed laughter – just the vibe this gorgeous pair were going for, and the perfect end to another beautiful week on the blog.
With images by Bobtale Photography.
sarah says: For our engagement, Dan surprised me with a trip to the Cotswolds; it’s a place I’d wanted to go for a long time. He booked a cottage called ‘The Old Smithy’ in a village called Kingham. We were celebrating our ten year anniversary together that year.
Whilst I went to freshen up after the long journey, Dan set about preparing the cottage, filling it completely with candles, flowers and champagne on ice. He’d even set up the table with vintage cutlery given to my mum and dad as a wedding present back in the day!
When I walked through I found him with our six-month-old Cockapoo puppy, Waffle, who was dressed to impress in a Harris tweed bow tie!
He’d had a book made with a wax stamp seal on the cover reading “D️+S” and he’d filled it with nine polaroid pictures from each of the years we’d been together – with one missing on the final page. The book also contained the poem ‘I carry your heart’ by EE Cummings and the final verse of the poem was on the last page. Dan got down on one knee and removed the final verse of the poem to reveal a hollowed-out section containing an engagement ring and an empty section to fill with the tenth image! The poem was read at our wedding, which was very special.
We announced it with a picture using vintage lexicon letter cards spelling out ‘She Said Yes’ and Waffle proudly leaning over the table!
We were married on Saturday 10th June 2017 – I’d always wanted a June wedding. We had our ceremony and reception at Meols Hall Tithe Barn in Southport.
We’d attended a wedding at Meols Hall around three years previously and, at that moment, knew that would be our chosen venue. It was just our style, and we really wanted it to be ‘us’. It was the most important decision we made.
Our theme was ‘English country garden’. We chose it to go along with the Cotswolds feel; a sort of relaxed, wildflower, rustic vibe. We also wanted a more informal day so that our guests felt relaxed.
We went for pastel colours, dove greys, blues and blush pinks. We felt the more subtle colours would create the relaxed feel we were going for – we definitely didn’t want to have everything in one colour which we felt could look a little harsh.
My dress was Pronovias and purchased at Brides of Liverpool. I went to the store and tried on a number of dresses, but it was only when I went back a second time that I saw ‘the one’. It was very fitted and felt it was a more classical look rather than flashy.
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