September 19th, 2018 | Alexis Forsyth
Today’s real wedding is something of a showstopper; we hardly know where to begin as there are so many Insta-worthy moments and details to pore over.
Our featured couple Laura and Ash tied the knot at the astoundingly beautiful Peckforton Castle in Cheshire in May. And we love what they done with the venue – think blossom trees, floating candles, a whimsical floral arch and a candlelit aisle lined with ivory petals. The stuff of fairy-tale dreams. And that’s before we even mention their moreish food and drink line-up of a chocolate truffle brownie cake, elderflower cocktails and a hog roast!
Music played an instrumental (ahem) role in the couple’s big day. Not only did the bride and groom surprise their guests with a performance of two of their own songs, but Laura’s uncle performed a violin solo during their ceremony too, and they also had a string quartet later in the day. And, we have to confess, Laura’s wedding gift to her hubby-to-be – a guitar – is one of the most memorable and thoughtful we’ve ever seen!
With images by Sansom Photography.
laura says: We got engaged on our third anniversary of dating – Valentine’s Day 2017. We had a spontaneous date in the Peak District village of Castleton in the Hope Valley, not far from Sheffield. We had just finished dinner in a charming little restaurant called 1530. Over coffee, our first and favourite pastime, Ash inconspicuously reached into his pocket, to offer me a ‘sweet’ he’d picked up earlier that day – but instead he presented the ring, brightly sparkling in the humble glow of the empty room! It was a complete shock to me, I was instantly brought to tears. The sweetest, softest words were spoken as he moved to one knee beside me, where he received my resounding “yes”. The kind waitstaff re-entered the room in delight and took our photo.
Our wedding date was Saturday 19th May 2018. Although we liked the idea of an autumn wedding, spring 2018 was far enough to plan and ensure a large amount of family and friends from abroad would able to attend and sooner than waiting until autumn 2018. Within three weeks of our engagement, we confirmed our date with the registrar and venue. Ten months later, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announced their wedding date as the 19th of May, also! We were delighted to share the day (and the beautiful weather).
We initially thought of getting married in London where I spent my childhood in Chiswick, but due to my elderly grandparents living in Cheshire now, we wanted to find an option closer and easier for them to enjoy. Through a casual Google search, Ash came across the incredible Peckforton Castle in Tarporley, Cheshire. From our first glimpse in pictures, we were blown away by the beauty of the castle and grounds. It included stunning countryside surroundings, historic Grade I listed buildings and the perfect backdrop for our dream come true. We went to an open house conveniently that next week and wanted to look no further.
The venue is licensed for civil ceremonies only, which we chose to follow with a Christian blessing and arranged for my uncle to be our celebrant, rather than a local reverend, as this was more personal and meaningful for us. My uncle is also a first violinist for the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and performed a violin solo to a song we chose called Vapor by husband and wife duo, Gungor, during a candle memorial to honour those no longer with us. We included readings by family members: excerpts from The Four Loves by C.S. Lewis and 1 Corinthians 13 before an inspiring closing and prayer.
While we didn’t have a set theme, our style was a gilded floral romance. We chose a palette of ivory, blush and nude against lush foliage of eucalyptus and olive leaves.
Blush and gold were our feature colours as they complemented our florals delicately without distracting from the castle décor. These worked well for spring and kept the mood light and romantic.
I chose a dress by MillaNova, which I purchased from Elements of Serenity Boutique, Swindon. I had originally seen the dress on Pinterest but had no details on who the designer was. After two visits to other boutiques and countless evenings scrolling through my dress inspo board, I hunted down the details and found that only one boutique in the country carried this line! I visited EOS as soon as possible with my aunty who lives in Cheshire and my iPad as we facetimed my mum who lives in the States. We knew that this was the one! I had tried on so many chic, fitted dresses that looked and felt lovely but hadn’t spoken to me the way this MillaNova dress did – I wasn’t initially looking for a ball gown, but this made me feel so beautiful and most like myself. It was a wonderful experience without the hype or pressure you see on TV. The boutique didn’t rush me or over-influence, they were excellent from start to finish.
August 28th, 2018 | Julia Braime
Recovering from the extended weekend? Us too! To ease you back into the working week, we’re bringing you the super gorgeous wedding day of Natalie and Michael.
Tying the knot in a late-summer ceremony at the beautiful Nunsmere Hall Hotel in Cheshire, the couple opted for a celebration that was both personal and pretty. Selecting a rather unusual but fabulously thought-out theme of ‘photographs’, Natalie and Michael decked out their venue with snaps of their guests, from easel photo galleries, to personal mug-shot place names – and even gave a nod to their theme with their first dance song choice.
The pretty elements – of which there are many – include a soft, sugary pastel colour palette, amazing blousy blooms and Natalie’s stunning off-the-shoulder lace gown. Brides Up North, you’re in for a treat!
With images by Jess Yarwood.
natalie says: We got engaged on the 29th September 2015. Having obtained by mum and dad’s blessing to propose, Michael surprised me with an impromptu meal at my favourite Italian restaurant on a Tuesday night. When we got home, Michael had laid out rose petals on the floor and put together a photo album/scrap book of our time together. As I finished looking at it, he got down on one knee and popped the question.
As we wanted a late summer wedding, we set the date for Friday 1st September 2017.
Nunsmere Hall Hotel, Northwich, was our chosen venue. We only looked at two venues and Nunsmere caught our eye. It had only just been bought by the new owners – the general flow of the rooms and the plans the owners had, and the location was perfect for our friends and family. Nunsmere also offered us exclusive-use of the venue and rooms for our wedding, which was a massive positive for us.
Our theme was ‘photographs’. We had been to roughly 25 to 30 weddings over the last few years, so we had an idea of what we did and did not want from the day. It was important for us to include the guests in the day, so we had photographs of them with us from over the years throughout the venue and we also individual photographs of the guests as place cards, rather than just name cards, which seemed to go down well with everyone.
In the evening, we had an instant camera so that guests could take photos of themselves either to keep or to pin up on our photo frame. We also had a guest book for people to sign which we’d purchased from Not On The High Street, which had a photograph of us on the front cover. In keeping with the theme, our first dance song was Photograph by Ed Sheeran.
The colour scheme was predominantly a mint green, just because that’s one of my favourite colours but it was generally pastel colours throughout.
My dress was by Rebecca Ingram and was purchased from a shop in Bebington, where I’d been with my friend a few years earlier to purchase her dress. It was a similar style to dresses I had researched online before doing any actual wedding dress shopping and I just felt that it complemented my style and shape really well.
July 16th, 2018 | Alexis Forsyth
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.
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.
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.
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.
July 2nd, 2018 | Alexis Forsyth
If you’re in love with the idea of tying the knot in a rustic barn, then today’s real wedding will be giving you all kinds of butterflies. Say hello to newlyweds Emma and Marc, who tied the knot during the Easter break at the sublime Owen House in Cheshire.
Floating candles, fairy lights and lanterns all help to set the romantic ambience, complemented by fabulous arrangements of pink, cream and green flowers that really embody the au naturale setting. It’s enchanting beyond words and everything we could hope from a classic barn wedding.
There are plenty of other fabulous highlights to look out for, too, including a prosecco cart, heart shaped fudge pieces as favours and – breaking with convention – the bride ditching heels for a pair of Converse! We think you’re going to be Pinterest-happy with this one, ladies!
With images by Sarah Beth Photo.
emma says: After being together for seven years, Marc decided to pop the question while we were on holiday in New York. We had enjoyed a short walk around Central Park with friends in the morning and then, whilst walking near a bridge, Marc asked to take a selfie with me. Looking in his bag for the ring, he then passed me the ring box to which I asked “what is this?” and he went down on one knee and popped the question.
We did not have a set date in mind but knew we wanted either a spring or summer wedding. I’m a teacher so with Easter being a two-week holiday, this was the ideal time for us.
After visiting a number of venues and knowing that we wanted a barn wedding, Owen House was the perfect choice. When visiting the venue for the first time, it was not dressed and was rather plain, but even from this we could see the potential it had, and we fell in love with it. The ceremony room is ideal, with fairy lights along one side of the room and rustic benches, windows and doors. It was the perfect barn venue for us.
We thought we knew what we wanted, but this changed over the course of planning the wedding. When we finally made a decision, we went for a rustic but modern theme. The rustic being the barn and some of the decorations and the modern being the dresses and the rose gold theme that ran throughout the favours and décor.
From trying on a range of bridesmaid dresses from dusty pink to creams, it seemed apparent that our colour scheme was going to be natural. My maids of honour and bridesmaids were originally going to wear dusty pink, but after visiting Dotty Bridal, and trying on their multi-way dresses in a sample colour mink, the girls and myself fell in love with the colour and decided to go with this shade. In addition to this, when I met with the florist, she had some flowers displayed in her house called ‘quick sand’. This was my favourite colour and I fell in love with it and it worked perfectly with the theme and the other pinks, whites and greens used throughout the day.
When visiting Dotty Bridal, I just knew this was where I would buy my dress from. My mum and my maids of honour came with me for each session to try on the different dresses and as soon as I walked out with my dress on, they burst into tears and I knew then that was the dress for me. The whole dress experience was fantastic. The alterations were also done at Dotty Bridal by a local seamstress, who made it fit perfectly to my shape.
I have never worn heels in my life (being so tall), so I wasn’t going to start on my wedding day and risk falling down the aisle! I decided to wear a pair of Converse from Schuh which were super comfy all day!
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!
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