January 23rd, 2018 | Julia Braime
We’re brightening up your Tuesday with this cool, urban engagement shoot (and accompanying love story) captured in Manchester city centre.
Carefree couple Oliver and Dawn, wanted a fun and playful shoot which reflected their love for one another, and we have to say, we think their photographers absolutely smashed the brief with vibrant street art backdrops, a mix of relaxed and intimate poses and a whole lot of hair swishing! We love!
With images by ZT Photography.
dawn says: We got engaged on New Year’s Eve 2017. It was magical surprise overlooking the beautiful city of Edinburgh. It was like all of Scotland was there to help us celebrate during the Hogmanay that evening.
We have set the date of our wedding for August this year, and have picked the stunning Hengrave Hall in Suffolk, as our venue.
Oli and I first met at Pennyhill Park Hotel in Surrey, where Oliver worked as a chef and I worked as a waitress during the holiday season when I was back from university.
For our first date Oli took me bowling and was a complete gentleman (a trait I love about him). We had a few drinks and reminisced about the old days.
I realised Oli was the one for me from our very first date. He was caring, funny and had such a lovely personality that I knew I wanted him by my side for the rest of my life.
What I love most about Oli is his honesty and smile! His most annoying habit on the other hand is falling asleep in the middle of the day on the sofa.
oliver says: I knew that Dawn was the one after she sent me on a treasure hunt all around her flat leading me to a door key so that I could visit her as much as I possibly could – I will never forget that day.
Dawn’s sense of humour and stunning looks are what I love most about her. Her worst habit however is leaving her empty contact lenses cases everywhere in the house.
January 18th, 2018 | Laura McDonagh
As we touched on briefly in yesterday’s post, the festive season was a peak time for couples to put on a ring on it with a strong stream of just-engaged selfies filling up our social media feeds through late December and early January.
Firstly, if that was you – congratulations! Secondly, if you’ve wound up on these pink pages thinking ‘what next?’, you’re in the right place! For we’re here to hold your hand and guide you through the first steps on your wedding planning journey. So, open up the first page of that wedding planning journal, and let’s begin…
Chances are, questions about the date will start flooding in seconds after you’ve uploaded your first ‘Does this ring make me look engaged?’ photo. Cast your mind forward – are there any big family birthdays, anniversaries or events coming up that you don’t want to clash with – or alternatively, you’d like to honour? How long do you think you’ll need to plan – and save? Trying to predict the British weather is a bit like trying to guess what Britney was going to do next in 2007, but the season or month you choose may have significant impact on the finer details such as colour theme, flowers and dress style, so it’s worth bearing it in mind. Try to come up with a broad range (ish) of dates that would suit, and then it’s onto the venue.
It might be tradition for the bride to be married in her hometown, but who says it has to be your tradition? Often couples have moved away from their respective homes, or might have a special relationship with another place – a university town, the city where they met or first lived together – and can’t imagine getting hitched anywhere else. Sometimes logistics have to rule – couples often consider venues that are close to or between their respective families or a venue that can cater to particular requirements – offering total exclusivity if that’s a deal-breaker, is licensed for weddings if you’re not having a religious ceremony elsewhere, has disabled access or can manage a rowdy rabble of nephews and nieces.
But before you get too weighed down by shoulds and musts, close your eyes and imagine the day you’ve dreamed of. What do you see? A remote countryside retreat, a candle-lit manor house, an edgy urban rooftop bar? What feels most ‘you’ as a couple? There. That’s your starting point. Get online and get searching in your chosen area. Even better, get yourself to a wedding fair (‘tis the season!) at one or two of your potential venues, get your wedding party on board and get scouting. And speaking of the wedding party…
Our advice with this one is to start big. Ignore budgets and venue capacities – you’ll be forced to do some trimming shortly. Who would you have if you could have everyone you wanted, from your long-lost best friend from reception class to that lovely bloke from IT at your last job?
You‘ll also need to consider how much financial help you’re going to accept from parents and in-laws-to-be. If they’ve offered, you’ll need to be sensitive – mum and dad may want (and be entitled?) to ask a few friends, but it’s best to have that conversation and set some boundaries before you start cashing cheques.
Then – and this sounds harsh – start culling. We suggest you get yourself some golden rules – have you actually met cousin Phil’s new girlfriend? No? Then it’s not a ‘plus one’. Have you spoken to Lucy from uni – actually talked to her – in the last two years? Then ask yourself whether you need her there on your big day. It works the other way, too, though – you might not have seen aunty Margie and uncle Derek in the best part of a decade, but is the inevitably nuclear family fallout from not inviting them really worth it?
Get it down to a ballpark figure, and be conservative – 60? 100? 120? Now you need to ask venues about their capacity.
This really goes hand in hand with the above, but it’s time to talk budget – sadly, wedding planning involves a fair bit of spreadsheet tedium as well as the occasional sprinkling of glamour. Based on potential guest numbers and average venue charges per head (choose a venue that’s currently middle-of-the-range on your list), do your figures. How much have you already got saved/can you get saved by your earliest possible wedding date? How much are family able and willing to contribute, if anything? Stack this against your guest list and bear in mind other big ‘wants’ – is it achievable? If not, you need to trim your list further or reorder your priorities – where can you make some cuts?
Warning: time, patience and compromise required. Think of it as good practice for your marriage!
The final biggy on your list has to be a photographer – good ones are booked up literally years in advance and if you’re having a weekend wedding and you want to get wed in 2019, chances are they’ve only got a handful of dates left. Here once again, the internet is your friend. Make trawling through some wedding blogs and Instagram your priority (this post from Brides Up North being the perfect place to start your search, obvs) and make notes on the kind of style and shots that make your head spin and your heart sing. Don’t listen to friends and relatives who say, ‘Oo, such-and-such was great at x’s wedding’ – ‘great’ photography is so subjective, this really has to be a decision for you and your other half alone. Scour their portfolios, get in touch and – eventually – go with your gut.
January 12th, 2018 | Rachel Parry
Hold the blog ladies! My boyfriend has only gone and put a ring on it! That’s right, i’m engaged – I can now call my other half “my fiancé” and I own a ‘wedding planning journal’. I waited oh so (not at all!) patiently and, lo and behold, my lovely Andy popped the question on 21st December, making the recent festive season all the more memorable and exciting.
Having read hundreds, if not thousands, of engagement stories through our real wedding features on the blog, I always thought I would see a proposal from my own boyfriend coming a mile off. Previously Andy only had to suggest a walk on holiday, or sitting for a rest on a particular bench, and I’d feel the hairs on the back of my neck stand to attention. But unbelievably I was caught off guard.
You see he double bluffed me. Unfortunately for Andy, having a girlfriend that works in the wedding industry means quadruple the usual pressure to propose. Add into the mix that I’ve turned 30 and have a mum who is desperate to see her only daughter walk the aisle, and it’s no wonder he wanted to throw people off the proposal scent – so he could do it his way, in his time. And that’s exactly what he did!
He’d made it clear that he wouldn’t be getting down on one knee when anyone would expect it, surely that ruled out holidays, birthday and Christmas (or so I thought). And so, when he suggested a pre-Christmas day trip to Manchester no wedding-on-the-horizon alarm bells rang. We go to the city fairly often for shopping, bars, restaurants and gigs – I easily accepted this was merely an excuse for a day drinking all things mulled (until we were in a similar state) at the city’s Christmas markets.
On reflection he’d been a little snappy in the days leading up to the trip (I’d even told him to cheer himself up or he would ruin Christmas!) but he blamed his short temper on being busy with work. It turns out he hadn’t told a single soul his plans so it’s no wonder he was pent up.
Just before getting off the train in Manchester he’d said there was a coffee shop he wanted us to head to – as a coffee connoisseur this was expected – I happily followed him to the location he’d tapped into Google Maps and then when we arrived outside the Central Library by The Midland Hotel, found myself looking around for what turned out to be a fictional coffee shop. He’d mentioned it being cold and I noticed his hand tremor a little, but still nothing. Then, just as I was about to suggest the coffee place could be inside the library, he plucked a ring box from his pocket and got down on knee in St Peter’s Square.
My hands reached to clasp the side of my face and my first response was “you’re doing this now?” – I didn’t have Andy down as the public proposal type, another reason I wasn’t able to suss it out in advance. Gathering a little composure, I managed a “yes” before covering him in a shower of lipstick-imprinting kisses.
As it was raining most passers-by had their heads down, so we weren’t too on show and we celebrated with the obligatory just-engaged selfies and ask-strangers-to-take-our-picture-photos (which also earned us a few hugs). This was soon followed by the Facetiming, phone calls and texts to our nearest and dearest before announcing the news on social media later that day.
Keen to keep the proposal top secret, Andy had asked my dad’s permission way back in the summer and he proposed with a £20 Amazon ring (which I have to say looked like the real deal) as my mum, who may have exploded with excitement had she known about Andy’s plans prior to the day, was the keeper of my real engagement ring. This is because my pretty gold band, complete with three delicate diamonds, previously belonged to my nan, and my mum had kept it safe in her possession after we sadly lost my nan in 2016.
I take it as an amazingly good omen that I have her engagement ring on my finger entering into marriage as she and my grandad were most definitely one of the most in-love couples I’ve ever known; meeting as teenage sweethearts and enjoying more than 50 happy years of married life together. My nan and I had also spoken about my (at that point hypothetical) wedding day many times, and if she were still here now she would undoubtedly be involved in the plans and the picking of the dress, though having her ring makes me feel like she is part of the journey.
The rest of mine and Andy’s day in Manchester was spent drinking prosecco at The Midland Hotel then consuming pizza and cocktails in The Northern Quarter before returning to Sheffield to celebrate with my brothers and their partners in the pub where Andy and I had our first date.
So now the real fun begins, right?! I’ve already found myself reading the blog content in a different way, thoroughly absorbing what our featured brides and suppliers say. At this point I’m not sure if my experience in the industry means I’ll be extremely well equipped or incredibly overwhelmed, but I’m so excited for what’s to come and sharing my wedding planning story with you. Prepare for updates on the venue and suppliers that will help to shape mine and Andy’s day – as well as a few melt-downs and dilemmas, I’m sure!
November 24th, 2017 | Alexis Forsyth
We’re bringing you a dose of sophisticated boudoir chic this morning, with this gorgeous styled shoot that beautifully captures the fun and flirty side of us brides-to-be.
Developed by photographer Jane Beadnell and bringing together a host of talented suppliers, the shoot is a playful take on the boudoir concept, set in the most captivating of woodland settings in Otley, near Leeds – the group’s very own unspoilt, serene Garden of Eden.
With a gorgeous pastel palette and demure peek-a-boo handmade lingerie, this sensual shoot brings together stunning flowers – including a floral garter – with magnificent headpieces, pearl jewellery and multi-coloured smoke bombs. Wandering freely amidst the trees in underwear never looked more alluring!
What we love most about this shoot though, is that it’s all about body confidence and making the bride feel fabulous. This is one shoot that will most definitely sit in complete contrast to your wedding day photography, and hint at the more private, vivacious side hidden beneath all those layers of lace and tulle!
And the lovely Jane joins us now to explain how you can become the star of a shoot just like this…
With images by Jane Beadnell Photography.
jane says: The shoot was inspired by a new service I am offering to brides, enabling them to have boudoir style pictures taken. I wanted to project imagery that would let brides-to-be understand the type of service and imagery they could expect; crushing stereotypes of boudoir photography being candid and crude, and instead showcasing images that are tasteful, feminine, light and sensual. I also wanted to highlight the female form in all of its loveliness and inspire brides to jump on the trend of boudoir shots for their groom-to-be.
Whilst I appreciate not everyone would want to wander around the woods in their underwear, I was keen to create something different to show brides what they could create for their boudoir session. I’m getting more and more brides wanting one of these light and lovely boudoir style sessions, and they then give the images to their partners as a gift on the morning of their wedding day. I have created a number of packages, which can include hair and makeup, flowers for the shoot itself and even a glass of prosecco to help the bride really relax into the shoot.
Boudoir shoots are a beautiful celebration of who you are. Taken in a private, calm space by me, a female photographer, you will feel confident and gorgeous.
The location was a perfect fit for the theme. We chose the woods on The Chevin, Otley. Having it outdoors was so inspiring, liberating and unique.
It was a warm, picturesque day. The atmosphere was fresh and crisp, with the sunlight gently peeking through the trees and creating movement in the shadows. This change in the light really harnessed the power of natural beauty. It was as if our model was the first woman on earth, in her very own Garden of Eden, playing temptress to the man that has her heart.
The flowers were provided by Leafy Couture and were playful, feminine and lavish – perfectly reflecting the soft and delicate nature of the shoot’s theme. We also used flowers as a garter, as well as in the model’s hair. Additional hair accessories were also provided by Bespoke Vintage Castle. We draped our model in pearls and handmade decadent crystal hairpieces that showed feminine power and authority.
October 26th, 2017 | Julia Braime
You know those too-good-to-be-true scenes in romantic films that you never expect to actually happen in real life? Well the proposal story that goes with today’s featured engagement shoot is just like that!
We can’t believe the planning and romantic levels Rob went to in order to make his proposal to Rebekah so incredibly and utterly special. We seriously hope there are more Robs out there for ladies yet to get engaged!
Keen not to spoil the tale, we’ll let Rebekah explain how their love story began and built up to one of the most epic proposals we’ve had the pleasure of featuring on the blog. Rebekah, you’re one lucky lady!
With images by Stories Of I Do.
rebekah says: The engagement was a complete surprise to me. I had just been offered a new job and Rob decided he was taking me away to celebrate. He gave me a list of items to bring and the rest was a mystery.
We arrived at the stunning Patrick Brompton Hall in North Yorkshire, late on Friday night and were greeted by the owners and their beautiful Great Danes; still I had no idea of what was ahead.
The Saturday was a glorious day and Rob drove us to the dales and pulled out some riding boots from the back of his car. He had arranged a horse riding lesson and a trek through the dales (something which I had always wanted to do). We then went to Aysgarth Falls and headed back to Patrick Brompton before dinner.
Just before we left for dinner Rob told me that he had spoken to the owners and we were allowed to look around the grounds as they were away from the house. We walked in front of the beautiful house and down a path framed with trees either side and came to a white door that lead to a walled garden. I opened the door and the sun was shining on a picturesque rose garden and I could see an easel between the roses.
As we walked up to the easel I could see pictures from our time at university, Rob lead me round the box hedge to two more easels filled with pictures of our time together. Here, he knelt down on one knee and asked me to marry him.
Rob arranged for us to have an engagement shoot following the proposal (another surprise to me!). He thought that we would want to remember such a fantastic weekend – and he was right.
September 27th, 2017 | Julia Braime
We’re escaping to a quiet area of Greater Manchester today, Dovestones Reservoir to be precise, as we share the stunning pre-wedding shoot of gorgeous newlyweds Stephanie and Nathaniel.
Photographer Emmylou of Chiascuro, captured the loved-up couple on a grey and windy day on the water’s edge. The dull weather adds a certain magic to the mystical style backdrop and is instantly warmed up by Stephanie and Nathaniel’s affectionate glances and sweet embraces.
We particularly love the images of Stephanie leading Nathaniel down to the water’s edge hand-in-hand with her beautiful engagement ring fully on show.
Here’s the leading lady herself to fill us in on how their relationship first began and has blossomed since…
With images by Chiascuro
stephanie says: The wedding proposal was a complete surprise. It happened on the edge of a lake in the Lake District on 24th August 2016. It was very unexpected!
We first met on a night out in Cambridge, in November 2013. Nathaniel lived in Peterborough and I lived in Hull so it was a long-distance relationship for the first few years.
For our first date, we went out for a meal and some drinks. It wasn’t true love from the very start but we got on very well and travelled over two hours to see each other every week. We fell in love gradually over time and knew we were right for one another.
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