Charlotte Balbier
Brides Up North Wedding Fairs

rachel’s wedding diary: the proposal

January 12th, 2018 | Rachel Parry

Pic a

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!

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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.

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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.

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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!

the big picture


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feel fabulous. a fanciful boudoir styled shoot in yorkshire

November 24th, 2017 | Alexis Forsyth

Boudoir Wedding Shoot (c) Jane Beadnell Photography (43)

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.

Boudoir Wedding Shoot (c) Jane Beadnell Photography (27)

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.

Boudoir Wedding Shoot (c) Jane Beadnell Photography (37)

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.

Boudoir Wedding Shoot (c) Jane Beadnell Photography (53)

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.

Boudoir Wedding Shoot (c) Jane Beadnell Photography (38)

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.

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our love story: rebekah & rob

October 26th, 2017 | Julia Braime

Our Love Story Rebekah & Rob (c) Stories Of I Do (18)

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.

Our Love Story Rebekah & Rob (c) Stories Of I Do (8)

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.

Our Love Story Rebekah & Rob (c) Stories Of I Do (27)

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.

Our Love Story Rebekah & Rob (c) Stories Of I Do (19)

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.

Our Love Story Rebekah & Rob (c) Stories Of I Do (3)

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.

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our love story: stephanie & nathaniel

September 27th, 2017 | Julia Braime

Our Love Story Stephanie & Nathanial (c) Chiascuro (28)

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

Our Love Story Stephanie & Nathanial (c) Chiascuro (6)

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!

Our Love Story Stephanie & Nathanial (c) Chiascuro (3)

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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our love story: lindsay & chris

May 22nd, 2017 | Alexis Forsyth

Our Love Story Lindsay & Chris (c) Sarah Maria Photography (54)

Let us introduce you to today’s newly engaged couple, Lindsay and Chris.

Keen to document their time together, the couple thought that an engagement shoot would be the perfect opportunity to mark the occasion and, of course, get used to posing in front of the camera lens ahead of their big day in 2018.

The location, Pinewoods near Formby, provides a somewhat atmospheric yet unassuming backdrop, with plumes of smoke injecting the fun factor into the shoot.

Lindsay talks us through the couple’s love story so far…

With images by Sarah Maria Photography.

Our Love Story Lindsay & Chris (c) Sarah Maria Photography (8)

lindsay says: We got engaged earlier this year, on 8th January 2017. We’d gone on a post Christmas and New Year holiday with ten of our best friends to a little cottage in Anglesey. The cottage was awesome and included a hot tub and fire hut.

Chris had done a little research before we went and had been telling me about this awesome lighthouse that he wanted to visit (South Stack Lighthouse) on Holy Island and kept going on about going there, just the two us.

Our Love Story Lindsay & Chris (c) Sarah Maria Photography (29)

We spent the first couple of days relaxing, eating lots of good food, having a few drinks and making the most of the hot tub. On our third day there I could tell Chris was getting a little frustrated that we hadn’t been out anywhere yet so I said, let’s go to the lighthouse this afternoon.

As we drove higher and higher up the cliffs, the fog was getting thicker and thicker and by the time we made it to the visitor’s centre at South Stack, we couldn’t see anything! The lovely lady in the visitor’s centre advised us to drive around to Penrhos Coastal Park, on the opposite side of the island which had a wood and great views of Bae Beddmanarch so we jumped back in the car and set off.

She wasn’t wrong, the view was lovely and Chris ensured we made the most of it, trudging up the hill right to the top to take an ‘arty photo’ of me gazing out over the bay; at which point he told me to turn around and there he was, on one knee with this sparkly ring in his hand! Thankfully, he didn’t do a long winded speech and simply asked me, “Would I marry him?”. I was pretty surprised, had a little cry and then started laughing, and finally said yes!

Our Love Story Lindsay & Chris (c) Sarah Maria Photography (70)

As we drove back to the cottage, Chris told me that pretty much all our friends and family knew he was going to propose because he couldn’t hold it in. I was always sure I’d know when he was going to do it!

A couple of days later we went back to South Stack Lighthouse and the weather was gorgeous and I could see why Chris had wanted to propose there but it didn’t matter to me where we were, I was just so happy!

Our Love Story Lindsay & Chris (c) Sarah Maria Photography (41)

We are getting married on 28th July 2018 at St Helens Town Hall followed by the reception at Rainford Parish Hall.

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our love story: lauren & ashley

April 25th, 2017 | Laura McDonagh

Our Love Story Ashley & Lauren (c) Amy Louise Photography (21)

Today on the blog, we’re headed to Fletcher Moss in Didsbury, to share the scenic pre-wedding shoot of newlywed couple, Lauren and Ashley.

Both wanted to avoid anxieties about having their photograph taken on the big day itself, and so a relaxed engagement session was the order of the day. These stunning pictures don’t betray any nerves, though – just a beautiful, coy intimacy between two people madly in love.

We particularly love the muted autumnal palette of woodland greens and browns and the way Amy has created ‘couple interrupted’ shots as they embrace and whisper to each other. Tender, loving, perfect.

With images by Amy Louise Photography.

Our Love Story Ashley & Lauren (c) Amy Louise Photography (3)

lauren says: We got engaged in November 2014. We were going on a family break to Windermere in the Lake District. Suddenly more and more family members were booking lodges at the site and I was none the wiser. Little did I know that everyone else knew Ashley was going to propose…

After we’d arrived, Ashley wanted us to go on a boat trip alone. Still having no idea, we went. It was raining, yet Ashley wanted us to go out onto the deck. I didn’t want to get my hair wet, ha! Eventually, I followed him up the stairs and, to my surprise, Ashley got down on one knee and asked me to be his wife. After I said yes (or rather, “YES!”) we went to meet the rest of the family who were all waiting with party poppers, champagne and tears. It was magical.

Our Love Story Ashley & Lauren (c) Amy Louise Photography (15)

We originally met through mutual friends on a night out in Sale and our first date was to the cinema to watch What Happens in Vegas. We got on really well.

Our Love Story Ashley & Lauren (c) Amy Louise Photography (29)

The moment Ashley first told me he loved me I knew I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him and never let him go. We got married at Etrop Grange on 20th January 2017.

Our Love Story Ashley & Lauren (c) Amy Louise Photography (28)

What’s special about our relationship is the fact we’re best friends. No one can make us laugh the way we laugh with each other. We can be completely ourselves around each other and never feel silly. We bring out the best in each other and, when we’re in each other’s company, we’re constantly smiling.

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