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natural beauty: james tracey photography

March 28th, 2018 | Julia Braime

James Tracey Photography (19)

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.

James Tracey Photography (1)

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.

James Tracey Photography (20)

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.

James Tracey Photography (18)

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.

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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.

James Tracey Photography (17)

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!)

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ti amo. pronovias for a fun & stylish wedding at upper house – sophie & michael

January 30th, 2018 | Alexis Forsyth

A Stylish Wedding at Upper House (c) James Tracey Photography (35)

Today’s couple know a thing or two about picture perfect settings. After a romantic proposal on the terrace of a medieval castle in Italy, Sophie and Michael then decided to host their special day in the Peak District National Park, at the exquisite Upper House in Hayfield, overlooking Kinder Reservoir.

The couple tied the knot last summer, extending their wedding celebrations across the bank holiday weekend. Opting for a classic colour scheme of blush pink and ivory, they adorned the venue with the most beautiful of floral arrangements and foliage. Festoon lighting and glowing candles, meanwhile, added a mesmerising ambience to the space.

Not only did their wedding look the part, it was also a lot of fun! Their guests were certainly in for a treat during the weekend, with a prosecco van, pizzas and ice cream, as well as garden games, a silent disco and a live band to keep everybody entertained. Everything, we think, you could possibly want for you and your guests on your big day!

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

A Stylish Wedding at Upper House (c) James Tracey Photography (27)

sophie says: Michael proposed while on a surprise trip to Italy on the 9th October 2015. We visited a small village called Castelfalfi in Tuscany, and Michael got down on one knee on the terrace of the medieval castle that stands in the centre of the village. We then had dinner overlooking the beautiful rolling hills of Tuscany. He even managed to get the moment videoed. It was the most magical day!

We got married on Saturday 26th August 2017. We chose the bank holiday weekend as we wanted to extend our wedding celebrations. We invited all of our guests back to our venue on the Sunday to continue the party. The day consisted of lots of garden games for the children (and adults!) gorgeous pizzas supplied by The Woodland Rover, delicious ice cream by Ice Cream Dub and fantastic entertainment by Alexander Stewart. Our guests also enjoyed a silent disco.

A Stylish Wedding at Upper House (c) James Tracey Photography (24)

We tied the knot at St Thomas’ Church in Mellor, and held our wedding reception at Upper House, Hayfield. Upper House stands alone on the magnificent Kinder Scout in the Peak District National Park and has to be seen to be believed. We knew instantly it was the venue for us. From the incredible views, to the courtyard, the Great Hall, the beautiful bedrooms to even having its own mini pub – Upper House is simply stunning. I couldn’t have imagined having our wedding anywhere else.

A Stylish Wedding at Upper House (c) James Tracey Photography (26)

As we got engaged in Italy but chose to get married in the UK we wanted to bring a little Italian style to our wedding. This consisted of olive trees dotted around the venue, the black tie dress code, festoon lighting over the courtyard, a prosecco van and a string quartet.

I wanted a romantic and sophisticated look, so we went for a blush pink and ivory colour scheme paired with lots of candles and foliage, which I felt suited the venue and the Italian theme.

A Stylish Wedding at Upper House (c) James Tracey Photography (20)

I wore a beautiful dress by Pronovias from Maria Modes in Macclesfield. I had my dress customised to include shoulder straps, buttons down the back and a sparkling belt. I also wore a Pronovias veil. My dress was one of the first I ever tried on and I absolutely fell in love with it and I knew instantly it was the one. I loved all of the ruffles and the long train, it was everything I’d ever dreamed off. I also wore Jimmy Choo shoes. I didn’t want to go for traditional satin wedding shoes, so I chose some that sparkled instead!

On the morning of our wedding myself, my bridesmaids and my mum all wore matching robes from Plum Pretty Sugar and had our makeup and hair styled by the very talented and gorgeous Samantha Green of DonebySG. She put my whole wedding party at ease and ensured we all had a fun and relaxed wedding morning.

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we heart mcr. ronald joyce for a sophisticated wedding at king street townhouse – jessica & joe

January 9th, 2018 | Laura McDonagh

A Cool City Wedding in Manchester (c) James Tracey Photography (41)

Hands up who loves a chic city centre wedding? Everyone? Well, prepare yourself for a treat because today we’re spoiling you with a real urban beauty. As soon as we clapped eyes on the photos of Jess and Joe’s big day – two very proud Mancunians – we fell in love with this gorgeous celebration of their love and their city.

The grand architecture, rich decor and stunning rooftop views of The King Street Townhouse provided the perfect venue for this Manchester-mad pair and the soundtrack to the day was dominated by North West musical greats like The Stone Roses and The Smiths. Even the cake was a nod to this glorious city, with a modern hexagonal honeycomb-inspired design and, of course, some iconic Manchester bees.

Need one more reason to read on? No problem, here it is: bardot neckline dress eye candy! You’re welcome.

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

A Cool City Wedding in Manchester (c) James Tracey Photography (16)

jessica says: We got engaged on Christmas Day 2015, at my mum and dad’s house. Joe decided to propose on my favourite day of the year with all of my relatives gathered at my family home.

Our wedding date was 5th August 2017. We wanted a summer wedding as I’m a teacher and it gave us time to go on honeymoon after the wedding.

A Cool City Wedding in Manchester (c) James Tracey Photography (20)

We were married at St. Ann’s Church followed by the reception at King Street Town House in Manchester. We were both born in Manchester and raised in Greater Manchester, and so we wanted a city centre wedding. We dated mainly in the city and it’s a place close to both our hearts for many reasons.

We were so lucky that my uncle, Canon Chris Ford, joined the Reverend in performing the marriage ceremony. Chris was present on the altar of my aunts’ weddings and was also present at my mum and dad’s wedding as a lay reader.

A Cool City Wedding in Manchester (c) James Tracey Photography (52)

We didn’t have a theme but wanted the day to be a celebration of Manchester, from the Manchester bees running through the stationery (by Emmy Designs) to bees on the wedding cake and Manchester tart served for dessert. The devastation of the Manchester bombing, which happened so close to the wedding, made the celebration of the City and the iconic image of the bee even more poignant. The Manchester skyline looks stunning from the top floor of The King Street Town House, so we really felt we had the perfect venue for us.

Colour-wise, we went for greys, pale blushes and blues. They matched the venue’s style and were complementary colours which we both liked.

A Cool City Wedding in Manchester (c) James Tracey Photography (22)

My dress was Amanda by Ronald Joyce bought from Blush. It was the first dress I saw when browsing on the internet and was confirmed as ‘the one’ when I tried it on. The shape suited my figure and I liked the classic style and cut.

Flossy and Leigh styled hair and did makeup for me, my bridesmaids and my mum. I would strongly recommend them: they were great fun, professional and incredible at what they do. They made us feel a million dollars and took into account everyone’s different styles yet incorporated them into the theme and feel of the wedding.

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autumnal amour. charlotte balbier for a magical lake district wedding – laura & rich

January 26th, 2017 | Laura McDonagh

Charlotte Balbier for a magical Lake District Wedding (c) James Tracey Photography (41)

Today’s gorgeous couple were married at Broadoaks Country House in the heart of the Lake District.

Shabby chic vintage vibes? Check. Moody autumnal skies? Check. Jaw-dropping lakeside photographs? Check. Readers, you’re going to love this.

And flower fans, get those Pinterest-clicking fingers ready – I guarantee that this is the most beautiful bouquet you’ll see this year.

With images by James Tracey Photography

Charlotte Balbier for a magical Lake District Wedding (c) James Tracey Photography (33)

laura says: We got engaged on 29th September 2015. Rich took me to the Lake District, our favourite place, and had set up a proposal at Broadoaks Country House – we’d stayed there before and loved it. Rich had arranged for his brother to be there to secretly photograph the proposal. We had afternoon tea out on the terrace and Rich had bought a mug that said ‘Does this ring make me look engaged?’ The staff brought it out with the afternoon tea and Rich said ‘I think this is for you.’ Suddenly he was down on one knee and proposed with a ring that he’d chosen himself.

We wanted an autumn wedding and so we set the date for the 27th October 2016. We chose Broadoaks where we got engaged for our venue. Rich set up an appointment with the wedding planner there and we knew that was the only place we would want to get married.

Charlotte Balbier for a magical Lake District Wedding (c) James Tracey Photography (29)

We had a small wedding and didn’t want everyone to have to wear matching suits and so on. In fact, the whole day was really laidback. Our theme was vintage/shabby chic because I just love that style.

We didn’t really have a colour scheme. I don’t particularly like reds and oranges but wanted my flowers to reflect autumn; I eventually opted for berry colours and dusky pinks. My sister was my bridesmaid and I told her she could pick her own dress to go with the flowers, so she chose a dress in a mink colour.

Charlotte Balbier for a magical Lake District Wedding (c) James Tracey Photography (24)

I knew from the start what style of wedding dress I wanted and I had an idea in my head. I must have tried on more than 50 dresses, but none of them were right and then I found my dress at Lace and Co Bridal in Horbury, Wakefield. I knew it was the one as soon as I put it on. It was a Charlotte Balbier dress and was called Tabitha. I absolutely loved it. I thought it needed something extra, though, and my mum found a sparkly brooch which I added to the front of the dress to personalise it.

My bridal makeup was done by Lisa from Lime Beauty at Equinox in Bowness, and my hair was by Louise from Equinox. They came to the venue and were absolutely fab! I’d recommend them to anyone, they’re so friendly and put us completely at ease.

Charlotte Balbier for a magical Lake District Wedding (c) James Tracey Photography (56)

Rich decided he didn’t want to hire a suit and so he bought one from Hugo Boss that he could keep. It was a blue two piece and he added a grey waistcoat also from Hugo Boss which went really well.

For our wedding party we just had my sister, Amy, as my bridesmaid and Rich’s best friend Matt as best man. As Rich had bought his own suit, we asked Matt and my dad to wear what they wanted – they didn’t have to match.

My sister’s dress was a mink coloured 50’s style dress, which we ordered online. She also bought a pink petticoat which she wore to make her skirt flare out more.

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real wedding recap: maggie sottero for a neutral wedding at eaves hall – cara & mike

January 2nd, 2017 | Julia Braime

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 9th January 2017 but in the meantime watch out for recaps of some of our favourite Real Weddings from 2016. 

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.

An Elegant Wedding at Eaves Hall (c) James Tracey Photography (33)

Today we’re recapping the wedding of teenage sweethearts Mike and Cara, who have been together since the tender age of sixteen.

While we love to see couples going all out with an imaginative themed wedding, we also feel there’s nothing better than a celebration that is simple and elegant in its appearance, as is the case today. Bride Cara decided to steer clear of gimmicks and plan a classic and romantic big day, complete with a chic muted colour scheme and picturesque venue.

For us the stand out part of the wedding has to be Cara’s choice of attire – her Maggie Sottero fitted dress and floor-length veil are nothing short of sensational!

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

An Elegant Wedding at Eaves Hall (c) James Tracey Photography (16)

cara says: Mike proposed to me while we were staying at a boutique hotel in Manchester, The Great John Street Hotel – it was just before we were going to Australia for a year to live. In the evening we had a meal at a restaurant with Australasian cuisine and then went onto a couple of champagne bars. While we were out Mike had arranged for the hotel staff to go into our room and fill it with rose petals and candles. When we returned I went into the room and turned around to find Mike on one knee.

We set the date for 15th October 2015. I wanted an autumn wedding, as I love the oranges and reds on the trees at that time of year, and the grounds at our venue were amazing, so I wanted to make the most of them.

An Elegant Wedding at Eaves Hall (c) James Tracey Photography (40)

Our chosen venue was Eaves Hall, in Ribble Valley. We fell in love with the venue as soon as we went to visit it. It was elegant without all of the ‘old’ soft furnishings that you can tend to get with manor houses. We also loved the fact that it was completely exclusive and that the venue had 30 rooms for our guests to stay in. The good thing about the venue is that there are plenty of different rooms so people could do what they wanted. Some of the guests were dancing, whilst others were having a nice wine by the fire, with it being a mild evening some of our guests were outside and some in the bar / lounge and snooker room. It just made for a really relaxed environment where people could enjoy the day and evening.

I wanted the wedding to be simple, elegant and romantic. The venue is grand enough to keep the decorations to a minimum. I wanted our wedding to stand the test of time and so tended to stay away from gimmicks.

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laidback glam. a chic wedding with a rustic twist at the saddleworth hotel – hannah & tom

November 11th, 2016 | Alexis Forsyth

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Today on the blog we bring you a beautiful real wedding in the picturesque foothills of the Pennines.

After a three-year engagement, Hannah and Tom exchanged vows over the May bank holiday weekend, in the quaint setting of the village church in Ripponden.

Blending rustic charm with an elegant and contemporary décor – not to mention one of the most stunning balconied ballrooms we have ever seen – The Saddleworth Hotel provided the gorgeous backdrop to the couple’s memorable celebrations.

With handwritten notes to each and every guest, as well as a special donation to a charity close to their hearts – this was a wedding brimming with nostalgia and personal touches from start to finish.

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

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hannah says: We got engaged three years ago. Tom arranged for us to go away for the weekend to one of our favourite hotels. He hired a beach hut and brought along a picnic with prosecco. He pulled out the ring which he’d had made for me and, obviously, I said yes. We then headed back to the hotel, where he’d arranged to meet my parents for a meal to celebrate.

We got married on Saturday 28th May 2016. I’m a teacher so we needed a date that fitted in with the school holidays, and with a good chance of nice weather! The bank holiday weekend fell in the middle of our spring bank holiday, so it was perfect.

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We tied the knot at St Bartholomew’s Church, in Ripponden. This is our village church and it was also the church I went to whilst growing up, so it was really special to get married there.

Our reception was at The Saddleworth Hotel in Delph. It was actually the first venue we looked at, and nothing else came close. We loved the mix of old and new – the ballroom is amazing and fitted really well with our vision for the day. The double height room really is special.  The venue and grounds are absolutely stunning and the team there is brilliant; nothing is too much trouble.

We chose The Saddleworth Hotel partly because of its glamorous setting and wanted to incorporate this theme within our wedding. We wanted our day to be classic and glam, but at the same time reflect us as a couple and be laidback enough for guests to really enjoy themselves. We wanted our guests to feel special, and spot those little touches that made the day about us as a couple and as individuals. So, not an easy job!

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We didn’t have a specific colour scheme, although the bridesmaids wore blush pink dresses and the flowers were blush pink and white. Everything else we picked because we loved it and it fitted our idea for the day.

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My dress was a chiffon and beaded Justin Alexander gown, which I bought from The Harrogate Wedding Lounge. I had an idea of what I wanted when I started looking for dresses, and this was absolutely not it! But when I tried the dress on, I swished around the room and felt like an amazing version of me! It wasn’t what I set out to get, but it was the perfect dress for our day.

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