April 20th, 2017 | Rachel Parry
Here at Brides Up North HQ, we’re huge advocates of choosing a wedding photographer that’s right for you and your big day. But in order to get perfect results, it’s not just about picking your favourite style of photography, but also someone who has the professional experience, skills and equipment to capture your day without fault. After all, you only get one shot.
As the cost of a wedding can easily stack up, we appreciate the temptation to take up a ‘mates rate’ offer from your relative or friend that has a flashy camera, but an ‘all the gear and no idea’ approach is a sure recipe for disappointment.
In a bid to demonstrate the difference between images taken by a professional versus a have-a-go snapper with a DSLR camera, our Sponsor and award-winning photographer Jonny Draper, teamed up with some of the team at Lancashire wedding venue Ashfield House, and a number of other North West suppliers, to showcase how the results of each vary.
Lighting, focus and composition are just a few of the issues to look out for, but it’s certainly easy to spot the difference between the pro and amateur pics.
Here to explain more about the concept and results of the comparison shoot is Ashfield House co-owner and wedding coordinator, Katie Street.
katie says: With the average UK wedding costing £26,989* it’s no surprise that couples are faced with tough cost-saving decisions when their budgets creep up and up. It’s heartbreaking however, to hear from couples who are disappointed with their photographs after the wedding because they chose the slash their photography budget. That friend with a decent DSLR camera may have the best of intentions but will the results be good enough?
With the help of our friend and award-winning wedding photographer Jonny Draper, we decided to conduct our own side-by-side, like-for-like wedding photography experiment.
Jonny, armed with his high-end equipment and years of experience was pitched against Karen, our assistant general manager, complete with her ‘decent’ DSLR camera, and our makeup artist Kerry Baker was on hand to snap away with her camera phone too.
Your friends and family, or the hobbyist, will have incredible intentions yet, if they haven’t got the equipment or the technical expertise and continued learning, then there really is no comparison. Most of the work in photographing a wedding is before and after, hours of painstaking editing, which our average enthusiast doesn’t have the ability to get right.
Years ago, taking the actual photographs was the easy part. The processing in the dark room and time spent with chemicals could go on for days. Photography was reserved for those elite professionals who had invested in their cameras, lenses, lights and film, plus the need for a dedicated dark room. It was big business! Every high street had a celebrated photography studio and you needed to book weeks in advance to arrange your sitting for family portraits, and months in advance to secure your wedding day photography.
This day and age, you can teach yourself the necessary skills from the comfort of your own laptop, and, if you have the money, invest in the world’s best kit. But – as these images show – that doesn’t replace the skill, expertise and experience of a dedicated wedding photographer.
January 3rd, 2017 | 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 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.
Luisa and Peter pulled off the impressive feat of a winter wedding without a can of snow spray or a gilded pine cone in sight. Instead, their big day at Colshaw Hall in Cheshire, was led by an organic woodland theme, full of warm earthy tones and plenty of grown-up black-tie glamour.
The food and the playlist were particular focal points for this Manchester music-loving pair, and the following day saw the festivities extended with an aprés-ski extravaganza. So get comfortable, perhaps with a glass of Malbec or a mulled wine – go on, Luisa would definitely approve!
With images by Jonny Draper Photography
luisa says: Peter and I got engaged in Barbados. One night we went down for dinner and, instead of heading for our usual table in the restaurant, we were led down a path lined with candles that took us to a private beach and a table for two. When we sat down and opened the menus, I saw all of my favourite foods and champagne. Then a steel band appeared playing Elvis Presley’s I Can’t Help Falling In Love With You. When I looked around, Peter was down on one knee; it was a truly magical moment. He made a beautiful speech and, of course, I said yes. We spent the rest of the week celebrating and relaxing; it was just so perfect!
We chose to get married on 19th December 2015 because it was the closest Saturday to the Winter Solstice – a date important to me and my mum. We wanted a winter wedding as we felt that there were lots more options to explore in terms of the decorations and the vibe that we could create.
For the venue, we chose Colshaw Hall in Cheshire. We wanted to make sure that the event was totally private and this was the huge bonus of Colshaw: the venue and all of its grounds are hired exclusively so we wouldn’t be sharing our special day with anyone else. Secondly, as Peter’s family are based in Suffolk, we wanted to make sure that there was accommodation onsite to ensure that the wedding weekend was as easy as possible for those travelling. Having looked at quite a few venues in the area, Colshaw’s accommodation was, we felt, the most beautiful. Each room has its own stunning theme and beautiful view over the grounds. Colshaw’s Peel Suite also offered a beautiful blank canvas; no wedding looks the same there. We had hired the main house for the drinks and canapés straight after the service and this offered a unique, cosy, Christmas drinks party atmosphere.
Theme-wise, we wanted to create a natural and organic winter forest. Peter and I love walking our dog Digby up on the Edge and we wanted to recreate that same earthy, woodland environment. I wanted my wedding to be just that little bit ‘out there’, and having the trees as the centrepiece certainly achieved that goal. As our wedding was the weekend before Christmas, I think people expected us to go down the more conventional festive route and it was truly lovely seeing their reactions to the chapel and the main room. We’d focused on lots of earthy tones, such as dark greens and ambers, making sure that everything was lit by candles to create warmth.
I had chosen quite a traditional and simple gown designed by Stewart Parvin with the lace detail as a nod to my Italian heritage. My dress was bought and styled by the incredible ladies at LOVE Bridal in Cheshire. They helped accessorise my gown with a Stewart Parvin veil, lace jacket and honey-toned belt which contemporised it perfectly. My shoes were Hangisis by Manolo Blahnik; I just loved their quirkiness. In the evening, I removed the lace jacket and added a thin sparkly belt to liven it up for the dancing. I visited several bridal stores and LOVE Bridal’s service surpassed all the London boutiques. From the beautiful little cakes they serve to the ‘grand reveal’, the wonderful Emma and Clare have it covered.
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October 3rd, 2016 | Rachel Parry
Let us help you push those Monday blues to one side with this gorgeous hit of real wedding inspiration.
Keen to keep things simple, bride Sam chose an elegant colour palette of white, navy and silver, which complemented the stylish setting of Storrs Hall perfectly.
The attire of the wedding party also kept the style bar high with the groomsmen ditching jackets in favour of relaxed shirts and waistcoats and Sam looking a million dollars in her stunning mermaid style gown.
We are thrilled to see that several of our talented Sponsors featured in this wedding, including Kelly’s Event Boutique, LOVE Bridal and also photographer Jonny Draper, whose birthday it happens to be today. There’s a Jägerbomb waiting at Brides Up North HQ with your name on it JD!
With images by Brides Up North Sponsor, Jonny Draper Photography.
sam says: We got engaged in October 2013 while on holiday in Mexico. It was 18 months exactly from the day we first met. Aron had it all planned, a gorgeous dinner followed by a romantic walk along the beach at sunset. Though, this wasn’t what happened! It had been raining constantly for about five days, so to say Aron was slightly upset that the evening wasn’t going to plan was a little bit of an understatement. Instead of heading out for a walk he invited me onto the balcony of the hotel where he got down on one knee with the most beautiful ring (no small feat as I’m a jewellery designer so I know what I like!) I think he must have asked about three times before words actually came out of my mouth. I was in shock and completely over the moon! It may not have been what he had originally planned, but to me, it was perfect!
We married on 28th August 2015, at Storrs Hall in The Lake District. We had looked at so many venues that when we found Storrs Hall we jumped on the list of available dates – there weren’t many left, but the 28th August suited us even though it only left us six months to plan.
The outside space and the setting were just idyllic and being able to book Storrs Hall exclusively was an added bonus – the idea of lots of people we didn’t know wandering about on our wedding day didn’t appeal to us.
The colour scheme for the wedding was white, navy and silver. I wanted a classic and simple colour palette that reflected our style. As I’m not keen on colourful flowers we chose to have just white flowers throughout the wedding. I love the way it all pulled together on the day.
My chosen dress was an Enzoani mermaid design, which I wore with a long veil – though this only lasted about five minutes before the wind wrapped it around one of our guests! I got my dress from LOVE Bridal Boutique, which I would highly recommend to other brides-to-be. The owner Emma helped me find my dress with just six weeks to go!
On the day of the wedding I had a photo of my mum hanging from my bouquet as we lost her about four years before the wedding. This was my way of having my mum included in our special day.
Aron wore a navy three piece with a silvery grey tie, but as the sun was out he didn’t wear the jacket. Instead we decided on a relaxed look with waistcoats and sleeves rolled up. His chosen footwear was a pair of tan and navy brogues, which completed his look.
My bridesmaids wore navy maxi dresses and the groomsmen wore grey three piece suits (minus the jackets) with navy ties.
August 30th, 2016 | Julia Braime
Spring has official sprung in today’s real wedding, which features beautiful blooms in abundance!
Centring the styling of their wedding round their favourite season, Laura and Mike went to town on sensational spring arrangements with their centrepieces among the most impressive we have ever seen!
We love the fresh, pretty colour scheme that brings the whole look together and have to mention Laura’s gorgeous long-sleeved lace detailed dress – just stunning!
With images by Jonny Draper Photography.
laura says: We got engaged at the summit of Win Hill in the Peak District on my birthday, October 13th 2014. Mike had planned a romantic walk and picnic, but the weather turned and it became a battle against the autumn elements. Despite this, we had the most beautiful views into Ladybower and Hope. Mike produced a diamond ring after the picnic, but lost his composure and forgot to actually ask me ‘the question’…or even get down on one knee. After a few minutes of awkward suspense, Mike managed to ask me and I said yes.
When we first met, we discovered our mutual love for the outdoors. We would always plan days together out walking, cycling or running. Spring is our favourite time of year when the days get longer and we start to plan our summer days out. So for us, it was always going to be a spring wedding. We chose the spring bank holiday weekend to allow our guests a much-needed day off before heading back to work after the wedding.
We made a big move together over the Pennines from Leeds to Manchester for work and family reasons in 2014. We decided to live in Lymm for its easy access to open countryside, canal paths and woodland. We fell in love with the area and plan to lay down our roots and start a family here so it seemed right to marry in the area too. We had our ceremony at St Peter’s, our local church in Oughtrington, which sit sits rather majestically on the Cheshire skyline in Lymm. We always wanted a church wedding, as we believe it adds real meaning to our vows and to our marriage as a whole.
For the reception we chose Statham Lodge, a large Georgian country house near Lymm. We chose it following a meeting with their wedding coordinator, Andy Ball. He impressed us with his professionalism and warmness and we immediately entrusted him with our big day with no reservations.
Our theme was simplistic, in that the majority of the work was done by the beautiful spring scenery and weather on the day. Our flowers, decorations and outfits were chosen to complement the theme of the spring outdoors.
We chose a sky blue and lemon colour scheme with the aim of recreating a scene of daffodils, tulips and daises on a crisp sunny blue sky.
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January 22nd, 2016 | Julia Braime
Girls: stand by. We are interrupting your Friday lunch al-desko with news of another exciting date for your brand new 2016 diaries!
On the weekend of Saturday 30th January 2016, five of the North’s best luxury bridal boutiques will be showing their finest dresses in the tranquility of Gilpin Lake House, a stunning wedding venue set in 100 acres of private grounds with its own lake, swimming pool and spa.
This is a special treat for the girls (no grooms allowed!) and a rare opportunity to have unfettered access to these stunning luxury bridal boutiques, some of whom *waves to LOVE Bridal Boutique and The Bridal Collection Harrogate* are our wonderful Brides Up North Sponsors.
You will be welcomed with Champagne (of course!) and later enjoy either lunch or afternoon tea at Gilpin Hotel, where they will show you their Garden Suites (with hot tubs) and Spa Lodges with their own private spas – perfect for a minimoon or even a pre wedding getaway.
If you fancy making a girls weekend of it and book a room at Gilpin for the weekend, brides will receive a complimentary pass to The Bridal Collective at the Lake House.
Where else can you find the following designers all under one roof?!?! Stewart Parvin, Suzanne Neville, Jenny Packham, Alan Hannah, Charlotte Balbier, Sarah Seven, Ian Stuart, Charlie Brear and Sassi Holford…
Tickets are £25 per person, with a maximum of 2 tickets per bride.
Exclusive access to 5 of the North’s best luxury bridal boutiques
Complimentary transfer from Oxenholme train station (please request when booking)
Champagne on arrival at the Lake House
Lunch or afternoon tea at Gilpin Hotel (3 AA Rosettes)
Preview of the brand new Spa Lodges and Garden Suites
For full details of how to book visit The Bridal Collective website.
November 18th, 2015 | Rachel Parry
Today’s bride and groom are perhaps among the cutest we’ve had on the blog. From their sweet proposal to their personal wedding ‘promises’ and their love of dancing together, it’s clear these too are totally smitten!
Having had her dream ring placed on her finger, Sara worked with Josh to come up with a wedding day that was true reflection of them as a couple, leading to a music theme for their big day.
Get ready for moving song choices, record décor, a guitar guest book and, of course, dancing!
With images by Sophie Kerr Photography.
sara says: Our engagement came about quite suddenly and was a modern joint decision, we’d been speaking about marriage and it was always as a certain ‘when’ not an ‘if’. One Saturday shopping in Manchester Josh suggested going into a jewellers and he then started looking at rings. He kept telling me to not getting excited it was simply just for future. After a few rings being tried on he went and paid for the ring that in his words, ‘made my eyes light up’. As soon as I saw the bag I got so excited but he kept saying that I needed to put it out of my mind. We followed up our day with a trip to the Cloud 23 bar at the Hilton to raise a glass to a very exciting future. Later I was happily gazing out the window at the sunny view when I turned back to face Josh and I realised he was on one knee. Suddenly everything else disappeared – the only thing I remember him saying was, “I don’t want to be engaged to you – but I want to marry you”. To add to this a lovely couple from Bermuda had been watching, they apparently sensed something as about to happen and started taking pictures and later approached us to get our details to share them. It’s thanks to them that we now have beautiful natural pictures of one of the most important moments in our lives.
We got married on 18th April 2015. We chose this date as we both agreed that we preferred the change of seasons the most and spring 2015 fitted nicely allowing us a comfortable 18 months to plan.
We quickly decided we wanted to get married in a venue that would be exclusive to us and our guests as we wanted it to be a personal and intimate day. We found a few places that fitted in budget and with our preferences. Styal Lodge was actually the first place we went to visit and from the minute we arrived there we fell completely in love, it was perfect. We loved how neutral it was meaning we could truly make it our own and how much light and nature still felt so close due to the big windows. Above all though the reason we chose the venue is due to the people who run it. Styal Lodge’s whole focus is weddings and so everyone is so passionate and dedicated to making your day wonderful.
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