Charlotte Balbier

vintage lace and sequins. an art nouveau inspired spring styled shoot

March 3rd, 2015 | Julia Braime

Pretty Little Trio - a styled shoot by Lucy Greenhill Photography with Emma Hillier Photography (68)

We love local, and we love stylish weddings – so as well as promoting our own luxury bridal events via these pretty pages we also like to tell our readers about certain selected special events – like the massive North West Wedding Fair this weekend – or this rather lovely little event, The Exquisite Secret Vintage Wedding Fair, hosted by our friend and Brides Up North Exhibitor, Rebecca Jenkinson of Pretty Little Trio Vintage (Rebecca will be showing you what she can do at our Brides Up North Luxury & Vintage Wedding Exhibition at The Bowdon Rooms, later this month).

To celebrate the announcement of the secret location of the show, released later today, these beautiful images were curated by Rebecca and were captured by exhibitor Lucy Greenhill Photography with Emma Hillier Photography. We’re thrilled that they chose Brides Up North to show them off.

Be inspired!

Pretty Little Trio - a styled shoot by Lucy Greenhill Photography with Emma Hillier Photography (6)

rebecca says: The inspiration for our shoot was a modern interpretation of one of my favourite vintage styles, Art Nouveau, with a hint of the twenties too. I wanted to showcase our beautiful secret venue and took inspiration from the surroundings and weaved in pretty spring oranges, a hint of teal blue, deep greens and of course a beautiful dash of gold sequins and vintage elements.

Pretty Little Trio - a styled shoot by Lucy Greenhill Photography with Emma Hillier Photography (61)

Pretty Little Trio - a styled shoot by Lucy Greenhill Photography with Emma Hillier Photography (32)  Pretty Little Trio - a styled shoot by Lucy Greenhill Photography with Emma Hillier Photography (31)

For the shoot we wanted to produce images that could be easily interpreted as inspiration for real wedding days rather than anything too aspirational so the general brief we took was everything was to be beautiful but achievable.

When planning the shoot, in the same way as many brides planning their wedding ideas, I found Pinterest a huge help in pulling thoughts together. I selected ideas for colours, dresses, hairstyles, makeup, props, stationery, cakes and lots of other details and then shared the board with the team ahead of the day so we could all add our skills to bringing the vision together.

Pretty Little Trio - a styled shoot by Lucy Greenhill Photography with Emma Hillier Photography (65)

Pretty Little Trio - a styled shoot by Lucy Greenhill Photography with Emma Hillier Photography (66)

Pretty Little Trio - a styled shoot by Lucy Greenhill Photography with Emma Hillier Photography (21)

Pretty Little Trio - a styled shoot by Lucy Greenhill Photography with Emma Hillier Photography (11)

The lovely images were captured by Lucy Greenhill Photography with second shooting by Emma Hillier Photography, both creative, great fun and lovely people to work with.

Pretty Little Trio - a styled shoot by Lucy Greenhill Photography with Emma Hillier Photography (62)

Our bride Charlotte was dressed by Fiona of The Wedding Boutique Cheshire, all the stunning designs are from the Felicity Cooper Collection and are exclusively designed and crafted by Fiona in her boutique where she takes inspiration from vintage styles and materials. She is going to be debuting her latest collection at London Bridal Fashion Week in May, I’m so excited for her.

Charlotte’s pretty hair and make up are by the amazingly skilled Sophie, part of the fabulous Manchester based Bethany Jane Davies - Vintage Beauty Parlour.

Pretty Little Trio - a styled shoot by Lucy Greenhill Photography with Emma Hillier Photography (50)

The stunning flowers are by the super talented Heather at Living Colour Floral Design, there is literally no vintage style this girl can’t master for you whilst giving it a contemporary feel too.

Pretty Little Trio - a styled shoot by Lucy Greenhill Photography with Emma Hillier Photography (46)

All the beautiful stationery, so perfectly vintage, is created by Emma at Hattie Boo Designs. It has a real vintage heritage being based on wedding stationery found in an old wooden box from the wedding of Emma’s Nanna’s Husband’s first marriage in the 1920’s!

Pretty Little Trio - a styled shoot by Lucy Greenhill Photography with Emma Hillier Photography (63)

The beautiful swirly icing art nouveau inspired white and gold tiered cake was created by Manchester based Beth at Cakes by Beth. She is a total genius and can turn her hand to any idea you might have and they taste phenomenal too!

Pretty Little Trio - a styled shoot by Lucy Greenhill Photography with Emma Hillier Photography (19)

Pretty Little Trio - a styled shoot by Lucy Greenhill Photography with Emma Hillier Photography (49)

Pretty Little Trio - a styled shoot by Lucy Greenhill Photography with Emma Hillier Photography (2)

I supplied all the vintage china, suitcases, books and other props through my vintage hire company with the look completed with dazzling table cloths from lovely Helen at Pudding Bridge, who hires nationwide.

Pretty Little Trio - a styled shoot by Lucy Greenhill Photography with Emma Hillier Photography (34)

The team involved in the shoot are just some of our wonderful exhibitors, I’d definitely recommend any one planning their day with a vintage flavour to come along on the 8th March to enjoy the event and meet our lovely exhibitors.

The Exquisite Secret Vintage Wedding Fair returns to Manchester city centre for its second year this Sunday the 8th March 2015. It is a vintage wedding fair with a bit of a difference, as the exact location is a total secret until just days 5 before when the secret venue is unveiled. (That’s today!)

Tickets are £2.50 in advance (£5.00 on the door) and £10.00 for group tickets.

Pretty Little Trio - a styled shoot by Lucy Greenhill Photography with Emma Hillier Photography (3)

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urban delight. rich jewel hues for a stylish city centre wedding at the palace hotel, manchester – kate & chris

February 12th, 2015 | Julia Braime

a colourful wedding at The Palace Hotel in Manchester - Kate & Chris (50)

I do love a stunning piece of architecture and clearly so too do today’s real wedding couple Kate and Chris, who picked Manchester’s beautiful Palace Hotel in which to tie the knot.

Its regal marble floors, wood panelling and domed ceiling provided a stunning backdrop for the couple’s vows and evening reception. During the day the new Mr and Mrs headed out onto the streets of Manchester with their photographer James Tracey, for some edgy urban shots which contrast beautifully with those taken inside The Palace.

In addition to a great location, highlights of Kate and Chris’s big day include an opulent colour scheme, delicious food and toe-tapping entertainment. Enjoy!

With images by James Tracey Photography.

a colourful wedding at The Palace Hotel in Manchester - Kate & Chris (6)

kate says: We got engaged on Christmas Day 2013. I had an idea Chris might propose but when I opened all my presents and there was no ring I have to admit I was a bit disappointed. However later in the day Chris surprised me by asking me to marry him and gave me a beautiful ring. As it was Christmas it was great being with family to help celebrate our engagement.

a colourful wedding at The Palace Hotel in Manchester - Kate & Chris (9)

Our wedding date was 4th October 2014. We knew we wanted a local wedding but we weren’t too bothered about it being in the summer months as you can’t guarantee the British weather. Instead we decided on early October as it was just out of season but we though the weather wouldn’t be too wintery.

We got married at The Palace Hotel in Manchester city centre. We wanted our ceremony and reception all in one venue but wanted to find somewhere with character which is why we both loved The Palace Hotel. As soon as we walked into the hotel and saw the domed ceiling we both knew it was right for us. We also thought that the hotel would be a great backdrop for our photographs in case the weather was really bad and we couldn’t have any outside, but luckily on the day we were able to get a mixture of both.

I’d definitely recommend The Palace Hotel as a wedding venue. It’s a beautiful setting for a wedding and the layout works really well. We liked the fact that the ceremony room was separate to where we had our wedding breakfast and the bar area had plenty of space for all the guests. The wedding organisers were very helpful, and on the day the service and staff were great. We didn’t have to worry about anything which is what you want on your wedding day.

a colourful wedding at The Palace Hotel in Manchester - Kate & Chris (10)

When looking for wedding inspiration I loved rich, jewel colours, which I thought would be perfect for an autumnal wedding rather than the more pastel shades that you often see in spring and summer.  We decided to go for two colours in the end, a deep purple and a teal colour. The teal bridesmaid dresses were the first things I bought and I thought matching the exact colour of the dresses might be difficult which is why we introduced the purple colour. I loved the fact we had two colours and that everything didn’t have to match.

a colourful wedding at The Palace Hotel in Manchester - Kate & Chris (12)

I love sparkles and lace so my wedding dress was the perfect combination of both. The dress was by Ellis from the Blossom Collection. I bought it from Timeless Bride in Poynton. Janine, the owner, is lovely and made the whole experience really great. I saw the dress on the shop’s website and when I tried it on I knew it was the one! I loved the keyhole back design and little details such as the staggered button back and the floral gem waistband, which made it different to other dresses I tried on.

a colourful wedding at The Palace Hotel in Manchester - Kate & Chris (13)

Chris chose his own suit and I didn’t see it until the morning of the wedding! He did a brilliant job. He wore a navy blue morning suit with a dove grey waistcoat and gold tie. He hired the suit from Swarbricks but bought his shirt and tie from Charles Tyrwhitt.

a colourful wedding at The Palace Hotel in Manchester - Kate & Chris (15)

My four best friends who were my bridesmaids wore floor-length teal dresses from Coast. I actually got them in the January sales so they were a great bargain. The groomsmen wore the same navy blue morning suits and grey waistcoat as Chris. We also bought the shirts and ties for them but they wore purple ties rather than gold.

a colourful wedding at The Palace Hotel in Manchester - Kate & Chris (25)

A soon as I booked the wedding I knew I wanted Donna Crompton at The Halo Rooms to do mine and my bridesmaids’ hair. She’s fantastic at up dos and is great for ideas and inspiration. Donna also put me in touch with Louise Elliott, a freelance makeup artist who did my makeup on the day. It was great being pampered on the morning of the wedding and not having to worry about anything.

a colourful wedding at The Palace Hotel in Manchester - Kate & Chris (27)

I decided I didn’t want to spend a lot on transport to the venue so I travelled in a black cab to the hotel with my brother who gave me away. My bridesmaids followed behind in a separate taxi. Chris stayed at the Palace Hotel the night before the wedding so he had no excuses for being late!

a colourful wedding at The Palace Hotel in Manchester - Kate & Chris (28)

We used James Tracey Photography for our photos, who we booked after he photographed my brother’s wedding the previous year. We loved James’ style of photography; he’s really friendly but also very professional and talented. He captured our day perfectly and we are so pleased with the lasting memories of our wedding day. We ended up with a great mix of more traditional and contemporary photos, especially the ones he took around Manchester city centre. I’d absolutely recommend James.

a colourful wedding at The Palace Hotel in Manchester - Kate & Chris (29)

Before the wedding, I had a craft day with my bridesmaids where we created our bouquets. I liked that with artificial flowers I could create exactly what I wanted and not be restricted by what was available in terms of types of flowers and colours. It was also a cheaper alternative to fresh flowers and I’m able to keep my bouquet forever.

The Palace Hotel was great and helped with setting up our room on the day of the wedding. I had in my mind how I wanted the room to look and they recreated it perfectly. I provided mirrors, tea lights and scatter crystals for the guests’ tables and the hotel provided the candelabra. For the top table we had floating candles in glass vases as well as my bridesmaid bouquets. We also used Divine Designs who provided white chair covers with a purple sash to finish the room off.

a colourful wedding at The Palace Hotel in Manchester - Kate & Chris (34)

Our favours also doubled up as our name places. Each guest had their name printed on a traditional sweetshop paper bag which we filled with a few pick ‘n’ mix sweets. Keeping on the sweet theme, our wedding cake was a gift from Chris’ parents. It was made by Joanne Howson at Imagicakes. It was three tiers – chocolate, lemon and carrot cake in a ‘bling and rose’ design. It looked stunning but it also tasted delicious!

a colourful wedding at The Palace Hotel in Manchester - Kate & Chris (41)

We both love music and knew we wanted some sort of entertainment for our evening reception. In the end we booked the Live Lounge Duo who are Danny Lee and Gary Kirk. They played a great mix of songs that got everyone up on the dance floor straight away. As part of our package they also provided a DJ, which was great for keeping the party going until late.

We also had a photo booth set up for the evening reception, which was great fun. All the guests enjoyed getting dressed up with the props they provide. The photos are printed instantly which was perfect as the guests all went home with a memento from the wedding. We hired the booth for a couple of hours from Phil Burdge at Digi-booth.net.

a colourful wedding at The Palace Hotel in Manchester - Kate & Chris (47)

It’s hard to say my favourite part of the day as I really did love every minute of it, it’s such a special feeling. I think we both enjoyed the evening reception when the party got started. It’s so nice to have all your friends and family together celebrating with you and having a good time.

a colourful wedding at The Palace Hotel in Manchester - Kate & Chris (54)

We went on a two week road trip to Las Vegas and California as we wanted an action packed honeymoon. We spent five nights in Vegas and then flew to San Diego for a couple of nights. From there we drove up the Pacific highway stopping at various places such as LA and Santa Barbara before we reached San Francisco for the last part of our honeymoon. It was amazing!

My top tip for other Brides Up North would be decide on the things that matter the most to you both about your day and spend your wedding budget on these things. It’s easy to get carried away and stress over things that won’t even matter to you on the day. Most of all, remember to enjoy it and have fun!

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lost in love. a styled bridal shoot in Manchester

December 1st, 2014 | Julia Braime

Isla Jean Bridal - Lost In Love  (55)

On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me… this bloomin’ beautiful styled bridal shoot in the heart of Manchester City Centre, that’s what.

Iconic backdrops, sexy styling and seriously stunning gowns.  What’s not to adore about this beautiful collection of images, styled by Vicky of Isla Jean Bridal Boutique and with images by Claire Penn Photography.

Let’s get lost in love…

Isla Jean Bridal - Lost In Love  (9)

vicky says: The concept for the shoot was created whilst driving along Deansgate in Manchester at the height of rush hour.  Imagine being in such love with your other half that you are unaware of the people around you.

I decided that the new gowns from Belle and Bunty would be perfect dresses to fit in with my vision and I ended up running out of daylight time to fit all the planned gowns in!

Isla Jean Bridal - Lost In Love  (15)

I decided to get in touch with a good friend, the amazing Claire Penn and asking whether she would like to be involved. She said yes straight away! From that point I started my mood board on the priceless Pinterest gathering images showing couples posing and being ‘connected’. This was mainly so I had some visual reference to show the models which would help to guide them.

After choosing the most gorgeous models, Erin and Tom (Nemesis Manchester) the date and destination was set.

Isla Jean Bridal - Lost In Love  (17)

Isla Jean Bridal - Lost In Love  (18)

The day ran really smoothly and the models, as you will see from the images just completely understood what we were trying to achieve and whilst only meeting hours earlier, really made it look like they had known each other for years and, best of all looked like they were utterly in love!

Isla Jean Bridal - Lost In Love  (19)

Isla Jean Bridal - Lost In Love  (22)

As a Northern girl, I absolutely wanted to capture some of the most iconic landmarks in the city and we got to shoot in Piccadilly Train Station, Deansgate, The Great Northern Courtyard, the infamous Market Street and Liverpool Street.  I love the rawness  and honesty of both Market and Liverpool Street. As we were just about to call it a day in the train station, we were lucky to have a train just pulling in so managed to have the final images with lots of commuters passing us by. Needless to say we all finished on a massive high!

Isla Jean Bridal - Lost In Love  (27)

The hair and make up was done by the lovely Sophie of Make Up by Sophie Battersby who specialises in all make up and hair but really excels in the vintage era look.

Isla Jean Bridal - Lost In Love  (34)

The photography by Claire Penn, captured my vision perfectly, using natural light and femininity Claire has managed to put my vision in images. Claire and I have worked together now on a couple of occasions and I have got to say I am so thankful to Claire as she has just understood me from day one.

Isla Jean Bridal - Lost In Love  (39)

Isla Jean Bridal - Lost In Love  (42)

The dresses!

I had a list of dresses I wanted to show but actually in real time, got to use four.   There are only so many hours in a day!

The dresses used were from the most lovely designers Belle and Bunty and the wonderful Lucille from Eliza Jane Howell. Each dress has movement and details, whether it be the detail of the beads or the sheer simplicity of beautiful silks each has its own magic. I wanted to show the movement of the gowns and how bringing style and the unexpected shapes of a gown really can make the most beautiful wedding gown.

Isla Jean Bridal - Lost In Love  (48)

The gorgeous wedding heels were by Charlotte Mills Bridal and flowers by Bloomin’ Lovely.

Isla Jean Bridal - Lost In Love  (52)

Isla Jean Bridal - Lost In Love  (61)

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silver screen. jenny packham for a 1920s inspired cinema wedding in Manchester – melanie & chris

September 22nd, 2014 | Julia Braime

a wedding at the Castlefield Rooms (c) Miki2 Photography (25)

Let’s get the week of to a really fabulous start with this old Hollywood inspired – and super cool – cinema wedding in Manchester, sent to me by Brides Up North Sponsor Andrea of Fabulous Day wedding planning, and real bride Melanie.

Popcorn at the ready.  Roll film.

With images by Miki Photography.

a wedding at the Castlefield Rooms (c) Miki2 Photography (4)

Melanie says: We got engaged in Wembley Stadium. We had spent the day at Wembley waiting to see my favourite artist Bruce Springsteen. When he played an acoustic version of Thunder Road to finish the set, Chris got down on one knee in the middle of the crowd and asked me to marry him. Of course, I said yes!

We were married on 7th June 2014. With a World Cup year and Glastonbury tickets booked we were limited to which dates we could pick, we would hate to miss an important football match! The 7th June was sports and festival free! Our engagement was just under one year which was the timeframe we wanted.

We chose Cornerhouse Cinema on Oxford Road in Manchester. We wanted somewhere that we had been before and had a connection with. We’re not church people and we felt that the town hall was a right of passage for Mancunians – which neither of us are! So when we realised the Cornerhouse was licensed to do weddings, it was an easy decision to make. We go there regularly and it’s somewhere we enjoy spending time.

The cinema venue seemed to naturally lend itself to influence the theme for the day which was 1920s Hollywood glamour.

Tying in with the theme, we tried to keep the colours classic with deep navy, burgundy and rosewater (bridesmaid dresses) the main colours. The groom and the best men were in navy and our flowers were a mix of nude, rosewater and burgundy.

a wedding at the Castlefield Rooms (c) Miki2 Photography (6)

My dress was ‘Eden’ by Jenny Packham which I bought from The White Closet in Didsbury.

Anyone who knows me will not that I’m not the girliest girl or someone who would be naturally drawn to a floor-length dress. I always thought I was too short to wear one. Originally I was looking for a tea-length dress. So I tried on many beautiful dresses but nothing seemed to click. Then the lady at The White Closet suggested ‘Eden’, immediately I said it wouldn’t suit me but she encouraged me to try it ‘even just to rule it out’, when I put it on I couldn’t believe how it looked and I knew straight away that this was the dress for such a special occasion.

Chris wore a tailor made suit which was made in Italy but measured and designed at Doherty Evans & Stott in Manchester. It wasn’t cheap but their service was perfect, not too stuffy but very informative in terms of etiquettes. Chris learned some valuable life lessons!

The bridesmaids wore floor length twobirds dresses in Rosewater, ordered through The White Closet and the groomsmen wore navy blue suits from Austin Reed.

I carried an orchid bouquet, provided by a great little florist in the Northern Quarter called Frog Flowers.

a wedding at the Castlefield Rooms (c) Miki2 Photography (7)

I was chauffeured to the venue in a classic Jaguar. It was beautiful, really classy and fitted with our theme really nicely. It was provided by Platinum Wedding Cars who were great, particularly the driver who held the brolly at the photo shoot with aplomb!

a wedding at the Castlefield Rooms (c) Miki2 Photography (8)

Mick from Miki Photography was our photographer on the day and I would 100% recommend him to anyone. He was upbeat, organised and a total pro on the day, as well as being a great guy and easy to get along with.

Mick made us feel comfortable and relaxed and played a big part in bringing a relaxed atmosphere to the wedding.

a wedding at the Castlefield Rooms (c) Miki2 Photography (12)

We packaged up traditional cinema sweets to give out to the guests: popcorn for some and pick and mix for others.

a wedding at the Castlefield Rooms (c) Miki2 Photography (15)

We had a beer brewed for the occasion – a light, citrus IPA (my favourite) from local Manchester brewery Blackjack Beers.

We had a four-course menu of asparagus with pancetta, sea bass, steak and then chocolate brownie. The first two courses were paired with a white Gavi and the latter were paired with a red Nero D’avola. During the meal tasting we tried several wines and we felt like these were the best options to suit all tastes.

We wanted a four course menu to extend the length of the meal to really appreciate and enjoy it. We followed the meal with a special selection of Whisky, Port and Sherry chosen by my father.

We had a red velvet two-tiered cake with coconut buttercream icing piped in a floral pattern. The cake was made by Bakeorama (Charlotte) who provides the cakes for Home Sweet Home in the Northern Quarter.

a wedding at the Castlefield Rooms (c) Miki2 Photography (17)

My favourite part of the day was the drinks reception we had at the Cornerhouse immediately after the ceremony, and it was just a great chance to go and soak up everyone’s excitement and share that feeling with all our close friends and family.

a wedding at the Castlefield Rooms (c) Miki2 Photography (21)

We used props and uplighters from i Catching based in Hyde. The props were really cool, and they were really helpful and easy to deal with so would definitely recommend them as well.

a wedding at the Castlefield Rooms (c) Miki2 Photography (24)

In the evening, we had a photo booth with fancy-dress accessories which provided good fun for everyone.

We also had a local band, The Coolers, play two fantastic sets. Our good friend Roger Hughes works in the music industry organising session bands and wedding bands so we left the music in his more than capable hands, he even played keyboard on the night!

a wedding at the Castlefield Rooms (c) Miki2 Photography (26)

We were getting a lot of help from my Dad and Step-mum in organising the wedding, and since they were living abroad at the time they decided to get some help with a wedding planner, Andrea from Fabulous Day. At first we weren’t sure we needed it, but by the end of the day we knew the day wouldn’t have been the same without her. Absolutely everything was taken care of and we were all able to relax and totally enjoy the day. 100% recommend her services to anyone.

a wedding at the Castlefield Rooms (c) Miki2 Photography (32)

We went to Croatia two days after the wedding. We spent the first four nights in a private villa on Vis Island in the middle of the Adriatic Sea. It was lovely and peaceful where we could just relax in the aftermath of the wedding. We then had three nights in Split, just as the World Cup started, so we were able to catch some games on the big screens!

a wedding at the Castlefield Rooms (c) Miki2 Photography (36)

Everybody advised us to soak up every moment of the day and try to take it all in because it goes by in a flash. This was brilliant advice and I think we both tried to do it and really enjoy every minute of the day. There were some nerves at times, but we didn’t let it get the better of us and we just had enjoyed the day.

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summer lovin’. a wedding in manchester – samantha & ben

August 6th, 2014 | Julia Braime

a summer wedding at Manchester Town Hall (c) Victoria Franks Photography  (14)

This afternoon wedding photographer Samantha Broadley finds herself on the other side of the lens, as she shares her bright and beautiful (destination) wedding in Manchester with Brides Up North.

With images by Victoria Franks Photography.

a summer wedding at Manchester Town Hall (c) Victoria Franks Photography  (5)

Samantha says: We were married on 26th July 2013. I’ve always wanted a summer wedding in the hope we might get some sunshine, and we did!

We tied the knot at Manchester Town Hall. Neither of us are from Manchester but it is where we met and where we have started our lives together, so Manchester will always have a special place in our hearts. As well as the exterior of the building the interior is beautiful and believe it or not, not a lot of people have been inside.  None of our guests had a clue what it was like, so they were blown away with the grandeur of it all. The reception was at The Mere Golf Resort and Spa, just because it’s quite simply beautiful, and had all the facilities we wanted.

We didn’t have a specific theme, but a lot did revolve around Manchester. My invites and name cards for the tables all had Manchester skyline on them.  Our table names were places we’d been together that were special, for example, Brooklyn Bridge as we walked across there for my 21st, Syndey ANZ Stadium as we watched Australia v New Zealand there (Ben’s a big rugby fan) and our top table was of course  Manchester Town Hall.

a summer wedding at Manchester Town Hall (c) Victoria Franks Photography  (12)

a summer wedding at Manchester Town Hall (c) Victoria Franks Photography  (20)

Being a wedding photographer, I have seen lots of different colour themes and I wanted something different. I would have loved to get married abroad but our grandparents wouldn’t have been able to fly and it was important to us to have them there. I wanted to bring the brightness and boldness of a destination wedding to Manchester, so I chose shades of teal with coral and pink flowers.

I chose a Mori Lee dress from The Bridal Collection in Lancaster. I was torn between two dresses, both completely different.  One had a lot of lace detail and was a fish tail, the other had more ruffles and had a sweet heart neckline. I decided to go for the ruffles as it reminded me of a Spanish flamenco dress, again bringing the abroad feel back in for me.

Ben wore a light grey three piece suit from Slaters in Manchester. We bought the suits instead of hiring them, after all he’s more likely to wear his suit again than I am to wear my dress.

The Bridesmaid dresses were from In Wedding Dress, I was very conscious of the price of the bridesmaids dresses as I had six attendants, so I spent a lot of time researching.

a summer wedding at Manchester Town Hall (c) Victoria Franks Photography  (19)

I’m not very good with flowers, knowing the names and what’s in season. I just found a few pictures of the sort of bouquet I liked, I showed the lovely florists my pictures and colour ideas at Lune Valley Home & Garden Florist and they came up with the rest. My trust in them was well placed my flowers were beautiful.

Decor wise, I bought paper lanterns which were hung in the trees outside in the garden at The Mere Golf Resort with fairy lights wrapped round the terrace. We dotted some vintage style tea light holders around the tables outside. We had table flowers included in our package and I just paid a bit extra to have a few more flowers added. The entertainment was more important to me rather than decorating the room.

For the ceremony and for the arrival drinks we booked a singer and guitarist called Rob Yates, I’ve seen him at a number of other weddings and I’ve always loved what he does.

We also had a singing waiter, Jamie Reeves. After being to so many weddings I know there can be a little lull after the desserts waiting for the speeches and this is when Jamie came in.  He was a complete surprise to everyone especially as he’d been serving most of them earlier. Only Ben, my maid of honour and I knew about him, so to see everyone’s faces was so funny.

We knew what we wanted from the very beginning for our favours. Ben sadly lost his Dad when he was 11 to Cancer so instead of spending money on little presents for everyone we donated money to Cancer Research and we had the ribbon badges. It’s lovely looking back at the pictures as everyone’s wearing them so in a way it’s like Ben’s Dad was there.

Ben and I are known for having parties and making Vodka Jellies, so we couldn’t have the biggest party of our lives go without them. They were supposed to be welcome drinks for our evening guests but I don’t think they got a look in!

a summer wedding at Manchester Town Hall (c) Victoria Franks Photography  (25)

The transport was very important to me on the day and my dad let us use his pride and joy, his Mercedes SL convertible. I was praying for sunshine so we could have the roof down and it worked. My Dad drove me from The Mere Golf Resort where we got ready to the Town Hall, it was nice as we got time completely on our own. Then after the Ceremony Ben drove me back and my Dad had a ‘Just Married’ reg plate made for the photographs which was a nice surprise.

Being a photographer the photographs where at the top of my to do list so as soon as I had the venues booked the photographer was next, as I know how soon dates can go. I chose my friend Victoria Franks Photography. I was more than happy with the photographs. On the day she was amazing, it’s so important you get along with your photographer as you do spend a lot of time with them on the day, so it’s good to have someone you can feel relaxed and have a laugh with.

a summer wedding at Manchester Town Hall (c) Victoria Franks Photography  (23)

We loved all of it, but I thinkmy favourite moment was the first dance.  When Ben proposed he also bought me tickets to see Coldplay at the Etihad in Manchester and  it was amazing. We wanted to relive that experience for our first dance so chose ‘Paradise’.  Everyone loved it and got involved, all the people you love on one dance first floor, perfect.

a summer wedding at Manchester Town Hall (c) Victoria Franks Photography  (37)

We went travelling in 2009 and one of the places we never got to was Malaysia so it was on the top of our list when it came to our honeymoon. As the weather over there isn’t great in July we went to Palma in Majorca for a mini moon for three nights the day after the wedding but  I couldn’t wait for the main one.  We went away for three weeks over Christmas and New Year. It was nice to have a break between the wedding and the real honeymoon, it meant it wasn’t all over straight away.

We started off in Kuala Lumpur for 3 nights, then over to Langkawi for 8 Days, Penang for Christmas, finishing it off in our favourite place for New Years Eve in Singapore. It was all amazing, if only every holiday could be like that.

a summer wedding at Manchester Town Hall (c) Victoria Franks Photography  (47)

My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to make it as personal as you can, don’t get wrapped up in what a wedding ‘should be’ and do what you both want to do.

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