Brides Up North

Real Wedding Recap Summer 2013: A Jenny Packham Gown For A Chic Real Wedding At The Baltic Centre For Contemporary Art – Emily & Jonny

June 24th, 2013 | Julia Braime

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Its holiday season here on the blog, and as the team take a break until to rest and recharge for the second half of what’s set to be the biggest and best year year yet at Brides Up North HQ, we’ll be leaving you with a reduced blogging schedule so that you still get your daily dose of wedding pretty. 

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Usual service will recommence on 1st July 2013,  but in the meantime watch out for recaps of our favourite Real Weddings so far in 2013, plenty of eye candy, new features that we won’t be able to wait to share, some special supplier showcases and a couple of surprises too!

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Katy Melling Photography

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These pages just seem to be getting prettier and prettier…first shared on the wedding blog at the beginning of April, today we join Emily and John for their cool and contemporary Real Wedding on the banks of the River Tyne.  With imagery by Katy Melling Photography

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Emily says:  Jonny asked me to marry him in November 2011 in the New Forest and we were married on 23 June 2012 at The Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art in Gateshead.  We chose the Baltic as we loved the views of the quayside and the feeling of space the venue offered.

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We wanted a modern yet relaxed look and I hope that’s what we achieved.  We chose accent colours of grey/silver and white -  we wanted to go for colours that would compliment the venue and give us a classic look.

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I wore a Jenny Packham gown which I was lucky enough to snap up at a sample sale in London and a bird cage head piece which I got from Browns Brides. I loved my dress and wish I could find an excuse to wear it again! Jonny wore a Spencer Hart suit.

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Katy Melling Photography

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The floor length silver bridesmaids dresses were from Monsoon. We had so many groomsmen that we simply asked them all to wear their own grey suits which was a bit risky as we didn’t have the chance to see them beforehand. Luckily they didn’t let us down and all scrubbed up very well! 

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Katy Melling Photography

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Our flowers were from 5th Avenue Flowers on Queen Street in Newcastle – they did an amazing job.

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Katy Melling Photography

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Katy Melling Photography

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We used Louise Lunn Makeup Artist and Katy Melling Photography both of whom we would highly recommend. We  were also very happy with the Malmaison Hotel where the bridal party got ready and where we stayed after the celebrations had finished.

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Katy Melling Photography

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A friend of the family very kindly put a ribbon on his posh car and drove me and the bridesmaids over the bridge from the Malmaison, where we were staying, to the venue.

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Our favourite part of the day was probably the ceremony – it felt very special to be standing in front of such a lovely view of the Tyne saying our vows in front of all our friends and family. We also loved the evening celebrations – it was a relief to be able to let our hair down once the formalities were all over.

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A friend of my mother in law made the cake which was a delicious chocolate ganache with white chocolate icing. 

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We hired The Paul James Band to provide the music and we were really happy with the results. 

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We honeymooned in Cordoba in Spain.

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Katy Melling Photography

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My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to do all they can to ensure that the staff at the venue know exactly what they expect in advance so that they can relax on the day. It’s over so quickly and you don’t want to be worrying about the finer details on the day.

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Katy Melling Photography

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Katy Melling Photography

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Congratulations Emily & Jonny!

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Fancy seeing your big day on these pages?  Here’s how.  I can’t wait to hear from you.

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog – Images © 2013 Katy Melling Photography

This is not a sponsored post

Contact Brides Up North to submit your business as a Featured Supplier

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Fabulous Photographer! Jamie Penfold Photography PLUS A Free Cherish The Dress Shoot For Wedding Blog Readers!

June 3rd, 2013 | Julia Braime

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Jamie Penfold Photography

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With a double daily blog schedule, I often get asked if I get writers block.  My answer?  Hardly ever.  I absolutely love talking about weddings.  But sometimes, a submission or set of images will leave me speechless.  The work of Brides Up North Featured Supplier Jamie Penfold Photography will do that to you.

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Let’s meet this talented (and thoroughly nice) North East wedding photographer.  

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Jamie Penfold Photography

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Jamie Penfold Photography

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How did you get into wedding photography?

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For as long as I can remember I’ve had a camera.  My dad was always a keen photographer and always tried to copy him but he wouldn’t let me anywhere near his camera. I think I got my first camera when I was five.  Nothing special but it went everywhere with me.  From that point my interest grew and throughout university I was always out and about with my camera capturing the scenes around me.  I had never thought about wedding photography until my wedding in 2000.  The photography was a disaster.  That disappointment was gut wrenching.  My friends started asking me to capture their weddings and knowing what that disappointment felt like pushed me.  My first wedding was just over 10 years ago.  Up until 2010 I was doing my photography alongside my full time job (business advisor) but I was made redundant as part of the government cut backs and that’s when I took the plunge to do it full-time.  Since then I’ve gained my Licentiate qualification with the British Institute of Professional Photography and going through the process with the Master Photographers Association.  It’s been a lot of hard work to get to where I am but it’s worth all the blood sweat and tears.  I’m now capturing weddings across the UK and Europe. 

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Jamie Penfold Photography

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Why wedding photography specifically?

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As I mentioned before it all started on July 22nd 2000.  Joanne and I got married in Amble, Northumberland but planned it all from Southampton where we lived at the time.  We went with the only photographer we knew and didn’t do our research.  It was something we regret to this day.  Our photographer didn’t make any effort to connect with us and was a nightmare on the day.  The images were flat, dull and didn’t reflect us or our day.  When my friends saw the pictures and how disappointed we were their reactions were all the same…  there is no way you would do that to anyone and you could do a million times better.  I did a couple of weddings (reluctantly at first as I was really unsure) but loved it.  I can’t rewind and reshoot my wedding.  This is my way of putting right what went wrong with mine.  I’m spurred on by that disappointment and seeing my couples reactions is just mind-blowing. 

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What is your favourite thing about being a wedding photographer?

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I love the variety of weddings, the different personalities, the colours… its such a buzz!  My job is definitely not boring!  I get to share those really special moments and capture them forever. 

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Jamie Penfold Photography

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How do you get couples to relax on the day?

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It depends on the couple on the actually day itself.  But with all of them it’s a case of getting to know them from the point of booking.  Getting to know their personalities, their likes and dislikes, and then looking at their ideas for their wedding.  Building that rapport and getting to know each other is as important part of the process as the images.  The pre wedding shoot is part of that process too. People seem to get scared of the camera.  I’D rather people are nervous at the pre wedding shoot than on the wedding day.  By the time we get to the big day it’s like having a friend arriving to shoot the day.  I have such a blast shooting weddings….it’s a great day and should be fun and I try to get that across to my couples.  Enjoy it!  I’Ve been told my enthusiasm is infectious which I think helps.

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Jamie Penfold Photography

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Any advice to any brides who don’t like to have their picture taken?

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I think over the past 10 years most of my brides have initially said they hate having their picture taken.  As I always say to my couples "ignore the fact that I am there which won’t be difficult as you’re going to get completely swept up in the emotion and fun of the day".  The simple rule of thumb I have is don’t panic.  There’s no need!  If you don’t feel comfortable "posing" we won’t do "posing".  I’Ll capture you enjoying your day, the emotions and the "gone in a second" moments.  One of the brides I worked with last year, Helena, was terrified at the thought of having her photo taken.  For the pre wedding shoot we picked a quiet beach and spent some time chatting, talking through the process, finding out what she disliked about having her photo taken.  I then began taking pictures, encouraging her, talking to her about everything and anything and most importantly showing her the pictures on the camera.  On her wedding day she was so relaxed with the camera.  She was recently a bridesmaid at her friends wedding which I shot (another bride who hated the idea of having her picture taken) and was so at ease with getting her photo taken yet again.

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Jamie Penfold Photography

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What sort of makeup should a bride wear to look great in her pictures?

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I have to agree with the make up artists I work closely with who always recommend staying true to yourself. So no smoky eyes if you normally just wear mascara. You want the make up to bring out your best features. And remember, sometimes less is more!

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Anything to avoid which might look bad in the wedding pictures?

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My golden rule is "if it bends, bend it".  I prefer not having straight arms in the pictures where possible as it makes people look really tense at times.  And the phantom hand around the waist!  It’s simple little things like this that I look for before capturing a shot.  Takes seconds to put right but makes such a difference. 

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Jamie Penfold Photography

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Which celebrity wedding would you most like to photograph and why?

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Joey Essex and Sam Faiers.  I’m a Geordie with Essex roots…what can I say!  I love TOWIE as cheesy as it is!  You just know that the wedding will be way over the top packed with a good mixture of drama and fun! 

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Any really memorable weddings that you have captured?

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Many, but Zara and Jonny’s sticks in my mind.  I can safely say that I have never cried as much at a wedding as theirs.  Jonny’s dad had passed away so there was a lot of emphasis on his memory throughout the ceremony.  The readings just tugged at the heart strings, not just about his dad but the pure electric love these two had (have) for each other.  I was hiding behind my camera looking around and not a person had a dry eye.  The registrars were in tears.  I was breaking my heart! 

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It was also brilliantly stylish.  Zara was wearing the most stunning dress from House of Mooshki!  It was a 1950s style dress and she had the most amazing pink sparkly shoes complete with ice creams on them.  Heart   shaped sunglasses, horse drawn carriage, VW Camper Van for the adult bridesmaids, a 1950s style police car for the page boys and flower girls.  It was a perfect day in the sun at Washington Old Hall followed by an English Tea Party! 

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I’ve also shot a couple of weddings under the canvas of a Papakata teepee.  Those weddings were a bit special.  The canvas creates a weird orange glow inside.  Add to that fairy lights, a glitter ball, fire pit, animal skin rugs (oh and marshmallows cooked on the fire) and you have a magical atmosphere!

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Jamie Penfold Photography

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Are you married? Tell us about your day.

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I’ve been married for thirteen years to Joanne.  We’ve known each other since we were at school and started going out in 1993 when we just sixteen.  We got married at St Cuthbert’s Church in Amble and had our reception at the Masonic Hall in Amble.  We were living in Southampton at the time and planned the whole thing from down there… with Joanne in the final parts of her teaching degree. 

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It was a frantic couple of weeks leading up to the wedding as we had sold our house down there and were in the process of buying our current house in North Shields, whilst Jo was also applying for her first teaching job and thankfully was successful in securing employment a couple of days before the wedding.  It was an overcast muggy July day.  Really uncomfortable! 

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We did the whole thing on a smallish budget and pretty much did it all ourselves.  Catering, decorating etc. On the day of the wedding my parents, my best man Matt, my ushers and myself had to tidy the Masonic as there was a football presentation evening the night before and then we had to set everything. 

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We both grew up in Amble and pretty much knew everyone there.  I walked through the town to the church and kept getting stopped by people.  The ceremony seemed to go in a flash.  I remember having a really bad nervous twitch in my leg which I couldn’t control!  Oh and I couldn’t say "till death us do part"!  Got completely tongue tied.  When we left the church there were loads of people outside waiting.  As Joanne’s nan said "it’s like the royal wedding".

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We then spent an hour and a half being photographed in groups by our photographer (less said about that the better).  After that it was pretty relaxed with the reception at the Masonic.  The only thing left for me to do was to announce after the speeches that there were no desserts until later that night as the mother in law had forgotten to defrost them! 

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We both said we would do it all completely differently if we were to do it again.  Our biggest advice to anyone is to not let people push you into things you don’t want to do on your wedding day. It’s your day! 

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Any funny stories to share?

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From my wedding?  The frozen puddings! 

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From the weddings I’ve shot? 

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Last summer I was shooting the wedding of Louise and Graeme at Alnwick Garden.   A baking hot humid day charged with stacks of nervous tension.  When Louise arrived the nerves were jangling.  She walked down the aisle to meet Graeme.  The registrar began talking and then started the vows.  "Do you Graeme take Sarah….."

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"WHO THE HELL IS SARAH?!" blurted Louise at the top of her voice looking at Graeme.  Graeme stood open mouthed before the registrar apologised saying "Oops!  I mean Louise!  Sarah’s my colleague!".  The whole place fell about.  It did the trick though.  All the nervous tension evaporated.  It did lead to a lot of giggles throughout the ceremony.  It also was a great picture to get, capturing the "Who the hell…" moment!

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Jamie Penfold Photography

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Another one sticks in my mind because it’s quite poignant at the moment and I know the bride, Gayle, won’t mind me telling this. When Gayle married Iain in 2011, she arrived at the church with her dad, Owen.  As they waited in the entrance hall of the church Owen’s trousers fell down.  We were falling about laughing, led by Owen!  The folks at the front of the church didn’t have a clue what was going on but the folks in the pews at the back got the full show as the ushers frantically tried to help him get his trousers back up and fastened!  I’d known Owen for years and this was typical Owen.  He didn’t take himself too seriously and poked fun at himself.  Owen passed away a couple of weeks back and Gayle and I were having a good chuckle talking about this story when she told me about her Dad’s passing. 

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What sets you apart from other wedding photographers?

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Some would say it’s the Converse boots I wear!  I like to think it’s the depth and colour of my images I create which sets me apart.  I don’t have a particular style.  I am versatile so can provide across a range of styles. 

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Jamie Penfold Photography

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Jamie Penfold Photography

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What can a couple who book you expect on the day?

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They’ll get a mixture of energy, passion and discretion.  I’m not the type of photographer who is in your face all the time.  When people say "oh half the time we didn’t realise you were there" I know I’ve done my job and that they’ve all been at ease with me.  I have a relaxed approach on the day.  I still get nervous before every wedding but it’s like a swan: graceful on the surface, feet paddling away underneath.  I like to be a calming influence on my couples.  Above all, I have fun and I make sure my couples have fun too! 

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What is included in your "package"?

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· A modern, professional approach to wedding photography

· Venue visits and planning meetings

· A pre-wedding photo shoot at a location of their choice

· Coverage on the day from bridal prep through to the evening celebrations

· Secure online gallery

· High resolution images on disc in a stunning presentation box

· Framed print

· And me of course!

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However, if people are after something a little different to the above then I will sit down with the couple and design a bespoke package for them.  Albums are something I look at after the big day.  I prefer to give people control of what they have.  Plus, how do you know how many pictures you’ll fall in love with before you see them?  I’d rather people come to me and say "Can we have 58 images in an album" than me to say "You get 40 images in an album". 

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Jamie Penfold Photography

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Can you give us an idea on price?

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£1200.  Albums start from £250.

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Can you do a discount for Brides Up North readers?

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I’d like to offer a complimentary Cherish the Dress Shoot for Brides Up North readers.  Please quote Brides Up North when booking. 

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Jamie Penfold Photography

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Jamie Penfold Photography

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How can Brides Up North get in touch with you or see more examples of your work?

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Well, there’s my website at www.memoriesandemotions.co.uk.  This has a sample of my work as well as my blog about each of my weddings and pre wedding photoshoots.  To arrange a consultation simple drop me a line using the contact form on the website, email me at info@jamiepenfold.com or call 0191 270 8385.

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Anything else that we should know?

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Be ready to have a lot of fun!

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog – Images © 2013 Jamie Penfold Photography

Jamie Penfold Photography is a Brides Up North Featured Supplier, and this is a sponsored post

Contact Brides Up North to submit your business as a Featured Supplier

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Real Wedding Recap 2012: Un-vintage Vintage: A Real Wedding In The North East – Carolyn & Jon

January 1st, 2013 | Julia Braime

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Happy New Year! Over the festive period I’ll be recapping some of my very favourite Real Weddings from the last 12 months on the wedding blog. It’s been a tough choice! In true Brides Up North style, each wedding featured on these pages is unique, beautiful and gorgeously personal. It’s been an exceptionally fabulous year! Enjoy…

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A Real Wedding In Newcastle by Karen McGowran

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Starting 2013 off feeling fresh, introducing Brides Up North reader Carolyn’s fabulous unvintage vintage (you’ll see) Real Wedding, with images from the lovely Karen McGowran and a super cool urban location.

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A Real Wedding In Newcastle by Karen McGowran    A Real Wedding In Newcastle by Karen McGowran

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Carolyn says:  We sort of skipped the engagement part and just decided to book our wedding!  We got married on 9th May 2012 at As You Like It, Jesmond.  We wanted somewhere a bit different from the norm. Somewhere a little cool and quirky! As You Like It has all that and because it is just outside the city centre it was handy for all of our guests.

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A Real Wedding In Newcastle by Karen McGowran

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A Real Wedding In Newcastle by Karen McGowran

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A Real Wedding In Newcastle by Karen McGowran

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A Real Wedding In Newcastle by Karen McGowran

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We didn’t really have a theme. Although I love the vintage look, it seemed like it had been done before and I wanted to be different. I worked together with Charlotte from Simply Bows and Chair Covers to come up with something that would fit in with our colours of Navy and Pink. We had sweeties on each table which added a bit of fun

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A Real Wedding In Newcastle by Karen McGowran

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A Real Wedding In Newcastle by Karen McGowran    A Real Wedding In Newcastle by Karen McGowran

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A Real Wedding In Newcastle by Karen McGowran    A Real Wedding In Newcastle by Karen McGowran

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I went for a Maggie Sottero, satin a-line dress with beaded shoulder straps from Wedding Essentials on Dean Street. I went there because I knew they stocked the dress I had my heart set on but when I tried it on I was so disappointed! It didn’t suit me at all and my Mam and bridesmaids agreed. The assistant asked me to try on one of her recommendations and I instantly felt like a bride. The dress, although not something I would have picked myself, was classically beautiful and it suited my shape perfectly. My advice to any bride would be have an open mind when you go looking for ‘the dress’ because you could miss the right one by just looking at it on the hanger!

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My bridesmaids wore midnight blue chiffon maxi dresses from Coast. I bought them chunky necklaces to wear with them and their beaded Accessorize bags.

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The men’s suits were from Blades Formal Menswear in Berwick Hill, Ponteland.

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A Real Wedding In Newcastle by Karen McGowran

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Nick at nd make up artists did mine and the bridesmaids make up. She is a friend of mine and I would recommend her to anyone.

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A Real Wedding In Newcastle by Karen McGowran

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Myself and the bridesmaids got ready at Jesmond Dene House where I had stayed the night before. A BMW and a Jaguar I booked through Grosvenor cars picked us up from there to take us the short distance to As You Like It.

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A Real Wedding In Newcastle by Karen McGowran

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A Real Wedding In Newcastle by Karen McGowran

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A Real Wedding In Newcastle by Karen McGowran    A Real Wedding In Newcastle by Karen McGowran

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A Real Wedding In Newcastle by Karen McGowran

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A Real Wedding In Newcastle by Karen McGowran

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A Real Wedding In Newcastle by Karen McGowran

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Wendy Reed at By Wendy supplied our Wishing Tree which we had instead of a guest book. It looked beautiful lit up with it’s fairy lights.

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A Real Wedding In Newcastle by Karen McGowran    A Real Wedding In Newcastle by Karen McGowran

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A Real Wedding In Newcastle by Karen McGowran    A Real Wedding In Newcastle by Karen McGowran

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A Real Wedding In Newcastle by Karen McGowran

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I went along to a wedding fair at As You Like It the week before the wedding. Although I was convinced I had everything I needed I just couldn’t help myself! It was there that I met Annette from White Flight Moments and fell in love with the idea of having a dove release after our ceremony. The doves were next to us while we said our vows so the guests could see them and afterwards we set them free as our guests watched on. The release of the doves symbolises the start of your married life together and we loved the fact that we were the first to have one at As You Like It.

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A Real Wedding In Newcastle by Karen McGowran

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A Real Wedding In Newcastle by Karen McGowran

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A Real Wedding In Newcastle by Karen McGowran

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There were so many great parts of the day! I remember sitting outside on the terrace having a breather with my new husband and looking through the window at our friends and family having a ball! We smiled knowing that we had put the day together ourselves and it was EXACTLY how we had hoped it would be.

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A Real Wedding In Newcastle by Karen McGowran    A Real Wedding In Newcastle by Karen McGowran

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A Real Wedding In Newcastle by Karen McGowran

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Karen McGowran was our photographer and she was AMAZING! I have recommended her to lots of others since the wedding.

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A Real Wedding In Newcastle by Karen McGowran

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A Real Wedding In Newcastle by Karen McGowran    A Real Wedding In Newcastle by Karen McGowran

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A Real Wedding In Newcastle by Karen McGowran

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A Real Wedding In Newcastle by Karen McGowran

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We had a three tier sponge cake which was made by a friend. After looking through lots of magazines we picked something quite simple which fitted perfectly with everything else.  We also chose lots of fun sweety favours!

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A Real Wedding In Newcastle by Karen McGowran

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A Real Wedding In Newcastle by Karen McGowran

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We had a DJ in the evening who played our favourite songs from a playlist I had put together. It seemed to go down a treat with our friends!

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A Real Wedding In Newcastle by Karen McGowran    A Real Wedding In Newcastle by Karen McGowran

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A Real Wedding In Newcastle by Karen McGowran

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The fun didn’t stop after the wedding! We went to Las Vegas for 5 nights and Riviera Maya in Mexico for 10 nights. Loved it!

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A Real Wedding In Newcastle by Karen McGowran

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My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to read wedding magazines and wedding blogs to help you with ideas. If you think of something in your head that you want, Google it. The chances are someone, somewhere will be able to help you with it. Enjoy the organising, it’s your day you can have it just the way you want it.

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Congratulations Carolyn & Jon!

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Would you like to share your Real Wedding memories with Brides Up North?  Contact me today. 

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  – Images © 2012 Karen McGowran 

This is not a sponsored post

Contact Brides Up North to submit your business as a Featured Supplier

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog

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Love Birds! A Real Wedding In The North East – Sameera & Harry

November 30th, 2012 | Julia Braime

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Northumberland Wedding by GS Studio

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Ok, so it’s Friday afternoon, and we are just about to tick over into Advent. The season of mince pies, late night shopping, day time sequins (ok, they are always in season at Brides Up North HQ), mulled wine, twinkling light, log fires, Quality Street, Christmas parties, winter weddings, acceptable two day hangovers and Santa Claus is almost upon us. And that’s a very good reason to be cheerful.

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As is a last bit of Real Wedding eye candy to complete a week of loveliness here on Brides Up North!  This afternoon’s celebration was sent to me by Gemma of GS Studio, and takes place at a Brides Up North Featured Supplier venue – and one that I had the chance to visit recently to give my personal seal of approval – the gorgeous and perfectly formed Woodhill Hall.  Let’s hear from Hong Kong based real bride Sammy about the inspirations behind her big day. 

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Woodhill Hall Wedding by GS Studio

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Sameera says: We got engaged in a little French private kitchen in Hong Kong, where we live, on September 12th 2010. Harry took me out for a birthday meal: it’s one of our favourite, special occasion places to go. The tables are all partitioned with beautiful hanging fabrics, so you’re unaware of any other diners. It’s definitely the best birthday present I’ve ever received!

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North East Wedding by GS Studio   Wedding in the North East by GS Studio

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GS Studio   GS Studio

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We were married on August 15th 2012 (I’m a teacher so it had to be in the school holidays) It was either that or summer 2013, and well, we just really didn’t want to have a long engagement, and 11 months was plenty of time to plan. Harry works in events and as an art teacher, with a design background the task of planning a wedding was more exciting than daunting.

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We got married at Woodhill Hall in Otterburn, Northumberland. It had to be Northumberland, growing up in Newcastle, I couldn’t have imagined getting married in any other part of the world.

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As we were planning our Wedding from Hong Kong we had to base out decision on internet searches, and the rest was on price and instinct, and the vibe we got from the venue in their response to us. We thought Woodhill Hall looked like the perfect home away from home venue, and Corinne who owns Woodhill, came across as warm and accommodating, and reassured us that she had worked with overseas couples and it would pose no problem at all. The price was unbeatable and we were able to bring in our own caterers, and a very reasonable corkage. We didn’t visit the venue till a month before the wedding, but when we walked in it was like Christmas Eve… we were so excited, it was perfect!

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A ‘Love birds’ theme ran throughout the styling of the wedding and the saying ‘happily ever after begins here’ was a huge part of creating the magic of our wedding. I’ve always had a thing for birdcages, they had to be part of my wedding!  We chose a colour scheme of gold, white and wood, with a touch of dusky pink and blue. 

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I found my dress in a little boutique in Hong Kong. Finding a dress in Hong Kong was not a nice process. Boutiques were rude and unfriendly with either a huge deposit to put down to to try on, or a fee for trying on each dress – once place was nearly 30 pounds per dress! But I stumbled across a boutique called Hitched, the owner was amazing, and I found the dress! Beautiful full length, fully beaded and embroidered, with a key hole back. The cut wasn’t quite what I wanted but she sent me to a wonderful tailor who customised the dress to suit my needs.

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I also had a diva like dress change! During the Wedding Breakfast I wore a fully beaded and sequined Wedding Saree. It was so heavy! Harry changed at this point too, his outfit was almost as bling as mine!

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Three out of four of my bridesmaids live in the UK (two in Newcastle and one in London, with the fourth living in Hong Kong as well) so this posed quite an issue initially, as we were not going to be in England until the run up to the wedding. So I decided on sarees: one piece of fabric fits all and the perfect way to tie in my Pakistani culture. I couldn’t find anything suitable in Hong Kong, so sent my mum images of what I liked, and she found the perfect match in London– using whatsapp to keep checking with me! The girls then went to my mum to get their blouses fitted, and on the day, Mum and my Aunt dressed the girls. They looked stunning!

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I had a beaded bouquet of white hydrangeas and the bridesmaids’ bouquets were small versions of mine. 

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We used Katherine’s florists. I used silk flowers for the table centrepieces, which we chose in Hong Kong from what can only be described as a department store full of silk flowers. I then made an appointment with Katherine’s Florists for as soon as we arrived in Newcastle to match the bouquets to the silk arrangements. Katherine’s was the first florist I contacted, and they were fantastic!

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Our photographer was Gem Smith from GS Studio.  Despite having recently been hit by a car, Gem brought such a fantastic energy to our day. If you meet her you’d find it impossible NOT to smile when she points her camera at you.

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Straight after the ceremony we had an Indian Dhol band, Bombay Baja during the champagne reception. They came on again in the evening as evening guests were arriving, and as our band for the evening were setting up. We hired Funk Conspiracy. As You Like it is my go to bar when I’m back in the North East so I googled their regular acts!

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I pretty much hand made everything:  invitations, order of service, menus, table plan and decorations. The favours were hand made tea bags, combining both our favourite teas, with our ‘love bird tea’ labels. A basket full of tea bags was left out for evening guests as well. Working in a school, I made use of the DT department, with laser cut wooden hearts for the name cards that I used a wood burner to hand write/ burn names into, the centre pieces were hand made and we bought the bird cages from Hong Kong’s famous bird market.

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We wanted to add as much fun to the day as we could, so I designed chalk board speech bubbles to amuse guests at their tables (two of my art students were desperate to be involved in my wedding so they helped paint them!)

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To keep with my background, and also Harry’s Dad was born in India, we used Asian caterers Saffron, from Glasgow, and everyone was well fed! Can’t beat a curry!  For the evening meal we hired a pizza oven, The Woodfire Wagon, a new company in the North East. Freshly made stone baked pizza, and they even did gluten free bases (for me and some G/F guests). We really wanted to keep the day fresh and different, but without being to ‘fussy’.

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My friend Laura made absolutely beautiful cup cakes, with a small cake top. She did the most amazing job. She’s so creative, I simply sent her the colour scheme and pictures of the flowers. She had the invitation too of course. What she came up with could not have been more perfect!

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It may sound clichéd but I really loved every second from waking up, with my bridesmaids, till going to bed with my husband… I didn’t want the day to end. The most special moment was a moment after the ceremony when I looked at Harry and thought, wow, you’re my husband, and I looked around the room and it was full of all the special people in our lives. It was magic.

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There was a surreal moment on the dance floor when suddenly Harry was crowd surfing, and every man in the room had their tie around their head! The day was the most fun I have ever had! I’m still buzzing.

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We had Snaparazzi Photobooth, which brought such a buzz to the evening, with a trunk load of fancy dress, and bizarre props, we’re still getting comments about how much fun people had in the booth!

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As we spent a month in England for the run up to the wedding, we were out of holiday time, so we’ll go on our honeymoon, to Sri Lanka, at Christmas, something to look forward to!

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My top tip for other Brides Up North would be take the time to share a moment with your new husband, leaving our guests to have our photos taken was a great way to do this. Make the most of that time, and keep stealing moments together, in between being a good host.

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I guess the other thing is follow your instinct, if having to hand tie 200 favour bags is what you want to do to add that special touch, don’t let anyone talk you out of it. I don’t regret a second of the time I spent on what people might say are ‘unnecessary details’ Do the things that you think are important because it is your day, and if it’s important to you then it IS important! And after all that planning is done, on the day hand it all over to someone else and let them deal with the logistics so you can enjoy being a bride!

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Congratulations Sameera & Harry!

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Get in touch to see your own Real Wedding featured on the blog. Here’s how

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  – Images © 2012

GS Studio is a Brides Up North Featured Supplier, but this is not a sponsored post

Contact Brides Up North to submit your business as a Featured Supplier

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Me, You & Megatron: A Real Engagement In The North East – Sam & Grant

August 21st, 2012 | Julia Braime

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Brides Up North Featured Supplier Helen Russell Photography

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A couple of weeks ago I got an email from a very cute couple, Grant & Sam, telling me all about their plans for a fabulously personal wedding celebration coming up this very weekend!  I am itching to blog their Real Wedding images in just a few weeks time.  However, since these two are the real deal – and so delightfully excited about saying I do – that I just had to share their love story with you first.

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Enjoy this gorgeous set of photographs by Brides Up North Featured Supplier and North East wedding photographer Helen Russell Photography, and Grant & Sam’s lovely love story. 

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Sam says:  Grant proposed in October 2008 on a surprise long weekend trip to Paris.

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We lived in Kent at the time and took two weeks off work to travel back to the North East for my Sister’s 21st Birthday.  After the birthday party, Grant surprised me with my passport and said we were going to Paris for a long weekend.  Once in Paris, Grant surprised me again with a romantic evening river cruise on the Seine.

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At the end of our meal on the cruise, a waiter came over carrying a plate covered by a paper napkin, which I removed to reveal the ring box.  Grant got down on one knee, I said yes, to the delight of the other guests on the boat who all cheered.

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Grant proposed with a dress ring and as soon as we returned from Paris, he took me to the Jewellery Quarter in Birmingham for my final surprise, where he had pre-arranged an appointment and selected his three favourite rings for me to choose from.  I love my engagement ring and got “Paris 18/10/08” engraved on the inside to remind me of the amazing weekend.

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We are getting married at Hardwick Hall Hotel, Sedgefield this August. {Editor’s note – great venue!  In fact, the venue for my own wedding!}

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We met in 2004 at Tall Trees, Yarm.  For our first date, Grant took me for a meal, followed by the cinema. It was a Robert De Niro film called Godsend. The movie wasn’t very good but the company was great.

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After graduating from university, Grant was offered an amazing job opportunity but involved moving to Kent. We hadn’t been together that long but we knew we had something special and decided to have a long distance relationship. After two years, I moved down South to join him. It was our biggest challenge – overcoming that, we know we can accomplish anything together.

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We have recently moved back to the North East to settle down and are going from strength from strength, having bought a house and looking forward to married life.

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Grant is always there for me no matter what. He is really supportive and I love that we have so much in common.  Sometimes we know exactly what each other is thinking without saying anything.

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However, he is not perfect. There are three people in our relationship:  Me, Grant and Grant’s laptop, called Megatron.  Megatron is definitely not coming on our Honeymoon with us!

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My biggest wish for married life is to replicate the happiness of my Nana and Grandad, they have been married for 54 years and still going strong.

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We chose an engagement shoot to get to know our photographer, Helen Russell Photography and practice for the big day.  We really enjoyed the shoot, it was a great day. I was nervous at first but, by the end, much more relaxed and looking forward to working with Helen on our wedding day.  We have created a few products using the engagement shoot photos: a photo book keepsake, a framed mount for guests to sign at the wedding and we also created our own video slideshow set to one of our favourite songs. 

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I have found Brides Up North to be a great source of inspiration and ideas, particularly the Real Weddings section  I love that the content is relevant with local suppliers and some great competitions too.

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We will definitely be back to share the photos with you from our special day!

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Congratulations Sam & Grant!

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  – Images © 2012 Helen Russell Photography

Helen Russell Photography is a Brides Up North Featured Supplier, but this is not a sponsored post

Contact Brides Up North to submit your business as a Featured Supplier

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Bloomin’ Gorgeous! A Real Wedding In The North East – Kelly & Anthony

May 23rd, 2012 | Julia Braime

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An As You Like It Wedding by Helen Russell Photography

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Today’s beautiful Real Wedding, sent to me by Brides Up North Featured Supplier Helen Russell Photography and real bride Kelly is one of my favourite yet – the beautiful blooms, the cute bridesmaids with their flower garlands and ballet slippers and the bride’s beaming smile – but not least because it took place at one of my very favourite North East venues: the cool and quirky As You Like It in Jesmond.

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As You Like it was also the venue for the latest (and super fun!) Brides Up North Tweet Up networking event for the wedding industry, and you can see all those images here, but for today, it’s the setting for Kelly and Anthony’s really very special big day. 

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Kelly says: We got engaged after 10 years together on April Fools Day 2011, and it was after noon so it wasn’t an April Fools! We were married on 5th April 2012 at As You Like It, Jesmond. 

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We wanted somewhere informal, beautiful, with great food and service and as soon as we visited As You Like It we knew it was the place for us. It really exceeded our expectations

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We chose a vintage style country garden-ish theme! I didn’t want it to be too matchy matchy, I wanted mixed florals and a modern vintage style. 

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I got my dress from the last bridal shop I visited after I was nearly giving up all hope, I found it in Confetti in the Metro Centre. I loved it because of the lace overlay and the scalloped edge train.  .

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I was in love with my bouquet, we used Helen from Bels Flowers and we were just on the same wavelength, she totally got what was in my head and I was so happy with my bouquet, a massive bunch of peony roses with loads of other flowers mixed in. I’ve never seen a more amazing bouquet (but I admit I am biased!)

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My bridesmaids’ dresses were from Monsoon and they looked so perfect on the day, finished off by the beautiful fresh flower head garlands. I had two baby girls attend the wedding and got them the same dress so they were also part of the day.

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I loved saying our vows, when we picked them at home we didn’t say them out loud and then when we were there during the service saying out load in front of our family and friends they felt so special. There is nothing like that feeling of marrying your best friend and we were just overwhelmed with everyone making it such a good day with a happy joyful atmosphere, they are the things you can’t plan.

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I used Simply Bows and Chair Covers for the beautiful ivory chair bows and I got some lovely items from e-bay like Romeo and Juliet thank you gifts and an engraved pocket watch for our hard working best man. I visited second hand shops to get some beautiful crockery for Helen to fill with flowers to decorate the tables.

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My cake was a wedding present from my beautiful friend Andrea, it was stunning and tasted delicious, it had two fruit layers and a lemon layer and was finished off with a beautiful fresh flower posy from Helen.

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We used the As You Like It DJ Paul and I asked him to play a mix of soul, sixties, indie and Britpop. It was a huge success with the dance floor filled all night after our first dance, At Last by Etta James (because we love that song and it only took us 11 years to tie the knot).

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Honeymoon wise, we’ve got Bali to look forward to in July, which feels like forever away! We cant wait to escape and have some special time just the two of us in a magical place.

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An As You Like It Wedding by Helen Russell Photography.

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My top tip for other Brides Up North would be not to underestimate how important good photography is, we were most nervous about this as we don’t enjoy having our photo taken, but Helen put us at ease and had fun with us and when we saw the photos we were both taken back to the special parts of your day that you can forget about as it really does go as fast as people say it does. Now we have those moments to treasure forever.

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Congratulations Kelly & Anthony!

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If you would like to share your Real Wedding on the wedding blog, contact me today. 

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  – Images © 2012 Helen Russell Photography

Helen Russell Photography is a Brides Up North Featured Supplier, but this is not a sponsored post

Contact Brides Up North to submit your business as a Featured Supplier

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog

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Real Wedding Recap 2011: Golden Sands (Of Tynemouth!), A Real Beach Wedding In The North East – Claire & Jesse

January 2nd, 2012 | Julia Braime

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Been for that bracing New Year’s dip in the North Sea yet? Today’s Real Wedding couple save you the trouble!  Its last day of this ’s Christmas break and the final Real Wedding Recap for 2011 (we are starting 2012 in style tomorrow!), this one is a corker!  Happy New Year Claire & Jesse!

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Was your favourite wedding from 2011 included in my 10 personal picks?  Browse all the Real Weddings to date by clicking here.

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Well!  Who needs Malibu Beach?!  Not Brides Up North it seems!  The absolutely fan-bloomin’-tastic set of Real Wedding images from Featured Supplier, Sean Elliott Photography has to be one of my favourite yet.

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Chosen your honeymoon yet? Forget the Seychelles.  I’m thinking Tynemouth all the way…

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Surf’s up!

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Sean Elliott Photography says: Its Jesse and Claire, another North East girl swept away by an American!  This seems to be a trend as I’ve now shot five weddings with North East girls flying over the big pond!

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Jesse and Claire live in the USA and Jesse loves the outdoor life, surf sand and sea.  With his new wife Claire a Tynemouth girl what more could a man ask for!

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They actually got married in the US and had a celebration and blessing In the UK at Tynemouth Priory followed by a reception at Crusoe’s cafe and Tynemouth Longsands beach.

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An incredibly fun and easy going wedding with lots of sunshine.  The American men LOVED the fact they were drinking one of America’s best selling beers – Newcastle Brown Ale – from the source!

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They certainly got the weather for it and the surfboards were a must for the beach… I felt like I was at a beach party!

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Brides and photographers, share the love!  Contact Brides Up North to see your Real Wedding images featured on Brides Up North blog.

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog – © 2011 Sean Elliott Photography

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Sean Elliott Photography is a Brides Up North Featured Supplier

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Real Wedding Recap 2011: Easter Eggstravaganza! A Real Springtime Wedding In The North East – Jordan & John

January 1st, 2012 | Julia Braime

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Happy New Year!  The normal wedding blog schedule will resume on 3rd January 2012, but while I nurse my hangover with the best of you, here is a burst of Real Wedding freshness, with one of my favourite Spring weddings from 2011.  Happy New Year Jordan and John!

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Wedding blog favourite Karen McGowran Photography sent Brides Up North Jordan and John’s beautiful Real Wedding at Close House Hotel to share with you.  I adore the duck egg blue colour scheme and fresh floral styling.  It’s all in the detail girls!

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Over to Team J:  We got engaged at Ramside Hall Hotel, Durham, in April 2009. John took me for a surprise treat to celebrate our anniversary and popped the question!  We were married on Easter Saturday, 23rd April 2011 at Close House Hotel, Heddon on the Wall. 

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Jordan and John (2)   Jordan and John (3)

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Jordan and John (4)

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We looked at loads of venues but as soon as we pulled up to Close House we fell in love with it! When we went inside it just felt right and we knew it was the place for us. It has such an amazing intimate atmosphere and we could immediately imagine it filled with our families and friends. The light airy feel and the gorgeous grounds fit with the type of wedding and colour schemes we wanted.

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Another key factor was the staff – Laura, Close House’s Wedding Coordinator was so reassuring and down to earth, and all of the staff are friendly, professional and can’t do enough for you. We just felt certain everything would come together and all our guests would be looked after.

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Spring is my favourite season so we wanted a light, fresh and colourful wedding with lots of spring flowers and colours. Since our wedding was on Easter Saturday, Springtime Easter became our theme, with duck egg blue being the main colour. Our place cards were little eggs and we had an Easter egg hunt during the drinks reception for the kids. We hid Easter bunny cards around the house and gardens, which they then swapped for an Easter egg when they found them.

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My dress was Maggie Sottero’s ‘Alannah’, which I got from The Wedding Wardrobe in Chester-le-Street – a fabulous service, I’d recommend them to anyone!

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In keeping with the light floaty feel, my bridesmaids wore gorgeous tea length dresses from Monsoon. It turned out the colour we’d chosen was very difficult to find and match in the perfect shade – so when I spotted them I was over the moon!

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Their gifts were pearl bracelets with their initials on from Not on the High Street, pearl earrings and a cute necklace from Oasis.

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Instead of a guest book we had a wedding wish tree – which was really popular with our guests.

I gave my two young bridesmaids ‘My Day as a Bridesmaid’ albums with cameras, which gave them certain things they had to take pictures of on the day to add into the album… they loved it and it even kept four year old Lily entertained all day.

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We handed a quiz with funny questions about myself and John out during the wedding breakfast – I’ve never seen our families and friends get so competitive!

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Jordan and John (20)

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My bouquet was a domed, hand tied posy of champagne roses, pale pink roses, cream double lizzianthus, cream freesia and pale pink blush and lemon tulips.  I was so excited when the flowers arrived – it finally felt real!

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Even though I love cake, when we prioritised our budget near the start neither of us saw the cake as something we wanted to spend a lot on. So I was over the moon when it turned out to look so impressive on the day! My Grandma baked the bottom tier fruit cake, while ‘Kirsty’s Cakes’ made the top three sponge tiers, and iced all of the cakes plain ivory. We then added a gorgeous pearl and crystal brooch and some ivory ribbon, and Wedding Flowers for You added fresh flowers.

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It looked stunning and if we’d had a bigger cake budget is exactly the kind of cake I’d have chosen anyway!

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It’s so hard to choose but if I had to pick my favourite moment from the day I’d say the ceremony itself. I never expected that would be the case as you spend so long planning all the other bits, but it was beautiful. This sounds cheesy, but it felt like it was just me and John in the room, and every word the registrar said meant so much.

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Another thing I have to mention that I just loved about the whole day is the way that everyone just mixed with each other and laughed all day. I’d be looking around and see two people chatting who didn’t know each other and just loved the friendly relaxed atmosphere. I think Facebook helps! Everyone finds it easier to go up and chat to people as they already know a little bit about them and have a conversation starter!

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Jordan and John (31)

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Two weeks after our wedding we went on Honeymoon on a Caribbean cruise on the Allure of the Seas. We’d never been on a cruise before and were blown away by it.

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Jordan and John (32)

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My top tip for other Brides Up North is to decide in advance that from when you wake up in the morning nothing can spoil your day and you’re going to enjoy your day as much as your guests will!! The floaty fabric of my dress was quite fine and after a few group photos I was covered in grass stains and had a tiny rip right at the bottom of my dress. I quickly decided I could either stand still and worry about my dress all day – or forget about it and have as much fun as possible with all my favourite people! The little things don’t matter – when the formalities are over, enjoy yourself and be a guest at your own wedding!

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Little Black Book:

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Venue:  Close House Hotel

Photographer:  Karen McGowran Photography

Dress:  Maggie Sottero at The Wedding Wardrobe

Bridesmaids:  Monsoon

Men’s attire: Slaters

Chair Covers:  Simply Bows & Chair Covers

Flowers:  Wedding Flowers For You

Cake:  Kirsty’s Cakes

Cars:  Parkers Execulink

Gifts and accessories:  Not On The High Street and Oasis

Stationery and table decorations: handmade

Bride’s Make Up:  Kate D at MAC

Bride’s Hair: Toni Wardle Mobile Hairdresser

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog – Images © Karen McGowran Photography 

Karen McGowran Photography is a Brides Up North Featured Supplier

Contact Brides Up North to submit your business as a Featured Supplier

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Real Wedding Recap 2011: Don’t Tell The Bride… A Real Space Themed Wedding In The North East With An Intergalactic Twist – Lauren & Charlie

December 26th, 2011 | Julia Braime

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Well I couldn’t very well leave this one out of my recap of the wedding blog’s favourite Real Weddings of 2011, could I?  If you enjoyed the Dr Who Christmas special yesterday, then you are going to LOVE this!  Merry Christmas to our small screen stars Lauren & Charlie!

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A recent episode of one of my favourite telly shows Don’t Tell The Bride was from Newcastle Upon Tyne and featured loved up Lauren and Charlie and their Real Wedding – which left the bride all starry eyed!

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I’m sure that you all know the concept behind the show, but in a nutshell the hour long programme follows an engaged couple who agree to live apart in the three weeks leading up to their wedding. They get £12,000 to spend on their big day but the groom has to plan the whole thing himself – including her dress, flowers, venue, transport, cake – the lot. 

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Lauren is one brave lady!  That’s all I’m saying. 

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The official Don’t Tell The Bride website says:

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The pressure is on for 30-year-old sci-fi fanatic Charles as he tries to impress his more classy bride-to-be, 26-year-old Lauren. Originally both from Yorkshire, they met five years ago when they worked behind a bar in Newcastle and have been inseparable ever since. They currently live in Newcastle with their cat, Sarah.
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Lauren is an art teacher with very sophisticated tastes and prefers the finer things in life, whereas Charles is an only child who has never grown up. He prefers watching Star Wars on repeat and playing with his light sabre. Now Charles has been left to organise the biggest day of their lives – their wedding.

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Will he boldly go where no groom has gone before or will his obsession with sci-fi take him to the dark side? Can this man give this woman a wedding that is out of this world?

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I had actually seen a little of Lauren and Charlie’s episode being filmed at a wedding fair I attended with Brides Up North back in August, so was always keen to see how their wedding turned out.  So when Brides Up North Featured Supplier Jamie of Emerson Photography got in touch to ask if I would like to feature their big day on the wedding blog today and after a quick peep at this gorgeous couples fantastic photographs, I didn’t need asking twice. 

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I have exchanged a few tweets with Lauren since Jamie submitted the photographs – so here you go lucky lady – enjoy your moment in the spotlight!  Lights, camera, action aliens…?!

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Over to Jamie at Emerson Photography: Charlie and Lauren were quite simply one of the best natured couples I’ve ever come across. Which is a good thing, considering that each of them had been followed around for the past three weeks by a film crew!

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When I first got the call from Charlie, asking if I was free that day, I had an inkling of what it was all about – he’d been referred to me by a previous client and she’d given me a bit of a warning… I made the decision very early on that the coverage was going to have to be as close to photojournalistic as possible. I knew there would be two film crews (with sharp elbows) and I assumed there wouldn’t be a whole lot of time for posed photographs.

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Lauren looked delighted when she arrived at The Discovery Museum, but then, she looked delighted pretty much all day!

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The ceremony was held in a room usually used for kids’ parties – I was absolutely gobsmacked at what Charlie and his groomsmen had done with the place (with a little help from Dandy Events).

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The huge hall upstairs, with its towering, wrought iron supports suited the bonkers theme perfectly – it really did look like a Dr Who set. So many little touches had been added; masks for all the guests, a very convincing, talking, walking robot, an alien cake topper – I was kept busy trying to photograph everything.

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The task wasn’t an easy one – it was incredibly dark and the production manager had forbidden any flash (I tried my best but had to make an executive decision to over-rule him later on!).

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The meal and speeches over, and we were treated to a David Bowie impersonator – damn he was good! Lots of fab indie music followed as the party really got underway.

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A really, really exciting day and a great couple with a seriously strong sense of humour.

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HEARTCongratulations Lauren & Charlie… and well done - I think – Charlie (you absolute nutter!) HEART

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  – Images © 2011 Emerson Photography

Emerson Photography is a Brides Up North Featured Supplier, but this is not a sponsored post

Contact Brides Up North to submit your business as a Featured Supplier

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog

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Fabulous Photographer: Xtraordinary Photography PLUS 10% Discount For Wedding Blog Readers!

December 18th, 2011 | Julia Braime

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No Super Sunday instalment for you today as I just have so much gorgeousness waiting in my inbox to cram onto these swirly silver pages before Christmas.  This afternoon, we chat to Chris from Newcastle Upon Tyne Wedding Photographer Xtraordinary Photography about his life behind a lens. 

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog: Xtraordinary Photography

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How did you get into wedding photography?

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I first started with photography at a very young age, my Dad was a massive enthusiast and even had a darkroom built into a cupboard at the family home. I remember one particular car journey back from a holiday where I was sitting in the back holding a SLR with a zoom lens attached, shooting pretty much anything I could see! Imagine my disappointment to find out there was no film in! Through my teens photography drifted in and out of my life, and It wasn’t until my Wife fell pregnant that I really wanted to get back into it to get some beautiful shots of her bump and the baby when it came along. The really sad bit was that a couple of days before my wedding my Nana passed away, and it was a real struggle as to whether we carried on and went through with the wedding. She was a wonderful woman and she had left me (and my siblings) a little money, and I used this to go and buy my first "proper camera". I was hooked from thereon in. I don’t carry any formal qualifications in photography, but I had a great mentor in my Dad who continues to support my development massively, and the rest is self taught.

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog: Xtraordinary Photography

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Why wedding photography specifically?

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Our first wedding was a bit of a blur, It was for my Brother in Law David and his beautiful wife Caroline and they had asked us to cover their wedding (Us being Me, my Dad Alex and Brother Sean). So we turned up in our brand new uniform looking the biz, at least we thought so! I am very proud to say I think they day went fantastically, we adopted a mixed approach with a lot of candid and reportage photography, and then some nice formal shots outside of the church. I never intended to start shooting weddings, but on the evening of David & Caroline’s, one of the guests asked if we were available to shoot theirs the following August! We said yes!

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Xtraordinary Photography

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What is your favourite thing about being a wedding photographer?

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There are so many parts of being a wedding photographer which I absolutely love. Meeting new clients, sometimes two years before their wedding, and helping them plan it, getting to know them and their families and generally meeting some absolutely wonderful people. I have a couple at the moment who are getting married in March 2013 and we talk every couple of days about their plans, I send them contacts of great people I have worked with, and we have a fantastic relationship already and I think this is one of the main things people like in my style.

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My other favourite has to be photographing the speeches. It gets to the point where tears of both laughter and soppiness cloud the eye so that you can’t see through the viewfinder! I have seen some amazing speeches- and have even been honoured by some couples saying what a fantastic job we did.

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How do you get couples to relax on the day?

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Getting people to relax on the day has never really been a big issue, as I mentioned we get to know our couples very well and become close friends with them meaning that we are all able to be open and honest so that if they were ever not comfortable in anything we were doing they don’t have to be afraid to tell us.

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Also, I like to think I’m a pretty funny guy (although I often think people are laughing at me not with me!) I’m no comedian but I always do everything I can to make people laugh on the day as this gives a far more natural smile for people, and of course laughter releases those chemical doobywats that make people feel better!

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Any advice to any Grooms who don’t like to have their picture taken?

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Without a doubt every single Groom I have had has said "I hate having my picture taken". I’m the same, you will very rarely see me on the other side of the camera. I guess the biggest bit of advice for people would be that (certainly from my approach) most of the time you don’t even know the images are being taken, so when there are some that you are aware of remember what the day means, why you are getting married, and really how much you love each other. I always take the Bride and Groom somewhere alone for some "cuddly" or romantic shots, and I always do this after the speeches, for two reasons; 1) Giving a speech as a Groom is one of the scariest things you will ever do, get this out of the way and the Groom can relax for the images, and 2) The Groom will usually have had a few pints by this point meaning he is far more relaxed and they tend to go with the flow!

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What sort of makeup should a bride wear to look great in her pictures?

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Although I am no expert on makeup, I have worked with some. I would say from my personal perspective, less is definitely more in this case. We have been lucky enough to have worked with some absolutely stunning brides, and I think their natural beauty has shown through every single time without the need for over the top makeup.  However, I do love the idea of false eyelashes as on close up images of the eyes these look wonderful!

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Which celebrity wedding would you most like to photograph and why?

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I’ve been asked this question a lot of the last few years and my answer still remains the same, although most people would expect me to say Cheryl Cole!  The person I’d most like to photograph is Kevin McCloud from Grand Designs. He is such an amazing individual, his vocabulary and his ability to describe situations through words and facial expression has always fascinated me. I think he we would be an absolute pleasure to work with, if I could stop laughing!

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Any really memorable weddings that you have captured?

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I think one of the most memorable weddings had to be one we captured at Grinkle Park in Saltburn this year. The hotel Manager, Jonathan, got his tractor/grass cutter and cut a cricket pitch into the lawn for the Groomsmen to play after the ceremony! This was such a relaxed day from start to finish, even though I’d been with the Bride to photograph her in her full wedding outfit at hospital where she was visiting her sick Granddad.

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Are you married?  Tell us about your day.

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I am married to my sweetheart Laura Elizabeth. We had something of a whirlwind romance. After being introduced by my Brother when I was 18 (Laura was a 21 year old nurse… and yes I thought all of my Christmases had come at once!) We moved in together after 6 months and we got engaged after I wrote her a long love letter and hid the ring under her pillow! We had planned something of an extravagant wedding for two years later, but Laura fell pregnant with our little boy Oliver (now four!) so wedding plans took a back seat until she rang me at work one day when she was 4 months pregnant and said "Chris, I want to get married before the baby is born…" Obviously I agreed, and knowing my place like a good husband to be, I asked her to get some dates and prices for us to have a look at. I received a call 30 minutes later saying "It’s booked, four weeks time!" I fell of my chair!

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As I mentioned earlier my Nana was quite poorly and it was just two days before the wedding when she lost her battle against cancer and it was a real dilemma as to whether to go on or not. We knew she would have wanted us to do it, so we continued. In a way this helped get people through it. 

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What sets you apart from other wedding photographers?

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It’s hard to say what sets me apart from other photographers as there are so many fabulous photographers around the North Of England. I guess if I was to say why do people book me over other photographers I’d say, based on my clients feedback, that personality has so much to do with it. I have had lots of comments while booking couples that they immediately feel at ease with me, they understand my ideas and my vision for their big day, and of course they love our work. We use Bellissimo Albums (from Loxley Colour) with an acrylic cover showing an image which our couples absolutely love. I think my album designs are different to most, but certainly tell the story of the day as it actually happened.

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What can a couple who book you expect on the day?

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The couple can expect a calming influence, especially on the morning when everyone is running around! They can expect me to have plenty of interaction with them and the guests which is always received very well, which also helps put everyone at east. Most of all they can expect fun, relaxing and professional photography. 

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What is included in your "package"?

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I offer a range of packages depending on the clients budget and depending what sort of coverage they would like, but no matter which package they choose they will always receive:

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An Engagement shoot

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A Signing frame displaying and image from the Engagement shoot for their guests to sign as an alternative to a guest book

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A Magazine style proof book containing all of the image we are happy to submit back to them

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An online gallery with slideshow and e-commerce function

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At least one new friend!

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Can you give us an idea on price?

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My standard packages range from £500-£2300. However, I urge all of our clients to create their own tailored package to ensure they get exactly what they want. As a rough guide most of my couples pay around £1200.

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Can you do a discount for Brides Up North readers?

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I would happily offer Brides Up North Readers an additional 10% off any "Standard Package" price.

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How can Brides Up North get in touch with you/ see more examples of your work?

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They can visit our brand new website on www.xophoto.co.uk or our blog which is regularly updated on www.xtraordphoto.wordpress.com or just give me a call on 07870552256.

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  – Images © 2011 Xtraordinary Photography

Xtraordinary Photography is a Brides Up North Featured Supplier

Contact Brides Up North to submit your business as a Featured Supplier

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog

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