Brides Up North

chic to chic. a stylish wedding at Jesmond Dene House – karin & rob

November 25th, 2014 | Julia Braime

a stylish wedding at Jesmond Dene House (c) Fyzal Photography (33)

Karin and Rob’s beautiful wedding day is chic, stylish and filled with the sort of opulent details that we love here at wedding blog HQ.  Lace, crystals, blousy blooms and one stunning setting make this a celebration fit for the pages of Vogue magazine.  Lucky for you, we snapped it up first.

Let’s raise the bar a little.

It’s getting haute in here

With images by fabulous Brides Up North Sponsor, Fyzal Photography.

a stylish wedding at Jesmond Dene House (c) Fyzal Photography (8)

karin says: Unbeknown to me, when the idea of a ski holiday with friends popped up, Rob pushed for the 3 valleys, France and in particular, Meribel for one reason only….it was his ideal setting for a proposal!

When we first got together (November 2008 and after 7 months of Rob trying,) it left us just a month before Rob flew to France for a 5 month ski season. I joined Rob for a weeks holiday in the January and we both knew then our relationship was to last. Meribel was also where Rob told me that he loved me.

January 2012 was eagerly anticipated by Rob, eventually settling for his SLR camera case to hide the ring through airport security. He got it through and I was none the wiser as to what would happen a few days later. Rob planned to pop the question on a particular piste in the next valley, Courcheval. But due to an avalanche, it wasn’t until the last ski day that it was cleared to ski to.

It was called “Les Piste Indiens” where a purpose built Indian village appeared around a corner. We stopped and Rob knelt next to a plastic fox for a rare photo opportunity. It turned out to be very rare as photos later proved, Rob had the ring out trying to propose while I was trying to take his photo.

a stylish wedding at Jesmond Dene House (c) Fyzal Photography (9)

We tied the knot on 14 June 2014. I (not superstitious at all!) didn’t want to be married in 2013!

We met whilst both working at Jesmond Dene House and when the decision was to be made as to where we were to be married, it had so much history to it and along with our own history there, the decision was simple.

Our wedding was always going to be straight ahead. I still work there as private dining manager and so have a strong relationship with wedding coordinators Abi and Christina, C & B manager Lukasz and everyone else to be involved on the day. Knowing everyone made us feel secure that the day was to perfect.

We chose a romantic shabby chic theme. Apple crates, coffee bean sacks, old leather suitcases, plenty of candles and wicker hearts all suited the Jesmond Dene setting. Since I oversee weddings day in, day out, I knew what would make our day different to others.

a stylish wedding at Jesmond Dene House (c) Fyzal Photography (18)

Everything was based around pastel lilac and ivory themes. It worked so well with the grandeur of the dark oak of the hotel’s Great Hall. We also tied in the green of Jesmond Dene into all floral arrangements.

I stayed in the hotel the night before with my mother and the bridesmaids, setting up the decorations until 2am while best man and Rob had a beer and a cheeky Chinese takeaway in the room of the best man!

a stylish wedding at Jesmond Dene House (c) Fyzal Photography (15)

When choosing my dress, I spent hours online looking for local bridal shops and looked at each designer stocked in each shop until I found my dress. When I came across Ronald Joyce ‘Babetta’, I knew no matter what else I saw, I’d be back for the Babetta.

I spent only a short amount of time in Wild Brides at Heart, Durham after a Ronald Joyce designer weekend and I was out in no time after placing the deposit looking forward to my first fitting. The detail in the lace, the open back, and its long train was exactly what I was looking for and nothing else would match it.

I chose not to wear a veil, instead a headpiece, slightly different to the norm. Flown from Canada, it was jewelled, but not over the top. Sarah Walsh was my makeup artist and hair stylist. Highly recommended!

My look was complete after Rob had a few gifts sent up to me with breakfast on the morning of the wedding. I had pointed out a beautiful Swarovski tennis bracelet a few months before and luckily he took the hint! It matched so well with the Swarovski pearl earrings he had also bought me.

I carried lilac and ivory roses with hydrangea. Helen from Bels Flowers provided all floral arrangements. Hats off to Helen, who did a fantastic job and came as a late replacement for florist after we had been let down by another months before the wedding!

a stylish wedding at Jesmond Dene House (c) Fyzal Photography (21)

Rob and the groomsmen wore grey tails from Most Suitable with an ivory cravat and waistcoat. Rob also splashed out on a pair of Kurt Geiger shoes (very unlike him)!

My bridesmaids wore “Debut” Grecian lilac dresses from Debenhams and my maid of honour wore an ivory and lilac floral print dress from BHS. I bought all the girls a brooch to wear as a gift to personalise the dresses.

a stylish wedding at Jesmond Dene House (c) Fyzal Photography (26)

I would highly recommend Fyzal Photography to anyone!

Both Fyzal and his wife Dawn went above and beyond to capture our day how we wanted it with the eye and finesse you would not get from any other photographer! He took us for an “e:shoot” on the beach where we got to know how it all worked. It also helped Rob relax as he’s not big on having his photo taken.

On the day itself, everything was done with military precision after we agreed an itinerary days before. They both made us feel at ease for the entire day knowing we were constantly having photos taken without even realising they were there.

Even months after the day, Fyzal stays in contact and helps to decide the final images for our album.

a stylish wedding at Jesmond Dene House (c) Fyzal Photography (36)

Our cake was a chocolate croque-em-bouche produced by our friend, Kristian Branch, head pastry chef at the hotel.

a stylish wedding at Jesmond Dene House (c) Fyzal Photography (38)

We had Jessica Avison, a local acoustic singer/guitarist play during our reception and then The Paul James Band – known for years through Jesmond Dene house performances, started the evening entertainment. We hired a DJ through One Voice Productions for our “after party” and a Snaparazzi photo booth for use as guest book.  Ross, Snaparazzi’s director is a friend via the hotel.

a stylish wedding at Jesmond Dene House (c) Fyzal Photography (39)

a stylish wedding at Jesmond Dene House (c) Fyzal Photography (43)

We’re biased but we’d definitely recommend Jesmond Dene House, even if we weren’t!  Every member of staff gets involved and consumed in every event that they work at. The hotel as a whole puts 100% into each event to put the hotel on the map in the region and to make a name for itself.

a stylish wedding at Jesmond Dene House (c) Fyzal Photography (49)

My favourite moment of the day was our first dance, choreographed with help of Caroline of Bela Dance School. I wanted a proper first dance, no swaying as most couples do.  We had over 20 lessons to perfect the Viennese Waltz to Christina Perri’s “A Thousand Years”.

a stylish wedding at Jesmond Dene House (c) Fyzal Photography (52)

We pre-wedding honeymooned in January to Australia due to work commitments after the wedding. We flew via Hong kong where we spent a few hours walking the streets then onto Melbourne.  After a few nights in Melbourne we drove the Great Ocean Road and on to Adelaide via the Grampians (narrowly missing the bush fires) to fly across to Sydney, going into the blue mountains as well as the obligatory Harbour Bridge climb!  We then flew to Noosa to spend 10 days with best man and bridesmaid who lived there. Surfing, chilling out and getting stung across the face by a jellyfish! Ouch!

a stylish wedding at Jesmond Dene House (c) Fyzal Photography (55)

My top tip for other Brides Up North is to spend money on the photographer, namely Fyzal, as most of the day is a blur. Only one person can capture it all for you to remember forever, so choose wisely!

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

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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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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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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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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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Jamie Penfold Photography

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

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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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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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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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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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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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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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GS Studio

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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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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog

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