Charlotte Balbier
Festival Wedding Exhibitions

heavenly history: a vintage wedding styled shoot at chetham’s, manchester

May 4th, 2016 | Rachel Parry

A Bridal Shoot at Chethams (C) Stephen McGowan Photography (41)

If you’re currently on the venue hunt for a setting that has both beauty and character, this afternoon’s blog post could just signal the end of your search. As the styled shoot that we’re sharing today opens up the doors to one of the oldest buildings in Manchester’s centre, which also happens to be one of the newest venues to join the city’s splendid wedding offering.

Dating back to 1421, Chetham’s is a unique setting that boasts beautiful old sandstone walls and magical medieval features. Keen to show off its potential to brides and grooms-to-be, wedding photographer Stephen McGowan got together with a group of fellow North West suppliers to help inspire couples who are currently on the venue search.

The result is a wonderful set of images with gorgeous blooms, styling and lighting, which showcases both the building and the team’s skills beautifully. To tell us how it all came together, we’ll hand over the blogging reins to photographer Stephen…

With images by our lovely Brides Up North Sponsor Stephen McGowan Photography.

A Bridal Shoot at Chethams (C) Stephen McGowan Photography (25)

stephen says: Chetham’s is a new and exciting venue available to brides and grooms looking to get married in a gorgeous medieval Manchester city centre setting.

Our overall aim was to complement the medieval ambiance and architecture of this unique wedding venue and so I chose to photograph using natural light inside the main hall as I absolutely loved how the light fell on the models’ faces through the large gothic windows in the Baronial Hall.

A Bridal Shoot at Chethams (C) Stephen McGowan Photography (48)

In terms of styling we wanted to keep things simple and fresh with undertones of 1920s and 30s bridal styling. The models were therefore dressed in stunning Charlotte Balbier gowns supplied by 7th Heaven Bridalwear. We picked designs that we felt worked well with the historic setting and stuck to fresh, natural makeup looks created by makeup artist Emma Culbert, that didn’t detract from the dresses or surroundings. Hairdresser Jessica Shelley then styled the models’ hair to complement our 1920s theme.

A Bridal Shoot at Chethams (C) Stephen McGowan Photography (46)

Verdure Floral Design were brilliant and let us have a choice of three bouquets, along with floral headpiece and table centrepiece, to use in the shoot. We wanted the floral colours to subtly complement our look but not to overpower and Verdure Floral Design fully understood the brief and pulled this off perfectly.

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party on. madeline gardner for a fun-filled wedding at crewe hall – emily & david

April 27th, 2016 | Julia Braime

A Fun-filled Wedding at Crewe Hall (c) Lee Brown Photography (269)

What we love most about today’s real wedding is the expressions of happiness, excitement and joy on the faces of the bride and groom – and their (200 plus!) guests.

A wedding day, of course, involves some very serious commitments, but we think it should also be a fun occasion filled with laughter, love and emotions, which Emily and David’s big day certainly was.

From their traditional ceremony and breakfast to their ‘party style’ evening reception, it’s clear to see that everyone is having an amazing time! Throw in the fabulous styling, attire and venue and you’ve got one pretty perfect wedding!

With images by brilliant Brides Up North Sponsor Lee Brown Photography.

A Fun-filled Wedding at Crewe Hall (c) Lee Brown Photography (145)

emily says: We got engaged on 19th April 2014, in New York City. David had arranged a private experience for us in our hotel’s rooftop bar that overlooked Times Square. To keep the surprise, David had told me that we had won this in a Facebook competition, but of course it was all a set up!

Our wedding was on Sunday 29th November 2015. As we had a Jewish wedding, this impacted the days of the week that were open to us and explains why we chose a Sunday. We decided on a winter wedding because David’s profession means that he is particularly busy with work in the summer months and also because we felt that our venue looked that little bit more magical in the winter.

A Fun-filled Wedding at Crewe Hall (c) Lee Brown Photography (272)

We got married at Crewe Hall. We chose the venue because it was perfect for us. We loved that it had the traditional ‘Downton Abbey’ part of the building but also had a modern wing to the hotel. This meant that we were able to have a picturesque wedding ceremony and breakfast in the older parts of the hotel and then move to the modern part for the reception.

We had a reform Jewish wedding. This meant that we had tisch and bedeken ceremonies before the wedding ceremony. Our wedding ceremony was officiated by a Rabbi and took place under a Chuppah. We also took part in some traditional Israeli dancing in the evening.

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don’t stop the party. ronald joyce for a fun filled wedding at abbey house hotel – steph & paul

March 24th, 2016 | Julia Braime

A Fun Filled Wedding at Abbey House Hotel (c) Fairclough Photography (14)

Top of the agenda for this morning’s wedding was ‘fun’ – taking just one look at the images below it’s clear to see that the bride and groom accomplished their aim. From the morning preparations to the ceremony and reception Steph and Paul, and their guests, just can’t stop smiling!

So let’s put on our dancing shoes and go join the party!

With images by Fairclough Photography.

A Fun Filled Wedding at Abbey House Hotel (c) Fairclough Photography (19)

steph says: We got engaged during a concert at the O2 Academy in Liverpool. We were watching our favourite band Scouting for Girls, who we have seen live many times and their songs and performances have given us such special memories from the moment we met. Our song is Heartbeat and as the band started to perform our song, Paul turned to me and produced a dazzling ring and asked me to marry him. In all the excitement I forgot to answer, I was in a daze.  Eventually and after some prompting, I said yes!

We set the date for 16th August 2015, hoping for a sunny day – and it was!

A Fun Filled Wedding at Abbey House Hotel (c) Fairclough Photography (15)

Our venue was Abbey House Hotel, Barrow-in-Furness and it was sort of fate how we came to pick it. We initially met John from Abbey House at a wedding fayre in Bolton and were taken back by the stunning imagery he was displaying.  Paul thought he recognised it and sure enough it was actually a hotel in the town Paul was born and raised in. We then entered a competition to win an overnight stay at Abbey House – and we won. When we booked our night’s stay we were keeping an open mind about the venue, but from the minute we pulled up we fell in love with the place. It ticked every box!

We didn’t have a wedding theme as such, we just wanted the day to be really fun. I picked coral for the colour scheme as it’s my favourite colour though it turned out to be the most awkward and challenging colour to match anything to.

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those little moments: sally eaves photography

March 3rd, 2016 | Rachel Parry

Sally Eaves Photography (13)

We are firm believers that photography is one of the most important elements of a wedding – the images are your lasting memories of the day after all. As such, we’re thrilled to have so many skillful photographers as part of our handy online directory.

Today we’re delighted to be adding to the Brides Up North family by welcoming another very talented wedding photographer sponsor to the blog, Sally Eaves Photography.

Sally is all about capturing the raw emotions and precious moments of a wedding day, which she believes is what makes every celebration truly unique.

As a big fan of Brides Up North (thanks Sally!) the lovely lady is offering our readers a fabulous £150 off her wedding photography package. Just quote ‘North16’ when booking.

So it’s time to let Sally do the talking…

Sally Eaves Photography (7)

How did you get into wedding photography?

sally says: I always had a camera hanging from my neck from being around 11-years-old. Photography was always an interest and I’m so lucky to be able to say it developed into a passion and now my career. I worked for three years for a local photographer and then flew the nest to develop my own business.

Why wedding photography specifically? 

I absolutely love capturing weddings. I adore seeing two people come together and celebrate their love along with their friends and family. Every bride and groom are unique and that’s what is so exciting about being a wedding photographer – no two weddings are ever the same. This enables me to provide my couples with a beautiful, natural and timeless set of images that they can treasure for a lifetime.

Sally Eaves Photography (20)

What is your favourite thing about being a wedding photographer? 

I adore those little moments when people don’t think anyone is watching. An intimate kiss, a cheeky wink or a full belly laugh. Raw emotion is what makes my job such a pleasure. I also love that I get the honour of presenting my couples with beautiful memories to look back on in 70 years when they’re sat in their rocking chairs reminiscing on their wedding day.

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sweet like chocolate. a cadbury purple themed wedding at heskin hall – beth & dominic

March 1st, 2016 | Rachel Parry

Heskin Hall Wedding (c) Fairclough Photography (31)

If, like us, you have a weakness for all things chocolate related, this morning’s real wedding may well leave you craving a sweet treat. For bride and groom Beth and Dominic, centred their wedding celebrations around a timeless colour scheme of Cadbury purple, whilst adding shabby chic touches in elegant décor along the way.

So let’s sit back and enjoy the pretty (perhaps with a box of Milk Tray)…

With images by Brides Up North Sponsor Fairclough Photography.

Heskin Hall Wedding (c) Fairclough Photography (24)

beth says: We got engaged on the 20th September 2013, while in Olu Deniz, Turkey. It was the last night of our holiday and Dom really wanted us to head to the beach front before sunset but I insisted on taking a nap, by the time I had woken up darkness had descended so a wonder to the beach was out of the question. We went out for a lovely meal but Dom hardly touched his food complaining of a tummy ache so we then headed to our favourite bar overlooking the whole of Olu Deniz, though Dom was still complaining of a tummy ache so annoyed I said ‘I’m nipping to the toilet and then we’ll leave!” When I came back there was a Tiffany’s box on the table, I opened it up but it was empty then when I looked up Dom was there holding the ring. After several moments of silence I gave him a quick prompt and he popped the question!

Our wedding day was 20th June 2015. There was nothing particularly special about the date but I knew I wanted to get married in June because there’s no birthdays, holidays or other special occasions for us then. So it is now, and always, our anniversary month and nothing else (another good excuse for weekends away, meals, presents etc.)

Heskin Hall Wedding (c) Fairclough Photography (50)

We got married at Rivington Church, which is where I was christened as a baby. It’s a small but beautiful church, set in the heart near to where I grew up. Our reception was held at Heskin Hall, near Chorley, Lancashire. It’s a Grade I listed building, dating back to 1545.

I tried to go with a shabby chic theme as I love vintage styles. We used a lot of hessian and lace and went with a Cadbury’s purple scheme to add a splash of colour. We didn’t over do it with the colour, but I felt it was timeless! Cadbury’s Dairy Milk has been rocking this colour for decades, and chocolate is still very much in fashion!

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stately celebrations. a winter wedding at samlesbury hall – tessa & joe

March 31st, 2015 | Rachel Parry

a winter wedding at samlesbury hall (c) Rachel Joyce Photography (26)

Today’s couple Tessa and Joe dreamt of a grand setting for their big day, and boy did they land on their feet when they discovered Samlesbury Hall.

Roaring open fires, historic wood panelling and regal chandeliers all contributed to this atmospheric winter wedding in the North West.

So join us as we cross the threshold of the gorgeous Samlesbury mansion to relive Tess and Joe’s fabulous day.

With images from Rachel Joyce Photography.

a winter wedding at samlesbury hall (c) Rachel Joyce Photography (3)

tessa says: Joe proposed to me on the 9th September 2014 in our front room. It is a funny story as we had just bought a house and were due to move the very next day. So it was a bit of a chaotic time and I came home expecting to see some progress made on the packing. I walked in the front door and saw that nothing had been done so started to tell him I wasn’t too impressed. I had barely started to speak when I noticed he was down on one knee. He had planned to have Ed Sheeran Thinking Out Loud playing when he asked but had accidentally muted it so was trying frantically to unmute it to be able to propose. To be honest I was so shocked I hardly noticed. I was so happy, even though he hadn’t packed a thing. Joe jokes that he needed an excuse to get out of packing. We then celebrated with lots of champagne!

We set the date for 7th February 2015. We had originally wanted a summer wedding. Neither of us liked the idea of a long engagement so had approached the venue thinking June/July for it. But they were booked up! So they showed us their dates and we noticed there was late availability for a February wedding. This was perfect for us as it meant a good price on the venue and we could have an open fire going during the wedding breakfast which looked gorgeous.

a winter wedding at samlesbury hall (c) Rachel Joyce Photography (6)

We got married at Samlesbury Hall in Preston, Lancashire. Like most people we had dreamed of the grandeur of a castle or the beautiful interior of a church, but obviously a castle isn’t always possible and a religious service was not what we wanted. So we thought we would struggle to get the real idyllic surrounding we wanted. We looked at a couple of venues in the south as that is where I’m from, but nothing seemed right. Joe and I stumbled across Samlesbury and thought we would have a visit and see. Well we fell in love with it straight away. It is a fantastic old Tudor style mansion with wooden beamed ceilings, open fire places, original furniture and an excellent story connected to it. It had the ceremony room (which used to be a chapel), then a parlour space for meet and greet, and then a fantastic great hall for the meal. We were smitten with it.

We didn’t really have a special theme instead we just chose colours we liked to style the day. Because we chose February as the month it meant that we had imagined a more wintery wedding. The building and the open fires added to this and so we went with a navy blue and champagne scheme to complement the venue and time of year.

a winter wedding at samlesbury hall (c) Rachel Joyce Photography (9)

I chose a traditional ivory wedding dress with a lace top and chiffon bottom. The keyhole back was the best part of the dress as it fit perfectly to my shape. I went dress shopping at Anne Whittaker Bridal Wear in Accrington with some friends who helped choose the dress for me, I remember it was one of the first ones they picked out. At first I wasn’t sure if it was the type of dress I wanted but as soon as I tried it on I loved it. Lindsay, from Anne Whittaker’s, was really helpful. Nothing was ever too much and she gave her honest opinion about each dress I tried without being pushy. I was very impressed with her prices and would definitely recommend her to any bride-to-be.

Joe chose a Prince Edward mid-grey suit with a white waistcoat and navy cravat. He also used Ann Whittaker’s as they had great outfits and offered a discount because we got my wedding dress from them.

The bridesmaids wore full-length navy dresses from Very.co.uk. I bought silver pashminas for my bridesmaid and grey for my maids of honour. The groomsmen wore the same as Joe, but had a different flower for the buttonhole.

a winter wedding at samlesbury hall (c) Rachel Joyce Photography (17)

I travelled in an ivory Morris Minor with navy ribbons to fit with the theme. It’s mine and my dad’s favourite car. He has owned one for as long as I can remember. I couldn’t dream of arriving in anything else. We hired it from Regent Classics. Geraldine was really helpful and thought of all the little details, for example having a ‘Just Married’ sign for photos after the ceremony and even provided a bottle of sparkling wine for us.

a winter wedding at samlesbury hall (c) Rachel Joyce Photography (37)

We used Rachel Joyce Photography for the wedding photography. We would absolutely recommend Rachel to anyone, we already have recommended her to three other couples. Rachel was an absolute pleasure to spend the day with, not obtrusive and so easy to get on with. Her photos speak for themselves.

a winter wedding at samlesbury hall (c) Rachel Joyce Photography (23)

I had a bouquet of red Tulips (my favourite flowers) with some leaves and wrapped in ivory voile. They were provided by Garlands Florist. Rachel and Simon from Garlands were absolutely fantastic. They made the day very beautiful and the whole process was easy. I’d definitely recommend them to anyone looking for flowers. Garlands also provided us with candelabras decorated with tulips, leaves and thistles for each table as well as a gorgeous top table flower arrangement and hurricane vases to line the ceremony room, which were just amazing.

We hired Wedding Creations to do the tables and chairs. We chose white and champagne for this to keep it elegant and simple. Jane from Wedding Creations was a dream to work with, she was very attentive and made everything a pleasure. She also provided us with a post box for the wedding gifts and some festoon lighting for the great hall.

a winter wedding at samlesbury hall (c) Rachel Joyce Photography (27)

A first we couldn’t think what to give as favours but then I thought it would be a cute idea to give everyone a scratch card. We partnered this with some heart shaped chocolate and put it inside a pillow box on everyone’s table space.

My mother-in-law made our wedding cake. She did fruit cake and sponge cake and decorated it with flowers and ribbon topping it off with a bride and groom Dalmatian cake topper (my absolute favourite dog). It was a gorgeous cake for which we were very grateful.

a winter wedding at samlesbury hall (c) Rachel Joyce Photography (36)

Samlesbury Hall did the catering for the wedding and it was outstanding. We also had canapés and fizz in the parlour room during the photos. For the evening they put on a great spread of chilli con carne or Lancashire hot pot, which our guests absolutely loved.

a winter wedding at samlesbury hall (c) Rachel Joyce Photography (41)

We had Simon from Garlands playing the piano for our ceremony, he was excellent. Joe, as a lover of jazz music, wanted to have some live jazz playing during the breakfast. So we hired a piano and saxophone duo who were absolutely tremendous. These guys we found through Dream Day Music. Then for the evening we hired Dave Lee to be the DJ. We cannot recommend Dave enough. He not only played the music we wanted, but was an excellent MC for the evening. He had a portal space set up for the months leading up to the wedding where we could select songs that we wanted for the do. It worked perfectly and everyone spent a long time dancing!

a winter wedding at samlesbury hall (c) Rachel Joyce Photography (20)

Joe contributed several special touches to our day. He’s a Blackburn Rovers fan and as such we had famous Blackburn players as the table names (people like Shearer and Colin Hendry) we also had Blackburn Rovers branded salt and pepper pots (sorry to any brides who now have their other halves asking for the same). From my side I had kept our exit music quiet from everyone in the build-up. We had chosen the Friends theme tune as it is my favourite TV show and holds a lot of good memories for me and my friends. When that came on we all had a giggle.

a winter wedding at samlesbury hall (c) Rachel Joyce Photography (39)

We would, and have already on a number of occasions, recommended our wedding venue to others. There aren’t many truly hidden gems left any more, but this is one of them. The team at Samlesbury: Beth, Lauren and Angela were amazing. The venue was so pretty and the food was brilliant. Even at the more popular prices of the summer we would have definitely chosen this venue. We will never forget our day at Samlesbury Hall.

a winter wedding at samlesbury hall (c) Rachel Joyce Photography (45)

We can’t name a favourite part of the day. The ceremony was so intimate and gorgeous. Obviously being walked down the aisle by my father was emotional. We had a moment when walking out of the ceremony room and into the parlour when it was just us two and we had just got married and were holding each other’s hands and a glass of fizz each – it was bliss.

a winter wedding at samlesbury hall (c) Rachel Joyce Photography (47)

For our honeymoon we went to Sri Lanka and then the Maldives. We spent seven nights in Sri Lanka where we visited temples, experienced real wildlife in the national parks and rode elephants. The hotel was metres from the beach and the sea. It was stunning and we really indulged in food and cocktails. In the Maldives we stayed at an island resort that measured just 500m x 500m. It was paradise. Here we just relaxed and enjoyed the 30 degree weather with great food, drinks and water activities. If you haven’t thought of visiting Sri Lanka, absolutely do it! You will not be disappointed. I think everyone has wanted to visit the Maldives and our advice is just go, you will have the time of your life.

My top tip to other Brides Up North would be just relax about the process. Your day will be perfect as long you are next to your new wife or husband. I always said to my friends I don’t really mind what is around me, what the venue is, the dress or anything else as long as I am married to Joe at the end of it (and of course as long as we are sat on a beach in Sri Lanka a few days later)!

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