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Brides Up North Wedding Fairs

authentic emotion: amanda balmain photography

April 26th, 2018 | Julia Braime

Amanda Balmain (18)

If you have your heart set on a wedding photographer that will capture your day in a relaxed and natural manner, documenting all the emotions as they unfold then we know just the lady for you – our fabulous North-West based Sponsor, Amanda Balmain, who we are catching up with on the blog today.

As a regional finalist in last year’s Wedding Industry Awards, Amanda’s couples are keen to praise her for the utterly gorgeous and highly emotive images that she delivers from the big day. Blending into the background and putting her brides and grooms above all else, it is Amanda’s main priority to make sure that her couples have “the best day ever”.

A self-confessed hopeless romantic, Amanda’s images are filled with love, energy and joy that brings the special day back to life in an instant.

So, if you too are all heart-shaped eyes over her images be sure to read on for all the details on how this lovely lady works and also take note, as Amanda is kindly offering a free engagement shoot to Brides Up North readers who book her for their wedding. How amazing!

With images by Amanda Balmain Photography.

Amanda Balmain (14)

When did you first start photographing weddings and what was it that attracted you to the industry?

amanda says: Back in 2012 I was photographing children and babies. My only experience of wedding photography was a bride in 2000 when my wedding was shot on film in a classic style. A friend dragged me along on a wedding photography course that I thought would just be good photography experience and a bit of fun. It was so much more than that! Wedding photography has changed so much since switching to digital and the more I learnt, the more I fell in love. Digital technology has allowed wedding photographers to become so much more creative and diverse in their styles.

How would you describe your style of photography and the approach you take to capturing a big day?

My style is somewhere in between documentary and modern creative. Some would call it lifestyle. I shoot mostly candidly with minimal direction focusing on authentic emotion and connection. I love all the details that make up the story of a wedding day but its the people and their emotions that matter the most.

Amanda Balmain (13)

What is it that you love most about your job?

Simply getting to go to so many weddings and hearing people’s stories. I nearly always cry at the speeches. I’m a bit of hopeless romantic at heart, don’t tell anyone!

In your opinion what are the most important things for a couple to consider when deciding which photographer to book for their wedding?

What do they want to see when they look back at their photographs in ten years’ time? What pictures will be most important to them? What style of pictures do they really like? What do they like about them? Check that the photographer they are looking at has those sorts of images throughout their portfolio not just once. Also think about the experience of the wedding day. Do they want a photographer who is quiet in the background or the life and soul of the party?

Amanda Balmain (2)

What sets you apart from other wedding photographers?

I put the wedding day experience for my couples above all else. I work with them to make a plan and we discuss how much time to a-lot for photography depending on their requirements. But on the day, I always go with the flow and work around how they are feeling at the time. I do whatever I can to make sure my couples have the best day ever.

What is the feedback like from your couples?

My couples are often surprised at the shots I get without making any fuss. They love the natural looking images and moments that they may have missed on the day. They like the fact that I fit into their day, that I will chat with their guests and that I’m generally very calm and relaxed.

Amanda Balmain (8)

Do you have a favourite part of the wedding day to capture?

One of my favourite moments is straight after the ceremony when the bride and groom get those first moments alone. They look at each other and the reactions are amazing. They’ve done it, they are married and the happiness on their faces says it all.

What area do you cover and is there somewhere in particular that you would love to shoot a wedding that you’ve not yet had the opportunity to do?

All of UK and I’d love to do some destinations. Iceland is on my wish list and I’d love to shoot more in Scotland. But I also love my home county of Cheshire. There are some amazing venues here and it’s always great to be near home.

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foliage & finery: elizabeth gregory couture for a winter wedding at samlesbury hall – suzanne & bevan

March 26th, 2018 | Aislinn Thompson

A Winter Wedding at Samlesbury Hall (c) Chelsea Shoesmith Photography (34)

We may currently be praying for even the tiniest glimpse of spring, but today on the blog we have some breathtakingly beautiful wintery wedding inspiration, perfect for those of you planning a seasonal celebration.

The festivities were in full swing for today’s couple, Suzanne and Bevan, who invited Christmas into their wedding and threw a jewel-coloured, lively celebration that incorporated guest participation, with each guest asked to sing a line from The 12 Days of Christmas during the wedding breakfast.

Suzanne’s desire for foliage and no flowers to keep the decorations seasonal shows how incredible a bouquet can look without the traditional floral additions. Another show-stopper is the cake – an exquisite naked confection studded with foliage and feathers, which perfectly complements the Tudor theme of the wedding breakfast. With an artfully dressed chandelier presiding over long tables in the great hall, Suzanne’s love of this bygone period is evident in the evocative yet simple styling. If this was history coursework, we’d give her an A-star!

With images by Brides Up North Sponsor, Chelsea Shoesmith Photography.

A Winter Wedding at Samlesbury Hall (c) Chelsea Shoesmith Photography (42)

suzanne says: Bevan and I met in Singapore on Tinder, despite both living around the corner from each other in London! One of the first places we headed to as a couple when we were back visiting the UK was Grasmere, where we walked up the Lion and the Lamb. So, when Bevan decided he wanted to propose, he took me back to Grasmere and up to the top of the Lion and the Lamb, where he suggested we take a break. He then pulled from his rucksack what appeared to be a Christmas present (Bevan proposed on 21st December 2016). I opened the gift and it was a book entitled ‘Our Adventures’. Each page was a different picture of our life together so far. When I reached the final page, there was a picture of a jewellery shop with the caption, “I want to ask you to begin another adventure with me” and the next page said, “Will you marry me?” Bevan got down on one knee with a vintage engagement ring – a 1930s blue sapphire with two diamonds either side.

A Winter Wedding at Samlesbury Hall (c) Chelsea Shoesmith Photography (23)

We got married on 22nd December 2017, at Samlesbury Hall in Lancashire. As we live overseas, we tried to pick a date when our overseas friends would also be back in the UK. We liked the idea of making the day a big Christmas party. The venue is in my home town of Preston and I love history, especially the Tudor period, so a Tudor house seemed ideal. The ceremony was in the old chapel, the drinks reception in the antechamber and the wedding breakfast in the great hall. Some of our guests stayed overnight in the shepherd’s huts, which are located in the grounds of Samlesbury Hall. Angela, who runs the venue, is amazing at making your day run smoothly and the venue is bursting with character.

The wedding was not a religious ceremony. However, the ceremony itself was very personal to us. We used Cate Baines at The Ceremony Company and she was fantastic. She really set the scene with a flamboyant explanation of how we met.

A Winter Wedding at Samlesbury Hall (c) Chelsea Shoesmith Photography (19)

In terms of a theme, I was keen to have a vintage feel to my dress because of my engagement ring but we didn’t really have a specific theme, other than telling everybody it was first and foremost a Christmas party.

For the colour scheme, I went with champagne (because of my dress having that vintage look), dark green, dark red and dark blue. I wanted to keep the colours simple and in tune with Christmas.

A Winter Wedding at Samlesbury Hall (c) Chelsea Shoesmith Photography (39)

My dress was designed for me by an Irish designer based in Singapore called Elizabeth Gregory Couture. It was great working with Elizabeth. She designed my dress around my engagement ring and she also designed and made my fake fur stole, which I finished off with a vintage brooch that belonged to Bevan’s great grandmother. I added a back necklace by Tilly Thomas Lux and matching hairpins. I’d like to give a shout out to Chloe and Sarah for the fantastic hair and makeup – two lovely working mummies!

Bevan wore a suit, also designed and made by Elizabeth. Her suit brand is called Elizabeth Grace. Bevan wore navy with a beautiful grey waistcoat sporting bright red lining.

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just peachy. enzoani for a romantic lakeside wedding at the fisherman’s retreat – natalie & sim

February 26th, 2018 | Laura McDonagh

Enzoani for a Pretty Peach Wedding (c) Nik Bryant Photography (19)

Here at Brides Up North we’ve almost forgotten what sunshine feels like. It’s been a loooong winter, am I right? Well, today on the blog we’re featuring a wedding that’s guaranteed to heighten your summer cravings – a sun-drenched ceremony, cobalt skies, and a pinky peach colour scheme of dreams –  #sorrynotsorry.

Natalie stripped all embellishment from the tulle of her divine Enzoani dress for an elegant ‘naked’ finish and ivory, pale eucalyptus green and gold ruled their palette along with pops of peach. Combined with the sunshine, the blue skies and the lakeside views, their day feels as refreshing as an iced glass of fizz. Just what the doctor ordered.

Brace yourself, readers – summer is on its way!

With images by Brides Up North Sponsor, Nik Bryant Photography.

Enzoani for a Pretty Peach Wedding (c) Nik Bryant Photography (48)

natalie says: We got engaged in Barcelona in September 2016, after watching the magic fountain show. It was just perfect!

Our wedding date was 8th July 2017. We didn’t have a specific reason for the date; we simply wanted to get married in summer 2017, we’d chosen our venue and they had the 8th July available so we snapped it up. I’m studying at university, so the date meant I’d have finished for the summer and would give us time to finalise any details in the run up to the wedding. Oh, and we were also hoping for some summer sun!

Enzoani for a Pretty Peach Wedding (c) Nik Bryant Photography (63)

We got married at The Fisherman’s Retreat in Ramsbottom. The room where our ceremony was held had floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the hills. It was a gorgeously sunny day and we were really lucky to say our vows with such an astonishing view in sight. For the reception we changed rooms so we had full access to the lake and our guests could sit outside to enjoy their drinks and celebrate. We originally chose the venue because it was in such a beautiful location and because they gave us a lot of freedom in terms of how we spent our money. There was a ‘minimum spend’ but we could decide to spend this on whatever we wanted instead of it being a set package like so many other venues.

Enzoani for a Pretty Peach Wedding (c) Nik Bryant Photography (67)

We had a peach orchard theme to tie into the gorgeous views at the venue. We wanted a friendly, casual but fresh vibe for our guests and it turned out exactly as we wanted.

Colour-wise, we went for peach and gold with lots of greenery, for example eucalyptus leaves for place cards and greenery wrapped around the wooden beams in the ceremony room.

Enzoani for a Pretty Peach Wedding (c) Nik Bryant Photography (36)

My dress was from Perfect Daze Bridal in Scissett, Huddersfiled. It was from the Enzoani Blue collection and called Janessa. I loved the fabric and had the tulle part reshaped to create a detachable train which I loved! I had the jewels taken off the tulle and shaped so it was ‘naked’ and I adored its simplicity.

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going the extra mile: nik bryant photography

January 29th, 2018 | Rachel Parry

NIk Bryant Photography (16)

This morning we’re catching up with our wonderful Sponsor, North-West based photographer Nik Bryant, who had an epic 2017 and now is all set and raring to go on weddings for 2018.

Keen to ensure his couples have the very best day possible so their joy and emotions are reflected in the gorgeous images he takes, Nik is always willing to go the extra mile for brides and grooms and is often praised for his calm and helpful demeanour.

Furthermore, Nik is eager to offer his couples additional services to document the full picture of the day and so is busy making plans to partner with a videographer. Watch this space!

So, if you’re about to embark on the photography search note the name, as we hear more from Nik on his passion for weddings.

NIk Bryant Photography (8)

How would you describe your style of photography and the approach you take to capturing a big day?

nik says: Describing my style is a little difficult – I am a little bit documentary and a little bit posed photography I would say. So, floating round and mingling with people and capturing natural moments mixed in with fun portraits.

It’s all about being involved and knowing what’s happening and when something will happen and then being in the right place to capture it. For couple portraits it’s about finding some nice places to shoot and then letting the couple have some time to themselves and interact whilst having fun and getting on their level.

What is it that you love most about your job?

That I get to go to weddings and call it a job! I love photography and have done since I started shooting about 12 years ago. To be able to do something I love and constantly be invited to capture parties and say that it’s my job is pretty cool.

NIk Bryant Photography (13)

In your opinion what are the most important things for a couple to consider when deciding which photographer to book for their wedding?

I honestly think the most important thing for a couple when looking for a photographer comes in two parts. The first part being that you honestly love their work. Find a photographer whose work you love, even if you don’t know why you love it but it strikes something with you that’s the first part of the battle.

The second part comes with meeting or speaking to your photographer. Making sure you click with them and they are what you want for your wedding as we are there all day and spend so much time with you.

I love getting to know my couples so when it comes to the wedding day it doesn’t feel awkward having me around.

NIk Bryant Photography (11)

What sets you apart from other wedding photographers?

This is really difficult to answer but a lot of my couples and their families have said that I am really relaxed and easy going but with enthusiasm and excitement throughout the day. I genuinely love my work and get excited for every wedding I shoot.

I find that I have a way of getting on the same level as my couples and it becomes more like having a friend capture their day rather than just a photographer.

I also like to try and capture something of a statement image. Something different and cool!

Do you have a favourite part of the wedding day to capture?

I think my favourite part of the wedding day is probably bridal prep in the morning. That time meeting up with the bride and all her bridesmaids and mum. Its where it all starts and kind of sets the tone for the day.

The morning is so full of fun and emotion its really great to be around for and to have that insight into the dynamic of a group of bridesmaids and the bride.

NIk Bryant Photography (18)

Reflecting on 2017 what would you say was your biggest highlight?

Personally, the arrival of my baby boy has been my biggest highlight (my wife will probably read this so if I didn’t say that I would be in trouble).

However, the biggest highlight for 2017 on a professional level has to be the fact that I feel I have really defined my style and how I work and I am really happy with everything I have shot. It was one of the best years for my wedding photography and I have really built my confidence. I have made some amazing friends with my couples and other wedding suppliers too. I have learnt new skills and just learnt to take on whatever happens on a wedding day.

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modern elegance. pinks & pearls for a romantic wedding in the north west – amanda & kevin

October 17th, 2017 | Rachel Parry

A Romantic Wedding In The North West (c) Robbie Venn Photography (40)

“Life’s too short” is a phrase and thought responsible for bringing on, or speeding up, many a plan, whether it be booking that holiday of a lifetime, taking the plunge on a new business venture or simply agreeing to a spontaneous night out. For today’s featured couple however, it was that very thought that led to them getting hitched, after Kevin was taken seriously ill in hospital.

Fighting back strong, Kevin spent the next 18 months recovering while Amanda got the big day plans underway and together they achieved their goal of becoming Mr and Mrs, surrounded by family and friends at a stylish venue in the North West.

Working to a budget, creative Amanda kept costs down by doing her own wedding flowers and centrepieces, which looked gorgeous in shades of pink with pretty pearl detailing. We also love Amanda’s Bardot neckline dress, which has the perfect balance of fashion and fairytale.

With images by Brides Up North Sponsor, Robbie Venn Photography.

A Romantic Wedding In The North West (c) Robbie Venn Photography (11)

amanda says: We began planning our wedding after Kevin suffered three cardiac arrests in November 2015 – he was given 5% chance of survival. We realised life is too short so decided to get married. It was more a case of me actually saying: “I think after this I’ll marry you”, and it snowballed from there.

We set the date for 20th May 2017. We didn’t want to wait too long but it also gave Kevin enough time in his recovery.

A Romantic Wedding In The North West (c) Robbie Venn Photography (36)

Our chosen venue was On The 7th, The Landings at Media City, Salford. After looking at several venues we realised we didn’t want the usual white covered chairs style of venue. On The 7th is a modern venue, with stylish décor – we didn’t need to do anything to decorate it. The staff were also amazing, from the wedding coordinator to the master of ceremonies.

I didn’t have a colour in mind for the wedding initially but then I saw a bridesmaid dress style I liked, which was navy, so settled on a navy and pink colour scheme.

A Romantic Wedding In The North West (c) Robbie Venn Photography (33)

I wore a ball gown style dress with a sweetheart bodice, which was from Wed2Be, Bolton. I didn’t know what style would suit me at all, so went with Kevin’s mum try different styles on. Being a larger-chested girl, I had in my mind totally ruled out anything without straps. I tried several dresses on and the last one was the one I ended up choosing – the one with no straps! It felt amazing, I couldn’t believe how it made me feel, and how it didn’t make me look busty, surprisingly.

Kevin wore a navy blue suit from Next with a matching waistcoat and pink tie, pink button hole, and black shoes. The groomsmen’s suits were all from Next too.

The bridesmaid dresses were from Chi Chi London, which were also navy blue, 50’s sort of style. I didn’t want to go for a usual bridesmaid dress. Luckily the dresses suited all bridesmaids. The flowergirl’s dress was from Monsoon.

A Romantic Wedding In The North West (c) Robbie Venn Photography (47)

The bridal party arrived at the venue in a white campervan, from Posh Pampa Campa. I didn’t take in to account how old campervans were at the time of booking! It cut out at each set of traffic lights on the way to the venue, which made the journey all the more memorable. Kevin’s twin brother booked a limousine from bookerlimo.com, which was a surprise to Kevin.

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real wedding recap summer 2017: a magical bonfire night wedding at santo’s higham farm – bekki & thomas

June 29th, 2017 | Laura McDonagh

A Pretty Bonfire Night Wedding (c) Sally Eaves (21)

It’s holiday season here on the blog, and as the editorial team take a short break, we’ll be leaving you with a reduced blogging schedule so that you still get your daily dose of wedding lovely. Usual service will recommence on Monday 3rd July 2017 but in the meantime watch out for recaps of some of our favourite Real Weddings from the first half of the year so far. 

Drop in every day for the very prettiest, most unique wedding inspiration and – if you are a Brides Up North bride – to see if your real wedding was one of our top picks.

This wonderful Bonfire Night wedding gives us all the fuzzy feels – think hearty food, toffee apples, sparklers and a striking orange colour scheme.

Brave bride Bekki got hands-on with her rustic theme, creating delicate paper roses and assembling glass jars, logs slices, candles and greenery, with a little help from friends and family.

With so much gorgeousness it seems wrong to highlight one feature – but please, do me a favour and check out that plait. So. Many. Hair. Goals. You can thank us later.

With photography by Brides Up North Sponsor, Sally Eaves.

A Pretty Bonfire Night Wedding (c) Sally Eaves (30)

bekki says: It was difficult for Thomas to organise a proposal without me getting suspicious as we’d recently had our first son, Robbie, and I didn’t ever want to leave him. So instead of organising something big, I came downstairs from putting Robbie to bed to find the room lit with candles and a big bunch of flowers. Thomas pulled me into his arms and asked me if I would marry him. The best part is, before he popped the question the only thought that ran through my head was, “Whatever this is, it better be worth him lighting my display candles!”

We were married on Saturday 5th November 2016. We only ever considered an autumn or winter wedding and we thought it would be nice to have it as close to the anniversary of us becoming a couple as we could. It just happened that the closest weekend our venue could manage was Bonfire Night. It’s one of our favourite nights of the year; we love fireworks and the atmosphere so it pretty much made up our mind!

A Pretty Bonfire Night Wedding (c) Sally Eaves (19)

We had both our ceremony and reception at Santo’s Higham Farm, Derbyshire. It was the first ever hotel we’d stayed at together. We found the room online at the last minute for my 18th and as soon as we got there we both said it would make an amazing wedding venue. And so we returned some years later for a consultation and they couldn’t do enough for us.

We wanted a rustic, autumnal feel to our wedding to match the season and so we combined natural wood, logs and ivy with hints of sparkle and glitter to tie in with Bonfire Night and the fireworks. I got crafty and aimed to make as much as I could myself, with the help of friends and family. Thank goodness for Pinterest!

Orange and grey were our chosen colours. Think autumn leaves. They tied in perfectly with the date. We also knew very few couples choose orange as a wedding colour scheme and we liked how uncommon it was.

A Pretty Bonfire Night Wedding (c) Sally Eaves (31)

When I first went dress shopping I was adamant I wasn’t going to have a sweetheart neckline or a big dress but otherwise I had no real idea what I wanted. After trying on close to 50 dresses in various shops I visited a fourth shop – a spur of the moment trip to The Bridal Suite. I tried on every dress I liked but none of them were ‘the dress’ so the consultant picked one instead. I instantly screwed my nose up at it but agreed to try it on. I came out of the changing room to see my maid of honour crying! They added the veil and I knew it was the one – sweetheart neckline and all! Finally!

The ladies who helped pamper me for my wedding day were incredible, too. I had my nails done at DLR Beauty and Nails at the 3D Clinic in Pinxton and Paige White worked her magic on my makeup.

Laura from Shillitto’s Hair put up with the worst as she had to deal with me changing my mind on how I wanted mine and the bridesmaids’ hair the day before the wedding without the opportunity for another trial. Despite this, she did an amazing job on us all and we received compliments all round.

A Pretty Bonfire Night Wedding (c) Sally Eaves (42)

We wanted to incorporate tweed into Tom’s wedding outfit so teamed a tweed waistcoat with a sharkskin blue suit from Moss, finished off with light tan brogues and an orange tie.

Our bridesmaids wore Little Mistress grey maxi dresses with an embellished top while the groomsmen wore the same suit as Tom but with the matching waistcoat rather than tweed.

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