March 28th, 2018 | Julia Braime
If you dream of a wedding album filled with beautiful, natural shots, interspersed by some utterly gorgeous couple portrait images, then we know just the photographer for you – our wonderful Sponsor James Tracey Photography.
Based in the North West but covering big days all over the UK and overseas, James has shot more than 200 weddings over the past five years, developing a signature style for candid shots that are relaxed yet emotive. Blending into the background, James prides himself on his discreet and laidback approach that makes all those around him feel at ease.
Always keen to capture the magic between the newlyweds too, James will steal away the couple just for a short while to ensure he gets some stunning portrait shots that are easily worthy of wall-hanging-space.
Eager to hear more about his fabulous service, we’ve invited James to the blog today to share some of his favourite big day images while updating us on his wonderful wedding offering – which is soon to include videography – you heard it here first!
With images by James Tracey Photography.
When did you first start photographing weddings and what was it that attracted you to the industry?
james says: I’ve always loved photography and I’d been to loads of my friends’ weddings and I’d really enjoyed shooting the day as a guest. I guess as I enjoyed it and people seemed to like the images I’d taken, I started to think about photographing weddings more and more, until finally I took the plunge and started shooting in 2012. For me, working on one of the happiest days of a couple’s life, at nice venues, taking photos seemed pretty appealing to me, so a couple of months after my own wedding I shot my first professional wedding. My first wedding was one that was featured on Don’t Tell the Bride, so there was no gentle introduction to weddings, it was full on but I learnt a lot and haven’t looked back since – I’ve now shot more than 200 weddings!
How would you describe your style of photography and the approach you take to capturing a big day?
I’d describe my style as 90% natural, documentary photography with 10% of lightly directed couple photos. My aim is to blend in, let the couple and their guests enjoy the wedding day and make sure I capture what’s going on as it happens. Of course, I want to capture some beautiful couple photos, so I do spend 20 minutes making sure we capture the couple looking amazing, but the majority of the day my job is to capture the day as it happened. I hate the idea that I interfere and set up moments, I much prefer to let the day happen and find the best moments to shoot as they happen.
What is it that you love most about your job?
I love the creativity and flexibility of shooting weddings. I get to visit amazing venues, with happy people and spend the day photographing what goes on. In reality, it isn’t really a job, it’s far too nice to be a job! I’ve also been able to travel, shooting weddings all over Europe and even as far as New York. No one ever took me to New York for work in my old jobs!
In your opinion what are the most important things for a couple to consider when deciding which photographer to book for their wedding?
For me it is the style of photography they want. Couples need to think about what type of photos they want on their day. Do they want lots of set up posed shots or do they want natural moments? Are they after moody and atmospheric images or punchy, party shots. Are group shots important? Once they work out what matters to them, then search and get recommendations. Don’t just book a photographer because they’ve worked at a venue before or because they shot your friend’s wedding, look at their work, chat to them. Most photographers are more than happy to talk about their style and how they work. It’s great to get along with the photographer but ultimately you want to get the best photos of your day in the style you love. There are amazing photographers who all shoot in different styles, so do a bit of thinking about what you want then find someone who shoots in that way. Almost every couple I ever meet tells me that they just want natural photos and that they’re not into posed or group photos, so from the off I know they want what I offer. Don’t book a photographer then demand they shoot a different style, it’ll just result in disappointment.
What sets you apart from other wedding photographers?
That’s a tough question. I guess it’s my style of shooting, whilst not unique (as there are plenty of brilliant documentary style photographers out there) I guess what I shoot clicks with some couples and they love the natural moments and the story that the images tell. I’m always looking for that moment, something people will look at and remember happening and remember feeling at the time.
What is the feedback like from your couples?
I’m lucky to receive some fantastic feedback from my couples. I’m told I am friendly, easy to get along with and that on the wedding day I tend to blend in. I guess they like my laid-back approach and simple, natural style of wedding photography. I’ve entered the Wedding Industry Awards for the last five years and each year the feedback from the couples comes back to me and it always mentions how they didn’t know I was there for most of the day and that they love their photos. My couples seem pretty happy, and that works for me!
Do you have a favourite part of the wedding day to capture?
Other than snaffling the sweets from the sweetie table (I’d like to say I am joking but I have a shocking sweet tooth) I love shooting any emotional moment. If a groom cries, the father-of-the-bride seeing his daughter for the first time, or when grandparents hug the couple – I love all of those moments. These are the shots that people will look back on over the years that will take them back to that moment in time and remind them how they felt.
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?
I work all over the north and have travelled to Wales, Scotland, the Midlands and I’ve even been brave enough to shoot a few weddings in London! I always enjoy shooting in Manchester and Liverpool city centre and around the many stunning venues in Cheshire, Lancashire and Yorkshire. I’d love to shoot a wedding in Italy on Lake Como, or in Positano on the Amalfi Coast (where I went on honeymoon) and as clichéd as it is, Iceland has always massively appealed to me (I’m a huge Sigur Ros fan so I like to think I was into Iceland long before it became fashionable to want to shoot there!)
March 27th, 2018 | Aislinn Thompson
We may be called ‘Brides’ Up North but it’s fair to say this blog has its fair share of inspiration for the grooms as well – particularly when it comes to romantic proposals! Naomi’s description of Jonathan’s is vivid and the way he takes the pen and writes his proposal on the back of Naomi’s hand has an air of spontaneity that is super lovely. Add champagne in the rain for cinematic value (not to mention a trip to iconic Tiffany) and that’s one memorable way to kick-start married life together.
Naomi and Jonathan chose a cool, rustic location for their wedding celebrations and dressed it up with glorious flower arrangements and atmospheric candlelight.
We’re also going all starry-eyed over Naomi’s beautiful long-sleeved Suzanne Neville dress and that stunning bouquet. Then, just when we thought we couldn’t fall any deeper in love with this big day, the couple go along and cradle a couple of cute golden puppies for some super sweet images *heart literally melts*!
With images by Kate McCarthy Photography.
naomi says: Jonathan and I got engaged in the beautiful gardens of Versailles, Paris on 25th September 2016. Jonathan had organised for us to stay at Hotel Regina, which is the most gorgeous hotel. The morning after our first night, I was told by Jonathan that I had an hour to get ready before a taxi was due to collect us. When I asked where we were going, Jonathan told me it was a surprise and not to ask any more questions. The taxi took us to the Palace of Versailles – my favourite place!
It was a lovely sunny morning as we strolled around the grounds before finding ourselves in one of the more intimate gardens; it was a small, round garden with a stunning water fountain in the centre. There was nobody around, so Jonathan suggested we take a seat and relax for a moment. As we sat, I decided to take my map and pen out to mark which gardens we had covered. At this point, Jonathan took the pen from me and started to write on the back of my hand, covering it up as he did so; when he had finished, I turned my hand to see what he had written. As I read the words “Will you marry me?”, Jonathan got down on one knee and asked if I would do him the honour of marrying him. I think the words I used were “Oh my God! Yes!” As he stood up to kiss me, the heavens opened. I have never seen rain like it! I was crying with happiness but laughing at the rain and how soaked we were getting. It was a surreal moment.
As we reached shelter from the rain, Jonathan pulled out of his rucksack a bottle of champagne and some croissants. “Where is the ring?!” I asked. Jonathan explained he wanted the ring to be exactly what I wanted and that our next stop was Tiffany. We finished our croissants and jumped back into a taxi and headed to the Champs-Elysées. There I chose my perfect ring after having the most incredible experience at Tiffany. From there, we went for an early dinner before heading to the very cool Hotel Costes to celebrate with lots of cocktails!
We got married on 29th September 2017. We really wanted to get married as close to a year from the date that we got engaged but decided to go with that date as it was at the weekend, which we thought would work better all round.
We had both our ceremony and reception at Owen House Barn in Mobberley, Cheshire. We completely fell in love with the venue from the moment we drove up the drive. We knew immediately it was the one, so we didn’t feel the need to look at any other wedding venues. It’s located down a lovely country lane in Mobberley and is situated on a real working farm. The barn is full of quirky rustic charm, yet it has a relaxed feel about it. It is stunning.
For ideas and inspiration, I went on the Brides Up North website so many times and have read so many of the real weddings, which were all so beautiful. For our wedding, we didn’t have a specific theme; however, we did try and keep everything quite simple, a little romantic and within keeping of the style of the barn.
The colour scheme for our wedding was determined by my choice of flowers, which was something I chose quite early on. The colours were a dusky pink/lilac colour, a grey/green colour and brown from the Kraft paper and twine, which doesn’t sound great but it all looked beautiful and tied together perfectly.
For my dress, I wore a Fiorella bridal gown and veil by British designer Suzanne Neville with Swarovski-covered Gina (Cinderella) shoes. The dress was so elegant yet striking in a beautiful and timeless way. It featured a gorgeous corseted bodice and full organza skirt, Queen Anne neckline and long lace sleeves, and a covered lace back with exquisite button back detail. Owen House Barn has an amazing ‘Beauty Shed’ for the bridal party to get ready in; it was so much fun getting ready there on the day of the wedding!
Jonathan wore a Polo Ralph Lauren navy blazer with gold button detail and navy polka-dot silk satin tie, paired with a white shirt and pocket square and black trousers. On his feet he wore classic Saint Laurent monk strap shoes in tan suede to add a little edge.
March 20th, 2018 | Laura McDonagh
Believe us, it’s tricky task to deliver one gorgeous styled photoshoot in just one day, which is why we were so impressed when a dynamic group of industry suppliers from the North West upped the ante recently and pulled off what was essentially four different styled shoots – yes, you heard us, four – in 12 hours.
The backdrop for the shoot is the stunning Stock Farm on the Tatton Estate in Cheshire, where we will be hosting a Pop Up Wedding Festival on Sunday 8th April, 11am to 3pm, FREE ENTRY. We will be joined there by a collection of the area’s top wedding suppliers, including a few that feature in this very shoot, to help inspire your big day while giving you chance to view this gorgeous venue first-hand.
Falling in love with the venue’s country charm, the creatives behind today’s shoot were on a mission to prove that choosing a farm or barn as your wedding location doesn’t automatically equate to a rustic theme. And with looks and styling as diverse as ultra-glam makeup, edgy bridal separates, urban-style neon lighting and luxe candelabra floral arrangements, we’ve got to say – we’re in agreement.
The professionalism and skills of the team involved here is quite simply phenomenal and if you’re planning a wedding in the North West, we think you’d be incredibly lucky to have any of these guys on board! Over to the lovely Jacklyn now from Precious Things Event Styling to tell us more.
Images by Stephen McGowan Photography.
jacklyn says: As a new venue, Stock Farm were keen to show the versatility of their barn, and so the idea for a ‘Wedding For All Seasons’ shoot was formed. It’s such a beautiful new venue and has been deliberately designed as a blank canvas. We worked in the big barn but also in the outside areas and another smaller barn. We wanted to illustrate how the setting could suit each season and how it could be adapted for any style and theme; from rustic to glamorous.
We used different flowers and styling approaches for the different seasons, of course, to create a range of completely different looks. The summer colour scheme was soft golds, ivories and blush pinks, complemented by avalanche roses and lisianthus nestled at the centre of a gold candelabra, set against a background of eucalyptus nicholii, pink grevillea and gold-dusted eucalyptus cinerea. We dressed the chairs with ivory sashes and gold tulle flowers, used an ivory carpet and positioned ivory lanterns to dress the aisle. Love Lights The Way‘s rustic neon heart finished off the ‘relaxed glamour’ look perfectly. Hattie, our model from Boss Model Management, carried a hand tied posy bouquet of roses, hydrangeas and lisianthus and James, our groom, wore a pink rose buttonhole detailed with lisianthus and gold wire around the stem. The beautiful five-tier cake by Marie Antoinette Cakes complemented this colour scheme perfectly with its soft pink and gold detailing.
Hattie wore a gorgeous boho dress – the Lea by St Patrick – with a chiffon skirt, an open back and an overall light and airy look. 7th Heaven Bridal provided all of the dresses for the shoot and they were real beauties. James wore an Italian stretch fabric jacket by Circolo, a blue shirt, navy Jacob Cohen jeans and shoes from Joseph Cheaney & Sons, all provided by Stephen Muldoon Bespoke.
The menu, created by Top Table Wedding and Event Catering, was dreamy – prosecco, plus canapes of slithers of rare Angus beef on rocket crostinis, lobster mac n cheese, tiger tail king prawns with a Pina Colada dip and strawberry and white chocolate cheesecake.
For our spring photoshoot, seasonal flowers dominated (obviously!) Mixed tulips, anemones and ranunculus were set against a background of sword fern, eucalyptus nicholii and asparagus fern. Hattie carried an elongated bouquet and wore an asymmetrical flower crown while James sported a parrot tulip buttonhole detailed with an oversized bow. The spring table setting was a tulip tree with an abundance of sword fern and rainbow tulips, which were simply gorgeous on their own. Dusky pink chiffon ruffles transformed the chairs and the subtle, elegant table stationery by Inspired by Lisa had just the right amount of sparkle.
For this shoot, Hattie wore some super-cool separates by Charlotte Balbier – the Lyric topper and the River skirt – provided by 7th Heaven. Her makeup, created by Gemma and Amy at Dollface Makeup, was soft and fresh with subtle pink and lilac hues on the eyes and bold matte pink lips. They styled Hattie’s hair in natural, soft and textured boho curls, providing the perfect base for the flower crown. James donned a blue check suit and silk tie by Pal Zileri and a white shirt from Eton.
The canapes were heavenly: mini vegetable garden filo baskets with a red pepper hummus and pine nut pesto, broccoli and Gruyere soufflé tartlets, ham hock and cheddar cheese terrine and lemon and lime panna cotta garnished with a chocolate shard.
Autumn was unanimously our favourite season to shoot – and the mix of burgundy anthuriums, trailing red amaranthus, plum astrantia, blue eryngium, dusky pink cymbidium orchids, dusky pink chrysanthemum blooms, green hellebores and blush pink spray roses set against a background of mixed, berried foliages was just stunning. Pheasant feathers and hydrangeas also featured. We shot autumn in the outside barn area and lit the archway with vintage Edison bulbs and rustic love letters. Hattie carried a relaxed, unstructured trailing bouquet and wore a headpiece of hydrangeas, feathers, leucadendron and skimmia. James wore a boutonniere of spray rose, astrantia, hellebores, berried eucalyptus and feathers dressed with raffia as well as a very elaborate bow tie made of pheasant feathers! The stag-themed, rustic table plan fitted perfectly with this look with its hessian backing and vintage embroidery circles and the stunning hand-painted cake – another of Marie Antoinette Cakes’ creations – beautifully captured the warmth and depth of this beautiful season.
Hattie wore Justin Alexander 8925 with its adorable sweetheart neckline and lace applique. The makeup was bold, with deep burnt orange and bronze shades, black smudged eyeliner and fuller lashes. Matte skin and defined brows were finished off with a dark plum matte lip. Dollface Makeup styled her hair in a lightly structured side bun and some textured curls, while feathers and flowers created a statement feature to complete the look.
Top Table served mini toffee apples, fish and chips with tartare sauce, crispy duck spring rolls and quail scotch eggs with black pudding and homemade piccalilli – divine!
March 5th, 2018 | Aislinn Thompson
Despite choosing a day in May for better weather, today’s couple Rach and Rich found themselves tying the knot outside in the middle of a thunderstorm – and they loved it! The rumbling thunder as they exchanged vows under a beautiful floral arch added atmosphere to a day that was already filled with quirky special touches and a good dose of fun.
Doing things their own way, they chose to ditch certain traditions, so there was no cutting of the cake, first dance or speeches – and the groom switched formal attire for a more relaxed jean and jacket combo, that we love!
Rach had not one, but two dresses (hell yeah!), and her maids looked stylish and sophisticated in short-length blush dresses and strappy stilettos.
Keen to show their guests a good time, they splurged a big part of the budget on entertainment, putting on live music, sparklers, beer pong and even a spot of Bruno Mars marryoke.
With images by Christina Sarah Photography.
rach says: We got engaged in Sorrento, Italy in August 2015 – which was beautiful! It was supposed to be a very romantic moment at a beautiful restaurant in Positano, by candlelight, overlooking the sea, but unfortunately Rich bust his knee dancing the night before and so couldn’t manage the steep hills in Positano. We had to cancel our trip and return to Sorrento early. I had no idea about this until after the event. He did manage to get down on one knee overlooking the bay of Sorrento, although I had to help him back up!
We got married on 19th May 2017. I was set on a May wedding as I thought we had a better chance of guaranteeing the weather – how wrong I was! We ended up getting married, outside, in a thunderstorm. It turned out to be the most magical experience – the torrential rain and thunder made it so atmospheric!
We got married and had our reception at Tower Hill Barns near Llangollen in North Wales. We had been let down by a previous venue but luckily there was an opening here and it was only 15 minutes away from where we live. It was fantastic for a few reasons: the location was perfect – near a number of hotels for the guests; it is so tastefully decorated, and the style really lent itself to the theme we wanted to achieve; the food was exquisite; and finally, but most importantly, the staff are fabulous. I would highly recommend the venue and the team.
The theme for our wedding was laid back, great food, booze and music! We didn’t want to go traditional – there was no first dance, no cake cutting, and no speeches – and it worked a treat for us. We also spent the night before together and had lunch on the day of the wedding with our entire bridal party – we wanted to enjoy the moments together!
When it came to choosing the colour scheme, like many brides, I spent hours on Pinterest and I used Brides Up North for inspiration for my day – in particular the real wedding section. I went back and forth on so many colours, but I settled on cream, nude, blush and copper – with a rustic twist that matched our venue.
February 26th, 2018 | Laura McDonagh
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
February 16th, 2018 | Aislinn Thompson
While we fiercely champion all of our amazing suppliers, we also love to see a wedding that calls on the talents of the couple’s nearest and dearest and delivers handmade touches, like the wedding flowers in today’s real wedding that were arranged by the bride’s aunt, and the cake created by a family friend.
Katherine and Grant were married at the The Great Hall at Mains in Poulton-le-Fylde, an exclusive Tudor style venue, which they decorated with flashes of Kingfisher blue to echo the sapphire in Katherine’s engagement ring. The venue is set against a backdrop of the River Wyre and the Hall, with its high timber-framed ceilings, gigantic stone fireplace, gorgeous tapestries and medieval ironwork chandeliers, has a wonderful historic ambience.
The smile on Katherine’s face as she walks down the aisle towards Grant says it all though – it all comes back to love!
With images by Struth Photography.
[jenaopen]katherine says: We got engaged while on holiday in York. We took our dog, Toby, to a lovely forest for a walk. I got up from a bench to throw the stick for Toby and, when I turned around to sit back down, Grant had the ring out and asked me to marry him.
We got married on 28th May 2017. We picked this date as it was the closest weekend date available to our anniversary, which is 4th June.
We chose our venue – The Great Hall at Mains in Poulton-le-Fylde – because of its beauty inside and out, choosing blue as our main colour scheme as a nod to my sapphire engagement ring.
For my dress, I chose an oyster fit and flare strapless design with a white lace overlay. It came from Areles Bridal in Darwen. I picked it because I found this shape best complemented my figure.
My bridesmaids had beautiful blue wrap dresses, which we also found at the bridal shop.
Grant picked a dark grey three-piece suit with a blue cravat from Aults in Bolton, and the groomsmen wore the same.
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