Brides Up North Wedding Fairs

real wedding recap 2018: sassi holford for a picturesque village hall wedding in the north west – amy & simon

May 25th, 2018 | Aislinn Thompson

A Village Hall Wedding in the North West (c) Rachel Joyce Photography (52)

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 4th June 2018 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.

There are village halls, and there are village halls. Today’s real wedding couple Amy and Simon picked a cracker in picturesque Slaidburn, with its high ceilings and blank canvas ready to be transformed by the theme and colour scheme of their choice – which they did with gusto, hand-making some fabulous floral wreaths to hang from the ceiling and rather professional signs to help the day run smoothly.

We also love the couple’s idea of having a 16-piece band as entertainment (imagine the impact of all those instruments in a village hall!) – and the VW campervan that invites each guest to ‘pimp’ their drinks with fruit and flavoured cordials.

Amy looks fabulous in her lacy Sassi Holford gown, rocking the 2018 trend for sleeves. And we’ve fallen just a little bit in love with the canine guest in attendance – that face!

With images by Rachel Joyce Photography.

A Village Hall Wedding in the North West (c) Rachel Joyce Photography (27)

amy says: We got engaged on 24th April. We’d decided to walk to the top of Longridge Fell. Simon had packed a picnic and unknown to me something else very special. When we reached the top, we stood near the white trigpoint and looked at the view over the beautiful Ribble Valley. No one else was around and Simon started to unpack the picnic and pulled out a small wooden box. He then got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. I couldn’t believe it; I had no idea. I couldn’t stop smiling. I said “Yes!” It was quite emotional and so gleeful. We celebrated together with our picnic before heading back.

We wanted a memorable date for our wedding, so we picked 17th June 2017. I had always wanted a June wedding because they say that, when you marry in June, you’re a bride all your life.

A Village Hall Wedding in the North West (c) Rachel Joyce Photography (56)

We got married at Slaidburn Village Hall, Clitheroe. We wanted a relaxed and informal wedding and had been looking at venues for a while but when we visited Slaidburn we knew it was perfect for us. Slaidburn is such a picturesque village; is has an old-world charm and we had a great feeling about it. The village hall next to the village green and River Hodder was just the perfect setting for our wedding. We’d definitely recommend the venue if you’re looking for something simple and laid back from which you can personally create the setting and tone for your wedding. There are no package deals here, so some hard work and organisation from you will ensure the wedding you always wanted. The hall is a beautiful combination of simple clean lines, modern and some rustic old-world charm.

A Village Hall Wedding in the North West (c) Rachel Joyce Photography (46)

The style of our wedding was a woodland garden feel with natural tones. We decorated the hall ourselves and wanted a very natural theme, with lots of greenery and elements of wood, brown string and hessian. There was also a bit of vintage glamour, with the addition of gold, blush and burgundy to the colour scheme. We loved the idea of being married underneath trees and had two birch trees at the altar.

The general wedding colours we chose were green and white with splashes of gold. I wanted us both to stand out and so my flowers and Simon’s buttonhole and tie had a slightly different colour theme, including blush and burgundy.

A Village Hall Wedding in the North West (c) Rachel Joyce Photography (68)

My dress was the Eleanor by designer Sassi Holford, from Kimberley Ann Bridal, in Clitheroe. I wanted something simple and floaty with sleeves and a V-neck, as I thought this would flatter me the most. When I put it on, I knew it was the dress for me; it was everything I wanted.

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all i want is you. maggie sottero for a small and intimate wedding at hipping hall – laura & peter

November 16th, 2016 | Laura McDonagh


Laura and Peter’s intimate wedding at Hipping Hall was full of luxurious details: a Maggie Sottero Ettia gown, Jimmy Choo heels and home-grown seasonal blooms that packed a real punch – just take a look at those peonies!

This pair of foodies also created a menu to die for, agonising over canape and course choices until they were sure their perfect day could boast the perfect wedding breakfast.

Laura is full of praise for photographer Rachel Joyce and it’s easy to see why: these photographs sparkle with joy, love and summer sun.

With images by Rachel Joyce Photography.


laura says: Peter proposed on Boxing Day 2013, when we were in Australia visiting Peter’s brother, his wife and children. Peter was insistent that just the two of us head out on Boxing Day. However, Peter’s plan of proposing to me amongst the vineyards at Moet & Chandon didn’t work out so all day he was on edge and wanting to stop at every lookout or place of interest on our trip. Finally, after driving up mountains and through forests, he found a perfect spot at Sugarloaf Reservoir in Christmas Hills, Victoria. I wasn’t expecting it and we both cried!

We arranged our wedding for Saturday 30th July 2016.  We chose the date because we wanted a summer wedding and for Peter’s family from Australia to be there.

We decided on Hipping Hall in Kirkby Lonsdale for our venue. We visited the hall in 2015 and loved that it was so small and intimate. Plus, there was snow and it looked so pretty. We couldn’t wait to see it in summer. Being foodies, we also loved that our guests would be well looked after and enjoy amazing food and wine.


There was no particular colour scheme to the wedding; we just wanted bright and fun colours. The venue was impressive enough without having to dress it too much. We did however, theme a lot of the wedding around the lyrics to our first dance song, All I Want Is You by Barry Louis Polisar, as they’re so lovely.

I wore a Maggie Sottero dress called Ettia. I adored it from the first time I tried it on. I’d always wanted quite a straight dress and thought that the vintage style of this particular gown was just stunning, especially the pearl and crystal embellishment. I bought it from Aristocrats in Chester, who were fabulous. Dress shopping was unexpectedly easy. Aristocrats was the first shop I visited. I tried about ten dresses on and they were all lace apart from the Ettia, which I eventually went for. To this day I’ve no idea how I even ended up trying it on – it was nothing like the others I was trying. My mum and two friends all cried (so did I!) so I knew it was ‘the one’.  I bought Jimmy Choo shoes as a treat and on the wedding day Peter left a matching Jimmy Choo clutch bag in my room.


Peter wanted a less formal feel for his outfit and I’ve always known he doesn’t enjoy wearing a tie for work. So we asked ourselves why would he wear one for the wedding? He looked so handsome and smart in his Hugo Boss suit with crisp white shirt and no tie. His accessories also added a touch of style with his Oliver Sweeney shoes and handmade pocket square from Ylleanna, Biella in Italy, matching lapel pin and socks.


As we had such a small wedding (only 41 people), we decided that we didn’t want formal bridesmaids and groomsmen and wanted to make it a family day instead. I therefore had Peter’s three nieces as my bridesmaids. They looked stunning in pink floral dresses. Pete’s nephew kept the rings safe and presented them to us in the ceremony.

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laidback love. a super chilled wedding in york – hayley & andy

October 30th, 2015 | Julia Braime

A Laidback Wedding in York (c) Rachel Joyce Photography (54)

Determined not to get bogged down or stressed out when planning their wedding in York, today’s bride and groom quickly adopted a no pressure approach to their big day, choosing to keep things simple with celebrations that were laidback but good fun.

Taking place at York’s Churchill Hotel, self-confessed foodies Hayley and Andy prioritised food, drink and entertainment to make sure all guests were well fed, watered (well beer’ed) and in the mood for a good time.

Sounds like a dream wedding to us!

With images by Rachel Joyce Photography.

A Laidback Wedding in York (c) Rachel Joyce Photography (12)

hayley says: We were in Secrets Maroma, Mexico when we got engaged. After our meal and a few cocktails we were walking back to our room and Andy suggested we go and sit on the beach for a bit. We were lying across two loungers, looking up at the stars when Andy got down on one knee…The first thing I said was ‘be careful, those are your best jeans’!

A Laidback Wedding in York (c) Rachel Joyce Photography (15)

We set the date for 6th June 2015. I wanted a sporting chance of having some nice weather and wanted to avoid school holidays, also living in York, I wanted to avoid horse racing weekends. The 6th of the 6th is a memorable date and it’s a nice time of year for us to celebrate our anniversary.

Our chosen venue was the Churchill Hotel in Bootham, York. We looked at about ten venues and this ticked the majority of our requirements. It is close to York city centre, so those travelling from far away could stay in the city and enjoy some time there. Decor wise the venue was ‘understated cool’. The room for the ceremony had a huge bay window and dramatic thundercloud wallpaper. We are both big foodies so it was important that we had delicious food on the day. The food in the restaurant is quality and the bar is well stocked with unusual beers. They even let our friends bring their own beer and serve it at the bar! The staff were relaxed, easy going and were on board with us not having a formal wedding.

A Laidback Wedding in York (c) Rachel Joyce Photography (21)

We didn’t have a theme, unless you count our ‘no pressure’ approach as a theme! I wanted to keep things as simple and informal as possible and I just wanted every guest to feel comfortable and have fun. I was very keen to host the whole day in one place to keep things running smoothly with no boring bits for anyone.

In terms of colour I wanted lots of green. For a while I toyed with having a forest green wedding dress, but that didn’t fit in with the ‘no pressure’ theme! We had green drapes in the marque and primarily green in the flowers, apart from touches of white. We both love the outdoors and we wanted to bring a bit of a woodland to the colours if we could.

A Laidback Wedding in York (c) Rachel Joyce Photography (25)

We asked our good friend and talented designer Beci, of Think Good Do Weddings, to come up with bespoke invites that fitted the theme and we loved them. She also designed the table settings and place cards.

A Laidback Wedding in York (c) Rachel Joyce Photography (28)

After much searching in the dress shops in York, I actually went back to my home village in Lancashire to buy my dress. It was my mum who suggested I try Gypsophila Bridal Wear in Rossendale. I wasn’t hopeful and was a bit grumpy the day I went as I had found all the other shopping trips stressful! I went in there saying I wanted my shoulders covered, no sparkles and no train – I bought the opposite! My dress had a tight corseted waist which made it feel very secure and comfortable and it just made me feel good about myself. I had no idea what dress I was going in there to buy, but that one made me feel special.

On the day of the wedding my hair was done by Holly from Pure Hairdressing, Grape Lane, York, who I would definitely recommend – she also did my mum’s hair at very short notice that morning and joined in the fun with us! A makeup artist called Marci did my makeup and she was incredible. I don’t often wear much makeup and I was very late in arranging makeup for the day, but she got it just right.

A Laidback Wedding in York (c) Rachel Joyce Photography (32)

Andy wore a three piece suit from Hugo Boss in Leeds. Socks from Paul Smith and a tie and pocket square from the very patient gentleman in Smart Rob, York!

We had three bridesmaids, who all wore matching dresses from BHS. I had no idea they sold bridesmaid dresses, but after it felt like we had exhausted all other options, we found these dresses that suited everyone and were really pretty.

A Laidback Wedding in York (c) Rachel Joyce Photography (30)

I decided to stay over in the bridal suite the night before, on my own. Lots of guests were staying at the hotel the night before so I had a night cap with my close family and friends and then went up to bed. I slept solidly for eight hours and woke up to a cooked breakfast in my room!

A Laidback Wedding in York (c) Rachel Joyce Photography (41)

Rachel from Rachel Joyce Photography captured our day. We have been close friends since we met at secondary school aged 11. A few years ago, Rachel decided to turn a hobby into a career and is now a full time wedding photographer. After looking at her work, I was so happy to have her as our photographer and it was an added bonus to have another close friend with me on the day.

A Laidback Wedding in York (c) Rachel Joyce Photography (2)

Going along with our ‘no pressure’ theme I left the design and flower choices for the wedding up to my florist. I wanted something wild and natural so the bouquet contained lots of ivy and also herbs such as dill, rosemary and mint. The lovely florist at Just To Say in York, helped me with the flowers, at very short notice as well.

Andy had a colourful buttonhole made of chilli peppers, again to represent our love of food! My bridesmaids carried smaller versions of my bouquet and the groom, fathers, best man, brother and grandfather wore button holes, which were made of a chilli and lemongrass.

The table flowers were from Busy Lizzie in Heworth, York, and the flower pots were from Waitrose.

A Laidback Wedding in York (c) Rachel Joyce Photography (42)

Instead of giving out favours we put on 160 pints of free beer instead!

For our ‘wedding cake’ we had ten different layers of cheese, from Love Cheese, Gillygate, York. We had a two-hour tasting session with wine and picked the ones we liked best! So many people have told us since that they were so glad we did this! We served bacon butties late at night, so people appreciated putting a bit of brie in there.

For our wedding breakfast we had a starter choice of smoked duck terrine or twice baked blue cheese soufflé. Main was beef blade or mushroom and goats cheese pithivier for vegetarians, and pudding was raspberry Pavlova. To drink we chose Prosecco for toasting and for the first drink after the ceremony. During the meal we served pinot noir and sauvignon blanc. Basically, it’s what we like to drink! We asked for the hotel to be stocked with real ales and beer and our friends served four different kinds of their own ale.

A Laidback Wedding in York (c) Rachel Joyce Photography (47)

The entertainment was the first thing we decided upon after getting engaged! We were out in Leeds one night, in a beer garden and all of a sudden a brass band walked in playing Happy by Pharrell Williams. After 20 minutes, they had people up on the tables! I asked them that night if they would play at our wedding. They are called the New York Brass Band and I couldn’t have been happier with them on the night. They kept everything informal and fun and got everyone up dancing.

A Laidback Wedding in York (c) Rachel Joyce Photography (55)

Special touches on the wedding day included the centre pieces to the tables, which were made by my Dad from an oak tree, and we had a finger print tree instead of a comment book. People could press their finger print on to the picture of a leafless tree in either blue, green or yellow ink and then write their name over the top. This resulted in lots of people walking around with coloured finger tips!

A Laidback Wedding in York (c) Rachel Joyce Photography (53)

We would without a doubt recommend Churchill Hotel to other brides and grooms. Our wedding was slightly unusual in that the hotel arranged for a temporary marque outside. We had 90 day guests which they accommodated easily.

It’s tough to say what my favourite part of the wedding was. Getting ready in the morning with some of my favourite people in the world was really special, and also getting to see Andy for the first time. Sitting down at the meal and seeing friends and family who have never met before laughing and having fun was great too – as was dancing until the lights came on!

A Laidback Wedding in York (c) Rachel Joyce Photography (56)

Following the wedding we went on honeymoon to Italy. We started in Naples for three days, then Sorento for a week and then over to the east coast in Puglia for a week. It was fantastic. Beautiful food and scenery. Plenty to do in Naples and Sorrento and then a week of complete luxury and relaxation in the Hotel Don Ferrante in Monopoli, Puglia.

My top tip to other Brides Up North would be not to worry about getting around to speak to everyone on the day. There were lots of people I only managed to smile at! Everybody understands what it’s like; nobody is expecting you to allocate time to them.

Also, if you find that you are getting anxious or stressed by any part of the wedding planning, just ask if it’s really necessary. We kept things simple wherever we could because I wanted to enjoy the run up to the wedding, not be stressed by it

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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 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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in good hands. a unique & romantic wedding in Lancashire – saoirse & william

October 30th, 2014 | Julia Braime

a pretty quirky wedding (c) Rachel Joyce Photography (32)

Earlier this week I introduced you to lovely Brides Up North Sponsor Rachel Joyce Photography, and couldn’t resist sharing a few sneak peek pics from Saoirse and William’s cute and quirky nuptials.

Today I’m back with the beautiful rose gold and ribbons celebration in all it’s gorgeous glory.

Brides Up North, if you’re wondering how you can work both pretty and original styling elements into your big day, here’s an absolute masterclass.

With images by Rachel Joyce Photography.

a pretty quirky wedding (c) Rachel Joyce Photography (10)

Saoirse says: Though we had discussed getting married, we had not made it public or official. So the proposal either occurred on Chinese New Year when I demanded of William: ‘Are you going to propose yet? I can’t spend every day waking up thinking is this the day I get engaged?’ or two days later, when we got engaged ‘officially’ in a coffee shop in London. The decision to look for a ring was mutual but after trying on a few and then almost deciding on one, we went to a coffee shop to decide. Then William said “Do you like that ring? Shall we buy it? Will you marry me?” I cried and we went to buy the ring.

a pretty quirky wedding (c) Rachel Joyce Photography (11)

We were married on 14th September 2014. Our ceremony was in the Haworth Art Gallery in Accrington. We didn’t want to get married in a church, or in an ‘all-in-one’ venue so we researched venues with wedding licences. The room was small, but it fitted our guest number perfectly.

Also, we were looking for somewhere where our money might do some good – Haworth Art Gallery is open to the public and I remember going when I was younger. Barley Village Hall was also a childhood destination of mine and is run and maintained by volunteers.

a pretty quirky wedding (c) Rachel Joyce Photography (13)

If there was a theme, it was ‘colour’. Everything was bright and that was intentional. It’s the north in September. We had no control over the weather but we wanted the day to be bright in any way it could.

In addition, a few of the motifs were ‘words & music’ due to my love of poetry and William’s of music. It was very DIY but it wasn’t intentionally meant to look that way, just that the day had our mark on it.

a pretty quirky wedding (c) Rachel Joyce Photography (14)

My wedding dress was from Vintage Lane Boutique in Bolton. I wanted a 50s/60s style dress with sleeves and luckily this was the first dress I tried on. I was only looking for ‘style’ but having tried it on and her friend, who is not a squealer, squealing, she was torn. One cream tea later, I went back to buy it.

It was perfect; a simple 1960s dress. Lace, long-sleeved but with a chiffon train.

My now mother-in-law made me a beautiful lace knit shawl in pale blue and my pink flat pointy shoes were from Russell & Bromley.

My hat was yellow, my flowers had multi-coloured ribbons and there were balloons! I chose a hat as a love them and it would be the only chance I really had to get one designed for me. The sister of a good friend is a miliner and I went and tried on a variety of styles. The one I chose was ‘the wild card’. Mary Franck – the miliner – then helped me changed the colour and shape. I love my hat and Mary was fabulous.

a pretty quirky wedding (c) Rachel Joyce Photography (15)

William wore a bespoke suit from Cad & The Dandy on Savile Row. His shoes were from Office and shirt and tie from Hawes & Curtis.

a pretty quirky wedding (c) Rachel Joyce Photography (17)

Our bridesmaids and groomsmen wore what they liked. We didn’t want matching outfits for anyone. Three ‘non-bridesmaids’ wore Miss Piggy rose wrist corsages, as did the mother-in-laws, whilst the men wore Miss Piggy buttonholes.

My bouquet was simply amnesia roses with rosemary from Garlands Florist in Oswaldtwistle. Rachel at Garlands listened carefully to my design and produced exactly what I had in my head, choosing a lovely mixture of colour and texture for the various lengthed ribbons.

a pretty quirky wedding (c) Rachel Joyce Photography (19)

I arrived at the Gallery in a Morris Minor Traveller named Buttercup from Regent Classics. We both travelled from the venue to the reception in the same car.

a pretty quirky wedding (c) Rachel Joyce Photography (22)

We used Rachel from Rachel Joyce Photography. As you can see her photos are incredible. Everyone we have shown them to have remarked on how good they look. We heartily recommend her to anyone and everyone in the Lancashire area. And she is the only person who can make William smile in a posed shot!

a pretty quirky wedding (c) Rachel Joyce Photography (24)

a pretty quirky wedding (c) Rachel Joyce Photography (23)

For the reception, we had a variety of balloons from Party Glitz in Padiham. Other than that, we did all the decorations ourselves, from flowers in teacups, to bunting in the hall, and streamers, doileys, coloured table cloths and flowers from supermarkets. The flowers were in glass vases we had been collecting all year. The teacups were my grandmother’s wedding set.

In fitting with the ‘Words & Music’ theme, we gave everyone a pencil with the words ‘In Good Hands’ on them (this was the title of our first reading at the service) and a 7” record, supplied by William’s father who buys and sells records.

a pretty quirky wedding (c) Rachel Joyce Photography (26)

a pretty quirky wedding (c) Rachel Joyce Photography (28)

a pretty quirky wedding (c) Rachel Joyce Photography (29)

We had a three tiered cake, each with a different filling; one red velvet, one lemon and one Victoria sponge. It was made by a friend of William’s mother’s.

a pretty quirky wedding (c) Rachel Joyce Photography (33)

The food was supplied by Cabin Catering in Barley. Paula was brilliant in doing everything we asked for and providing a tasting session for us a few months before.

William’s mother and father kindly supplied the wine which they bought in France. The white was a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, the Champagne was Paul Goerg and the red has all been drunk so we can’t remember what that was!

a pretty quirky wedding (c) Rachel Joyce Photography (36)

We had an additional poetry blessing before the meal, with five more poems. Also, as we allowed our friends to brng their children, we gave them each crayons, colouring books and the older ones got finger puppets of the bride and groom, kindly knitted by William’s mother.

One set was stolen by a friend of the bride as she loved them so much!

a pretty quirky wedding (c) Rachel Joyce Photography (41)

We would definitely recommend Barley Village Hall. The couple who run it (John and Audrey) not only gave us free run of the place all of the day before and until lunchtime the day after, they also helped us set up.

In the evening, we hired a PA system and then Djed ourselves. It ended up that one friend did most of the music from his iPod.

a pretty quirky wedding (c) Rachel Joyce Photography (43)

William: My favourite part of the day was when Saoirse and I were first at the front of the wedding room in Haworth. We were holding hands and smiling to each other. It was wonderful to think that the decision we had made to be with each other was about to be made in front of all our family and friends.

Saoirse: My best bit was walking down the aisle. I had already met Will and said hello to most people so I was relaxed and thoroughly excited. I was so full of joy that I was to marry Will and these glorious people I loved were in one place that I got the biggest fit of giggles! I couldn’t keep my joy in!

a pretty quirky wedding (c) Rachel Joyce Photography (48)

For our honeymoon we stayed in a cottage in Staithes in North Yorkshire. We spent the time pottering about in the village, walking on the beach and taking drives to Whitby and Scarborough. We are planning a grander honeymoon to Texas next year when we have a bit more money.

My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to put your own stamp on the day. As much as you think all wedding have to be the same or it is easier to let someone do the majority of the organising, putting the effort in will make your day even more special. We had a lot of people say how inventive our day was, but all we did was take control of the arrangements and not do anything that we didn’t want to do. It caused quite a bit of stress (and a few tears) but knowing now how the day turned out, we would go through it all again.

Think how you want your wedding to feel and work on that. We made a list of what we wanted it to feel like (fun, easy, small) and a list of everything we didn’t want and stuck to it.

Whilst hard at times, our day was so special. I won’t ever stop smiling when I think about it. It was truly, truly glorious.

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happy days. supplier showcase: Rachel Joyce Photography

October 27th, 2014 | Julia Braime

Rachel Joyce Photography (5)

New around here?  Take some time to visit and explore our brand new directory.  It should be the very first stop for any bride planning her wedding in the better half of the country.

I love introducing my readers to the suppliers and Brides Up North Sponsors who make this pretty place tick, and today I’m proud to welcome Rachel Joyce Photography to the pages of the wedding blog.  I’ve a stunning wedding by Rachel coming up in our schedule later this week – so watch this space – but in the meantime, let’s meet the lady behind the lens.

Rachel Joyce Photography (4)

How did you get into wedding photography?

Rachel says: I had absolutely no intention of becoming a wedding photographer – zero! When I started my business I wholeheartedly planned to concentrate on newborn and family photography with the odd christening here and there. Within a month of going pro I was I was asked to cover two weddings, one which had been organised on a very short timescale and one where the couple had been let down by their photographer at the last minute. I absolutely loved every minute of it and more importantly the couples loved their images. From that point on I decided to focus all of my efforts on wedding photography and I’m so glad I did. I’ve met some wonderful couples, visited some amazing venue and developed my photography further than I ever imagined I could.

Rachel Joyce Photography (28)

What is your favourite part of being a wedding photographer?

There’s so much to choose from. I genuinely love chatting weddings. Things like flower choices and table settings excite me more than they perhaps should! I also love being a part of the hustle and bustle and excitement on the day. Being around people when they are at their happiest is probably the best working environment you could ever ask for. Then I get to come home and relive it all whilst I edit their beautiful images.

Rachel Joyce Photography (3)

How do you get people to relax on the day?

I personally am not a great fan of having my own picture taken so I fully understand that for most people it isn’t their favourite thing. My approach to any wedding is to keep the formal shots to a minimum so the couple can spend the most amount of time possible with their friends and family. I find that couples who book our full day package which includes bridal and groom preparation are the most relaxed by the time it comes to their formal pictures. They are used to having us around by that point and have almost forgotten we are there to take pictures. I also try to crack a joke and then quickly capture the natural laughs, rather than the posed smiles. They generally turn out the best images.

Rachel Joyce Photography (31)

What sort of makeup should a bride wear?

Being the proud owner of a tube of tinted moisturiser and mascara I’m certainly no expect in the makeup department. I do think that it’s important for people to look like themselves. If you don’t normally wear heavy makeup, your wedding day might not be the time to start. Booking a reputable make up artist and having a couple of trials before the big day will ensure that you are happy with the final outcome.

Anything to avoid that might look bad in wedding pictures?

First thing first – think about your venue. It might have the most beautiful outdoor space you’ve ever seen but what if the weather is terrible? Where are we going to do that must have group shot of all your family? If you have decided to have full day coverage it’s also worth thinking about where you are getting ready. If it’s in the hotel then check if you can have a larger room, if you are getting ready at home it’s worth having a bit of a tidy up the day before and putting some clutter away if you’d rather not have it in the pictures. That said I’m not adverse to moving the odd pair of knickers off the floor if they are in my shot!

Rachel Joyce Photography (2)

Any really memorable weddings you have worked on that you’d like to share?

I recently covered the wedding of one of my oldest friends, Saiorse. There’s a group of us from school that have remained friends and although everyone is now scattered across different parts of the country, we still keep in touch with a group email and meet up a few times of year. It was extra special to be able to play a role in her day although it does make it harder to take pictures with tears in your eyes! The wedding was an absolute cracker and reflected their personalities perfectly.

Are you married?

YES! Im super lucky to be married to my first love, Tim. We met when I was just 16, bought a house together at 19 and got married at 21. Nine years later we have two beautiful children, Tom and Hattie. At the time we got married I was slightly obsessed with Pride and Prejudice (who are we kidding – I still am) so I went for simple elegance. We had a black and white theme with the bridemaids in lovely elegant long black dresses and the men in black morning suits. The sun shone, the day went perfectly and we had so much fun.

Rachel Joyce Photography (1)

What sets you apart from other photographers?

I’m know for being pretty unflappable. I come from a background in event management and customer services which are both really useful when it comes to being involved in the wedding industry. If something’s going wrong and I can help I will! I’ve been known to ring florists to chase deliveries, sew up broken zips on bridesmaid dresses and step into the role of wedding coordinator temporarily to help get a day back on track. There’s very little that can go wrong on the day that will actually ruin it unless you let it. Lots of my customers comment on how relaxed I made them feel or how I helped the day run a little more smoothly.

Rachel Joyce Photography (19)

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

I work predominantly in a documentary style so for the most of the day I will be in the background capturing all the important moments of your day without intruding upon it at all. Before the wedding we will have discussed in detail the formal shots you require. We will get through the group shots as quickly and painlessly as possible so you and your guests can go back to enjoying the day. I will normally whisk the bride and groom away for about 20 minutes to get some lovely images of just the two of you.

Can you give us an idea on price?

I offer three basic packages depending on how much coverage is wanted. Our most popular package is The Complete Collection. This includes two photographers covering from bride and groom prep in the morning right through until the first dance at the evening reception. This package is £950

If you quote brides up north when you get in touch I will include a complimentary engagement shoot with any booking.

Rachel Joyce Photography (21)

How can Brides Up North get in touch with you or find out more?

Get in touch any time via the website or Facebook page or email

I’d be delighted to come and meet with you and chat all things wedding.

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