Charlotte Balbier

pretty special. pronovias for a relaxed countryside cheshire wedding – sarah & dan

August 10th, 2017 | Laura McDonagh

A Pretty Wedding at Meols Hall (c) Bobtale Photography (40)

Even as we creep closer to Autumn (I know, I know, I’m sorry!), a good old English country garden summer wedding still gives us all the feels. And Sarah and Daniel’s glorious big day at Meols Hall, Tithe Barn, is just the ticket if you’re looking to inject some rustic charm and countryside elegance into your ceremony and reception.

There’s a stunningly simple Pronovias gown, homegrown British garden blooms, a subtle colour palette that Farrow and Ball would be proud of and some seriously classy designer elements – Jenny Packham shoes and a Tiffany bracelet as a wedding morning gift from the groom.

These pictures have a lovely sun-soaked charm, full of intimate joy and relaxed laughter – just the vibe this gorgeous pair were going for, and the perfect end to another beautiful week on the blog.

With images by Bobtale Photography.

A Pretty Wedding at Meols Hall (c) Bobtale Photography (32)

sarah says: For our engagement, Dan surprised me with a trip to the Cotswolds; it’s a place I’d wanted to go for a long time. He booked a cottage called ‘The Old Smithy’ in a village called Kingham. We were celebrating our ten year anniversary together that year.

Whilst I went to freshen up after the long journey, Dan set about preparing the cottage, filling it completely with candles, flowers and champagne on ice. He’d even set up the table with vintage cutlery given to my mum and dad as a wedding present back in the day!

When I walked through I found him with our six-month-old Cockapoo puppy, Waffle, who was dressed to impress in a Harris tweed bow tie!

He’d had a book made with a wax stamp seal on the cover reading “D️+S” and he’d filled it with nine polaroid pictures from each of the years we’d been together – with one missing on the final page. The book also contained the poem ‘I carry your heart’ by EE Cummings and the final verse of the poem was on the last page. Dan got down on one knee and removed the final verse of the poem to reveal a hollowed-out section containing an engagement ring and an empty section to fill with the tenth image! The poem was read at our wedding, which was very special.

We announced it with a picture using vintage lexicon letter cards spelling out ‘She Said Yes’ and Waffle proudly leaning over the table!

A Pretty Wedding at Meols Hall (c) Bobtale Photography (23)

We were married on Saturday 10th June 2017 – I’d always wanted a June wedding. We had our ceremony and reception at Meols Hall Tithe Barn in Southport.

We’d attended a wedding at Meols Hall around three years previously and, at that moment, knew that would be our chosen venue. It was just our style, and we really wanted it to be ‘us’. It was the most important decision we made.

A Pretty Wedding at Meols Hall (c) Bobtale Photography (37)

Our theme was ‘English country garden’. We chose it to go along with the Cotswolds feel; a sort of relaxed, wildflower, rustic vibe. We also wanted a more informal day so that our guests felt relaxed.

We went for pastel colours, dove greys, blues and blush pinks. We felt the more subtle colours would create the relaxed feel we were going for – we definitely didn’t want to have everything in one colour which we felt could look a little harsh.

A Pretty Wedding at Meols Hall (c) Bobtale Photography (1)

My dress was Pronovias and purchased at Brides of Liverpool. I went to the store and tried on a number of dresses, but it was only when I went back a second time that I saw ‘the one’. It was very fitted and felt it was a more classical look rather than flashy.

My shoes were from Jenny Packham and I wore some Swarovski earrings and a Tiffany & Co infinity bracelet, which was a wedding gift from Dan.

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only natural. a moss-green themed wedding at meols hall – jen & ben

June 15th, 2015 | Rachel Parry

A Rustic Wedding at Meols Hall (c) James Tracey Photography (30)

Today’s couple had their heart set on their chosen wedding venue from the moment they viewed its website – and looking at the images below we can see why.

Meols Hall provided a wonderful rustic setting for Ben and Jen’s romantic big day with its exposed brick walls and large wooden beams tying in perfectly with the couple’s moss-green colour scheme.

To complete the desired look they added natural flower displays and a gorgeous naked wedding cake – rustic romance at its best!

With images by Brides Up North Sponsor, James Tracey Photography.

A Rustic Wedding at Meols Hall (c) James Tracey Photography (2)

jen says: We got engaged in May 2012. It was a while back but we’ve never been a couple to rush things: we got together in 2004! Ben arranged a long weekend break to Paris for my 28th birthday. It was not the most original choice, but Ben was going for the double-bluff!

We had a wonderful time seeing the sights, but it wasn’t until the last day when Ben proposed. We went to Sacre Coeur on top of Montmatre (the telescope scene from Amelie, with a sweeping view of Paris). Despite us having been partners for more than seven years, Ben was shaking with nerves, and it ended up being a very emotional moment for both of us. He gave me a platted string ring that turned out to be impossible to put on! Ben knew that I would appreciate a say in the choice of ring so he was waiting until we could go ring shopping together.

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We set the date for 28th March 2015. I’m a primary school teacher, so it coincided with the start of the Easter Holidays. We had a hearts set on the venue, and it was one of the very few dates left for 2015 that worked well for me.

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Our chosen wedding venue was Meols Hall in Churchtown, Southport. Not far from Wigan, where my family live. We fell in love with it as soon as we saw their website. It is a wonderfully tasteful barn conversion that is more rustic than ostentatious. After we’d seen it, my parents went to visit it, and we were thrilled to hear that it was as beautiful in real life as it was in the website’s pictures.

A Rustic Wedding at Meols Hall (c) James Tracey Photography (14)

We had a relatively informal feel to the day. We didn’t want things to be straight-laced and serious. It really helped us – we were as relaxed as we could have been throughout the day.

Our order of service matched the style of our invites. They were both designed by a close friend of ours and featured a collage of fonts and black and white photos of Ben and I. As we both now live in London we also had a London Underground theme on the day. We wanted to bring a bit of the south up north! Our table names were stations in London that have meaning to both of us. The table plan was presented with an old London Underground map. We wrote funny(ish) short blurbs of why we had chosen the stations on the flip side of the table signs, to help break the ice on the tables.

We went with a moss green colour scheme, to complement the rustic venue, but to also go well with my hair.

A Rustic Wedding at Meols Hall (c) James Tracey Photography (15)

I wore a beautiful Justin Alexander dress which I bought from Angelica Bridal in London. It was simple, elegant and covered in lace. I absolutely loved it! I added a moss green belt with a lace applique to fit in with the theme which I’m really glad about because I think it made the dress come alive.

A Rustic Wedding at Meols Hall (c) James Tracey Photography (16)

On the wedding day Samantha Marshall did my makeup. It was fantastic and made me look glamourous yet natural! I would highly recommend her. Meanwhile, one of my oldest friends, and now professional hair stylist, Nicola Farrell, made my hair look wonderful! She plaited gypsum into the back which fit beautifully with the tasteful flower arrangements at the venue.

Ben didn’t want to hire a morning suit because he wanted something he could be proud of wearing over and over again. He found a tailored-fit three piece dark grey suit from T M Lewin that fit like a glove. He wore a luxury wide-collared plain white dress shirt from M&S and a well-matching moss green tie from Debenhams. The grooms and my dad wore the same suits as Ben.

My bridesmaids wore a moss green dress from Monsoon. They were a bargain and looked amazing!

A Rustic Wedding at Meols Hall (c) James Tracey Photography (18)

We hired a London cab to take us to the venue on the wedding day. We didn’t have any money left in the budget to hire a posh car, plus it fitted in with the London theme perfectly!

A Rustic Wedding at Meols Hall (c) James Tracey Photography (20)

James Tracey was our wedding photographer. His ethos mirrored our intentions for the day perfectly. The photos on his website were of a very high quality, but what set him apart was the imaginative, playful and natural feel that they had. We couldn’t recommend him highly enough. He was unobtrusive and a lot of fun to be with throughout the wedding day, and we now have a gallery-worthy selection of photos of our special day to cherish for the rest of our lives.

A Rustic Wedding at Meols Hall (c) James Tracey Photography (21)

I had a beautiful and simple bouquet of callow lily, white rose and gypsum. It was provided by a florist that Meols Hall deal exclusively with, called Mary Ambrose who provided flowers for the whole day.

Flowers were all white and mirrored the bouquet: callow lily, rose and gypsum. We were given a wonderful degree of choice for all aspects of the flower decorations, and Mary gave us exactly what we asked for. She was fantastic.

A Rustic Wedding at Meols Hall (c) James Tracey Photography (27)

We didn’t give favours out on the day and instead are donating a sum to the National Brain Appeal. This was in appreciation of the work they and the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery did for a close friend of ours, who sadly passed away two years ago after being diagnosed with a brain tumour.

A Rustic Wedding at Meols Hall (c) James Tracey Photography (46)

For our wedding cake, we chose a slightly asymmetric naked Victoria sponge. It was based on a photo we had seen on the internet and was baked by All About Cakes in Southport. They recreated it perfectly and it tasted delicious!

Carringtons Catering deal with Meols Hall exclusively, so we chose a hot buffet with them for our wedding meal. We also chose a vegan stew to cater for Ben and a few other vegetarians. Before the meal we had canapés, and being a Wiganer, we had to have pies and peas for the evening celebrations!

A Rustic Wedding at Meols Hall (c) James Tracey Photography (45)

When it came to choosing entertainment, we listened to a lot of bands online before stumbling across Toni James. She sounded head and shoulders better than anything else we had heard, so chose her instantly. Although Toni provided us with the option of having a bigger band accompanying her, a pesky sound limiter at the venue meant that we couldn’t really have more than a four-piece. We were anxious about what sound they would be able to make, but they absolutely rocked! They normally play a lot of pop music, but Ben is a big fan of funk and soul. They had enough in their repertoire to make him very happy, and even learnt Erma Franklin’s Piece of My Heart for the evening.

A Rustic Wedding at Meols Hall (c) James Tracey Photography (49)

In addition, a friend of mine, Zoe Baldwin, is an opera singer, and she very kindly agreed to sing three arias during the signing of the register. Our guests – and the registrars – all appeared spellbound! It made the ceremony very special indeed.

A Rustic Wedding at Meols Hall (c) James Tracey Photography (47)

As extra entertainment, we had little fun activities after the ceremony. There was a Polaroid camera and some old-fashioned fair games, like hoopla and a sweet stall, all made possible by our wonderful friends who created and operated everything.

A Rustic Wedding at Meols Hall (c) James Tracey Photography (53)

We would absolutely recommend our venue to other couples! It was a stunning back-drop, with the whole day based in the one location. There was enough space to make it suitable for all weather possibilities. Also, the staff at Meols Hall were friendly, relaxed and professional, and helped the day progress seamlessly.

It is hard to choose to favourite part of the day as we had a few; saying our vows which we wrote ourselves, listening to Zoe sing, and dancing the night away whilst eating a pie! Heaven!

A Rustic Wedding at Meols Hall (c) James Tracey Photography (58)

For our honeymoon we went to Marrakech for five days. It was incredible. We stayed in a beautiful, scented and tranquil Riad just a few minutes’ walk of the main market. We took in the sights and sounds, bartered in the souks, ate like kings, pampered ourselves in one of the best spas the city had to offer and caught up on some much needed sleep! Although it flies by, no-one tells you how tiring your wedding day will be.

A Rustic Wedding at Meols Hall (c) James Tracey Photography (59)

My top tip to other Brides Up North would be to relax and enjoy yourself. As our photographer said, you get to be a rock star for the day – make the most of it! Also, use your friends and their talents. It made it really special, personal and unique.

We are hugely grateful to everyone who helped make our wedding the magical day that it was. In particular, my parents who gave so much of themselves on the day and the months leading up to it.

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Ruby Vintage: A Real Wedding At Southport Beach – Charlotte & Austin

July 12th, 2013 | Julia Braime

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Ok, I’ll admit it.  The missing blog post in yesterday afternoon’s regular slot was not due to computer meltdown or technical issues, rather due to a very strong desire to get away from my computer screen and off into the big sunny outdoors with my parents and baby girl.  Sometimes a (tactical) skive is just what you need to set the World to rights and get those creative juices flowing again, and goodness do I have some beautiful features lined up to share with you over the next week and this weekend. 

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So, after exploring the fabulous Great Yorkshire Show yesterday (come on, where else would a blogger so passionate about the great and good in the North be?) armed with pushchair and ice-cream, I’m back this morning to make amends with a rather lovely celebration sent to me by Charlotte, Austin and their photographer Teresa of Cunningham Photography

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Charlotte and Austin’s Real Wedding was personal and passionate with heaps of style.  I hope that you enjoy our recap. 

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Charlotte says:  We got engaged on 26th October 2011 at Southport Beach, one of our favourite places, and were married on Friday 5th October 2012.  The ceremony was in the Chambers Room at Southport Town Hall and the reception was in the Prince of Wales Hotel, Southport.

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We chose our venue for it’s gorgeous ballroom and as it was where we first met at the age of 16 and had our first kiss (although we didn’t start dating until 7 years later).

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We didn’t have a theme as such but went for reds, autumnal colours and a vintage feel.

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I bought a cheap, disastrous dress from eBay but my Mother’s friend is an amazing seamstress and managed to make the perfect dress for me from it. It was a just below the knee, 50s style dress with a detachable long sleeved overtop. Austin wore a grey teddy boy style suit with a black velvet collar, red bow tie and black and white winkle pickers!

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I had eight bridesmaids all of different shapes and sizes and so asked them all just to buy their own red dresses for the occasion. I did start to stress a few days before the wedding when I realised I still hadn’t seen any of their dresses but it turned out looking really nice having all different shades of red and different styles of dresses. Austin had three groomsmen (one being his lovely female friend Katy) and just asked them the wear grey which had the same lovely effect as the bridesmaids originality.

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We were so lucky that a lot of our family and friends were so very helpful (and useful!). A family friend made our cakes while Austin’s Grandmother worked in a florist and sorted our flowers out for us. We also made a lot of things ourselves and with friends to keep the costs down.

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I was driven to the Town Hall in a cream Volkswagen Campervan and then we were both driven around in it after the ceremony for our photos.

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Our dream wedding was for everyone to have fun and so we had a home made “photo booth” consisting of an underwater scene with inflatables and snorkelling gear and disposable cameras. We also had a “tuck shop” with lots of different sweets in jars and striped paper bags for people to take some goodies home!

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A friend of ours is in a covers band, The Grace, that often plays weddings and so they played two sets for us and got everyone dancing! After the band we relied on Austin’s laptop for the tunes.

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All of the day was perfect and it was just amazing having all our family and friends there in the same place. I loved our first dance to ‘No one’s Gonna Love You More Than I Do’ by Band of Horses and all the bridesmaids and groomsmen joining in after the first chorus, such a special moment.

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My family friend, Ann, made out dream wedding cake. The bottom tier was chocolate and strawberry cheesecake with the middle and top layer as fruit cake, all decorated with roses and vines. She also made a separate carrot cake for myself with little marzipan carrots all over it.

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After the wedding we drove to Hull and got the overnight ferry to Zeebrugge where we then drove around Belgium, France, Luxembourg and Germany for two weeks. It was magical. We stayed in a tree house, a space themed room and a canal boat among lots of other hotels.

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My top tip for other Brides Up North is just remember that although you’ll want to make everyone happy, ultimately this is yours and your loved one’s big day and you should do everything to make it special and meaningful for the both of you.

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Congratulations Charlotte & Austin!

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Fancy seeing your own Real Wedding on Brides Up North?  Here’s how

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog – Images © 2013 Cunningham Photography

This is not a sponsored post

Contact Brides Up North to submit your business as a Featured Supplier

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Exuberance! Augusta Jones For An Italian Spirited Real Wedding In Southport – Charlotte & Roger

June 13th, 2013 | Julia Braime

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Today’s Real Wedding is an absolute knockout.  A beautifully styled day filled with Italian exuberance, true love and plenty of spirit.  These images by Alan Law Photography make me want to climb inside and relive it all with vibrant bride Charlotte, new husband Roger and their large and boisterous family.

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Bacio!

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Charlotte says:  We got engaged in Loch Lomond in Scotland. It was a beautiful spring day and Roger wanted to go for a walk. After ten minutes of trekking up a hill, I started to moan that I had had enough and the view was lovely from where we were. He insisted we carry on. Grumbling, I continued up the hill until we found a quiet rock to sit on. Bird spotter that he is, he pointed to the skies. When I looked back down, he was on one knee.

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We got married on Friday 5th April 2013 at Meols Hall Tithe Barn in Churchtown near Southport.  I had known for a while that I wanted to get married in a converted barn, I just love the mixture of brickwork and wood. The candles and fairy lights create such a romantic venue. After many hours researching on the internet, I found the barn in Churchtown. The moment I walked in, I knew this was the place I wanted to get married.

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I became slightly obsessed with some lovely birdcages I had found. It was the weekend after Easter so the theme was built around this. Roger, being an art teacher, made some amazing birdcage invitations. The place cards were birds and his extremely talented (and committed) mum crocheted a hundred little chicks as favours.  As it was a spring wedding, the colours were pastels.

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I chose a beautiful dress by Augusta Jones named Ali which I got from Cheadle Brides. I knew I wanted lace and it had a vintage, classic feel to it which I adored.

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The bridesmaids wore mink dresses from Monsoon. The cream lace detailing matched my dress perfectly. The groomsmen wore classic, black dinner suits. I really wanted a simple, smart look to go with the lace of my dress and the pastel colour scheme.

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I carried a beautiful bouquet of pastel flowers by Irene and Mary, who were recommended by Meols Hall. Their beautiful flowers surpassed all of my expectations.

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We both wrote an addition to the vows which made them all the more special and emotional. I still get goosebumps when I think of the beautiful words Roger wrote for me. They were perfect.

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My cousin Sam is a talented musician. He arranged for the band Honeyfeet to play between the ceremony and reception. He also joined in on the double bass, which made it extra special. Their acoustic music created the perfect atmosphere for the coach house and pre-reception drinks.

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Roger also wanted a magician. He is half-Italian and wanted to make sure that the entertainment could be enjoyed with no language barrier. We chose Stephen Williams

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We used MY Bakery for our cupcake wedding cake. Mel is a friend of one of the bridesmaids and her cupcakes looked and tasted amazing.

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Roger’s Italian family shouted bacio (kiss) at every available opportunity made the day such fun. Their exuberance added to the fun of the day which is reflected in the photos. I seem to be laughing in every single one!

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After the wedding we went on a ‘mini-moon’ to the Lakes. A log cabin on a river, with a hot tub and no phone signal was just what we needed to unwind. We are currently in the process of planning our main honeymoon to Costa Rica in August.

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My top tip for other Brides Up North is to enjoy and cherish every single second. Everyone will say this, but it really will fly by. And, most importantly of all…have fun!

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Congratulations Charlotte & Roger!

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If you’d like to see your own Real Wedding on these swirly silver pages – here’s how.

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog – Images © 2013 Alan Law Photography

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Merry-Go-Round! A Real Engagement In The North West – Sarah & Jonathan

June 25th, 2012 | Julia Braime

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A Real Engagement in Southport by Richard Wynn-Davies

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I do like a good dose of happiness on a Monday morning, so today on the wedding blog we hear from some competition winners who were lucky enough to score an engagement shoot with the fabulous Richard Wynn-Davies, Sarah and Jonathan.

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Let’s share their love story and wish them just as much luck in their future together.

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Sarah says: We were on holiday in Turkey, and one evening we were getting ready for dinner. We had a beautiful view from our hotel room balcony with a mountain view on the left and sea view on the right. That night there was a full moon as well which had a lovely orange glow. I could see Jonathan hiding behind the curtain and I thought he was going to jump out and scare me. Instead, he was down on one knee.

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We’re getting married at the Hard Day’s Night Hotel in Liverpool, which is not too far from where I grew up. It is next year in July, so still got a while yet and we’ve already been engaged for ten months!

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We met in Central London – he was out on a work do and so was I. I’d only moved to London about a month before.

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We just kept it really casual and met up for drinks after work for our first date. There weren’t any big fireworks or anything, and we were just seeing how things went. Obviously, things went well!

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We have such different backgrounds but we get along really well. We’re both quite independent too, but love spending time together whether it’s sitting in watching a TV show, out for dinner at a new restaurant, or off on a trip exploring somewhere we haven’t been before.

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We’ll have to see what married life has in store for us! We already live together and have done for three years. We’re just ready to keep going, sharing our lives together and with our family and friends around us.

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Our engagement shoot came about as I entered a competition with Richard Wynn-Davies. We were really chuffed to have won, and really happy that we were able to have some professional photos taken as we found that we really didn’t have many photos of just the two of us!

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We were really pleased with the shoot. Richard and Caroline were easy going, relaxed and just let us go with the flow. We found it really difficult to find a photographer and felt really fortunate that we won the competition. After five months of searching for a photographer, we booked them not too long after our engagement shoot.

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Congratulations Sarah & Jonathan!

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  – Images © 2012 Richard Wynn-Davies 

Richard Wynn-Davies is a Brides Up North Featured Supplier, but this is not a sponsored post

Contact Brides Up North to submit your business as a Featured Supplier

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