Brides Up North

summer lovin’. a wedding in manchester – samantha & ben

August 6th, 2014 | Julia Braime

a summer wedding at Manchester Town Hall (c) Victoria Franks Photography  (14)

This afternoon wedding photographer Samantha Broadley finds herself on the other side of the lens, as she shares her bright and beautiful (destination) wedding in Manchester with Brides Up North.

With images by Victoria Franks Photography.

a summer wedding at Manchester Town Hall (c) Victoria Franks Photography  (5)

Samantha says: We were married on 26th July 2013. I’ve always wanted a summer wedding in the hope we might get some sunshine, and we did!

We tied the knot at Manchester Town Hall. Neither of us are from Manchester but it is where we met and where we have started our lives together, so Manchester will always have a special place in our hearts. As well as the exterior of the building the interior is beautiful and believe it or not, not a lot of people have been inside.  None of our guests had a clue what it was like, so they were blown away with the grandeur of it all. The reception was at The Mere Golf Resort and Spa, just because it’s quite simply beautiful, and had all the facilities we wanted.

We didn’t have a specific theme, but a lot did revolve around Manchester. My invites and name cards for the tables all had Manchester skyline on them.  Our table names were places we’d been together that were special, for example, Brooklyn Bridge as we walked across there for my 21st, Syndey ANZ Stadium as we watched Australia v New Zealand there (Ben’s a big rugby fan) and our top table was of course  Manchester Town Hall.

a summer wedding at Manchester Town Hall (c) Victoria Franks Photography  (12)

a summer wedding at Manchester Town Hall (c) Victoria Franks Photography  (20)

Being a wedding photographer, I have seen lots of different colour themes and I wanted something different. I would have loved to get married abroad but our grandparents wouldn’t have been able to fly and it was important to us to have them there. I wanted to bring the brightness and boldness of a destination wedding to Manchester, so I chose shades of teal with coral and pink flowers.

I chose a Mori Lee dress from The Bridal Collection in Lancaster. I was torn between two dresses, both completely different.  One had a lot of lace detail and was a fish tail, the other had more ruffles and had a sweet heart neckline. I decided to go for the ruffles as it reminded me of a Spanish flamenco dress, again bringing the abroad feel back in for me.

Ben wore a light grey three piece suit from Slaters in Manchester. We bought the suits instead of hiring them, after all he’s more likely to wear his suit again than I am to wear my dress.

The Bridesmaid dresses were from In Wedding Dress, I was very conscious of the price of the bridesmaids dresses as I had six attendants, so I spent a lot of time researching.

a summer wedding at Manchester Town Hall (c) Victoria Franks Photography  (19)

I’m not very good with flowers, knowing the names and what’s in season. I just found a few pictures of the sort of bouquet I liked, I showed the lovely florists my pictures and colour ideas at Lune Valley Home & Garden Florist and they came up with the rest. My trust in them was well placed my flowers were beautiful.

Decor wise, I bought paper lanterns which were hung in the trees outside in the garden at The Mere Golf Resort with fairy lights wrapped round the terrace. We dotted some vintage style tea light holders around the tables outside. We had table flowers included in our package and I just paid a bit extra to have a few more flowers added. The entertainment was more important to me rather than decorating the room.

For the ceremony and for the arrival drinks we booked a singer and guitarist called Rob Yates, I’ve seen him at a number of other weddings and I’ve always loved what he does.

We also had a singing waiter, Jamie Reeves. After being to so many weddings I know there can be a little lull after the desserts waiting for the speeches and this is when Jamie came in.  He was a complete surprise to everyone especially as he’d been serving most of them earlier. Only Ben, my maid of honour and I knew about him, so to see everyone’s faces was so funny.

We knew what we wanted from the very beginning for our favours. Ben sadly lost his Dad when he was 11 to Cancer so instead of spending money on little presents for everyone we donated money to Cancer Research and we had the ribbon badges. It’s lovely looking back at the pictures as everyone’s wearing them so in a way it’s like Ben’s Dad was there.

Ben and I are known for having parties and making Vodka Jellies, so we couldn’t have the biggest party of our lives go without them. They were supposed to be welcome drinks for our evening guests but I don’t think they got a look in!

a summer wedding at Manchester Town Hall (c) Victoria Franks Photography  (25)

The transport was very important to me on the day and my dad let us use his pride and joy, his Mercedes SL convertible. I was praying for sunshine so we could have the roof down and it worked. My Dad drove me from The Mere Golf Resort where we got ready to the Town Hall, it was nice as we got time completely on our own. Then after the Ceremony Ben drove me back and my Dad had a ‘Just Married’ reg plate made for the photographs which was a nice surprise.

Being a photographer the photographs where at the top of my to do list so as soon as I had the venues booked the photographer was next, as I know how soon dates can go. I chose my friend Victoria Franks Photography. I was more than happy with the photographs. On the day she was amazing, it’s so important you get along with your photographer as you do spend a lot of time with them on the day, so it’s good to have someone you can feel relaxed and have a laugh with.

a summer wedding at Manchester Town Hall (c) Victoria Franks Photography  (23)

We loved all of it, but I thinkmy favourite moment was the first dance.  When Ben proposed he also bought me tickets to see Coldplay at the Etihad in Manchester and  it was amazing. We wanted to relive that experience for our first dance so chose ‘Paradise’.  Everyone loved it and got involved, all the people you love on one dance first floor, perfect.

a summer wedding at Manchester Town Hall (c) Victoria Franks Photography  (37)

We went travelling in 2009 and one of the places we never got to was Malaysia so it was on the top of our list when it came to our honeymoon. As the weather over there isn’t great in July we went to Palma in Majorca for a mini moon for three nights the day after the wedding but  I couldn’t wait for the main one.  We went away for three weeks over Christmas and New Year. It was nice to have a break between the wedding and the real honeymoon, it meant it wasn’t all over straight away.

We started off in Kuala Lumpur for 3 nights, then over to Langkawi for 8 Days, Penang for Christmas, finishing it off in our favourite place for New Years Eve in Singapore. It was all amazing, if only every holiday could be like that.

a summer wedding at Manchester Town Hall (c) Victoria Franks Photography  (47)

My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to make it as personal as you can, don’t get wrapped up in what a wedding ‘should be’ and do what you both want to do.

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Pie & Mash Makes Perfect! Venus Bridal For A Silver & Teal Real Wedding In Yorkshire – Claire & John

April 28th, 2013 | Julia Braime

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(c) Damian Hall Photography

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Although I’m officially “off duty” today – my first Sunday being busy doing absolutely nothing in quite a while  bloomin’ ages, and for quite a while bloomin’ ages to come – I couldn’t resist popping in to share this beautiful Real Wedding sent to me by bride and groom Claire & John and Brides Up North Featured Supplier Damian Hall Photography

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As a blogger (and avid consumer of anything pretty) I frequent lots of blogs myself – a very mixed bag of the wedding, celebrity, news, humour and lifestyle varieties – and I’m always saddened by the general weekend down time.  Us bloggers do need weekends off sometimes too – a twice daily feature schedule, busy freelance schedule and nearly twenty Brides Up North wedding exhibitions and Brides Up North events in 2013 to organise does not a lot of free time make – but I do like to keep things interesting around here on a Saturday and Sunday. 

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So without further ado, lets get stuck into today’s lovely celebration and meet our bride and groom (who make a rather cute comedy duo in their interview)!

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Claire says:  We got engaged in St Paul’s Bay in Rhodes in August 2010 and were married on 6th October 2012 at Crow Hill Cottage in Marsden.  We wanted an exclusive use venue where we wouldn’t bump into other people getting married on the day. We really liked Crow Hill when we first went to visit- it is a unique venue in a lovely location and has a marquee outside.  Our families stayed at Crow Hill the night before and after the wedding, which really made the weekend special.

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John says: It was quite near me mam’s house, and the catering staff offered pie and mash as an option for the wedding breakfast.

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John: Our wedding coordinator Rebecca offered lots of different themes for the day (though you were free to design your own if you were feeling creative)! We opted for a clean, contemporary theme with crystals and candles and a silver and teal colour scheme. 

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Claire: My dress was long and white with one shoulder strap. It was from Gorgeous Brides in Wakefield and designed by Venus Bridal.

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The bridesmaids wore silver dresses from Coast, with home-made white bands to match the wedding colour scheme.

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Claire: I chose to carry a bouquet of silk flowers from Ups A Daisy Bridal Flowers. They also made buttonholes for John, my Dad, John’s Dad and the best man, and a matching cake topper.

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Claire: We arrived by Ford Fiesta the night before.

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John: Which was a magical experience.

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John: Seeing Claire in her wedding dress for the first time took my breath away.

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Claire: Entertainment wise, John’s friend Leavon played acoustic guitar and sang during the ceremony and drinks reception and  Damian Hall Photography helped us to set up a fancy-dress photo booth for the evening, which was a lot of fun.

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Claire: Damian and Charlotte Hall were our photographers on the day. They did a fantastic job!

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Claire: We had some absolutely amazing food! Tracey at Crow Hill did two options for the wedding breakfast; pie and mash, and Mediterranean grilled chicken. The canapés were lovely, and bacon sandwiches in the evening were a great touch!

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Claire: I am allergic to eggs and dairy so cakes are kind of difficult! Mum made some lovely dairy-free cupcakes and a big cake on top to cut.

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(c) Damian Hall Photography

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Claire: My favourite part of the day was when we entered the marquee and everyone was upstanding to welcome Mr and Mrs Barnard!

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John:  After the wedding we had a mini-moon in Venice, and stayed in a very cute (and tiny) hotel near St. Mark’s square.  It was a great first holiday as husband and wife!

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(c) Damian Hall Photography

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(c) Damian Hall Photography

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(c) Damian Hall Photography

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Claire: I’d definitely recommend picking a venue where you can stay the weekend as it prolongs the celebrations a little bit! Having a couple of meal options is a good idea too, to make sure everyone is happy.
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John: Though obviously, pie and mash will do that for you.

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog – Images © 2013 Damian Hall Photography

Damian Hall Photography 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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Make Me A Mix Tape? A Real Wedding In The North East: Sam & Grant

November 26th, 2012 | Julia Braime

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North East Wedding by Helen Russell Photography

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We are in the North East today with Brides Up North readers Sam and Grant who we first met when I featured their engagement story a few months back.  With images by the lovely Helen Russell Photography, a Brides Up North Featured Supplier, these two big kids kept the quirk factor high and styled their wedding just the way they wanted it.  Watch out for some retro gliders, a fabulous Lego wedding cake and lots of beautiful buttons.

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Wedding in the North East by Helen Russell Photography

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Sam says: Grant proposed in October 2008 on a surprise romantic weekend trip to Paris. (Please see the full story at our real engagement shoot) and we married on Saturday 25th August 2012 at Hardwick Hall Hotel, Sedgefield.

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Hardwick Hall Wedding by Helen Russell Photography

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We wanted to host both the ceremony & reception at the same venue to reduce travelling for our guests.

The reception was held at the Paddock Marquee on the grounds of the hotel, perfect for our August Bank Holiday weekend date.

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We are both big kids at heart and wanted our special day to be fun, unique and a wedding to remember.

We didn’t start with a theme in mind – it naturally evolved into a retro theme after finding Lego Cake Toppers on eBay.

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Selecting a colour scheme was an easy choice, as we both share the same favourite colour, Teal.

However, we soon realised after selecting the colour, how many different shades of Green/Blue there are and coordinating a consistent colour scheme became more of a challenge than we first thought.

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I wore an ivory “Donatella” Ronald Joyce dress from Butterflies Bridal in Thornaby. It was a stunning dress with a sweetheart neckline and amazing beading detail. I knew straight away it was the one.

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After much researching, I eventually found a really nice polka dot bridesmaid dress in John Lewis that was very different and fitted in with our retro theme.  The bridesmaids also wore coral peep-toe shoes, which matched the colour of the dress zip.  Before the wedding, my maid of honour found out she was pregnant, so we bought her a replacement coral maxi dress because her bump was growing so much.

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The flower girl wore a simple ivory dress from Primark at a bargain £8 with matching coral shoes.

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Grant opted for a grey coat tail suit as he wanted something different. He wore an ivory waistcoat, whilst the rest of the groomsmen wore grey. All the gents wore teal cravats, which matched with the colour of the bridesmaid dresses.

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As part of our thank you gifts, we gave each bridesmaid a pair of coral plimsolls to help dance the night away and the best man & usher got colourful retro Casio watches.

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Helen Russell Photography   Helen Russell Photography

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As an alternative to the traditional floral bouquet, I wanted something unique, that could be kept and treasured forever. We found a company online called Beau Buttons, who offered the perfect solution – the Button Bouquet.They incorporated all of our ideas and retro details to create a truly personal and bespoke bouquet set.

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My bouquet contained:

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· A range of teal & blue vintage buttons;

· Love Hearts sweet buttons to tie in with the wedding cake, ladies favours and the sweetie buffet;

· A Lego brick to match Grant’s cuff links & Buttonhole;

· The letters “S & G” on individual diamante buttons;

· The handle was wrapped in material from the spare Bridesmaid dress;

· Leaf-shaped felt collar.

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The large order also included 6 x smaller Bridesmaid bouquets, 10 x Buttonholes, 3 x Corsages and a button clip for the Flower Girl.

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Beau Buttons really went the extra mile for us and even produced bunting from the Bridesmaid dress fabric as an extra product which they don’t usually offer.  We had several Skype video calls to chat through feedback and were kept continuously up-to-date with progress. It was exactly what I wanted and could not have been happier with the final product.

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It was the ultimate top secret creative mission – none of the guests or wedding party knew about it until the morning of the wedding. Helen caught the moment on camera when I surprised the Bridesmaids with their own individual bouquets. It was amazing and highly recommended to any bride.

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To complement the button bouquets, we also had a selection of real Peach Gerberas from Butterflies Florist in Middlesbrough, who made the top table arrangement, throwing and thank you bouquets.

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My favourite part of the day was the ceremony itself. I was so excited on the morning, getting ready with my Bridesmaids. I couldn’t wait to walk down the aisle and as soon as the music started, it was so emotional. I loved every minute of it.

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For our photography, Helen Russell was brilliant and made us feel so relaxed and comfortable. She captured so many amazing moments that we will treasure forever.

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Lauren Close covered the evening reception photography and got some great party & dressing up booth shots.

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We created our very own sweetie buffet, complete with retro sweets, a range of glass jars, pic’n’mix scoops & bags.  To make it more personal, we designed our own “how sweet it is to be loved by you” sign and also found a table cloth that matched with the Bridesmaid dresses.  We topped it all off with a fun Wedding Mr & Mrs Potato Head set.

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We also created a dressing up booth next to the dance floor, which included a range of fancy dress items, props, chalkboards and a large silver frame.  Both the sweetie buffet & dressing up area were very popular with our guests and helped make the day extra special.

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We hired a Vintage Post Box to keep all the wedding cards & gifts together, which worked really well.

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Our favourite Childhood TV programmes became our table names: 

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He-Man, Transformers, Thundercats, Banana Man, Inspector Gadget, My Little Pony, Raggy Dolls and Button Moon!

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The invitations were also retro and included an RSVP postcard in the shape of a mixtape cassette. We asked our guests to request 3 songs to get them up on the dance floor, which the DJ compiled into a playlist at the reception.

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We found our biggest bargain at a local car boot sale, 100 old cassette tapes for £5. We used the original covers and relabelled the tapes with wedding stationary to create table place names. The hardest part was matching the original cassette tape music with individual guests.

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For our retro transport, we hired a VW Beetle ‘74 Convertible & ‘65 VW Camper Van & from Love Dub Cars in Darlington.

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I travelled with my Dad in the Beetle, after the rest of the wedding party arrived in the Camper Van.  We loved the retro cars and got some great photos after the ceremony.

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We chose a Lego & Love Hearts themed cake made up of individual fun cupcakes for each of our guests.

We also had a special single tier sponge cake, which the minifig Grant & Sam Lego Cake Toppers were displayed on. This was completed with a Lego Wedding Arch that came all the way from America.

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We had a Giant Jenga and a disposable camera photo challenge to keep the kids entertained and a framed pinboard with prints from our pre-wedding photoshoot. 

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The best man surprised me with a set of masks for each table, including mine & Grant’s faces, along with George Michael and Pat Butcher for randomness.

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After the wedding, we had the most amazing honeymoon in Cuba – initially soaking up the culture in Havana, before heading to the beach resort of Varadero for total relaxation.

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My tip for other Brides Up North would be to try to do as many of the items yourself, not only will it keep you in budget, but will be very rewarding and make your day extra special and personal.

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HEARTCongratulations Sam & Grant! HEART

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Contact me to see your own Real Wedding featured on the blog.

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  – Images © 2012 Helen Russell Photography

Helen Russell Photography 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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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog

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Bright & Beautiful! A Real Wedding In Yorkshire – Jo & Luke

November 2nd, 2012 | Julia Braime

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Yorkshire Wedding by Peter Boyd Photography

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Nothing like a bright and beautiful Yorkshire Real Wedding to get your Friday off to a flying start.  Today we are at the beautiful Yorkshire Sculpture Park with Brides Up North reader  Jo, her new hubby Luke and Peter Boyd Photography for a wedding filled with colour, humour and personal touches. 

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Save some pic n mix for me please!

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Yorkshire Wedding by Peter Boyd Photography

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Yorkshire Wedding by Peter Boyd Photography

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Jo says:  We got engaged on 26th June 2011. We were having a weekend away for our birthdays in Liverpool. During the day, Luke bought me a pick n mix (I love sweets) but unbeknown to me, he’d squirrelled away numerous Haribo rings to put in various pockets in preparation for popping the question. Later on, around midnight, as we were strolling along the deserted Albert Dock, Luke asked me to be his wife and even though he tried to put the Haribo ring on the wrong finger, I said yes!

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We were married on Friday 24th August 2012 at the gorgeous Yorkshire Sculpture Park (in West Bretton, near Wakefield, West Yorkshire).  It is a very special place to us. We go there often as we love to walk around the park. It is also where we ended up on our second date although we didn’t plan to – we were supposed to be going for a walk at a nearby lake but I got in the wrong lane on the roundabout and crashed my car. Luke was great though, despite my bad driving skills! That day we ended up at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park and it was perfect.

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Additionally, we really loved the modern décor and huge windows looking out on the spectacular parkland. Sally and Charlotte, the wedding coordinators at the YSP, were so friendly and helpful which sealed the deal!

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We didn’t really pick a theme, but instead wanted to incorporate things that were personal to us and our colour scheme of teal and silver. I guess I was aiming for something fresh and modern. I did have a motif of two interlinked hearts running through the stationery which I made myself.

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My very talented Mum made my dress. We chose a Vogue design for the pattern and bought the fabric together as I wanted it to be modern with a bit of a shimmer. Mum also adapted the pattern by embellishing the dress with beads and an appliqued motif. The dress itself was strapless and A-line.  My amazing shoes were by Irregular Choice

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My Mum also made the bridesmaids’ dresses! The pattern was by Butterick. I wanted to be able to have the bridesmaids dressed in my favourite colour and found the perfect material at Derby Cloth House.  Luke wore a suit we bought especially for the wedding and his father, my brother and our best man wore suits hired from Greenwoods 1860.

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Together with my mum, I made a beautiful brooch bouquet with brooches from family and friends as well as brooches bought especially for their turquoise colour. It was quite heavy but is a fantastic keepsake.

I also made the bridesmaids’ bouquet from a mixture of foam roses, organza and sparkly bits wrapped with ribbon.

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During the ceremony, Luke’s sister Laura and her boyfriend Chris played three songs; Laura sang and Chris played guitar. It was beautiful and it was the only point in the day when I cried!

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Later on, we hired The Kickstarts, a fantastically fun band who played lots of great hits from various decades and got everyone dancing. Music is important to us (it’s how we met) so in between The Kickstarts’ sets, we played our own playlist of favourite songs.

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Every song played before the ceremony, during, after, during the wedding breakfast was chosen by us and meant a lot to us. I walked down the aisle to Santeria by Sublime (performed by the Piano Tribute Players) and we came back up the aisle to Green Day’s Good Riddance (Time of your life) also performed by Piano Tribute Players. Our first dance was Swing Life Away by Rise Against and our last dance was History by Funeral for a Friend.

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From the moment we came across Peter Boyd Photography, we knew we had to have him shoot our wedding! His work is amazing and we loved the way he could really tell a story through his pictures and could capture the moment so perfectly. We’d already decided the photos were one thing we weren’t going to compromise on, so when we met Peter and Kelly and they were just as nice in real life, we booked them immediately. We were thrilled with their pictures.

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Yorkshire Wedding by Peter Boyd Photography

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Luke is known for wearing crazily coloured socks and gave each man in the wedding party a pair to wear that day.

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Yorkshire Wedding by Peter Boyd Photography

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We were aware that we were providing a lot of free wine, as happens at weddings, and wanted to add some beer to the mix! So we purchased a keg of Yorkshire Blonde (could have been named after me!) and asked for donations for each pint which we gave to The British Heart Foundation.

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We decided not to have a traditional blank guest book but chose to use the Landscape for Art book we bought at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park which has photos of all the art displayed there over the last 30 years. Handily, there were plenty of spaces around the photos for our guests to share their best wishes and top tips for marriage!

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Luke’s Mum grew all the flowers with the help of the adults with learning disabilities who attend the day centre at which she volunteers. She then arranged them in vases for the ceremony room and each table. I didn’t know what the flowers would be but I trusted her expertise. They were an amazing array of seasonal blooms.

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Each table was named after a song we both love and we quoted one of the lyrics on the signs we made for each table.

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The favours were two Haribo rings (see engagement story!) and a Haribo heart in a turquoise organza bag plus I made each guest a personalised silver and turquoise wine glass charm with their name.  I love sweets but 8 months before the wedding, I gave them up which was a real test. It meant the pick n mix I created for our wedding day was worth the wait though!

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Yorkshire Wedding by Peter Boyd Photography

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Jo of Jo’s Cakes is not only my best friend and bridesmaid, but she also makes amazing cakes and mine was no exception! My cake was a total surprise and a wonderful gift. Although I had provided Jo with a mood board, I had no idea what she was going to do! I did know it would be fantastic and it was. Not only did it look spectacular, but it tasted great too.

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Yorkshire Wedding by Peter Boyd Photography

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I can’t choose one special moment from the day! Some of my favourite parts: walking up the aisle with my brother to see my future husband; Laura and Chris’ performance; dancing with all my family and friends; the fantastic food and the amazing photo booth (thanks to Peter Boyd Photography) - everyone had such fun dressing up and leaving messages for us on the chalkboard. 

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Yorkshire Wedding by Peter Boyd Photography

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For two nights after the wedding,we stayed at 42 The Calls in Leeds as we had a huge BBQ at my mum’s the day after the wedding. On the Sunday morning, we flew off to Jersey. We chose Jersey as it was likely to be warm (it was), it was somewhere neither of us had visited before and it was interesting (not everyone gets to hold a snake and feed monkeys on their honeymoon)!

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Yorkshire Wedding by Peter Boyd Photography

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My top tip for other Brides Up North would be not to compromise – do it your way! Make it personal to you and not about what everyone else wants or expects.

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Saying that though, do have a budget and work within that budget. Work out what you think it’s important to spend on and what you can save on. Make things yourself and enlist the help of friends and family.

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On the day, use the time between courses at the wedding breakfast to mingle. We were so glad we did as it meant we could personally thank every guest for coming and spend time chatting to them before the dancing began!

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Yorkshire Wedding by Peter Boyd Photography

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HEARTCongratulations Jo & Luke! HEART

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Contact me to see your own Real Wedding featured on the wedding blog. 

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  – Images © 2012 Peter Boyd Photography

This is not a sponsored post

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

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog

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And I Love You Like Never Before: A Real Wedding In The North West – Deborah & Neil

April 10th, 2012 | Julia Braime

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North West Wedding: Hannah Dornford May Photography

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Got those back to work Tuesday afternoon blues?  I hear ya!  Well, it’s time for a touch of romance instead with this beautiful Real Wedding in the North West, sent to me by real bride Deborah of Grafted & Crafted and the lovely Hannah Dornford May Photography

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North West Wedding: Hannah Dornford May Photography

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North West Wedding: Hannah Dornford May Photography

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Deborah tells us more:  We got engaged in July 2009 after Neil proposed to me at the airport following my girly family holiday! It was such a shock that during the mobile phone video of the event, all you can hear is me saying, “oh my God!” In a good way of course! I had been on holiday with my mum and Leoni my niece and I had been giving Leoni grief on the holiday for spending loads of time on her phone to her other half. Little did I know it was Neil planning the proposal and sending pictures of engagement rings! As we landed back at Manchester I was sent through the arrivals first as Neil had been winding us up saying he was going to hold up a big sign with our names on. I hate embarrassing things like that! I went through and there was the sign with my name on, but then he flipped it over and it read, “will you marry me?” I just couldn’t believe it! I of course eventually said yes, and I loved the ring: a gorgeous diamond and sapphire in 18ct white gold. The boy did good (with Leoni’s help of course!) It was such a nice proposal, and one to remember and talk about.

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North West Wedding: Hannah Dornford May Photography

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North West Wedding: Hannah Dornford May Photography

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We were married at Farington Lodge and picked 18th February 2012 as our wedding date. 18th February was our first daughter’s original due date, and the year was a play on her actual birth date of the 12th of February: 12/02. We also got together in the month February, so it was fitting!

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We looked at a few venues, but we were restricted by budget, and needed it to be fairly local for family. I never realised this gem of a place was right on our doorstep! It offered everything we needed. Great package deals, excellent staff – especially the lovely Simon Tauber – and a beautiful setting. The chef also did amazing food (please all go there and try the cheesecake)! The day was perfect

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North West Wedding: Hannah Dornford May Photography

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North West Wedding: Hannah Dornford May Photography

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I booked two rooms at Farington Lodge for the night before the wedding so that all the bridesmaids, my mum and I could all stay over and get ready together. We also invited a few friends for some pre-wedding drinks at the hotel the night before which was lovely.  Our make up was done by Jade from Paper Doll Beauty, with hair by Jodie Baron. 
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North West Wedding: Hannah Dornford May Photography

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North West Wedding: Hannah Dornford May Photography

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I knew from the start I wanted a no frills, streamlined dress. Either lace or satin. It didn’t take me long to fall in love with the Ronald Joyce Sandra dress. It had the mixture of being slim fitting, elegant, satin, but with gorgeous detailing in the beautiful pearl beading necklace draped down the back, and beading on the front. I loved it and bought it fairly early on in the planning! I never wanted a tiara, but loved the idea of a birdcage veil. I played around with some ideas but ended up making my own headdress! I used pearls to match the strings on my dress, and incorporated birdcage veiling and some exquisite dress material I had been given by a local lady who used it to make her daughter’s wedding dress! I found an old pearl brooch, and ta-da, the head piece was born!

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For the flowers I wanted something small, but kept changing my mind about what flowers and style. I ended up with a variation of white flowers with eucalyptus foliage, and of course I had to give the florist some little bits and pieces of feathers and pearls to add in. They did a lovely job, and they looked really pretty. I used a local florist in Bamber Bridge, Preston called ‘Flowers by Louise’

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North West Wedding: Hannah Dornford May Photography

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North West Wedding: Hannah Dornford May Photography

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The bridesmaid’s dresses were a true bargain! My chief bridesmaid and I took a wander around The Trafford Centre to get some ideas, but ended up coming home with all the dresses sorted! They were from Debenhams bridal and gowns section and were less than half price. The dresses were a deep teal and were long and elegant, with satin detailing to match in with mine. Leoni of course bumped up the price by finding beautiful grey feather boleros from Coast. They did finish the look perfectly though. For their accessories they had simple comb headpieces also made by me. I just can’t help myself!

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The boys wore suits by Moss Bros Formal Suit Hire, Preston. 

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North West Wedding: Hannah Dornford May Photography

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North West Wedding: Hannah Dornford May Photography

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North West Wedding: Hannah Dornford May Photography

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North West Wedding: Hannah Dornford May Photography

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North West Wedding: Hannah Dornford May Photography

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North West Wedding: Hannah Dornford May Photography

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North West Wedding: Hannah Dornford May Photography

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North West Wedding: Hannah Dornford May Photography

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North West Wedding: Hannah Dornford May Photography

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North West Wedding: Hannah Dornford May Photography

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North West Wedding: Hannah Dornford May Photography

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North West Wedding: Hannah Dornford May Photography

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North West Wedding: Hannah Dornford May Photography

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North West Wedding: Hannah Dornford May Photography

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North West Wedding: Hannah Dornford May Photography  North West Wedding: Hannah Dornford May Photography

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North West Wedding: Hannah Dornford May Photography

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The whole day was fabulous, and my favourite bit was the service and saying our vows. It’s a very special moment, and I cried, but so did Neil! But I have to say bedtime was brilliant. I was shattered as I had just found out that I was pregnant (!), and it was nice to sit in the huge bed and open all our cards and presents as husband and wife. It was the perfect time to reflect on the whole day and spend some time chatting together.

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North West Wedding: Hannah Dornford May Photography

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North West Wedding: Hannah Dornford May Photography

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North West Wedding: Hannah Dornford May Photography

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North West Wedding: Hannah Dornford May Photography

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North West Wedding: Hannah Dornford May Photography

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North West Wedding: Hannah Dornford May Photography

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North West Wedding: Hannah Dornford May Photography

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North West Wedding: Hannah Dornford May Photography   North West Wedding: Hannah Dornford May Photography

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North West Wedding: Hannah Dornford May Photography

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The cake was made by ‘Auntie Joyce’. Not actually an Auntie at all, but she is the cousin of my nan who makes cakes. It was our wedding gift from her. I took some pictures of the cakes I liked and she made a four tier, four flavours sophisticated cake for us.

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North West Wedding: Hannah Dornford May Photography   North West Wedding: Hannah Dornford May Photography

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I run my own wedding stationery company – Grafted & Crafted – so whilst there was no intended theme at first, but as dress picking began, and with me designing the stationery, it began apparent that it was going to be a hint of vintage glamour, with a few birds thrown in! The birds represented the song that I walked down the aisle to, Songbird by Eva Cassidy. It all seemed to fit perfectly. My Auntie Maureen is also creative and she helped out massively by making the napkin rings, and putting together all things I had bought for the table decorations. She hand made all the silk roses that were in the vases. They looked fab!

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North West Wedding: Hannah Dornford May Photography

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North West Wedding: Hannah Dornford May Photography

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North West Wedding: Hannah Dornford May Photography

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North West Wedding: Hannah Dornford May Photography  

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North West Wedding: Hannah Dornford May Photography

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North West Wedding: Hannah Dornford May Photography

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North West Wedding: Hannah Dornford May Photography

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North West Wedding: Hannah Dornford May Photography

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North West Wedding: Hannah Dornford May Photography

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We were hoping to book a honeymoon late in May this year, but we may have to delay it until next year as our second baby is due on September 22nd! I was already pregnant at the wedding and we surprised people with the news during the speeches.

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North West Wedding: Hannah Dornford May Photography

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North West Wedding: Hannah Dornford May Photography

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North West Wedding: Hannah Dornford May Photography

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North West Wedding: Hannah Dornford May Photography

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My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to plan early so that you can relax and enjoy the running up to the event. If you aren’t a control freak, then let people help out as they enjoy it too!

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North West Wedding: Hannah Dornford May Photography

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Congratulations Deborah & Neil!

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  – Images © 2012 Hannah Dornford May Photography

This is not a sponsored post

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

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog

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The Littlest Bridesmaid, A Real Wedding – Claire & Euan

July 27th, 2011 | Julia Braime

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Lovely friend of the wedding blog Cat Hepple Photography has been teasing me with this gorgeous Real Wedding for what seems like an age (after seeing just one shot of Lily the dog AKA The Littlest Bridesmaid, I knew it had to be shared with all you Brides Up North).  So, in a wag of a tail, its over to Cat…

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Brides Up North Wedding Blog: Cat Hepple Photography

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Claire and Euan married on the 8th June 2011 in Bingley. They had their reception at Hollins Hall. The date has a HUGE significance to them. BOTH their sets of parents married on that date the exact same year ! So it was both their parents 37th wedding anniversaries on the couples big day.

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Brides Up North Wedding Blog: Cat Hepple Photography

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Brides Up North Wedding Blog: Cat Hepple Photography

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Brides Up North Wedding Blog: Cat Hepple Photography

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Their lovely westie Lily was the chief bridesmaid. The couple also have a son, Sebastian, and both he and Lily the dog played a big role on the day, and are so important to the couple.

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Brides Up North Wedding Blog: Cat Hepple Photography

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Brides Up North Wedding Blog: Cat Hepple Photography

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Brides Up North Wedding Blog: Cat Hepple Photography 

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Claire wore Jimmy Choos (yippee) and her bridesmaids were in a gorgeous vibrant blue, a colour which appeared throughout the day, along with a softer turquoise.  The colour scheme worked very well at Hollins Hall

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Brides Up North Wedding Blog: Cat Hepple Photography

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Brides Up North Wedding Blog: Cat Hepple Photography

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Brides Up North Wedding Blog: Cat Hepple Photography

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Brides Up North Wedding Blog: Cat Hepple Photography

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Brides Up North Wedding Blog: Cat Hepple Photography 

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Brides Up North Wedding Blog: Cat Hepple Photography

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Brides Up North Wedding Blog: Cat Hepple Photography

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After a church ceremony they headed to the venue for a drinks reception on the croquet lawns and a wedding breakfast. They had a string quartet play during the day and a fabulous live jazz band in the evening.

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Brides Up North Wedding Blog: Cat Hepple Photography

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Brides Up North Wedding Blog: Cat Hepple Photography

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Brides Up North Wedding Blog: Cat Hepple Photography

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I had two sessions with them during the day to capture some gorgeous shots of the two of them. The first set were once we arrived at the venue and the second set were after dinner. We got a little braver then and even used the couple’s room for a few more intimate shots.  I always have an engagement shoot with my couples (the Romance shoot) and this really helps build their confidence and trust in me.  It makes the wedding day photography so relaxed and you can really see how at ease the couple are in front of the camera.

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They love their images.

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Brides Up North Wedding Blog: Cat Hepple Photography

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Brides Up North Wedding Blog: Cat Hepple Photography

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Brides Up North Wedding Blog: Cat Hepple Photography

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Brides Up North Wedding Blog: Cat Hepple Photography

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