December 13th, 2017 | Alexis Forsyth
Initially setting out with no set wedding theme, the inspiration for today’s featured celebration was triggered by the couple’s choice of venue. Reminding Aimee and Simon of a swanky speakeasy, the stunning art nouveau style of The Belle Époque in Cheshire, provided all the bridal inspo this pair could need for their special day.
In preparation for the party to come, the bride and groom named each table after a gin or whisky cocktail, placing their guests’ names into corks to create place settings, and also treated everyone to a shot of elderflower gin, sloe gin or whisky.
It wasn’t all about the tipples though – there are plenty of wonderful details and throwbacks to look out for, including a kitsch VW campervan and old vinyl – a quirky guestbook idea if ever we saw one. As for the chalkboard style cake – this is simply divine! We’ll pass the blog over to Aimee now though to talk us through all the fabulous day…
With images by Brides Up North Sponsor, Slice of Pie Photography.
aimee says: We got engaged in Venice, in September 2014. Simon later told me that he had planned to propose at Christmas but brought it forward when we booked Venice. We had been out to dinner that night when Simon suggested heading back to the hotel early. I was initially reluctant, as I wanted to soak up as much as Venice as I could but was easily persuaded when he said there would be cake, prosecco and a bubble bath! Whilst relaxing in the bath (feeling totally spoilt at this point!) he gave me his iPod and asked me to listen to a song he had recorded. I’d heard him play guitar many times before but had never heard him sing. He had written the most beautiful song about our relationship. The last line was ‘so Aimee will you be my wife?’ At this point Simon had made his way back into the bathroom and was down on one knee. He had even been to my parents’ house and collected the ring box that my grandma’s engagement ring was in because he knew how much I cherished her. It was perfect and to say I was surprised was an understatement – I had absolutely no idea!
We tied the knot on Sunday 7th August 2016. We’d both decided early on that we’d like to get married in the summer and that date was available.
The ceremony took place at St Mary the Virgin Church in Leigh, which is our local church. Simon’s mum used to ring the bells there when she was a young girl.
We chose The Belle Époque as the venue for the reception. We both wanted something a little different from your traditional wedding venue. Within seconds of visiting The Belle Époque we gave each other a look and we knew it was the right choice for us.
Initially we didn’t set out to have a theme and just wanted our wedding to be filled with things that we both liked. However, we were inspired by the art nouveau style of The Belle Époque and how it reminded us of an old speakeasy so we definitely styled a lot of our wedding around this.
We didn’t set a specific colour scheme. We just wanted soft colours that complemented each other. In the end it was a mixture of blues, greys, pinks and purples. We actually had lots of compliments afterwards about how well everything matched!
October 5th, 2017 | Alexis Forsyth
This morning on the blog, we’re heading to the enchanting Colshaw Hall in Cheshire for Dawn and Jayson’s special day, which took place in August of this year.
Following a surprise engagement, the couple fell in love with this exquisite venue – and we can see why. Adorning the backdrop with a pretty palette of purple, lime green and pink, together with beautiful candles and petals – Colshaw Hall was every bit the romantic backdrop that the couple hoped it would be.
From a special reading from their daughter to a balloon release and a rather unique speech from the bridesmaids – they had every detail covered, and then some. We should also mention that we have a serious dose of cake envy – just look at their elegant four-tiered masterpiece.
With images by Brides Up North Sponsor Lee Brown Photography.
dawn says: We got engaged in October 2015, in The Restaurant Bar and Grill in Liverpool. It was a complete surprise to me. Generally, I can sense when there is something going on, but this was a random night out, planned at the last minute – or so I thought. Strangely enough, we were looking at an auction site on the train there and this really ugly ring with a marquise diamond popped up and I said that it wasn’t very nice, little did I know that Jayson had a marquise diamond in his pocket! Afterwards Jayson said I really didn’t make it easy for him. We had a lovely meal and Jayson said, “you know I love you” and I said, “yes of course”, then he responded with “here goes” and got on two knees (not one) and pulled out my nana’s ring box. He then asked me to marry him. I was so overwhelmed and surprised. I loved the simplicity of his proposal, and said yes immediately. Jayson had been to the jewellery quarter in Birmingham and picked the diamond and the setting, designing the ring himself, I was completely blown away.
Our wedding date – 6th August 2017 – chose us, once we had found the venue. We knew that we would prefer August as we wanted to make sure that our children could be part of our special day. Colshaw Hall didn’t have any Saturdays available so we decided on a Sunday instead.
We had both our ceremony and reception at Colshaw Hall, as the venue has its own chapel called The Stables. We had looked at so many other venues, and even considered going abroad, however we kept coming back to Colshaw Hall, so we made an appointment to view it. We were shown around by the owner, David Irlam, and his passion and attention to detail sold it to us. Colshaw Hall is absolutely beautiful and completely unique to anything else we had seen. A venue that is exclusively yours for the day; you actually feel like it’s your home.
We discussed themes for quite some time, and originally we were going to have a Mediterranean theme, but as time passed, we decided to just go with vibrant colours and places in the world we would like to see over our life time together.
My favourite colour is purple, however we didn’t want to have typical wedding flowers so we opted for a colour scheme made up of purple, pink, lime greens and white.
Pinterest was an amazing help to build a picture of the wedding we wanted before I visited Qube Events and Productions in Bury. Qube provided our venue dressing and flowers, and surpassed all of my expectations.
I knew almost straight away what type of dress I wanted: Spanish looking, fitted, lace with detail and a full bottom with a dramatic train.
I visited a number of bridal shops and found nothing unique at all. So I did more research and found Ava Rose Hamilton in Colne. The boutiques that they have looked beautiful and they had a number of designers that I had never seen before so decided to book an appointment. I was welcomed by Kay and she instinctively knew what I wanted and pulled out a number of dresses. As soon as I saw the Enzoani dress I knew it was everything I wanted, and when I tried it on, I knew it was the one.
August 16th, 2016 | Julia Braime
Moving on from yesterday’s autumnal real wedding on the blog, we now have a stunning winter celebration to share with you, which features beautiful blooms and cosy seasonal décor.
Taking place at The Oaktree of Peover in Cheshire, Annastacia and Matt decided not to overcomplicate the day with a set theme and instead styled their wedding by taking inspiration from the wintery season with glowing lights, atmospheric candles and a sparkling colour scheme.
In particular, we love Annastacia’s perfect princess-style dress and the fabulous styling with reflects the time of the year perfectly!
With images by Jonny Draper Photography.
annastacia says: We got engaged in the skies above Cheshire. Following a phone call from Matt to make a picnic ready for an evening of flying, we drove to the airport. After all the safety checks and taking off, Matt faked an emergency and quickly passed me an emergency checklist all pilots follow. I began reading it out. The last two pages were edited and as well as all the usually fuel and engine checks came one I hadn’t seen before “Are rings engaged? Yes or No?” I asked Matt if they were and he said no, the checklist then read “If No, please turn over” the next page only had one more simple question: “Will you marry me? Yes or No?” After a quick photo, we turned round to fly back because I was so excited to land and tell our families and friends our news.
We set the date for 10th December 2015, as we wanted a winter wedding that wasn’t weather dependent. Secretly, I hoped for a sprinkling of snow.
We got married at The Oaktree of Peover in Cheshire. We chose this venue because we wanted a natural venue that was exclusive use. We also wanted our venue to be intimate for the small, informal relaxed wedding that we were planning.
We didn’t really have a particular wedding theme in mind but our colour scheme was white, golds and silver. We chose these colours because they were ‘wintery’ and complemented the coolness and freshness of the outdoors as well as the warmth and glow of the indoors.
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June 9th, 2016 | Julia Braime
The saying about quality and quantity could not be truer of the lovely real wedding that we are sharing with you on the blog today.
With a modest guest list of 38 day guests and 53 evening guests, Stephanie and Gary wanted their intimate wedding to be a reflection of them as a couple, whilst also being an enjoyable and memorable event for their guests.
Picking a unique venue and prioritising elements such as the photography, food and entertainment, whilst getting stuck into some DIY décor, meant that Stephanie and Gary could have the special day they had dreamt of, whilst remaining still within budget. Excellent work guys!
With images by Brides Up North Sponsor, James Tracey Photography.
stephanie says: We got engaged on the 28th May 2014. I had my suspicions that Gary was going to do it soon as he’d booked for us to go for afternoon tea at the Hilton in Manchester. We were in the process of buying our house and the Wednesday before when we were booked for afternoon tea, we’d had our final meeting with the bank to say the mortgage had been agreed. We went to the pub after to celebrate and then came home. I got my PJs on, put the bins out and put the washing on, just usual things to do on a Wednesday, and turned round to find Gary with two glasses of whiskey. He asked me to come with him into the front room and gave me a glass and then got down on one knee with a ring. It took me by surprise! I never wanted a huge spectacle of an engagement so what he did was perfect. He’d even been on his own to get the ring and got it spot on!
We were married on the 24th March 2016, the Thursday before the bank holiday weekend. We got together on the 27th March 2008 so knew we wanted a date around when we got together and we wanted a weekday wedding. The Thursday was a good choice because most people then had the bank holiday Friday off work to recover!
We got married at The Belle Epoque in Knutsford, Cheshire. It was the only venue that we went to look round and we knew straight away it was the one for us. We wanted somewhere that was unique, intimate and personal. From our first meeting there, all the staff were so incredibly helpful and we loved that it was a family business and not part of a large chain of hotels. We could pick and choose what we wanted for our day and we could stay there the night of the wedding and have breakfast with family the day after. The setup of the venue was ideal too; we loved that each part of the wedding was in a separate room and guests didn’t have to be shipped off somewhere whilst the room was re-organised and that people could sit away from the DJ during the evening do and chat. Generally, it’s an absolutely stunning venue!
Gary and I are self-confessed beer geeks, so beer had to feature heavily in our wedding. I also wanted to still keep it girly and vintage-y too so I guess the theme was ‘Beer and Birds’ Each table was named after one of our favourite breweries and we had a selection of their bottles as table decorations with fake roses in. The men’s buttonholes were made of beer bottle caps and I had beer bottle caps on my bouquet. All the stationery featured vintage birds and we had a birdcage table plan. I got the design from Dollface Design on Etsy. My mum was unsure when I told her my vision but everyone said how unique and ‘us’ is was.
I am quite girly so pink was the colour theme but very subtly! I didn’t make Gary wear anything pink. We just had pink roses in the table decorations and my bridesmaid wore pink. The buttonholes did have small pink rose buttons on, which my bridesmaid and I also had in our bouquets.
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January 14th, 2014 | Julia Braime
Jen & Jim
This afternoon I’m letting my great friend, Brides Up North Featured Supplier and absolutely amazing (jah-mazing!) wedding photographer Jonny Draper Photography hijack these pretty pages with his round up of the year that was. What do I mean “letting him”?! This man would find some way to do it anyway!
In any case, it’s a win-win, since for me, Jonny’s favourite selection of images from 2013 brings home what a fantastic year the last one was here on the wedding blog too. I spot more than a few Brides Up North Real Weddings in his selection!
So many love stories, so many gorgeous brides, handsome grooms, happy families, beautiful settings, touching moments, rip roaring celebrations, hi jinks, laughter and excitement. I’m all about a recap, but here’s hoping that 2014 has even more of all that good stuff (And even more of it) to come: behind Jonny’s lens, on Brides Up North and in your very own wedding days and special times too.
Let’s get going.
Abi & Tom
Jonny says: 2013. What a year. I shot some of the most amazing weddings you could ever imagine, LOVE Bridal Boutique had an immense first full year and I launched Jonny Draper Photography Training, which was absolutely brilliant.
Ella & Lee
Ash & Paul
Jenny & Ross
I’m so excited for 2014 – I’ve got a diary packed with incredible weddings, there are some VERY exciting plans where LOVE Bridal is concerned, I’m just about to release dates for spring Masterclasses in wedding photography along with one or two other very exciting things that are in the pipeline – it’s going to be an awesome year!
Ange & Mark
Emma & Chris
Fiona & Giles
Jenny & James
Karin & Joe
So before I get properly stuck into 2014, I wanted to look back on 2013, on the weddings that I’ve shot and the wonderful moments I’ve been lucky enough to be involved in. And who better to share that with than Brides Up North?
September 4th, 2013 | Julia Braime
This morning I am proud to introduce you to Brides Up North Featured Supplier Chris of Bay Photographic, who works right across the regions from North West to Yorkshire. Not only does this man take a nifty picture, but he talks a good talk too. So I think I better leave things to him…
Chris says: When people ask me how I became a wedding photographer I always seem to stumble a bit over the answer. I suppose I ought to rehearse a really cool sounding response like ‘I was drawn to the work of Jerry Ghionis. Do you know Jerry? I was talking to him the other day…’ or ‘I express myself through the interplay of light and taffeta’…
In reality, I became a wedding photographer because the opportunity arose to photograph a wedding with a friend who was (and still is) an established professional (Paul McDowell) and as soon as I took my first few shots of the bride arriving with her bridesmaids and her father, I was absolutely and totally hooked in a way that no other hobby, job or activity has ever done before. Before that day, I had been a semi professional landscape and news photographer for thirty years and I had sold photographs to magazines, newspapers, web designers, advertising agencies but nothing had ever captivated me quite so much as the conundrum of recording a wedding day for a bride and groom.
As a wedding photographer I am privileged to be allowed to attend the most important time in their relationship and I get to make images of people, venues and moments of happiness that give them pleasure for years and decades to come. If that makes me sound like an old romantic then I am guilty as charged. I find weddings intoxicatingly romantic. They can be charming, lavish, extravagant, personal, unpredictable, dignified, windswept, cosy, funny, inspirational, elegant, exciting, surprising or just plain wacky. But they are always romantic, because they are personal to the two people who are getting married.
I have photographed weddings in churches, hotels, registry offices, castles, country houses, marquees and in architectural monuments but no two have ever been even remotely similar. Except that they reflect the couple, their aspirations, their family and friends and their love for each other. And that means that my day at the office is always changing, always fresh and always about recording something which is good and valuable and decent and beautiful.
When I am photographing a wedding, I have one central mission. That is to take photographs that the couple will look at in the future, which will remind them of what they did, how they enjoyed it, how happy their family and friends were for them and (this is the really tricky bit) which will remind them of their feelings on the day. If all I had to do was to remind them of where they were and what they did, I could train my two year-old Cocker Spaniel, Basil, to carry a camera and record the day. I don’t mean to suggest that I have some mystical talent that makes me better than ‘Uncle Bob’ (or Basil) but it could be argued that a good professional wedding photographer can make images that transport a couple back to their wedding day in an instant and which make them smile at each other in the way they did as they said their vows. Uncle Bob tends to just remind them of who was there when they did so. When couples tell me that the photographs I have taken are ‘Amazing’ and ‘Fantastic’, I think it is unlikely that they are talking about their technical merit. It seems much more likely that they are telling me that I have managed to fulfil my mission.
My clients so far have come from every walk of life, and from most parts of the North West of England. They may not have been celebrities in the ‘Hello’ sense of the word, but they have all enjoyed the celebrity moment that a modern wedding provides. Because that moment is so generously, kindly and unreservedly given, with the best wishes of two families as well as the love of a new marital partner, it can be enjoyed by all. By the shy, retiring and uncertain as well as the gregarious, confident and naturally outgoing. For this reason and, I suspect, because I use that fund of goodwill and my own relationship with the couple to bring out the inner confidence and serenity in them, I have yet to photograph a couple who are uncomfortable while I am doing so.
When I am photographing a wedding, I am completely dedicated to the task of producing the best photographs that I am capable of and maximizing the photographic opportunities of the setting and the day itself. I am totally ‘on my game’ from the moment the day starts to the time I have all the images securely backed up and uploaded to my computer that evening. I used to think that my previous career as a teacher (I spent 27 years in special schools for pupils with emotional and behavioural problems) was demanding of my highest levels of concentration. Compared to photographing a wedding, it was like a walk in the park with Basil. The following day, I start editing images in Lightroom and Photoshop and aim to have a small preview gallery (of around 50 images) online by that evening. I try to have the DVD with all the client’s images on it, edited and corrected, by the end of the week. Once they have chosen the images they want in their Photobook, I create the pages in Photoshop and then email them to the client for their approval before sending them to the print studio.
I believe that my prices are quite competitive. My ‘top’ package, which includes photography from the bride’s preparations through the day until the evening and a large and a small copy of the Photobook, currently costs £750. Other packages are described on my website. I rarely discount my prices, but I might quote a slightly lower price for a wedding out of season. In recent years, I have photographed an average of around 30 weddings a year, a level of bookings that gives me the opportunity to focus on my clients and give them the attention that they deserve.
In the early days of my wedding photography career, a prospective client once asked me ‘Why should I book you?” I replied “Because I’m good and I’m available”. I wasn’t trying to be rude, just honest and concise. Unsurprisingly, she didn’t book me. I hope today’s feature will provide you with a rather better answer.
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