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colour pop petals: a bloom-filled wedding at priory cottages, yorkshire – sophie & rob

August 8th, 2018 | Aislinn Thompson

A Colourful Wedding at Priory Cottages (c) James Tracey Photography (37)

The gorgeously vivid flowers that feature in today’s real wedding between Sophie and Rob add some real pizzazz to this lovely summer celebration; in pinks and oranges, purples and yellows, they pop spectacularly against the neutral marquee and white paper lanterns and balloons. Achieving a ‘grown-up boho’ vibe for their big day, Sophie and Rob opted for some lovely homemade details, such as the chalkboard running order of the day and table plan.

Sophie went with a lesser known designer for her delicate boho-inspired dress; the Inbal Raviv creation is stunning with its lace and bead embellishments and unusual tassel straps. Completing her ensemble with a headdress of vibrant flowers and a simple pair of earrings, Sophie’s look is elegant and oh-so chic with a playful twist.

Sophie and Rob had all the right connections to make their wedding extra special. Working in PR meant Sophie had access to plenty of fantastic suppliers and being the son of the Bishop of Warrington meant Rob could secure a pretty high-profile figure to conduct the ceremony – not many people can say they’ve been married by their own father!

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

A Colourful Wedding at Priory Cottages (c) James Tracey Photography (35)

sophie says: We got engaged during a weekend away that Rob booked “as he had some points on his credit card” to spend, which saw us staying in a hotel in Richmond for the weekend – one of my favourite places in London. I should have thought it was all too good to be true (we were in a huge suite) but was, of course, completely oblivious. After we’d had lunch and been to the spa, he caught me off guard in the room with the ring and I was completely shocked. We then headed for a meal by the river and a few too many drinks to celebrate! The next day he’d planned a surprise Sunday lunch with friends, too: safe to say I had a very sore head on Monday at work.

A Colourful Wedding at Priory Cottages (c) James Tracey Photography (27)

We got married on 12th August 2017 and had our reception at the amazing Priory Cottages in Wetherby, which I cannot rate highly enough. We looked at loads of places online (we live in London but wanted to get married in the north as Rob is from Sheffield and I’m a Leeds girl) and wanted somewhere we could celebrate for the weekend and that felt informal and fun. The cottages meant we could have the whole wedding party stay the night before and the night of, and it had a beautiful marquee and gardens, of which we could have free reign. Serena at The Priory was amazing and answered so many of our questions, putting us at ease and making everything super easy – we would 100% recommend it. The Priory is a stunning setting (so many people said so) and the people who manage it (shout out to the lovely Serena and Phoebe) are so helpful and down to earth and honestly made the experience so hassle free and easy. I asked so many questions and they always had an answer and can suggest great suppliers to work with, as well as tips for the big day.

We had our ceremony in a gorgeous village church up the road from The Priory, called Wighill Church. Rob’s dad is part of the church (at the time, the Bishop of Warrington) and so he married us, which was one of the most amazing parts of the day. He got everyone laughing and really matched the service to our personalities and became a bit of a celebrity at the reception afterwards.

A Colourful Wedding at Priory Cottages (c) James Tracey Photography (36)

For transport, we splashed out and hired a little red sports car – an AC Cobra for anyone who knows anything about cars – from Classic Car Hire North, which actually became one of our favourite bits about the day – it looked so good in pictures! My dad drove him and I to the church and then Rob and I drove back with the top down (the hair wasn’t loving it, but it was worth it) down all the pretty country roads.

A Colourful Wedding at Priory Cottages (c) James Tracey Photography (18)

There was no theme as such but we’re both quite non-traditional in our style and wanted something laid back to match the countryside setting. If forced to say so, I would describe it as ‘grown-up boho’, which probably started with my dress and came through in everything else. We just tried to pick things that felt like our personality. We had such a great backdrop to begin with, with The Priory, which really brought everything together.

In terms of a colour scheme, I scoured Pinterest and became obsessed with big, bright bouquets and flowers, which is the opposite to my usual style as I’m often dressed head to toe in black or one simple colour, but I loved the pictures and so decided that, to make it more ‘us’, we’d create a really simple white blank canvas, with white lanterns and balloons, and then have bright flowers popping throughout.

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vintage vibes: justin alexander for a 1920s wedding at eaves hall – stacey & wesley

July 17th, 2018 | Aislinn Thompson

A Vintage Wedding at Eaves Hall (c) Nik Bryant (43)

An understated 1920s theme weaves through today’s featured wedding, bringing in very subtle nods to the decade, such as the 1920s-style font used for the table numbers and the strings of beads draped over the candelabras on the table centrepieces. The cake meanwhile is a little more ‘out there’ – a spectacular confection in gold and white with a definite 1920s’ feel and topped with white feathers.

Stacey is beautiful and elegant in a fitted gown with a long train and an equally glorious cathedral-length veil. The dress features a pretty sweetheart neckline and cap sleeves and the illusion back with its white buttons all the way to the floor is nothing short of stunning. She finishes the look with a delicate bouquet of pale pink and white. Wesley’s smart tuxedo is the perfect complement to her timeless look.

One idea we’re certainly a fan of is booking a crèche to keep the little ones entertained during the meal as Stacey and Wesley did, especially if you plan to have plenty of speeches. It gives your guests a nice break from wiping hands and mouths and passing colouring pencils while also trying to enjoy your wedding breakfast! Let’s hear more from Stacey…

With images by Brides Up North Sponsor, Nik Bryant Photography.

A Vintage Wedding at Eaves Hall (c) Nik Bryant (21)

stacey says: We got engaged in Sardinia. It was a complete surprise and it was booked for my birthday in October 2015. We were out in the gardens of the hotel with a beautiful stream and, while we were on the bridge, Wesley got down on one knee and proposed!

We got married on 21st August 2017, as we wanted a summer wedding. The whole day was at Eaves Hall in Clitheroe and the girls and I stayed in the lodge the night before the wedding. We picked Eaves Hall because it was a beautiful setting with amazing gardens. We really loved the exclusivity of the venue and all the staff were really helpful. On the day, nothing was too much trouble. The venue was really classy but still relaxed and comfortable. We would absolutely recommend Eaves Hall to other couples. The fact they have the lodge, so you can stay with all the bridesmaids the night before is a really nice touch.

A Vintage Wedding at Eaves Hall (c) Nik Bryant (51)

In terms of a theme, the table plan and decorations were very 1920s inspired but we didn’t want this to overtake our day, so we kept it minimal.

A Vintage Wedding at Eaves Hall (c) Nik Bryant (34)

My dress was from Fairytale Brides and was by Justin Alexander. I chose this dress because it was so beautiful and elegant, and I loved the details. It made me feel amazing.

Wesley and the groomsmen wore tuxedos with a bow ties from Slaters Formal Hire.

My bridesmaids wore gold dresses from Debenhams’ evening wear. There wasn’t any real reason we chose this colour but, again, we wanted to keep their look comfortable and classy.

A Vintage Wedding at Eaves Hall (c) Nik Bryant (67)

For hair styling we had Kate Simmons and Sonara Parker did our makeup. They were both great and we would recommend them to anyone.

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country charm. justin alexander for a stylish wedding at sandhole oak barn, cheshire – nikki & mike

July 16th, 2018 | Alexis Forsyth

A Rustic Wedding at Sandhole Oak Barn (c) James Tracey Photography (46)

Today’s couple, Nikki and Mike, are showing us a thing or two when it comes to stylishly pulling off a rustic barn wedding. Traditional yet contemporary – we think they got the balance just right.

Hosting their big day at the quaint Sandhole Oak Barn in Cheshire, the couple kept things pared back and beautiful, with plenty of rustic feels to complement the enchanting setting, with hessian and wood textures, bunting, jam jars, candles and crisp white floral arrangements just a few of the delightful details to look out for.

The wedding breakfast was a particular highlight for the newlyweds – just take a look at the sublime menu they dished up – not to mention their elegant naked cake with a delectable four different flavours to choose from!

Plenty of inspiration awaits though, so it’s best we hand the reins over to Nikki so that she can talk us through all the magical moments of their big day. Enjoy!

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

A Rustic Wedding at Sandhole Oak Barn (c) James Tracey Photography (30)

nikki says: We were staying at a vineyard just outside Bordeaux in May 2016 when Mike proposed. Mike decided to take me for a morning stroll just outside the chateau, which was on the vineyard. We walked though some woodland and then he got down on one knee and popped the question!

We got married on 11th May 2018. The weather has been great the last few years in May, so we decided to hedge our bets and go for that month.

A Rustic Wedding at Sandhole Oak Barn (c) James Tracey Photography (19)

We tied the knot at Sandhole Oak Barn, in Congleton, Cheshire. The setting was just perfect and exactly what we were looking for. We knew we wanted a barn style wedding and Sandhole ticked all the boxes.

We went for a rustic, countryside theme, although we didn’t have a particular colour scheme in mind, it was just more of the rustic feel with hessian and white tied in.

A Rustic Wedding at Sandhole Oak Barn (c) James Tracey Photography (35)

I wore a chiffon A-line gown with a beaded portrait neckline designed by Justin Alexander which I bought from the Bridal Path in Childwall, Liverpool.

A Rustic Wedding at Sandhole Oak Barn (c) James Tracey Photography (14)

Mike wore a blue suit with a grey waistcoat from Suits Direct, in Cheshire Oaks. The groomsmen wore matching suits to the groom, but with different button holes from Mike.

The bridesmaids, meanwhile, wore blue/grey multi-way dresses from M&S with gypsophila worn in their hair.

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life thru a lens: kristian leven photography

May 8th, 2018 | Julia Braime

Kristian Leven (1)

If there’s one element of our job that we adore, it’s getting lost in the beauty of couples’ wedding images with some photographers able to make us feel that we were actually present at the celebrations for ourselves as we share in the emotions. One such professional who embodies this skill is our wonderful Sponsor, Kristian Leven.

With a true passion for documenting weddings, Kristian likes to blend into the background and capture the magic as it happens, framing not only the connection between the newlyweds but also the emotions and reactions of their guests resulting in a set of truly special images.

He promises that his photos have the power to transport his couples back to that treasured moment in time and looking at his work here, it’s clear to see that he is a man of his word.

So, let’s find out what makes this fine photographer tick while viewing some more of his fabulous imagery…

With images by Kristian Leven.

Kristian Leven (16)

When did you first start photographing weddings and what was it that attracted you to the industry?

kristian says: Eight years ago now! For me it was an opportunity to do something I love, but also in a style I enjoyed. I was very fortunate to start at a time when documentary wedding photography was really taking off.

How would you describe your style of photography and the approach you take to capturing a big day?

I’m all about creating very natural and emotive imagery. I just let everyone enjoy their day, but behind my calm exterior I’m constantly looking and observing for moments, and quirks, and things that a lot of people would not ordinarily notice.

Kristian Leven (23)

What is it that you love most about your job?

Probably the email I receive after the couple have seen their wedding gallery for the first time. I put so much work and effort into this, so it’s incredibly special to then to hear how much the pictures mean to them.

In your opinion what are the most important things for a couple to consider when deciding which photographer to book for their wedding?

Sounds a little obvious, but the photography! There are so many different styles of wedding photography now – some photographer’s concentrate on the details, or the bride and groom portraits – so they need to ask themselves, what do I really want? If it’s to spend as much time with their family and friends and to have the relationship between them captured, then I’m your guy!

Kristian Leven (22)

What sets you apart from other wedding photographers?

Being able to see things differently to other photographers and capturing those moments in a unique way.

What is the feedback like from your couples?

I received this recently, and it blows me away every time I read it:

“I spent the day yesterday waiting eagerly for these and when they arrived I had to pause Eastenders and settle down with Corey and a glass of wine to look at them and we were still viewing them come midnight. We both felt so emotional; you managed to transport us straight back to the day with the power of your imagery. We never imagined our photos would be anything like that. They make us laugh, cry and smile, and we love EVERY single one of them. We cannot thank you enough, we wanted timeless photos to last us a lifetime and that is exactly what you provided. You listened to us and made us feel so relaxed on the day, we both agreed that we didnt even know youd taken the majority of these pictures and we love how natural they all are, and the emotion and personality each photograph conveys. We would recommend you a hundred times over and if we are ever in need of photography again, we know who to call.”

Kristian Leven (20)

Do you have a favourite part of the wedding day to capture?

To be honest I love the reception, as that’s the part I can get stuck into, and capture the really original stuff. Plus, people are relaxed then, and can let their guard down, which results in some great moments.

What area do you cover and is there somewhere in particular that you would love to shoot a wedding that youve not yet had the opportunity to do?

Originally all my weddings were in London or the South East, but since my referral network has grown, I travel all over the UK, and internationally now. I had two places I really wanted to shoot, the Big Sur and the Amalfi Coast, and in 2016 my dream came true.

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authentic emotion: amanda balmain photography

April 26th, 2018 | Julia Braime

Amanda Balmain (18)

If you have your heart set on a wedding photographer that will capture your day in a relaxed and natural manner, documenting all the emotions as they unfold then we know just the lady for you – our fabulous North-West based Sponsor, Amanda Balmain, who we are catching up with on the blog today.

As a regional finalist in last year’s Wedding Industry Awards, Amanda’s couples are keen to praise her for the utterly gorgeous and highly emotive images that she delivers from the big day. Blending into the background and putting her brides and grooms above all else, it is Amanda’s main priority to make sure that her couples have “the best day ever”.

A self-confessed hopeless romantic, Amanda’s images are filled with love, energy and joy that brings the special day back to life in an instant.

So, if you too are all heart-shaped eyes over her images be sure to read on for all the details on how this lovely lady works and also take note, as Amanda is kindly offering a free engagement shoot to Brides Up North readers who book her for their wedding. How amazing!

With images by Amanda Balmain Photography.

Amanda Balmain (14)

When did you first start photographing weddings and what was it that attracted you to the industry?

amanda says: Back in 2012 I was photographing children and babies. My only experience of wedding photography was a bride in 2000 when my wedding was shot on film in a classic style. A friend dragged me along on a wedding photography course that I thought would just be good photography experience and a bit of fun. It was so much more than that! Wedding photography has changed so much since switching to digital and the more I learnt, the more I fell in love. Digital technology has allowed wedding photographers to become so much more creative and diverse in their styles.

How would you describe your style of photography and the approach you take to capturing a big day?

My style is somewhere in between documentary and modern creative. Some would call it lifestyle. I shoot mostly candidly with minimal direction focusing on authentic emotion and connection. I love all the details that make up the story of a wedding day but its the people and their emotions that matter the most.

Amanda Balmain (13)

What is it that you love most about your job?

Simply getting to go to so many weddings and hearing people’s stories. I nearly always cry at the speeches. I’m a bit of hopeless romantic at heart, don’t tell anyone!

In your opinion what are the most important things for a couple to consider when deciding which photographer to book for their wedding?

What do they want to see when they look back at their photographs in ten years’ time? What pictures will be most important to them? What style of pictures do they really like? What do they like about them? Check that the photographer they are looking at has those sorts of images throughout their portfolio not just once. Also think about the experience of the wedding day. Do they want a photographer who is quiet in the background or the life and soul of the party?

Amanda Balmain (2)

What sets you apart from other wedding photographers?

I put the wedding day experience for my couples above all else. I work with them to make a plan and we discuss how much time to a-lot for photography depending on their requirements. But on the day, I always go with the flow and work around how they are feeling at the time. I do whatever I can to make sure my couples have the best day ever.

What is the feedback like from your couples?

My couples are often surprised at the shots I get without making any fuss. They love the natural looking images and moments that they may have missed on the day. They like the fact that I fit into their day, that I will chat with their guests and that I’m generally very calm and relaxed.

Amanda Balmain (8)

Do you have a favourite part of the wedding day to capture?

One of my favourite moments is straight after the ceremony when the bride and groom get those first moments alone. They look at each other and the reactions are amazing. They’ve done it, they are married and the happiness on their faces says it all.

What area do you cover and is there somewhere in particular that you would love to shoot a wedding that you’ve not yet had the opportunity to do?

All of UK and I’d love to do some destinations. Iceland is on my wish list and I’d love to shoot more in Scotland. But I also love my home county of Cheshire. There are some amazing venues here and it’s always great to be near home.

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razzle dazzle ’em. pronovias for a vintage wedding at the grand hotel, york – charlotte & matthew

April 20th, 2018 | Laura McDonagh

A Glam Wedding in York (c) Lloyd Clarke Photography (42)

With the warm weather set to last into the weekend (yessssssssssss!), we’re dusting down the barbecue and putting the prosecco on chill, but before we head off to find a sunny beer garden for the obligatory Friday after-work drinks, we’re leaving you with this diamond of a real wedding!

Transporting us to the 50s – a magical era of Hollywood glamour and jukebox easy listening, jazz and swing – bride Charlotte had her heart set on a glitzy style wedding of this bygone time from the very beginning, and her vision determined everything; from the choice of venue (opulent York hotel The Grand) to the striking black and gold colour-scheme.

Charlotte initially thought her dress would be subtle and slinky, but one look at the beaded bodice of this (Brides Up North headline sponsor, dontcha know?) Pronovias beauty and it was love at first sight. And what a dress it was – delicate pearls, ornate beading and tulle, tulle, tulle for days. The father of the bride’s reaction – tearful, in the best possible way – says it all.

With images by Brides Up North Sponsor, Lloyd Clarke Photography.

A Glam Wedding in York (c) Lloyd Clarke Photography (6)

[jennaope]charlotte says: We got engaged in October 2016 while in Dubai. Matthew had arranged for us to stay in a room overlooking the Burj Al Arab. On our first night I came out of the bathroom to a bedroom in darkness other than a small light reflecting onto a beautiful diamond ring and two glasses of champagne next to it. It was so magical – the light was reflecting off the ring and all around the room! He then finally popped the question and we burst into tears of joy. It was a moment we’ll remember forever.

A Glam Wedding in York (c) Lloyd Clarke Photography (43)

Our wedding was on 30th September 2017, as we wanted to get married fairly quickly. We’d been together nearly seven years by the time we were engaged!

I’d always wanted a vintage glamour themed wedding – I love anything glitzy and Rat Pack-related – so we needed a venue to match. The Grand Hotel & Spa in York, was the perfect choice for us: it was quickly apparent that venue was very glamorous and opulent but also so central for everyone – we also lived only five minutes away, which was particularly handy!

In keeping with the theme, our colour scheme was black and gold. This worked pretty perfectly with our venue as the room had gold curtains and chandeliers.

A Glam Wedding in York (c) Lloyd Clarke Photography (46)

I’d always sworn I’d be wearing a simple, slimline dress on my wedding day but I (rather unexpectedly) fell in love with a very big princess-style dress! My Pronovias gown was strapless and had a fully beaded bodice, adding some real 50s glamour. It was the second dress I tried and I knew straight away I loved it. Bridal Rogue Gallery in York, where I found the dress were great at every stage of the process.

We bought Matthew, the best man and our dads a simple black suit, white shirt, champagne-coloured waistcoat and a gold tie from Dobell – we needed a style to fit all heights (and widths)!

A Glam Wedding in York (c) Lloyd Clarke Photography (52)

For our transport, we borrowed my dad’s black Mercedes and dressed it with gold ribbon, staying true to the colour scheme.

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