Charlotte Balbier
Luxury Wedding Fairs

hessian & lace. maggie sottero for a rustic wedding in the north west – belinda & dan

October 11th, 2016 | Rachel Parry


Fans of relaxed rustic wedding styling prepare to take note, for the décor and details in this afternoon’s celebration are guaranteed to earn a place on your Pinterest board.

From hessian chair ties and cute bunting to natural log slices and twine-wrapped glass jars filled with wonderful wild blooms, Dan and Belinda’s big day has it all.

With images by Jonny Draper Photography.


belinda says: Dan proposed to me in front of Peel Tower on Holcombe Hill, on 15th March 2015. Dan knows that Holcombe Hill is my favourite place so knew it would have meaning for us to get engaged there. He asked my dad’s permission earlier in the day and then suggested we go for a Sunday evening walk. We got to the top of the hill and I started to take some photographs – when I turned around he was down on one knee with the ring in his hand. I cried for about 15 minutes before I remembered to actually say yes!

We set the date of the wedding for 1st April 2016. We had chosen this as our ‘official’ anniversary date of when we first got together (mainly so that Dan would never have an excuse to forget with it also being April Fool’s Day). The wedding fell on our fourth anniversary.


Our chosen venue was The Fisherman’s Retreat, in Shuttleworth, Lancashire. We wanted a venue where we would be able to see Holcombe Hill, and at The Fisherman’s you have the view of Holcombe Hill right from the spot you have the wedding ceremony so there was never really any other choices on the cards.


I’d describe the style of our wedding as rustic and natural! We just picked out things we liked the look of really – so lots of brown card, jars with twine, crates, log slices, wooden hearts, etc. This is just our taste in general so seemed the right thing to do!

We didn’t particularly have a colour scheme. We picked a heathery colour for the bridesmaid dresses and Dan’s tie and handkerchief (because I saw the colour on a Dessy swatch and it was the only one I liked) but apart from that we just had all different colours of wild flowers, and then the rustic details in between.


I wore a Maggie Sottero dress called Cassidy, which I got from The Bridal Lounge, in Accrington. I actually only chose it six weeks before the wedding as I had a total change of heart about the first dress I had chosen from another bridal shop. Lee at the Bridal Lounge turned everything round within the time frame and made sure I had the perfect dress on the day. I teamed my dress with a long veil and wore bright red heels as a surprise for Dan (had to get a little nod to Liverpool FC in somewhere as I had refused it on every other thing he’d suggested!)

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keepin’ it real: say hello to squashed apple photography and film – plus an amazing gift for our readers!

August 29th, 2016 | Julia Braime

Squashed Apple Photography & Film (3)

This afternoon we’re introducing you to a new Sponsor of ours that offers the most important keepsakes from a wedding day – photography and videography.

That’s right, the fabulously talented team at Manchester-based Squashed Apple can capture the real essence and emotion of a couple’s big day both in images and footage, providing memories that last a lifetime and with the power to transport brides and grooms back to that very moment in time.

If this sounds right up your street you might be interested to know that Squashed Apple will throw in £1,300 worth of albums and presentation for free for every Brides Up North reader that books their full day photography and full wedding film packages.

Now to tell us more about their style of shooting, we’ll hand over the blog to one of the Squashed Apple team. Take it away Carlo…

Squashed Apple Photography & Film (24)

Tell us a little about your background ? 

carlo says: I have been in this industry for around nine years and fell into photography by accident really. A friend needed a hand on a wedding and simply passed me a camera, well that was it – I was sold – and filming was a natural progression. I wanted to create a brand, which was not only affordable but offered fantastic value for money. I’m a believer that every couple should have access to our services and it’s this customer focus that has seen us sustain more than 100 weddings for the last seven consecutive years.

Intro – Goodbyes are not forever from SquashedApple Pro on Vimeo.

What attracted you to the wedding industry specifically? 

I love weddings, in fact if I wasn’t doing this I would be a wedding planner. It’s an amazing life event that has everything; they are fun, sad, joyful and emotional. I find there is so much going on in a wedding day that can make you an amazing creator.

And what is it about your job that you love? 

Well apart from being your own boss, it gives you the freedom to create, plus tonnes of family time.

Squashed Apple Photography & Film (8)

How would you describe your style of wedding photography/videography?

Squashed Apple brings collectively everything to the table. We’ve never had a set style, but I believe it’s important to be able to adapt and present something that suits the couple. I believe it’s important to engage with a brides of all ages, therefore I don’t really believe in styled shoots or using models. I want to keep it real. We can have just as much fun with a bride approaching 60-years-old as a bride in her twenties. Our oldest bride last year was 72 – so cute!

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framing moments: sier photography

August 24th, 2016 | Julia Braime

North Yorkshire Wedding

This afternoon we’re thrilled to be introducing another talented wedding photography company to our list of fabulous list of Sponsors – say hello to Sier Photography.

Set up by Sheffield-based husband and wife team Matthew and Deborah, Sier Photography offers the services of two skilful photographers with more than a decade’s experience of shooting weddings.

Capturing the day as it unfolds, the dynamic duo aim to blend into the background, framing beautiful moments as they happen while also working to a couple’s brief to ensure they achieve exactly what the bride and groom want for their big day images.

For those of you that like what you see, Sier Photography is offering a free pre-wedding photoshoot to our readers who book them for their wedding, simply quote “Brides Up North”. Just be sure to hurry though as these guys are in demand!

To explain a little more about their wedding day image style and approach we’ll hand over the blog to the main man himself, Matthew.

North Yorkshire Wedding

Tell us a little about your background…

matthew says: We have been photographing weddings for a little over ten years. Our first was as a favour to a colleague of Deborah’s who wanted a few images of her day. As well as being our first, it is also our smallest to date with a total of eight guests, including us!

What attracted you to wedding photography specifically?

We love weddings and being there to capture the emotions of the day for everyone involved gives you such a buzz. It was the thought of helping create memories for our clients that appealed to us.

North Yorkshire Wedding

And what is it about your job that you love?

I think we both like the happiness of the day, seeing people at their best and most lively. It is a wonderful privilege to be part of one of the biggest days in a couples lives (up to then at least) and so nice to be able to capture it for them.

How would you describe your style of wedding photography and what makes you stand out from others?

Our style of wedding photography is to be as hands-off as possible. We love to capture the day as it unfolds around us, using the features of the venue and lighting to give our clients the best images possible. We try to work in a relaxed and informal way, to blend in with guests. This doesn’t mean that we won’t take any formal shots or grouped posed photographs though. We always say it is your day, your way and we are there to work for you.

North Yorkshire Wedding
What do your clients love about your approach, service and images?

The feedback from our clients has always been highly positive and they are always really surprised just how hard we work for them on their wedding day!

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thistles & roses. ronald joyce for a winter wedding in cheshire – annastacia & matt

August 16th, 2016 | Julia Braime

A Winter Wedding in Cheshire (c) Jonny Draper Photography (32)

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.

A Winter Wedding in Cheshire (c) Jonny Draper Photography (50)

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.

A Winter Wedding in Cheshire (c) Jonny Draper Photography (45)

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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zoom in: picking the right wedding photographer for you

August 10th, 2016 | Rachel Parry

ZT Photography (2)

ZT Photography

We often mention on the blog how much of an important role a photographer plays in a wedding; not only on the big day itself, but also in the years that follow, with their images serving as life-long memories of the special event.

As such it’s super important that you like the style of the images that your chosen photographer produces, but with so many differing types of photography to choose, making a decision can be somewhat overwhelming.

To demonstrate the different outcome a wedding album can have depending on who is behind the lens, a talented group of North West based photographers got together at the stunning Ashfield House in Wigan, to shoot the exact same subjects in the very same location.

The results, which we’re sharing with you on the blog today, are all stunning but all rather different and, as intended, perfectly highlight the importance of couples choosing the right style and personality of photographer to suit both them and their wedding.

So prepare to be impressed and amazed as we hand over the blog to Katie Street, the owner of Ashfield House who came up with the clever concept for the collaborative shoot, plus the photographers who took part: Neil Redfern, David Stubbs, Andy Wardle, ZT Photography, and our very own Brides Up North Sponsor, the lovely Jonny Draper.

Andy Wardle Photography (9)

Andy Wardle 

katie says: The way couples pick a photographer was something I’d been thinking about for a long time before suggesting this shoot. Each time I heard “she’s a friend of a friend” or “my cousin used him and he was good” I got more and more frustrated knowing these couples could be missing out on picking a photographer that was more suited to their style. As an exclusive wedding venue, we work with a number of trusted photographers to capture the romance, emotion and fun of each wedding day, each with a totally different approach to their work. I wanted to give the photographers the same day, same backdrop, same couple but capture each photographer’s individual creativity and the difference in each set of images for all to see.

Jonny Draper Photography (10)

 Jonny Draper

At Ashfield House, we don’t have a one-size-fits-all approach to weddings and encourage our couples to be as individual and inventive as possible. We know that the best weddings at Ashfield play to the strengths of couples’ personalities, quirks and their passions. Photography is very similar. I’ve taken a keen interest in photography myself as an art form over the years, and am continually astounded by the quality and individuality of each photographer’s work who steps through the doors at Ashfield. My team and I stare in awe at the array of photographic work shared with us, and have often commented about the striking difference between styles and end results – even though the setting is the same. I wanted to show that picking a ‘good’ photographer isn’t enough, you need one that’s good for you.

D Stubbs Photography (9)

David Stubbs

Choosing suppliers who share your vision is absolutely key to an amazing wedding and, alongside your memories, photographs are the only thing you have left, so choose wisely! The photographers that took part were equally pleased with the final results as I was…

Neil Redfern Photography (9)

Neil Redfern

neil redfern says: Seeing everyone else’s different approaches and the way in which we each interacted with the couple was great. What I loved was that although we were all taking shots in the same location we each saw different things and that just illustrates how unique one photographer is to the next. I don’t think there was ever a time when we each wanted to take a shot the same as somebody else had.

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emotive & natural: introducing kristian leven photography

July 28th, 2016 | Julia Braime

Kristian Leven Photography (32)

The build up to a wedding, and the actual day itself, is one of the most important times of your life, which is why we’re so passionate about our readers hiring a talented wedding photographer to document the special day in all its detail.

To assist couples in their search we always recommend that they take a look at our ever-expanding ‘Suppliers We Love’ directory on the blog, which features some of the very best wedding photographers in the country. And this afternoon we’re delighted to be adding another pro to the list as we introduce our fabulous new Sponsor Kristian Leven Photography.

Self-confessed ‘softie’ Kristian prides himself on producing the story of the day in the form of natural and emotive pictures, including moments that the bride and groom might not have ever known about– meaning they don’t miss a thing.

We’ll now hand over the blog to the man man himself so that he can tell us more about the job he loves while showing off some of his seriously stunning photography…

Kristian Leven Photography (6)

Tell us a little about your background and how you got into wedding photography…

kristian says: Before getting into weddings I primarily shot travel and street photography, and then, one day six years ago, I took my camera to a friend’s wedding and the rest is history.

What was it that attracted you to wedding photography specifically? 

The chance to document the day in a very natural way. Plus all the emotion – I’m a massive softie at heart!

Kristian Leven Photography (31)
And what is it about your job that you love? 

Capturing those moments that might have been forgotten about or never known about in the first place. This is really what drives me on a wedding day, looking to fill in the blanks of the ‘story’, and the pay-off when couples get to see those moments they may have missed is tremendous.

Kristian Leven Photography (39)
How would you describe your style of wedding photography and what is it that makes you stand out from others?

Emotive and natural, and putting my heart and soul into capturing those unique moments in an artistic way.

What is the feedback like from your clients? What do they love about your approach, service and images?

Thankfully really good! It feels a bit weird bigging myself up, so I’ll quote a recent comment left by my recent clients Laura and Clive: “Everyone who has seen the photos so far have commented on how incredibly talented you are and have congratulated us on finding such an amazing photographer. Having seen your work before we booked you we had total faith, but you far surpassed anything we hoped for. We so miss the day but your photos are an incredible reminder of it. The greatest gift we could ever receive.”

Kristian Leven Photography (10)
What is the top piece of advice you would give to camera shy couples?

To know that it’s completely normal to initially feel a bit awkward – it’s not every day you have a guy you don’t really know taking pictures of you in your dressing gown! But after that first hour you’ll forget about me – you have much more important things to think about. And once the day begins proper, you’ll be so caught up in the emotion and joy of the day that I’ll completely drift into the background.

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