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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.