Your wedding day as it happens, completely naturally, no stopping just your party immortalised – Documentary wedding photography.
“The photos we’ve received all capture the love and joy of our day and they are even better than we had hoped for…..BRILLIANT and really quite emotional! On the day we hardly even knew they were there, and yet the images captured are so intimate, fun and lovely. We would recommend The Pixies for your wedding in a heartbeat!”
Sarah & Jamie are media types who met in London and had made the move up to Salford with the BBC :) So they knew what it was to be in front of the camera and they knew they didn’t want to stop their wedding day for anything, so the day was completely documentary wedding photography. No posing at all, no ‘just stop there’, no time-out for bride and groom pics – just these two with all their favourite people enjoying their wedding day in Manchester.
Manchester wedding preparations
Sarah and co. had bagsied their cool urban city centre flat for the morning prep whilst Jamie and his crew were at the classic grand hotel of Manchester, The Midland. So Pete and myself were busy snapping away in separate corners of Manchester, taking in the action and anticipation of the day ahead. With the boys ready for action time for that classic walk across town from the Midland Hotel to their church venue in St.Ann’s Square. This was one of the hottest days of summer, so the groomsmen deemed it time for a quick McFlurry at the church doors :) Whilst Sarah made her exit via the amazing hallway atrium of their apartment building, arriving to the crowds that always flock around a city centre wedding.
Manchester Church wedding ceremony
The pews of St.Ann’s church filled with family & friends from near and far. St. Ann’s is one of those churches where there’s no photography allowed from the front of the church, but with two of us, we could cover the ceremony without moving and still get some great angles to tell the photographic story of the day. That’s despite of the strange spot lighting they have too, just to add an extra dimension to the shooting challenge!
Albert Square Chop House wedding reception
Congrats, confetti, and a saunter up King Street to Albert Square Chop house for the rest of the day’s partying to begin. An amazing space for atmospheric documentary imagery alongside the iconic Manchester Northern theme running through the decor. With TV presenters amongst the four best even the speeches were bound to be a slick polished affair and so it was :) Into the night Sarah’s running club friends arrived and injected a definite pulse of energy and blow-up friend for good measure.
We absolutely loved shooting in a completely documentary style for Sarah & Jamie’s Manchester wedding day, no family groups, no couple photos, just friends and family enjoying a fantastic day – the day just as they wanted :)
So you say what’s this, well it’s the moment when Sarah & Jamie just happened to be waiting to enter the wedding breakfast. They just stood there chatting and what were we meant to do with such gorgeous light, but a ‘Pixie’ style portrait but not – you see it’s all natural and a documentary moment, with some Pixie lighting ;)
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Kings Acre Wedding Photography – two brides tie the knot in colourful style
So excited to finally shoot a wedding over in Chester at the stunningly rustic Kings Acre wedding venue. Our two brides had been planning their colourful rustic day for almost two years and in fact had pencilled us in to shoot their day even before they booked the venue! No pressure then! Kings Acre weddings has been on our radar for a while as one of the best looking rustic places in our Cheshire wedding venue guide. It’s no secret that we do love somewhere that has camping opportunities and you have all weekend to spend with all those family and friends. Why have a wedding day when you can have three!
A bridal lodge for two smiley brides
Bethan & Michaela donned their dresses separately for the surprise reveal to each other in the very luxurious bridal lodge at Kings Acre. With their own emotional first look all done there was then plenty of time for bridesmaids and family to receive their personalised boxes of pressies. These two had certainly put a lot of time and effort into making their wedding day their own as well as making sure friends and family had a great day too.
Outdoor wedding ceremony English style
Kings Acre weddings isn’t licensed for the official tying of the knot but these two had done the formalities (in Welsh!) earlier in the week. Today they could make the most of the gorgeous willowed arch aisle and outdoor ceremony space over looking the lake. With a good friend all the way from Malaysia officiating the ceremony this very personalised ceremony was under way. This summer has been one of scorching hot days and blazing sun, except this particular weekend, so as the I do’s were about to be spoken the clouds decided to lessen their load. No fear umbrellas on hand and the ceremony continued with the guests sheltered under coats and a sea of brollies :) We love outdoor ceremonies and even more so with a bit of adversity to bring out that camaraderie between family and friends alike :)
Lawn games, ice cream, crocheted greatness
Fizz in hand, smiles abound, the sun reappearing, the afternoon was filled with all things great about an English summers day wedding. The usual lawn games of croquet and Jenga were joined by the more unusual crocheted twister. This has to be a first, Bethan’s auntie was in avid crochet-er and had made a fabulous crocheted version of twister especially for their wedding day. In fact there was more crocheted goods at this wedding than we’d ever seen with super detailed blankets covering the rustic hay bales and some great wall hangings too. Ice creams kept those hunger pangs at bay whilst the smell of the BBQ wafted through the field tempting everyone for the delights to come. Inside the super cool bar area Michaela’s family were well into the quiz cards spending all day testing each other’s general knowledge! That’s what so great about a DIY wedding there’s no rules, let everyone do their own thing and have a fab day with family, friends, fizz n food – all the “f’s” :)
Your wedding day, do it your way
Don’t fancy a first dance? Then you don’t have to do one – in fact it’s your wedding throw out the rule book. There’s not many things you have to do and the more personalised you make it the better :) So why not have a beer pong contest instead of a first dance, why not indeed so they did! Although maybe Bethan had wished she’d not, with a decisive win from Michaela’s end of the table but a great way to kick off the evening party proceedings.
These guys only hold twelve weddings a year so book your date now for a perfect outdoor wedding venue in Cheshire, fantastic helpful and smiley staff as well what’s not to love? We’d love to join you too ;)
Chester’s outdoor glamping wedding venue Kingsacre, is just a few miles north of Chester in the village of Saughall teetering on the border of England and Wales. Kings Acre’s proximity to Chester makes it the ideal spot for your guests to reach super easily either by car or a short taxi ride from a number of different train links.
Lynden and Jessica (on-site owners of this little oasis) have created an amazing space in their mini corner of Cheshire. A small holding with a smattering of animals, camping, afternoon tea catering options and farmland views over the Cheshire plains, it definitely ticks a fair few boxes. Over the summer they offer glamping and camping for anyone visiting the Chester area, as well as an established cake business and the sporadic yet atmospheric Dog & Duck nights (wish we lived closer they have awesome ciders!)
Very much a family business, on your wedding day these guys all be on hand to make sure the whole day runs smoothly. I think they can put their hands to pretty much anything apart from the weather! You’re in control of so many elements of the day too, so that you can truly make the space your own. A great DIY wedding canvas, with a good deal of the hassle taken away – they have all the necessary facilities all done and dusted with perfect rustic toilets and showers on site. There’s plenty of outdoor accommodation on site so your guests can stay the whole weekend, either in their own tents or with the more luxurious bell tents on site. If you’re looking for somewhere with a roof then there’s the ‘love shack’ ;) – a log cabin with all the mod cons you’d expect. Add to this numerous local B&B’s and hotels, no one need be more than a stone’s throw from the days celebrations, so no excuse not to party late in to the night.
This place had a great feel and is ideal for a humanist wedding, festival or village fete style country wedding venue. Just add friends, games, street food, music and hey presto a wedding to remember :)
Cream cheese bagels, orange rocks and a green van
Warning: There are no brides or grooms in this post!
Although we did stalk a wedding in SF and also visit the City Hall in SF to see where some of those Chrisman Studios weddings take place, I guess we just can’t help ourselves ;)
Anyway ever since the times of neolithic man Pete has fancied a trip to Californ-I-A and well no-one’s getting any younger so 2018 was the year of holidays and we took an extra month off in September to sample the delights of the West. Yep we did the usual touristy circle, with maybe a few blips off here n there but we did hire an awesome custom painted camper van from Escape – which we still miss now and we did take fairy lights to decorate said camper (thanks Josie & Ian of Big Bear films for the tip!)
So here’s a few pics, if you want more info on our rough trip and what we loved the most then there’s plenty more waffle down below.
Is that the Burning Man After Party?!?!? Indeed it is :0 How cool was that, just mooching along Venice Beach and find this amazing technicolour craziness – awesome, at least part of the Burning Man bucket list ticked off :)
So the rest of the trip, whilst we weren’t hanging and boarding with the cool kids on Venice Beach ;) Fave moments and best bits, as you don’t want the whole diary of what soup we ate or how many campfires we snuggled around! National Parks are what the USA is made for and made for loads of wow moments from the huge-ness of El Capitan, the incomprehensible vastness of the Grand Canyon, amazing colour and light at Bryce Canyon, trees that reach the sky, not forgetting the existence of banana slugs!
We for one had never heard of Zion NP, apparently it’s famous too but this was another unexpected highlight, I’d hoped to climb Angel’s Landing a scary climb to an amazing viewpoint but all was closed due to massive landslides. Hey hum but this meant we walked ‘the Narrows’ instead an amazing walk in the river up a super skinny canyon – very wet boots n socks but such a fab experience.
One of those moments of coincidence that happen all the time, in a crowd of hundreds of tourists Pete leant his 16mm lens to another Fuji user, only to find he lived just a few miles down the road from us back at home – “hi” to Phil & Erica if you’re reading this!
Best toilet…one of those you just see in films, a falling down shed with half a door but what a view over Monument Valley :)
Pete’s dream fulfilled cruising the boardwalks and streets of Venice Beach by longboard, as well as cruising and carving parts of Route 66 and those San Francisco parks.
Getting caught in the biggest coldest rain storm at the Grand Canyon, huddling like penguins for warmth and shelter – whilst the National Park service did an amazing job rallying extra buses to rescue us all :) Bit of adversity always great for the human spirit!
Our van, it’s funky Jungle Book design, cooking, sleeping, eating, driving, waving, it’s chunky looks and just stopping for a random brew whenever, wherever – I did take my own Yorkshire teabags, to make sure it was a good brew!!
Some vaguely useful info to finish off
Route: San Francisco – Yosemite – Kings Canyon – Vegas Zion NP (The Narrows) – Bryce Canyon – Horse Shoe Bend/Antelope Canyon – Monument Valley – Grand Canyon – Flintstones World! – Route 66 (Williams, Seligman, Oatman) – Joshua Tree – Ontario (LA – car show) – Venice beach -Santa Barbara/Solvang- Highway One – Monterey/Santa Cruz – Big Basin & Portola Redwood StateParks – San Francisco
Maunsel House wedding photography – A slice of the Mediterranean in Somerset.
Who wouldn’t jump at the chance of shooting a wedding at the stunning and absolutely quirky bonkers location of Maunsel House? This has to be one of the best wedding venues in England for it’s mix of styles that just somehow work together to create a magical wedding day. So we were more than looking forward to our first Maunsel House wedding photography exploit to cover the celebrations of Hannah & Steve’s day.
Somerset wedding weekend
Hannah & Steve hailed from the bright lights of London as did most of their friends but a combination of last minute planning and finding this gem of a venue meant a weekend in Somerset was the order of the day. Hannah loved the festival vibe and wanted a chilled out relaxed wedding day with all her friends and family. Having also dreamt of a destination wedding abroad Maunsel House ticked so many boxes here with it’s definite Mediterranean feel, outdoor wedding ceremony and wedding breakfast options. Just add sun…the forecast wasn’t so sure on this front…but in the end the rain just added to the atmosphere for a cosy wedding breakfast and none of the festival mud and wellies required!
Crazy quirky beginnings
So we got to Maunsel House early doors as we knew there were so many details in the house, just to get a flavour of the place we starting shooting early (our cameras not the many guns on show!) This place is stuffed to the rafters with art work, history, military paraphernalia, stuffed animals of every description.. you name it you could probably find it here! Upstairs the girls and boys all got ready in two equally quirky rooms, where the anticipation of the day had begun to build. The boys finished off the last minute touches of the day blowing up a few helium balloons and making sure the pergola was set up all ready for an outdoor wedding ceremony no matter what the weather.
Intimate pergola outdoor ceremony
As the forecast had been for rain throughout the day the amazing team at Maunsel House had decide that the pergola was the best place for the deed of the day to be carried out. This was no compromise whatsoever, in fact in some ways we think it was even better then the bandstand on the lawns. With seats set up from both sides, the lush greenery and soft light through the roof it had such a cosy intimate feel. One of the best wedding ceremony locations we’ve shot at. Hannah & her dad were sung down the aisle by one of their best men, to rendition of Elvis ably accompanied by their amazing duo for the day – Truly Madly Deeply. Words said, rings exchanged, rapturous applause and that was that Mr & Mrs, they were even joined by some of the estates peacocks as they left the ceremony too.
Confetti, tunes, photos and canapés on the lawns
With the formalities done it was time to celebrate and party, these guys exited the manor house through a sea of confetti and balloons. Congrats and appreciation of Hannah’s stunning vintage styled French dress flew through the air as did the many and varied tunes of the band. A quick wander through the stunning grounds of Maunsel House, just catching a bit of the forecast rain but nothing an umbrella couldn’t sort out! Then it was back to the gorgeous pergola for a BBQ wedding breakfast, and multiple ‘Colin the caterpillar’ cakes for all to slice to their hearts content! Into the night the bar and ballroom filled with all their guests for a complete party house atmosphere. Again Truly Madly Deeply played a few amazing sets and really set the party spirit on fire, helped by Hannah and Steve’s awesome friends dancing the night away.
No doubt there were a few sore heads the day after, but nothing that their planned garden games couldn’t sort out I’m sure. Shame we weren’t around for that too..in fact it gave us an idea if you’re planning a wedding weekend with activities over two or more days we’d love to tell the whole story of your wedding weekend, so do let us know.
Congrats to Hannah & Steve on a truly brilliant wedding day to remember.
2018 a year of thousands of clicks and a few gongs ;)
So it comes around again as this year turns into the next a good time to reflect on the 365 days that have whizzed by yet again! Our tenth year as Pixies in the Cellar wedding photography and so, we chose for a more chilled out year with a few more hols than usual. Well why not! In between all our travelling we have managed to squeeze in plenty of amazing weddings too and amassed a number of awards which is always nice. In fact, it’s been a fantastic year for awards, between us we’ve hit the big time in This is Reportage’s top 30 wedding photographers (both individually ranked 10th, with four awards each). With the ever prestigious Fearless photographers this year has been our best yet with six Fearless Photographers awards between us :o – super shocked ourselves when we add it all up! Then into double figures with eleven ISPWP awards over the year, a fab international organisation with strict rules on who can enter their professional photographers ranks too. Mostly though the thanks for all these little gongs goes to all the amazing people that we meet at some of the best weddings across the country, without you all there’d be no pics at all.
Memorable wedding moments
Some little mini memorable moments from 2018 to remember – Bethan & Michaela’s rainy outdoor ceremony with plenty of brollies ;) Back Chat Brass bringing Manchester to a standstill with their awesome toooons for Lesli & Jonathan’s day. The crazy priest playing Negin and Richard out of their ceremony on his accordion. The poignant moment whilst grandchildren remembered their grandma at her graveside before Sarah & Gareth’s ceremony. Timmy Mallett as a wedding guest :) Darragh & Becky’s day, not a dry eye in the house as Darragh’s son gave his speech. The crazy Harry Potter obsessed bride Sarah complete with lightening scar on her forehead! Complete quirky craziness abound at Maunsel House, and awesome vibes from Truly Medly Deeply. So many moments – we still feel so honoured to be at each and every wedding even after all these year and there’s more to surprise us year after year :)
2018 has been a year with more dogs and brass bands than any other! Fortunately not both at the same time, not sure how much dogs appreciate the sounds of brass, could be an interesting combo ;) A change from our most popular bride names this year, from our usual plethora of Laura’s 2018 saw four Sarah’s and four Rebecca’s. Looking into 2019 we’re looking forward to the promise of plenty more happy smiley wedding days, including a trip to Florence, a circus themed outdoor wedding, a Scottish Castle, two Hindu ceremonies along with plenty of local weddings all with that lure of the unexpected moment or special emotional magic. And Laura is back in the running for our most popular bride name, head to head with Emma’s so far for 2019….
Our best wedding photos…well some of our favourites
That’s enough of the words take a nosey through our year of weddings!
A slightly different take this year, our ‘best of’ starts with a mini introduction to our style of photography in the slideshow below. There’s even a sneaky blip clip of the two of us in there, on the wrong side of the camera ;) Then scroll down for just a few of our favourite images from 2018, so many to choose from!
Sarah & Mark had been together quite a few years and the time had come to tie the knot, after a nervous muddy proposal on the south coast with a definitive ‘yes’ the stage was now set for their Manchester wedding day.
One of Manchester’s best venues
For years we’d been looking forward to shooting a wedding at the iconic Gorton Monastery or to give it it’s historic name the Friary of St Francis, such an impressive building which has been brought back to life with years of hard work from dedicated volunteers. Sarah and Mark fell in love with the space and were looking forward to sharing this stunning space with all their family and friends. Sarah had plotted the best April weather dates over the past few years to find the best weekend…all the work paid off and their day was the warmest Saturday we can remember for a while.
Modern wedding outlook
These guys had been together for long enough to know exactly what they wanted and what they didn’t too, which is perfect. Sarah didn’t want the fuss of bridesmaids or the old tradition of her dad giving her away, so her mum and dad entered first and she bravely took the long walk down the aisle in her own stride. With a nod to Sarah’s love of music and her job at RNCM, the ceremony was accompanied by the playing and singing of her close friends.
Sunshine, speeches, a song and a shimmy on the dance floor
With the sun beating down the courtyard space, was the ideal splash of fresh air and greenery in this Manchester venue – you would easily have believed you were anywhere exotic, not just a few mins from Manchester city centre. With everyone enjoying the drinks, chatting with old friends, kids running around in the sunshine, the perfect time to capture all those real documentary moments of their Manchester wedding day.
Sarah surprised everyone with her speech which turned into an amazing rendition of a song just for Mark, the music then continued into the night with the theme of musicians from the Royal Northern College of Music. Twisted Tubes added fantastic vibes filling the huge space with a definite party feel. These guys again did it their way with no first dance just themselves and a mass of their friends kicking off the dancing.
So who knew Manchester had it’s very own monastery, well until a few decades ago this amazing building was a long lost decaying relic on the outskirts of the city centre. With much research into this stunning building and it’s history the official word on the street is well it’s a friary, and even the courtyard gate says so too. So I hear you cry what’s the difference between the two and does it matter? Well does it matter is entirely up to you and how you like the English language to be used or whether you’re marketing for a monastery – sounds better than a friary I mean that could be a chip shop eh?! It would seem a friary has monks too but they go out and about into the community rather than stay cooped up in their building (a monastery), so in fact a friary sounds much better as their inhabitants are all about helping those around them, with a bit of God thrown in too ;)
A Monastery wedding day
So enough about the use of the English language, what makes Manchester Monastery an epic venue to say your vows? There’s so many positives. The most compelling reason is the monastery building itself is so stunning. Designed by the famous architect Edward Pugin in 1872, often coined Manchester’s Catholic cathedral. Gorton Monastery is one of Britain’s finest buildings and before restoration was on an endangered lists with the likes of the Taj Mahal and Pompei. You get the feel of a grand old church or cathedral without the need for any religion, as it now all deconsecrated. It’s not just any old boring church either, it’s years of neglect have you could say added to it’s unique character, with it’s very shabby chic ornate altar taking centre stage. To say your vows in front of your family and friends with the the Italian and Californian marble intricately carved altar complete with atmospheric candle light really is a dream wedding location. With a bit of good karma there’s another fantastic wedding bonus of real green outdoor space in the red brick courtyard cloisters – not many city centre venues can boast such outdoor green tranquil space. Into the evening the distinctive lighting of the Monastery comes into it’s own, great for some colourful images – perfect for that late night party vibe. On a practical note it’s close to Manchester great for local accommodation for what ever budget from the cheap and cheerful to those swanky boutique Manchester haunts. Along with this it has a huge free car park, which for Manchester is almost unheard of. Worried about wedding guests numbers, well with The Monastery there’s no need to worry it has a huge maximum capacity of 450! That’s not to say you need to fill it, as you can see here it works equally well for smaller weddings of a more manageable size from 85 guests upwards. Guests with any mobility issues will also be super happy here, no steps, everywhere you’ll need to go is wheelchair friendly.
A modern twist
If you’re worried with all this talk of epic Victorian gothic architecture will it feel all a little old and stuffy? Well as it happens the recently completed ‘Welcome Wing’ is a great modern juxtaposition to the old and Victorian bringing the Monastery right into the 21st century and beyond. Huge windows, allow tons of light to flood the entrance area, so even if that Manchester weather is a little inclement you can be sure to have plenty of bright and airy space for your guests to enjoy until the sun comes out again in the cloisters :) As well as a well stocked bar this newly ecologically designed addition to the Monastery really does add all that’s necessary to make for a perfect Manchester wedding venue.
Wth all this going for it The Monastery is definitely up there with the top wedding venues in Manchester and you get that warm fuzzy feeling that you’re also supporting the upkeep and continuing restoration of one of Manchester’s architectural and cultural gems. If you’re just thinking of this as an option it’s super easy to look around (just check their website for opening times) and pop in for a coffee and cake at the tasty Pantry Cafe, they even do a great afternoon tea – what more excuse do you need ;)
Urban wedding photography – Manchester’s best green bits mixed with the best of Northern grit for a perfect city centre wedding day.
We knew Angie and Ben’s day was going to be amazing as soon as we got their initial wedding photography enquiry. These two loved Manchester, loved Northern Quarter, loved the great outdoors (all our faves too!) and most definitely loved each other! So their day had to encompass all their passions. They managed most of them, just missing a bit of climbing. ;) There was the odd hiccup along the way as their NQ venue had to close down. :( But great things come from adversity and an equally epic urban wedding reception venue stepped up to the mark to complete their city centre vibe.
Friends, friends, more friends and some family too.
Angie was of Canadian origin so the rehearsal dinner was a thing. Most weddings from across that big pond go for this pre-wedding rehearsal and get together. Family and friends had gathered the day before to go through the days plans and enjoy some extra time with the soon to be wedded. A perfect excuse for a trip to another of their favourite Manchester haunts. Friday night food and revelling, along with a Prince tribute act. An industrial chic preamble at Gorilla under the railway arches of Whitworth Street. Not sure the late night partying seemed such a good idea the day after though!
Even though these two weren’t the traditional types they’d kept to the not seeing each other before the big day. As night fell Angie went back to their cute little Chorlton cottage and Ben to a local Airbnb. The usual pre ceremony chaos was in full swing as we arrived at both locations, with both houses full to bursting with friends and family. Fizz and coffee flowing depending on the state of the ‘night before’ heads, plenty of ironing and final tweaking to speeches being made.
Equal partners – a tearful first look
In keeping with their ethics and non-traditional take on the day, Ben and Angie had decided to walk in simultaneously. This did require a little more military planning, but they had a great friend on the case just for the job! So two aisles, two entrances, two photographers, the stage was set for the ceremony to begin. A procession of friends and family preceded what was to be one of the most emotional ‘end of aisle’ moments we’ve shot to date. It has to be said these two were definitely made for each other. :) A very personal wedding ceremony, complete with plenty more tears, personal readings, tear jerking vows and fantastic music from more friends made this just the most perfect ceremony. Emotion contained, time to enjoy the gardens with the amazing autumnal weather that the day had brought, along with of course the odd glass or two of fizz.
Northern Quarter and Mayfield – Manchester at it’s urban grungy best :)
After their last minute NQ venue blip, a new venue had to be found and pronto….and that wedding party venue was Alphabet Brewing Company. Alphabet is a fantastic craft beer venue with a regular street food/brew tap events every weekend. We were to spend the evening here just a stone’s throw from Piccadilly train station – in another railway arch, in the up coming Mayfield area of Manchester! Whilst their guests made the way from Didsbury to Manchester city centre we headed into Northern Quarter. Just time for a few quick pics with a definite Manchester red brick, graffiti vibe. If it’s good enough for multiple blockbuster films then it’s good enough for us :) A confetti storm awaited Angie and Ben as they entered Alphabet and the evening party began in full swing.
Street food, botanical settings and eco-credentials.
Again with their priorities at heart the day had to be as plastic free as possible, even if this meant Alphabet had to plumb in a dishwasher! The street food (delicious) nosh was all in eco recycled board with wooden utensils and centre pieces all home made, lovingly grown by Angie & Ben. We even got a fab succulent centre piece to keep ourselves – thanks guys x. Alphabet was the ideal setting for these two, urban – tick, street art – tick, party vibe – tick, outdoor chill out space – tick. DJ-sets and glitter galore was the order of the night, the stage was set for one Manchester urban wedding to remember.
Huge congrats to Angie & Ben and good luck in your new life together in Canada :)
Wedding Street Food: Stomping Grounds – a fantastic turkish style ethical locally sourced street food company based in Cheshire – very yummy!! The perfect wedding food caterers for this urban styled wedding day.
How to create a perfect urban wedding day
Number one piece of advice ‘be yourself.’ An urban wedding is not exactly going to fall in to the traditional wedding category. Perhaps a few of your family might not quite get what you’re going for but stick with it and you’ll be rewarded with a day that’s true to yourselves.
Choosing a venue
Forget the standard wedding venue lists and go for venues that make you smile or that have a special significance to you both. A venue might not advertise for weddings but if you ask nicely and explain what and why you’d like to hold your celebration there then they might just go for it. The most flexible venues will be those that have extra event hire space, as understandably some venues won’t want to alienate their regular Saturday customers by randomly closing on certain Saturdays. If you do go for a venue not used to holding weddings, then do be prepared for a bit of extra legwork yourselves. There’s all the boring stuff like do they have enough chairs/tables/toilets for all your guests – it might be the coolest venue in town but if you can’t fit in the space or it’s going to be a squash then you’ll need to rethink. Don’t worry about a space being too big, you can always make areas for different things, like a chill out zone, bar area, games area etc. The more space the better generally, photographically there’s nothing more difficult than a super packed tiny space where everyone is crammed around the bar. Does the venue have their own kitchen, can they cater for everyone all at once or if you’d like other caterers can you bring them in and use their kitchen or is there space to set up a street food style kitchen? Heating…is your venue a big empty warehouse or a derelict space yet to be repurposed – think about your guests and make sure you have some additional heaters and cosy blankets to stave of those evening chills. Get a good contact at the venue and work with them, so at least one person is dealing with everything and is up to date with all your correspondences about the wedding day. It can be stressful, don’t worry this is normal! The venue might be used to hosting hundreds of people each week and your day will just be another event to them, especially if they’re not used to the time and personal emotion that goes in to making your wedding day special – be patient whilst still getting your concerns across ;)
If you’re thinking out of the box then most venues won’t have a wedding licence (although perhaps this restriction will change soon in England….) in this case you need to choose how you’ll do the official wedding paperwork. Do you tie the official knot simply the day/week before then create your own personal ceremony for the wedding day, either with a friend officiating or a humanist celebrant. Or you could find another city centre venue for the official part of the day then move on to your über cool urban wedding venue for the partying to begin.
Urban wedding locations
It goes without saying that if you’re holding your wedding in an urban location then it’s great for access with more public transport links into most city centres when compared with a country house wedding. However city centres generally aren’t so car friendly – make sure your guest know all the one way systems, best places to park or the route from the train station to the venue. With the more grungy end of the urban spectrum a good map of where your venue is can be essential. Like Alphabet Brewery in Manchester, this is not lets say in the most popular corner of Manchester. Only those that know about the emerging arty Mayfield area or Manchesters’ craft brewery scene would know how to find this place. Likewise do check your venue doesn’t have a name twin – some of Angie and Ben’s guests ended up at the wrong Parsonage in Manchester! Make the most of being in the city centre and make a wedding weekend out of it, you might be able to wangle good prices at a certain hotel if a lot of your guests stay there. This then makes for more time together the following day, maybe head out to a cool cafe for a post wedding brunch.
Urban wedding photography
As with any photography light is always a key player in making the most epic images and urban locations are no different. The best times of day are generally as the sun is on it’s way down, but with strong light and city shadows occasionally even a really sunny bright day can yield some great creative opportunities in a city centre environment. Think about locations that mean something to the two of you, or elements of the urban feel that you like – maybe it’s the neon lights, in which case dusk would be great or perhaps it’s the street art in which case you need to make sure your wedding reception location or somewhere close has some great artwork on show. Then again it could be the cafe culture, so plan some time out for you to enjoy a quiet sneaky coffee or gin and tonic in your favourite haunt. Natural photos of the two of you in your favourite urban places and spaces will say so much, it just needs a little planning. If you’re going from a ceremony location to your wedding reception venue, consider walking with all your wedding party through the city streets – it’s a fantastic opportunity to get that city feel into your images.
So Laura and Richard booked us after a rather unconventional Skype meeting whilst we were stood in a ginnel in Knutsford. It seemed to do the trick maybe all our meetings should be this way! We met again in person at a very packed bar on the canalside in Leeds on one of the first sunny days of Spring, all of Leeds seemed to have descended at the same spot!
Wow, what a stunning venue. A less than conventional set up where the building is used as offices during the week (albeit very nice offices!) and when the weekend comes along the place is yours to enjoy. We really do love venues where you have the whole weekend to enjoy your celebrations whilst catching up with family and friends in a less rushed way.
One white dress and a whole lot of bridesmaids.
Laura had an ensemble of bridesmaids, so she certainly wasn’t going to be lonely the morning of her wedding. With five adult bridesmaids, including her younger sister and another five ever so cute flower girls the morning was filled with more than the usual amount of chaos, but in a good way :) Richard on the other hand had kept it simple with a handful of groomsmen, just enough to keep him company for a pre-ceremony pint or two.
Otley wedding ceremony at Our Lady All Saints
Laura was right on time, well even a bit early for her ceremony, which is more than could be said for her guests! A combination of two churches in Otley with almost the same name, a busy sunny day in a cute Yorkshire town and the usual last minute getting ready panic, their guests just about made it on time (mostly!)
Denton Hall – a drinks reception with a Wharfedale view
Denton Hall’s impressive frontage was the backdrop for confetti, canapes and conflab. The Yorkshire sun was out (as always) and the views across the valley, made the perfect English country house wedding scene. Richard was very keen to enjoy all of the drinks reception (especially the BrewDog) with this friends, so there was plenty of mingling and congrats. The violin and piano added a layer of sophistication, whilst the kids managed to bring us all down to earth making the most of this huge playground!
A saunter and a shower
So speeches over with, an amazing wedding breakfast readily consumed, guests chilling out over a game of croquet and kids still with enough energy to carry on their crazy antics :) Time to take a moment with the two newly weds at this gorgeous Yorkshire wedding venue. And well the weather decided the perfect time for a rain drop or two :/ With time on our side we postponed for the quick rain shower, then took to the lawn for Laura and Richard to enjoy each others company whilst we snapped away.
A grand entrance down that awesome stairway and a cake cutting, preceded the evening’s dancing and frivolity. We left to the smell of cheese toasties and fish and chips, proper northern wedding food! Good bye Yorkshire, until next time…..
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Laura and Bob’s day was to be about the two of them and their gorgeous brood. A fantastic family of six very close and loving people coming together as one, with a few friends and family thrown in too for good measure!!
Rustic barn wedding day dreams
To celebrate their special day these guys had searched out a rustic barn venue as the location of their dreams, out of their usual haunts close to Manchester today was a day to explore the Lancashire countryside and be away from it all.
Family preparations for the big ‘I do’
So to keep all things equal Laura and Bob had two of each, perfect for getting ready – so the two girls joined mum in the cute country cottage whilst the boys tagged along with dad in the van. Laura was the most relaxed bride ever, in fact she was still in her relaxed attire until about five mins before the ceremony. The little girls were little more eager to don their cute white dresses and look very much the prefect flower girls for their mum and dad’s special day.
Bob on the other hand arrived this trusty van, so where better to get ready than the back of the ‘transit’! A first for us, groom prep is often in smaller stranger locations but this was definitely a first but perfect and very personal to Bob ;) The boys on the other hand joined mum and their sisters to smarten up into their country attire complete with braces.
It was a perfect time during prep to get to know this super little family and capture their unique qualities as a family unit.
That down the aisle moment
Laura’s only request was a shot of Bob’s expression as she walked down the aisle. We had this covered from both angles and the anxious groom delivered with plenty of emotion as he saw his gorgeous wife-to-be enter the Tithe Barn. So a few tears, some words and a lot of love and these two had finally tied the knot. So the summer of 2018 has delivered the weather in style and today was no different with the sun beaming down on the courtyard patio – perfect for those congratulatory drinks to flow.
Your wedding day, so play to your rules
Not ones for the centre of attention or formalities these two had chosen not to have any speeches – we just love it when people actually decide on the bits of the day that are really important and throw the rule book out of the window – it’s your wedding day do it your way is definitely the motto for the best weddings :)
As the light softened into the evening we took a stroll through the extensive grounds of Browsholme, further into the depths of the woods than we’d ventured before. Bob loved the huge trees and the newly weds were happy to spend some time together way from the hub hub of the day.
So when your step-brother and his amazing fiancée choose to get married at such a stunning venue as Doxford Barns there’s nothing better to do than take their wedding photos for them :) So we did and well here it is….
A Northumberland wedding weekend
Jess & Tom met at Newcastle Uni so when it came to choosing where to get wed the North East was the unanimous winner. Not exactly the closest to home (London) or family and friends from London, Manchester and Galway, so why not make a weekend of the celebrations. Our favourite wedding are always those where you have the whole weekend to take it all in and a good excuse for us to crack out the tent too for a spot of camping :) As we were around all weekend we had the opportunity to document the anticipation of the day with finishing touches being added on the Friday, drinks and cricket on the gorgeous beach at Low Newton and a family dinner on Friday night. We love these story telling images which encapsulate the full anticipation of the exciting day ahead. Doxford Barns has loads of onsite accommodation with cute farmers cottages and camping pods too, as well as the little campsite where us Pixies stayed too :) Being there the day before we had plenty of time for a good nosey around and a tour of the estate down to the lake and through the gorgeous countryside in this stunning corner of the North East.
Doxford Barns rustic wedding ceremony
Jess & Tom both got ready at the very cute cottages just minutes from the barns, so no rush for those finishing touches…except Tom I think was so nervous that he had to be ready in plenty of time! I think this has to be the most prepared organised groom ever. Tom and Ollie his school friend and best man were ready about two and half hours before the ceremony was due to begin. I suppose a good excuse for a glass or two of the fizzy stuff and well some toast and Marmalade to calm the nerves! Meanwhile Jess and her bridal party were enjoying their pampering and no doubt a bit of fizz too. So the time had come, all their guests filled the absolutely amazing Threshing Barn for their rustic candle lit wedding ceremony to begin, all of Jess’s friends were in tears from the moment she entered the room! Under the oak beams of this ancient barn the words had been said the customary first kiss had sealed the deal and it was now time to party!
Confetti exit to remember
So the top secret surprise (photographers get to know all the secrets first!) was the addition of the amazing Back Chat Brass who filled the celebratory air with funky brass vibes. Jess & Tom exited under a sea of confetti through their adoring crowd! G&T, fizz, connect four, welly wanging, canapé quaffing and congrats time all accompanied by the fantastic tunes of Back Chat Brass. With guests happily entertained just time to sneak off around the farm buildings to make the most of this stunning venue for some Doxford Barns wedding photography moments.
Let the wedding party continue
A relaxed sharing platter and BBQ style wedding breakfast perfectly suited this laid back wedding day with the formalities stripped back, although there was still place for the embarrassing speeches! As the day turned into night (well June in Northumberland doesn’t have too much actual dark night!) the party kicked off in style with a touch of jive action in the first dance, swiftly followed by crazy dance floor scenes which lasted all night. With a huge Irish contingent, The Reels band really got the party going in style, with a mix of contemporary alongside those good old Irish classics :) As the night progressed for a more night club vibe with DJ and sax completing this crazy day of celebrations. There was certainly plenty of dance floor action to snap away at. So eventually the day had tried to get almost dark by about 11pm -ish, just time for some sparkler fun and keeping warm around the fire baskets…just needed a few marshmallows!
Huge congrats to Tom & Jess for a wedding to remember – Sara & Pete x