Suzanne & Matthew: A West Didsbury Engagement Shoot

Suzanne and I first met 6 years ago when I was hired as the full-time receptionist at the Manchester City Centre branch of Nicky Clarke, where she was smashing it as a senior colour technician.  We laugh a lot now about how we didn't set the place ablaze with our instant adoration of each other, in fact quite the opposite (I drove her crazy with my administrative cluelessness & she scared the ever-living crap out of me).  Years (and several lifetimes) later, we have found in each other a kindred wine-drinking, book-loving, vintage-obsessed spirit and I'm now lucky enough to call her one of my very closest friends.  Our past head-butting makes us giggle, though she'll never let me live down an unfortunate hotel-booking mishap that I was entirely responsible for, nor my terrible taste in footwear.  She's still killing it as a colour technician but has moved on recently to the up-and-coming Sand Hairdressing in Altrincham.  And now she has the wonderful Matthew.

Suze & Matthew met in that most modern way: on Tinder.  And I'm not divulging state secrets here, their wedding invite embraces and riffs on how they met in such a clever way! When Suze met Matthew, the stars aligned.  These two bring out the very very best in each other and you can't help but almost get giddy when you're around them, their love and respect for each other is soinfectious.  When they got engaged a couple of years ago, I was just starting out as a full-time wedding photographer and was so eager to shoot as many loved-up couples as I could to gain experience and truly put my own skills to the test.  Suze & Matthew agreed to be my guinea pigs and we spent a lovely afternoon wandering around Chorlton.  At the time I was so proud of the photographs, but looking back I realise that whilst my skills were still quite limited, it was their chemistry and commitment to each other that was truly standing out.

So imagine my elation at the end of 2015 when, despite my lack of experience & the slightly amateur nature of that first shoot, Suzanne & Matthew asked me to photograph their Manchester Town Hall wedding in September this year.  2017 felt so far away but I was thrilled! And after two years of full-time wedding photography, I feel the confidence to truly do their wedding day justice.  But first thing was first: we needed to do another engagement shoot, one to reflect the past couple of years of training and evolution and this voice I've managed to find through so much hard work and both self & peer critique.  I needed to give them photos that weren't just relying on their own natural chemistry but celebrated it and showed it off. 

We spent another gorgeous afternoon in the waning spring sunshine in mid-May, walking around West Didsbury and the beautifully tranquil Marie Louise Gardens.  Once again, we found magic and I'm so so proud of these images that I managed to capture of my friends.  Thank you Suze, thank you Matthew for taking a chance on me.  I CAN'T WAIT for your wedding!

Hayley & Chris: A Thornton Manor Wedding

Listen, I try so hard to be edgy and a little bit cool.  I have tattoos, spent some time in proper grungy indie clubs, can tell you where to find the best street art in most major cities, am a sucker for a leather jacket...But here are a few secrets (and confirmed facts as my mama will atest!) about me: my favourite books growing up were the Anne of Green Gables series (I re-read them all last year and OMG have you watched the show on Netflix yet?? Do it! Seriously!), I had a dress-up box to rival the costume loft in my university theatre department filled with my mama's old cocktail dresses and discarded former prom and bridesmaid dresses we found when we scoured charity shops - and this was the early 90s when shoulder pads were BIG, I played with Barbies until I was maybe 13, and I was OBSESSED with fairytales - modern, Grimm, classic Victorian, you name it. 

So when I managed to book a wedding that had the potential to feel like a real-life fairytale, 10-year-old Kate was nearly bursting with all that unbridled energy that used to make her a nightmare in the classroom.  Thornton Manor gave me GOOSEBUMPS when I pulled into the drive.  The architecture of this stunning building! The perfectly placed random archways and ornate moulding! The avenue of trees, perfect for a bride to sneak up on her guests and approach her groom from the front of the room! The details and the colours and the ON POINT staff and capped off with the MOST stunning grounds I've seen at a wedding venue to date.  I was positively SWOONING. 

You may remember the wonderful Hayley & Chris from their pre-wedding shoot at Dunham Massey Country Park back in October (that blog is HERE if you missed it!).  These two people share that magical connection that you only get when your soul meets it's match.  And I got all that simply from meeting them once! I knew this was going to be an incredibly emotional wedding but I wasn't prepared for the sheer exultant joy of their family and friends, for the way the day felt like one big hug, for the MOST earnest and beautiful speech by a groom who apologised to his parents for not settling down sooner but, 'he took a while to find her.'  And she was clearly worth the wait.  Kind and hilarious, warm, and SUCH a beautiful bride.  I think the whole room fell a little bit in love with Hayley through Chris's adoring gaze. 

Thornton Manor weddings feel like the most incredible dream, and I loved every second of my day working alongside their amazing staff, capturing a beautiful day that came down to two people who managed to find each other in this world.  What an amazing thing that is, almost like a fairytale.  This was Hayley & Chris's day at Thornton Manor, enjoy.

Philippa & Kallum: A Walkden Gardens Engagement Shoot

Happy bank holiday weekend! And what a gorgeous one it's been with that perfect sunshine starting us off on Friday.  After a week of darkness and tragedy and the world turning upside down, I'm starting the new week with a bit of love and beauty.  Because when darkness descends, what better way to combat it than to celebrate the light, the good stuff.  It will take time for our city to heal, for those families to find peace and for us to trust in the good of humanity again but those small acts of kindness that have cropped up all over remind us that it might be possible.  And there will always be love, we will always lift love up above everything else.

So in the spirit of love and light, I'm so excited to share the beautiful Philippa & Kallum's pre-wedding shoot in my favourite 'secret garden', Walkden Gardens.  This gorgeous pair is getting married in an epic black-tie event at the STUNNING Saddleworth Hotel in just 2 weeks time and we spent a gorgeous afternoon in April getting to know each other, chatting about cake & their epic wedding plans.  Pre-wedding shoots are always a bit awkward at the start, by their very nature they are the time for working out the kinks and figuring out how to communicate.  These two were so so natural in front of the camera, they did my job for me (even when asked to run and jump)! And the way they interact and laugh at each other, how excited they both are for their future together and how so very much in love they are is inspiring. 

 

These two truly are living life to the fullest and have found their perfect match in each other.  I'm so so excited for this wedding, to capture more of the infectious joy they have, to preserve these memories for them.  Here's what we got up to on that early spring Sunday, enjoy!

A Little Bit Country, a lot of Rock n' Roll: A Jonny Draper Photography Workshop at Owen House Wedding Barn

If you've been following along for the past year or so, you'll have heard me talk a bit about my mentorship with Jonny Draper.  The opportunities I've been given as a result of our work together over the last year have been invaluable and I have seen such an incredible positive change in both my business and my photography itself.  This confidence from knowledge gained has opened me up to being a hell of a lot more creative and relaxed in my approach and has shaped my work so much. 

So whenever Jonny announces another one of his workshops for wedding photographers and people ask whether it's right for them, I emphatically urge them to jump at the chance and book on immediately! And okay so you learn LOADS and he opens up his business to attendees and offers tonnes of info and insight but the other amazing piece to these workshops is the chance to shoot in an amazing venue, working with incredible wedding vendors and play with everything you chat about in the inital discussion.  The practical shooting of these workshops is a photographer's paradise and really pushes you outside your comfort zone.  Plus the models are always awesome and decked out in killer threads from the gorgeous Love Bridal Boutique!

I was lucky enough to be asked along to Jonny's recent workshop at the gorgeous Cheshire wedding venue, Owen House Wedding Barn to shoot some behind the scenes images of the workshop and assist in some of the practical shooting.  I was invited to participate in the discussion with the attendees and chat about my own business journey whilst shooting the super rad duo of Seb & Zuzi of Stella Photo, the beautiful Sarah and the incredible venue styling by Mat of Red Floral Architecture, The Word is Love, & Luminate Events.  When I walked into the venue, I was completely blown away by the dressing of the room with blossom covered trees, edison bulb lighting installations and softly lit glass tea lights hanging from every branch and lining the aisle.  Zuzi and Seb were killing it as usual with their own natural rock n' roll style, tempered by the elegance of bridalwear by Love Bridal and a gorgeously tailored waistcoat and jacket by the guys at Whitfield & Ward whilst Sarah was an angel-dream-bride vision in Sarah Seven. 

The day was an awesome mix of shooting in a truly unique location, hearing from vendors at the very top of their game, really interesting discussion and capped off with a feast by the truly remarkable Smith Street Kitchen - Owen House Wedding Barn's mobile wood-fired pizza oven.  I am so grateful for the chance to come along on this workshop, it was such a great day! Thanks to Jonny for having me along.  Here's what we got up to!

Clare & Mark: A Ramsbottom Engagement Session

Love is all you need.  Love is a many splendoured thing, love lifts us up where we belong... or something like that.  The world is scary right now.  I'm keeping as informed as I can but sometimes the news is just so overwhelming that I can't bear to watch or read much more.  So instead I focus on doing good in my life, in hope that 'paying it forward' or a trickle-down will find its way to someone who needs some light in theirs.   I teach my daughter compassion and empathy and am doing my small bit to contribute in making the world a more beautiful place.  I focus on love and JOY. 

In comparison to the noble professions that exist, I know that wedding photographer probably ranks pretty low in terms of what can actually make a huge difference but I take my task so seriously - I'm giving people a time machine into a brief but monumental moment in their lives, attempting to bottle the magic and remind them of everything honest and sweet and joyful about this special day.  Because life moves so fast and it can be hard to catch your breath and savour it when so much is happening around you.  Each couple & family I'm honoured to meet and photograph is entrusting me with these memories and I do my very best do them justice and show off an outsider's perspective of this radiant joy that envelops their wedding day. 

SO.  Let's talk about today's snippet of joy: the wonderful Clare & Mark.  Clare & Mark live and are getting married in the stunningly picturesque village of Ramsbottom in an intimate wedding ceremony at the Ramsbottom Civic Hall and a meal afterwards at the amazing Hearth of the Ram pub.  The Hearth of the Ram is renowned for it's menu of whimsical gastronomical delights and I was super stoked to get the chance to shoot (and eat!) there.  Ahead of the big day in May, I met up with these two lovely humans at their home just up the road from their venue on a sunny Sunday morning - which also happened to be Mother's Day, a fact that they very kindly reminded me of with the most beautiful bunch of tulips!

For their pre-wedding shoot, we set off on a bit of a wander around their storybook village, following the path we'll take on their wedding day and catching up on their plans.  Their day is small and intimate but also will be full of family and laughter and so so relaxed: they're even heading off on honeymoon straight after the meal! It's so wonderful to spend time with two people who are so clearly best friends, who delight in each other's company and are so warm and generous and easygoing.  Their affection for each other, their kindness and consideration are truly an amazing example the joy I'm chasing every day in my work.  They make it look so easy.  I really loved my Sunday spent in Ramsbottom with Clare & Mark and know their wedding is going to be awesome.  Here's a bit of what we got up to!

Modern Minimalism: A Victoria Warehouse Styled Shoot

GREENERY.  Pantone's colour of the year is GREENERY.  What a wonderful colour to kick off 2017...it recalls freshness and regrowth/rebirth, is the first signifier of spring when crocus shoots burst through the soil and expand into new life as they stretch and reach for all that photosynthesizing goodness from the sun.  So I can't think of a better jumping-off point for your wedding.  What could be more refreshingly modern, more current than riffing on greenery and balancing it's wildness and richness with clean lines, copper accents and earthy brick, smooth sleek hair, geometric accessories and art deco jewels?

When the incredibly talented Louise of One Stylish Day got in touch with me last year to shoot some styled table set ups, we got on so brilliantly that we agreed next time we'd go all-in on a full styled shoot, complete with bride and groom.  Louise has such a creative mind and talent for picking up on trends before they hit a mass market.  She is innovative and precise and exactly the kind of wedding stylist you want to work with - she has a clear vision but adapts to her resources and venue to create something so unique and magical and YOU. 

In the latter part of 2016 we assembled a team of top-of-their game vendors: Rachel of Marie Antoinette Cakes with whom we'd both collaborated previously, Jessica Bennett Bespoke Bridalwear, Mimi Lomax MUA, Bureau Design stationary, The Magpie's Daughter & CJ Antiques Ltd. Jewellery, SASSFLOWER, Anneliese Parkes for hair.  Louise set up a moodboard via Pinterest and we spent weeks firing ideas at each other.  We knew we wanted to embrace the low winter light but also suggest the beginning of spring and find a way to show off this concept of greenery whilst staying modern. 

After some searching and so many emails begging, the amazing Freya at Victoria Warehouse got back to us and offered the dream: full day use of their space in exchange for promo images.  We didn't think twice and jumped at the opportunity to work in this iconic Manchester building on the edge of city.  Victoria Warehouse has long been on my 'wedding venue bucket list' and I was ECSTATIC to get to work there.  We began fine-tuning our vision with Louise leading the charge and keeping us all on course.  Originally we had planned to seek out a real couple to model for us but I had worked with the gorgeous Molly once before and she was able to rope in her lovely pal Dan to step in as our groom.  I cannot tell you how un-forced the chemistry was between these two and they stayed so relaxed and comfortable that there were many jokes made about 'when you guys get married one day after this...' 

Ultimately the idea was to poole our collective talents and show off some beautiful trends in contemporary wedding styling, using a fairly minimal industrialised space and feminising it whilst still showing elegance and restraint.  A warehouse wedding doesn't need to be about grit and urban styling, rather it can be a blank canvas for your joy, for all those pieces that make your wedding unique to truly shine.  A dark wedding venue is just an opportunity to find the light & be creative in how you show it off.  At the end of the day, this shoot was about a boy and girl dressed up in their finest, sneaking glances, touching hands whilst around them greenery burst forth in lush patterns filling in the dark.

With contributions from

Ellie & Rick: A Family-filled DIY Peak District Wedding (with bonus Didsbury Wedding Party!)

Okay so I've been hanging onto this wedding for months for a couple of reasons: the first being that it was accepted to be featured on the amazing Love My Dress wedding blog and I wanted it to bask in it's own glory there for a bit (you can check out their feature HERE!) and the second because it was a quintessential summer wedding with that perfect not-too-hot but sunny weather and a bit of wedding magic that you can only dream of.  Of course you'll recognize the photos: they are literally splashed all over this website and my social media.  Every detail of this wedding was so carefully chosen and so perfectly complementary.  Also it makes it even easier that Ellie & Rick were just two of the loveliest humans I've been lucky enough to meet in this wonderful job.  As it was a fairytale, let's start as the best ones do, at the beginning. 

Once upon a time...

okay maybe we won't go that literal.

But in all seriousness, this wedding came to me from the likeliest of sources: the husband and wife duo responsible for giving me the kick up the butt I needed over the last year and taking Kate McCarthy Photography to the next level - Mr. & Mrs. Jonny & Emma Draper.  When I began my mentorship with Jonny last year and began re-vamping what was then known as Squid & Pearl Photography, Emma took time out of her insanely busy schedule running Love Bridal Boutique to get her nails done at Elegant Touch in Didsbury.  Seemingly an unremarkable event but Emma's beautician was none other than bride-to-be Ellie.  As the two were chatting about Ellie's upcoming August wedding, she mentioned that they'd decided against having a photographer for the two day event.  But as they talked more and Ellie described the extraordinary Jenny Packham 1930s-style gown, the intimate ceremony planned to be perfomed by Rick's dad in front of only immediate family, the floral arrangements by award winning florist Sian of The Flower Lounge and the epic house party planned several days later at the Parsonage in Didsbury, Emma knew that this was going to be an unbelievable event and a photographer's dream.  At this point I was only a few weeks into my mentorship with Jonny.  Until I went full-time as a wedding photographer, I had been working part time around my job and last year was still building up my clientele.  This was the opportunity to shoot an incredible wedding that wouldn't have been photographed otherwise and even better it was to be over a couple of days. 

When Jonny came to me with Ellie's details and the background on the wedding, I didn't even need to think about it, I was sold.  We began emailing, had our Skype chat and got on like a house on fire.  Once the boring bits of paperwork were out of the way and Ellie & Rick confirmed that they'd like to go ahead with booking me, we immediately scheduled their pre-wedding engagement shoot for a few weeks time at the start of June.  We spent a gorgeous afternoon wandering the grounds of the Parsonage, veering off to Fletcher Moss gardens with their bouncy lab Lola and chatting all things wedding. 

The day of their wedding, August 31st 2016, I was picked up by my second shooter Amy and we headed off for Castle Cliffe, a private residence just outside Bakewell in the Peak District.  With stunning views and clear blue skies, we knew we were in for an epic afternoon.  When we arrived, the whole place was buzzing, Sian had filled the space with the most stunning lavender and blue bouquets and table dressing; Rick's neices were running around in their party finery whilst Ellie, her mum Debbie and sister Katie calmly sipped champagne and were dolled up by the lovely Samantha Green.  What followed was a day filled with laughter and happy tears and dancing and beautiful food and SO. MUCH. LOVE.  Seriously this day was just one perfect haven of love.  When Amy and I had finished documenting our part of the day, we left as the family was settling in with cakes and fizz in the most magical golden light...

Three days later I arrived solo to The Parsonage and was greeted by an ever-relaxed Ellie dressed back up in that unreal dress setting out food and glasses and hanging bunting, arranging Sian's flowers..Rick was checking the sound and lights in one room, making sure the beer was chilled in another.  They had hired an ice cream cart, the ceremony had already happened and they were heading off on their epic North American honeymoon the next morning so there was just ease and excitement and anticipation for the night of dancing and drinking ahead.  We even managed to sneak off for a 10 minute shoot in the Parsonage Gardens which, despite them being in the same outfits, ended up a bit dreamier, a bit sexier than our shoot just three days earlier. 

I cannot tell you how much this wedding has meant to me, how encouraged and embraced I felt by Ellie & Rick's wonderful family, how it reminded me over and over again how lucky I am to do this job.  Because it doesn't feel like work...it feels like such an honour.  And I still get nervous and I still have so much to learn but what a joy it is documenting love, capturing all those moments you miss because you're so wrapped up in the chaos and excitement of the day.  Love is imperfect and sometimes messy but it is also honest and patient and builds families and is the force for good in this world.  Thank you again guys for having me along, here is the story of your day.

Photography by Kate McCarthy Photography with additional second shooting and assistance by Amy Louise Photography

Venues Castle Cliffe and The Parsonage

Florals by The Flower Lounge

Dress by Jenny Packham 'Harlow' from The White Closet Didsbury

Hair & Makeup by Samantha Green

Accessories by Donna Crain & shoes by Emmy London

Suits by Kenneth Cole with waistcoats by Next

Cakes by Cocoa Cabana and Lord of the Pies

 

 

 

 

Chantelle & Simon: A Walkden Gardens Engagement Shoot

Remember in my last blog post and I said that spring was on it's way? Well this past weekend we had DAFFODILS!! Oh man, I love love love this time of year when the buds on the trees give a haze of green and it's still jacket weather but you can leave it unzipped and your nose starts to twitch with early pollen...early spring gets such a bad rap, particularly where I'm from in Vermont where it's lovingly referred to as 'mud season' - and it doesn't get to this stage until May but hey ho! I love living in England where when Spring is on it's way, you don't get all of a sudden blasted with a freak snowstorm.  England commits to Spring! Those helabores and daffodils and crocuses are determined to blossom and stay that way until the trees catch up and you're living in the most lush, green fairyland. 

So what more fitting way to celebrate the start of spring and all that green than with a Walkden Gardens engagement shoot! Chantelle and Simon are getting married in just a couple of months at the stunning (and newly refurbed!) Haigh Hall in Wigan.  The two are quite non-traditional with their gorgeous tattoos and unique style but theirs is yet another old-fashioned love story.  Talking with them, you'd think they'd been married for a decade already, they are just that relaxed with each other and have a beautiful bond.  When we were planning their engagement shoot ahead of their May wedding, they mentioned that they loved the idea of Simon's 4-year-old son CJ taking part and being in some of the pictures.  What followed was the most lovely afternoon with the sweetest little family of three. 

We met at the 'secret garden', Walkden Gardens in Sale which hosts so many community events and outdoor movie screenings/yoga classes/picnics thorughout the summer but on this grey March Sunday, was completely empty save for only 2 or 3 other families.  Though it doesn't boast a playground, Walkden Gardens is still a kids paradise and I'm sure plays host to many an epic game of hide and seek.  I absolutely love this hidden gem and have only shot there once or twice before.  However, as it changes so much depending on the season, I suspect I'll be spending a lot more time wandering the immaculately kept grounds!  We spent the next hour or so talking about their wedding plans, Chantelle's uni work (the amazing girl is working full time, planning a wedding AND studying to become a social worker!!) and being entertained by CJ's 'ninja skills'.  What a gorgeous, fun, easygoing family these guys are, I seriously cannot wait for their May wedding! Here's what we got up to, enjoy! x

Zoe & Chris: A Belle Epoque Vintage Wedding

It's MARCH! How in the world did I lose a whole month on this blog?? March means crocuses and early spring and engagement shoots for those of you getting married in 2017.  It means opening up the windows even though it's still a bit chilly to shake out the cobwebs and it staying light a bit longer than 3 in the afternoon.  It means we can really start relaxing into this year and look forward to greenery and warmer weather and gin.  Lots of gin, please. 

Wedding season is becoming less and less of a concentrated 'season' these days and I'm loving it.  2017 bookings fall in every month and are spaced in such a way that I can really devote some serious attention to editing and putting a proper finish on each and every one.  After taking the month of January to get organised and ready for the year to come, I had the enormous pleasure of kicking off my year with the warm, wacky and wonderful vintage-style wedding of Zoe & Chris at the iconic Belle Epoque in Knutsford. 

I first met Zoe in October last year when we were exhibiting across from each other at the Vintage Wedding Fair at Victoria Baths.  Zoe is the brains and baking behind the fabulous mobile Vintage Afternoon Tea company and hooked me with her infectious laugh and a lemon drizzle cake that I still dream about.  She had seen my work on a previous wedding and we started talking more about her big day: an old-fashioned knees up at the beautiful Belle Epoque hotel in the heart of Knutsford.  It was to be a labour of love and dancing with a dear friend making their nearly naked wedding cake, vintage and DIY touches everywhere, no table plan, first dance or speeches but hearty pies, chips and peas as the wedding breakfast and two different bands to keep their guests boogeying.  I was so in love with their plans, eager for the challenge of a wedding that doesn't fit the traditional mold in a very traditional venue and was over the moon when they decided to book. 

I arrived at the Belle Epoque in the early afternoon to a very relaxed but giddy Zoe, and that joy just expanded throughout the course of the day culminating in a seriously old-school dance party as 'Mr. & Mrs O's' guests danced the night away to the upbeat tunes of the amazing Retrosettes.  The love and admiration these two have for each other, the amazing warmth and celebration of the day were so inspiring.  I feel so honoured to have been chosen to capture these moments for them.  And please check out their awesome team of vendors: Florals by Diddibox, dress by Puure Bride, waistcoats and bridal fascinator by Kaye Hannabuss Textiles, light up letters by The Word is Love, Tunes by Dr. Butler's Hatstand Medicine Band & The Retrosettes and of course the wonderful John and his team at The Belle Epoque.

I hope you enjoy the photos as much as I enjoyed taking them!

Discovering the Manchester City Centre Wedding Venue of Your Dreams (and my own venue bucket list!)

Last year I blogged about 'unusual' wedding venues and how to find the dream venue that works for you.  I had a ball compiling the list that included my own elopement location, Cley Windmill and the quirky/cool Didsbury House Hotel.  But with my first year as a full-time wedding photographer now under my belt and a jam-packed 2017 and beyond at some STUNNING venues, I've been thinking a lot about those spots that are perhaps a bit off the beaten path or maybe just haven't been considered in your quest for your dream wedding venue - a quest that is, arguably, the first and biggest step in planning your wedding.  With my first wedding of the year scheduled for next Friday at the gorgeous Belle Epoque (ticking off a box on my venue bucket list), I started thinking about the other Manchester wedding venues that I would LOVE to have a crack at. 

I got the idea for a 'wedding venue bucket list' from a fellow photographer that I met at an open day for The Deaf Institute down Oxford Road.  She, like me, was relatively new to the industry and had started her own list of dream venues.  I warned her that I would have to steal the idea, there were too many extraordinary yet unlikely wedding venues that would be incredible to work in.  So I started thinking about and reflecting on my own experience, on my 'dream wedding' and the locations in my adopted home city that inspire me, that feel comfortable to me, that have something a little special about them.  The truth of the matter is that more often than not, it's the couple that inspires me rather than where I shoot them.  One of the reasons I bang on about pre-wedding shoots is because I really want to get to know you, to understand your chemistry, and to make sure we're all on the same page on your wedding day.  Regardless of where you're getting married, your wedding photos are about you two and your families and friends coming together to celebrate this most joyous event.  And your photos will reflect that joy whether you're getting married in a Georgian stately home or partying in a church hall.  The moments matter most.

But we also live in one of the most diverse, culturally rich cities in the UK and, like I said, I have got a bit of a bucket list.  A couple may seem obvious, but here are my 5 'bucket list' wedding venues (in no particular order) for Manchester.  And if you're getting married at any of the places listed, PLEASE get in touch, I'd love to be a small part of your big day!

1. HALLE ST PETERS, Ancoats - Dating back to 1858, this iconic space and Grade II listed building is home to the Manchester Halle Orchestra which ranks in the top of it's kind in the UK.  From the website, 'Following a multi-million pound refurbishment this deconsecrated church has been transformed into an elegant setting for your special day. This unique and inspiring venue can accommodate wedding parties of 50-250 guests.'  The exposed brick, the character of the up-and-coming Ancoats area, the vastness of the space add up to one seriously dreamy wedding venue.  There is romance and a bit of grit and history that surround this venue and I'm so so in love with it! For enquiries, please ring 0845 680 1138.

2. THE MANCHESTER MUSEUM, Oxford Road - The museum is part of the University of Manchester is has become one of my very favourite days out with my toddler.  In addition to being a family-friendly trove of wonders though, the museum is available and licensed for civil marriage ceremonies and can accomodate a full day wedding.  Ever dream of getting married under a full whale skeleton with a dinner presided over by a looming T-Rex in the Fossils Hall? Here's your chance! Another Grade II listed building completed in 1885 by the architect Alfred Waterhouse (who designed both the Manchester Town Hall and The London Natural History Museum!), the museum is a hiding-in-plain-sight gem!

3. VICTORIA WAREHOUSE - From the venue's own website, 'Built in the 1900s, the flesh and bones of Victoria Warehouse has stood as a symbol of this city’s industrial strength and innovation for around 100 years, but it’s what’s happened under its skin that makes it a venue to really capture the imagination.'  I first came across Victoria Warehouse when I began planning an upcoming styled shoot with the wonderful Louise of One Stylish Day.  Initially we daren't contact the VW team because we were certain they wouldn't have any interest or availability for the project: a full-scale bridal shoot touching on the 2017 wedding trends in collaboration with vendors including Sassflower, Jessica Bennett Bespoke, Mimi Lomax MUA, Marie Antoinette Cakes and many more.  We needed a full day for the whole production but wonder of wonders, the fabulous Freya from the events team responded to my email and gave us the go ahead.  On Thursday the 2nd of Feb, we're taking over the space and transforming it into a wedding wonderland.  I'm sure this project will just make me even more eager to shoot a real wedding here but I'm so excited to show you the final project in this historic industrial space!

4. THE DEAF INSTITUTE, Oxford Road - Ah, the Deaf Insitute.  A gig-lovers staple.  I have seen Father John Misty wax poetic from the upstairs stage, Beth Jeans Houghton and the Hooves of Destiny serenade us with her operatic tunes, I've had bourbon and burgers in the downstairs restaurant and popped in with my husband for quick beers before gigs at the even smaller Academy 3 just down the street.  It feels like an old friend. From the website, '
Housed in a historic Manchester building originally built in 1878 as The Deaf Institute, the building was derelict when we first got our hands on it 6 years ago, and we have refurbished it back to something we hope approaches its original glory. Located just off the bustling Oxford Road, we are based in the heart of the Manchester Metropolitan University Campus. '  Come for the food, stay for the music and hire it out for a slightly smaller rock n' roll wedding. 

5. ALBERT HALL, Peter Street - Owned by the same group that has The Deaf Insitute, Albert Hall is another concert space cum wedding venue but on a much larger scale than the above.  From the website, 'The Albert Hall, a former Wesleyan Chapel is a grade 2 listed building in the heart of Manchester.  Since re-opening in 2012, the venue has earned a reputation as one of the most intimate and charismatic concert venues in the world. This is due to loving restoration of Albert Halls Victorians splendour. Vaulted ceilings, stain glass windows and the original organ all help to create a magical atmosphere for some of the most memorable concerts and performances Manchester has even seen.' 

So there you have it, my Manchester City Centre Wedding Venue bucket list! Click each image to take yourself through to the website for the venue.  And as I said before, if you're planning your wedding at one of my bucket list venues, please please please get in touch! I'd love to hear more about YOU and your big day.  Because at the end of the day, these moments, this day, the celebrate the start of the rest of your life together.  And it won't matter where you're doing it, you finish the day with a husband or a wife and that is truly the most beautiful thing of all.