Katie Byram Photography » Fun & relaxed female wedding photographer based in Northumberland / Newcastle Upon Tyne , covering the UK & Destination Weddings

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Back in July I had the pleasure of photographing Tom & Abbie’s wedding at Standedge Tunnel Visitor’s Centre in Marsden, where I live!  Having spent many a happy childhood time playing around there, I was super happy to finally be shooting a wedding there.

I photographed this wedding on behalf of Captured Life Photography.   Photographs by me, editing by Charlotte at Captured Life Photography! Thanks so much for letting me share some images:)

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The day started off with the ceremony at St Mary’s Church over in Bolsterstone, near Sheffield.

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After some emotional hugs, there was a scenic drive back across the moors for their laid back wedding reception at Standedge Tunnel Visitors Centre. Nestled in a valley next to the canal, this venue is really unique, steeped in history and is a blank canvas for weddings. I love the rustic and character filled venue!!

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Abbie & Tom had a gin themed table plan, paper pom poms & bunting and some lovely other little touches to really bring the venue to life. It was a mix of weather on the day,  and the sunshine came out later on, just at the right time for some photographs.

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The guests were treated to a boat ride on a narrow boat down the canal and had chance to take in the beautiful surroundings too.

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Thanks so much for having me at your wedding, congratulations on your marriage guys!

A huge thank you for Charlotte from Captured Life Photography for letting me share these images with you.

I’d absolutely love to photograph some more weddings at Standedge Tunnel, so please give me a shout  via my contact page, if you’re planning your wedding there so we chat all about it!! <3

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I’ve previously blogged about this and many couples mentioned how useful it was, so I thought i’d do a wee updated post about this topic:)

So, when planning your wedding you may think you’ve got everything sorted, suppliers booked, dress bought…. but there’s one fundamental thing when planning your day that can make it a real success, or alternatively, not.

That thing, is time.  

I’ve been a wedding photographer for around nine years now, and in that time I’ve photographed many different weddings – different styles, sizes and budgets. I’ve seen how otherwise amazing weddings end up being rushed. The couple feeling thrown from one activity to another and not having time to spend with their guests.

Often you are limited by the venue, registrar, or other external factors. I’ve decided to write this post to help with couples planning their day in the hopes it will help you with structuring your big day, to have the most fun and make the most memories with your loved ones!

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CHOOSE YOUR CEREMONY TIME WISELY

This can depend on the time of year. If you’re getting married in the winter in the UK, and you book your ceremony for anytime after around 2pm, generally you won’t end up with much time at all when it’s light to get photographs outside in your grounds. A few years ago, I photographed a wedding where the ceremony was later on in Autumn, and then there was a journey to get to the reception venue. The couple really wanted photographs in their gorgeous country house gardens they’d booked, but that meant rushing back down the aisle, jumping in the car and racing there, running out of the car and grabbing the last of the light. It meant them not having any time to say hello to their guests before they sat down for their meal. When they booked their wedding, they had no idea it would basically be dark before they got to their venue.

 Check the sunset times and aim to be finished with your ceremony at least two hours before this time, if your ceremony & reception is in the same place, or more if you need travel time too.

 (NB. I am confident and skilled at shooting in all lighting conditions, but one thing I can’t do is bring in actual natural light!)

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    (Alison & her bridesmaids above – Alison & Stephen got married at 12.30pm on 11th December at Ellingham Hall in Northumberland. This meant they finished their ceremony at around 1pm – had time to have a drink and see their friends and family, then step outside for some group and couples photographs and the light was gorgeous! The beautiful light was gone around It got pitch dark around 3.30pm) 

On the other hand, If you book a morning wedding ceremony, remember it usually takes brides and bridesmaids many hours  to get ready for their wedding – with hair and make up artists doing their thing…  That could mean a very early start, and if you’re carrying on until late into the evening you may need a nap!

In the summer, ceremonies later in the afternoon are great because it can be a little cooler, and the light can be beautiful later on in the day for photographs as well. It also works for couples on a smaller budget where they want a late ceremony and then one meal or a buffet served.

Just remember, if you’re then inviting more guests to join you for the evening, to invite them later on, allowing plenty time for your ceremony, drinks reception, group photographs and couples photographs, meal and any speeches or entertainment, plus any travel time between the ceremony and reception, where relevant.

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(Emma & Emily, above, got married at around 2pm at the beginning of August. We popped outside for some couples photographs in the evening sun – this was taken near to the evening reception time before the first dance) 

ADD IN EXTRA TIME

Most people who book me really want a relaxed style of photography and many are having relaxed and informal days. Therefore, it seems simple, but if you want a relaxed day, pad out your timetable with extra time here and there! Sometimes unforeseen small hold ups can impact on your day (traffic, someone needing to run back to their house for something, a missing buttonhole, a member of the wedding party needing to go to the loo or change their baby) – adding in extra time will minimise the impact and stress that they have.

Things take longer than you think – for example it takes at least 15 minutes for your guests to leave the church, ceremony and grab some confetti and get ready to throw it at you!

ALLOW TIME TO SAY HELLO 

This may seem obvious, but once you are married, your guests will want to come and congratulate you, say hello and give you a hug. I always advise my couples that after their ceremony (where they are having everything in one venue) they should go and grab a drink and spend some time with their guests, before starting the group photographs. I recommend at minimum 15 minutes for this, but ideally a little longer. Some of my couples have more relaxed entertainment, in between their ceremony and meal, so they allow more time after the ceremony before they start their group photographs. This means I get lots of candid shots of guests having fun, yay!

Some couples feel they want to walk out and get straight on with the photographs, I advise against this for the following reasons.  Generally this means either the group photographs take much longer anyway because as people step in they will want to come and congratulate you. Also, If I whisk you away straight away for couples photographs it means you don’t even get a chance to say hello or thank the people that have watched you get married, which can make you feel rather uneasy!

The exception to this would be to get a couple of photographs taken with your wedding car or transport so that the company can head off:)

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CONSIDER A “FIRST LOOK”

This is considered the norm in countries like Holland, and in other countries like the USA done fairly regularly. It’s where you and your bride or groom to be, meet up before the wedding ceremony, and have your couples photographs taken then. It’s great if you are stuck for time or light later on. For some this may feel really like going against tradition, but for other couples it works very well.

The way I approach them is to put the groom (or the bride) in position and then ask the other person to walk around and then let things unfold. I keep quiet just photographing what is happening, it makes for lovely, natural and emotional photographs.

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(Rebecca & Neil, above, chose to have a first look so that they had more time to spend with their guests later on in the day, and feel more relaxed approaching the ceremony)

DON’T FEEL THE NEED TO CRAM YOUR DAY

Many times I hear couples worried about their guests being bored, and so overcompensating by booking lots of entertainment or activities. Lots of times, guests are catching up with family and friends they haven’t seen in a while and will be perfectly happy having a drink and a chat for an hour or so. If you’re worried about your guests not knowing each other,  there are things you can add to the table to get them chatting like fun quizzes about the couple or similar.

WHAT ABOUT THE PHOTOGRAPHS?

Every photographer works differently and i’d advise checking what your photographer does, and how much time he or she may need, possibly even before you book them.

I do a full plan in advance with each of my couples, as every wedding is different. I find out their requests and wishes and work to that… However…. in general what I recommend is prioritising a max of 8-10 group photographs, allowing at least 3-4 minutes per group photograph, so that would be 30 minutes time allowed, as an example.

For couples photographs I recommend two 15-20 minute slots, one after you’ve said hello to your guests as mentioned above, and one later in the day, after the meal, when the light is either softer, or gone completely for some lovely low light winter photographs.

I don’t like to take my couples away from their guests for much time as I feel it’s most important to have fun with your loved ones, rather than feeling like you’re on a photoshoot 😉

STILL CONFUSED? 

The thing is, I’m not going to write out exactly what you should have for your wedding, because, it’s your wedding, not mine. What will suit couples, will not suit others.

(If any of my couples would like specific advice on timings feel free to get in touch!)

My final advice is: book suppliers you feel confident in and have heard good things about. Ask about timings and what they’d recommend. If your wedding venue, photographer or other suppliers tell you that things are going to be running really tight for time, on areas of your wedding, take their advice and see what can be tweaked to give you a little more breathing space.

After all, with all the planning and hardwork in preparation for your day, you should feel relaxed and be able to have fun on your day!

Thanks for reading and happy planning:)

Images and text copyright Katie Byram Photography and must not be used without permission from the photographer.

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Ahhh what can I say about this wonderful wedding?! Jea & Naz got married in the springtime at Swinton Park Estate near Masham in North Yorkshire. They live in Singapore and flew over to get married. Jea and Naz looked at many castle style venues before choosing Swinton Park, as it had to be perfect for Jea in particular, who wanted a fairytale wedding.

Guests flew in from all over the world to watch this very-loved up pair tie the knot. I’ve known Naz for several years after meeting her in Newcastle and I was absolutely thrilled that they chose me to capture their wedding.

On a slight side note – I have to say a huge thank you to Karen Mcgowran Photography here, Karen is a friend of mine that was booked to work alongside me on the day.  Unfortunately, despite leaving in plenty of time to make the reasonably short journey to the venue, there was an accident right in front of me on the motorway, just before the turn off for the venue. For the first time in my entire photography career, covering hundreds of weddings, I got stuck on a closed motorway for almost four hours! A few frantic phone calls and lots of sitting around, I arrived just after the ceremony, which Karen had covered, as well as running about capturing the bridal preparations. I was so relieved that Karen had travelled in a different direction to me and was able to be there for the brides. I honestly forget when I was editing that I didn’t shoot the ceremony & bridal prep myself as Karen covered it exactly how I would have.

At times like that it’s particularly important to know I have some brilliant professional photographer colleagues who are willing to step in in an emergency to make sure no wedding is missed. I’d helped out others in similar situations in the past but this was a first for me.

Anyway! Back to the big day….

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Carolyn Clayton made the brides hair look extra amazing!

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Sometimes you go to weddings where you can just feel the love in the room, and Naz & Jea’s wedding was a big example of that. Every guest was thrilled to be sharing in their day. The speeches were so emotional and heartfelt and so many people were simultaneously laughing and crying.

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After the meal we popped outside for a few portraits in the gorgeous afternoon sun. Being big kids like myself, the happy brides were up for a bit of fun with their photos. I always like it when a couple aren’t afraid to be themselves and have a giggle!

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After the cake was cut, it was time for the first dance and a traditional ‘money dance’ which was great fun, with several worldwide currencies pinned to the brides’ dresses.

The band was brilliant, and after one of their sets it was time for the guests to step outside for their surprise – fireworks. It was absolutely magical watching them outside the castle over the countryside and was a really special part of the night.

Days like this make me realise how privileged I am to do the job I most love.

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A huge congratulations to Naz & Jea on their marriage and thanks so much for having me and Karen capture your special day.

Big shout out to Moon River Films, Mike, who was brilliant to work alongside capturing video – click here to see their amazing video highlights.

All images copyright Katie Byram Photography.

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Joanna & Chris got married in June 2018 at Brinkburn Priory  in Northumberland.

Brinkburn Priory is a tucked away little venue in between Morpeth & Rothbury, down by the river Coquet.  It’s a peaceful place and the whole atmosphere is just so special.

The couple chose to have a civil ceremony in The White Room in the onsite Stables Cottage, and then celebrated their marriage with a relaxed tipi reception.

The whole day was beautiful, family orientated and full of so much love.

The venue went above and beyond, especially when there was a mix up over the cake (the cake maker had the wrong month in their diary!). The wedding co-ordinator, Jan, quickly resolved the situation of wedding-cake-gate (before the bride & groom even knew!)  with a trip to local bakery The Running Fox , and jazzed it up with some beautiful florals from Lavenders Blue.

When something like that happens on a wedding day, after all the planning, the couples reaction says a lot about them… They didn’t let it affect their day at all, and carried on smiling! Jo & Chris were really grateful to Jan for sorting it so quickly. Turns out they originally wanted a rustic style naked cake anyway!:)

Big thanks and love to the venue Brinkburn Priory, Jenny Green MUA & Hair Stylist , Lavenders Blue Florist, Paige Temperley Musician & Bride & Groove Wedding DJ as they were all fantastic to work alongside.

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I look forward to returning to Brinkburn Priory as it’s certainly one of my favourite Northumberland wedding venues.

A huge thanks to Joanna & Chris for making me so welcome at their wedding, and a big congratulations to them on their marriage.

All images copyright Katie Byram Photography

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Crow Hill is a beautiful wedding venue, tucked away on the edge of Marsden Moor in Marsden, Huddersfield. I’ve heard lots about it and took the opportunity to visit on an open evening and to meet some other local wedding suppliers. The grounds are stunning, and they even host weddings outside nestled underneath a huge oak tree. It’s definitely a lovely venue to have family come and stay for the weekend.

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John Francis Cakes are based in Marsden village and their cakes are absolutely stunning, I loved their sunflower cake, and the colours went beautifully with the setting of the kitchen at Crow Hill. (Side note – DREAM KITCHEN!!!)

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Hiring Crow Hill means you have exclusive use of the whole place, including accommodation for 31 of your nearest and dearest. The bedrooms are beautifully styled – and I love the huge mirrors in the room, perfect for you and your bridesmaids to get ready in!

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Ceremonies can take place in the licensed drawing room, for up to 80 guests, or outside ceremonies are available for up to 150 guests. There’s also St Bartholomew’s Church just a few minutes away in Marsden itself for a religious ceremony.

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It was wonderful to meet the staff from Mia Sposa in Huddersfield – who not only provide beautiful wedding gowns but also offer menswear too.

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Wedding receptions generally take place in the marquee, which is a permanent structure with elaborate chandeliers and also a stylish bar. I especially loved the little ‘chill out areas’, perfect for Grandparents to have a sit down next to the wedding celebrations.

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Red white and blue cake by John Francis Cakes.

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It was wonderful to get the opportunity to look around on the opening evening and I am so lucky that this West Yorkshire wedding venue is virtually on my doorstep. I look forward to photographing lots of  fun & happy weddings there!

Supplier love:

Venue & Styling: Crow Hill, Marsden

Flowers: Lily Blossom Florist

Cake: John Francis Cakes

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