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 :)
Urban wedding photography, Manchester by Pixies in the Cellar • Home • Prices & Contact • Blog
Natural, organic & vegan wedding make-up: Sarah Morten
Wedding ceremony: The Parsonage, Didsbury
Manchester Mayfield wedding reception: Alphabet Brewing Company
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.