Real Wedding: Julia & Alex’s Day Captured by James Tracey Photography
When we received a beautiful photo from Julia for our Brides of Style Gallery we just knew we wanted to share more of her amazing wedding day with you.
Julia and Alex met at Newcastle University and shared some of their lectures over the three years of study. Julia confessed to us that it “wasn't until the dying embers of final year in spring 2009 that we actually realised the feelings we had for each other”. They got engaged on 30 November 2013 during a gorgeous weekend in Rome whilst they were living in Italy. They gave themselves a few months to enjoy the engagement and began wedding planning at the end of January 2014, setting the date for 6 June 2015.
Julia and Alex’s photographer of choice was James Tracey who had shot a wedding of a friend a few years before in Manchester’s Victoria Baths and Julia fell in love with his style. Julia explains that their pre-shoot in April with James was “really fun, even though it was blowing a gale in Manchester, he still made us laugh and we loved the photos”.
James spent 10 years as a front line police officer doing a huge range of things from dealing with simple shoplifters to being part of the protection team looking after Prime Minister David Cameron before becoming a wedding photographer. He tells us that “Policing requires the ability to think on your feet and change plans at any given moment, skills I have found useful when photographing weddings. My flexible and adaptable approach is one of my strengths and means I’m pretty unflappable during a wedding”. Certainly a plus for the bride and groom!
We love James’s approach that a wedding is “about spending time with your friends and family and you should love every single minute of the day”. He explains “I got married in 2012 and I know how quickly the day goes by and how amazing it is. What you don’t need is a bossy photographer dragging you away from your friends and family to then have you stood around for hours taking posed formal photos. My style is the complete opposite and you definitely won’t find me monopolising your wedding day. My clients book me for my documentary wedding photography because I work quietly in the background to cover the day without you even knowing I was there for most of the time. That way I capture the true story of the day - the laughs, tears, tension and high fives. I want my images to be your day as it happened, with my job to quietly observe and capture the best bits. I take a short time out to capture some relaxed, natural couple photos but these will only be lightly directed and be all about the couple enjoying some time together, which I think creates the most natural couple photos”.
Julia and Alex chose Windermere in the Lake District as their wedding location. Julia said “we’ve had many romantic weeks and even a few New Year’s Eves in Windermere over our 6-year relationship. It’s also somewhere we used to go as kids with our families before we met – weirdly enough! We both decided on the Lakes pretty early in the planning - we’re both from the north (me from Liverpool and Alex from Bradford) so we wanted somewhere meaningful but a middle ground. We saw a few venues in the area before we came across the Merewood Country House Hotel. It had the stunning views of Windermere we wanted, plus it was such a historic mansion (once the home of the Earl of Lonsdale) with beautiful interiors. Once we met Lorna (the fierce Scottish manager!) we knew it was meant to be. She went out of her way to make things happen for us and it was like coming home every time we went to visit the venue. Once we tasted the food that was it, we signed on the dotted line”.
Merewood is actually one of James favourite wedding venues. “My photographic style is consistent across all the weddings I photograph, I always want to capture the real story of the day as it happens by shooting quietly in the background, but I wanted to inject Julia and Alex’s personality into the couple images whilst making sure we featured Lake District in the images, so we went down to the lake side to get some intimate, un-staged photographs, capturing Julia and Alex’s romance with a wonderful backdrop of Lake Windermere".
For the ceremony Julia and Alex chose a very quaint Catholic Church in Coniston, called Sacred Heart where they were fortunate enough to have a close family friend play the piano music during the service.
When it came to her wedding style Julia knew she wanted something fitted but elegant. “I tried on a few ball-gowns and they really didn’t suit my curvy figure, so I narrowed my search down to sweetheart neckline with a trumpet style fit and flare gown. I went to about 5 shops with my mum and bridesmaids and sadly left empty handed. A few weeks later, on a whim my Mum and I went to Society Brides in Liverpool city centre and they had just received Sophia Tolli’s dreamy lace Brienne and persuaded me to try it on. It was meant to be, it was the one for me! My veil was a two-tiered veil from Richard Designs. I wanted the drama of a chapel length veil for our church wedding but also the blusher over my face, which I could flick back and wear all day. My headpiece was Precious Leaves Side Tiara from Glitzy Secrets and the flowers worked really well with the lace of my dress. My shoes were from Jenny Packham at Debenhams. The shoes were so comfortable; I danced in them all night long!”
For her bridesmaids Julia opted for coral convertible dresses from New Look with strappy light gold sandals from Dune. She loved how they all wore their dresses differently to suit their figures and that they were all floor length versions which “swished around the dance floor”.
We can never resist asking our brides what their favourite moment of the day was. For Julia it was “turning around to face our guests in the church as we were about to walk down the aisle and to see their faces when our brother in law Richard began to play us out to ‘Match of the Day’ on his piano! No one expected it. Both families are huge football fans so we got a great reaction – even some high 5s as we made our way out of the church! That was such a proud and fun moment for both of us – we literally floated out of the church”.
Julia would recommend that you “make time for each other throughout the day so you can take in everything that is going on around you. It goes in the blink of an eye, so it’s important to have a few parts of the day alone to appreciate what you have achieved and what it means now for both of you. The amazingness has just begun, really”. She would also suggest that you “make sure you have the speeches before the meal so that everyone can relax and enjoy the food. We did that and it was much better for the best man, Alex and my dad – they could enjoy their food!”
Photography - James Tracey Photography with assistance from Daniel Lloyd Photography
Venue - Merewood Country House Hotel
Hair - Katie Tweedale
Make up - Bridget Foster
Dress - Sophia Tolli at Liverpool Society Brides
Flowers - Flower Design St Anne's
Shoes - Jenny Packham at Debenhams
Precious Leaves Side Tiara - Glitzy Secrets
Cake - Betty's Tea Rooms, York
Band - The Twentysomethings