Manchester’s Northern Quarter is a bit like photographer safari. There’s always at least one of us lurking around any corner. But the beauty of the area with its oodles of awesome locations, busy streets and urban backdrops, is that you never know what’s awaiting you.

As Nik Bryant, the photographer on today’s gorgeous engagement shoot feature says: “I really love working with couples around the Northern Quarter too as it has so many back drops and cool little hidden spots meaning that no shoot is ever the same. With ever changing graffiti and new places to find every time it really is the perfect playground for a photographer.

I organised Tory and Sean’s pre-wedding shoot as a tutorial for two other photographers to teach them how to work with and pose couples. That kind of became redundant as Tory and Sean were naturals. They were a total dream to photograph and were really cute together and needed very little direction!” And with that, I’ll hand over to Tory and Sean!

Photography by Nik Bryant Photography

“Sean and I met at the University of Manchester on our undergrads. We were both members of the Duke of Edinburgh Award society and did our Gold Award together. If someone is still interested in you after they’ve seen you sleep deprived, tired to the bone and having not washed properly following 5 days hiking and camping, they are probably a keeper! We got together after that. Although we had similar interests, our passion and hobbies were slightly different and we introduced each other to new things. Sean introduced me to music and got me playing musical instruments again after 10 years, I introduced Sean to the joys of cooking, travelling and gourmet food.

After our undergrads, we both did Postgrads, and then Sean decided he wanted to do a PhD whilst I started work in the NHS. I had a job opportunity so ended up moving to Middlesborough whilst Sean has stayed in Manchester to study. We had been together 5 years, but had just started living apart when he proposed. For the engagement Sean really outdid himself. He planned my perfect day. We both enjoy history and one of our favourite places to visit is Chester. Sean arranged for us to visit York for my birthday which has a very similar vibe to Chester. We spent the day exploring York and had an amazing time. In the evening he said he’d organised a special meal and I initially imagined somewhere nice in York. It turned out he had booked us a meal and a nights stay at The Black Swan in Oldstead just outside of York. I thought it was the best birthday present ever! I’d always wanted to do a full tasting menu at a Michelin Star restaurant so it was a dream come true. We got ready for the meal and were in the room about to head down when I turned around to find him on one knee. I never imagined that he had even more surprises that day for me! He said all these lovely reasons why he wanted to marry me but I was so surprised that I cried and had no idea what he said. I ended up having to get him to repeat it all the next day! We had the most amazing meal that evening and it was certainly a day we won’t forget.

“For the engagement shoot it kind of happened by happy accident. I was looking for a wedding photographer and I saw Nik posting about having a free spot on a shoot in Manchester. I thought it was perfect given that was where our story began. Wondering around the city with Nik gave us a fresh look at the city. He found these secluded areas and some amazing street art to help frame the photographs. It was so creative. We particularly loved a shot he did using a prism and some neon signs in a shop window. There was another where he used a reflection in a window. It’s the sort of photos we would never take of ourselves and we felt they really managed to capture some of our feelings for each other.”

“Nik was amazing the whole way through. Really relaxed and friendly. Initially we were a bit nervous and awkward but he put us at ease. He would direct us to spots and position us then just leave us to chat and capture the moments rather than try to mirco-manage or force anything. He was also up for incorporating our suggestions. Sean likes to pick me up so I mentioned how I’d love to have a photo of that so he did two attempts with different backdrops and they both came out really well. Having someone photograph you whilst you are trying to be personal with your other half has so much scope to be awkward. Somehow though, the way Nik is with his approach meant that it never was. I was initially following him as I’d been impressed with some of his wedding shots and the way he’d managed to capture the feel and he managed the same with this shoot. We would highly recommend him. Very talented, friendly and relaxed whilst still being professional and taking some amazing shots.”

Your Wedding Plans

Our wedding is still 13 months away to tie in with the end of Sean’s PhD. As a result, we are trying to get ahead with planning, as Sean will be finishing his PhD in months running up to it so will be too stressed to think of much else. We have booked our venue, the church and I’ve got my dress so it’s starting to come together already. We are working on growing some of the flowers for the decoration and bouquets at home and we’ve got friends and family helping with other decorations. We want it to be quite a relaxed day so opted for afternoon tea rather than a sit down meal as it’s another of our favourite pastimes. It also helps with the budget as we both have big families.

“For us, the day will be more about the people. With our big families there has been some pressure. My advice would be do what feels right for you as a couple, rather than what is expected. It’s your day not theirs. Also, I would advise waiting until after you’ve booked your venue to go dress shopping so you can ensure your dress matches the rest of the day. I can’t wait to finally marry Sean, we’ll have been together 7 years by then. It’s been an interesting journey full of trials and tribulations, laughter and tears but most importantly love. We grown and developed so much on our journey from walking trails in the mountains and falling in love to walking down the aisle to become man and wife. I can’t wait to see his face when he see me in my dress!”

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