Inspired by intimate weddings and Pride Month, Esme Whiteside enlisted the help of LGBTQ Equality Weddings and real same-sex couple Ben and Dylan to bring you this urban Manchester elopement with incredible fashion and flowers. Because grooms can have bouquets too! Get ready to feel the love.


Intimate same-sex Manchester elopement with dried flower bouquet and stylish fashion


There were a number of inspirations behind this shoot, but primarily, we wanted to hand the power to the couple. It's really only the couple that can truly and authentically represent their own love. We shared some exciting ideas, of what we, the team, would like to see more of, from an accessibility point of view, and luckily, it resonated with them too. Ava of @LGBTQEqualityweddings, @WildfireFloralCo, and I, were keen to create something beautiful, yet authentically diverse and representative, using the talents of a small team, and in a city that is known for its diversity!

Esme Whiteside 


They chose their own suits, with Ben choosing a timeless, chic, stone-coloured suit from ASOS, which we matched with a blush pink floral tie from Twisted Tailor. Dylan opted for a loud blue floral suit from Moss London, which we matched with a teal bow tie, also from Twisted Tailor. The suits worked really well together – the pattern with the simplicity really paired well, without being at all matchy. When it came to florals, naturally, I asked Wildfire Floral Co to get involved. Sam and Emily have been doing dried florals since 2017, so I knew they’d deliver. We wanted a twist on a bouquet for the boys, so Wildfire created a striking, all dried arrangement, with creamy, beigey, browny tones featuring Protea, Palm Leaves, and Pampas. It tied in with the colours of the city and the urban theme. My photography style is very warm, rich, and romantic, and all the images in this shoot are really intimate and raw. The boys completely trusted me, and let themselves go in front of the camera, which always makes for the best images! Notable locations throughout the shoot were Canal Street, the Northern Quarter, and the Cathedral, creating perfect stylish elopement portrait shots that are timeless and full of PRIDE!

Esme Whiteside 

Manchester Elopement

If you're looking to elope, it probably means you want an intimate wedding with just you, your witnesses and maybe one or two guests. As Esme has beautifully portrayed there is not reason you can't still go all out and wear your best outfits, carry an epic bouquet and change location for those all important couples portraits. Each location could hold a special meaning to you both, or could just be an incredible backdrop! Either way the results will be amazing, and you'll be so glad you took the time to capture those precious 'just married' moments.

Flowers For All

We knew we definitely wanted two grooms with a bouquet (and hoped the couple agreed!). Ben and Dylan absolutely loved the idea, and the collaboration between suppliers and the couple was a dream, for all of us, and so we ran (and skipped and danced) with it. It's no secret that generally speaking, bouquets have been pitched to brides, and button-holes to grooms, and we just don't understand why bouquets are not gender-neutral?! We wanted to break down this norm and show the industry, and couples everywhere, that bouquets for grooms, ARE and CAN be accessible! Florists, we bet you'd love to offer this too!

Esme Whiteside 

City Elopement

Grooms love flowers too (we know loads that do!), and we wanted to show how bouquets are not restricted by gender. To quote Ava – “bouquets can finish off every wedding outfit, whatever the gender of the person holding it!”. I’d wanted to style a city elopement for a long time, using the urban landscapes as a backdrop for something effortlessly cool. When speaking to Ava of LGBTQ Equality weddings, she mentioned that elopements and more intimate weddings are popular with LGBTQ couples, because of some of the challenges that may come with large family weddings, and sensitivity around assumptions in this regard, is key. We wanted to show how smaller weddings can be personal, beautiful, and just as worthy of celebration. After all, it only takes two people to get married (not including the witnesses!). They may also increase in popularity post-COVID-19, and all the restrictions in place at this time.

Esme Whiteside 


We wanted to create something really urban and edgy, whilst keeping the images true to my style, which is always romantic and intimate. I love elopements, and often it can be easy to think of the epic remote locations, but stylish city elopements are just as beautiful! We did this shoot last year, just before Pride month, and although I consider myself an inclusive supplier, I wanted to consult Ava, who I'd worked with previously, to make sure that the shoot was well informed. I wanted to make sure that I was being inclusive and representative, without falling into the tokenism trap, and Ava’s advice was invaluable!

Esme Whiteside 

Esme Whiteside Photography also planned and photographed this inclusive inspiration shoot at The Giraffe Shed in Wales, with blush dresses, flamingo cakes and disco balls. Trust us it's not to be missed. And, if you're a same sex couple, looking for advice on how to plan your own wedding, read our article with advice from other Rock My Wedding same-sex couples.


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Lorna Shaw

Written by Lorna Shaw

Concept and Coordination: Esme Whiteside Photography | Dried Florals: Sam Williams Flowers | Suits: ASOS | Moss Bros. | Accessories: Twisted Tailor | Locations: Canal Street | Northern Quarter | Manchester City Centre | Manchester Cathedral

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