Archives for posts with tag: Wedding

It’s been an amazing year filled with some truly beautiful and inspiring weddings but I think we see enough of that on social media, so I’ve dug out a few of my favourite moments from weddings this year, which belong on the Wedding Bonus DVD, if such a thing existed.  Some are romantic, some are super-cute, some are just downright hilarious; I hope you enjoy them as much I did capturing them…..

The moment this stunning bride first saw her makeup…..ian-sally-wedding-079

The moment these bridesmaids went for a final pre-ceremony selfie….andrew-sarah-059

The moment this bride thanked her mum for being there for her……jessica-david-032

The moment after the bride’s mum and sister saw her for the first time in her dress….ian-sally-wedding-246

The moment they did shots to calm the bride’s nerves….jessica-david-110

The moment the veil literally blew away….jana-richard-69-2

The moment the little girl screamed for a tiara of her own…..rachel-christos-115

The moment the Best Man revealed his feminine side….tara-david-254

The moment this bride got all her ducks in a row (well, swans actually)…..jana-richard-230

The moment this groom took a selfie with an unsuspecting me in it….rachel-christos-339

The moment this usher had had enough…..jessica-david-254

The moment when the bridesmaids were trying to make the baby smile and nearly fell down the hill themselves….rachel-christos-348

The moment this bride revealed a personalised wedding dress to her hubby….tara-david-298

The moment she took a deep breath to steady herself….ian-sally-wedding-192

The moment he slapped her during the speeches (harmlessly I might add)….tara-david-442

The moment they got in a bit of last minute dance practice….rachel-christos-367

The moment the magician showed up….jessica-david-581

The moment she laughed in his face at the alter….ian-sally-wedding-384

The moment the drunk Uncle worked is magic….jana-richard-259

The moment the kids all looked at me at once (not easy)……ian-sally-wedding-541

And my personal favourite – the moment the helicopter owned by the manager of a very famous football club landed as we were in the middle of taking a lovely serene couple shot, and by way of apology, the passenger gifted this lucky couple a 15 minute flight over the Cotswolds – what an epic way to end their romantic day and this 2016 roundup….

 

I hope you’ve enjoyed this, featured within this blog are the following locations:

Foxhill Manor

The Bear of Rodborough

Wyck Hill House Hotel

Ellenborough Park

The Lynch Country House

I wish you all a very happy New Year, see you in 2017!!

Stef X

 

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OK, I’ve been terrible at blogging this year – it’s all been Go,Go,Go which is Great, Great, Great but I do hate to leave it so long!

So, I’m breaking it down for you ladies, and I thought I’d give you a one-stop shop picture gallery-style tour of all the little things for now – sharing with you some of my favourite accessories, flowers, food & ideas that I’ve photographed recently and hope that it’ll give you inspiration for your big days!

First on my hit-list is shoes (obviously)….

Sparkles galore with these Belle Beaux shoes to die for

Sparkles galore with these Belle Beaux shoes to die for

Simply love these sweet yet glamorous lace and ribbon affairs - such a romantic take on the traditional option. Plus the bride assured me that they were super comfy too!

Simply love these sweet yet glamorous lace and ribbon affairs – such a romantic take on the traditional option. Plus the bride assured me that they were super comfy too!

Classic shoes and a corker of a ring to-boot.

Classic shoes and a corker of a ring to-boot.

Real Pearls is where it's at

Real Pearls is where it’s at

Classy and elegant everytime

Classy and elegant every time

This wedding oozed fresh vibrant colour and I just love the way everything POPS!

This wedding oozed fresh vibrant colour and I just love the way everything POPS!

Bright and breezy - I wouldn't have thought of this but love it's bold simplicity

Bright and breezy – I wouldn’t have thought of this but love it’s bold simplicity

A stunning simple and classy garter from MOB to her daughter - something blue & new!

A stunning, simple and classy garter from MOB to her daughter – something blue & new!

I love that this bride had personalised hangers - such a lovely memento for the day for the bridesmaids to keep

I love that this bride had personalised hangers – such a lovely memento for the day for the bridesmaids to keep

Following Kate & Wills, Jo Malone must be seeing a rise in sales - this is becoming a must have in wedding fragrances!

Following Kate & Wills, Jo Malone must be seeing a rise in sales – this is becoming a must-have in wedding fragrances!

For a rustic country wedding, these simple clean whites and ivories with a hint of navy are an English country dream

For a rustic country wedding, these simple clean whites and ivories with a hint of navy are an English country dream

blush pinks, ivory and subtle limes make for a super elegant and lady-like bouquet

blush pinks, ivory and subtle limes make for a super elegant and lady-like bouquet

Some couples love to embrace fun and I highly recommend it - encompassing their love of life into this cake really shows how much they love each other!

Some couples love to embrace fun and I highly recommend it – encompassing their love of life, the outdoors & cycling into this cake really shows how much they love each other!

Pinks, blues, yellows, reds - you'd think it wouldn't work but it SO does.

Pinks, blues, yellows, reds – you’d think it wouldn’t work but it SO does.

Have you thought about bespoke hand-made rings? This couple did - there's even interlock!

Have you thought about bespoke hand-made rings? This couple did – there’s even interlock!

How about flowers on your cake? These edible flowers have been iced to perfection and I love the subtle blue with the pinks and whites - it's just different to your standard ivory and gives a bit of character

How about flowers on your cake? These edible flowers have been iced to perfection and I love the subtle blue with the pinks and whites – it’s just different to your standard ivory and gives a bit of character

Picture Perfect: How will you do your guest book? What about framed picture with space on a bespoke shaped mount for all your guests to sign - courtesy of Tickled Pink https://www.facebook.com/TickledPinkCo

Picture Perfect: How will you do your guest book? What about framed picture with space on a bespoke shaped mount for all your guests to sign – courtesy of Tickled Pink Frames:  https://www.facebook.com/TickledPinkCo

Do me a Favour: A couple of my favourite favour ideas for your guests…

Everyone loves a yummy treat that can be taken away and enjoyed - I particularly love the time and love that's gone into making this rustic treat...

Everyone loves a yummy treat that can be taken away and enjoyed – I particularly love the time and love that’s gone into making this rustic treat…

Keep it simple with classic sugar coated almonds in a cute birdcage box

Keep it simple with classic sugar coated almonds in a cute birdcage box

Or why not go mad and offer chocolate cream liqueurs to your guests - darling!

Or why not go mad and offer chocolate cream liqueurs to your guests – darling!

For now, I’d like to finish with what makes us all tick – yes, it’s food, glorious food!

Whether it’s a hog roast, a DIY buffet of skewers & salads or A-La-Carte dining featuring pistachio rolled Foie Gras, everyone looks forward to a good feed at a wedding, so check out some dishes I papped this year, get some ideas for what you’d like your wedding breakfast to look like and don’t forget to keep your eyes peeled for my next blog post about hair & make-up, venues & more….

If love really was a drug, then this gorgeous couple would be high as kites! 

There's no place like love and Jo & Chris epitomise this right here. She wears: Charlotte Balbier dress from www.thebridalroombroadway.co.uk Shoes: Else Chiante. Flowers by  www.simplyflowers-astoncross.co.uk He wears: suit from www.beaus-and-balls.co.uk

There’s no place like love and Jo & Chris epitomise this right here.
She wears: Charlotte Balbier dress from http://www.thebridalroombroadway.co.uk Shoes: Else Chiante. Flowers by http://www.simplyflowers-astoncross.co.uk
He wears: suit from http://www.beaus-and-balls.co.uk

As the year comes to a close, here’s one wedding we haven’t yet had time to talk about which we shot back in August – how time flies! Although we ended up having our wedding in Suffolk, being locally-based, Deer Park was one of the venues we seriously considered for our own wedding, so it was a treat to return there as the official photographers for Jo & Chris’s big day back in August.  What a day it was!

In the morning, I whizzed off to the mother of the bride’s house where Jo, mum, daughter and bridesmaids were all getting ready for the day ahead.  I have to say that it’s not often that the bride is more calm than everyone else, but, knowing what she wanted from start to finish, Jo had planned this day with meticulous and careful consideration so the day itself was a set to be a real celebration and that’s evident from the warmth and happiness that can be seen in every moment. The ladies had the pleasure of being beautified by Jodi of Face Perfectwho we’ve worked with many times and did a sterling job as always.

Here’s an idea for couples where one or both of you are particularly forgetful – this clever pair managed to combine their wedding day with the Groom’s birthday so there’ll be no excuses for ever forgetting the wedding anniversary! This meant it was a double whammy for Groom Chris, so once everyone was dressed in their wedding finery it was off to their local for with a couple of celebratory pints & a cigar or two.  One of the biggest advantages of having two photographers is that whilst one is with the girls in the morning, the other can be with the guys, so nothing goes un-captured!

Included in this was Chris & Jo’s son Bobby who had the most dapper baker boy hat we’ve ever seen, making for some brilliant candid shots – he wasn’t keen on getting dressed up, so well done to Chris’s Mum Maria for encouraging him!

It’s so lovely when a bride makes you feel part of the big day and both Jo & her mum welcomed me in with coffee on tap and lots of lovely nibbles to fuel up on – quite a treat! Jo had her beautiful daughter Danielle as Chief Bridesmaid and with everyone nearly ready, I grabbed some shots of those all important finishing touches.

As wedding venues go, we have to say that Deer Park is a superb venue. Surrounded by simply stunning vistas across Worcestershire and beyond, with a beautiful Oak-panelled ceremony room and a contemporary yet rustic barn for the reception with panoramic views, manicured lawns & decking & great staff to-boot, you’d be hard pressed to find fault here! If you’re lucky you’ll even catch a glimpse of the resident herd of deer.

Jo made for a very elegant bride and we loved these classic flowers by Simply Flowers.

This organised duo even had their own beautifully vintage signs made up in their wedding colours by the Grooms’ crafty brother Gareth & upon arrival, it was a very special moment as she turned to her Dad outside the ceremony room and took a deep breath….

Left to right bridesmaids: Daughter Danielle, little Esme, Cerys & Freya and Joanne with proud dad.

Left to right bridesmaids: Daughter Danielle, little Esme, Cerys & Freya and Joanne with proud dad.

Jo’s Charlotte Balbier dress wowed the congregation and the ceremony went off without a hitch (despite the groom getting so hot under the collar he had to de-robe immediately after the vows!)

With formalities completed, the fun really started. Jo & Chris wanted to create a group shot of all of their guests surrounding them to make the shape of a heart. Corralling guests into any kind of organised formation is tough at the best of times, made harder on this occassion by our good friend the British Weather, which treated us to a shower. We were however very lucky as the rain decided to give us a few minute’s reprieve and all the guests were game, so we quickly organised our heart with my husband David on “herding duty” and me up on a (very high) wall composing the shot – we think you’ll agree it was worth the effort!

Love will save the day - encompassed by friends and family, one heart to rule them all.

Love will save the day – encompassed by friends and family, one heart to rule them all!

We have found it the past that there can sometimes be a lull between the ceremony and the wedding breakfast but this couple had it sussed when it came to keeping everyone happy and it was all fun, games and entertainment from here-on in with some fun group shots, fabulous country style skittles, giant snakes & ladders, handmade chocs and even personalised sweets (plus a few well-earned beverages) before the sit down reception began.

We absolutely loved this very rustic wedding sign made by Chris’s brother, Gareth.

Vintage signage hand made by brother of the Groom, Gareth

Vintage signage hand made by brother of the Groom, Gareth

Of course, we always ensure we make time for some family and romantic couple shots too!

Plus a couple of touching images to commemorate four generations & remember family that could not be present

No wedding would be complete without speeches & dinner, and the old adage of “keep it simple” is key.

It was probably the shortest Groom’s speech known to man with the words “Yeah, we just want to say thanks for coming” accompanied by a thumbs up & a cheers, but this had the whole room in roaring with laughter.

It was then followed by his father’s speech, which got off to a hilarious start as he produced a comedically-long scroll – all this further highlighted what a fun bunch they are.

Time to cut the beautiful cake supplied by Sandra Pugh of Cakes By Sandra.

All that was left to do was party and that is what this couple & their guests did in style. We can’t recommend Deer Park highly enough for views & locations to shoot, quality of food, ease of access, variety of spaces and general comfort – this is one spot with it all and I think Jo & Chris will agree, it made for a perfect setting for their special day in more ways than one!

 This wedding was such a joy to be a part of, and this last image captures how we feel about the whole thing.

Yipppeeeeeeee!

Daughter Danielle Jumps for joy!

Daughter Danielle Jumps for joy!

As a New Year treat we’re offering a special combined package with 2 photographers saving over £250!

This offer is available to anyone who reads this blog and quotes the reference: PBS2015 so please like and share!

Our combination package is available for just £1450 includes the following:

  • Pre-wedding photography consultation
  • Pre-wedding 1 hour couples photo-shoot (to be completed at time of consultation)
  • Whole day photography with two photographers (typically 10 hours)
  • Post-wedding image presentation
  • All images provided in both high and low resolution on your choice of disc or memory stick
  • Mileage within West Country counties

To book either just myself or both David & I to photograph your special day please email or call us on:

stef@photographybystefanie.co.uk

07810126599

Wedding Credits:

Photography: Stefanie Calleja-Gera & Davey Terrific

Photography By Stefanie

Hair & make-up styling: Jodi Croft

Face Perfect By Jodi

Wedding Dress: Charlotte Balbier, The Bridal Room Broadway

Groom’s suit: Beaus & Balls suit hire of Gloucester

Wedding Flowers: Simply Flowers

Wedding Cake: Sandra Pugh of Cakes By Sandra

“Love Is Sweet” Sign made from sweets: hand made by Mother of the Groom

Rustic Wedding Signage: hand made by brother of the Groom

Personalised M&Ms: www.mymms.co.uk

Personalised Vintage Sweet bags: Mini Cookie Crafts

Behind The Lens

People always imagine that the ‘creative’ industry is a glamorous world, filled with exciting work by day and wild parties by night. Now, I have to say that I love my job and am absolutely thrilled to be able to get up and do what I love everyday BUT, it’s not always as glamorous as you might think and often entails far longer working hours than the average day job for nearly everyone involved, which can be a lot of people!

I wrote this blog post as a very brief look behind the scenes of what goes on before and during a typical shoot, and a nod to all those unsung heroes whose talent and professionalism under pressure make a photoshoot happen.
More often than not those beautifully styled shots that you see online or in a magazine can take hours to set up and weeks or months to organise!

It all starts with a brief or a brainstorm.

I usually knock on my husband’s office door saying “I’ve got this shoot coming up – can you help me with it?”

We’re both quite creative bods and as the old saying goes, two heads are indeed (usually) better than one! We often sit scratching our heads working out a plan of action on how to attack a shoot; covering anything from logistics, sourcing specific models, contemplating themes and styling, right through to creating or resolving technical elements. For instance on the featured shoot, we weren’t at all sure how to approach fastening the flowers to the corset (should they be wired? Wouldn’t that require a mesh over the corset? Then you wouldn’t see the shape of the corset?). There was a whole debate over methods and it was a combination of the florist and the dress designer working together that led us to our answer of using a glue gun!

Once we’ve ironed out the basics elements we want to achieve from the shoot, it’s time to get cracking.

Very often a stylist will be drafted in to source clothing, props & accessories to suitably style the shoot with. On a smaller shoot we do it in-house, but it just depends how much there is to do as it can be rather time consuming making calls, e-mailing & generally running around!

We always used to use Mood Boards, but recent times have steered us towards the use of Pinterest to pick out colours, hair & make-up styles, and even shot styles for putting together a visual overview for all involved to keep track of what is liked and to ensure we’re bang on trend!

If there is a clothes/dress designer involved, it can be months prior to the shoot that they then get started on the bare bones of an outfit based on meetings and visuals created to illustrate the subject we’ll be shooting.
Many other suppliers will be on standby at this point, quietly popping things to one side or ordering things in such as accessories, decorations and general props – depends on the shoot: if it’s a wedding focused shoot we have lots of companies involved usually working on all the different elements but with the same styling in mind – from table runners to candelabras to centrepieces and cake makers! For fashion shoots, it’s more about the products. If it’s a glam dress or outfit, it demands a statement necklace and earrings from a high end jeweller and super stylish shoes (and maybe a super stylish man to go with it)!

Suffice to say, shoot day is always a LONG day – this is where our lovely assistants earn their worth by selflessly lugging, running, panting, sweating, ironing, moving, hitching, shifting & packing – the poor things, but we all paid our dues at one point in life! On our recent shoot we were lucky enough to have our amazing photography assistant Sam Connell, also shoot some fab Behind The Lens shots for us (featured above).
All contributors to the shoot usually either deliver their products for us to use accordingly or depending on what the product is, they may stay at the shoot to ensure all runs smoothly and their product is captured to their specification (no pressure then)! Sometimes, it’s better if a client stays – not only can they sign off on shots, but they can also take responsibility for their items (had a client leave us with £50K worth of jewellery the other day and my husband had to spend the day doubling as a security guard!), but then again there is also that saying”too many cooks….”

We can have anything from a skeleton crew of 3 people (me, hair & make-up artist & model) up to 10 or 20 depending on the complexity of the shoot; me, creative director, assistant(s), hair & make-up artist , model(s), stylist, dress designer/client, dresser, florist, the list goes on…..and if it wasn’t for all these people and all the wonderful things they contribute in their own fields, we would never see the amazing photography we see every day in the media and online. Its a massive group effort to get these shoots to look as amazing and flawless as they do, with people working tirelessly often for very little (if any) money, to try and create something that people will stop and look at.

Don’t get me wrong, you do need to know that the team you pull together can achieve the results you envisaged. I always feel so fired up when doing a shoot and when working on the results of one, I feel like I can take on the world and really make a difference with the images I leave behind.

I leave you with a rather heartwarming quote about the merits of working together with talented people “the strength of the team is each member and the strength of each member is the team.”
I truly believe that.

Ten Top Tips on How Avoid wedding Stress Part Five: Make me Pretty!

Firstly, a very happy New Year to you all!

So, the madness of Christmas is over and can now make way for some serious wedding planning. If your big day is in 2014 (or even 2015) you’re probably thinking it’s high time you got your ducks in a row.

This is the 5th part of my blog and will look at the importance of looking and feeling your best on your wedding day, and how a professional can make that task infinitely easier and more enjoyable.

I know this from personal experience; on my own wedding day my hair and makeup artist not only made me look and feel more amazing than I’ve ever felt before (or could’ve achieved on my own) but was also an uplifting, friendly and soothing person to have at my side during a very important morning in my life.

So….

DO: Try to allow budget for a QUALIFIED hair & make-up artist. More-and-more Brides are realising the benefits of this, but let me spell them out for you just in case you’re wavering:

1. Believe it or not, it doesn’t cost the earth (it could be your wedding present from your hubby if you like, he might be grateful for the suggestion).

2. You really don’t want to be worrying about the potential pitfalls of doing a complicated hairstyle you’ve never attempted before and looking like a swamp queen as you walk down the aisle.

3. Properly trained MUA’s use make-up that will work much better with the camera than your usual stuff. They’ll also be able to test different makeup during your trial, to ensure that you’re wearing the most suitable for your skin type. This can make a real difference!

4. IT MAKES YOU FEEL SPECIAL.

5. Do you really need another reason?!

Find someone you can chat through your ideas with and who you think will understand you and your style. Any artist worth their salt will insist upon a hair & make-up trial in order to establish exactly what you’ll have for the day itself (this is also a fab pamper session that usually takes a few hours, so enjoy it!). Most hair & make-up artists won’t do the trial until around 6 weeks before the day. You don’t want it too far in advance as your tastes (and wedding theme) may change before then!

DON’T: Do half measures. Just because someone says they only cost £30 and will come to you, it doesn’t make them good! OK, so when I say that a PROFESSIONAL doesn’t cost the earth, they may cost a little extra but lets be honest, if it means you looking and feeling like a movie star walking down the red carpet, I mean, “aisle”, then I’d say it’s worth it!

I recommend:

An amazingly talented and professionally trained hair & make-up artist:
http://www.faceperfectbyjodi.co.uk

A fabulous make-up artist:
http://www.makeupbyvanessa.co.uk

A wonderful hair stylist:
http://www.bellabridalhair.co.uk

From Dream to Scream: 10 Top Tips On How To Avoid Wedding Stress Part 3: Finding The Perfect Venue

This is a biggy; probably the most important element as it can make or break an atmosphere or theme. I’d suggest (if possible) physically going round the venues instead of cruising the interwebs and trying to gauge a venue by the pictures on their website. Take a camera with you (even if it’s just using your phone’s camera) as this can be very useful when you’ve left a venue as you can look back and assess each location.

If you’re keen to get great photos of your wedding then I strongly recommend looking out for lots of natural light and big windows, especially if your ceremony is at your reception venue, but it’s also worth considering if you’re having a Church wedding. Many times in the past I’ve had to shoot a wedding ceremony at a licenced venue, only to find that they’ve managed to licence the one room with no natural light, an old table in a corner and no interesting features! Most venues seem more aware of this these days and I only mention it because often the photographer will not be able to use flash during the ceremony itself, so in order to get some nice results, you ideally want a light room with nice features.

DO: hire a planner if you can afford it. Or, at the very least, ensure that someone who’s very reliable and who will be there on the day to act as your No.2 helps you with the planning – you may not want this to be a family member as you’d prefer them to be able to completely relax on the day rather than having ‘wedding chores’ to take care of, so perhaps choose a trusted friend instead.

So, the venue is a big deal and it needs to be right, but equally you need to get on with certain members of staff as you’ll probably be speaking to them quite a bit in the run-up to your wedding. Most managed venues have an “Event Coordinator” or Manager who’ll be on-hand to help you with your wedding and will usually deal with most trivial problems on the day without you ever realising! My advice would be to get to know the person who’ll be handling your big day and try to meet them at each venue you visit whilst you’re deciding where to book.

TIP: Ask who the venue use for catering and other services as they’ll be able to point you in the right direction with good and reliable suppliers.

DON’T: Keep it all to yourself. I hired a private house with no event coordinator or planner (anyone would think I was testing myself!) and even though I wrote a list of names and numbers of suppliers for my sister, I didn’t actually give her any real instructions for the day. Added to that, she wasn’t really involved in the planning, so it was much easier for me to handle things as they cropped up on the day, but this meant that I was making phone calls and dealing with suppliers myself on the wedding morning. Not ideal!

A couple of local venues I’d highly recommend:

Grade II listed stately home with various marquee options and a very cool underground bar!:
http://www.inglesidethehouse.com

Beautiful countryside converted barn:
http://www.kinscotebarn.co.uk

Awesome castle on a lake:
http://www.eastnorcastle.com

From Dream to Scream: 10 Top Tips On How To Avoid Wedding Stress  Part Two: How easy is it to find THE DRESS?

This is the part of the wedding process that most women dream about and look forward to the most. That is until they actually go shopping for one, at which point mouths dry up, stomachs are in knots and brain fade sets in. What if I can’t find one that suits ME? What if they all look horrible, or worse, what if I look horrible in them? Most of all, what if I find the dress of my dreams but it’s totally out of my budget?!

Shopping for THE DRESS can get a little stressful if you’re not careful, so here are a few tips based on my own experiences and those of brides I’ve worked with:

Everyone will have an opinion. If you’re lucky, your family and friends will be nothing but supportive about your choice of dress; after all, it’s your wedding and you know what you want (in theory), but some people can be a little more vocal and critical – they probably think they’re being helpful but are in fact just making a big decision all the more difficult. If this happens to you, just try to remember that ultimately this is for you and you alone, regardless of who’s paying for the dress, and that it’s you who has to feel comfortable and special on your big day. If you really want that knee-length dress covered on polka dots then stick to your guns! You’ll only regret it if you let the opinions of others sway you.

Bridal shops can be a minefield. Most are very pleasant I’m sure, but too many brides I’ve worked with have mentioned that some shop staff aren’t always as lovely as they’d have hoped. Some of the bridal shops I visited on my own journey were owned or staffed by some of the snippiest women I’ve ever encountered, which was such a shame because it took away from what should have been a fun day with girl friends and family. In my head, I expected to go into the appointments to be greeted with a glass of bubbly and a warm smile, followed by staff rushing around me to show me all their beautiful dresses and accessories (perhaps I expected too much?). In reality, in some shops (who shall remain nameless) I felt as though my being there was somehow a terrible inconvenience and I was quite taken aback by how unhelpful and rude the staff were. That being said, there are of course plenty of wonderful shops and boutiques out there whose main aim is to make your dress shopping experience a special one; I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and working with some of these during my time in the wedding industry and have linked a couple of these below.

Make more than one day out of shopping for THE DRESS. I know most of you will anyway, but there’s good reason for it (as if you needed an excuse). If you have enough time before the big day, I’d recommend making some appointments and spending your first outing visiting bridal shops with a good friend – friends somehow seem able to tell you what looks good and what doesn’t in an honest way that just we can’t always take from our Mothers.

It’s customary for the Mother of the Bride to buy her daughter’s wedding dress – naturally not everyone will work like this but on your second (or third) outing, nearer to the time of needing to buy the dress, take your Mother. Regardless of whether or not she’s paying for the dress she’s sure to want to be involved in this part of the process, and by now you’ll have a good idea of what you want and what looks good so you’ll be able to show her around with confidence.

Make sure you visit more than one shop / boutique and where possible, get your friend, sister or mum to take a snapshot of you in the dress. Bridal shops seem to vary on their rules about this but it’s really handy to look back on once you’ve got to the café and you’re chatting through all the various styles you’ve seen or tried on during the day!

TIP: Bridal shops vary wildly in their lead times for producing your final dress so if you see something you like, be sure to enquire about the production time. Mine had a lead time of 4 months so it was a good thing I didn’t leave it too late.

A few local Bridal shops and boutiques I recommend:

Original Vintage & Inspired Vintage One-to-One Boutique:
http://www.cotswoldvintagebridal.com

Bespoke Couture Bridalwear & Corsetry:
http://www.alissiacouture.com

Bridalwear Shop:
http://www.thebridalroombroadway.co.uk

Bridalwear Shop & Boutique:
http://www.grandjour.co.uk

From Dream to Scream: 10 Top Tips On How To Avoid Wedding Stress Part One: Fail to Prepare = Prepare to Fail

If you’re anything like me, the thought of planning your own wedding not only makes your skin tingle with excitement, but also scares the pants off you!

I planned my own wedding thinking it would be a breeze, as half of my life is spent either photographing weddings or organising photographic shoots, so I’ve seen my fair share of weddings and am well-versed at dealing with multiple suppliers and bringing them together. However, I don’t know whether it was down to it being MY wedding, or just that it’s a totally different ball game planning such an important day, but I have to admit that if I did it all again, I would definitely call on more help, and it certainly gave me a new respect for Wedding Planners!

Although most of us like to think we’re super-organised and can multitask with the best of them, most of us don’t actually do event planning for a living and so the very notion of bringing together multiple suppliers who you’ve never worked with before to create a day that absolutely HAS to be the best day of your life is a very brave, and some might say, ridiculous notion!

So this is the first of 10 parts giving you a Do’s & Don’ts Tips List that I’ve put together based on my own experiences and those of other weddings I’ve been involved with, to help those of you about to embark on your wedding journey together to take everything in your stride and to sidestep the more stressful moments!

So, my top tip for part one revolves around planning:

DO: Think about hiring a Wedding Planner. Many of you might not consider a Wedding Planner or would think of them as an unnecessary additional expense, but if you’re planning to do much more than elope to Gretna Green I think it’s worth having someone on-board who has prior experience of putting a wedding together.

Even if budgets are a bit tight or you think you know exactly what you want (I know I did), a planner can still be extremely beneficial. It’s important to remember that they’re not there to take your ideas away from you and to give you something you don’t want; they’re there to work with you and to realise your dreams (hopefully!) without you having to do all the donkey work! Many planners are also skilled stylists and they can provide ideas for you if you’re unsure, as they’ll have experience with what works and what doesn’t, but ultimately whatever they do will have your seal of approval.

DON’T: Bite off more than you can chew. I’m loathe to admit, this was probably me. During the planning phase I was working full time whilst juggling my own business and found that putting together even a modestly-sized wedding can become a full time job in itself! I found that for a time it took over and I would be tossing and turning at night worrying about silly things that I couldn’t possibly control, such as how long it would take us to decorate the Tipi the day before the wedding, and what would happen if the loo backed up in the house and who would fix it? Would I find myself in my wedding dress, wielding a plunger whilst frantically yelling “don’t worry Auntie Linda, I’ve nearly fixed it!”?! If you have someone to take control of the day, worries like these are taken care of and so won’t be your concern. Choosing to have part or all of the day at a managed venue can help as they can often provide you with a dedicated wedding co-ordinator who works for them, but whatever you do, make sure that you allow time for you! It’s supposed to be an enjoyable experience so try to let someone else do Lion’s share of the worrying!

Regardless of whether you work with a planner or decide to do it all yourself, you’re going to find yourself faced with the task of deciding which suppliers to use and believe me, it can be a minefield. Who’s reliable? Who’s good? Who can we afford?
I’ve broken down the main wedding supplier “elements” into different chapters and will post a new one each week with my personal recommendations for each one. Remember, they need to be booked well in advance of your wedding otherwise you risk disappointment when your chosen supplier’s already busy on your date. As a wedding photographer I’ve already taken bookings for 2015 and have even had enquiries for 2016!

What I will say is this: yes, the big things are important. BUT, don’t get so bogged down with the big things that you forget the little details, and don’t spend your whole day trying to ‘create’ your perfect wedding, just let it happen! I’ve seen many couples miss some of the magic moments because of this and both my husband and I were guilty of it at our own wedding – in the morning when I should have been enjoying a relaxing pampering and a glass of bubbly with my family and girlfriends, I found myself making frantic calls to our vintage coach supplier as they hadn’t arrived on time to collect our guests, whilst at our evening reception, my husband was so busy trying to sort out both our DJ and band who’d decided to arrive at the wrong times that he missed half the dinner, and I know he was looking forward to the food!

Some Wedding Planners and Stylists I’d recommend:

Wedding Planning and Styling from start to finish:
http://www.finesseplanning.co.uk

Wedding Venue Stylist:
http://www.littleweddinghelper.co.uk

International Wedding Planner:
http://www.plannedforperfection.co.uk

Bespoke Wedding Planning & Co-ordination:
http://www.katherinecourtney.com

I hope this has been useful to you and please keep your eyes peeled for next Monday’s chapter, which will be all about The Dress!

Feel free to get in touch with me on studiotoyou@mac.com