An Unplugged Wedding in Belize: Sharon & Matt

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Sharon and Matt’s small Belize wedding at Honey Camp Ranch cost them just $5000. They avoided the usual trappings of a traditional wedding, instead choosing to do things their way. That meant everything was either borrowed, donated or homemade. The bride wore a custom wedding dress, made for her by her mother, and no shoes! She made the stationery herself and the flowers and reception decorations were collected from the local area.

This was also a completely unplugged event. There was no electricity, and no cell phones or computers allowed! The couple wanted their wedding to be a refreshing escape from their excessively electronic lives in the US.

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“The inspiration for the wedding was love for the nature of Belize”, wrote the bride. “The most unusual thing about our wedding was that there was no electricity. The natural sounds of Honey Camp Ranch and the romantic light of gas lanterns in the evening made the lack of electricity a huge benefit and gave a better connection with the amazing natural environment of Belize – away and unplugged from the busy world. It was different from the norm because it was a destination wedding, was super low-key, and was in the jungle!”

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A Wedding Film in Paris

It’s unusual that I’d just share a video, without the wedding pictures or story alongside it. Yet when film maker Philip White showed me his latest offering – a cinematic take on the wedding film – I couldn’t help but want to post it immediately.

Grab yourself something to drink, sit back, relax, and enjoy.

This is completely captivating.

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Homegrown and Locally Sourced Bohemian Wedding: Lindsey & Jason

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Lindsey and Jason were married at The Red House in Cassadaga, in upstate New York. The venue really set the tone for their casual, DIY day. “Our wedding theme was laid back, bohemian, vibrant and eclectic”, explained the bride. “Which truly reflected Jason and I. We really didn’t stick to the traditional formalities when planning our wedding but instead we choose to personalize our day in a way that we felt most comfortable with.”

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“Our wedding was also completely do-it-yourself!” she continued. “We really wanted to keep it simple, colorful and fun. The venue was really cool, it was a Victorian style house with a beautiful yard and a great big barn. Since It was such a unique location, I really wanted to keep our décor simple enough so that it would complement our location without taking away from the natural beauty of the place. We tried to recycle and reuse as much as we could while really bringing in our unique sense of style.”

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Thursday Treats: You Make My Dreams Come True

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I’ve spent the past couple of weeks in London, Berlin and Amsterdam, teaching Blogcademy workshops and exploring everything these wonderful places have to offer. It has been a pretty crazy time including two workshops in London, followed by our first mixer event, a class in Berlin, another in Amsterdam – oh and a couple of photo shoots thrown in for good measure!

I’ll be writing a full travel guide posts for Berlin and Amsterdam, as well as recap posts for all the events, but for now, I thought I’d let you in one some of the madness with this fun little video that we put together for you!

Oh Europe, you sure did show us a damn good time. Gala and Shauna left on Tuesday morning, and as much as it sucks to say goodbye, I sure am happy to be back with Gareth and my kitties. I really did miss them a lot this time round.

Here’s to staying out of airports for a couple of months…!

Come and hear me speak!

Before we crack on with the usual Thursday Treaty goodness, I’ve been invited to speak at a TON of events this year and so I wanted to give you a quick run down in case you wanted to come along to any of them!

♥ On 18th September I’m guest speaking at the Photography Farm Elements class in London all about how wedding photographers can use their blogs to get more of the clients they really want to work with.

♥ I’m so excited to be heading to Cologne, Germany in October to be the key note speaker at Hochzeitskongress, a business workshop for wedding industry professionals! 

♥ I’m also appearing at the Flourish and Prosper Wedding Academy on November 1st in London. I’ll be speaking about social media and blogging for wedding professionals.

PHEW! OK on with the show…

Weddings & Weddingy Things

Industrial modern wedding
Exceptionally creative rustic barn Jewish wedding
Laid back NZ wedding
Whimsical Greenville wedding
Australian polo club wedding

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Lara Hotz

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How to Take Awesome Photos on Your Android Phone

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Instagram is – by far – my favourite social media platform. I love to take and share daily snaps and shamelessly stalk others who do the same. It’s the one social network that I visit and don’t instantly feel like people are just trying to sell me something!

While I’m well aware that there have been a lot of articles about how to take great phone pictures written in the past, this one is different…

As a die hard Android fan, I figured there must be others out there who, like me, want to know how to take and edit great photos, but don’t want to convert to the dark (ahem, iPhone) side. So here are my top tips for taking great phone photos alongside a comprehensive list of all my favourite photo editing apps for Android users!

Take lots of photos

I never take my photos with Instagram’s built-in camera. The way to make sure you’re sharing only the very best shots is to take lot of snaps using your phone’s camera and then pick your favourites to edit and post. Just make sure you delete any duffers or your phone’s memory will fill up faster than you can say “wanna take a selfie?”

Use A Better Camera app

The eight mega-pixel camera on my Samsung Note 2 is awesome but when I downloaded the A Better Camera app my photos got a million times better. It has loads of useful functions such being able to adjust the ISO (just like on a SLR), a HDR option and settings for panoramas. The night mode is particularly great, and means that even if the light is a bit gloomy you can still take a pretty decent snap.

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Don’t use your phone’s camera at all…

I recently invested in a Samsung NX3000 camera and it might just be the best thing I’ve ever bought (no really!) It has lots of amazingly snazzy features, but my favourite has got to be it’s build-it wifi which means I can take a snap on the camera and then instantly transfer it to my Samsung phone with just a few clicks. WHOA, the future is awesome!

A lot of my most recent Instagrams have been taken in this way, but still edited on my phone. Is it cheating? Maybe a little… but when you get such an awesome tool in your life it would be crazy not to use it.

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Shoot in good light

My biggest tip to anyone taking photos with their phone, is to always shoot in natural light. Avoid using your flash and always move to a natural light source (outside in the shade or by a window) before taking a photo. The difference between a badly and well lit shot is immense.

When you shoot in good light the results will be much more flattering and the images will be easier to edit. If a photo is taken in bad lighting, they will just end up looking yellow and grainy if you try to increase the exposure afterwards.

Filters and editing apps:

Although Instagram has finally updated and improved their in-app filters, adding the ability to adjust the brightness and contrast and change the opacity, I still never use it to edit my photos. There are just so many better alternatives!

Snapseed: After taking a photo, the first thing I do is open it in Snapseed. It’s free and works great to boost the brightness and contrast of an image. It also has functions to irradiate shadows and increase the overall saturation (great for rainbow haired ladies like me!) These little tweaks result in my photos always being bright and colourful!

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Gorgeous Art Gallery Wedding: Amy & Earl

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Amy and Earl were married at Legend City Studios, an art gallery in Phoenix. “We wanted our wedding to be one big Party”, explained the bride. “We went into the planning stage with one goal in mind. We wanted to have a wedding we’d love to attend. Our goal was to have fun and make sure everyone else had fun as well.”

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Amy wore a stunning black wedding dress which she had custom made by someone on Etsy (the seller sadly no longer exists) which she wore with amazing galaxy print shoes from Modcloth. Her bridesmaids were the ones wearing white! They all picked their own dresses. “The thing most people have pointed out was the black wedding dress”, she said. “I chose black for my wedding dress because I wanted something I was comfortable in, and I like the way I look in black.”

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