Tag Archives: UK

Under the Spotlight – Adamo Bridal

Opened in November 2010 in the small seaside town Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, Adamo Bridal is owned and run by Lauren Williamson. Although Lauren is only in her 20’s, she was able to fulfil her dream and open her own bridal boutique when she moved to Essex after gaining a lot of  experience in the industry working in Cheshire and Lancashire.

She wanted Adamo Bridal to have an intimate feeling so she decided to offer a select range of unique couture bridal gowns and accessories all from British and European designers including Alan Hannah, MiaMia, Cymbeline, Ugo Zaldi, Halo & Co and Freya Rose.

She also offers wedding planning services, styling advice and on the day dressing for brides.

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A Black & White Checked Couture Gown

There were two things that I loved as soon as I saw this shoot – the model’s gorgeous red hair and that dress! Very Vivienne Westwood inspired on both counts…and we all know how much I adore a bit of Vivienne.

The shoot was set up to promote dress designer Nicki Hill‘s new range of bridal gowns. Based in Southampton UK, Nicki is famed her stunning couture gowns. Dresses like this one are made to order and created in her own studio.

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A Day in the Life…At The Wedding Magazine Cover Shoot

Ruth wearing Candy Anthony

So last week I was invited by Catherine Westwood, editor at Wedding Magazine, if I’d like to go hang out at a cover shoot with them. Ermmm… let me think about this for like two seconds…YES PLEASE! Before you go getting all excited, no I wasn’t asked to model! It will probably be a cold day in hell before any wedding mag can have a pink haired chick on the cover. These publications have to appeal to the mass market and I feel that a neon-headed, inked bride might alienate a rather large proportion of their readership!

I was up early last Thursday and on the train to London, excited and honoured to have been invited…even though a little (no, a lot) tired. I arrived at the shoot at 9.30 to be greeted by a familiar face in hairdresser Sev of The Hepburn Collection who had been invited to do the hair, and Julia Ford, art editor of the magazine. I also got to hang out with the rest of the team, many of whom I’d met briefly before at various wedding shows and events. Alison from Pollen Nation (who I worked with on The Big Fat Wedding Bloggers Photo Shoot) was even there to supply some of the gorgeous flowers.

Stylist Claire puts the finishing touches to Ruth’s first look

The models, Ruth (check out her beauty blog, A Model Recommends), Kirstie, Rose and Polly were all unsurprisingly stunning…and lovely. It was so fun to hang out with them and see them do their ‘thing’. Unlike some of those reality TV shows you see, their was no model-to-model bitchiness (yeeey) and they were all completely charming and adorable…and Polly even brought cakes. I liked her instantly.

Model Polly is getting married in June and making 200 of these for her guests. How cute?!

The magazine intern Billy and press agent for Butler & Wilson, Jo, showed me the dresses and accessories for the shoot. They’d brought what seemed like enough to fill a whole bridal shop as Julia, Catherine and stylist Claire were deciding on which looks and dresses to go for then and there. It was all very organic and a total team effort went into how each style and shot should look. There as certainly no ‘Devil Wears Prada’ feel about the day! I even got to give my input into which dresses and accessories I liked (for the record Ruth’s Candy Anthony number – pictured above – was my favourite.)

The beautiful and adorable Rose – it was her first time wearing a wedding dress!

Catherine told me that unlike wedding blogs, the styling and content of magazines has to be appropriate to appeal to the mass market, but that she was keen to push boundaries in whichever ways she could. For example one of the models, Rose, had a super short pixie crop hair style and they’d never had a bride with such short hair on the cover before. Also for one of the shots (each model had 2/3 outfits) Sev styled Kirstie’s hair with a plait going across her forehead – again, something that to you and I might not seem completely ground-breaking, but for a mainstream wedding magazine this was a style that again, had never been put on a cover before.

Kirstie was stunning (and really did look like Reese Witherspoon)

I’ll be honest, when people criticise the mainstream wedding mags for being to ‘boring’ or ‘traditional’ or ‘samey’ it really does upset me. This small team work tirelessly and to horrific deadlines to try and produce a magazine that will fly off the shelves (hell, blogs have it easy – we don’t have to obsess over how many copies we sell!) This is why I am so excited that I’ve been asked to work alongside the magazine. It just proves that opposites really can work together and give a fully-rounded (traditional and alternative) view on weddings. Everybody wins.

OK I’m off to clamber off my soap-box now, hang on…

I sneaked a look at how the final shots were looking…

Editorial photographer Seb Winter worked quickly with each girl. As with any shoot I’ve been on, it’s the hair, make up and styling that takes the most time. As you can imagine (especially for such a high profile shoot as this one!) they all need to be perfect. As I mentioned, each girl had 2/3 outfits. Catherine told me that they shoot nearly a year’s worth of magazine covers in just one day – a time and money saving exercise. Well, there would be no point in hiring the studio, getting the whole team out of the office and acquiring all the dresses, accessories etc to just to do one shot! It was funny, because Julia showed us all the cover for the next issue (out in June) which was shot this time last year and with one of the same models who was with us that day!

Polly. I wish I could hate her but she was too lovely for words!

The day was a long but awesome one. I had such fun hanging out with everyone and they really did make me feel like part of the family. I was honoured to have been asked by Catherine to attend, and I’m loving the fact that Wedding Magazine are realising the influence and power of wedding blogs and that they are keen to work closely with us. It’s a very exciting time in this industry of ours, and I’m over the flipping moon to be a part of it.

Intern Billy and I checking out the Twitter response after I posted a few pictures

And finally…I wanted to create my own Wedding Magazine cover…luckily for me the models (and the magazine editor!) all had a sense of humour.

Dresses pictures (top row)
Candy Anthony
Olivia Couture (supplied by Blackburn Bridal Couture)

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Attention UK Wedding Photographers – Jasmine Star is Coming!

As anyone that follows me on twitter or facebook will know, I am a big Jasmine Star fan…huge in fact. I love this woman. I find her incredibly inspirational and I just adore her. Adoration in like a girl-crush/I want us to be best friends and plait each others hair kinda way…

So… why am I writing this today? Well, again if you follow me on my various social media platforms, you will also know that I’ve been banging on about how excited I am about making some ‘big announcement’ for the last week or so. Well I hope you’ll forgive my diversion this morning because I really do have some ridiculously exciting news. In fact ‘ridiculous’ isn’t a strong enough word for just how exciting this news is… stupendous, incredible, mind-blowing, life-changing…now maybe we’re on the right track.

Jasmine Star is coming to the UK to do her first ever photography workshop in London…oh and I’m helping her organise it.

So here’s the story. About a month or so ago, I was reading Jasmine’s blog and eagerly awaiting the next instalment of  CreativeLive, and I decided to email her and just lay it out there…

“Hi Jasmine, this is just a quickie…have you ever considered coming over to the UK to do a workshop? I can tell you 100% that it would sell out. The industry over here is buzzing right now but we need your help. When it comes to seminars, we all know you are the queen of the talk and the UK utterly loves you. The UK neeeeeeds you in fact. So many photographers I know are fantastic at the photography bit but they are lost with the business and blogging side. Please come and help us!”

And guess what people? Guess WHAAAAAAT?…she only replied straight away and said she’d love to try and come over and would I help her organise it!? Uhh OK stupid question. I am all over this!

So here’s the drill. The day-long workshop (9am-5pm) will be taking place on Wednesday 20th July 2011 at the incredible One Marylebone, London. The day is also being supported by Wedding Magazine, who are on board to style the models for the photo shoot portion of the day. The magazine will also be featuring some of the images taken of the event in a future issue (!)

The workshop will be a full day of branding, specifically focused on the first steps of creating a brand, and the eight components of creating a brand:
1.  Creating a logo to reflect YOU
2.  Selective clientele
3.  Client care
4.  Branding correspondence
5.  Branding your online presence
6.  Branding photos
7.  Networking your brand
8.  Branding post processing

While having discussed these topics before online, in this workshop Jasmine will go into depth about personal decisions she made to cultivate and foster her rapidly growing business.  In order to keep it intimate and enable attendees to have the individual attention of both Jasmine & JD, the class will be limited to 20 students…and I have been reliably informed that no questions will be off limits!

In the afternoon there will be a bridal shoot portion of the day styled by the fabulous team at Wedding Magazine. Jasmine will demonstrate her natural posing technique and offer her tips on using natural lighting, as well as give access to students to photograph the models for personal portfolios.

Breakfast and lunch will be provided by The Recipe, and after the day is done, we’ll all head out to dinner together.

As I said, student spaces are limited to just 20 and coupled with the fact that this is Jasmine’s first time in the UK, I can safely say that event is going to sell out FAST. The workshop costs £900 and breakfast, lunch and dinner will be provided.

You can learn more about Jasmine’s workshops here and to reserve your spot, you can register right here.

OK, I think that’s it for now. Boy…I might just burst. There have already been a few rumours flying around the internet after Jasmine alluded to the fact that she was planning on crossing the ‘pond’ on her blog last week. Do you know how hard it has been for me to keep this all a secret up until now!? Wow, it feels so good to finally share!

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A Quintessentially British (slightly) Royal Tea Party

The royal wedding is kind of a big deal…people worldwide are gearing up for the ‘show’ and even London has gone all patriotic for once. Union Jack flags hang above Regent St and pretty much every shop window is littered with red, white and blue tat. I however, am not so excited about the whole thing. I’m not averse to two people falling in love and getting married…far from it in fact. I’m more than a little bit thrilled that William and Kate are getting married. I love marriage and I couldn’t be happier for them!

However it’s the media charade that surrounds the whole thing that kills me…and the fact that, as someone that works in the wedding industry, this is supposed to be some ‘once in a lifetime experience’ for me…and seriously, if you’d been sent as many irrelevant royal wedding-related press released as I have, you’d be pretty over it too. Yaaaawn. Most un-Rock n Roll wedding ever. Fact.

As you can well imagine, since the announcement of the wedding I’ve been sent a whole host of snooze-inducing royal wedding inspired photo shoots. None of which I’ve really given the time of day. However this shoot by photographer Adam of  Viva Wedding Photography really stood out to me. Mmm… tasty tea and scones and vintage styling – all with a hint of quintessential Englishness but without screaming “Check me out I’m a royal wedding photo shoot!”

I approve.

“I always had an idea for a decadent / last supper type of shoot,” photographer Adam told me. “So Maryanne of Jam and Tea and I arranged a venue / props / models etc and pulled it all together. The original idea was to just get the one final image with lots of impact of all the girls having a tea party, with a slight hint of coronation royal connection. However the way we built the set up, you couldn’t really see the china in detail and the original first world war union jack in the back ground was obscured, not that we wanted it to prominent.”

“I always like to get a bit more out of my photo shoots, whether it is a proper shoot or just the bride and groom on their wedding day. So I always try and shoot some separate portrait shots at my shoots. In this case we used the vintage union jack as a background, and shot each model in slightly different dress (all clothes are the models own, but some of them were so beautiful, including a lovely 1930s french silk top) each holding a different original coronation cup.”

And there you have it, my mini-nod towards the Royal wedding. I am genuinely thrilled for William & Kate and I really do hope that they have the most special day and the happiest life together. I’m not a completely cold hearted b****.

And although I may have a few more ‘Rule Britannia’ inspired shoots coming up on the blog this week, be rest assured that I’ve only chosen to feature the most kick ass of the bunch…and the ones with only an insy bitsy hint of royal wedding-ness!

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Ilka & Mars’ Early 20th Century-Inspired Wedding

“Circa 1991, and like most 9 year old girls at the time, my dream wedding typically consisted of getting married in a castle, having a horse-drawn carriage at midnight and saying ‘I Do’ to Jason Priestly. So fast-forward 20 years…our castle was in busy Tooting Broadway, wedged in between a Mecca Bingo Hall and a McDonalds, with a KFC conveniently across the road. Our horse-drawn carriage was a local taxi, well beyond midnight. And Jason Priestly? He got bumped for my love and best friend, Mars. It was completely perfect for us. Sad to say, Brandon had been banished to the Peach Pit forever.”

I love Ilka & Mars already. How about you?

Mar’s proposed at the airport, just before Ilka was about to fly home to Australia, with her Grandmother’s engagement ring. She explained, “So after a couple of years of living together and rarely talking ‘seriously’ about getting married, I was waiting in the busy security line at Heathrow, about to spend 3 weeks back home in Australia for a Christmas apart, when Mars popped the question. After unknowingly foiling an attempted romantic proposal during a holiday in New York a few months earlier, it was a perfect chance to catch me unawares while I was unsuccessfully trying to stuff the contents of my entire handbag into a tiny clear zip-lock bag, and rush off to board the plane. It was simple and just perfect. After a quick, teary goodbye and my grandmother’s beautiful engagement ring now firmly on my finger, I was herded through security and onto the plane. Needless to say, the next 24hours consisted of me taking full advantage of the onboard trolley service, trying to come to terms with what had just happened!”

When she got home, Ilka told her Mum the story and they quickly started brainstorming wedding ideas. She had always loved vintage things and so mentioned to her Mum that this was the style wedding she would want. “I’m the only daughter out of four kids, and Mum and I have always shared an obsession with antiques and vintage clothing, so it was no surprise to her when I said I’d love a vintage dress,” the bride continued. “It was to my surprise however when she then opened up the wardrobe, gently unwrapped a parcel and produced the most incredible antique lace wedding veil. She simply said ‘I have this if you’d like to wear it?’ It was originally worn by my great-grandmother in 1928, and again by my grandma in the late 40s. I had no idea that mum had it in her possession. Once I’d picked my jaw up off the ground, I asked why she’d never mentioned it before. ‘I didn’t know what kind of wedding you wanted to have’, meaning, I shouldn’t feel obliged to wear it if I wanted something a little less traditional. So, now at least I had a starting point. The veil. It was coming back to England with me.”

After many fruitless attempts to find her perfect dress to go with her perfect veil, Ilka’s friend Kelli offered to make her one, “My brave friend Kelli was my partner in crime on the dress hunt. With grand plans to find an incredible vintage dress, we visited endless vintage textiles and clothing fairs over the next couple of months. But with each unsuccessful mission we became more and more disheartened. We just couldn’t find the right dress. I relented and went to a ‘proper’ wedding dress boutique, and although the dresses were no doubt very beautiful, I knew deep down that buying one off the rack wouldn’t be for me. Fortunately for me, Kelli is a fashion designer by trade and sensing my growing depression, kindly offered to design me a dress instead. God bless her!”

“So, we embarked upon a series of evenings with lots of red wine, sketching dress ideas. We took inspiration from anything from Katherine Hepburn movies to Alexander McQueen, endlessly repeated the mantra that would later haunt us as we rushed to get it finished 3 days before the wedding –  ‘don’t worry, it’s just a dress’. We laugh about it now, and refer to it as ‘it’s just a #!@^ing dress’!, and I know I will never be able to repay all the sleepless nights she had over it. We found some beautiful silk crepe in McCulloch & Wallis, a fabric shop in central London that has been operating from the same premises since 1902. The fabric had apparently been sitting untouched in the shop for 20 years, so it was a lucky find! I bought some 1920’s rhinestone buttons on Etsy that we used at the back of the dress. My belt buckle was an amazing 200 year old Georgian paste buckle found at Camden Passage Antiques Market, worn on a black velvet belt.”

The couple were keen to make sure that their wedding was a laid back, intimate and fun affair for their closest friends and family. They put a lot of work into the details of their day, but oh doesn’t it show?! “Neither of us was completely comfortable with being the centre of attention, so the idea of a big wedding was just not going to be for us. Style wise ‘The Blessed Union’ (as it was henceforth known) was influenced by eras that we already loved, 30s and 40s fashion, Victorian ephemera and industrial design. But overall we went with the philosophy – if it feels right go with it. We just made it up as we went along. We also attempted to organise everything by ourselves, keeping the majority of the wedding details a surprise for our family and friends to enjoy. I didn’t have any bridesmaids, as not only were a lot of my friends over the other side of the world and logistically it would be a nightmare to organise, but I was also really conscious that people were already sacrificing so much to come, and the last thing I wanted to do was burden anyone with a list of chores to do or fuss over me. Their jobs would be to have a good time.”

“And finally….Advice for people getting married? Try to cut yourself some slack. If it is your first time getting married, like it was for us, you’re not meant to be an expert at how the whole wedding thing works, no matter what you’re lead to believe in magazines and on TV! So be kind to yourself. Improvising is perfect; you’ll concentrate on the things that are ultimately important to you, and the whole shebang will be really personal. We generally made things up as we went along and it worked for us!”

“And if like us, if you are attempting at putting the whole thing together by yourselves, then I salute you. It’s bloody hard work, but we wouldn’t have had it any other way – at the end of the evening you can both sit back and share a proud moment that it all came together (and breathe a massive sigh of relief!)”

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