Tag Archives: UK

Under the Spotlight – Wonderland Avenue

When I got engaged back in 2007, the first thing I started searching for (well, apart from the dress!) was a wedding photographer. Now back then there were no wedding blogs in the UK to guide me and the task was a very daunting one! I had no idea where to start and in the end I found our photographer’s in a wedding magazine.

But you know what? Not all great photographers can (or know how to) get into wedding magazines…especially maybe newer, more budget-friendly shooters. However fret not – nowadays you lucky brides have a plethora of blogs and online services devoted to showcasing new as well as established wedding photographic talent –  helping you find the perfect photographer to capture your day.

In my opinion, one of the best services  I’ve come across devoted to wedding photographer searches is the UK based, Wonderland Avenue. I’m totally convinced that your’e going to love their site and utterly adore what they have to offer. If you don’t find the perfect photographer for you here, I’ll eat my (pink) hat!

Photography Credit: Marianne Taylor Photography

Can you tell me a little about Wonderland Avenue? What is it you do?

Wonderland Avenue is a new website listing the very best UK wedding photographers, we wanted to go significantly beyond just providing another list of photographers and give brides a site where the photographers had been hand picked.  The idea is that engaged couples no longer have to trawl through the internet to find a great photographer but can access a quick, simple database of the UK’s finest. However Wonderland Avenue is more than just another wedding directory. We also post regular features on our members and we love to blog.

How did you come up with the idea and start Wonderland Avenue?

When we got engaged back in 2006, James, a commercial photographer, was sent off to ‘find the perfect wedding photographer’.  He thought a couple of hours on the web would do the trick but he was very wrong!!  It took months of scouring websites, magazines and directories to find a photographer who could offer what we were looking for, and just as we thought we had it cracked, he would stumble upon another… What we really needed was a site that brought brilliant photographers together and had already done all the research for us, so finding a wedding photographer could be as painless as possible.  And so Wonderland Avenue was born!

Photography Credit: Anna Hardy Photography

How did you come up with the name Wonderland Avenue?

We were conscious that we wanted to develop a name that reflected our aim of bringing something different to the wedding photography industry.  We had a few ideas floating around then James found himself shooting at a location in Los Angeles near a street called Wonderland Avenue and it just seemed perfect!

What areas do you cover & where are the majority of your photographers based?

Eventually we aim to cover the length & breath of the country & we already have photographers based as far north as Scotland & as far South as Cornwall, we will however restrict each region on our search menu to around 40 photographers, this will prevent brides from being overwhelmed with choice & enable us to concentrate our marketing efforts on a manageable amount of photographers.

We don’t currently have any plans to expand the website further than the UK but we do have some pretty exciting features to add to the site in the near future, keep your eye on the blog for details.

Photography Credit: Debs Ivelja Photography

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Magpie Vintage & The Rose Collection Exclusive Sneak Peeks from this week’s Photo Shoot of AWESOME!

Photography Credit: David McNeil

I am mightily excited to share a few sneak peeks from this week’s photo shoot. I was asked by the lovely Lisa & Tania of Magpie Vintage if I’d like to come and be their ‘celebrity’ (ha!) model for their latest (and in my opinion greatest!) promotional photo shoot. The pair are expanding their business from vintage jewellery to fashion!

The Rose Collection launches in September 2011 and each piece is a lovingly created one off – reworked from genuine vintage articles – just like their jewellery that they’ve become so well known for. If you’re interested in purchasing any of these stunning pieces then be sure to get in touch with them!

Photography Credit: David McNeil

I’ll be blogging the full shoot later next month, however there was such a buzz around the day (and the fact that I was asked to get on a horse!) that I simply HAD to share a few sneak peeks with you all asap. There are more outfits and locations to come too. I even got to channel my inner goth!

Photography Credit: David McNeil

Charlotte was crazily beautiful and her candy floss hair was EPIC!

Photography Credit: Annamarie Stepney

At the end of the shoot, David McNeil and I (we love each other) decided we should get Annamarie Stepney to take a few impromptu shots of us in classic ‘engagement shoot’ poses. I think we make quite a lovely couple don’t you? I’m pretty sure these shots won’t be making it into the final lookbook though. What a shame.

Photography Credit: Annamarie Stepney

Check me out on the horse! How brave am I?!

Photography Credit: Annamarie Stepney

Thanks again to everyone involved! I seriously can’t wait to see the rest, can you?

Photography Credit: David McNeil & Annamarie Stepney
Jewellery: Magpie Vintage
Clothes: Magpie Vintage – The Rose Collection. To enquire for details or to pre-order please contact lisa@magpievintage.co.uk
Hair: Sev at The Hepburn Collection
Make Up: Kaz Fernando
Models: Kat, Elle, Charlotte and Malak the horse!

Olga & Jo’s Two Day Russian/British Fusion Wedding

Olga & Jo’s Rye wedding makes me super happy! I chatted to the bride all about it – their style ideas and how they integrated both their cultures, Russian and English, into their super cute wedding.

She explained, “As soon as Jo and I had moved to Brighton, we knew we wanted to mark our wedding day by celebrating it by the beach. It is a Russian tradition to celebrate a wedding over two days so that with family and friends, and their children, there can be one formal and one informal day. With my family being from Russia we wanted to keep to this tradition and felt an English seaside was perfect for catering for both days and the number of people who would be travelling far for the occasion.”

“Having searched unsuccessfully in Brighton for our perfect location, we stumbled across The Place At The Beach Hotel in Camber Sands which looked just right. Having visited the venue and seen the beach across the road, the accommodation for our families and friends and a spacious garden with a BBQ, we knew it had everything we wanted for our two days.”

“As a theme, we chose ‘mods against the rockers on the beach’, not only for our love of the 60’s style and music, but with the mods logo being red, blue and white, this perfectly symbolised the colours of Jo and I – the colours of the British and Russian flags. Having been influenced by rockabilly Brighton since we’d moved there, we had to add a bit of rock to our special day!”

“The marriage ceremony took place in the beautiful and historical Rye Town Hall. Following which guests were encouraged to walk around Rye’s old town centre headed towards the traditional London routemaster and our beautiful car Chevrolet Bel Air. Transported by bus, the party headed to the beach to enjoy the glorious weather and a picnic on the dunes. Guests ate blinis with caviar, oysters and scotch eggs, all accompanied by Pimms and beer from our friend’s brewery – Meantime. The delicious food was seasonal and locally sourced, highlighting what a special spot everyone was in. After the beach, everyone moved to the half-opened marquee, set up outside the hotel, where in accordance to Russian tradition there was a selection of platters for starters, and main courses, for guests to share and enjoy together. Of course lots of bottles of Russian vodka were on hand, and consumed, to toast the new bride and groom!”

“Throughout the venue, the decorations were subtle with the hotel already suited to our English-Russian wedding beside the British seaside. Flowers were designed by my Mexican friend, a florist, who perfectly arranged the colourful table decorations in popcorn boxes with a corn on the cob sticking out of each arrangement as a feature. My wedding bouquet was made up of beautiful blue hydrangeas, red dahlias, white freesias and little red apples suggesting the autumn season on the horizon.Tables were named after English seaside towns, with the table plan revealed on a framed vintage map of the UK that had been bought in Brighton. The name places were marked by a collection of pebbles collected by Jo and me from Brighton Beach which each person’s name marked in English and Russian. As wedding favors we had rock sweets with personalised labels as a memento of our special day.”

“As speeches commenced, my English friend Lieran, who speaks perfect Russian helped to translate and then explain the silly, but highly amusing, games that guests played in keeping with the Russian tradition.

As the evening set in, the American style surf Bikini Beach Band commenced, playing some of the famous music from the 1950’s and 1960’s, getting everyone on their feet’s to dance. Anyone not on the dance floor was distracted by the nearby cardboard cutout of a seaside couple, with guests putting their heads through the holes in order to have a photo taken on Brighton Pier! The first dance was to the Beach Boys song “God only knows” and then the bride sang Johnny Cash “Ring of Fire” with her friend to surprise the groom. The party continued into the night with the famous 60’s hits played off vinyl records Jo and I collected over the years.
For those who weren’t tempted by the four flavors of homemade ice-cream, out came the cake, ordered from the very special Brighton cake shop – ChoccyWoccyDoodah, which was a rockabilly themed skull with the appropriate sign ‘Till death do us apart’.”

“The second day was a traditional English BBQ and afternoon tea party with garden games available like croquet, darts, giant domino, skittles and tumbling tower! So many factors of our wedding we found by chance but perfectly fitted Jo and I and what we wanted from our wedding. Every part was rooted in the traditions of both England and Russia and brought our Russian and English family and friends together to have fun throughout the weekend, even though for most of the day they couldn’t understand each other!”

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Olga & Jo’s Epic Brighton Engagement Shoot

I’ve got an epic double bubble of a feature today – Olga & Jo’s engagement session in Brighton, followed by their gorgeous Rye wedding later today.

The Russian couple wanted their pre-wedding shoot to take place in Brighton as it held special significance to their relationship. The pair moved to the beach resort town in April last year and a week later Jo proposed right on the beach! “My engagement ring was hand made by the family friend jeweller and it is made of platinum with rhodium plating to make it look dark and diamonds,” Olga told me. “We had my grandparents came to stay with us so we had a photo session together after having a breakfast at our favorite Bill’s cafe and store in Brighton. I was wearing the Eley Kishimoto skirt and top and Jo was wearing Folk cardigan.”

Don’t you just adore them? Be sure to pop back later this afternoon for their incredible wedding!!

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Under the Spotlight – Vicky Trainor Stationery & The Vintage Drawer

Today I’ve got one of the prettiest new stationery ranges to introduce to you – and I just know you’re going to love it! Created by Cleveland (UK) based  Vicky Trainor, The Vintage Drawer collection is one of vintage inspiration – with vintage lace, fabrics and little added extras, all are made by hand and with love.

♥  ♥  ♥

Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Vicky, and very simply I’m a designer and maker of stationery.

How did you start your business, what and why did you begin?
I started a business back in the mid 90’s where I designed and made greetings cards for some of the leading high street stores, lifestyle and little gift havens around the country.  Then had a little break to start a family and returned a few years ago to the world of stationery.  I didn’t want to produce a collection that  ‘screamed wedding stationery’.  My background is in textile design and I wanted that to come through more.  It worked.  I tend to find that clients come to me because they are wanting that floral, vintage feel but also something a little different and as we are a design studio and not necessarily a commercial printer then we can be far more versatile and accommodating to the client’s creative side and I have never been more happier in the ‘working world’.

Where are you based and where in the world can you send your work?
I work from my little design studio in Cleveland (UK), it’s wonderfully and conveniently attached to my 1930’s semi, so my commute to work takes approx 23 seconds.  My work is far better travelled than myself, during the last few months it has taken little trips to Germany, Australia, Brunei, and the US.  We mainly work with our clients via emails and sending out samples, so the only difference between national and international based clients is the price of postal charges!

Can you tell me a little about the process of your custom design service?
I begin by listening/reading.  I ask about their story so far which takes place via a rather long telephone call or emails that become more like novels.  I pick out words as they talk about their journey, how they met, their likes and dislikes, the music they love, where they have travelled, who and what inspires them… these words give me a very visual take on where we can go with a collection.

Some clients have already mastered ‘the visual’ side and email me fabulous mood-boards (a few are masterpieces and put my own to shame) or photo’s of their scrapbooks and files, I have received boxes of treasures in the past as a starting point too.

Does the client have complete control over the design or do they pick from templates?
Most importantly it is fun and clients are so involved in the design process that at times it has ignited a creative streak in them.  I try and ensure that they don’t see each ‘wedding category’ as separate tasks and that they are thinking of everything, the venue, the flowers, style of photography, styling of the tables, props that show a glimmer of their personality, lots of twists and turns.  Some become totally involved and immersed in the process becoming fully fledged stylists by the time they say ‘I-do’.

We can also work from our current templates and mix the collections, change scales, change colours until it works for them.  We may add to the collection the placement of buttons, brooches, vintage stamps, hand drawn imagery, feathers, raffia, twine, anything that adds to the finish of the stationary.

What is your most popular design?
Every year it is always one of the rose collections, English, Vintage and Miss Fondant but it works so well; from screaming hot pinks and lipstick reds to Parisian blues, sugary tones of all things sweet to the quintessential English garden.

Who/what are your biggest influences? Whose work do you really admire?
Influences change from week to week.  An illustrator, a vintage dress, a Sunday stroll, a trip to the theatre, a leaf you have picked up in the park, antique fairs, old photograph albums, holidays in my caravan, music….it’s just a continuing absorption and addictive process of taking photographs, drawing, I’m obsessed with filing and scrapbooking and buy far too many lifestyle books and magazines, I drive everyone mad as I never want to throw anything away, I’m a hoarder of treasures.

Photography Friday – From Our Hearts to Our Hands

Those of you that follow me on Twitter, will know that I’ve had a bit of a rough week. Being a work-a-holic wedding blogger is often not so good for your health and (yet again) my body has screamed ‘arrrgh, need to rest’ and I’ve contracted glandular fever or tonsillitis (the doctors have done a blood test to see which one, if either, it is.)

Aaanyway, needless to say I haven’t felt much like taking pretty pictures this week, so instead I though I’d use this edition of Photography Friday to direct you towards a project set up by some of my favourite girls – Emma Case, Anna Hardy, Debs Ivelja and Joanna Brown. The project is called From Our Hearts to Our Hands.

They say, “We are four photographers who have come together to shoot and talk in equal measures! We have big plans for this little group and we hope to build a fantastic network of creative, inspiring photographers who love to shoot from the heart too!”

“Our aim is to create an inspiring, creative, supportive, encouraging, exploring community of artists who come together to share ideas, thoughts, feelings, hopes, fears in a way that makes us all smile and feel proud of our wonderful art.  We will be regularly setting projects where you will be free to join in, submit images, comment, talk, meet and learn from each other in a positive and exciting community.”

“We want you to be completely free with your creativity too!  We found that one of the main reasons why we wanted to come together in the first place was because we weren’t shooting for the hell of it anymore… we were shooting beautiful people, beautiful weddings etc and we were absolutely loving it but at the same time we felt we had even more to give…”

The first task set by the girls is to take a photograph
that says “From our Hearts.” You don’t have to be a professional photographer to be involved, so as soon as I’m feeling better I’m totally getting on board with this and joining in!I can’t wait to see how this group progresses. I have a feeling it’s not only going to be massively successful, but it’s going to be a pretty creative and fun place to hang out too. I’m there!