Category Archives: Wedding Planning Advice

How to Plan a Festival Wedding: Being Interviewed by Helen Anderson

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I’ve followed Helen Anderson; YouTuber, Instagram megastar and all round cool girl, for a few years now. I think I first found her when she did a video about how to get pink hair or something! I secretly always thought she was funny, awesome and that if we met we’d probably hit it off immediately.

When she got engaged last year I tweeted her to say congrats and offered to send her a magazine, and to my utter surprise she not only replied, but told me she’d been reading my blog for years too! What followed was a whirlwind internet romance of mutual fangirling (we’re both not ashamed to admit that we’re a little bit obsessed with each other – ha!) and messages like “OMG one day we have to actually meet OK?”

Then, a couple of weeks ago, she emailed me to ask if I’d like to film a video with her all about planning a festival wedding. It took me approximately 5 seconds to reply and we arranged for her to come down to Reading for the interview at my house following week!

As you can see, my predictions were very much correct. I LOVE her. Like, I’m pretty sure we’re officially best friends already. I’ve invited her to the National Wedding Show to come and hang out again too, so it’s not too long until we get to meet again. Yay, aren’t new friends just the best?

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20 Articles To Help You Plan Your Alternative Wedding

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My favourite kinds of articles to publish are the ones where I can give some really practice wedding planning advice. It was the kind of content I really craved when I was organising our own wedding because wedding magazines didn’t ever seem to delve any deeper than “How to choose the right wedding dress for your shape” and “10 things he does that proves he really loves you” (give me strength!)

So I dug around the blog archives to gather he most popular advice posts from the last 12 months. Have a browse, read some things you might have missed, maybe even revisit some of the pieces you enjoyed the first time round. And if any of your friends got engaged over Christmas, you might want to pass these on too!

As a side note, if you ever have any questions or dilemmas surrounding wedding planning, please feel free to email me and I’ll try my best to turn it into a blog or magazine article in future.

Wedding planning advice for the newly engaged: Did you get engaged over Christmas? Freaking out just a little bit? This step-by-step guide will help you get started.

I’m a bridesmaid and I’ve been asked to dye my hair and lose weight for the wedding: I was horrified to receive this email and my readers were just as perturbed to read it too! I think we can all safely agree that this bride in this instance is just a real arsehole.

The pre-wedding freak out: Stressing out about everything? Read this article and chill ya boots lady!

How to get the most awesome engagement photos: Those dreamy, Pinterest-worthy pre-wedding shoots don’t just magically appear, but with a few simple preparations you too can get utterly some gorgeous pictures.

What’s your love language?: Having a fabulous wedding is one thing, but having a fabulous marriage is way more important. The Love Language principles have really helped Gareth and my relationship, and I’d encourage every single one of you to read this post.

How to ask for a discount without offending your suppliers: Weddings are expensive and everybody loves a bargain, but how can you ask for a discount without mortally offending your vendors?

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The Pinterest bride: Pinterest is awesome, but are you in danger of becoming just a littttttle bit obsessed?

Wedding traditions, what are they good for?: What is the point of all this garb? Are they all really necessary? (Spoiler: NO!)

Your wedding does not have to be the best day of your life: Unpopular opinion – your wedding is just ONE DAY. It’s what comes next that’s the most important thing.

Self esteem, body confidence and learning to love yourself: My babe Gala Darling schools us in the magic art of Radical Self Love for brides.

The six most common wedding concerns and how to quash them: Stop ya frettin’!

How to banish your inner bridezilla: Are you guilty of turning into a bit of a bridal monster?

My top ten most effective weight loss tips for brides: Believe me, they won’t be what you’re expecting!

How to make sure your guests enjoy your wedding: Worried about keeping your guests happy? Here’s a few simple things you can do.

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I’m a Bridesmaid & I’ve Been Asked to Dye My Hair & Lose Weight For the Wedding…

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Hi Kat
My best friend is getting married really soon and I’m a bridesmaid. She has asked me to dye my hair dark brown or black, and to lose 10kgs for the wedding. 

Now I know that may not seem like a big deal but since leaving high school I have always channelled my personality into my hair. I’ve had pink hair for the last five years and switch it up occasionally with purple, blue, or green. I really don’t want to have my hair coloured darker as its such a pain in the ass to go through the whole bleaching process again. Am I being over-sensitive? Or is the bride’s word the law?

As for the weight loss I understand she wants me to look thin in the pictures, but I like the weight and body shape I have now. I feel like if she knew me and loved me she’d accept the way I look and the way I am. This is seriously stressing me out and making me quite depressed. Any advice?

If you’ve ever walked down the street and felt a million pairs of eyes on you, looking you up and down, wondering what would posses you to look and dress the way you do. then welcome to the club! It seems bonkers to me that in 2015 having unnaturally coloured hair still seems to shock so many people, but it does. In my (blue) head, those narrow minded people are the weirdos!

But I have never, ever felt judged by my friends for the way I present myself. Not only are most of them just as colourful and weird (by the way I say ‘weird’ as a massive compliment) as me, but even the ones that aren’t appreciate my differences and enjoy asking me about what colour I might dye my hair next and if I’ll get any more tattoos. I can’t for one second imagine being best friends with someone who didn’t think like that.

You’ll have to excuse me because it’s taking all my strength to not simply reply “WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK IS THIS BITCH’S PROBLEM?” and leave it at that. But asking someone to fundamentally change who they are for your wedding is not OK! Requesting that you to wear a dress you don’t necessarily love is one thing, but she’s expecting you to permanently strip the very things that define you and make you the beautiful, glorious individual that you are. That is just unacceptable. You are not being over-sensitive or unreasonable. I’m sorry, but your ‘friend’ sounds like a right royal bridezilla.

As for the weight loss thing… I mean, I can’t even fathom why someone would say that to another human being, least of all their best friend. We all know how strongly I feel about this issue anyway. Its bad enough when it comes from strangers, but from your best friend? Unforgivable.

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The Pre-Wedding Freak Out

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Dear Kat

My girlfriend and I got engaged in June and we’re getting married quickly, over Christmas this year. Having to plan a wedding is such a short amount of time is causing so much stress between us. We are mostly paying for everything ourselves and our budget is also very small, just £1000.

I am doing a lot of the decorations myself to save money, and we’re hosting it in our own house (this is all whole other stress!) My sister is making the cake and we’re catering it ourselves. We’re both hoping to find second hand or high street dresses too. I don’t know how to cut costs more than we already are but we keep fighting about the expense of everything. I’m trying to convince her I’m doing the best I can, but we still argue constantly about the wedding.

I’m worried our wedding is going to be rubbish because our budget is so small and because I’m not as naturally creative as some of my friends. I’ve been to their weddings recently and they’ve all been SO COOL. I know it’s not supposed to be a competition, but I can’t help but feel our wedding is going to be uncreative and boring in comparison.

While getting married is supposed to be one of the happiest times of your life, there’s also a whole heap of stress that can come with it. Organising such a big event (even if it’s a small wedding!) is a part of that, but today’s couples also put a lot of extra pressure on themselves to have the most unique day possible.

While our parents might have worried about what their weddings said about their status or bank balance (the bigger the better!), modern day brides and grooms have a whole other set of pressures. Now, it seems that it’s more about using your wedding to show just how damn cool and laid back you are. “Oh no, it was so easy, I just threw this wedding together in a few weeks… and oh yes and I handcrafted everything completely on my own… in my sleep. I was such a laid back bride dontyaknow? Oh this old thing, it’s just something I came up with because it’s ‘so us’!”

I guarantee that all those cool as cucumber couples will have had their own moments of pre-wedding freak out too. So first of all, don’t beat yourself up for having moments of panic. It’s perfectly normal.

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Here are just a few pieces of advice that will hopefully help you in your moments of dismay.

Realise that it’s just one day

Yes, getting married is a big deal, but as ironic as it might be for me to write on a wedding blog, it’s just a wedding. It’s only one day in your life and it’s supposed to be fun! Weddings are about celebrating your love and they’re a nice way to start married life. They are not compulsory. If you wanted, you could run off to the register office and get married quick as a flash! Everything else is just accessorising.

Just remember, how this day goes does not define the rest of your life. So chill out and stop demanding so much from yourself.

Ask for help

It’s almost impossible, especially with a low budget or DIY wedding, to do everything yourself. You are not Wonder Woman! While it’s awesome that your family are helping you with things for the wedding, I bet there are other things you can outsource too.

Even if it’s just the decorations; grab a few bottles of wine, gather your besties, and have an afternoon of crafting together. It will be much more fun than struggling with papier-mâché and sticky back plastic all on your lonesome!

You also need to ask for help from your girlfriend. Sit down with her and discuss how you’ve been feeling. Be calm and open and listen to what she has to say too. It is vital that you move forward together and you do this thing as a couple. There is a lot of “I’m doing this” in your email. It is both of your wedding days after all.

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How To Get The Most Awesome Engagement Photos

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As wedding season winds down for yet another year, we’re going into a time where, traditionally, most people get engaged. From now until Valentine’s Day expect to be inundated with friends announcing their upcoming nuptials. It’s all very exciting! If you’ve just got engaged, firstly CONGRATULATIONS, I’m so thrilled that you’ve found this blog! Have you started to think about your engagement shoot yet? Do you even know what an engagement shoot is!?

While certainly not compulsory, an engagement shoot is a great thing to do while you’re planning your wedding. Not only does it give you the chance to practice in front of the camera, they’re a great way to get to know your photographer and for your photographer to get to know you. Having a relative stranger at your wedding can be a bit daunting, but if you shoot with them beforehand you’ll not only be able to figure out whether you get along, but you’ll also get to see how they photograph you before the wedding. If you don’t love the photos you get back from your engagement shoot, it is perfectly acceptable to cancel the wedding booking and find someone else. Of course I hope this doesn’t happen for you, but it’s better to know that now rather than get your actual wedding pictures back and not like them!

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So how do you make sure you get the very best out of your engagement shoot?

1. Wear something that makes you feel fabulous

This is the perfect excuse to buy something new, or pull that dress you love but never have the chance to wear out of the back of your wardrobe! If you’re more of a jeans and tee-shirt kinda gal, it’s OK too, but I always think engagement shoots look so much more fun when the couple go to town on what they’re wearing!

Think about how your outfits work together too. While you don’t have to go completely ‘matchy-matchy’ (unless you want to!) the photos will turn out much better if your outfits compliment each other. If you were wearing a ball gown and he was in a tracksuit it might looks a bit weird! Think about colours, patterns and styling, and just wear outfits that look great together.

This is also the perfect chance to have your hair and make up trial for your wedding. You’ll feel really good having your hair and make up done, but it’s also a really great way to test how it will photograph on the wedding day.

2. Have an idea of theme or location and communicate it to your photographer

It’s always better to have some kind of idea about where you’d like to shoot or how you’d like the photos to turn out rather than winging it on the day and hoping for the best. After all, a photographer can only shoot what’s in front of them!

If you’re stumped, a good way to start is to think of somewhere meaningful to you as a couple. Maybe the bar you first met in, the area where you had your first date, or the place they proposed!? A variety of backdrops will always result in more interesting pictures so think of places that offer more than just plain brick walls.

Think seasonally too. If your shoot is taking place in autumn, why not take advantage of the changing leaves and shoot in a woodland? If it’s winter why not wrap up warm and take pictures in the snow?

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The Pinterest Bride

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Remember that movie The Princess Bride? Well The Pinterest Bride is not quite a fairytale but it is a phenomenon that I’m hearing about more and more often.

First up, please, please don’t get me wrong. I adore Pinterest. I use it in my own business to seek inspiration and promote myself as a wedding photographer. I also actively encourage my couples to send me links to their wedding boards so I can get a sense of their style. I can hardly remember a time when it wasn’t part of the wedding industry and I believe that it can be an amazing tool in both planning a wedding and communicating with your suppliers.

HOWEVER… there is a new breed of bride who maybe takes it a little teeny, tiny, too much to heart. It’s IF I PIN IT, IT WILL HAPPEN, like that is actually enough to make any of this wedding stuff happen!

A prime example is a lovely friend of mine. She is getting married next year and like many people only discovered Pinterest when she started planning her wedding. For months, she has been merrily pinning away and now has a pretty sizable board with plenty of ideas on décor, food, dresses and flowers. She popped the other day to see me and was telling me all about how she’d been having trouble finding ‘the’ dress. She’d decided that it simply didn’t exist so instead she was going to go to a dressmaker to get something especially made to her exact requirements. She told me she wanted a dress that might be backless but corseted, full skirted but sleek, boho but princessy.

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She had pinned several beautiful frocks and was excited for her first appointment with the dressmaker, fully expecting her to be some some kind of fashion diviner who could make all of her wedding dress dreams come true. I guess she thought she could take all these ideas and like some modern day Molly Ringwald from Pretty in Pink, be able to mush them all together into one killer dress. Well, it turns out she couldn’t. The dressmaker told her to first go and try on some other dresses to narrow down her options considerably. It was impossible to create a dress that fit into all her requirements. She had Pinterest Bride Syndrome for sure.

Talk to any supplier involved in weddings right now and I’ll bet that they could tell you plenty of stories about times that they were asked to recreate something that came from a Pin. Most of the time, it’s totally fine but every now and again it just makes no sense.

I have been stood in a cornfield in lashing rain with a wedding couple trying to recreate a shot they loved on Pinterest that included a vintage bicycle with a basket full of flowers on the front. All the while the perfectly rustic, hand drawn ‘just married’ sign was slowly being washed away at the back. The bride was so concerned with getting the one shot ‘just right’ that she failed to notice there was a great big amazing rainbow in the other direction. Luckily I did notice it and we were able to get the most incredible shots of them standing under it.

I’ve attempted to pull off bridal party shots on a seafront so blustery that their giant round balloons almost garrotted a small child.

I’ve been asked to do couple shoots like those beautiful sunset ones you see taken in a desert… except that wedding was in Central London and when I checked the sunset times it would be the middle of speeches and there was no room to manoeuvre in the schedule. My bride looked at me expectantly as if I could actually bend time…

I’m not one to burst anyone’s bubble, and please do keep using Pinterest to help you define your wedding style and come up with ideas. It’s all part of the fun of planning a wedding. However, here are a few suggestions to make sure you don’t get carried away:

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