Category Archives: Wedding Planning Advice

5 Things You Probably Don’t Know About Planning a Wedding

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DIY Village Hall Wedding 

There are a few things about planning a wedding that can come as a bit of a surprise. Things you just assume are one way but you then find out are actually completely the opposite! So to try and eliminate those “What the hell..?” moments, I thought I’d tell you about them right now!

Here are some things you might not know about weddings.

1. The confetti shot will need to be staged

Those fabulous, spontaneous looking confetti shots outside the ceremony – all totally staged. I don’t know why I assumed these would just happen, but no, they need to be set up by your photographer. Not least of all because you normally walk back up the aisle and leave the room before your guests do!

If you’re doing a confetti shot, your photographer will organise your guests once they’ve all come out. You’ll then go back inside and walk back out again – ta da! spontaneity at it’s pre-staged best!

The other thing worth noting for this iconic shot, is that if you want it, you’ll need to provide the confetti. Some guests will bring some, but most of them will forget. Oh, and when it comes to confetti always remember, the more the better!

2. If you want to provide your own booze you’ll have to pay for the privilege

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Corkage? What the eff is that about?

If you want to try and save money by bringing your own alcohol into your venue (instead of buying it from them) you’ll have to pay a fee per bottle to do so. I think it’s usually around the £10 mark, which means that your £3 bargains from your booze cruise to France no longer seem like such a cheap alternative after all.

If you find a venue that doesn’t charge corkage then book them immediately I say!

3. You need to apply to be married at least 16 days in advance

In England and Wales you need to give notice to marry at least 16 days in advance at your local registry office. Your dream of rocking up to the court house and saying “I do” that same day isn’t actually possible. If you want a church wedding the notice period is even longer. The Church of England required that the banns of marriage are read at four consecutive Sunday services before they can legally marry you.

4. Children cost just as much as adults

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Bridesmaid 101

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This may seem trivial and self-centred, but I’ve always wanted to be a bridesmaid. As a child I didn’t once dream about my own wedding day, but I coveted the pretty, flouncy dresses that bridesmaids got to wear and the beautiful bouquets they got the carry. I wanted to do that so badly. “One day”, I thought, “one day it will be my turn”.

But it never was.

I have never been a bridesmaid. I’ve never planned a hen do, held the bouquet for a friend while she said her vows, or had to make a speech. And I’m not going to lie, I was starting to feel a little left out.

So you can imagine my extreme elation when my best friend from University, Carly, asked me to be her one and only bridesmaid when she came to visit last week. In fact I was so excited that the very next morning I was on the phone to a local bridal boutique to see if we could get an appointment to start dress shopping! I am taking my role very seriously as you can see.

I am a massive research nerd, so the next thing I did was to Google “bridesmaid duties” and “things to remember when you’re a bridesmaid.” Sure I might work in the wedding industry, but I want to make sure I do this thing right!

However I was disappointed to discover that nearly all the bridesmaid advice style articles I found on my internet travels came with a heavy dose of snark. What to do if you hate your dress, how to deal with a feuding bridal party, just how much it’s going to cost you… ugh, how depressing. This is not what I wanted to read at all!

So as the antithesis for all those awful articles, here are the real things you need to know if someone has asked you to be a part of one of the most important days of their lives.

Realise that it’s not about you

Your main duty is to help the couple in the lead up to their wedding; it’s not just about wearing a fancy dress and looking pretty! There are lots of little things you can do to assist, so be proactive. Offer to be the one to make the appointments, run errands, stay up late addressing invitations, organise a craft party to make these 100 metres of bunting that she has her heart set on…

Making the process easier and less stressful for your girl is your main prerogative. She’ll have a million things to do throughout the planning so anything you can take off her list will be massively appreciated.

Start with the fun stuff

I don’t know if it’s just me, but I always want to do the fun stuff first! And by fun stuff I of course mean dress shopping! It was the first thing I did when I got engaged and so it was the first thing I suggested Carly and I tackle too.

When it comes to finding that dream dress, all girls are different. She might be a super-eager forward planning type, or a more reluctant, slightly clueless babe. The key to being an awesome bridesmaid is knowing what kind of help your girl needs from you.

I don’t think Carly will mind me saying that she was crapping it about the whole dress shopping thing. She’s gorgeous, but she was stressing about not liking any of them and looking totally ridiculous. Now, I knew as soon as she tried some on she’d a) realise that they’re not as terrifying as she thought and b) that she’d look beautiful in them all. So, my first plan of action was to get her into something big and white so she would realise just how fun this whole wedding planning thing can be.

And it worked! After our appointment last week she turned to me and said “Well that wasn’t too bad, I actually liked a couple of them. I can’t wait to do it again!” RESULT!

By starting with some tasks that you know the bride will enjoy, you’ll help to elevate the “holy-shit-I’ve-got-to-plan-a-whole-wedding” pressure. If you have a nervous bride on your hands, start with the fun stuff – the dresses, the cake, the food tasting! Who cares about doing things in the ‘right’ order? Start with whatever you think she’ll most enjoy and take it from there.

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Help! I’ve got Pre-Wedding Cold Feet

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Ive been with my fiancé for nearly 7 years and when we got engaged in October I was over the moon. Now we are planning the wedding and I keep having dreams about running away and going on adventures on my own. We’ve talked about it and he understands it doesn’t mean I don’t love him and I’ve spoken to a lot of people who’ve told me its very normal but I’m worried about it.” Lauren 

First off, your fiancé is right, being nervous before a massive, life changing event (like marriage!) is perfectly normal. In fact you’d be completely abnormal if you weren’t a little bit apprehensive about what the future might bring. But as someone who’s been married for six years, let me tell you something – nothing really changes and any subtle differences are TOTALLY for the better!

The safety and security you feel in your relationship when when you’re married is like nothing else. It’s difficult to explain it to someone who hasn’t yet taken the plunge, but just knowing that this person has chosen to be with you, and only you, for the rest of their life is a wonderful feeling. Fights don’t have the same devastating effect, and you can be yourself more. It’s unlikely that a little tiff or disagreement will end the relationship (which you might have always been worried about before) and although you drive each other crazy sometimes, it doesn’t matter because you love each other SO MUCH.

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13 Things You’ll Wish You Did On Your Wedding Day

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Hindsight is a wonderful, if not mildly frustrating, thing. It’s all very well and good learning a lesson from an experience but most people don’t ever go back to have a second wedding! So here are 13 things from my own experience that I recommend prioritising on your wedding day.

1. Start the DIY early

We didn’t have a lot of DIY in our wedding (we did the stationery ourselves but that was about it) but even then I wish we’d started it much earlier than we did! These things always take longer than you anticipate so give yourself a fighting chance and get those craft supplies out sooner rather than later! I can’t think of anything worse than still having DIY to do the night before your wedding. That is so not fun!

2. Have your hair and make up done by a pro

I did my own make up, but looking back I really wish I’d had a professional make up artist to do it. I hadn’t yet discovered just how amazing make up done by someone who knows how to contour and properly blend eye shadow can be. I had a few trials in the run up to our wedding but I must have been going to the wrong people because I left each one thinking “Meh, I can do this myself, what’s the point?”

While, in the end, my make up was okaaaay, I would have looked, and felt, a million times more beautiful if I’d had it done by someone else.

I strongly advise having at least one trial before the wedding day (of both hair and make up) to make sure the person you book understands exactly what you want. Bring photographic examples with you to show how you want it to look, and afterwards have someone take photos of you from every angle. It might look great in person but you’ll want to know how it photographs too.

By the way, if you’re in the UK I love and recommend Elbie Van Eeden and Lipstick and Curls for hair and make up, and Allison Cameron for make up. Other artists that I’ve worked with and loved around the world are Regan Rabanal (make up), Kristen Jackson (hair) and Eryk Datura (make up) in New York, Your Beauty Call in Vegas (both), Lauren aka Queen of Blending in LA (make up) and Bernice in Melbourne (make up).

3. Delegate!

A lot of couples don’t seem to like asking for help, but believe me, most of your friends and family will be happy – thrilled in fact – to lend a hand. You can not do everything yourself, especially on the day, and especially if you are having a DIY wedding!

Its also a really good idea to have a specific person in charge of certain things, for example the playlist (if you’re not having a DJ or band), keeping the photo booth ticking over and riot-free, and for rounding up wayward family members for the group photos!

4. Have a ceremony rehearsal

We had a rehearsal the day before our wedding and at first I thought it was going to be weird, “Who needs to practice?? I thought, “surely I just walk down the aisle and say ‘I do’?”.

But there’s a lot that goes into some ceremonies (particularly religious ones) so it’s a really good idea to have a run through. In ours, we actually had to respond with “I will”, not “I do” so I would have got that wrong for starters..!

It’s also good to find out in advance things like what to do with your bouquet, who’s going to pass you your vows and when, and where you have to go to sign the marriage certificate.

You’ll also probably be really surprised just how poignant the ceremony is. I’m not a teary, emotional person but I burst into (happy!) tears when we were practising our vows. I’m glad I didn’t do it in front of a church packed with every single person I know!

Oh and practice your walk down the aisle. I practically sprinted down the thing I was so nervous and excited. I was at the bottom before the song had really even begun. Take your time!

5. Have a back up copy

…Of everything! The music, the group shot list, the seating plan… you just never know. Give one of each to a responsible bridesmaid or groomsman.

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How To Stop Worrying About Your Wedding

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Whether it’s something big like stressing that your divorced parents will have an blazing mid-ceremony row, or as trivial as worrying that your flowers won’t match your perfectly planned colour scheme, having a mild pre-wedding freak out is completely normal.

Here’s the thing about worrying though: it’s completely pointless. All that negative energy only serves to emotionally drain you and distract you from more important things. Things like actually taking action and making choices. Worrying also sucks away your motivation to get things done because you’re constantly guessing and second guessing every possible outcome.

So just how do you kick that worry to the curb and tell it that it’s not invited to your wedding?

Realise that worrying is futile

However logical you might think your negative thoughts might be, they are completely unnecessary. It is also well within your power to change your attitude to them. You gain nothing by worrying, and in actual fact, by allowing those thought into your head you’re only adding to the problem because you’re giving them increasing weight. Don’t make decisions based on concern about something that may or may not even happen.

Think positive

If your anguish is over something more serious, like maybe a family member has health issues, then the best thing you can do is change your mindset and focus on sending out positive vibes instead.

You can’t help anyone by dwelling in the negative. If you’re finding it impossible then take a moment to acknowledge your concern, realise that it is valid, but then focus on the potential positive outcome, not the negative one. As I said before, you’re only hurting your own peace of mind by always assuming the worst.

Let the professionals do their jobs

If you have wedding suppliers that you trust implicitly then you’ll have no need to worry that your dress will turn out awful, your photos will be pants or your venue will cancel on you. This all comes down to research. Ask married friends and family who had great experiences, scour wedding blogs and magazines for vendor credits and have meetings with the people you want to book to make sure you’re on the same page. If you have a team behind you that you know are awesome, they’ll be no need to stress about something going wrong on the day.

Delegate!

You can not do everything yourself. I guarantee that most of your friends and family will be thrilled to help you on your big day too. Instead of stressing yourself out that you’ll never stitch those 300 metres of bunting on time, delegate it! Ask people to help you. It will make the whole process a million times less worrisome.

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Join Me Live at 4pm Today!

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Diane + Mike Photography

My first solo Q&A livestream kicks off today at 4pm GMT. For about an hour, I’ll be answering as many questions as I can squeeze in. So grab yourself a cuppa and let’s have some fun!

Have a wedding planning drama you need help with? Want some wedding venue recommendations? Wondering what make up I use? I am an open book, and completely at your disposal!

Click play to tune in below, and feel free to submit any questions via this link by hitting that Q&A button!

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