Category Archives: Wedding Planning Advice

30 First Dance Song Ideas for Alternative Weddings

30 First Dance Song Ideas for Alternative Weddings (4)

Call me a hopeless romantic, but I bloody love a first dance. Maybe it’s the music geek in me, but I just love the idea of getting to share the music you love with everyone. If you don’t already have a special song chosen then it’s the perfect excuse to look for ideas, immerse yourself in lots of lovely music and find a new song that will mean the world to you both for years to come. These are some of my very favourite love songs which could be perfect for a first dance (or any point during your wedding really!) whether you want to jump around together or do the old cling-and-sway…. from Indie to a bit of Northern Soul, absolute classics to lesser-known tracks. Oh, and the theme tune to Father Ted.

I’ve created a Spotify plylist including all these songs too – you’re welcome! I’d love to know your first dance choices in the comments.

You You You You You – The 6ths
“Who has made my dreams come true and turned my grey skies blue?

Simple Song – The Shins
“Love’s such a delicate thing that we do,
With nothing to prove, Which I never knew”

Archie, Marry Me – Alvvays
“So, honey, take me by the hand and we can sign some papers
Forget the invitations, floral arrangements and bread makers”

Everywhere – Fleetwood Mac
“Oh I, I want to be with you everywhere”

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The Book of Love – The Magnetic Fields
“But I, I love it when you read to me,
And you can read me anything”

The Lovecats – The Cure
“We’re so wonderfully wonderfully wonderfully Wonderfully pretty!
Oh you know that I’d do anything for you “

In My Life – The Beatles
“But of all these friends and lovers, there is no one compares with you
And these memories lose their meaning when I think of love as something new”

Stay Young, Go Dancing – Deathcab for Cutie
“Through Autumn’s advancing, we’ll stay young, go dancing”

You’re My Best Friend – Queen
“You’re my sunshine and I want you to know that my feelings are true… I really love you”

You Are The Light (By Which I Travel Into This And That) – Jens Lekman
“Why would anyone need a map or a compass? It’s so beautiful to be guided by you”

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Songs of Love – The Divine Comedy
“So sing while you have time, let the song shine down from above… And fill you with songs of love”

There Is A Light That Never Goes Out – The Smiths
“And if a double-decker bus crashes into us…To die by your side is such a heavenly way to die”

You Make Me Feel Like A Natural Woman – Aretha Franklin
“Before the day I met you, life was so unkind and you’re the key to my peace of mind”

Fire In My Heart – Super Furry Animals
“You’ve got needles and pins and the seven deadly sins, Still I’ve got a fire in my heart for you”

First Day of My Life – Bright Eyes
“Yours was the first face that I saw
I think I was blind before I met you”

Baby I’m Yours – The Arctic Monkeys
“Yours until the poets run out of rhyme…In other words, until the end of time”

Do I Love You (Indeed I Do) – Frank Wilson
“As long as there is life in me, your happiness is guaranteed… I’ll fill your heart with ecstasy, forever darling”

If You Find Yourself Caught In Love – Belle and Sebastian
“Someone to take your life beyond, Another TV ‘I Love 1999′”

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How to Get the Most Out of Attending Wedding Fairs

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Eclection Photography

It is looking like February and March this year are shaping up to be some of the busiest two months I’ve ever had because we are hitting the road and exhibiting at no less than FIVE wedding fairs in seven weeks! Oh lord, please help me.

Wedding fairs can be quite intimidating, but if you go into them with an idea of what you want to achieve and an open mind then they can be really fun and enable you to tick a lot of things off your list all in one day.

Do your research beforehand

When deciding which show to visit, have a look on their website at who the exhibitors are going to be. Then, make a shortlist of the people you really want to see and go to them first when you arrive. This will save you wandering around aimlessly feeling lost and confused!

Buy your tickets in advance

Most shows will offer significant discounts on tickets if you buy them in advance rather than on the door.

I have some exclusive discount codes at the bottom of this post for you too which will give you further savings on tickets for the shows we’re doing to be at this year. You’re welcome!

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Milda Vasile

Think about who you want to bring with you

Try to limit the number of people you take with you. It can be tempting to make it a big day out with your mum, your future mother-in-law and all your bridesmaids, but if you have too many people with too many opinions it may end up confusing you or even making you question what it is you actually want.

Its also really easy to lose people in wedding fairs as the layouts are often designed to encourage you to wander around aimlessly rather than follow a direct route. I’ve lost count of the number of people who come up to me at shows asking if they know where such-and-such a stand is because their friend spotted something shiny and meandered off!

Go along early

Most shows start at 10 or 11am and going early is a really good idea. They get the busiest around the early afternoon and by the end of the day most of the exhibitors will be exhausted! Especially if you have someone you really want to see, get there early so you’re not fighting your way through the crowds to get to their stand.

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Eclection Photography

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10 Things I’ve Learnt About Wedding Planning in 10 Years as a Wedding Blogger

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I usually do an introduction type post at the start of every year, where I tell you who I am and show you around the blog… just like a digital tour guide. But this year, my TENTH as a wedding blogger, I thought it would be fun to try something new.

If you’re anything like I was when I first got engaged, right now you’re feeling a heady mixture of emotions – including but not limited to – excitement, nerves, ecstasy and nausea. You have the mammoth task of planning a wedding ahead of you and all the stresses that come with it. OH ISN’T THIS FUN!?

If you’ve stumbled across this site its probably because the idea of a traditional wedding fills you with dread. If you’re worried about how your grandparents will react to you walking down the aisle to your favourite Megadeath song, or wearing a big white dress and covering your tattoos is quite frankly OUT OF THE QUESTION, then good news! You’re in the right place.

Today I want to put your mind at ease and let you in on the 10 most important things I’ve learnt about wedding planning throughout my 10 years in the wedding industry.

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You will NEVER please everybody

I have lost count of the number of brides and grooms who’ve told me they started their wedding planning without wanting to upset anybody, but when the day rolled around they were really pleased they just picked the things that made them happy.

Look, there will always be someone who doesn’t like some of your choices, but – newsflash! – it’s not their wedding, its YOURS. So start your wedding planning off without the headache of trying to keep other people happy and do things that make you squeal with joy. At the end of the day who cares if someone doesn’t like the food you served, the tunes you played or the dress you wore? It’s your wedding and if they don’t like it they can jolly well stay at home!

Choose things that reflect you

When I look back at my own wedding, I do sometimes wish that we’d been braver with some of our choices. I only started this blog mid-way through planning our wedding and the industry was much, much less open to the idea of weddings that were a bit different. Back in 2008 it was pretty radical that my bridesmaids wore black (yes, really!)

I really wish I had walked down the aisle to that rock song we originally wanted, I wish we had taken the risk and booked that quirkier venue that had never hosted a wedding before, and I do wonder what my flowers would have been like if I hadn’t just agreed to everything that the venue’s recommended florist suggested.

At the end of the day, it didn’t matter of course. I still look back with the fondest of memories, but if I could do it all over again, we would 100% be choosing things that were much more reflective of us.

But don’t be an arsehole about it

This is an important one! Yes you are ‘the bride’ but no you are not always right. No you are not the most important person in the world. No, everyone does not have to do what you say and bow down before you.

A wedding is about two people committing their lives to each other, but its also about two families coming together. It’s also about those you love celebrating with you so do not think its acceptable to just do whatever you want without considering other people. Do not stamp your feet if you don’t always get your own way. Compromise is important. The little boy that got everything he ever wanted didn’t live happily ever after (sorry Willy Wonka), the little boy that got everything he ever wanted turned into a massive brat.

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How to Rock Your Winter Wedding Photos

Photography Farm Shoot Scotland

For many couples, the idea of hosting their wedding in the winter is a really romantic one. A cosy day filled with log fires, twinkly fairy lights and hot chocolate, what’s not to love? Not to mention the fact that you’ll probably save a ton of money with off-season deals! But have you given much thought to how your photos are going to turn out? A winter wedding means less light and if you’ve been carefully curated inspiration boards with images of couples in summer fields or backlit with pretty sunsets during ‘golden hour’ (just as the sun goes down where the light is oh so perfectly pretty!) then you might be in for a bit of a shock.

Make sure you are looking for realistic inspiration for your winter wedding photographs by looking at photos that were actually taken in winter and in a similar location to yours. There is no point pinning pictures of a couple frolicking around the Las Vegas desert or casually strolling along the beach in California if you’re getting married in Milton Keynes in December!

Photography Farm Shoot Scotland

If you are having an indoor winter wedding, earn bonus points with your photographer by considering the lighting inside your venue. From a photography point of view, downlights and uplights are a real nightmare. They both create pools of incredibly bright light and if you’re standing under them you’re going to get really ugly shadows under your eyes and nose. If your venue has directional lighting that’s fine, but I wouldn’t recommend having the key moments (ceremony, speeches) with them right behind you. 

Late afternoon winter light can be very pretty, but the sun goes down quickly. Be optimistic in your planning process and set aside some time for your portraits. If you are getting married in the late afternoon, by the time it comes to doing your formal pictures, it will be dark. Any ceremony after 2pm really limits what can be done afterwards. In the depths of winter it starts getting dark as early as 3pm in some places, so make sure you remember that if you’re doing the bulk of your planning over the summer when it’s light until 10pm!

Photography Farm Shoot Scotland

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Don’t Book a Wedding Photographer Who Does This

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If you’ve been reading Rock n Roll Bride for a while, you’ll know how important I think having a great wedding photographer is. You may also have seen how devastating it can be when it all goes wrong and the photos someone ends up with are either really terrible or, in some truly awful cases, never delivered at all.

This isn’t meant to scare you, but choosing your wedding photographer is a big decision. It also makes me so very sad when I see couples upset because they’re unhappy with their pictures. So today I wanted to give you some concrete guidelines of what to look out for, or more specifically want to avoid, when it comes to booking the person who will capture your day.

You shouldn’t book a wedding photographer who:

Advertises to-good-to-be-true discounts on Groupon 

As a general rule (that part is very important) most of the photographers I see advertising on places like Groupon, Craigslist etc are offering deals that, to me, seem way too good to be true. And this makes me question why they do it and how they can offer such cheap rates.

Let’s look at this this way – a wedding photographer with a decent skill level will not need to discount their rates so much to get bookings. The average cost of a wedding photographer in the UK (for a full day booking) is between £1200-£1800. Of course their are fluctuations due to experience and location to take into consideration, but if someone is advertising saying they’ll shoot your wedding for, say, £100, then clearly something is up. Either this isn’t their full time job, they’re brand new, or their skill level simply isn’t up to par. Its unlikely that they’re going to deliver the same quality of work and service as someone who costs ten times more.

Which leads me nicely onto my second point…

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Is much cheaper than everyone else

Again, there are always rare exceptions to this rule, and everyone has to start somewhere, BUT there is always an element of risk when you book someone who’s newer and still building their portfolio. Yes, they might be an amazing photographer and just finding their feet by offering cheaper deals, but there is always going to more chance that they could make a mistake. It is also unlikely that they will give you the same level of service as someone with more experience.

Of course if you have a small budget and are comfortable with the risk, then by all means, book someone less expensive (it is not my place, or anyone else’s, to tell you what you should or should not spend on any element of your wedding) but always do so with your eyes open. Someone who’s charging much less will in most cases not be as ‘good’ or in-demand as someone who costs the national average or higher.

Undercuts the competition

I guess this one is related to the two points above as well, but its a massive red flag if a photographer will offer to undercut their competition in order to shoot your wedding. It usually means their desperate for your booking which should say a lot about how their business is going. Its also super uncool and a pretty shady way to run a business TBH.

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What Your Wedding Photographer Wishes You Knew

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To get the best wedding photographs it’s important that you and your photographer communicate. Disappointment is almost always a result of both parties expectations not being well aligned beforehand. As well as letting them know what you want, it’s also really important to listen to their advice and to trust their expertise.

Sadly sometimes couples do end up disappointed with their wedding photographs, but it’s almost always because there was a lack of communication with their photographer beforehand. Maybe their expectations were unrealistic or they booked a photographer without fully understanding their style or method of working.

However, if you’ve never worked with a professional photographer before it can be difficult to know what are even the right questions to ask! So I’ve done the legwork for you and spoken to some amazing wedding photographers and asked them to share the things they wish all their clients knew:

“Stop obsessing over the weather! Refreshing the forecast won’t change anything, and rain can actually make for very beautiful photographs. No matter how hard you wish for nice weather, worrying about it won’t make any difference. Rain never ruins a wedding, only people’s attitude to it does. Yes, you might get soggy, your hair might get a little frizzy, and you might have to change some of your plans at the last minute, but you’ll be the cool couple who didn’t give a toss and partied hard anyway! And here’s a little secret – super bright sunshine does not make for the most flattering pictures either. So even if it does rain, get out there and dance, kiss and enjoy it.” Sassy Lafford, Assassynation

“If you’re traveling between different venues for your ceremony and reception then consider moving the ceremony to an early time so that you still have plenty of time for your couple shoot and group shots without missing out on mingling with your guests.” Fiona Watson, Fiona Watson Photography

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“Trust your wedding photographer. If they come up to you during dinner or while your dancing with your friends and ask you to come outside for five minutes then there will normally be a very good reason such as a rainbow, sunset or simply beautiful light. They will have you back in no time and you will get some amazing photos for your efforts. Trust also extends to believing in their ideas and style of photography. They may pick locations or poses that may seem a bit strange to you at the time but remember that you can’t see what they are seeing and it will all make sense when you see the photo.” Neil Douglas, Neil Thomas Douglas Photography

“When a client chooses not to book a professional photographer, instead opting for a friend or family member with a nice camera, I wish I could tell them that they most probably (or rather definitely) won’t get the same kind of service that they would get from a seasoned professional. Yes, a pro photographer may bump the cost of your wedding up (sometimes considerably) but what you get at the end is something to cherish. Uncle Bob may have started to have a tipple or two long before you have finished needing his services, and he may not get round to editing your photos for a considerable amount of time – sometimes if at all. I have had many friends left disappointed when they went down this route for their photos.” Rhian Wood, Rhian Wood Photography

“Please don’t take our photos and post them on social media with yucky filters!! Your photographer will have already edited your photos when they give them to you and it’s totally heart-breaking to see something you’ve spent ages on covered in a yellowy filter! You should choose your photographer because you LOVE their editing style and would never dream of editing them further yourself!” Emma B, ELS Photography

“I’m sure loads of people think wedding photography is as simple as having a good camera and then turning up on the day and snapping away! I wish they knew the reason why the photography can be perceived to be ‘expensive’ and the many, many hours that actually go into their photographs. It’s not just ‘one day’s work’, there is so much preparation beforehand and then all the editing after. Plus there’s all the equipment we have to buy, the training we have to do, the insurance we have to have… when you look at all these factors it really doesn’t work out to be that expensive after all!” Rosie Hunt, Ragdoll Photography

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