Category Archives: Wedding Planning Advice

What Getting Divorced Taught Me About Marriage

What Getting Divorced Taught Me About Marriage_Katherine Killeffer for Rock n Roll Bride magazine (4)

It wasn’t until she separated from her husband that writer Gala Darling really started to learn about how to be happily married.

“Divorce is always good news. I know that sounds weird, but it’s true because no good marriage has ever ended in divorce. That would be sad. If two people were married and they just had a great thing and then they got divorced, that would be really sad. But that has happened zero times.” — Louis CK

I got divorced in 2015, and it’s one of the best things I’ve ever done. That’s not to say that I regret getting married — simply that getting divorced was a very positive experience. In the past two years I have completely flourished, grown, and changed beyond my wildest dreams, and I’m also in a relationship with a man who fills my heart in a way I’ve never experienced before.

When my husband moved out, everything transformed. I had what I called “the summer of (radical self) love.” I travelled to Italy and Morocco with two of my best friends, I went out dancing all the time, I filled my house with flowers, and dressed up every day. I started dating and met a bunch of really great guys who made me feel like all was not lost. I began to reclaim and rediscover myself, my sexuality, and my identity.

It’s been a while now, and I’ve had time to unravel what caused my divorce. While it would be easy to point fingers and be accusatory, I think what it simply comes down to is the fact that we both married the wrong person. There were warning signs, of course, but when you’re young and your boyfriend proposes to you, it’s easy to ignore the signals. After all, getting married is exciting! Right?!

It’s a crazy thing, really. I never wanted to get married or have children. My desire was always to be independent: I wanted to travel the world, write books, maybe live in Europe, take lovers. Having someone else in the picture never really mattered much to me. And I had never fantasised about a wedding or a Cinderella-type dress. But somehow, when my then-boyfriend and I started talking about getting married, everything changed.

If I could go back in time, I would gently caution my younger self. I would pay attention to the fact that I was more excited about planning a wedding than I was about planning a life together. Instead of thinking about how “cool” our wedding photos would be, I wish I had thought about how our future would look. I would strip it back and take my time.

What Getting Divorced Taught Me About Marriage_Katherine Killeffer for Rock n Roll Bride magazine (7)

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Spend the Day Together

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Hey you, loved-up-engaged-planning-my-wedding you, can I have a word please? I hope all your planning is going well and that you are gearing up for the day of your dreams. Me? I’m a wedding photographer and I have been for many years now. And here’s a funny thing that after all this time, I’ve only just realised. Like, it’s hit me smack in the face like a wet kipper, realised.

NOBODY TELLS YOU TO SPEND THE DAY TOGETHER

And you know what? Unless you make a concerted effort to, then chances are you simply won’t. Think about weddings: Most couples spend the entire morning apart, they come together for the ceremony (you won’t actually remember much of this bit) then as soon as the confetti has been chucked, you will be talking to the people you know and your lover will be talking to all the people they know. Then apart from your portrait session, chances are you won’t come together again until it’s time to sit for dinner.

Take a good look at most of the weddings on Rock n Roll Bride over over and over again the images with the couple actually together are portraits and formal moments. Cake cutting, speeches, first dance.

Now why do I care? Well, because as a wedding photographer this is the conversation I’m probably going to have with you:

“We love your photography, it’s really natural looking. We hate being in photos, so don’t want to do lots of posing. It would be great if you could just capture us in little moments over the day.”

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I love a challenge but natural and little moments is pretty tough when your couple are on opposite sides of the room or the only significant time they are together is the obvious ‘wedding moments’. I feel like I’m always doing my best to orchestrate ‘natural’. In your couple session, I’m actually hoping to catch those little seconds in between when you think you are being shot, when you are lost in a giggle or just finally looking your favourite person in the face without 100 guests trying to congratulate you. I’m thinking I will get natural when we are walking back from the couple session and you are relaxed as you think formal photos are done with. I’m stalking you all day, camera poised ready but more often than not, I won’t get another shot with you both in it until you are sat at the dinner table.

Once I really thought about it, I began to wonder, is there anything I can do to make a difference?

I shot a wedding last Saturday and I knew that the couple felt super awkward at their engagement shoot. So in the morning I explained to my very lovely bride that if she wanted lots of natural photos to consciously spend the day together with her husband. I told her to make sure they walked together from the ceremony venue to the reception, that they worked the drinks reception together talking to both of your friends and families, that they didn’t just do a first dance together, they did a few. I told them spend the day together to be present through it all.

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Whose Wedding is it, Anyway? Managing Meddling Family Members!

Whose Wedding is it, Anyway Managing Meddling Family Members (2)

Weddings and juggling family politics seems to go hand in hand. So much so that may be feeling like wedding planning is more of an exercise in negotiating family dynamics than a celebration of love. But don’t worry, Rock n Roll Bride is here to help!

You’ve set the date of your wedding and you’ve already decided that it’s not going to be a traditional affair. Your wedding is going to be special, out of the ordinary, something that you’re both going to be proud of. You’ve decided on the theme and it’s all going so well: you and your fiancé agree on all the things you want and you’re kind of wondering what all those brides before you were making such a fuss about. This is fun and easy!

But then something unpleasant happens. It’s like when your smoke alarm goes off when you thought nothing untoward was happening on the stove. Suddenly, everyone has an opinion on your choices and obstacles like anxious bridesmaids and meddling mothers get in the way. In expressing their ideas, they seem determined to destroy yours. Sometimes it’s just the sighs and silent shakes of the head which can crush you even further.

I remember the strained words we had over our wedding song. You would not believe that a three-minute bunch of crotchets and semibreves could cause such a rift. Mum laid the back of her hand across her forehead, much like a Renaissance figurine, “You can’t have THAT song!” she cried, “for heaven’s sake, it’s a wedding!”

You might think I was planning to play a funeral march, or the Hokey Cokey. Dear Lord, no. I wanted Queen, I Want to Break Free‘ I don’t think my mum got the irony.

Whose Wedding is it, Anyway Managing Meddling Family Members (12)

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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′”

30 First Dance Song Ideas for Alternative Weddings (5)

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How to Get the Most Out of Attending Wedding Fairs

A Most Curious Wedding Fair_Eclection Photography (1)

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!

A Most Curious Wedding Fair_Milda Vasile (2)

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.

A Most Curious Wedding Fair_Eclection Photography (2)

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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