The Jasmine Star London Workshop – A Review

July 26, 2011

A few months ago I approached wedding photographer Jasmine Star to ask if she’d be at all interested in coming to London to teach a workshop for photographers and if so could I help her to organise it.

My motives were entirely selfish. She has inspired me and the way I run my business ever since I was first introduced to her by a friend… and I wanted to meet her!

At the beginning of the year I set myself three goals. One of them was to meet Jasmine Star. I’ve learnt that nothing ever falls in your lap, and with her being based in Orange County and me (just outside of) London, it was unlikely I was ever just going to ‘bump into her.’ So I decided that if I wanted it to happen I better bloomin’ well try and do something about it. Jasmine and I have spoken over email a few times in the past, but to try to persuade her to fly half way across the world to a country she’s never been to…was I thinking too big?

Fast forward a few months and I’m waiting in the reception of The Rookery Hotel waiting for Jasmine and her husband JD to come down and meet me. I’m nervous as hell.

I heard Jasmine before I saw her. Whispering (!) to JD as they walked down the stairs, wondering if I’d be waiting (erm of course I was! I was in fact 45 minutes early, this was not a meeting I wanted to be late for.) However as soon as they walked in my nerves dissolved. Their smiles lit up the room. We hugged and squealed. A bundle of energy and excitement, Jasmine was even wearing a bright yellow dress like me. That means we’re destined to be Best Friends Forever right?

Alicia of One Marylebone, Jasmine & I (both rocking the yellow), taken by a guy who had apparently “never used one of these iPhone things”(WTF?!)

The day before the workshop Jasmine and I planned to hang out, explore London and get to know each other. We went to check out the beautiful One Marylebone where the workshop was being held. Jasmine actually thought I was joking that it was the real venue when we stepped out of Great Portland Street tube! It’s a pretty impressive building.

I took her to Harrods (she needed to see the pet section and the confectionery hall!) We wondered around Soho, we ate at my favourite Thai restaurant and we talked, laughed and gossiped a lot. I asked her question after question and I even got some great ideas from her of things to do with Rock n Roll Bride next…(watch this space.) Jasmine asked me who on earth Jedward were any why they were all over the television (cringe!) and I taught her the difference between being ‘British’ and ‘English’. I asked her who her favourite wedding photographers were and she asked me about wedding blogging in the UK.

While all this was going on JD went for ale and fish n chips…well, when in England…

After some filming with Richard of FX Films (video at the bottom of this post) the four of us went to dinner. Following this was a drinks reception that I’d organised at the roof garden of the The Sanctum Soho Hotel for all the workshop attendees.

Walking to the hotel Jasmine was nervous. Endearingly so. Here was this rockstar photographer and she was just as nervous about meeting all the attendees as they were about meeting her! As we walked in a quiet hush came over the room as I imagined people thinking “Oh my God she’s actually here.” We drank cocktails & wine, ate nibbly things and got to know each other. Nervous giggles soon turned to hugs and belly-laughs as Jasmine & JD took the time to talk to everyone and put them at ease.

The morning of the workshop I woke up at 5am, eager to get to One Marylebone and for the day to begin. The Rookery Hotel where we stayed was beautiful and quiet…just what we needed before the mental day ahead. Although Jasmine did joke that we might get thrown out because we were pretty loud in comparison!

In terms of the actual content of the workshop, the day was broken into covering ‘The Eight Components of Branding’. Some of the workshop attendees have written blog posts and reports of their own experiences of the day, so be sure to pay them all a visit if you are interested in learning more about it or to see their photos.

♥ Eliza Claire Photography ♥ Caroline Lavelle-Nicholson ♥ Cathiegraphy ♥ Jaz Ampaw-Farr Photography ♥ Firetop Photography ♥ Emma Hutchinson Photography ♥ Peter Hearl Photography ♥ Photos by Jessica ♥ Tony Whitmore Photography ♥ Ria Mishaal Cooke Photography ♥ Delia McDonagh Photography ♥ Caro Hutchings Photography ♥ Denise Noone Photography ♥ Carrie Bugg Photography ♥ Lucy Gregory Photography ♥ Leo Bojesen Photography ♥ Lucy Down Photography ♥ Mark Osbourne Photography ♥ Cristina Rossi Photography

Even as a non-photographer the workshop contents were super inspiring. Watching Jasmine’s videos and reading her blog posts were actually the sole catalyst to me re-branding Rock n Roll Bride back in July last year, so hearing the lady herself speak in actual real life was…well…amazing. There were definitely a number of ‘ding ding ding!’ lightbulb moments and even Sev the hairdresser was sat at the back with me frantically typing notes on his phone!

After a delicious lunch provided by The Recipe (be sure to check them out if you’re on the look out for wedding caterers…amazing!) was a shoot with a real life bride and groom. I’d set up a mini styled shoot with some incredible flowers from Pollen Nation, furniture from Great Hire and cakes from Restoration Cake and Janet Mohapi-Banks. Our models, Rachel & Dan who were married just last February were made up by Severin Hubert of The Hepburn Collection and Elbie Van Eeden. The purpose of this section of the course was not simply for the photographers to take ‘pretty pictures’ but to direct, pose and photograph our models in a way to create images that reflected their own individual brand. Before each student stepped up to shoot they had to tell the group three words they’d use to describe their brand…and then shoot the couple accordingly.

It was at this point that I wished I’d brought my camera. I desperately wanted to have a go, but my mobile phone camera wasn’t going to cut it next to the others was it?

Rachel wore a dress by David Fielden, shoes by Belle, an incredible headpiece by Liberty in Love, a necklace by Cymbeline Paris and a bracelet by DC Bouquets.
Dan wore a suit by Ted Baker.

To say that last week was a whirlwind few days would be a massive misrepresentation of what I experienced in meeting Jasmine & JD and organising this workshop. Words literally can’t express how thrilled I am about how everything turned out and I owe a huge debt of gratitude to all the suppliers and my friends who worked with me to pull this event off, and of course to Jasmine & JD for travelling 5500 miles to make my dreams come true.

Thank you thank you thank you a million gazillion times to…

Venue: Alicia at One Marylebone, London
Flowers: Pollen Nation
Cakes: Restoration Cake (mini cakes) and Janet Mohapi-Banks (large ‘rose’ cake)
Furniture (chairs/tables/screen/sofas): Great Hire
Caterers: The Recipe
Hair: Severin Hubert of The Hepburn Collection
Make Up: Elbie Van Eeden
Behind the Scenes Video: Richard Wakefield of FX Films
Models: Rachel & Dan

I love you all very much.

Oh, and don’t forget about the video. It’s amazing non? Doesn’t it make you wish you were there? OK I’m gonna start persuading Jasmine & JD to come back next year then…

Video Credit: FX Films
All Photography Credit: Jasmine Star (&JD!)

You can read Jasmine’s reports on the event and see more photos here and here.