Category Archives: Wedding Planning Advice

Ten Questions to Ask Your Wedding Photographer

Wedding planning may be stressful, but you should be able to rely on your chosen suppliers and wedding professionals. Asking the right questions will help you work out which suppliers are best for you. In this new series we’ll be talking you through the kind of things you might want to ask a potential vendor before you book. First up, wedding photographers.

Sophie Elliott is both a bride-to-be and wedding photographer so she’s the perfect person to shed some light.

Choosing your perfect photographer can be a long and difficult process. As a bride-to-be and wedding photographer, I know this only too well. Before you book your photographer, take the time to sit down with them and ask them these questions either in person or via email. You don’t want to find out on the day or after the wedding that they weren’t right for you.

1. How far in advance should I book you?
In general, you should start looking at potential photographers a year or more in advance. Many photographers, however, will accept last-minute bookings and may even offer a discount. Peak wedding season in the UK is May to September, and most photographers will get booked up very early on, but if you’re having a mid-week wedding or winter wedding you may be able to book just a few months beforehand. Make sure to ask your photographer about their availability, and ask them to pencil you in and inform you if anyone else inquires about your date.

2. How would you describe your style?
There are several styles of wedding photography, from documentary and reportage to fine art and high-key, so it’s definitely worth researching which style you prefer before you book your photographer. Would you rather have informal, candid photographs or lots of posed pictures? The style of your photographer will massively impact the end result. Take a look at previous examples of their work before you decide to book, to ensure that they are shooting in the style you desire.

3. How will you interact with us on the day?
Similar to a photographer’s photographic style, they will also have a style of shooting. Some photographers prefer to stay out of the way and capture images from a distance, only stepping in to pose their subjects, while others will be heavily involved in the action. Do you want someone who will be by your side all day long, or someone you will barely notice? There are advantages and disadvantages to both, so it’s entirely up to you what you would prefer.

4. What equipment do you use?
The brand of camera doesn’t matter; nor does the amount of lenses. What does matter is how prepared they are. A good wedding photographer should have some form of external flash, such as a flashgun or off-camera light. It’s also worth asking whether their camera is full frame or cropped sensor. A full-frame camera is preferable as it will impact the amount of detail they can capture in a photograph and how well the camera will perform in low lighting.

5. What does your package include?
This is an important question, because while some photographers will include everything in their package, others will have extras available as add-ons. Check whether you will have to pay extra for travel, how they will deliver their photographs (USB, CD, or download?), how many hours they will be at your wedding for, and if a pre-wedding engagement shoot is included or not. You will want to make sure you are clear on what is and isn’t included, to avoid spending extra money later on.

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In Defence of Mothers of the Bride

Deirdre has been a mother of the bride twice, most recently last summer for her youngest daughter, Rachel, but the first time for me! Yes, this article is written by my very own mother and she has something she wants to discuss…

As a past a present mother of the bride, I have noticed that there are a lot of negative stereotypes around us. The assumption that all MOBs are overbearing, “mumzillas” who are just out of touch and “don’t get it” is not only hurtful, but incorrect. As a mother I only ever want what’s best for my daughters, so I thought I’d try to explain why some of us might act the way they do when it comes to their weddings!

Traditionally mothers of the bride would have done the lion’s share of the wedding planning. Way back in 1982 my mother did everything from deciding on the venue, the catering, and the guests (who were mostly relatives and their friends). They also paid for everything. I didn’t even choose a new dress as I wanted to wear the one she wore in the 50s. My one contribution was managing to squeeze into it on the day! I simply turned up a few days before, did everything that was expected and left Mum to clear up after the event. Not an ideal way to do things perhaps but for me it was almost totally stress-free!

Today most couples live together before they marry and they have their own views and want to be in charge of the event from start to finish. Rock n Roll Bride champions this element of weddings and the phrase ‘your day, your way’ has long been the mantra of the age. You can see that this can cause a ‘perfect storm’ scenario – especially if the parents are paying. Of course you want to have the wedding you want, but most likely your parents still want some input too. Any relationship needs to put communication and compromise to the forefront, and this situation is no different. So rather than stamping your feet or assuming your mother is just being difficult or “doesn’t get it” why not think of ways you can both win?

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Alternative Wedding Songs For Loved-Up Weirdos

Lame wedding music gives us the sads. It’s not easy to find love songs that stand out from typical lovey-dovey wedding crap. If it’s not teeth-rotting candy, it’s done-to-death repeats from internet wedding song lists. If you’ve got an allergy to clichéd wedding songs, you’ll find the antidote here. Startling as it may seem, there are plenty of interesting wedding songs if you know where to look. We’ve put together a list of quirky, alternative and authentic songs for daring lovers. It’s taken some intensive research and lot of late night wine and dancing, but it was worth it.

We hope you enjoy folks, and there’s a spotify playlist to make your life easier.

QUIRKY, CUTESY LOVE

Let’s start with the cutest indie movie in existence, Juno. On the soundtrack you’ll find a humble folk ditty called All I Want Is You, and we’re definitely not talking about U2. Barry Louis Polisar writes children’s music, and he almost didn’t release this song on his 1977 album. But we’re so glad he did, and so glad Juno’s director stumbled upon it and used it in the film’s opening credits. It makes a perfect upbeat recessional, and also happens to sound great played on a banjo.

If you’re a Lou Reed fan, Perfect Day would be a likely wedding choice. It’s a great song, but it’s been done to death. For something a little quirkier and lesser known, try The Velvet Underground’s  I’m Sticking With You. First recorded in 1969, it’s a cutesy and childlike duet with a retro tinge.

And while we’re on the topic of all things innocent, husband and wife duo The White Stripes offer this perfect lullaby, We’re Going To Be Friends. Feel like you’ve heard it before? That’s because it featured in the opening credits of Napoleon Dynamite. It’s just over 2 minutes of childhood, sweetheart folk, perfect for a non-traditional first dance.

If you’re after something with a bit more country twang, Truckstop Honeymoon have the answer. All heart and no bull, their song Johnny & June spells out a forever plan. Not only the good times, but the hard times, and how we’re gonna sort ‘em out like Johnny Cash & June Carter. Cash was famously quoted on his six-word summary of paradise being “This morning, with her, having coffee.” And that’s a kind of love worth celebrating.

It’s girly, cutesy and quirky to the max. How is it even possible this song hasn’t been slathered all over an Apple ad yet? Thank goodness it hasn’t, because this number is wedding-perfecto, and there’s a good chance you won’t hear it at your besties wedding. Adorable weirdo Tessa Violet is a Youtube vlogger and songwriter, and this gorgeous admission of love entitled Just Right couldn’t be sweeter. I mean, for gawd’s sake, it’s even played on a ukulele!

But if you’re more dark quirky than cutesy pop, you might want to check out indie folk band The Mountain Goats. Their song Love Love Love walks through a dark, confronting case history of love’s mysterious manifestations. Lead singer John Darnielle explained in an interview “love can eat a path through everything… it will destroy a lot of things on the way to its own objective”. This song is a message “in the hopes of undoing a lot of what I perceive as terrible damage in the way people talk about this–love is this benign, comfortable force. It’s not that. It’s wild, you know?”

YOU DON’T HAVE TO SAY YOU LOVE ME

I wuv woo schmoopy bear. Ew. Take your gross love fest elsewhere, right? Not all of us want to shout gushy sentiments from the rooftops. In fact, some of us are ‘anti-lovers’. Which makes it challenging to find a wedding song when you’re marrying the person you… ahem, “love”. Beck has the solution for you. Bring some playfulness to the unconventional wedding with Think I’m In Love; for couples who are down with ‘together forever’, but aren’t so sure they’re ready for the big L word. Ha!

Fellow mermaids, rejoice! For here is your siren love song. Laura Marling doesn’t sing with her heart on her sleeve. She has said in interviews, she doesn’t make her music to be known. The shy, introverted and private amongst us can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that the most romantic of wedding songs can be a simple sea shanty like Crawled Out Of The Sea. Lyrically, it’s nothing more than the glorious building repetition of the words “You crawled out of the sea, straight into my arms..” but oh, is it divine…

What if you want to tell your sweetheart you love the pants off them without using the L word? M Ward knows what you mean, and he’s found the perfect way of saying it (without saying it). Never Had Nobody Like You clearly expresses fondness, but holds back on the over-the-top sentiments. Nicely done and nostalgic vibed.

Do you even need to mention the topic of love? We say nay! Thanks to The Sures, an indie surf pop band from Sydney, Australia, your wedding song can be love-free. It can be a melodic explosion of sunshine, sea, waves of lulling reverb and fuzzy guitars. The Sun brings a 1950s style, Beach Boys vibe. And you might remember it from that glorious slow-mo moment on Broad City when Abbi meets Jeremy in the hall..

Sparse, echoing and feminine, Flatlands is a masterpiece of non-verbal romance. Chelsea Wolfe blends dark, doomy folk with delicate phrasing and enchanting vocals. A serious choice without overstepping the mark on lovey lyrics. And what’s even better, Mark Lanegan has covered it. Both are on the accompanying playlist. And there’s no reason you can’t have your wedding band serenade you with a harmony-rich duet version.

Speaking of great male/female vocals, we can’t go past the perfect blend of Josh Homme and PJ Harvey on Make It Wit Chu. This sexy number first appeared on The Desert Sessions, where Homme gathered his rockstar mates to make sweet, sweet recordings. It was later rerecorded as Queens Of The Stone Age. Both versions are pretty similar, so we’ve picked the original for your playlist, because PJ Harvey on backing vocals. ‘Nuff said.

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Should You Elope?

Elopement. This is a word that I’m certain has gone through every bride and groom’s mind at least one during the somewhat gruelling process of planning a wedding. So what happens when you actually decide to act upon it? Lisa Valentine did just that.

When Adam and I got engaged last year, we began to organise our big day shortly afterwards. We flitted between venue ideas, numbers, how long it’d take to save etc. We even picked a date, however a key family member couldn’t make that weekend. So we re-arranged. And yes, another one of our nearest and dearest already had plans on that date. Frustration began to creep in.

The other key factor is that we are both shy. Being painfully introverted meant that the idea of walking down an aisle lined with people filled me with genuine fear. We’d joked about eloping in the past but assumed that, well, we just couldn’t. Our parents would surely be heartbroken and weddings are supposed to be about family after all.

The more we delved into wedding planning, the less fun it became. I was fed up of spending our precious weekends looking at budget venues and finding a wedding dress was proving to be a pretty traumatic experience for me!

After coming home from yet another bridal shop empty handed and deflated, I suggested the idea of elopement again to Adam. I’m still not sure if I truly meant it at the time but the more we talked, the more it began to make sense.

Breaking the news to our family was nerve-racking but you know what? It was actually OK. No drama or fall outs. I’m sure our folks would have loved to see us marry but deep down, they just wanted us to be happy. I am forever grateful to have such understanding and selfless people around us.

In October 2016, we boarded a plane to New York City and tied the knot at the City Clerk’s office, just the two of us.

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Why Every Bride Should do a Boudoir Shoot

Boudoir shoots are nothing new. Hell, I had one when I was engaged in 2007 (and no I’m not going to show you them!) While lots of brides might consider doing them, I’d have to hasten a guess that a lot of you reading this might have dismissed the idea as something silly, vein and super embarrassing. While in 2007 the main marketing push for boudoir photos was an “a gift for your man” (vom) ten years later and I’d still like to encourage you to consider doing one, but as a gift for YOURSELF.

A boudoir shoot is a great way to celebrate what a gorgeous bad ass you are and to create some amazing photographs to reflect that. It’s often easy to get swept up with work, life and current insecurities and not celebrate who we are. It’s a cliche, but when you’re much older I guarantee you’ll look back at photos of yourself now and think “Wow what a babe I was back then!” This is your chance to take some photos for you, but also for future you!

I was submitted this gorgeous set of images by Italian wedding photographer Ludovica Lanzafami recently, and I thought as well as sharing them, I’d use this post to share some things to think about if you’re considering your own boudoir shoot.

Choose the right photographer

This is obviously really important. You want to find a photographer you feel happy with, who will make you feel comfortable. You also want someone who’s on the same wavelength, who understands the style of imagery you want to produce.

Meet them in advance

If possible, I think its always a good idea to meet any photographer before you hire them (whatever the shoot) but especially if you’re doing a boudoir session. It doesn’t matter if the shoot is going to be tame or risque, you’re going to be in a potentially vulnerable situation so you need to be sure you feel good about who you’re hiring.

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Your Size Has Nothing to do with How Happy You’ll be on Your Wedding Day

Many brides-to-be spend months obsessing about losing weight for their weddings. But size 24 fashion blogger, Callie Thorpe, has an inspirational message for us all.

On the 6th of August last year I married my boy. We shared our day with 45 close friends and family in a London warehouse venue. The sun shone bright, we ate ice cream sandwiches for dessert and danced the night away. My dress was a champagne, lace, trumpet gown from Oleg Cassini and (at size 24) I felt more beautiful than ever.

Our wedding ended up going viral, from one important statement I made about my decision to not lose weight for my wedding. The likes of Cosmopolitan, Instyle, Marie Claire and many others featured my story and today I want to share it with you.

The reality is I am a rarity, the wedding industry doesn’t often cater for women that look like me, women with lumps and bumps and thighs that touch. The women on the front of bridal magazines are visions of perfection, perfectly slender, skin so flawless, hair so soft. When you are a plus size bride the idea is that you don’t stay plus size for long because rule number one when planning a wedding: Lose weight.

It’s just the thing you do, almost like a rite of passage, you have one day to look your absolute best and weight loss is deemed the way to get that. You only have to click on Pinterest to see the many wedding diet plans plastered all over the page. ‘Become the woman you want to be for your wedding’ ‘How to lose 14 stone in day’ (well maybe not quite that much but you get my drift).

But what if you are the woman you want to be? What if you and your significant other love you for exactly who you already are?

Early on into planning I began to search for my dream dress, I had no idea what style I wanted so I looked online and called a few boutiques in London to try and find somewhere to try on some dresses. Whilst most were lovely, many told me that they just didn’t stock samples in my size. The only way to try on a dress would be to pin it to me meaning I would simply have to imagine how a dress would look on me instead of seeing it for myself. My heart broke a little, my wedding dreams were crushed, I wanted to experience the trying on of dresses, I wanted to see what it felt like to feel like an actual bride. Annoyed that in one of the best places for shopping in the world I couldn’t get a dress in my size, I asked on Twitter if other plus size women had experienced the same issues. So many people responded with equal disappointment. Some spoke of bad treatment in stores by staff, some described being pinned into dresses much too small for them, some refused to even subject themselves to the experience at all in fear of feeling bad about their bodies. It really shocked me. How could something which is meant to be about celebrating love contribute to making people feel low?

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