Brand New Wedding USB’s

I get ridiculously excited about packaging. When I purchase something and they wrap it beautifully, it makes me want to go back there in the future. To me it shows time and care has gone into something, so what I give to my couples is extremely important to me. Their experience with me is extremely important to me.

I have always given USB’s to my couples but wanted to give them more. After a lot of research, I found these beautiful walnut boxes that allow me to not only deliver a USB but some prints too. I am always saying print your memories, something we don’t do enough now, so why not give my couples a head start by giving them a few prints myself.

I really hope you like them too.

What evening food is popular at weddings?

What evening food is popular at weddings?

As an experienced West Midlands wedding photographer I see trends in weddings come and go but the current trend for outdoorsy, tipi, festival style weddings looks set to stay. Brides and grooms are looking for a more laidback rustic wedding that is more attuned to the way they live and like to enjoy themselves. Therefore when it comes to the question what evening food is popular at weddings? The answer is anything tasty, informal and fun. This is why many couples and wedding planners are increasing serving pizza to their guests in the evening.

So hiring a caterer with their own authentic wood fired oven to cook to serve pizza directly to your guests could be a good way to go. What better gives that festival vibe than a street food style stand making fresh pizza to order?

Though you may not need to use a separate caterer. Find out if you’re wedding venue has an outside pizza oven now (many of them will). Then you can have waiters delivering pizza slices on wood or slate boards directly to tables for guests to tuck in to thus creating a fun and intimate eating experience. Alternatively, pizza can be ordered bespoke for guests and served in ‘take away style’ boxes.

Think about it, with pizza you don’t have to cater to different tastes or intolerances as gluten free, vegetarian and vegan options for pizza are easy to accommodate. You won’t need to worry about arranging separate food for children as pizza is always a firm favourite with kids. And unlike buffet food that just sits there pizza can continue to be cooked and served hot and fresh well in to the evening. Just imagine your guests enjoying a midnight snack after coming off the dancefloor.

One caterer I have worked with making stone baked pizzas at weddings is Heather at Rustic Roast Kitchen (www.rusticroastkitchen.com). Their pizzas are made from fresh local ingredients and are handmade in their street food style Kahuna Hut and then cooked fresh in their wood fired oven on site at any venue or location of their bride and grooms choice.

Other advantages of using an external caterer is that they are mobile, flexible, need minimal setting up time and require no external power meaning you can park them wherever you like at your wedding!

Let’s face it pizza is the number one food of choice at any party. So whether you choose to have your own unique and charming pizzeria rock up at your wedding, or have your venue cook pizzas in their outside oven and serve it to tables, there is no doubt. Pizza will be a sure-fire hit with your wedding guests!

Chiswell Street Dining Rooms Wedding – Jules and James

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It’s always really interesting where my couples find my work to be able to get in touch and Julia found me on Pinterest, searching for her venue. I’ve been to Chiswell Street Dining Rooms before and was really excited to be going back.

Bridal prep was in full flow when I arrived at Jules’s Mum’s house. After seeing Jules in her Piglet onesie and slippers, I think it’s something every bride should wear the morning of their wedding!

The ceremony was held in the beautiful Islington Town Hall. As Dad waited patiently outside, James was looking more nervous inside.

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The ceremony was lovely, with smiles and tears all round, ending with one little boy very keen to throw the confetti! A Red London bus was waiting outside with prosecco onboard for the journey and everyone jumped on and headed for Chiswell Street Dining rooms.

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Chiswell Street Dining rooms is a beautiful venue for weddings. With their big windows allowing light to pour in upstairs and then the evening being held downstairs, creating a cosy atmosphere.

Jules and James arrived to live music being played. Whilst guests enjoyed the amazing canapés on offer, the three of us went for a walk around the Local streets. London offers so many amazing backdrops, including some garden terraces that you’d never know about unless you were shown.

As usual the food was out of this world and before we knew it, everyone was laughing to the very funny stories and speeches being told and dancing the night away.

Thank you so much Guys for asking me to capture your wedding day!

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Should I buy wedding insurance? Take a look at this blog where I talk about wedding insurance.

Should I buy wedding insurance?

Over my years as an experienced Birmingham wedding photographer I have had several panicked calls from stressed brides because the photographer they booked has let them down and they don’t have wedding insurance. I always endeavour to shoot their wedding for them and if I’m already booked on their date, I help them to find somebody who can. On top of the stress they often end up paying out twice for a wedding photographer. This happens to me at least once a year and I always feel so sorry for the brides and grooms involved.

Weddings are happy occasions that almost always go off without any drama (unless you’re a soap opera character!) However there are many things that could happen that are beyond your control and could mean that your wedding has to be cancelled or rearranged. So, in my opinion, the short answer to ‘should I buy wedding insurance’ is yes! You definitely should.

Having a photographer let you down is terrible but is just one of many things that can go wrong. Imagine your wedding venue having a fire or a flood and is consequently inaccessible to you and all of your guests. Imagine any of your suppliers going bust, your wedding and bridesmaids dresses get damaged and ruined, extreme weather preventing half of your guests attending, or the unthinkable thought of the bride or groom becoming extremely ill. What happens then?

With the average cost of a wedding in excess of £27,000 (an increase of 9.6% on the year before) it seems insane that anyone would not factor the small cost of wedding insurance into their budget. It’s true for some things you are covered by paying by credit card (if the supplier lets you) but this will not cover everything that wedding insurance can.

So how does wedding insurance work?
Wedding insurance policies offer fixed amounts of protection, so you just work out how much your wedding costs and then find a policy that gives you enough cover. For example, if the total cost of your wedding is £20,000, then you’ll need to get a policy that offers this amount of cover for cancellation or rearrangement. The policy starts from when the cover is taken out and ends once your wedding is over. You can take out a policy up to two years before your wedding date. The earlier the better as some insurers may insist you take out cover before you book anything.

Like any purchase, shop around and compare providers and make sure you’re clear about what is and isn’t covered in the insurance.

Planning your wedding is fun and exciting and having the peace of mind of knowing that you are covered should anything go wrong is worth the cost of buying the insurance. It’s a drop in the ocean compared to what my couples pay for the whole day.

Garden Wedding Reception – Sarah and Alex

Garden Wedding Garden Wedding

I love shooting Cotswold weddings especially when I get to work with great couples like Sarah and Alex who had a beautiful summer wedding in the pretty and historic market town of Chipping Campden.

Sarah’s parents Karen and Thomas opened up their beautiful home and garden to host the wedding. On the day I arrived early so I could take some shots of Sarah and her bridal party making their final preparations.

The family had worked flat out to create a perfect wedding venue. The marquee, all dressed and ready to receive the guests, looked fabulous and the garden looked simply stunning.

Sarah was in good hands with her family and maid of honour Emily there to help her with any final preparations. Along with some of the four flower girls (Lizze, Emily, Emma and Nele) Sarah looked stunning in her lace vintage style fitted dress, the very essence of beautiful and understated glamour.

I took the opportunity to take some family shots at the house before heading to the St James’ Church in Chipping Campden for the ceremony. St James’ Church is one of the finest examples of a wool church in England and has been a religious site since before 1180 AD. An impressive building rich in history it remains a vibrant and relevant church to this day.
Once there I caught up with Alex who was looking resplendent and happily greeting guests. Sarah and her dad Thomas arrived in style in a gorgeous vintage car.

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The ceremony was conducted by Reverend Craig Bishop and was beautiful. I made good use of the amazing light that shone through the enormous and many stained glass windows to get lovely images. After the ceremony there was a confetti moment on the beautiful sand stoned porch before everybody headed off to the reception back at Sarah’s parents’ house.

Now I love a bit of fun wedding transport, so seeing Sarah and Alex heading of in the beautiful vintage car and all of their guests aboard a traditional red double decker bus was a delight.

Once there everybody enjoyed a drinks reception with musical accompaniment by a great five piece band and I took the opportunity to whisk Sarah and Alex away to take some portrait shots of them around the magnificent gardens which provided the most perfect backdrop for the shots.

Now it’s the little touches at weddings that I like as they say something of the couple’s personalities and at Sarah and Alex’s I particularly liked the table plan. Tables were named after British flowers, hand painted and elegantly displayed in a vintage frame. It was so pretty and chic.

For the wedding breakfast everybody was seated and then Sarah and Alex were enthusiastically piped in by a traditional Scottish piper. After a sumptuous meal there were some very well received speeches and the cutting of a beautiful four tiered wedding cake.

Evening entertainment was provided by a brilliant live band who kicked things off with a romantic first dance for Sarah and Alex. And it was the image of the two of them embraced on the dancefloor, with all of their loved ones around them, that felt like a fitting shot to close the story of their day.

This wedding was a dream booking. A gorgeous and elegant summer wedding full of love and laughter. Congratulations to Sarah and Alex for getting married and creating such a wonderful day for yourselves, your family and your friends to remember.

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The pro’s and con’s of using a friend or family member to shoot your wedding.

The pro’s and con’s of using a friend or family member to shoot your wedding.

Being an experienced Birmingham wedding photographer it hasn’t escaped my notice that the average cost of a UK wedding last year was over £27,000. That’s a rise from the previous year of a whopping 9.6%. In this climate it is not surprising that couples are looking to make savings when arranging their wedding. It may be tempting to ask a friend or family member to take your wedding photographs. If you are thinking of doing this, here are few things you will need to consider first.

How skilled is your friend/family member with their camera?

There’s more to photography than having a nice camera. A professional photographer has experience of taking photos in different light, different conditions, composing different shots and executing it perfectly.   The camera doesn’t do this, the photographer does and this results in consistency meaning that you get not one or two stunning photos, but a whole albums worth.

Wedding venues like churches, barns and castles can have poor light. Professional photographers know how to get the best shots even in the trickiest of lighting. They know how to work with the sunshine to grab the best opportunities for outside shots.   A professional has doubtlessly shot weddings at your venue before, they will have an established working relationship with your venue and will know the best backdrops, positions and light when photographing you and your wedding guests.

If your friend is a professional photographer then you’ve really lucked out but if they’re an enthusiastic amateur with a new toy that they’re keen to try out on your wedding day then you may want to reconsider.

Does your friend/family member have the right equipment?

On the day your friend or family member will, as an absolute minimum, need:

  • Two Camera Bodies (one to shoot on, one as a backup)
  • A fast wide angle lens
  • A fast telephoto lens
  • A spare lens
  • Two speed lights (flashes) and batteries
  • Around 100gb of memory cards

What is you and your friend or family member’s backup plan if something goes wrong? Read more

An Outdoor Wedding – Kai and Melissa

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As an outdoor wedding photographer, I get to meet some great couples and this was definitely the case when I met Melissa and Kai. They were a delight to work with and their country farm wedding was a delight to shoot. Let’s start at the beginning of their day.
On the day I arrived early at Studd Farm Barns (holiday accommodation owned and ran by Kai’s parents) where the wedding party were getting ready for the day. I took the opportunity to take some shots of the beautiful hand built barn, especially built for the wedding and marquee all dressed and ready for guests. Everybody had clearly worked very hard and it looked absolutely amazing. Imagine vintage rustic charm and you’re there. In fact you don’t have to imagine, take a look at my images.
I also got a chance to take some shots of Melissa, Kai and their wedding party as they excitedly got ready before heading to St Swithun Church in the pretty market town of Drayton Market for the ceremony.
Melissa looked stunning in her dress that she bought at wedding Belles in Frodsham with hair by Sophie at Envision Hair and makeup by Natalie Ravenscroft. Melissa looked beautiful and had her attentive bridesmaids Claire and Sophie along with her Auntie Wendy on hand to help her with any final preparations.
St Swithuns is an impressive building and a traditional village church. Churches can sometimes be dark places but St Swithuns has fantastic light shooting through the large stained glass windows which assisted me greatly! The ceremony was beautiful and was conducted by the Reverend Andy Ackroyd. Weddings are family occasions so it’s lovely when beloved pets are included. So the sight of Melissa and Kai’s dog running down the aisle to join them was one of my favourite moments of the day.
It’s always nice to work with other professionals in the industry and this the case with Best Wedding Videos who filmed the wedding.
The weather was not kind to us at this point, so we were unable to take too many images outside the church. We opted to head straight back to Studd Farm for the reception. On arrival everybody enjoyed a canapes (provided by Gold Goose Events) and drinks reception and whilst guests were being seated for the wedding reception I took the opportunity to take some quick portrait shots of Melissa and Kai in the beautiful hand built barn. Now it’s the little quirks at weddings that tell you something of your clients’ personalities and with Melissa and Kai it was the portrait shots including the dog and Melissa’s red wellies!

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Next it was the wedding breakfast and Melissa and Kai entered to rapturous applause. After a sumptuous meal again provided by Golden Goose Events and some very well received speeches, the weather was a little kinder so whilst guests meandered about chatting, I quickly took Melissa and Kai to catch some portrait shots of them around the farm and set against the beautiful Shropshire countryside.
Evening entertainment started with a romantic first dance with musical accompaniment by live band ‘The Lost Boys.’ The image of Melissa and Kai embraced on the dancefloor with all of their loved ones looking on seemed a fitting one to close the story of their wedding day.
This wedding was everything that is great about being an outdoor wedding photographer. A rustic, relaxed and fun farm wedding for this laid back pair. Congratulations to Melissa and Kai for getting married and creating such an amazing day to remember.

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Suppliers:
Studd Farm Barns (holiday accommodation) www.studdfarmbarns.co.uk
Hair: Sophie @ Envision Hair sophieatenvisionhair@gmail.com
Makeup: Natalie Ravenscroft nravenscroft@hotmail.co.uk
Dress Shop: Wedding Belles Frodsham www.weddingbellesoffrodsham.co.uk/
Videographer: Best wedding videos www.bestweddingvideos.co.uk
Entertainment: The Lost Boys Band thelostboysband@hotmail.com
Caterers: Mandi Wilson Golden Goose Events info@golden-goose-events.co.uk
Cake: Wendy McDonald Wendy’s Cupcake Kitchen

Shustoke Barn Wedding – Ian and Sian

Shustoke Barns Wedding

I met Ian and Sian at a venue open day event and soon received an email with details of their date and venue, to see if I had availability. Thank goodness I did as their plans sounded amazing and they had booked the beautiful Shustoke Barns.

It’s quite common for my couples to book their wedding photography a year in advance, so I didn’t have too long to wait until their big day. Sian and Ian’s ceremony was at All Saints Church, Sheepy Magna. I’ve captured weddings there quite a few times and was really happy to be sharing their day with them there too.

We all then travelled to Shustoke Barns for the wedding reception and as soon as I walked in, the first thing I saw was the beautiful florals and styling. Shustoke Barns seems to have the ability to attract the most relaxed and lovely couples and Sian and Ian were no exception.

After the guests enjoyed the wonderful food the venue has to offer, they danced the night away with The Hot Shots entertaining them.

Shustoke Barn Wedding Read more

Tipi Wedding Photographer – The best of!

Tipi Wedding Photographer

I am very fortunate to be able to capture tipi weddings often and the couples they attract are so relaxed and creative. One of the main reasons I love them so much!

When I say creative, I mean you never know how the decor is going to look from one wedding to the next. I’ve seen festival themed tipi weddings, pastel colours, skulls as table centrepieces, yurts for your guests to sleep over in, rain and my couples not caring, bumper cars, you name it, i’ve seen it at a tipi wedding.

Just having that freedom for you to create the perfect day, that suits your personalities completely, is something amazing in itself.

Elite Tents are often the tipi company I get to work alongside regularly and I can’t fault their passion in what they deliver.

I know from the beginning it might seem a lot to organise but that is what we are there for and I can help you with recommendations or advice every step of the way.

I have put together some of my favourite pictures from a few of the tipi weddings I have captured, just to give you some inspiration for your day. Really hope you like them….

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Best Mythe Barn Wedding Photos

Over the last two weeks I have been putting together this blog post. I started it by thinking I could do it in a day but when I actually started looking into it further, choosing my favourite pictures, I’d actually not considered how many weddings I had captured at Mythe Barn.

Mythe Barn is probably the venue I shoot weddings at the most. The couples it attracts are always very relaxed and just want a great party surrounded by their family and friends. This is why I love them and they suit me perfectly!

The venue is so light and neutral inside, so it suits any theme and ideas that couples might have in mind. The food is up there with some of the best I’ve had and the Galloping Gourmet team are there for couples every step of the way.

I feel very privileged to have the opportunity to capture weddings there as often as I do. Every time I’m at the front of the Oak Barn, watching on as the I do’s are said to one another, I count myself lucky that I am the one to get that front row seat. Read more