Skip to Content

Blog Archives

It’s our turn: Less than six weeks until wedding day!

Thanks to those of you who have said you’ve enjoyed reading my wedding planning posts, and sorry this latest one has been such a long time coming. The thing is, I don’t think we were ever going to have a normal planning process, knowing it would be increasingly difficult for us to focus on it during the busy part of the season. At the same time, I’m not sure we realised just how busy we would be. Almost every email we have received from our lovely clients has started ‘hope your wedding planning is coming along’ or ‘how is the planning coming?’ and it became hard to say, ‘erm not very well’ without sounding contrite. People also say ‘oh you must be winding down now’, but with three weddings in October and November respectively, as well as the ‘albums for Christmas’ deadline looming, we can safely say it’s pretty full on here still. Not that I am complaining mind, it’s brilliant that weddings are no longer a May to September thing anymore.

Of course, it is fine, all the big things were booked in the spring so it will all happen, but we want the little things to happen too. Now I’m the first person to tell our couples ‘don’t sweat the small stuff’ but we really want the little details to work. We don’t want our wedding to look like all the similar albeit beautiful weddings we see in magazines. The fact that we work in the industry makes us want the little details that make this wedding ours all the more.

A bit of  a confession… I suffer from serious work guilt. If there is work to do I find it hard to enjoy doing things for myself as a little voice in the back of my head is telling me someone is waiting for their wedding photos or book proof. This has definitely hampered our wedding planning. Our invites, designed by Tom, sat in bits for about two months waiting for their final flourish. Our evening invites aren’t even out yet (sorry folks!)

Last week though, we were jolted into wedding planning again. I had my first dress fitting, and having not seen her since March, it was reassuring to remind myself I had made the right decision and I still loved it. We had our venue planning meeting and tasting, great to see it again as we hadn’t been back since we booked it in March (unheard of apparently!) so we were forced to make some decisions on the spot which probably did us good! Thursday brought our registrar planning meeting, and we finished choosing our wording in the car on the way, having started in on another car journey a few weeks before. We tried on prototypes of our fab wedding rings. I was forced to think about our wedding and it was lovely (but put in a few late nights to get back up to speed with work.) It’s probably a good thing though that as people demand info it is forcing us to do it!

So here we are, less than six weeks to go. I’m finding it really hard to get excited yet, as it still all seems so far removed from me. We have our pre-wedding shoot tomorrow which should make it feel more real, as well as my hen do at the weekend. Oh and you know all you folk who tell us how nervous you are about being photographed, and we say a pre-shoot is essential? Well here we are and I am terrified. I am quite genuinely unphotogenic, no really I am. We’ll see how that goes shall we?

 

Lina x

READ MORE

It’s Our Turn: The little things…

In the six weeks or so following our engagement, we got all the big things out of the way. Venue, photographer, dress, DJ, all sorted, and then wedding season properly kicked in so our plans were put on the sidelines. With less than six months to go now, we realise it’s time to kick our plans back in, but some of these decisions seem to be the hardest.

Our big choices were fairly straightforward, our venue choice being a little stressful, and photographer choice hard, but thanks to being wedding photographers we knew which suppliers we wanted to work with. What we are struggling with is the finer details – is it just us?

Favours

Being Italian, wedding favours or bonbonierre are considered an essential on the day, but I know my mother has a loft full of little ornaments and nik-naks with the dusty labels bearing the names of various cousins, the sugared almonds attached in their organza pouches way beyond their eat-by date. Favours in the UK have taken on their own form in the last ten years; frequently being of the edible kind – cupcakes, biscuits, chocolates or sweets – usually being devoured alongside the bread roll before we’ve even got a whiff of the starter.

Favours can also take on a more lasting memorial of the day, with small ornaments or gifts such as hankerchiefs or pillows being something nice for people to take home. Also popular is a lottery ticket or scratchcard, although we always wonder what would happen if someone won big – that could be awkward! I asked Lucie Taylor, who gave her guests the lovely scratchcard pictured below at her wedding earlier this year. Did she and Ed consider how they would feel with a big win? “We figured that if someone won big then they were at the day because we loved them and would have been happy for them.” Daw!

Tom and I have considered a monetary route on the favours, but with a donation to our favourite charity instead. I can’t help in thinking would our guests think we couldn’t decide what to do rather than a desire to recognise the charity at our wedding? Especially as our choice would be an animal charity. However, if the charity is linked to the couple in some way, for example a hospice that looked after a loved one, then it can be a lovely way to remember them.

Of course, the favour is a perfect opportunity to go a little leftfield and give your guests something that completely fits your theme, and have a little fun with it at the same time. We’ve also seen some great ‘sharing’ favours, bowls of sweets on each table for people to nibble on and interact with each other. A great idea was the lovely Mr & Mrs Bailey putting a big bottle of Baileys on each table for their guests to enjoy.

It is also completely ok not to do favours at all. After all, you spend so much on canapés, drinks and food, if your intention is not to leave them with a lasting memento of your wedding as the Italians do, then do they really need something else to nibble on? So if you don’t see the point, do away with it, no-one will miss it, trust us.

Ceremony Sounds

Music is another subject we are struggling on a little. We’ve never been the couple to have ‘our song’ so we have been trying to think of music that has the right sentiment and feel for our wedding.. We’re going for an Icelandic wintry theme, so given that we’ve been listening to a lot of Icelandic music this year anyway, it feels right to use this style of music. This doesn’t mean we are just going to play Sigur Ros though! I know what I want to walk up the aisle to but the rest, bah, we shall just have to keep on listening!

Same goes for the ceremony as a whole really, we want readings that have words which mean something to us, but there is such a huge amount of material out there, many of which we have heard at weddings frequently. We’d like to have something literary that is more unknown but there is only so much time someone can spend leafing through books for love passages! Much like the music, we currently have one chosen option, an Icelandic poem which talks about shimmering stars in a day in January – it’s so emotive and reminds us of our engagement, I burst into tears trying to read it aloud to Tom!

I think the thing that is hindering us with readings is that we have heard so many and the same ones over and over again. This is absolutely fine in the individual context of one wedding, as long as the words are right for you then go for it, but we feel we are having to look a little harder for something more unique to us. I’d particularly welcome any suggestions for alternative Shakespeare!

So that’s where we are at. A thunderstorm a week or so ago forced us to spend the evening on a laptop making wedding decisions so we got a couple of things done then. We’ve also been listening to a lot of playlists rather than our usual BBC 6 Music during the day, so we think we have now decided on the signing of the register music. The really hard one is the recessional!

I’d love to hear how you reached your choices…

Lina x

 

READ MORE

It’s Our Turn: Choosing a Photographer

As I mentioned in my first post about our wedding planning, who would do our photography was the million dollar question when we got engaged. Everyone asked the question, and we would just shake our heads looking slightly baffled at the task we had head of us. We knew it would  be a tough job for us, but actually choosing a photographer has easily been the toughest job so far in our wedding planning.

We know it is a saturated market out there. Wedding photographers are ten a penny, really good ones who actually care about your wedding, not just fulfilling a job, are definitely rarer. Yet the day we decided to create our shortlist was really stressful. You see, we are our perfect wedding photographers. Yes that may sound egotistical, but it’s true, we offer the level of passion and service we think a couple getting married deserve, as well as a style of photography that we feel doesn’t just tick a trend box, but rather will last a lifetime and more. Happy to admit we did not look at anyone in our region, we owe it to our clients past and present to uphold the fact that we think they made the best choice!

We started by listing the photographers we knew of and admired. We also looked extensively at the Fearless Photographers directory, of which we are honoured to be members. Something we regularly came across was a great portfolio and then we would delve deeper into the photographer’s whole weddings and see that they were either lacking consistency or worse, just very very average across a whole wedding. There was a lot of tea involved. Tom in particular struggled. He has been honing his craft for over fifteen years and is a very technical photographer – it was impossible for him to step back and not be critical when he saw basic technical errors or missed opportunities. It also seems a lot of photographers out there struggle with basic white balance…

In the end, we went with our gut feeling, contacting a photographer who we have seen in magazines and enjoyed his work. He has his own style, but the images will continue to look great in years to come. He captures wonderful little moments in a documentary style, much like us. We arranged a Skype meeting and he was instantly likeable, in fact, very similar to Tom. We’re not going to ‘out’ him though, as we don’t think it is fair to add any extra pressure, but we are sure we will be giving him a lot of love on here after the wedding. So we are all booked and are really looking forward to having him and his assistant be part of our day, because the important thing for us is that we know we can just enjoy being the bride and groom on the day, not worrying about what shots are being taken and thinking ‘oh I wouldn’t do that there.’ As much as we love what we do, we don’t want to feel like we are at work, we just want to enjoy our wedding day!

 

Lina x

READ MORE

It’s Our Turn: Finding the Dress…

Following on from my post about the slightly frustrating task of finding our wedding venue, I figured I should tackle the subject of finding my dress next as it seems just as hot a topic as finding our photographer. Of course, finding the dress has been more fun, and delightfully surprising actually, as I was never one of those girls who dreamt of her wedding dress as a young girl. I was convinced as a teen I would never meet ‘the one’, that things like that didn’t happen to girls like me, so I never really considered it. Warning, this is a long one!

The only time I had been in a dress shop before was with my sister for her wedding almost ten years ago. We only went to the one, Jasmine Bridal in London, because she had seen the dress of her dreams in an American wedding magazine, and I convinced her she should do a bit of research, to find there was one stockist in the UK. She looked amazing in the dress, and despite the practical me suggesting she try on a few more after, she had found ‘the one’ in the first go.

 

As a self-confessed wedding obsessive since becoming a wedding photographer five years ago, I absorb everything about the industry and regularly read wedding magazines, and I love looking at all the dresses. I always ask prospective clients about their wedding dress shopping journey and, hopefully, give some good advice and wedding dress shopping tips too. I know the styles of many of the main designers and can tell a Maggie Sottero a mile off, separate my Alfred Angelo from Jenny Packham. Now it was time to put my own advice into practice.

I don’t have the sort of figure that can naturally rock a wedding dress. My curves were not made for ivory satin. I do, however, love corsetry so there was some hope… I decided I would make sure I tried on every style of dress going. I would flounce about in a ball gown, sashay around the room in a fishtail and slink into something all vintage-looking and beaded. I also decided I should bring one great friend for the general sessions, rather than bring mum and sister up for the endless try-ons and stick with showing them the shortlist.

Deciding the bridal shops to visit was easy. I have heard many fabulous things from our clients about The Tailor’s Cat in Cambridge. A luxury bridal boutique in Sussex Street, they have some fabulous designers in stock, including Ian Stuart. Ian Stuart has long been my favourite bridal designer. His designs have a theatrical feel about them, they are more dramatic than most, and he is not afraid to bring colour into the palette. If I was going to suit any particular type of wedding dress, I have always had a feeling I was more likely to be an Ian Stuart bride than anything else, so I had to try some on.

 

The great thing about being self-employed is the ability to do things in the week, so I booked a weekday appointment and went along with my close friend Aimee to the Tailor’s Cat, where I was to be looked after by the lovely Kyrie. I was feeling quite nervous on the day, instantly worried that nothing would suit me, but I followed the magazine advice, wore nice underwear and did my hair and make-up, and it is true it did help me visualise the dresses better. Something happened as I started to see all the dresses hung up, I got excited! I loved the fact that I could go through and put the blue disks on as many dresses as I wanted to try on, but I was aware not to overload myself, so I initially chose about 7 or 8.  I made sure I had a real mix of styles in there, big, slinky, sleeves, no sleeves, and there were a couple of dresses that Aimee really liked but I wasn’t necessary fussed about, but I thought it was good to try them on too.

And then an important thing happened. I decided to start with one particular style, to discard it straight away, but when I put it on – it looked great! This changed things immediately, and although I still tried on all the rest, it was clear I should try on a few more in this style.  In my initial pick there were 3 or 4 Ian Stuarts amongst other designers, and Kyrie then showed me another I’d initially discarded but I agreed to try  it. My word. It made a fantastic noise when I put it on and I instantly felt giggly and excited, oh, and Aimee cried.  It felt like a good sign! I tried on a couple more and then Kyrie suggested trying the two favourites back on again, and yep, that really was the one.

It really was great to have the freedom of time by being there on a weekday, so I’d really recommend it. Kyrie was great, not pushy at all and it felt like nothing was too much trouble, but best of all we weren’t rushed. I left that day feeling like I had found it, but I did really want to try on some more dresses, I had the taste for dressing up now and it was such fun!  Next up I headed to Karen Forte in Bassingbourn, a nearby village to me so it was convenient. It was also convenient for Tom’s mum too, and I wanted to invite her to a session as she has not had the opportunity to go dress shopping (Tom’s sister made her own wedding dress, bucked the ivory trend and looked amazing, see below!)  I was honoured to have Karen herself fitting me, she has been in the business for years and obviously knows a huge amount about wedding dresses! Here Karen listened to what I said I was looking for (following my new insight after the first session) and she went off to bring me back some gowns. If I am honest, I was a little disappointed to not be able to root through the racks myself, although Karen did put me in some great dresses and this is probably really helpful if you are not sure what you are looking for. She did pull out an amazing Pronovias dress as my final choice, which I very nearly fell in love with, and may well have had I not already fallen in love with the Ian Stuart.

 

Lastly, I really wanted to visit the lovely ladies of Shades of White in St. Ives. Jo and Anna are a super pair of ladies and again I had some great feedback from clients, so I wanted to give their collections a go. Again there were designer collections there I had admired, such as Ellis Bridal, and the boutique feels luxurious. Like at The Tailor’s Cat, I was given tokens to select dresses to try on which was fun. I tried on another six or seven dresses with the lovely Wendy, coming close to falling for a Romantica dress, but I left still with the niggling feeling deep down that the Ian Stuart was the one. Thankfully Aimee had spent all the sessions taking photos of me on her phone, so I was able to look back and yes, I felt I could stop now. After trying on 23 dresses, I knew I had found the one and didn’t feel I needed to try on anymore, I was done.

Last weekend, Aimee, Tom’s mum, my mum, my sis and I went back to see Kyrie and I put it on again. I got the same butterfly feeling. Everyone cooed and my sister cried. It was definitely it! I didn’t try any more dresses, just focussed the time on looking at accessories that might go with it, as well as trying it with the Vivienne Westwood shoes I have brought for the big day.

So all in all the experience was fantastic, much more enjoyable that I thought it would be. If you are a curvier girl you need to go in with the expectations that the samples won’t fit (unless you go to a plus size specialist), but you can use your imagination about the way they would look done up, and your assistant will usually help you hold it up. Do try on a bit of everything even if you don’t think you will want it – you never know! Why not try them all on, we only get the one chance to do it so make the most of it.

It’s worth mentioning that if I was getting married next year, I would seriously be considering having my dress designed and made by a bridal designer such as the amazing Chantal Mallett,  and I would urge brides who want something a little different to consider doing this too.  Chantal makes the most wonderfully dramatic and creative dresses, but unfortunately I know I just won’t have the time this year to invest in the process. If you have a particular look in mind for your big day why not visit a designer and sketch some dress ideas, such as our gorgeous bride Kate and her bespoke medieval wedding gown by Biggleswade-based dressmaker Helena Smith.

 


 

Oh and in case you are wondering, Tom does know I will be in Ian Stuart, and he is not surprised, he always expected me to me, but of course I have been deliberately vague in this post on what the dress is like. That you will all have to wait and see!

 

Lina x

READ MORE