How to choose a wedding photographer

Wedding at Langtons House, Essex

Picking your wedding photographer is one of the most important decisions you’ll make for your big day – after the dress and partner-to-be of course, but it’s way up there on the list. So you want to make sure you get the right photographer who will capture you and your day perfectly. We expect that cost will be a factor, but with so many talented photographers out there, we also know that there will be one who will be within your budget. So what else do you need to consider then? Continue reading


Big day duties

What does the Best Man or Maid of Honour do?

Being asked to be a Best Man or Maid of Honour is a great privilege. You’ll be feeling ecstatic about being asked to support the happy couple on one of the biggest and momentous days of their life. You’ll be supporting the couple in their preparations as well as on their wedding day. But what exactly is expected of you?

What is a Best Man/Maid of Honour?

The Bride/Groom usually selects a close friend or relative who they want to guide and support them throughout the wedding planning, as well as on the day itself. Key duties you may be asked to assist with are organisation of the stag/hen parties, organisation of ushers and the wedding party and to act as a contact on the day to ensure the couple are free to relax and enjoy their day. You will have often met many of the couples family/friends beforehand so you’ll be the ideal person to speak with or to address any issues should they arise.

Will I need to help plan their wedding?

Each wedding is different so you may or may not be involved in the planning process.

Some couples prefer to arrange and plan their own wedding, whilst others like to have a helping hand along the way. You may need to assist with any DIY or craft projects – so be prepared to get creative! One of the biggest duties will be helping with bridal and groom outfits. Couples can often pay for the majority of the outfits worn by the wedding party but sometimes they may ask for a financial contribution. Make sure this is openly discussed in the early stages of planning so there there is no confusion later on.

Pre-wedding celebrations (aka the stag and hen do!)

It’s fair to say that it is likely you will assume responsibility for organising this and to ensure they go without a hitch. We love a contingency plan, so be sure to factor in any rainy weather activities as a back up, just in case of any inclement weather.

First off you’ll need to understand who the Bride/Groom want to invite and you’ll then need to start considering prospective dates and locations. As diaries and locations can often get booked up quickly we recommend giving plenty of notice to those invited as some may need to make arrangements with work, time off and child care.

Other aspects to consider relate to the cost of organising the parties. Be aware that not everybody may be able to afford a weekend away, so you may need to have several ideas prepared to suit most.

Speeches

Wedding tradition would stipulate that certain members of the wedding party and family should make speeches. But these traditions are being followed less and less these days, with more couples making their own decisions when it comes to who they’d like to make a speech. For instance, the Maid of Honour and Bridesmaid would not usually make a speech but we have seen many weddings with the Bridal Party making a collective speech. Don’t be afraid to break away from tradition.

Always plan your speech! We wouldn’t recommend having nothing prepared as this could lead to your embarrassment and wedding guests not enjoying a speech being made up on the spot. Consider your audience and ensure you have something for all to enjoy. Whilst a speech filled with jokes may appear fun at first, it can quickly become distasteful and guests may not appreciate the humour. Aim for your speech to be no longer than 10 minutes – any longer and you may find guests may get bored!

Looking for something a little different? If you’re feeling brave and are confident enough – sing your speech! Take a look at this video by Tom McFly!

On the day

Make yourself known to venue staff and suppliers so they know who you are. If instructed by the couple to be a main contact, make sure everyone knows to run any problems that arise by you. Finally, go through the wedding contract and day plan to ensure everyone knows what is happening and when. Get yourself prepared in plenty of time to meet and greet wedding guests – then you’re good to go!

Have a wonderful time in helping create the most special day – it’ll be a day you’ll never forget, for the right reasons!

#HappyWeddingPlanning


We heart 2 of Harps

2 of Harps

The next supplier we’re featuring on the blog are the superbly talented Karina & Adel Wilson from 2 of Harps.

Karin and Adel are a pair of professional harpists who play a variety of music, including traditional, classical, Scottish, modern, contemporary and jazz. Not only do they play harps but they’re also classically trained vocalists – now that’s some repertoire!

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Choosing your wedding band

Funky Buddha

So, you’ve spent endless hours in planning your wedding and the big day is here at long last. It’s a day you’ll both remember for the rest of your lives. You’ve had a beautiful ceremony and spent time with your family and friends who are sharing your special day.

It then comes to your evening entertainment – and no wedding would be complete without some fantastic music to get the evening celebrations going and to keep the party going long into the night!

But how do you pick a band for your wedding? We turned to our friends Funky Buddha, a Brighton-based wedding party and corporate event band to get a few pointers…

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Our top 20 wedding hacks

Bride and groom on stairs

Planning your perfect wedding takes a lot of time, effort and money. We all lead busy lives and often don’t have enough time to dedicate to hours upon hours of wedding planning, so to save you time and money we’ve compiled a list of our top 20 wedding hacks! If you’ve got any hacks of your own, let us know on social media!

#1 Set up a wedding only email address

It’ll make communicating with suppliers much simpler and less stressful. It means your personal and work emails don’t get a continual influx of wedding related emails, making finding a particular email like looking for a needle in a haystack! Share the log in details with your other half and everything is in one place. Ta-daa!

#2 Pinterest, who?

With thousands of ideas at your fingertips, install Pinterest this second onto your phone or tablet. It will give you lots of inspiration and ideas to consider and helps when trying to execute and explain your vision to others. There are thousands of ideas ready to be discovered and it’ll give you both some free wedding inspiration.

#3 Be realistic

With everything from budgets, guest lists and honeymoon destinations to name but a few. Be realistic in terms of affordability and what you can afford with what you intend to spend. Don’t have a huge shock when it comes to paying the bills!

#4 Open that mind

If you’re looking for ways to control your overall spend, consider visits to eBay or charity shops. You’ll be surprised at what bargains there are available. Many couples that have already had their weddings will likely sell on their wedding purchases at a fraction of the purchase cost. Also be sure to check out local Facebook wedding groups where there are always continual adverts for items for sale.

#5 Code your RSVP

When sending your RSVP and invites, number the RSVP to the corresponding guest. It makes meal preferences, table plans and EVERYTHING much simpler! It also helps in the event an RSVP is sent back with no name – you’ll know exactly who it is from!

#7 Table plan – Post-It Notes

Jot down each individual guest name on a sticky arrow tab. Have a blank table plan and then have heaps of fun in sticking the guests where you want to site them. It’s as easy as that!

#8 Gift Lists

If you already live together you probably won’t want a traditional gift list, as you’re likely to get lots of kitchen or home accessories. Instead look for a honeymoon gift list, experience led gift list or consider kindly requesting money to put towards a memorable present of your choosing.

#9 Sending an RSVP? Use a personalised address stamp

This will save writing the same address 100’s of times – your handwriting after the first 10 will suffer too!. Websites such as Etsy and notonthehighstreet.com have lots of stamps available.

#10 Inform your bank

When it comes to paying your suppliers you’ll be making a number of high value withdrawals/transactions (potentially). To stop your bank considering any fraudulent action is taking place – inform them beforehand to save any embarrassment.

#11 Summer wedding?

If your wedding takes places during the summer months, consider having an Order of Service which double sup as a handy fan to keep your guests cool. Happy guests = Happy wedding purse!

#12 Utilise your friends

If you know of friends that can help with you music for your evening reception, kindly ask them to help out and ensure you tell them the kind of music you want played. You want to avoid any songs that make cause offence or upset!

#13 #WeddingHashtag

To get your guests sharing photos of your day, pop your wedding hashtag onto your wedding stationary and in no time you’ll have a vast range of photos throughout your day in one place. However be certain that you want your wedding photos uploaded to social media.

#14 Order a wedding day takeaway

If you’re worried about not having time to eat, ask your caterer to pack a ‘to-go’ bag you can take at the end of the reception so you and your husband/wife don’t leave feeling hungry!

#15 Wifi or no Wifi?

If you’ve got guests ‘Skyping’ to watch the ceremony, check there is a secure Wifi connection beforehand. You don’t want them missing a single second of your beautiful day!

#16 Veil Weights

If you’re planning on having an outdoor wedding, some veil weights will stop you whipping your guests in the face!

#17 Don’t get Stuck In The Mud!

Get some heel protectors for you and your guests to stop them sinking outdoors into the ground.

#18 Static wedding dress

If you’re having an issue with static on your wedding dress, run a metal clothes hanger over it and hey presto – no more static!

#19 Red, Red Wine…

Planning on swigging some glasses of red wine during your wedding? Drink carbonated water between each glass. It’ll stop your teeth becoming stained and you wont have any unwanted photographs with red teeth!

#20 Wedding Certificates

We recommend buying several copies of your wedding certificate as you’ll need to provide them in the event of name changes. You can also pay to have a presentation certificate which can be framed as a treasured memento of your beautiful wedding.

There we have it – 20 tips from us to you which we hope help you in your planning. We’d love to hear any of your own wedding hacks – pop us an email or share with on our Facebook page!

#HappyWeddingPlanning

Wedding ceremony or service?

Wedding guests outside church


There are several options when it comes to considering what type of wedding you’d like and there are often misunderstandings about them. So we’re going to try and guide you through the differences and similarities.

First off, you’ll need to decide whether you want a civil or religious wedding ceremony. It needs to be right for both of you. If you can’t agree, perhaps consider a civil ceremony followed by a religious blessing as a compromise.

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Planning a child-free wedding

Weddings bring families, friends and colleagues together – and many of them will have kids. Many couples will love having children with them for their special day, but sometimes the idea of a perfect wedding doesn’t involve kids running amok at the reception! So some couples opt for an adult only wedding. It’s not an unreasonable request – it’s your day and you can invite who you want.

It may appear offensive if you’re not careful with how you deliver the news, so don’t rush into scrawling “NO CHILDREN” on your invitations! Consider how many angry and upset guests you would have! You might find yourself discussing your decision with your guests, so think about how you want to explain it. This will help them understand your reasoning without feeling like a personal attack on their little ones.

One of the biggest factors for you might be cost. Venues require you to have a seat for every child, which will carry a “per head” cost and you may need to pay a little more for extra distractions to keep their attention. You may also need employ the services of a babysitter to help keep the children occupied during certain parts of the day, which again comes at a cost.

Another consideration could be the amount of time children will be sitting around through the ceremony or other elements of the day. We’ve all been at weddings where kids have been running up and down the aisle, crying and being a distraction to other guests. It may also not sound great on the wedding video when you watch it back!

Once your ceremony is over the parents will need their children with them throughout the reception for at least a few hours and this often means that those guests may not be able to let their hair down and enjoy the atmosphere of the day. There’s also the added factor of when other guests have had a few drinks, things may get a little too much for them!

You may have now decided you would like to have an adult only wedding, but how do you tell your guests without seeming like the worst person in the world? We’re glad you asked…

Think about the wedding you want to have. If your guests are local and you’re having an evening wedding it will be easier for your guests to find a babysitter for the night. If on the other hand you’re planning a destination wedding, excluding kids may be more difficult.

Make a list of guests you are inviting who have kids and give them a call before you send out invitations. We promise it’s much easier to have a phone conversation and you can ensure they won’t show up with the entire family and tell you they didn’t know!

You may get some guests questioning your reasoning, so keep this handy and no backing down. If you don’t want children at your wedding – your guests need to respect that. Don’t feel intimidated and keep a firm but fair stance whilst you’re chatting about it.

Whatever you decide, its important you both have who you want at your wedding and many guests will quickly understand your reasons. It also gives them the perfect excuse to enjoy themselves without the kids being around – hopefully they’ll think of it as a night off, which many parents would love!

#HappyWeddingPlanning


Wedding professionals – who does what?

When you start planning your wedding a whole new world opens up before your eyes and with it comes a brand new vocabulary. Words you’ve neither uttered nor heard are will start getting thrown around. There are wedding professionals that can help, but before you think about hiring one, you need to understand exactly what each can do for you.

Wedding planner

A wedding planner does exactly what their name suggests: they plan your wedding!

A planner should listen to your ideas and vision and turn that into reality – within reason, of course. You shouldn’t feel you’re being told how your wedding should go ahead, so don’t be afraid to have an honest conversation about your expectations.

They’ll get involved in all aspects of your day – importantly they’ll recommend suppliers and negotiate contracts. A planner will have worked with many suppliers before and will be able to negotiate a better cost for you. Don’t get your hands dirty – leave the negotiating to the professionals!

A planner will not only help you set your budget but make sure you stick to it. They’ll continually track how much is spent throughout the planning process and make sure everything comes in on budget. Couples often overspend very quickly due to poor planning. This leads to sacrifices having to be made later on. By taking ownership of your budget, a planner will make your money go further. You might even be able to afford an extra treat on your honeymoon.

Some planners offer design or styling as part of their service, whilst some will leave that to a wedding designer. This means you’ll need to hire two professionals, so be sure you know what your planner can offer.

Wedding designer

A wedding designer won’t get involved with contracts or attending appointments along with their brides and grooms. What they specialise in is everything from floor plans and lighting designs to flowers, linens and bridal wear. They’ll use their artistic eye to transform a venue into exactly what you had envisaged.

The designer will assist you with decisions that will give your wedding the right atmosphere and making the most effective and efficient use of the space available. Designers, just like other wedding professionals will have a vast network of wedding suppliers they’ve worked with before so will have the contacts to create the vision you dreamed of.

Imagine a designer to be like an artist, in that they will create a beautiful piece of art on your blank canvas.

Wedding co-ordinator

A co-ordinator will usually start work for the last month before your wedding and will be focused on logistics, but on a shorter timeline than a planner. They’ll confirm supplier contracts and your wedding timeline, as well as ensuring payments are made too. Some will also confirm guest numbers. A co-ordinator won’t become involved in the earlier planning phases or keeping track of that all-important budget.

Their main role is to co-ordinate everything involved throughout your day, ensuring everything and everyone is on schedule and aware of what’s happening when. Co-ordinators make sure everything you’ve done up until they take the reins is in good shape.

Hiring a co-ordinator to take over the month before your wedding gives them time to tweak details and follow up where they need to. That way you are free to enjoy the build up to your wedding day stress free!

They’re there to tell you when things will be occurring throughout your day such as cake cutting, the bouquet toss, toasts etc. Some will stay until the end of your day, whereas others will stay until a pre-arranged time as part of their contract with you. Do check this beforehand as it can differ from one co-ordinator to the next.

With all planners, designers, and coordinators there is one common misconception we hear time and time again… they cost to earth to hire. Absolutely not! You’ll be very surprised at how competitively priced they can be and if it means leaving your day in the hands of a professional who’s done it all before – it’s money well spent!

#HappyWeddingPlanning