Getting the Right Photographer

Make sure you budget for your photographer 

Brilliant pictures cost a lot, but they last a lifetime, so it’s an investment worth making for your wedding. Your budget will inevitably determine which wedding photographers are in the running, but don’t make it an element you scrimp on. Memories are priceless and high quality photographs make all the difference.

Create a detailed action plan 

Everything from your chosen venue to the time of year will affect your wedding photographs. If you’ve got your heart set on certain shots, like couple’s portraits at sunset or a sparkler send-off photo, then you need to talk it through with your photographer. If they know what you want, together you can work out when and where to fit those photos in. 

Make sure you’ve both done your homework 

You can trust your photographer’s experience and ability to come up with great ideas for photographs. But, it is also worth finding your own fun ideas too. Ideas for unusual group shots, any props you might want to include, or parts of your venue that offer a particularly interesting backdrop will all help to create fantastic photographs. 

Remember that practise makes perfect 

While you can get good deals with a photographer who’s new to the industry and building their portfolio, you do need to find someone you trust to get it right, and experience can play a big part in that. A professional photographer distinguishes all the subtleties of shooting a wedding – they’ll know exactly when to photograph your groom as he first sees you walking down the aisle, how to achieve the perfect confetti shot, and what to do in the event of rain. A creative and flexible approach often results in the most breathtaking and brilliant wedding photographs. 

Browse your photographer’s portfolio 

Look through the portfolio of any photographer you’re considering. You won’t just be looking for examples of the weddings they’ve captured. You’ll also be looking at their different styles and approaches. When you find the photos that resonate with you, you’ve found your style and photographer. 

 

Valentine’s Day proposals

It’s completely understandable why you’d want to! Is there a more romantic day of the year? Whilst everyone seems to be planning a wedding you haven’t even proposed yet!!!  So even if the day is cliché, your proposal doesn’t have to be. Here are 5 creative ways to propose on Valentine’s Day!

  1. Put It in the Movies

Are you and your love a couple of movie buffs? Rent out an ad space at your local theatre to play your “trailer” asking them to marry you! Thanks to technology, you can produce a short video fairly easily using video editing software. Or hire a Videographer to help you produce something that’s a little more high-end. Turn your life into a true romantic comedy with clips of video of the two of you, or recreate classic scenes from old romantic movies. We guarantee they won’t see this one coming!

 

The Proposal: During the last scene of the trailer, proclaim your proposal onscreen and have the ring waiting for the moment of surprise.

 

  1. Make it a public affair

An idea for the artsy couple, or just those who appreciate spontaneity and the unexpected: Incorporate live art. The trend of “living creativity” is definitely growing, and live artists are quite amazing to watch. Maybe you set up an evening stroll, and “happen” to come across a Performing Artist who is painting on a canvas, or creating a chalk mural on the sidewalk. Encourage your significant other to stop and take it in for a moment, for a truly unique memory.

 

The Proposal: Coordinate with the artist ahead of time to have them include the two of you in their piece. As your darling realises that it’s about the two of you, pull out the ring for your big moment.

 

  1. Say It with Paint

For the imaginative couple who loves to try new things together, hide your proposal in painting class. Most cities offer a wine/paint class, where romance and art meet! They’ll assume that you’ve found something new and exciting to do together, never suspecting that you have a proposal waiting. And after the big event, you’ll have a memento to remember the evening for the rest of your life.

 

The Proposal: Paint several easels ahead of time, spelling out “Will You Marry Me?” and make arrangements with the class instructor to have them help coordinate the big reveal.

 

  1. Create a Storybook

There’s no better way to lead up to the next chapter in your life than to start at the beginning. Create a book about the journey that has brought you to this moment by highlighting key moments in your relationship! Start with how you met, your first date, first holidays, memorable trips, or inside jokes along the way. Don’t worry if you’re not an amazing artist or writer.

 

The Proposal: On the very last page, create a part of the story that says something like “This is when I asked you to be mine forever.” Or simply draw or include a picture of a ring.

 

Beach themed weddings

Many absolutely adore heading to the seaside as a relaxing day out away from the troubles of modern life. Be it diving head first into the waves or sprawling out on your towel, it’s fair to say that we as a nation love going to the beach – we even spend money to sit on the sand abroad – but have you ever considered a seaside themed wedding?

You can’t actually get married on the beach in the UK without jumping through a few hoops. As such, it might be better to merely theme your wedding around the seaside instead, opting to exchange vows at a cliff-side stately home.

Strolling entertainment

A strolling musical act is a very popular act of all – For example you could book a strolling act comprising two guitarists and a saxophonists, the group have a pre-prepared repertoire that they hand out to guests as they stroll about your wedding venue. Like the look of a song on their sheet? Request it! A bit like a live walking jukebox. We can readily assure you that guests will not stop talking about your wedding day for many months to come!

Acoustic Band

An acoustic band is perfect for the beach because let’s face it, electronics and water don’t really mix. Or rather, they do mix a little too well and that is very dangerous for all concerned. A summer party down on the sand after your wedding ceremony might just be the order of the day and with this in mind, they can stroll around with your guests and everybody can have a marvellous time!

Mermaids

Let’s be honest, a wedding is often a somewhat magical affair and to that end, why not take it from the realm of reality by hiring a mermaid or two to swim elegantly in the waves? At first, guests won’t be totally sure of what they’ve seen but after getting a glimpse or two of the tail, we are sure they’ll absolutely love the surprise! A fascinating act that is performed by experienced aqua performers, your wedding photos will be a sight to see, keep this in mind when planning your wedding entertainment.

Ice Cream Van

What’s a trip to the seaside without an ice cream? No trip to the beach is complete without a Mr. Whippy with 99 flake or a few scoops in a cone and your wedding is the perfect timing to hand one out to everybody! With the sun beaming on your wedding day and the sea breeze cooling everybody down, an ice cream will surely make a welcome change from the bottles of fizz doing the rounds!

 

Entertainment that’s up close and personal

It’s a sad fact that many people who attend your wedding may not be in the best of health. This may be because of an injury, general sickness or complications related to age but that is not a reason to exclude these attendees from the fun! It’s true that your Great Grandmother might not be able to dance to an Ed Sheeran track any more, but she can still enjoy some wedding entertainment! How? By booking strolling entertainment of course, where the performers come to you!

Living Topiary

If you’re booking a summer wedding then hiring Living Topiary is an absolute must! Perfect for weddings taking place at stately homes like Eltham Palace, or a natural fit for venues like Kew Gardens, Living Topiary are a fun act that will have everybody smiling as they arrive for the ceremony. Perfect for photo opportunities and surprising guests as hedges apparently come alive, they are a hit no matter where they go and are sure to be the most talked about part of your wedding day… Until the vows and speeches of course!

Eyecon Art

Here’s something a little bit different to offer your guests on their wedding day – a high resolution photograph of one of their eyes. We admit it may not seem like a standard form of Wedding entertainment to feature at a wedding, but Eyecon Art is certainly interesting. Not as mobile as a number of other acts, this is still a fascinating and high-tech form of wedding entertainment.

Strolling entertainment.

A strolling musical act is a very popular act of all – For example you could book a strolling act comprising two guitarists and a saxophonists, the group have a pre-prepared repertoire that they hand out to guests as they stroll about your wedding venue. Like the look of a song on their sheet? Request it! A bit like a live walking jukebox. We can readily assure you that guests will not stop talking about your wedding day for many months to come!

 

Polish weddings

In Polish culture, weddings are preceded with engagement celebrations. Those are usually small parties held for the closest family members of the groom and the bride and are meant to get the two families meet and get to know each other better. The engagement dinner party means that both families accept the engagement.

In the past, the engagement ceremony was the time when the future bride received a ring from her beloved partner before the entire family gathering in a very official way, which resembled to some extent the wedding ceremony itself. In recent years, however, that official note has been largely abandoned and a ring is delivered when the future groom pops the question for the first time in a more private setting. The family gathering is just a nice way of informing the family members about the mutual decision once it has been made.

The Polish Wedding Ceremony

For many years, preparations for the Polish wedding ceremony and reception were largely concerned with finding a place for the wedding, organising food, drinks, making guest-list and inviting people to the wedding. In some regions, especially in the countryside, the custom was to invite family, friends, and neighbours in person, so the future groom and bride would devote a lot of time to visiting people before the wedding day. In the modern day, although the tradition prevails in some places, open-minded Polish younger generations and celebrities copy the western examples and some Polish brides and Polish grooms like to hold Hen and Stag parties shortly before the wedding day.

Most Polish weddings take place on Saturdays and continue through Sundays. The marriage ceremony and wedding reception for all guests are held on Saturday, while a smaller, more private party for close friends and family is continued on Sunday. There are no weddings during the 40-day Lent before Easter and during the Advent before Christmas. Those periods of year are believed to be the time dedicated for penance and preparation for the most important Christian holidays, so there is not space for public celebrations and dancing parties. Interestingly enough, there are very few weddings in May as well. This is mostly due to superstition, as many people believe that persons who marry in May are not going to be happy and won’t live together long.

In the church, the bride and the groom walk up the aisle together preceded by their groomsmen and bridesmaids. The parents and other guests are usually already seated when the couple enters the church. Whether the ceremony takes place in church or at a local magistrate, there must be two witnesses of the marriage, who sign the documents alongside of the bride and groom. During the religious ceremony, the traditional in the Western movies kiss basically does not exist. Civil ceremonies are less solemn and usually only the bride and groom, and the witnesses are allowed in the room, so whether they kiss or not, very much remains their private venture.

In Poland, weddings in the countryside are usually much bigger than weddings in the city. The reason for that is simple; in the countryside all people know each other, so most get invited to the wedding unless there is some conflict going on between the families. Thus, weddings in the country are longer and more extravagant because more people attend, and more guest return on the following day to celebrate, eat, drink, and dance some more.

A special moment on the first day of Polish wedding celebrations is when the Polish bride is taken the white veil off and an apron is wrapped around her waist. This symbolizes that she gives up her innocence and accepts her duties as a wife, a hostess, and a mother. Once this tradition is satisfied, the wedding guests give presents to the newlyweds. In most cases, those are congratulation card with money, but other useful household objects are also quite common.

 

Classic Traditions

Trends come and go. But, if you want your wedding to be more timeless than trendy, consider incorporating some of classic traditions that have been in hiding for years.

We think it’s time to bring these sweet rituals back!

  1. Tying The Knot

It turns out there is deep symbolism behind the phrase “tying the knot.” It refers to an old Irish and Scottish ritual called hand-fasting. The officiant ties the couple’s hands together with a brightly coloured ribbon or cord. The rope symbolises that the couple is bound together with an eternal bond. Hand-fasting is popular in European weddings—Prince William and Kate Middleton even incorporated it into their royal wedding ceremony.

  1. Wedding Bells

The church bells ringing at the beginning and/or end of a wedding ceremony was once thought to ward off any evil or negative spirits. As many wedding ceremonies have moved out of the church and fewer churches seem to have bells, this tradition has fallen by the wayside. But, don’t give up on this one yet. The original Celtic tradition involved a smaller bell that was rung at the end of the ceremony. The bell was then brought to the couples’ new home and whenever tensions arose (as often they do with newlyweds) the bell was to be rung to restore the marriage commitment and break off the negativity of the argument.

  1. Sixpence In Your Shoe

Most of us are familiar with the rhyme “Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue.” But, not as many are aware of the last line, “and a sixpence in her shoe.”  The sixpence was given by a father to the bride to symbolise all the blessings he had for her. By giving her the sixpence, he was symbolically wishing her great health, wealth and happiness that could be passed down with the coin from generation to generation. So sweet!

  1. Decorating The Car

The ritual of decorating the bride and groom’s wedding car with flowers on the bonnet and ribbons streaming from the side mirrors or ariel began in Germany. The newly married couple would lead a procession to their reception, and guests would beep their horns all the way there to get the party started!

  1. Money Dances

This is a custom that comes in several different forms depending on the culture of the bride and groom. In Poland, the bride will dance with different guests as they take turns pinning money to her. It is sometimes called the apron dance as brides would wear aprons in order to save their gowns from holes. At an Italian wedding, you may see the bride carrying a silk bag and when guests come to dance with her they put money into the bag. The Phillipines, Mexico and several other countries also have their own version of the money dance.

  1. Love Letters

In traditional Icelandic wedding ceremonies, the future bride and groom would write love letters to each other the night before the wedding. They would use the letters to express their feelings about the upcoming day, as well as their hopes and dreams for their future together, or to recount the story of how they fell in love. Oftentimes, parents of the bride and groom or the officiant of the ceremony would also write a letter to the couple. The letters would then be sealed in a box to be opened on the couple’s first anniversary. What a beautiful and meaningful tradition.

 

Join in the Entertainment

In the hopes of ensuring that everybody at your wedding can ‘break the ice’, here are four interactive wedding entertainment ideas that guests will enjoy.

Garden Games

If you are looking to plan a summer wedding, then you might be wanting to hold much of the big day outside in the sun. If this is the case, then after the ceremony and perhaps during the drinks reception, you might like to offer some garden games for your guests. Also able to be enjoyed after the wedding breakfast, games like  croquet or quoits roll back the years and ensure a level playing field from the ages of eight to eighty!

Ceilidh

When it comes to booking music for a wedding, you generally have two options – book a wedding band or book a DJ. But there’s actually a third option. Rather than booking a function band, you might like to book a Ceilidh instead! Similar to a barn dance, a Ceilidh band has an experienced caller who explains the dance moves to you ahead of time and ensures that all ages get involved. A fantastic option for your wedding entertainment.

Retro Games

It used to be that if you liked computer games, you’d keep it to yourself for fear of being ‘geeky’. Games are very much in these days though with the PlayStation 4, Xbox One and recently released Nintendo Switch proving to be extremely popular and why not tap into this love by hiring retro games for your wedding. A bit of fun at the wedding reception, having a Mario Kart tournament featuring your Auntie and colleague from accounts is sure to be one of the most surprising events of the evening! Not sure on going digital? How about booking Scalextric for a wedding instead?

Photo booth

One of the most popular additions to weddings in recent years, a photo booth brings people together like no other wedding entertainment can. Creating memories of your big day, guests will ordinarily be able to instantly print their photos and keep a copy for themselves whilst also sticking in another photo into an album that the bride and groom will be given after the wedding comes to an end. Photo booths often come with props for an extra dose of comedy and you’ll be even able to send yourself a digital copy as well. Marvellous!

 

Controversial music pieces

One area that doesn’t seem to be quite so unique is the wedding ceremony music; many opt for a traditional theme that they have heard before like Mendelssohn’s Wedding March or Pachelbel’s Canon in D. That being said, some of the pieces are a tad controversial. Here’s why!

Mendelssohn’s Wedding March

Although hugely popular, Mendelssohn’s most famous work has proved to be controversial to its literary origins. Mendelssohn was commissioned by Prussian monarch Friedrich Wilhelm IV to compose a number of pieces to accompany various pieces of literature in order to revive a lagging genre in society at the time. In 1843, Mendelssohn was tasked with writing music for Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and this is where the Wedding March comes from. Why controversial? That particular play features a lot of pagan mythology including magic, fairies and fantasy, of which many in Roman Catholicism are uncomfortable. Is it therefore inappropriate for a Christian wedding ceremony? We don’t have the answer but it’s always best to check.

Schubert’s Ave Maria

Another tune that is popular during the wedding ceremony or as a prelude to the bride’s arrival, Ave Maria is a beautiful piece of music that was originally composed by Schubert for Sir Walter Scott’s Lady of the Lake in 1810. The plot of the story focuses on King James V banishing the Douglas clan to a castle on Loch Katrine and one of the group’s number is Ellen, a daughter who has to live with her exiled father. The initial lyrics have changed over the years to convey a more matrimonial tone, but some fear the lyrics don’t quite go far enough. Some hear them and feel the song is a beautiful hymn to a loving mother while others believe the words to convey the desperate cries of an exiled bride.

Wagner’s Bridal Chorus

Richard Wagner’s Bridal Chorus is perhaps the most well-known music chosen by couples on their wedding day. Known by many as ‘Here Comes the Bride’, we are pretty certain that you’ll have heard the piece before, even if not at a wedding. Why is it controversial? The music was composed as part of Wagner’s opera, Lohengrin and lovers of the operatic music scene may very well be aware of where the piece featured. Although it was used during a wedding scene, the marriage itself was short-lived. Not the omen you’d like on your wedding day! Richard Wagner was also notoriously anti-Semitic, which is another reason you may wish to avoid picking the Bridal Chorus for your wedding ceremony.

No matter which wedding music you opt for on your big day, we advise a couple to choose whatever makes them most happy. Still, it’s interesting to know the provenance of the tunes you might hear!

 

Would you spend £1,000+ on wedding photography?

The simple answer is £1,200, including your album and disc of images. How much you spend on a wedding photographer really depends on how important the photos are to you. If photos aren’t a priority, don’t be afraid to go for a less expensive photographer or perhaps only get coverage for part of the day. Just make sure you understand the risks!

It’s hard to compare photographers based on price, because so much of what you’re paying for is about the quality of service and personality of your photographer. It’s worth investing in someone who’ll not only take great pictures but help you have a fantastic day, and so we think it’s important to meet them before you book.

If you’re having an overseas wedding, make sure you can communicate with your photographer properly – whether this means getting a translator to be the go-between for you and the photographer, flying a UK-based photographer out to your chosen destination, or choosing an expat who’s based locally.

The last thing you need to be worrying about is whether your photographer knows exactly what you want from the day because there’s a communication issue. 2,000 euros are about the going rate.

When it comes to costs, it’s a simple equation, Wedding photographers can only fit in so many weddings per year while maintaining good customer service, professional development and a smoothly-run business. It’s impossible to pay the bills unless you charge in the region of £1500 a time.

Some will charge slightly less and some a lot more, but a photographer charging under £1,000 must be either an up-and-coming talent or one of the many wedding photographers of whom we hear horror stories from couples who contact me for help after being disappointed with their budget photographer.

There are many talented ‘weekend warrior’ photographers who work a regular nine-to-five job during the week, but who still do a high-quality job at weekend weddings, However, you need to ask if they have invested in the back-up facilities for your images, professional gear and lenses that can shoot in very low light, and public liability and professional indemnity insurance should the worst happen.

Certainly anything less the £1,000 a day is often a recipe for disaster. A full-time wedding photographer with upwards of 200 weddings under their belt should probably be around £1,500 for a full day’s coverage.

Many of the top wedding photographers will be charging more than £2,000 and sometimes over £3,000 for their services, and in my experience, the £2,000 cut-off is quite a telling price point. The most important thing is to check out their portfolio and their coverage of at least three full weddings.

1,000 a day seems to be a ballpark amount to set aside for high-quality photography that you’ll cherish forever.

 

Wedding Planners

There are a million incredible wedding and party planners, so when planning a wedding and hiring wedding planners, make sure that your planners do all the the things listed below. This will enable your big day and the run up to the big day to be as stressless a possible:

Certain criterias on your checklist should  include…

- Optional services, like day of planning, wedding PA’s, and complete planning. Making your planner available to fit your unique needs.

- Boutique and high style planners who have an artistic eye and stay current with the newest trends in weddings. No taffeta and puff sleeves for you!

- LGBTQ+and denominationally friendly and experienced services. Your wedding is all about you, your traditions, and your lifestyle.

- Openly communicative. Readily adaptable, with a wide range of vender relations. It’s important that your planner have good contacts so you can get the vendors that perfectly fit your vision.

- Easy to book and not so busy that your needs will come second to anyone else. Experience is necessary, but you have to be sure that you and your wedding is the main priority of the planner.

- Good value for money. Weddings aren’t cheap, but the right planner can save you quite a bit of money.

All of these criteria make perfect sense when choosing a wedding planner in London. It’s important that, ultimately, your day is stress free, fun, beautiful, and exactly as you’ve pictured it since you were a little girl. So here are our favorites to help you celebrate your special day in style!