This is a step by step guide on planning your wedding day, including tips from Brides and Suppliers!

Whether you plan to hire a professional wedding planner or get planning yourself, I hope this will give you some guidance and useful tips!

12+ Months to Go…

Basics – Set a date, set a budget (will family help?), research suppliers (photographer, wedding cake maker, music/band/dj hire, caterers, entertainment etc), choose a venue. After this, send ‘save the date’ cards, draft your guest list (there are some great apps that you can use to track your replies, or create your own personal wedding website), create a to do list, choose your bridal party; bridesmaids and groomsmen, choose a style (this might be vintage, modern, boho), perhaps even short list colour schemes…. Do you want a Wedding Planner? If your budget permits, a Wedding planner will do a lot of this for you! Think about thank you gift ideas for the bridal party, are you having a hen do, if so who will organise this for you?

Logistics & Legal Docs – If you’re having a church wedding you will need to check with them you are eligible to marry, otherwise book a registrar for venues outside of this. You can also check legalities on the government website, including getting married abroad to ensure you have the correct documents in place. Your venue may depend on the number of guests you intend to invite. Wedding transport, cars/bus for bride, groom and even guests.

“Having got married abroad myself (In Central Park, New York), I know how simple it was to find out the information and documents we needed. Search engines are a great place to start” 

Venue – Be sure to have a look around at Wedding venues if you don’t already have one in mind. Check out if they have any wedding fairs coming up otherwise call up to make an appointment to speak to the wedding coordinator who will show you around and let you know what packages they can offer you. With venue packages, they can include (for example), hire of the venue and bar, prosecco or champagne for your guests drinks upon arrival, drinks and canapes following the ceremony – prior to your wedding breakfast, three-course sit down meal, glass of bubbly per guest for your toasts, menu and wine tasting prior to booking, chair covers and decorations, some even include a honeymoon suite for your wedding night. If it’s a hotel venue, they may offer a discount for over a certain number of people, for example over 50 people you might get X-amount off per room. These are things worth considering depending on the location of your venue (is it close enough for friends and family to get to, do they need to travel far and therefore require accommodation).

Do you have a family tradition such as getting married in the same church? Are you looking for something a bit more low key and intimate such as a marquee on a field (festival/boho style) with fantastic views, hay stacks and hire some portable toilets or a pop up bar. There are so many options these days – I’m lucky I get to experience some very unique and different ideas in the job I do! 

Wedding Dress – Now there are more choice than ever before, lots of Wedding boutiques to choose from (most are by appointment only, so remember to call up in advance), perhaps visit some wedding fairs, they often have wedding fashion shows. I would recommend not to take too many people with you, 2-3 maximum is best as you don’t want lots of different opinions, this is your day (it’s nice to include mum, sibling and best friend perhaps, maybe even your future mother-in-law, it depends whether you want them to see your dress prior to your big day or not). Consider beforehand will you wear low or high shoes as you will want to take some with you even if you haven’t purchased your shoes to get an idea of length (my Wedding Dress Boutique sold lots of Wedding shoes & accessories, therefore I was able to try various heels, however remember not all of them do so taking a pair of your own just incase is recommended), check what the terms are on the alterations policy, are these included, are they extra, how short notice the final fitting will be.

Other Outfits – Bridesmaids, Ushers etc. Will you be providing a budget for them to go shopping or will you pick this out for them?

Wedding Rings – Have you chosen your rings? It might be a good time to have a look and try some on to see what style you like, especially if you have an engagement ring already as the wedding band will need to fit with this.

Accessories – When trying on your wedding dress its a good time to try accessories, do you want a veil, tiara etc? It’s worth trying as when you put accessories together you will have a better idea what the end result will look like.

Photography – Book early to avoid disappointment as we can get booked up two years+ in advance! What style of photography do you like? Always choose someone whose style suits you best. It’s no good booking a fine art photographer if you want natural/documentary photos for example. Check portfolios, everyone is on social media these days, therefore it’s easy to check these out. Do you want a photographer who can provide an album within a package or do you want an online gallery? I personally prefer albums so you can pick them up and enjoy them rather than have the images locked up in digital files, they also become your family heirloom in years to come. There are lots of different options, I personally offer a digital package (USB), or an album option, with a separate a la carte menu to choose from if my couples wish to add anything. I know some photographers only provide a USB and do not offer albums or other products. These are all things to think about and consider beforehand.

9-6 Months to go…

Flowers – from you and your bridesmaids bouquets, to button holes. Not to forget your venue, your wedding cake or even table decorations. Flowers are used for all the above and more. Again Instagram is  a great place for florists to showcase their best work, so it’s worth having a look to get an idea of what styles and ideas you like.

Cakes – The best bit about choosing a wedding cake is you get to book a FREE cake tasting session – yay, who doesn’t love cake!? You can sample flavours as well as check out their designs, do you want a traditional tiered cake or a muffin tower for example…

“Ensure you have a wedding cake tasting session, both to try the cake, as well as to meet the cake maker. Getting on with the supplier and liking their product will ensure that you can enjoy the planning and day that bit more” Maria Blackwell at The Daisy Baking Corner, (Featured in ‘Your Surrey Wedding’ Magazine): www.instagram.com/thedaisybakingcorner

Stationery – Save the date cards should be sent out with as much notice as possible (ideally 12+ months before), wedding invitations around 6 months before to allow time, table plan, place settings, menus, there are some amazing bespoke stationary suppliers out there, some people prefer to make their own but remember this can be very time consuming making it stressful, however if you have the time then it can be a brilliant personal touch, however if it’s within the budget i’d highly recommend having a specialist do this for you. Your venue may even have suppliers for this that they have worked with before and can recommend to you. Otherwise, yes – Social Media again (What would we do without Instagram!) 

Catering & Other Logistics – Outside of venues – Ok, so if you were to get married in a church then have a marquee for instance you will need to think about toilets, logistics, caterers if you’re not using a venue which includes this. A lot of venues have their own in-house chefs/caterers where you can arrange a tasting session to choose which dishes to include on your menu (this is the most popular choice), otherwise if you are sourcing caterers then you should think about what style of food you want, buffet, BBQ, dietary requirements etc. 

Seating Plan – Who will sit where? Do you want to mix the tables equally of both sides? “I have experienced both sides of this as a wedding guest and do personally feel that it is nice to mix up both sides, it also makes it easier to talk to people who you don’t already know – this is just my personal opinion” 

Entertainment – Comedians, magicians, bands, singers, children entertainment, DJ, singing waiters, the list is endless…. Ask around, check out social media as a lot of entertainers post video clips as well as photos to help you decide if they are a good fit for your day.

Hair & Make Up – Book a trial for you and your bridesmaids beforehand, will mothers of the bride and groom be included? I strongly advise not changing your whole appearance of hair colour to close to your wedding incase you don’t like it! Nails, pedicures etc.

Bathroom Baskets – These are so on trend right now, every wedding i have been to this year has one of these, it’s basically a touch up kit for you and your guests, ranging from deodorant, perfume, sanitary towels, tampons, make up, hair brush, plasters (blisters from shoes), headache tablets, hair pins, mints/chewing gum, toothpicks, (just a few ideas) you can literally add anything you want.

4 Weeks to go…

  • Check your RSVPs and your seating plan to ensure you have included everyone and have enough seats for those who have responded 
  • Has your venue provided a schedule for the day? Will you do this yourself? (i.e. bridal prep, ceremony, confetti run, group photos, wedding breakfast, speeches, cutting of the cake, first dance) this should include times and locations). This is just for yourself and your photographer will require this information to
  • Any wedding rehearsals (if applicable), should be in the diary
  • Remind those who are doing a speech to make sure they are prepared and have practiced. Having done business development in my previous career a good tip is to practice in front of a mirror (yes i know this is super awkward – but that’s the idea), very few people find this easy, practice makes perfect”

The Big Day

  • Make sure you eat something for breakfast, don’t leave for your ceremony on an empty stomach, it’s a long day until your wedding breakfast
  • Leave plenty of time for getting ready, bridal preparations, travel to the venue
  • Enjoy your morning getting ready, relax, you don’t want to get stressed about anything this is for your wedding suppliers to worry about. No one else knows your timeline, therefore if something doesn’t go to plan, no one else will know
  • It’s advisable to make sure everyone is ready ahead of schedule, 15-20 minutes before would be recommended (there’s always one who runs behind)
  • Lastly, enjoy it! This is your big day which has taken months (sometimes years) to plan, enjoy every moment

Tips from Brides and Wedding Suppliers:

(I asked a few of my brides & recommended suppliers for their best tips to pass on, here are a couple I received that may help you!)

“Ask for help! Most family and friends are happy to help with research into anything from bridesmaids dresses, shoes, cakes, making and posting invitations, catering, venues etc. You could even hold a wedding planning meeting with whoever would like to be involved and hep out and then delegate these things out to each person. This helped me massively and took a lot of the pressure off, enabling me to enjoy the whole process much more and best of all friends and family felt involved which also made it more fun!” Mrs Beckie Clark, Windsor, Berkshire

“If you have been to a friends wedding and you liked certain aspects of their day, then don’t be afraid to ask which suppliers they used, if anything it’s a huge compliment to them” Mrs R Price, Letchlade

“Making your own decorations is such a fun and personal way to add to your big day, just remember as beautiful as they can be, they take longer than you think. Perhaps your best friend or mum would like to help out” Mrs Helen Roberts, Cambridge 

“If you don’t like having your photo taken and time permits have an engagement photo session with your photographer. I personally hate posing for photos, so this helped for on the day as it made me far less anxious when we did the couple photographs” Aimee, Surrey

“One of the biggest makeup trends for 2019 weddings is blend and blur. Blurred eyeliner is a wedding makeup trend that keeps your eyes looking smokey without being over-dramatic. It’s a trend that covers all colours and is a favourite for brides who like to keep eye shadow minimal. This way you can everything from sweeping cat’s eye in any colour to elegantly accented lids that will work with nude-look makeup. Ask your stylist: For blurred eyeliner and softer shades on the lids” Advice from Award Winning hair and makeup artist Gabrielle: https://www.hairbygabrielle.co.uk/ https://www.instagram.com/hair_and_makeup_by_gabrielle/ (Check out Gabrielle’s stunning work, Gabrielle is a joy to work with)

Wedding Hair Options, whether its curly, straight, half up or all down it can be a very overwhelming decision. After years of specialising in Wedding hair, my top tips to any bride would be: 1. Don’t book your hair trial to early (you may change your mind or your may have a growth spurt) 2. Go with what you are most comfortable with, if you usually wear your hair down then opt for a soft wave or a glamorous blow-dry, *remember – You want to achieve a more polished version of yourself – not a different person 3. I would advise against a drastic hair colour changes too close to your big day, if you feel that you do want to look different talk to your hair dresser/colour consultant, who may guide you towards a high shine treatment or a slightly richer or brighter tone, without being a dramatic change. 4. We all love looking at photos and Instagram for inspiration, however I would always suggest not to get to distracted doing this, look for styles that suit your hair type. For example if you have fine hair search ‘wedding hair for fine hair’ 5. Finally Accessories – choose wisely as this is the finishing touch and can show your personality off at it’s best” If you are unsure why not arrange your hair trial for the same day you view your dress/accessories. Tips from wedding hair specialist, Libby: https://www.facebook.com/hairbylibbyswindon/ (Take a look at Libby’s gorgeous work , I have worked with Libby both professionally & personally & she comes extremely highly recommended

***REMEMBERThis is just a guide, the lists are endless and it’s up to you and your budget what you have or how simple you prefer to keep it. The order isn’t set in stone either, it may depend on what’s most important to you, as every wedding is unique. You can create your own checklist or even buy some beautiful wedding planner diaries/stationary if you are planning your own wedding. If you are hiring a wedding planner they will advise you on this and much more. Please feel free to make any comments below!***

Disclaimer:- This countdown was created from both my own experience as a bride, (from my little A5 wedding planner brought for me with a countdown insert & tabs to complete inside which I found incredibly useful), from friends and relatives experiences and from bridal magazines and forums. There is no set order and every wedding is unique and different.

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Hi, so my last Blog was some time ago, I wanted to fill you in with what’s been happening. Well….the short version is that I have been changing nappy’s and lots of them! 😉 After giving birth to my second son in October, I took some time out to focus on my family before becoming poorly with gallstones. I had my gallbladder removed 4 weeks ago now and feel so much better! If you follow me on Social Media, you will know that I’ve still been photographing Weddings and Families (in between having a baby, dealing with my health, being a full time mum of two, running a business and trying to keep fit….) hence the lovely photo’s I am still able to post regularly. Like they say, “do what you love & love what you do

BUT now I am back to myself, I’m feeling very grateful and am looking forward to being super busy again with Weddings. I can’t wait for this weekend where I will be documenting a beautiful Wedding in Windsor. Following the ceremony we shall travel by a steam boat where the wedding breakfast and speeches will take place, before arriving at the wedding reception in Taplow. I look forward to sharing my images from the day with you very soon!

Moving forward I plan to blog more, this will include REAL stories of my Bride & Grooms Weddings, TIPS for your big day from me or my couples, a little of what I am up to, so that you can get to know ME and many other wedding related or helpful posts! 

Feel free to drop a note in the comment box with any requests, ideas or feedback from my blogs! 😉

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Over a year ago today, I was booked to photograph Tracy and Glens Wedding. The day finally came and it really couldn’t have been more perfect. The Wedding was held at the wonderful Guildhall in Windsor, it really is a beautiful building, Grade I listed built it 1689. You can visit their website at: https://www.windsor.gov.uk/conference/weddings-and-celebrations

Follow me on Instagram where all my recent portfolio is posted regularly.

 

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Let me tell you why this year has been especially good…

This time a year ago, I was a full time Business Development Manager and Wedding Photography had been my second job for the last few years! In March this year I was made redundant, which at the time I thought it was the end of the world, however I decided that actually, this is my opportunity to do what I love best – Wedding Photography! I had several weddings booked already, but I decided to put myself out there and before I know it I was getting bookings left, right and centre. I am so proud and grateful to be able to say, that I am now a full time photographer and I love what I do.

To top it off, 90% of my bookings for the next three years, have come from referrals/word of mouth from those who I have worked with the last few years. Therefore I am incredibly grateful and would like to thank all of you who have recommended me to family and friends and who have followed me on social media.

Here’s a snapshot from August-September 2018:

 

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Donnington Grove Newbury, Guildhall WIndsor Berkshire, The Manor Hotel Datchet, Stoke Place Berkshire, Wedding Photographer at Donnington Grove, Wedding Photographer at Guildhall Windsor, Wedding Photographer at The Manor Hotel Windsor, Wedding Photographer at Stoke Pace Berkshire

 

This month i have been visiting venues ahead of my August and September Weddings, I wanted to share some of these with you. If you are looking for inspiration for your Wedding venue, Pinterest is my favorite app for wedding inspiration, have you checked it out? I have some Wedding inspiration boards that you may want to check out…..

I highly recommend visiting your choice of venues before you book anything, you can usually book a visit for this via the Wedding Coordinator at your choice of venue.

Have a venue already? Need a Wedding Photographer? Get in touch for a friendly, no obligation chat about your special day…. I look forward to hearing from you!

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WED2B are now advertising on television and are fast becoming many of my brides, number 1 choice of wedding suppliers.

They are the UK’s largest bridal wear retailer offering good quality at affordable prices. Wedding dresses, bridesmaids dresses and accessories, WED2B are your one stop shop!

I am a recommended supplier for WED2B under the Photographers category. I cover the UK, including Buckinghamshire, Berkshire, Hertfordshire, Middlesex, Surrey and also have many bookings in and around the Cotswold’s area.

I am willing to travel, so if you have an enquiry or would like to book me as your Wedding Photographer, then please get in touch  here

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The choice of a professional wedding photographer is one of the most important decisions you will make when planning your wedding.

It could be the difference of photographs you love, or photographs you aren’t happy with. But, there are hundreds of photographers to choose from, so how do you decide? Well here are a few of my top tips;

  • Well it’s fair to say, that for a start, professional photographers who want to further their career belong to the SWPP (Society of Wedding and Portrait Photographers). I am a member of this professional body. 
  • Do your homework; look at your photographers galleries, do you like what you see?  Galleries
  • Get in touch; give me a call or send me an email to discuss your requirements, be prepared to talk about your venue, wedding style and what you envision for your photographs Email Me
  • Products; have a think about the products you want to invest in. Do you want a beautiful, luxury Wedding Album which will become your family heirloom? Do you want framed prints? Or a USB perhaps? I personally offer a variety of products, including, albums, coffee table books, framed artwork and in the next few weeks you will see some fabulous new products I plan to add (including a wall art multi and a signing frame for your guests), I can’t wait to show you more soon! Products
  • Ensure your photographer has professional equipment, I personally think that it’s absolutely fine for second shooters/assistants to have a basic DSLR camera, however your main photographer should have professional equipment, and knowledge otherwise you could end up with results as good as ‘your uncle Bob‘ can get with his camera!

 

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News Flash!

I am excited to announce that i am now an official Wedding supplier for WED2B!

Looking forward to working with these guys – what a fabulous start to 2018!

I will be sharing more exciting news with you throughout this year

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Oh yes, we celebrate ‘Thanksgiving’.

A short story….

We ‘as a family’ love the USA in every which way. Our first holiday as a couple with my husband, was to New York City. We re-visited NYC for our second holiday together, which was where he proposed. We then decided as we love it so much we would say our vowels in ‘Central Park’, NY. After much researching we found the perfect place, which was to be ‘Belvedere Castle’ (the princess wedding i had always dreamed of). After further research we changed the location to ‘Shakespeare Garden’ as we quickly realised the backdrops of our Wedding photographs would be grey castle walls, yet Shakespeare Garden would be in full bloom at the time we were to wed. After spending a few days in NYC following our wedding we took a train to Washington DC for a few days and then had our much loved honeymoon in Orlando, Florida.

A year later, we had our first son Frank, we wanted to take him to USA for his first holiday (of course), so we decided to go to Boston, USA for Thanksgiving as we’d always wanted to experience their tradition. It was such an amazing experience and after this we decided no matter where we were in the world, whether it be at home in the UK or on holiday somewhere we would always celebrate this as our own tradition ‘Franksgiving’ where we had our first family holiday. (Little did we know until almost one year later, that Franksgiving is a portmanteau of “Franklin” and “Thanksgiving”, coined by Atlantic City mayor Thomas D. Taggart, Jr. to describe the American Thanksgiving holiday from 1939 to 1941.

You learn something new – everyday!

(Photo of the restaurant by the sea, where we had our Thanksgiving meal)

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Yippee…. It snowed….. My little one got to see snow for the very first time and build a snowman!

Frank absolutely loved the snow, little people grow up so quickly which is why i have kept a record (scrap book) of all his ‘life events’ for us to look back on as he grows up.

Little notes from when he got his first tooth, to his first words, first steps, holidays away and of course, photographs. I love picking it up and having a look threw it from time to time. It helps me to remember those little things that are easy to slip away from our minds.

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It’s almost Christmas – my favourite time of the year!

The warmth of the log fire, Christmas lights and cheer, a warm cup of chocolate – it’s just perfect.

This is a picture of my son Frank last year at Christmas time, he was only 10 months old – I can’t wait to see what this year brings!

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