Barton Grange Wedding Fair Sunday 19th September

Just a quick note to remind you all that the best wedding show in the area will be taking place at The Barton Grange Hotel between Preston and Garstang on the A6.

There are lots of wedding shows on this weekend – but the one that you really need to attend is there.  The Barton Grange is a fabulous hotel with great staff.

If you’re getting married, this is the show to attend!

See you there…….x

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Who should be attending the bride on the way to the church?

I am not going to make any friends with this particular posting.    But as a couple you really need to know exactly how to achieve the best shots at your wedding – and understand that some stuff is totally outside the control of your photographer.  

With that knowledge you can make decisions beforehand which will affect the look of your wedding photographs – if it is really important to you and if your photography is your priority.  And even though I may think pictures are important it isn’t necessarily the case for everyone.  I understand that  – really I do!  But finding out that things could have looked better by seeing it on your wedding photographs – well, by that time, its just too late.

Last year I photographed two weddings where I felt particuarly frustrated at the shots I couldn’t get.  At the first wedding I didn’t manage to get any shots of the bride arriving at the church door without the car company drivers in attendance. It was a beautiful wedding, lots of emotion and a very pretty church and angelic-looking kids.   An excellent wedding car company, two lovely drivers – but why did they feel the need to take on this ‘role’ at the wedding when there were bridesmaids around who could have done the job perfectly well?  And, sorry to say,  more prettily!

A group of bridesmaids lifting the skirts of the bride’s dress in a lovely procession to the church door is a beautiful moment to capture on camera – it has all the key people you need in there too.  So don’t allow the job to  be done by someone that you’ve only met once or twice – unless you really don’t care. 

At the second wedding the bride walked downstairs to greet her father – his first viewing of his daughter in all her glory – and there in the background the wedding coordinator smiling up at the camera.  Aaagh!  And no matter where I stood during those few moments,  I could not crop out the unnecessary personnel.   So frustrating, as I know that when it comes to your wedding albums, none of those shots will be chosen to go in your final selection.  In fact I don’t even bother putting them in the preview books these days.

As a B&G its up to you both to decide just how much attention you want from your suppliers on the day.  I know of florists who insist on being at the church to instruct on how to hold the bouquet.  Couldn’t that be sorted out at a pre-wedding meeting?   Drivers who insist on the ‘car shot’ with them in it?  Toastmasters who are more interested in the photo for their website than managing the crowds at your wedding.   

Go away, people!  This is an intimate moment – not a marketing opportunity!     

And the really good suppliers – these are the companies and venues that just get on with their jobs and don’t feel the need to dominate.  Their products and services speak loudly for themselves.  In fact, I’ve known businesses lose work because they are so ‘in-your-face’. 

I don’t have a particular gripe against wedding car companies – I have serious doubts about any wedding suppliers other than the photographer, the minister/registrars and possibly,  just possibly, the wedding coordinator at a hotel being present on the photographs in any major way.  I don’t understand why a wedding supplier might consider it to be part of their job description or why they would even want it   (I feel I have failed if I appear on any of the wedding shots when shooting as a team – I want to be invisible!).

So, just to reiterate….decide how much of a role you want your other suppliers to take.  If you have no problem with them appearing on your shots then just go with the flow and don’t be disappointed if you don’t get the shots you may have hoped for (Actually it may be that they are such a part of your day that you want shots of them anyhow).

But if you want to avoid this situation and get the pictures you want and that look nicest  – overcome your embarrassment and tell your drivers/florists/cakemaker etc that you want them to keep a low profile!

Hope I haven’t offended anyone here but sometimes you’ve just got to tell it how it is.   My customers don’t see the things that I do until they’re looking at their photos and by then its too late to do anything about it.  Only then do they realise why I risk life and limb by making posts like this!

Wedding Spending Priorities

Its about that time of year when we see loads of couples about their wedding bookings.  A very exciting time, not just for you, but for us too because there is nothing I like more than sitting down and chatting through the details of someone’s wedding.  Your wedding is very special to you – but for me its a new project, a new set of challenges and an opportunity to try new things often in a new location with new people!

I just like weddings!  Of course its a bit of a yawn for the male members of my household but well….they witter on themselves about sport and cameras and things so I think I’m entitled to obsess about  wedding shoes and dresses and paraphernalia!

As the years have gone by (you wouldn’t believe I’m only 26 would you?  Life has been hard!) one of the things that I have come to believe about weddings is that there are certain things into which you should pile your hard-earned cash.  And others that are froth and fancy and won’t make any difference to your day – and which, if you don’t have the cash to splash, it won’t make any difference to the general enjoyment of the day or your lives which follow.

Now you just know I’m going to tell you to spend money on your photography and I’m not going to apologise for that.  Your pictures will live with you for the duration of your married life.  So its worth spending the dosh to get it right.  Nuff said – I won’t go on.

But what else really matters?

Your rings.  Spend money on your rings!  Since the recession just consider how valuable gold has become – have you noticed all the adverts in the press and on the telly?  Your rings will hold their value if you buy wisely and buy the very best you can afford.  So don’t stint on this.

There are several jewellers I know and here are three of them.  Coles The Jewellers on Highfield Road in South Shore, Blackpool which is where I got my engagement ring.  Clayton’s The Jewellers on the corner of St. Albans Road and St. Davids Road South in St. Annes – they are jolly nice in there and they attend a lot of the wedding fayres -as do Coles.  And finally Peter Woodcock The Jewellers in Lytham whose window I occasionally linger outside with my nose pressed up against the glass and a wistful expression on my face!

So invest in your jewellery – its important and its wise!

The next thing I think is important is to select your wedding venue with the comfort of your guests in mind.  Its a party, after all, and its important to make sure that your guests have great food and good wine and are treated impeccably.  Service and hospitality can make or break your day.

So listen to the reviews of newly wed couples and make sure you sample the food first – and not the restaurant food but the real deal wedding breakfast.  I’ve never asked whether couples get to taste the food from a real wedding but I would have thought it was essential – how else do you know whether a venue can cater for a large party?

At Zoe and Justin’s wedding, above, they even sent the best man out for some goodies at the church to ensure that their guests didn’t go hungry – it always makes me giggle when I think back to those very special canapes! 

Its worth investing in a great suit for the groom.  Andy (above)  had one made for his wedding to Rachael last year. Its an item that can be used time and time again (and I think a groom in a lounge suit looks great – but that’s personal taste) and you will really feel that you have got your money’s worth. 

If you want something a little more dressy than a lounge suit next on the list would be a dinner suit as again, over the years, you’ll find it comes in handy at various functions.  They’re not hideously expensive if you shop around and if you consider that even if you might hire a tux for only one function a year, it will have paid for itself within two or three years.  

The reality of hiring formalwear is that you get to wear it once only.  If you have your heart set on top hat and tails, by all means, go for it.   But if you have a budget to consider (or you just want to spend your money wisely with the longterm in mind) it might help to think that you have other options. 

 And, of course, there are family cultures and traditions to consider too such as those at Shelly and Matt’s wedding last autumn.  There’s no doubt that they are fun to photograph and interesting visually.

Whilst I think that it is very important in these straightened times to be careful with your pennies, don’t forget that it is also your big day!  You can soon take the romance and fun out of what should be a wonderful special moment by wondering, as you’re just about to say ‘I do’,  whether you should have settled for the £49.99 two tier sponge cake rather than the £59.99 rich fruit!! 

You know me – I think that there is far too much wedding naffness that comes with a huge price tag.   Its not just about saving money – its about spending the money you do have with clarity and wisdom.

END OF SERMON!

Rachel and Andy 5th September 2009

I met Rachel and Andy about a year ago when Rachel was bridesmaid at the wedding of her sister Stephanie.    So I was really thrilled that they asked me to be their wedding photographer too.

Their wedding took place at The Willows Church in Kirkham and then afterwards at Singleton Lodge.     The Willows is a particularly lovely church and I very much like Father Johnstone who is the priest there.  Again it wasn’t such a great day – and we were extremely lucky to get a break in the weather to do the groups.  But the sun shone on Rachel and Andy for those few minutes and by the time we got to Singleton Lodge it wasn’t too bad at all – in fact we got some rays of sunshine!

Rachel looked fab and I had a moment of deja-vue when her Dad walked her up the church path, only this time it was Rachel and not Stephanie on his arm!

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Clark Phillips 050909

Stephanie was on hand to do some last minute tweaking and adjusting before taking her place with the other bridesmaids.

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Flowers were by Anne Molloy and she did a great and very seasonal job – they looked great against those dark brown satin dresses.Clark Phillips 050909

They had an adorable little boy, Finlay (what a cool name!) who was a cheeky monkey.  Always laughing and smiling, he was just mischief on a stick!  Particularly when it came to the group shots – they were better for being a bit less formal!

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Cars were by Clouds again – with two of my favourite drivers – always really pleasant without getting too involved in the photography.  A big thankyou to Clouds this year – they have been total stars.

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I was really pleased with the shots of Rachel and Andy together.  I loved Andy’s suit – really 50’s in style and very classic. 

Clark Phillips 050909

Clark Phillips 050909

Finlay was so sweet and he obviously had a great rapport with his grandad who was trying at this point to stop him climbing out the window!

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 Clark Phillips 050909

These two little ones were brother and sister and I had a bit of time wandering around just observing,  in between arriving at Singleton Lodge and the wedding party sitting down.  This is why it is really important not to fill up your photographers time purely with formal group shots – otherwise you lose the opportunity for this kind of lovely moment to happen and for the shot to be seen.  You can almost feel Mum breathing in the baby fragrance, can’t you!