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!

Barton Grange Wedding Open Evening

Just one for your diaries, girls and boys – my most favourite place in the world, The Barton Grange Hotel, are holding a wedding open evening this coming Thursday night.

You know how I love the Barton Grange and all its staff (mainly because they give me a cup of tea when I go there – I am soooooooo easy to please.  Note!). 

So I suggest that you take a little time out of your busy week to get yourselves down there and talk to some people who really know all about weddings.  There is nothing that these guys don’t know about achieving the best day ever for you. 

We’re going to be there with a stand and a little display of our work.  So please come and have a chat and tell us about your plans.

Take care!

Jo

How to choose a photographer…

The best way is a testamonial so I’m going to copy one in here that I received from Carla and James recently.  I photographed their wedding back in 2008 and one of my favourite shots is the one below.

They’ve just had a little daughter, Betsy, and asked me to take some pictures of her at just 4 weeks old.  She was so cute!  I put together one of our fabulous Bebefoto packs for them and they were really pleased with the pictures.

Anyhow, Carla and James just sent me a little note which read as follows;

“Thank you so much for the truly amazing photos you took of Betsy!  We love them sooo much!  They really bring out her character, even at 4 weeks old!  We were so proud to give our parents such special gifts at Xmas.  We hope to visit you soon to get some prints.  Lots of love and many thanks again,

James, Carla and Betsy xxx”

How lovely is that?

You know where to come, guys, if you want some gorgeous pictures taking of your newborns.  I love little babies – so sleepy and tiny and fragile.  Perfect for photographing.

If you’re checking out a photographer for your wedding or for your portrait shots – just have a look at their testamonials page.  I don’t have a lot on there at the moment – (so completely contradicting myself on that already) but I’m hoping to update the site very shortly with new pictures for the gallery from last year’s weddings and new testamonials.

Jo

When should I book my wedding photographer?

This is just a quick post and I may not get much chance to add some photos so forgive me in advance.

Book your wedding photographer (and your cars incidentally) as soon as you have sorted out your dates, booked the church and/or venue.  Obviously it depends on the state of your funds at the time but it should be the item that gets sorted after these other priorities.  Then comes any entertainment if you specifically want a particular person or act – in fact, if its that important to you I’d book this at the same time as you book photographers and cars. 

Invitations, flowers, cakes, venue dressing, make-up, hair, formal wear etc etc can all come later.  Dresses tend to be an emotional purchase but unless you see the dress of your dreams give yourself a little time so that you can investigate what’s available as thoroughly as possible.  I always think, if you can afford it, its worthwhile checking out wedding dress suppliers in London so you can get a much more up-t0-date idea of what is available.  Local dress shops can sometimes, though not always, carry stock which isn’t necessarily of the moment and maybe a little more middle-of-the-road.

All of this depends upon how close your wedding date is.  For a wedding in 2010,  you ought to have booked cars, photos and entertainment by now and be committing yourself to the rest too.  For a wedding in 2011, you can leave the second phase ie: invites etc. until this time next year.

And just be warned.  None of your suppliers will consider a verbal agreement as a binding contract.  Until you have returned the completed paperwork and paid a booking fee it won’t be considered a proper booking.  All wedding professionals will work on a first-come-first-served basis and won’t turn down another booking for your date until they have all the relevant paperwork in their hands.

Don’t wear rose-tinted specs about this or you might be disappointed.

Wedding Fair friends at Barton Grange

It is always great to visit the Barton Grange and today was no exception.  The only difference today was that I got to meet up with all the Barton Grange team in one go – so the inimitable Rob was there along with Louise and Jane, Genivieve (do you spell it like that?) and Joanne and I am sure that there were others (but its Sunday night and Celebrity Come Dine With Me is just about to start and I’m weary too so the brain has gone dead!!!)  The only person missing that I could think of was Tom – where were you, Tom?

I met a load of lovely people.  Couples, girls on their own, a bloke banished to the back of the room whilst his fiance looked for wedding dress ideas, mums and daughters and mums-in-laws too.  Thanks for taking the time to visit my stand.

Michelle and Paul dropped by first of all and they’re getting married at Broughton Church and Barton Grange for afters in September 2011.  Here are your pics in black and white and colour as requested – see I’ll do anything for my customers!

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Then Donna and Lee came and had a chat but they hadn’t yet booked anywhere – I hope you’ll think about Barton Grange now you’ve been and had a look.  Its not the best photo, Donna, and I hope you won’t hold it against me as I know you’ll be a lot more relaxed on the day!

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And then, thrills, Carla turned up with her mates Gemma and Kayleigh – Gemma has already booked her photographer but it was lovely to see them all as they had attended Carla’s wedding last year.  A girl with great taste as it was a Barton Grange/Fotoamour/The Flower Shop Garstang wedding!

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Carla – give me a call when you’ve had your baby.  I’d love to do some photos for you!

Sally and Gilly came to chat later and it was brilliant to have a talk with someone who is really into the whole wedding accessory theme.  You know, I’m a girl who knows how to stick to a wedding budget – but if you have you’re heart set on the little bits and bobs of a wedding AND you have the budget to go with it, then it can be a truly beautiful thing.  Gilly would make a great wedding planner and is a useful friend to have around if you’re planning a wedding like Sally is.  (I think I’ve got their names the right way round – apologies if not!)

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How is this for amazingly exciting – one of my potential customers today was Natalie. Natalie competed at the Bejing, Sydney and Athens Paralympic Games in swimming.  How fantastic and utterly brilliant is that?   Myles has already asked to be my assistant on the day if Natalie books with Fotoamour but I have a sneaking suspicion that its only to try and obtain autographs from a few of the guests!  Incidentally Natalie and her man (another major athlete) are getting married on 10/10/2010 – how cool is that?!

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When I showed Natalie this pic she wasn’t that thrilled with it – but I think you’ve got a picture of a lovely, bright, smiling beautiful bride to be – so I’m sorry, I went with it anyway!

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Winifred, Katie and Julie came up to my stand and were just lovely.  I felt like we clicked.  So I was pleased that they decided to book me there and then for next May.  I am so chuffed to be photographing your wedding – its going to be brilliant. Keep in touch, girls and call me if you need any major advice.

The last to be photographed today were Alison and her entourage!  What a great bunch of ladies.  No venue booked yet but they went away with a few ideas and I’m hoping that they’ll consider Barton Grange for sheer professionalism and …. niceness.  Being nice is just such an underrated past-time and a team of nice people managing your day is one of the very best reasons to book a venue.  So here is, from left, Brenda, Alison, Hazel and Margaret on their quest to find the ultimate wedding reception venue!

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The catwalk and dress show today was provided by Dreamcatcher in Kirkham.  I don’t often have a great deal to do with dress shops in general but I must say that I thought there were some much nicer numbers here than I have seen of late.  I am also relieved to see that there was an alternative to the strapless numbers that so many brides have worn, and worn well admittedly, over the last few years.  Its just nice to have a change, that’s all!  Having said that the shot below is made up entirely of strapless numbers – hey ho!

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Mother of the bride outfits were provided by Speights (I think that’s right but I’m hoping someone there will correct me if not).  I was again, pleased to see some different outfits there.  The chic little suits were particularly flattering and I loved the metallic one with the mega hat pictured below.  It just looked so sophisticated and dressy without being overdone.   A great look.

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Now for those of you that are quick enough, and been reading this blog a while, you’ll recognise the lady above as being the singer for The Prohibition – the band that played at The Ansdell School Summer Ball.  Only then she was wearing a tartan tutu and platform boots.  Today she was wearing Mother of the Bride outfits – from the sublime to the ridiculous.  She still only looks about 17 though doesn’t she!

Will post some more soon about some of the other suppliers there – So Close Invitations in particular as I was really impressed with the stuff that they had on display.  I’ve got some shots of some of their work and if you need invites they would be worth checking out.  Keep reading though as I’ll be posting these pics tomorrow.

But I’m just off to watch Celebrity Come Dine with me followed by Kevin McCloud’s Grand Tour.  (AKA Thinking Woman’s Crumpet!)

Barton Grange wedding fayre 27th September 2009

Don’t forget that there will be a wedding fayre at Barton Grange Hotel this Sunday.  This is one of my favourite hotels and the show is always worthwhile visiting. 

The Walled Garden restaurant next door also does great lunches and if its a bit busy on Sunday, you have their garden centre down the road with its famous flowery urinals.  (It is an experience you have to witness for yourself – I can’t possibly communicate the sheer wonder of these particular conveniences!)  Have your lunch there first and come on down later – or visit the show and go to the garden centre for tea and scrumptious cakes later in the afternoon.

I think that it will run from about 11am to 4pm.

I hope we’ll see lots of you at the show and that you’ll stop by and have a chat about your wedding plans! 

See you there   XXXX