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


Izzy and Lawrence 24th July 2010

I did a wedding a couple of weeks ago for a lovely young couple, Izzy and Lawrence.   The men were all dressed up in kilts because there was a strong Scottish connection.  I had photographed in St. Mary and St. Michael’s Church in Garstang earlier this year and the reception was at one of my favourite places – The Barton Grange Hotel.

This photograph above was taken in the gardens at The Barton Grange.  I love those trees – are they Weeping Willows?  Anyhow I just think they form the best backdrop for a couple.

Check out these funky shoes too!

This guy, I can’t remember his name, was a family friend.  The same age as Barnaby and just the nicest bloke you could meet – he helped me with my ladder.    He was dressed in a suit and I don’t usually think it works well – trying to be a mini-adult.  But it really suited him (scuse the pun) and he looked like such a cool dude.  He reminded me of Barnaby – just a thoroughly nice chap with wild hair! Can’t remember your name, young man, but it was lovely meeting you and your parents (the videographers, Scottish and now living in Australia!).

And this little girl was such a sweetie too.

This was a moment full of anticipation – the final moments as a single girl before walking down the aisle to become a Mrs.

Thanks for booking Fotoamour, Izzy and Lawrence.  It was great to be a part of your day!

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!


Wedding Shows Northwest

Just some dates for your diary before I forget:-

Lytham Hall Wedding Fayre   Sunday March 28th 

This should be a really good show with lots of local and excellent exhibitors (including Fotoamour, of course!).  It is a new show and patently lots of effort has gone into making it very splendid by Paul Rowley and his team.  Come and say ‘hello’, have a look round the grounds and sample the lovely tea and cakes in the tearoom there.   It’s our local show and we are local photographers so we know the area like the back of our hands – come and have a chat and we’ll point you in the direction of other excellent local wedding suppliers.   After all – why would you go further afield if you have the very best of everything on your doorstep?

Barton Grange Open Evening   Thursday 14th April  7pm onwards

Now you know how much we love The Barton Grange Hotel?  Well, I’m thrilled to say that Louise and Jane and our lovely friends there have invited us to come along on the evening of 14th to have a chat with you all. 

All I’m going to say is, if you haven’t booked your venue already, make sure you bring your deposit payment as once you’ve seen the Barton Grange and you’ve met the staff…. well, you’ll be wanting to snap up your chosen date straightaway!

Tickled Trout Hotel, Preston   25th April

We are hoping to be present at this show but have to just confirm.  However, I think it is really worth checking out as the hotel is going through some major changes and there are exciting times ahead.  Let’s get it straight – this isn’t a country hotel.  Its just off the motorway.  But that also makes it hugely convenient and easy to find – and, as you know, the important thing is interiors, food and hospitality and the attitude of the staff.  And they’re lovely. 

So pop along and have a look and we’ll hope to see you there.

Jo x

Amy and Richard 30th January 2010

Amy and Richard got married on a lovely January Saturday in Garstang and they were truly blessed by the weather.  It was glorious! 

I started off with Amy at her parent’s house just doing some bridal prep shots.  Amy looked really funky with a perky little fascinator pinned to her hair.  And she has great eyes which just looked fab through the veil.  Her hair, by Mary at Plaza Hair and Beauty in Garstang, had been cut into a sharp bob which was very flattering (and different from the usual upswept hairdos which was good) with the dress and its little lace bolero.

I really loved the flowers but I’m not sure who they were by.  Anyhow, they were just simple and the colours were right on trend.  I love gypsophilia – it just looks like a bunch of lace and is so pretty.  It is rare to see it in a bouquet on its own and I don’t know why  –  its like a little cloud.  And the mauve and purple of Amy’s bouquet made a beautiful contrast.  Not forgetting Richard’s tie – which took quite a lot of finding, if I remember correctly.  As a photographer it is a change to see something different to the usual cravat.  And best of all, it doesn’t need to go back to the hire shop afterwards.  In other words, an investment – and you know how I like those!  Click on the trio below to see a larger version.I thought that the bridesmaids looked lovely in their mauve (purple?) dresses with the jewelled bit on the bustline – but goodness, it was so cold.  Bright and sunny but freezing! So they had with them these lovely little fur stoles.  Practical but very pretty.

I can tell you that the dress, shoes  and fascinator were by Ambience and Elegant Steps.  And Amy’s Mum, Linda, did a sterling job on the cake.  In fact, we managed to avoid the cliched cake shot but ended up with something that was much more natural and which I liked  more.

Amy and Richard chose the fabulous Barton Grange Hotel for their reception and I’m really glad they did.  It is like being amongst friends when I do a wedding there.  Rob and Tom were on hand to make sure everything went according to plan.  It was great to be a part of it. 

I’m just going to post some of the pictures from the day that I particularly liked – I might add a few comments here and there but then again…. I might not!

This one above is one of my favourites of the day – Richard and Amy were just standing at the altar at an important bit and he lifted her hand to kiss it.  A little moment that was utterly ‘true’.  Lovely.

And this shot of the pair of them walking back from the gardens at Barton Grange.  I love that fuzzy halo around Richard’s head caused by breathing out into the cold January air!

And finally, when I’m designing an album I love to be able to put series of images together.  Any one of these pictures would look brilliant on its own – but the three of them together tell a charming little story.  So I couldn’t resist!

Thanks Amy and Richard – I think you had a fabulous day and I really enjoyed your company.  I know you’ve had your pictures already but hopefully this will give you more of an idea of how you can put things together!  Take care and have a wonderful life together.

Jo x

Wedding Venues in the Fylde area

Ok, Ok  I think it is about time I stopped going on in such loving terms about The Barton Grange and started talking about one or two other venues.   After all you might be unlucky and Barton Grange might be unavailable on your chosen wedding date!

So where else would I recommend?  Are you asking me to name names?!   That’s very dangerous territory for a wedding photographer as I’m likely to become very unpopular with those I don’t mention.  But anyhow here goes …..

I think one of the loveliest places on the Fylde is Lytham Hall.  It has great grounds, impressive gorgeous interiors especially if you’re having your ceremony there too and the catering is done by Paul Rowley (Rowley’s Catering).  You can’t beat Paul Rowley – if only because he is super efficient, the food is great and nothing, nothing is too much trouble.  He’s also really nice to photographers – it always helps! 

On the stairs at Lytham Hall
On the stairs at Lytham Hall

You won’t be bothered by the idea that there may be more than one wedding going on at the same time either (though I think that its easy to get carried away with the idea that it will ruin your day if you see another bride.  It won’t – if it’s handled correctly).  A wedding at Lytham Hall has a very special and unique feel.  Julie and Jane are very friendly as your wedding coordinators and its all very professionally done.

Becky and Lee's wedding at Lytham Hall last year in the Gold Room 
Becky and Lee’s wedding at Lytham Hall last year in the Gold Room

The downside for some people is the fact that there is no accommodation on site – but the Clifton Arms Hotel is only a short taxi hop away and we live in one of the best areas for plentiful accommodation.  So it oughtn’t to be a problem.    There’s also something very special about being whisked away in the middle of the night in a taxi at the end of the party and on to the next stage of your lives.

Further afield is The Inn at Whitewell with the lovely little church next door.  This is a very special place and is equally as lovely as Lytham Hall but in a different sort of way.  We’ve done several weddings over here and popped in for lunch too – fabulous food.  Some people don’t warm to the marquee, or at least have commented to me as such, but I think it is elegant and in keeping and shouldn’t turn you off from booking.  For those with transport issues getting that far out into the countryside might represent a problem – but the upside is that once there you have no need for cars at all – thus eliminating some cost!

I haven’t photographed there for a while but somewhere else worth checking out is The Clifton Arms in Lytham.  Fotoamour and Martyn Pearson have done many weddings at the hotel in the past and really appreciated the family atmosphere.  They also do a very nice lunch with Pam waiting on – who knows everyone and what they’re likely to want to eat too!  Photographically the function room is now great with plenty of lovely light to illuminate speech shots – if this is part of your package.  You’ve also got close access to the green, minding the road of course, and the windmill. 


 Helen and Chris before heading off to the Clifton Arms

Helen and Chris before heading off to the Clifton Arms

They have a licence for weddings if a civil ceremony is what you’re after and accommodation is plentiful, if not in the hotel itself, then you have plenty of other places locally too.

A ceremony venue I love is Ashton Memorial at Williamson Park in Lancaster. It really is stunning and a superb backdrop for wedding photos.  You have to select a reception venue for afterwards and people might be put off by the transport issues – but there’s nothing to stop you booking a coach and eliminating the hassle for your guests. You’ve now got the Midland Hotel in Morecambe close by – but I haven’t eaten or photographed there so I haven’t got a clue what you might expect.   Weddings we’ve photographed there have gone on to places like Garstang Country Club, The Barton Grange and Miller Howe (a long time ago!)

I’ve just visited Samlesbury Hall and was very impressed by the approach of the staff I met – I can’t guarantee the food as I’ve never eaten there (though I did happen to notice some fantastic cakes there one day!)  The setting is very unique too, although the ceremony room did seem a bit on the small side if you have a larger party – but there might have been other options which I didn’t get to see.   I just warmed to their friendly approach – a wedding venue which really is on the side of the bride and groom!  (You’d be surprised just how many times I’ve seen the opposite).


 In the gardens at Samlesbury one hot October day

In the gardens at Samlesbury one hot October day

Another place I adore for smaller parties is The Tower Restaurant at Blackpool Pleasure Beach.  I know it sounds mad but the food is fabulous and a wedding during the illuminations season is splendid, fantastic, amazing!   There is plenty of secure parking and a private entrance which protects you from the general mayhem that comes with the lights switch-on.

In fact, once up there you feel like you’ve got a birds eye view of the comings and going of the prom and it feels very special and pretty swanky too.  A very upmarket reception venue.  Discard your preconceptions and check it out!

There are other places that are good too – like Singleton Lodge and I’ve photographed there many times this year.  I like Jo who is the wedding coordinator and the fact that they deal with one wedding per day.  It is a good choice if your wedding party is slightly smaller as it has a very intimate feel.   I’ve only heard good things from my couples so I am sure the food and service is good – and they have great gardens.  Interiors-wise they have decorated in light neutrals throughout so that makes for a much nicer feel to your photographs.  In our climate where you can’t be guaranteed a day of sunshine, interiors are incredibly important.


 Waiting for the bride at Singleton Lodge

Waiting for the bride at Singleton Lodge

Although I have just talked about gardens/settings etc.  you should know from talking to me that the most important things to investigate are the food, the service and the friendliness of the staff and the interiors.  More important – far more important – than spectacular gardens or impressive settings.

These are just a few ideas from some of the venues that I have been to over the last few months or years.  They are ideas though.  If I haven’t mentioned a venue here then its for one of two reasons – either I have no strong feelings about it OR  I don’t like it for whatever reason.  If you really want the low-down you’ll have to arrange to meet me and have a chat – be warned, I’ll frisk you for recording devices!

Wedding timings

One of the most difficult things for couples to work out is how to plan their wedding day schedule for photography.  

Its really easy when you know how!   

Beaver Swain 110709

The two most important pieces of information you need are the time of your wedding and the time of your wedding breakfast.  This is not the time when you actually sit down to the meal and a plate of delicious food is placed before you.  No.  This is the time when you are called by the venue’s wedding coordinator to begin the line -up which precedes the meal.     (You don’t actually have to have a line-up if you don’t want – its traditional but not necessary if you hate the idea.  And it is not the best opportunity for your photographer either.)Ingham Rawkins 180409

 Once you have these two bits of information, working out your timings is easy.

Work back from the start of your wedding, and give your photographer 30 minutes at the church/venue before  the wedding begins.  This allows for some less formal stuff which reflects the anticipation of the day and often throws up some lovely shots.


A church ceremony is likely to take about 40 minutes (with a catholic mass or with a lot of hymns you might be looking at a longer time) and a civil ceremony will be about 20 to 30 minutes depending on how many readings you have.


Give yourself 10 minutes to get out of the ceremony and mingle with your guests and reckon on about 30 minutes to take 5 formal group shots.  If you want 10 groups you can double the time (particularly if they all have different people in them).


Add another 10 minutes for confetti (if you want a shot which is set-up).

Hall Dickens 200609


So a church wedding that begins at 2pm would be timed (with Fotoamour anyway) something like this.

1.30   Photographer arrives – groom at about the same time

1.50   Bridesmaids arrive

1.55   Bride arrives

2.00 Ceremony begins

2.40  Ceremony finishes

2.50 Formal group shots

3.20 Bride and groom move to church gate for confetti

3.30 Bride and groom leave the church.


Now add in your travel time to the reception – say, 10 minutes and time for B&G shots at a location en route.  Some photographers will take much longer to do these photographs than Fotoamour so discuss how much time they need to allow you work out proper timings.

3.30   Bride and groom travel to reception stopping en route for photos allowing time for getting in and out of car etc.

4.15  Bride and groom arrive at reception and mingling photos.

4.45 Photographer photographs cake/tables/cutting cake shot if required

5.00 Wedding line-up (receiving line) begins

5.30 Wedding breakfast served.

 These are generous timings and, in fact, if you were booking Fotoamour you would have to add an hour to our service to accomodate this.  However, you won’t be racing through your day and this also only allows for 10 minutes of travel.  We often have to allow 20 minutes or more if you are using vintage cars for your wedding – they don’t go at 100 miles an hour!

Lumby Walton 100709

For a civil ceremony where all the action takes place in one location you would manage a 3 hour booking without any difficulty.  This is because you lose any travel time and also, a civil ceremony is considerably shorter than a church ceremony.

Robinson Livingstone 060609

If you are looking at a longer coverage, which we also offer, you may want to cover all preparation shots AND first dance.  Bear in mind that no photographer worth their salt will take shots whilst your guests are eating which results in about 1 hr or more of time when your photographer is being paid for doing nothing.  It is also worth noting on a long wedding (8 hours or more), that your photographer will have been working throughout – a little refreshment stop would be polite and help them keep their concentration for longer.  The perfect opportunity for this is when you and your guests are eating yourself.DSCF00730

 To make the most of your time consider starting your photography with hair and make-up shots and having your speeches at the beginning of the meal rather than the end. Booth Blagg 010809

 An 8 hour wedding won’t allow you to cover first dance if you want prep shots too.  So you would really need your photographer to start shooting just before the ceremony because, invariably, first dances never take place when our client’s think they will.  For a meal served at 5.30 you are realistically looking at a time of 9pm for the first dance. 

Hall Dickens 200609

Trying to incorporate a first dance shot is not the best way to use your wedding photographer if you are on a limited budget either.  Why?  Well because once the wedding breakfast has finished the formal structure of the day starts to break down making it difficult to capture anything other than staged group shots and your  guests looking a bit the worse for wear.  The venue usually have to turn the room around for the evening part of your celebrations and guests disperse to their rooms or the bar.  People tend also to be in tight groups, socialising and invariably with their backs to the camera in a fairly small area of the bar. 

So my advice would be to use your photographer during the part of the day where, when you look back at your photos, there will be more going on.

If you need any advice on timings at all just give me a call – I don’t even mind if you’re not my customers!

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