staffordshire wedding photography

Big Fat Lock Down Quiz – The Answers

Round 1 – General Knowledge

Q1 – What do you get if you cross a Schnauzer with a Poodle? Schnoodle

Q2 – Which famous quiz show host was born on my birthday? Chris Tarrant

Q3 – Which famous robot cowboy actor died on my birthday? Yul Brynner

Q4 – What is the name of the animalistic humans from the series ‘Firefly’? Reavers

Q5 – Which now famous film director once played a character who dated Monika in friends? John Favreau

Q6 – What is Africa’s longest river? The Nile

Q7 – What does the word ‘Karaoke’ mean when translated? Empty Orchestra

Q8 – What is a group of Unicorns called? A Blessing

Q9 – What is Youtubes most popular video? Despacito

Q10 – In which English town is Faulty Towers set? Torquay

Round 2 – What Plant Is This?

Q1 – Spider Plant

Q2 – Snake Plant

Q3 – Robert Plant

Q4 – Monsterra/Cheese Plant

Q5 – Audrey II

Round 3 – Alphabet TV Shows

There are unlimited answers to this question. We will leave this to you to debate. The winner is the person who got the biggest list without missing a letter.

Round 4 – Milton Chippy

Q1 – Cheesy Chips – £2.50

Q2 – Carrot Cake – £2.50

Q3 – Cheese-O’s – £2.50

Q4 – Gluten Free Chicken Nuggets – £2.50

Q5 – Extra Thick Schmoo – £2.50

Q6 – Pudding and chips in a tray – £3.50

Q7 – Large, Battered Sausage – £1.30

Q8 – Steak and Kidney Pudding – £1.70

Q9 – Tuna Salad – £3.00

Q10 – An solitary pickled egg – £0.50

Round 5 – Music Round

Q1 – Queen – Dont Stop me Now

Q2 – Billy Idol – Eyes Without A Face

Q3 – Blur – Song 2

Q4 – Elbow – One Day Like This

Q5 – Alphabeat – Facination

Q6 – Pat Travers – Black Betty

Q7 – Radiohead – Creep

Q8 – B52s – Love shack

Q9 – Ben E King – Stand By Me

Q10 – Cardigans – Favourite Game

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Big Fat Lock Down Quiz

Hello! Welcome to our Big, Fat Lockdown quiz!

Lock down quizzes are becoming the height of fashion these days. Simon, who is a dab hand at video creation, set up a green screen in our bathroom and together, we created a quiz to share with our friends. The quiz was a great success and so we decided to share it with all of you!

Below you’ll find 5 rounds of fun. There’s music, history, tv, plants and a bit of anime all packed into 5 rounds.

Round one is a general knowledge round. Round two is the plants round. Round three is the alphabet round. Round four is the takeaway round. Round five is the music round.

Find a pen and paper and we will begin. You’ll find the answers via the link at the bottom of this post.


ROUND ONE

Welcome to round one. This one is 10 questions long and is general knowledge. Just click each clip to listen to each question!

It’s the 10th October


ROUND TWO

Welcome to round two. This is the plant round (because plants are the best right?)


ROUND THREE

You’ve reached round three. This is called the alphabet round. On your paper, list the alphabet. Good luck! And remember, no skipping!


ROUND FOUR

This one is my favourite round. It’s a multiple choice round based on the menu from our favourite local chippy – Milton Chippy. Enjoy!


ROUND FIVE

Congratulations – you made it to round five. This is the music round. See if you can work out which songs are playing.

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Tips To Help You Plan A Relaxed Wedding

relaxed wedding
wedding planning

Hello! Thanks so much for visiting my blog. I hope that your wedding planning is going well. This blog post is stuffed full of ideas that you can use to plan a beautiful, relaxed wedding. If you have any other ideas that you would like to share, then please do pop a comment at the bottom.

Location, location, location – One of the first tasks that you will want to complete when planning your wedding is finding the perfect location. Location provides the back bone for your day and will determine a lot of the style moving forward. You can get married in all sorts of places these days and if you choose to perform the legal aspect of your day on a different day, then your options are even wider.

Things to bear in mind – if you are planning a relaxed wedding then you will want to choose a venue that allows you to be flexible with your timeline. Venues such as hotels, who are cooking a 3 course dinner for your guests will have a strict timeline so that your chicken doesn’t go cold. This can determine how much time you have for your drinks reception/speeches etc.

Having a structure for the day is of course important, but your venue will determine how strict that structure is.

Consider whether you want to travel around on your wedding day. Travel can be fun but it can also add stress for you and your guests. Having all of the festivities in one location not only gives you more time for fun but will also reduce expense.

wedding planning
relaxed wedding

Informal Dining – In addition to having a more relaxed timeline for the day, having informal dining will really free up the schedule. Food trucks and street food dining is really popular right now. It gives your guests more freedom to eat when they like and also go back for seconds! As the bride and groom, you’ll want to be able to mingle with your guests and not being behind a table for 2 hours will give you more opportunity to chat.

Some of my couples have had a bring and share dessert table. This is such a great way to have family and friends make their favourite cakes to share with the wedding party. It’s really personal and very yummy.

wedding planning
relaxed wedding

First Look Photos – First look photoshoots take place for the bride and groom before the wedding. If you are feeling anxious about the ceremony and are worried that you will be too overwhelmed to see each other for the first time whilst being watched by your guests, then this is a really lovely idea. It will lower your anticipation for the ceremony and will also give you a collection of emotional photos of just the two of you. If you are planning to get married during the winter, having a first look shoot means that you can make the most of the light for your couples shoot before the sun sets.

wedding planning
relaxed wedding

Outdoor Ceremony – There is something really lovely about getting married in the fresh air, surrounded by nature. It has an automatic relaxing effect. Being surrounded by nature creates a really peaceful atmosphere and perfect for your relaxed wedding.

wedding planning
relaxed wedding

Informal Seating – One of the biggest headaches when wedding planning is the dreaded seating plan. Not sitting Ben next to Sarah because they broke up last week, or making sure that certain groups of friends are sitting together can get complicated. I challenge you to throw out your seating plan. Allowing your guests to choose their own seat will result in happy guests and lower stress levels!

wedding planning
relaxed wedding

Make Your Own Cocktail Stand – If you want something fun for your guests to do during the drinks reception, then this is a great idea. Provide a selection of tipples with some mixers, ice and some of your favourite garnishes and let their imaginations create some boozy combinations.

wedding planning
relaxed wedding

Flowers – After the venue, your flowers could be the next decorative choice that you make. When you’re making your choices, consider avoiding big, intricate floral arrangements and opt for lots of beautiful greenery. Not only is it really pretty, it’s more cost effective which means that there will be room in your budget for more of it. The more the better. Not only is greenery really eye catching, but foliage such as eucalyptus smells divine. Speak to your florist about what will work best.

wedding planning
relaxed wedding

Happy Feet – Before the party kicks in, you and your guests may want to remove your heels. Providing a box of flip flops is a really thoughtful gesture and may lead to some more hilarious dance moves.

wedding planning
relaxed wedding

Games – Sometimes weddings can have a bit of a lull. I personally love a lull. It’s chance for your guests to relax, catch up, have a drink and take in the day. Having lawn games and fun things for your guests to do during this part of the day will really help them to relax and have fun.

wedding planning
relaxed wedding

Choose Your Photographer Carefully – There are thousands of options when it comes to photography. Everyone has a new word to describe themselves. Documentary, alternative, natural, creative, fine art. This part of wedding planning can feel a little overwhelming because of the all of the options and when the day is done, the photography is what you are left with. When you’re looking for a photographer, look at how they describe themselves on their website and look at the images in their portfolio to see if the photos reflect the vision you have for your day.

If you are looking for a wedding photographer who loves shooting for relaxed couples and who might make you laugh so hard that you snort, then I would love to hear from you.

You can also check out more of my work here: Portfolio

I also have lots of work on my social media platforms: Find me on: Facebook + Instagram

I also have some helpful wedding planning blog posts for you to have a look through here.

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Lockdown Diaries

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Hello! How are you doing? I’ve not spent much time with camera in hand this last month or so but I have now arrived at a place where I want to try and make the most of what is happening both in terms of my business and with self care. The lockdown is a very emotive topic so i’m not going to get into the politics of it all but I would like to share a little bit of my view of it and a few of the things that i’ve been doing.

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I’ve been paying far more attention to nature than usual. We have been taking a daily walk around the woods next to our house and it’s had a really calming effect. Watching over just a few weeks how the landscape has changed. New flowers have arrived and others have left. Luckily the sunshine is really lovely at the moment so it’s been good to breathe in some fresh air.

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The first time that I did a lockdown shop, I felt really frightened. No one really knew how to navigate the store, the queues just to get in were long and people didnt engage in eye contact with each other. It was really unsettling and as I finished paying, I felt absolutely exhausted. I walked towards the exit and a very smiley member of staff handled me a house plant (if you know me, you know that this would make it the best day ever) completely free of charge and he wished me a nice day. I immediately felt better. Despite all the upheaval and uncertainty, people are still kind and are supporting each other.

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I’ve attempted two home hair cuts now. This was after the first one. Luckily he’s not ended up looking like an inmate! We have also had so much fun doing face time chats with our nieces using the fun emoji filters. They absolutely love it.

We’ve been having lots of video calls with friends and family. If you haven’t discovered it yet, try Quiplash. It’s a multi player game that can be played via zoom and it’s pretty hilarious.

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We welcomed another beautiful girl to our family a few weeks back. My sister was an absolute rock star and delivered in just a few hours. Having her be in hospital and potentially be at risk was really scary but she rocked it and the staff ensured that she was discharged quickly. I cannot wait for aunty Laura cuddles.

I’ve been listening to 90s music a lot recently and demonstrating some dodgy dance moves. Isn’t it the happiest music there is? If you’re a similar age to me, you might appreciate Fearne Cotton’s 90’s podcast: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000gn3r

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When lockdown first happened, I went through some pretty big emotions. Constant anxiety, tears, anger…it was pretty bad. I think a lot of self employed people experienced the same thing as we stared into the void that used to be our full diaries. A little trick that I found that helped me to feel a little more positive is a success list. I love a list. List making, colour coding said lists and crossing stuff off is really motivational for me but I was finding that having a to do list put me under too much pressure and I would find myself staring into space and not being able to focus. The success list flips the to-do list on its head. Instead of writing down what you need to do, write down what you have done. It gives the same sense of achievement without the pressure of seeing how far you’ve got to go.

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We’ve really enjoyed cooking together and have made the ‘lockdown banana bread’ a few times. When we went into lockdown, I was certainly guilty of eating everything in sight. At that point food was a comfort. I was that person in the discounted easter egg aisle. The last week has seen a shift in how i’m feeling about food and i’m focussing on making healthier choices because of the benefit it will have on my mental health. It’s good to be able to take the time to look after myself a bit. Normally at this time of year, service station food would become a food group for me.

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This month my business turned 10 years of age! The last 10 years have been stuffed full of weddings and families sessions. I’ve laughed and I’ve cried. I’ve eaten a lot of cheese and cake. I have met so many incredible people and have made tons of life long friends. I’ve watched so many of my couples grow their families and have been there to photograph even more special moments. Today I have had a look back through the archives and honestly it’s a little emotional. Even now I can’t believe that I get to do this job and that because of you guys. You have given me such fulfilment in life and I am eternally grateful. You guys are the best. Long may it continue.

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A positive of lockdown for me is seeing how people still manage to create in difficult circumstances. I’ve seen such wonderful examples of art, photography, writing and some hilarious dancing. The lengths that people have gone to to bring smiles to other people is really special. We have never been further apart in terms of physical distance but as a nation, it feels like we are closer than ever.

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So this is just a little bit of the view from here. I hope that you are all keeping well and staying safe. I look forward to seeing you soon

Laura x

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What Is A Wedding Celebrant?

What Is A Wedding Celebrant

When you’re getting married, you will want the best. The best may not always mean going down the traditional registrar route. Wedding celebrants are increasing in popularity as relaxed weddings become more of a norm. I interviewed Gaynor, who is one of the best wedding celebrants around to find out exactly what she offers to her couples.

I’ve been a part of hundreds of wedding ceremonies and the ones that are most memorable to me are the ones that are centered around the couple. I’ve been lucky enough to work with Gaynor a couple of times. She is a personable, delivers her ceremonies in such a loving manner and is just generally pretty brilliant.

So…what is a wedding celebrant?

Tell me a little bit about yourself and how you came to start your business. —

I am rapidly approaching my 50th birthday but keep that quiet! For the last 25 years I worked as a Complementary Therapist and went on to gain my teaching degree before beginning to train students of all ages in complementary therapies, beauty and nails. I am a Gemini and a summer solstice baby, a tattooed wife, mum and nan, who has a mad love of gardening, upcycling and crafting.

Before becoming a wedding celebrant, my husband and I ran a centre for therapy and training. It was because of the centre that the seed for becoming a celebrant was sown. There was a demand for handfastings and pagan funerals locally, so when my health meant I could no longer perform my treatments, I decided to retrain. In 2017 I qualified with Civil Celebrants Ltd and gained my NVQ Level 3 Qualifications in Couples and Naming Ceremonies and Funeral Celebrancy.

What Is A Wedding Celebrant

What is your business?

I am an Independent and Pagan Celebrant. A lot of people still think that all celebrants are Humanists. I am not. I love people to have complete freedom over their wedding ceremony and its content, so I am happy to create all kinds of wedding ceremonies, regardless of religious or cultural beliefs.

What Is A Wedding Celebrant

Who are your ideal couples?

As a wedding celebrant, I love working with people who like to experience life to its fullest and love to celebrate a little differently with their favourite people around them! They tend to be romantic, quirky and have alternative and unconventional lifestyles. They have great sense of humour, love the outdoor and festival vibe or unusual venues and tend to be free spirited and very much know who they are and what they want out of life! They also very much appreciate the ceremonial and symbolic rituals aspects of a ceremony and have some sort of religious or spiritual beliefs. I work a lot with LGBTQ+ and multi-faith families too.

As an aging old Goth, I also love working with the edgier side of our society, so Gothic, Steampunk, Viking, Festival, Boho, Love Music, Gaming and Movies and Cosplay. People like this are right up my street! So, bring on the black and the darkness, the colourful, the pierced and tattooed and all the weird, alternative, unconventional and magical people!!
All are welcome here!!

>> Take a look at this video to see Gaynor in action <<

Why choose a celebrant over a registrar?

In a nutshell, freedom and flexibility! Celebrant led wedding ceremonies are more fun, creative, exciting and original!

A marriage is the legal contract that you enter into, should you so choose to, and is recognised and required by law for all sorts of practical, financial and legal reasons. The same applies to civil partnerships. There are restrictions on where these can occur, what time of day, number of witnesses etc in order to make it legally binding. You don’t need to become legally married and have your wedding on the same day.

A wedding ceremony is a celebration of that contract. With a celebrant led ceremony, there are no restrictions, you have total freedom to have exactly the ceremony you’ve dreamed of! You are in control throughout. Each ceremony will be unique, completely personal to the couple or family. You can have as many people take part in your ceremony as you wish, and you can have any kind of religious or spiritual content included.
There are no restrictions on time of day (or night), location, symbolic elements such as handfasting, unity candles, or the drinking from the quaich. You can have music, live entertainment, even have your dogs involved! Whatever your vision is, it is my job to recreate that and tell your story and make it a very special and memorable part of your day. You do not have to exchange rings at your legal marriage ceremony if you do not wish to and all of the normal “traditional” elements such as exchanging rings and vows can be included in your wedding ceremony.

I am a Pagan celebrant, so I can specifically create full Pagan rituals for the members of the Pagan community. I personally am a Druid, who traditionally, as well as the healers, teachers and magicians of a community, were the bards and the storytellers who thrive on inspiration from the world around us. I will work clients with all aspects of Pagan beliefs, including Wicca, Heathenism, Shamanism, Druidry, Animistic or Nature based and will work with them and their chosen elements and Deities too.

alternative wedding celebrant

How do you work?

In a very relaxed, friendly, approachable, organised and stress-free way!
Each ceremony takes a good 20 hours to plan, research, collate, create and of course deliver it on the day. Before I even accept a booking, any potential clients have the opportunity to have a free consultation video call (or face to face for a drink if local). This gives us an opportunity to get to know each other, for me to listen to their ceremony ideas and for the couple to ask any questions they may have before making a commitment to book and parting with any hard-earned pennies. I then explain the booking terms and conditions fully and send them on their merry way to have a chat about everything we’ve discussed to decide in private with no pressure from me to book.

If they decide to go ahead, then they pay their date reservation fee, receive their paperwork and we book a planning meeting. Each planning meeting can take a good couple of hours. Then I listen. I listen to their story, their ideas, their choices and we plan the entire ceremony together from start to finish. They may also be sent away with “homework” to send me any further information that I need to complete their ceremony. As an ex-teacher, I am a stickler for this, and no gold stars are given until it is handed in on time!!

I then collate all the information, liaise with other people that are involved in the ceremony such as participants and suppliers to make sure everything is as it should be. Once I have all the information, I create a rough draft of the ceremony which I send onto the couple and it can go through several alterations before happy with the finished piece. I stay in constant contact with my clients and they know they can always reach me should they need to alter anything or just let off steam to an independent ear!

On the day of the ceremony, I will be there in good time to prepare and be ready for all eventualities! I check on them individually, armed with Bach Flower Rescue Remedy to sooth any nerves and again, check for any last-minute changes. I usually provide a PA and a music operator (my roadie husband) to take control of all of the music options, so that pressure is not put onto a guest or busy venue staff.

The ceremony itself can take anything from 20-60 plus minutes, depending on what the client wants. Afterwards, after a quick selfie and a celebratory toast, I take my leave, as I believe it is then time for them to celebrate privately as a family. After a few days, I then send on a presentation copy of their ceremony script as a keepsake of their special day.

>> Click this video to see Gaynor in action! <<

What do you love most about being a wedding celebrant?

Love.
It sounds a bit cheesy doesn’t it, but it is such a powerful emotion. It comes in so many forms, whether that be the love of a new child, the excitement and romance of young love, the enduring love, support and life-long friendship of a vow renewal or the everlasting love and remembrance for those loved ones who have died. I have the huge honour of being welcomed into people’s lives to witness and record these momentous events and rites of passage. I am always so humbled to be chosen to do so. I get to build very intense relationships with people in such a short space of time. Sometimes I feel a bit like Mary Poppins or Nanny McPhee, I am there whilst they need me and then, when my work is done, I must move on and help the next family!

For me, being a wedding celebrant is a calling, to be able to bring the energy and tradition of ancient rituals into the present and create modern, meaningful, memorable ceremonies for future generations to come, helping those in my local community and across the UK.

How can people find you?

They can find me firstly on my website, https://gaynorstickelscelebrant.co.uk/

Facebook; https://www.facebook.com/GaynorStickelsCelebrant/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/gaynorstickelscelebrant/

Also my very, very new ‘work in progress’ YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCHkZno0FleS68SX7E3kRVvw

They can also call me on: 07968710882

— This is what one of Gaynor’s couples had to say about her

“As our venue was not technically licensed to carry out the ceremony part of the wedding we had to have a Celebrant to carry out a ceremony on the day (we did the official, legal, paper bit the previous week). We sent out a few emails to celebrants asking them how the process works etc and how they personally work and Gaynor was so friendly and warm and her love for what she does was just instantly obvious! We had no idea that a ceremony carried out by a celebrant was so different from the usual register office ceremony and Gaynor helped us to understand how literally anything can be done. She’s carried our pagan hand fastings, viking ceremonies and all sorts! So she really gave us a lot to think about in terms of how we could make our ceremony unique and personal to us. We met with her and chatted with her about our story and personalities and she helped us to create a beautiful ceremony that meant so much to us and we could tell that she was just as passionate about it as we were. In the end we went for a crystal blessing where each person held a rose quartz heart in their hands and and blessed it with love which we now keep in a special box to take out every now and then to relive our day and all the love that we have (cheesy I know). Our vows were written by ourselves with lots of guidance from Gaynor. At first we really struggle with writing the vows as we aren’t ones for being soppy and really saying how we feel but in the end we managed to add a bit of humour and romance.”

If you are looking for a wedding photographer who loves shooting for relaxed couples and who might make you laugh so hard that you snort, then I would love to hear from you.

You can also check out more of my work here: Portfolio

I also have lots of work on my social media platforms: Find me on: Facebook + Instagram

I also have some helpful wedding planning blog posts for you to have a look through here.

Add a comment...

Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *

If you are looking for a wedding photographer who loves shooting for relaxed couples and who might make you laugh so hard that you snort, then I would love to hear from you.

 

You can also check out more of my work here: Portfolio

I also have lots of work on my social media platforms: Find me on: Facebook + Instagram

I also have some helpful wedding planning blog posts for you to have a look through here.

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