The Old Library Wedding, Digbeth

the old library

Allouise is one of my favourite people. I met her at the wedding of another one of my favourite people and we instantly made friends. When she got engaged, I crossed my fingers that she would book and was super happy when she did. I knew that their wedding would be brilliant and it did not disappoint! Here is Allouise to talk you through the planning process.

Your venue:- We met in Birmingham City Centre (The Victoria), we dated in the City, we only live 10 minutes out of the centre….we are Brummies – why go away from somwhere that is full of life, love and history for us?!.  We looked at a few different venues in City from the Art Gallery Museum to the Bond but when we walked into the bright open space of the Old Library, we just knew….it was a little bit of us.  Simple understated entrance followed by an abundance of history that has been renovated with all the quirks still in place (including some of the books!) and the team were FANTASTIC!!  Not just on the day but every step of the way…..Johannah and the team (even Cal) were cool, calm and collected.  They thought of every little detail….even ensuring I had my ice pack for my leg during the meal…….OH MY WORD, the food….can we get an amen please for the food?? “Street food? at a wedding?” Darn tooten we did and it was epic!!  I would urge any bride to go and visit the Old Library in Digbeth and if for some reason you don’t fall in love with the atmosphere of the Custard Factory then wait till you step inside the Old Library and meet the team.

Outfits (for the bridal party) – I had 5 Bridesmaids and a flower girl….Initially I wanted them all the bridesmaids to have different dresses to reflect all their amazing personalities but in the end, budget/shape/height/circumstance led me to some intense eBaying – with the help of a friend who was a recent bride I opted for navy blue multi-way maxi dresses.  And given the heat wave we were in….all were thankful!

Lucy, the Flowergirl….her dress, was an absolute steal.  A friend of a friend posted on facebook she was selling the dress for £10….Next dress, only worn once in Lucy’s size – thrift me that dress ASAP!

My dress – oh my dress….my dress was a little gem found in a bridal boutique in Brinklow called The Bridal Gallery…..there’s a sad sorrowful story around an endless pity party for 1 but the truth be told, that dress and the ladies in the boutique were amazing. Maggie was amazing she helped me, my broken leg and crutches in and out of countless dresses, it was a long hot, sticky afternoon till we found “Millie” – my wedding dress was called Millie…..the name of the dog who broke my leg 5 months before I was getting married….how could it not be the dress for me?!  Sarah, who made all the alterations, carried the dress to my car and gave me the biggest hug.  The dress was beautiful but the ladies and the service was impeccable!  I should also mention if it wasn’t for 2 of my naughty bridesmaids (Sarah & Mandy) kidnapping me to try dresses on….I probably would have gotten married in my pyjamas….

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Rings: James had my Great Grandmothers ring for the day, he said he didn’t want a ring and that’s his choice….so I blew the budget on a ring from Tiffany & Co for me, his loss…my gain!

Cake: My sister & her friend made us 2 different types of cupcakes and chocolate brownies….we also loaded up on biscuits at the tea & coffee station…along with sweeties

Flowers: Flowers were a DIY job for me & my Mom, we had a lot of downtime together given she was my carer whilst I was bed bound.  So we had some afternoons shopping at the Range, Dunelm & hobbycraft shopping for faux flowers, then we played around with arrangements until we found the perfect one.  It was a sticky task but the pride I felt when people complimented them was worth it.

Photographer: The Loooooooooooooooooooooooooooverly Laura – I met Laura at a wedding where I was Bridesmaid, bless, we were in the same boat really as I only knew a handful of people and she knew no one (plus she’d battled through the whole day with a horrible cold) – we then stayed in contact over social media – once I saw my friends pictures, I knew who I was having when I got married xxx

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Evening entertainment: DJ Warren is an absolute legend…..also a friend of the family!  James (the Groom), said he wanted to do the music….that was his job, his pride & joy…..the epic playlist to end all playlists…had all my faves on there….Dolly Parton, The Cure…then the dance floor hits….move over folks, Lizzo’s on!

Venue Decor: The great thing about the Old Library is that it is a blank canvas. Centre pieces were globe vases from a lovely lady who was selling her florist business, so I nabbed them at a steal….then it was another task for me & my mom….the bases were all lined with famous love poems for the smallest touch of soppiness – I spent days covered in PVA glue, it was the best time!  We had balloons filled with confetti from Etsy, Lanterns from The Range for the Aisle Decoration.  Card holder was from Ikea with some personalisation from myself.  Seating plan, oh that darn seating plan….another DIY job from Ikea.  The welcome sign was from eBay (put into an Ikea frame) – Easel’s were from Hobbycraft.  Placeholders were all pictures of our friends and family along with charity pins that our close to our hearts.  I just wanted things to be simple….it can’t go wrong if it’s simple…..apart from when Mandy let’s go of the Mr balloon….:)

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Any other suppliers:

I had a big red vintage bus to bring me, my family & friends into Digbeth – Midlands Bus Hire (Specifically Anne Steward & the drivers) were A-mazing, it was the only part of the day that made me anxious, it was too easy to book, I just thought it was too good to be true but it all went smoothly and they were so friendly too – made us feel VIP from the moment they arrived!

A couple of planning questions:

  1. When you were planning, what were the most important things that you wanted for your wedding?  To keep it simple, I didn’t want to (or could afford to) get stressed over 1 day….we were getting married – why start a marriage with stress and arrangements when we already went through so much a few months beforehand.  And the cost….we had a very specific honeymoon in mind so we knew we needed to be careful with the pennies….hence all the DIY!
  2. Is there anything that you wished you had done differently?  Helped Laura more, given more specifics to the Groomsmen, where photos are concerned timings and details are not to be overlooked.
  3. Can you offer any advice to couples in the planning process? Be kind and ready to compromise.  Take your time, don’t rush into buying something because it’s there…..be savvy, when buying decorations…don’t just buy them for the day – see if you can find some functionality in what you use, recycle.  Don’t be afraid to ask other recent brides for advice or see what’s in their lofts….

For more information on wedding photography, pop over to my pricing page

If you would like to see more of my work, pop over to the portfolio page.

Greenwoods Hotel and Spa Wedding | A Colourful, Tropical Wedding

In September last year I shot Greg and Shaheen’s wedding at Greenwoods Hotel and Spa in Essex. The day was absolutely glorious! The couple had chosen a really vibrant and exotic theme, which I absolutely loved. The flowers were to die for. This one is a real feast for the eyes. Here is Shaheen to guide you through their planning process.

Your venue: Greenwoods Hotel and Spa, Stock, Essex

Both our extended families are based in and around Essex, so we always knew that we would have the wedding there and it was just about finding the perfect venue to hold our wedding. We also knew that it would be a big wedding (200+ people!) and so the space needed to be big enough for everyone to feel comfortable. We also wanted to have parts of the wedding outdoors and in the sunshine (I love the sun and heat!) and given we had quite a few children at the wedding some green space that enabled them to run around was important to us. Finally, we took inspiration from some of the weddings we have attended in the past – the day always goes by so quickly and you don’t always get the chance to chat to all your guests – so offering a place on site for people to stay, and so we could have breakfast in the morning with them was also super important to us. How we found Greenwoods? Totally by chance! We were recommended by a different venue close by to check out Greenwoods as an option for guests to stay overnight in essex. We were surprised when we saw that Greenwoods offered wedding packages – the relaxed feel, accommodating staff, beautiful garden space and BBQ option for the wedding breakfast sealed the deal for us ? 

Outfits (for the bridal party

Bridesmaid dressesMango Satin tie dress – these were the first outfits we bought – found in the boxing day sales in Jan 2019. I knew that I wanted my bridesmaids to feel regal so the champagne was a great touch of glamour. I also wanted them to feel comfortable and be able to move (& dance!) freely throughout the night. Everyone has different body shapes and level of comforts – so I had hoped this dress would make everyone feel 100% fabulous!

Groom & Groomsmen Suits – We wanted to treat all the boys to tailored suits and found this amazing tailors in East London, Jennis and Warmann, importing fine cut italian material to tailor suits for all 5 boys – including a personalisation for the groom. The price point is amazing for the quality of the suits and the service. Cannot recommend highly enough!

Bridal Gown – Made with Love, Harlie dress , purchased from Ubridaled Boutique. After long internet searches, I finally bought my dress about 8 months before the wedding. I narrowed it down to two designers and chose Made With Love an Australian designer with a great selection of dresses made for curvier figures (which I have!) I was also keen to find a dress in an “off-white” colour to go with my skin tone. I found my dress in a boutique in South Kensington, but purchased my dress off the rack from a boutique in Scotland through the StillWhite platform – a great way to find pre-loved / unloved dresses for a fraction of the price! I loved that I could find my dream dress and at the same time be re-using a sample sale dress – reducing the amount of waste that can be found at weddings! I plan to re-sell/ re-use my wedding dress too.

Hair and Make-up: Jo and Jo from the Perfect Marriage were absolute superstars on the wedding day. I only had one trial, with them, and they made me feel so comfortable and really listened to what I wanted and the look I was comfortable with. They were also very flexible and we had lots of back and forth before the big day to ensure everything would run smoothly. They are super organised (which I loved!) creating a schedule for the day and making sure that everyone had enough time to get ready.

Rings: Greg designed my engagement ring from scratch – sourcing the diamonds, tailoring the cut, and deciding on all finishing touches from the type of band to the colour of the centre stone. It was based on a ring we spotted in the shop window of a vintage jewellery store on holiday in Italy, very early on when we were dating. I was very touched by the personalisation of the ring – which was a 3-stone sapphire diamond ring. I wanted to make sure our wedding rings reflected that personalisation, and so we bought them on holiday in the Caribbean (Aruba) from a small store in the jewellery district. It comes with the memory of that amazing holiday and couldn’t be more perfect.

Cake: We’re very lucky to have some talented friends! Our cake was designed and made by the talented Sian Peters of Sugar sloth (who is the sister of a god friend of ours) We approached Sian early on who was very flexible about what was possible in our cake design. It was important to us that the cake was tasty! as it would be dessert for our guests. We went for a salted caramel and coconut 3 tiered cake with a selection of mini cupcakes – Sian was very flexible and tried lots of combinations to help us decided on what we wanted.

Photographer: YOU! ? we loved your relaxed style of photography – capturing every one of our guests in the moment rather than having formal stuff photos. We also did not want to spend a lot of time away from our own wedding taking couple photos – we think you nailed the balance of capturing all the wonderful details of the day whilst also making sure we were present and enjoying it ourselves! The montage video is our favourite thing from the wedding! We watch it all the time and it makes me feel warm and fuzzy ? 

Evening entertainment: The music was a priority for us when planning the wedding – we’d basically booked all the entertainment before we did anything else. We’re big music lovers and so we wanted the entertainment to reflect the music we love and feature the songs that play a special part in our lives. We were so happy with all the bands and the music we selected – it all fit perfectly with the weather and the feel of the wedding.

Cocktail reception music – https://www.solid-steelband.com/ to reflect my island girl heritage (Mauritius!) and our wonderful holiday to the Caribbean

The DJ – https://www.facebook.com/officieljmp/ who is british-mauritian and was able to bring the “séga” music vibes as well as some old school and new school classics. He was very flexible and mixed our spotify playlists as well as creating an evening playlist that was matched to our tastes and what we felt people would get up and dance to.

The reception band – https://www.drumnbrassband.co.uk/ possibly the best decision we’ve ever made! We loved the band and their take on bringing an old school 50’s sound to modern classics like Amy Winehouse, Beyoncé and Michael Jackson. 

Spotify is a great way to build a wedding playlist for couples and then to share widely with your entertainment ? 

Venue Decor: Monet Events – We found Steph and Tracey through the hitched.com website as wedding planners who were based in Stock close to Greenwoods. They were the most attentive wedding planners and went above and beyond to ensure the style and vision for our wedding was achieved – including accommodating some last minute changes. We went from a traditional autumn wedding theme to a more tropical island theme in a matter of weeks, and I am so grateful that Steph and Tracey helped us make it happen! With dark navy blue tones and bright orange and pink flowers, we hope we recreated that tropical feel for all our guests.

Flowers: Recommended by our wedding planners – our tropical floral arrangements were created by Stock Florist. They were able to recreate multiple Pinterest collages and include the bird of paradise flower (found in Mauritius) as a central piece of the floral arrangements.

Wedding Stationery: Bee Davies is another incredible talent we discovered at a wedding fair in East London. She designed a leather jacket with wedding date and married initials, our wedding boards and table stationery (menus etc.) as well as the agate place cards. Her calligraphy and creative eye is amazing and she was also super flexible when it came to confirming designs. (attached a pic of wedding jacket)

Wedding Website: We also had Izabela from Atelier Beliza create our wedding website which had all the details for our wedding – directions, dates, RSVP lists, music requests etc. We didn’t need paper invites (saving trees!) and most guests found the website a much more accessible way to find the major details of the wedding. It was also designed in our theme colours (blue and gold) and included nifty tips for travel, dietary requirements and dress code.

Accessories: Michelle of MW Makes is a very close friend. We met at university and spent 4 blissful years discovering our real selves. She has always been the most creative person I know, studying architecture and is now a successful architect. She has recently launched a creative venture in designing bespoke leather goods and as a wedding gift to me designed the most beautiful clutch bag that I adore. It had engraved on the back my married initials and on the inside my wedding date, and went perfectly with my dress. She is incredibly amazing and we have bought several pieces from her since the wedding – they make fab Christmas and birthday gifts!

A couple of planning questions:

When you were planning, what were the most important things that you wanted for your wedding?

  1. Music / Entertainment
  2. Comfort for guests
  3. Is there anything that you wished you had done differently?
    1. Not really – weddings involve a lot of planning, but for us the end result made it all totally worth it.
  4. Can you offer any advice to couples in the planning process?
    1. Give yourselves time to think about what is really important to you on your wedding day, and then prioritise those things. Its very easy to get swept away by all the possibilities – we prioritised music and comfort of guests and led with those things rather than being distracted by a million other things we could have focused on.
    2. Be present – once the planning is done and you get to your big day I’d encourage all couple to take time to breathe it all in. Sometimes the planning can take over and the day becomes incredibly stressful, so for us it was important to stop and look around every once in a while taking snapshots of the day that we’d remember forever. Enjoy yourselves! (and that is why I’d highly recommend wedding planners who can take some of that stress away!)

For more information on wedding photography, pop over to my pricing page If you would like to see more of my work, pop over to the portfolio page.

Thornbury Golf Centre | Two Musicians Get Married

I love these two. If we lived in the same town, we would be besties. We bonded instantly over a love of pizza, Grey’s Anatomy and ginger hair. Here is Ellie to talk you through their wedding plans!

Your venue – Thornbury Golf Centre – We were looking for a nice venue that didn’t feel too fancy or too laid back – and it hit just the right vibe for us. We also really wanted a venue where we could do it all in one place – with the lodge at the back too it ticked all the boxes! Bonus that they had a bunch of reasonably priced packages and weren’t overcharging like everyone else seemed to be.

Outfits (for the bridal party) – My wedding dress was from Wed2B, the groom and groomsmen suits from Dyfed menswear, the bridesmaid dresses from ASOS and Dorothy Perkins. Our denim jackets were from a charity shop and were decorated by me and my maid of honour, Amy. I wanted a pretty dress but on a budget as I was only going to wear it once. We initially went to wed2b purely because they were open on Sundays so it was easier to get all the girls together. Didn’t expect to find my dress there but it was meant to be! Shopped around afterwards but ended going back to Wed2B in the end. Matt chose dyfed after meeting them at a wedding fair. He went to two places but at dyfed, the prices were reasonable, the options had exactly what he wanted and most importantly the people there were great about giving him advice on what to wear. The girls dresses from ASOS and Dorothy Perkins – I wanted tonal bridesmaids rather than matching cause I thought it looked more modern and allowed the girls to each have a dress that suited them. I was looking for blue, blue grey and grey and it worked out perfectly!

ByAnnabella – Makeup Artist – I wasn’t initially planning on getting my makeup professionally done but decided to book with Annabella after much deliberation. As soon as I had my trial I knew I’d made the right call – she made me feel absolutely amazing and having my makeup done by her was a fantastic experience – her presence on the day was super calming and supportive and I would recommend her to anyone.

Rings: Smooch – We went with smooch after meeting them at a wedding fair. The big appeal was the reduced price compared to the high street and the fact that the salesmen came to our house with his ring selection at a time that suited us. Shopping in the comfort of your own home is the best.

Cake: Family friend – Organised by Matt’s mum – we had nothing to do with it and it was a surprise on the day.

Flowers: Flowers In Her Hair – We met Edwina at the Thornbury Golf Centre wedding fair and she had incredibly good prices! I liked her flowers and found her to be relaxed and not pushy – she was flexible in me adding items to the list and even delivered them herself on the morning of the wedding so it was one less thing for me to do.

Photographer: You! We had chosen a photographer quite soon after we booked our venue and had an engagement shoot with her and then she found out she was pregnant and she right around our wedding date. We were panicked that we wouldn’t find a photographer that fit our expectations – photography was the number one most important aspect for me. When we found Laura and she was available I couldn’t believe it. I was nervous about changing photographer so we had a couples shoot with her first and she put my mind massively at ease that we would get the photos just how we wanted. On the day Laura was like an extension of my bridal party and I don’t know how we would have managed without her really! I feel like we’ve made a friend for life.

Evening entertainment: DJ Mikey Snooze – Matt knows Snooze because he regularly DJs at his workplace and he is the best DJ we know. He managed to somehow mix everything from classic party tunes to our emo and metal favourites to some grime tunes and it all connected seamlessly – amazing! A big highlight of the wedding.

Venue Decor: Gina Birch Art Gina did our cat table names – absolutely bespoke and pieces of art we’ll treasure forever. Centrepieces all collected and organised by me. Signs all hand painted by myself and some friends. Pick n mix curated and prepared by me. Everything Covered supplied the aisle runner and chair sashes.

  1. When you were planning, what were the most important things that you wanted for your wedding? Most important aspects to us were the photos and the music. Without a doubt the two things we remember the most and were most pleased with – Snooze and Laura were absolute perfection.
  2. Is there anything that you wished you had done differently? Don’t think so! Maybe remember to send out thank you cards ???
  3. Can you offer any advice to couples in the planning process? Decide what your top 1/2/3 things are that are most important, make sure you concentrate on getting them right and when it comes to everything else don’t sweat the small stuff!

For more information on wedding photography, pop over to my pricing page

If you would like to see more of my work, pop over to the portfolio page.