staffordshire wedding photography

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.

Add a comment...

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

Lockdown Diaries

————————

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.

————————

————————

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.

————————

————————

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.

————————

————————

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.

————————

————————

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

————————

————————

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.

————————

————————

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.

————————

————————

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.

————————

————————

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.

————————

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

Add a comment...

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

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 *

Custard Factory Wedding At The Old Library

Custard Factory Wedding

Roll up, roll up to witness the coolest Custard Factory wedding ever!

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 somewhere 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, at The Custard Factory, 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.

Custard Factory Wedding
Custard Factory Wedding
Custard Factory Wedding
Custard Factory Wedding
Custard Factory Wedding
Custard Factory Wedding

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….

Custard Factory Wedding
Custard Factory Wedding
Custard Factory Wedding
Custard Factory Wedding
Custard Factory Wedding
Custard Factory Wedding
Custard Factory Wedding
Custard Factory Wedding
Custard Factory Wedding
Custard Factory Wedding
Custard Factory Wedding
Custard Factory Wedding
Custard Factory Wedding
Custard Factory Wedding
Custard Factory Wedding

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

Custard Factory Wedding
Custard Factory Wedding
Custard Factory Wedding
Custard Factory Wedding
Custard Factory Wedding
Custard Factory Wedding
Custard Factory Wedding

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….:)

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….

— Custard Factory Wedding —

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 *

Greenwoods Hotel Wedding – A Summer, Tropical Wedding

In September last year I shot Greg and Shaheen’s Greenwoods Hotel wedding 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.

greenwood hotel wedding
greenwood hotel wedding
greenwood hotel wedding
greenwood hotel wedding
greenwood hotel wedding
greenwood hotel wedding
greenwood hotel wedding
greenwood hotel wedding
greenwood hotel wedding
greenwood hotel wedding
greenwood hotel wedding
greenwood hotel wedding
greenwood hotel wedding
greenwood hotel wedding

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

greenwood hotel wedding
greenwood hotel wedding
greenwood hotel wedding
greenwood hotel wedding
greenwood hotel wedding
greenwood hotel wedding
greenwood hotel wedding
greenwood hotel wedding
greenwood hotel wedding
greenwood hotel wedding
greenwood hotel wedding
greenwood hotel wedding
greenwood hotel wedding

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!)

— Greenwoods Hotel Wedding —

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 *

latest instagram posts