My top wedding planning tips!

This is by no means another blog about our engagement & planning our wedding, as I have already done this, which you can read by clicking here. However although I stand by everything I said in my previous blog, we have been on a very stressful wedding planning journey since. We fell into all the traps we personally didn’t want to fall into. We were halfway to planning a very big, expensive wedding & this was the total opposite of what we wanted & who we are. We were booked to have our wedding at The Lost Orangery. Which still is now one of my favourite venues. Well, probably my favourite. If we weren’t wedding photographers, & didn’t have the financial pressure & other personal issues life throws at us, this would be our place. But unfortunately we couldn’t go ahead with having our wedding here. However, on the plus side, I will still have the pleasure of going there a couple of times next year as ‘the photographer’ & hope there’s many more to come in the future!

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You can see one of my weddings there by clicking here. It has also been blogged on Rock my Wedding.

Now I feel so much more positive & chilled about our wedding & feel it has all worked out for the best. We are having a much smaller scaled intimate ‘celebration’. I say celebration as it probably won’t feel like a wedding at all - apart from when we get married, of course! Again, I am not going to go into it again as by the time it comes around to me actually talking about our day & sharing photos, everyone will be sick to death of me!

But I do want to share a few tips which I think will help, in my personal opinion. As I have definitely learnt a lot from being a wedding photographer, & more so, planning our own in between hundreds of others!

  • Please please plan the wedding for YOU. This is actually much harder than it sounds & seems so obvious on the surface. I thought it was so easy before I started planning, but then I naturally starting falling into “but they don’t like”, “how will they”, “what about”, “we can’t do that cause”. When I finally heard myself doing exactly what I didn’t want to do that’s when everything changed & we are now making decisions for US. Obviously there are some things that you just have to take into consideration. But at the end of the day, everything else & everyone else who loves you will follow.

  • If your photos are one of the biggest things to you, really think about your locations. You may have a gorgeous venue, but where are you getting ready? What’s the room like? Is there room for all of you, your belongings & a photographer? Bridal prep is one of my favourite parts of the day to photograph, if in the right surroundings, so I already knew this would be a great importance to me. So I have made sure to find somewhere I know will photograph well. Not only will you feel lovely on the morning & night of your wedding, if you are staying in the same place, but you are actually also helping your photographer. You could have the greatest photographer in the world but if you are trying to shoot in a box room with stuff all over the floor & dark walls - there’s only so much they can make look good….sorry but true! So really think about the imagery - making your photographers job easier will help them be more creative as well! Bonus!

  • Break traditions. Remember you don’t HAVE to do anything. A wedding is what you make it. If you don’t like the rules - break them.

  • If you have your heart set on certain suppliers - book them as soon as you can. Especially venues & photographers, they get booked up super fast!

  • Prioritise where you want to spend your money. This also includes your honeymoon. Rob & I are getting married for us. So selfishly, are much happier spending more of our money on us. So we have decided to have a smaller wedding so we can have a bigger honeymoon. There isn’t a right or wrong for this as everyone’s priorities are different. If you have your heart set on a photographer but they are out of your budget, can you loose something else or go for a cost efficient alternative in another area?….& so forth….

  • Don’t get silly! By silly I mean - overspend. Yes it’s your wedding, the most important day of your life. But its ONE day & they do tend to go very quick. Only spend money on things you know will be a great essential asset to your day, or as I have said above - your priorities. I mean, Alpacas are cute - but do you really need them if it’s going to put you under financial strain? That being said, if anyone has an Alpaca attending their wedding - PLEASE can I be your photographer?

Entertainment..this can come under planning can’t it? Maybe not, so treat it as a bonus tip - cause it’s also a big one!

  • Entertainment. This doesn’t have to be ‘a band’. I mean keeping your guests ‘entertained’ in general, well looked after. When planning, think about every moment & make sure something is always planned, even minuscule so they aren’t left standing around or falling asleep in chairs! For example, a cocktail hour, magician, games, glitter face painting, ice cream, singing waitors! Generally I think things that a lot of people can be involved in together makes a difference & really brings the atmosphere up. Think outside the box. Weddings are long days so it’s very hard to keep this going constantly. We have chosen to start our day later because of this, so it really just feels like a party. Most importantly, make it a day to remember.

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Finally - don’t be a model bride & groom multiple times before the day as it turns the pressure up for you having to do a better job yourself! ;-)

Here we are modelling for Blenheim Palace recently.

 Image by Kate Hopewell-Smith / Photography Film & Air by Lumiere.

Image by Kate Hopewell-Smith / Photography Film & Air by Lumiere.

Now we need to look better than this next year…..

Source: www.jessicaraphaelphotography.com

Coombe Abbey Wedding - Chloe & Callum

One of my busiest weeks of the year was blessed with five absolutely stunning weddings! This being one of them. Chloe & Callum got married on June 2nd at Saint George & Saint Teresa Catholic Church in Dorridge, followed by a reception at Coombe Abbey Hotel.

As soon as Rob & I met them for their pre-wedding meet, I instantly felt like they were our friends. They are both so lovely, kind & down to earth, & Chloe doesn't realise how beautiful she is. Better than a Disney princess I think!?

I loved photographing Chloe during the morning, it was such a relaxed environment & definitely helped along by their gorgeous dog Ted, who you will see in many of the photos. What you will also notice is that I basically didn’t leave Chloe alone. I couldn’t stop photographing her perfect face! Rob was filming this wedding, so he headed off early to the church where my second shooter Tammie Louise Photography was waiting. They had a wonderful Catholic ceremony & then we all made our way to Coombe Abbey for a gorgeous drinks reception on the lawn accompanied by our friend & amazing magician Stephen Seabourne - The Mystery Guest.

I took Chloe & Callum away for a few minutes when we first arrived, as everyone was arriving at different times & it gave them chance to embrace their first moments as husband & wife whilst being photographed by me. We were so lucky with the weather as we managed to walk some of the grounds again later on in the beautiful golden hour!

It was an absolute pleasure being a part of their special day. Here’s some lovely words from them:

“Honestly the best decision we made for our wedding was having you both there. Not only were you two people who we could trust and rely on on the day, you were like two friends who had just joined us to make the day as perfect as possible. Your work is incredible and we can’t wait to see the album and full video. Everyone commented on how lovely, friendly and amazing you were and we couldn’t have wished for two better people to spend our day with. Thank you for being so easy going, relaxed and funny. I really will recommend you to everyone I meet because the both of you are incredible ❤”

They also chose to have an album:

"I had the best surprise ever today! Our albums arrived (4 days early!) & they are just the dream. I am so so glad we ordered them through you because nothing else would have done your beautiful images justice. You have put them together in such a creative way which really captures the day & flows beautifully & I am in love with them. My Mum is delighted with hers & we are so grateful you were so understanding throughout the selection process as we now have a beautiful album to treasure forever ..."

ALL OTHER SUPPLIERS:

Makeup: The Makeup Spot

Flowers: Sarah Horne

Dress: Coco & Kate

Venue Stylist: The Wedding & Events Boutique

Videographer: Fuzfilms

Also here’s a little look at Rob’s trailer of their day

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Source: www.jessicaraphaelphotography.com

First Sony wedding, The Wood Norton - Jo & Nathan

I first met Jo & Nathan last summer when they booked me for their ‘baby bump’ photos in the Flower Fields. I was so pleased when they then chose to book me to be their wedding photographer for July this year, but what made this extra special was two days before, we met again in the Flower Fields with their little girl Violet (then baby bump).

If you follow me & have read my previous blog about my switch to Sony in July this year, you will know the risk I took, deciding to change from Nikon in the middle of wedding season with one (being Nathan & Jo’s) only days away. They do say ‘do something that scares you’ & this well & truly did! I won’t go into this again as I explain in detail on my previous blog, so do have a read of that if you haven’t already, but it was the best decision I have ever made. As soon as I started shooting & reviewing images during bridal prep, I knew. The excited feeling every photographer should feel.

The cherry on top & not just a highlight of this day but of all the weddings I have ever photographed was their first dance. Nathan had been showing snippets of dance moves during photos & this made me vaguely remember them telling me they were both performers when we first met last year, but to what degree I had no idea. When we were enjoying the amazing golden hour I asked them to practice their first dance, which then provoked the question ‘is it choreographed’ - to which they replied, YES. Well, I am so glad I asked, even though nothing could’ve prepared me for how INCREDIBLE it was & how talented they both are. It was an incredible mash up of songs including one from The Greatest Showman & The Jungle Book. I felt as though I had front row VIP tickets for Strictly Come Dancing!

I feel so privileged that I have photographed this amazing couple for their most precious moments & I really feel part of their journey. It makes such a difference to me when I feel a bond with my clients & a knowing that they trust me & want to be photographed by me. I look forward to hopefully photographing them again in the future.

Hopefully you can see from the images that Sony didn’t let me down. Considering I had never shot with a Sony until two days before the wedding (for their Flower Field photos!!), I was so so pleased & it proves just how adaptable Sony is. Your camera truly becomes your friend. Thank you Sony. Thank you Nathan, Jo & of course Violet.

VENUE: The Wood Norton

FLORIST: Jody from Country Wild Weddings

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Source: www.jessicaraphaelphotography.com