DIY Home Garden Wedding | Erica & James

DIY Home Garden Wedding | Erica & James

Home garden weddings are growing in popularity like a lush green lawn after a summer of rain. And it’s no surprise when you consider that there are some serious cost savings to be made. Plus – if you have a raft of unusual wedding guests that you want to include, why not? That’s exactly what Erica and James did when they got married. Scroll down to read all about their DIY home garden wedding. 

How did you start planning your wedding?

My cousin got engaged a year and a half before we got married and it made us think..uhhm we should probably get a move on! But we first started planning by organising the church stuff, then marquee then my mum helped ALOT.

How did you find planning your wedding?

My mum did a lot of the planning, I just kind of okay-ed and didn’t okay things. The things I did organise I found okay. The most difficult thing I found was the family politics of planning a wedding, which was STRESSFUL!

How did you bring your individual personalities and your values in to your wedding day?

I’m a dog walker and we love our dog so naturally he was the ring bearer! We also had alpacas – we love animals quite obviously!! We wanted to have the wedding reception at home so we could include all of our pets – 1 dog, 2 cats, several ducks and a rabbit!

Which venues did you choose and why?

We got married at the church where family members had previously been married at. The church was also next to the cemetery where my late father is buried. We chose to have our reception at home because we wanted lots of people and used the marquee and field at the back of our house. It was cheaper than hiring a venue.

What is your advice to other couples getting married? What would you do differently?

Do what you want, try not to be too dictated by family members. Write a detailed list of who you want to thank so you don’t forget anyone. Don’t tell anyone where they are going to be sat on the seating plan in advance or just don’t have one. And have music playing constantly, it gives a good flow!

What was it like to work with me?


DIY Garden Wedding Photos

DIY Garden Wedding Suppliers

Entertainment: PopGun, The Roving Artist and Charnwood Forest Alpacas

Venues: Temple Balsall Church

Catering: Gourmet Foods


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Dog Wedding Style

Dog Wedding Style

You may or may not know this about me, but I am a serious dog lover and I really pride myself on being a dog friendly wedding photographer. My dog George is my absolute world, so I can completely appreciate when couples want their dog to be a part of their wedding. Having your pet involved in your big day is so special and I wanted to share with you the different ways you can safely style your pooch for your wedding day. This blog post is everything you need to know about dog wedding style!

Here are the stars of the shoot and what they were wearing.

Meet Belinha

Belinha hails from the streets of Brazil. Thankfully those ears are now a permanent resident of London and you can follow her antics, adventures and reviews on the excellent London lifestyle blog The Dogvine.

Here she is wearing the White Rose and Peach Peony Silk Flower Collar available from Cupid Collars.

Rocking the Lilac Rose and Yellow Sunflower Silk Flower Collar available from Cupid Collars.


Dressed for the evening wearing the Red and Yellow Bow Tie Bandana available from Giddings Gifts.


Shining bright in the Gold Holographic Bow Tie available from BarknBow.


Meet Bowie

Little Bowie was the baby of our pack, when we took these photos he was just a cheeky little pup. Here he is wearing a White Rose and Pink Daisy Silk Flower collar available from Cupid Collars.


Grabbing a quick drink in his Mustard Wool Tweed Bow Tie available from Bow Dickie Design


Styling it out in his bow tie bandana available from Giddings Gifts


Meet Hendrix

Big sister Hendrix likes to show her brother who’s the best behaved Chihuahua in town. Doesn’t Hendrix look gorgeous in her Yellow and Pink Flower Collar available from Giddings Gifts


Getting dainty in her White Rose Silk Flower Collar available from Cupid Collars


Meet Captain

Lovely Captain was a sweet old fella. His dashing tiger stripes and chocolate brown eyes made it hard to not stop and cuddle him all the time. Here is his winning hearts wearing White and Pink Peony Silk Flower Collar available from Cupid Collars.


Captain showing us his smile in a blue and orange bow tie bandana available from Giddings Gifts.


Getting floral in his Pink Silk Collar available at Cupid Collars.


Meet Cobo

Little Labrador pup Cobo bounded in to our lives and away with our hearts. Wearing a pink holographic bow tie available from BarknBow.


Rocking the Pink and Mauve Bow Tie Bandana available from Giddings Gifts.


Look at that gorgeous face wearing the Rainbow Bow Tie available from BarknBow.


About to make her maiden speech wearing the Sweetheart Collar with Pastel Pink Roses, White Orchids and White Hydrangea petals available from Cupid Collars.

Meet Harley Quinn

Cool bean Harley Quinn the French Bulldog bought some ‘Je ne sais quoi’ to our photo shoot. Doesn’t she look fabulous in this Peaches and Cream floral collar available from Cupid Collars.

A Love Story needs a Love Story collar with Country Garden style flowers available from Cupid Collars.


She’s a hipster and she knows it. Wearing the Hipster Dog Bandana Black Leather Bow Tie available from Giddings Gifts.


Meet Kai

From pauper to price, former Romanian street dog Kai could be my Valentine anytime in the Valentine Collar available from Cupid Collars.


Wearing the pink and white hydrangea with roses collar from Cupid Collars.


Dashing in the Navy Blue Bow Tie available from  Giddings Gifts.

Meet  Kelsey

The matriarch of group shows that with age comes grace and style. Here she is wearing a Cerise Pink Rose Collar available from Cupid Collars


Love Pom Poms? You’ll love this Purple, Orange and Pink Pom Pom collar available from BarknBow.


Wearing the Teal and Grey Bow Tie Bandana available from Giddings Gifts


Meet Nala

Elegant and graceful, Nala the lab pointer cross was a dream to work with. Here she is looking beautiful wearing the Peach Rose Collar available from Cupid Collars.


Just lapping up some Pawsecco during her photoshoot available from Woof and Brew wearing a Cupid Collar.


Wearing the Red and Yellow Bow Tie Bandana available from Giddings Gifts.


Wedding Stationery by Dimitria Jordan and the White and Peppermint Collar available from Home and Hound.


Meet Pan & Lina

Dynamic duo Pan and Lina were some of the most obedient dogs I have ever met! Being working Collies it goes with their breed, but their attentive obedience was impressive.

Lina is wearing Coral Rose Collar (left) available from Cupid Collars and Pan is wearing the Navy and White Bow Tie Bandana available from Giddings Gifts.


Pan is wearing the Bow Tie collar with Hook Ring attached available from Home and Hound.


Lina is wearing the Pink Blush Flower Bandana available from Giddings Gifts.


Pan is wearing the Kiss Me Quick Collar featuring Country Style Flowers and Lina is wearing the Purple Rose Collar both available from Cupid Collars.


Pan is wearing the Carnival collar with Summer Florals including Marigolds and Yellow Hydrangea available from Cupid Collars.


Pan is wearing the Gold Holographic Bow Tie collar available from BarknBow.


Lina is wearing the Orange and Blue Bow Tie Bandana available from Giddings Gifts.


Meet Tinker

Little Tinker is a Norfolk Terrier and really bought the cute fluffy factor to our photo shoot. Here she is wearing a Coral Peony and Greenery collar available from Cupid Collars.


Tinker looking fab in this Pink and Blush Rose Silk Flower collar available from Cupid Collars.


Wearing the Yellow and Pink Bow Tie available from Giddings Gifts.


Romantic collar with the Blush antique silk flowers rose bandana available from Giddings Gifts.


Doggie Wuffins anyone?

If you’re looking for a tasty treat your furry friend can enjoy on the big day – check these out. Available from The Barking Bakery. The original bone themed Woofin is a moist, low fat, light and fluffy sponge exploding with biscuit shaped bones. Made to share or for our larger furry friends.

Your Dog at Your Wedding

If you’re keen to involve your dog in your wedding why not check out my other blog posts?

Dogs at Weddings | Top tips from animal charity The Mayhew Animal Home

Dog Friendly Wedding Photographer | Dogs at Weddings | Top tips from Star Paws Pet Chaperone

If your keen for your pup to be included in your wedding photos, contact me for a chat about your wedding plans.

Dog Wedding Style Credits

I want to say thank you to Occasion Queens who styled our pet pooches during the day and to The Viaduct Tavern for being our venue.

Pin this blog!

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Dogs at Weddings | Top tips from animal charity The Mayhew Animal Home

Dogs at Weddings | Top tips from animal charity The Mayhew Animal Home

I love my pooch, and most dogs for that matter! I especially love photographing dogs at weddings. When I’m not photographing and editing weddings I volunteer my time for Mayhew – a brilliant animal charity based in North West London. Mayhew is one of the most effective animal welfare organisations in London, helping thousands of dogs and cats to escape a life of abandonment, cruelty and neglect each year. Their mission is to help animals in need gain a better quality of life by delivering a broad range of community-based animal careeducation and welfare projects.

dogs at weddings mayhew kennels thai ridgeback

Being an animal lover I can completely understand when a couple want to involve their dog on their wedding day. However I know that my dog is a bit special and I would need to carefully consider how he would fit in to a big event like a wedding. I spoke with Deputy Head of Animal Welfare, Tanya Madden at Mayhew for some top tips to think about when planning to include your dogs at weddings.

3 dogs sitting on bit white wedding dress at Anran Wedding

  • Think about the personality of the dog, will he cope with being at the wedding? What is he like when he is with new people, in crowds, around children and with unfamiliar people? Is he going to become scared, snap, be stressed or pee up anyone’s dress?! A wedding is not a suitable place for all dogschihuahua held in the arms of a groom wearing a kilt while bride talks to father
  • We advise not to dress up dogs in outfits, this is because they can be too constrictive, become stressed and get too hot etc. It is far better to use a bandana, fancy collar or snazzy lead if you want to co-ordinate your pet with the wedding theme. Be sure to check that anything attached to the collar (like flowers or a bow-tie) or lead isn’t going to come off and end up getting swallowed.bride kisses greyhound dog friendly wedding
  • Think about the time of year of the wedding what is the weather going to be like – if it’s a hot day, don’t keep him out in the sun or make him walk on hot pavements (remember the 5 second rule! If you can’t hold your hand on the ground for 5 seconds it’s too hot for a dog to walk on). Does he have anywhere to sit in the shade? If it’s cold, keep your dog out of drafts and keep him staffy sits at feet of bride and groom dog friendly wedding
  • Most importantly don’t leave the dog unattended –in a car/cage etc.
  • Always make sure he has access to water.
  • Make sure none of your guests are tempted to give him a few wedding treats, you won’t want to be clearing up vomit or taking a trip the vets on your wedding night!yellow labrador runs down confetti tunnel surround by bridesmaids in green
  • Make sure you have a dedicated person who will take care of the dog and all his needs – keep his routine as normal as possible, don’t disrupt his feeding, make sure the person taking care of the dog knows him well and knows what his reactions will be to people and to look out for signs that he is becoming stressed and will know when it is time for him to leave.
  • Don’t expect too much from your dog and try to pack him into you busy wedding schedule – make sure he has time for toilet breaks and quiet time away from everyone.yellow labrador lies in shade at sunny wedding
  • Don’t keep him there for the full day as it will be too stressful, just have him pop in if you really want him there and plan where he will be for the rest of the day – take him home or to be with a dog sitter–don’t leave him alone at home for longer than he is used to.
  • Make sure your guests know not to constantly fuss the dog – especially if there will be a lot of children around, your dog handler should know when the dog has had enough and will need to take the dog away and ask people to give him space.
  • You’ll want the dog to enjoy being with you and he can be a part of your day, if you plan things right and consider all his needs – just keep it short and collie wears dog tie bandanna at dog friendly wedding

For more advice on dogs at weddings check out my previous blog post in this series with advice from a wedding pet chaperone. If you are looking for more ideas of how to style your dog on your wedding day, check out my pinterest page here.

If you are interested in having me photograph your wedding, you can check out my wedding photography prices here, or contact me here to enquire about availability.

Scroll down to see some of the photos that I have taken for Mayhew doing their excellent work in the community.


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Dog Friendly Wedding Photographer | Dogs at Weddings | Top tips from Star Paws Pet Chaperone

Dog Friendly Wedding Photographer | Dogs at Weddings | Top tips from Star Paws Pet Chaperone

If you haven’t already guessed by now, I really love my dog George. He accompanies me where possible, so I can completely understand when couples want to plan a dog friendly wedding. However I know that he’s not super comfortable in all situations, and I don’t want to push him out of his comfort zone. So if you are getting married, what should you consider if you want your pooch to share your day? Katie is a professional pet carer and offers her clients a pet chaperoning service for their wedding day. I spoke with Katie at Star Paws to ask her advice.

“You only have to look at pet industry trends and figures on pet care spending to appreciate how important our pets are to us. For many they are a very important member of the family. Wedding trends indicate that more and more of us want to celebrate our special day with our special four legged friend by our side, but there are many things to consider before we make that important decision.”

dog friendly wedding photographer bride groom pug dog

Your Dog’s Temperament

“Is your dog excitable, nervous, boisterous or obedient? Weddings can be pretty stressful occasions with lots of people bustling around, children running around and lots of noise. How will your pet cope with this? If your dog is nervous it might not be a good idea to give them a big role on the day, or even have them there. This is the first question you need to ask yourself going forward. Even if you don’t include them on the day, you could include them in the wedding theme – incorporate them in the seating plans, or have photos of them on the table number cards or make your wedding favours in tribute to your beloved pooch.”

5 dogs sit in a row against old brick wall at anran wedding

Your Wedding Venue

“Does your venue allow pets? Is your reception in a pet friendly place where there is outdoor space? If having your dog at your wedding is one of your main priorities it’s worth considering outdoor venues such as farmyards, barns or marquee field type locations. Even if pets aren’t allowed inside the venue, they could feature in wedding photographs taken outside.”

vizsla wears white ruffle sat in garden at dog friendly wedding venue cotswolds

Your Photographer

“Informing your photographer that you’re planning to include your pet in the wedding photos will allow them to prepare photo ideas that work with your pet; and help to prepare them for any unpredictable pet behaviour.”

group of people stand together for family photo at wedding with yellow labrador running to camera

Invest in a Pet Chaperone

“Who will be responsible for your pet on the big day? It’s unrealistic to expect your guests to look after your pet and you will be far too busy to be able to keep an eye on them. Employing a pet chaperone means you have someone solely responsible for looking after your dog, allowing you to enjoy the day.”

tan cockapoo pulls on lead at sunny wedding

Inform Guests

“Notify guests that you are going to include your pet at your wedding on the save the date cards and again on the invitation. Anyone with a pet allergy can plan in advance and still enjoy your special day.”

chihuahua grooms while man wearing kilt groom prep dog friendly wedding

Plan The Day

“It would be unrealistic to expect your pet to be present for the entire day. Decide what part of your special day you want your pet to be there, and consider where your pet will spend the rest of the day.”

yellow labrador rolls on dance floor at wedding

Your Pet’s Role

“There are many ways you can include your pet at your wedding. They could be your usher or direct people to their seat. Perhaps you’d like them as your ring bearer or flower girl? Walk down the aisle with a bridesmaid? Or maybe you just want them to be there to celebrate with you. If you want to dress your pet for the occasion, keep it very simple, their comfort is paramount, make sure any accessories won’t come loose and pose a choking hazard to your pet.”

woman in glasses hold small black dog


“Make sure you rehearse with your dog so they have some idea what will be expected.”

Have Fun

“It’s important to have a relaxed attitude as pets can be unpredictable! But most importantly it’s your wedding day – have fun! ”

small black dog in arms of man dancing

If you are planning a dog friendly wedding and want a wedding photographer that knows how to work with dogs be sure to check out my portfolio and prices.

dog friendly wedding photographer two terrier dogs long grass


Thank you to my fellow wedding photographers for lending me their images of dogs at weddings.

dog friendly wedding photogrThank you to Katie at Star Paws for her expert advice. Star Paws is a friendly pet care service based in Northampton. Services range from dog walking, pet home visits and a pet taxi service. Additionally the business offers a unique dog chaperone service which allows couples to include their special four-legged friend on their special day. Star Paws At Weddings provides a range of wedding packages where your dog can be groomed and pampered before attending the wedding, will be a part of your wedding ceremony and stay for the all-important pictures.



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