Planning a Wedding and the Covid 19 Pandemic

Planning a Wedding and the Covid 19 Pandemic

Planning a wedding is hard at the best of times, let alone during a global pandemic. The constant anxiety and ever shifting landscape isn’t easy for anyone – both couples and suppliers alike. I wanted to put together this blog post as a list of resources for any couple planning a wedding right now. After a couple of months of small 30 person weddings being allowed to proceed during July and August of 2020, the wedding industry and thousands of couples were disappointed at the end of September as the restrictions were tightened. If you are currently trying to plan your wedding I have compiled this list of useful resources.

Can Weddings Take Place During the Covid 19 Pandemic?

Yes absolutely! And I have been out shooting a few weddings in July and August 2020. They have been beautiful, joyful and sentimental like any other big wedding. The only thing missing was a big crowd of guests, a party and all the hugging! But there are ways to still enjoy your microwedding (keep reading, I will divulge!).

Check out the government website for latest official advice:

The Government website page on the current guidelines for wedding and civil partnership ceremonies.

 

The Government website page on the current guidelines for wedding receptions.

 

The Government website page on the current guidelines for safe use of places of worship.

Should You Postpone Your Big Wedding Plans Because of Coronavirus?

The answer to this question is entirely up to you and your partner. Some of the couples that had a big wedding booked for 2020 have rescheduled their entire wedding to 2021. While others have decided to proceed with a small ceremony this year to complete the legal side of their marriage, and are saving the big party for a later date (I offer my booked clients a special offer to have both dates photographed). Speaking from someone trying to run a business in the wedding industry, we are very keen to remain part of your wedding – so please postpone instead of cancelling! If you’re struggling to decide on what to do, it’s worth re-visiting what you original intention was when you were planning your wedding. What were you first excited about?

How to plan a micro-wedding under Coronavirus Guidelines

If you are keen to enter the world of matrimony before the end of March 2021, then you are going to have to plan a micro-wedding. And let me assure you, small does not mean un-special! I have shot a few small weddings since the coronavirus guidelines were implemented, and each of them has been just as joyful as a big wedding.

bride and groom sit relaxed and smiling at each other on a red velvet sofa at a garden wedding. taken suring the social distanced wedding guidelines. image by parrot and pineapple

We had an absolutely amazing wedding day! We were so excited to get married and begin our married life together that the focus was definitely on enjoying what we were able to do rather than what we weren’t.

Livvy & Mark, Church Wedding with 12 guests, July 2020. Click here to see more photos from their beautiful wedding.

Thankfully the limitations set against weddings are only on the number of people you can invite, not how you want to get married. You can still get married in a covid secure licensed venue, registry office or place of worship. You are also still able to have a celebrant led ceremony like Alice and Jess did in August. Your reception must take place in a covid secure venue (like a pub, restaurant or wedding venue and not a home or private garden).

It was so much better than either of us could have imagined! Small means personal, everyone was involved, everyone laughed, everyone shared a more intimate day. When no one else is involved in the planning it’s actually very straight forward and stress-free.  We would recommend elopements to anyone! Small is not bad, it’s BRILLIANT! You can have a big party next year when everyone can celebrate together but for now just make sure you organise something that makes you happy.

Alice & Jess, Outdoor Civil Partnership with just 2 guests, August 2020

How to Make Your Small Wedding Special

There’s one sure fire way to make your small wedding special – and it really is the big benefit of a small wedding – and that’s to personalise the day as much as possible. Your wedding may be limited to just 15 guests, but that doesn’t mean you have to limit the elements you bring to your wedding day. You can still have your hair and make up professionally done – which is guaranteed to make you feel really special on the day. Your favourite pub and restaurant will be keen for your business. Established wedding venues like The Old Library in Birmingham are even offering a special package for microweddings. If you have your heart set on a specific venue for your wedding – it’s worth contacting them to ask what they have available (and be sure to check out this question list for small wedding venues). You can also spoil yourself and have a wedding planner style your wedding dinner table for you to really add the magic touch.

Alternatively if you plan to go low key at home with those in your support bubble, why not indulge in what you both love doing as a couple? Whether that’s slicing cake, clinking cocktail glasses, enjoying Michelin starred food, or casually grazing on a feasting platter, you can now get what you love, on a small scale, in your home.

NB Photo taken before the guidelines changed on 28th September. If you choose to celebrate your wedding at home I would not be able to photograph it.

And if you’re on a budget, why not ask your friends and family to contribute to the day in lieu of a gift? Livvy and Mark involved their friends and family in the creation of their day to make it personal and involve their nearest and dearest. (Check out patchworkit for more ideas)

NB Photo taken before the guidelines changed on 28th September. If you choose to celebrate your wedding in your garden you would not be able to have your 15 guests attend or have me photograph it.

Because the wedding was small, it actually took the pressure off planning and making sure everything ran to schedule. The informality of it suited us far better and meant we could make it far more ‘us’. All our family contributed in one way or another. Between them they made the cake, did calligraphy, made dessert and pimms, got a cheese board, made garden games and decorated the garden

If you’re wanting to create a truly unique and highly personal experience of your day, then a celebrant led ceremony is something to consider. Alice and Jess opted for a celebrant led ceremony at a Covid secure venue to really add the personal touch to their wedding. They celebrated their union with just two guests and it overflowed with personality.

There were speeches and promises we wrote ourselves, surprise musical performances and dogs!

And let’s face it, everyone is now pretty familiar with Zoom! If your people can’t come to your wedding party, then you can beam your micro wedding party directly in to their home through the power of Zoom!

For more ideas to make your small wedding special, check out this blog post from Devine Bride.

How to Postpone Your Wedding Because of Covid

If you have decided that you want to wait and have your big wedding when we get the green light to let the good times roll, you’re going to need to work through a little plan to postpone. Thankfully the wedding industry is bursting with information to help you. A really good facebook group has been formed by two expert wedding planners (Occasion Queens and Pink Palms)  to help you put together and navigate your postponement plan.

In short, what you need to do is list out all the suppliers you have a contract with and communicate with them early on to let them know your intentions. The most important suppliers to contact first will be your venue, your planner (if you have one) and your caterer. You should be aiming to take all of your chosen wedding suppliers to your new wedding date. It’s a good idea to get several available dates from your wedding venue and ask your booked suppliers which dates they are also available for. For the love of all that is easy and smooth, do not just pick a single date and ask your suppliers to work to it. The chances are not all of them will be available and then you start having to deal with cancelling contracts. If you give your suppliers a range of dates, there will be one wedding date that all of your chosen suppliers are available for. EASY! I can highly recommend a doodle poll for executing this task.

Check out this blog from the excellent wedding planner Devine Bride with a more detailed plan and some advice on wedding insurance. 

If you find yourself in the sticky situation where you need to cancel your contract with a supplier then you will need to refer to the contract that you have in place with that specific supplier. All of my booked clients can check their contract, payment plan and required info in their very own private client portal. The key to a happy ending in this scenario is good open communication early on.

If you have your wedding photography booked with me, and you need to postpone, then I offer a completely fee free booking postponement. My booked clients are my priority and I want to retain your business. All I ask is that you let me know of your postponement intentions at the earliest possibility. I will then send you direct access to my availability calendar, where you will be able to view which dates I am available for. Once you have chosen your new wedding date, let me know and I will send you a contract amendment to sign.

By the time you decide to postpone your wedding, you may have already bought your wedding outfit. In which case you’ll want to ensure that your treasured garments are stored safely and securely. Check out this brilliant instagram story highlight from Heart Aflutter Bridal on how to store your wedding dress.

Wedding Suppliers Keen to Make your Micro-Wedding Special

If you are interested in having me shoot your small, covid secure wedding, then I offer a special package which you can read about here.

Lucky Pineapple – DIY Cocktail Boxes Delivered to your Door (available nationwide) and at home cocktail bar hire service in Brighton.

Tiny Sarah’s Cakes – Small vegan wedding cakes
 
Perfectly Planned 4 You – Wedding dinner table scape styling service
 
Debrah J Events – Wedding florals and styling for small weddings
 
The Old Library Birmingham – Beautiful, Birmingham city centre venue with a package especially for small weddings (Check out Jo & Tom’s wedding to see more of this venue)
 
Little Garden Flowers – Bouquets, button holes, venue flowers and flower crowns in the Midlands
 
Sarah Russell MUA – Hair and make up artist in the West Midlands, Warwickshire and Worcestershire
 
Make Up by Harper – Cruelty free bridal make up nationwide and dried flower crowns
 
Jenn Edwards – Hair and make up in North Derbyshire and South Yorkshire
 
Good Cake Day – Small wedding cakes and celebration brownies in a tin by post
 
If you have specific questions about weddings, then a multi-disciplinary team of wedding suppliers have started to collate answers to commonly asked questions here. 
 
 

My final thought it this, while big weddings are currently off the agenda, there is no limit to the number of dogs you can invite to your wedding.

 

 

Want to get my full guide for finding your ideal wedding photographer?

19 pages of all the info you need PLUS a useful checklist.

Leave your email below to get my free and impartial guide on how to choose your wedding photographer

Read what previous clients say about working with me

Check out my wedding photography prices

Find out who I am

Get cracking advice and see real weddings on my blog

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How to plan your wedding day timeline

How to plan your wedding day timeline

Mastering how to plan your wedding day timeline can be a tricky beast to tackle. There’s several moving parts to come together, and very often you need the benefit of experience to know how long a specific part of your wedding will take. And that’s where I come in! As a wedding photographer I get the privilege of observing in great detail about 30 weddings a year – and lots of those weddings are very different and unique in their styling and format. However the one thing that binds them all together is how long each individual part takes. So here’s my mix and match guide to mapping out your wedding day timeline!

4 men wearing green wedding suits stride towards the camera.

The Average Wedding Day Timeline

From my experience, the average wedding lasts about 8 hours from just before the ceremony to just after the first dance. It probably seems like a long time, but quite a few different things happen in that time which break it all up. Plus that old saying really is true – time flies when you’re having fun.

Get Started with a Wedding Day Schedule

Working out your wedding day schedule starts with marking out the main event – firstly, what time is your ceremony? This is the main anchor to your wedding day schedule. If you are having a civil ceremony then you will be required to arrive at your ceremony venue between 25 and 15 minutes before your ceremony start time for an interview. Your registrar will tell you what time they need you to arrive.

a bride and her bridesmaids walk in to marylebone town hall wedding ceremony.

If you are having a religious wedding ceremony then the person leading the ceremony will tell you what time each of you need to arrive. There is generally no need for an interview – but the religious leader may need you to complete other formalities before the ceremony takes place.

For any kind of wedding ceremony, either civil or religious, I would recommend telling your wedding guests to arrive 30 minutes before it is due to start. This allows time for your guests to chat to each other, be greeted by one of you (or one of your wedding helpers) and get themselves settled before the ceremony starts.

mother of the bride is greeted by groom at london wedding ceremony.

For example, if your civil wedding ceremony is due to start at 2pm, then tell your guests to arrive at 1.30pm. One of you (or one of your wedding helpers) will need to be at the ceremony venue at the same time to meet everyone. You will also need to have your interviews before, which could start at 1.45pm and then 1.50pm. 

Timing the Wedding Day Preparation

Once you know what time you need to arrive at your wedding ceremony, you can begin to work out what needs to happen before the ceremony. This part of the day can be fairly hectic, so it’s really helpful to have it planned out in the same way that you plan the rest of the day. The wedding morning works really well when it’s planned backwards. Start with the time that you need to arrive for your wedding ceremony and take off how long it will take you to travel to the ceremony – remember to leave some wriggle room for bad traffic.

bride and groom walk across a city road to a registry office wedding after being dropped off by a taxi

For example if you need to be at your wedding ceremony at 1.45pm, for a 2pm start, and it takes 30 minutes to get there, you need to leave at 1.05pm (allowing for 10 minutes of delay contingency time – it’s better to do a couple of rounds of the block rather than risk being late). 

There is generally quite a lot of excitement in those moments before you leave. So give yourself some time to enjoy that moment. I would aim to be completely ready 15 minutes before leaving so you can enjoy the fizz (or even some fizz!). Plus, if you want any photos of your family and friends seeing you for the first time, you will need some time for that. The last thing on your getting ready action list should be putting your outfit on – and this can be quite a production! If you are wearing a wedding dress, or equally anything that needs to carefully put on, give yourself at least 15 minutes to do so, more if you are also having a veil. Tiny buttons can take a long time to do up! If you are having a make up artist and / or hairdresser to help you get ready for your wedding, let them know what time you want your hair and make up to be finished. They will be able to advise you on what time you will need to start.

father gets choked up as he sees his daughter as bride for the first time at voewood house wedding

For example, if you are scheduling to leave at 1.05pm, you need to aim to be completely ready to leave by 12.50pm. If you are wearing a wedding dress, you will need to put that on at 12.35pm. This means your hair and make up needs to finish by 12.30pm, and your wedding helpers need to be completely ready by the same time (to help you!).   

bride is helped in to her wedding dress by two bridesmaids wearing green at anran farm wedding

Wedding Ceremony Timings

Now that you have a good idea of how the wedding morning all fits together, you can start thinking about your wedding in a normal chronological order. The length of a wedding ceremony is dictated by what kind of ceremony you are having – and ceremonies come in all shapes and sizes. Below is a rough guide to how long each kind of ceremony takes:

  • Civil ceremonies – Between 20 and 40 minutes depending on how many readings and music you have
  • Religious ceremonies – At least 45 minutes, depending on what kind of religious blessing you have and if there is any readings or music.
  • Humanist ceremonies and celebrant led ceremonies – Usually between 20 and 45 minutes, again depending many readings and how much music you want. These kind of ceremonies are the most creative and allow you to really craft something that works for you as a couple. Check out Nat Rayboulds Weds for more info.

For example, if you are having a civil ceremony that starts at 2pm, with two readings, then it will take approximately 30 minutes and finish at 2.30pm.

bride and groom stand at the front of timber walled room in coventry registry office exchanging vows.

How Long Does Confetti Take?

I absolutely LOVE confetti – so if your wedding venues allow you to do it, I would highly recommend planning a confetti moment. In terms of your wedding day schedule, adding confetti to the occasion depends on how many guests you are having. The more guests you have, the longer it will take them to move around between locations (and this is true for all elements of your wedding day – large volumes of people move slowly). Confetti moments are orchestrated by getting everyone in to two lines, getting the confetti distributed and ready to throw. Here’s my rough timings guide for organising the confetti moment right through to you and your beau skipping down the tunnel of fluttering glee. These are based on the number of guests that you plan to have, and can be considerably squeezed by having a team of wedding helpers who are absolutely ON IT in terms of ushering your guests along.

  • 20 or less guests – maximum of five minutes
  • 20 to 80ish guests – Approximately 10 minutes
  • Over 80 guests – between 15 and 25 minutes

For example, if you are getting married at a registry office and have around 50 guests, and will have you confetti immediately after your ceremony finishes at 2.30pm, then your confetti will be finished by 2.40pm

bride and groom hold hands in the air while walking down steps at islington town hall getting showered in confetti

How Long Do Wedding Group Photos Take?

I tend to let couples decide how many family group arrangements they want. The most important thing to remember is that group photos take time, you will need to allocate enough time for all the group photos that you want. I find it takes me an average of 4 minutes to take one group photo arrangement – and this is usually with the help of your wedding helpers sourcing the various people for me.

bride and groom stand with bridesmaids and groomsmen laughing for a wedding party group photo

For a big group photo of all of your guests together, again, this takes longer than 4 minutes and entirely depends on how many guests you have.

  • 20 or less guests – approximately 5 minutes
  • 20 to 80ish guests – approximately 10 minutes
  • Over 100 guests – approximately 20 minutes

For example, if you want 5 family group arrangements then I would recommend to start these after you’ve had 15 minutes to hug and kiss your guests (and give yourself a break!). They would start at 2.55pm and finish at 3.15pm. 

group photograph of all guests at a cultural fusion wedding

How Long do Couple Portraits Take?

I am yet to meet a couple who is really excited about having their photograph taken for the couple portraits. And I can completely understand! However I tend to find that the couple portrait part of the day is a really nice way to step away from the energy of your wedding and just have some 1:1 time. You can make your couple portraits as epic and adventurous, or as simple and intimate as you like. I generally recommend that couples schedule about 20 minutes for some couple portraits to be taken during the day. If you fancy taking advantage of a beautiful sunset, then it’s well worth setting aside an additional 10 minutes during golden hour on your wedding day. 

groom leads bride wearing jumpsuit along pavement littered with autumnal leaves

For example, if you wanted to have you couple portraits on the way to your reception venue (which is both time efficient allows for a variety of portrait locations) then you should schedule to leave your ceremony venue at 3.15pm and arrive at your reception venue at 3.45pm – assuming that it takes 10 minutes to travel between the venues and giving yourselves 20 minutes for couples photos and the chance to have a breather.

bride and groom stand laughing out loud outside the front of a green and yellow double decker bus

Wedding Breakfast Timing

Your food is usually one of the big focal points of your wedding day. Your caterer will be able to advise you on how long the food service will take from start to finish. They will also need to know roughly what time you want the service to start. So if you want to have a lot of activity (like group photos) between the end of the ceremony and the beginning of the food service, let them know so that they can help guide you on what time the food service should start.

wedding guest bites in to burger at pink themed wedding

It’s worth remembering that some things wrap around the food service also take up time. If you want to have a receiving line to meet all of your guests as they go in to dinner, then you should allocate about 30 seconds per guest to estimate how long a receiving line will take. Guests also need a bit of time to actually find their seats at a wedding – they need to find their names on the seating plan, find their table and then their seat. I would recommend to allocate between 15 and 30 minutes for guests to be fully seated after being called for dinner. 

For example, you many want to schedule the start of your wedding food after all your guests have had a chance to settle in to your reception venue and enjoy a drink. If everyone has arrived at the venue by 3.45pm, has 30 minutes to settle in and are then called to dinner at 4.15pm and are then fully seated with the first course on the tables at 4.30pm.

groom stands at the bar of a pub wedding with dad drinking pints of beer

How Long Should a Wedding Speech Be?

There’s no strict rules with how long a speech ‘should’ be, and this is one part of the day that you fully control! From hearing many wedding speeches over the years I would recommend to ask your speakers to keep their speeches to a maximum of 10 minutes long. Especially if you are having a lot of different speakers. While the speeches are very often the most entertaining part of the day (and what gets talked about as people reminisce about your wedding), guests can get a bit fidgety and distracted if an individual speech goes longer than 10 minutes.

For example, if you have your speeches after the main course has been cleared, but before the dessert is served, then you may want to schedule the speeches to start at 6pm. If three people speak then they should finish by 6.30pm, after which the dessert is served. 

asian bride in purple and pink wedding sari giving a speech as husband looks on

Cake Cut and First Dance Timings

If you’re cutting a cake, or a stack of cheese, then that actual moment doesn’t take very long at all – usually between 5 and 10 minutes, depending on whether you want your guests to crowd around and cheer, or whether you want it to be a simple and intimate moment. The lengthy task is actually the cutting up of the cake / cheese – which is thankfully done by your catering team!

bride struggles to cut cake tower with groom at clapton roundhouse wedding

If you are having a first dance (not everyone does!), it’s another speedy ritual that takes less than 5 minutes. But it can be a great way to mark the start of the most fun part of the wedding – the party!

For example, if your dessert is cleared away at 7pm, then you may want to mark the end of dinner by cutting the cake at 7pm. Then clearing the dining room and meeting your evening guests from 7.30pm, and getting your party started with a first dance at 8pm.

bride and groom welcome guests on to dance floor after first dance at Shustoke Farm Barn Wedding

Other Wedding Day Schedule Considerations

This schedule won’t suit every wedding, but hopefully it gives you a rough idea of how long individual elements of your wedding actually take. If you are getting married at one venue, where single rooms will need to be turned around by venue staff, then you should also build that turnaround time in to the plan for the day (you will thankfully save time and money by not having to travel between venues!). Getting married at a single wedding venue generally means that you have the help of a wedding coordinator who will able able to assist with timing. Alternatively you can also hire in help just for the day, and an ‘on the day wedding coordinator’ is a really effective use of your money to assist in everything running smoothly while you concentrate on having fun!

wedding guests hold white shoe up in the air on wedding dancefloor at ikon gallery wedding

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19 pages of all the info you need PLUS a useful checklist.

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Guide to choosing a wedding photographer

Guide to choosing a wedding photographer

YAY! If you’re reading this then the chances are that you’re at my favourite stage of the wedding planning process – choosing your wedding photographer! While I am a wedding photographer, I’m super passionate about couples booking the photographer that’s right for them and their wedding. So I’ve written this guide to help you reduce the overwhelm of choosing a wedding photographer. After all, there are so many of us, and so many of us are absolutely flippin great!

How to choose a good wedding photographer

I get it, it’s hard even on a website to know who will be the right photographer for you, but there are things to look for that help make the choice a lot easier. When you have found one the first thing you want to check is their portfolio.

Always thoroughly check out the wedding photography portfolio

I know it’s fairly obvious that you should check out a wedding photographers portfolio to see the very best of their work, but it’s also worth reviewing it with critical eyes. Look for consistency in both the kind of photo and editing style. When looking at the portfolio if you see images that look like they could have been photographed by 4 different people, the chances are they could have been and a lack of consistency can raise the red flags. An experienced photographer develops a signature style that can instantly be recognised in all their photographs. When you choose a wedding photographer that has a consistent style, you are going to be more certain about what your wedding photos will look like.

Read their “About Me” page

The person you choose is going to be capturing your wedding day – and probably all day too! You need to get to know them as a person. Your photographer is with you on a very emotionally charged and intimate day, and you want to make sure you have a good bond and trust the person. Take a look at their About Me page, read about them, get to know them and what they stand for. Do you have similar values? Do you believe in what they are trying to do? Do they sound like they would fit in with your friends and family?

bride and groom standing chatting to wedding guests on london street

Read their wedding photography blog

Lots of photographers use their blog to share super helpful and informative content to help you and your wedding, but also insight into their recent work too. Take a look at their blog and the advice they share, their experiences and the recent weddings they have shot. From reading their blog you’ll be able to tell if that person has lots of experience, how knowledgeable they are and you’ll see more of what their photos are like. You can check mine out here. 

Check out their Social Media profiles

Another way to get to know your photographer is by looking at their social media profiles – Instagram and Facebook can give great insight into their days, how they shoot weddings and some fun behind the scenes too. However, just keep in mind that just because a photographer doesn’t use social media channel, doesn’t mean they’re not any good. They might simply not use social media!

Hopefully that’s given you some helpful pointers on what to consider when choosing a wedding photographer. If you want to know more about the process and get a super handy checklist, then leave your email below for my completely free MEGA GUIDE. 

Want to get my full guide for finding your ideal wedding photographer?

19 pages of all the info you need PLUS a useful checklist.

Leave your email below to get my free and impartial guide on how to choose your wedding photographer

Read what previous clients say about working with me

Check out my wedding photography prices

Find out who I am

Get cracking advice and see real weddings on my blog

Contact me here

Wedding planning advice from real couples

Wedding planning advice from real couples

As a wedding photographer, every year I get the privilege of meeting a whole team of people who are actively planning their wedding. Not only do I get to observe what happens, but I can also ask them what they’d do differently – if anything at all! So I asked all the recently married couples what would be their wedding planning advice to those planning a wedding at the moment. Scroll down to suck up the wisdom! 

The number one piece of wedding planning advice from recently married couples is ‘Be True To Yourself!’

“Dare to be different, make sure it reflects you as a couple and don’t feel like you are being pushed down a particular route.”

“Do exactly what you want to do! It’s easy when you start planning to get a bit carried away and you end up deviating from what you actually had your heart set on. After a number of scrapped plans we went back to original plan of a simple registry office ceremony with only our closest family members there, and it couldn’t have gone better. We do plan on having a bigger party for our friends at some point but doing it this way meant that we removed most of the pressure and stress; we just got to enjoy ourselves!”

bride and groom sit on sofa at The Roost - london wedding venue - wedding planning advice

“Go for it and enjoy it as much as possible. We had a bit of stress in the run up but not too bad and the day itself more than made up for it – we had the best day ever (far better than we imagined) and it all felt worth it! My only real advice would be not to get swept up in other peoples expectations and stick with what feels right for you as a couple and make sure it reflects your personalities.”

“My best wedding planning advice is to do it your way! People mean well but their opinions can be very overwhelming. The only thing that matters is that you and your partner are on the same page.”

groom kisses bride on the cheek standing in victorian greenhouse and yeldersley hall wedding

“Stay true to who you are as a couple. Don’t be swayed by wedding cliches. Don’t feel as though you have to make compromises you won’t be happy with. Enjoy it. The planning and the day itself go by so quickly, so drink it all in.”

“Number one wedding planning advice would be follow your instincts, do what YOU want. The only things I regret about our day were the instances where I went against my first instinct and felt under pressure to do things because I ‘should’.”

bride hugs in to groom holding bouquet and wearing a bridal bomber jacket at marylebone town hall wedding

“My advice would be to not get too stressed out and do what makes you happy. Try to limit input from anyone else as it’s your day, and you should be able to express yourselves in your own individual style.”

“Our advice would be have things you want, that will make you feel special- don’t feel pressured to have things because they fit the ‘wedding’ tick list (unless that’s the kind of wedding you want of course).”

“One thing we’d do differently is try not to defend our choices to relatives with ideas of what a wedding should be.”

bride wearing sequin wedding dress dances with groom in the rain under umbrella at digbeth birmingham wedding

How to plan a stress free wedding – Don’t aim to do everything yourself

“Rely on your close friends and family to help, you won’t be able to do it all by yourself.”

“Be really clear on the day if you want people to actually do important jobs, we said ‘ok ushers can you do this’ and none of it happened, be specific and say to individuals ‘you are in charge of this!'”

“Delegate where you can. People will be happy to help.”

close up photo of bridesmaid helps bride put on her white sandal shoes - wedding planning advice

Wedding top tip – Hire in help where needed

“As our big day was only six weeks after we booked it meant that we had to make quick decisions and things couldn’t spiral. I felt so much calmer and relaxed about my own wedding than I had at other weddings where I was just a guest! If you do plan small ceremony definitely pay out for extras such as flowers and a photographer really made all difference. We have stunning photographs and it added to the sense of occasion.”

brightly coloured bridal bouquet with pink, yellow, orange and white flowers held by bride wearing white bridal jumpsuit from les heroines

“Biggest piece of advice is get a good photographer and I recommend Rowan! We almost didn’t have a photographer because of budget constraints but I am so glad we did – getting the photos after the wedding is so exciting, you get to see loads things you probably missed on the day and get to see all your guests having fun! Rowan’s pictures have captured exactly how the day felt and when I look at them I feel like I’m reliving the day which is priceless.”

“If you are not using a venue with a co-ordinator, hire one! Ours was amazing (and like a ninja). She ensured that suppliers were managed, the hall was tided up and items like the cake was cut up for the guest, whilst we were busy having fun.”

“One thing we would do differently was to get the cake delivered rather than collect and transport ourselves. We lost the bottom tier!”

“I had been in two minds about spending what felt like quite a lot of money on getting my hair and make-up done the morning of the wedding, as I don’t really do much dressing up. I’m so glad I did, as I felt super glamorous and fancy all dolled-up.”

“The only thing I would do differently is use a celebrant instead of the register office, that whole experience in the planning stage was a bit stressful and it would have been worth spending a bit more money to choose a person that you really like and tailor making your ceremony.”

Most importantly – Don’t sweat the small stuff

“Keep it simple and don’t get stressed if plans change last minute. We had a wet weather plan all year only for the sun to beam down so you just need to go with the flow!”

bride and groom standing chatting to wedding guests on london street

“Accept the things you can’t change, embrace the day and the planning. The wedding car, with the groom and best man were involved in an accident on the way to the venue. No one was hurt but it really puts it into prospective. Don’t stress about the little things, be grateful for everything and everyone. Do it how you want it. Choose florists, photographers etc because you like their work and allow them to do what they do best. Have fun, take time enjoy the day, don’t worry about people enjoying themselves, they make their own fun.”

bride bridesmaids toss greenery bouquet. Informal wedding photography by Parrot and Pineapple - wedding planning advice

“In the run up I wished I’d done so many things differently (not had a London wedding, had it more casual, had it smaller,….), but on the day everything went so well I am so glad I stayed with what we originally planned as I wouldn’t change a thing. I think my main advice would be don’t stress it, it may not be your perfect wedding ‘on paper’, but you’ll still love it.”

“I think my wedding planning advice would be to try and relax and enjoy the day. Try not to focus on all the tiny details, and trust that you and your friends and family will have a fantastic time regardless of the colour of your napkins for example. If you don’t fancy running around on the morning of the wedding go for decorations like dried flowers that you can get well in advance. We were able to set up the venue the day before too which was incredibly helpful.”

bride and groom stand in front of city tower block hugging and laughing image used on a blog post sharing wedding planning advice from real couples

“Don’t stress too much about the little things ! There will be hiccups on the day and things that don’t go to plan – for us it was a forgotten ring pillow made by a family friend, smashed jars of pick and mix and some lighting that kept tripping out all the electric – BUT nobody noticed! Everybody was too busy having a good time!”

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How to budget for your wedding – advice from real couples

How to budget for your wedding – advice from real couples

Setting a budget for your wedding is one of the best things you can do in the early days of wedding planning. It’ll help you think practically about what’s important to both of you. But when it comes to wedding planning, it’s not the most fun activity! Here five top tips from recently married couples who have been exactly where you are now.

Start wedding budgeting with good research

Knowing how much things cost is the biggest step to getting started. I like to keep things super simple and clear by keeping all my wedding photography prices available for everyone to see on my website.

“We stuck to our budget, just! Research, research, research!”

indian bride and groom laugh informal wedding ceremony.

Decide what’s really important for your wedding spend

In an ideal world we’d all have one of those rooms like Scrooge McDuck from Ducktails (showing my age with that reference!). But this is no longer the 80s and none of us are cartoon ducks. We’ve all got mortgages, rent and bills stacking up. So when it comes to setting your wedding budget think about where you want to be by the end of your wedding. What’s been the highlight? What’s everyone been talking about?

“We originally wanted to do things as cheaply as possible but this soon escalated, and we decided to spend a bit more and do things the way we wanted.”

“We didn’t have a fixed budget at the start per se. We just started out knowing that we didn’t want an expensive blow out, and with 30 people in a pub and high street clothes it was never going to be terrifyingly costly. We had a huge amount of help from our very kind parents for the big things, but for everything else we just bought things gradually across the year to spread the cost.”

feminist wedding reading Asylum Chapel London. Parrot and Pineapple.

Splurge on the important things, but save on others

When you know what the end goal is, it’s so much easier to decide what you’re going to splurge on, and what you’re going to make some savings on.

“We didn’t have a strict budget but we did decide quite early on what we were willing to pay for certain things. We focused on the key elements – food, the ceremony, drinks, music – and kept the rest simple. No one remembers the favours but everyone remembers a killer party. We had an extensive excel spreadsheet to keep track of it all!”

Bride dancing with her friends at her wedding. Fun informal feminist wedding photography by Parrot and Pineapple.

“We spend the budget on four key important things- the venue, the food, the photographer and the band. These were the things we knew we didn’t want to skimp on because they were what mattered to us. We spent around £500 on our outfits, I loathed the idea of spending hundreds of pounds on a dress (it’s fine if you want to do that) and I wanted to have a lovely dress but there was no way a lovely dress couldn’t be cheaper (it was £200, so still the most expensive dress I own!). Everything else we either made ourselves or we didn’t have to pay for; the cake was gifted and made by my sister in law, the bridesmaids paid for their own dresses after I chose them, all the vases were from my grandparents. That was another way of having them there, as they had both died earlier in the year- seeing the vases reminded me of them.  We got the flowers from supermarkets, we spent £50! It was brilliant, getting them all the day before was risky but I think we lucked out with what was available!”

mariachi band performs at london wedding. Image used on the blog post how to budget for your wedding.

“We did a few things to make our budget work for us. For example we wanted an open bar with a champagne reception and plenty of booze flowing, so it worked out it was cheaper to get corkage and then go to France and buy most of it there. My dress, while still not cheap, was ex-sample and getting the veil from the same place meant I got a discount. All the suits were hired in the end as my partner hates wearing them so there was no point him buying one that would hardly ever be worn again (because my dress will be worn so much again!). Rather than have a three course meal, we had two courses and then provided a help yourself cake buffet from M&S.”

Groom leads bride in jumpsuit along path covered in leaves.

Keep track of your wedding budget

Keeping a hold on your wedding budget is by far the best way to ensure that you don’t over spend. If a spreadsheet isn’t your jam then just keeping an old fashioned note book of everything that you plan to spend money on, and how much you actually spend, will be really helpful.

“I’m an accountant, so we were pretty thorough in budgeting. We had a spreadsheet with budget, actuals, what was left to pay and even a little bank reconciliation to check where we were at with our savings. In the end we came in pretty much bang on what we had been saving for the wedding.”

Bride and groom stand in front of St Pauls Cathedral. Image by informal wedding photographer Parrot and Pineapple Wedding Photography.

“We had a spreadsheet broken down into each part of the wedding (every little bit) with columns for estimated, budget costs and then actual costs so we could keep track. It’s fair to say that keeping on budget is very hard! Things are more expensive than you initially think. So do your research! We called in a few favours, friends who could contribute their time and skills. Plus, we did a few things ourselves: designing the invites, stationary, table plans, place names etc.”

Bride groom kiss under festoon lights at winter wedding.

Accept that you might go a little bit over

Getting the budget right is a tricky task, after all, this is probably your first time planning an event on this scale! So if you do end up over spending, you’re definitely not the only one and you definitely won’t be the last!

“As we were also buying our first home we wanted to try and keep costs down as much as possible. We didn’t have a set budget but ended up spending more than we had planned on spending. But it was definitely worth every penny! There will probably be a blow up bed in the guest bedroom for a while but hey-ho!”

“Our original plan was to try and keep it to a reasonable amount, but that was extremely naive of us, we didn’t realise how expensive things are. The barn and catering was almost our whole budget! Needless to say it cost a lot more than anticipated but I still wouldn’t have changed anything about it.”

Budgeting for your wedding? Click here to read my blog post on how to allocate your wedding budget

 

 

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How to choose your wedding photographer

How to choose your wedding photographer

 

So Many Awesome Wedding Photographers and Only One Wedding!

Choosing a wedding photographer can be a really tough decision – primarily because there’s so many of us. And bearing in mind that most of my friends are wedding photographers too, I know that they are flipping awesome! This has the advantage that we now live in a world where many weddings are being beautifully photographed, but the disadvantage for the people doing the choosing is that it can feel pretty overwhelming when you first scratch the surface. But fear not – I want to help guide you through how to choose your wedding photographer! While I am a wedding photographer it’s worth saying that I’m not right for every wedding. It might be me, it might not be me! In this series of blog posts I’m going to take you through the things to think about when choosing your wedding photographer.

First up, you really need to think about what you both want.

Bride hugs bridesmaid. Image in wedding blog post how to choose your wedding photographer

The Different Styles of Wedding Photography

Firstly think about the style of photography that you like. Have a solid scroll on instagram and see what’s available out there. Do you want things very relaxed and informal? Or would you prefer the photos to be more editorial and posed? How a photographer captures your day will be reflected in the style of their photographs. Some photographers like to create beautifully posed scenes like you find in a magazine – this is sometimes called an editorial or fine art style of wedding photography. Other photographers will be more in the habit of just capturing what happens before their eyes – documenting your wedding as it unfolds. This is the kind of wedding photographer that I am! You might see it referred to as documentary wedding photography, informal wedding photography or relaxed wedding photography.

Bride groom first dance with dog. How to choose your wedding photographer. Parrot and pineapple.

Secondly think about how you want the images to actually look. Taking a photo is only half the work when it comes to photography, there’s so much magic that can be created with the editing. And the editing style of a photographer is as unique as their shooting style. Do you like photos that are brightly coloured? Or something more neutral and muted? Is light and airy your jam? Or maybe something dark and moody? With so many flippin great wedding photographers now available, there is literally one to suit everyone’s personal taste. So be sure to book a photographer because you love the way they capture photographs and their signature editing style.

Bride groom laugh in park. How to choose your wedding photographer. Parrot and Pineapple.

Bearing this in mind I would suggest to completely avoid booking just any photographer and telling them how you want them to take the photos and edit them. It would be very difficult for a photographer to change their style to accommodate your needs in this way, as much as they’d love to. Photographers want to capture the best photos for you and be as helpful as possible, but it’s really hard for us to change who we are creatively. So always choose the photographer because you love the way they capture the picture and how they edit the photos. That way you are always going to be happy with the end result.

bride sequin wedding dress and groom walk through confetti at The Old Library Birmingham. Parrot and Pineapple.

Wedding Photography Packages

Next, you want to think about which parts of your wedding day you want captured. Photographers offer lots of different types of packages. Some photographers will just have a single day rate on offer, others will work by the hour. From my experience, the average wedding lasts approximately 8 hours from just before the ceremony through to the first dance. So when you are allocating your wedding budget to the photographer – think about how much of the day you want photographed. If you want photos of you and your team getting ready through to the mega fun party, then you will need to allocate a healthy budget to accommodate that.

Groom friends laugh. Ikon gallery wedding by Parrot & Pineapple Wedding Photography

Now You Know How to Choose Your Wedding Photographer

Finally you want to think about what you want from your photographs after the wedding. This is the super exciting bit! You’re paying a lot of money for someone to create your images – make sure that you get to enjoy them afterwards. Most photographers will offer you your images edited and delivered to you via an online gallery where you can download and share the photos. I would recommend that you want to ensure that you chosen wedding photographer will provide you with high resolution images without any watermark as standard – this means that you can print your photos without any funky logo on them. This is what I provide clients with and I know lots of my photographers friends do too. However some photographers may not, so it’s always worth asking.

Sometimes you can order a printed album or slideshow, or have the image files on a USB stick too. Take a look at what a photographer offers after they have photographed the wedding, and what will fit with your budget. It’s very common for clients to opt for a digital package to start and then add in print products at a later date. I have some clients ordering their wedding album two years after they get married.

 

Whatever package you choose – always always print your wedding photos! You cannot enjoy them on a memory stick or hard drive!

Want to get my full guide for finding your ideal wedding photographer?

19 pages of all the info you need PLUS a useful checklist.

Leave your email below to get my free and impartial guide on how to choose your wedding photographer

Read what previous clients say about working with me

Check out my wedding photography prices

Find out who I am

Get cracking advice and see real weddings on my blog

Contact me here