Despite the weather being all over the place, it’s not been a bad summer! I always feel sad writing my last summer wedding post, but it means I have the next 6 months to squirrel away and work on other projects. Fitting this in alongside my full time job means I’m limited to how much I take on in the year, but I make sure it’s manageable and neither job suffers.
This year has been busy for me with weddings, coordinated 2, attended 2 abroad and an evening reception. I’ve not switched off! I want to say a big thank you to the couples who’s weddings I’ve had the privilege of being part of, the new suppliers I’ve got to know and work with.
So what is in store for me for the rest of the hibernation period? Well I’m still on with my accessories line, which I’ve been saying I’d launch for ages, but Rome wasn’t built in a day! There’s lots involved and I’m a bit of a perfectionist, so it has to be just right!
Bookings for 2020 are coming in and I’ve always got to plan in a holiday or 3!
The summer ended on a high celebrating my cousins wedding in Rhodes (and carrying on the party back in England).Weather and location was perfect and she looked beautiful! A happy occasion with close family and friends. We laughed, cried and laughed some more, but most of all, we made memories.
Where have the last 6 months gone?! We are already half way through the year and my ‘To Do’ list doesn’t seem to have gotten any smaller!
One of my tasks this year was to blog more.......yeah that’s not happened much! So here I am getting back into the swing of it again!
Whilst planning for my next wedding , I’ve been in contact with a few of the suppliers in preparation for the day. One lovely lady has been an absolute gem and found a spare 5 minutes to feature on this months blog. Sasha is a photographer from Sheffield and already I'm loving her energy so can’t wait to work alongside her! Click on the link below and have a peek at her work.
What is it that you do?
I’m a wedding photographer! I specialise in natural photography - essentially capturing real moments and memories. My style is bright, creamy, dreamy & romantic.
Where did it all begin?
As for my origin story, I was living and working in Japan as a teacher, but realised that my heart was in photography. Determined to make a go of it, I invested my savings into equipment, studied the business-side in spare time at school, and offered free photoshoots to friends in order to build my skill and portfolio. I came back to the UK and for the first couple of years juggled several jobs while trying to establish myself as a full-time wedding photographer. As with any self-employment venture, it was a lot, and it was exhausting. However the consistent graft paid off and snowballed into what it is today. 5 years ago I had 6 wedding bookings for the year. Fast forward to now, I just finished photographing 57 in last year alone.
What makes you different from the crowd?
I think that wedding photography as a career has changed quite significantly in recent years, and I feel like I’m part of a new wave of photographers who care more about romantic documentation than portraiture and structured shots.
Advice for couples looking to tie the knot
Don’t stress about other people’s opinions, it’s near impossible to please everyone anyway! More importantly, it’s your day, so do what makes you happy.
Hints & Tips
When looking for a wedding photographer, of course price and love for someone’s work are incredibly important. Additionally I think up there on that list of importance should be compatibility. Make sure you and your photographer get along. If you feel like friends at that initial meet up/over the phone, even better. This is someone who will be coming along to almost the entirety of one of the most important days of your life.
Advice for anyone looking to start up their own business in the industry
So many people can take great pictures nowadays, but I think there’s a real art to making your photos your own. Find your own style, make sure you love it, hone it, and stay consistent in working towards your goal.
Plans for the future
The last few years have been amazing. I’ve been inundated with work in the UK, and having dipped my toes into destination wedding photography I’m incredibly excited to be doing more of it! New York & Japan are up & coming and I am so hyped.
If you’re looking for ideas on where to go for your Hen weekend, then I suggest you head to the South of a France. Monaco has been on my bucket list for a number of years now I finally found the time and money to go! It all sound very expensive (it is so be prepared), but if done well, you can spend with out hurting your bank balance too much. Situated on the French Riviera, Nice is guaranteed sunshine all year round. From creating your own perfumes, enjoying a thermal spa day, to partying in Cannes, there’s something for all with great transport links throughout the country.
Monaco - 25 minutes by train €8 return
Milan 4hrs by train for €15 return.
Cannes 25 minutes by train
St Tropez 3 hrs by bus
Things to do in Monaco:
Casino Monte Carlo
Palais du Prince
L Metropole Shopping Centre
Hotel de Paris
Café de Paris
TOP TIP - When leaving Nice airport, don’t get a taxi to your hotel! We were less than 15 minutes away and it cost us €41. The train and bus are the most cheapest and easiest ways to get around.
Many are steering away from the ‘traditional’ frock and opting for a more sophisticated look- All hail the jumpsuit !
I do love me a well fitted jumpsuit, as it can be dressed up or down for any occasion. The fact that it has graced the bridal catwalks again 2nd year in a row, means many brides are taking a risk and dressing outside the norm! The jumpsuit is a versatile garment and with the right accessories, can change your look in an instant.
As well as jumpsuits, capes have made a comeback again this time in a variation of styles. From long,short, sequins and feathers, there’s something regal about a cape which I love!
Those that dare to bare, we have the plunging v-neck line. This style isn’t for everyone and depending on your outfit, it may not suit. It’s all about keeping it simple and stylish with a dash of your personality.
You had to have been living under a rock to not know about the Royal weddings of 2018. Both weddings have influenced the trends for 2019 and it’s the year for a relaxed simple look. Meghan and Eugenie opted for a natural look, unstructured, yet simple and elegant and this seems to be the look most brides are channeling. Loose waves, the classic chignon (for a more polished look) modern ponytails and dramatic flower headpieces were all seen on the runways and have provided inspiration that has filtered down into even everyday looks. What ever you opt for, remember your hair and makeup need to work well together and most importantly it has to suit you.
Freelance MUA Shemaliah Goulbourne has provided some useful tips on what to do in preparation for the big day. As well as bridal makeup, Shemaliah has worked on video and photo shoots, fashion shows and was also an MUA for Britain’s Next Top Model in 2017. To see more of Shemaliah’s work , follow the link.
1. Work out when you are getting married and plan your makeup look around it
When you are getting married will help you to determine what type of makeup look you would like , what time of day and the weather will also affect the picture / makeup.
In the summer less is probably more. Having really dewy skin may look shiny dependant on the temperature. The makeup artist will be able to help you find the balance and achieve the perfect look.
2. Always have a bridal trial.
Bridal trials are so important, all makeup artists have different styles, be sure to go with the one who suits you, and the look you want to achieve. Before the trial do your research, have a idea of the look you would like. Make sure you highlight any skin concerns before the trial so the MUA can prepare her kit.. ps thread your brows!
3. Take care of your skin prior to the wedding day
Most of the time, makeup is only as good as the skin underneath it. If you don't take care of your skin this may affect the finish, a simple hot cloth cleanser every evening like the one from Liz Earle will do the trick. Schedule a facial a few weeks before, start a good skincare routine, cleansers , toners , day creams etc Nip and fab's Glycolic Fix Daily Cleansing P ads are my favourite.
4. If your thinking of doing your own makeup .....
Remember that you will be stressed on the day so make sure that you are happy with giving yourself an extra task in the morning! Also if you are the type to apply makeup with your fingers, make this the one day you don't do that!
Some go to makeup products for your wedding day
5. Plan before hand who will get their makeup done and in what order
Think about what the hairstyles will be and whether it makes more sense to have your makeup done before your hair to avoid unnecessary touch ups to either. Also leave some time for your makeup to set. Makeup looks better when it has settled on the skin.
Now that we know what the colour of the year is, it's time to focus on what's trending for 2019. There are lots of things to look out for so stay tuned!
It’s all about making a personalised statement with your invitations. Your invites are a sneak peak into what your potential wedding theme will be. Traditionally invitations should go out 6-8 weeks before the wedding, if you already haven’t sent out ‘save the date’ cards. For destination weddings, give your guests more time and send out three months prior. Allow 3-4 weeks for your guests to RSVP, for larger guest numbers (300 +) I would push it to 6 weeks. The RSVP date should be at least 2 weeks before your wedding so that you can give your caterer an accurate headcount and make any last minute changes.
This is a time to get creative and experiment with different colours, fonts and designs. Prices will vary depending on what you want to include, so shop around and make full use of any discounts suppliers are offering at the time.
- Watercolour florals
- Acrylic invitations
- Oranges with yellow and red as highlight colours
For further inspiration, check out www.eliteinvite.com/mirror-acrylic/ and www.biancoblanc.com/
Tatton Park is an historic estate in Cheshire, north of the town of Knutsford.
It hosts a yearly programme of events organised in the hall, garden and parkland.These include the annual RHS Show Tatton Park, car shows, concerts, courses and craft and antique fairs. Parts of the hall and gardens can be hired for celebrations, weddings, conferences and meetings.
On 2nd and 3rd February Tatton Park held its annual Bride: The Wedding Show inside a grand marquee. Now in its 18th year, the event is perfect for couples in the North West looking for inspiration.
It was my first time there and a chance to connect with the local suppliers. I indulged in a glass of fizz at the stylish champagne bar and gorged on cake and ice cream! There were plenty ideas for bridalwear, menswear, bridesmaids’ dresses and wedding outfits all showcased at the catwalk show. Throughout the day there was live singing from a variety of musicians including AMC Gospel Choir, String Fusion and Soul Revolver.
The luxuriously dressed marquee area was presented by Mahood Marquees, which reflected a perfect wedding set up with a stunning laid table, lavish decorations, and an amazing atmosphere. All the exhibitors were welcoming and had nothing but great things to say about the show! Definitely one to think about exhibiting at next year! For those who's nuptials are a way off, I recommend attending for ideas and inspiration.
It's a new year and I cant believe how quick January has gone! It has helped that I have been super busy, so not had chance to think about how cold it is outside and how rubbish the weather is!
Since my last post in September (I should be ashamed of my self!) I've given my logo a bit of a make over, booked in weddings for June and July, exhibited at a wedding Fair and booked my flights for 2 weddings abroad! Once I get motivated here's no stopping me!
The main purpose of this supposedly short post is to give you the heads up (if you don't already know) of the colour trend of 2019!
Pantone reports on colour forecasts across current and future seasons. Every winter they announce the "colour of the year". Influences include film and design, visual art, nature, fashion, sports and photography. For 2019 'Living coral' is the colour of the year with the leading elements being nature.
Expect to see Living Coral in its varying shades, along side complimentary colours, from invitations, flowers, to cakes, center pieces and back drops.
Kenya, East Africa
Who doesn't want to see wild animals up close and personal in their natural habitat!? Definitely something I want to experience, going to the zoo just doesn't cut it for me!
What to do
Giraffe Centre, Nairobi
This centre, which protects the highly endangered Rothschild’s giraffe, combines serious conservation with enjoyable activities. You can observe or hand-feed the giraffes
Today the population numbers more than 300, and the centre has successfully released these giraffes into Lake Nakuru National Park (home to around 45 giraffes), Mwea National Reserve, Ruma National Park and Nasalot National Reserve.
Prices start from $64 (around £50.00) upwards depending on the tour, but if I were you I would make the most of the visit and see as much as possible. That even includes visiting the Nairobi Elephant orphanage.
There’s nothing more famous about Kenya than going on a safari to one of the many national parks or reserves located throughout the country. The most famous wildlife viewing sanctuaries include Maasai Mara, Amboseli, Lake Nakuru and Tsavo East.
Safaris can be on the expensive side, but observing African animals in their natural habitat including the big 5 (African lion, African elephant, Cape buffalo, African leopard, and white/black rhinos) is a once in a lifetime experience and probably well worth it!
Now I'm not one for extreme sports or activities especially ones that involve water! So i will sit this one out! For those dare devils though you can River Raft the Tana River, Whitewater raft and kayak on the Tana River. When you're not screaming for your life, you can take the opportunity to view Kenya’s nature from the river!
Hell's Gate, National Park
Named after a narrow crack in the cliffs, once a tributary of a prehistoric lake, this national park north-west of Nairobi. Visitors can walk among buffalo, zebra, eland and Thomson’s gazelle and see baboons scratching each other. Prepare to be rendered silent by the beauty of the Njorowa gorge’s red sandstone walls.
With a long coastline along the indian ocean, Kenya is home to some of the most incredible beaches (Nyali, Diani, Bamburi Beach, Malindi). Whether you want to swim snorkel or surf, most of the beaches offer some sort of activity. There are also plenty bars and restaurants in the areas.
Where to stay
You can sleep under the stars Loisaba Lodge is set in a 61,000 acre reserve, and guests can experience the wilderness by night in private huts open to the skies a 20-minute drive from the main building.
*Angama Mara, Masai Mara
*Nay Palad Bird Nest
Kenya shilling (136 KSH = 1GBP)
It is advised to also take some U.S. Dollars, as some places will only accept these as currency.
Kenyan authorities introduced an e-visa system in 2015, meaning British travellers no longer need apply for entry documents before travelling, or queue at the airport for all the right stamps. A single entry visa costs $51 per person (£39) and the e-visa site is linked from the Foreign Office’s Kenya travel advice page. Ensure that you use the official e-visa website to avoid being scammed by fake providers.
Las Vegas, USA
The city that never sleeps, or is that New York?! Either way, Vegas is not for the faint hearted. If you are going to relax and chill, then this is not the place for you! For starters it’s HOT, like really hot! We went in September and it got to 45 degrees, I could only sit out in the sun for 30 minutes max, before I was running inside for shade and air con. Even though we were there for 10 days, we packed in as much as possible and still didn't get to do it all.
Vegas isn't just about casino's and the nightlife, it has a lot of history behind it. Downtown Vegas is where it all happened with the main strip with its extravagant hotels being an added extra. A taxi driver actually told us that the main source of income for Vegas isn't the casino's but gold and I think possibly oil, but I might be making that bit up!
Trip was booked through My America Holiday and we got a fantastic deal. I expected to be bored on an 8.5hr flight, but as soon as we took off we were given drinks and snacks and food then more drinks, snacks and food. A great selection of inflight films to choose from. It was great and I normally hate flying.
What to do
You could easily spend 2 days just checking out the hotels, which are beyond massive. The Americans know how to make an impression!
One activity I had to do whilst I was there was the Grand Canyon and it was well worth the bumpy plane ride!
There are 2 parts to the Canyon, West Rim and South Rim. We booked for the South Rim as this gave us more for our money. Pick up and drop off from the hotel (nearly got left behind!), plane ride (seats 12 people so it's tiny), hop on to a bus that took you to the national park, 30 mins taking pics, head to another area where you get lunch spend 20 mins there, head back to the plane (25 min flight ), then back on the bus home. It's an all day activity so don't try and cram anything else in as you won't have tome. You can add an additional experience by going on the helicopter tour as well, but that could set you back by another $200.
Take plenty money, as it is very expensive (bottled water $10, Vodka & Cranberry $20). How you spend it is up to you, but I would make sure you keep money separate for tips and cab rides.
House Of Blues
Located inside the Mandalay Hotel, HoB offers authentic American food with live music every night. Book in advance as this places gets full quickly. Food portions are HUGE. Ordered Calamari as a starter and it was enough to feed another 4 people! It's either go big or go home!
Cirque Du Soleil
I would go back to Vegas just to see all of these shows. It was spectacular! Some shows are more expensive than others and i think this is based on the hotel it's located in. We watched Mystere at Treasure Island hotel. Tickets were purchased whilst we were over there and actually worked out cheaper than buying them in advance. You can't really take pictures, but if you are slick enough like me, you can manage to sneak one or two, just remember to turn off your flash!
Where to stay
We stopped at the Luxor, which is at the start of the strip. This is a 20 min ride from the airport and cost us $35! Side note if you don't wait or collect your change, they will assume it's a tip as I learnt as soon as I got there. Taxi driver took the $5 change and I didn't even hear him drive off in his electric car! Start of the holiday I was already down by $5!
Rooms at the Luxor were slightly dated, but big and comfortable. After looking at the other hotels and their locations, I would opt for staying near the centre, that way you are closer to all the bars, clubs restaurants and shopping centres. This should cut down on your taxi rides too!
Right next door to the Luxor was the Mandalay Hotel. This hotel is fantastic and we spent most of our time there as there was more to do in regards to food and entertainment. After walking up and down the strip nearly every day, I realised our location was a tad poor. Being right at the bottom means either walking for 30-40 mins or getting a taxi to your destination. You can use the mono rail, but you have to walk to the main station in order to get on it and go else where.
It's been a while since I last ventured across to the Greek islands, but my next trip will be August 2019 for my cousin's wedding in Rhodes.
Greece is steeped in history with plenty to see and do, so this destination is definitely more for the budding tourist. If you don't fancy trekking round ancient ruins in the baking heat, then head to the beach! Regardless of what island you choose you will find sand to lay on!
Santorini is the go-to island for couples and a haven for honeymooners, with is clear waters white, washed buildings and sunsets out on the Aegean Sea, it's a popular wedding destination to tie the knot.
Where to stay
Vedema is in the village of Megalochori with the town square and village church only a minute walk away. The 45 rooms at this hotel have views of the village homes or the surrounding rolling vineyards. Vedma's sister property Mystique, is set in Oia. It has a secret wine cellar, and it's 22 cave-style rooms are terraced into the cliff face, providing that classic Santorini experience.
Vedema, Megalochori, 84700, Santorini; +30 22860 81796; prices start from €223 per night for a suite
Mystique, Oia, 84702, Santorini; +30 22860 71114; prices start from €648 per night for a suite
For July and August this place comes alive with revellers ascending in their droves for the night life! If all that hubbub isn't for you then sneak off to Hotel Kivotos, on Ornos Bay. Set on a hill with steps down to a peaceful rocky beach, it's an ideal refuge to refuel and recharge.
Hotel Kivotos, Ornos Bay, 84600, Mykonos; +30 22890 24094; prices start from €506 per night for a suite
What to do
Mount Olympus - I'm a big fan of Greek Mythology and Mount Olympus is probably one of the most famous mountains in the world and is not be missed off your itinerary. If you're up for the challenge then you can climb the mountain. You will need to travel to Litochoro where you can trek part way or all the way to the top. Don't forget it will be hot, so be prepared!
Dive with dolphins - Rumors say that they hang out in Halkidiki, in North Sporades, around Kythera and in some areas in Crete.
Scuba dive - You can more or less scuba dive anywhere in the world. This is a must and if I wasn't such a chicken, I would attempt it again!
Volcanoes - Go to Sousaki, Methana, Milos, Nisyros, Santorini.
Festivals - There are different traditional Greek festivals (Panigiri) happening all around Greece, especially during summer time, but also in Spring. Attend an Easter celebration in Greece in Corfu or mainland. Attend the Sardine celebration or the Tomatoe (or tomato) celebration and more.
My last post touched briefly on my trip to Paris and I promised to elaborate further on this one.
On our arrival, we experienced the hustle and bustle of the Latin quarter. It has music, people, food and a great atmosphere. Every narrow street leads off to somewhere new, which is probably why I almost got lost!
What to do
Eiffel Tower - Looks fantastic at night with all its lights flashing. We didn't bother going up it though as the queues are long and you can pretty much see the city from any high building or point.
Musee Du Louvre - I can't tell you how stunning this museum is. Its absolutely huge, but for all the beautiful pieces of art and sculptures it houses it has to be. If you like that sort of thing then you could easily spend all day, so wear comfortable footwear. Entry fee was about €15 and you get to keep your fancy ticket as a souvenir.
Yves Saint Laurent Museum - For a mere entrance fee of €10, you can do the tour in 2hrs, but as we were cramming a lot in one day, we did it all in an hour.
Sacré-Cœur - The Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris, commonly known simply as Sacré-Cœur, is a Roman Catholic church and a popular landmark. It’s located at the summit of the butte Montmartre, the highest point in the city and you get a cracking view of the city! To appreciate this view however you do have to climb stairs. I don’t do stairs! I gave up after 6 steps, but persevered to the top........it was well worth the moaning and sweating!
We took a midnight walk on the Champs Elysées and got as close as possible to the Arc du Triomphe without getting run over by the ridiculous amount of traffic! Paris has such a different vibe about it on a night time, less tourists, but still has a buzz that makes you want to stay out until sunrise.
One of the main streets for shopping is Rue du Rivoli where we were able to appreciate the architectural beauty of Parisian apartment buildings. The city has a ton of history which you just can't absorb all in a weekend.
I would say Paris can be a ideal for both a short weekend and also a quick honeymoon break, all depending on what you intend to do whilst you're there. Either way you will have so much fun and won't want to come home. It rained whilst we were there (typical!) but that didn't stop us from enjoying the sights. A rainy day in Paris beats a rainy day in England hands down!
Where to stay - Paris is a massive city and it's not until you arrive that you realise all the famous and well known tourist attractions are not close by! So you have to decide what you want to be closest to or better yet stay in a district that has regular metro links to other areas. We stayed in the 10th district and were only 100m from the metro/tube station (La Chapelle). Top Tip - purchase your tickets for the metro in advance for the length of time you are there, it makes it easier and less hassle when you need to get on the train. Plus you get a free map too!
I've listed other places we looked at through Airbnb and Booking.com, but note that you get what you pay for in terms of location, size of room and amenities.