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Friday 27 September 2013

Wedding Tips: The Two Most Important Times of Your Wedding

You'll have many vitally important "moments" on your wedding day, for example: the first time your dad sees you in your dress, when the vicar announces that you're man and wife, driving off to your reception with your new husband, cutting the cake, your First Dance...the list is endless.

But in this blog post I'm not going to talk about those sorts of "moments." What I want to talk about is "times" in the scheduled times of the various wedding day activities.

When planning your wedding, your entire day revolves around the fixing of two vitally important times:

  • the time of your ceremony, and
  • the time of your meal
These two times are difficult to move once set and determine the scheduling of the rest of your day. It is these two times that your wedding professionals will be interested in knowing. 

An early ceremony means that you can have a nice long wedding day with potentially a more relaxed schedule. Sadly it probably means you have to get up at stupid-o'clock.

It is usual to book the ceremony first. If you are lucky you also have some choice over its time. It is very important that you're not late to your ceremony because it can mean that you won't get married if your officiator has to go to another wedding on the same day. Obviously there is quite a lot of flexibility  in this most of the time but we have known a bride to be an hour late and it was looking touch and go for a while there.

When it comes to setting the meal time, make sure you've allowed enough time for the things you might want to do between the end of your ceremony and sitting down for your meal.

These can include:
  • Enjoying time with your guests who will want to congratulate you
  • Group photographs
  • Confetti throwing
  • Travelling to your Reception venue
  • Wedding car photographs
  • Portrait photographs
  • Drinks at the Reception venue
  • Receiving line

Also please don't forget to consider that the time your Reception venue may give you for your meal, may imply that they actually want the guests sat down as much as 15 minutes before that. It's well worth checking with them before hand.

So there you are, in summary:

  1. Decide the sorts of things you want to do on your wedding day
  2. Book your ceremony
  3. Take advice from your wedding venue and photographer and wedding car professionals as to what would be the ideal sit-down time for your meal
  4. Plan the rest of your wedding around these two times

by Steve Dunster

Thursday 26 September 2013

Wedding Tips: Top 10 "Wedding Transport" Tips

1. If distances are short you can save money by having one wedding car that does several trips. Bridesmaids and Mum first, then come back for Bride and Dad.

2. Some old cars/camper-vans look fantastic but can be unreliable. Take this into consideration when choosing an old or new style of car and it may even be worth discussing with your potential wedding car supplier.

3. When posing for car photographs, always have the man (groom or dad) nearest the car to stop break dust getting on your wedding dress.

4. Consider the size of your wedding dress when choosing your car or carriage...or tractor...or super car. If you've chosen a particularly large dress, it may not fit into the carriage, or Austin 7 or passenger seat of a Ferrari.

5. If you have a horse and carriage, don't get your flowers near the horse's head. Horses think flowers are tasty and after pulling you along for several miles they think you are rewarding them with a tasty treat.

6. Get some soft drinks put into your wedding car/carriage. By the time you've done the ceremony and photographs it's possible you may be very thirsty.

7. Don't forget to arrange transport for your Dad away from the church because he'll be in the wedding car with you on the way to the church but it will, of course, be your new husband who is with you afterwards.

8. If you want an open top car/carriage, it maybe worth getting one that as some sort of top that can be put on in the event of bad weather...or at least make some kind of arrangements that you could protect yourself, your hair and your dress if it was windy, raining... the splash back from the roads can be quite dirty. Perhaps some kind of coat or sheet you could put over your head.

9. It can get dark very early in Winter weddings, so plan to shoot the car shot as early as you can so you don't have to shoot it in the dark.

10. If your dad is actually driving you because it is his car you are using, for example, sit in the back not the front because it will look better in the photographs on arrival. If you and your dad both get out of the front seats it doesn't look as good as when your dad gets out and opens the rear door to let you out.

by Steve Dunster

Sunday 22 September 2013

Manchester United Bride

Helen and her family have been huge Manchester United fans for many years. They are regular visitors to Old Trafford to support their heroes.

Every bride is emotional on her wedding day but what Helen was to find out later in the day would move her to tears.

Helen and Pete were married at St Marys and All Saints Church in Droxford, in the beautiful Meon Valley, Hampshire.

After the Ceremony it was time for photographs. Organising guests at any wedding during formal group shots is always a challenge but it was especially so for Helen and Pete's wedding. Partly because of having to shout over the sound of the wedding bells and partly because of having to carefully shepherd guests around the numerous piles of dog poo (grrr). Nevertheless, we had a great time and got some lovely shots.

Then it was off in their wedding car to the Macdonald Botley Park Golf and Country Club, in Botley, Hampshire for their Reception.

Pete was mad about golf so going to a local golf club for their Reception was a natural choice.

Because of Helen's mad keen interest in Manchester United it was no surprise that their wedding colour scheme was the red and white of her favourite team.

The golf course gave lots of portrait opportunities but the clouds were always threatening.

It never did rain but her dad had bought white brollies just in case. They were married in the Summer of 2012, the worst "Summer" for rain we had ever experienced. Considering this it was a very sensible precaution.

He even went to the bother of printing their names and wedding date on the umbrellas.

Just when Helen thought their day couldn't get any better, what she was about to find out whilst listening to her dad's speech was to move her to tears.

Her dad handed her a card and explained that it had been written by the manager of Manchester United Football Club and signed by all the players.

Helen and Pete had a fabulous day, with great guests, great venues, no rain and with nobody stepping in dog poo...perhaps the good wishes of world class football legends had an effect.

Tuesday 17 September 2013

Wedding Traditions: The Best Man

Many hundreds of years ago if a man decided who he wished to marry but he did not have the approval of her Father then he would try and kidnap her.  This ‘tradition’ allegedly has its roots with the Germanic Goths.  Their custom was to marry someone from their own community but when the girls were lacking in numbers the men would try and kidnap someone from a neighbouring village or town.  This task was not easily carried out by just one man so the batchelor would bring along someone to help him - the best man for the job.

When kidnapping a bride they would sweep her up and carry her off and this led to the tradition of a bride being carried across the threshold of the couple’s new home.

The ‘Best Man’ would then have to stay with the groom during the ceremony keeping a watchful eye out for the girl’s family in case they tried to get her back.  He would then be required to stand on guard duty outside their new home.

There are records that document that arsenals of weapons would be hidden under the altars of churches to be used should the girl’s family come armed to recapture her.

Throughout the marriage ceremony, and on leaving the church, the bride stands and walks on the left of the groom. A groom would place his captured bride to his left so that he had his right hand free to defend and protect her.

Thankfully the task of a Best Man is not so dangerous nowadays and all he has to do is make sure the groom gets to the ceremony in time and look after the rings.

by Jacqui Dunster

Friday 13 September 2013

Wedding Traditions: Father Giving His Daughter Away

There are several theories behind the tradition of Dad walking his daughter down the aisle to her Groom.

One such theory is that the coloured veils that the girls used to wear were so thick they couldn’t always see where they were going so Dad used to have to walk alongside to guide them.

However, hundreds of years ago daughters were considered to be the property of their Father and if a man wished to marry her he had to pay a price to the girl’s family.

It used to be that once the Father approved of the union then he would be transferring ‘ownership’ of his daughter to her new husband.

Nowadays the Priest or Celebrant asks who is giving the bride away to be married, effectively asking if he is giving his approval for the marriage, and its usually the Father who replies and hands over his daughter’s hand in marriage. 

Some women are not able to go by this tradition, sometimes due to the Father no longer being around, and choose to walk down the aisle alongside another member of their family such as their mother or a sibling or even walk down by themselves.

by Jacqui Dunster

Wednesday 11 September 2013

Wedding Tips: Top 10 "Bridal Prep" Tips

These are the Top 10 tips we find ourselves reminding our brides about regarding that most crucial part of your wedding day BRIDAL PREPARATION:

1. If you change the location of your Bridal Prep, don't forget to tell your photographer

2. Hang up your veil so it doesn't crease

3. Get the train of your dress out of the bottom of the dress cover and lay it over a chair so the train doesn't crease but put a pillow between the train and the chair so the chair doesn't mark it.

4. If you have real flowers, keep your flowers somewhere cool

5. If you have real flowers, take them out of their water 30 minutes before you need them and wrap their stems in kitchen roll so the stems don't drip and stain the dresses

6. Eat, drink and go the loo before getting into your dress.

7. Get Mum, Dad and all your bridesmaids dressed before you get into your dress because the "getting into the dress" shots will look so much better

8. Make sure somebody has your key and locks up for you once you've left for the ceremony

9. Don't forget to organise transport for your Dad for after the ceremony

10. Get some soft drinks left in your wedding car. After you've done your ceremony and photographs you may well be very thirsty.

Monday 9 September 2013

Wedding Traditions: Wedding Rings

To many ancient cultures, including the Egyptians, Eternity can be represented with a circle - it has no beginning or end - just a hole in the middle which was considered to be a gateway.

It was believed that to present a ring to a woman was to declare immortal and never-ending love.

The Romans adopted this idea but with their own variation - the ring would be offered as a symbol of ownership not love.  Their rings were eventually made of iron (symbolising strength and permanence) and known as “Anulus Pronubus” and they would declare a woman as theirs by giving one of these rings. 

Allegedly, in the prehistoric age, before the ceremony, the groom would wrap grass around his bride’s wrists and ankles in order to stop her soul escaping.  Once they were married he would then tie this grass to one of her fingers.

But it doesn’t really matter which of the many explanations you choose to believe - the exchanging of rings is probably one of the oldest traditions of marriage.

Christians didn’t use rings in their marriage ceremonies until around 860 AD.  These rings were usually engraved with two linked hands, doves or lyres but by 13th Century the Church decided that they needed to be much simpler in design and so they became plain bands of metal.

Wedding rings have been worn on different fingers and thumbs and even different hands throughout various stages in our history but most religions have eventually settled on the third finger of the left hand.  Some believe this is because the majority of the world is right-handed and the ring is less likely to be damaged if worn on the left hand and also, apart from the little fingers, the third finger is not used very often.

The Romans, who were believed to be the first to engrave their rings, had other ideas about the wearing of the wedding ring.  They allegedly believed that there was a vein which ran from the third finger which was connected directly to the heart and they called it the ‘Vena Amoris’ or ‘Vein of Love’.  Scientists have since shown this to be totally untrue but people still like to believe in this myth as the reason behind why we wear the wedding ring on the third finger.

A more plausible theory however is the ritual that the Christians go through to placing the ring on the third finger.  The priest would hold the ring and touch the thumb, index finger and middle finger whilst reciting “In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit” and then the ring finger whilst he uttered “Amen” thereby sealing the marriage.

In many European countries though the ring is worn on the third finger of the right hand and in line with Jewish traditions the ring is placed on the bride’s index finger by her groom.

by Jacqui Dunster

Sources:  Wedding Shoppe Blogger: Meghan J, December 22, 2009;

Sunday 8 September 2013

Wedding Traditions: Cutting the Cake

The ceremony of cutting the cake is seen as the first task that the newly married couple do together and back in Roman times a bride used to have a wheat cake crumbled over her head to be sure of safeguarding her fertility. 

Having cut the cake it is tradition that the groom feeds the bride a piece of the cake and the bride then feeds the groom a piece, signifying the commitment between them to provide for each other, but as this part of the day is sometimes carried out after the meal the last thing they want is more to eat. 

As a sign of respect the bride traditionally should present a piece of the cake to the groom’s parents and the groom should present a piece to the bride’s parents thus acknowledging each other’s family.

To cut the cake the bride should take hold of the knife and the groom should place his hand over hers as they slice into the bottom layer - symbolizing a long lasting relationship.

Sources:  Danielle Cadet; Landmark Catering

Friday 6 September 2013

Wedding Tips: Pre-Wedding Shoots

Having a pre-wedding shoot with your wedding photographer is a great idea for so many reasons. You get to know how your photographers work, what it's like to be in front of their camera, you get to know them personally and you get to share the latest details of your day with them. Every photographer works a little differently but I think it's pretty universal that if you can arrange to have a pre-shoot with your photographer, the photographs on your day will go a little easier, you'll have more confidence and look better in your wedding day pictures.

For the rest of this blog, I'll explain the sorts of things we try to do in pre-shoots with our own couples.

In the picture above I'm setting up a shot with Jeanette and Russ, explaining what I'm after and how to stand to look at their best. We have a great deal of fun when we're doing these shoots and it's a relief to many couples that being photographed by a professional photographer can actually be an enjoyable experience.

Here's one of the shots from that set. 

Most people look at their best when they are happy, relaxed and engaged. We point out to you how you stand and look when you are...because, sadly, many people tense up when a big camera is brought up to the photographer's eye.

Pre-shoots are great for people's confidence. When we put you in the right light and have you happy, relaxed and will look'll see how good you look on the back of the camera and that will then improve your confidence and guess what...that makes you look even better.

We'll show you how to stand as a couple. It's surprising how close you have to get to actually look like a couple. When you do get this close, this can give rise to some other posing problems which we point out to you. None of which you have to remember because we will be looking out for it all on the day but having practiced a little beforehand it does make the whole process of taking wedding portraits quicker, easier and with more success.

Pre-wedding shoots also give the photographers a chance to learn a little about you too.

We learn what you look like in different lighting, in black and white or in colour.

We learn what you look like from different angles and with different expressions.

We learn the best strategies for how the two of you can be posed together taking into consideration your relative heights and preferences.

Wedding pre-shoots are also a great way of discovering what you're comfortable with or if you have any particular only being shot from a preferred side.

It's also an ideal opportunity to find out if you have any plans for your dress or hair that might mean it would always be best if we shot you from a certain side or stood you with your groom to your left or right.

And the wonderful side effect of all this is that you get to have some professionally shot portraits of you, your groom and the two of you as a couple.

Different photographers may do it differently but we are always delighted if you want to use any of your pre-shoot photographs for any of your wedding stationery. If you think you might want to though, do mention it to your photographer before the shoot to make sure they can schedule at least one set with that in mind.

Wedding pre-shoots are great fun, a huge confidence boost and often calm couples' nerves regarding photography on the day.

All our wedding packages include a pre-shoot because it makes the photography on the day so much easier and with so much better results.

Our advice is to buy a wedding photography package that includes a pre-wedding shoot or book a photographer who is happy to let you buy an engagement shoot from them.

Wedding photography is fun and you will look fantastic so don't be nervous and get your pre-wedding shoot booked up.

Wedding Traditions: The Bouquet

As well as the bride carrying a bouquet, which is considered a symbol of happiness, brides and their grooms used to wear wreaths and garlands made of herbs.

Some herbs and plants had meanings to their being part of a wreath or bouquet:

  • Sage - Wisdom
  • Dill - Lust
  • Orange Blossom - Happiness and Fertility
  • Ivy - Fidelity
  • Lillies - Purity

The Celtics used ivy, thistle and heather for their traditional bouquets and the Ancients used to believe that some herbs had the power to ward off evil spirits - the most powerful being garlic - so these were used in their bouquets and not flowers.

Sheaves of wheat, which symbolize growth and fertlity, would be carried by the bride’s Flower Girls.

Thursday 5 September 2013

Wedding Traditions: Throwing Confetti

Throwing Confetti at weddings originally started with the throwing of seeds and then developed on to rice and nowadays biodegradable paper or flower petals.

The reason behind the throwing of the confetti was as a blessing for the fruitfulness of the marriage and to remind the happy couple that their primary purpose in marriage was to create a family.

by Jacqui Dunster


Ferrari Themed Wedding

Steve and Victoria's wedding was Ferrari themed complete with a real life Ferrari for their wedding car.

The distinctive Ferrari red is seen here on the spotless rocker cover of their wedding car. The groom was initially keen to photograph the rings on this rocker cover...till it was pointed out that there was a possibility of them tinkling down into the innards of the engine. Surely the dismantling of a Ferrari engine would have been one of the more unusual excuses for a groom being late to his wedding.

And Ferrari red was the colour of their bridesmaids' dresses.

Their wedding car was a Ferrari California.

The colour of the California was a beautiful pearl, seen here on this bonnet shot of the rings. One of the loveliest colours for a wedding car.

The boys were very excited to see the California.

But they would have to walk to the venue. The wedding car was just a two-seater. Only enough room for a groom and his bride.

Whilst the boys were enthusing over the car, Victoria was getting ready.

The wedding car for her and her dad needed to be a four-seater. There's was a Porsche Panamera Turbo.

A fabulous car...even though it wasn't a Ferrari.

She awaited her car's arrival... the Forest Lodge Hotel, Lyndhurst in the New Forest, Hampshire.

Once it arrived it looked very fitting outside their venue...

...and Victoria and her dad were delighted to be in such an amazing car. They went off for a drive in it to clear the way for her groom to arrive.

Which he did in style, in "his" Ferrari California, with the top down.

Whilst waiting for his bride, Steve and his groomsmen enjoyed looking around the car in the hotel's car park.

The beautifully decorated Ceremony was held in the hotel.

The bride and groom were presented with congratulatory drinks.

And then it was into the garden for photographs...

...and confetti.

Then Steve and Victoria got to have some time alone... they went off in the California.

The table plan was beautifully printed in Ferrari colours and fonts...

...and the tables were named after drivers.

The tables were decorated in the black and white of the Ferrari motif.

Steve and Victoria's wedding not only had some great cars and a beautifully put together Ferrari theme, but the venue was great, the guests were lovely and the weather was perfect.