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Monday 16 December 2013

Using Pinterest for your Wedding Inspiration

If you haven't discovered Pinterest and you're getting married, sign up's free...and you'll love it.

We're of the generation that doing wedding research meant buying way too many wedding magazines, using scissors to cut out the best bits and glue to paste them into our "Wedding Inspiration Scrapbook."

Nowadays, like everything else in the Digital Age, there's a better, faster and cheaper way to do the same thing...and it's called Pinterest.

If you haven't already done so, Sign Up for your free account with Pinterest, decide whether you want to say a bit about yourself and put up a profile picture.

Before you can pin, you need to create at least one Board, onto which you can Pin the cool stuff you find. You can create as many Boards as you like but don't have too many to start with. I would recommend you start off with maybe: "Wedding Stuff I Like", "Humour" and "Cute" ....or something just to get you going.

As soon as you start Pinning, you'll realise you want more Boards, so just create them as you think of them. You'll find your own level.

Now you're ready to start Pinning. There are two modes of Pinning:

1. When you Pin pictures already on Pinterest onto your own boards, and
2. When you Pin pictures into Pinterest and your own boards from a website you're looking at

Pinterest is huge and has come from nowhere in the last 12 months or so. If all you do is:

a) search Pinterest for "wedding", or
b) select the Pinterest "Wedding" category'll find an endless supply of inspiration already posted into Pinterest by other brides and wedding suppliers.

In the process of this you'll no doubt come across Boards of Pinners (jargon alert: Pinners = users of Pinterest) who have similar tastes to you, in which case you can click to Follow their Board or maybe even Follow the Pinner (in which case you'll follow ALL their boards, but you can Unfollow any boards you don't like at a later date). Pins by people and Boards that you Follow will appear in your Timeline, just like Facebook etc.

Go to the Pinterest Help Centre and it will help you put a Pinterest button onto your Internet Browser. Then, whenever you are browsing the Internet and you see anything you want on one of your Boards, all you have to do is press the Pinterest Button on your Browser and select which Board you want it in.

Boards can either be Public or Secret. As soon as you start narrowing your choices for your wedding, we recommend that you have some new Boards that are Secret and in here you can put the things that you're seriously considering...that way all your choices will remain a surprise for your guests on your Big Day.

You'll soon find that your Wedding Board fills up and you may want to Split it into say: Wedding Cakes, Wedding Shoes, Wedding Dresses, Wedding Venues, Wedding Photographs, Wedding get the idea.

You can re-Pin anything from one of your Boards to any of your other boards and this is how you can stay organised.

If you like something but you don't have a Board to Pin it in and don't want to create one for it, you can just Like it by clicking the Heart.

It's not just photographs that are on Pinterest. You'll find many "Infographics".  These are usually very interesting and show in a graphical and digestible form how to do something.

You'll also find links to blogs, useful websites, videos and a whole host of thoroughly engaging things.

If you really like a particular Pin, you can click through and it will take you to the original website that the original Pinner got it from. This is often the supplier so you can buy it if you choose to.

Also, if you click on a Pin you can leave comments that the Pinner will see and an interesting exchange can often result.

Pinterest is great on a desktop or laptop computer but the tablet and smart phone Pinterest apps are awesome.

If you do try, do follow us on Pinterest. We've got some particularly popular "Ideas for your Wedding" and "Wedding How-To Tips" Boards as well as Boards with our latest photography, offers, tips and well as a little humour ;)

It might sound a bit involved but Pinterest is very intuitive, thoroughly addictive, free and an amazing way to get inspired for your wedding.


by Steve Dunster

Monday 9 December 2013

Wedding Tips: Why Your First Dance Matters

When I say your First Dance matters I don't mean you need to go to a lot of bother to learn elaborate dance steps, in fact far from it. 

What I mean is that something magical often happens in a bride and groom's First Dance as a married couple and when it can make for some fabulous wedding photographs...perfect to place at the end of your wedding album.

A bride and groom have spent the day making public promises to each other, exchanging rings, being the centre of attention and looking fantastic. So when the lights dim and a bride and groom take to the dance floor, holding each other whilst their favourite song is is little wonder that magic happens.

Some couples prefer not to do a First Dance together because they don't feel very confident dancing but it's not about the dancing, it's about the magic.

When a bride and groom experience the magic of the First Dance they love it, it's probably the most intimate moment they'll have had all day. 

But it's not just the bride and groom who love that magical moment, your guests love it too...and of course we've already spoken of the amazing photographs that can be captured.

If you want to learn some proper dance moves or even take dance lessons then that's fine, it's your day and you should live it with no regrets as far as is practicable. 

But if you do, you may well be concentrating more on the dance steps than your togetherness...but that's okay because as soon as the dance is finished, you'll probably look into each other's eyes and hug...and the magic happens.

If you feel you can't dance and don't want to learn, it's absolutely fine. Hug each other in the middle of the dance floor, look into each other's eyes, slowly move from one foot to another, slowly rotate to the music and enjoy each other's company...and the magic will happen.

If you really don't want to do a First Dance, then that's fine too, it's your wedding...but at least you should know it's not about the dancing, it's about the magic. 

You'll love it, your guests will love it and your photographs will look fabulous at the end of your wedding album...with this knowledge you can make an informed decision as to whether doing a First Dance at your wedding is right for you.

You shouldn't do it just because it's tradition but it is such a lovely moment it is easy to see why it has become part of the wedding tradition.

by Steve Dunster
8 December 2013

Friday 6 December 2013

Wedding Entertainment Ideas

Some of our couples have hired musicians to play in the background to help in the mood setting.  We have seen harpists, jazz quartets of saxophones, string quartets, trios of keyboard, drum and guitar and singers.  

Sometimes singers will simply bring a box of tricks with them with all their backing tracks whilst others will play a piano or keyboard and sing along to that.  There are some pianists who will even play gentle music in the background whilst you all eat your meal - rather like a cabaret artist.

Ice-cream is always popular and we often see a queue at any ice-cream bicycle or van.

A popular choice for wedding entertainment is to have a magician. These guys simply move around the room amongst your guests wowing them with their fabulous magic tricks and easy humour.  Some of these magicians are simply awesome - one guest at a wedding was amazed to discover her wedding ring made its way into a sealed envelope in the magician's wallet which had been in his pocket all the time! 

Children hate being cooped up and having nothing to do. Inside or out, children will run around with the other children and largely entertain themselves when they're not sat down eating. 

Some couples provide garden toys and games, primarily for the children but in our experience they're just as popular with the grown-ups.

Some couples could hire a separate room at the venue and then hire in a minder, or simply ask a friend to just keep an eye on them, with a selection of toys and games and maybe a TV and DVD player with a selection of films for them to watch.

Another option would be to hire a children's magician or clown.  He can set up in a small area of the venue and will keep children of most age groups quite happily entertained with his tricks and jokes. 

For the more adventurous couple, a buckeroo machine can certainly liven things up.

A great option for keeping all your guests of all ages entertained during your meal is to give little bags of LEGO and run a competition for the best model. We did this once and it was great fun...but WE WOZ ROBBED!

Characaturists are becoming very popular. They don't keep many guests occupied at once, unlike magicians, but they work quietly with one couple at a time and build a portfolio of hilarious cartoons of your wedding guests that you can keep forever.
 by Jacqui Dunster
5 December 2013

Monday 2 December 2013

Scheduling Tips for your Wedding Day

We're quite often asked by our couples how they should best schedule their day.

How long is your ceremony?

Once you have booked your ceremony time there are several things that need to be thought about. Firstly how long is the ceremony going to take?  If you're getting married in a church then it can last up to an hour depending on how many readings you're having and if you're going to have a communion, a big choir and an orchestra then your ceremony could easily take an hour and a half.

However, if you are having a civil ceremony in a hotel or register office then these tend to last about 25 minutes. We've been to some some fast track register offices where the ceremony has only taken 10 minutes!!

Once your ceremony is over all your guests will want to come over and congratulate you.  We usually leave you to chat with them for about 10 minutes whilst we're setting up for the Formal Groups and then we'll start organising the Groups around you.  

How long do Formal Groups take? 

When we photograph Formal Groups we usually take about 20/30 minutes but again this can all depend on several situations. If your ceremony is at a church it is a lot easier to keep track of your guests as they can't disappear off to a bar or off to their hotel room for a 'quick freshen up'.  We have lost valuable time on some occasions where one of the guests has gone off to their room and this can mean that a good number of the photographs have to be delayed until they return.

Another consideration is how many Formal Groups are you going to have?  We have a standard set of Group photographs which we discuss with our couples and use as a starting point.  They cover most situations at most weddings but extras can always be added in - especially if you have someone who is visiting from a faraway place who you rarely see.  Just remember that guests don't like to hang around for dozens of pictures to be taken.  They prefer to just have a few and then disappear for a chat and a drink.

The main consideration for Formal Groups is keeping everyone in easy distance of where the photographs are being taken and having good ushers to help your photographers get all your guests ready for the next Group photo.

The more people in a group, the longer the shot will take to organise.

Travelling Time

After the Formal Groups have finished you will want to relax with your guests and have a drink and a chat with all of them and if you were married in a church or register office then you will need to consider travelling time for yourselves and all your friends and family.  Plenty of time needs to be allowed for families to get to your Reception venue because of traffic or the possibility that some guests may have stopped off on the way for a cup of tea...or a burger - it's happened - believe us!

Portrait Session

After you have arrived at the Reception Venue your photographer will probably want to take you off somewhere  for your private Portrait Session.  You should allow 20 or 30 minutes for this if you can, especially if your venue has stunning grounds and interiors and you want to get the best photographs you can.

Checking Your Reception Room

About 15 minutes before you and your guests are to be seated for the meal and speeches you will normally be asked to go in and check the room to make sure that the staff have got everything right and that there's nothing missing from your tables.  This is worth doing - we have had incorrect menus on tables, guests placed on the wrong tables and favours put in the wrong place which all needed sorting out before the guests were invited to take their seats.

How to Enter Your Reception Room

Another consideration is whether or not you are going to have a Receiving Line before your Wedding Breakfast.  These can really take a lot of time especially with a large number of guests.  You should allow a good 20 minutes if you have both sets of parents, Best Man, Chief Bridesmaid and yourselves in the line up.

If you are short for time in your wedding day schedule or your meal is late in the day and your guests are hungry, the quickest way to get you in is for your guests to simply be shown into the room, to find their seats and then for you to be announced by either your hotel's Wedding Co-ordinator or a Master of Ceremonies.

A compromise is to have a Receiving Line that only has the bride and groom in. If you restrict your exchanges to "Lovely to see you, thank you for coming" ...or something equally brief, even a large number of guests can be received surprisingly quickly.

Speeches and Cake Cut

Your caterers and photographers (and Master of Ceremonies if you have one) will want to know whether you are having speeches before or after the meal and whether you will be cutting the cake after the meal or before your First Dance.

In conclusion 

We normally suggest that our couples allow a good 2 hours, plus travelling time, between the end of the ceremony and the beginning of their meal.  This means that they can have a really relaxed time and not feel rushed.  Your guests will not get bored if you have a little longer - some of them will not have seen each other for months or even years and they will all find plenty to talk about.

Our recommendation is that you plan to have a little too much time, rather than too little...a wedding in a rush is not nearly so much fun as one that you can savour.

by Jacqui Dunster
2 December 2013