Monthly Archives: August 2018

Tips in Getting the Right Wedding Photographer for Your Wedding

There are quite a few variations in the style of wedding photography. The style of wedding photography depends on the type of photographer your wedding photographer is. Is he someone who visualizes through his camera in the traditional way or someone who does creative shots. There is a growing movement towards an unobtrusive method of catching moments of the wedding day which is more natural in its approach. It captures the wedding day as it unfolds. There will be less of the usual gathering of the couple and guests to pose for photographs. The photographer is almost invisible to the family and friends and simply capture the moments as they happen.

This style of wedding photography creates a narrative and more natural style, each photograph will help tell a comprehensive story of your wedding day. It starts with how the bride prepares for her special day, and ends with the party that comes after. The whole idea of documentary wedding photography is to capture moments in a chronological order as it happens during your wedding day. The photographer keeps an eye on everything that happens and try to capture the defining moments of the wedding. The duty of the wedding photographer is to produce photographs that will remain special for both the groom and the bride as they will recreate their wedding day through pictures.

What is exceptional with this style of wedding photography, is that the day can commence without any disturbance usually caused by people having to pose for pictures. The groom and bride can focus on what really matters on their wedding day which is to show their love for each other.

This style of wedding photography creates a story which will unfold as the day progresses. All the pictures will help recreate the wedding day as it happened and hopefully will tell a good story. Remember your wedding is a special day. Details such as how the food tasted, how the cake looked, how the guests enjoyed the party pale in comparison to how the wedding photographs will turn out, not only should it be good but exceptional. After all once the day is over, it is the photographs that will remind you how special was your wedding day.

When you are ready to decide on who will be your wedding photographer, here are some tips that will help you decide who to hire as your wedding photographer. You should get someone who is the best in his craft, someone who can deliver the best photographs and also someone who can offer different wedding photography packages. It is also important to hire someone who is adept in handling the technicalities behind good wedding photography. If for example you are living in a place where there is a grand amount of natural light, make sure you hire a photographer who knows how to manage different lighting conditions.

Ask for samples of the photographer’s work. Remember the saying “A picture is worth a thousand words”, the photographer’s work will speak for itself. By their work you can judge if he is the right wedding photographer for you. Ask for honest feedback from couples who have worked with this photographer. Lastly ask about the wedding packages your wedding photographer offers. In the end you may want to get all the photos taken. There may be photos that you would feel a personal connection to regardless what the wedding photographer may think about it. Remember your wedding day is personal and sometimes no matter how some photos may lack in artistic value in the eyes of the wedding photographer they may be the very photographs that will remind you how special your wedding day was and without them will not complete your wedding story.

Tips for Newly Engaged Couples To Consider Before Spending Any Money On Your Wedding Day

Congrats Engaged! Now that excitement of the holidays is wearing down, you might have a little more time to start thinking about the when, what, where, who, why and how’s of planning your wedding. This is the beginning planning stage and where all the fun begins! Here are 6 things newly engaged couples should consider before spending any money on their wedding day

How many times where your asked this question in the last few weeks, “Sooo when are you two getting married?” Do you have a date in mind? It’s one of the most important days in your life so take time when picking a date to tie the knot. But where do you begin, shouldn’t be too difficult right? Most couples tend to choose a wedding date to symbolize some personal event like the anniversary date of your first date or the first kiss. A season (don’t you just love the thought of a Winter Wonderland themed wedding day? I really DO). The Weather is another factor, even in sunny California some months are better suited for a romantic beach wedding than others. Another factor could be your budget, having a wedding on Friday and Sunday, earlier in the day or during the off wedding season months could save you some money on the ceremony and reception venue.

This is where you need that wedding planner/binder we talked about last week to keep your pictures and ideas that inspire your wedding day vision. To start this you and your honey will need to get some paper and start brainstorming about what your dream wedding looks like and how you are going to really BRING IT when it comes to incorporating your personality and style into the wedding day. What words describe your wedding is it classic and elegant, rustic, vintage, modern, fairytale like, chic and simple, formal or casual? Do you want a themed wedding day or a traditional wedding or a mixture of the two? Would you like to include other cultural celebrations and traditions? What colors are the bridesmaids’ dresses? What flowers are in your centerpieces, in your bouquet? What do you want your guest experience to be when it comes to the food, drinks, entertainment the atmosphere and yeah the PARTY! (I love planning these types of weddings CALL ME if your wedding is all about the WOW and Party I have some amazing ideas for you) the point is to be as detailed as possible, then use what you come up with to design a wedding day that you will love.

Who will be attending your wedding? And how many guests will be attending? Do you want to invite kids? The guest list can be a painful task but is one that has to be done. There are co-workers, friends of parents, grandparents, neighbors, childhood friends, more friends and family from out of town from both sides of the family. How do you decide who to invite? Take a piece of paper fold it down the middle and give half to your honey. Fold the paper in halves again and label the columns A and B. The A column is for immediate family, friends you hang with often or been to their wedding recently and co-workers. In the B column put family members that you really don’t speak to or haven’t seen in over 12 months, other co-workers, childhood friends, (don’t worry no -one will ever know that they were on the B list!) If parents are paying for the wedding they may want to invite some of their friends, in that case split the list in 1/3 for parents to invite some guest.

Now that you have the who, what and when details you need to figure out how you will bring all of these details together and find a venue for your wedding day. Where do you want to get married? Do you want to ceremony at a local location? Or get married at some tropical destination around the world, the possibilities are endless; from a traditional synagogue or church, indoor at a hotel banquet room or outdoor garden, or mountain top wedding a private residence or even some where funky and modern like an art museum or barn. A good resource is, you can search by location or type of venue.

Having a set wedding day budget is very important whether you’re working with a million dollar budget or five thousand dollars, you need a budget. It is so easy for all of the wedding pretty stuff to run rapidly out of control. We talk more about the “B” word (budget) next week but until then here is some questions to consider. How are you going to pay for wedding day expenses? Will you be receiving a little help from your parents or are family members contributing, money or baking a cake. Are you using credit cards, taking out a loan, using your savings? You can make use of your “Who”,” What” and “Where” list to come up with what details or elements you must have for your wedding day, like a large venue to hold 300 guest, or travel arrangements for a destination wedding. To get an estimate of what it may it may cost and then you can Google to find out how much the cost would be or save some time and sign up for a consultation with a wedding planner who knows firsthand about how much your wedding day will cost.

This is an easy one. Of course we know why you’re getting married; you found the love of your life, your best friend. But it is so easy to get caught up in all the planning that you forget why all this is happening in the first place. Although it might be hard to step away from the excitement of planning your wedding day, be sure to take some time out and just be, go out on dates and keep it sexy…that means NO WEDDING TALK! Just relax, have fun and enjoy each other company.

Happy Planning!

How to Plan Your Wedding Day

I am a wedding photographer based in Surrey near London in the UK. I am very privileged to be privy to all the key elements of a wedding day. From getting ready in the morning through to the evenings entertainment. As an observer and recorder of the day, I get to see what works for the couple and their guests on the day.

Of course every wedding is different but the common factor I see at weddings is a lack of extra time for the bride and groom to relax and take in their day. Your wedding day will certainly fly by but with the right planning, you may just have enough time to look around and enjoy it.

After photographing over 200 weddings, I have put together some help and tips on planning your wedding day covering all the key elements.

Don’t let all the info in the article worry you. It’s just a guide to help you have a bit of extra time on your special day.

One thing to bear in mind is that everything takes longer than you expect on your wedding day. Dresses take longer to get into, no one knows how to tie a cravat! It’s like being famous for a day and everyone wants to talk to you. Just to cross a room can take 15 minutes. Many couples don’t realise the level of this until their wedding day itself. It’s wonderful that everyone wants to congratulate you! Just don’t expect to get to the toilet easily!

Here are a few pointers for key parts of the day:

Getting ready – Bride

This is such a special part of the wedding. The whole preparation and ceremony of getting ready for your day. Wedding dresses often seem to be more complicated on the day than they were in the shop. With all the excitement, the lessons from the bridal shop can be forgotten. Whatever time you think it might take to get into your dress, double it! Corseted dresses often need to be tightened twice and no one can ever figure out what to do with the spare ribbon. Shoes are often tied by bridesmaids and veils are tricky to get in the right place.

Things to consider when thinking about the timings for getting ready:

Factor in some time when you are ready for portraits from your photographer. It would be great to have some fantastic memories of how good you look. 10 minutes is plenty.

Some Make Up artists want to finish with you just before you walk out the door. This can be a risk if anything needs changing and doesn’t leave time with friends and family or give you a few minutes to gather your thoughts. Your make up should last all day so having it finished 30 minutes or so before you leave should not make much difference. You can always have a touch up as you head out.


Be ready 20- 30 minutes before you need to leave. This will give you time with the family and friends, a chance to make any adjustments of your dress or make up and to get some fantastic images.

If you are not rushed at this stage, you may well be much calmer getting to the ceremony. Remember if a registrar is marrying you, they will normally need to meet with you before the ceremony. For about 5 to 10 minutes.

Getting ready – Boys

The boys getting ready is less ceremonious than the girls however there are a few key things to remember to ensure that everything goes smoothly. In addition to making sure that someone has the rings, there are a few other items to remember that may be overlooked. If you are hiring the suits, make sure that you have everything you need before the day itself. I have seen fathers of the bride driving 50 mile round trips because they assumed that there was a shirt in the suit bag for them! Check you have cufflinks, ties and shoes as well as suits.

If you are being photographed, leave the tie and cufflinks off for when the photographer gets to you for a few GQ or ‘cool’ images before being photographed with best man, groomsmen, etc.


Make sure you have everything, have directions to where you are going; accessories such as shoes, ties and cufflinks are all looked after. Try and look as calm as possible for your photographs!


Ceremonies can last from 6 minutes to 90+! But one thing that is common is that they rarely start on time! From a few minutes while late guests arrive to brides arriving in an AA lorry 40 minutes late, it can all happen.

Its good to get an idea of how long a ceremony will last when planning your day. Here are a few rough timings:

· Registrar wedding either at a venue or the registrar office: 6 to 40 minutes. The average with 2 readings is about 25 minutes

· Church of England Wedding: Normally 25 to 40 minutes

· Roman Catholic Wedding: Normally 40 minutes to an hour although if you are having a full Mass as well this can extend to over 90 minutes.

· Jewish Weddings: Normally 20-30 minutes


After a wedding, everyone wants to congratulate you! I have spent time with couples that foresee that everyone will leave the ceremony and either head straight for the reception venue or go and enjoy the canapés.

What normally happens is that all of your 40, 80 or 200 guests want to congratulate you. Lots of hugs, kisses, etc. this is a fantastic part of your day. Often impromptu receiving lines start. This is great for you and for the photographer that can capture all your guests’ reactions.

These can last for anything from 15 to 30 minutes so just think about factoring in a bit of time if this happens. If you want to organise some confetti throwing as well, this should only really take a few minutes.

Cocktail Hour / Reception Drinks and Canapés

After the ceremony is a lovely time to mingle with family and guests and enjoy the afternoon. If I were to say that there should be one part of the day to allocate time to it would be this. I would recommend at least 2 hours. 2 and a half if you can. There are a number of reasons for this. In this space of time, you want to talk with friends and family, possibly spend some time with your new spouse, see the venue decorated for the wedding breakfast, etc. You may have also organised for a big group photograph as well as family shots (all the key people have a habit of disappearing at the wrong time!) and some time to get some portraits of the two of you by your photographer.

If your ceremony has over run, this can eat into your reception drinks time. Venues also normally call about 15 minutes before the wedding breakfast is scheduled to start. This can mean losing 20 – 30 minutes from the time you have allocated. By having 2 to 2 and a half hours, this will not really make an impact but should you have allocated say 90 minutes, a 20 to 30 minute reduction can make that time feel pressurised. Believe me, none of your guests will get bored drinking free champagne and eating canapés at a lovely location.


Speeches are normally better after the wedding breakfast. For those that are speaking, they do have to sit through dinner knowing they have to stand up at the end and entertain. However, an audience that is well fed and watered is a much, much more responsive one.

I often ask a groom or best man how long their speeches are. The most common answer is ‘not long, only a few minutes’. This normally stretches to 15 or 20 minutes without realising it. When practised at home, a speech is read like a book but delivered to your guests, there are pauses for laughter, tears and presents.

Having the speeches after dinner will take the pressure off how long they end up being. People are more relaxed and the chef won’t loose their cool over the starters being delayed as the best mans speech enters its 2nd hour!

First Dance:

The only thing I will say about first dance is to not have it too early in summer. If its still daylight, your guests may well enjoy the first dance and then go outside to enjoy the evening air and sunset leaving you with an empty dance floor. Time your first dance when it’s starting to get dark so guests stay in and hopefully join in the dancing.

Here are some sample day planners for ceremonies starting at 2 pm. obviously you can adjust for your own ceremony time.

Single venue wedding (all in one place like a hotel or designated wedding venue)

Morning: Make sure you have a good breakfast and drink plenty of fluids.

12.20 finish with hair and make up with retouching after your dress is on.
12.21 go to the loo. It might be the last chance you get for a while!
12.30 start to get into your dress
13.15 Portraits of you when you are ready and in your dress.
13.30 A few minutes to relax
13.45 Meeting with the registrars
14.00 Ceremony
14.30 congratulations
14.45 cocktail hour / mix with guests
15.15 Big Group shot followed by a selection of family images
15.45 Couple portraits with your photographer
16.15 call for wedding breakfast
16.30 entrance of the bride and groom

3 course meals are normally about 2.5 hours

19.00 Speeches
19.45 Speeches finished and room cleared / change of room for evening entertainment
20.15 first dance and dancing

Church Wedding (estimated 30 minutes travelling from the preparation / reception venue)

12.05 finish with hair and make up with retouching after your dress is on.
12.06 go to the loo. It might be the last chance you get for a while!
12.15 start to get into your dress
13.00 Portraits of you when you are ready and in your dress.
13.15 A few minutes to relax
13.30 leave for the church
14.00 arrive at church (don’t be early!)
14.00 Ceremony
14.40 congratulations
15.00 travel to reception venue
15.00 cocktail hour / mix with guests (slightly less time mingling than a venue wedding)
15.15 Big Group shot followed by a selection of family images
15.45 Couple portraits with your photographer
16.15 call for wedding breakfast
16.30 entrance of the bride and groom

3 course meals are normally about 2.5 hours

19.00 Speeches
19.45 Speeches finished and room cleared / change of room for evening entertainment
20.15 first dance and dancing

Planning Your Dream Wedding Day

Recently Engaged? What’s Next? 5 Tips On How To Get Started Planning Your Dream Wedding Day!

So your fiance has recently proposed, you said “yes” and now you’re gearing up to start your wedding planning. What’s a girl to do next?

Many women are excited and slightly overwhelmed when it comes to getting started with planning their weddings. They really aren’t sure where to start. This is completely normal so don’t panic. If your car broke down and needed repaired you wouldn’t fix it yourself you’d bring your car to a mechanic a trained expert in repairing cars, right? So why would you take one of the most important days in your life, a huge investment of money (average wedding is $25,000) at a very overwhelming time in your life to plan your wedding all on your own? You deserve to have a little help from a professional wedding planner (like me) to get you started on the right direction to help you get on the right track, get organized, spend your time wisely, help you find the best location and wedding professionals for your day and then ensure everything is well organized so that you can really enjoy every moment of the day.

Well I’m here to help you get started with planning your amazing dream wedding. Here are my 5 tips to get you started and put you on the right track to your dream wedding day!

1. You’re Engaged! Celebrate!

This is such a special time in your lives so make sure you celebrate it! If someone offers to host an engagement party then don’t turn them down. This is your time to feel beautiful and get used to becoming a glowing bride to be. Enjoy every moment of your engagement because before you know it; it will be over.

2. Decide what kind of wedding do you want

It’s important before you do anything else you really need to sit down and figure out what your dream wedding day looks like. A lot of couples skip this step entirely and what ends up happening is they don’t have the wedding day of their dreams and afterwards they can’t stop thinking about it. If you talk to a lot of married couples many brides will tell you that they didn’t have the wedding day of their dreams. They might make up excuses about not having enough money or time to plan it. But what they were really missing was a process and an expert in weddings to help them make decisions, see it from another perspective and making the impossible actually possible! But what they did was plan to get it all done and get through their day hoping that everything would go right. That’s a lot of stress! But what if I told you that’s not what your wedding day should be about. It should be about an exciting milestone in your life about the two of you coming together to become husband and wife. Once you say “I do” then you give your guests an amazing experience (your vision) to celebrate with you.

3. Decide how much you want to invest in your dream wedding day?

Wedding budgets don’t have to be scary unless you want them to be. Come up with a figure and make sure that it’s realistic with the number of guests you will be having at your wedding. Where will those funds be coming from? Keep in mind when parents are helping contribute to the wedding they often will start dictating what you can and can’t have. Some couples have no choice they are paying for their wedding themselves and perhaps a student loan, and a new home on top of it. Make sure it’s an amount you are comfortable with and sometimes you may have to sacrifice in certain areas to have your dream day. But I know it’s possible I’ve helped couples achieve their dream weddings on budgets between $15,000-$70,000.

4. Start researching ceremony and reception venues

Once you’ve set a date you really need to secure your DREAM venue as soon as possible. Where do you see yourself getting married outside, inside, in a church, in a garden, by the falls, on a farm, in a rustic setting, in a banquet hall… the possibilities are endless!

5. Get Some Support From A Professional Wedding Planner (for FREE)

I remember what it was like starting to plan my wedding. I sort of felt like “a deer in headlights” not having a clue as to where to begin. I knew what I wanted for my wedding, but it wasn’t possible to achieve (Or was it? Not with that attitude). I spent hours and hours Googling stuff and asking around about vendors and venues from friends and family. I thought back to where other weddings had taken place that I attended and graded the hall. But did I really want someone else’s wedding? No! But I was taking the easiest way out because planning was just too time consuming and stressful. It was a full time job all on its own. And I barely saw Steve while I was planning our wedding all by myself. And even worse… although our wedding was amazing and our guests still talk about it. I listened to everyone else. And I didn’t have my DREAM wedding and now after 2 years I still think about it. I wish I had known about what a wedding planner could have offered me.

As a wife and now an experienced wedding planner I’ve been there and done that (over 25 times to be exact). I don’t just plan weddings I help brides (and grooms) through a very overwhelming and often stressful time in their lives. I’m here to hold your hand and guide you through the emotional rollercoaster that is wedding planning. Nothing means more to me than making sure you have the wedding day of YOUR dreams, to get the things that you want for YOUR dream wedding. To make it a personal day that reflects who the two of you are. I want to ensure you stay on target with your budget, match you to the best vendors and venue that would be best for you and then give you the tools to ensure that you can actually SHINE like the star you are and not be doing anything else but enjoying every moment of your day! That’s why I offer lots of tips and advice to hundreds of brides and grooms, because it’s so overwhelming and you need someone to help you through the process.

If you’d like more of my help with designing your dream wedding then you can start here with my Designer Secrets Revealed F*REE Special Report “7 Easy Ways To Get Wedding WOW Factor” and you will also receive a subscription to my popular e-magazine “Wedding Wishes By Stephanie Thompson” with more great wedding planning tips and tricks.