Travel: 5 days in Malta

Last month, I travelled to Malta for a short holiday. I went mainly to support my sister who was playing in the Women’s World Snooker Championships, but I’m also not one to pass up the opportunity to see somewhere new.

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As part of my ‘wedding bucket list’, I’ve always wanted to shoot a beach wedding so I decided I would also plan a styled shoot while there. I’ll writing a seperate blog on that, so keep your eyes peeled. Amongst all of that snooker watching and having wedding cakes/flowers etc arrive at my hotel, I’m glad to say we did manage to explore Malta 🙂

Loving a good road trip, we hired a car – always my favourite way to explore somewhere!

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On our first day, we headed to the north of the island and found a gorgeous secret bay, off a back road somewhere. This was probably my highlight of the holiday – the place was so secluded and peaceful. While there, we drove round another back road and came out in Imgiebah Bay, where we met a retired man walking. He was telling us he spent every winter in Malta, walking most days around the coast of the island. Sounds like my retirement dream! This coast line was so incredible, I can definitely recommend making time to walk there.

The west of the Island

Another day, we headed more to the West of the island. On our way to Dingly Cliffs, we stopped at Mdina, the ‘silent city’. We had a quick walk around the fortified town, exploring the narrow lanes within the city wall. It was seriously beautiful – very quaint, with gorgeous architecture and plenty of interesting nooks and crannies to find.

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Carrying on past Mdina, our sat nav sent us on what seemed the most random route – the track took us between farm fields, and then into narrow lanes which we barely fitted through (despite only being in a small car). Great fun though, and we eventually reached Dingly Cliffs. This side of the island is stunning – very dramatic coastline, and you can see for miles out to sea!

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We took the coast road further south and found the Blue Grotto, a natural cave formation in the cliffs. We stopped off at the small seaside resort next to it, Il-Qrendi, and had a stunning outdoor lunch by the sea. It couldn’t have been more perfect, as it was also the hottest day on the island since we’d been there.

Valletta

One evening, we drove into Valletta, the culture capital of Europe for 2018. We needed to cheer up my sister who had been knocked out the snooker, so stopped for cocktails at the Hard Rock Cafe in the harbour, before wandering up to the old town for sunset. And what a sunset we had! The skyline was absolutely stunning and I really enjoyed walking through the old streets as it got dark. We dined al fresco in a lovely square covered in fairylights, before heading back to the hotel. It’s a truly stunning city.

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Gozo

On our final day in Malta, we decided to catch the ferry to Gozo, having had recommendations we should see The Azure Window, a natural door formation which recently collapsed into the sea. It was such a windy day we thought we were going to get blown over the edge when looking into the Blue Hole, a natural swimming pool in the rocks next to the collapsed window. I can imagine what a gorgeous spot it must be for a swim in the summer.

As it was the final of the snooker that day, we decided we would squeeze in one more bit of sightseeing before rushing back to the hotel to watch it. We drove north to the Wied Il-Mielah, another natural door forming in the cliffs of Gozo. It was a lovely spot to see, although I stumbled up the steps and dented my wide lens… massive fail.

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Before heading back to the airport for our flight home, we were meant to visit the small fishing town of Marsaxlokk, but thanks to it being the closing ceremony of the snooker, and St Patrick’s Day the evening before, our heads were a bit sore! Cue napping before a slow journey to the airport. However, there is always next time! Would love to go back to Malta in the summer and make the most of the coast and secluded bays 🙂

Caroline x

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London Wedding Photographer: Why Is An Engagement Shoot Important?

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With all my wedding packages, I offer a free engagement shoot. Not everyone wants one, but I think they are really important, and heres why:

1. Get to know your Wedding Photographer and vice versa!

Engagement shoots are such a great way for me to get to know you, and for you to get to know me! I’m very relaxed, and generally like a good chat and a giggle with my couples while doing a shoot. I think it’s really important you feel comfortable around your wedding photographer, and an engagement shoot is a fantastic way to break the ice, and also for me to find out more about your wedding day!

2. Practice for the Big Day

On an engagement shoot I get to see how you and your fiance are with each other naturally, which guides the way I need to direct you on your big day. Some couples prefer being in front of the camera more than others, and I’ll work to get the best out of you both. By the time your wedding comes around, you’ll know exactly what to expect in terms of the way I work.

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3. It’s fun!

No but seriously.. it is 🙂 Even if you don’t like having your photograph taken! All of my couples come away saying they really enjoyed their engagement shoots. I try to make it as chilled out and fun as possible, and amongst the stress of wedding planning this can be an opportunity for quality time with your fiance!

4. Get some lovely photos of you together 

It can be rare couples get professional photos done together so this can be a great chance to get some nice shots of you together – No selfies or grainy mobile phone shots here 🙂  You can also then use the photos to create save the dates, table plans or decorations, or use on your wedding site.

If you are interested in booking an engagement shoot with me, or getting a wedding package, drop me a message 

Caroline x

London engagement shoot in front of Queen House in Greenwich

 

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What I loved this month: March 2018

 

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I have been a little quiet on the blogging side this month as this was my month of three styled shoots, so a little bit busy! Because of unexpected snow, it ended up being the month of two styled shoots, which was truly gutting. Still, two is better than none! So that leads me on to..

  1. My first destination styled shoot

I am so proud that I organised and photographed my first destination shoot, which took place in Malta. I couldn’t have done it without Planned by Tara, who managed to find suppliers and co-ordinate everyone – I never realised planning something abroad would be so difficult. We ended up with a fab group of suppliers and I ended myself so much on the day! This is just a small preview – I’ll write a separate blog post on the shoot where I will share all the details and full list of suppliers 🙂

 

2. My cacti inspired shoot

I have always loved cacti and succulents – my house is filled with them. They inspired me so much, I planned a shoot around them. Again, I’ll do a separate blog on this shoot, but heres a little preview.

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3. Malta

This month, I went to Malta for a short holiday with my sister as she was playing in the female World Snooker Championships over there. Around the snooker (and my shoot), we got to explore the island and I loved it! We hired a car as we love to get off the beaten track, and spent days driving around the coast finding hidden bays, little nooks and crannys, and generally admiring the natural beauty.

4. Day trip to the West

Last week, I had a shoot in Bristol, and while I was over that way, decided I should at least make the most of it and explore the Cotswolds a bit/see my family who live in nearby Cheltenham. I took the scenic route from Bristol and stopped off in gorgeous Painswick. The sun was starting to go down, but I fitted in a short stroll around the village – it was so beautiful and quaint.

5. Moo Free Easter Eggs 

I was a bit dubious about vegan chocolate when I first made the switch, but over the past few months I have found some super tasty alternatives. Wanting to spoil myself with an Easter egg, this week I bought Moo Free’s egg with Choccy Drops. It is delicious (I’ve actually been nibbling away on it while I write this). I am definitely going to stock up before they vanish from the shops (although a bit of a treat at £3.50 per egg).

I hope you all have a fantastic Easter! I am taking some time out, and going to Scotland with my other half, where we will be driving the North Coast 500. So excited to get out into insane scenery and explore the upper most parts of the UK! Follow me on Instagram for inevitable travel posts while I’m here 😉

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What have you been enjoying in March?

On a side note, I also took my first booking for 2019 this month. If you are getting married next year, get in touch to save your date!

Caroline x

 

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London Wedding Photographer: Alternative London Venues – One Friendly Place in Greenwich

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One Friendly place in Greenwich was one of the first places I second shot with Robin Ball photography, a good few years ago now, but it stuck in my memory as a venue I would love to go back to.

Built in the 1930s, One Friendly Place was originally a spice warehouse, tucked away on a private road in Deptford. It’s warehouse charm is not your traditional venue – think exposed walls, brightly coloured murals and abstract art, and lots of fun and unique props! If you start to feel a bit tired there is even a double bed upstairs to rest your dancing feet for a little while 😉

Affectionately known as one of the quirkiest venues in London, this place definitely has a bit of everything. Alongside the main space, there is a little greenhouse-esque area with peacock chairs and plants, making a great portrait area. There are so many main rooms and floors you have your pick when it comes to wedding breakfast location and dance floor area.

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If you head up a gorgeous wrought iron staircase you come out on the rooftop, overlooking south London. This is the perfect place for sunset portraits – something I think is a must for your big day!

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This is the venue for you if you’re a bride who loves colour, quirky props, mismatched furniture and a sense of untouched industrial charm.

I personally loved this venue because the sense of fun that came off it. It is also a good blank canvas, but ready and waiting with props to use as wanted. There are so many things you could do with this space – I’ve seen so many different setups at this venue, each wedding is completely unique. For me, the portrait opportunities are endless – the peacock chairs in the conservatory, the coloured abstract walls, the rooftop – all make for fantastic couples backdrops. Group shots would also be fantastic here with plenty of room both indoors and outdoors.

If you’re getting married here do get in touch – I would love to shoot your wedding, or can even offer friendly advice on making the most of this quirky venue!

Capacity: 120 dining, 250 standing

Venue address:  One friendly Place, London, SE13 7LS (A few minutes walk from Deptford Bridge station)

To book: Contact Steph or visit the website

Caroline x

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What I loved this month: February 2018

Another month passed! We made it through what is my least favourite month of the year. I mainly got through by throwing myself into working on exciting projects, of which you will probably get to see around the start of April. Bohemian or adventurous couples keep your eyes peeled – these will most definitely be for you!

I feel like I haven’t done that much this month aside from working. However, some how, alongside planning projects and booking in engagement shoots for the upcoming season I have managed to do some other stuff, so this month I have been loving:

  1. Brian Fallon – Sleepwalkers

Anyone who follows my Instastories may have seen me raving about this album over the past few weeks. Brian Fallon is the lead singer of The Gaslight Anthem – a band who I discovered when they released the ’45’ Single. That same weekend I then went down to HMV and bought their whole back catalogue based on that song. Since then, Brain Fallon has released 2 solo albums filled with soulful punk rock tunes. If you can listen to ‘If Your Prayers Don’t Get to Heaven’ and don’t find yourself at least clicking your fingers or doing a little jig, we probably can’t be friends. If you like Frank Turner or Against Me! , you’ll probably like this 🙂

.. and because it never gets old, even though it was released nearly 6 years ago (!!!) – 45

2. The Depot Wedding Venue

This month, I exhibited at my first ever wedding fair. I had a blast hanging out with amazing suppliers, meeting the venue’s team and of course, meeting you guys! You can check out my full blog on it here.

Benches at the Depot wedding venue, decorated with eucalptus foliage and rustic table decor

3. Friends

My winter nights have definitely been spent hibernating this year, and Netflix adding the whole of Friends has definitely meant chilled evenings snuggling up and watching it all again. Back in the day, I always thought I was a Phoebe, and watching back has cemented it for me.. I am in love with her 90s fashion in it! However, I am equally horrified that the series is 20 years old. It still feels like yesterday I was watching it all for the first time when it was out.

4. Harry Potter Marathons

My other half got me the Harry Potter box set for Christmas, and since then we have been having friends over for Harry Potter marathons. I seriously love the books – they used to be released a few weeks before my birthday, so every year as a child I always got one as a present. However, I’d never seen the films so really loving getting back into the Hogwarts world and seeing it come to life.

5. Jenna Kutcher’s Goaldigger Podcasts

Jenna Kutcher is an insanely talented wedding photographer, artist educator and podcaster. I discovered her through the Rising Tide Society last year (which in itself is a must for any creatives out there). One gloomy Monday this month I listened to one of her podcasts on my daily commute and since then have been hooked. They are full of tips, motivation and business advice for girl bosses and honestly, once I’ve listened to one I feel so pumped and full of inspiration. Thank you Jenna!

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6. My Slow Cooker

As someone who is following a LDN Muscle guide, I am BIG on food prep! Most Sundays you’ll find me planning out meals for the week and making batches of food. A Slow cooker is sometimes a girls best friend for this. This month I’ve been making lots of lentil bolognese and chickpea curries in it. In fact, right now I have a gorgeous Lentil Dahl cooking away. Follow my vegan slow cooker Pinterest board for recipe ideas.

As you can see there has been quite a lot of Netflix bingeing and hibernating going on! I’m also happy to say I’ve been keeping up my new years resolution of reading more – If you saw my last post you will have seen I started reading Shantaram at the end of January. I’m still reading it as it is colossal, but thoroughly enjoying it 🙂

Let me know what you’ve loved this month, and what you’re looking forward to in March – I would love to hear from you!

 

Caroline x

London Engagement Shoot: Cassy & Declan in Greenwich

 

A brunette couple on their engagement shoot in Greenwich Park LondonBack in the autumn, I gave away an engagement shoot on my Instagram account, and my lovely winners were Declan and Cassy. 

We met in the late afternoon at the Cutty Sark, with the aim to take advantage of the beautiful soft pre-sunset light. Taking a chilled walk through the Naval College and up to Greenwich Park, I remembered how stunning Greenwich is for an pre wedding photo shoot! I love the grand and old architecture – it provides so many interesting lines, shapes and backdrops. The park in October was also filled with fallen burnt orange leaves – my favourite.

Cassy and Declan were an absolute delight to photograph. So natural around each other and I had a great afternoon hearing about their relationship and plans for the wedding so far.

 

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Expect more engagement photography posts coming up over the next few months as my engagement season starts in March! Can’t wait to be photographing couples again after a winter break!

To book an engagement shoot with me, or your wedding please get in touch! I would love to hear from you.

Caroline x

London Wedding Photographer: Alternative London Venues – The Depot N7

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Last week, I exhibited at the Depot N7’s Crystal Maze Wedding Fair. The venue is an industrial style pub in a cute Mews near Caledonian Road – perfect for a reception if you are having an Islington or Stoke Newington Town Hall wedding!

An old bus depot warehouse, I loved it immediately – the space has so much potential, with different areas for everything. Next to the bar, theres a large wedding breakfast space with long benches for a rustic setup. Theres also an upstairs area which is a fab location for a dance floor, and a chill out zone with comfy leather sofas. The cobbled outdoor area also has benches outside, and lots of potential spots for great portraits.

For the Wedding Fair, the venue was setup with huge LED Letters, fairy lights everywhere, and lovely eucalyptus leaves.  I loved the foliage spread across the length of the benches, complete with pastel pink and white flowers in jars, and lovely muted stationary by Harry Says.

The fair itself was great fun. I met some wonderful suppliers, old and new and got to chat to lots of excited couples planning their big day.  At the end of the day we were treated to the taster menu with corresponding wine tasting which was a real highlight. I went for the vegan menu option, which in itself was great – I don’t know many venues with vegan options yet. Happy to say it was delicious! If you fancied extra dessert, Caked by Carissa was offering out bitesize portions of her delicious wedding cakes, and Sugar Tits London had a feature doughnut wall (such a great idea). I was also won over by the wedding themed ales!

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If the space itself didn’t sell you, theres also a Crystal Maze immersive theatre experience.. how many weddings have that? Sadly I didn’t get the chance to give it a whirl, but we did get our own little taster of some magic amongst chatting to couples visiting the fair.

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I’m super excited to be on The Depot’s list of recommend suppliers, and because I loved this venue so much, I’m offering a 10% discount to any couple who books a wedding with me at this location in 2018 or 2019.

Venue address: 1, Carpenters Mews, North Road, Islington, London N7 9EF (a few minutes walk from Caledonian Tube Station).

Get in touch to book

Caroline x

 

What I loved this month: January 2018

The start of a new year is always a refreshing time, but equally January and February are two of the most grim months of the year! All the Christmas joy and cramming in seeing as many friends as possible has passed with December, and everyone is skint and adjusting back to normal busy lives in January.

I always enjoy focusing on what holidays I want to plan in the next year and what I want to achieve. I decided I wanted to share more on my blog as I enjoy writing, and thought I would do a more personal blog once a month on what I have been enjoying. So here goes…

  1. Veganuary 

I started phasing in being vegetarian and vegan into the last half of 2017, but completely fell off the wagon over Christmas (blaming cheese mainly and my love of it). However, I went straight back on track in January. For some reason, it’s felt way easier – possibly because in the last few months theres been so many new products in the supermarkets, and restaurants have introduced vegan menus. I’ve still been caught out a bit.. we had a Chinese takeaway this month and I happily ordered what I thought would be a vegan meal.. veggies with cashews and a side of pineapple rice. The pineapple rice turned up with heaps of egg in it… I had to laugh, it seemed so absurd. Lesson learnt! Some places make it way easier – My new fav restaurant is 90 Degree Melt in Stepney Green. It serves vegan friendly cheese melts and American grub. I am obsessed with their Buffalo Cauliflower wings and Mush Blush melt. YUM. I also had my first vegan takeaway pizza last night.. thanks Papa John’s. It was divine!

Follow me on Pinterest for vegan recipe inspiration. I got two great recipe books for Christmas, so these and Pinterest are my main sources of vegan food ideas.

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2. Reading 

One of my new year resolutions was to read more. I’ve always been a book worm but taking time out to read got replaced last year by social media, life admin and general busy-ness. This year I am putting my phone down a bit, slowing down and reading more.  Books I read this month:

  1. A Little Life – Hanya Yanagihara. This took me a while to get into as it was so long but I couldn’t put it down in the end. Spanning the lives of a group of friends from their college years, this book followed them through the struggles, high points and low lights of life. The book was so relatable as the characters progressed through their decades, and I just wanted them all to be happy. It explored so many dark themes, but at the same time was a life affirming read. 4.5/5
  2. All The Light We Cannot See – Anthony Doerr. Following a teenage Nazi and a blind French girl, this book traveled through the war years, following both characters as they followed their hearts to achieve good in a broken world. This was a heartbreaking and eye opening account of war, but it left me wanting a bit more. 3/5

I’m now reading Shantaram, which has been on my reading list for a long time. Don’t expect me to finish it anytime soon as it’s HUGE! I picked up this while on a random walk  through Wanstead and found it in a charity shop there.. it’s the first physical book I’ve read in forever!

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Let me know what you’re reading in the comments below – or leave your suggestions on what I should read next 🙂

3. Hygge 

January is definitely a clear excuse to make your life ‘hygge’. A trend that has swept the UK in the last few years, it encompasses enjoying the simpler things in life and creating a sense of wellbeing. Instead of working every night, I’ve given myself time out to snuggle up under a blanket and read, surrounded by candles. I’ve also taken to making homemade bread every Saturday morning and gardening (any one following my Instagram will know my cacti collection is starting to take over). Sundays are for walking and exploring the local area – I normally wander to Wanstead and look round the charity shops for books, or head into Epping Forest. Generally, attempting to live in a slightly slower way has been lovely! I feel super mellow, and whilst this has made me a little lazier on the work side, there is definitely a good balance to be struck 🙂 More on Hygge principles here

4. LDN Muscle 

I’m a bit addicted to my fitness, and over the space of a year and a half completed a few rounds of LDN Muscle’s Bikini Guide. Having got an injury last summer, I had to stop weight lifting and spinning to let my body recover. I ended up exploring low impact alternatives and have become a huge fan of Yoga with Adriene’s youtube workouts, but being someone who gyms every day, I found it really frustrating not to be lifting or doing anything super intense. After 6 months I’m back in the game and getting strong again! I tried 2 weeks of BBG by Kayla Itsines, but after it flared up my injury, I decided to go back to my faithful bible: The LDN Muscle guide. Yay for lifting weights again! I’m still doing Yoga with Adriene – I can’t recommend her enough! Her videos are usually my pre-bed wind down 🙂

It’s also been a super fun month as I went to my first ever Essex Wedding Breakfast Club, a monthly meet up for wedding suppliers. It was great to meet everyone, and see some friendly faces! I came away feeling really inspired and pumped for a great 2018.

Let me know what you’ve been loving (or hating) in January!

Caroline x

 

 

 

 

Vintage Garden Weddings Guest Blog: How To Plan The Boho Wedding Of Your Dreams

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Hey guys! One of my new year resolutions was to feature guest blogs from some of my fellow wedding suppliers. Collaboration is the new competition! First up are wonderful Vintage Garden Weddings, who create insanely gorgeous wedding decor. Over to them.. 

Free spirited, laid back and romantic. Bohemian style weddings – a trend that started a few years ago and became a classic. What is the bohemian style and how do we plan the boho wedding of your dreams?
The great thing about the Bohemian style is that it is very versatile. You can pick
either a Boho vintage, Beachy Boho, Boho Chic, Wanderlust or Woodland themes according to what suits your personality best. Are you a flower crown lover and a garden setting? Do you dream of sunny beaches and waves crashing behind you? A reception outdoors under the stars with a campfire and big tepee tent? Or are you leaning towards vivid Moroccan style?
Think outdoor celebrations and festival flair combined with sunshine and happiness. Getting the look has never been easier. Here are a few ideas you can use to make it perfect:

  1. Wooden ceremony arches with macramé decor and gorgeous florals

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Create an aisle,  adding some plinths and candles with florals matching your colour theme. Beautiful candles are always the winner!

2.  Giant naked tepee ceremony area

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A giant naked tepee ceremony area styled using a big handmade dreamcatcher backdrop and foliage – is there anything more Bohemian? Add candles to create an aisle and hay bales to sit your guests.

Summer wedding dream!

3. Vivid Moroccan style: ribbon backdrop for a ceremony, with perfect addition of snug/chillout area for tired guests

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4. Dreamcatchers everywhere!
They always look beautiful, no matter what way you’re going to use them. Create perfect boho style backdrop putting few of these beauties together or just hang them from tree branches and let them dance with the wind.

5. Giant Hoop Backdrops 

These make a wondrous backdrop for ceremonies or photography of your big day. The best bit is they can be completely tailored to match your colour scheme and preferred florals.

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A huge thank you to Alex and Magda for contributing to the blog this month! Go visit them at their website or follow them on Instagram. Let me know your thoughts below!

Caroline x

Venues featured: Houchins, Country Tipis & Wild Woodland Weddings

Dresses: Naomi Neoh, Lucy Can’t Dance, Lucky Sixpence Bridal

Florals: A Vintage Wedding, The Urban Flower Farmer & The Country Garden Flower Company

Styling and Hire: Vintage Garden Weddings / Rock The Day

 

London Wedding Photographer: 5 Tips for Planning Your Wedding Day Timings

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If you are planning your wedding and trying to figure out the perfect timings for your day, have a quick read of my 5 top tips to consider:

1. Leave time for you and your new spouse

This may sound obvious/stupid, but you would be surprised at the number of couples who tell me their day went by in a flash and they hardly saw each other! Try and enjoy some time out together, even if its just a 10 minute walk after the wedding breakfast. I also always think your portrait time is a perfect opportunity to get some quality time together and step back from the day (if you excuse the third wheel) 😉

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2. Set aside plenty of time for group shots and portraits

Ideally I would suggest setting aside between an hour / an hour and a half before your wedding breakfast for group shots and portraits. However, this will largely vary on the number of group shots you want. Make a list of the groups you want, and chat with your photographer about timings. If you want a photo of the whole wedding party, this alone can take 20 minutes to organise! Provide entertainment for your guests while you are away, and have your ushers or bridesmaids on hand to round up the troops for the group shots.

3. Revel in your bridal prep 

Am I the only one who thinks part of the enjoyment of a big girls night out is getting ready? I think the same applies to your bridal prep! Start early to avoid a mad rush at the end and factor in time for distractions.. inevitably you’ll have people popping in and out to say hello/check on final preparations. Most importantly, make sure you eat as it’s a long time before the wedding breakfast and that bubbly will be in full flow after the ceremony 😉

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4. Hellos & Congratulations

Factor in some extra time straight after the ceremony for congratulations/ hellos with your long lost family/ friends you haven’t said hi to yet. I would suggest 15-20 minutes of mingling. If your ceremony is in a different location from the reception, don’t forget to work out how long it will take people to get there (and allow an extra bit of time for the dawdlers / people getting lost).

5. Consider sunset portraits 

The standard time for portraits is in between the ceremony and the wedding breakfast. However, photographically this isn’t the best time to do it: light is harsh in the middle of the day, particularly if it is a completely clear summer afternoon. Light in the evening will be a lot softer and frankly, gorgeous, so consider doing some sunset portraits. These can be either before your first dance or after, dependant on when in the year your wedding is. I’m sure by that point in the day you will be in full party mode, but 10-15 minutes is enough. Bring it up with your photographer – I am sure they wouldn’t be adverse to the idea. Sunset portraits are my personal favourites.

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Follow me on Facebook for more tips and blogs, or get in touch now to book your 2018 wedding!

Caroline x