A Christmas Engagement

So it’s a new year. Welcome 2014!
I for one am particularly excited about this year as it is the year of my own wedding, bring it on!

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I’m guessing there were quite a few surprise proposals over the festive season and hopefully a lot of happy replies.
If you were one of the lucky few then congratulations to you both.

Christmas is a great time for a wedding and I expect a lot of you tied the knot over the holidays.
I have always loved the idea of a Christmas wedding with all the decorations and maybe even snow to make those photos even more magical, not to mention Christmas Dinner!

With this in mind the wonderful people over at Hitched have put together a few tips to ease you into married life.
Wishing all my readers a happy and peaceful 2014.

Newly wed to do UK

Holly and Chris: Engaged

So to celebrate my own recent engagement (yipeee!) I thought it would be a good idea to feature an engagement shoot. This is something that is becoming more and more popular and is quite often included in your photographers package. I think it is a great way to get to know your photographer, and vice versa, so that on the big day you are all relaxed and can enjoy the experience.

So meet Holly and Chris. Loving the umbrella.

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This lovely couple will be getting married next year and chose to have their engagement shoot in the gardens of their venue, The Pavilion in Buckinghamshire.

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Holly describes their wedding as classic and stylish with a personal (rock & roll) edge. The Pavilion is a lovely spacious room with floor-to-ceiling-windows and very high ceilings – Holly will be making huge paper pom-poms that she will be hanging from the ceiling. I love a DIY wedding!

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Heni Fourie Photography is the man behind the photos. He says “For the engagement shoot Holly and Chris asked to be photographed in the grounds of their wedding venue. It so happened that it poured down on the day we chose for the shoot, but despite this we went ahead. She said she loves the rain (a girl after my own heart) and came armed with a gorgeous heart-shaped umbrella! I of course got soaked in the process but I loved every minute of it. It was a really good opportunity to get to know Holly and Chris better and to see their personalities come out in front of the camera. I believe engagement shoots are an integral part of the wedding photography and I always encourage brides to take me up the offer of a free pre-wedding shoot”.

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The Wedding Revolution: Malwina & Maciej

So a little while ago I was talking about what I call, The Wedding Revolution. As you may remember it was basically about people learning to do things their own way, rather than following tradition, breaking the trend and all that. These days a wedding is all about expressing who you are as a couple and doing things your way. While there is still a lot of tradition in a wedding day, I think its more about putting your stamp on it. I know Malwina from when we worked at Greenwoods Hotel together, I am delighted to be able to share this wonderful day with you as she is such a special friend, one in a million.

And here to show you how it’s done is the very special Malwina Gaweda and Maciej Wylezek.

Wedding Day: 14 February 2013
Chelmsford Registry Office

So how did the happy couple meet?

We met in Zakopane (a little town at the foot of Tatra Mountains in the south of Poland) at college in September 1993 (ancient times!) both fresh after finishing our Polish A-Levels. For me it was the first time living away from home and at the time I thought I’ll be back home as soon as I finish college… little did I know I would never move back.

I first saw Maciek in the crowd of stressed 19 year olds waiting in the school hallway for the entrance exam.

We both passed all the tests (even though I was a bit distracted by this handsome boy!) and were accepted for the college course. As a very shy girl I couldn’t bring myself to talk to him first so got a friend to break the ice. By December 1993 we were a couple! A year later Maciek went to study dentistry in Krakow (60 miles away) and I stayed in Zakopane to finish the college course. We began a so called long distance relationship seeing each other more or less every 2 weeks for the next 5 or 6 years. Years were passing by, we both graduated form universities, started jobs and on 11th May 2005 we moved to England and started a whole new chapter of our lives.

How did the proposal happen?

Well, it was quite casual…. one day in July 2012 we just said to each other why don’t we get married?! The 20th (!) anniversary of our relationship was approaching. At the time we were also thinking of moving back to Poland and we thought getting married in England, where we enjoyed living so much, would be very special for us.

There weren’t an awful lot of planning as we didn’t want a big, traditional wedding. We decided on just a  quiet civil ceremony at the registry office in Chelmsford accompanied by two witnesses and a few dear friends.
We didn’t use any suppliers as we didn’t have a wedding party. Although it might seem like an understated, modest or even boring way to get married, the way we chose to do it was perfect to us.

To make that day even more special we chose Valentines Day to get married and we treated ourselves to Tiffany wedding rings. My wonderful friends made sure some of the more traditional wedding touches weren’t forgotten though. Thanks to the kind, great people around me I had the most perfect make up, gorgeous wedding bouquet, and my wedding photographer was just perfect and so professional. I even had a car with a handsome driver!

Then to top it all off,  we got another surprise. A cute and yummy wedding cake! If that wasn’t enough we were also spoilt with lots of beautiful wedding gifts.

“One of my favourite things about planning the wedding this way was that we didn’t have to plan a lot, so this way we were just looking forward to that special moment without all the usual stresses of big wedding planning and preparations.”

One day to go…

Once again my dear friends made sure I had a very beautiful night before the wedding and I have some lovely memories.

I spent the night at Greenwoods Hotel with Iza and Paulina (our two witnesses). The great Greenwoods Team booked me into the best Premier Room and when we arrived my bed was decorated with rose petals, champagne was chilling on the side table and lovely gifts were waiting for me to open! Throughout the evening and the morning before the wedding, friends were coming to see me and share these special moments.

Click on the images below to see them larger.

Every moment of our wedding day was perfect! I met Maciek at the registry office and we went in… to get married!

After 20 years as a couple and both great, and not so great, life experiences, exchanging of vows had a very special, symbolic meaning to us and that very moment was THE MOMENT. Since then we have played back our little wedding video and looked at the pictures many times.

We didn’t have your typical honeymoon but we had the best time! Yet again we were shown great kindness and our little honeymoon happened thanks to Iza – our great friend and my witness. Iza took us to Barcelona! We had amazing time and we wouldn’t have had it any other way.

Married life is as great as pre-married and hopefully will never change. I wish everyone to find a perfect way of celebrating such a special moment with the most special person and most of all to be lucky to feel the love and kindness we have felt.

Our “suppliers” and good fairies were our loving, supporting and understanding families and the greatest friends: Iza, Paulina, Nicki, Kelly, Karen, Hannah, Julie, Donna, Justine, Taryn and the rest of the great Greenwoods Crew and Ex-Greenwoods Crew who made sure I have the most beautiful memories. Thank you.

Venue: Greenwoods Hotel
Photography: Bond’s Photography

This Week I’m Loving… Floral Bouquets

Are you struggling to figure out which type of floral bouquet would work best with your dress, or just can’t understand the jargon? Do not fear, Hitched is here! (Love a bit of cheese on a Monday morning!)  Hitched is a fantastic wedding website that can help with all aspects of your planning, from dress and venue inspiration to useful articles and features. So whether you want a small posy or a cascading bouquet Hitched has got the solution to help you figure it all out, phew!

Types of Bridal Bouquets Hitched

To find our more about wedding bouquets visit Hitched here.

Celebrate the Great British Outdoors

This summer we actually seem to be getting some decent weather (Fingers crossed, touch wood and all that) so with that in mind I thought I would share a fantastic venue in Yorkshire with you that has something a little special hidden in it’s garden.

Enter… Wentbridge House

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This stunning house is steeped in history and dates back to the 1700’s. So for you history buffs out there this has got to be a step in the right direction. Not only that but it is set in 20 acres (yes, thats 20!) of beautiful gardens and grounds, making it, in my book, a number one for a summer wedding. I can see it now… pretty pictures amongst the flora and fauna, garden games and Pimms on that rather wonderful lawn. Ooo yes please!

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There are a number of elegant rooms you can get married in inside the house, whether you have 20 guests or 130. BUT the real show stopper for me is the outdoor ceremony space. Yes outdoor! This is a quintessentially, romantic idea for me. Gorgeous flowers blooming in the background, birds tweeting and the sun beaming down on you. What awesome pictures too! Perfect.

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One of the things I love about Wentbridge House is that they offer exclusive use. With 41 bedrooms (all beautifully designed with a touch of luxury), you could have all your guests staying at the house and have free reign and total privacy. How lovely to have family and friends getting ready together, enjoying your day, then having breakfast all together the next day to reflect on all the excitement.  I feel this would really make most of the short time you have (because it goes so quickly) and is a fab way of including everyone on your day and making it personal to you.

bedroom2bedroom4If you are a foodie, like me, then you will love the wide range of menu choices available here. There is a plethora of choice from Roast Fillet of Dovecote Park Beef with Fondant Potato, Caramelised Shallots, Merlot and Truffle Jus to Warm Wentbridge Sticky Toffee Pudding with butterscotch Sauce and Honeycomb Ice Cream. Yum yum. Wentbridge House is proud to hold 2 AA Rosettes and a Notable Wine List so whatever you choose, you know its going to be good.

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Fallen in love with this venue yet? If not, here is some feedback from their customers.

“A very special thank you to everybody who was involved in our wedding. You made the day extra special. We can’t thank you enough for how you looked after us.”

“Thank you for making our wedding day the most perfect day. Everything went to plan, the food and service were amazing and we’ve had some wonderful comments from our family and friends. Thanks to everyone for their hard work on the day.”

“Thank you all for making our day go so smoothly. We had an amazing wedding day which was perfect from start to finish.”

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Visit the website for more information and to download the wedding brochure.

Photography by Image-i-Nation

Dress with Grace – Stephanie Allin Couture

Today I want to look at something pretty so I have a little treat for you.
Thank you Stephanie Allin for being so darn clever and dreaming up these stunning creations.
Made with love and a supreme attention to detail, her dresses make women look fabulous all over the world.
I think the dresses speak for themselves, so that’s it from me. Enjoy!

“My style is all about great structure and fit and designing dresses with a freedom that encompasses fashion and a client’s individuality.” Stephanie Allin

Camilla and Uccello

Camilla and Uccello – http://www.stephanieallin.net

Loren and 3D flower shrug back

Loren & Flower Shrug – http://www.stephanieallin.net

The Wedding Revolution

How many of you dream of a traditional wedding? Your Dad walking you down the aisle, a breath-taking venue, the big white dress, the whole shebang? How many of you shy away from this? Want a bit more privacy perhaps?

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Well, I am privileged to know two very special brides who have recently tied the knot. They did not have what most of you would call a traditional wedding. Now, I don’t want you to think I have anything against traditional weddings but I am fascinated by what I like to call The Wedding Revolution. This new idea that your wedding can be whatever you want it to be and these days we are not as afraid to say that actually, this is not what I want. And why not? It’s your day, so do it your way.  (Sounds like a song!)

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Now when my friends announced they were getting married and that actually it was going to be a bit different, I listened with interest to what they had to say and then thought that yes this totally makes sense. Both couples planned their days to express who they are rather than what everyone else wanted them to do. I can’t think of a better way to do it! In the upcoming weeks I will be featuring their weddings on the blog and I think you will agree with me that they were both wonderfully individual and truly beautiful.

Here’s to them and to having your day how you want it to be, cheers!

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Weird & Wonderful Wedding Facts

If you are a wedding lover or a bride to be and find yourself wondering how expensive Prince Charles and Diana’s wedding really was, or how much the most expensive slice of cake at wedding might be then this infographic will give you an insight into wedding craziness with weird and wonderful  facts from all around the world. This fun graphic titled ‘Weird and Wonderful Wedding Facts’  is brought to you from one of the UK’s leading wedding websites Hitched. Enjoy!

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Hitched is one of the UK’s leading wedding websites, they offer inspiring ideas and planning techniques to help make your wedding day perfect.

This Week I’m Loving…

…Willow Tree Buttons

If you are looking for a quirky and unique wedding bouquet that will last forever, then Willow Tree Bouquets have the answer.

aaroncrowephotography.co.uk

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You may have seen this fantastic new idea bursting onto your Facebook page/Twitter feed and a few weeks ago I got to see some fantastic designs up close. The hours that must go into each bouquet! This lady sure has a lot of skill. Willow Tree Buttons can create bespoke bouquets to match your theme or you can choose from a selection of designs. You can even have matching bouquets made for your bridesmaids and flower girls as well as something a bit different for the men!

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This is a fantastic way to really put your stamp on your wedding. You could add personal keepsakes to your bouquet and maybe incorporate Something Old, Something Blue…the possibilities are endless. And from just £30 for a small bouquet, it won’t break the bank either.

Find out more by visiting Willow Tree Buttons or liking their Facebook Page.

Photography courtesy of Aaron Crowe Photography

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aaroncrowephotography.co.uk

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aaroncrowe.co.uk

aaroncrowephotography.co.uk

aaroncrowe.co.uk

Nicola & Robin – A sunny wedding in Hertfordshire

Nicola and Robin had one of those rare special days when the sun appears when its not expected. On their wedding day in March (yes, March), it was such a lovely day that they married outside. Someone was obviously looking down on them to make sure it was as perfect as could be.

Nicola & Robin Parker
Friday 23 March 2012
Tewin Bury Farm, Hertfordshire
Parkwin Photography

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The Love Story…

We met at University of Westminister where we were doing an illustration course. Despite being in the same class together for a year, we only became good friends during our second year and later started dating due to a very persistent Robin! We were together as a couple for almost eight years when we got married.

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One weekend Robin booked a lovely birthday getaway in a wonderful log cabin in Sussex. Unfortunately for him I had a rather horrible cold, with a persistent cough and the night he was planning to propose I had passed out from all the cough medicine I had taken! The night after, he proposed with a hasty introduction of “before you fall asleep…”, and presented me with a beautiful sapphire ring he had custom designed with a jeweller on the brilliant arts and handmade crafts website Etsy. I of course said yes. In fact I think my reply was “of course”!

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The Planning Begins…

We didn’t choose a theme at the beginning, despite considering a number of ideas, but decided right from the start we would want something warm, classy and above all we wanted our guests to have fun at the reception! I did trawl through a lot of blogs and websites for inspiration and found so many wonderful people who shared all their lovely ideas. We did try to save money when we could and ended up doing various aspects ourselves – making use of our artistic education – such as the wedding invitations, place cards, extra decorations. I made my own fascinator/hair veil, centre pieces for the table and the cake stand to name just a few!

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We chose most of our suppliers by looking online, by chance, or based on good impressions upon meeting them in person. We found our DJ at a pub in London which we happened to be visiting for the first time. Our photographer Karen (Parkwin Photography) we met at a wedding fair at the Watford Hilton hotel (after meeting so many photographers in various fairs who were pushy and not our cup of tea, she was such a breath of fresh air, both her personality and work!). Our photo booth vendors we saw online and got in contact with after seeing some similar booths at the Earls Court Wedding Fair, and Thomas and Lee were both really nice and gave us a great package. Our florist Aimee we first saw less than a month before the wedding (due to unfortunately being messed around) and it was so wonderful to meet someone who was honest, practical, happy to offer ideas and was not dismissive when we had unusual requests – actually looking for ways to save us money, whilst still delivering the look that we wanted.

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What was your favourite thing about the planning?
Being able to put our creative juices to work – trying to think of all of the little touches that we could add to the day in order to make it our own!

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The Dress…

I first tried on my wedding dress in a bridal boutique and was initially so worried about the price and also the pressure of buying something as soon as possible. I was told by the sales person I should have brought my dress months before (as it was 5 months till the wedding). I’m sure many brides think the same, spending so much money on something you will only wear once, but is so important at the same time. Somehow I managed to find the exact style and designer I wanted on ebay! The ebay seller was a lady who had worn it previously and wanted to pass it on at a very affordable price. She shipped the dress out the same day and I received it the next. When I opened the carefully packaged box not only did I find a beautiful dress but the seller had written me a wonderful card wishing well on my big day. The dress itself turned out to be a size smaller than I thought I needed – which actually fit perfectly in every way, without the need for any alterations! Dealing with the seller and everything falling into place with the dress really made the whole experience so magical which I would never have expected when buying from Ebay!

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                                 The night before the wedding, Robin went round to his parents house, so that he wouldn’t see me before the ceremony, and my three bridesmaids came round to spend the night. Instead of the laid back evening I had planned we ended up sorting out a few finishing touches for the wedding so it was more like a factory assembly line instead of a slumber party, working into the early hours!

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The Big Day…

Despite our fears and concerns that we had forgotten something, or the fact that with the Wedding being in March we had thoroughly prepared ourselves for miserable weather, the day went incredibly smoothly! After having my hair done at a local salon, I arrived at the venue with my Bridesmaids. We had the bridal suite to prepare in, which was lovely, but we had so much to get ready that the time seemed to fly by. One of my Bridesmaids who is a bit of a cosmetics expert did my make-up for me – which was fantastic – and the girls arranged a champagne toast just for us before the ceremony.

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Somehow we were very lucky that the day of the Wedding was clear with bright sunshine, being by far the hottest weekend of the spring – this meant that instead of having our ceremony indoors in a barn, we were able to make use of the lovely gardens.

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When we first saw the venue we fell in love with the outdoor space, from the way you could step out of the door to the bridal suite in the farmhouse, which lead straight down the aisle, through the ivy-covered archways and finally arriving at the wooden gazebo. On the day itself, this journey was extremely emotional for me, whilst I battled against the blubbing and both my trailing dress and high heels.

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We wrote some vows of our own, keeping it short – but meaningful to us both. It was so nice to be able to share the day with a group of around fifty close family and friends – many of whom had been pitching in all morning to help Robin to prepare the venue just how we wanted it. The drinks reception followed with photographs outside, and everyone made the most of the sunshine before we headed in for the Wedding Breakfast.

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Robin and I were invited to have a look at the wedding barn before our guests entered the room and I have to say when I first saw it fully decorated and ready I was completely breathless. When you’re organising everything it’s all separated with just a rough image of what you think it may look like, for example we had ordered Calamondin trees for the centrepieces (as oranges are a symbol of good luck and wealth in Chinese culture) but as we could not find any pictures of anything similar as centre pieces, we had no idea of what it would actually look like on the table! But seeing them, with the fairy lights entwined around the branches and the wedding place names with the origami cranes that we prepared was really magical. That certainly was one of my favourite moments – to be able to look around this room, take a moment and see all the hard work and worry for the past months had really paid off. Seeing all the different elements coming together was amazing!

Click on the images below to see them nice and large :)

The evening, with the excellent meal, speeches, entertainment (the photo booth was a particular crowd-pleaser – which we would recommend to other Bride and Grooms-to-be), and dancing all seemed to go so quickly. Luckily we have our wonderful photographs from Parkwin Photography from the day to look back on and remind us of everything from the big events down to the small details.

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And now…

We took quite some time to enjoy the post-wedding relaxation – although the feeling of not having anything that we needed to plan was certainly a bit strange! Married life has been wonderful so far and although there may be plans for a family somewhere in the future, we certainly have some more travelling and enjoying time as just the two of us for a bit longer first. In fact, we finally plan to take our honeymoon soon by going to Japan.

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Thank you to all the wonderful suppliers for making Nicola & Robin’s day so special.

Venue: Tewin Bury Farm (fantastic food and Wedding night accommodation also handled by Tewin)

Photography: Karen Parker @ Parkwin Photography 

Flowers: Amie Bone

Dress: Maggie Sottero

Photo Booth: The Mighty Booth

DJ: Keir @ Bloody Awful Poetry

Suits: Calvin Klein @ Moss Bros

Cake: Patisserie Valerie

Calamondin plants for centre pieces

Bridesmaids Dresses: Lipsy @ Asos

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