Wedding Chat With Assassynation

beach wedding

I’m really excited about today’s post because my pages are being graced with the presence of lovely Sassy, the beautiful lady behind the incredible Assasynation photography. Based not far from me in the Cotswolds, her fabulous images have been featured … Continue reading

Wedding Yurts Open Day in Gloucestershire

Ahhh Summer is almost here… I can feel it!

I actually have a strange rule about seasonal fashion, I only ever wear tights in those months with an “R” in it. So as of 1st May I am banishing my opaques until September at the earliest. No matter what the weather does! Don’t ask me why, it just makes my wardrobe feel fresher and lifts my mood.

And what better way to spend an (almost) perfect Summer’s day than sipping free champagne and enjoying a picnic in the Cotswolds at a gorgeous open day run by Lizzie from Wedding Yurts?


WY Picnic High Res



If you’re thinking of having an outdoor/garden/festival wedding then this is a really great opportunity to check out these beautiful structures… I’ve seen them all set up and they are stunning. Really beautiful.

Hope everyone has a lovely weekend ahead, and if you want a bit of inspiration for your more traditional marquee wedding then hop on over to Love My Dress, where one of my gorgeous 2012 weddings was featured in all its glory!!



Wedding Industry Experts 2013 Awards

It’s feeling like Spring all of a sudden, which has made me feel all happy and positive, and so I’ve taken myself out of my comfort zone and decided to enter into the category of Best Wedding Planner in the Weddings Industry Experts 2013 Awards.

I’m not normally one to enter into these things, I always sort of felt that you should be nominated by someone else to qualify for any sort of award rather than shamelessly promoting yourself in order to be thought of as the best amongst your peers. However when I mentioned this to my hubby he looked at me like I was mad. “You used to be in PR love, are you kidding?”.

Ah. He has a point. Why is it so much harder to blow your own trumpet?! I mean, I love announcing exciting news and sharing my couples beautiful weddings… but the whole “vote for me” thing just seems one step further. But I’m doing it… yup, I’m really doing it.


in it to win it


Image via Pinterest


So with that image burning into my computer screen for the next couple of weeks. I would love it, seriously LOVE it, if you would vote for me as “Best Wedding Planner” in the awards, which shows support for wedding professionals that clients and suppliers in the industry appreciate.

You can cast one vote per 24 hours, with votes closing at 12pm EST on 23rd April. Official results will be released on 30th April 2013.

wedding industry awards

Wish me luck, I’m up against some serious talent!



Wedding Chat With Crown and Glory Hair Accessories

Ok so by now you must know about the sparkly bridal heaven for unique and alternative brides that is Crown and Glory right? No?! Where have you been??

Sophie’s creations have been featured on pretty much all the best blogs, endorsed by fashion mags and supported by major high street chains. It’s safe to say she’s a girl who knows a bit about making the perfect hair accessory. Personally I want one of her glitter hair bows in every colour. And one of her “whole lotta rosie” headbands too please. Actually just give me one of everything!

Just in case you haven’t heard all about Sophie and her pretty business, I recently interviewed her especially for the blog. And guess what? She also threw in a special offer of 15% off any online order of the ready to wear collection, just for my readers, all you need to do is  enter the discount code JESSIELOVES15 when you get to the checkout on her website!

butterfly bridal hair accessory

Image via Crown and Glory Lookbook Spring/Summer 2013

Tell me a little bit about yourself

Sophie, 25, from Cornwall UK. Think of me as your slightly eccentric best friend who likes cats, cooking and marathon shopping.

Tell me about Crown and Glory

Crown and Glory is an independent accessories label that was born from my delight of wearing things in my hair. From festival worthy florals to hi fashion turbans, our collections are trend led and fun, produced in low product runs right here in the UK. We pride ourselves in ensuring each piece is of the highest quality yet still totally affordable. We also take custom orders on a small basis.

How long have you been in business?

Officially trading 2 years in June, Crown and Glory started as a hobby and just kept growing. We’ve just taken on our first employee and hope to have more by the end of year 2!

crown and glory bridal

Image via Blue Daisy Photography

How did you get involved in the industry?

I fell into it a bit really – while I’ve always been in arts based education, Crown and Glory began as a hobby during university – my final year of my degree was slow and I wanted an escape, to be able to produce something just because I liked it – like I said, I’d always worn things in my hair and at the time, hair accessories were an ill thought, vague addition to high street jewellery lines or ridiculously overpriced.

If you weren’t involved in your own business, what else would you like to do?

That’s so hard! Through Crown and Glory I have found a love of fashion communications – from running the social media campaigns to that buzz when a piece of coverage is secured, so I guess you’d probably find me causing chaos at a fashion PR house.

What or who inspires you?

Cliched and contrived it may be, but my inspirations are from a vast array of sources – street style, high fashion, couture – people, stylists and designers who aren’t afraid to be a little different and have a lot of fun.

bride red hair

Image via Emma Case Photography

What do you love most about your job?

Each day is so varied – I can be bogged down in sample selection one minute and jaunting off to a meeting at Soho House the next. Receiving unexpected letters and emails of gratitude and thanks from customers warms my heart – I keep them in a little folder on my computer as a pick me up if things are getting me down.

What makes your service unique?

Attention to detail – our orders are wrapped like presents, we include luxe packaging as standard and go the extra mile with regards to customer service.

What’s your best memory from your job so far?

Sitting front row at London Fashion Week, September 2012, seeing my pieces on the models at Danillo Gabrielli for House of Evolution. The most surreal? A week earlier I was making headbands to order in the window of Oasis’ flagship Oxford Street store for their party for Vogue Fashion’s Night Out. I told you, varied!

floral crown pink hair bride

Image via Lisa Devlin at Devlin Photos

What’s the most unusual request you’ve ever had?

I’m currently working on customising a piece for a bride – a family heirloom, her mother’s wedding crown, made current with silky spring hued florals. I was so nervous to begin attaching to it but it’s been such fun to see it coming together!

What’s your working week like?

I’m typically at my desk by 9am, having checked through the nights’ emails over breakfast in bed. Processing orders and customer service take priority, with a check through the press to see if we’ve gained any coverage on a Tuesday. Being based in Cornwall, a lot of my meetings with boutiques and wholesale clients are conducted over Skype in the afternoons. A quick trip to the local sorting office around 430 each day to deposit our post is a welcome 10 minute walk, especially in the spring sunshine. I get back and crack on with scheduling social media and blog posts for the next day and overview the order schedule. At the end of each working day (usually around 6-7pm) I head to the gym to wind down – spin class, Bodycombat, Bodymax and Pilates. I relax after I return with a nice dinner and a read through my favourites blogs and magazines.

What made you want to work in the wedding industry?

Again, I sort of fell into it! This is my first year of ‘working the circuit’ after last year I received custom orders from brides and amazing coverage from the likes of Rock n Roll Bride and Perfect Wedding mag. I love hearing about brides details and seeing them look so happy and smiley in their wedding photos.

crown and glory red glitter bow

Image via Lisa Devlin at Devlin Photos

Have you seen many changes since you started your business?

This year, it’s all about the ‘alternative’ wedding. Naysayers claim that it’s a term that is going to implode but I don’t see what can be so wrong with couples feeling that its ok for them to out their stamp on their day.

What’s the biggest misconception about your industry/service?

That everyone is out to make an extra buck as soon as the word ‘wedding’ is mentioned. I price all wedding orders as I would a custom order for a festival or race day, and actually am often able to offer discounts if I’m creating multiples of the same piece, for example.

Have you worked with any other vendors or suppliers that you’d recommend to couples getting married? And why?

We love all the folks that showcased at All About EWE (aka the Eclectic Wedding Extravaganza) – Veronica Dearly, Emma Case, Polkadot Fox, Elbie van Eeden, Jenny Revive, so many more!

Where can we find you?


Beauty Department: A DIY Bridesmaids Make-Up Tutorial

I’ve decided I need to blog more, to make this a better resource for both my brides and others out there who would like access to behind the wedding planner scenes exclusive content, DIY tutorials, real wedding features and lots more locally inspired fabulousness. I feel the need to do more feature interviews with Cotswold wedding suppliers and tell you all about the latest (and coolest) wedding fairs. And I’m going to start a regular newsletter… something that’s been on my “to do” list for a while now!

Part of this master plan is to feature more guest bloggers, as I did recently when I posted about the key questions you should ask your  photographer. I’d also like to share more beauty tips, since I am a self confessed addict to anything that smells good and comes in pretty packaging. 

So it’s this desire that brings you a fabulous guest post from super lovely make-up artist Vanessa Smith. Over to her, my resident expert today in all things bridesmaid. I’m making notes myself on all those key products….


If you have a quick search on the internet you are inundated with ‘Brides’ tutorials.  There is very little information out there for the Bride to direct her Bridesmaids or for the Bridesmaids out there who have free reign over their makeup for their friend’s big day.

So many aspects of a Wedding are planned with military precision and I believe the Makeup should not be an exception either. Most Brides have a theme for the day and want this to continue through to the Bridesmaid dresses and even sometimes the Makeup.

My key tip is don’t necessarily try and match your Makeup to your theme but find a consistent and adaptable look that can be created to emphasise and make the best of your Bridesmaids individual looks.

Whether you decide to get a Makeup Artist in to do the Makeup, or you are doing it yourselves it’s important to agree between you some ground rules and direction for the Bridal Parties Makeup. If the Bride has chosen a natural, fresh and glowing look and one Bridesmaid decides to have a full on smokey eye with lashing of mascara, false lashes and a bright lip then all focus will be shifted away from the one person that everyone should be looking at! Equally, if you have all Bridesmaids with Makeup on apart from one person who is bare faced, this is also going to draw the focus away from the Bride and make an impact on the Photos of the day.

For those who don’t wear much makeup keep the look soft and neutral with neutrals, pinks and taupes and for those wanting something more dramatic the use of eyeliner and false lashes can really transform the look without it being too out of the way and in keeping with the overall look.

Step by step guide to Bridesmaid Makeup

1. Skin prep is key to ensuring you have good base for the makeup to be applied to. Regular exfoliation in the run up to the day is invaluable to smooth skin along with cleansing and moisturising your skin twice daily.

2. I always apply a Primer once I have moisturised by. One of my favourites is Laura Mercier Hydrating Primer which creates a smooth base and ensures that foundation lasts.

3. I prefer to use a foundation brush to apply foundation as love the even finish that it gives and the adaptability to build up the product if needed. More a very natural finish you can use a sponge or fingers to apply the product.

DIY natural make-up tutorial

One of my favourite products in my Bridal kit currently is Nars Sheer Glow Foundation. This gives a lovely glowing light/medium coverage. I then conceal and prime the eye area before lightly powdering the face with a translucent powder.

4. I used a large eye shadow brush to sweep a pearlescent pink over the whole of the eye before applying a lovely warm brown colour to the socket which was then blended out. A small amount of highlighter across the brown bone completes the shadow part of this look.

5. I opted for a pencil liner to apply a neat line across the upper lash line to keep the look soft. It’s important when using a pencil that it is a good quality liner as some of the cheaper ones are often renowned for smudging. My recommendation would be Mac Pro Longwear eyeliner.

bridesmaids make up tutorial

Apply this closely to the bottom lashes too approximately halfway across the eye.

6. I always use Waterproof Mascara on the whole Bridal party. Running mascara can ruin a whole look and you don’t want to spend the day with smudged makeup after being caught out with an attack of the tears during the ceremony! Go for two coats and ensure you get as close to the root of the lash as possible for luscious lashes.

7. I generally like to apply some product to the brows to fill in any gaps or to tame and unruly hairs. I do so by using a powder product and clear brow gel.

8. Next apply some blush to the cheeks. If you have aged or extremely dry skin then a cream blush may be the best option for you. Alternatively a rose blush suits most skin tones and apply this to the apples of the cheeks sweeping gently up into the cheek bones.

diy bridesmaids makeup tutorial

9. Apply a nude liner to the lips to create a base for the lipstick or gloss to hold onto and ensure longevity. Finally, apply a nude or pink tonal lipstick with a lip brush to the lips to finish your look. I’m a big fan of Bobbi Brown Lip Colour and often recommend these onto my clients.

bridesmaids natural makeup

I think you can see from the before and after that a beautiful and natural look has been created and is very adaptable for all skin types, tones and ages.

bridesmaids makeup before and after

how to do bridesmaids make up

Thanks to Paul from the Lemon House Photography for his patience and skills in taking the shots for this look.

Thanks Vanessa! I adore that lip colour, it really pops out and makes me feel ready for Spring. Prettiness! If you are looking for a bridal make up artist in the Cotswolds then look no further, and if you are a bridesmaid panicking about how to make yourself look good in the official photographs then I hope this helps!



Wedding Suppliers: Why Do I Need To Hire a Planner?

Hello, I hope everyone had a lovely sunny weekend?

I’ve been in two minds about writing this blog post because as I’m a wedding planner myself, I’m worried this will come across as a purely promotional opportunity for my own services. However after chatting to several brides in consultations recently and hearing all about their friends and family members horror stories from mismanaged and stressful wedding days, I’ve decided it’s actually my duty to help educate couples on why it really is important that you hire a wedding planner!

There are lots of articles about this out there on the web, especially in the US  where planners are more mainstream than here in the UK. They all basically say this… you’ll invest a huge chunk of your budget on a great photographer to capture all the special moments and your carefully chosen details, you’ll hire a florist to create beautiful floral displays and bouquets, spend additional funds on sweet little favours, apportion some of your budget towards a creative guest book display, and extra ££’s on extending the opening hours of your bar…. but when it comes to hiring a professional wedding planner to pull together all of those details you invested so much time and money on so that your day runs smoothly and stress free….. instead you decide to spend your own wedding worrying or hand over the reigns to a well meaning (or even reluctant) Aunt/Mum/Sister.

Also, since this is where lots of industry folk and couples get confused, I wanted to take the opportunity to clarify that there is actually a huge difference between an in house venue co-ordinator and an independent wedding planner. More on that later.

So here starts the education folks….

styling by jessie thomson cotswold wedding planner



What is the difference between a “wedding planner” and “wedding co-ordinator”?

They are basically the same thing. What you need to be aware of is the difference between “on-the-day co-ordination” and other more comprehensive planning and styling services.

On the day co-ordination usually begins a few weeks before the wedding date which means the couple has done most of the legwork themselves – finding suppliers, coming up with a theme and managing their own budget etc.  A planners role for this “on the day” service is to create comprehensive schedules and itineraries, liaise with suppliers, problem solve, and generally be the main point of contact for the actual wedding day by overseeing and pulling together all of those details that the bride and groom have spent months, even years, planning. Basically this service puts you in control of the whole planning process but allows you, your wedding party and your guests to enjoy the big day without the stress by employing someone else to do the hard work while you enjoy every moment with family and friends.

If you are thinking about hiring a wedding planner then you should be aware that they can go far and beyond supporting you on just the day of the wedding.  A planner often works with a couple for up to a year before the big day helping with everything from  bespoke design and theme creation, budget management, advice on stationery and RSVP management, individual supplier recommendations based on style and budget,  contract negotiation and co-ordination of everything from start to fnish.  Wedding planners are a great option for couples that want assurance that they are hiring reliable suppliers, who want to ensure that they get the most they can within budget, or simply have a demanding and busy lifestyle with work and family commitments.

A wedding planner is there for you….their boss is YOU. Some people worry that they will start to make decisions for you or take away the fun of planning, but in truth they are simply there to help you make informed decisions and to make sure everything is pulled together perfectly, holding your hand along the way.

Jessie Thomson with Real Bride



I’m on a really tight budget, so there is no way I could afford a wedding planner!

Have a good look at your total budget and how much money you are spending elsewhere, it really does surprise me how many couples decide not to put aside anything for a wedding planner who will be able to co-ordinate all those other “essential” suppliers and take care of every little detail on the day.

In reality a planner can save you time and money

We have excellent relationships with suppliers and venues since we work on multiple weddings and locations each year, and we can help you put together a realistic budget based on our inside knowledge on what you should expect to pay (and make sure you have realistic expectations), discover where your priorities are and help make sure you don’t overspend.  In fact, the money and time you save from hiring a planner might actually be greater than the total cost of the planner. Which is pretty awesome really.

Jessie Thomson, Wedding & Event Planner and Stylist


I have a great network of family and friends who are all willing to help us out on the day

Brilliant! Everyone needs people like this on their team. However unless you have a family member who is a professional event planner, it may not be as smooth sailing as you think it will be.  Often these key people will be totally preoccupied with socialising, having one too many glasses of champagne, swooning over your wedding dress, taking hundreds (literally, hundreds) of photos, and generally won’t be totally focused on all the small and important details that will make the whole day run smoothly.  They won’t be aware of problems behind the scenes and important last minute decisions, and they won’t have a phone book full of supplier contacts just in case one does let you down last minute.




I have an in house wedding co-ordinator at my venue and together with the catering manager they have assured me that I don’t need to hire a wedding planner.

Ok so it’s no secret that this is one of the most frequently heard statements that really frustrates me! What you need to know is this: in house wedding co-ordinators at a venue exist because they are hired by the venue to maintain and manage the venue only (i.e. food, linen hire, bar staff etc.).  Sure, some of them are tasked with making sure their clients are also happy, but no matter what extras they promise they can help with, when push comes to shove they work for the venue and not for you.  Their main and ultimate goal (quite rightly) is to  make sure  that the venue and it’s provisions run smoothly.  So if you turn up and all your floral displays are wrong and the guests can’t figure out where they are supposed to sit because the seating plan never arrived, don’t look at the in house co-ordinator to help you out because they won’t have been part of the planning process beforehand. They won’t know the background to your design scheme, or the family politics between divorced parents, or the fact that you wanted your table next to the main window, or…. I think I’ve made my point!

I should say that there are some fabulous in house wedding co-ordinators (and catering managers) who go above and beyond their call of duty. But I can’t think of one who offers the services that an independent wedding planner can provide from start to finish. The best of them know the value of a great wedding planner and will work together as a fabulous team to make sure couples have a perfect day.

And do be aware of venue supplier preferences – just because they personally rate them doesn’t mean they also suit your style or fit your budget… and some supplier recommendation lists haven’t been reviewed in quite some time!

loveluxe blog launch



Surely my wedding suppliers should be trusted to turn up and do a good job anyway?

Have a word with some of your suppliers on this one, I bet you that more times than not, they will agree that there is a huge difference between a wedding with a planner on board vs. one without, or even one with only an in house wedding co-ordinator.  Not only are the finishing touches and design usually executed with more precision, but also the flow of the event will be smoother and communication between the various suppliers will start earlier and be consistent.

An example would be if the bride arrives late (perhaps the car broke down or she got lipstick on her dress). This means the whole day is pushed back and every single supplier is affected. So a planner can liaise early with everyone, speak to the catering team and try to pull things back on time by having a shorter reception, informing the MC about the change of plan, and if necessary letting the evening band now they might be on a bit for the first dance.

A wedding planner will make both your life and suppliers lives easier.

somerset wedding planner



I love reading bridal magazines and following wedding blogs.  I don’t want a planner to take away the fun of planning my own wedding!

You’re engaged! It’s exciting, and you’ve probably been dreaming of planning your wedding for quite a long time.  You rush out to buy every wedding magazine on the shelf and make a note of every inspiring wedding blog on the web in the mission to collect all the resources which will help to plan your big day. You join pinterest and open up a whole new world of inspiring ideas and cute ways to make your wedding totally unique.

However, even for the seasoned party planner, it can quickly get overwhelming and stressful trying to narrow down your own personal style, and finding relevant suppliers that can deliver that within budget.  I can’t count the number of brides who’ve contacted me having become worn out with having to make so many decisions on their own, so much so that the process is no longer fun for them or their husband to be.

Wedding planners don’t have the strong emotional connection that you do to the planning process, and can show you the resources and suppliers that best fit your needs so that you can actually enjoy the planning process until the very end. They can offer advice on etiquette and take away the guess work on finding suppliers who are reliable and trustworthy.  A planner is also a great unbiased mediator in tricky family situations.

cotswold wedding co-ordinator



A wedding planner has all the right connections, acts as an experienced sounding board for decisions, is often used as a mediator, even a therapist, and your personal all round stress reducer. They exist to make sure that your big day is everything you dreamed of, and more!

For more information on wedding planning, styling & co-ordination services in the Cotswolds, check out my website and contact me for a free initial consultation.




20 questions to ask a wedding photographer

Afternoon lovely people. I’m getting increasingly busy already this year, and whilst I love to blog as regularly as possible I thought it might be interesting for brides to be (and grooms to be!) if they also got a few hints and tips from other local wedding and event specialists that I work alongside and network with on a regular basis.

Kicking off with a guest post on “20 Questions to ask a Wedding Photographer” is Kelly from Kelly Weech Photography. This article is invaluable for all of you planning your wedding in the Cotswolds, but also for anyone getting married anywhere else in the UK! I’ll hand over to Kelly now for her expert advice on one of the most important areas of wedding planning…

Searching for a wedding photographer can be a never ending trawl of websites. It can be difficult to decide who is going to fulfil your expectations and make you feel comfortable in front of the camera. Photographer Kelly  Weech reveals 20 questions you should ask a photographer to decide if they will be a good fit for your big day.

cotswold wedding photographer

1) What makes you different to other wedding photographers?

With a huge amount of photographers on the market a photographer need to offer something different to everyone else. Maybe it’s their approach, personality, exclusive albums or method of editing. Find out what sets them apart from the others.

2) What is your style of photography?

Every photographer is different and we have all our own approach to photographing a wedding. Find out what the photographer believe their style to be and decide if this is the approach you would like to be taken on your big day.

3) Can I see a recent, complete wedding from bridal prep to first dance?

Although photographers may believe their photography to be a particular style this is not always the case. Ask to see full collection of images from a recent wedding and if they claim their style to be documentary make a judgement from the images you see to decide if this style is reflected in their work.

somerset wedding photographer

4) Are your images from real weddings?

With a vast amount of photography workshops on the market always check if the images you see are from a real wedding. It has been known for photographers to set up mock wedding shoots and if this is the case they should inform you. On a wedding day you are not working with models, cannot predict the weather and it is important they show you the work they can achieve under pressure.

5) Can I see an album?

Always check out the finished product to check for quality of reproduction, design and presentation. I believe an album should tell a story of a wedding day from start to finish and should blow clients away with attention to detail.

6) Will you be the photographer on my wedding day?

I would always advise you meet the photographer that will be shooting on the day itself. As a couple you need to decide if this photographer makes you feel comfortable, your confident in their ability, will fit in with your guests and bring out the best in your personalities. You can other make these judgements if you meet in person. Remember first impressions count. You may even want to consider an engagement portrait to confirm they will be the best photographer for you.

what to ask a wedding photographer

7) Have you ever shot at my wedding venue before? Worked with my wedding planner? Makeup artist etc.?

The wedding industry becomes a small world once you have been in it a while. If a photographer has previously shot a wedding at the same venue ask to see the collection or from a similar venue to get an idea of how your wedding maybe captured. Some vendors have great working relationships and this can help things go smoothly on the day. It’s especially useful if your videographer and photographer have already worked together and understand each other’s needs on the day.

8) Are you fully insured?

Many photographers photograph weddings with no insurance. You may think this is no big deal however accidents do happen. If a photographer has wedding liability insurance it will cover the entire cost of re-staging the event should you feel your photographer has destroyed the whole event. For example, didn’t show up due to unforeseeable circumstances or lost your images. The insurance is unlikely to ever be used, but it gives you the security of knowing you are covered and shows a serious professional from an amateur.  

9) Do you have back up equipment?

Every wedding photographer should have a back up camera and lenses so nothing is left to chance on your special day. The backup camera and lenses should be just as good as the first choice camera and lenses.

bridesmaids whisper

10) What is your dress code?

Yes, ask the photographer what they usually wear to photograph a wedding! It always amazes me how many people mistake me to be a guest at a wedding and that is because I blend in with their guest however, many photographers don’t.

11) How long will it be before I see my wedding photographs?

Find out exactly when you will receive your photographs on CD or in an album. A good wedding photographer will inform you of the process every step of the way. I aim for a fast turnaround however the standard seems to be 6-12 weeks.

12) What qualifications and experience do you have?

A qualification is not a major factor if you have the experience to back up your business and your work. Sometimes a photographer can have a great eye and in the process of setting up their business and this maybe fine for some couples but it should be reflected in their price and something they should be open and honest about from the start.

vintage wedding photography

13) What happens if something doesn’t go to plan on the day?

Let’s be honest, British weather is highly unpredictable but it doesn’t have to spoil your day, a back-up plan should always at hand and a photographer should have a solution and equipment necessary to shoot in doors if required.

14) What happens if you get taken seriously ill before my wedding and can’t attend?

Most established professionals will have contacts and be able to find you a suitable replacement if required. I call upon five other professionals whose work I respect and admire so if a situation ever a rose I could ensure you would be getting the best of the best.

15) Can I give the photographer a list of shots that I want?

It is important to inform a photographer of the group shots you would like and any other images which you will hold dear to your heart after the big day. A good photographer will know it’s all about you and happy to comply with your needs and requirements. I send a pre wedding questionnaire to ensure every detail is covered.

16) Do you work alone or with a second shooter?

Having a second photographer can be of great value to the photographer for additional support in organising large groups of people and to the clients for getting a different perspective and more natural candid shots. Every photographer is different but if the photographer shoots alone and you want another photographer ask if this is possible. How much this would be? Could you meet them before the day? Do they have a portfolio? Etc.

17) May I have a list of references?

Effectively you hire a photographer to do a job on your wedding day and a photographer should be more than happy to provide you with previous couple’s details without hesitation to give credibility to their business. Testimonials can be found on most photographers website but don’t be afraid to ask for contact details.

18) What paperwork do I need to sign?

A contract is put in place to not only cover the photographer but to protect the clients as well. Ensure you read all the terms and conditions carefully before signing the dotted line.

bride and groom confetti shot

19) Do I need to pay a deposit to secure my date?

Most wedding photographers require a booking fee to secure your date. Never assume a verbal agreement without a deposit and paperwork to be safe enough when it comes to your event.

20) What rights do I have to my wedding photographs?

Most contracts stipulate the rights and usually reproduction rights will be granted to the client but the copy right will always remain with the photographer. In basic terms, the clients can have the images printed as they wish but the photographer can use the images promotionally on their website or blog, submit them for publication and for advertising purposes.


Twitter @KellyWeech

As if providing a ton of awesome advice wasn’t enough, Kelly is  also offering my readers a fabulous £150 discount on all weddings booked before 31st March 2013.  Be sure to quote “JESSIE” when you get in touch!

wedding photographer discount cotswolds

Are there any other suppliers that YOU as a couple planning a wedding would really like some inside advice or tips from? let me know in the comments below and I’ll see what I can do!

Until next time…



Wedding chat with The Slate Boutique


Ok that’s not normally how I open a blog post, but HOW horrid is this winter bug going round? Little Flora and I have been run down with it all weekend and after venturing out for a park walk this morning in the sunshine, we spent the rest of the day snuggling under a duvet. So I am delighted to cheer myself up with a lovely little interview with local wedding supplier The Slate Boutique.

I’d heard lots about the team behind this Bristol based company who make bespoke slate gifts and homeware from Cornish slate, so naturally I thought my readers would like a little more insight into what they do and why.

Also they are currently running a super duper wedding offer, with FREE Bride and Groom place names with any wedding order placed in February 2013. They will be at the Love and Lace Wedding Fair in Sapperton Village Hall, Gloucestershire on Sunday 17 February and at the Gloriously Vintage Wedding Fair in Cheltenham on Sunday 17 March, if you’d like to see the products up close and meet the folk that make these pretty products.

The slate boutique

Tell me about The Slate Boutique

Based in Bristol, we’re a husband and wife team, offering a range of unique, practical and personalised slate gifts and homeware and a bespoke wedding service. We use the normal dark slate, but also in the more rustic, country-feel Reclaimed Cornish slate, and individually handcraft all products ourselves.

Our wedding offerings include small heart favours that double up as place names and allow the guests to take something home as a momento of the day. These hearts also look amazing tied to the chairs for the wedding party, or just hung around the room for decoration. We also offer personalised signs and plaques, depending on the venue and needs of the bride and groom, which  can add a fun element to the decoration. There’s also circular and square table centrepieces to provide a depth of colour to the table and cake or cheesecake stands. A popular choice is our heart-shaped food platters, which look fantastic with cakes or chocolates on.

We also take commissions and are happy to speak with a bride and groom about any specific requirements, and truly believe our products add those extra special touches that contribute to making the day unique and personal.

Slate wedding sign


How long have you been in business?

We officially started selling at the end of June last year (2012) as that was the first shop I approached to stock our products (Old Down Country Park). Following that, I had meetings with a few others, and, fortunately our products were well received. We now have almost 10 stockists for our general products, but only sell our wedding products direct as it’s such a personal service.

How did you get involved in the industry?

Justin has his own roofing business, so is a dab hand with cutting slate! For our own wedding last April, we had a very personal and informal day at Wick Farm, Farleigh Hungerford, and needed a sign at the end of the lane to tell people where the wedding was. We decided to make our own arrow out of slate, then also used arched slates in their raw form to make our own ‘slogan slates’. One said ‘Love is in the air……’ and the other said ‘Better late than never’ as it was a standing joke amongst our friends that Justin took so long to propose! We also had the canapés served on slate, which looked fab! We had lots of comments about it all, and started thinking of other shapes and items we could do………and the rest is history!

Slate Wedding Sign

If you weren’t involved in your own business, what else would you like to do?

Justin still has his own successful roofing business, and Kate, having worked in advertising and marketing for years up until having children, still does some freelance PR and marketing.

What or who inspires you?

Not strictly related to slate, but my inspirations are entrepreneurs in general…..people who work hard, follow their instincts, believe in their product/service and take calculated risks to achieve success. Holly Tucker and Sophie Cornish spring to mind, the creators and owners of Not on the High Street, who have achieved huge success with their idea, but only after hard work, dedication and always believing in their idea.

What do you love most about your job?

Seeing a dusty piece of slate get turned into beautiful, natural products, and the lovely feedback we get from our customers about how gorgeous and practical many of our products are. It’s a lovely feeling not just to sell something you’ve imported or bought in bulk, but to have made it and taken it through the stringent process yourself. I also love wedding orders as that’s how it all began for us, and it’s a lovely thought that our products are forming part of someone else’s special day.

slate wedding place setting

What makes your service unique?

Many slate companies use machines to cut their slate, which is quicker, but leaves a straight, clean-cut edge. As we individually handcut each piece, our products are slightly more rugged and natural….their slight imperfections compliment the natural product.

Our bespoke wedding service is just that…..we have a range of ideas to offer, but we’re also happy to take commissions and can personalise any of our products for that extra special touch.

What’s the most unusual request you’ve ever had?

Not related to the wedding industry, but a slate seahorse!

What’s your working week like?

Difficult to answer this yet as we’re still quite reactive rather than proactive due to our other work and family commitments and the fact that it’s taken us by surprise how busy we’ve become so quickly! Each week is very different, and the months of November and December were just bonkers!!! January has been very busy with wedding enquiries, so, it’s also different each month, but that’s part  of what I love about it!

What made you want to work in the wedding industry?

That’s how it all began for us, and since planning our own wedding, I have become slightly obsessed with everything wedding-related anyway! I love and believe in our products and always knew they would look beautiful and unique in the right wedding venue, so I specifically put time into thinking of ideas for weddings.


bespoke wedding sign slate

What’s the biggest misconception about your service?

Most people appreciate the work that goes into producing our products, but every so often someone comments about the cost ‘just for a bit of slate’! They don’t realise the long process, time and quality control that goes into it!

On a personal note, because Justin is a roofer, many people think he gets slate from the roof when he’s working. This is most definitely not the case!! He takes time to select each slate himself from a number of suppliers; many slates can be ‘wonky’, which is no use for a cheeseboard/cake stand/placemat etc!

What is the best piece of advice you would give to couples planning their wedding?

My own personal advice is to make it your own; don’t just copy from a magazine or do what you think is ‘in’ at the moment. Personalise it and be happy and comfortable with your choices; don’t try and be someone you’re not.

Have you worked with any other local vendors or suppliers that you’d recommend to couples getting married in the Cotswolds? And why?

I can thoroughly recommend Lee Bishop at Strawberry Fields Catering. He is a fantastic Front-of-House Manager and the food is fantastic. I’ve worked with Maria from Sorori Design, who is a wonderful florist and really listens to what her brides do and don’t want! She’s great at interpreting the look and feel of the day the bride would like, and adding her own ideas and touches to make it all a reality.

Where can we find you?

07800 895184


Wedding chat with The Wedding Tree Company

What a beautiful day here in the Cotswolds! So lovely that I thought I would buy myself some pretty flowers from Bloomers who are just down the road from me, to cheer up my office desk – also dining table/craft table – can’t wait to move house next month! – and inspire me to pick up my blogging pen again.

Bloomers of Cheltenham

I thought I’d start by writing up an interview with a fantastic local supplier who is relatively new to the wedding industry, The Wedding Tree Company.

Tell me a little bit about yourself…

We are Mr & Mrs Ford. Richard and Jennifer, along with our 2 year old daughter Ava-Grace, the family behind ‘The Wedding Tree Company’. Richard is a hearty tradesman with big hands and an accurate eye for joinery. I am a primary school teacher with ever changing hair colour and a love of art.

The Wedding Tree Company

Tell me about The Wedding Tree Company…

The Wedding Tree Company offers Brides and Grooms bespoke and totally personalised wooden wedding products, props, venue accessories and keep sakes. Venue accessories and props includes items such as menu boards, directional sign posts and signs for photographs, rustic wishing wells for guests to leave cards and gifts and oak frames to surround table plans. Smaller items include uniquely crafted wedding favours such as willow dragon flies, engraved coasters and personalised wooden key rings or name tags.

Our personal favourite and very popular with the public, is the ‘Oak Wedding Guest Book Plank’ a quirky alternative to the traditional paper guest books which tend to live in a box after the wedding day and gather dust on a shelf. The Guest planks are personalised with the couples own initials, date, venue, and any other unique drawings or details they choose and are then send out ready for guests to write well wishes on. Supplied fixings then enable the guest plank to be hung in the home, on display as an everlasting reminder of the special day.

wooden wedding menu

How did you get involved in the industry?

Richard has been successfully running his own joinery business for the last 7 years, carrying out bespoke furniture commissions and domestic joinery. On the lead up to our own wedding, last August, I kept Richard busy making wooden props to personalise our own special day, as I was having very little luck sourcing the items I had conjured up in my head. This is when the light bulb went on in Richard’s head, ‘this is a business’ he chirped down the phone to me. And so it began, after a relaxing honeymoon it was time to hit the ground running, we have now been branching out in the world of weddings as The Wedding Tree Company for 5 months.

What do you love most about your job?

Richard is in his element in when he is in his workshop, there is nothing he would rather be doing. The Wedding Tree is all about giving other couples the chance to personalise their day with quirky props and keep sakes, so for us to be a part of that, really makes our job worthwhile.

bespoke wedding sign

What makes your service unique?

The personalisation, quirkiness, and the insight into the couple who are tying the knot. Due to the personal nature of The Wedding Tree Company’s products, couples have the opportunity to create something that is totally personal to them. With Richard’s joinery skills and my artistic flare all we need is the ideas given by the couple to make there items unique and totally bespoke to them, giving their guests a talking point and making it a day to remember.

What’s the most unusual request you’ve ever had?

Not so much as unusual but quirky. Our hand painted signs have proven to be a very popular product amongst our range and my favourite one we’ve done so far, has to be for a bride and groom who wanted a polite, but humorous sign asking parents to look after their children during the wedding day. The Couple were more than happy to invite children to their special day but, quite understandably, didn’t want them running around causing chaos. The sign simply read ‘All unattended children will be given an espresso and a free puppy’. As we have our own 2 year old and many of our other friends have young children we also had quite a few little ones at our own wedding, so this, I think, would be a brilliant way of reminding parents to keep an eye on their kids, without being too formal, we loved the idea!

wooden wedding sign

What’s your working week like?

After a wedding show at the weekend, the beginning of the week is usually pretty hectic, emailing the new brides-to-be that we have spoken to, answering emails and enquiries and responding to any orders placed. The Wedding Tree HQ is a bright pink room at our home address in Tamworth, Staffordshire which also doubles up as a two year olds play playroom.

This is where the day to day running of the company takes place, replying to our lovely customer’s emails, quoting jobs and coming up with brilliant new, unique ideas for your special day. All of the fun stuff takes place at our workshop, also based in Tamworth. Bonehill farm is home to around 17 small businesses like ours and is a lovely place to be creative. The workshop is around 150sq foot and is large enough for all of the machines and tool required to produce our wonderful products.

wood guest book

Have you seen many changes since you started your business?

As we have only been up and running in the wedding industry for 5 short months, it’s all new and exciting, our products and services are changing all the time, as new ideas are being developed. For any of you who know my husband, the driving force behind The Wedding Tree, he can’t sit still for longer than two minutes, there’s always a new project or idea to be worked on, changes occur on a daily basis!

What’s the biggest misconception about your industry/service?

The main misconception is usually about the guest book planks, we have had people query how we engrave the wedding guest’s messages on to the board once they have been written on. We don’t in fact do this, the only engraved part is the couples Names, initials, wedding date etc. that is agreed prior to us sending out the completed guest book plank, the guest simply write their messages and well wishes directly onto the Oak, using a marker pen and the process is complete, ready to hang on the wall as a lasting memory.

wedding wishing well

What is the best piece of advice you would give to couples planning their wedding?

Don’t overlook the small things and the personal touches, that’s what our guests loved the most, the attention to detail. Most of all enjoy it, every bit of it, from the moment you start planning to the minute the last dance ends. Savour every moment of the big day and make time to take it all in.

Have you worked with any other local vendors or suppliers that you’d recommend to couples getting married in the Cotswolds? And why?

Not as yet but through wedding fayres and social media we have been introduced to a lot of fabulous suppliers based in the Cotswolds that we hope to work alongside in the future.

Where can we find you? 

Website –

Email –

Phone – 07791323 525

Facebook – The Wedding Tree Company

Twitter – @TheWeddingTree

I’ve seen their products up close and they really are as good as they look, a company clearly driven with passion and skill. Now THAT is what I like to see!! Although based in the Cotswolds Richard and Jennifer cover the whole of the UK and beyond.



All images via Stephen Hayes Photography

Cotswolds Wedding Dress Designer Weekend: Suzanne Neville “Diamond Collection”

For one weekend only, on Saturday 23rd and Sunday 24th February, The White Rose Bridal Boutique are dedicating their beautiful boutique to the fabulous British designer, Suzanne Neville. The Cotswold based wedding dress and bridal boutique already has a large collection of the designer’s latest designs, but for this special weekend event, the full 2013 ‘Diamond Collection’ will be available for lucky brides to try on by appointment.

suzanne neville wedding dress cotswolds

This is a fantastic opportunity for brides who already know they are dreaming of a Suzanne Neville gown to come and see a huge variety of dresses from the 2013 ‘Diamond Collection’ as well as the 2012 ‘Nostalgia Collection’. The White Rose Bridal Boutique will also be offering a whopping 10% off all dress orders at the event.

This event is strictly by appointment, so brides will need to get in touch quickly to secure their place. Please contact Danielle on 01386 848 802 to make a booking.

Go, go, go!