Win a Framed Print and 15% off Wedding Stationery with White Hanami

So for ages I’ve been wanting to meet up with the brains behind White Hanami, a new design studio in the Cotswolds producing personalised art prints, luxury wedding stationery and greeting cards. They have been seen in Vogue and are featured on Not on The High Street, the home of literally everything my little heart could possibly desire.
Created by the very lovely Siobhan Wolton, White Hanami’s contemporary style features beautifully simple and understated designs. Siobhan uses British materials and each product is professionally printed in England by hand-picked specialists, selected for their quality and use of premium materials. I met up with Siobhan and she showed me her samples, even her packaging feels expensive. It’s ALL beautiful.

She also was incredibly generous and created a bespoke print just for me and the hubby, which I’m ashamed to say I’ve yet to put up in our new house as the walls are still bare plaster… seriously, how many shades of F&B grey can I paint samples of before making a decision? Gah. I promise to post a photo of it up in its glory as soon as the walls are done!

I am also very excited to announce that I am running a competition to WIN a framed print and 15% off when you order your wedding stationery with White Hanami. Simply email White Hanami at studio@whitehanami.com and quote “Jessie Thomson” to enter, but remember that you only have until the end of April to snap this one up ladies & gents!

Just a quick round up again of why White Hanami are an awesome stationery company:

  • Everything is professionally printed by specialists
  • Wedding stationery is printed on lovely heavyweight textured card. 320gsm, 100% cotton
  • All invitations are presented in a luxury White Hanami keepsake box
  • Designs can be produced in any colour, you can simply email a swatch of your colour choice(s). No extra cost.
  • Siobhan will work closely with you to choose the right fonts etc.
  • A free, no obligation, consultation is available.

Jessie

x

http://www.jessiethomson.co.uk

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BRIDAL BOUTIQUE ANNOUCES SUPER SAVING SPRING SAMPLE SALE

Cheltenham designer wedding dress shop, Dragonfly Contemporary Designs, has announced a new Spring Sample Sale, which will be taking place on Friday 12th April and Saturday 13thApril from 10am – 5pm.

 

wedding dress sample sale cheltenham cotswolds

 

Every girl loves to hear the two words “sample sale” being spoken! This is especially true when they are in the midst of planning an expensive wedding at a time when purse strings are being tightened and we’re witnessing the rise of the DIY bride on a budget. Dragonfly Contemporary Designs, a bridal boutique based in the regency town of Cheltenham Spa in the Cotswolds, is holding a Spring Sample Sale offering up to 70% off all their dresses in the sale. With the average cost of weddings now rising to just over £16,000 in 2013, what more could a girl ask for?

 

Just before the busy wedding season really kicks off, owner Suzi Hounam-Brooker will be opening her shop doors from 10am – 5pm on both days to offer all brides-to-be the unique opportunity to buy a beautiful couture wedding dress made by one of Britain’s premier bridal designers for as little as £500. These dream wedding dresses are all ex-shop samples at high street sizes 10-12 and will include designs by Stewart Parvin, SassiHolford and Suzanne Neville.

 

Suzi said: “I have been delighted with the excellent feedback I’ve had since opening the boutique in its new location earlier this year, but I’d really like to make way for some of the new designs I’ve seen on the catwalks recently”, she continued, “I’ve also been approached by some fantastic new British bridal designers and am really excited about introducing them to the Cotswolds very soon!”

 

Sale opening hours:
Friday 12th April: 10.00am – 5.00pm
Saturday 13th April: 10.00am – 5.00pm

Additional information:
– No appointment necessary

– Sizes available: UK high street 10-12

– All dresses purchased must be taken on the day
– Free street parking and car park nearby
– All major credit and debit cards accepted

Where are we?
Find us here:

9 Great Norwood Street, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, GL50 2AW

http://www.dragonflycontemporarydesigns.co.uk

Need more info?
Please contact Suzi at suzi@dragonflycontemporarydesigns.co.uk or call on +44 (0)1242 224 466.

 

Fabulous Wedding Festival at Muddifords Court

I had the absolute pleasure of exhibiting and styling at the first ever Fabulous Wedding Festival at Muddifords Court in Somerset. It was such a great day out (yes day out, it really didn’t feel like work at all!), and so nice to meet like minded suppliers and couples over pizza and cider in the mud. It was actually like being at a mini festival with all the live music, food and different tent areas – which all helped the visitors to feel relaxed and positive when they did stop to talk to any of the great wedding suppliers involved.

You can check out some of the live blogging that happened on the day here, but I thought I’d do my own little round up with all images taken by me via my (now antique) iPhone and instagram.

First up my “stand” which was located in a tipi complete with wood burning fire in the middle. I woke up smelling ever so slightly of bonfire, which is also how I woke up the morning after my own wedding funnily enough!

I decided to keep in the popular DIY festival vibe theme, using lots of my own flea market finds to create a fun area complete with my own little photobooth to give those brides brave enough to come and say hello a bit of light entertainment. I hear a lot of people saying that they think vintage is “over”. I don’t actually… I think there is a slow decline in the more twee and chintzy look that was very popular for years, but I think the more edgy flea market chic look is here to stay. Why? Well it’s an easy look to achieve on a budget, it allows you to show off your personality and incorporate finds from friends and family members, and it’s actually pretty eco-friendly too. Re-use, recycle and up-cycle away people!

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I was also asked to style a table for a wonderful festival themed banquet in The Shippen Barn alongside some other LOVELY stylists. I find it so inspiring and confidence boosting that we all chose completely different styles despite being given the same brief. Just shows the value of having a wedding stylist on your team!

Personally I wanted to do something that felt like how I’d want my wedding if it was festival themed now. I am the worlds biggest fan of Free People and love anything with a Bohemian or Indie vibe. But I also wanted something fresh, and wanted to step away from the popular “vintage” look so that I could show couples how to do something a bit different. As always, whenever I take on a project like this, I endeavour to make it both budget friendly and easy to do, with DIY touches that can be recreated by brides at home.

So my original brief to the lovely florist Laura Hingston and my sweet gorgeous friend Jenny from In The Treehouse was to help me create a Bohemian, Aztec, Ikat, Native American, Dream Catcher, Free People, Bold and Colourful inspired table scape. Not too hard then.

This was the moodboard I created to guide team Jessie!

Bohemian Native American Wedding Theme

One of the elements I envisaged from word go was to have giant dream catchers hanging above the table, with mini versions as favours for guests. There are lots of tutorials on the web, and I promise to share my own with you soon. Let’s just say they took a little longer than expected (perfectionist, moi?!) but once you get the hang of them are actually pretty easy to make.

I also made mini “yarn” (that’s wool to anyone in the UK!) tassels to decorate the jam jars. Funnily enough poor Laura had a bit of a nightmare with the flowers as she’d sourced all sorts of fabulous mismatched bohemian flower containers and vases, only for her dear Mother to drive off with them before they were unloaded! Luckily fellow wedding stylist Devon Vintage China came to the rescue and gave us a few of her own little vintage glass bottles to borrow. Phew! Just shows you, it’s VERY important to have an excellent and supportive selection of suppliers for your own wedding day as it makes sure that any last minute problems like this are avoided… I was set to go and buy some jars of food to empty into plastic containers so we could use them instead!! 😉

Anyway, would LOVE to hear your thoughts on the finished table, excuse my candid (read rubbish) shots. Official pics to come shortly!!

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native american dream catcher aztec bohemian wedding table

Here are a few other photos from the day for you to check out too!

I have another busy weekend ahead planned as I’ll be styling a wedding at The Matara Centre on Saturday and exhibiting at the Eclectic Wedding Extravaganza in Birmingham on Sunday. I can’t wait!

Jessie

x

www.jessiethomson.co.uk

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….

how to do bridesmaids make upBRIDESMAID MAKE-UP TUTORIAL: BEFORE VS AFTER

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.

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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.

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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

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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!

Jessie

x

Eclectic Wedding Extravaganza – It’s all about EWE 2!!

What happens when three slightly mad wedding suppliers come together? They hatch a crazy plan….that’s what!!

When Sassy (Assassynation), Jo (Couture Company) and Vikki (Liliia) got nattering over a glass of wine (standard)  they decided  that they would put on a Wedding Extravaganza with a real mix of suppliers. Let’s hear it from the ladies themselves…

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We want to put on an amazing wedding extravaganza (aka fair) that would be exciting for both the suppliers and  couples alike, so we hatched a plan  “A-team” style (Hannibal Smith would be proud).

The first show back in November 2012 was an amazing success and was so well received we couldn’t resist the cries from couples and Mo Flo’s alike of “When are EWE putting on another show???” So with one show under our belts we have launched EWE2!!  This will be held on the 24th March 2013 at Fazeley Studios in Birmingham…with lots more awesome suppliers.

The idea is that we want people to shake off the shackles of what is considered ‘normal’ or ‘traditional’ and to take their own personalities and loves and stamp them on their weddings.  With that in mind we have picked suppliers who can help EWE do that!

This is no ordinary wedding show, the suppliers aka the Baad Ass Mother Flockers have been chosen and invited based on their personalities, the quality of their end product and the fact that they offer something unique. White linen covered trestle tables are discouraged and hard sells are banished, we want you to come along, have a drink and a good old natter to the Mother Flockers that catch your eye.  The Mo Flo’s are being challenged to create stands that are totally unique and interactive. As well as having awesome Mo Flo’s at the show, we will be running some competitions, having a fashion walkabout/ramble and organising a treasure hunt!

So we are putting a call out to all you gamers, goths, geeks, rockabillies,  psychobillies, off the walls, mods and rockers, steampunks, new punks, old punks, flappers ,happy clappers, hipsters and hell-raisers, bohemians, folks who are inked and pinked, or if Ewe just want YOU to shine through.

We hope to offer you some things that are really EWEnique for your weddings.

Our Motto:-

“Don’t be a wedding sheep…it’s all about EWE!!!”

Our venue, Fazeley Studios, was chosen due to the fact it is such a gorgeous space (and yes they do have weddings there) with tons of natural light to show off our Mo Flo’s work in the best possible way.

We will have a themed café so you can have a drink and something to eat as well as a wedding dress walkabout to showcase some of the gorgeous frocks.  There will also be a fun-tastic treasure hunt where answers to clues can be found on the Mo Flo’s stands.  We want EWE to get involved, pick stuff up, take a good look, really check out the Mo Flo’s and ask them tons of questions as they are all a super friendly bunch.

One thing we can assure you of is that it will be a fun day out, with tons of giveaways, lots to learn and see and not one bit like a ‘normal’ wedding fair!

Why not see who’s going to be there? Take a nose round our site! More suppliers will be added over the coming weeks.

Mo Flo’s already signed up include Jessie Thomson Weddings & Events, Emma Case photography, Shutterbox Films, Hat Therapy, prior Engagement Gowns, Revive Me Boutique, The Conjurer’s kitchen, Chris Barber, Little Ruby Red Cake toppers, Disco Wed, The rebel party band, Crown and Glory, Toast of Leeds, Elbie Van Eeden Make up Artist, The Vintage Salon to name but a few……

Check our website for a full list of Mo Flo’s

Have a ramble around the site, register and get your tickets early at a BAAAAArgain price of £3 YES!!! EWEheard right…..only £3 !!!!

www.allaboutewe.co.uk

Yup that’s right folks, I’ll be there too… so why not come along and find me for a chin wag, I am already having cold sweats thinking about what on earth I should wear to what is arguably THE coolest “wedding fair” in the land. *sigh*

Jessie

x

Fabulous Wedding Festival: An Alternative Wedding Fair for Unique Brides

For anyone who doesn’t already know, The FabulousWedFest show is bring held from 11am – 10pm on Saturday 16th March 2013 at Muddifords Court Country House in Devon. I’ll be exhibiting there so if you are based locally it’s the perfect chance to come and say hello as well as scouting for other incredibly awesome wedding suppliers. In addition to my little stand I will be styling a table at the special wedding banquet, and offering a DIY workshop on planning timelines and budgeting tips & advice.

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This is way more special than just the usual wedding show you come across ladies and gents.

This wedding show is an emporium of DIY loveliness aimed at couples who are looking for alternative, quirky, original, festival finds to make your wedding a little bit more like you two!

Each exhibitor at the Fabulous Wedding Festival has been hand picked, to make sure that they are FUN, CREATIVE and passionate about WEDDINGS. The event will feature goodies such as:

An Art Gallery for Photographers and film-makers to present their work

A Rocks & Frocks Catwalk where there will be a variety of independent wedding dress designers

A Wedding Banquet ready for you to eat food from a selection of caterers on beautifully styled tables

A Boys Club offering everything from suits to shoes and the all important bar

DIY Workshops hints and tips from top wedding suppliers on how to make your wedding amazing

Live Music throughout the event from a selection of bands with live bands from 6pm

Tickets for the general public are now on sale now at only £4 each. Buy tickets online http:// www.fabulouswedfest.co.uk/main/ticket-sales-open/

Follow news and update via the Facebook page too!

Jessie

x

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

PHOTO CREDIT: RACHEL JONES PHOTOGRAPHY

 

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

PHOTO CREDIT: BIGEYE PHOTOGRAPHY

 

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

PHOTO CREDIT: MOTIF PHOTOGRAPHY

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.

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PHOTO CREDIT: ROSIE PARSONS VIA LOVELUXE BLOG

 

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!

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PHOTO CREDIT: ROSIE PARSONS VIA LOVELUXE BLOG

 

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.

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PHOTO CREDIT: JONATHAN WATKINS AT PHOTOGLOW

 

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.

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PHOTO CREDIT: JONATHAN WATKINS AT PHOTOGLOW

 

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.

Jessie

x

http://www.jessiethomson.co.uk

jessie@jessiethomson.co.uk

07940048885

Barn Weddings in The Cotswolds

Morning wedding folk!

Ok yesterday I stumbled upon a clip of the wedding video created by Bloomsbury Films for one of my clients who got married at Cripps Stone Barn in Aldsworth last year. It’s a stunning venue and one of many beautiful barns in the Cotswolds that has been transformed into a gorgeous rustic wedding venue, you can see another wedding held at Stone Barn in one of my earlier posts too.

But before you do, take a little look at this beauty first…. get the tissues ready it’s a tear jerker….

For this wedding I helped the couple source some of their suppliers, as well as styled and co-ordinated everything in the run up and on the day of the wedding itself. To see more photo’s take a look at the full album in my portfolio.

I got married in a barn myself, so they will always ooze romance to me. They work so well in Winter (log fires, twinkly lights and candles) as well as Summer (gorgeous countryside, colourful flowers, bunting). What’s not to love?

Jessie

x

http://www.jessiethomson.co.uk

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.

https://jessiethomson.files.wordpress.com/2013/02/somerset-wedding-photographer-59.jpg

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.

www.kellyweechphotography.com

info@kellyweechphotography.com

07846711534

https://www.facebook.com/WorldofWeech

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…

Jessie

x

http://www.jessiethomson.co.uk

Wedding chat with The Slate Boutique

Bleeuuugghghh!

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? 

www.facebook.com/theslateboutique

www.twitter.com/slateboutique

theslateboutique@gmail.com

07800 895184