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Reasons for an Engagement Shoot

Reasons for an engagement shoot:

By offering both engagement and pre-wedding shoots, as a  West Sussex wedding photographer, I like to ensure that couples have a comprehensive and personalised photography experience leading up to their big day. From building connections and creating memories to exploring venues and perfecting the bridal look, these shoots add value and excitement to the wedding journey.

I often hear people suggesting that they don’t need this aspect of the service, and I totally understand the reluctance. However, once people have experienced it, they always feedback that they were so so glad they did.

For those sitting on the fence, I thought I’d prepare a little dive into some reasons for an engagement shoot:

Reasons for an engagement shoot

Connection Building: An engagement shoot provides an opportunity for the couple to bond with each other and with the photographer. This helps in building a comfortable rapport before the wedding day, resulting in more natural and intimate photographs. Believe it or not, our work is very relational… we want to know more about you and what makes you tick as a couple. This will help us capture your true vibe on your wedding day! It also helps us to discuss in a relaxed space any tricky or awkward dynamics that may come up on your wedding day and how we can help you navigate them.

reasons for an engagement shoot

Practice Session: It serves as a practice session for both the couple and the photographer. Couples can get accustomed to being in front of the camera, while the photographer can experiment with different poses, angles, and lighting setups. We will be a mine of information on how to pose, what to do with your arms and legs and how to make you look more natural in front of the camera. It also help to break the ice so you’re accustomed to PDA’s and being photographed without awkwardness and feeling self conscious! It’s better to get this done in a relaxed environment so we’re not wasting precious time on your wedding day covering the foundations to make you comfortable. Honestly, we’d rather you were having more fun with your guests on your wedding day, then endless shoots!

reasons for an engagement shoot

Personalised Experience: The engagement shoot can be tailored to reflect the unique personality and style of the couple. Whether it’s a romantic stroll on the beach, a playful session in a park, or a cozy indoor shoot, it allows for personalisation. This sessions is about you! Taking you to your favourite place, or a significant spot in your relationship journey just adds to making this a service for you. Just this time for you both as a couple is enough reason for an engagement shoot!

Reasons for an engagement shoot

Save-the-Date Cards: The photographs from the engagement shoot can be used for creating stylish and personalised save-the-date cards or wedding invitations, adding a personal touch to the wedding preparations. Some people have used the images to decorate their wedding venue as part of their visual journey together. I guess what I’m trying to say here, is use them!!! Get your faces out there! Its you we’re all celebrating after all!

Reasons for an engagement shoot

Memorable Moments: Capturing the love and excitement of the engagement period through photographs creates lasting memories that can be cherished for a lifetime. These images serve as a beautiful reminder of the journey leading up to the wedding day. So often the focus goal is your wedding date, but don’t forget, this journey is important too! Let’s capture it!

Venue Exploration: A pre-wedding shoot provides an opportunity to explore and capture stunning photographs at the wedding venue or other meaningful locations. This allows the couple to envision their wedding day and discover the best spots for photography. We are well versed in shooting in both the familiar and the unfamiliar, but if an opportunity arrises to shoot in your venue, then this is a real bonus!!

Reasons for an engagement shoot

Trial Run for Hair and Makeup: If timings and diaries align, it can be a chance for the bride to do a trial run for her hair and makeup, ensuring everything looks perfect for the wedding day. Seeing how the makeup translates on camera helps in making any necessary adjustments. What better way to be picture perfect than have a professional tending to those details too! This doesn’t have to be a chore, let’s turn it into a treat for you.

Relaxed Atmosphere: Unlike the wedding day, which can be hectic and fast-paced, the pre-wedding shoot offers a relaxed atmosphere for capturing beautiful moments without any time constraints. It allows the couple to focus solely on each other and enjoy the experience.

Reasons for an engagement shoot

Guest Book or Wedding Album: The photographs from the pre-wedding shoot can be compiled into a guest book or used to create a stunning wedding album. This provides a unique keepsake for the couple and their guests to look back on and reminisce about the special day.

Reasons for an engagement shoot

Capture the Proposal: Some of you may even be thinking way ahead! This is great… having a photographer actually capture your live proposal will make for beautiful memories to look back on! We love getting involved from the very beginning and sharing this journey with you! An incase you worry about being ousted by a hovering photographer, don’t worry… we’re great at hiding in bushes!! Here’s a blog about a “family shoot” that was a secret proposal… Matt & Jen | The Live Proposal 

Best engagement photographer west sussex

I hope these reasons for an engagement shoot have convinced you! It’s worth doing, you definitely won’t regret it! I’m so on board with this myself which is why I include a complementary engagement shoot with every wedding collection. 

If you’re neck deep and overwhelmed in your wedding planning journey, do check out my other helpful blogs: How To Plan a WeddingHow to Choose Your Wedding VenueHow to Choose Your Wedding Dress

Good luck! I hope to see you on your wedding quest!
xX Fiona Xx
Reasons for an Engagement Shoot
Arundel Wedding Photographer

How To Plan a Wedding

How To Plan a Wedding

Eeeeek, the festive period has just passed, you’ve got a new bit of bling on your ring finger, learning your new title of fiance, and January has started with a to-do-list to get your nuptials sorted! Are you in Camp Overwhelmed or Camp I’ve-been-planning-this-since-I-was-seven??!! If it’s the latter… High five to you, let’s chat more, you can give me tips. If it’s the former, I bet the first thing you did was google, “how to plan a wedding”?!

Firstly! CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!!! This is wonderful news!! Just take a moment to bask in that glow!

Although planning a wedding is a big deal, don’t forget that this period of being engaged is also a pretty special time in your life too, one that’s not usually repeated. It’s like that liminal space between dating/being a couple to the actually formalities of legally being bound to your chosen life partner forever. And there’s a whole lot of planning that happens in that liminal space. Buying a house, having children and planning a wedding are up there on the list of the most stressful things you can do as a couple.

Let me help you break it down. I’m going to try to work on this chronologically in the ideal to-do order. I’m not going to tell you how long this should take, some people have a short engagement of weeks and months, some go years and years… it all depends on your budget, timeframe, availability of your must have factors and how focused your organisation can be.

1: Post on the ‘gram / wedding email

If it isn’t on social media, it’s not real!!

Haha!! Just kidding, this has nothing to do with how to plan a wedding!! Socials aren’t for all, but if you’re gonna pop your bling on display, it’s a great excuse for a trip to the salon for a manicure LOL

This well organised groom-to-be knew he was going to propose on a certain day, so booked me for a quick shoot on that day to make sure their announcement was ready to go in picture form!

In all seriousness though, instagram aside… to avoid an inbox of doom and lost threads of emails, set up a wedding email address so when you start planning, all your supplier correspondence is filtered to that account. This is simple enough to do with any mail provider (gmail/hotmail/yahoo etc) and you can both set it up on your devices to share the wedmin load!

engagement shoot chichester

2: Set a budget

You may have been saving for this very moment. Planning to budget on the go. Or even have family who would like to support you and contribute to your wedding day.

Whichever way the money ends up in your pocket, try to discuss and decide between you what services you value the most. Is it all about the epic party? The album that will be looked at forever? Or is it all about that dress?

When you start looking at quotes, you’ll probably realise that everything costs far more than you anticipated. Expect the assigned budgets for different services to have wiggle room as you move funds from one service budget to another. You don’t want to be spending more than you value on flowers if your priority was actually the rings which you end up compromising on.

3: Nail in your date and venue

This is going to be the deciding factor that will determine how the rest of your planning is structured and within what time frame. Without an official date, no other suppliers can be booked that require one (think caterers, photographers, videographers, entertainment, registrars, outfit hire, transport etc)

You may have your ideal season or venue already in mind, so scheduling in some viewings is a great place to start.  Don’t forget the added bonus of google images. If you’re viewing in January for a summer wedding, the venue will look different, so be sure to also use their portfolio and the internet to get an idea what the venue looks like in your preferred season.

Use wedding fairs as a tool to look around venues. These usually occur throughout the year and have a host of other suppliers to get your inspiration going. They’re also a great place to go later down the line if you’re just after those final services to finish off your plans (or a glass of bubbles and a taste of free cake!!).

Once you’ve booked your venue, do check what’s included (a planner/designated coordinator on the day/catering/registrar organised/PA system etc). You may find the services provided within your venue may well help you with how to plan a wedding.

If the venue booking seems overwhelming as a place to start, I’ve written a more detailed blog about that here: How to choose your wedding venue

Once you’ve got your venue you can start to finalise your guest list with the knowledge of your venue’s capacity. Depending on your plans and whether your ceremony is in a different location to the reception you may need to segment this into ceremony/reception/evening party

How to plan a wedding

4: Start booking vendors

Vendors and suppliers may be limited to how many bookings can be taken on a single day. Us photographers, for example, can only be at one wedding a day so dates can book up well in advance. Others suppliers, like entertainment agencies, may have a number of options on their books but once those options are booked, they’re booked.

To avoid disappointment, I would consider now the time to book the following services:

  • photography
  • videography
  • caterers (if not already provided)
  • registrar/celebrant (if not included)
  • band/dj
  • hair & make-up-artist
  • stationers

Looking at these services comes with its own level of research and preference. It’s down to you to work out what your wants and needs are in these areas, as well as your budget and priority value. I would say, however, that research, looking at reviews and evidence of their work is pretty key! Also chatting with those suppliers is important to get a feel for how you’ll get along. If you can’t stand to be in the same room as you’re hair & MUA, yet you love their work, that discomfort may set the tone early on in your day (FYI this does not apply to the lovely Toni Todd featured below!)

I plan to do more detailed blogs on these services in the future, but for now I have a regular Monday Mini-Blog up on my Insta with tips on how to choose your wedding photographer, go check it out here!

How to plan a wedding

5: Start scouting for your wedding dress / suit

You may be thinking “whaaaaaa??!! Already??” but yes, already. Many bridal shops are now appointment only, which means scheduling slots into your weeks and spare time to start looking at gowns. If you’re lucky enough to find the perfect dress off the peg with minimal alterations, you’re winning. Many are made to order, or come with a generic structure that will still require bespoke alterations and adjustments. I have a more detailed guide into choosing your wedding dress here.

The same goes for suits, if a hire company is required, it may still need booking in to ensure all the members of the party are catered for with the right sizes for the right day. If the suit is going to be tailored to fit, time needs to be allowed for this to happen (as well as the fitting and measuring appointments.

And don’t get me started if you’re planning radical health regimes in the lead up to your wedding!! Making sure you allow enough changes for adjustments becomes even more important. This post may be about how to plan a wedding, but I have written one about how to look and feel your best on your wedding day.

how to plan a wedding

Chichester Cathedral Wedding

6: Send out ‘save the date’ cards or invitations

By now you will have booked the venue and hopefully some other key players in your supplier team. Each service should provide you with a timeline of any action points they require between booking and your wedding date (booking make-up trials/dress fittings/menu tastings/engagement shoots/music choices etc). Make a note of these micro details and when they’re supposed to happen.

You may also be closer still to getting your outfits. It’s time to nail that guestlist and get those invites out!! It may also be time to look at a gift registry, should you wish to include a link to that too.

I’m going to be real here. People can be a total pain in the backside (and we’re likely all guilty of it)….you get those invites out and even make sure to put a RSVP by date on it AND STILL you are waiting, chasing up and using precious energy on invite admin. It’s frustrating to say the least.

It may be worth investing in setting up a wedding website which can handle your save the guest lists/dates/invites/RSVP’s/gift registry/details of the day etc. (here’s a site for example that does this).

If you’re more analogue than digital, then make sure to create some sort of spreadsheet so you can keep track of replies/dietary requirements etc.

If you’ve hired a lovely stationer for your invites, consider also that they may also be able to provide you with bespoke stationary on the day (order of service, welcome signs, table name cards, menu sheets etc)

How to plan a wedding

7: Research and book additional suppliers

Consider the suppliers you’ve already booked the macro detail of the day, and you’ll have an action timeline for those already…. Now’s the time for the micro details, the threads that will tie in the theme, style and energy of your day, connecting all the larger pieces together.

This list is by no means exhaustive, whose services you’ll need to engage will depend on how you see your day shaping up, but here goes!

  • florist
  • cake
  • rings
  • venue decor
  • additional entertainment (music for drinks reception/magician/tattoo artist/lawn games / clay pigeon shooting etc)
  • additional details (dance floor flip flops / photo booth / wedding favours)
  • additional catering (ice cream van / pizza van / sweet cart /cocktail bar etc)
  • transport (for couple and/or guests too)
  • honeymoon (don’t forget that!!!!)

how to plan a wedding

lifestyle commercial photography west sussex

8: The final purchases

Pretty much everything major and minor should now be purchased (or as close to a decision as you can), it’s time to make sure you have some final details bought and ready.. you are really nailing how to plan a wedding!! This is actually quite a fun part as it’s some more personal touches, and you may already have sourced these earlier on, but if not, don’t forget these:

  • Bridesmaids/groomsmen/flower girl/page boy outfits including any shoes, jewellery and accessories
  • Your shoes!! Make sure you and your fiance have enough time to practise wearing your shoes inside so they get nice and comfortable for your wedding day.
  • Underwear. A nice treat for the both of you on your wedding day… 😉
  • Jewellery (including watches, cufflinks, earings, necklaces etc)
  • Bridal party/groomsmen gifts
  • Gift for each other
  • Any gifts etc to be given out during the speeches

how to plan a wedding

9: The final arrangements

This is it, you’re so close!! It’s all down to final arrangements and logistics now!

If you haven’t already, these are the final things you will need to make sure are organised, and signed off with whoever needs to know. Also, make sure that whatever is planning to happen on your day, someone other than you and your fiance are in the know… your wedding day is your time to enjoy, so make sure you have one or two people you can rely on who knows what should happen where & when.

Anyway, back to those final bits and pieces. Here’s what you may need to do:

  • finalise any readings
  • choose music (for ceremony, reception backgrounds and reception party)
  • nail down your shot list with your photographer
  • finalise your order of service and timings of the day
  • arrange your seating plan
  • write your vows and speeches
  • book any last minute spa or beauty treatments
  • pick up your rings
  • pack for your honeymoon
  • drop off any items to the venue/s
  • ensure everyone knows their role

August syrencot wedding

10: ENJOY YOUR DAY!!!

That’s it!! You’ve made it!! All the epic time, energy, though and hard-earned dosh has gone into this day. Sit back, take in the vibe and enjoy every last minute! You deserve it!

xX Fiona Xx

How to plan a wedding

how to choose your wedding venue

How to Choose Your Wedding Venue

How to choose your wedding venue

When planning your special day there are so many elements to consider. I have created a helpful guide on how to choose your wedding venue, which is most likely the first point of call on the wedding to-do-list! So whether you’re dreaming of a rustic barn, manor house, beach, or a romantic garden. This blog will let you explore how to find a wedding venue that will make your special day truly unforgettable!

ow to choose your wedding venue, bride and groom outside Winston house

Wedding Date

Your wedding date plays a huge role in determining wedding venue options. The season can have a big impact on your budget as the pricing of a wedding venue will vary depending on the time of year you choose to marry. Prices during low season are often much less expensive, while booking a venue in a high season month (between May and September) could cost you more.

Are you planning a spring or summer wedding? If so, would you consider your ideal venue having a beautiful outdoor ceremony space? Maybe a beautiful garden or a terrace? Do have a contingency plan incase of rain though!! Some venues are solely designed as an outdoor space and are stunning for it, but my concern would be the “what if”. Is it a risk you want to take?

Southdowns Manor Wedding outside wedding venue

Or is a winter wedding is more your thing? Then a rustic barn or manor house with a twinkling christmas tree, fire pits and cosy interiors might be exactly what you’re looking for. It’s always worth googling the venues you’re earmarking to see images during different seasons. What looks warm and inviting in the winter may look cold and stark in the summer. If that’s got you thinking, I’ve another post about winter wedding inspo over here….

Sussex Winter Wedding

If you are planning to get married between May and September then it is also a  good idea to start looking for venues as early as possible. This period is when wedding venues are in high demand, meaning that it could be difficult to find one that both matches your budget, and wedding vision. Looking early is also important because you don’t want to fall in love with your dream venue only to find out they’re fully booked for the next 12 months. Wedding venues can get booked a year or more in advance.

how to choose your wedding venue, bride and groom walking through meadow

Civil or religious ceremony

This is a very important factor to consider… For churches and other places of worship, there may be rules regarding how you have access to that building for the ceremony. Perhaps you or your family may have to be members, or attend regularly. Or is there a parish connection? Some churches require bans to be read and a certain number of services you should attend in the lead up. Some have a limited number of weddings per year, some have restricted access to other providers (musicians, photographers, videographers etc) that may be in conflict with aspects you would also like on the day. Some places of worship have very clear definitions of how their wedding ceremonies are conducted, and others are more fluid and open to the less traditional approach.

Chichester Cathedral Wedding

When having a civil ceremony, the world of venues available for your ceremony opens up! It is also worth noting that there are many aspects to this. There is the local register office, whom will often have a hireable room for ceremonies, or a registrar will have to be booked from the district in which your venue lies to come to your wedding to conduct the ceremony. The time of your wedding will be dictated by their availability. There is also other forms of ceremonies. Some choose to be married by a celebrant, or have a humanist ceremony, or a friend conduct the service. To ensure the legality, the marriage register will still have to be signed. Some people choose to do the “legal” part on a different day, ensuring that the wedding day spent with their chosen guests is exactly how they want!

Weddings at Arundel Town Hall

Location

Having an idea of your preferred location is very important during your wedding venue search. You have to think about things like, are there hotels nearby? Will we need to transport our guests from the ceremony location to the reception? Is it accessible for people with disabilities? Is there parking nearby? Where is the nearest airport? These things should all play a role in your decision making to give your guests the best experience on your big day.

I would definitely recommend giving your guests detailed information on travel/directions if the ceremony is being held in a different location to the reception. Or, will you be including in your budget the transport from one venue to another for your guests? Doing a test run yourself would be beneficial so that you can see how long it takes. This will help also in the scheduling and timings of the day.

If you’re looking to cut costs for your wedding, then a great solution is having the same venue for the wedding ceremony, breakfast and reception.

Wedding transport double decker bus

How to choose your wedding venue, a wedding in the woods

Wedding Style

Identifying your wedding style before you start looking for a venue will really help in narrowing down the search because you will know straight away what isn’t suitable. Pinterest is the perfect tool to help you get inspiration for your wedding style and also looking at my Portfolio of other weddings. Creating a visual mood board is great way to get inspired and will help you really visualise how your wedding will look.

Rustic barn wedding venue

You will then need to ask yourself questions to work out what style/theme you and your partner want. Things like, do you know what kind of wedding you want? Will it be formal or casual? Inside or outside? Intimate or a large celebration? Traditional or fun festival vibes? Adults only or children welcome?

During this process also write down the priorities of things you want the venue to definitely have, for example an outside space to have the ceremony (if the weather allows!) Doing these things and asking yourself the questions above will really narrow it down for you to find your perfect venue. If all this talk about style has got you thinking about your dress, I hear you!!! I’ve written a little ditty about finding your perfect dress over here…

Wedding Venue Decor Ideas

Meet a Wedding Planner

Hiring a wedding planner isn’t necessary, but it can really make a difference when choosing a wedding venue. Wedding planners are professionals with extensive experience, however this will come at an extra cost and is something you will have to consider. Many venues will come with a wedding planner included in the wedding package, which is a fantastic opportunity to get the best advice. They will know the venue perfectly to ensure that the space is created in a way to make it unique to you.

Bride and groom getting married at Chichester Cathedral

Budget

Having a wedding budget is important, so that you don’t fall into the trap of over spending. It is very easy to get carried away when you choose your wedding venue and suppliers that your well intentioned list starts getting longer with more ideas to make your wedding the most perfect day. Proper planning is so important!

It is very likely that your venue will be a large chunk of your budget and it’s important to bear in mind all the added costs that can come with a venue, like chair covers, table linen, catering, corkage, insurance and service charges….to name a few! That is why when you have found a venue that you like you need to ask questions and be prepared. Ask things like, what is the rental fee and what’s included in that price? How many hours does the rental fee include, and is there an overtime fee if I stay longer? Do you have liability insurance? Can I have my ceremony here too and is there an additional cost?

Many venues will offer wedding packages, offering things such as venue hire, catering, entertainment etc all included for a lower price. If you’re planning a wedding on a budget, opting for a wedding package could be a great way to save some money, as well.

Wedding breakfast and speeches at Syrencot Wedding Venue by FionaMillsArt

Having a set budget in mind will help you stay focused on finding a space that has all the important features included at the price you can afford to pay. And remember to ask family and friends for help where they can  to cut costs, for example, someone who can sing in the ceremony or play an instrument. Or maybe you have creative people in your life who could make your wedding invites or even bake the cake!! Use the talents of your guest list!

Wedding Decor and Style ideas, teal and gold

Guest List

You should have a guest list before you start looking at wedding venues. Even if its a rough idea, because it will save you any disappointment if you find your perfect venue and discover its not going to accommodate your guest list. Especially if you’ve set your heart on it!

Whether you’re planning a huge celebration or an intimate one, you want to celebrate at a venue that is perfect for your number of guests.  If you are having a big wedding with many guests then I would suggest to find a venue that can accommodate more than the number on your list. There should be ample space for your table layout and for the guests to mingle and dance. You should also be aware that if you are having a smaller wedding and you hold it in a large a large venue  it may feel empty and lack the intimate vibe you would want for a smaller wedding. Size of venue really does matter!

Worthing Wedding Bride and Groom walking up aisle smiling

When a venue is empty it is hard to imagine how it will look when filled with tables and all your guests. If you can visit the venue when it is set up for a wedding, then it is a great idea. If this isn’t possible, ask to see photographs. Another tip is to ask for a seating plan of the room as this will give you a good idea of how much space there is.

Think about Catering

Weddings are a celebration of your marriage and also a time to eat, drink and be merry so the food served deserves your special attention. Think about whether you want internal or external caterers, as many venues will provide catering services and others will leave it entirely up to you.

Wedding catering

Also consider what type of cuisine you would like when you choose your wedding venue. If you’re going for a venue with catering included, make sure that the type of food you want is available. Sampling the food before you make any decisions is a really good idea, the last thing you want is a venue with a fantastic atmosphere but average food!

Also, ensure that the catering provides food that is suitable for all your guests, check with them to see if anyone has any dietary requirements, whether they’re vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free etc. If children are invited, then providing kids’ meals is also important.

Trust Your Gut

When making the final decision to choose your wedding venue, it’s good to think of a few final things. Look at the venue from the guests perspective. Would you enjoy a wedding as a guest at the venue? Do the staff seem friendly, focused and professional, as well as genuinely excited about your big day? The staff can actually make or break your day!

Ultimately your gut will let you know when you have found your perfect wedding venue, you will feel excited, warm and probably get that fuzzy feeling in your stomach!

If you’re lucky enough to have multiple places that fit your overall criteria and budget, pick the one that makes you FEEL the best and excited for your Big Day!

Country House Wedding Venue
I hope that this guide has given you lots of helpful advice on how to choose your wedding venue!

If you are still looking for a wedding photographer than take a look at my PORTFOLIO on my website, I would love to hear from you.

Xx Fiona Xx

 

Here us some helpful links for when you are choosing your wedding venue:

Pinterest

Wedding Mood Board

Wedding Venues in the UK

Wedding Planner

Pangdean Barn Wedding Venue

Two Woods Wedding Venue

Syrencot Wedding Venue

 

 

How to choose your wedding dress

How to Choose Your Wedding Dress

How to Choose Your Wedding Dress

Congratulations! You’re getting married! What is one of the first things you thought about? The dress I bet!!

Your wedding dress is very likely to be the most important dress that you will ever wear, so you want to get right! In this blog I will give you all the guidance and help I can on how to choose your wedding dress.

Research

Many of you may have dreamt about your wedding dress and know exactly what you want, but for some it can be a real challenge. Whatever your thoughts on it I would recommend doing research. The wedding dress is one of the most critical aspects of your big day (apart from your Spouse of course!) and you want to look your best, so research is very important.

The first thing I would do is go on Pinterest….it will be your best friend that is full of ideas! Start looking at styles, shapes, colours and fabrics and create a board. As you go through this process you may discover there are things you never would have considered.

Bridal websites and magazines are also a great way to research wedding dresses. Another inspirational tool is to look through my portfolio and other blogs on weddings while you are here on my website.

How to choose your wedding dress

A good way to figure out what styles and colours you like is to look for models that represent your body type and skin tone. This will really help you when you come to try dresses on, because you will already have an idea of what is likely to suit you.

Research bridal boutiques and try and narrow it down to 3-4 boutiques that you’d like to visit. Look at the boutiques websites and their social media before booking appointments, this will give you an idea of what the experience will be like and should hopefully make you feel more prepared, knowledgeable and confident.

Venue

When you choose your wedding dress you have to consider the venue, and the kind of wedding you’re planning, before rushing off and paying a deposit or even purchasing something that might not work. The dress should be able to stand out and make a statement and remain cohesive with your style of ceremony and reception venues. Your dress and wedding theme should complement each other.

How to choose your wedding dress

The location will help with your vision when choosing your dress, for example, if you are getting married on the beach you might want to choose a long gown that is more flowing ( great in the pictures blowing in the breeze) or if you are having a church wedding followed by a big country house reception, a ball gown style might be more in keeping. If you like to kick your shoes off and dance….why not ditch tradition for a short wedding dress!

How to Choose Your Wedding Dress

Ask yourself questions like: will it be held indoors or outdoors? Is it going to be an intimate or grand reception? Are we feeling glitz and glam or festival vibes? The answers to these will play a great part in short listing the kind of dress you should wear. It’s your wedding day and you have the right to wear anything you want, but I’m sure you will agree that a dramatic, heavy ball gown won’t fit at a hot destination beach wedding.

How to choose your wedding dress

Weather

The weather will have a big impact on the style of dress you choose. Think about the time of year that you are getting married or maybe you are getting married in a hot climate. You don’t want to be wearing a strapless, backless dress in the snow!……and if you are you will need to think about things like a fur coat or a shawl. Additional removable layers are a perfect accessory for flexibility with changing weather conditions. They can also make great props for your newly wed portraits, changing your look throughout the day.

how to choose your wedding dress

It’s important to consider the design, the fabric and when and where you will be wearing your wedding dress. The temperature and humidity will vary depending on the time of the year. Thinking about this will help you decide, for example: a strapless dress in the Summer or a long sleeve dress in the Winter. Also consider your skin and its sensitivity to the sun. For those that easily burn, long sleeves in a light, floaty fabric may be your ideal choice to protect you from the harsh summer sun.

How to choose your wedding dress

Style

No one knows better than you what style of dress you like and feel comfortable in and your style is one of the first things to consider when choosing a wedding dress. You may feel more comfortable in a traditional dress or prefer something more modern and different. Whichever you choose, your personality will reflect in your choice of dress.

Consider some of the following when you choose your wedding dress: Do you like to wear bright colours? If so maybe you fancy doing something not so traditional and wearing your favourite colour? How would you feel in a fitted dress or would you be more comfortable in a loose fitting gown? Is there a part of your body that you like to show off….like your sexy legs?! Then maybe consider a short dress or a split? Do you have a favourite fabric or texture? The feel of your dress is a key part of the style.

How to choose your wedding dress

A mermaid-style dress might look perfect on your favourite celebrity, but it might not fit your figure or make you feel comfortable. You can check out body shape guidelines online to get you started, I will also share some useful links at the bottom of the blog.

If you are considering working out or going on a bit of a health kick in the lead up to your big day, I have written another blog on heath and fitness for your wedding, go check it out here for some tips and tricks : How to prepare to look and feel your best

However gorgeous the gown is, make sure that you ask yourself whether you feel like you in it. It’s got to suit your figure, your personality and personal style.

How to Choose Your Wedding Dress

Start Trying on Early

Starting to look early enough will mean you can take your time. It’s surprisingly time-consuming to put a wedding gown on and off, let alone three or four, you definitely don’t want to feel rushed to make a decision. Keep an open mind while wedding dress shopping. You may find your dream dress in something you didn’t expect.

Many gowns can take time to be made, and once they arrive, you still have to factor in more time for alterations and accessorising.

I would suggest going to try dresses on with just one or two trusted friends or family members. This really helps, especially because you can only try on so many dresses in an hour long appointment, too many people will mean too many different opinions and this can often lead to confusion and pressured decisions.

How to choose your wedding dress

All that being said, if you’re having a long engagement then don’t start too early! If you immediately start shopping for gowns, the one you end up buying might be out of style by the time your wedding comes around, or you might find one you like even better closer to the date.

Budget

Your budget is one of the most crucial considerations when choosing a wedding dress. It will determine how much you can spend on different aspects of your wedding, and is very likely to be one of the things that you will want to spend a fair bit of your budget on. Financial constraints can play a major role. I would not recommend anyone to get into debt for their wedding, however some vendors may offer payment plans to help spread the cost.

Decide how much money is realistic for you to spend on your dress. Browse through similar dresses in stores and online and use that as a guideline for what to expect when it comes to price. Something to also consider when setting your dress budget is alteration fees.

An extravagant wedding gown with hand-embroidered beads and lace will not come with a cheap price tag. However, if you are on a budget then there are other options that mean you can still wear the wedding dress of your dreams. You could wear a pre-loved dress, rent or even do it yourself if you are handy with a sewing machine! Is there a family heirloom that has been worn through generations of weddings?

High street stores offer some stunning dresses at great prices. You might find your ideal dress in John Lewis, Phase Eight or Coast and many more.

You may even find timing your search with the sales can net you a super bargain! My perfect dress was found in a half price sale rail at a bridal boutique. I’d expressed my ideal style to the sales assistant (omitting my ideal scarlet colour choice). Armed with a handful of dresses that I’d been encouraged to also try, I walked past the sale rail and saw a flash of scarlet. There it was… the EXACT dress I’d described, but in the colour I hadn’t dared to mention!!!

How to choose your wedding dress

Comfort

You will be wearing your wedding dress all day and all brides want to be comfortable. When you are trying on dresses, sit down in them to see how they feel around your torso…….and don’t forget you want to be able to dance the night away without your dress tripping you up or weighing you down!  Many dresses have options or adjustments for layers to be lifted and secured for the evening, or even a longer layer removed to reveal a shorter dress! You definitely don’t want a dress that makes you feel uncomfortable as the day goes on.

Wedding gowns are often made with stiff materials and may include boned bodices or corsets which can be distracting if they don’t fit your body well. Avoid going for a dress that doesn’t feel right even if it looks good on you. Being relaxed, comfortable and still looking a million dollars is possible with the right dress.

How to choose your wedding dress

I hope this blog has helped you with your exciting adventure to find your dream dress. I have added some useful links below to give you that extra bit of help!

If you are still looking for a wedding photographer than take a look at my portfolio here on my website, I would love to hear from you.

Xx Fiona Xx

 

Useful links:

Wedding dress quiz

What style and shape wedding dress will suit me

Minster Bridal Chichester

Love Long Bridal

Whyte Weddings

Bridal Reloved

Evelie Bridal Shop London

26 of the best bridal shops in London

Wedding health and fitness

Wedding Health & Fitness – How to prepare to look your best

Today on the blog we are looking at your wedding health and fitness and the things you can do to prepare to look and feel your best on your wedding day.

Skin

Starting to look after your skin before your wedding will not only leave you feeling more confident about your appearance, but most importantly will also give you better skin health.

Following a good skincare regime, drinking lots of water and even taking supplements like collagen are all great ways to get better skin. It helps with texture, reduces the ageing process and makes skin more vibrant.

Skincare Wedding Photographer

I follow a skincare regime tailored to me by Nikki, the Flawless Facialist in Worthing, and since I have been doing this I have seen a significant change in the appearance of my own skin. Having regular facials is also something I would highly recommend, perhaps combining this with regular infared treatments to repair your skin cells. Is there a recommended dermatologist/facialist in your area to set up a treatment plan to reach your skin goals in time for your wedding? This may even start a love affair with a new skincare routine taking you beyond your wedding day.

Anything that you are trying for the first time or if you are having your regular botox/fillers etc should definitely not be done too close to your wedding day, I would recommend doing this at least 2-3 weeks before your big day.

You should be wearing an SPF on your face everyday….even when it’s not sunny!!  This prevents sunburn, reduces the risk of skin cancer, and decreases the signs of early skin ageing.

Wedding health and fitness
Image copyright of patientfirst.com

Being mindful of what you are eating and drinking is vital to healthy skin as it all starts with our gut health. Consider food and drinks that are detoxifying, cleansing and anti inflammatory for example lemons, avocados, cucumber, celery, beetroot and green tea,

Sleep plays a huge role in how our skin looks, aim to get at least 7 hours of sleep. During sleep, your body prevents and repairs skin cell damage which will improve your skin’s appearance and its ability to protect against harmful elements.

Healthy skin is better looking skin!

Something else that I would highly recommend is having your colours done. This involves being advised by a trained colour consultant the colours that suit your skin tone, hair and eye colour. This would be super beneficial when you are choosing your wedding gown, bridesmaids dresses, makeup and even flowers and decor for the venue. Colour analysis really does work and will make an immediate visible difference to how you look and feel. I can recommend a fantastic colour consultant who is based in Horsham in West Sussex Colour Consultant Michaela at House of Colour

Colour ideas for Wedding Photographer

Hair

Chat with your hairdresser about your wedding hair goals. Even if your regular hair dresser isn’t part of your wedding day hair & make up team, they can help you with ensuring your hair health goals are met during your usual appointments. Regular trims will keep your lock looking healthy, shiny and split end free.

Find your wedding hair stylist early to discuss how you want your hair to look on your wedding day. Think about style, colours and cut. Pinterest is great place to get inspiration. Start making a board of ideas that you can share with your hairdresser & stylist. It’s vital that you have a trial to decide how you will have your locks on your wedding day. You most certainly don’t want any hair disasters on the day!

I’ve worked many times with Toni Todd Wedding Hair & Make up who is a genius in her craft, specialising in bridal hair (and make up) as well as running a successful hair salon.

If you are thinking of having a new colour or a drastic new hairstyle then this is NOT something that I would recommend before your wedding. You want to feel like you and this could really impact how you feel…..especially if you don’t like the result!

Supplements and hair masks are a great way to get your hair in the best condition leading up to your wedding. You can get some great supplements from Holland and Barrett. I use a company called British Supplements  and have had great results.

Being mindful, again, of what you are eating as your gut health will significantly impact the condition of your hair.

Wedding Hair careBody

Eating healthily with regular meals and staying hydrated is vital to a healthy body. What you eat and drink will have a big impact on your overall body image and how you feel. Consider fresh foods, grab some recipe books and try out some new healthy cuisines. I have found Gusto and Hello Fresh a great source of inspiration and healthy new meal ideas. I know I’ve said it before but lots of water is your friend! And cutting back on your alcohol intake will help with your overall well-being.

I wouldn’t recommend doing any drastic diets for weight loss before your wedding, unless that really is your intention, but just bear in mind dress and suit fittings. To look your best you will need to have adjustments for your changing shape. Ultimately having a positive healthy approach to your body leading up to your big day will result in you feeling more confident and great!

Making sleep and time to relax a priority, self care is a great way to look after your body.

If you are wearing a strapless dress then think about tan lines! If you are going to be sitting in the sun maybe invest in a strapless top like a bandeau. If a spray tan is your thing then be sure to do it a few days before the wedding. However, I don’t know about you, but I have had a few bad experiences with fake tan! So I would recommend trialing the spray tan maybe a few months before. I love a good body exfoliation for baby soft skin….so give this a go! You can buy great body scrubs but also treating yourself to a full body scrub at a salon is such a relaxing experience.

Strapless wedding dress

Fitness

Getting regular exercise for your wedding health and fitness is a great idea leading up to your big day. Just 30 minutes of walking every day can help boost your mood and improve your health significantly.

Maybe consider a class that you’ve always wanted to try or maybe start running together. It will really boost your confidence and give you some quality time together leading up to your wedding that isn’t wedding related….because I’m sure that’s all you’ll be talking about!! Another option is a personal trainer….this is great for really targeting your specific needs and they will tailor you a programme that will get you the results that you want. I highly recommend Gemma at Reach Your Goal Women’s Fitness based in West Sussex. Check out her website here Reach Your Goals Women’s Fitness

Lifestyle commercial photography

Small goals……for example, if you’re choosing a dress that is strapless and your arms are something that you’d like to work on then maybe try some triceps dips or wall pushups. Adding little things like this into your daily routine can make a big change…..I do squats while brushing my teeth every morning!! I will of course get you in the best poses that enhance and flatter your shape, that’s what I’m there for!

Wiston House Wedding Photographer

Moving your body everyday will have a significant impact on how you feel about yourself. It doesn’t have to be a drastic change to your lifestyle, especially if you’ve been inactive for a long time, it’s best to start slowly in order to reduce your risk of injury. Things I would recommend are walking, swimming or try gentle exercises at home….YouTube is great for free classes in things like yoga and pilates.

wedding health and fitness,

I really hope this blog has helped you in the lead up to your big day and given you some helpful tips and inspiration for your wedding health and fitness. Most importantly it’s about you feeling great and being the best version of you on your wedding day!

Xx Fiona Xx

Wedding Health & Fitness – How to prepare to look your best

Health and fitness Wedding Photographer

How To Make Paper Flowers | Wedding Decorations

 

So, this year the most amazing thing happened….one of my besties, Dora, got married!! it was an amazing affair, a weekend wed-fest in the depths of Devon at a farm which also happens to host the oldest cider press in Britain. Middle Coombe Farm is a fantastic wedding venue, with a tent town, marquee, farm house, barn house, it’s own woodland with a massive Oak Tree which doubles up as the ceremony location, oh and a bar, pool and hot tub!!! One thing that also made this wedding fabulous was that for a change I was not the photographer. Dora had kindly asked me and Charlie to be her bridesmaids, what an honour!

Now, Dora loves colour…her wedding was basically going to be an explosion of the colourful imaginings that occur in rapid succession in her mind. This is where we bridesmaids got in…a few craft weekenders at our houses culminated in many creations (and a few dodgy duffer experiments), curious beverages and some epic dance moves! It is on this post that I will share with you how to make the giant paper flowers that adorned the wedding.

 

Making paper flowers for weddings 1

Firstly, the paper. As you can see from the picture above there is quite a selection of colour. This is ordinary standard sized sheets of tissue paper sourced from Paperchase. The central London flagship store has rolls and rolls of the stuff in a variety of colours. Dora had chosen 3 different shades of green for the leaves, and a few shades of yellows and whites for the centre of the flowers. The rest was a vibrant selection for the petals.

To start crafting the flowers we needed the following:

3 sheets of green for the outer leaves;

3 sheets of colour for the outer petals

3 sheets of alternative colour for the inner petals;

2 sheets of yellow / white for the centre.

 

Making paper flowers for weddings 4

Stack your greens together neatly and fold them in a concertina fashion with the width of each fold being approximately 5cm (2 inches). Repeat with the remaining 3 colour selections so you end up with 4 neatly folded piles. (N.B. in the pic above I had already cut the yellow in half to get the desired length). Place your coloured piles in the order you would like them to appear in your flower. In the pic above, the greens were the leaves, the fuschia the outer petals, the light pink the inner petals and the yellow being the centre.

 

Making paper flowers for weddings 5

Keeping the green at its original length, cut the other selections approximately 5-7 cm (2-3inches) shorter than the previous in it’s order. as you can see in the pic, the length decreases the closer to the centre of the flower.

 

Making paper flowers for weddings 6

Now make the following cuts:

The leaves (Green): Triangle tip;

The outer petals (Fuschia): curved tip;

The inner petals (Light pink): pointed semi circle;

The centre petals (Yellow): 5 straight incisions of about 3 cm

 

 

Making paper flowers for weddings 7

Starting with the green, unfold the paper so each colour layer sits on top of the other, finishing with the yellow. Please try to keep the edges as neat as you can and each new colour layer central to the previous.

 

 

Making paper flowers for weddings 8

You are now going to concertina fold the whole pile together (again to a width of about 5 cm / 2 inches). Start the fold so that the green is tucked beneath the yellow…so the yellow is the first colour you see.

 

 

Making paper flowers for weddings 9

This should result in you having a concertina stack of all your colour segments with the yellow centre being the outer edge….this is the front (above)

 

 

Making paper flowers for weddings 3

Twist a piece of garden wire around the centre…not too tightly, but tight enough to hold it together. I left a few inches of wire hanging at the back so we could use it to affix the flowers once opened.

 

 

Making paper flowers for weddings 10

Fold each side from the centre tie out so it meets the other side. It looks like two semi circle fans meeting to create a full circle.

 

 

Making paper flowers for weddings 11

Now you are going to unfold and open each colour, layer by layer. Be gentle as tissue paper can tear easily. Start with the first top sheet of yellow at one end, gently tug the paper up and towards the middle. Go around in a circle until that first top sheet of yellow is opened out. Repeat with the second sheet of yellow. Here you have your flower centre.

 

 

Making paper flowers for weddings 12

Repeat with the next layer of tissue and the next, gently tugging and drawing each layer to the middle . You will see your flower really start to take shape.

 

Making paper flowers for weddings 13

Once you have opened and stretched out the leaves at the back you should have a vibrant looking flower that is about 50cm in diameter. It is ready to attach using the wire that is hanging at the back. That is how to make paper flowers…well, one way anyway!

You can obviously experiment with colours and layer quantity combo’s. Just a small warning, tissue paper is not colour fast….I had dyed fingers from all the folding and opening! It does come off!!

 

Happy crafting!

 

Fiona xx

 

Pinterest logo P

Using Pinterest for Photography Inspirations

When planning to have your wedding or family portraits captured on camera, or as a photographer, planning to shoot that wedding or portrait session it’s pretty normal to think along the lines of, “How can I make this unique?”, “How can I make this stand out?”, or “Where can I get ideas?”.

 There are hundreds of ways to get ideas and inspiration, but today I’m going to focus on the virtual scrapbooking that is Pinterest. For those who know it, I’m sure you’re nodding your head in agreement of the genius that is Pinterest. For those that don’t here’s a brief summary: You log on to this app on your device, throw a few key words into the search panel and out pop hundreds of images relating to your search keywords. You can then save the images you choose to your personal “boards” and refer back to them at your leisure. Some images are just that. Images. Others link onto blogs, how-to’s, recipes etc etc. You can also upload your own images and links from which others can pin and share.

Pinterest home page FionaMillsArt

So far I have pins relating to gardening ideas; inspiration for my downstairs bathroom; more inspiration for my upstairs bathroom; kids craft ideas; indulgent recipes; storage solutions and many more! For the purpose of this blog however, I’m going to focus on the photography ones!! Obviously!!

So, as a wedding photographer for West Sussex or a client, just head over to Pinterest, log on or set yourself up and start searching. you may be looking for “newlywed poses”; “wedding photography”; “baby portraits” etc. The great thing about the app is that it also gives you keyword suggestions as you type, e.g “romantic”, “creative”, “quirky” etc. As you scroll through the related images that pop up you have the option to save them to a board.

Portrait & wedding photo poses ideas

Boards are great, they enable you to catalogue a subject matter together in a virtual scrapbook. Just add a title for the board, a brief description, pick a category and you’re away! You may have “wedding hair ideas”, “groom’s suit”, “newborn poses”…

When working with a new client I often encourage them to create a board and add me to it so I can see and contribute. This is great for weddings and stylised photoshoots as we can bounce ideas to one another and see what the current inspiration is.  What’s even better is we can do it from anywhere! Sitting on the bus, during a boring movie, while having your morning coffee, Anywhere! The other thing that is also great is you can create secret boards….perfect for planning a portrait gift or the theme for your wedding without giving the game away. As much as I have my own style and creative ideas I like to know as much as possible where my client is coming from so I can bring their inspiration, likes and dislikes into the photo’s I create with them, resulting in some super unique imagery to preserve forever.

using the secret boards on pinterest

So, If you haven’t already, get yourself set up and start being inspired by what you can see! You can start by following my Pinterest page here. Good luck and happy pinning!!

Fiona Mills

Choosing Your Wedding Photographer

After many conversations over the years I have put together a guide on how to choose your wedding photographer. I hope it helps you.

Step 1: Ask A Friend.

It is so easy to tap into Google “your location”+ “Wedding Photographer” and have a zillion hits in under a nano-second, but where do you go from there? Clicking on a few will certainly give you a great starting point, often though, you may find that just doing a shout out amongst your friends will give you a list of personally recommended local photographers that won’t have made it on Google until at least page 5!! As these photographers may have shot their weddings/christenings/family portraits etc, your friends will be able to tell you if they had good, bad or amazing experiences…you may even have walked past and complemented some of these images as you’ve sat in their lounge having a cuppa!

Asking your friends on Facebook will net you a good response.
Asking your friends on Facebook will net you a good response.

Step 2: Stalk Your List (Research)

You’re armed with a handful of potential photographers, your computer and a large coffee (or glass of red!!)…start stalking them. Check out their websites, online portfolios and prices. Is there a style you are seeing that you really like or don’t like? Have you a budget in mind for your wedding photography/videography? Set up a board on Pinterest and start to catalogue the type of things you have liked the look of. Are there a few photographers you’ve come across that you would like to find out more about? create a shortlist of ones to meet.

Check out the online profiles of potential photographers.
Check out the online profiles of potential photographers.

Step 3: Define Your Details

Style: As you have been researching, you may have found a particular photography style that stands out to you, be it formal; black & white; digital vs film; light and airy; quirky etc. Many photographers will display an array of styles in their portfolios as they will be adaptable to the clients needs, but checking out their bio may give you some insight into what their main shooting style is. Again, a portable list of examples like a scrap book, or Pinterest is a great tool to use when you meet potential photographers, but be aware every picture is unique to a set of circumstances: location; people; lighting; time of day; equipment used etc etc so it is very unlikely that a photographer will be recreating those images on your wedding day, rather, they will be using your inspiration to inspire them creatively.

Price: A wedding is made up of so many factors that all come with a price. Some items are administrative (registering your intent to marry) and others are product or labour based (the catering, for example). Some are short term (the flowers & the canapés) and some are long term (the wedding rings and the photographs). It is really important to look at your overall budget and decide how you want to divide it. It wouldn’t necessarily be the wisest choice to blow 50% of your budget on a harpist while you sign the register while leaving 5% for your wedding photographer.

Portioning up Your Wedding Budget
Portioning up Your Wedding Budget

You may find the price of a wedding photographer frighteningly high or shockingly low…myself and a number of photographers I know generally agree that there are 3 main brackets for wedding photography prices: Low; Medium & High.

Low: A photographer who is in the low bracket will usually charge under £500 to shoot your wedding. In my experience, they are usually someone who is just starting out or working to get more experience in their chosen field. They may also be lower in price as they don’t offer the same post production service & finished products than those in a medium-high bracket will.The risk with choosing a photographer from a low price bracket is the potential lack of experience and the use of equipment that isn’t of a professional grade.They may not have the experience of what to do in situations when things go wrong, and may also not have sufficient back up gear. On the other hand, they may be incredibly talented photographers who just need a break and the experience to put their skills to the test. Due to their lack of experience, they may try harder and go above and beyond their duty to really make an impact….and they may be great in a crisis!

Medium: A medium priced photographer should be around the £1000-£2500 price range. This may sound like a lot, but what you are paying for is more than someone for a day. Generally photographers in this bracket are experienced in their field and will have a host of digital and actual portfolios to share with you. The gear they use will be of a high professional grade and they will also be carrying spares! An assistant will usually be on board and this will be part of the cost, and the photographer will spend a considerable amount of time on post production (editing). For me a wedding from planning to finished product usually uses between 50-80 hours of work. You should expect a photographer in this bracket to be fully insured, offer planning and preparation as part of your package and offer a number of options as to how you would like your finished product. E.g:  usb stick/online gallery; wedding albums; wall art; canvasses; prints etc. You may also find these photographers are very aware of the current economic climate , so will be able to guide you in how to cut corners and shave your budget and offer you options that suit your budget. They may also offer budget-tipping extras like: videography; pop-up-studio; engagement/trash the dress shoot; hand made albums etc. Many will also have started their journey to be aligned with a professional photographic association (BIPP/MPA/SWPP etc). If you’re lucky, they’ll be winning awards too and recognised in their field!

High: Those in the high bracket start their fees in excess of £3-5000. A photographer in this field will usually be exceptionally experienced with a standard of finished images and products that lend itself to the high price range. Their equipment will be of an ultra-high level pro grade and assistants on the shoot will come as standard. These photographers will often have developed a style that is unique to them and highly sought after by clients, rather than the med-low brackets who may be more flexible to the clients style needs. They may also have a celebrity following, think Hello / OK magazine wedding photography here!

When: Have you set a date yet for your wedding? It may seem silly, but getting your heart set on a photographer before setting your date could be dangerous! Also, have you through about how long you would like your day captured professionally for? From getting ready? Just the ceremony? First Dance? Finest party moves? You may find the length of coverage is a negotiation between your budget and dream photographer!

Step 4: Meet Your Shortlisted Photographers

This is not just an ideal opportunity for you to meet with a potential photographer, but for them to meet you too. It can be an incredibly emotional time on your wedding day, so it is important to feel comfortable with the person who is likely to be there, taking those intimate photos and walking that emotional journey in close contact with you. Aside from all the practical stuff, you are likely to feel a vibe, or have a gut feeling about the photographer. If your gut says an emphatic “NO” chances are that connection isn’t there. Strike them off your list.
Practically it is important to meet face-to-face, or if that isn’t possible at first, schedule a telephone conversation. Ideally meet with the photographer as a couple, if not, bring someone you trust with you, a family member, friend etc. Check out their portfolios, find out who they are and how they are likely to conduct themselves on your wedding day. Discuss your needs, show examples of what you like and don’t like and see if this is something the photographer gets.

See if your photographer gets your ideas for the day.
See if your photographer gets your ideas for the day.

Are they feeling your day….do they have ideas that could capture the vibe of who you are as a couple? Tell the photographer your dreams. Us photographers love to be creative, you may find we have something up our sleeves that isn’t advertised. Don’t be afraid to talk budgets! It is a real part of the deal that shouldn’t be embarrassing or awkward to bring up. If you’ve done your research you’ll know whether you’ve scheduled a meet with a photographer whose prices start at £1750, when your allotted budget is £750. Do be honest as to what you can and cannot afford, but don’t forget, you wouldn’t pop to TopShop and expect to pay half the ticket price just because it’s not in your budget.
Get a quote. You may get this in person at the meeting, but also get it in writing with details so you can compare and refer back to it when making your decisions. This will likely be emailed or posted to you after the meet. Ask questions. Do they need a deposit? When is completed payment due? How long do the images take? How long does an album take? What is the deal with copyright? What if my Mum wants an image? Who else will be there on the day? Hidden costs? Insured? etc etc. Take notes!! Remember, you should feel at ease with your chosen photographer, if you don’t, it may reflect in the images.

Step 5: Choosing Your Photographer

You’ve done the research, made your budget, set the date, booked your venue and met a bunch of photographers…..so, how do you choose? My first instinct would be to go with your gut, but that isn’t always practical or financially viable.
Break your shortlist down. Get rid of any you didn’t feel any sort of personal connection with, then look at your budget. Are there any on your shortlist that are wildly out of your budget? Unless you can shuffle your finances, maybe they also need to come off your shortlist. You may be left with one or two strong contenders at this point.

There is no hard or fast rule with how to make this final decision. For some, the image “wow factor” may be the deciding vote. For some, the personality of the photographer. For others, it may even be down to the £50 difference on the quote. If it is a small difference in the quotes it may be worth a quick call to your favourite choice to see if £50-£100 can be shaved off somewhere. If you still can’t make your mind up, other than meeting up a second time, you may just need to chat with your fiancé, sleep on it and just go with your gut!!

Good luck!