This is a month often associated with thanksgiving and with giving back. So I’m #payingitforward by offering a free engagement shoot to one couple getting married in the UK.
I hope that you’ll have a location in mind that is special to you, where you feel at home and relaxed. I’ll guide you into some flattering poses which look editorial, fun and natural, which will make for unique images.
Surrey Wedding Tips | Your First Decision | Civil Ceremony or Religious Ceremony ?
So, you’re getting married in Surrey, UK ? Congratulations ! Now the wedmin begins….
The first thing is, don’t panic! In this feature I’m going to outline the options available for the very first decisions you’ll want to make. Taking things step by step means that everything is covered and you know you’re ready for the big day!
Civil or Religious Ceremony ?
This is your first decision in order to secure your date and you have two options. You can choose to marry in any Register Office or Licenced Venue in England and Wales. At a Licenced Venue, a Registrar from the local Register Office will conduct and register your ceremony, so you’ll need to check with the local Register Office that there a Registrar available for your ceremony. Then you’ll need to give notice (see below).
If you want to marry in a Church of England or Church in Wales then you should speak to the vicar as a first step. If you are marrying in another denomination you’ll need to give notice at your local Register Office.
After choosing your venue and confirming the availability of the Registrar, it’s time for both parties to give notice, in person, in the Register Office of the district where you each live.
If either party is subject to immigration control then you must both give your notices in a designated Register Office (Richmond is not one of these), and you must be resident for at least 7 days prior to giving notice. It’s fine to attend together but notice must be given individually. Your notices are then displayed on a board in the Register Office for 15 days and this is the minimum time. After this time the Superintendent Registrar will issue authorities for each notice.
If you want to, you can give your notice up to a year in advance of the date of your wedding ceremony.
Please note that notices are venue specific, so if the details change, you’ll need to start again with giving notice.
Documents you’ll need to produce
The Register Office will charge a statutory fee, so you’ll need to be ready to pay that. You’ll also need identification documents and proof of nationality. Your passport is your friend here, but if you don’t have one then your birth certificate is the second best option.
Once again, if you are subject to immigration control you may need a certificate of approval from the Home Office.
If you are a widow/widower you’ll need to have the death certificate of your late husband/wife, and if you’ve been divorced you’ll need your decree absolute.
You’ll need to provide 2 separate proofs of your address and all of these documents must be the originals.
If you’d like to talk to me about planning your photography, which would be the next step once your venue is booked, please feel free to make contact and I’ll be very happy to discuss your plans and see where I can help.
A surprise mountain-top proposal led to a wildflower wedding set deep in the English countryside.
Lorraine & Ben share a love of the great outdoors and it was only fitting that their wedding ceremony and reception venues were outside. Luckily they didn’t need to implement their rain plan, and the marquee had open sides so that the tablescapes melted into the Shibori decorated gardens.
With handmade table runners and place settings and a profusion of flowers dancing onto every surface it was Monet’s garden in Giverny mixed with A Midsummer Night’s Dream : just as Lorraine had wished for.
As befits the owners of the Michelin award-winning Joseph Benjamin Restaurant the menu was a treat. Always popular at the restaurant, dessert was a gigantic homemade fruitcake with Colston Bassett Stilton washed down with a glass of chilled sweet oloroso sherry.
Lorraine & Ben, thank you for inviting me to document your wedding day where I was surrounded by such care from your lovely friends and family. Your warmth and love for each other – as well as your utter delight in finally tying the knot – made the day so special for me and I’ll never forget it. Much love to you both.
For a photographer, a wedding day is often a long day (8+ hours) and can be a hot mess of moving parts – in the best possible way, of course! It’s an exciting, thrilling challenge to be at the centre of such an important day and there’s enough to keep track of without having aching feet.
I’ve found that the Birkenstock footbed is hands down (pardon the pun!) the best for my feet. After 10+ hours standing, there wasn’t a sign of pain or soreness.
I bought the Gizeh Exquisite Leather in Black. Are they pretty ? Heck no, and I can tell you a story about mine! They arrived on my birthday, and I couldn’t bear to open them – I didn’t want to look at them, it was bad enough that I’d bought them ! – to the point where one of my friends opened them for me and, Cinderella-like, put them on my feet. Well, I was dismayed. They felt hard and unyielding, they were completely black (I chose the Limited Edition style where the footbed is black rather than tan because I wear all black for weddings) and I really didn’t like the look of them one bit.
It probably took me a couple of months to break them in – during which time I wanted to pack them away almost daily.
BUT, I’m so glad I didn’t. Somewhere along the line they moulded to my feet and now I’m at the stage where I am as attached to them as I’ve found so many other people are – whether or not they are photographers. Now, I understand! They aren’t cheap either, but I gather that they can be practically rebuilt if necessary which means they shouldn’t ever need replacing. Now there’s a novelty for a shoe!
I do wish they looked better on my feet, came in jazzy patterns and colours and didn’t take an age to wear in, but now that I have cracked it, I would not look back. Now I’m on the hunt for a Birkenstock that I can wear during winter weddings! Who’d have thought it ??!!
Your first question might be why should you have an unplugged wedding ? What’s wrong with your guests taking their own snaps if they want to ? Hasn’t everyone done that ?
I think that if you’ve invested in a professional photographer whose sole aim is to capture those spontaneous moments of your wedding day that cannot – I mean literally, cannot – be authentically recreated, then you’ll probably be disappointed to see selfie sticks, lit-up phones, iPads, tablets and guest cameras held aloft and in your photos. This will happen. Ditto the videographer. But it’s something that the majority of brides to be aren’t aware of, which is why I want to delve into the detail so that you are.
What your photographer does
It’s not your photographer’s job to photoshop out selfie sticks, phones etc from your images. You may have 800 processed imaged (depending on the length of photography coverage) and the post-production costs would be prohibitive. It’s the same scenario as if you have visible tan lines on your wedding day – post production time does not include making those adjustments; it would simply cost too much – most likely you are in most of the images!
I’m not just talking about the ceremony here either. That is most likely the part of the day where you least want any distractions at all – flash (if it’s allowed), noise – but the abundance of guestographers can hamper proceedings with your family formals too. What do you want your family photographs to look like ? Everyone looking at the photographer ? Yes. What happens when you have your photographer and a group of guestographers in front of you ? No-one will know where to look and probably, your formal shots – the ones your family place on the mantelpiece – will have your wedding party looking all over the place as a result.
Sometimes a photographer can ask the guests to refrain from taking photos until they have done their work, but this inevitably leads to delays – and you want to get to your party too!
Then there are the guestographers who actively get in the way of the official photographer – the person you’ve paid to take your photographs – potentially leading to missed shots.
I think it boils down to this : as a bride to be you’ve got a lot on your plate and considering an unplugged wedding probably isn’t high on your agenda. Why should you be concerned of the potential problems with selfie sticks and their ilk ? But now that you are aware, your photographer will thank you if you can see the benefits of asking your guests to enjoy the day with you, to be present, and to unplug. Some photographers offer discounts to couples willing to have an unplugged wedding because it’s becoming increasingly difficult to manage expectations and no-one wants you to be upset with your wedding day images.
How do you go about having an unplugged wedding ?
Be prepared to repeat yourself! The most successful approach is to ask your guests several times – both in the lead-up to your wedding and on the day itself. Suggestions include :
At the pre-planning stage, you could ask your photographer whether they offer the option of a photo booth so that your guests can still have the fun of taking their own photos without it getting in the way of your ceremony/reception.
Make a note on the invites (which no-one will remember on the day). So :
Follow that up with a reminder from the ushers as guests arrive.
Print a line on the order of service asking guests to unplug.
At the venue, put up a sign reminding your guests that you have hired a professional photographer and that you’d like your guests to be present and enjoy your day with you, as opposed to an Instagram hashtag.
Ask the Officiant to mention your unplugged wedding before the service begins.
The Wedding Photographers Kit That Has Nothing To Do With Gear
Some of you know that since last year I’ve followed a fork in the road that has led me towards wedding photography. It’s such an interesting journey and there are, and have been, endless surprises! For example, as a fully fledged wedding photographer I know that I want to offer my clients an experience. After the wedding, I don’t want them to simply acknowledge that I’ve done my job; I want them to be evangelists for my brand, to spread the word and refer clients back to me, and for that to happen they must be aware of my brand on an experiential level.
One of the surprises I discovered was that delivering an experience that my clients would love involves me packing a tote bag filled with a myriad of things that the bridal party, guests (or I) might need on any given wedding day. Not all photographers do this – so when you’re booking and if you’re looking for someone who demonstrates how they’ll go the extra mile for you, ask what they pack and see what transpires.
Now, this is no ordinary tote bag. The list is incredible and I’m going to share it with you here. Seriously, would you imagine that your wedding photographer would be able to step in if you needed first aid, or a needle and thread, or an emergency manicure ?
Well, I want my clients to know that I have their back, and here’s how it happens.
The Kit List
A gorgeous hanger to photograph the dress on
Jewellers posing wax
White clothes peg (to secure the veil on a windy day)
Hair grips/hair band
Tide stain remover stick
Mini water bottles
Small hand mirror
First Aid Kit
Wedding Sparklers (the very long ones)
If you’re getting married and like the idea of working with a photographer who has your back, let’s innovate and talk about creating authentic, custom photography for your wedding day.