April, 2013

Apr 13

Wedding photographer found!

“What sort of photographer do you think we want?” I asked Sean, a couple of weeks prior to taking his mum up to the Wirral to visit our wedding venue for the first time. I’d decided to cram as many appointments as possible into our scheduled weekend visit, and that included meeting with potential photographers.

“Umm…” he replied. “A good one?”

Hmm. Helpful! And about as far as I’d got myself.


We already have some engagement photos displayed at home – and they’re nowhere near as important as the wedding pics will be. Finding the right photographer is one of the most crucial elements of planning a wedding.

Neither of us know the first thing about photography. All I know is that the pictures from our big day will be with us forever and ever and ever, so it’s pretty important that we like the end product. I was determined to get the right person for the job.

I phoned ahead to arrange appointments with a few local photographers whose websites I was impressed by.

(Honestly, wedding planning is just a series of meetings with different people – I don’t know what I’d do without my wedding planning diary. It was an engagement present from my lovely friend Rachel, which is even engraved with the words ‘Alex & Sean, the happy couple’ on a silver panel on the front. I love it!. Every bride-to-be needs one.)

My beloved – and now a bit battered – wedding planning diary, courtesy of my friend Rach

Turns out, choosing the photographer is a tricky business. There are so many different styles to think about.

There’s reportage photography, which tells the story of the wedding day (aren’t all photos supposed to tell the story of the wedding day?) candid photography, where you don’t know the photos are being taken (yikes! This definitely isn’t right for me – I don’t want to be caught unawares adjusting my dress or, heaven forbid, with a double chin), artistic wedding photography, which seems to be the sort that is done in sepia and looks like you’d hang it on your wall as ‘art’, even if you didn’t know the bride and groom…


I was beginning to get a bit overwhelmed by it all. (And at least I don’t even have the extra worry of the photographer we want being booked up – getting married on a Monday in October, we, unsurprisingly, seem to be able to have our pick of suppliers).

The best way to work out what you want is definitely just by asking the photographers if you can see wedding albums they’ve done in the past – preferably at the venue you’re getting married at too, to get a feel for which set ups you like and where the photos can take place.

We quickly ruled out arty and candid photography and soon realised that the photos we want are going to be pretty traditional.

Apparently at the moment there’s a shift away from group shots of family members gathered together for the formal wedding photos. But I definitely want that. I know my parents and grandparents would prefer that to arty shots of us staring into the distance in black and white, anyway. (Although we’ll definitely throw in a few of those for good measure!)

We eventually settled on an amazing photographer, Verity (also my sister’s name, it must be a sign). You can see some of the work she does here. She put us completely at ease – and let’s face it, if someone’s going to be with you for a large chunk of you wedding day, you certainly want them to do that – was an absolute pro, and more importantly, flicking through her albums that Sunday morning actually made me well up and get all teary.

They were perfect – exactly what I picture when I imagine us looking through our own treasured wedding album decades from now.

Another job sorted.

Apr 13

The wedding cake

I’m feeling pretty chilled about our wedding cake, knowing it’s in the very safe hands of my bridesmaid Charlotte. She has three cook books being published this summer and, having been one of her taste testers (lucky me!) when we lived together and she was developing her cake recipes, I know it’s going to be amazing. She is so talented and an absolute kitchen genius. I could not be happier or more grateful to have her on board, and I love the personal touch of having one of my best friends make our cake.

But – like all things to do with weddings, I’m learning – there are still lots of decisions to be made by me and Sean.

Recently, Charlotte and I spent a weekend skiing in Meribel – which you can read about here and here – and took the opportunity to make some important decisions on the cake front.

Here we are on our cake-planning ski break in Meribel!

Here we are on our cake-planning ski break in Meribel!

Prior to our in-depth discussions, all I knew was that I wanted the cake to reflect my autumnal colour scheme and I was keen to avoid paying some of the price tags I’ve seen. You can spend upwards of a grand on a wedding cake, it turns out!

There are a few cakes I’ve seen that I love, as below…

I love the idea of having a plainly-iced cake decorated with flowers that tie in with our theme...

I love the idea of having a plainly-iced cake decorated with flowers that tie in with our theme…

I love this one too... very elegant

I love this one too… very elegant

…but there are still some important questions to consider, according to Charlotte.

1) Size (per portion per guest and according to how high we want the cake to sit off the table). Charlotte provided me with a nifty little graph to illustrate this, fact fans:

This is the sort of detail that makes me VERY glad that Charlotte is taking charge...

This is the sort of detail that makes me VERY glad that Charlotte is taking charge…

2) How many tiers?
3) Round or square?
4) How will the tiers be separated? Will they be sat on top of each other or on separate stands?
5) Flavours. Do we want each tier to be the same flavour? According to tradition, the top tier should be fruit cake which is then frozen and eaten at your first child’s christening. Is this something we want?
6) Icing and decorations.

Who knew there was so much to think about? And this doesn’t even cover the more logistical aspects of actually getting the cake to the wedding venue. How will it be transported? Where will it be stored? Will our venue provide the cake stand and the knife? Do we need to hire them?

Sean’s eyes glaze over when I try to talk about certain aspects of the wedding and this is definitely one of them, so I’ve taken charge myself. At this preliminary stage I think Charlotte and I have settled on a five-tier round cake decorated with flowers.

I’m sure Sean will be keen to get more involved when he realizes we need to taste test and choose our flavours!

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