A Christmas Gift -I know its February

 Signs hand crafted by Gary Walker of Flash Signs

Signs hand crafted by Gary Walker of Flash Signs

Ok so I wanted to share something from Christmas 2016 and it has taken me a few days......weeks...

So I struggle with Christmas and gift giving in general. Over the years I enjoy it less and less as the intention seems to be on buying for buying sake and not in giving value or thought. I know that I am not the only one who thinks this, but this is not also meant to offend anyone who really enjoys spoiling their friends or family.

Now, I have a point to this, I found this year TRUE EXCITEMENT in giving my dad and step-mum their gift because I was able to do something that fitted with all of the values I am building around giving:

- is it personal

- can it be sourced through an independent business

- will it bring value to the receiver and value to their lives

FLASHBACK

A little back history then... super quick.

My dad and step-mum are big foodies and over the last few years between them they have baked and barbecued most things (not at the same time of course) My dad has just had his 520th BBQ for his birthday on February 14th 2017 and those have been in the last 3 years, in ALL weather and with all manner of foods. It brings him pure joy to cook on his BBQ.

My step mum bakes the most amazing cakes and treats. She loves being in the kitchen, and she loves sharing them with others. 

This past year they have put their love, money and work into their new kitchen/diner space to create somewhere they can enjoy their foods and socialise around their passion and love.

So when we were chatting about an empty wall and they said 'One day we will get a sign pointing left saying 'Karens Kitchen and one pointing right saying Grahams Grill' it was like a lightbulb dropped on my head.

It was the perfect gift to show I listen and love them for who they are and I was excited.

AND

I knew just the man for the job.

I emailed Gary Walker literally as my step-mum was finishing this sentence about the signs and within minutes I had a school girl grin on my face as he said he could do it. Little did I know just how awesome they would be,

It was the one present I was excited to give out on Boxing Day when we saw them and now each time we visit we always talk about them. They hang with pride in the space and complete the beautiful kitchen and diner they have created.

THE MORAL OF THE STORY

For me it was just an affirmation about how I want gift giving to be now in my life. It has meant I am listening more to the people I love to make sure I am giving with value and love.

It means I am connecting more with my local wedding businesses and creative contacts, because we have such a wealth of quality and beautiful crafts and trades to source our gifts from.

Overall I just wanted to show off the awesome work Gary has done for us!

THANK YOU GARY!

Want to find him?

Facebook - @fl4sh4rt

Instagram - @flashsigns

 

What do you do with BEAUTIFUL creations?

'I decided I wanted to have a professional album of the beautiful images Louise had taken for me to show at wedding fairs and to new clients in consultations. I didn't want a standard DIY album so Louise suggested and showed me one of hers which was just perfect, beautiful and luxurious. We worked together on the layout, I gave her the images I wanted to use and she designed the album and made all the images of my different collections of work, fit together in one album. It is Amazing and I have had so many compliments on the album.' Jennifer Wells, Edible Essence Couture Cake Company

 

In July you will have seen my post about photographing at weddings without capturing the bride... its true check it out HERE 

The second half of this year I photographed many more incredible cakes and flower set ups. Meeting new suppliers along the way who took up the same service.

It was amazing. I went on to extend the service to workshops and events including a wedding suppliers styled baby shower.

It was wonderful to see those images on the websites and social media pages of the lovely suppliers I have been working with.

Though I couldn't help but feel they were made for something MORE.

So you can imagine my sheer delight when Jenny from Edible Essence and Hannah Burnett Florist both asked me to design and create albums to include all of the work we had done.

No matter how far technology reaches, to have a tangible and beautiful book of your work to show your clients is THE way to showcase your work (and mine and other photographers of course - shameless promotion).

Take a look at a sample of the elegant album for Edible Essence Couture Cake Company.

 Surrounded by stunning cupcakes from Edible Essence 

Surrounded by stunning cupcakes from Edible Essence 

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We were able to work closely to design each spread to work with all of Jenny's stunning designs.

It has been fantastic working with Jenny and to see this as a final result gives me huge pleasure.

I am super excited to be finishing Hannah's wedding album in the New Year after rounding off the 2016 wedding season with her on New Years Eve.

To be able to showcase these incredible women's talents gives me pure JOY!

Louise

x

 

I have recently attended 15 weddings as a photographer and not taken any photos of the bride, on purpose.

I have recently attended 15 weddings as a photographer and not taken any photos of the bride, on purpose.

I have recently attended 15 weddings as a photographer and not taken any photos of the bride, on purpose.

But do not panic...READ ON!

Inspirational People

When you work in an industry like the wedding industry you meet a huge amount of different people. I believe it is so important to have a group of industry professionals who you can bounce ideas off and collaborate with. It is also very important to me to have people around me who want to build and create incredible services for all future brides and grooms.

I am very lucky to have spent an evening working alongside Danielle of The Wedding Hub this evening and talk all things wedding and future plans now that she has relocated and is in the midst of creating a even more beautiful shop.

I am very excited for our shoot soon to photograph the new setting and see the transformation further.

 Wedding Fair Gift Bags

Wedding Fair Gift Bags

 Lotty Lollipop

Lotty Lollipop

 Just beautiful things lying around!

Just beautiful things lying around!

 Trinkets and Treasures 

Trinkets and Treasures 

Come down and see for yourself really soon!

The Wedding Hub - Review

 Cake Toppers from Lotty Lollipop

Cake Toppers from Lotty Lollipop

The Wedding Hub

It is in the name, this beautiful shop run by the talented Danielle Donnelly of Faithful Designs, is the quirky shaped, magpies nest out of your wedding dreams.

The collection of wedding details that are showcased there are truly beautiful, unique and elegant.

I spent the morning with Danni chatting about all of the ideas she has for her stationary business, the shop and future ventures; this lady is EXCITED about life and the possibilities.

The shop is decorated with vintage furniture, revamped to compliment the branding of the business. The cut in half tables used as shelving is genius and truly in Danni style AWESOME.

She has sought out designers and creatives who can provide brides with personal details you will not find on the high street and she continues to seek out and bring new wedding blood to Devon.

 Chalk board cake crafted by Edible Essence Couture Cake Art

Chalk board cake crafted by Edible Essence Couture Cake Art

A chalk board cakes by Edible Essence stands proudly in the window on a vintage rose covered swing, jars of buttons and accessories aline the walls and  there are trinkets and treasures galore and the most amazing hand painted cake toppers from Lotty Lollipop ...need I say more? This is the stuff of daydreams.

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Alright so I may have a soft spot for this place but I am in genuine awe of Danni and her ability to dream up and find the most incredible designs and decorations for her businesses and shop, this woman knows her stuff and has built for us a little girls dressing room with the class for the reluctant lady in us all.

If fairies do not reside here I will be surprised.

Go and visit, you will not be disappointed!

 

Event of the year - The Bespoke Bride Guide

 Caravan from Cybel's Vintage Hire 

Caravan from Cybel's Vintage Hire 

Wedding fairs, the daunting events where you walk around not making eye contact and have your head phones on faking a phone call or listening to anything to drown out the calls from scary vendors. Well that was my experience of them anyway, out of 5 weddings fairs I went to I only enjoyed one (where I actually met my amazing florist for my day).

However the weekend before last literally changed my view on them completely, when I decided to pop along to Devonport Guildhall to see the vendors at The Bespoke Bride Guide organised by the beautiful twin duo Sophie and Laura.

 Sophie and Laura sisters and co-organisers of The Bespoke Bride Guide Fair

Sophie and Laura sisters and co-organisers of The Bespoke Bride Guide Fair

These beautiful ladies decided to start their own wedding directory after spending huge amounts of time trawling through the internet trying to find unique vendors when planning their own weddings.

They have linked arms with some incredible designers and crafts professionals, to help brides to find something personal and unique for their special day. All coming together in a beautiful unique wedding ceremony venue they created a truly wonderful experience.

Come on Louise, I hear you say, tell us about these AWESOME people. Well I am biased of course because some good friends of mine were attending the fair, however from attending, EVERY single vendor there were not only amazing at what they do, but actually really WONDERFUL people too; people you would want to be a part of your special day, people who can add those final touches that you have envisaged in your 'dream wedding' plan.

First impressions are so important and walking up the road that leads to Devonport Guildhall, with the blue sky and sun shining warming the buildings Roman style architecture, it was a great view; a great view added to by the welcoming I received from Cybels Vintage Hire wedding caravan. You can hire this quirky caravan, kitted out for afternoon tea with vintage china and a perfect venue for a wedding photo booth. Photo booths have become very popular at wedding receptions, it allows the guests to have the fun of dressing up and creating some amazing memories.

 Photobooth Props in Cybel's Vintage Hire Caravan 

Photobooth Props in Cybel's Vintage Hire Caravan 

Zoe-Ann and Amanda, the lovely ladies behind the business provide an amazing hire service that can complete the theme of your day. They offer hire of teacups and saucers, tablecloths, bunting and even some vintage wooden games. Zoe-ann has been passionate about collecting vintage items since she was young and I was very excited to know we share a love of old books.

Climbing the steps to the fair, I was passed by lots of smiling young ladies with partners, mums and friends alike. I am a sucker for a smile, so I was drawn like a magpie to jewellery straight into the fair to meet the lovely Sophie and Laura for the first time.

They greeted all of their guests personally, which displayed the passion they have for what they are doing and the service they are providing. We all know I love a good chin wag so I felt at home.

All of their guest brides received a goody bag and a chip for a free drink as well.

The first vendor I saw was a good friend of mine Danielle Donnelly who is an award winning stationary designer and owner of the newly open Wedding Hub. Danielle was sharing some of the incredible creations from the beautiful designers who display in her shop.

The key thing that strikes me about Danielle's businesses is her eye for beautiful creations and uniqueness. Not only are her stationary designs beautiful she stocks equally BEAUTIFUL items such as material flower bouquets, INCREDIBLE cakes and STUNNING jewellery. All bespoke, meaning you are not likely to have a guest wearing the same as you on your big day.

Danielle is one of the most confident and focused business women I have had the chance to meet and on speaking to her I am very excited for the future of her business ventures.

 Edible Essence displayed at The Wedding Hub

Edible Essence displayed at The Wedding Hub

Another lovely, incredibly savvy business woman and creative was next for me to see. Claire Thomas of La Beau nail studio. Claire and all the ladies at La Beau are amazingly talented and on the day of the event were even offering free manicures and pimms. These ladies KNOW how to make you feel special. The ever expanding business has been growing and growing since it opened in 2008 and has welcomed celebrity clients on their visits to the area.

'The salon is known for its friendly atmosphere and welcoming tranquility, as well as its host of refreshing, reviving treatments' Labeaunailstudio.co.uk.

I had my nails pampered at La Beau for my own wedding in 2013 and I would highly recommend you visit these lovely ladies with your bridesmaids and mums. It is a beautiful studio with an amazing atmosphere.

As I was eyeing up the Pimms at the La Beau stand I was surrounded by the most beautiful 'rustic' styled display from Green & Pip. I was enchanted by the rural feel of Pip's designs, each bouquet and table decoration had an elegant wild crafted feel about it. I could imagine many a bride loving the simplicity and elegance for their special day. I didn't get to chat much to Pip because prospected couples flocked to her original display; evidence that what Green & Pip offer is right on the mark.

From rustic and rural to pretty and pink. Hannah Burnett floristry was displaying a collection of very feminine wedding flowers. Hannah and I met on a wedding in April, where she styled the ceremony room with beautiful hanging jars of 'hand picked' flowers.

I may have scared Hannah off her seat with my approach to her table as she was very focused on a task, however she continued to greet me with a smile. What I love about Hannah's business is not only are her flowers eye catching and beautiful, she continues this style through her business stationary and website.

Now I am a stationary geek so when I see any invitations, name cards or table plans I go walk at the knees. Knots & Kisses, owned by the beautiful and eccentric Nikki (who has a love for the same films as me, yes I talk about everything. Being nosey is my job) was a delight to talk to and was helped on the day by her hubby, who was showing proposed clients the beautiful designs Nikki creates.

 

It was an absolute pleasure to speak to such a lovely industry professional, it always makes my day to know that brides are getting amazing, friendly and special service.

What I also love about Knots & Kisses is that as a business it thrives to meet a very high standard, 'you are only as good as your last wedding' was the discussion I had with Nikki.

I am looking forward to the rebranding that is currently underway, to see what Nikki will do next.

Are you enjoying this? I know I am, we have already had some amazing professionals with a huge variety of skills but also huge personalities. I would love to hang out for coffee and cake with these people.

The overall feeling from Sophie and Laura's event was that of uniqueness and that 'something special'. For me nothing could have been more true to this than the services of The Guide of Cornish Celebrants, who provide bespoke wedding ceremonies in any location and style. Talking to the founders Nicola and Denise time flew, I could have conversed with these passionate and dynamic ladies for hours.

Nicola and Denise have a wonderful vision of providing unique and truly special ceremonies, they have a true love and dedication to people and it shines through when you meet them. I was so interested in what they do that I am actually writing an article dedicated to them soon, so for now I will leave the full details (if you are an eager beaver then please visit their website).

Speaking of cake...

The Little Lark Cake Company where showcasing some incredible designs, including a 'chalk board' style cake finished off with some delicate and beautiful hand crafted icing flowers.

Each cake that was on display showed just how varied you can be and how you really can add your own personality, even to the cake. These were no Victoria sponge (though that is my favourite cake as my grandma well knows).

From sugar bouquets to broaches. The last vendor I had the privilege to speak to was the owner of Flourish, who's stand was not to disappoint any magpie's eye.

The team are just about to open a physical shop in Hooe, allowing them to display more of their incredible broach bouquets for you to see as well as their flower arrangements. There will be a VIP opening event, so do keep an eye out for that.

At this point in the fair I had actually stayed for nearly 2 hours and I had to leave before I was able to have a huge conversation with Flourish or the remaining vendors who attended. I met a wonderful photographer, Meg's photos, who not only had a great visual display, she did attempt to kill me with her lazer vision when I told her I was a photographer too. Ironically I spent so much time chatting to Meg I didn't focus on getting any shots of her display (sorry Meg).

What I want to say to you all, if I did not get a chance to see your display or speak at length with you, I can only apologise but I can not take the blame for every one of you being so awesome and friendly that I got lost in the world of unique weddings.

It took me so much longer to write this post, due to the volume of awesome pictures I was able to capture and the vast amount of wonderful, positive and inspiring experiences at the event.

I LOVE weddings and anything to do with them, but I will admit that Sophie and Laura's event have made me rekindle with the WHY!

Go and check out the guide NOW!

www.thebespokebrideguide.co.uk

Why I LOVE wedding Photography!

When I decided to become more focused on being a full time mum, it didn't just mean leaving my full time employment. It also meant having to review my plans to work on more photography commissions; my plan was to leave work and to become a full time photographer instead, but I realised that this would be the same in terms of time spent with Ollie. I sat and looked at which of the areas of photography I enjoyed the most and which was financially and creatively beneficial to me.

Since starting my business in 2007, I had worked on fashion editorials, beauty shoots, events, portraits and weddings.

In all of those, my strongest passion came to fashion and weddings and as I was living in the South West, the wedding option was looking to be the best option to take.

I decided to team up with my father-in-law Scott Rothney who was looking for a second shooter at some weddings he was doing, after doing just 2 with him in 2012 (whilst 12 weeks pregnant with Ollie) I realised this was THE option I wanted to take.

This year Scott and I have worked on some wonderful weddings, that have boosted my passion further and increased my portfolio to a new level. We have found a complimentary style, which I thought may be difficult with two photographers from very different photographic backgrounds.

I have been reviewing all of the weddings from this year and I have displayed some here for you to see; in reviewing them, with a smile on my face I thought it would be interesting to look at what it was about being a wedding photographer that has kept my hand in.

The Day!

1. Getting ready - One of my favourite parts of the day is being with the bride and her bridal party getting ready for the day. It has always been and always will be an honour to be a part of this special time. My fun memories when working with the bride in the morning have been:

  • Helping with corsets and buttons
  • Playing and entertaining little ones
  • Doing up shoes and jewellery
  • Shooting all of the excitement of course
  • Helping a bride go to the loo in her dress! This has to be my favourite of all.

The getting ready part of the day is where I build the rapport with the family which helps me capture their personalities and emotions more naturally because we are almost distant friends by this time.

2. The Ceremony - The ceremony is a wonderful part of the day and of course the main reason everyone is there. It is exciting to see the love between a couple and the family there to support them. It is a beautiful celebration full of laughter and happy tears. For me it is a very private moment that as a photographer we should feel privileged to be a part of. It is key for me that this part of the day is where I am 'invisible' but capturing all of the key moments of emotion.

My memorable moments from the ceremony are:

  • A comical vicar
  • Wonderfully emotional readings from guests
  • A bride and groom dancing to a disney song leaving the church
  • The tears of joy from mums

3 - The group shots/posed photos - Once the ceremony is over, this part of the day is where we as photographers must really jump into action and we become more visible and more involved. I love having the banter with the family and also with Scott, which makes the whole experience fun and relaxed. This is also where we get to ask the couple to do some interesting poses to reflect their personalities.

Group shot memories:

  • Controlling a group of 160 people from an 8 foot wall
  • Photographing pet dogs as part of the day
  • Balancing a bridal party on a table

4 - The exit - Leaving the day is one of my favourite parts (no not because I want to get home) because it is where you know you have done your job and done it well. I love hearing that they have enjoyed you being with them on their special day and it is a great feeling when they say thank you.

Following the Day!

Following the day I very much enjoy the edit of a wedding, I like to remember all of the funny banter between a couple, the guests and also us. It reminds me why I decided to keep wedding photography in my life. It reminds me that love is still alive and such a treasure in the world.

Once the couple receive their images it is always lovely to read/see their responses. It makes me proud to use my skill to capture on of the most important day in a couples life together.

I thought on writing this post that I would find a few select points that I love about wedding photography but as I worked through it I realised I loved it all. I know why my work improves, because my passion gets bigger each time. I have over the years met a number of photographers who didn't feel wedding photography was for them and to them thank you, because I get to work on them more!

I want to say a huge thank you to all of the bride and grooms of this year, those still to come and those who have eagerly booked us for next year. You are why I do this!

Much Love

WEDDINGS ROCK!

Pretty Little Treats - Review

This week I have the pleasure of reviewing a Cornwall based, mother and daughter team craft business, 'Pretty Little Treats'. Charlotte (daughter) and Denise (mum) create elegant handmade jewellery that even hectic mums like me can wear to enhance our look. The pieces are stylised and continue the handmade look using visible stitching and frayed materials. The pieces are like a little piece of magic on a dull day; I spent time with the pieces, laying them out on the pebbles before committing them to digital memory, enjoying their simplicity, cuteness and vintage aura.

The jewellery arrived in a safely packaged bag, each piece in a cute little draw string bag, branded with the 'Pretty Little Treats' logo (which can be seen in the images above). The packaging made each piece feel individual and special and I felt excited to open each one.

I also received a gift as a thank you, a fabulous personalised scrabble piece which for a book worm like me, it was the perfect choice.

However I did grow attached to a purple heart pendant that I decided to model to show just how lovely the pieces look on.

All of the pieces I had the pleasure to wear and photograph were a wearable weight and comfortable. The pendants can be added to long or short chains for personalisation, each one comes with a chain ready to wear.

Other jewellery items include badges, rings and earrings in the same style. The team also create personalised nappy bags and baby bibs and are moving into baby animal toys as well.

What I love about this fabulous and innovative family business is just those things. The pieces are stylish, simple and elegant. With excellent delivery and a personal touch I would recommend purchasing anything from these lovely ladies for the experience alone. All of the items would make beautiful gifts for anyone who appreciates handmade and unique.

All items can be purchased on 'Pretty Little Treats' Etsy store https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/PrettyLittleTreats?page=1

Check out their website which is showing new items for purchase regularly http://www.prettylittletreats.com/