Monday, 14 February 2011

Amazing Wedding Advice - The Wedding Photographer Agony Uncle

Two of the first new friends I made as a brand-new wedding blogger were photographers Nikole Ramsay and Ken Buist. I met Ken for coffee one afternoon in Islington, and as the rain poured outside, we shared stories and coffee, and he promised to let me feature lots of his gorgeous weddings. Having attended more weddings than he can count, Ken is the ultimate agony uncle for all those wedding questions you've always wanted to ask. He knows venues, caterers, wedding planners, florists, beauticians and hairdressers. He's been in the bride's bedroom, he's witnesses the tears and the tantrums, and he's stayed calm throughout. You're sure to have dozens of questions for him - please leave them in the comments section below - but first, here are a few of my own. All the pictures published with thanks to Ken - check out his website here.

Q. As a photographer, you go to a different wedding nearly every weekend. What's the best way to make a wedding stand out from the crowd?
A. Your aim should be to make your wedding stand out for "your crowd", so focus on what would make your big day amazing for you and your guests. Don't worry about wedding trends or traditions, or keeping up with the Joneses, just do whatever you want. I've seen everything from a bride in a pink carriage (with horses in matching pink coats), to a glamorous Venice wedding with James Bond-esque speed boats. At both weddings, the guests had the time of their lives. I would strongly recommend having an evening lounge bar area with funky background music, so that your guests can lounge around, relax, drink and chat. Another memorable way to stand out is to learn a traditional Venetian waltz for your first dance. It's incredibly romantic and a real treat for your guests.... but you'll need to practice the steps. Don't have Michael Buble for your first dance ..... its been done a million times before ;-)

Q. What's the best original theme or idea that you've seen recently?
A. For most weddings the theme is usually understated (except for the 'pink wedding'). A Summer-time jazz theme can work really well with vintage clothing, details, and a jazz band. Plus the bride and groom, and guests can all get dressed in Mad Men-era clothing. It's a great way to encourage your family and friends to get involved. Also remember the bride's dress doesn't have to be white or long if that's not really you! See my website and blog for some different colours and styles.

Q. What are the latest trends in bridal fashion for 2011?
A. I'd recommend wearing whatever suits your personality and body shape - simply, be yourself. Super-fashionable dresses tend to fade with age, so I'd aim for something classic. In my view, one of the best designers is Ritva Westenius. She combines the latest fashion trends with classic styles without losing sight that the normal bride isn't stick thin.

Q. What advice do you have for brides who are worried about how they're going to look in their pictures? Should they practice posing before their big day?
A. The best way to look good in your pictures is to get to know your photographer before the big day. Go for a drink and chat while you're still engaged, and that way you'll be more relaxed and in-tune with each other. Enjoy having your picture taken - embrace the attention rather than shy away from it. Lean slightly into the camera as this removes double chins. You can also look through fashion magazines to get an idea on posing, but personally I am not a big fan of overly-posed images so you will still want to keep things natural. Don't do the 'lunge photo' {bride leaning back almost touching the floor and groom smooching her neck}, who actually kisses like that?

Q. What's the most comon mistake made by a bride on her big day?
Make-up too heavy; not enough time allocated for getting ready; getting too stressed over small things; not delegating the organising and stress to someone else (either a bridesmaid, friend or wedding planner).

Q. What would you recommend to help the wedding day run smoothly?
Allocate more time for everything, as weddings always start to run behind schedule. Get a wedding planner if you have a large and/or complex wedding. Lots of champagne and laughter.

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