Tuesday, 23 March 2010

One for the Boys

Let's face it, weddings are pretty girly. Flowers, decor, dresses, candles, pom-poms....you get the picture. So thank goodness Brides magazine have stepped into the mix with a brand new blog for the boys. The Groom Blog, written by Andrew Shanahan, is a voice of sanity for grooms, best men and the all important father of the bride. Kicking off with advice on toasts and speeches, it's sure to become a major resource for the men in your life, while the Brides website will keep the ladies busy for hours. With stylish DIY hints, dreamy dresses, competitions and the chatroom, it's worth a daily visit. I've subscribed, have you?

DIY Week #2 - No Comparison

We have a lot of love for the US blog Inspired Bride. So it was a day of extreme excitement when we discovered that writer Maddy Hague had joined forces with Kristen Magee of Paper Crave {uber-cool stationer} to create an online magazine called Nonpareil. Their aim is to encourage their readers to approach weddings and other occasions with a focus on hip, stylish, do-it-yourself projects. They say their goal is to awaken your creative side and to help you plan a beautiful wedding in a more accessible way, and in my view, they're onto a winner.

Check out their free downloads and simple tutorials, and you'll be crafting gorgeous boutonnieres and favour boxes before you know it!

Monday, 22 March 2010

DIY Week #1 Print Your Own

The biggest trend this season is DIY. It's a movement that's been in the making for a couple of years now, and the credit crunch was the tipping point. Crafting is booming! But what if you're not that good with a glue gun? Worry not, there's loads of DIY projects out there for the beginner, and all this week we'll have features to get you going.

So let's kick off with invitations. If you're super-creative you'll design your own, but there's plenty of templates out there in the blogosphere for free, and even more available on Etsy to buy, personalise and print at home. But what printer should you use? Fab blog DIY Union has the answers. Graphic Designer Leslie recommends the Epson Stylus Photo R280 Photo Printerand has hundreds of print-hints on paper, ink and lasers.

Right, now you've got the know-how, it's time for the fun bit. Choosing your template. Check these out for size.....and the best thing? They're all FREE!

Product Credits - {top collage} Wedding Chicks {middle collage} Martha Stewart Weddings {except for the Cheese Invitation} Real Simple {bottom collage} Download and Print

Saturday, 20 March 2010

Say it with Verse

You've said it with diamonds and the best Chanel, now give the gift of expression and say it with verse. Impressed? Unfortunately, it's not my own work, but that of the clever people at Poetry A La Carte, who compose bespoke poems for those of us who feel romantic, but don't know how to express it. All you need to do is fill in a questionnaire on their website about the subject of 'your' poem, pay them £150, and they'll put pen to paper on your behalf. Fantastic as a surprise present for your groom, or even as a wedding gift for a happy couple. **Hot off the Press** The lovely Mark at Poetry A La Carte is offering £25 off each poem to readers of Before the Big Day!

Friday, 19 March 2010

Loving Lashes

These may well be the coolest thing since sliced bread! Fresh from the ancient art of Chinese paper-cutting come these heavenly eyelashes.They come in five designs, representing different Chinese symbols; peach blossom for love, horses for success and peonies for happiness.Smaller versions are available for a more subtle daytime look, although believe me, this is not a look for the shrinking voilet. They're fierce! Purchase a pair before your friends do, and I dare you to dress your bridesmaids in them. Only £12 a pair from Luna & Curious.

Choosing a Photographer

It's a minefield, choosing your wedding photographer. These are the pictures that are going to grace your granny's mantlepiece for the next twenty years, so you want to be looking good. But that's not the only thing to think about - you need to decide your style. Will it be traditional or reportage, arty monochrome or popping colour like a Mario Testino shoot? Do you want your photographer to be a man or a woman? And the elephant in the corner - what's your budget?? To help you answer some of these thorny questions, we sat down with well known British photographer, Mark Bothwell, to discuss some key points to consider when commissioning the person who could make or break your big day.....

BTBD : As a photographer, you understand how important your role is on a couple’s big day. You’re a paid guest {!} and in charge of recording our memories – a huge job! So…when choosing a photographer, what should we be thinking about?
“It’s impossible to narrow it down to one area, it’s a process which happens in stages. First of all clients contact photographers whose work they like - that could be a group of as many as a dozen. From there, cost will narrow the field down, and then it’s usually based on instinct. The couple have to often warm to one particular photographer. In my experience couples will often be prepared to go beyond their budget if they really like a photographer’s attitude, so while quality of work is the hook, personality is often the clincher. Photography at a wedding is a very pivotal task, you’re being trusted with a huge day in people’s lives and you can’t underestimate the responsibility of that role. My own attitude is to give the absolute maximum each time you’re commissioned because you’ll never get the chance to impress that particular group of people ever again”

BTBD : What’s the deal with photography packages? How do they work?
“I cant speak for anybody else, but for me this is really clear cut. I hate the whole package idea, I just don’t see the point as it confuses the issue. People want clarity, transparency and to know what they’re paying for, and why. My personal approach is to have a price for the photography, a price for books and a list of unit costs for prints. This simple approach allows couples to piece together as much or as little as they wish. You wouldn’t believe the stories I hear about photographers who bamboozle clients with this, that and the other.

BTBD : We’ve been to so many weddings where the photographer took ages to shoot the family groups. Is this an inevitable part of the process, is it always like that?
“No, not at all. I hear this stuff too, and it’s so frustrating because we all get tarred with that brush. I suppose if you give a photographer a list of 30 family groups then it’s going to take ages to shoot, but you have to decide whether you really need that? Maybe it’s because of my reputation and style of working, but I’m never asked to shoot groups in any quantity. My clients don’t want their day interrupting with an overly formal approach, plus it greatly reduces the natural feel of your pictures. A wedding day is a gentle, intimate occasion, and I think it’s really poor and quite invasive for somebody to walk in and dictate the pace of the day, which trust me some try to do. A photographer works for the couple, it’s not the other way around.

BTBD: Loads of our friends have got printed books of their wedding pics rather than traditional albums. How do you decide which shots to choose? Can we choose which ones we like and the layout?
“Absolutely, I think it’s very important couples feel they can get involved in the final look of something which will hopefully be valued for many years to come. It comes back around to that principle of being flexible, because high quality art books aren’t cheap, so why would you settle for something less than you know you can have? Speaking for myself, initially I’ll design a draft, then turn this over to the client to check. They can then list changes, or come into the office and direct their ideas for improvement in real time on the big screens. I would go as far as to say that often couples really enjoy a mini stint as an art editor, it’s a fun and collaborative process which always yields better results for them, which is the ultimate goal. If you want that level of involvement, you need to tell your photographer what you want, so they can work round you.

BTBD : What’s the deal with copyright. It seems weird that a photographer can own the copyright to my wedding pictures?“This is another straightforward area for me because I always offer the ownership of the photography to clients – after all it’s their big day! The feedback I receive from clients who have spoken to other photographers who don’t offer the rights automatically is that the they are suspicious of hidden costs later and that something is being almost kept from them. It supports the theory that couples want a clear, easily understandable arrangement with their photography and I consider confusion as a fast route to mistrust.

BTBD : Lastly, wedding photography gets a bad press sometimes among other pro photographers, why do you think this is?“It’s a great point, and something I find increasingly amusing. The basis for this attitude is that anybody can  show up and take pictures, and often weddings take place on the weekend so people abuse the trust placed in them in the pursuit of easy cash. But this exists in all areas of life, not just the wedding industry. It’ll be the same with fashion, news, products, etc.. There are lots of suppliers who are awful, many who are good and a small group who excel. Life in a nutshell, really”

{Mark’s portfolio can be viewed at www.markbothwell.com}

Thursday, 18 March 2010

BBD Theme: The Royal Peacock

One of the micro-trends for this summer's weddings will be peacock feathers. Dramatic, colourful and romantic, they're a super-versatile design detail to add to your big day. You could use them as a graphic on your invitations or add actual feathers to your bouquet and buttonholes. Or for a more subtle effect, pick out the iridescent colours to theme your bridesmaids' dresses and flowers. You could even have real life peacocks strutting their stuff in the gardens around your venue. Check out the wedding below for more inspiration.

{Product Credits - from top left: Giant Feather Fan: Mamaz57, Feather Shoe Clips: RadoKri, Hair Clip: Vie Moderne, from middle left: Feather Stationery: Meant to be Sent, Peacock Dress: Vrreis, from bottom left: Earrings: Boutique Peony, Feather Hat: Liaison, Badge: NY Jole Jewellery, Hair Fascinator: Vie Moderne, Stationery: Apple Berry Ink

We ♥ Offers
10% off  RadoKri accessories

Real Wedding: Kristi & Antony

Kristi and Antony should be as proud as peacocks {sorry!} of their incredible wedding style. We love Kristi's feather bouquet, fan and satin shoes, adoore the raspberry cake and check out those bridesmaid's rings - fierce! A huge thank you to Christine Chang for letting me put up her gorgeous photographs. Don't miss her fabulous website and blog.

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