Real Bride Diaries: Picking the Perfect Venue

I believe your wedding venue should show your personality as a couple. After all, it is your wedding day and you are both expressing how much you love one another, make sure it reflects who you are! It could be a sandy beach abroad, a grand manor home, or simply in your own back yard!

Last year my Sister, Naomi and my Brother, Charles married their partners.(Shout out to Naomi, Jay, Charles and Laura!). Their venues really show cased their personal style. My Sister, Naomi and Jay were married in a church with the ceremony performed by Jay’s Mum, who happens to be a vicar! The church was decorated with vintage bunting and shabby chic touches. Their wedding breakfast showcased my sister’s obsession with Disney (truly more than an obsession I’d say!), with each table assigned a Disney theme. From the Little Mermaid with the table covered in shells, to Aladdin decorated with genie style lamps. Even their wedding cake had a touch of Disney! A crafty touch!

My Brother, Charles and Laura married in a Church close to their families with their wedding breakfast held in a Cheshire manor home. The Manor home was surrounded with bright flowers adorned in sunshine through out the whole day. Not forgetting the sheep next door! Their decorations were simple and classy, with a defined colour palate of turquoise. The party then made its way over to an outdoor barn, and the dancing certainly never stopped (especially with my requests for Journey and Bon Jovi).

Both different locations, but non the less a perfect day for each couple! When it came to choosing my own wedding venue, I knew what I wanted from the day Danny proposed. I love the industrial look, especially since Danny and I currently live in an old textile factory. (I am slightly obsessed with wooden beams and brick walls). I wanted the venue to stay in Manchester, as this is Danny’s home town and it is an ideal location for both families travelling to the city. With a low budget in mind, and being surrounded by hotels offering a typical wedding service, I felt stuck- could there be my ideal venue in Manchester? The Castelfield Rooms offered a location with perfect outdoor areas for shoots and fireworks, but I felt inside the venue was too modern. It needed some industrial injection and less white walls. To some this could be the perfect blank canvas to decorate!

Countless hotels offered combined deals, but I felt they didn’t suit our personality. I wanted something custom made to us, unique, not something they have already offered to hundreds of couples before us. I wanted an old abandoned warehouse, a location I can decorate with fairylights, candles and bunting, but this was harder to find than I thought! I gave up on my search for while to re-think our options.

A few weeks later, by chance I came across Victoria Warehouse, a venue known for their music events. They have recently built a venue/ hotel next door for weddings and other occasions. I immediately booked a viewing and as soon as we saw the venue we both knew this was exactly what we were after. (Even sat in the reception waiting to meet the wedding director, I knew this was the place). The look was perfect, brick walls, high beams, dim lighting, this is exactly how I pictured our big day! (Plus they allow Wilson, our little pug!)

Despite being the only venue we saw in person, we booked it straight away. I couldn’t help it! They knew exactly what we were after and I felt at ease.

If you already have an idea of your perfect venue but struggle to find it, don’t give up hope, have a rest and start again. You will always find a venue with a characteristic you love just as much as your husband/ bride to be! Remember to show your personality, this is your big day you can be as big and bold or as traditional as your imagination takes you. Make it a day to remember!

Lucy X

The Real Bride Diaries: The Proposal

They say it never sleeps..

Every proposal is unique; it says something about the character of the relationship. From hidden engagement rings in your desert (may need a lick clean before wearing), or a whisper in your ear under the stars.. Each couple has their own story and I will tell you mine.

Danny always knew of my fondness of New York, and as a Birthday treat we decided we would finally go together. We planned it all, from visiting the Empire state Building, strolling through central park and grabbing as much pizza as our bellies can handle (food being the priority). 

The moment we arrived, we jumped into a yellow cab and our story began. We immediately dumped our bags in the hotel and took to the New York streets. It felt like home away from home and I’m glad Danny got the chance to see why I am so fascinated with the city!

People ask me if I knew Danny was going to propose, my reply- after being with someone for 7 years you get to know them inside out, and the fact he carried his rucksack everywhere and he NEVER carries a bag… (I should have been a private detective).

It was July 5th, the weather was insanely hot and we decided to visit central park. We chose a spot near the lake and sat on the grass. A few minutes had passed and Danny started to rummage in his backpack. My heart started to race, this is it, he’s going to ask me, that or he’s getting a drink.. Thankfully he pulled out a large black box, not a ring sized box, it was sealed with bow. After handing it to me I began to open, once I lifted the lid I revealed a Polly Pocket. (Remember these? Ahh they were my favourite toys during my childhood). I opened the Polly Pocket, the theme inside was a church aisle with a Bride, a Groom, a Bridesmaid and a written note. The note read “Will you marry me?”, I looked at Danny, giggled and whispered yes. After all we were in the middle of central park! He then reached back into his backpack and revealed my engagement ring. (told you the backpack was a given). It was beautiful, a stunning vintage, art deco inspired design.

We have been dating for many years, and for some couples you just know it’s going to happen, but when? I have teased Danny over the years, saying we aren’t getting any younger. But listen ladies (and gents) there is a reason why they haven’t proposed yet, maybe it’s not just the right time financially or perhaps they want to keep you on your toes! But whatever the reason, you have to trust in them. I am glad we waited, we are now at a point where we are comfortable in life, we both have careers we want and are at a point where we can afford to plan a wedding. Dare I say it, Danny knows best?!

So, back to the 5th July- 

Status: Engaged

Location: New York City

Weather: Too hot to handle

So, how did we celebrate you ask? A champagne dinner at the Ritz? How about Dominos pizza? Now that’s certainly a celebration! We grabbed a pizza, took it back to the hotel room and toasted (with slices) to our future together. Now that’s the perfect end to a perfect day.

To those planning a proposal, I wish you all the luck in the world and don’t worry, they will say yes!

Lucy X

Wedding Day Tips: Making the Most of Engagement Shoots

It's approaching the 14th of February, so you can almost guarantee your Facebook Timeline is going to be full of newly engaged couples, let's be honest it is a little bit exciting! If that couple is you, CONGRATS, you may just find a few handy tips in the WEDDING DAY TIPS category.  Your next step is probably to start contacting the venues and photographers of your choice, a word you're probably going to hear a lot is Pre Wedding Shoots/ Engagement Shoots! Like most people, you probably have no idea what the photographer is talking about, but here's a little bit more info.

Pre Wedding Shoots are an awesome way for you to get together and meet your photographer.I do believe having an engagement photo session is important for several reasons. First, this time allows you, as a couple, to get comfortable in front of the camera, and figure out how you work best together before the main event. Next, you can showcase your personalities in a more casual setting, while creating some fun, memorable images for wall portraits, your wedding guest book, guest signature board and Thank You cards (shot early enough, you can also use the images for your Save the Date cards and invitations). Engagement portraits also add another dimension to your wedding album, documenting your story from fiancees to husband and wife. Best of all, you can remember this special time forever with personal memories of just the two of you.

So what should you do to get the best out of your pre wedding shoot? 

Pick An Awesome Location

The location is mega important when it comes to engagement shoots and it's good to have an idea as a couple of some locations. Think about the collection of images you want to receive after the shoot, maybe you want to have a contrast from your wedding pictures. So if you're getting married in a castle or lovely estate maybe those gritty urban landscapes will be the perfect contrast?  

If you're completely stuck think about places that mean something to you as a couple. The Town or place you first met, the place they proposed or your home town. A location with a variety of backdrops is always key and don't assume it all has to be outside, you may fancy taking your photographer for a drink at your favourite bar so they can snap some informal shots. You could even consider doing an activity such as bowling, bike riding or something crazy like climbing a mountain, for me as a photographer the crazier the better! 

Also consider the time of year, if you're tying the knot in summer you may want to contrast the season by having a Winter or Autumn engagement shoot. Autumn is my favourite time of year to shoot, you should consider taking advantage of how beautiful the landscape looks during this time of year.   

What the Hell to Wear?

It's a simple answer, pick something that you feel comfortable in and that's 'you' If you just want to rock up in your favourite band t-shirt, jeans and converse then do it but you might always want to be a little bit more creative or even use it as an excuse to go out and buy a new outfit. 

Without putting too much effort into it, consider how your outfits work together. Consider outfits that compliment each other without looking like you're both wearing the same wardrobe. 

I usually suggest not to worry too much about hair and make up for the ladies, but if you're engagement shoot has less focus on the location and more just about the two of you, having your hair and make up done by a proffesional may be a good idea. I know a lot of brides in the past have had hair and make up trials before their pre wedding shoot.  

Just Not Your Thing

Finally, most photographers offer pre wedding shoots as a complimentary or payed extra so it's not set in stone that you have to do it. If you really couldn't think of anything worse then speak to your photographer, they should always offer to meet up with you a few times before the wedding regardless if you choose an engagement shoot or not. With or without an engagement shoot it's important you both feel comfortable with your photographer and vice versa. 

Have you planned an awesome location for your pre wedding shoot? Do you have any tips for making the most of this experience ?

The Real Bride Diaries: Introducing Lucy & Danny

I'm mega excited to be announcing a new piece of content to the Creative Resources & Advice blog. Over the last few years I have met so many awesome Brides-to-be, seen them plan fantastic weddings and organise wedding days that really do take some serious planning. So I thought how better to share that experience than follow a bride-to-be on her journey from saying YES! to marrying her fiancee and saying I DO!. So if you're just about to start planning a wedding or you're still waiting for your partner to pop the question, this real bride diaries blog may just be the thing for you. I'm excited to be following Lucy's adventures and see how she goes about planning an awesome wedding. So enough from me, here's Lucy's first post as a the new 'real bride':

Just a City Boy & A Small Town Girl

I believed love at first sight was something you only see in the movies and occasionally while shopping online. 

Cliché as it sounds, this is the case for Danny and myself (and perhaps a couple of shoes along the way).

We met through a neutral friend at a Chinese buffet in Manchester. I remember thinking “he’s rather cute” and we just clicked!

However, our story isn’t very straight forward, after all Danny was in a relationship and I was a year away from moving to Bristol University. This love story had to be placed on hold.

Many months had passed as we both went in different directions. It wasn’t until one faithful night we went dancing with our friends into the early Manchester morning (a night at the Ritz followed by the famous chips and cheese to be precise). We both gave each other amazing energy and we bounced off each other’s humour.

We spent a lot of time together and a relationship naturally formed. 

Danny was a Games student at MMU Manchester university and I was a Fashion student at Chester. It was time for me to continue my studies and move to Bristol. Moving day came and I found myself sat in my studio apartment, waiting for Danny to arrive and spend the weekend with me.

The dreaded day came where reality had to kick in and Danny was to go back to Manchester. We didn’t want to part and out of no where Danny suggested moving to Bristol to finish his studies. I remember my heart pounding and shouting yes! This was the start of our adventure.

True to his word he moved to Bristol. A crazy move considering our relationship was only young, but the heart wants what it wants. We knew it felt right and I guess our hunch paid off! 7 years later, we are both living together in Manchester (no offence Bristol you beaut), and we are happily planning our wedding day. 

I look forward to sharing my wedding planning tips and advice with you. From the proposal, writing the table plan, choosing a photographer and importantly what to do when shopping for the dress. I will cover all areas and even share some of my DIY tips!


Lucy X