A country wedding at Hambleton Hall

A country wedding at Hambleton Hall

Hambleton Hall Wedding Amanda Forman Photography

I can’t believe I am only just posting about this wedding now! Back in July I photographed the Wedding of Katie and Andy in the breathtaking setting of Hambleton Hall in Rutland.

Hambleton Hall is one of the most beautiful country House Hotels. An old Victorian House, expertly converted in to a luxury hotel with 17 rooms, all of whom are catered for by Michellin star Chef Aaron Patterson.

Katie and Andy couldn’t have chosen a more stunning venue for their celebrations. The morning saw me arrive at Hambleton Hall at 10:00 to a rather warm bride and bridesmaids. You see, the day of Katie and Andy’s wedding it was a rather toasty 30 degrees.

Hambleton Hall Gardens Amanda Forman Photography
Hambleton Hall Wedding bridal prep Amanda Forman Ph
Hambleton Hall Wedding bridal prep Amanda Forman Ph
Hambleton Hall Gardens Amanda Forman Photography
Hambleton Hall Wedding bridal prep Amanda Forman Ph
Hambleton Hall Wedding bridal prep Amanda Forman Ph

As Andy turned up well before the ceremony over at St Andrew’s Church in Hambleton, I was able to pop downstairs and get a few photos of him and his groomsmen. I had no trouble finding everyone downstairs but it was made easier by the fact that when you have your wedding at Hambleton Hall you have to have the whole venue so everyone there that morning was a guest of the couple – PERFECT.

Hambleton Hall Wedding Groom prep Amanda Forman photography
Hambleton Hall Wedding Groom prep Amanda Forman photography

The ceremony took place at St Andrews Church in Hambleton, just a short walk from Hambleton Hall. Katie was taking no risks though and donned her flip flops for the walk over, expertly sheltered from the sun with an umbrella by her Dad.

Hambleton Hall Wedding Amanda Forman Photography
Hambleton Hall Wedding Amanda Forman Photography
St Andrews Church Hambleton
St Andrews Church Hambleton
St Andrews Church Hambleton
St Andrews Church Hambleton Bride image
St Andrews Church Hambleton Bride image
St Andrews Church Hambleton
St Andrews Church Hambleton
St Andrews Church Hambleton
St Andrews Church Hambleton
St Andrews Church Hambleton
St Andrews Church Hambleton

we LOVE our photos!! Thank you so much…can we do it all again next week please??

St Andrews Church Hambleton wedding
Hambleton Hall Wedding Amanda Forman Photography
Hambleton Hall Wedding band
Hambleton Hall Wedding band
Hambleton Hall Wedding guests
Hambleton Hall Wedding guests
St Andrews Church Hambleton wedding
Hambleton Hall Wedding Amanda Forman Photography
Hambleton Hall Wedding
Hambleton Hall Wedding guests
Hambleton Hall Wedding guests
Hambleton Hall Wedding guests

Now I couldn’t even consider writing this blog without special mention to Katie’s parents who were brave enough to stand up and sing a beautifully rehearsed song for the newlyweds. It was such a wonderful moment.

Hambleton Hall Wedding gardens
Hambleton Hall Wedding gardens
Hambleton Hall Wedding couples photo
Hambleton Hall Wedding couples photo
Hambleton Hall Wedding couples photo
Hambleton Hall Wedding couples photo
Hambleton Hall Wedding couples photo
Hambleton Hall Wedding speeches
Hambleton Hall Wedding speeches
Hambleton Hall Wedding speeches
Hambleton Hall Wedding speeches
Hambleton Hall Wedding speeches
Hambleton Hall Wedding speeches
Hambleton Hall Wedding speeches
Hambleton Hall Wedding speeches
Hambleton Hall Wedding couple portraits
Hambleton Hall Wedding couple portraits
Hambleton Hall Wedding couple portraits

I am going to finish this story of Katie and Andy’s day at Hambleton Hall with a few images from the dance floor. There were so many to choose from so I have picked just a small selection but I am sure you can see how much fun was had! I am told the party continued until 4am, I on the other hand left at midnight before my carriage turned in to a pumpkin and my photos became too close to bribery material 😉

Hambleton Hall wedding first dance
Hambleton Hall wedding dancefloor
Hambleton Hall wedding dancefloor
Hambleton Hall wedding dancefloor
Hambleton Hall wedding dancefloor
Hambleton Hall wedding first dance
Hambleton Hall wedding dancefloor
Hambleton Hall wedding dancefloor
Hambleton Hall wedding dancefloor
Hambleton Hall wedding dancefloor
Hambleton Hall Wedding band
Hambleton Hall Wedding at night

Steal their Style

Venue – Hambleton Hall 

Band – Funked up 

Dress – Dress me Pretty

Cake – Family member created

Flowers – Sally Holmes Florist Oakham 

If you are still looking for your photographer for your wedding I would love to hear from you. Contact me using the form below for more information and check out my pricing page here.

Normanton Park Wedding – Elaine & Andy

Normanton Park Wedding – Elaine & Andy

Normanton Park Wedding – Elaine & Andy

Normanton Park Wedding Amanda Forman Photography

On the 24th August Elaine and Andrew said those magical words ‘I DO’ at Normanton Church in Rutland and celebrated their day at the nearby Normanton Park Hotel. Family travelled from far and wide, with one of Elaine’s sons travelling all the way over from Scotland.

 

Andrew and Elaine met in Rutland and so it wasn’t a hard decision when choosing their wedding location to come back to Rutland, and more specifically Normanton Church. They have fond memories of sitting on the bench at the back of the church and looking out to the water so of course this was a photo I had to capture for them on their wedding day.

I arrived at Normanton Park hotel for 08:30 along with the makeup artist Phoebe where preparations were already in full swing. Elaine was surrounded by her grandchildren and was amazingly relaxed considering Andrew was just over the hallway, what I loved about the bridal prep was how clearly Elaine’s grandchildren doted on her, there was a real buzz in the room.

Normanton Church Wedding | Amanda Forman Photography
Normanton Church Wedding | Amanda Forman Photography
Normanton Church Wedding | Amanda Forman Photography
Normanton Church Wedding | Amanda Forman Photography
Normanton Church Wedding | Amanda Forman Photography
Normanton Church Wedding | Amanda Forman Photography
Normanton Church Wedding | Amanda Forman Photography
Normanton Church Wedding | Amanda Forman Photography

Andrew was just across the hallway with his sons getting ready for the day. I took them all outside for a few photo’s and I am pretty sure they loved me for that because with 4 men and 2 children in one room… it was getting quite warm in there.

Normanton Church Wedding | Amanda Forman Photography
Normanton Church Wedding | Amanda Forman Photography

The stunning Normanton Church was the backdrop for Elaine and Andrews vows. I love photographing weddings here, it is such a magnificent church with breathtaking views across Rutland Water.

Elaine had told Andrew that she would be wearing a two piece suit instead of a dress on their wedding day and had even had her friends involved in the plot to trick him so his face when he saw her at the top of the aisle in her beautiful wedding dress was really something beautiful to see.

Normanton Church Wedding | Amanda Forman Photography
Normanton Church Wedding | Amanda Forman Photography
Normanton Church Wedding | Amanda Forman Photography
Normanton Church Wedding | Amanda Forman Photography
Normanton Church Wedding | Amanda Forman Photography
Normanton Church Wedding | Amanda Forman Photography
Normanton Church Wedding | Amanda Forman Photography
Normanton Church Wedding | Amanda Forman Photography
Normanton Church Wedding | Amanda Forman Photography
Normanton Church Wedding | Amanda Forman Photography
Normanton Church Wedding | Amanda Forman Photography
Normanton Church Wedding | Amanda Forman Photography

After the ceremony, we attempted to photograph the confetti shot but with bubbles instead but the bubbles were not playing ball, it did make for a lot of laughs and the longest aisle walk in history though. The guests all ran for shelter from the wind whilst we took a few photos of Elaine and Andrew around Normanton Church before heading out in the Rutland Belle. I have lived in Rutland for over a year and a half and can’t believe this was my first time! I loved it, we could have had better weather but spirits were high and everyone was excitedly chatting away.

Normanton Church Wedding | Amanda Forman Photography
Normanton Park Wedding Amanda Forman Photography
Normanton Park Wedding Amanda Forman Photography
Normanton Park Wedding Amanda Forman Photography
Normanton Church Wedding | Amanda Forman Photography
The Rutland Belle | Amanda Forman Photography
Normanton Church Wedding | Amanda Forman Photography
Normanton Church Wedding | Amanda Forman Photography
Normanton Church Wedding | Amanda Forman Photography
Normanton Church Wedding | Amanda Forman Photography
Normanton Church Wedding | Amanda Forman Photography
The Rutland Belle | Amanda Forman Photography

We arrived back at Normanton Church just in time for the rain to start!! Luckily I had planned ahead and brought a white umbrella with me for the couple to use. They guests however had to improvise 🙂

We all headed back to Normanton Park Hotel for the reception where the rooms had been beautifully transformed by Lola Rose and we were greeted by ALPACA’S !! Seriously I think every wedding should have them. They were so cute and soft.

The Rutland Belle | Amanda Forman Photography
Normanton Park Wedding Amanda Forman Photography
Normanton Park Wedding Amanda Forman Photography
Normanton Park Wedding Amanda Forman Photography
Normanton Park Wedding Amanda Forman Photography
Normanton Park wedding Amanda Forman Photography
Normanton Park wedding Amanda Forman Photography
Normanton Church Wedding | Amanda Forman Photography
Normanton Park Wedding Amanda Forman Photography
Normanton Park Wedding Amanda Forman Photography
Normanton Park Wedding Amanda Forman Photography
Normanton Park wedding Amanda Forman Photography
Normanton Park wedding Amanda Forman Photography
Normanton Park wedding Amanda Forman Photography

Elaine and Andrew thank you for sharing your day with me. I can’t wait to share your full gallery with you but for now I hope you have enjoyed your sneak peeks. Have a wonderful honeymoon xx

Koy Labs – My Wedding Album Supplier

Koy Labs – My Wedding Album Supplier

Amanda Forman Photography | Koy Labs | Wedding Album Supplier

Fact. You cannot take care of every minute of your business yourself. This is why we employ accountants, lawyers and website designers, to take care of their specialisms so you have the time to run your business and excel at your passion.

Another Fact. For any company, arguably even more so for smaller ones; having good suppliers’ is paramount if you intend for your business to be successful. After all from the customer looking in, they rarely care who didn’t deliver. The buck, as they say, stops with
you.

For wedding photographers the wedding album supplier is right up there at the top of the supplier list.

However, for me, finding a fantastic and passionate supplier for my clients’ wedding albums was ticked off a long time ago!

This blog post is all about our trip to Portugal to meet our wedding album supplier, to meet the workforce that deals with my ever-increasing demands; and to also thank those who contact me when I’ve done something silly and thankfully fix it before the wedding album is even printed or sent to me.

Fun Fact: For people preferring to skip the Porto preamble and get right to Koy Labs and their Epic Albums. CLICK HERE

Amanda Forman Photography | Koy Labs | Wedding Album Supplier

Our fleeting visit to Portugal started off with a three-night [two day] stint in the lovely Northwest city of Porto, a city known for various attractions, but none less important than their port wine!

Our time in Porto was perfect for relaxing in the sun, watching the world go by, and, depending upon the hour, either sipping coffee or port wine in one of the outdoor bars.

Porto is perfect for those who like to wander. As long as you don’t mind hills. We were thankful that at the time of our visit the temperatures were a mere 25 degrees rather than the spicy 47 degrees they are having at the moment. We visited several old churches, took a ride on the Gaia Cable car, ate Gelato in several different Gelato bars (I wish this was a thing here) and generally meandered our days away.

Amanda Forman Photography | Koy Labs | Wedding Album Supplier

We also visited the Caves Cálem, where you can learn all about where Port comes from and how it is made. We pottered around their interactive museum, went on a guided tour and unsurprisingly found ourselves testing their fine port products.. #WhenInRome

Amanda Forman Photography | Koy Labs | Wedding Album Supplier

For our last evening in Porto we ended it with a meal at Rib Beef & Wine, a fantastic steakhouse on the river front; which not only served us epic steak and wine, but chips in truffle oil… need I say more!

Off to Braga & Koy Labs

The time arrived for us to leave our lovely apartment and Porto behind and travel to Braga, and as the kind people of Koy Labs had arranged our transfer, the hour or so drive was hassle free.

When we arrived in the wonderful city of Braga we were greeted by Antonio Carneiro; and taken for a fantastic local meal. This gave us all the chance to chat about photography, wedding albums, and artwork with Antonio, Pedro Reigoto [Koy Labs, COO] and Pierre Delaunay a Koy Labs Ambassador from France. My husband however not being a photographer; took to sampling some local specialities, of the port wine variety.

On the morning after the night of port drinking before, we made our way to the Koy Lab factory; where the orders are taken, and every part of the album is made lovingly by hand.

Amanda Forman Photography | Koy Labs | Wedding Album Supplier

Firstly when your order arrives it is checked over to ensure that there are no anomalies with the files, so making sure no heads have been chopped off or pages without images added by accident for example.

From there it is taken to be printed. Once the printing is complete it is again checked against the files I have sent in to ensure that the print matches the file and then the pages are trimmed to the correct size and sent on to be heat pressed.

Amanda Forman Photography | Koy Labs | Wedding Album Supplier

Each album is pressed for up to 70 minutes on each side to ensure that the pages are bonded together. And the best part about the glue – they make it themselves, it has less water in it so this means that your pages won’t warp over time due to the moisture.

The next step is the creation of the covers. With your album there are quite literally hundreds of different options available to you. Most of my couples tend to choose the Acrylic cover which is truly stunning (see images at the bottom of this post) but you can have leather, suede, linen, and many more and you can choose to have them embossed too. Each and every part is carried out by hand (seeing a theme here?) Even the cardboard is made by Koylabs to be a certain thickness and the blades that cut the cardboard are replaced weekly instead of every three months as recommended so that they can ensure the card is cut perfectly every time.

Here are a few photos of some of my clients albums having their covers attached, these are the acrylic covers, this bride opted to include two parent alums (they do what they say on the tin) and the wonderful people at Koy matched the albums exactly so they were mini replicas.

Amanda Forman Photography | Koy Labs | Wedding Album Supplier
Amanda Forman Photography | Koy Labs | Wedding Album Supplier
Amanda Forman Photography | Koy Labs | Wedding Album Supplier

If you choose to have your album embossed then this lovely lady here hand picks the letters out, adds them to the embossing plate and then using card first, measures to ensure that the wording is exactly in the middle of your album cover (if that is where you have asked for it to go). Only when he is 100% satisfied will the album cover itself be embossed. It really is an art to make this absolutely perfect, and yes I did take that cover home with me 😊

Amanda Forman Photography | Koy Labs | Wedding Album Supplier
Amanda Forman Photography | Koy Labs | Wedding Album Supplier
Amanda Forman Photography | Koy Labs | Wedding Album Supplier

Once the cover is finished and attached it is pressed once again and then passed on to be packaged and sent out. Even at this stage it is still being checked all the way through to ensure that no one has missed anything and if the person who is packaging it notices anything wrong it is sent all the way back to be fixed.

I can’t tell you how impressed I am with Koy Labs, the love they put in to the creation of your wedding album is like nothing I have ever seen. Tom and I just got our own wedding album back from them and it is now proudly displayed in our living room In pride of place.

I wouldn’t have any other supplier now and can’t wait for you to see your album when it is made.

Here are a few images of recent wedding albums, everything shown was chosen by my couples, covers, colours, materials and papers.

Amanda Forman Photography | Koy Labs | Wedding Album Supplier
Amanda Forman Photography | Koy Labs | Wedding Album Supplier
Amanda Forman Photography | Koy Labs | Wedding Album Supplier
Amanda Forman Photography | Koy Labs | Wedding Album Supplier
Amanda Forman Photography | Koy Labs | Wedding Album Supplier
Want to see more? Take a look at this video showing some footage from the lab.

Thank you to everyone we met and who looked after us whilst we were there;

Mr Koy and Mrs Teresa (the owners).
Pedro Reigoto (Manager)
Marta Braga Production Manager
Marta Azevedo (Customer care)
Sara Carreira (Marketing)

The Barns at Redcoats

The Barns at Redcoats

Barns at Redcoats

Last Thursday evening I had the honour of being invited along to photograph the launch of The Barns at Redcoats. A stunning new barn wedding & events venue in Hertfordshire.

 

Guests were greeted with cocktails and treated to the stunning views of the surrounding countryside. The Grade 2 listed Barns have been lovingly restored and create what could be a truly spectacular backdrop for your wedding.

Ellene from Stylenvy has give the interior of the barns and their additional 15 bedrooms a brand new look, with the bridal suite encompassing not only a free standing bath, but also a walk in shower and his and hers bathrooms. I can’t wait to go back to photograph them and share them all with you.

The Barns at Redcoats is an impressive venue, with an incredible events team led by Charlotte Barrett. They are already booking well in to next year and the following year so if you are looking for a barn wedding venue then get in touch with them and arrange a tour. For now you can go for the next best thing and take a look at some of my photos from the event, showing the Barns at Redcoats in all of it’s superior glory.

The Barns at Redcoats
The Barns at Redcoats
The Barns at Redcoats
The Barns at Redcoats
The Barns at Redcoats
The Barns at Redcoats
The Barns at Redcoats
The Barns at Redcoats
The Barns at Redcoats

The Normanton Church Wedding of Anna and James

The Normanton Church Wedding of Anna and James

Amanda Forman Photography | Normanton Church Wedding | Rutland Golf Course

Friday 13th may be unlucky for some but for Anna and James it is a date they will remember fondly for many many years to come. I’ll also remember this day for years to come, but for slight different reasons #TheCameraThatDidNotDefyGravity; but such events are why professionals always carry more than one!

The day was a cloudy one with the threat of rain, and as soon as Tom and I arrived and saw Anna’s beautiful white lace dress Tom raced home to get my trusty wellies and a white sheet for Anna to stand on for photos. We will never knowingly muddy a dress, especially not one as beautiful as Anna’s!! More on this later…

Bridal prep took place in the cottage at Rutland Water Golf course, we were greeted by Anna, her 3 bridesmaids and a third lady who we fondly nicknamed the Interloper. This particular interloper, a non-bridesmaid but good friend had travelled from Australia, and provided much amusement by spending the morning running around in an attempt to avoid an accidental photo-bomb. She failed 🙂

Amanda Forman Photography | Normanton Church Wedding | Rutland Golf Course
Amanda Forman Photography | Normanton Church Wedding | Rutland Golf Course
Normanton Church Wedding

When I am shooting a wedding solo; I like to try and get to the church or ceremony venue ahead of time to make sure I can get a few photos of the groom and his entourage, and when you are photographing a wedding at Normanton Church the backdrop makes this even better!

This time however Anna was the one who would be arriving first! Did you know you can choose which way you would like to face when getting married inside Normanton church? And as there is only one entrance and exit from the church, if you want to walk down the aisle the way Anna did then you need to arrive early and hide in the back – don’t worry there’s loads of space and you can spy on all of the guests arriving too!

With Anna safely hidden I went back outside to photograph early arriving guest and James looking calm and collected (read nervous). I assumed my role of chief button hole pinner and instructed Damo in exactly how to pin the button hole on for James – a skill that has taken me time to perfect but which I am very proud of.

Normanton Church Wedding bride
Normanton Church Wedding groom

After a truly beautiful ceremony Tom ushered all of the guests back to Rutland Water Golf Course, whilst I stayed behind and snuck in a few photos of the newlyweds at Normanton Church. We didn’t have the venue for long but I knew if we worked quickly we could get some memories for them, and it was a nice way for them to take in the fact that THEY WERE NOW MARRIED!

It was at this exact moment one of my cameras decided to take a topple from my holster and smashed on the floor. After a heart dropping moment I gathered myself together, safe in the knowledge that I did in fact have two cameras and several other lenses so everything was fine and most importantly, the photography could continue. But this my dear reader is the reason you should always choose a photographer that does in fact have more than one camera. I have never had this happen to me before but boy am I glad I was prepared for it.

Normanton Church family photo
Normanton Church couple photos

Not being put off by the weather and the fact we couldn’t race around in the golf buggies (Tom was secretly pretty upset about that) we had arrived early to look for some new locations for the couple portraits at Rutland Water Golf course and it really paid off. I actually like it when the weather throws us a curve ball like this, it forces me to think outside of the box and we came up with some great locations. And of course with the welly boots we had even more scope.

I specialise in working with couples who don’t ‘really’ want to have their photo taken but at the same time would like photographs to remember their day by. Whilst I will advise you on, what to do, where to stand, and give some simple instructions. I also work to get natural reactions from you, along with my wonderful husband Tom, we aim to capture the real you, the couple that your friends and family see and not the couple who are being forced to stand and smile at the camera. This is also where things like the welly boots come in to play. There is just no way you can feel too posed when wearing a wedding dress and welly boots, try it, I dare you!

We didn’t want the bride and groom to go hungry and miss their canapés, so Tom ran off to fetch some for them, they were very well received – and I think some of the best canapés I have seen at any wedding, proper food and so comforting on a rainy, cloudy day.

Rutland Water Golf Course group photo
Rutland Water Golf Course couple photo
Rutland Water Golf Course couple photo
Rutland Water Golf Course couple photo
Rutland Water Golf Course couple photo

I will leave you with a few images from the reception, and some of my favourite dance floor shots, such an awesome crowd and fuelled by the biggest wheel of cheese I have ever seen!! They had a cake of cheese as their wedding cake, a fantastic idea, check the credits below for the link.

Rutland Water Golf Course dance floor photos

Steal their style

A Handful of Wedding Planning Tips [Part 1]

A Handful of Wedding Planning Tips [Part 1]

A Handful of Wedding Planning Tips [Part 1]

A brief introduction

You may know me as Just Tom, Amanda’s Husband, Amanda’s Assistant, or just ‘that random wedding guest [which no-one remembers inviting]’. Or even more likely, you may not know me at all.

Over the years, we [Amanda and I] have both heard a similar sentiment resonating from her clients, which is that the initial ‘Yes’ was, with hindsight the easy part, and all the subsequent wedding planning was far harder than ever expected.

Now, as some of you know. I [Tom] tend to buck the trend in most instances either intentionally or not and our own wedding was no exception. Because I pretty much planned the entire day [with the exception of dress and photographer]. And before someone tries to interject; no, the day was not a complete disaster.

Because of this, Amanda asked me, begged me, or maybe bribed me with chocolate to note down my thoughts / experiences about that time long ago, when I was ‘elbow deep in wedding planning shenanigans’.

The Big Take Away [to save you reading the rest]. There are very few things that are really worth losing sleep over. No, seriously. At the end of the day; you; your partner and some witnesses are all that is needed! The rest is just matrimonial fluff [well, with the exception of a photographer obvs].

I for example should have never invested two weeks of my free time looking for that perfect ‘laser cut, tiffany blue cupcake case’. Neither should I have lost sleep over initially only being able to find ‘warm duck egg’ cupcake cases. Nor should I have found myself arguing with people that had the audacity to suggest ‘just using teal’. AND finally, once I had found said perfect light medium robin egg blue laser cut, lace cupcake case should have even considered £7 per case would a ‘reasonable expense’. And that is what started Amanda calling me ‘Mr Groomzilla’.

But lets move on with what I found to be important items, and relatively ‘quick wins’* when planning a wedding.

The Important Items

  • A Budget
  • Set a Date
  • Book a Venue & Registrar
  • Create a Guest List
  • Consider Save the Dates [useful for wedding date over a year away

A heads up: I like playing a little management BS bingo with blogging. So be warned.

A Budget

I am writing this based upon the assumption that you [the reader] fall inline with vast majority of wedding couples’ i.e.  you will have to have, or need a budget. If you do not, then please contact Amanda for some special photography rates; or contact me and I will plan your entire wedding.

Budgeting for a wedding, is very much like building a house it appears; although to clarify I have never built a house. BUT I have watched far too much Grand Designs for my own sanity. Based upon our wedding planning, I would suggest that you have a crack at some hard math; and answer the following:

  • Question 1: Write down the figure to answer: how much money do we want to spend on our wedding day?
  • Question 2: Write down the figure to answer: how much money can we spend on wedding day without having to honeymoon in the back-garden [not a euphemism]?

Now, unless you are ‘in the know’ or retrospectively making a budget to fulfil what you have already spent (which is cheating). Then you will likely spend a figure in between Figure 1 & 2. Amanda and I never really considered how much we wanted to spend; I recommend you have a think about it.

But anyway, I digress. For those of you who thought tl;dr: Just consider the following

  • Talk about the budget with each other, it shouldn’t be a secret.
  • Know how much you are planning to spend AND
  • Make a proper effort to break it down by item,
  • Do NOT just look at the big item spends, a few smaller items can quickly dent the budget.

FYI: TL;DR; – “Too long; didn’t read”.

Setting The Date

When it comes to wedding planning, ‘setting the date’ is a very important milestone, and to be honest everything flows a little easier when the date is secured pretty early on.

  • Primarily as it is pretty difficult to book anything if you do not know when you require it.
  • Secondly as your guests will likely prefer knowing an actual date to save, rather than an entire month or nonchalant ‘season & year’ combo.

Securing a date will also assist with focusing your venue options. For example, Amanda and I were wed in a January and I can assure you that at no point did we consider a festival themed wedding.

Should you be wondering, what we tend to see is couples taking around 12-18 months to plan their wedding, thus:

  • Allowing them to save / fund their shindig
  • To give them enough time to organise the particulars
  • To increase the odds on their guests being available

 

The ‘Takeaway Points’

  • Most newly engaged couples we talk to expect to take between 12-18 months planning their wedding
  • Some popular venues combined with a bank holiday weekend may be secured further than 18 months into the future!
    • We tend to see a dwell in the planning between the initial date and venue being secured and the remaining items
  • Without a date, its hard to book anything else for your wedding..
  • Setting the date early increases the odds of guests not already having plans / holidays booked etc
  • Save The Dates are a great way to indicate to guests they will receive an invite at a later date; and that they should keep the date ‘free’. Without having to rush and send your invites out 12 months prior to the wedding.
    • Our Save The Dates went out once we had a guest list and a date.
    • Our Invites were posted 6 months before the ‘date of impending nuptials’
Amanda Forman Photography - Wedding Planning - Save The Dates
The Guest List

Realistically you can do one of two things when it comes to the Guest List

  1. Elope; only invite a handful of people; annoy a lot of close friends and family; BUT save having to feed people; listen to people; and manoeuvre around the minefield that is the ‘family dynamic’.
  2. Dont.

Presuming that Option 1 is only called an ‘option’ for the sake of irony; then I will let you into a little secret that I discovered when writing our list of free loaders [or close-friends and family as my wife calls it].

Writing a guest list does not have to be a stressful nightmare with heated arguments with your loved one; about if ‘that always overly inebriated friend’ should be invited or not [its ok, we all have one]. A good starting point would be:

  1. Initially write down everyone who, in an ideal world, you would want at your wedding.
  2. Now work out which of these potential guests require a ‘plus one’
  3. Find out how many your venue can sit for your Wedding Breakfast [also known as dinner on your wedding day].

If the total of Question 1 & 2 is larger than your answer for Question 3, then this leads you nicely onto the notion of wedding and evening quests. If however your venue can feed all of your guests; it may be worth finding out the answer to ‘what is the price per head for your wedding breakfast’.

Our Wedding Breakfast for reference was £60 per person; thus a guest plus their ‘random’ equated to 120 quid of food; plus drinks which we provided ourselves [Thanks Mum!]. 

One Guest List or a Day List and Evening Only list

There are pros and cons either way, however your hand may be forced if you are a popular person, know lot of people or have a large family; but have chosen a small cosy wedding venue.

The benefits include:

  • It gives guests who have day commitments the chance to be a part of your evening celebrations.
  • It allows you to invite everyone whilst keeping the Wedding Breakfast costs down
  • Allows you to invite all the people you want at your day; whilst keeping that cosy wedding venue

However!

  • Be mindful not to alienate your evening guests. No one likes feeling unloved or second rate.
  • Consider segregating entire social groups to either the entire day or the evening; as that will limit the potential for squabbling.

Remember, contrary to what some people may tell you. Your wedding day is all about you, and people being their celebrating your love for each other [eurgh, I made myself feel sick then]. So if you close your eyes and imagine that in 10 years time you are looking through your wedding album; the people who you imagine are in there are those who you should consider inviting..

 

Amanda Forman Photography - Wedding Planning - Guests Partying
The Table Plan

A lot of couples dread the process of table plan, a family dynamic can be lots of things, but sometimes not conducive to prolonged close proximity to each other.

The dynamic of inter-friend relationships can also be a tricky path to tread; because after-all they are all there to see you, which doesn’t mean they like each other. And realistically, they’ll see a lot more of each other than you both on your wedding day.

I planned our table plan for all 98 guests in under 15 minutes, and although I approached it methodically, gave consideration to certain personality types and also tried to ensure no one was stranded on a table, solo.

My mindset was simple [one could say synergistic]; be considerate and relatively flexible, but at the end of the day. They are only there to see you, so If they are going to cause issues, they aren’t your friend and maybe not worth an invite.

Also remember that the majority of the costs you incur are to keep these guests happy; YES that is correct you are basically paying your guests to be there. After all, if we hadn’t have invited our guests, we wouldn’t have hired a Magician [Will Gray], a Band [BreakThrough], a Caricaturist [Tonys Toons]; or even the epic venue [Berkeley Castle].

Instead Amanda and I would have headed straight to the Maldives and got hitched in the sun.

Tabling Planning in a Nutshell

  • Do not spend days stressing about who can’t sit near who; remember they are only sitting there for a posh dinner! Not for the rest of their lives [all being well].
  • People deserving of being a guest will sit where they are told
Amanda Forman Photography - Wedding Planning - The Table Plan
To Summarise!

Planning a wedding is a massive task, the pressure to get it right is undeniably high. After all you don’t want to be the couple that hosted a crap wedding right?

Well, here is some truth for you reader. The people that would bitch and moan about your day do not deserve a place on your guest list.; and most certainly do not deserve the additional cost to feed them. #truth

Finally; after reading this epic post you may have saved enough money to book an awesome wedding photographer! But failing that, I would recommend you look at Amanda’s Portfolio. She is annoyingly talented [for the record]. And If you read that, then it proves Amanda doesn’t proof my posts! #mwahaha

Potential Future Topics

If I am ever allowed to blog on here again, then the next instalment of ‘A Handful of Wedding Planning Tips’ will hopefully include the topics:

  1. A Photographer – A Guide to Looking Pensive.
  2. The Wedding Breakfast – To Give Guests a Choice OR to Force Feed Them Chicken [Vegetarians Beware]
  3. Etiquette / ‘Schzmequette’ -Breaking From Tradition & Having Some Fun!
  4. Groomsmen – The Suits, The Responsibilities & The Faux Pas

Pin It on Pinterest