Wednesday, 26 January 2011

cheap and brilliant wedding photographers do exist

I know. I can't quite believe it either. After being dropped by our wedding photographer friend (thank god, I have calmed down a little now) I didn't know what to do. So I asked Twitter and blogged about it.

And a miracle occurred - the power of crowds and the brilliance of total strangers meant that we got not just one recommendation for photographers, but several. All of them great and reasonably priced and genuinely concerned and helpful. It was humbling, and I can't believe our luck.

After much deliberation we made a decision. It was not an easy choice - as I say - all of the people that found us were great. And after making such a personal appeal, the replies I received were in the same vein - so it was really hard to turn down those who so kindly offered their services and help. I felt bad for doing so, even though we could only pick one person.

I have lots of thank yous to make. Firstly, the retweeters and blog readers who helped spread the word. @Mission2Wed @Cloggins, @Convo_pieces @becca_clare, @VSChinaHire, @knotsandkisses - I hope I've got everyone here, but if I haven't, please message me or leave a comment and I will add you in.

And then, to the photographers who responded. Let me just say right now that if you are looking for a good (nay, great) and reasonably-priced wedding photographer then you need to call these people. On my limited dealings with them, I can also say that these people are willing to go the extra mile and offer personal service. In short - they give a damn:

And special thanks to the super-stylish Marie Man (you may also know her as @Marnova) for answering lots of questions. And the brilliant Hannah Dornford-May for doing the same.

(Really hoping I haven't missed anyone off. I had to write this post twice due to a crash perfectly timed for the exact moment I pressed 'publish'. If I have, please message me to say. I promise it wasn't intentional!)

One of the above is our wedding photographer - but I'm not going to say who just yet. As I may have mentioned - they are all amazing. I would hate for you to just visit the one link... Go and check them out, and tell your friends.

Thank you, internet, for being so bloody amazing. Hopefully normal service, and blog-posting regularity, can now resume!

Monday, 17 January 2011

photographer blues

So I have been posting a little on Twitter about some stress with the photographer. Avid readers may remember that we had booked a friend to be our photographer. He's what you might call a keen and capable amateur, and he'd done a wedding before.

We went out to see him and discussed what we wanted. We said we loved what he did and we coo-ed over his pics. My initial worries about the unreliability of asking a friend melted away. We looked at all sorts of pics and we decided that a sort of 'reportage' feeling, with a few arty ones, was the way to go. He'd done it before. It was theoretically simple. It would be great fun.

We had an informal document which we agreed on with the style, etc, detailed. All that was left was for him to send a contract - we may be friends, but friendships are lost over not being clear - and as we were paying him (not an insubstantial amount for a friend) - we needed a contract, even a little thing.

In the meantime, I sent the occassional link to nice photos. He responded saying they were nice. I knew he wasn't going to emulate everything I sent - I just thought they were nice and some showed examples of shots that were nice and simple. It was all Nice. Not demanding. We'd already discussed what he'd take - and that was cool.

Five months we waited for a contract. I emailed every few weeks to ask and he replied that it was coming, he was just busy with work etc.

Until last Thursday, when I felt that now the wedding was just a few months off, we should have a contract if that was OK - just as a formality, just in case. And he replied that he'd actually been stalling because he wasn't sure he could give us what we wanted. Even though we'd talked about what we wanted. And agreed on it. And that was FIVE months ago.

So we sent an email reassuring him that we loved what he did, just as it was.

His reply?

You're very kind. I'll think about it over the weekend and let you know.

So today - after chasing for a reply - we got one. He's not sure he can do it and says he wants to pull out. It sounds like he could still be convinced if we really tried, but now I don't want to convince him. I don't want to beg him to do it when he doesn't want to, or for the result to be disappointing and for him to say 'well, I did warn you...'

Most of all, we want someone we can rely on - and who wants to do it. We don't have enough money for a full on professional - that is for sure. And though I've had some good recommendations, the wedding is in Somerset and those recommendations have a long way to travel - making their initially realistic and reasonable quotes somewhat stratospheric.

That's not to say I'm not grateful for the recommendations - please keep them coming - but when I say not much money, I mean definitely not four figures, as nice as those photographers might be. Not even approaching four figures. But a not-insignificant sum, plus travel and somewhere to sleep. Maybe enough for a student, or someone just setting up their business. We will of course feed whoever comes and make sure they have a good time along with everyone else. We just can't drop a grand on pics. And now we are left not knowing what to do.

Friday, 7 January 2011

definitely going to love my dress

If you've arrived here from Love My Dress today then welcome!

Today I have officially been announced as the winner of the Love My Dress and House of Mooshki competition to win a dream wedding dress - made to any design I like.

I still can't believe it - I am over the moon and feel like the luckiest girl in the world.

Thank you Love My Dress and House of Mooshki! More updates to follow...

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

here's what you could have won

Today, a blog I love wrote a post that crystallised thoughts I've been having for a while. Thoughts about how much we manage to torture ourselves in the name of weddings.

The post I am referring to is this one, from the brilliant a Los Angeles Love. Becca at LAL is having a cool as hell wedding, with a DJ they love and food trucks and plants on the table and a lovely dress - and they are doing all of it between the two of them. Essentially it sounds like a massive party with a wedding at the centre, which is a model we are certainly aspiring to. Every time, I read this blog I find my confidence growing.

But today's post was all about the wobbles. About 'what the wedding won't be.' There won't be paper pom poms and bits of ephemera to photograph, and this bothers Becca, as it has bothered many of us in the past, myself included. There's a lot of justification for what there will not be and it reads like a post where she is rather exorcising these images from her brain. Begone, Martha Stewart! Get your stinking crafts out of my face! I'll do as I damn well please!

It's a sentiment I can get behind. I've felt it myself - weddingprettyoverload. The 'if I see another 1970s-tinted picture of a beautiful thin girl standing in an arty room looking wistful and showing us her shoes i am going to goddamn scream' feeling. That's not to say I don't like this stuff.

But my point is this - if even Becca, who is having a cool as hell wedding and showing people like me how to be confident - if even this lady gets these wobbles, then why? Who is torturing us? Who is forcing these pictures down our throats? Who is telling us that if we don't have crepe paper pom poms and artfully sourced bit of vintage then we will not be pretty enough? I am having a bit of a rerun of the end of this post, where I feel like the consumption of wedding magazines and blog is harming my sense of perspective.

Of course, the answer is that it is us. We are doing this to ourselves - we are reading the posts about the weddings of others and every time we do so, we mourn a little bit for the wedding we aren't going to have.

It is a form og torture - we are making ourselves feel a little more insignificant and going a little crazier every day. We know we can't do it all but all we do is make a decision and then challenge it, repeatedly, by looking at 'what we could have won' (wow, worked a 'Bullseye' reference into a wedding blog).

When we took our parents to see the venue, both sets said the same thing: we wish we could have been married somewhere like this. But neither of them were. One set married in a church hall a few weeks after one partner's redundancy (and cancelling almost EVERYTHING) and the other set married in a war zone. They had no pom poms, no luxury of months of organising, poring over blogs and magazines. They just did it with what they had, which is all you can do. Part of me feels embarrassed by the riches of time and choice at our disposal. We've got to find other ways to fill it than by torturing ourselves.

We do what we do, and we do it because that's us. That's it.

Monday, 3 January 2011

wonderstuff #1

I'm not really one for smearing lots of gunk on my face, partly because I'm lazy and partly because I'm lucky - I inherited skin that lets me be lazy. Most of the time, it's ok - I just have the same problems/problem areas as most people. I've always cleansed, moisturised - but there are stubborn areas.

Eating well cleared up a huge number of skin issues (another thing to thank Slimming World for!) However, as part of the same 'playing at being a grown up' drive that has recently seen me buying my first leather handbag and renouncing £2.99 make up, I decided that I should sort my skin out properly, with the wedding as an ultimate goal.

Over recent months I have discovered these two little beauties: one for problems, one for all round improvement.

This slightly industrial looking tube is truly brilliant stuff. Vichy's 'normaderm nuit' is, to translate the beauty-ese, stuff you use overnight that makes your dodgy bits calm down nicely. It doesn't dry out like witch hazel but slowly, over a few days/weeks, you realise your chin/nose are clear and lovely. Great stuff.

This is the second lovely thing. Soap & Glory 'make yourself youthful rejuvenating face serum'. I'd been looking out for a serum after a free sample of some amazingly expensive stuff convinced me that it was a good thing. Also I turned 28 and birthdays always make me buy this sort of stuff. However - most serums I saw were way out of my price range. Then I saw this and tried it out.

It smells AMAZING - like chocolate orange - and I think the orangeyness has some sort of freshening/removing dead cells effect on your skin. All I know is that it feels great and smells amazing and that after two days of using it, J said: "what have you done to your face? It looks...I dunno... Sort of rosier, but all over. Not red rosy, just sort of...bright...good..." which is about as resounding an approval as I have ever had.