Aside from your wedding photos and thatsliver of wedding cake for your first anniversary, there are only so many ways you can memorialise your nuptials after the fact. Enter alternative wedding guest books. Traditionally, couples have set up designated sign-in stations for friends and family to write sweet notes of congratulations, but standard guest books tend to get sidelined to a bookshelf or exiled into a lowly storage box (not the best way to reminisce on your big day). Now, though, couples are personalising this wedding detail by transforming it into a fun activity that makes it memorable for not only the couple but also the guests.
This blog post aims to bring you some alternative ideas to the guest book to help you think about personalising your own wedding.
Globe-trotting couples, let your nearest and dearest make their marks on your own little world. Consider getting guests to leave messages on an old globe or get a blank one for the occasion.
Cheese! Ditch the guest note route completely; instead, encourage wedding attendees to cosy up for the camera and leave their marks with a Polaroid selfie. Set up a station just for the task, and prepare for an overload of hilarious selfies.
Cheers! Get guests to leave messages on corks that you can make into a pinboard or heart shape. Or better yet get a massive bottle of wine or fizz and ask guests to leave a message in metallic markers. You can drink on your first anniversary and keep the bottle as a cute reminder.
Shadow boxes that guests can fill with pre-cut timber shapes once they’ve written their message are becoming more and more popular.
Timber! Love games? How about getting guests to leave messages on a Jenga set for a truly personalised games night.
Music fans! Ask guests to write their messages on an old vinyl record that you can then frame.
Bucket list. Ask guests to leave suggestions in a, well, bucket, for adventures the pair of you can carry out in your lifetime together.
Eco-friendly. Ask guests to sign a terracotta or earthenware pot that you can then fill with succulents of other plants as a lasting reminder.
Signing Frame. Make your guests messages part of your decor. Put a picture in the middle from your engagement shoot, if you had one. Or of the two of you and replace after the wedding with one of your favourite wedding images. (a group shot would be perfect!). Guests sign all around the photograph mount. Many wedding photographers including myself offer this type of product.
It is easy to get carried away and offer lots of options to guests. But that can be overwhelming for guests and you end up with lots of partially completed items. My advice is to pick one that suits your theme and you as a couple and really go for it!
I’m sure I’m not the only photographer that has a bucket list of locations they are desperate to photograph weddings at? Culzean Castle was one of my bucket list locations and I was lucky enough to shoot there last year. The Cow Shed at Crail is another. I love the fact that the barn is a blank canvas so each couple stamps their own individual look on it. As you can imagine I was delighted when Kerrie and Dominic got in touch last year looking for a photographer to capture their June 2019 wedding at the Cow Shed. Mini fist pumps all round!!!
Seven year itch?
Kerrie and Dom met seven years ago whilst out on the town in Manchester where they both live. Six months later Dom moves in with Kerrie and the rest, as they say, is history. And how about this for a proposal? Dom proposed to Kerrie on Bonfire night at Niagra Falls!
Although the couple and their two dogs live in Manchester, Kerrie is originally from St. Andrews. The East Neuk of Fife has become a special place for them so that is where they planned their wedding 🙂
An irregular choice
Kerrie, her five bridesmaids and her mum and stepdad all got ready at Kilconquhar Castle Estate. I love it when I get to capture the bridal prep as it is just like getting ready for a night out with your girlfriends – but with prettier dresses!
Three of Kerrie’s maids were cousins, two of which had traveled over from Canada for the event. One was her soon to be sister-in-law and her maid of honour was her best friend. When I arrived at 10am Kerry from Pretty You hair and make up had been on the case since 8am. You could feel the love and support in the room and Kerrie’s Stepdad Ron was keeping us all entertained with his tall tales.
Kerrie’s dress was a dreamy confection of lace and tulle from Morilee
Normally I have to get creative in a hotel room and hand the wedding dress on curtain poles or headboards but the sun was out on the estate and there were trees just outside the lodge they were all in. There were bunnies playing on that lawn behind the dress but they ran away when I started shooting!
Aren’t they just amazing? I love the fact that she chose somthing so original and fun.
Once everybody was ready we had time for some pictures before I headed off to the church to find the groom. Don’t they look stunning? I loved the bouquets filled with peonies and roses as well as wildflowers.
Get me to the church on time
St Andrews in the June sunshine is busy, St Andrews on graduation day is mobbed! But the air was full of jubilation and celebration and you couldn’t help getting swept up in it all.
St. James Church is a small Roman Catholic church on the seashore.
The inside providing a cool, reflective and calm space from the June sunshine.
As the guests started arriving to the sounds of the piper I tracked down the groom and his crew for some photos.
The bride was bang on time and affter a short but beautiful service the guests piled onto the coaches Kerrie & Dom had provided leaving us some time alone for formal photos in the churches gorgeous gardens.
Like a lot of couples they weren’t keen on having their pictures taken so I kept it nice and relaxed and got them doing lots of stuff to take their minds off the fact that I was shooting them. It was great for them to have some time alone before the reception as well. If you ignore the giant third wheel in their face with a camera that is!
Off to the farm
After a couple of wrong turns in my trusty mini I made it to the Cow Shed and the smell of the BBQ they were having as the wedding breakfast wafted to greet me (yum).
Kerrie and Dom had decorated the barn so beautifully it was like every barn wedding you ever imagined on Pinterest and more!
I set about capturing all the details but not before I’d captured the group shots and the bridal party.
Apart from the bride and groom (obvs.) and his sister and brother-in-law all of the other bridesmaids and groomsmen were coupled up with other people outside the bridal party but I didn’t let that get in the way of a great photo opportunity and made them all pair up and stare into each others eyes!
Kerrie and Dom had organised mini golf out on the lawn. When they told me about that at their pre-wedding consultation I just knew I had to use that for some of the bridal party shots.
Luckily they humoured me 🙂
Breakfast at Tiffany’s
The meal was excellent and the speeches both touching and entertaining where the guests learned that one of the bridal party had once spent the night in police custody! Luckily there was no criminal record!!
As the guests enjoyed the early evening sunshine and the vista across to the North Sea the main barn was trasnformed so they could dance the night away.
The couple took to the floor to dance their first dance to Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Deep Blue Something. Pretty soon the guests started filling the dance floor to join the happy couple.
“And all along I believed I would find you
Time has brought your heart to me
I have loved you for a thousand years
I’ll love you for a thousand more”
Christina Perri – A Thousand Years
It wasn’t quite a thousand years Christine and James waited to get married but seventeen years and two children later can feel like a really long time!
They met seventeen years ago at the gym and about seven years later James asked Christine to marry him. They started planning a wedding but six months later discovered they were pregnant with their daughter Neive. So the wedding got put on the back burner and then life got in the way.
Christine was looking at the venue The Vu on social media earlier this year when a last minute date popped up as a cancellation. As it was James’ birthday she sent it to him as a joke thinking he’d never go for it. But he did! By the time they phoned up another couple had already booked it so they thought that was that. Twelve hours later the venue called them back. The other couple had pulled out as they felt it was too short notice – did they want it? Christine and James rose to the challenge. IT WAS ON!!!
A Family Affair
In the intervening years, Christine and James also had a son, Jude and he looked super smart in his matching kilt.
Neive meanwhile looked beautiful as one of her mum’s bridesmaids.
Christine looked absolutely stunning in a fit and flare dress with a plunging back set off with a long sparkly veil and pastel roses bouquet.
I now pronounce you man and wife
It was a short but memorable service. At one point Neive got emotionally as her parents finally tied the knot and as I gave her my emergency hanky I noticed all the other bridesmaids getting a shot of it. Quite a lot of glassy eyes in the building.
Baby, it’s cold outside
Christine and James were very fortunate with the weather for a late October wedding. It was beautiful blue skies and little puffy white clouds. It was also only about three degrees and bitterly cold.
Undeterred the happy couple braved the weather for some formal photos on The Vu’s famous jetty.
It was my first time shooting at this venue and having checked it out beforehand I had such plans for pictures of Christine and James and their kids walking by the reservoir and the bridal party in the pagoda. Ahhhh such plans! The Baltic weather stopped us in our tracks, well if I’m honest the bride (what a trouper) and myself were up for it but the kids point-blank refused to stay outside any longer than absolutely necessary!
The pictures of the new Mr & Mrs on the jetty were worth the cold weather though!
A Sensible Plan B
Being a premier wedding venue there was a plan B and Hannah the wedding coordinator suggested the slate wall back inside the room we had the service. Coordinators like Hannah are worth their weight in gold. She was so helpful all day 🙂
The wall was the perfect backdrop for this stunning couple.
A Sparkling Evening
After the speeches and the meal, we braved the weather again armed with some sparklers.
Then all too soon it was time for the cake cutting and first dance and time for me to take my leave. You would never have known this wedding had been organised so quickly and as my last wedding of the year, it certainly didn’t disappoint.
Congratulations Mr and Mrs Welsh and to all the other wonderful couples I’ve shot this year.
When Mr JB and I lived in Edinburgh we had a flat with no garden. As the Royal Botanic Gardens were a stone’s throw from where we lived they were a beautiful respite in a bustling city, a place to walk on a Sunday morning and feed the fat squirrels, somewhere we would joke was our ‘backyard’. They are a magical place that we have very fond memories of. Hence, I was delighted when Pamela and James booked me to photograph their wedding there.
James and Pamela met in a bar in Edinburgh whilst out with their respective friends. Pamela wasn’t too keen on giving James her mobile number so the cunning devil stole it! Three years later and James proposed in Greece which Pamela said was just in time as she thought it was never going to happen. The proposal itself took two attempts as the first time Pamela thought James was trying to steal her Panini!!
James is Scottish and Pamela is Italian and when I went to her room at the Inverleith Hotel to capture some of the bridal prep I had my wedding umbrellas with me, just in case. I was greeted at the door by two gorgeous, very animated Italian ladies that were clearly very excited about something! When Pamela realised I was completely confused she translated that they were very happy that I had brought wedding umbrellas as it looked overcast and they were thinking they might have to go out and buy some! As it turned out we didn’t need them – but you never know in Scotland….
Pamela looked absolutely radiant. As they had chosen the garden venue she had gone with a stunning floral crown in her hair and the overall effect once she had her dress on was off an ethereal goddess. James was a very lucky guy.
In the Garden
I left Pamela in her maids’ good hands to get to the Caledonian Hall, the wedding venue they had chosen inside the Gardens. Pamela and James picked the venue as they too love coming to the Gardens in their downtime and once they realised they could get married there nowhere else came close for consideration.
The Groom and his Best Man arrived resplendent in Stewart Tartan. As the guests arrived they were played in by Davie Christie on his violin.
As half the guests were Italian the service was conducted by the registrar and one of the couples friends who is an interpreter for a living. She also interpreted the two readings the couples had chosen and all the speeches. I think it all sounded more romantic in Italian.
James also spoke some of his vows and his speech in Italian which was a lovely touch.
The gardens looked so beautiful in all their autumnal splendour. The new Mr and Mrs Stewart were so photogenic. I could have spent hours walking them around the garden taking pictures. In fact, I nearly broke my own rules which are to get the couple back to their party and guests as soon as possible.
Their favourite parts of the Gardens included the Rock Garden and the Chinese Garden. I made sure we got lots of great pictures in those places.
Confetti? Who needs it!
Due to strict conservation rules, the guests weren’t allowed to throw confetti in the gardens. But who needs confetti when you have leaves!
Alice in Wonderland
The couple had chosen Alice in Wonderland characters for their seating plan and with glass candelabras, lots of flowers and a naked wedding cake the Caledonian Hall looked absolutely magical.
The Maid of Honour kicked off the speeches. I can honestly say was the most beautiful speech I’ve heard all year. The Italian translation sounded even more poetic.
After the speeches, I bade them farewell before they tucked into the wedding breakfast and then started dancing the evening away. At the end of the night, they were serving the guests pizza. I just hope nobody tried to steal the Bride’s slice!
• Set the date
Start your wedding planning twelve months or more in advance to ensure you get to book the venues and suppliers of your choice at the best prices. You could save money by booking a mid-week wedding instead of a Saturday.
• Decide whether to plan your own wedding
Or enlist the help of a professional wedding planner. You could plan the wedding yourself and call on the expertise of a wedding planner or stylist their experience is often worth its weight in gold.
• Send save-the-date cards
To make sure your guests don’t book their summer holiday and miss your special day. If you are booking a photographer see if they offer engagement shoots and use a cool picture for your save the date cards.
• Set your budget
Make it realistic without going into debt and add in a contingency just in case.
• Draw up your guest list(s)
Try to make it equal and keep both families happy. Have a separate evening reception guest list if you want some work colleagues or friends of the family to come but you don’t know them well enough to invite them to the ceremony and the wedding breakfast.
• Book your venue(s)
The sooner you book your venues, the easier everything else will be to plan. You’ll need to book a venue for your ceremony (either a church, registry office or other licensed civil wedding venue) and a venue for your reception, for your wedding breakfast and disco or other after-dinner entertainment. Take into account seating capacity, room hire costs, catering options, indoor and outdoor settings for photographs. You could save thousands of pounds by booking out of season – many venues have fantastic winter wedding offers too.
• Appoint bridesmaids, a best man and ushers
Choose from close friends and family who are nearby ideally and, ahem, thoroughly trustworthy!
• Book your photographer and videographer
Find a wedding photographer who offers the style of photos you are looking for (traditional, contemporary, reportage style or a combination), meet with them personally, ask to see their portfolio and also a whole album from one wedding. Also, see my blog 10 things to ask your wedding photographer.
• Meet your minister/registrar
They’ll be able to answer all your questions about the ceremony.
• Book a DJ/band/entertainers
You might want to book a DJ to dance the night away or hire a live band or classical musicians for your reception. Some couples like to have a singer perform a live solo piece at their ceremony, others book magicians or celebrity lookalikes for their evening reception just to add a sense of fun!
• Book caterers if needed
If the reception venue you have booked is not doing your catering then you’ll need to consider hiring outside caterers or, if your budget is tight, catering the wedding with buffet party platters from your local supermarket.
• Book your cars
You’ll need to book one bridal car for you and the person giving you away and you may also want to book a second or third car for your mother and bridesmaids. If you want to make it easier and fun for all your family and friends – book a bus! You could get some amazing wedding photos of you and your guests atop a vintage double-decker bus!
• Book your florist
Decide how many flowers you would like and where, or if you’re on a tight budget, invest in everlasting silk flowers that can be sold on after the wedding. A combination of real and silk flowers can also work. Ask your local florist for advice.
• Book a toastmaster
You might think you don’t need a toastmaster or master of ceremonies, or be worried that having one will make your wedding day feel too formal. They’re worth their weight in gold for ensuring everything goes to plan at the right time, in the right place and with the right people. A lot of venues offer this as part of their package so be sure and check.
• Book your honeymoon
Whether you’re planning just a honeymoon or a whole wedding abroad, book it in your maiden name and use your existing passport, then change all your documents to your married name when you return.
• Take out wedding insurance
It’s not costly and could save you thousands if a supplier suddenly lets you down. It’s worth it just for peace of mind!
• Decide what kind of wedding dress you want
If you’re having a couture wedding dress made for you then you’ll need to start this process now. If you’re ordering a designer dress then allow 4-6 months and if you’re buying off-the-peg or second-hand, 4-6 weeks before should be fine for alterations if needed.
• Start your healthy eating diet and exercise programme
Whether you want to lose weight or simply tone up for your wedding day and honeymoon, there is no better time to start than now! Go to the gym together as a couple or go with a friend. You’ll never have such amazing motivation to look good again!
6 months +
If you’re planning to DIY some aspects of your wedding – such as making your own invitations, table centres, cake or favours, then you will also need to build in time for practice as well as production – just to be on the safe side! Now is the time to start.
• Order/make your wedding invitations
Don’t forget all the other wedding stationery including orders of service, place cards and thank you cards.
• Order the wedding cake
Or cupcakes or ‘cheese cake’, or have your wedding cake homemade.
• Buy your wedding shoes and accessories
Get your shoes in good time for your first dress fitting, and your tiara and veil in time for your makeup and hair trial. Choose what jewellery and any other bridal accessories you will wear.
• Book your make up artist and hairdresser
Speak to several to find the one that’s right for you, then book a hair and makeup trial complete with your tiara and veil if possible.
• Buy your bridesmaid’s dresses and suits for the groom, best man, ushers and any flower girls or page boys.
• Book the honeymoon suite
3 months +
• Have your wedding dress altered
And then don’t lose any more weight!
• Buy your wedding rings
Make sure they are both the right size and that your wedding ring will sit comfortably alongside your engagement ring if you plan to wear them together.
• Send your wedding invitations
Traditionally they are sent out 6-12 weeks before the wedding but you can send them sooner if you prefer. Include information for your guests on overnight accommodation, transport, parking and any dress code if appropriate. Include reply cards to ensure they all RSVP and ask your guests if they have any specific dietary requirements. Or use a free wedding website like www.gettingmarried.co.uk
• Order your venue décor and table decorations
Including table centrepieces and traditional wedding favours thought to bring good luck.
• Decide if you are having a gift list
Make it available to all your wedding guests (through your invitations) and your wedding website if you have one.
• Choose wedding music and readings
Your minister/registrar will be able to advise further. Or check out my wedding music blog here.
• Buy gifts for the best man, ushers and bridesmaids
And bouquets of flowers for the mothers of the bride and groom. Personalised gifts with your own message engraved make very special keepsakes.
• Arrange to have any vaccinations done
If required for your honeymoon.
• Start to plan your hen and stag parties
With the help of your best man and chief bridesmaid respectively.
1 month before
• Arrange for a final fitting of your wedding dress
And bring along your mum, sister or best friend too!
• Reconfirm the wedding arrangements with all your suppliers
Speak to them personally and make sure you have confirmation of dates, places and times in writing from them.
• Have your last nights of freedom!
And don’t do anything you wouldn’t want him/her to do… Wear L plates if you want to!
• Finalise the seating plan
And make your table planner for the reception so guests know where to sit.
• Contact any guests who have not replied to your invitation
The venue and the caterers will need to know final numbers at least 1-2 weeks before. Parents are great at helping to chase up RSVPs so rope them in to do some chasing for you!
• Arrange a date to pick up any hired suits
And make a note of when they need to be returned – give that honour to your best man.
• Write the wedding speeches
Either have it written by a professional speech writer or write from the heart, and then practice, practice, practice…
1 week before
• Have your hair trimmed and/or coloured
Then you’ll know it’s looking its best for your ‘up do’ or curls on the big day, but only do as planned in your hair trials – this is not the time to experiment with a new colour or drastic style changes!
• Pack for your honeymoon
You’re going on the holiday of a lifetime!
• Wear-in your wedding shoes
Don’t wear bridal shoes outside, but do wear them around the house to make sure they’re comfy on the day.
• Create a wedding emergency kit
Include makeup, a compact mirror and powder, lipstick, tissues etc – anything you think you might need on the day. Ask your chief bridesmaid or your mum to carry your bridal kit for you.
• Order your foreign currency for your honeymoon
And make any other last-minute arrangements.
• Buy ivory wedding umbrellas
If the weather ahead looks rainy invest in some bridal umbrellas or for a sunny day, pretty parasols. Check and see if your Photographer brings any before you buy. Some, like me, do!
• Have your beauty treatments
Go for pre-wedding and honeymoon waxing or fake tanning in good time before the big day. Get eyebrows shaped and anything else that needs attention done the week before, not the day before.
• Find your ‘something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue’
Ask your mother or grandmother for something old, the rest is easy and a silver sixpence is meant to bring good luck.
• Hand over the supplier list of contacts to a designated person
Give the list of all the wedding suppliers involved in your wedding day with their contact details and times they are meant to arrive, in case they need to be contacted, to your best man and/or chief bridesmaid and then do not give it all another thought!
The day before
• Have the day off to relax
Don’t go to work, spend the day with friends or family and don’t do anything too exhausting.
• Drop off anything you need to at the venue(s)
• Have your nails manicured
Book it for the afternoon to avoid chips and breaks.
• Try to get an early night
You’re getting married in the morning!
On your wedding day, the one thing you should try to keep in mind is that it’s not the end of your wedding planning, it’s the beginning of your marriage. So whatever may happen on the day, your marriage is what really matters most, and that’s why it will be a wonderful day you’ll remember for the rest of your life.
Happy Wedding Planning!
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“Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it family: whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one.” – Jane Howard
I first heard about Simone and Alexander’s wedding when Simone put a plea out on Facebook on one of the wedding groups. Her gran was ill and as a result, she was downsizing her big planned wedding next year into something more intimate this year to hopefully ensure she could be there.
I had the date free and wanted to help.
And I’m pleased to say Simone’s gran and grandad were there to witness the happy occasion.
Family is really important to this pair and they wanted their two kids Macie and Hugo to play a big part in the whole day.
Hugo was the worlds cutest pageboy and he led the bridal procession with the help of his granny. In matching tartan to his Daddy and the groomsmen no less.
Then came his big sister as a beautiful flower girl leading in Simone’s four bridesmaids. They wore soft grey dresses and had wrist corsages instead of bouquets. I thought this was a genius idea to keep their hands free.
The wedding ceremony took place in the beautiful Drummond Room at the Stirling Office. The last time I was there was for Neil and Raymond’s wedding and their pictures now grace the official Stirling Council wedding site 🙂
After the ceremony, the new Mr & Mrs Podmore headed off with Hugo and Macie in their big white stretch limo to the Stirling Court Hotel on the University grounds.
We were due a storm that evening so the air was humid and muggy but Simone and Alexander were proper troopers during their photos.
Once back inside you could see all the thoughtful touches Simone had worked hard on whilst planning the wedding. Alex’s mum was sadly no longer with them. So Simone had set up a charming memory table so she could be there in spirit. Both Alex and his dad mentioned her in their heartfelt speeches as well.
But she didn’t stop there. Their wedding cake was in keeping with the sparkly theme of the day from the front…
But from the back…
Simone had incorporated a tribute to Alex’s football team. Now that is relationship goals right there! (goals – see what I did!!).
Congratulations Mr and Mrs Podmore and your beautiful family.
I have been photographing Rorie, Charlene and John’s son since his Naming Ceremony so I was delighted when Charlene and John booked me to capture their wedding for them. I also captured John’s youngest sisters wedding and his brother-in-law’s mum’s wedding. You could say I’m becoming the family photographer!
Cinderella you shall go to the wedding!
Charlene got ready at the lovely Banner’s House Hotel in Markinch. With her mum and bridesmaid Carissa (who was a total star by the way!).
Her bouquet was full of beautiful roses and summer flowers including my faves peonies. It smelt as gorgeous as it looked and was created by the incredibly talented Wedding Florist. It was a perfect complement to Charlene’s dress with all its intricate lace detail from Innate Bridals in Dundee.
There was something missing though…in all the excitement of getting ready Charlene had forgotten to pack one rather essential item of her outfit. Her wedding shoes. Luckily she had a knight in shining armour in the form of her soon to be brother-in-law Graeme. He dashed off back to her house to pick them up for her. Proving his ‘best man’ credentials!
The ceremony and reception were held at the Gilvenbank Hotel in Glenrothes. It was here I found the rather nervous Groom along with his two best men. His brother and his son Callum. All looking super smart in their kilts from The Kilt Company.
When the bride arrived her Dad, who is normally wheelchair bound, walked her down the aisle. There weren’t many dry eyes left in the room after that.
The celebrant Lorna Finlay conducted Charlene and John’s wedding, having previously been the celebrant at Rorie’s Naming Ceremony (see once this family like you…).
The couple had put their own personal spin on the ceremony including red Aftershock in the quaich! John only managed a few sips before Charlene necked the rest (probably because she was thirsty in all that heat – ahem).
When I’d met with Charlene and John at their consultation their one request was no cheesy pictures (see what I did there!). So I kept their formal pictures nice and natural.
It was also the day that England was playing Sweden for a place in the world cup semi-final and so John was very keen to finish the photos and cheer on Sweden (only I, an English photographer could end up at a Fife wedding on the day of such an important footy match! Still, I had the last laugh when England won. Until they had the last laugh when Croatia knocked us out of the Semis a few days later. Ho Hum).
We had also planned to get some family pictures with Rorie and Calum, especially as Rorie looked so cute in his matching kilt. But he’d been ill the week before and coupled with the extremely hot temperatures the wee fella was a bit overwhelmed by it all. I did still manage to catch a super cute snuggle with his mummy.
Dance the night away
After the speeches and meal, it was time to cut the cake and get their dancing shoes on.
As I left classic 90’s tunes were filling the dance floor and the bar was running dry of red aftershock. The true signs of a good party!
I wasn’t prepared for the reaction when we walked into the Ghillie Dhu. We just looked at each other and said what do we do now!
The groom Paul admitted to me during a quick chat at the reception. That for me summed up Melanie and Paul as a couple. Gorgeously humble. When I met them before the wedding for their pre-wedding consultation it was all about getting pictures of the venue and their respective boys (Mel has two sons Tom and Harry. Paul has one son Aiden who has given them a grandson Oscar with his partner Rebecca). Not about pictures of them.
They had put a lot of thought into their wedding so it would be just perfect for them. An intimate ceremony and meal with their immediate family and closest friends followed by a big party in the evening to celebrate with everyone they cared about.
A Most Beautiful Day for a Wedding
The sun shone brightly and Prestonfield House looked her absolute best. The gardens were manicured to perfection and the attentive staff were as smart as ever.
The Groom arrived with the guests and if he was nervous it wasn’t showing.
One of the pictures Melanie had specifically asked for was all the boys walking towards Prestonfield House in their kilts. Even little Oscar at just one and a half co-operated!
Melanie arrived with her close friend and bridesmaid almost bang on time in a white London Taxi.
She looked absolutely stunning in an elegant fit and flare dress from Kavelle and timeless bouquet from the florists, Snapdragon who also supplied the buttonholes and the most amazing centrepiece for the private dining table in the hotel.
A Ceremony filled with love
I am a sucker for the groom’s first look at his bride and Paul didn’t let me down. He literally looked as if his breath had been taken away as Melanie walked towards him.
What I found really sweet was how excited Mel’s youngest was. He couldn’t wait to see his mum in her wedding dress and he got up to study Paul and Mel’s faces as they said their vows and become husband and wife.
Short but Sweet
Melanie and Paul had been very clear with me that they wanted plenty of time alone to enjoy their time with their guests. They didn’t want to be spending hours taking pictures. I totally get that and one of the things I pride myself on is client satisfaction. It is their day – not an excuse to build my portfolio!
We still had a bit of fun though. Mel insisted on showing Paul and me her fabulous sparkly heels and hot pink pedicure so I knew I had to capture that.
Then I left them to enjoy their bubbles in the sunshine before heading to their opulent private dining room for a sumptuous feast.
The happy couple were holding their reception in the Ghillie Dhu in the centre of Edinburgh. The auditorium with its vaulted ceilings is the perfect setting to party the night away.
Let them eat Cake
I have to give a special mention to the cake or rather cakes.
How gorgeous do they look?
Guests were greeted as they started arriving with Prosecco or Peroni and before too long the bride and groom were en route.
They were greeted by a standing ovation of cheering, clapping and whistling.
If I could just have your attention, please
Soon it was time for the speeches. Paul got a bit emotional as he talked about his and Mel’s journey and their families becoming one.
But it was the Best Man Davey that outdid himself. Paul and Davey knew each other before they were born as their mums were firm friends and their families are totally intertwined. The only difference they seemed to have was football and whilst Davey is a Rangers fan he undertook a great sacrifice to prove to Paul how much his friendship meant…
He wanted me to destroy these pictures but unfortunately for him, they are part of the wedding gallery!
The formalities over the celidh band kicked into action and for the next couple of hours, the dance floor was full of happy people swirling and turning.
And after a short pause in the proceedings for everyone to refuel with a carvery after all that energetic dancing, it was up to the DJ to make sure he filled the dancefloor as much as the band did. But not before the bride and groom had their first dance.
As I left the party was really getting going as people prepared to dance into the wee small hours.
A truly beautiful day for a truly beautiful couple. Congratulations to the new Mr and Mrs Hoenigmann.
Wedding favours are one of the easiest ways you can say thank you to your guests for helping to celebrate your special day. Traditionally guests would receive a small bag or box containing 5 sugared almonds representing the five blessings of Health, Wealth, Happiness, Long Life and Fertility. Now, of course, your wedding favours can be almost anything to reflect your own taste, budget and personality.
If you are having a large affair with dozens (or even hundreds) of guests, it’s an element that can quickly spiral out of control.
Fear not! Like anything, there are some tricks you can use to make sure your wedding favour budget stretches as far as possible and you can still wow your guests with a gift they are able to take home with them.
Become a packaging guru
If you have your heart set on a certain item, but the budget won’t stretch to include the packaging – do it yourself! The main element of paying extra for the packaging is not the boxes of the bags themselves, but the hours put in by staff to fill and to tie the perfect bows.
Anyone can do that. You can find organza bags, boxes and ribbons in colours to match any wedding theme in places like Hobbycraft or online on eBay. It’s really easy then to save money and still give the gift you had your heart set on.
Two for the price of one
If you can use your wedding favour as a reception place card, you will be onto a budget-busting winner.
There are a number of ways you can do this, including having coasters with the guest’s names on them, photo frames with the guest’s name or photo inside, personalised candles, or even miniatures* of your fave tipple.
Anything you can think of that would suit your theme and look lovely on a table is an option and remember, if you can’t engrave or put a label on it, you can always make some cute hand-written tags for a personalised touch.
*check your venue allows alcohol favours before ordering.
Sharing is caring
When the majority of your guests are couple or families, it seems wasteful to be gifting a favour to each individual. What use does one family have for four of your candles?
Instead, you can consider giving one gift per couple or family, while single guests get one all to themselves.
Make it your centrepiece
This is another idea to give your wedding favours another purpose to keep costs down. Creating centrepieces out of gifts your guests can take home is also a great way to reduce wastage.
You can use things like little pots of succulents, a jar of colourful lollipops tied with ribbons, bouquets made from mini-poseys or a vase of individual flowers that guests can take home.
Make a donation
If you really can’t decide what to give your guests, you can present them with a warm and fuzzy feeling by making a donation on their behalf to a charity you support. Most charities offer wee cards that you can put at each place setting as favours.
This will not only fill your guest’s with a great glow but will also allow you to donate an amount that’s within your budget.