Almost every morning you’ll find me on the beach, or in the hills gazing down at the estuary below the village where I live. I have a thing for beach weddings – they’re the most amazing thing ever! I love the portraits of Michael & Sara, especially the black & white images on the sand… they’re gorgeous and this is incredible!
Photographers Emily & Steve told me “The Grand Hotel in Swanage is perched right on a cliff with steps down to the beach! It was stunning and the perfect location for a summer wedding. It was the first wedding we’ve been to where the guests suddenly started to serenade the couple with ‘Love is all around’. They were all swaying their arms and really getting into it! It was so much fun!”
My dress was in the first shop I went to and I hadn’t ever seen a wedding dress similar to it. I liked the front with a bit of sparkle but fell in love with the back with the cowel back, buttons and train. I did go to another shop to have a look but there was nothing anywhere near as beautiful so rushed straight back to Village Brides to buy it.
As the view and setting of the hotel are so stunning we didn’t want to take away from that with fancy bits and pieces. We did put up of home made bunting both in and outside of the venue. On the morning our families did a fabulous job of decorating the marquee and pergola for the ceremony in wild hawthorn and ivy, which looked stunning.
Discover more from alternative wedding photographers Emily & Steve here:
The English Wedding Blog Interview: Sara & Michael
Wedding photographer’s website:
Were you pleased with your wedding photographer? Do tell… we love a brilliant review!
Oh yes! Emily and Steve were such a brilliant team. They ‘fitted in with the woodwork’ brilliantly during the ceremony so we didn’t notice they were there but took some amazing shots. Having met with them before the day we’d discussed all the photos that we wanted, which they got. Plus on the day friends and family were asking for extra shots that they happily took.
Tell us about the moment you saw your wedding photos for the first time?
We were stunned by them, the light in them and colours were so magnificent and we loved how all the photos had been into the order of the day.
The Grand Hotel, Burlington Road, Swanage
Can you describe your wedding in fewer than 10 words?
Beautiful sunny day overlooking the seaside full of laughter and love!
Your wedding style or theme:
We didn’t really have a theme we just wanted things things fresh and elegant.
Where did you find your suppliers? (Blogs, magazines, recommendations?)
Apart from having the Hotel who supplied the food we did everything else ourselves.
What’s your top tip for saving money?
Keep things simple. It’s easy to get carried away with extras but actually you don’t really need them and do as much as you can yourself.
… and which elements of your wedding are you glad you spent more on?
The band and photographers!
Where did you buy or source your wedding stationery – or was making it a labour of love?
Definitely a family labour of love! We had a team cutting, making and sticking to make all the invitations and we loved doing it.
Tell us about your accessories: jewellery, shoes and anything else!
As I knew I would be spending time out on the lawn of the hotel (grass!) and down on the beach I decided I wanted platforms – I scoured the internet and tried numerous pairs of shoes before finding the perfect pair. I simply accessorised my dress with pearl earrings and necklace which my Grandma lent to me as my something borrowed.
And what did the groom wear?
Michael wore a custom made Austin Reed 3 piece navy suit
Beautiful bridesmaids: what did your best girls wear?
My sister wore a long teal dress, which she looked stunning in.
Hair and make-up – did you DIY or hire a professional?
I did my own make up which I enjoyed doing myself but left my hair to a professional.
Describe your wedding flowers. Who arranged them for you? (florist details would be lovely please)
I made my own bouquets, which I really enjoyed doing. I had white roses in the centre surrounded by fuchsia roses and then fresias with a trim of gypsohillia around the edge. My sister, as bridesmaid had white roses with gypsophiila around them. We also made our button holes and corsages out of roses and ivy. To decorate the marquee and tables we used wild hawthorn branches that were in flower.
Crafts and makes – tell us about any homemade elements of your wedding… did you enjoy them?
My mum on the quiet made me some beautiful bunting to put up in the conservatory of the hotel. My sister-in-law also made paper pompoms which looked lovely. I made all the table numbers and the table plan which I did enjoy doing.
The wedding cake: what kind of cake did you choose and why?
Mike’s mum makes the most amazing puddings and cakes so we asked her to make our wedding cake. We kept the brief fairly simple: sponge and nothing fussy. On the day we were amazed with how perfect the cake was. It looked so elegant and beautiful and tasted wonderful too!
Entertainment: any musical recommendations, surprises or treats?
We’d arranged for Mike’s step dad, Steve, a guitarist to accompany my friend Maddie singing whilst we signed the register, which was lovely. It was most unexpected though when they broke into a second song with Wet Wet Wet’s, Love is All Around – a surprise for us both that our families had organised!
In the evening we had a great three-piece band, The Sparks. They played fantastic music with great enthusiasm all night and the dance floor was full, we were spilling over onto the carpet.
Words of wisdom: share your best piece of advice for other couples:
Arrange to have some photos of just the 2 of you later in the day with your photographers. After our meal we went back down to the beach as it was quieter to have some shots of just the 2 of us and we felt so much more relaxed than we did earlier in the day and got some really lovely photos.
What’s the best thing about being married?
All the smiles and the tears that you see throughout the day from all those you love and care about most.