Genius documentary photography telling the story of a Yorkshire wedding - York Place Studios on the English Wedding Blog (33)
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A guest article by Jon Beck at RedLine DJs and Entertainment

Photo credit: York Place Studios

You’ve said your vows, the wine’s flowing and the speeches have been a success… step up the all-important first dance. At Redline DJs and Entertainment I spend a lot of time talking to couples about their first dance, and have seen everything from choreographed three-song extravaganzas to no first dance at all. Neither are right or wrong – a wedding is a highly personal thing, no part more so than your first dance as husband and wife.
Some couples have a song that they consider ‘theirs’ but a lot don’t –and that’s OK! Either way, this isn’t something you should be nervous about. The below steps will help you plan the perfect first dance… one that you genuinely enjoy.

1. Brainstorm (without each other)

When people ask me for first dance recommendations I can always give them a list of suggested songs, but first I recommend that they have a think about it, away from each other. It sounds silly, as this is something so personal to you as a couple, but if you have an independent sit down, it will trigger songs that perhaps you hadn’t previously considered.

The Old Barn, Kelston - behind the scenes wedding flower styling - photo by Martin Pemberton (22)
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If there was another job I wish I could do – if I’d trained, had talent and wasn’t freaked out by spiders(!) or really early wake ups – I’d be a florist. I’d grow my own flowers and style beautiful, modern weddings in a wildflowery, informal and breathtaking boho style. I’m lucky to have gotten to know some amazing folks in the wedding flowers game since I started the English Wedding Blog, and Claire from Wild Spirit is one of the very best – her eye for styling is just spot on, every single time.

So when Claire got in touch to tell me about the Somerset Flower School I was absolutely thrilled for her. Alongside Jodie from Walled Garden Weddings, whose work I also adore, she’s teaching workshops so folks like you & me can learn their craft. Claire and Jodie put together this fabulous shoot to show you how to style that sought after floral look for a beautiful barn – and Claire’s tips are absolutely invaluable if you’re hiring a barn for your wedding day.

Modern blue styling ideas with calligraphy for an alternative beach wedding (21)
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This is a guest article by Jess, beauty blogger at Jessabella Nails

Woohoo, congratulations on your engagement! I am so thrilled for you. It’s every girl’s dream to walk down the aisle feeling beautiful wearing a wedding dress. But wait, as a bride you will be the centre of attention and your beauty should be at the top of your list of things to prepare. Thus, to make it a bit easy for you all, I made a Beauty Checklist for brides that will help you look and feel your very best on your wedding day.

6 months before your wedding

  1. Visit a Dermatologist
    If you suffer from acne or spots or your skin is just breaking out all the time, make an appointment with a Dermatologist. The last thing you want is to get unexpected spots just before your wedding day. You don’t necessarily need to do this step, but if it will make you more at ease on your big day. Why not!
Nicola Norton Photography on the English Wedding Blog (59)
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Header image credit Nicola Norton Photography

We’ve talked extensively over the past few months about live wedding bands in their glorious diversity – pop and rock, soul and Motown, festival style, even vintage-inspired postmodern wedding bands – but about other forms of wedding entertainment? We’re talking wedding entertainment to make your special day unique, entertainment that’ll drop jaws and get people talking.

Here we present a selection of alternative wedding entertainment that’ll make your wedding stand out and, best of all, keep everyone entertained during those afternoon lulls. While you’ll most likely spend it in a whirlwind of hasty congratulations and meticulously posed photos, the time between the ceremony and the wedding breakfast, and then between the wedding breakfast and the speeches and the evening reception, can stretch out endlessly for guests. But what are you meant to do apart from ply them with copious amounts of wine?

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A guest article by Jo at GetFilm, who are members of the English Wedding Directory

You spend hours; days and weeks meticulously planning every detail of your wedding so that it’s the perfect day for you. You hunt down the most beautiful venue, choose the tastiest menu and pick a killer playlist, ensuring the day is handcrafted to your liking.

Charlotte and Chris’s beautiful Woodhill Hall wedding video, by GetFilm

It goes without saying that your wedding video should be all about you too. Some say the best way to get the most true-to-yourself wedding video is to shoot it yourself, but I for one know that, on my wedding day, I wouldn’t want to be holding the camera, worrying about sound volumes and getting the most flattering angles, and I certainly wouldn’t want my guests to be either.

While capturing the perfect wedding video that you’ll love to re-watch for years to come is very important, the happy couple and their guests should be completely immersed in every moment of the big day.

Bright and colourful spring wedding styling at the Matara Centre on the English Wedding Blog with Oobaloos Photography (30)
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Header image credit: Oobaloos Photography

Nowadays, more and more people want a wedding that people will remember, which could mean anything from doing a synchronised first dance that goes viral on social media, or arriving at the wedding on a tractor.

One of the most effective ways to make sure that your wedding gets talked about for years to come is to pick a unique wedding venue — especially if it showcases your personality, and matches your chosen wedding theme.

Luckily, for those of you getting married in Britain, there are plenty of incredible places to get married that will ensure that your wedding is one for the ages.

 

7 British wedding venues that will really wow your guests

1. The Matara Centre, Gloucestershire

How many wedding venues have a Hilarium? Or a fabulously high domed window you can fill with paper lanterns to create the most colourful, contemporary yet whimsical wedding styling?

Peony wedding inspiration on the English Wedding Blog, images by Heline Bekker (21)
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Guest article by Keely Thompson and Tamryn Lawrence. Image credit Heline Bekker Photography (full shoot here)

Planning a wedding is supposed to be a joyful, wonderful and dreamy time. You should be feeling the love, having fun and generally adoring every minute. However, that’s not always the case. Complicated families, difficult decisions and any number of personal issues can make the build-up to the big day less than easy. 

But planning a wedding when someone is missing can be even tougher. If you’ve lost a parent or parental figure, then the wedding planning process can easily open old wounds and bring back all the grief and emotion that you might have thought had passed. 

If this is the situation that you’re facing right now, we want you to know that you’re not alone. Other brides and grooms are feeling what you’re feeling and today, we’re handing the blog over to Keely Thompson, GreenAcres Marketing Manager who has recently ridden this emotional rollercoaster herself:

Gatsby vintage wedding at Crockwell Farm, images by Jodie Cooling Photography (26)
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A guest article from Weddings By Mary

Weddings give couples the perfect opportunity to express their unique & individual personalities. Adding personal touches to your day makes it so much more unique and memorable. At Weddings By Mary I completely understand that every wedding is unique and although I offer wedding planning ‘packages’, no wedding I plan is the same as another, as none of my couples are the same. I really encourage brides & grooms to express themselves in whatever way makes them feel like, well, them!

Over the years I have seen so many individual and personal ideas come to fruition, from the homemade touches of Scottish shortbread, lovingly baked and wrapped by the bride, to parents who tenderly nurtured and grew all the flowers in their own garden from which they created beautiful table centrepieces and displays around the wedding venue. Don’t be shy in expressing your wedding day desires. It is also a lovely way to get family and friends more involved in the planning, build up and excitement of your special day.

Documentary wedding photographers in Dorset, Linus Moran Photography, Kings Arms Boutique Hotel (1)
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A guest article by English Wedding Directory members Last Minute Musicians

At Last Minute Musicians, we asked ourselves a question – what are the most popular cover songs being played by the wedding bands on our directory? As such, we recently carried out a survey of over 2500 bands to find out what was on their wedding set list.

We came up with a list of 60 of the most popular Rock/Pop hits, and 40 of the most popular Jazz and Classical pieces and it’s from this list that we’ve picked out twenty favourite cover songs other brides and grooms have requested, to help you with the process of selecting music for your big day!

  1. A Thousand Years – Christina Perri
  2. Rolling In The Deep – Adele
  3. At Last – Etta James
  4. Thinking Out Loud – Ed Sheeran
  5. Aint Nobody – Chaka Khan
  6. American Boy by Estelle
  7. Dancing In The Street by Martha Reeves & The Vandellas
  8. Good Times – Chic
  9. I Feel Good – James Brown
Beautiful English summer wedding with Richard Skins Photography (17)
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Fashion is a big thing in weddings – dresses change from year to year (and with huge influences whenever there’s a royal wedding!) – as do suits (we’ve recently shifted from bright blues to softer shades and a focus on luxury fabrics. But cars?

You wouldn’t expect it, but wedding car trends are huge. When the English Wedding Blog was born it was all about the stately old English cars – the Jaguars, Rolls Royce and Bentleys – big old granddaddies of cars full of luxury and upper class upholstery – to go with the traditional mansion wedding venues, obviously.

Now we’re getting married in urban spaces and converted barns, and in festival style tipi celebrations. And our wedding car choices have shifted, subtly and brilliantly, to fit.

Beautiful English summer wedding with Richard Skins Photography (18)

Top two images by Richard Skins Photography – this fabulous wedding will be coming to the English Wedding Blog over the summer!

English Wedding Directory member BookAclassic has been looking closely at its wedding bookings across the UK and has found that couples now favour the Ford Mustang over more traditional transport choices.

ethical diamond engagement rings by MiaDonna London
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A guest article by Anna-Mieke Anderson

Anna-Mieke Anderson, a mother and consumer turned philanthropist and entrepreneur, is the CEO and founder of MiaDonna. In 2006, Anna-Mieke had the vision to create a conflict-free diamond and has led the evolution of the lab-grown diamond industry. Even before the technology to create diamonds was perfected she knew that the only way to combat conflict diamonds was to grow them in a modern day lab environment.

The MiaDonna story started in 2005 when a 7-year-old boy named Ponpon living in an African diamond mining community told me, “I had a great summer because only one of my classmates was killed.” Those words changed my life forever. While I was on bed rest during my pregnancy, I realised my diamond engagement ring that represented love most likely orphaned children. I took off my ring and began sponsoring Ponpon, who spoke those resounding words.

West Mill wedding in Derby with images by Mike Plunkett Photography (36)
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A guest article by Anthony Horner

She said yes. Congratulations! Now you’re tasked with planning your perfect wedding. Flowers to be ordered, venues booked, invitations written — weddings take a lot of preparation. With so many things to consider for the big day, shopping for your wedding suit can feel like a burden. Where to begin?

Your wedding suit is probably the most important outfit you will ever buy, so it’s essential to get it right. Think of your bride’s face when she first sees you on the day, or the many photos that will document the occasion. You want a wedding suit that is classic, timeless — something you can look back on with pride and fond memories. Yet, for many of us, the old wedding suit shopping ritual can become both stressful and expensive.

Colour, cut, design, rented or bought, tailored or made to measure; the list of choices goes on and it can be overwhelming.

Follow this guide to make shopping for your wedding suit as easy as possible.