Wedding of the century? Keye and James at Chapeldown with Steven Rooney Photography (17)
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I guess if we could all describe our perfect wedding it would be something like this: fun, relaxed, gorgeously styled, games, drinks, full of personality, laughter, love, unique. Keye and James nailed all of those – and then some. They added circus and carnival, wow factor, fizz and flames. The opulent floral displays are breathtaking and the styling is oh-so-pretty and perfectly on trend. Their day is spectacularly styled with beautiful summer blooms, calligraphy signage, smoke bombs, brilliant outdoor games – and our gorgeous grooms look fantastic in matching outfits with waistcoats and bowties.

Wedding of the century? Keye and James at Chapeldown with Steven Rooney Photography (4)

The list of ‘above and beyond’ styling details is just amazing. Stilt-walkers, fabulous carpets lining the walkways between tents, a harpist, an owl ring-bearer, personalised plastic sunglasses in a rainbow of colours (and glorious sunshine to go with!)… but you’ll see from the pictures how incredible a day this was!

Wedding of the century? Keye and James at Chapeldown with Steven Rooney Photography (15)

Vibrant documentary wedding photography in Surrey by York Place Studios (25)
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I do adore a properly placed apostrophe, don’t you?! Titles aside, today’s feature is fantastic advice, brilliantly written. No doubt there will be music involved in your wedding day at some point – so you should totally read this guest blog by our sponsors Bands for Hire and take note!

Vibrant documentary wedding photography in Surrey by York Place Studios (32)

DO check out your wedding band’s sound before you book them.

These days, what with camera phones and YouTube, it’s easier than ever for a band to produce their own recordings and videos, so even if you can’t find any links when shopping online, you can always ask the band to send you something. Also, ask your friends and family if they can recommend a function band they’ve either seen or hired themselves recently.

DON’T go by recommendation alone.

It’s great when good reviews are passed on via word of mouth, but this is far too personal a matter to leave to chance. The band who played at your friends’ wedding may have a completely different sound and set list to what you have in mind. Hear them with you own ears, as it’s your wedding soundtrack they’ll be providing.

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With your venue secured and wedding date firmly in the diary, it’s now time to start thinking about the music! Along with photographers and the wedding dress, live music is often considered one of the most important aspects of the day, from the unforgettable moment as the bride enters the room, to the first dance and final singalong of the night. Whilst there’s always the option of an mp3 player, nothing quite compares to the spine tingling sensation of a string quartet or harpist to really get the emotion in full flow.

If this is your first time taking on wedding planner duties then you’ll no doubt have a long list of queries on everything from schedules and logistics to band requirements and more. Having worked in the wedding music industry for the best part of 15 years, there are certain questions that come up time and time again and so to set you off on the right foot, we’ve put together this simple infographic focusing on budgets, timings and musician requirements.

Infographic by Bands For Hire, an entertainment agency in the UK specialising in wedding string quartets, solo harpists, pianists, guitarists and live wedding bands.

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It’s never been easier to have the wedding YOU want – be that a festival-inspired party, a woodland celebration, an farm or barn wedding – traditional venues are almost a thing of the past! And over the years our appetite for sunny weddings abroad has become more and more apparent. Perhaps our unpredictable English weather plays a large part in that, but for others it could be the sometimes misconceived notion that a wedding abroad is less expensive that a wedding in the UK.

Destination wedding photography Mexico Benjamin Toms (11)

Photo credit: Benjamin Toms – see full feature here

Whilst a wedding abroad can often work out cheaper, many couples do still choose to fly out their favourite wedding suppliers in order to achieve their dream wedding day. As the owner of a live music agency, I’ve had the pleasure of organising a number of live bands and musicians for clients getting married abroad; at first it can seem fairly overwhelming for the couple, but the process needn’t be stressful if you know what to expect in advance.

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Where do you even begin to choose your first dance song? It’s kind of an important decision to make as a couple… but if he’s into Frank Turner and you’re more Take That, who gets to decide?! How about a little inspiration from other couples to help you choose…  Join Adam from Bands for Hire for a proper nosey into the top first dance songs of the last year – it’s all kinds of fascinating!

A Cheshire wedding inspired by Kew Gardens, with the most beautiful dress you can imagine... (36)

Images in this feature all by the fabulous, highly recommended Vickerstaff Photography in Cheshire. www.vickerstaffphotography.co.uk

Having been in the wedding industry for the best part of twelve years, first dance songs are a big part of the conversation with many brides and grooms-to-be. With infinite choices and other factors such as song length, tempo and dance routines to consider, it’s not a decision to be taken lightly.

There are certain songs that become the go-to ballad for a particular year, and then fall out of favour and are never to be heard again, but, there are also hundreds of golden oldies that are here to stay… and some that just won’t go away however much we wish they would! (Amazed by Lonestar anyone?).

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Do you and your fiancé have different musical tastes – and maybe, different ideas for the music you’d like to have at your wedding? I’ve been to weddings this year where church music was the most important thing of all; where the soundtrack was reeeeally alternative; and one where everyone wandered off as the DJ came on. (Yikes!) So how do you get it right? How do you ensure you have that amazing party atmosphere as the sun sets, and all of your friends and family have a brilliant, fun night at your wedding?

Image credit: Kristian Leven Photography from Lizzie & Nilo’s wedding

I’m happy to be introducing you to Bands For Hire today. These guys list their acts by genre, so if you’d like a classical musician to play while you walk down the aisle; a swing band as your backdrop for afternoon drinks and then a full-on festival style party with guitar bands all evening – these guys can help.

Image credit: Kristian Leven Photography

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Romantic college courtyards steeped in history, a series of charming locations around one of England’s proudest cities, a truly beautiful bride and groom – today’s wedding is more than perfect. Elly and John had a wonderful summer wedding in the heart of Oxford, keeping the best traditions and adding their own special touches to personalise their day. I love this!

“We had a ‘first duet’ instead of a first dance (my husband on trumpet and me singing), and we were done by 8pm which meant that those who wanted to travel home could, and those who wanted to stay a little longer met with us at a river-side pub for a convivial couple of hours to reflect on an amazing day!”

Images are by Oxford wedding photographer Carol Elizabeth Photography. Lovely Carol is a friend and sponsor of the English Wedding Blog and you can find out more abou her here:

Contact & Bookings: Carol Elizabeth Photography

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