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Every once in a while I like to take a little time to tell you about my friends – the folks I’ve worked with since the beginning of the English Wedding Blog, who I’d recommend without hesitation and whose work I love to feature! (This is basically an excuse to show you something really pretty and wonderful and to brighten the blog and all of your screens on a Tuesday morning!)

Striking wedding images from an artisan bridal shoot in the Lake District by Vickerstaff Photography (5)

Jamie at Vickerstaff Photography has been a friend of the English Wedding Blog since always. He’s a great guy – his photography is creative, artistic, just a little cheeky* and has a wonderfully dark aesthetic which I personally love. We work together pretty often – I write little bits and pieces of calligraphy; we collaborate on the occasional styled shoot (our last was featured on Love My Dress in November) and of course I feature his weddings on the blog whenever I can.

*Jamie’s sense of humour is brilliant – and you’ll understand when you visit his website!

Striking wedding images from an artisan bridal shoot in the Lake District by Vickerstaff Photography (9)Striking wedding images from an artisan bridal shoot in the Lake District by Vickerstaff Photography (13)

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I first met Stef on a late spring day at Aspire – she was perched on a hilltop pretending to eat a picnic, surrounded by a dozen or so photographers. My first time at an Aspire photoshoot was all kinds of amazing: I met so many creative folks who’ve been a part of my adventures over the last couple of years.

A beautiful natural look for an artisan bride - photoshoot with Stefanie Grisdale mua and Vickerstaff Photography (8)

Since that magical day Stefanie has featured on the English Wedding Blog many times as model and make up artist. She was the cover girl of our Wedding Book in 2016; she’s modelled for some of my favourite bridal shoots and when I needed a make up artist for our ‘artisan romance’ photoshoot on Love My Dress, she was the first and only person I needed to call.

A beautiful natural look for an artisan bride - photoshoot with Stefanie Grisdale mua and Vickerstaff Photography (4)

There’s something intimate about having your wedding make up and hair done – it’s so important to choose someone who’ll be a real pleasure to have around on your wedding day morning.

Stef is absolutely lovely, calm and reassuring, always ready with a smile.

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I have had the pleasure of working with some amazing people over the last year. The shoots I’ve helped out with have been spectacularly creative days thanks to some wonderfully talented suppliers. I wanted to introduce you to some of my very favourites, and the first of those is lovely Katie from Made In Flowers.

Fabulously creative wedding flowers in the Lake District by Made in Flowers. Image credit Vickerstaff Photography (4)

Katie is as friendly and generous as she is talented in floral art. She’s styled moss-covered vintage chairs, archways and trees as well as making the most stunning floral arrangements and bouquets for every season. Her flower studio is a little gem in the Lake District: watching Katie assemble a bouquet is a dream and a delight.

Fabulously creative wedding flowers in the Lake District by Made in Flowers. Image credit Vickerstaff Photography (5)

For our artisan wedding inspiration shoot, which featured on Love My Dress in November, Katie’s flowers were full of autumnal charm. I adore the asymmetrical arrangements with those divine dahlias, chocolate cosmos and fabulous textures of berries and leaves. The statement hydrangea in the arrangement Rachel holds in the header image of the English Wedding Blog just makes my soul happy – and the little pops of colour throughout the day are thanks to Katie’s vision and incredible talent.

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So many of our wedding trends begin in the US. We fell in love with ranch weddings, escort cards, and then calligraphy – big time – which is brilliant! But sometimes I stop, and I wonder why on earth we need that American influence when English weddings are so incredibly inspiring. Take today – Leah & Alex are just sooo stylish; their venue has aeons of history and character to it, and the day looks to be the most amazing party…

A Cheshire wedding inspired by Kew Gardens, with the most beautiful dress you can imagine... (34)

Images are by lovely Jamie at Vickerstaff Photography, based in Cheshire. Discover more of Jamie’s wedding photography and book him here:

A Cheshire wedding inspired by Kew Gardens, with the most beautiful dress you can imagine... (30)

Words & images: Jamie, Vickerstaff Photography

“Leah & Alex were amazing to work with. From the first meeting at my local where they’d come all the way from London I knew we were a perfect match. To return the favour I went down to London for their pre wedding shoot at Kew gardens; they had their first date there, got engaged there and as well as the PWS the wedding theme was all about the gardens. I knew after taking those photos in sweltering June sun (You can see them here http://www.vickerstaffphotography.co.uk/kew-gardens-london-pre-wedding-portraits/) that they were going to be a dream to photograph…… I was spot on.

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Ahhhh… I breathed a genuine sigh of relief this morning that January has finally left us… spring is on its way at last! I can almost smell the grass growing. We are well into our wedding blogging year – we’ve shared some stunning shoots, wonderfully romantic real weddings and fabulous advice from our fave suppliers already. Today – we’re dimming the lights, and falling all kinds of in love with artisan-flavoured wedding inspiration.

Artisan wedding inspo at its best - a Dutch Masters inspired shoot with Vickerstaff Photography (16)

This shoot combines statement florals from Made In Flowers and stunning arrangements with breathtaking Dutch Masters-inspired lighting. The images are as dreamily dark as they are hauntingly beautiful. Our bride is an artist; a free spirit whose passion to create drives her wedding dreams.

Artisan wedding inspo at its best - a Dutch Masters inspired shoot with Vickerstaff Photography (8)

Think ethereal and beautiful bridal style; captivating calligraphy with an organic twist; florals to steal your heart and a cake to enchant your very soul. Beautiful bride Rachel wears a bespoke Ailsa Munro gown with natural, artistic make up by lovely Stefanie Grisdale. Calligraphy from By Moon & Tide sets the scene; exquisitely crafted hair accessories and a showstopper cake are both by Amy Swann.

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It’s been years since I was at Styal Lodge – I remember visiting when the English Wedding Blog was a baby (we’re 6 years old now! how time flies!) – and Styal stole my heart as a luxurious, blank canvas wedding venue. It’s kind of amazing to be showing you a stunning wedding from Styal Lodge today, courtesy of my lovely friend Jamie at Vickerstaff Photography.

Beautiful Cheshire wedding blog at Styal Lodge with Vickerstaff Photography (26)

The gorgeous couple who are English Wedding Blog’s favourite bride and groom today are Laura & Jon. They look amazing; they’ve shared a fabulous story of their day which you can read after all the images today. Laura told me they spent more on “small details which made a big impact. We hired our name in lights (MR & MRS Rothwell) from the Word is love which everyone commented on. Some people asked us where we were going to put the lights after the wedding. We were gutted we had to give them back!

Beautiful Cheshire wedding blog at Styal Lodge with Vickerstaff Photography (30)

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There’s a difference between homemade and handcrafted details on a wedding day… at least for me. Handcrafted is a level above the norm: it’s the inclusion of real craftsmanship and skill in designing and creating showcase pieces. For David and Frances, handcrafted elements like the slate table plan and place names made all the difference. I love their Fisherman’s Retreat wedding and I know you will too.

Real wedding at the Fishermans Retreat by Vickerstaff Photography (34)

There’s a sense of artistry in today’s wedding, not only with the smaller details but with the imagery of this gorgeous couple’s day. Photographs are by my lovely friend Jamie at Vickerstaff Photography. I’m thrilled because Frances and David have given him the most amazing review – “The pictures were incredible. We laughed, cried and relived the whole day. Truly amazing pictures and we were so pleased as you never really know what you’re getting until you see the final product! We then sent the link to all our family who have all said how beautiful they are.”

Real wedding at the Fishermans Retreat by Vickerstaff Photography (9)

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I’m lucky this week – ridiculously lucky! – to have some wonderfully individual and unique couples starring on the English Wedding Blog. Yesterday’s real wedding was awesome with a humanist ceremony outdoors; today’s is just lovely – a bride and groom whose own style once again shapes their day beautifully.

Nicola and Rob's beautiful English wedding at Bartle Hall in Lancashire, with Vickerstaff Photography (2)

Nicola and Rob were married at the fabulous Bartle Hall, and their photographer was my great friend Jamie of Vickerstaff Photography. Their images reflect the timeless and elegant style of their day, all with a sense of fun! The portraits are divine (and with a gorgeous bride and groom, a breathtaking venue and an awesome photographer, how could they be anything else?!)

Nicola and Rob's beautiful English wedding at Bartle Hall in Lancashire, with Vickerstaff Photography (8)

Discover more of Jamie’s work (and enjoy his excellent new website!) here:

Nicola and Rob's beautiful English wedding at Bartle Hall in Lancashire, with Vickerstaff Photography (26)
Love, love, love… the flowers (eucalyptus, you’re my favourite!), the chandelier, the ear-licking, the littlest bridesmaid… the first kiss, Grandma and the wonderful snowdrops…

Enjoy.
claire gould calligrapher signatureNicola and Rob's beautiful English wedding at Bartle Hall in Lancashire, with Vickerstaff Photography (1)
Nicola and Rob's beautiful English wedding at Bartle Hall in Lancashire, with Vickerstaff Photography (3)
Nicola and Rob's beautiful English wedding at Bartle Hall in Lancashire, with Vickerstaff Photography (4)
Nicola and Rob's beautiful English wedding at Bartle Hall in Lancashire, with Vickerstaff Photography (5)
Nicola and Rob's beautiful English wedding at Bartle Hall in Lancashire, with Vickerstaff Photography (6)
Nicola and Rob's beautiful English wedding at Bartle Hall in Lancashire, with Vickerstaff Photography (7)
Nicola and Rob's beautiful English wedding at Bartle Hall in Lancashire, with Vickerstaff Photography (9)
Nicola and Rob's beautiful English wedding at Bartle Hall in Lancashire, with Vickerstaff Photography (10)
Nicola and Rob's beautiful English wedding at Bartle Hall in Lancashire, with Vickerstaff Photography (11)
Nicola and Rob's beautiful English wedding at Bartle Hall in Lancashire, with Vickerstaff Photography (12)
Nicola and Rob's beautiful English wedding at Bartle Hall in Lancashire, with Vickerstaff Photography (13)
Nicola and Rob's beautiful English wedding at Bartle Hall in Lancashire, with Vickerstaff Photography (14)
Nicola and Rob's beautiful English wedding at Bartle Hall in Lancashire, with Vickerstaff Photography (15)
Nicola and Rob's beautiful English wedding at Bartle Hall in Lancashire, with Vickerstaff Photography (16)
Nicola and Rob's beautiful English wedding at Bartle Hall in Lancashire, with Vickerstaff Photography (17)
Nicola and Rob's beautiful English wedding at Bartle Hall in Lancashire, with Vickerstaff Photography (18)
Nicola and Rob's beautiful English wedding at Bartle Hall in Lancashire, with Vickerstaff Photography (19)
Nicola and Rob's beautiful English wedding at Bartle Hall in Lancashire, with Vickerstaff Photography (20)
Nicola and Rob's beautiful English wedding at Bartle Hall in Lancashire, with Vickerstaff Photography (21)
Nicola and Rob's beautiful English wedding at Bartle Hall in Lancashire, with Vickerstaff Photography (22)
Nicola and Rob's beautiful English wedding at Bartle Hall in Lancashire, with Vickerstaff Photography (23)
Nicola and Rob's beautiful English wedding at Bartle Hall in Lancashire, with Vickerstaff Photography (24)
Nicola and Rob's beautiful English wedding at Bartle Hall in Lancashire, with Vickerstaff Photography (25)
Nicola and Rob's beautiful English wedding at Bartle Hall in Lancashire, with Vickerstaff Photography (27)
Nicola and Rob's beautiful English wedding at Bartle Hall in Lancashire, with Vickerstaff Photography (28)
Nicola and Rob's beautiful English wedding at Bartle Hall in Lancashire, with Vickerstaff Photography (29)
Nicola and Rob's beautiful English wedding at Bartle Hall in Lancashire, with Vickerstaff Photography (30)
Nicola and Rob's beautiful English wedding at Bartle Hall in Lancashire, with Vickerstaff Photography (31)
Nicola and Rob's beautiful English wedding at Bartle Hall in Lancashire, with Vickerstaff Photography (32)
Nicola and Rob's beautiful English wedding at Bartle Hall in Lancashire, with Vickerstaff Photography (33)
Nicola and Rob's beautiful English wedding at Bartle Hall in Lancashire, with Vickerstaff Photography (34)
Nicola and Rob's beautiful English wedding at Bartle Hall in Lancashire, with Vickerstaff Photography (35)
Nicola and Rob's beautiful English wedding at Bartle Hall in Lancashire, with Vickerstaff Photography (36)

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Paper fetish, anyone? [blogger pauses to raise hands] – it’s often part of wedding planning: you start looking at invitations and favours and see so many beautiful things you get hooked.

Welcome to my world!…  I’m Claire and I’m a paper addict 🙂 so when I planned my first styled wedding shoot this year it had to be focused on the prettiest paper details.

Paper and mirrors styled wedding shoot (32)

Button and brooch bouquet by the fabulous Natasha at Pumpkin & Pye | Love quote flags by lovely Jo at Vintage Twee

We began with a simple concept: paper and mirrors. I would provide the paper and calligraphy details; photographer Jamie Vickerstaff would do his thing with mirrors and reflections. And wow, didn’t he just…

Paper and mirrors styled wedding shoot (36)

Watercolour paper flowers, coloured calligraphy tags and handwritten love letter by Claire Gould, Calligraphy-for-Weddings.com

Paper and mirrors styled wedding shoot (1)

I wanted to show how you can create a wedding style around two simple ideas, and build on it to create an exciting and colourful display. Beginning with watercolour paper and calligraphy we added vintage stationery and china, a brooch bouquet in pastel colours, cakes with watercolour tiers and more details to create a cohesive look. I loved every second!

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Love is a temporary madness….

Bridal inspiration shoot with mirrors and metallics images by Vickerstaff Photography (4)

Are you superstitious? You might want to look away now.  Today’s styled shoot is a crazy cacophony of metallics and mirrors, paper, calligraphy, design and destruction. It’s all about breaking the rules, breaking free and challenging expectations.

Weddings are full of rules and etiquette. From formal invitations to receiving lines, the legal limitations and family expectations, it can all get a bit much. Silver sixpence in your shoe? Why… in case you need to catch a bus?! Break a few rules, I dare you.

Bridal inspiration shoot with mirrors and metallics images by Vickerstaff Photography (1)

“Love is a temporary madness. It erupts like an earthquake and then subsides. And when it subsides you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have become so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of promises of eternal passion. That is just being “in love” which any of us can convince ourselves we are. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident. Your mother and I had it, we had roots that grew towards each other underground, and when all the pretty blossoms had fallen from our branches we found that we were one tree and not two.”
Louis de Bernières via Wikiquote

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When was the last time you launched yourself with both feet into the scariest experience of your life? Are you glad you did?

As I write this post I’m about to launch myself into the stupidest, scariest adventure I’ve had for a very long time. I’m excited and terrified, but I know my business needs this – and so do I.

wedding blog (2)

I’ve never taught big calligraphy workshops before. I’ve given presentations in marketing* but even these were to groups of no more than 30 people – not the 80+ class sizes I’ll be hosting in a day or two at The Handmade Fair.

*if you count uni presentations, these were extra scary for being in French / Italian… which scared me silly!

For me, it’s like strolling into the lion’s den. I know once I’m there I’ll love it – but talk about the unknown…

For my business, this is something I absolutely need to do. Everyone teaches, shares and mentors these days: photographers, bloggers, stationers – we’re all at it.

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Hello lovely wedding blog readers, I hope you’re not working too hard today! I have the perfect feature to share with you this morning – something I was involved with a few weeks ago, where I had the pleasure of spending a day with wonderful people to create a really inspiring shoot. We created different bridal looks with our beautiful model Kelsey, and today I’m sharing the prettiest of them all, centred on a gorgeous pink peony bouquet by Kevin at Brackens of Bowness.

pink peonies bridal ideas (1) Kelsey shows just how easy it is to combine beautiful key pieces for a timeless and glamorous wedding style. She wears a dress by Sassi Holford, which came from the fabulous Julia Tasker Bridal Couture. The embroidered detail is so pretty, and goes beautifully with her elegant, smooth updo and natural make up. (Hair: Aqua Salon | Make up: Definitions)
pink peonies bridal ideas (2) All images are by my wonderful friend and inspiring wedding photographer Jamie at Vickerstaff Photography. Jamie is based in Cheshire and travels across the UK to photograph weddings… I hear he’s especially fond of the Lake District so if you’re getting married here do check him out!