A big thank you to the people who made it happen!

We tried, wherever possible, to use local suppliers for our wedding. Generally, that means small businesses or sole traders who may not have a big web presence, i.e. unless searching for them specifically, they are unlikely to appear at the top of any search results. We realise they put a lot of effort into our big day. As a thank you, they get a mention here.

Bride’s and bridesmaids’ dresses from Wedding Belles of Otley

Alterations and veil from The Bridal Gown, Otley

Hair and make-up from Debonnesse

Shoes from Elegant Steps

Cake from Patisserie Viennoise of Otley – The glorious smell as you enter the shop had us both drooling almost immediately. It was hard to resist not coming away with a bag full of chocolate treats each time we went there.

Flowers from Hart Company – Despite being heavily pregnant at the time, Susie oozed enthusiasm for the country garden theme we choose and her creativity shone through in the personalised quote she gave us.

Live music from Tristan Mackay – To be honest, in the beginning, I was a little dubious that a soloist could create the party mood we were looking for but after speaking to him on the phone and seeing him perform, I can thoroughly recommend him.

Photographs from Ian Cave – We choose Ian simply because of the natural, “fly on the wall” photos he takes.

Wedding car from Classic & Vintage Travel Wedding Cars – It was a 1932 Rolls Royce Limousine! Do I need to say more?

Backdrop and seat covers from Ambience Styling

Transport from Steels Addingham – Steels stepped up to the mark without a fuss when I was having a mild panic about not being able to find a coach company with availability on the day who didn’t want a small fortune for the privilege.

Rings from A. Fattorinis of Harrogate – No fuss, excellent service with phone calls to update us as and when the rings were ready for engraving, polishing, etc.

Pilates from Studio Pilates, Ilkley

Physio from Airedale Physiotherapy Clinic – Vicky had a bout of Sciatica in the months running up to the day. It all got fixed by David Cook and his team.

Hen & Stag activities from Pots 2 Go, Harrogate and Holmescales Activity Centre, Kendal

We can comfortably recommend any of the above, confident that they will deliver to your needs.

Wedding Fayres are an Eye-Opener

Oh my {insert your preferred deity here}!!!!!!

We went to the Wedding and Lifestyle October 2010 event at the Great Yorkshire Showground in Harrogate at the weekend.  The showground itself is massive but the event was relatively easy to find even with a smart-a%@e for a parking attendant.

Inside hall 2 were a myriad of stands and small business owners plying for trade, thrusting business cards and pamphlets at us, accosting us for contact details to put on their mailing lists “…for all the latest offers”, etc.  Under any other circumstance, I would be saying “I’m just browsing, thanks!” but I think I was just too gob-smacked by it all.  There were service providers there offering stuff that no bachelor would EVER dream of when organising a wedding.  Who’s bright idea was it to tie up the napkins with ribbon?

Eventually, I did get to chat with some “normal” people like the heavily pregnant florist from Ripon and the self-confessed would-be bridezilla photographer.  It was a little disheartening telling people like this that we’d already sorted whatever they were trying to sell.  Thinking about it now, I should have taken their business cards and given them a mention here.  I’m ALWAYS doing that; some of my best EUREKA moments arrive 48-ish hours late!

As for the rest, the catwalk show could’ve been a lot more polished to get the maximum effect.  As it was, it came across as cheesy. The “man creche” was empty; it just didn’t appeal.

For brides-to-be, I think events like this are a must.  For virgin grooms-to-be, I would say the same thing but for a different reason.

We’re Getting Wed!

Wedding planning is going to be a big part of our lives for the next 11 months. It’s an exciting time for us with lots of ideas floating around and I’d like to share some of that with you if I may.

I’ll start of with a little background. I met Vicky at a black tie do for the local Ramblers organisation and we started seeing each other about a month later. That was 8 months ago. You may think that that’s quick but when it feels right, what’s the point in hanging around going “Will I? Won’t I? Should I? Shouldn’t I?” Life’s too short! Don’t get me wrong; we both have our moments but we’re adult enough to admit when we’re in the wrong and make amends.

We like the outdoors and so I had the bright idea of proposing on a mountain summit on a fantastic day with glorious views in all directions. How romantic is that!! Unfortunately, British Weather had other ideas. Every summit we were on was either blowing a whooley or a white out. Not what I’d envisaged at all so I kept putting it off until the next summit and then the next….

We went to Wales recently for the weekend and scared ourselves silly on Tryfan; another opportunity missed.

And so it was that on a cold and windy day, in a white out on the top of Snowdon, I finally popped the question. I didn’t get down on one knee simply because the ledge we were sheltering out of the wind on was far too narrow for that kind of thing. (It was quite funny at the time watching seagulls trying to regain some dignity after crash landing because of the swirling wind.)

So the idea behind this thread is to keep you up-to-date with how we’re getting on. Feel free to leave any suggestions, comments, etc. at any time. Friends got married recently so there’s an open invite to them to come around to ours, ostensibly for some food but we’re planning to bleed them dry of any useful info. or tips they may have for us.

So where are we today? Vicky (rather obviously) said “Yes!!”, the venue, wedding car, photographer and registrar are all booked. We’ve been ring shopping and it’s been short listed to 2 possibles. (I bought a token ring for the asking.) However, we’re going to browse for a little longer before deciding.

That’s about it at the moment. There are times when I feel we’re in good shape with preparations and others, when I look at the To-Do list, when I just think “Argh!!”

Don’t Pose For Photographs

This may sound strange coming from a photographer but there’s nothing worse in a photograph than an obviously put-on smile or a forced pose. We’ve all either done it or seen it.

And that is why good photos of animals (technically correct – in focus, well lit, etc.) stand out so much. They’re natural; What you’re capturing is their everyday behaviour at that moment in time.

Tail Wag Brown Lab Puppy Stretch

Now some (lucky) people are naturally photogenic but if that’s not you, next time someone’s got a camera, at least try to ignore it and trust the photographer to catch you looking your best.

Russ

Think More – Shoot Less

Everyone generally agrees that time is precious and we would all prefer to spend it doing the things we want to and not those we have to. In photography, at least in my mind, what that boils down to is “Less is more!” I read a few web postings recently that talk about this in more depth.

Scott Bourne isn’t exactly a hero of mine but he does talk a lot of sense. In an article from last year, Become a Better Photographer by Taking Fewer Shots, his general advice is to put more effort into thinking about the composition of a select few images rather than “spray and pray”.

Nicole Young echoes this sentiment…

Avoid “machine-gunning” your photos. Every time you press the shutter you are creating an image that you will import into your computer and do something with (even if it’s just deciding you don’t want to edit it), and shooting in continuous mode all the time (several frames per second with each press of the shutter) will exponentially increase your editing time. I have found that as I develop my skills as a photographer I am taking fewer and fewer photos, but I end up with just as many, or more, “keepers” than I did in the past. I am selective about my shots and know that want to think about everything I see in the frame and only press the shutter when I’m sure I have what I want. It doesn’t result in a great photo every time, but I know become a better photographer every time I press my shutter and don’t just hope I get a good shot due to “luck”. There are going to be moments when shooting several frames-per-second is appropriate, so the key is to know when to use that method.

So, how do you remove the temptation to “spray and pray”? Well, Chris Weston, a respected wildlife photographer, summed it up brilliantly in an interview with Digital Photography School. When asked “Do you have a tip for beginner to intermediate photographers that will help them improve their photography?”, his reply was a bit of a Eureka moment for me.

Something I still do to this day is, before I press the shutter I ask myself the question “How would I caption this image?” If the only answer I can conjure is the species name, then I wait for a better shot.

My Shutterstock Portfolio