Am I a wedding planner

Fortunately I know some great people ~ 3 Wedding Photographer

When you work as a wedding supplier and your daughter asks you for recommendations, the pressure of being the Father of the Bride really clicks up a notch or two. Fortunately I know some amazing people, Antony from ABC Weddings / Lightbox Studios is one of them and the perfect choice as wedding photographer.

Antony was on a short list of photographers I gave to Amy and Sean. I left the final choice to them and I know they agonised, because the standards were so high, before choosing Antony.

Antony encouraged Amy and Sean to have “an engagement shoot” to get used to being photographed, which they had earlier in the year in the snow. This really helped them relax and get used to what was in store for them on the big day.

On the Wedding day Antony, and his second shooter Bob, were on time and ready to capture the day. They were courteous and fun at all times adding to the “wedding buzz”, often just in the background catching candid moments but stepping up to take control when required for the group photos and making sure everybody was photographed.

The morning after the wedding Antony sent a few unedited pictures straight over to the happy couple including this one.

We’ve now had access to the first online gallery with hundreds of beautifully shot images, and I understand there are still more to come.

If you’re looking for a wedding photographer Antony from ABC Weddings / Lightbox Studios is well worth seeking out. You’ll find another post I wrote about Antony CLICK HERE and to find out more and go to his website CLICK HERE

Over 4,000,000 views in under 2 days

How long does it take to plan a wedding?

How long does it take to plan a wedding? This post was prompted by an article in Brides Magazine entitled How To Plan Your Wedding In 30 days (click here to read the article). 30 days seems to be the minimum notice you need to register your wedding. My research leads me to think it’s actually 28 days (Click here) for a civil marriage, but it’s also down to availability of Registrars etc.

I was also thinking about how long does it take to plan a wedding because my couples usually seem to book between a year and 18 months ahead of their wedding. This seems to be fairly normal now. When Ce and I got married a million years ago (that’s a slight exaggeration, keep an eye on this blog for a post about our Anniversary next month) we got engaged on Boxing Day and married the follow August – eight months . As you may have read, our daughter got married back in April following their engagement the July before – just under nine months.

Planning a long time ahead is good because it gives you time to save and think – but is it too long to think? Why do couples often plan so far ahead? I think it may have been down to the fact the “best venues” get booked ages in advance – but now there are lots of great venues and also weddings on any day of the week have become acceptable when it used to just be Saturdays.

So, how long does it take to plan a wedding?  I guess the answer is between 30 days and … years! It’s really up to you how long. There are so many options and things to think about, some couples will just want to be married because they want to commit to each other and start the next chapter of their lives. Others will wait while they save to have their dream wedding – what will you do? How about this Autumn?

If you’d like free advice on the various options and a free copy of my “WOW Wedding Guide” please get in touch – email

One final thought … weddings aren’t about stuff, they are about two people in love – often couples who plan a long engagement seem to add lots of stuff to their wedding day. Beware of adopting too many things you see on Pinterest, sometimes less is more! I’ll write a post on this soon.

Woodlands Lodge Wedding DJ

Am I a wedding planner

Fortunately I know some amazing people ~ 2. Wedding Flowers

When you work as a wedding supplier, and your daughter asks you for recommendations, the pressure of being the Father of the Bride really clicks up a notch or two. Fortunately I know some amazing people, Carole from The Flower Stables is one of them. Carole was our first choice to supply the wedding flowers. We were delighted, and relieved, when she was available for Amy and Sean’s date. After the initial introduction I stepped back and Carole, Amy and the mums just got on with it.

Carole really helped develop the theme/style Amy had chosen for the day and provided wonderful displays of flowers, bouquets, corsages and buttonholes.

On the day she was there bright and early to make sure everything was perfect. She helped groomsmen with their buttonholes and explained to the bridesmaids how to best hold their bouquets for the photos. We were also able to make sure many of the centrepieces and displays were given to family and friends to take home the next day.

If you’re looking for a fabulous florist who will talk you through how to make the most of your wedding flowers Carole is well worth seeking out. For more information about The Flower Stables PLEASE CLICK HERE

Here’s a snap from my phone of Amy and her bridesmaids just before the ceremony with Carole looking on.

Wedding Flowers

Am I a wedding planner

Fortunately I know some great places ~ The Beaulieu Hotel

When you work as a wedding supplier and your daughter asks you to recommend a venue for her wedding, the pressure of being the Father of the Bride really clicks up a notch or two. Fortunately I know some great places ~ The Beaulieu Hotel was top of my list.

Amy and Sean needed a venue that satisfied a number of requirements. It had to …

  1. Be big enough (around 100 people for the Ceremony and Wedding Breakfast, with more for the evening party).
  2. Offer great service.
  3. Be suitable for a band as well as a DJ for the party.
  4. Be located fairly close to Southampton.
  5. Have overnight accommodation.

They also wanted a venue where they would feel comfortable and be able to relax. I drew up an initial shortlist of three hotels which we visited together because, as I said before, fortunately I know some great places ~ The Beaulieu Hotel was always top of my list but I didn’t push it. The final decision had to be Amy and Sean’s.

My reasons for recommending The Beaulieu Hotel were based on many visits there to play at weddings over the last few years. The setting is fantastic and the service has always been great and my couples have always been very happy.

Fortunately I know some great places ~ The Beaulieu Hotel

The Weddings and Events Manager, Sophie, was a great help to Amy throughout the booking and planning process and was on hand to coordinate everything for the first part of the wedding day. The afternoon and evening were overseen by the General Manager, Terry, who ran everything with a professional eye and a calm, “nothing was too much trouble” attitude. The whole day ran smoothly throughout and the team at the venue were always helpful and courteous. All special dietary requirements were catered for and I can’t think of anything that I was unhappy or disappointed with.

Many of us stayed overnight after the wedding. The rooms were all excellent, as was the breakfast.

The Beaulieu Hotel was the perfect venue for Amy and Sean’s wedding and I cannot express how grateful I am for the wonderful day they created for us.

To find out more about weddings at The Beaulieu Hotel PLEASE CLICK HERE

The photos here are from those then by our official photographer Antony from LightBox Studios (click here)

If you’d like my opinions on any venues please drop me a line and I’ll be happy to help

Fortunately I know some great places ~ The Beaulieu Hotel

September weddings

Get Me To The Church On Time

“Get Me To The Church On Time” is a song from the musical My Fair Lady and this post isn’t about that, or even Church – I was just thinking about wedding day timings and the idea that “it’s the Bride’s prerogative to keep the Bridegroom waiting”. Whether it’s a Church, a civil ceremony or a humanist wedding blessing, this is one wedding tradition that you can forget in my humble opinion and here’s a few reasons why.

First, it’s just rude. Of course the Bride will make an entrance, everyone is there waiting for her arrival, to see the dress, to see the Bridegrooms reaction as sees her for the first time etc etc etc.

Get Me To The Church On Time

Being late causes stress – is she coming? Is she OK? What’s happening?

It’s quite usual for things just before the Ceremony to take longer than expected – maybe the traffic is heavier than expected, one of the bridesmaids has a problem, the photographer needs a little longer to get everything covered and captured for posterity. So please make sure you make a plan – talk to your hair and make-up artist, your photographer, your driver, make sure you have plenty of time.

If you are late for a Church wedding your minister may well take offence and your ceremony may “get off on the wrong foot”. If you are having a civil ceremony with a registrar they will probably have another wedding to get to after yours and have to rush, or maybe even cancel because they don’t have enough time. If you are having a humanist celebration then you may be OK, but it’s still not ideal.

People don’t like to be kept waiting – FACT. If your nearest and dearest are all seated and ready for the wedding and you’re late they won’t thank you for it. If you have any children or babies at your wedding their parents will probably be able to keep them quiet for the duration of the ceremony, but if you arrive late the children will me more fidgety.

If you are late it may throw out the timings for the rest of the day, the meal etc.

One last thing, if you are late YOU LOSE time for the rest of the day – time you will never get back.

Please make sure you make a plan to Get me to the Church on time.

And finally, here is Stanley Holloway’s version of “Get me to the Church on Time”


Am I a wedding planner

Lessons we can learn from the football

The World Cup dream is over but what lessons we can learn from the football? As you may know, I’m a big Saints fan and so I’m used to disappointment because football reflects life – the highs and the lows. I love the fact that when the referee blows his whistle at kick-off nobody knows what’s going to happen and that the underdogs can win. England didn’t make the Final but it’s not the end of the World – but how would it be if that games was played on your wedding day!

Lessons we can learn from the football 1 – As I said in a recent post CLICK HERE, even if you aren’t interested in football, there will be guests who are. You need to think about how you’ll deal with outside events impacting on your most special day. Apparently this photo appeared in The Sun …

Lessons we can learn from the football

Lessons we can learn from the football 2 ~ You only get one chance to get it right! At least the World Cup comes around every four years so we’ll get another opportunity in 2022. You don’t get the same luxury with your wedding. You, your family and friends will probably all never be in the same place again – make sure you make the most of this wonderful day, so …

Lessons we can learn from the football 3 ~ You need to have a plan to make the most of every moment. In fact you would be wise to also have a plan B … and sometimes even a plan C to cover things like the weather. Lots of people will tell you the day will fly by (it really does), understanding the day so that you know what you’ll be doing and what your guests will be doing and planning how to keep everyone engaged and entertained is vital.

This is where my Your WOW Wedding philosophy can really help – if you haven’t read it please let me know and I’ll hook you up with the link – it’s FREE. Just email


Lessons we can learn from the football

Wedding Invitations And Stationery

Wedding Invitations And Stationery For A WOW Wedding

Wedding Invitations And Stationery are a great way of putting a personal touch on your WOW Wedding! Like many wedding-related things they probably cost more than you might think – with good reason. Making Wedding Invitations And Stationery is not easy and takes a lot more time than you might think.

I read a very interesting article in Brides Magazine that inspired this post and then the next day my friend, and expert wedding stationer, Carol from Laurel Designs posted about a workshop she is running on 27th July. CLICK HERE to read the article in Brides Magazine  For details of Carol’s workshop CLICK HERE. So I decided to add my thoughts on the topic in a blog post.

Wedding Invitations And Stationery

You’ve got your ring, the wedding date is now firmly in the diary, and the venue is booked and so you need to send out invitations for your wedding day, but where should you start and how much is it going to cost?

Inspiration can come from all kinds of places, obviously Pinterest is very popular but beware items have often been created for photoshoots which would be prohibitively expensive for many couples.

At this stage I want to make two points …

  1. It’s not just invitations, it’s everything printed – invitations, order of service, table plan, place names, signs – anything that gets printed should have the same look.
  2. This is where bringing in the WOW Wedding philosophy can really help. If you don’t know what I’m talking about have a look around my website or drop me an email for some free stuff.

If you are creative and have lots of time on your hands you may be able to do it yourself. If you have a creative friend who has experience in this area then you may be able to do it yourselves but PLEASE don’t underestimate the size of the task.

Another temptation these days is to take everything, including invitations, online with a wedding website – there are many, many potential problems with this and I’d advise a wedding website should be used in addition to traditional wedding stationery and used very carefully. I could go into all kinds of stories I’ve heard but it wouldn’t be fair to share confidences here.

As for cost, I’ve heard it suggested that wedding invitations and stationery should cost around 5% of the budget. It’s easy to get carried away and spend a lot of money here, you need to work out your budget, don’t spend it all one Save The Date cards!

For my daughters recent wedding I stepped up to help – well after all I got an A level in Art a long time ago 😉

My brilliant website designer Deon of Deon Design (click here) helped me create a “Beatlesque” monogram to go along with their theme and Amy found some wording that she liked and adapted.

Wedding Invitations And Stationery

There was a lot of printing, cutting, sticking and other crafting operations involved but we managed it … just! We were rejigging table plans the night before the wedding and I actually had to print a place name card I missed on the morning of the wedding.

My advice is basically that making your own invitations is not easy and will probably take more time than you think. Talk to a professional like Carol from Laurel Design and get an idea of what she would charge, if you think you’d like to “DIY” your wedding invitations and stationery make sure you’ve got plenty of help and think about taking Carol’s workshop.

CLICK HERE for the Laurel Designs website

CLICK HERE for details of the Laurel Designs Wedding Invite Workshop

CLICK HERE to read the article in Brides Magazine

Remember,if you’d like to find out more about how you can create a WOW Wedding, or have any questions, just drop me a message at

Wedding Invitations And Stationery

It’s Coming Home

It’s Coming Home … you can’t ignore those three words, they are everywhere this morning. I write this post the day after Englands 2-0 win over Sweden in the Quarter Final of the World Cup, a sporting moment that seems to have the whole Nation smiling. However, I’m not here to extol the virtues of the team or speculate about the Semi Final with Croatia, I’m looking at the effect they have on weddings.

I’ve mentioned this kind of situation in my series of posts about getting married in the various months of the year (to see these posts just use the search box on the right and type in the month you want to look at) Writing this today I can now add more personal thoughts following my daughters wedding earlier this year.

When Amy and Sean looked at setting their date we took a good look at the diary to try and pick a date that wouldn’t be effected by outside events. This is a lot easier than it used to be because we’ve got Google. You can Google the date and see what comes up, for example perhaps you are looking at getting married on this day next year … (pause while I Google it) … I searched for “8th July 2019”, “events on 8th July 2019”, and “What’s on 8th July 2019” – nothing much came up so I searched just “July 2019” and a few things came up including the 2019 Women’s World Cup and the Cricket World Cup. On first look these may not appear as big as yesterdays game but what if England, or another nation represented at your wedding, is playing a big game?

Amy and Sean decided on an April wedding and we talked about the World Cup when we made the decision. We checked the date and thought it was the best of the possibilities available and booked it. Now the happy couple are both Saints fans (and I could rattle on about that for a few thousand  words but …) so imagine how we all felt when, in a season of doom and gloom, Southampton reached the Semi Finals of the FA Cup with the games to be played on the weekend of their wedding! It’s coming home, The FA Cup could be returning to Southampton. Amy, Sean and many of their guests, including me, wanted to be there.

The game wasn’t allocated a date until a few weeks before the wedding and fortunately the Saints game was played on the Sunday at 3pm and not on their wedding day. If it had have been the Saturday game we planned to show it on a big screen as part of the entertainment. Because it was played on the Sunday we were able to go to Wembley but that did mean we had to get up for breakfast early (Amy and Sean came down in their Saints shirts) and ultimately that we all came down from the euphoric mood of the wedding to reality with a huge bump as we lost – but that’s football. We had two great days regardless – here’s a pic of us having a few drinks before kickoff at Wembley.

It's coming home

Make no mistake, even if football holds no interest to you, someone will want to follow the match if it clashes with your wedding. Last Tuesday we went to see Earth, Wind & Fire and throughout the show people were checking their phones to see how England were doing against Colombia and I saw one guy watching the live stream throughout the concert. Imagine how you would feel if a guest at your wedding ceremony was staring at their phone!

So here we are this morning, Sunday 8th July and it’s Coming Home, let’s hope so! I hope you’ll remember our story and think about planning your wedding with outside events in mind – how will you make sure your big day is truly unforgettable for all the right reasons no matter what is happening elsewhere?

If you have any questions or need help to create Your WOW Wedding please drop me a message

Mug of tea raised … all together now … “It’s coming home, it’s coming home, it’s coming, football’s coming home”

September weddings

“I was let down yesterday”

“I was let down yesterday”… So this just came up on my FaceBook timeline …

“Are there any photographers free on 28th July? I was let down yesterday by my photographer and with my wedding in 4 weeks I need to find a replacement. I have £250 as that was the price of the last one. Bridal prep to first dance/evening (11:30am/9pm)
Please if you can help then either message me with prices or leave your link with prices. Thanks”

I was let down yesterday

It’s really sad that a couple have been let down just four weeks before their wedding but just think about it for a moment. This bride booked a photographer for her wedding at the “bargain” price of £250 – £250 for nine and a half hours shooting (that’s just over £26 per hour) PLUS travel time PLUS editing time after the event. The date isn’t even mid-week, it’s a Saturday – I know many great photographers, some are cheaper than others but none of them would be as cheap as £250!

Looking at the thread, some people have been put forward but I’d think most of them are new to the business or, what are often called, “Weekend Warriors” – they do this on the side, they are not a proper business and they often don’t have insurance and the other certificates required to trade lawfully. Please forgive me if you are reading this and you run a business charging this sort of fee – I’d love to hear how you manage it.

This kind of situation happens a lot with DJ’s too and I often see threads on forums when this happens – one of the common replies is “they can pay me £250 and I won’t turn up either”.  I believe it’s very possible that if someone takes a booking for a relatively low fee and then gets an offer of a larger payment they may well let the original customer down and switch to the higher payer. The FaceBook DJ pages often carry “urgent DJ required NOW” messages where couples have been let down on the actual evening of their wedding – sad but true.

Here’s a video I made way back about choosing your suppliers

You’ll find more videos full of good advice and ideas on my YouTube page – just click through from the video above.

Two of my favourite photographers Colin from Entity Photographic and Antony from Lightbox Studios would never leave a couple in this situation, they are both members of the Hampshire Wedding Group, an excellent place to find suppliers who meet all the criteria I suggest you look for.

I was let down yesterday

Think carefully what you want from your suppliers, meet them, build a real relationship with them so they give you exactly the service you want. Please don’t find yourself saying “I was let down yesterday”.  If you need help finding a great supplier or anything wedding related please feel free to contact me – if I don’t know the answer I’ll probably know someone who does – just email

Mug of tea raised ~ cheers! x

Am I a wedding planner

Fortunately I know some amazing people ~ 1. The Dress

It’s now over two months since my daughters wedding! I did one quick post shortly after the big day CLICK HERE, now it’s time to look back and tell you about our experiences and fortunately I know some amazing people

When you work as a wedding supplier and your daughter asks you for recommendations, the pressure of being the Father of the Bride really clicks up a notch or two – especially when it comes to THE DRESS. Fortunately I know some amazing people, Fatma from Sofi Designs Bridal is one of them. 

Fortunately I know some amazing people

I’ve know Fatma and her husband Lance for a number of years, they are two of the nicest people you will ever meet, they genuinely care about their customers and love what they do.

Amy, my daughter, actually met them at a wedding fair she helped me with a few years back and so Sofi Bridal was our first choice to help with the dress.

When Amy and Ce, her mum, went to the showroom I had no doubt they were in safe hands and they had a wonderful time. Amy found THE DRESS on that first visit but Fatma insisted that Amy looked elsewhere just to make sure there wasn’t a dress she preferred at another shop. Nowhere else made her so welcome and nowhere else had a dress to top that first one she found at Sofi Designs Bridal.

The dress was ordered and when it arrived Amy went for her fitting. It was perfect, no need for any alterations and she brought it home to be kept safe in her old bedroom. Fatma also picked out and supplied Amy’s veil.

On the day of the wedding I was invited into Amy’s room where she had been getting ready with her bridesmaids to see her in the dress for the first time – there were tears. She looked stunning and I was the proudest dad on the planet as I walked her down the aisle to be married to Sean (pausing just before the ceremony as the bridesmaids entered to take this picture).

Fortunately I know some amazing people

If you’re looking for a great selection wedding dresses and expert advice with no pressure from lovely people who really know what they are doing, Fatma, Lance and their team at Sofi Designs Bridal are well worth seeking out.

Fortunately I know some amazing people ~ if you’d like to find out more about Sofi Designs Bridal PLEASE CLICK HERE.

Here’s one more snap from my phone of Amy with Ce and her Aunties,

Fortunately I know some amazing people