If you are currently in a wedding planning slump, or still yet to tick some...
For those of you who are regular readers of the blog you will know all about the Older Wiser Married feature. The idea of the feature is for couples who are married to share with you their wedding story and experiences and also the things they would do differently if they could go back and do it again. We also focus on the positives and the things they think really worked, what they have learnt and how their marriage has changed their reparations.
We wanted to have an outdoor ceremony which is not legal in England. We had considered doing the legal bit in our jeans the day before putting on the main ceremony for our friends and family, perhaps in the woods, but we were uncomfortable with the idea of already being married. Scotland (and most of the rest of the world) is more relaxed on their marriage laws so we would be able to have a legally recognised, humanist ceremony wherever we liked… and well, the Scottish highlands are stunning! We were really concerned that our nerves would overpower all other emotions on the day if we were to stand up in front of an audience, so we made the decision to have our little ceremony all to ourselves! We wanted to be married somewhere beautiful, dramatic and remote – somewhere that was just ours! We got some recommendations from a friend who knows the highlands well, and fell in love with Kingairloch when we saw the photos. We hadn’t visited the estate beforehand, so we spent our first day at the cottage exploring its stunning surroundings, and found the perfect little spot for our ceremony!
Intimate ceremony/wedding video
Martin had never shot video before but he had 12 hours of practice on the way up to Scotland and I think he did a grand job- everyone was oohing and aahing when we played the video for our friends and family at our Brighton reception a couple of weeks later! It was so wonderful watching their reactions- laughter and tears, all of which we would have missed had we been at the front worrying about getting our lines right!
Taking our own wedding photos
We just loved the idea of having our own little photo project and actually the photographs mean so much more knowing that we took them ourselves! Martin was super-clever in how he organised all the cameras on tripods hiding in every available patch of long grass, set to take photos every second during the ceremony and every few seconds during the ‘couple shots’! We have loads of pictures of Martin running into the frame, bounding over rocks and streams!
I wasn’t looking for a ‘wedding dress’ as such. I wanted something that was mine, a one off, designed for just me! I was gathering inspiration on Etsy and toying with the idea of designing my own, when I came across the wonderfully talented Tawny from Armour sans Anguish who uses reclaimed fabric (girl after my own heart) to create one-of-a-kind garments to order. It was a bit of a risk ordering a dress for a designer in California without having any fittings or even seeing the colour of the fabrics in person (photos can be rather deceptive)! However it really paid off. A few tweaks from a local seamstress and it was just perfect!
We ended up at The Marwood for our wedding reception because we were sat there one afternoon having coffee (and AMAZING cake) and it hit us that it would be an awesome venue! So we just walked up to the bar an asked on the off chance if they would consider hiring it out for a wedding- they had to weigh it up of course but the manager was really excited about it! The fact that it wasn’t an actual wedding venue meant that they were open to ALL our ideas and completely happy to do everything our way and weren’t obsessing over the way it ‘should’ be done!
Bad weather plans
We changed from a woodland venue which had no indoor space to The Marwood, which has a gorgeous courtyard, thinking that we’d still mostly use the courtyard if we could. We reckoned we’d made good enough plans for bad weather, but cramming nearly 80 people into a cafe along with a band was quite a push – made for the most amazing sing-song though!
Talking of bands, Martin’s old band played an amazing singalong set with some of our favourite songs during the afternoon, but we wanted them to enjoy the evening, so we hooked our Spotify account up to the speakers at the Marwood and played tracks that we had spent hours gathering especially. Not a lot of dancing went on at the reception though! It occurred to us that that at the weddings we’ve photographed since, the ones with a band have had more people dancing.
Double check the details
We chatted a lot with the venue prior to the day about how to get the ceremony video from the laptop onto the projector, and use the venue’s speakers. We spent ages making sure the projector worked, and what settings we needed. We assumed the cable for the speakers would fit into the laptop – oops! Luckily, manager Ashley found an adapter!
We’re actually pretty pleased with how we spent our money – our budget definitely crept up from our initial estimate, but we still did the whole thing (including a mini-moon) for far less than the average wedding spend. Obviously we recommend spending as much as possible on a photographer, and we did – Eliza was our first port of call! In the grand scheme of things, our venue was probably about average in terms of cost, and completely worth it, but considering our initial venue choice was almost a tenth of the price, we’d liked to have spent a little less! And again, we really wished we’d spent out on a band for the evening to get everyone dancing!
Actually, for us, it was more the other way around. As photographers we are incredibly privileged to see the majority of a wedding day first hand. Having done this so many times, we felt we had learned many of the pitfalls of a wedding before coming into it. Some planning issues aside (British weather anyone?) we think it really paid off. We reckon we paced the day well, and hopefully kept our guests entertained as much as possible – they were the focus for us at the reception! We knew it was important to be ourselves – we’re not traditional people, and raised a lot of eyebrows among family when we told them we were heading off to Scotland on our own to get married! Imagine how high those eyebrows went when we broke the news that the reception was going to be in a skip-dive cafe! We understand how a lot of alternative couples feel pressure from family to follow a more traditional route, but we stuck to our guns, and had such a positive response from everyone! Plus, we kept relaxed – we’ve seen the stress of the day really hit some people, and we vowed that wouldn’t happen to us.
Other than having to get used to referring to each other as ‘my wife’ and ‘my husband’ when talking to other people, not really! We do feel slightly more grown-up now too – only slightly, mind.
A simple result of circumstance – Penny was struggling to build her photography business whist holding down various full time jobs. When the recession led to redundancy for Martin, we decided to set up a photography business together. We’d actually met when we both worked for a national portrait studio chain a few years before, so naturally (and probably naively!) we aimed at the portrait market which we had some experience in. Weddings scared the crap out of us! However, after we shot a wedding for a couple of friends, we realised that all the fear was completely unnecessary – we bloody loved it! With our savings spent and a very slow and competitive portrait market, we decided to throw everything into weddings, and are so glad that we did. Plus, we actually got together as a couple after we started the business!
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