Monthly Archives: September 2011

The Luxury Wedding Show

30 September, 2011


We at the UKAWP are very excited about this new, luxurious show, which promises to be fabulous!


As we said a few weeks back, there is not an official trade day for The Luxury Wedding Show, as there sometimes is for others, however we anticipate the Saturday morning being full of wedding planners and other wedding industry bods networking, having a good look round and chatting to the great and the good amongst the high end, influential suppliers exhibiting, many of whom our members have worked with.

If you want to ensure you experience the action, and reserve your seat for one of the almost hourly catwalk shows, you can book here online.

Tickets cost £50 each and include:

  • Access to over 100 handpicked wedding experts
  • A premium goody bag – valued at £30 (please note the content of bags may vary)
  • A glass of POMMERY champagne to enjoy during the catwalk show
  • Reserved seating at the Catwalk Show
  • The Look Book – The Essential Catwalk Programme
  • The White Book – the essential guide to the show

We hope to see you there!

Floral Workshop in Wilmslow Enjoyed By All

28 September, 2011

Our thanks to Andrea Swift, of Fabulous Day, our Northern Representative, for her review of the workshop below…

On Wednesday 21st September the UKAWP held its first Northern Floral Workshop. Ian Lloyd was our expert tutor and we spent a very enjoyable evening picking his brains, being taught how to make a buttonhole (see images below) and discussing all things floral.


We had some great feedback from planners that attended: -

 Wendy from The Chic Wedding Company “It was a really interesting session and I feel like I learned loads and am so proud of my buttonhole!”

 Caroline from Pomp and Ceremony Planning “Just wanted to say thank you so much for organising the floral workshop it was very useful”.


 Thank you so much to all the planners who attended and to Ian Lloyd for so willing sharing his time and expertise!

Choosing a Photographer – Marmite or Marmalade?

26 September, 2011

We would like to thank Stacey-Marie of Cherry Topped for submitting this post and Galloway Photography for writing it and for the beautiful images. When I first glanced at the post and saw ‘Art is Marmite’ I just had to read on………


Tracey Emin’s ‘My Bed’ and Damian Hirst’s ‘Mother and Child Divided’ (the famous cows in formaldehyde). Is it art? When these two iconic works were exhibited at the Tate and the Venice Biennale respectively, you can guarantee that an awful lot of critics and gawpers alike asked that very question. People still talk about it today, almost two decades later. The real answer is not ‘Yes’ or ‘No’, but ‘Does it matter?’ Art is subjective. Always has been. Art is Marmite.


So isn’t it safe to assume that any creative work is subject to a mixture of opinions? Whether it’s architecture or animation, comedy or cuisine, some people just prefer marmalade to Marmite. Somewhere Wedding Photography fits snugly into this elaborate metaphor. There is not just one style of wedding photography. So, how do you find the right fit, the photographer whose style mirrors your own taste? Now unfortunately, there are literally thousands of wedding photographers and finding the right one can take some time. It’s like buying a house, you need to search and search…and search some more. Then sooner or later you’ll have that ‘hallway moment’. You haven’t even seen the whole house, but in the first 30 seconds, you’ll see yourself in a hallway mirror grinning from ear to ear and you’ll know, the short list just got a lot shorter.

Now with commissioning a photographer, (or anything else to do with your wedding for that matter), you can do it one of two ways; you can go blind on Google sifting through hundreds of websites, or you can go through a wedding planner. A  good wedding planner will have gone to the trouble of collecting a relatively small but perfectly formed list of suppliers. They’re not just there on the day for keeping things together, their very taste is an asset from the start, when the wedding is merely embryonic, building the day from the ground up. A character in a film once said ‘taste and style are commodities that people desire’; pick a wedding a planner with an abundance of both and indeed you’re making the short list a lot shorter.

So how do you know what you’re into? Bridal magazines will tell you a whole load of things about how to find the right person for the job. Some of which I think are appropriate, some not so much. So take a large pinch of salt when taking advice from a monthly special on photography, no one can tell you what you’re into apart from you. Here’s my take on what to look for in a photographer.


I reckon the most important thing is the pictures. Kind of obvious when you think about it, but there are a lot of packages out there offering you all sorts of things from Thank You cards to extra albums. But before you start comparing photographers to see who gives you ‘more for your money’ (a term many wedding photographers dislike), just think about the sort of work that really flicks your switch. Because after all, once the dust has settled and you’re looking at the one album that you have in your living room, the only thing that matters is that you love the pictures. It probably helps to think of it as commissioning a photographer rather than hiring one, it places the emphasis on the style that comes with him/her rather than the extras that come with the package. Now I can’t tell you what sort of style you should like but I can say that since the introduction of digital, there has been an explosion of styles in wedding photography. Whether you choose a posed specialist who makes you a Hollywood couple for the day, or a reportage expert who will aim to document the day discreetly and be almost invisible, it’s important that you choose someone who gives an accurate account of the day. In other words, someone who won’t just take 500 beautiful close ups but also give a real sense of atmosphere and surroundings. More often than not, that will mean a photographer who is skilled with a wide angle lens and is not just dependent on huge zoom lenses.

Job two, pick someone you see eye to eye with. You don’t have to come away from the whole experience thinking that the photographer is at the top of your Christmas card list from now on, but it’s important that you understand how he/she works, and that you have an ability to communicate with each other both on the day and afterwards too. If you don’t feel comfortable with your photographer, then things can get lost in translation. And when it’s too late, it’s too late. The best thing to do is to get your requirements across the table before you commission them. In the initial meeting you should see at least 2 to 3 complete weddings. Make sure their consistency matches their talent. It’s also handy to ask how many weddings your photographer has shot. It’s not the be all and end all because if there’s talent there, then it’s there; but it’s useful to know how much experience there is dealing with things that inevitably don’t go according to plan.

Now back to that pinch of salt. Magazines will tell you that you should come at a photographer with a checklist of pictures you’re after. My advice is TRUST YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER or don’t hire them in the first place. The longer the list, the less freedom a photographer will have to be creative. Some of my favourite shots aren’t necessarily the kind of scene that you could put a label on (eg bride getting out of car, couple cutting the cake), but the light was perfect, the atmosphere was emotionally charged, everything fell into place and a simple moment resulted in a magical image.

With that said, the most important thing is to enjoy the build up to your wedding. It can simultaneously feel like it’s right around the corner or a decade from now. When choosing any supplier, going with gut instinct is often a good tactic, so long as you’ve looked at all they have to offer. And with regards to wedding photography, an even combination of art and professionalism is probably the best way to slice your toast, whether you’re into Marmite or marmalade.

Children At Weddings

23 September, 2011

Thank you today to one of our most articulate Members, the delightful Isabel Smith, for her insights into those little people at weddings. Grab a coffee, sit back and enjoy……

Anyone who knows me knows that I am not the maternal type. Other than the (marginally) increased tolerance level I have developed since my niece was born, I generally take the view that if I walk into a restaurant and hear a crying child, I will walk back out again.

Having said that, I don’t think I was being over sensitive in getting more than a little enraged concerned when children at one of my recent weddings were blowing out every candle I lit, throwing my (expensive wooden) garden games over the hedge, licking the cupcakes and putting them back(!), and kicking the generator.

Our clients have to make the call at some point between the ‘a-wedding-is-a-family-affair-so-of-course-all-the-kids-should-come’ camp, or the ‘I-think-the-kids-will-be-bored-and-besides-the-parents-deserve-a-night-off’ train of thought – often to find horrible consequences (screaming child throughout the ceremony vs certain guests getting huffy and refusing to attend – it’s a difficult trade-off!).

In the past, if my clients have indicated that children will be a part of their day, I have always taken steps to ensure that some age and gender appropriate entertainment is provided. The ideal scenario is of course to bring in the professionals – allocating a space for the kids to play in, and hiring an accredited crèche company to provide the care and entertainment. Alternatively, a bouncy castle is always a winner, but at the very least, I carry some colouring books and pens in my on-the-day kit.

But what happens when, as I found this year, the kids are invited, the client isn’t willing to pay out for much in the way of entertainment, and the parents also want a night off so are nowhere to be seen? Who is responsible then, and how does one handle the nightmare-brat scenario?

I thought I’d better ask an expert:

Joanne Mallon, child psychologist and author of ‘Toddlers: An Instruction Manual’, says that: ‘Weddings are not really child-friendly events. They take the children out of their own environment and routine – especially the 2-4 year old age groups, who may be used to a nap in the afternoon – and puts them in a group with a party atmosphere and often with lots of sugary food too. It’s no wonder they can get hyper!

When things are getting a bit out of hand, not being afraid to address the children directly can often have the effect you want. Simply being spoken to by a new adult can be scary enough since children are often much better behaved for adults who aren’t their parents. However, they are also very sharp, so will pick up on any lack of confidence in your own authority.

Shouting, or telling off can have the effect of goading them into further bad behaviour. Instead, distraction can work really well. Focusing on the ringleader (which doesn’t necessarily mean the eldest child) and getting your eye level down to match theirs, you should offer an alternative activity to whichever naughty one they are currently engaged in (e.g. ‘I’ve got some lovely colouring books over here – shall we go and do some colouring?).

Alternatively, children might be doing something simply because no-one has told them not to, and more importantly, WHY not to. By explaining to the child in straightforward terms that licking the cupcakes isn’t very nice because we’re saving them for later and someone else might want that one can do wonders. It is also useful to give the child some control back by offering to put their favourite cake/toy aside for them for later.

If things are really getting out of hand, you have to remember that YOU are the adult, and take control – take the child by the hand and say ‘let’s go and find mummy’.

Parents who are chatting with their friends and family may lose track of their children simply because they know all the children are together, and may assume that one of the other parents/family members are keeping an eye on them. When this isn’t the case, and you bring the child back to them, using language which focuses on the child’s happiness or a safety concern (for example ‘I think Harry looks a bit unhappy over there and needs you’ or ‘Julia and the boys were playing around the generator and I thought it was starting to look a little dangerous so I thought I’d better bring her back to you’) will go over better than anything that could be construed as accusing their child of bad behaviour.’

Well, thank goodness there are more child-orientated people in the world I can call on! Thank you Joanne!

And, just for laughs, I’ll finish up with the tip I got from the non-expert:

Garreth at Sternberg Clarke: “I’m no Child Psychologist, but I know that if you wear sunglasses around anyone under 5, they will think you’re cool”.

Worth a try!

Member Focus – Without A Hitch

21 September, 2011

08071103-victoria-gordon-058-smaller5Today we introduce another of our Members, Victoria Gordon, who runs ‘Without A Hitch’….


Why did you become a wedding planner? 

I really enjoyed planning my own wedding and I love the mixture of left and right brain functions. I can be OCD with my organisation, plans and lists but at the same time I get to be creative and come up with exciting themes and designs that work with my couples personality. 

What’s your USP? 

Everyone in this business is highly organised and creative that’s what makes us all want to be wedding planners. I have set Without A Hitch up as an Eco Wedding Planning company. That doesn’t mean that I will only plan your wedding if you want it to be green, but the company itself is an Eco company and if you do want certain elements of your day to be more Eco friendly I can give you help and advice to achieve that. I have come across some wonderful ideas and inspiration while looking into this area such as wooden wedding rings, wedding invites printed on tea towels and all sorts of new and quirky ideas. 

What’s your signature dish? 

It’s something that I made up myself; I call it ‘chicken in a pot’. It’s basically chicken cooked in a saucepan with a sauce that consists of whatever I can find in the cupboards at the time. It never comes out the same twice, but I have never had it fail me in the taste department! 

Do you have a favourite venue? 

I really love old buildings that have lots of history behind them. I have been into see the RAF club on Piccadilly the rooms are gorgeous. They have so many great places for photos. I would love to arrange a wedding there. 

How would your clients describe you? 

I have been told that I am very calm and that this has a calming effect on people on the day. I have also been described as, reliable, hard working, highly organised and have great creativity. 

Have you ever had a challenging client and how did you deal with it? 

Each client is different, so each job has it’s own little challenges and needs that maybe you have never had to deal with before, but that’s what makes it interesting and keeps it fresh.  If everyone were the same you would get board very quickly. 

If you could plan a celebrity wedding (alive or dead) whose would it be? 

I think it would have to be Johnny Depp and Vanessa Paradis. Johnny Depp is such a great actor and has played so many amazing parts I am sure their wedding would be a wonderful personal wedding with great creative ideas and unique touches that only they could pull off. 

Is the job as glamorous as you thought? 

I never thought it would be glamorous, it’s a lot of hard work and you have to get a real understanding of what your client wants and is looking for. You have to get a real balance between giving the client everything they have ever wanted but still staying within budget. It can be so much fun when everything clicks. 

Which wedding planer’s work do you respect/admire and why? 

I really like Zoe Lingard’s style and presentation. I first came across her while I was training, and her whole image is really well put together. I think her blog is fantastic, she finds such amazing images. 

What’s your biggest achievement since launching? 

I think I would have to say starting my own business. It’s the most exciting and nerve wrecking thing, to take the leap from full time steady employment and jumping into the unknown. But at the end of the day you get to do what you love and hope that comes across in everything you do. 

What’s your vice? 

It’s got to be coffee.  When working in London a cup of coffee from one of the many coffee shops is always my little treat. 

Describe yourself in 3 words 

Caring, Quirky, Perfectionist