Wedding advice, organising your wedding



How to select a photographer for your wedding ‘a photographer’s viewpoint.

The first thing to do when organising your wedding is obviously to choose and book the venue.  Hot on the heels after the next hurdle is to find a wedding photographer, by looking online in a good wedding directory.  Usually typing in wedding photographer + “your area” eg “Yorkshire” or “Essex” works well, though added terms such as “traditional” ,  “reportage” or “documentary” ,  "storybook" or anything else that’s important to you, will focus and narrow down your search.  You can also try searching under “photos” or “wedding pictures” + the name of your venue to give you an idea how photographers use the location to get exciting and creative shots, or simply to give you ideas as to whose style best expresses your preferences. 

Some photographers are prepared to travel outside their immediate geographical area, but there can be an extra charge for this based on the mileage or time it takes to travel there and back, and if accommodation is needed that might increase the overall price you are expected to pay on top of the basic wedding costs.  If you’ve found someone you like who is available on your wedding day, then that might be worth considering.  The most popular (best value for money or most skilled or nicest personalities etc) photographers tend to get snapped up 18 months or more in advance so it’s a good idea to book yours as soon as you have set the date and booked the venue.

You do need to feel comfortable with your wedding photographer.  Do you feel at ease with them, initially in their emailed communications or in texts or phone calls?  You take great care to get the right mix with your guests and the table plan, so even more care needs to be taken with this, as a clash of wills or personalities on the day, or the dreaded photographer who hijacks you and your guests keeping you under his or her rigid control for hours on end can totally ruin your well-planned and long-desired dream wedding.  Are you impulsive or well-organised; outgoing or shy?  Can your photographer see this and work accordingly to bring out the best in you and your HTB (husband to be)?

Find out what is included in your Photo Package and get their agreement down in writing.  Sometimes this takes the form of a huge contact with loads of legal-ease in small print.  Other times it is a simple letter or email outlining what they will do for you and how much you have agreed to pay for it.  Keep this in your wedding file along with all your other information (flowers, balloons cake etc ‘anything /anyone who is meant to arrive on the day, as your suppliers are all human and mistakes can happen.  I once went to a wedding on a Thursday.  The bride was getting anxious about her flowers not yet having arrived.  Fortunately she had her wedding file with all the contacts to hand and rang the Florist.  The florist replied, “Yes its ok I have them all ready for your wedding on Saturday!! Panic ensued but once the mistake had been spotted she did get her flowers ‘just in time!!!  Ring your photographer a week or so before the wedding to check final details and to go over the itinerary and to introduce the important people in your life to them.  Their head may be full with weddings for the current week so no need to ring too soon, unless you just want to touch base and check they haven’t forgotten about you! 

If you do have any special shots ‘ones you’ve seen in a magazine, or on a website, by all means show them to your prospective photographer so they know what makes you happy.  However, you won’t have their depth of experience and inside knowledge, so this can only be a guideline for them.  Don’t pin them down to tightly or you’ll destroy all the spontaneity and creativity they have to offer you.  Do your research (on current styles and poses that you might think flatter you), and think about who is important to you too, so you don’t miss the opportunity to get say, Great Grandma, with her children, grandchildren and any great grandchildren as family tends to only meet up from far and wide on occasions such as this.  The Groom’s Mum with the couple is important too, as his side of the family tends to be less “pushy” so Brides, give him a look in too!

Some photographers double-book themselves, and unless they have more than one photographer on their books, its worth asking who is actually covering your wedding as its nice to get a chance to at least speak to them to get a chance to bond with them first.

Ask how you are going to choose you photos afterwards.  Will they spend time with you and give you support?   Does it take the form of a printed sample sheet/book of all the shots, just the best shots, or everything online in some form of client gallery.  Is this for private viewing only or available for all your guests without the faff of a password online in your own personal gallery or in a photo slideshow on a DVD or send as a PDF (a compressed file that is readable with Acrobat reader) by email for you to view at home (best suited to small numbers of photos rather than hundreds or thousands.) 

Turn around times tend to be longer during busy periods as the photographer nowadays is expected to do work previously taken care of by the photo lab so preparing your images for viewing afterwards, either so check with the photographer how long it is likely to be before you can view your images and then how long after you’ve chosen the ones you want before you are likely to receive your storybook, album or prints. Your expectations may not match those of your wedding photographer, so to avoid any potential misunderstandings its good to keep in touch via the odd email or text  to ask how things are going so you or your photographer don't get upset

In the past the original material was stored on negatives, access to which was never (or rarely) given to the client.  Many photographers are now prepared to release your photo files to you on a DVD (CDs only hold low-resolution files or approximately 100 files at full size and resolution), usually at a cost which is designed to compensate them for future loss of earnings through re-print orders from relatives.  They may say this is available only after all orders have been placed or that this is copyright protected and for your reference only. 

Keep in touch via Facebook, emails, or texts and enjoy the whole process from start to finish.  Your wedding will go well and your photographer will shine for you.

Above all, choose a photographer whose work you like, who has plenty of whole weddings to show you, either online on their website, or at their studio or home office and who you feel you get on well with, as photos are not created in a vacuum: they usually involve a spark and a flair for seeing the right moment to press the trigger.  Good cameras alone do not create photos: it is the person behind the lens coupled with their relationship with you that makes the magic!

Good luck!

xx Elaine


 Full length wedding veils are great for photos but a bit of a nightmare during the evening or wedding reception when moving around.


 Advice on deposits and advance payments

Speaking as a specialist wedding photographer, I am often horrified by stories of extremely high deposits taken purely to hold the bride to be in with that particular company. Its a good idea to cover your wedding against the unforeseen need to cancel The cancellation may be for an entirely legitimate reason should they need to either cancel the wedding - which does happen from time to time (suggest for wedding insurance to cover all your deposits in that unfortunate case) - or may simply be that they wish to change their minds in order to go with someone else they subsequently find to be cheaper or offer a better overall service. However these advance payments/deposits may not be as high for say a wedding stationary booking if compared as a proportion of the total overall cost, as for a wedding photography booking. Obviously I don't know how much people charge for their individual services but £100 as a proportion of say £600 is on a par with a venue taking £500 as a proportion of £3,000. The risks - to each individual business -  are different too, as some genuinely will lose business - even up to two years prior to the wedding, as in the case of many wedding photographers, but for others the loss will not necessarily be related to turning away another potential booking. Even if it is simply a loss of anticipated income for the particular supplier that is painful to the business who relies on his or her bookings to plan their annual finances and viability of cashflow.

If I were a bride however, I would prefer not to be held in by a huge deposit, so if I wanted to change my mind I could. I wouldn't wish to pay upfront for something until I got it - or just before I was due to receive it anyway. To that effect we only take a token booking fee of £50 to cover our admin time, and then one advance payment of £500 two weeks before the wedding to cover our initial expenses and time on the day, reserving the final payment until after the wedding when the married couple order or receive their final product - be it a personally designed storybook album, a traditional album or just prints. We believe in mutual trust, but then run the risk of working for a full week on a bride and groom's wedding images, then the couple splitting up before they have even paid for their wedding photography, or overspending on the honeymoon, or buying a new car/washing machine/family holiday/ or having the hoped for baby and suddenly having to live of one income alone. So that is why most businesses take a decent deposit and ask to be paid before the wedding takes place.

Even though most businesses don't return deposits if they are termed as a booking fee, I still feel that a discretionary refund or partial refund would be a nice touch, as a goodwill gesture if the person has a genuine reason for needing to cancel their booking, but as in the general consensus and in common with general market principles a wedding-related booking is a booking, just like a standard purchase of any other kind, so decide before you buy, is good advice.

Here are some more wedding suppliers who might be able to help you too!


Many brides would like to get married outdoors, so if you are happy to hop on a plane here's a lovely wedding venue  - near Los Angeles - where you can do just that.  There is also this truly beautiful wedding venue in Jacob's Creek , Australia - near Adelaide - where you can also get married outdoors.  If that's too far to travel here's another one we have covered  - in Scotland - where you can have an outdoor wedding ceremony. This is Auchen Castle's  website,  and this Jacob's Creek Retreat. Fancy a beach wedding? see one of our gorgeous couple's wedding in the Seychelles! or an African one in The Gambia...

However, if you want to get married outside in a wood or on a mountain, an there is no licenced in England or Wales, rather than in Scotland, the only way you can do that is to either have a separate "legal" marriage on another day - but invite all the guests to your personal wedding / blessing / celebrations on the day you wish to remember as your real wedding. You can also get married under a pagoda, bandstand, or any structure with a roof so long as it is licensed for marriages.


Thought this little rhyme was quite cute...

Married when the year is new, he'll be loving, kind and true.
When February birds do mate, You wed nor dread your fate.
If you wed when March winds blow, joy and sorrow both you'll know.
Marry in April when you can, Joy for Maiden and for Man.
Marry in the month of May, and you'll surely rue the day.
Marry when June roses grow, over land and sea you'll go.
Those who in July do wed, must labour for their daily bred.
Whoever wed in August be, many a change is sure to see
Marry in September's shrine, your living will be rich and fine.
If in October you do marry, love will come but riches tarry.
If you wed in bleak November, only joys will come, remember.
When December snows fall fast, marry and true love will last.

You are going to be very busy for the whole run up to your wedding, so whatever stage you are at by the time you have found this page, we'll do our best to help you.  We have a very busy links page with all the various people you might need to book for your wedding, from the basics of wedding venue, wedding dress and wedding cake,  to hair and makeup, wedding entertainers, bands, singers, performers, musicians, etc. or just give me a call

This site here has great visuals if you are planning your wedding theme or look..

If getting married abroad see our International Page.

My sister, Jean, also a photographer, has this lovely gallery in Bridlington where you can buy original landscape photos, ideal for wedding gifts or for decorating your home. See this write up in the Bridlington Press.

If Bridlington is too far for you to travel - check out her site! If these are too traditional for you, then my son, Naki Photography, has a huge stock library of contemporary photos.

Many brides want to choose strapless wedding dresses, but have a look here first to see how they don't suit everybody! Wedding dress advice Not sure about your bouquet?  This page describes the various styles and how to hold them effectively.

One of our brides got her custom made wedding and bridemaids dresses at a bargain price from China. Next year we hope to have several of our more adventurous brides wearing a dress they have inspired The House of Mooshki to create for them!  You give them the ideas, they come back to you with a design, they make it, you wear it. Perfect!

I spotted these tips for hiring a wedding photographer on an independent archived site.

For general ideas on wedding venues and booking wedding services see here

I came across this useful site today - thought it might help loads of brides save money!

Another sound piece of advice if you are hoping to host your own reception on say a farm or large back garden, using a marquee can be found here and  here . They work very well in good weather but can feel totally different if bowing a gale or excessively muddy in the surrounding areas! If curious, we have interesting wedding photos from a marquee wedding on a farm here and another farm wedding with a reception in a marquee here too.

Stuck for ideas on what to do with your wedding memorabilia you just cant bear to throw away? This idea from a lovely London-based artist called Seiwa whom I know personally after she comissioned a video from us - is for memory-boxes she makes for you, neatly protecting and simultaneously making a feature of all your special pretty things from your wedding! She can also add text over items like gloves or images to create a really charming piece of personal art.