Little Black Book | Doris Loves

It's safe to say that we love Doris Loves! These folks have some of the most fun and unique pieces for you to hire for your wedding, everything from light up letters to a temporary tattoo station. In fact we love them so much they were one of our exhibitors at our very own Unruly Wedding Show, so we thought it was about high time we sat down with them for a chat.

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TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT DORIS LOVES AND WHAT YOU DO?

Doris Loves started in 2012 after the founder Amanda’s own wedding. During her wedding planning Amanda wrote numerous posts on a national wedding blog which led to much exposure and a lot of requests from other brides wishing to hire items from her big day. Doris Loves began. Since then it has grown and grown and I took over a year ago where DL has evolved again.  

Doris Loves has a whole host of goodies to hire! A unique and quirky Temporary Tattoo station with a large range of in house designed temporary tattoos, we even have a boxed DIY version to purchase.  We have a spectacular range of 4 ft high battery powered Light up Letters and Numbers - over 150!   And a few bold neons to carry on with the light theme.  

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WHAT MAKES YOU DIFFERENT TO OTHER WEDDING HIRE COMPANIES?

All of our light up letters are hand made and made of wood plus they are battery operated.  It means that they can go outside too. We are in the process of converting all our lights to rechargeable batteries which will almost double the length that they will last for (50 hours). Venues like them because there are no wires - health and safety! The lights we use are very different, much smaller but there are more of them which makes the letters more defined.

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LIGHT UP LETTERS HAVE BEEN SUCH A HUGE TREND IN WEDDINGS, WHAT IS IT ABOUT THEM THAT PEOPLE LIKE?

If there is anytime to have your name in lights  it has to be your wedding! They look great in photos, they add another dimension to a room, they can guide your guests to a certain area (like dance floor) and they can also create a great talking point.  The variety that you can have - whether its your initials, your surname, LOVE  or DANCE means that your imagination is your only limit.

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WHAT OTHER EXCITING ITEMS DO YOU HAVE AVAILABLE THAT YOU THINK WILL BE THE NEWEST AND NEXT IN WEDDINGS?

Neons, Neons and more Neons! We got our first set of neon lights early in 2017 and I love them so much I just want them in my living room - Seriously though we have a number of neon lights now - all unique to us.  Our temporary tattoos seem to be more popular than ever and we have a number of new tattoos coming too.  

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WHAT DO YOU LIKE MOST ABOUT BEING INVOLVED IN THE WEDDING INDUSTRY?

The people - brides and grooms, suppliers - its such a friendly industry.  I think this was what surprised me most. Having worked in a completely different industry for 15 years it was such a pleasant surprise! 

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Little Black Book | White Cottage Weddings

You guys, it's been a hot minute since the last time we gushed about a wedding supplier in this series. What better way to kick off a new year of supplier interviews with none other than one of our favourite creative stationers - badass husband and wife team White Cottage Weddings!

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Guys! How are you? Can we just pretend we don't know and love you for a second and ask you who you are and what you do?

Oh hey ladies! We are Toby and Kelly, husband and wife and the team behind White Cottage. We're wedding stationers, based in Northamptonshire, but work with guys and gals all over the world.

If you had to describe your style and design in three words, what would they be?

WELL. BAD. ASS. Ha, ok maybe unique, illustrative, rad.

What's it like working creatively with your spouse?

Kelly: Toby's my lobster. As much as it pains me to publicly declare it (because of my badassness), he's my best friend and the most brilliant man I know. So spending all our time together is pretty cool. The worst part of our job is hitting the creative wall, so being able to bounce ideas and work in progress between us makes things so much easier. I handle the concepts and the majority of the design work and Toby does the tricky illustrations and tech stuff.
Toby: Yes, I am the assistant. I'm the Chewbacca to Kelly's Han Solo. Im basically Kelly's wookie :D

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What has been your most ambitious design or brief to date?

A couple of years ago we had the pleasure of working with a glorious couple that found us on the internet and loved what we did. They were getting married at the Hôtel de Glace in Québec City, a super cool (in all senses of the word!) chapel built from snow and ice. They wanted the design to be fun and to include illustrations of the ice chapel and their dogs, but other than that, they told us to do whatever we wanted. I'm not going to lie, I felt the pressure. A combo of an open brief and the expectation that we would produce something not only personal that looked cool, but was funny too? Hilarious on demand is DIFFICULT. Long story short, after a lot of tantrums, tea drinking and pondering, everything came together and we produced one of favourite ever designs. We learned a lot from that job in terms of our style, how to handle enquiries and realistic expectation of how a design can take. That stationery totally catapulted our portfolio too and without it, we might not have received some of the early interest we did in our little business. For all it's difficulties, we're so thankful we got that gig.

Where do you get your ideas?

Kelly: Our couples are our biggest inspiration. I always try to meet face to face whenever possible, whether that be at wedding shows and events or for sit down consultations. We are people people (is that a phrase? :) and so getting to know our customers helps us to create something truly meaningful and representative. Beyond that, I honestly don't know! I never entirely know what a custom design will look like until I get to it and then it just kind of happens. I am more than aware how douchey that sounds by the way :D I try to be flexible throughout the design process. I've found that you can't force a design and if you're too regimented with how you want a piece to look, if you hit a problem, it's usually complete redo time.
Toby: Ask her about the Napoleonic fort design that made her sit in under her desk and threaten to go back to teaching.
Kelly: I couldn't make the bloody whale work, it was really difficult!

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Who would be your ideal client for wedding stationery (real or fictional, we don't mind!)?

Kelly: Oh blimey, tricky. If you'd have asked us what sort of stationery we'd like to design before we got in to our groove, I'd have probably said moody stuff. Toby and I are lifelong geeky goths at heart (albeit nowadays hidden under warm toned skin and casual knitwear :) so to get our teeth in to something dark and melancholy would be interesting. Maybe Morrissey's wedding? Although, it's unlikely that Morrissey would ever find anyone worthy of Morrissey's hand, so maybe Morrissey marrying himself? Having said that I'm a total sucker for an American style rustic, woodsy design so maybe Jack and Ennis from Brokeback Mountain? Spoiler alert, but OH SO SAD.
Toby: Kate Bush.
Kelly: And who?
Toby: *shrugs*
Kelly: He loves Kate Bush. Ok, I'm hitting my stride now... Carrie and Quinn from Homeland. I'm thinking bold typography, clean layers, lots of them and foil. Lots of that too.
Toby: How about Frank and Karen from Punisher, or Kylo-Ren and Rey?!
Kelly: I think we're getting a bit carried away with this one...

What do you wish couples knew better about what you do?

It would helpful, sometimes if customers understood the time (and associated cost) that goes in to the concept, creation and production of great wedding stationery. The very large majority of the people that we meet that go on to order with us appreciate all of this entirely. However, every now and then we wished that some folk could see the hours that turn in to days, long nights and entire weeks that are spent creating even one item of stationery. There are a small amount of people on the planet that think we pull stationery out of our magical art arses. Unfortunately, we do not have magic arses. I don't want to end this question on a moan though, so thankfully we rarely have to deal with this issue any more.

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What do couples always forget when it comes to wedding stationery?

Kelly: Couples can sometimes forget that it is their wedding stationery and their wedding. Pleasing family members and consideration of complex social situations within their stationery is so difficult to see and I really feel for those people that end up settling for things that they wouldn't naturally choose, to suit others. I think, as a basic rule that you should opt to go with whatever you can happily live with. Compromise to suit others might end up being the best option for you, but if you think that settling might be one of those things that you'll go on to regret, stand by your principles and own your wedding along with all of the creative decisions.
Toby: Couples can also forget that the weddings as a whole are pretty disposable and stationery is one of the few things you can keep forever. It's not something you want to look back on and hate and 100% worth your time, attention and investment.

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What are your top tips for couples putting together their ideas for stationery?

It can be tempting to put together a Pinterest board for stationery and fill it entirely with examples of stationery that you like. We often see boards that end up with a hundred different designs, most with conflicting styles and for a designer, we end up with a bit of a needle in a haystack situation. What's much more worthwhile, is putting together a board that represents the whole wedding and maybe a couple of stationery examples to indicate specifics. The style of font you prefer, or the format of a table plan for example. Stationery is the thing the runs right from the very start of your wedding planning (save the dates, invitations), through the day itself (table plans, place settings and order of services to name but a few items) and beyond (thank you cards, favours), so understanding what you have planned for the entire day is really useful for your designer.

Kelly: I can waffle a bit, so I should probably let you go now. Final thought though, don’t be afraid to shop ‘off the shelf’ and explore independent design studios. There are so many good ones out there. Happy stationery shopping!
Toby: But you should probs check us out first :D

Little Black Book | The London Lightbox

Have you ever known of a wedding trend so prevalent as the photo booth? Since it came on the scene in the late 2000s, it's become a staple wedding feature that nobody wants to see going away.

We're seeing more and more companies pop up and offer it, so what makes any of them different? What can you choose that still feels unique even though you know you're going to see seven booths at other people's weddings this year?

We spoke to our newest favourite booth team The London Lightbox, about their ethos, their plans and what makes their booth experience stand out.

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Guys, hello! Tell us a little bit about The London Lightbox and how you got started?

Hey! Well… we started back in 2015 after using photo booths that were just huge monstrosities.  We thought that surely other people will be like us and appreciate some great design combined with taking selfies!?

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What makes you different to other photo booths?

So we took apart the conventional photo booth and got rid of the bits no one needs - the bulky ‘booth’ and cheap plastic – and upgraded the cameras, software, printers and flash.  We got our design friends involved, mainly architects, carpenters and steel engineers, to create an original shape out of quality materials.  The result is the Obscura photo booth.  

Booths, you guys. They came, they saw, they conquered in the wedding world. What is it about them do you think made them such a staple of the industry?

With everyone excited for the big day, everyone dressed in their best and with all the friends and family around, who doesn’t want to take a photo!?  Combined with saving the memories to look over in the future, and with every event we do, we create unique graphics for the bride and groom – 100% guaranteed there will be one of our photos on the guests’ fridge!

For couples thinking about ways to make their booth more personal or ways to wow their guests, what would you say?

It’s all about the design here.  Along with creating your unique graphics and layouts for the prints and social uploads, we also create custom touch screen experiences for the guests, taking them on their selfie journey in your style. 

Secondly, the Obscura is designed with changeable ‘Skins’ – so choose one of our premade skin to complement your venue – brushed steel for a minimal space?  Zinc for iridescent light reflections in a courtyard?  High-gloss, piano black wood for a decadent room?  Your day, you choose!

What has been your favourite wedding booth to date?

I think this has to go to Ben and Georgie, their wedding was a beautiful affair in a classic Sperry tent on an Oxfordshire garden – simple and such good fun.  The thing I loved was the atmosphere where everyone just wanted fun – and our Obscura coupled with some giant letters and everyone climbing on them meant we could capture the most people we’ve ever had in a frame!   Check out this pic (Photo from Georgie and Ben’s wedding)

What would you suggest for the couple looking for something a little bit different, thinking outside of the booth?

A huge benefit of our Obscuras is the fact they’re one of the smallest available – no part of the room is blocked off - so why not build it into a set?  Sit it in a Punch and Judy stand on the lawn, or position the Obscura in the jungle in the Conservatory?  Wrap the Obscura in our Moss Skin and build in your floristry to tie the whole experience together? Couple that with your own graphics on the prints and you’ve got something totally unique.

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Find out more about them over on their website!

Little Black Book | VenueScanner

Every good wedding starts with a good venue, from a grand stately home to industrial blank spaces, quirky warehouses or rustic barns, everyone has a different take on their perfect venue.

Now here at Revelry Towers we pride ourselves on the ability to sniff out the right venue for you but as well as knowing various venues personally we also work with venue directories for additional inspiration. We recently met the lovely Rebecca from VenueScanner, who answered some of our questions about the venue directory and how it works. If you're looking for a venue then read on...

1. So Rebecca, what is VenueScanner?

VenueScanner is a discovery, comparison and booking website for meeting and event venues.

2. Sounds helpful, how did it begin?

It began, like many great start-ups in a garden shed! The idea was developed from myself and my co-founder Benjy’s personal experiences of trying to discover and book venues. We were working at Marks & Spencer and every team workshop, team away day, summer party, Christmas party etc etc was a total pain to find and book the venueIt's crazy how hard it was given how many great venues we are surrounded by in Londonmost of which have over 30% availability!

So, in early 2015 we explored the concept of finding all the venues near to us and putting them on a search website. And quickly we have become the fastest growing marketplace in the UK for venues.

3. That's exciting, so tell us, how does Venue Scanner work?

Our aim is to be super simple to use. Here is the low down:

1.      Search by postcode & event type

2.      Compare side by side all of the venues within that category (>8000 to choose from!)

3.      Filter the venues according to:

a.      Venue Type: Affordable, Creative, Traditional, Warehouse etc

b.      Number of guests

c.       Budget

d.      Event Type

4.      When you like a venue you can click ‘The little pink plus’ which adds the venue to your basket

5.      When ready you can write one enquiry and send it off to all venues

6.      Venue Hosts will receive your enquiry immediately and respond directly to you via our messaging hub

7.      All your enquiries will be in one place and when you are ready you can book & pay.

8.      We are always online to help, and if you don’t have time to search and compare you can simply send us your event details and we find the best spaces for you.

 

3. What’s the best thing about Venue Scanner for anyone looking for a wedding or party venue

The best thing about VenueScanner is that it is quick & easy.

You have the widest variety of venues at your fingertips and can tailor the search to find your perfect venue in 5-10 minutes and then enquire direct at the click of a button. No agencies, middle men or fees. Someone on chat to help you at all times!

4. What advice would you give anyone looking for a venue?

The venue is one of the most important parts of your event, however blank canvas venues can be converted to fit any event theme. I am always tempted to find blank canvas, quirky and interesting spaces which tend to be more affordable and spend more on creating the perfect event within the blank canvas venue.

We have found that enquiring with 5 venues at once when you are searching delivers the greatest likelihood of making your booking quick and simple and avoids availability issues.

5. What sets you apart from other directories?

We are a tiny tech team. We are not an agency or have any venues or agencies associated to us. We are purely trying to complete the mission of making venue discovery & booking really really simple. We also offer lots of rewards for repeat bookings and like to send everyone who books with us either a bottle of wine or bunch of flowers as a surprise so if you like either of these check us out! ;)

Little Black Book | BerinMade

If you're anything like us at Revelry HQ, you go a bit nuts for paper goods. A trip to Paperchase is like Disneyland, you always have a cute, new notebook on the go, and your Pinterest boards are filled with the most gorgeous invitations.

If you're anything like us, you're going to LOVE BerinMade, London stationery and design studio. Let's catch up with founder Erin and designer Lana!

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Tell us a little bit about BerinMade and how it came to be?

E: I started the company in 2012 after taking the plunge to quit my 9-5 working in an auction house. My degree was in Fine Arts and ever since graduation, I longed to be creative again and manage something of my own. After I got married, I fell in love with stationery and paper goods. It was hugely inspired by all the amazing things you could do with paper, and 5 years on, I still feel the same way.

We specialise in wedding and events stationery, greeting cards and lifestyle gifts. Our philosophy is to always push the boundaries of what we can do with paper, and I believe that is reflected in every project that we work on. I want our clients to fall in love with paper goods the way that I did. Even though we are now a small team, each one of us feel the same way and have the same passion for our products.

Our wedding clients are treated like special guests. Lana is our wedding project manager and the main contact for most wedding clients; she and I work together to ensure that our brides are taken care of and their project goes seamlessly. Often clients don't realise that stationery projects need a lot of management. There is timeline, production technicalities, supplier co-ordination; clients need to be kept in the loop, know all their options, have the right expectations. It's a stressful time for them, and sometimes they can feel out of their depth with so many things to learn and to manage, especially when it's a technical aspect- and it's our job to put that at ease. It's often not just a design-job, it can be a bit of an operation. I would say that apart from our designs and signature style, that is an added bonus that sets us apart from other companies.

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We'll say! How would you describe your style of paper goods?

E: We do a varied range but mostly you'll find that we love a bit of bold pattern, floral illustrations, unexpected but beautiful colour combinations, with a touch of metallic. With weddings we're really into special formats that tell your story, whether that's a geometric fold out invitation with glittered panels, or travel-guide inspired booklets for a destination wedding. So for us, it's all about telling a story as well as making it look beautiful and worthy for a wedding in the process.

What is your favourite kind of thing to work on?

E: The best briefs come in Pinterest boards that are not stationery-related! They can be full of fashion, interiors, flowers, fun objects to do with the couple- things that really tell their style. We are then able to translate that into paper form and often clients are so amazed by the unique-ness of their bespoke design and how much it represents them, because it's so unlike anything else they have seen out there! 

L: Definitely a lot of foiling! Erin's hand lettering and illustrations make the perfect details to foil, I fall in love every time. Another heart-throb would be all the lovely patterns we create with Erin's amazing illustrations. Do yourself a favour and don't miss our wrapping paper!

What has been your craziest or most fun brief for a wedding?

E: Last year we did a brief for a Mexican-fete inspired wedding and it was one of the most fun projects I've ever worked on. The couple were a dream to work with, giving us an idea of what they liked and letting us run wild with ideas. I illustrated a full set of colourful stationery with gorgeous gold foiling details, as well as scalloped pockets inspired by papel picado. It was an ambitious project in terms of production, a lot of things took a while to figure out, and the results came out like a dream!

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You have a new book out! Amazing! What's it about and who is it for?

E: Thank you! My new (and first) book is called Paper Parties. It features 50 paper projects for every celebration, and covers parties across engagements, birthdays, weddings, anniversaries as well as holidays. I'm really excited about its unique format which has a coffee table inspiration lookbook at the front (like browsing through pinterest with me), and then followed by detailed instructions in the back of how the lookbook items. It means that flipping through it is just as enjoyable as using it as a manual.

It includes my favourite colour and decor trends, themes and schemes and has lots of inspiration and tips on the most fun and heart-filled celebrations to share with your family and friends. There are lots of inspiration and projects suitable for weddings too, but what i love about it it the most is that they are not super "weddingy" but rather things that can be translated well, like white crepe sea foam chair-backs, irridescent gem cake toppers, flower crowns. It's a title under the "craft" section but I think it does straddle design and lifestyle, too. You can see more inside the book here

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Why should wedding day stationery not be an after-thought?

L: Most of the time we think of wedding stationery as practical items that is just a necessity to give information through to the guests. The amazing thing about wedding day stationery that gets overlooked is that it can tie your whole theme together, serve as decor in and around your venue, greet and guide your guests with something that is special and still have the bonus of being practical. 

E: I agree with Lana. As well as conveying a set of information about the day itself, the stationery should be worked out as part of the decor and overall experience for your guests. So many things about our world now is to do with the digital and social media, so when you can make an impact on the tangible aspects, it really makes your celebration memorable for your guests.

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What tips do you have for couples trying to figure out what the want for their wedding stationery?

L: Your wedding day is one of the most public displays of you as a couple, this is where your inspiration must come from. Instead of just trying to keep up with the newest trends or going with what everybody else is doing, be true to who you are as a couple. Look at the highs that you enjoy most, what makes your heart beat faster and through that we create a reflection of you as a couple.

E: So much goes into wedding that it's often exhausting to think of your options. With your wedding stationer it's important to go with your heart, and someone you click with. If you're going for something extra special, it's important to find a designer that clicks with your sense of aesthetic and tastes!

Little Black Book | Les Trois Soeurs Bridal

So, it's that time again, when we introduce you to some of our favourite suppliers. We popped in to see Les Trois Soeurs Bridal recently and after admiring its many gorgeous dresses, we though it was about time we got them on the blog and found out a little more about the boutique. Try not to swoon over the pictures!

 Les Trois Soeurs Bridal

Les Trois Soeurs Bridal

1. How would you describe Les Trois Soeurs Bridal to brides looking for the dress?

Les Trois Soeurs Bridal is an intimate bridal boutique set in the heart of the financial district in Canary Wharf, renowned in the industry for its exquisite collection of luxury designer brands. The company is made up of two stores, one focusing on the bridal gown and the second purely on bridesmaids dresses. Les Trois Soeurs Bridal has one of the biggest bridesmaids collection in London! We also have a fully transactional, net a porter style, online store selling all the bridal accessories you could possibly think of!

 Les Trois Soeurs Bridal

Les Trois Soeurs Bridal

2. What sets Les Trois Soeurs Bridal apart from other bridal boutiques?

The range at Les Trois Soeurs Bridal is what sets the boutique apart, with dresses from industry heavyweights such as Temperley and Amanda Wakeley, to international designers like Lazaro and Hayley Paige and new sensations like Alon Livne. The intimate boutique is by appointment only and the team prides itself on its superior customer service. The boutiques' consultants are highly trained in their craft and here to guide you every step of the way.

3. Which designers do you stock and what do you look for in designers that are sold in store?

Les Trois Soeurs Bridal has a unique buying process, traveling internationally to the best bridal markets throughout the world.The buying team are frequently invited to international catwalk shows and events, but the key is quality and our buyers will focus on the degree of luxury craftsmanship and quality fabrication in order to consider new designers for the boutique. We have a wonderful array of designers, Alon Livne, Alvina Valenta, Amanda Wakeley. Anna Kara, Anna Maier, Caroline Castigliano, David Fielden, Hayley Paige, Lazaro, Sarah Janks, Tara Keely, Temperley Bridal, Victoria Kyriakides, Zahavit Tshuba

 Les Trois Soeurs Bridal

Les Trois Soeurs Bridal

 Les Trois Soeurs Bridal

Les Trois Soeurs Bridal

4. Tell us about the Les Trois Soeur Bridal experience?

Consultations are by appointment only and you are guided every step of the way. Out dedicated team will get to know you and your vision for your dress and wedding over a glass of champagne, and then its the fun part, trying on the looks you love!

Brides are welcomed back to the store to try their favourite dresses on again and our team are here to assist with any questions about alterations to the designs, order times and the final fitting process. 

5. What advice would you give to brides looking for their wedding dress?

Enjoy every step of the way!

 Les Trois Soeurs Bridal

Les Trois Soeurs Bridal

 Les Trois Soeurs Bridal

Les Trois Soeurs Bridal

6. What bridal trends are you seeing at the moment and which ones excite you the most?

There is always a strong focus on lace but the new season laces we are seeing, especially in designs of our new Greek designer Victoria Kyriakides are exquisite. There is a stronger nod to delicate and fragile construction which makes these extremely feminine whilst remaining totally contemporary in their design. 

Little Black Book | Wagtail Productions

Here at Revelry Towers we're big fans of wedding videos, to be honest we don't think they always get a fair rep, often they're a last minute addition to the day or people think they're a bit cheesy. Now don't get us wrong, a certain level of cheese does exist in the videography world but we work with some brilliant suppliers who actively avoid this. 

We first met Ayla at a wedding fair a few years ago and then worked with her on a styled shoot to mark the launch of Pride, Prejudice and Zombies. Not only that we think she's so good she's doing Susie's wedding, that's right, you heard it hear first - Wagtail Productions is officially Wedding Planner approved, so let's meet the brains behind the operation.

TELL US ABOUT YOUR BACKGROUND, HOW DID YOU GET INTO WEDDING VIDEOGRAPHY?

I started in photography. I have always been obsessed with taking photographs, even as a child. I studied art and photography at college and uni. Video started to creep into my work, subtly at first. For example, I made a sound track to accompany the viewing of one of my photography exhibitions in London.

I then worked in the film industry as a Camera Assistant. I worked my way up, starting on independent films, then music videos, TV drama, commercials and big budget features. I finally got to fulfil my dream of working on a Bond movie when I did Skyfall. It was, ironically, on that job I decided I needed to make a change. It's really thanks to my experience in the film industry and the wonderful people who trained me that Wagtail Productions is where it is now. There's not a single shoot where I haven't drawn on my experience. It was a truly fantastic time in my life, but the bigger the film, the bigger the crew, the more disconnected from the camera I felt. I wanted to go back to just me and my camera and be in control of my own projects.

I took a break travelling around Europe. I drove from London to Rome solo and spent the summer as an Au Pair for 3 incredible children in Venice. You can't be in Italy and not be inspired, and this is when the filming started. I was au pairing for the most beautiful family. Their lives moved me. I felt I needed to film their every day moments, the innocence and romance of a childhood by the Italian seaside. The family had such joy from the film I made them.  I must admit, it's the reactions that make what I do so addictive. Before I knew it, I was back in the UK making little films just for the love of it which lead to my first wedding booking.

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR FILM STYLE?

Wagtail Productions works with a huge range of styles. That super 8mm vintage look, classic cinema, stop motion animation, split screen fun, reportage, whatever suits the couple's day. We look at each project with fresh eyes and really get a sense for who the couple are during our pre-wedding chat. Everyone’s wedding has such a different feel, and we want to capture their essence and tell the story with those tiny real moments, such as a look or a touch.

WHAT SETS YOU APART FROM OTHER WEDDING VIDEOGRAPHERS?

We are regularly told two things by our couples at the end of their wedding day: “we didn't even notice you filming” and “you feel like part of the family now”. Our approach is to be discreet on the day, but still get those cinematic shots. When the couple and guests are relaxed, the result is a natural and authentic film. We avoid cliches. You won't see sweeping shots of shoes on windowsills in our films haha.

WHAT’S THE BEST THING ABOUT THE WEDDING VIDEOGRAPHY INDUSTRY?

I love the willingness of other videographers to share tips and to help others improve.

AND, BECAUSE WE WANT TO BE BALANCED HERE, WHAT’S THE WORST?

Videography in the UK is way behind the USA when it comes to recognising the importance of having a wedding video and including it in the budget earlier on. You really do get what you pay for: it's that simple. Many couples who book us say they didn't think they wanted a video until they saw one of our films because they associated it with awkward cheesy shots. I hope it's not long before videography gets the kind of recognition that photography already has.

AND FINALLY SOME TOP TIPS, WHAT MAKES A GREAT WEDDING VIDEO?

Hire a videographer whose style you love, and trust them to do it. If you ask them to change the way they work too much then the result won't be like what attracted you to hire them in the first place.

Communication is key. Tell them what is important to you before the day and about all the details, such as readings and key family members. Then relax and have patience while they take care editing your beautiful film.

I have more tips for a great wedding video over on my website: http://www.wagtailproductions.co.uk/blog/2016/8/18/make-your-wedding-video-beautiful

Interview with a Wedding Planner (or two)

Over here at Revelry HQ we thought it was about time we shared a bit more about the team behind the name and introduce ourselves properly! And since TIME magazine isn't leaving an messages for an interview, we thought we would just interview each other instead!

Enjoy 5 minutes of hard hitting, journalistic questions from one wedding planner to another. First up under the microscope, it's Susie...

Who are you again?

I'm Susie, a northern girl who has called London home for the past 10 years. A seasoned list maker and once introduced to someone as 'probably the funniest person you'll ever meet.'

Hey, so you're getting married soon! You freaking out mate?

Nah not so much. 10 years in brand events and weddings seems to keep all that stress in check. I'd say it's coming along swimmingly, although one of my bridesmaids did admit that she thought I might be a nightmare because I'm 'a bit Type A'. The cheek!

Well...? Tell me in three words why you wanted to become a wedding planner.

Looked like fun!

What is the most common thing people say when they hear what you do for a living?

"Like Jennifer Lopez in that film?"

Aside from JLo, who is your business role model?

Deborah Meadon. Yes I know, I should be naming some hot young thang who hit dizzying heights of success before she turned 30, but my God that woman is amazing - straight talking and always right. I can aspire to that!

What is the farthest you have ever been from home?

Geographically that would be Australia, but in terms of home comforts that would be a night of bush camping in the Okavango Delta in Botswana. I am not a camper.

If you could sing a duet with anyone, who would it be?

I do love boybands, but I also love cheesy soft rock so it would have to be Bon Jovi or Bryan Adams. Safe to say I'm not known for my cool taste in music.

What is your favourite item in your home?

Is this where I say my fiance? It's not, it's my slippers.

What was the last photo you took?

Myself eating fish and chips so I could send it to my brother to rub it in his face that he wasn't having any (there is a back story to this I promise).

Pinterest or Instagram?

I'm more of a Pinterest girl. I'm on the cusp of Gen X and Millennial and I've bowed out of most social media by now, don't even get me started on Snapchat.

Do you like your handwriting?

I do! No one else does. According to my friends and my fiance my writing slants thewrong way (?). Well you can blame the Sheffield education system for that one.

What is your favourite cocktail?

I like my hard liquor (you can take the girl out of Sheffield) so I'm partial to a Gin Martini, an Old Fashioned and Dark 'N' Stormy.

What is always in your fridge?

Cheese! But not through my doing. Our fridge is pretty varied, I'm a big fan of cooking.

What is it you like most about working with me? Please don't feel like you have to limit yourself here.

Nothing.

I'm joking. I love working with you. If I won an Oscar you'd be top of my speech of people to thank. There are lots of great things both professionally and personally that make our partnership so good. On a professional note your eye for design is AMAZING, the styling ideas you come up with for our clients and styled shoots are so creative, unique but also exactly what the couple is looking for. On top of that you're also organised and have great relationships with suppliers. You are literally the perfect formula for a wedding planner. Personally I love that we have a very honest relationship with one another, I think we communicate really well and you're such a warm and welcoming person who really cares about others. 

OMG the blushing. I think I need a second to compose myself from all the flattery! Ok chill. Most loved and most hated wedding trend?

Hate is a strong word. I do think it's each to their own but pretty much anything girly and pastel is not my scene. I'm also not a big fan of bunting and the vintage thing, which I think has become too much of a catch all term and doesn't mean much anymore. However, I am a huge fan of greenery and cactus. I like industrial spaces and bold colours, clean lines and coolness. And I love interesting, 'out there' entertainment and personal touches!

How much did you say you could bench again?

Ha, I do like to brag about my strength to lead people to believe I'm much stronger than them so they don't mess with me. I'm not sure my upper body is up to much but I have thighs of steel - 100kg and counting.

PS. Holly has totally asked me this because I talk a little bit too much about World's Strongest Man which is some kind of weird obsession I have.

Who is the smartest person you know?

My other half would be upset if I didn't mention him. He was on University Challenge you know (nerd).


What was your name again?

I'm Holly, a born and bred Londoner who decided she wanted to be a wedding planner when she was 6 (Exhibit A to your left), which was before JLo but after Martin Short. I interned from 16 with a wedding planner in North London and started planning on my own when I was 19. Those brave, brave couples. I'm now a grown up and I live in Blackheath with my husband and nutjob toddler Hazel.

That was one lifelong dream. If you could narrow it down, tell me in three words why you wanted to become a wedding planner?

Lists. Scrapbooking. Storytelling.

What is the most common thing people say when they hear what you do for a living?

*gasp* I have always wanted to do that!

 

Who is your business role model?

Does Michelle Obama count as a business role model? Because I love her, she gets business done and she's my spirit animal. #WWMD #FLOTUS44

She definitely counts in my book. Speaking of successful women with a family, how do you juggle being a mum and a business owner?

With great care. When you're raising a child and running a business, so many people know your time becomes your most precious commodity. Every minute I have available to focus on work is mapped out with lists and calendar reminders - blocks of time to make the most out of childcare days, evenings and nap times when we're at home together. Having my daughter means I work harder - not because I have to work around her but because I'm working for her. Not just to earn for our family, but to show my daughter that she can achieve her goals and be successful if she puts her mind and back into it. I hope that because she's seen me (and you!) carve a path and stick to it she'll feel confident enough to take on the world when she grows up.

Who run the world? What's your favourite item in your home?

Alllll the blankets. I can't relax without draping one (or two) on me, regardless of the temperature.

What was the last photo you took?

My daughter covered in green pen and a guilty look on her face. Remember 2 seconds ago when I said I want her to feel like she can take on the world? Well, right now her world is all the pens in the house. 

Pinterest or Instagram?

Don't make me choose, damn it! Pinstagram.

Cheater. Ok, who or what inspires you?

Other women who have forged their own path and are totally owning it. Fearless people who see risk and do it anyway. This industry is full of them and it's both a source of inspiration and positive challenge.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Still heading up the empire that will be Revelry with you, taking our rulebook-free brand north and pushing our creative boundaries even further. I'll have written that damn book too.

If you were planning your own wedding now (or renewing your vows), and you had no budget ceiling, what would it be like?

I think about this way too often. I would get the heck out of here and go abroad. I'd still do the small church ceremony in London, but then grab a dozen of our close friends and family and jet off somewhere to celebrate for the weekend. But no where with sand. It's overrated and I have a vampiric pallor. Maybe the Italian Lakes?

What's your favourite cocktail?

Espresso martini because alcohol without caffeine just makes me sleepy and want to return to my blankets. 

What is always in your fridge?

Hummus and petits filou. 

What do you like most about working with me? Please take your time...I know you must have a lot to say.

I have a theory that you don't actually sleep. You just stay awake permanently, drawing new ideas and big plans on walls like an obsessed detective. And I love that about working with you! When I get those emails or texts telling me to remind you to tell me about your latest idea next time we meet. I always know it's going to be a good one. Your brain is always on and striving for the next thing, the next opportunity. You push us to be bigger and better all the time and I love that, I need that. You're a born businesswoman, a tireless organiser, an unflappable planner, and it all makes us the perfect combo for what we're doing. Couldn't think of a more perfect partner in crime and weddings! Mainly weddings.

Why, ta very much! Most loved and most hated wedding trends?

Hessian and burlap are a bit of a bugbear of mine (what a weird word, is it like a bug-sized bear, or a bear-sized bug?)--

A bear-sized bug sounds literally terrifying.

--Anyway it's a bugbear because it looks nice but it smells so, so bad! We seemed to be using it a lot three or four years ago when weddings hit peak shabby-chic. My absolute favourite is the tropical influence we're seeing now. Especially if it's contrasting tropical like one wedding we're working on in a 16th century barn!

Thanks for letting us share a little more about ourselves - Joe Biden finger guns to you!

We'd love to get to know you all better this year too - shoot us an email at , or hit us up on Pinstagram! (Pinterest + Instagram...)

Susie + Holly

Little Black Book | Oh Wonder Calligraphy

We don't know about you, but calligraphy is one of those skills that always, without fail, ends up on the New Years resolution list every year. A few twirly letters in and then "oh this is hard...". Thankfully, there are wonderful people like Lauren from Oh Wonder Calligraphy to have pretty handwriting for us. We caught up with her this week as part of our Little Black Book series of favourite wedding suppliers!

LAUREN, HELLO! TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOUR BEAUTIFUL LITTLE BUSINESS OH WONDER CALLIGRAPHY, AND HOW YOU GOT STARTED?

Hello! Oh Wonder Calligraphy is a bespoke stationery and design studio based in South East London. I set it up in January 2016 after having my son, after years of wanting to set up my own business he finally gave me the push I needed to do it!

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR STYLE IN FOUR WORDS OR LESS?

Romantic, Luxury, Elegant and Timeless

WHERE DO YOU GO TO FOR YOUR CREATIVE INSPIRATION?

Everywhere! I love Pinterest and Instagram and spend far too much time on them but I also draw inspiration from day to day life especially nature - seeing colours and shapes that I love and think will work nicely with calligraphy.

WHY SHOULD COUPLES CONSIDER WORKING CALLIGRAPHY INTO THEIR DESIGNS FOR THEIR DAY?

Calligraphy is very personal and each piece is unique, what I love about it is that I can write the same word twenty times and each one will look different. I think the written word is so romantic, and we don’t see enough of it these days. Receiving something handwritten will make your guests feel so special and get them excited about what to expect on your big day.

HOW DO YOU LIKE TO EXPERIMENT WITH YOUR DESIGNS?

I do a lot of colour experiments - I think that colour says so much and can make you feel differently about what you are seeing. I love mixing inks and have a whole shelf filled of colour experiments I have done to find the perfect shade to evoke the emotion I want to.

WHAT IS THE MOST UNUSUAL OBJECT OR SURFACE YOU HAVE BEEN ASKED TO WRITE ON?

2016 was the year of the leaves…lots and lots of leaves, which I think look so great and add a lovely touch to a table setting.

ARE THERE ANY NEW TRENDS IN YOUR LITTLE CORNER OF THE WEDDING WORLD WE SHOULD BE AWARE OF?

I am having lots of enquiries about Agate slices for this year which I think are gorgeous!

WHAT DO YOU GET UP TO WHEN YOU'RE NOT HAVING FUN WITH INK AND PAPER?

When I am not working I am usually chasing around after a very busy toddler and a tiny but sassy miniature sausage dog who together are usually causing absolute havoc!

Check out Lauren's stunning work over at www.ohwondercalligraphy.com!

Little Black Book: Jennifer's Paper

We're kicking off 2017 by introducing you to one of our favourite stationers that we've been working with over the past year. This good old American gal really knows how to make your wedding stationery pop! Say hello to Jennifer's Paper

SO JEN, HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN DESIGNING WEDDING STATIONERY AND HOW DID YOU GET INTO IT?

I've been creating wedding stationery since 2007 when I designed my hometown best friend's wedding invitation suite and day-of paper goods. I had always loved designing one-off invites and cards but this was a chance to make it more of a "branded" project which used my skills as a graphic designer. My own wedding was 4 years later and that's when I really got hooked on designing wedding stationery.

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR STATIONERY STYLE?

It's fresh, clean, pattern-loving and classic meets whimsical. I like to infuse elements of couples' personalities in there, too, whether it be the text or a tiny illustration that gives a nod to them.

TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT WHAT YOU OFFER, WE HEAR YOU’RE MORE THAN JUST INVITES AND SAVE THE DATES?

I'm a firm believer that the wedding should feel like one cohesive event so that means I work with couples not only on the items that land in their friends and families' post boxes, but also anything that those same people are seeing when they arrive for the event. Basics like programs, place cards, menus, seating charts, signage, welcome bags. You name it, I'll design it! I once even hand-painted a beer boat (literally, an old row boat that was filled with ice and beer) at a wedding to match the invitation – it was the couple's name with the floral motif I had illustrated. It was so much fun and such a great statement piece for the wedding to really tie it all together. 

IF YOU COULD GIVE COUPLES ONE PIECE OF WEDDING STATIONERY ADVICE WHAT WOULD IT BE?

Go with what YOU want, not what your parents want (or are used to seeing). Wedding stationery has really come a long way in the past 10 years and you can really give your guests a hint of what's to come on your wedding day through the stationery. It's also one of the only items for your wedding that's tangible AFTER the big day so make it something you'll lovingly want to preserve and ooh and ahh at for years to come (I have two past clients who have just had their stationery suites framed to hang in their house. I am over the moon that they want to see this everyday!)

ARE YOU SEEING ANY PARTICULAR WEDDING STATIONERY TRENDS COMING THROUGH?

Botanical is a hot one for sure. Inspired by the greenery that the florists are creating, stationery is being influenced by this as well. Calligraphy and hand-lettering are also still around but I wouldn't be surprised if that starts making it's way out by the end of the year or maybe the year after. It's everywhere! Oh, and of course, the print finish of the moment – gold foil!

HOW DO YOU APPROACH WEDDING INVITATION WORDING?

For this one, when my couples hire me for their stationery, I ask them to fill out a questionnaire with all of the basics that will go into their invitations and one of the questions is if they'd like their wording casual, formal or religious. From there, I decide on the intro sentence and that pretty much sets the tone for the rest of the invitation. For couples that want to keep their invitation wording more formal but want some personality in there, I always tell them to use the response card for this. I like to come up with fun and cheeky ways to say "accepts" and "regrets". 

Little Black Book | Wildflower Cakes

December is the time of year for indulgence, right? In that case we're right on track thinking about cake, cake, cake. For today's Little Black Book interview we're chatting to the lovely Arianna from Wildflower Cakes in London. Arianna has provided some amazing bakes for us at recent shoots (which you can see here) and we really wanted her to let us in on her secrets. So over to her!

ARIANNA, HELLO! TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT WILDFLOWER CAKES AND HOW YOU GOT STARTED?

Hello! I was brought up doing lots of baking and experimenting in cake decorating with my mum and grandma. I only considered it as a career after I had left university and felt a bit lost. I started reading a lot of decorating and cake blogs and decided to study patisserie at Le Cordon Bleu, it was a wonderful experience. I then worked for many high-end cake companies in London before starting my own. I wanted to make sure I was confident in my skills and knew what to do if things went wrong!

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR STYLE OF CAKES?

I love flowers and nature, so the focal point of my designs is usually the sugar flowers. I adore modern, simplicity and believe less is more. A cake that has been beautifully executed with flawless icing and delicate sugar flowers is always going to be a show-stopper. I am definitely partial to metallics and usually can't resist adding a bit of gold or silver on there.

WHERE DO YOU GET YOUR INSPIRATION FOR YOUR NEW DESIGNS?

Quite a variety of places, I find Pinterest is a great place to be inspired. I often look at art, textures, patterns, colour palettes and real flowers.

HOW DO YOU COME UP WITH YOUR NEW FLAVOURS, AND DO YOU HAVE ANY FAVOURITES?

I am a massive chocoholic and love anything with chocolate. My recent favourite is a cake I made for my Dad inspired by the "cherry ripe" chocolate bar, which isn't sold in this country but is very popular in Australia where he was born. It had a rich chocolate sponge, a coconut sponge and roasted cherry buttercream. I don't usually get to eat the cakes I make, so this was a proper treat!

WHAT DO YOU GET UP TO WHEN YOU'RE NOT BAKING?

I enjoy reading classics, Jane Eyre being my favourite. I have a long list that I'm working my way through. I also really enjoy eating out, I used to be a very picky eater and I'm now super adventurous and always try to order something that I have never tried before.

WHAT TIPS DO YOU HAVE FOR COUPLES WHO AREN'T REALLY SURE WHAT KIND OF CAKE THEY WANT, HOW DO YOU START, AND WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO TAKE INTO CONSIDERATION?

I think the best way to start is to book a consultation and bring along a Pinterest/mood board you have put together of the ideas you have for your whole day. The cake maker can then see your personal taste, an idea of colours and the feel you are looking for, to then put together a design.

It's useful for the cake decorator to know how many people you are looking to serve to calculate how many tiers you will need. It is also important to consider where the cake will be displayed in the room, as some are designed to have a front angle and sit well against a wall, while some will sit beautifully in the centre of the room and look good from all angles. The taste is very important, so make sure to try a variety of samples.

ANY TIPS FOR COUPLES WHO WANT THEIR CAKE TO MAKE AN IMPACT ON A BUDGET?

You could consider having faux tiers to boost the height of your cake, which usually comes with a small reduction in price compared to having the whole thing as real cake. Displaying the cake on a high pedestal cake stand will also create more height and impact, most cake makers have these available to rent for the day. It looks beautiful to style the table the cake will be on, even just some candles or flowers surrounding can really add to making the cake a focal point.

Check out more of Arianna's gorgeous cakes on her website and prepare to drool. 

Little Black Book | PapaKata

It may well be cold and miserable outside but in our line of work, we're already thinking a few seasons ahead to Summer weddings. And that means beautiful weather (fingers crossed), outdoor ceremonies, lawn games and most of all, marquees and tents. We love working in outdoor structures like these because it really is a blank canvas and you can let your imagination run wild around those poles.

Who better to talk to and get the low-down on wedding tents than one of our favourite suppliers, Papakata! Today, we're talking to the lovely Kate Wilson, Event Planner at Papakata.

 Credit: John Day Photography

Credit: John Day Photography

TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT PAPAKATA! HOW DID THE COMPANY COME ABOUT?

PapaKåta was founded in 2006, when looking for a unique venue for their own wedding, Directors Amanda and Richard Monaghan fell in love with the beautiful giant Scandinavian teepees. Fast forward to 2016, we’re now one of the most experienced providers of teepees and the exclusive provider of Sperry sailcloth tents in the UK. Over the past 10 years PapaKåta have delivered over 2,000 events - a portfolio of fabulous and memorable celebrations that we’re hugely proud of. More recently we’ve been working on extending our offering of premium products for the events industry.

WHAT MAKES THE PAPAKATA EXPERIENCE DIFFERENT FROM OTHER MARQUEE SERVICES?

Here at PapaKata we take pride in delivering more than just a tent, we create celebrations and in turn help to make those happy memories that last a lifetime. We’re always on hand to help with the planning and happy to answer any questions and requests that our thrown our way, no matter how weird or wonderful!

 Credit: Helen Abraham Photography

Credit: Helen Abraham Photography

TIPIS HAVE BEEN TRENDING FOR A GOOD FEW YEARS NOW. HOW DO YOU SEE THE TREND DEVELOPING AND EVOLVING OVER THE NEXT FEW YEARS?

Formerly the choice for bohemian weddings and parties, the tipis seem to evolve with the times and the trends...you can do as little, or as much to the tents as you like! When it comes to our in-house styling and accessorising, we take our cues from fashion and interior design. Both feed into the event styling, over the years we’ve seen rustic-luxe, minimalist, old school glamour and more recently geometric and carnival inspired events, to name a few, the sky really is the limit!

 Credit: Anne Marie King Photography

Credit: Anne Marie King Photography

WHAT WE LOVE ABOUT TENTS AND MARQUEES IS THAT IT'S YOUR VERY OWN BLANK CANVAS SPACE, YOU CAN LITERALLY DO WHATEVER YOU WANT IN THERE. WHAT'S YOUR FAVOURITE DESIGN WHEN IT COMES TO KITTING OUT YOUR TENT?

We couldn’t agree more! The beauty of the teepees and the Sperry tents is that they can be transformed to create a party space that’s unique to those who are celebrating inside. Our current favourite design is Farmhouse luxe – the focus is on texture and warmth, something that our tents have in the bucket loads. Whatever the style inside, our aim is for magical and unforgettable, that way we’re always on trend!

 

 Credit: Anne Marie King Photography

Credit: Anne Marie King Photography

WHAT HAS BEEN THE MOST CHALLENGING, BOUNDARY-PUSHING, AMAZING BUILD YOU'VE WORKED ON TO DATE?

We’ve been so lucky in that we get to travel the country delivering our fabulous tents. We find ourselves in some fabulous locations and love the challenge that comes with it, you rarely hear of us turning down a job! This does however mean our imaginations are pushed to the limit to create ever more memorable events. Ones that stick out in my mind are roof top teepees and swimming pool spanning Sperry tents, to name a few!

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE COUPLES LOOKING AT HOLDING AN OUTDOOR WEDDING, PLANNING TO USE A TENT OR MARQUEE?

Planning is key! Take a look at the bigger picture first rather than the details. Once you’ve found your perfect venue, we encourage site visits to check that it really is the venue for you, and the place where your wedding day dreams can be brought to life. The British weather has a lot to answer for, good and bad! It’s important not to fixate on that outdoor drinks reception, but rather to have a contingency plan for all occasions. Also, remember to embrace whatever the elements throw at you. Some of our most memorable events have been made all the more magical by the unexpected - be it rainbows, sunsets and even April snow!

 

 Credit: Ed Peers Photography

Credit: Ed Peers Photography

CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT ANY EXCITING NEW FEATURES OR IDEAS YOU HAVE PLANNED FOR 2017, WHAT'S IN THE WORKS?

We look forward to sharing our first bespoke scent in the form of a luxury candle. The idea being to embed precious memories through scent, and transport those who’ve partied with us back to their magical PapaKåta event.

 Credit: Anne Marie King Photography

Credit: Anne Marie King Photography

We’re also always looking to complement our beautiful tents with a collection of furnishings that create the warmth and luxury that has become synonymous with PapaKåta. Watch this space for new and exciting products to accessorise your events in 2017!

Little Black Book | Stormont

We've had a great time this summer seeing all our lovely couples tie the knot. Along the way we've met some amazing suppliers and so with that in mind we'd like to introduce you to Mark Stormont of Stormont London. The most high quality entertainment agency we've had the pleasure of working with.

Tell us about Stormont London, what do you do?

Stormont London is a passion project that is rapidly growing into the UK’s most perfectly formed event entertainment agency. For our clients we dip into a hand-picked roster of acts and artists across music, magic, dance, circus, illustration, photography and film to create the perfect cocktail of entertainment for their wedding or corporate event.

How are you different to other entertainment agencies?

Careful curation and spotless service if you want a sound bite! Our tag line is “expertly curated entertainment” and this really does sum up precisely who we are and how we help our clients.

You only have to start Googling entertainment options for 10 minutes before you want to hide your laptop under a pillow and hope that the problem of finding a band, magician or photo-booth will just solve itself. There’s too much choice and not enough selection out there and that is the problem we solve.

We have done the searching and profiling, we know the performers, we have lived on the front lines of events and entertainment for the best part of a decade. When clients come to us looking for some entertainment options they know that for every act we suggest there are 20 that didn’t make the grade or just aren’t quite right.

We also advise, manage and plan to perfection to a much greater degree. We work to a greater level of detail and looking after our clients better than any other agency we know. We don’t just ask people to sign a contract and then leave them to it.

A lot of couples typically want a band or DJ at their wedding, what advice would you give them to pick the right one?

Er...call us? I’m kidding of course but I do suggest calling bands and DJs in general. On the phone you can get such a good impression of the level of professionalism that a supplier up-holds. We would also suggest sending the same brief (in as much detail as you can muster) at the same time to multiple providers / bands / DJs and agents so you can directly compare response times, tone of email, clarity of communication and so on. That will help distinguish the pros from the hobbyists.

If the question your clients are asking themselves is if we should hire a band OR a DJ then they should definitely read our article 7 of the best reasons to hire a live band for your wedding.

We would also say don’t get frustrated and book an act because you are bored of looking, you are looking for something specific or you are just not enamoured with the options you’ve found, seriously, call us ;-).

Stormont London — Magicians for weddings

What suggestions do you have if a couple wanted some really original entertainment at their wedding?

Our best advice here would be to balance your Googling time with some thinking time. Don’t spend all of your time searching for “original wedding entertainment ideas”, you may find it overwhelming and could lose sight of what you really want in a forest of options.

We would recommend spending time thinking about what you want your day to be about, who you are as a couple, what your theme is, what kind of genres of art and music you are into and then go back to the search. It is not about novelty for the sake of it, your wedding should be about character.

Little tweaks and twists can make all the difference and working closely with planners like Revelry or entertainment agents like us can really help. For example, jazz bands. Dull right? Well no, not if you go for a wandering trio who can play Justin Timberlake tunes on the sax like Cocktail Club Trio, or a band that swings up songs by Pendulum like Swing Pop.

You're not just an entertainment agency though. What else do you do?

As of late 2015 we now have two new business that are very exciting. One is London Event Productions or LEP for short — a unique technical production agency.

What is a technical production agency I hear you ask? Well, we provide AV support for weddings and events like illuminated letters, audio systems, lighting, dance floors, staging and event furniture like circular mirrored bars and so on. We are also one of the few tech companies that can provide white audio/visual equipment.

The second additional service is event photography and filming (including wedding drone filming!). Working with the esteemed wedding and event photographer Bircan (“B”) Tulga, we have started a small company providing the most charming wedding photographers in the industry.

And finally because budget is always a concern with any couple, how do you work with people that might have a little less money to play with than others?

We are always very upfront with couples about budgets. For a start we feature guide prices on our website but we also like to raise budgets very early on in discussions for everyone’s benefit.

We do uphold a certain quality of service and only take on the best entertainers, but this is not to say that we are always expensive. There is cost effective talent out there and we do look for it. All I would say is that quality is our benchmark not price.

So, for those with lower budgets we have cost effective entertainment options and you can always expect the most transparent and impartial advice regardless of budgets. Our starter collection of small bands may also be a good help!

View the Stormont Photography brochure here

Little Black Book | InstaWedding

This month we're showing off the amazing work of one of our favourite photographers and filmmakers Insta Wedding! Sarah and Mason are a husband and wife team bringing a fresh look to vintage and offering something pretty unique and badass for the modern bride and groom. Here are some gems from them!

insta wedding films

Sarah, how did you first get into wedding photography and videography?

So photography came first. I grew up with my Grandad’s love of photography and was greatly inspired by him. He never went out without a camera around his neck and had a very cool collection of cameras. I inherited his amazing photo albums as well as his passion for photography.  I started with travel photography and when I met Mason our mutual appreciation of photography exploded! As a designer and retoucher Mason had spent a lot of time working with some of the top fashion photographers in the world and began to take his own pics. 

Wedding photography started around 10 years ago when a friend of ours got married. She had paid 2.5k for a photographer and when his pics came she was really disappointed. Luckily Mason had taken lots as a guest and she loved them and created her wedding album from his pics instead. Then it went from there people asking to book him by word of mouth. We wanted to create a business out of it but there was never a “right time”. Then unfortunately I got really sick and had to leave my full time job in marketing and literally from my sick bed, our business grew! Now we have photographed over 50 weddings and filmed over 70!! 

How would you describe your film style?

Our films are super 8 / cinematic / vintage style with a modern twist. We wanted to create something like the old fashioned films but not using old equipment which can be really unreliable. We film in short bursts and the beauty of it is in the editing. Every film is unique to each couple and they are all very emotive - we have made a lot of people cry!!!!!!

Obviously I am very proud of what we do but it really is like nothing else out there. I struggle to recommend other videographers like us as our style really is unique.

What inspires you to create?

Our couples. We have ‘signature shots’ but they don’t always work for the couples personality so we think on our feet and find something that fits in with the couples style. 

Our passion for finding new and quirky shots and providing something unique in the wedding world. Working with fun, creative couples, making them laugh and cry and receiving amazing feedback. 

A very successful wedding photographer once told me her secret - that she never competes with anyone /compares herself to anyone, just does what she does best. And that has really helped as we do our own thing and want people to book us on that basis and for our own style. Not to create/imitate someone else’s work. 

Do you have any favourite people to work with in the wedding world?

We have been very lucky to work with some amazing people in the wedding world and who have supported us since day one. We adore Kat Williams of RocknRoll’ Bride - since planning our own wedding and it being featured on her blog we have been massive fans and seeing our own work published on her blog and magazine has been unreal. She has supported us since day 1 and when I met her recently I was so in awe but she is so down to earth and normal and I admire her for her honesty in her work and on a personal level. A lot of people have booked us from her forum and we particularly love working with Rocknroll’ brides. 

Another blog I love is London Bride and I got to work with Charley recently - she is sooooo lovely and brilliant at what she does.

Our favourite fair is the Most Curious Wedding Fair and we have exhibited there for the past two years, originally winning a spot for emerging talent. It’s the best fair in the UK and has the most creative suppliers under one roof. The girls who run it Becky and Cat are fab to work with and have also supported us since day 1.

We have also been lucky to work with the Meringue Girls (photographing and filming their book launch party) whose favours and wedding cakes are so cool!!!! and they are such nice girls. 

Some of our other favourite suppliers are Hey Style Hire, Bon Bon Balloons and of course Revelry Events ;-)

Flatterers! What stands out for you as one of your favourite wedding moments?

We shot an older couple’s wedding (in their 60s) and the whole day was so filled with love. It was a wedding from the heart and when they tangoed down the aisle that was one of the most beautiful moments we have been lucky enough to capture.

What, for you, makes a good wedding film great - is there any advice you would give to your couples when it comes to wedding videography?

Our style is very reportage and behind the scenes so we try to capture people when they can’t see us. So people being natural and not looking at the camera / directing us. And just being themselves and having fun. And being as silly as they want to be as once we edit we would never include anything that we wouldn’t want in there ourselves…

Go away right now (obviously, then come back later) and look at their fantastic website!

Little Black Book | Ladybird Flowers

LITTLE BLACK BOOK: LADYBIRD FLOWERS

We're shining the spotlight on one of our favourite florists this month. Readers of the blog meet Emma from Ladybird Flowers. We went ahead and asked her some questions so you can get to know her a little better. Here's what she had to say...

What's your favourite part of being a wedding florist?

Meeting wonderful couples and helping them turn their visuals into a reality! I love that I’m one of the suppliers that are lucky enough go through so many stages of their wedding process with them, not just the flowers. For me it’s so important to know about the whole wedding, getting to know the couple, their likes and dislikes, the style and feel they want for the overall day and if they have a particular theme. This is one of the many reasons why visiting the venue with the couple and working closely together throughout is such an important wonderful process. I feel so humbled when couples trust me and share with me their vision and quite a lot of the time their wedding dreams! I can be working with couples from 1 month to 18 months, it doesn’t matter the length of time I have with them, I dedicate the same amount of time and energy to ensure they get their exact vision. I have known to get quite emotional on giving the bride her bridal bouquet, knowing that I have captured their vision exactly and that I’ve delivered above and beyond their expectations is such a beautiful thing.

How would you describe your style?

I adore Mother Nature and her beauty and I would like to think that my style reflects that. I like to observe how the flowers are growing and facing so when I’m arranging them they compliment each other, not look as if they have been forced together or look ‘stiff’. I love my arrangements full to the brim of seasonal flowers, with lots of greenery, in a very natural, relaxed but elegant style. I often describe to my brides that their bouquet will look like they have skipped through the field while scooping up all the wild flowers. Of course it’s never as simple as that but that’s the look we like to go for. My all time favourite flowers are peonies, full to the brim of elegance and beauty, although getting their wonderful blousy petals to open perfectly for your big day can be tricky, but like I say with all beautiful creatures just a little love and TLC and they will be just perfect.

How do you work with clients to provide them with their wedding flowers?

I believe that every wedding is unique and individual to every couple.  I specialise in weddings on any budget so I don’t have a minimum spend.  I am always thrilled to be part of the celebration, whatever the scale.  I can supply bridal party flowers only, or go all out to create breathtaking installations to give your beautiful venue that extra special something for your perfect day. I don’t have prices on my website as these always depend on the size, season and type of flower for each arrangement.  Don’t worry though, we’ll discuss this in great detail during your free phone consultation.  Once we’ve spoken and I’ve got to know you and what you’d like the fun really starts!  I’ll arrange to meet you at your venue so we can go through the specifics and make sure we are all on the same creative page. Once you’ve booked with me I don’t take any other enquiries or bookings for your special day, as I want to ensure my sole focus and passion is dedicated to you. I’m based in London but love travelling around the country.  

What advice would you give couples when they start to look at wedding flowers?

I completely understand that choosing a florist can be a hugely daunting process. With the right florist, your wedding can go from being okay to something sensational. The right florist will not only find you the right flowers, they can also be an important presence in the run up to your wedding and can provide an unbelievably calming influence. My ‘shop’ is Instagram, (I maybe slightly addicted to Instagram!) Facebook and Snapchat. Here you can see my work, get a feel for who I am. Looking through my ‘shop’ allows you to see if I’m the type of person you would like to work with and if you like my style of floristry. I think that’s very important when looking for your florist that you make sure you feel comfortable with him/her, that you trust them and that you love their style. Then the fun part, meeting for coffee and chatting all about you and your wedding day and flowers!

What are the most popular wedding flowers and what flowers would you like more couples to take a chance on?

I’m very lucky to work with couples who primarily want seasonal flowers in all their arrangements and most are pretty open to my suggestions and advice. This works well for couples on a budget and my stress levels! I used some flowers like water lilies and lotus flowers for a wedding last year which had to be shipped in from Thailand. Don’t get me wrong, I loved working with such amazing flowers, it was however just a tad stressful to ensure I got them in time for them to be in their full beauty for the wedding day, opening just enough but not too much that they could possibly over bloom and wilt. I would love to see couples having at least one statement piece such as a flower wall or a floral hanging. Sometimes cutting back on an area of flowers and replacing with one jaw dropping flower installation can have more impact and have your guests talking for months to come…maybe even years!

Are there any floral trends you've seen over the past year and do you have any predictions for the future?

Every wedding is unique and individual to every couple, however there are trends that can dominate the wedding world, especially when it comes to flowers. Last year it was jam jars full to the brim of fresh seasonal flowers, this year we are seeing a change from the rustic and traditional vintage to contemporary urban chic with larger more daring decor.  2016 will see more floral focal areas full of lush seasonal blooms such as flower walls and flower curtains.

For the bride who wants the romantic floral focus to be on her, a floral choker full of peonies is a must.  Teamed with an elegant dress neckline and a fabulous up do, it really can create a show stopping look. In 2016 we are seeing more destination weddings to guarantee fabulous weather.  For those brides walking barefoot along the beach, ankle cuffs are the perfect accessory.      

The 2015 full unstructured bouquet full of fresh seasonal blooms, I'm pleased to say is here to stay, with some brides opting for more of a wild bouquet with lots of greenery.  We are also seeing the trailing bouquet make a come back, this time with a more natural urban feel.  With Game of Thrones being on everyone’s lips, we are seeing this come into the bridal world too. Hair is playing a big part here with lots of braids complimented with flowers to get the perfect look.

Thanks so much to Emma for answering our questions you can check out her fabulous work on her website

Little Black Book | Mary Jane Vaughan Flowers

LITTLE BLACK BOOK: MARY JANE VAUGHAN

  A close-up by Xander & Thea of MJV's gorgeous arrangement for our botanical styled shoot at Middle Temple Hall

A close-up by Xander & Thea of MJV's gorgeous arrangement for our botanical styled shoot at Middle Temple Hall

For so many couples, flowers are really the cornerstone of their wedding decor. Florals are a way to tie a theme together, to style a venue the way you want it and really put a creative stamp on your day. You really can do anything you dream up with flowers, you've just got to take a quick swipe of Pinterest to tell you that. But with Pinterest dreaming comes the harsh reality of wedding budgets - flowers are usually way more expensive than you think. But fear not! We spoke to the lovely Tove at Mary Jane Vaughan Flowers - absolute floral geniuses - and asked her for some bridal tips and advice for budgeting for your wedding blooms.

SO, TOVE, WE KNOW IT'S IMPOSSIBLE TO SAY WHAT THE AVERAGE WEDDING BUDGET IS BECAUSE IT'S ESSENTIALLY ASKING HOW LONG A PIECE OF STRING IS. BUT FOR THOSE COUPLES JUST STARTING TO PUT THEIR BUDGET TOGETHER, WHAT MIGHT GIVE THEM AN IDEA OF WHERE THEY SHOULD BE PITCHING THEIR FLOWER SPEND?

You're totally right, wedding budgets can vary so much it really is so difficult to suggest a rule of thumb percentage of your budget or a flat figure. But, there are a few things that might give you an idea. The first is your venue - if you have already chosen one or have a style in mind that you know is going to need a lot of decoration, it's safe to say your flower budget might be higher than others. Some couples don't consider headcount in their flower budget, but there's a big difference between 10 and 25 tables when it comes to centrepieces. If you do have a large wedding and still want to create an impact, consider larger tables or a different configuration which lowers the number you need.

DOES IT WORRY YOU WHEN BRIDAL MAGAZINES ARE SUGGESTING TO COUPLES THAT AVERAGE SPENDS ON FLOWERS ARE SO MUCH LOWER THAN IS REALISTIC?

The disconnect between Pinterest and bridal magazines is what may be slightly confusing for brides. Bridal magazines may suggest that the average cost is £2000, but on Pinterest (where most of our brides go nowadays for inspiration) the centrepieces are overflowing with flowers, and the bouquets huge, as these are the designs that photograph very well – but these designs will push up the costs as they are so full of flowers.

Saying that, if a couple comes to us with a certain budget and a look to achieve, we will try our hardest to achieve it for them within budget! It may mean choosing the items that are the most important and concentrating on those.

SO IF BUDGETS ARE TIGHT, HOW CAN COUPLES BE SMARTER WITH YOUR BUDGET WHEN IT COMES TO WEDDING FLOWERS?

Concentrate on the most important things – the bride’s bouquet, and the centrepieces. Those are the things that you and your guests will remember and will be in most of the photographs. 

Take your florist’s advice on what’s seasonal and go with that, there are beautiful choices in every season. If a flower is very important to you, get married at the right time of year so it doesn’t have to be imported at great cost. You may be obsessed with peonies but if you're not getting married in May or June, you'll struggle to stay within budget to have them!

You can create a lot of atmosphere with candlelight and amazing vases. If budget is tight use night lights, hurricane lamps and candlesticks and perhaps some rose petals, to decorate the less focal areas such as the drinks reception. On the table-centres themselves, a lot can be achieved with gorgeous vases and statement flowers, arranged with simplicity, or in a clever way, and highlighted with more candlelight!

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE COSTS COUPLES FORGET TO FACTOR IN FOR THEIR WEDDING FLOWERS?

 At the budgeting stage, some couples don’t think to factor in setting up and dismantling. Many venues need to be cleared that same night. If the ceremony is in a different place it may need a different team so will incur a separate cost.

VAT will usually need to be added, so if you aren’t sure it’s best to double check so you don't get a nasty surprise!

DO YOU HAVE ANY OTHER RULES OF THUMB WHEN IT COMES TO HOW MUCH FLOWERS WILL LIKELY COST? 

Our prices usually run at around £4.50 + VAT for a buttonhole, a bridal posy bouquet can run at £90 + VAT, a stunning low centrepiece can be between £80 and £150 + VAT, with taller ones going up to £400 + VAT. But we will always work hard within your budget, whatever it may be!

ANY OTHER HINTS AND TIPS FOR COUPLES PUTTING TOGETHER THEIR WEDDING FLOWER BUDGET?

 Be open minded! It is so helpful to know what you want going in to your initial flower consultation, but if your budget won’t stretch to recreating what you had in mind, a good florist will suggest alternatives. There may be compromise involved, but flowers are so beautiful that there will always be a solution!