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Earlier this week we shared a post from Rock n Roll Bride on Facebook about using inexperienced friends and family as your official wedding photographer. From the issues this post raises we thought it would be the perfect time to share with you a guest post by photographer Rebecca Douglas (first shown this time last year).

Here the very lovely and talented Rebecca gives you the low down on what you need to look for when booking your wedding photographer. Let’s find out more from the gal herself…….

Rebecca Douglas guests on the_wedding_dolls

Rebecca Douglas – In front of the camera for once!

 

”Hi Everyone, I hope that this quick tutorial will give you enough info to confidently pick your photographer but before we get onto us photographer types remember that to start with its all about you…

What do you want from your wedding photography?

Start by asking yourself some simple questions.

What’s your style? Do you like traditional, documentary, modern and edgy or retro and vintage?

What do you want captured on the day? Is it from arrival at the ceremony until the last dance, longer or less?

Do you want an album or DVD only with all of the images, or both?

What is your budget? Photography is the only lasting reminder of your day so think carefully about what have you budgeted. Is it realistic?

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Let the Research Begin

Start by searching for photographers on Google and look at review websites, blogs and social media.

If you see a photographer you like what is your gut reaction to their images? Do you love, like or just think ok? You should LOVE LOVE LOVE!

Draw up a short list of possibles, then try pinning their images (Pinterest is a great research tool) and keep comparing. Contact them to see if they are free on your wedding date. It’s also a good chance to see what their speed of response is like. Are they efficient and good at getting back to you as the customer?

Cath & Craig's Wedding at Ratsbury Barn & The George at Cranbrook by Rebecca Douglas Photography 0330
The Images

When you’ve done enough pinning take a good look at the photos and ask yourself the following questions:

Can you see yourself in the images? Are the key moments captured? Are the images sharp? Do the images look well lit? Do the people look comfortable and relaxed? Are the images taken from flattering angles? Hint: all the answers should be YES!

Meeting your Photographer

When you meet with the photographer have a checklist of questions that link to your list of priorities. It’s also important that you strike up an instant rapport and you’re happy that they are focused on you and your day.

Cath & Craig's Wedding at Ratsbury Barn & The George at Cranbrook by Rebecca Douglas Photography 0106

The Essentials

Lastly you need to do a bit of admin! Make sure your photographer has public liability and public indemnity insurance as well as professional (full-frame cameras) and back up gear. Read their terms and condition carefully. Also check they have back up on and off site for images so they are not lost forever! It’s also helpful at this point to see what images you will get (how many and what resolution) and your rights to print and upload. It’s worth asking how they will use them and will they Photoshop and edit images, plus you need to find out how quickly you will get the images and/or albums after the wedding.

It’s really important too that you can see yourself smiling at your photographer for the whole of your wedding day and you are super comfortable with them. If so, the experience will be so much more enjoyable especially if you are a bit camera shy. It’s also a great idea to have an engagement shoot to get comfortable as a couple in front of the camera and work with your photographer prior to the day.

Good luck with your photographer and have a fantastic wedding day!”

Massive thanks Rebecca and if you’re just starting out on your wedding planning, pop over to this post that gives you more advice on picking your suppliers.

All images: Rebecca Douglas Photography

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Wedding Planning

In 2013 Dolly on the Day become our most popular service and with bookings flying in for 2014 it’s set to become even more in demand as many couples realise they want all their careful planning to go without a hitch.

When we get planning enquiries we’re always asked what the benefits are of hiring an independent wedding planner rather than just using the in-house venue planner. Well in a little nutshell – the venue coordinator works for the venue and the wedding planner works for YOU.

Still thinking “why would I need to pay out for someone else to oversee my wedding day when the venue has someone for free” right? Well here’s our quick five point guide for some extra info…

1. Save Time

We spend the majority of our time sourcing and working with different wedding suppliers. We know who to go to, why and what their areas of expertise are.  This saves one heck of a lot of time in researching and getting samples and quotes. If you’re a busy couple research time is the biggest bug bear but it’s definitely the one area you need to get right. Taking time off work to look at venues or chasing down quotes can become really stressful. We can cut down on serious pavement pounding or internet trawling hours for you both so you can concentrate of other areas of your planning (and life!).

2. Save Money

Yes we know it sounds a bit weird saying you’ll need to pay a wedding planner but you’ll save money. Huh? How’s that? Well just like in our saving time example we also secure discounts with other suppliers to get the best deal for our clients. The suppliers are also happy to reduce the cost as they’re dealing with us and know that we’ll be able to give them quick answers to their questions and have a full brief to get on with the task in hand. This means with less for them to organise directly they’ll reduce the cost of their service (sometimes considerably!)

joannemaltawedding

3. Personalised Service

By using a planner couples are able to stay in complete control of their wedding planning. With one point of contact totally dedicated to them and their plans they can make changes or get updates in one quick phone call. No need to ring five suppliers or wait for calls back from various sources. It’s also easy to share problems and worries with a planner rather than family as they’re not involved in any of the emotional pulls and stresses. They can give you an independent view to help you deal with some of those issues and make a decision that’s right for you. Depending on your level of planning they will always be there on the end of the phone.

Joanne at Hever Castle

4. Budget Control

A planner is there to make sure you don’t go mad with your budget. Once it’s been set they will ensure you are keeping to target and can advise where changes may need to be made. They can also advise on where you can make savings and what DIY elements you can easily add in to save some pennies. In-house planners won’t manage the holistic budget process and will only look after costs associated with catering (if part of the venue service).

5. Full Planning Overview

Some venues will offer a planner as part of their venue hire package. Just make sure though you are clear that an in-house planner will only be managing what happens at the venue. They won’t have an overall view of your wedding and won’t be there as an assistant to you and your wedding party on the day.

If you think you’ll be okay with an in-house venue planner just be sure that you are clear on what they will and won’t do. Check little requirements you have like laying out favours and name places, getting presents for the bridal party and making sure guests are in the right place at the right time. Also check that the wedding planner will actually be working on your day of the wedding (surprising but we’ve been called in at the last minute when the couple finds the in-house planner isn’t actually there on the big day).

There are of course many outstanding venue coordinators who go above and beyond the call of duty to ensure their clients have a perfect day. We have worked alongside some fabulous ones in Kent and together we have formed a great team. Nonetheless, it’s important to remember that the venue coordinator will manage the venue including its own staff, the catering, service and the room changes but us wedding planners have a bigger priority. We make sure your whole wedding runs smoothly and we manage the entire day from start to finish.

If you think you might need some extra help then give us a call for your free consultation.

Emma & Joanne  x

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It is a total privilege helping couples create the wedding of their dreams – if this wasn’t special enough, meeting and working with so many amazing suppliers in the industry is the icing on the (wedding) cake – sorry couldn’t resist!

Without awesome suppliers we wouldn’t be able to give our couples the best day of their lives. So we choose who we work with very carefully and a lot of time and effort goes into building relationships with like-minded suppliers that have the same ethos about weddings as we do. Each supplier gives 100% to every couple, 100% of the time, and so we have loved working with them all.

Recommendation is really key to finding and being able to trust your wedding suppliers. Ask around and make sure you have done your research carefully. Although lots of you tell us you hate going, visiting a few wedding fairs really does give you the chance to meet suppliers face-to-face and get a feel for them and their work. Vital in building a good relationship.

Just like us other suppliers will in turn be happy to recommend other companies you might need and you can gradually grow your network of possibles. Make sure you get quotes before you jump in so you are clear what you are paying for and then contrast and compare carefully. Most suppliers we will  be happy to give you a free consultation before you decide 100% too.

Here are a few snapshots of work created for The Wedding Dolls couples by just some of our fabulous wedding suppliers over the last year and our little chance to thank them all.

Oh and how can we not thank the brilliant photographers who captured our suppliers amazing work!

Kay Young PhotographyRebecca Douglas PhotographyJackson and CoDanni Beach and Martin Briggs

Enjoy and happy researching!

J. x

 

 

 

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Your Beautiful Day and Pamela Brise Floristry

 

 

 

Don’t miss Joanne’s wedding advice featured in the January 2014 edition of Your Kent Wedding.

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She gives you her top tips for planning the perfect day including advice on dealing with difficult relatives and making sure you’ve got a timed wedding plan worthy of a professional! You can download the magazine direct from County Wedding Magazines.

Happy Reading!

Emma x

Images: thanks to County Wedding Magazines

Well it’s the last day of our Christmas Countdown and what a way to finish.

During the summer it was my absolute pleasure to get to know Janice, who was Mother of the Bride to Jemima. Janice contacted me to help in the run up to Jemima’s big day. I had not been booked by the Mother of the Bride before and so had not totally appreciated just how much our services benefit the whole of the bridal party, not just the Bride and Groom.

When so much effort and money goes into planning a big family event naturally those close to the couple also want to be able to enjoy the experience too. Taking the pressure away from them makes it easier for everyone to really savour the atmosphere and spend time with their guests.

Janice runs her own very successful business and so when she found herself becoming the main wedding planner for her daughter Jemima’s big day she needed some help. She called us towards the end of the planning when she simply had run out of time. Booking some Dolly Hours with us meant we could source the last few suppliers for Janice. She then also hired us for our Dolly on the Day service so we could look after all the little details, keep an eye on timings and manage suppliers. This meant she could really enjoy her efforts to give her only daughter the special day she dreamed of and what a dream this wedding was.

This picture was taken during the drinks reception at the fabulous Hever Castle, by the very amazing Danni Beach.  Janice and Jemima both look so relaxed and happy. Their smiles say it all….

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We first met Carol when she attended one of our creative wedding workshops with her mum. Carol was really into her DIY details and we knew that giving her guests a fun filled time was a very important factor in her wedding plans.

Wanting a relaxed atmosphere the couple booked the very gorgeous Goudhurst Village Hall.  With no on-site manager and lots of elements to pull together Carol needed us to make sure all the set up was done perfectly and all the things she had planned happened at the right time. She booked our Dolly on the Day co-ordination service and together we became a great team.

As with many village halls Carol found herself with a blank canvas to work with and her creativity was just brilliant. Paper pompoms, garlands and bunting made the hall look fantastic, whilst friends and family brought along homemade cakes, a Mexican band serenaded guests on arrival,  Czech fizz was served, garden games kept everyone giggling and the fun of their singing bridesmaids made this wedding a dream to work on.

The Bride and Groom beamed from ear to ear all day and their guests loved every minute. The dancing didn’t just start in the evening at this wedding, oh no, there were guests up on their feet during the wedding breakfast thoroughly enjoying the music and the fun filled atmosphere. Carol loved every minute of her planning and her stunning DIY details were testimony to the loving care she put into making sure her guests enjoyed her day just as much as she did.

With yet another team of great suppliers from Martin Briggs Photography, DJ Lucci, Dine Thyme, The Charcoal Pig, Paladins Classic Car hire, Juliets Catering and Jubilee Hire this wedding was a joy to be a part of.

 

carol peacock

Back in September we helped Rebecca and James with our Dolly On the Day Co-ordination service.  I love this picture as it was the first time I’d seen Rebecca on the day. I had been busy setting up at the church and so couldn’t wait to see the Bride arrive. She looks so happy and beautiful and her Dad was full of pride with a lovely beaming smile.

The Church was gorgeous and very close to the family’s heart which made it all the more special. The classic Bridesmaids dresses with stunning lace detail and the top hat and tails were totally in keeping with the traditional family wedding that Rebecca and James chose for their big day. After the Church ceremony they held their reception at Hever Castle to round off this beautifully classic wedding.

rebecca image

 

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At the beginning of the year we organised a photo shoot with an amazing team of suppliers because we wanted to show that weddings don’t always  have to be held in typical wedding venues.  There are some beautiful restaurants in Kent that can provide the perfect background to your big day.  We took four very different brides, with four different styles and set about proving that getting married in a stunning restaurant doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice style, in fact you can make your wedding day totally special and unique to you.

The Swan in West Malling was our chosen venue but it quickly became our inspiration for the shoot theme. We had so many ideas and so did the suppliers which meant on the day of the shoot we had so much fun creating different shots.

This one was the last shot of the day and seeing our Brides together gave us all a great sense of satisfaction. For the full shoot take a look here

 

The Swan West Malling Bridal Wedding Styled Shoot Kent by Rebecca Douglas Photography 450

In December you spend more time in a pub that at no other time of year. So if you’re planning a wedding in 2014 and beyond use your Christmas drinking sessions for doing more than sinking double vodkas and get going with your wedding research. Pubs and restaurants are fast becoming a really popular choice for celebrating your nuptials and now there are so many gorgeous ones to choose from including the The Moat at Wrotham, Kent. Daniel and Katie Wallace were married here earlier this year and today we’re sharing with you their wedding in pictures. Lets take a look…….

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All in the Detail:

Photography by Chris Blackledge Photography
Ceremony & Evening Reception: Moat Inn, Wrotham, Kent.

Bride’s Dress: Bellamore, Bexleyheath
Hair and Make Up: Dee Hedges of Bridal Beauty, Kent
Bouquet & Flowers: Green on the Green
Catering: The Moat Inn
Cake: Rosie’s Cakery

Whenever we work at a wedding we always take our trusty Wedding Planner Pack with us. The pack has all manner of handy little things that we delve into with alarming regularity. So if you’ve not booking us to work on your wedding day *shame on you face* then you’ll need these 8 things waiting in the wings;

1. Snip It

No emergency pack is complete without scissors.You’ll need this to cut anything from your bunting that’s been tied up too tight, to the hair stuck in your Bridesmaids zip to the plastic tag that’s still hanging off your clutch bag.

2. Tissues

Crying always happens. But happily for all the right reasons. When Bridesmaids, your parents, assorted friends and Nanna George let the floodgates go they’ll all be needing tissues so your wedding photos don’t look like a scene from Carrie.

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3. Wonder Wipe

Whoever invented baby wipes are quite frankly genius with a capital G. Set aside the obvious use on babies bottoms and you have a multi-purpose little gem that’ll get rid of just about anything from small stains on your dress to make-up and deodorant marks.

4. Get Drinking

Now before you go in search of the corkscrew and start knocking back the Prosecco we actually mean water. Mmm not as exciting as you thought but with a nervous top lip stuck to your teeth and wedding vowels to say out loud you’ll be needing some hydration. Task your Ushers to have a bottle of water handy for when you need it.

5. Give it Some Gloss

Remember to tuck your lip gloss in your bag so you can keep reapplying. A handy little pot of Vaseline is always good to for a quick swipe of lip shine without needing a mirror to do a perfect job.

6. Plaster Over the Cracks

Blisters are no fun on your wedding day. Take plenty of plasters so you can dance the night about without hobbling around on your honeymoon.

7. Rescue Remedy

Joanne swears by this stuff to stop those nerves. Get it from your local chemist and take just before the nerves kick in. Personally I’ll go back to number 4 and add a whiskey to the water…..

8. Sew it Up

Pop in your bag a needle and some thread (black and white). Ushers zips always seem to break (what do they do to them….) and usually they’re wearing bright blue pants underneath. Get Auntie Sue to sew them back up in a jiffy with your handy little sewing kit.

Happy Planning!

Emma x

 

Main Feature Image: Shooting Hip

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Wedding Planning