• WEDDING PLANNING: WHAT WEDDING STATIONERY DO I NEED?

    Oh do I have a treat for you today?!?!?! Lovely Carly of With Bells On! wrote this amazing and comprehensive wedding stationery guide. You will find out everything – what do you need, what should it say and how to budget for it! Enjoy!

    Wedding stationery guide - picture of a wedding invitation

    Congratulations if you’re engaged! Nothing makes me happy the way a couple-all-jittery-about-getting-married does. It’s an exciting time, but as many fiancées will tell you, it feels like a lot to plan and you can easily get overwhelmed. Not only does it seem like there’s a million things to think about and organise, but of course you’re not going to be expert at getting married, so let me lend you a hand.

    First up, you don’t NEED anything. Your wedding day should reflect your relationship and what you love. Try not to feel pressured into tradition or what other people say. With that aside, I’ll tell you the basis of what each part of stationery in a suite is for. Then you can decide what you need!

    Save the Dates

    What are they?

    The name is on the tin with this one, but it still might be complex to navigate in terms of what to say and when to send it. Save the Dates are usually very simple. They say your names, the date of the wedding and usually the city (and country if it’s not where you live). They encourage your guests to clear their diaries and ensure they can come to your wedding. Here’s an example:

    SAVE THE DATE
    Karina & Antonia are getting married!
    11th April 2020
    in Seville, Spain
    Invitation to follow

    You can of course add simple details and use whichever formatting of numbers and wording you prefer.

    When should we send Save the Dates?

    My recommendation would be as soon as you’ve chosen the date, and potentially booked the venue. This will mean the foundations are in place. If there’s another element to your day you can’t live without, like a specific band you just need there, for example, then make sure you have that sorted too. The basic rule of thumb is, as soon as you can!

    What format should the Save the Dates be?

    Any format you like! The most basic is a text message or email, but my advice is that people see it as a more formal and important occasion when they receive post. A simple one-sided postcard would do the trick!

    When might we not need Save the Dates?

    If you’re newly engaged but you’re getting married very soon, say the next 6 months, you could probably skip straight to the invitations. Equally, if you plan only to invite someone to the evening, you may decide not to send them a Save the Date card.

    What budget should we have for Save the Dates?

    This depends on the quantities, time frame, complexity of design and finishes. The more you have and the more intricate the design – we’re talking bespoke watercolour illustrations, coloured foils, that sort of thing – the higher the price. However I would say that Save the Dates should take up 10 – 15% of your wedding stationery budget.

  • SUPPLIER SPOTLIGHT: JO + LIAM WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY AND FILM

    PLEASE INTRODUCE YOURSELF

    Hello! We are Jo + Liam, a wedding photography + film couple from Glasgow. We shoot mad-in-love folks all over the damn place and love every minute of it. We are always looking for emotional, joyful and authentic images to tell your story, whether it’s a big wedding, a wee one or a tiny elopement. Our cat Buttz is the real brains behind the operation mind, just needs to be said ;)

    WHAT MADE YOU WANT TO START YOUR BUSINESS?

    I (Jo!) have always been ‘that pal’, you know the one with the camera in hand, documenting the fun, real or embarrassing moments as I was growing up. Thankfully, since then I minimised the outrageously embarrassing photographs and found a real passion for shooting happiness. I knew pretty early on that weddings were where I wanted to be, so started building my business from there. Step in Liam years later – we met (through work!), fell for each other (at a friends wedding!), and then waaaay into the relationship I found out that he actually enjoyed photography too – he was also ‘that pal’ :-O. Bloomin’ git had kept it on the down low due to me being a ‘professional’ (Ha! A professional?!). He started by shooting an elopement with me, and as each year passed he shot more and more until BOOM! We decided to go full hog and go for it as a duo. Best decision we ever made. Except getting Buttz, that was also a brilliant decision. Have we mentioned our cat?

    HOW DOES YOUR TYPICAL DAY LOOK LIKE?

    If it’s an office day; coffee first (always coffee), make sure Buttz is fed and then crack on with emails, editing, and making ridiculous instagram stories, we also squeeze in dance breaks in the office, obvs. If it’s a wedding/elopement; coffee first (always coffee), make sure Buttz is fed, squee excitedly when we see our couples on their wedding day (me, not Liam), shoot the shiz out of all the happy, have a boogy on the dance floor and then head home. I usually back up our work and go to bed straight after, Liam catches up on match of the day before hitting the hay :D

    WHAT IS THE BEST PART OF YOUR JOB?

    Meeting awesome couples and doing what we love. Seeing their journey come together, and seeing what make them, them – and getting to document it. Best. Job. EVER.

  • VENUES: GET MARRIED AT THE HISTORIC TOWER OF LONDON!

    Today we have a very special announcement for London couples about the Tower of London!

    Historic Royal Palaces has announced that the world-famous Tower of London – one of six venues cared for by the independent charity – is now licensed to host weddings and civil partnerships following sustained demand from both UK and international couples to get married at the popular World Heritage Site. 

    For the first time in history, couples can say their ‘I dos’ against the timeless backdrop of one of the UK’s most revered landmarks. With 3 different spaces licensed to host ceremonies, weddings of all sizes are welcomed, whether it’s an intimate ceremony for 12 guests in Martin Tower or an all-out showstopper for 150 in the versatile New Armouries. The Tower’s Medieval Palace, a beautiful ancient space offering unbeatable views of London’s riverside cityscape, is perfect for mid-size ceremonies of up to 40 guests. 

  • SUPPLIER SPOTLIGHT: CONFETTI & SILK VIDEOGRAPHERS

    PLEASE INTRODUCE YOURSELF

    Hi, I’m Stu, a pretty normal Glaswegian who now finds himself in London and spends the majority of his life in or surrounded by people from, the wedding industry and I’m really happy with that!

    WHAT MADE YOU WANT TO START YOUR BUSINESS?

    I used to film my friends on their rollerblades, in 2008 we went on a skating trip to California for a month, eventually we ran out of money so some wedding videographers offered us a bit of cash to help them film a wedding they were working on there. We really enjoyed ourselves and thought the footage looked great (it did at the time but looking back now I’m not so sure…) so we decided it was an industry we wanted to get involved in.

    HOW DOES YOUR TYPICAL DAY LOOK LIKE?

    I get up and pickup emails/ urgent things to action or respond to and schedule the social media posts for the day. Usually around 11am I’ll try get some sort of workout in, I don’t go to the gym so just a home Youtube class is fine. I’ll then get back into the editing or more intensive things in the afternoon. I try to wrap up at 6pm but if I’m in the zone during a wedding edit I’ll just carry on. I don’t work past 11pm as a rule though as I’ll ruin the next day for the sake of a few hours around midnight.

    WHAT IS THE BEST PART OF YOUR JOB?

    I love when you’re finishing up a wedding film and you get to add the colour grading, at that point you see your hard work and all the parts you remember shooting in a particular way come to life exactly (hopefully) as you imagined at the time you were looking through the lens filming it on the day itself.

  • WEDDING TRENDS 2020/2021

    It’s been a while since we wrote about wedding trends and I think it’s a great moment to take a look at what is in right now. The wonderful wedding planner and stylist Valentina of The Stars Inside who’s got an impeccable taste and gorgeous style dives deep into wedding trends that emerge in the industry this season. Pictures are form a shoot that was styled by Valentina and beautifully photographed by Maja Tsolo.

    Bride holding tan shoes - Wedding Trends analysis by The Stars Inside
    Dried wedding flowers on a chair - Wedding Trends analysis by The Stars Inside

    Hello friends! Thank you for taking the time to join me for this blog post – today I want to talk about wedding trends, including what I’m seeing for this new decade and advice on how to embrace (or let go of) trends in a mindful way.

    I always encourage my couples to start from a blank canvas – and to use their own personal passions, quirks, and experiences as the palette to bring their own design concept to life. I send them a questionnaire that helps me to get to know their style and their vibe, and which also encourages them to think about ways to make their celebrations luxurious in a way that is meaningful and unique to them. I’m all for surrounding ourselves with beauty, all day, every day – but I also believe in doing it with intention, and bringing together spaces and people with thoughtfulness. 

    Bride in a veil - Wedding Trends analysis by The Stars Inside
    Bride holding fried flowers - Wedding Trends analysis by The Stars Inside

    So where do trends fit within that framework? For me, trends can be helpful inasmuch as they give couples a vocabulary for describing the things they love, and inspire them to think of new, creative ways to express themselves. I love the way ideas from fashion, interior decor, and art echo through wedding design, and it’s awesome to see those movements get reinvented by couples with big imaginations and an epic vision.

    On the other hand, wedding trends can sometimes feel a bit restrictive for couples that feel like their own visual identity isn’t “in” or “trendy”. I never want brides or grooms to think they need to fit within the boxes of what’s currently on Pinterest or on social media, or that the ideas they are so lovingly excited about might be wrong or outdated. That’s why I never like to talk about wedding trends that are “in” or “out” – it doesn’t feel right, to me, to pass judgement on what couples do or don’t want for their celebration.

    Ultimately, it’s all about telling their story in the way that feels most personal, unique, and meaningful to them, and I will always champion their right to do that whether their aesthetic is in fashion or not. I am here to help them elevate, modernise, and embrace whatever it is that they resonate with, and make it authentic to them – I want them to feel like their wedding venue was made for them, and I want the styling to make their guests walk away at the end of the night feeling like they know and love the couple even more deeply than they already did. 

    OK! So with those caveats in place, let’s talk about what I’m excited to see more couples exploring in this new decade. Here is a pick of my favourite things that have been lighting up the wedding world in a thoroughly modern way.

    Bride and a wedding cake - Wedding Trends analysis by The Stars Inside
  • COVID-19 WEDDING ADVICE FOR COUPLES

    weddings and covid-19 advice blog post banner

    Hello dear friends!
    We all might be totally sick of this topic, but I couldn’t just go on and post weddings and shoots without mentioning it. This pandemic changed our lives, and weddings might be just one part of it, but so important especially for couples that are in the process of planning their big day. And that is most of you visiting this blog.

    It also caused a total chaos in the industry, however also showed how amazing and united it is, and how much love and compassion is there. Wedding suppliers are all actively working to help couples and each other to make sure weddings go ahead when are allowed to again, and to minimise stress for their couples in the time of transition.

  • SUPPLIER SPOTLIGHT: BARBARA K. PHOTOGRAPHY

    Gay Wedding Supplier Directory - Wedding Photographer

    YOUR BUSINESS NAME

    barbara k. photography

    PLEASE INTRODUCE YOURSELF

    Hi, I’m Barbara. I’m an alternative wedding photographer based in North London. I specialise in fun, relaxed, non traditional weddings. I love confetti, glitter, flowers, cake, hilarious speeches, live music and photographing people having a great time. Oh, and I’m French but I’m nice.

    WHAT MADE YOU WANT TO START YOUR BUSINESS?

    The urge to pursue my passion for photography and the feeling that I would never be fulfilled in a nine to five job. Besides, I wanted to be my own boss and learn new skills.

    HOW DOES YOUR TYPICAL DAY LOOK LIKE?

    I don’t have a typical day! One of the main reasons I wanted to become a wedding photographer was to avoid routine! When you are self-employed and you do everything yourself, there is always something to be done. But it’s fantastic to be able to organise your day exactly the way you want. The challenge is to manage to get some life/work balance especially when working from home!

  • SUPPLIER SPOTLIGHT: WITH BELLS ON!

    With Bells On - Wedding Stationery - Gay Wedding Blog Supplier Directory

    PLEASE INTRODUCE YOURSELF

    With Bells On! is an indie stationery company – I design and craft wedding stationery suites for alternative couples who are looking for something a bit offbeat. I usually work from scratch, getting to know each couple and creating something just for them, but I have some customisable collections to choose from too!

    WHAT MADE YOU WANT TO START YOUR BUSINESS?

    I feel like the wedding industry can be archaic and not very inclusive, rife with under-representation of whole groups of people. And I love to create bespoke, unique and fun stationery for people who might be not be able to find what they like elsewhere – something that is meaningful to them as a couple. So I started With Bells On! because it balances of my love for vibrant, joyful design and it allows me to be an open-minded, friendly ally to people who don’t want ‘traditional’ or ‘expected’ to rule what they do with their big day!

    HOW DOES YOUR TYPICAL DAY LOOK LIKE?

    Every day is different, which I’m sure every small business says! My first port-of-call is to check emails, Instagram, Etsy and my listings to make sure I quickly get back to anyone who’s reached out. The rest of the day is a mix of designing, researching, chatting to people, printing, cutting, sticking, popping down the Post Office…! I love the variation of tasks and I work from a little corner of my home!

  • WEDDING PLANNING: HOW TO WRITE THE PERFECT SPEECH

    Today I have wise words for you from people who are specialists in words – Great Speech Writing, a website that helps people write amazing things for their loved ones’ wedding days.

    Picture of two brides listening to a speech at a wedding - Gay Wedding Blog
    Photo by Eva Photography

    So there is a downside to a marriage.  Someone has to stand-up and give a wedding speech!  And it’s no secret that public speaking brings on a whole raft of anxieties even when there isn’t a wedding to arrange.

    We receive so many calls from couples asking where to start.  Is there a template for a gay wedding speech?  Who speaks and what do they say.

    Fortunately, the answer could not be simpler. There are no rules.  No obligations.  No century-old traditions.  We have crafted hundreds of wedding speeches and all that matters is that they are warm, relevant and sprinkled with love.

    That’s isn’t quite as easy as it sounds, and it requires time, patience, and skill. While no two speeches are the same, and each begins with a blank page, every single one will follow these fundamental principles.

    Black and white picture of two brides giving a speech at a wedding - Gay Wedding Blog
    Photo by The Dignums
  • SUPPLIER SPOTLIGHT: CAT STEPHENS PHOTOGRAPHY

    Say hello to Cat – one of our recommended suppliers and wonderful wedding photographer. She tells us a little bit about herself and her photography business.

    Wedding photographer - Cat Stephens in the forest with her camer a- Gay Wedding Blog

    PLEASE INTRODUCE YOURSELF

    Oh blimey, how do you make this not sound cheesy?! OK here goes! I’m Cat, I’m a late thirties something Mum of 3 and military wife. I have a small studio in the Cotswolds village of Bampton which is about half way between Oxford and Cheltenham (and yes my real name is Cat Stephens, and I promise you that you don’t want to hear me sing!!)

    WHAT MADE YOU WANT TO START YOUR BUSINESS?

    I have had so many different jobs, and spent all of my twenties wondering what I should do when I grow up! From a high level sales career – where I insisted on being a burlesque dancer on the side, to training as a florist, to owning a livery yard and running a large events and conference centre my work life has definately been varied!

    In Spring 2007 whilst working as a florist I happened to be next to a photographer at a wedding fair. I was a single Mum and keen to get some extra work and she needed someone to help carry her bags and equipment at weddings that coming season! After a couple of weddings I was fascinated and truly caught the bug – by the end of the season I had a one of the photographers cameras in my hand at every wedding and learnt on the job whilst carrying bags. The rest as they say is history!

    HOW DOES YOUR TYPICAL DAY LOOK LIKE?

    I am not sure I have a typical day! Unlike a lot of wedding photographers I am 100% a full time photographer, but that can mean wearing many hats. Some days I am in the studio with new born babies, some I am out doing commercial work on someone else’s premises, and other times I am jet setting off to photograph lucky couples in beautiful locations across Europe! Most of the time though it really isn’t that glamorous and I am sat behind a computer editing, either in the studio during the day, or at my dining room table late into the night.