Honesty month for me … It’s tempting to read the Real Bride reports and assume that everything is easy or happy for us all the time – even as a Real Bride reading the other Real Brides’ reports, I can feel like that. There is certainly a temptation on my part to write in an upbeat, jolly, happy style because I don’t want to come across as miserable or unhappy and after all, weddings are supposed to be happy times. But I feel like I’ve been a bit dishonest with you all because life, certainly my life, isn’t like that all of the time and I’ve had some difficult and stressful things to deal with over the last couple of months.
The two main things which have happened are 1) Rog got made redundant in December and 2) I’ve had a big setback with the dental work I’ve been having done for the last 3 years which has meant a lot of pain and a large portion of my time has been spent in the dentist’s chair. Wedding planning is pretty stressful in itself and especially when you get into the last 3 months, it feels like every single thing takes about 10 times longer than it should, or is more complicated than it should be. Add in a teenage daughter, PMT and a lack of sleep and you have a recipe for stress!
There have been times when I’ve wanted to (and suggested to Rog!) that we just run away to Gretna Green and get married quietly now and leave the circus behind. There have been times when I’ve just sat and cried and said I don’t want to do it anymore. Rog has been a rock and just held me and told me is going to be ok, which is all I really need sometimes. Yes it’s hard, yes it’s stressful, but we planned our wedding because we wanted to share our happiness and love with our friends and family and as appealing as running away seems, we can’t bring ourselves to do that. So if you’re out there thinking that you’re the only bride who feels fed up with the planning – you’re not!
We are fortunate enough to have a couple of amazing suppliers to remind us that we’re going to have a fantastic day and have provided us with evidence to prove it! They are namely Ben Tomlin from Touch Photography and Jeff Wood from Jeff Wood Visuals. Having a photographic record of our wedding day was the number one priority on our wedding to-do list for a number of reasons:
- Rog’s second job is as a music photographer and so quality photography was always going to be a must for him.
- We felt strongly about spending the majority of our budget on things that we were going to have to keep after the day was over.
- Having both been married before we had clear views on what we felt was worth spending money on and what was not and as we’re paying for this entirely ourselves we have full control over how we spend our budget so we blew most of it on photos and video.
We fell in love with the photography and videography that was featured on Vicky & Jeff’s wedding on RMW and got in contact with Jeff Ascough and Jeff Wood to see if they could do our wedding. Unfortunately, Jeff A doesn’t travel outside the North West unless he still has your date free 3 months before your wedding. We found out later that he is one of the top 10 wedding photographers in the world (ahem!) so it wasn’t surprising that he wouldn’t travel because … well … he just doesn’t *need* to! Here started a mammoth mission to find a photographer whose pictures had a feel of Jeff’s style to them – the reportage, documentary, emotional, fly on the wall, “catching the moment without being seen to be photographing anything” type style.
We looked at literally *hundreds* of photographers. We narrowed it down to three who we actually got in contact with. One never replied to our email, one replied telling us exactly what his style was and this was how he shot and if we didn’t like it then too bad (I’m paraphrasing, those were not his exact words but it didn’t leave us with a good feeling!) and one was Ben @ Touch, who replied with possibly the most enthusiastic email ever! He was full of excitement for our wedding and gave us loads of information in that first email about what to ask any photographer, plus lots of things to consider regardless of whether we ended up booking him or not. Many of Ben’s past clients say that he becomes your best friend very quickly and this is definitely true!! He’s such a lovely guy, brimming with enthusiasm and he is always always smiling. We’ve met Ben a few times now as he ended up doing a family photoshoot for Rog’s 50th birthday present as a surprise for Rog last May, plus he took the RMW Real Brides Hen Do photos and over Christmas he did our engagement shoot.
Our e-shoot was when Ben really showed what a star he is. After having gone to the park for our family photoshoot, and likely similar-ish photos for our wedding portraits, I decided I wanted something really different for our engagement shoot. What would be really really cool (I decided in my infinite wisdom) would be a Christmas market/funfair type of thing. Where better to go that Winter Wonderland at Hyde Park in the dark to get the funfair lights in photos? This was very different to what Ben normally does for couples’ shoots, but he took the challenge on without batting an eyelid. (He probably secretly thought I was a crazy Bride but hey, he never said so!)
We met up in the pouring rain but within half an hour someone had crashed into Ben, bashed his knee and his camera stopped working. His spare wasn’t capturing the lights the way he wanted, so he hotfooted it home across London to get another camera. We’d been back taking pics in the now driving rain for about another half an hour when we had a frantic phone call from my daughter saying that police were at our house and we needed to get home ASAP. We had no choice but to cancel the shoot and rush home. Fortunately our neighbours had scared the burglars off and nothing was nicked but it was close to the end of Winter Wonderland season so we weren’t sure if we could now get the shots we wanted.
Ben agreed to meet us again only a couple of days later on a bank holiday and this time it wasn’t raining (yay!). It was absolutely heaving with people though and seriously freezing cold yet Ben was still smiling and laughing. Even when he had to sit on the wet grass to get a shot he wanted, he didn’t moan. It definitely wasn’t an easy set of shots to get, and I left feeling a bit worried that our chattering teeth or gritted grins were going to be the best shots we’d get out of it – I was seriously beginning to regret insisting on something so different and difficult for an engagement shoot. Fortunately Ben is a miracle worker and I think you’ll agree that the shots we have are truly amazing, given the circumstances.
You can see the full slideshow that Ben did for us on his blog this afternoon.
Jeff Wood is another star supplier – despite living about 200 miles away, he came all the way down to our house to meet us a couple of weeks ago. We had a lovely chat with him, he’s so easy going and fun to get on with so again it felt like we were having coffee with a mate rather than a supplier meeting. He suggested doing a fun e-shoot video and came back last week to shoot us messing around with some wedding stuff. It was really interesting to see how he actually works and because it was an e-shoot rather than a W-Day shoot, we were able to mess around with some light flare effects that are too risky for wedding days which makes it a bit different. Plus we managed to finish the photobooth props that I’ve been putting off for the last few months – bonus!
Luckily the weather was warmer and sunnier so we got to do some shooting outside in the park with Baxter (our puppy) as well. It’s brilliant to see a snippet of how we look on film as well as getting to know Jeff better and we can’t wait for our W-day film now.
Are any of you having stressful times outside of wedding planning? Or even with your wedding planning? Have you found that it’s brought you and your man closer together? What do you do to de-stress? I’d love a few good tips on how you chill out.
Lots of love,