Mister Phill Wedding Photography

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Beach Boho… Part 2

This is the perfect post for a Friday, Not only is it breezy, beachy and super-full of sunshine – perfect for lifting our spirits on this miserable (still! – um, it’s June!) Friday. It also has some brilliant snippets of advice between the stunning photographs. If you didn’t read Part 1, go back now and have a look, then come back and read this part!

Creative Compositions

Being a designer/general arty-type, Stephen was determined that we had images of our day that were visually pleasing to his particular style. His exact wording to prospective photographers when describing the sort of thing he wanted was: “A selection of black and whites, bleached, rich or vibrant colours (think movie poster) and a couple of safer shots just in case we grow old and boring……A touch of drama …Creative compositions”. I, on the other hand, was not so sure what I wanted – although I very much agreed with Stephen when we looked at some photographers work on-line, that we both preferred the photo-journalism style.

A general cruise of the internet found us 3 photographers that we then met with, but even before meeting them, our favourite images were those of Bournemouth-based photographer Phill Allen. His pictures just seemed so thoughtfully composed, yet captured a split second moment – suggesting to us he had a real eye for a good picture. His work also seemed so consistent – so important when you only have one day to catch it!

After chatting to all 3 photographers, our decision was clear to us – we wanted Phill Allen to photograph our wedding. Not only were his pictures amazing (it would seem that so many photographers have adopted a photojournalism style but Phill was the only one we saw whose pictures showed a true narrative), but we really liked him too. He appeared to us someone who really enjoys people, and therefore really enjoys his job. He was honest and open, both traits that Stephen and I really value.

We were in no way disappointed. The Photographs that we have of our wedding are outstanding. They are not only beautiful, but a true reflection of our day – we are so pleased to have them as a lasting memory of our amazing day.

Beachy Florals

When it comes to flowers, I’m pretty clueless – and there wasn’t anything obvious that sprung to mind for flowers, when you considered our theme. We decided fairly on, then, that we didn’t want flowers for our table centrepieces. Thinking about what we’d seen that we’d liked, and with some great advice from our fantastic florists, Kerry and Laura, at Penn Hill Flowers, we came up with fish bowls, with sand at the bottom and shells, floating candles, and grasses around the inside of the bowls. The candles carried our colour scheme of tiffany blue into the centrepieces and the sand, shells and water were all suitably beachy!

For the bouquets and button holes, we went for white flowers – as blue flowers are fairly hard to come-by! As I said, I’m pretty clueless when it comes to flowers, so Kerry and Laura were really helpful, showing us pictures of some of the sort of things we might like to go for. I fell in love with lily-of-the-valley, but unfortunately having a whole bouquet of that was going to blow the budget, so mine and my bridesmaid’s flowers were hand-tied bouquets of cream, small headed flowers with lily of the valley and panicum grass.

The men’s buttonholes were single, cream Avalanche roses, with foliage. Stephen’s also had some Panicum grass and lily-of-the-valley incorporated.

Shades of Grey

Having succumbed to buying a dress (rather than making it myself) I decided that my creative efforts would go into making our wedding cake. This, at least, could be completed weeks before our wedding day and would not need to be subject to any last-minute alterations! From a very practical perspective, then, fruit cake was chosen, as it can be made so far in advance!! I had in my mind that I would keep it simple – a stacked, tiered cake – either round or square, and decorated with shells or pebbles, to tie-in with our beach theme.

I very clearly recall the conversation that Stephen and I had regarding the shape of the cake – it went something like this:

Beth: What shape wedding cake shall I make – Shall I go for round or square? (I’ll be honest, it was a token question, I thought he would leave the decision to me).

Stephen: (after some thought) Both of those are a bit dull – couldn’t you make something a bit more interesting…a sandcastle shaped cake maybe?

Beth: I don’t think so – might be a little bit tacky.

Stephen: What about making a cake that looks like stacked pebbles…

…and so the idea was born! And so, with the help of my Mum, the two of us just about managed to create pebble-shaped cakes and I’m sure Stephen and I are the only couple in history that has ended up with a grey wedding cake! Did it look home-made? Yes, very much so – but it was one of many very personal touches to our wedding day and I loved being involved in doing it.

Beachy Blues…

Wanting to be a little bit different, but not wanting to break the bank, we made CD’s of some of our favourite songs for our guests. As they were all songs that had featured somewhere in the day, we called it the “Sound Track to Our Marriage Day” – Stephen made cardboard sleeves for all the CDs. It was important for us to give our guests something that would act as a real reminder to our day.

As well as the CD, I painted everyone’s first names onto pebbles, to use for the name place settings. I was pleased to see that the majority of people took these with them too – so they ended up serving a double purpose!

Althought the chairs at our venue were very lovely, we went for chair covers with Tiffany-blue sashes, to bring our colour into the wedding breakfast room. We also continued the beach theme throughout with scattered shells (collected by Stephen and myself from the beach…and painstakingly cleaned!), naming the tables after some of our favourite beaches and with the pebble place-name settings. Stephen, who designed all the stationary, had included a 3-shell motif, and that cropped up on the orders of the day, the table plan, the table name cards, the CD cases for the favours – even the children’s treasure hunt clues!! We did our best to really tie everything together.

Children of the 90’s

Although, strictly speaking, not entertainment, we had a harpist play for our ceremony. I love the elegance and romance of the Harp, and it really suited our venue. We met Jess King-Holforth at a wedding fayre at our venue, and she played beautifully. I walked up the Aisle to Cannon in D by John Pachabel – so beautiful on the harp, it really added a special touch to our ceremony. She also played some of our favourite contemporary songs on the harp for the signing of the register, which was a lovely touch.

Being children of the 90’s, Stephen and I share a love of alternative rock…indi…brit-pop….call it what you will. We also love live music – even if it’s just a guy with his guitar down the pub, so the obvious choice was a live band. We also reckoned on a band doubling up as the evening’s entertainment, in a way that a disco/DJ never would – you can still enjoy watching a band, even if you don’t fancy a dance.

Not knowing any live bands that we thought would fit the bill, we hunted around the internet and came across Warble Entertainment, an on-line agent for entertainers of all sorts. The site was great – you could listen to clips of the acts, which all had reviews, and felt more confident that you were hiring through a reputable agent. We still felt, just very slightly, that we were taking a bit of a gamble…what if they were a let-down?!

We really needn’t have worried. The Indie Killers were brilliant. Brilliant musicians, unbelievable showmen and incredibly professional. They learnt our first-dance song to play for us (Athlete’s “Half-light”) and then played 3 amazing sets – with a DJ option set up between sets, perfect for those who would prefer to dance to some of the more classic wedding-party tunes.

Although it wouldn’t be everyone’s cup-of-tea, having a live band was a real wow factor and talking point of the evening. I wouldn’t hesitate to make the exact same decision again!

As I’ve already mentioned, our first dance was to Athlete’s Half-light, played live. Not a typical first dance, by a long shot, but very special and personal to us.

The song was released in 2005 – a time before Stephen and I were a couple, but were best friends, but both knew in our heart-of-hearts that we were soul mates. It was also a time that I was planning an open-ended trip to New Zealand. The song really struck a chord with me, and I learnt to play it on the guitar (an instrument we both play), and would play it to Stephen, sat in his garden. In my last week in the UK, at the beginning of September 2005, some of the lines in the song seemed to hold real meaning to the both of us:

“So when I see you next, we’ll make the most of it, tell the sun to start moving again”


“but all that I’ve seen, means nothing to me, without you”

Unbeknown to either of us, neither could listen to that song after that week without a tear coming to our eye, and thoughts of what could have been. But of course, the story didn’t end there. I was back after a year, and the feelings we’d had hadn’t changed. And the rest is history!

As neither of us are particular fans of the lime light, so a big dance number it was not – more of the “A-Frame shuffle” as we like to call it, but lots of people joined us up on the dance floor.

Advice from a Bride

The thing that made our day so very special to us was including the things that we loved – the blessing down on the beach, the live music in the evening – even the food was the type of food we loved. So many of our guests told us that our day was a real reflection of us. One of my big tips to other couples would be to, at the beginning of the planning process, to sit down and think about what is really important to you – what you want to get out of your day and what you want people to remember about it afterwards.

On the day, just relax and enjoy – and try to take in as much as you can.

Try on as many wedding dresses as you possibly can!! Even if you think you know what you want, try different things on – you’ll never get the chance to do it again!

Don’t be too ruthless with the guest list…there may be budgets to be stuck to, but at the end of the day, you’ll want the people you care about the most to be there, so don’t cut people out just because of numbers (although if you don’t want them there, that’s different!) – you could end up missing them on the day.

Photographer – Mister Phill

Venue – Italian Villa, Compton Acres

Flowers – Penn Hill Flowers

Stationery/Table Plan – Groom

Harpist – Jess King-Holforth

Band – The Indie Killers via Warble Entertainment

Wise words and brilliant advice from a very down to earth bride! 🙂

Have a Beachy Breezy weekend folks!

Yours Truly,


You can find Mister Phill on The Love Lust List, however, all real weddings are chosen on individual merit and no part of this post is sponsored.

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Beach Boho… Part 1

It’s apt that we are sharing a wedding by Phillip Allen aka Mister Phill this week, as his weddings are amongst the most emotively shot that we ever show on Rock My Wedding.

The ethos behind this wedding makes me think of all the things I would do if I did it again… the relaxed vibe, the chilled out bride and the beautiful great outdoors playing such a big part in their ceremony.

Enjoy ladies – it’s perfect for Friday daydreaming…

We (Stephen and Beth, as we are known) got married on Thursday 21st April 2011. Despite mid-week weddings gaining in popularity (I think due to both cost and availability), we felt we’d done really well getting this Thursday to be married. It was the Thursday before Good Friday, so the following day was a bank holiday. Not only was it significantly cheaper for us to hire our venue on the Thursday (even compared to the Friday), we were also able to use all of our preferred suppliers, as they were all still available – despite us being a little bit late booking certain things!!

Bronzed and Beautiful…

Stephen’s very lovely cousin, Lou – who just happens to be an accomplished hairdresser, offered to do my hair for me, which I gratefully accepted. Lou did a fantastic job of interpreting what I was asking for – up-styles that were still quite relaxed and informal – tying in with the romance and whimsy of my dress. My hair looked amazing on the day – and still was in one piece by the end of the evening (a near miracle for my hair – I can tell you!)

Lou had also, very kindly, offered to do my make up for me. I was having a spray-tan for the wedding (off-white dress against off-white skin = not a good look!) and so needed to get some new foundation, as of course, I would be darker than my normal skin colour. I had a “practice” with the spray tan a couple of months before the wedding (something I would thoroughly recommend – it gave me the confidence that I would be a nice brown, not an orangy brown, as my Mum was so concerned I might be). It also meant that I could take myself off to Bobbi Brown, fake tan in situ, and get some foundation and conceler that were the right colours for the “bronzed” me. Lizzie at Bobbi Brown was great – and I really recommend their make-up, it lasted all day. Lou did my make-up in quite natural coulors – shimmery browns for my eyes and pinks for my lips and cheeks. My make-up looked really lovely on the day – natural, but highlighting my features, and also looked great in the pictures. Lou, you are an absolute star xxx

Simple Shoes

I stayed quite simple with my shoes – 3 inch heels to give me a little bit of height (but not too much – I didn’t want to be towering over my 5’4” father as he walked me down the aisle!), Ivory satin peep toe shoes, which I bought online from www.1stforweddingshoes.co.uk. Because the bottom of my dress was lace, I was advised to stay away from shoes with anything attached to them, which might get caught in the lace! I also invested in some “clean heels” heel stoppers – hardly the most glam accessory, but they made walking on grass sooooo much easier…still had to take my shoes off for the beach though!

Finding The One

I had initially considered making my dress myself, being that dressmaking has been a hobby of mine for many years and I had always thought I would make my own wedding dress. However, on my Mum’s advice (which I would consider to be well-informed considering she made both her own wedding dress, and my sisters when she got married 10 years ago) I decided that, with all the other planning that goes into a wedding, making my dress might just be a little too much, so off to the shops it was…

I started off my dress hunt with genuinely no clue of what I wanted (other than I didn’t want it to be the same as everybody else’s!). While this was a little daunting at the time, I think it turned out to be a blessing in disguise, as it meant that I really explored every available style and possibility. I tried on dresses from Alice Temperly to Monsoon – Liberties to a Vintage Dress shop my design conscious, architect brother knew of in Notting Hill. Although so many possibilities meant making a final choice quite difficult, I was also confident when I made a decision, that I wasn’t going to regret it or see something I preferred….plus I had an amazing time trying on all those dresses!!

After such an extensive search, I ended up finding my dress in Daisy Bridal, a really gorgeous bridal shop in Bournemouth. The dress was by La Sposa and called “Denia”. It was a beautiful lace fish tail dress, with a tulle and lace overlay, which went into a beautiful train at the back. I must admit, that when I tried it on, I wasn’t hit with the thought that this was “the one” – but just that it was a really beautiful dress. It was much more “bridal” than I thought I would go for – I loved the Jenny Packham and Temperly dresses that I tried on, which were more of a Grecian style and had initially thought that this was what I would go for. My thoughts, however, kept going back to the La Sposa dress – and whenever they did, I would get really excited about it. I knew it would suit the elegance of our venue, but was also whimsical and romantic enough for our beach setting, and it was when trying it on for the 3rd time that I was certain it was the dress I wanted to get married in. I never once questioned my decision. Leanna and her team at Daisy Bridal were fantastic and gave me fantastic advice about the size, fit and style – even down to the type of accessories I should think about going for – and all their advice was completely spot-on.

Because I am quite short and petit, I was a little anxious about over-accessorizing. My fear was that jewelry, or a headpiece that was too large would simply end up wearing me, instead of the other way around, and wouldn’t suit the delicate lace of my dress. I decided upon a hair vine, worn like a delicate headband for my hair, which I bought online from Essesea. My friend, Becky, then lent me her diamond earrings and diamond pendant (my something borrowed!), which were beautifully delicate and suited my dress really well.

Finding the Perfect Venue

We got married at the Italian Villa, Compton Acres – a beautiful venue set in 10 acres of gardens only a couple of miles from where we live. Choosing a wedding venue was certainly our first challenge – and it took some time to pick the perfect one. The problem lay in the fact that, as both great lovers of the beach, the sea and surfing, Stephen and I had our hearts set on a beach wedding – currently not legal in this country (our photographer brought the Any Campaign to our attention). We briefly considered a wedding abroad, where weather is more predictable, but threw this idea out fairly quickly, as we knew it would mean that some people who would be able to attend – and it meant that we would not be able to be as involved in the planning of our day as we would like to be.

We spent some time looking at some of the beachfront hotels here in Bournemouth and Poole (thinking that, at least we’d be able to see the sea – and maybe have a drink and some photos on the beach), but none of them were what we were looking for. Either the style of the venue was wrong, or the capacity wasn’t enough. In our search, we went and looked at the Italian Villa and, although it was beautiful and perfect in every other way, it was a whole 2 miles from the beach!! We sat down and had a long think and talked it through. What we did know, was that we wanted a civil wedding ceremony, but with a Christian blessing as part of our day.

It seems so simple now – looking back on it, but it took a while for the penny to drop. We could get married at Compton Acres – by far our favorite venue, and due to it’s close proximity to the beach, we transport our guests down there for a blessing! We knew we couldn’t guarantee the weather, but we knew that, worse case scenario, Stephen and I would be there – along with my brother-in-law, Simon (who agreed to conduct the blessing) and to have just a small part of our wedding on the beach would mean the world to us both.

The beach was also really helpful to us, as it gave us a theme – a motif to run through our day.

Grey for the Groom

Stephen chose grey, three-piece lounge suits for him, our Dad’s, his best man and two ushers. The suits were by Peter Posh and were hired from “Well Groomed”, also in Poole We bought the ties and pocket squares separately online from Dessy as they did a really close match to Rachel’s bridesmaid dress colour – they did have to be fed-ex’d in from New York – but I’m afraid I’m a bit of a perfectionist, and it was the closest I could find! They looked so smart on the day, that it really didn’t matter.

Stephen looked very handsome, but the thing that touched me most when I first say him waiting for me at the end of the aisle was just how excited he looked. He also looked incredibly nervous (I was late, and that is very much unlike me, which I think threw him a little!) but just so excited!

Photographer – Mister Phill

Venue – Italian Villa, Compton Acres

Hair and Make-up – Brides sister-in-law using Bobbi Brown.

Shoes – www.1stforweddingshoes.co.uk.

Heel Stoppers – Clean heels

Dress – La Sposa from Daisy Bridal

Hair Vine – Essesea

Suits – Peter Posh from Well Groomed and Pocket squares, Dessy.

No wonder Stephen looked excited, what a beautiful Bride and what an amazing day – that blessing on the beach looks so relaxed and dreamy. Part 2 coming up in just a few hours folks!

Yours Truly,


You can find Mister Phill on The Love Lust List, however, all real weddings are chosen on individual merit and no part of this post is sponsored.

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The 8 Week Wonder.

Happy Bank Holiday Lovelies!

Although I write this in advance I have my fingers, toes and legs firmly crossed that the sun is shining and you gorgeous lot are going to have a relaxing day doing something you enjoy. I know I for one am going to make every effort to.

In the meantime however I have a wonderful wedding to share with you courtesy of Love Lust List member Mister Phill, planned in just 8 weeks (nope, not even kidding) Alex and her husband Simon created a simple, chic, city soiree that was everything they had ever wanted and more.

Not only do we have our usual dose of W-day eye candy (in particular I am loving the black and white joyful ceremony images)….. but for those of you that may be stressing over every minute detail in the run up to the big day, Alex’s words are both wise and thought provoking.

And the dress. I am in awe of the High Street dress. So pretty and feminine.

Laid Back Pretty

I was really pleased I decide to get my makeup done for the wedding by Laura Leaman from Bushey. I don’t usually wear a lot of makeup so having it applied professionaly meant that it lasted all day. An old family friend, Marie, did my hair and did a brilliant job.

I have to admit I’m not your typical bride, short engagement, small ceremony, and I confess I ordered my dress online from Monsoon without trying any others on (collective gasp!). I knew I wanted a simple dress that I felt comfortable in and was really pleased with my choice, the summerso bridal dress. I also brought a feather and pearl hair clip from Monsoon that I thought added something a little different. I wore a simple pearl bracelet given to me by my mum and no other jewelery.

My shoes were from Debenhams, the comfiest little bridal shoes I tried on by far! The two bridesmaids also wore dresses from Monsoon (I should’ve got a discount card..!).

A Short Engagement

We were married in the purple room at Old Marylebone town hall on Saturday 12th March 2011. We chose Marylebone as its such a beautiful building, plus we were planning the wedding in 8 weeks and they were available!! I should explain that although Simon and I have been a couple for 8 years, I decided that a short engagement was the way forward to reduce the stress of planning in the build up to the big day! So Simon when proposed on a surprise trip to New York in December, he was rather surprised himself when I suggested a March wedding.

Anyone that says it can’t be done in 8 weeks is wrong, we didn’t even book the date until January and it really wasn’t too hard after that! We had an intimate family for immediate family only, and then a much larger reception afterwards.

Finding The One

The hardest thing for me to find in 8 weeks was a photographer. Being a passionate photographer and taking heaps of photos at all my friends weddings, this was the one area that I was picky with! We were recommended Phillip Allen and once I’d gone through almost every photo on the Mister Phill website I knew he was the one for us.

Thankfully we were getting married in the quiet wedding season so he was available! Phil did a fantastic job of capturing the day from start to finish without us even knowing he was there. I love the photos so much and will treasure them forever.

City Chic

Our reception was held at 1 Lombard Street in the city. It’s a restaurant and bar thats packed during the week with suits, but closed at the weekends so is available to hire for private functions. We were recommended the venue by a friend who had been to a wedding there and knew on our first visit that it was the right place.

The spectacular domed ceiling above the circular bar were what really sold it to us. Plus one area that we really wanted to splash out on was good food, and the food at 1 Lombard is excellent! They were also able to put us in touch with their florist who was simply added to the existing flowers at the restaurant to co-ordinate perfectly with our wedding.

Cheese Cake

Simon is a big cheese lover so we decided on a cheese tower wedding cake. This task was bravely taken on by Simon’s dad who created the spectacular cake using cheeses from a farm near where he lives, even though he’d never seem one before!! He did an amazing job and the cheese was enjoyed by our guests in the evening, and by us for the next week!! Simon’s dad also provided the wedding cars from his own company Cambridge Prestige Wedding Cars.

Our favours were personalised wedding M&M’s which were great!

Go With Your Heart

A friend DJ’d for us in the evening, and we decided not to have a first dance but had a great boogie with all our friends instead!

We had an amazing time at our wedding and I wouldn’t change a thing! My advice to other brides would be to follow your heart and go with what you really want, even if others around you disagree, its your day after all!

Photography – Mister Phill

Brides Gown – Monsoon

Brides Shoes – Debenhams

Venue – Old Marylebone Town Hall and 1 Lombard Street

Transport – Cambridge Prestige Wedding Cars

Any of you lovelies finding you are planning certain aspects of W-day quicker than expected?

Think you could pull it off in 8 weeks?

Do let us know!

Big And I thought 5 Months Was Quick Love

Charlotte xxx