What Karen Did… Found Her Inner Marianne Faithfull.

Good afternoon lovelies,

This month has been quite productive in the planning stakes and I was all geared up to share the latest with you, but that went straight out the window when I saw the pictures from our engagement shoot with Claire Penn.

Lee and I are so in love with them I just had to show you all.

We took a drive over to Chester last month to drop into one of my favourite second hand book shops. Of course, as books and music will be featuring heavily at our wedding, it was the perfect place for our engagement shoot.

One Man And A Little Lady

I’ve shared our story with you before, but now’s a good a time as any to tell you a bit more about Lee and I.

We met through mutual friends almost a year before we got together. When we eventualy did, it was during that first date, when he presented me with a little gift that my heart became his forever – it was the legendary movie Three Men and a Little Lady. We talked and talked for hours and when the evening was over, neither of us could wait until the next time, and the next time, and the next time. That first flush of love for me has to be one of the most exciting, rollercoaster experiences ever. Nobody had ever come into my life and turned it upside down the way Lee did, and falling in love with him was very easy.

There’s a lot to love about this man. There’s the big stuff, like he’s one of the kindest, most genuine people I’ve ever met. He’s also full of so much energy and enthusiasm it’s infectious, I love that about him. I love the little things too, like when I’m driving back from getting a takeaway he’ll reach over and feed me prawn crackers. You know, the things that matter.

Marry Me?

A year after that first date we’d booked a winter mini-break in North Wales. There’s something a little odd about semi-deserted seaside towns in the winter, but you can’t beat that clean, fresh (cold) air.

We’d booked into a lovely quaint hotel, and after a few hours of exploring the local area with Lee being in a bizarre, slightly grumpy, mood, he suggested we head back to the hotel to change before meeting my friend Debs for a drink. We got back to the hotel and before I knew it, he was on one knee holding a cleverly disguised little box. Tears and champagne flowed as we drifted along on our little cloud of happiness. We spent the rest of that day (and a while after) wrapped in our own special love bubble – like we were the only two people on earth. I know that sounds cringey but I’m sure a lot of you know exactly what I mean.

All You Need Is Love

That, along with all the plans I’ve shared with you in previous posts, brings us pretty much up to date. So, I’ll snap out of my soppy little memory lane trip and return to the engagement shoot.

I’ve mentioned before that we’re both pretty influenced by styles and music from years gone by and when deciding on our colour schemes, we took inspiration from our parents weddings. We want the wedding to have a vintage feel, but when I say vintage, we’re not talking 50’s chintz, we’re talking 60’s & 70’s rock and roll – Led Zeppelin, Rolling Stones, The Beatles. We wanted the engagement shoot to have a similar look. Claire definitely got that retro feel spot on and there’s even a few pics where she captured a bit of a Mick and Marianne or George and Pattie-esque moment.

Lee and I went a little overboard (well, I did) and filled the boot of the car with old records, bongo drums and all kinds of props, as the plan for later on was to head to an orchard just outside of Chester and set up the second half of our shoot there. Time ran away with us, but in the end, it didn’t matter that when we got there, we left the bongos in the car – because every photo is perfectly us and I wouldn’t have it any other way. All we needed was us!

So Long, And Thanks For All The Fish

The shoot was so much fun, I want to do it all again. We had a great day, and completely re-arranged/trashed the good people of Bluecoat Books wonderful shop. Digging out favourite books (Hitchhikers Guide & Gone With The Wind are two of my all time faves), clambering on stools (That’ll be you Claire) and providing entertainment for the other customers. I’d like to say a huge thank you to Jane for being so welcoming to us. Next time any RMW readers walk the Chester city walls then please drop in and say hello.

If any of you are undecided about an engagement shoot, I’d definitely recommend taking the time to get to get to know your photographer and have one. It can be quite daunting, and the uncertainty of how you are going to look when you eventually appear on camera is sometimes a stress for us brides. I’m sure Claire got sick of me emailling her asking “have I got mince face?” “do I look like Ru Paul?” “Do I look like The Grudge girl?” (I think she must have edited most of those ones out). It’s so worth it in the end and I’m glad we did one.

The best advice I can give, is just to relax and have a laugh. Let your shoot reflect you as a couple. During our ‘gazing lovingly’ photos, we were actually giving eachother loads of abuse, in turn coming up with the worst insults we could think of. It made us forget that Claire was there, snapping away. It’ll also be a bonus if you find a really cool Citroen H Van parked up round the back too.

We’re so lucky to have Claire, she knows us so well already and I think that shows. She’s captured us perfectly and we couldn’t ask for more. We’re excited now to see what she does on the wedding day.

I think timing is important too, but pick a time that’s best for you. We decided to have our shoot fairly early in our engagement compared to a lot of couples. We thought it would be nice to have time to enjoy these photos, without them being quickly overshadowed by what are undoubtedly going to be epic wedding pictures. We can use them on our wedding website too, when we finally get round to making one. I know a lot of couples have their shoot nearer the wedding for different reasons, more of a pre-wedding practice run and that too has its benefits – what are your opinions on the timing issue?

Pretty Naughty

Before I go, I have to mention last week’s amazing Pretty Naughty. I tell you what, the Rock My Wedding team know how to throw a cracking party. The venue was perfect, the styling was stunning, the runway show was fantastic, there were some fab freebies, including a naughty garter from Beautiful Bird Creations and I met some gorgeous people… Hi Pamela!

I also got to meet my lovely fellow RMW Real Brides for the very first time – they’re such a great bunch of girls and their other halves are a lot of fun. It was the first of many get-togethers for our new little group of mates.

Thanks again to Charlotte, Adam and Lolly for being such perfect hosts and throwing the party of the year. I’m afraid I was very naughty and whipped a pair of knickers off the washing line on the way out… they’re currently winging their way back to RMW HQ with a note saying i’m very very sorry/slapped wrists.

Peace & Love

Karen xxx

p.s. Smoking is bad for you. Don’t do it.

Author: Adam Crohill
Adam likes Pina Coladas and getting caught in the rain.

47 thoughts on “What Karen Did… Found Her Inner Marianne Faithfull.

  1. Too cool.

    That’s what you pair are.

    Love these pics lady – they’re freakin’ amazing! Particularly in love with the book store ones, and I spy a gorgeous FC dress too 😉

    Your wedding will be knockout if these pics are anything to go by!


  2. Karen, Karen, Karen – I have been waiting for this since post since I woke up! Love you gurl! xo

    I know you were really nervous about sharing these piccies with the world but they’re fab and very, very, very fun! I love how sparkly your eyes are on the picture of you both peeping over the New York book – totally blissed out the pair of you!

    Was fab to finally meet you in the flesh…you’re the best….well you’re the second best, afro model man is the best, but he isn’t here!

    Eurgh – sickly Karen and Pamela love in!


  3. Having had the pleasure of meeting these two at Pretty Naughty I can vouch for what an awesome and gorgeous couple they are! These photos most definitely do you guys justice, they’re amazing, well done Claire!

    Can’t wait for some more Real Bride (and groom if they’re lucky) get togethers!!


  4. Love it! Well done Charles.

    It was ace to be there with you in cold and windy Llandudno – good times!

    Also, delighted that Claire is aware of the mince-face issues, we’ll be having none of those in the wedding snaps 🙂


  5. Oh Karen I LOVE these pictures (with a capital L O V E!!!)
    They are so awesome, Claire has done such a wicked job. But I have to admit I am a tad jealous…..you two are far too cool for school!!! no fair! 😉 hee hee

    PrettyNaughty was awesome & was fab to finally meet you girls 🙂 Oh & can I just say – Lee is a legend! He is just too funny & had us all in stitches all night! Top Bloke for a Top Bird! Thanks RMW for an amazing night, but I’m afraid my highlight has to be the Ozzy Osbourne/John Lennon love child we encountered the nex morning!!!

    As for engagement shoot….I have managed to get Dave & I a little mini shoot from our photographer and really I am hoping we can do it this winter. I’m thinking big roaring fires, warm cuddles in the cold & maybe my big fat red carpet coat (I kid you not, it looks like a rug, but I love it!)
    That way it’ll be something fun for the both of us, something to stop us worrying about the wedding & as you said, we’ll be able to appreciate them before the pics of the big day!

    Big ‘I love you guys’ love 😀 xxx

  6. Aaah… one of my favourite e-shoots this year. Thanks for the kind words peeps – but let’s face it, when you have a couple like this to work with you can’t go far wrong!!

    Karen & Lee, I totally heart you two. Wish it was June 2013 already, dagnammit. xxx

  7. I just love you two! so gorgeous, I don’t know why you were worried about sharing these beauts with the world…they’ve brightened up my day and your love story bought a lump to my throat…totes get the prawn cracker thing! Jon tends to do the one for you two for him whilst getting crumbs everywhere! Fun times! xxx

  8. Oh wow – cheers everyone! /blushes/

    @Claire – you are amazing! We heart you too. Infinite love!! 🙂

    @Pamela – you know you’re going to be a bridesmaid, right?

    @Katie @Sam B – thank you! it is indeed French Connection

    @Debs – there is a very special mince face one for me to send you

    @Tab @Han @Rebecca – we should go on holiday to Birtmingham all the time! All day brekkie-fest

  9. Also wanted to add…..love the swishy peach-ness.

    And you gotta love a man with with a longish barnet and a beard.

    Lee does in fact look a wee bit like my Dad when he was younger…and I can see myself moving towards some weird Freudian thing here so I’m going to stop right there.

    Love you guys!

    Charlotte xxx

  10. Effing amazing, Claire Penn what stonking shots….but she did have pretty good subject matter……

    However, what in the blazes is ‘mince face’??

    Love these shots so much, can we all come to your wedding please?!

    Or another drunken night in Birmingham……I will cry if I can’t pretend to still be engaged!

    Mint xxxx

  11. Oh lordy these are amazing doll!! Don’t know what you were worried about!

    Looks like you had a lot of fun and Claire has captured you both perfectly, loving the smouldering eyes lady!

    Sad face that i didn’t get to meet you last week!! (but I LOVE that you pinched pants! hehe!)

    I can’t wait to do the e-shoot, think it will be really good fun and def agree it’s important to get to know your photographer – lots of my friends (non engaged) have found it a really bizarre idea though! xxx

  12. I have to confess that I got ever so slightly misty eyed when I read this post because Karen is a sweetheart and so is her boy Lee.

    I was lucky enough to meet the pair of them last week and they are even more gorgeous in the flesh. Lee also made me laugh by sporting every single #prettynaughty badge on his clothing.

    Karen I want your wooden mule shoes. YUM!

    My favourite shot (if that’s possible because they are all super HOT!) is the last one through the van window. It is so private and romantic.

    Honestly Karen I can’t wait to see your wedding photos darling.

  13. @Phil – oh you’re her all over. She was a right one!! I love you too xx

    @Vixen – I totally forgot to give smouldering eye props to Lee’s cousin who’s also a fab make up artist! oops. Thanks Emma if you see this!

    @Lauren – Boy can work a badge or three! I think we have the full set at home now. Those mules are good old Miss Selfridge from about 12 years ago, surely that’s old enough now to label them vintage?

    Thank you all for the lovely words. You’re all gorgeous too! I’m a lucky lucky gal


  14. @Carrie – Mince face is a pretty broad description of when your face looks rubbish for various reasons. Like when you fall asleep on the couch then wake up and your face looks like a packet of raw mince. That’s where it came from, thanks to @Debs! xx

  15. I love how ‘mince face’ is fast becoming an accepted phrase for pictures that nobody would want published.
    How nice are your new friends! Should pull my finger out and get one of those husband things if you get new online friends like this… 🙂

  16. What lovely pictures and what a lovely couple. You guys are so totally made for each other it makes me very happy inside knowing my best friend is so in love -which you can totally see in these wonderful shots. BIG LOVE roll on the big day. I’m too excited!!!

  17. Fantastic pictures … Can’t believe how good you 2 are together … Can’t wait for the wedding it’s going to be amazing… I have one thing to say lee you make smoking look supercool … Marlboro billboard material! Ps your babies are going to be stunning xxx

  18. I am such a bad bad person…commenting nearly a full week late! :’-(

    Sorry Karen & Lee!

    You e-shoot pics are amazing and you both look awesome.

    Lotsof tired Kitty love,

  19. ummm a bit late, but hey look my browsers working!!

    Another wonderfully heartwarming article! I’m very proud of my very special talented little sister (who hardly ever has mince face btw!) and yes Lee really is that kind, genuine and thoughtful – they are such a perfect match!

    Amazing photos from Claire, they reflect ‘Karen & Lee’ so much.

    Love you both K&L xx

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