A Monmouthshire outdoor festival wedding | Catrin & Ali

Outdoor wedding ceremony under a tree in Usk

Becky, they are so special and wonderful and made us smile a lot! We absolutely adore the pictures, you did such an amazing job, we can’t thank you enough 🙂

Catrin had known since she was a little girl she wanted to get married under a tree, so she did and it was genuinely just brilliant. On a sunny August Saturday she walked across the field where guests and her Groom, Ali were waiting.   It was perfect in so many ways and I don’t think I saw one moment on the wedding day where these two didn’t have a huge smile on their faces.

With views to die for across the Monmouthshire valley, Maesbrook was an amazing setting for their special day.  Take a look at this short slideshow to get a feel for the day.  Having only hosted a small number of weddings to date I really think as word spreads this beautiful Usk gem of a venue will become more and more popular for festival, outdoor weddings.

Catrin’s dress was designed by Watters (Wtoo range), it was the only one she tried on and she was in and out of the bridal boutique in 30 minutes!  Her 1930s style shoes are by Rachel Simpson and these were her ‘something blue’.  I really love a flower crown so was delighted to see the gorgeous crown that Catrin wore in her, this was designed by Pencoed florists, the Flower Hive.

The barn had been lovingly decorated and one thing that Catrin was clear on was that she didn’t want any bunting at the wedding! Catrin and her Mum used to run a small business where they made homeware from vintage fabrics and over the years, they made loads of bunting. So Catrin and her now mother-in-law between them made almost 400 pom poms! They decorated the barn really effectively and were super colourful.   The creativity continued to shine through in their big day in so many ways, from the multitude of colourful hanging paper lanterns to the stunning individual cushions placed on each guests chair as their wedding favour came about when they were hiring in chairs for the wedding and Catrin became worried that they would be uncomfortable for the guests so she came up with the ingenious idea of making cushions as the favours! She had some lovely sew-on labels designed with their name and the date of the wedding and from the start of the year they sourced lots of vintage blankets and then set about making 120 cushions!  The guests reactions to the cushions was really special and its nice to think that in homes throughout the country these cushions will be sat on for many years, all acting as a brilliant reminder of this wedding.

A paella wedding breakfast and selection of hand made cakes for dessert, followed by ace DJ tunes ensured the result was a very relaxed and laid back day surrounded by their closest friends and families.  I packed up my bags just after capturing Ali and Catrin being hoisted in the air by all their Uni mates, before some crazy and good natured crowd surfing began!   A perfect end to an individual and truly creative wedding day.

So Congratulations Mr & Mrs Bates, I loved your wedding, so much thought had gone in to your day and it showed. Wishing you a lifetime of joy, happiness and kite surfing! 

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Sophie & Lee – Married ! A Kingsweston House Wedding

Bride and Groom relaxed Kingsweston weddingSo… where do I even start with Sophie & Lee’s wedding at Kingsweston House? This was one sunny, happy wedding!  My morning began with Sophie and her family (including Tilly the wonder dog) getting ready.  Sophie’s Dad looked proud as punch when he saw her in her dress, becoming a little watery eyed at how beautiful she looked.    After the prep was completed I hopped in my car ready to meet Lee and his Groomsmen, who all looked incredibly smart, Lee dapper in his military attire.

The ceremony began with Sophie, her Dad and the bridesmaids making their entrance down the grand, sweeping staircase at Kingsweston, all heads turned and Lee looked overcome when he saw Sophie for the first time.   The ceremony was beautiful.

After the ceremony I whisked them off quickly around the grounds of Kingsweston House for their couple photos before returning in time for food and my first experience of a Celidh – it was crazily brilliant! The caller had everyone stood up, he explained the instructions and in no time the entire wedding party was having a hilarious and rather energetic good time.  I highly recommend the Bowreed Celidah band if you are currently planning your wedding reception.   I left Kingsweston House as Sophie & Lee were busy dancing, happy and a little tired from a fabulous wedding day.

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Six easy ways to entertain children at your wedding

Child blowing bubbles at Priston MillChildren.  As a Mum of twins I have to admit I’d feel slightly nervous right now if a wedding invitation landed on my doormat, worrying about whether my little people would behave and not knock over the wedding cake.  I know I shouldn’t give a monkey’s what other people think but my natural reaction would be: ‘How am I going to keep the children quiet during the wedding ceremony or the speeches ?’.

Whilst I’m probably putting undue pressure on myself at expecting my children to behave all day, a wedding is a really long event and I understand that children get bored.  Ultimately it comes down to the fact that if they’re happy, I’m happy.  Expecting children to behave perfectly all day is unrealistic, kids want to have fun and my tips for a kid-friendly wedding will therefore help if you’re planning a wedding where children will be invited:

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Life as a Wedding Photographer

Bristol photographer Becky MaleEver wondered what life as a Photographer is really like? What exactly does a Photographer do aside from take photographs and what does it take to become one? Whilst every photographer is different, let me share with you my thoughts on life as a Wedding Photographer:

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The Shooting Sisters | Blackwood Forest Photography Retreat

Taking a step away from the everyday routine is always something I’ve tried to do at least once a year. My husband and I have always valued our own space, our own hobbies and every year we like to have a weekend away with our friends, him mountain biking in remote parts of Scotland or Wales and me with my photography tribe, the Shooting Sisters. Valuing each other as individuals as well as a couple is what I think has helped our marriage feel so fresh and exciting.

The Shooting Sisters group was formed via a Facebook group over five years ago and has been going strong ever since, we’ve tried to meet up once a year at least and this weekend we gathered together at Blackdown Forest near Micheldever. It’s always been tricky finding a location that suits people as the Shooting Sisters are scattered across the country from Norwich to Bristol, Stone to Herne Bay but when we do meet up it’s always such an uplifting experience.

This weekend we spent enjoying the calm of the forest, photographed the stars in the middle of the night, shared notes from all the epic workshops that between us we’ve attended, all the time catching up whilst enjoying the hot tub and later venturing out to enter the campsite quiz evening.  We came 2nd – out of only two teams!. With the chance to read magazines (something that is an alien luxury to me since having my twins) and industry books on marketing, blogging and photographic inspiration I find these retreats such a rewarding and business refocusing experience.  We each came away with a commitment to our business and clarity of our individual focus for the next six months so it was a beneficial experience in many ways.

With talk of Cyprus for our next retreat I’m genuinely thankful to have this tribe of girls as my friends. What started out as photography chat five years ago has now developed into something far greater. Until next time.

Shooting Sisters Female Photographer network

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