In my opinion it is all down to experience.
Not, how many years you have been in the business, or how many weddings you have photographed, dresses you have made, bouquets you have created. For me, as a service provider in the bridal industry it is all about the experience we give our couples who are engaged to be married.
Call me an old romantic if you will but a bride should fall in love a 100 times on the road to her wedding..her dress, her shoes, the venue (maybe not the photographer but the style at least!) but it should be an emotive experience. When a couple or bride are stood in front of me I want them to decide with their heart not their head whether or not I am for them.
So, that brings me to today. I have stood in boutiques, at wedding shows, venues, with caterers and have been amazed at the lack of enthusiasm or genuine interest in the people enquiring for their services, I can accept this attitude in the supermarket, if I must but NOT when two people are planning the most important day of their lives…today I saw genuine, creative people, they had patience and were interested, both brides and designers got emotional and the overall ambiance in the room was warm and welcoming, which was all down to the people.
Fulham Palace is a venue with a heart and history. So many original features, beautiful chandeliers, the biggest windows pouring in stunning light which created dancing shadows on the walls and made everyone look gorgeous. The wooden floors swept warmth into the surroundings and the soft colour palette of the walls would be suitable for any theme or scheme that you could imagine for your day.
As I approached the venue I fell in love with the surrounding streets with the beautiful homes not quite in my budget and probably never will be! The tree lined drive and pillared entrance all screamed of charm and elegance..this could have been on a film set..think Hugh Grant & Julia Roberts.
The tunnelled entrance with clock tower and fountain appear before you and you could not help but smile at the beauty & history of the place, even on a very cold day like today. As the sun came low and a glorious sunset approached I took myself about the venue to explore, as any photographer must, I wanted to find the prettiest light, the ragged walls, huge ornate windows & arches, tree lined paths, views into the distance, pretty patios..am I painting a picture? Fulham Palace has it all.
One Sunday afternoon if you are at a loss of what to do, whether planning a wedding or not. Take yourself to this wonderful place, enjoy the food market nearby, let the kids play in the park, take yourself for a walk down the river and then settle back in the Palace in the absolutely charming coffee shop/restaurant in one of their many cosy sofas and be wooed by the charm of your surroundings.
I met Emma of Emma Hunt London late last year. Having seen her designs, both bridal and her new, much desired (by myself and many others) Little Black Dress Collection I decided it was time we meet and work together. Taking myself to the Emma Hunt London studio in Wimbledon (I was invited) I immediately liked Emma, a lot. She is quiet, sophisticated and incredibly creative..a bit like me!…(why are you laughing?) Such a genuine personality is a rare find and I am glad to have met her, her designs and quality of production are a cut above most and I have been fortunate to use them for a shoot and look forward to many more.
I watched Emma work today, a long day of probably a long week, not once did she look out of patience, not once did any bride have any less than her full attention. Each bride on deciding to buy were thanked with a heartfelt hug..I’m sad I didn’t meet this woman when I was buying my dress, I have missed out on the all important EXPERIENCE I was talking about. Emma bought with her a lovely team of attentive staff, I particularly enjoyed meeting Jo who was also wonderful with the brides and their babies! Time for another baby soon Jo, I think Sam needs a sibling!
There were a handful of other suppliers alongside Emma Hunt today..the first being Rainbow Club Occasion Footwear & accessories. I met Diane Hassall & her lovely husband, Diane is Head of Design for Rainbow Club. I’m not surprised to see her working with Emma, Diane has a similar disposition, quiet & attentive, thoroughly charming to talk to and offering brides every style of shoe you could probably imagine for your and your maids, I can vouch for them as I wore their shoes myself on my wedding day. Not only are they lovely and individual but also very comfortable which is important when you are on your feet for at least 10 hours on your wedding day.
Another new supplier to me was Victoria Vaughan, bless this poor lady being situated next to chatty me today..apologies! Her floral display looked stunning, firstly in the soft morning light and then swathed in the rich golden afternoon sun, it reminded me of a renaissance painting. I encourage you to go and take a look at her website and see her work because it is beautiful as my images will show and Victoria will be a delight to work with.
Finally, Victoria Fergusson, the charming, accessories designer. It was very hard not to spend my whole day photographing her wonderful pieces, every bride in her Emma Hunt dress tried on one of her many gorgeous designs. Whether a brooch, sash, tiara, birdcage veil, earrings..there was every type of shiny, satin, ribboned loveliness you can imagine. I had my eye on a particular wrist cuff that was snapped up by a very beautiful bride to be..happy that someone loved it too but sad that I missed out! I have taken about 100 pictures of it, see below!
All of the above suppliers have links to their sites from their names so please go see what they have to offer.
Getting married is wonderful, it truly is but it can also be very hard. Hard because of the decisions that need to be made, trust needs to be formed quickly, large amounts of money is being spent..how do you know who is right for you? Go with your instincts, what your budget will allow but the best advice I would offer is listen to word of mouth recommendations. Experience is everything and if someone tells you of their good experience that is worth gold! With that being said, suppliers if what you offer is a bad experience that will be shared also!
Unfortunately, so not to spoil anyones first view of the dresses that were worn today I cannot show you those pictures but rest assured the brides will have them sent directly!
See you soon