A beach wedding setup using wooden pallets

Beach wedding - how to plan and what to wear?

Beach weddings are very popular among UK couples, with many choosing to travel abroad to white-sand beaches and sunshine for their big day. However, it’s important to realise that beach weddings are not limited to tropical destinations; beaches come in all shapes and sizes. From pebble beaches in the UK, to black-sand beaches in Iceland, the possibilities for beach weddings are truly endless!

If you have dreamt about saying ‘I do’ on a beach but have lots of questions, hopefully this blog will provide some of the answers.

Married couple after a beach wedding

How to plan a beach wedding?

If you have just begun the wedding planning process, your first thoughts will probably be the venue. Will you choose to marry in a grand stately home? Perhaps barn weddings are your kind of vibe? Or maybe you’ve always quite liked the idea of a beach wedding?

Are beach weddings expensive?

The great thing about beach weddings is that they can be as expensive or as cheap as you want them to be. Standing on a beach with the natural landscape behind you means that you don’t need to spend thousands of pounds on ceremony décor; you already have the perfect backdrop!

Destination also plays a big role in answering this question! If you dream of having a destination beach wedding in the Maldives, then of course that will be expensive. However, there are some stunning beaches in less obvious wedding destinations in Europe that would cost a fraction of the price. Or even cheaper still, have you considered a wedding on the good old British coast? Devon and Cornwall are just two of the places in the UK with beaches that could rival those in Europe. What better way to keep your guests happy than with fish and chips on the beach?

In short, the cost of a beach wedding depends on the destination. Don’t forget to factor in the cost for your guests; a Maldivian wedding may be within your budget, but that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily affordable for your guests. Be open to alternative ideas and you could have a very unique beach wedding that doesn’t break the bank for yourselves (or your guests!)

Inexpensive beach wedding decor

How do you plan a beach wedding?

The best beach weddings begin with lots of research. You want to find out what the weather is like at different times of the year, if you can legally marry on the beach and how you go about securing suppliers and a celebrant.

If you discover that a legal ceremony on your beach of choice is not possible, don’t threat! Have you considered having a legal ceremony first and then a symbolic ceremony on the beach? Or perhaps you could visit the beach for photos with your guests after the ceremony?

If you are hoping to have a beach wedding abroad, you may wish to hire the help of a Wedding Planner. They can be costly, however, if there is a language barrier with your destination of choice or if you won’t be able to travel there freely before the big day to meet with suppliers, a Wedding Planner could save you a lot of stress and ensure the planning process runs smoothly.

Our advice would be to factor in the cost of travelling to the destination at least once before the wedding (even if you have enlisted a Wedding Planner) as you may be required to meet face-to-face to sort out the legal side of the marriage. Plus, it would be a shame to miss out on cake-tasting and menu-tasting as these are arguably the highlights of planning a wedding!

Bride and groom - beach wedding

How to dress for a beach wedding?

Once you have settled on where to get married, you will start to wonder about what to wear. Again, this answer depends on the destination of your beach wedding but a general rule is to not wear stilettos! Many couples choose to have a barefoot ceremony as the beach is one of the few places this is possible and it creates a lovely, relaxed atmosphere.

If you have chosen a hot destination for your wedding on the beach, you will want to avoid any materials that will make you too hot. For the groom, a light material for his suit is a must or maybe he will decide to lose the suit jacket altogether and opt for a cool shirt. For the bride, lightweight chiffon or silk is what you want to look for and with beach weddings, it’s all about ‘less is more’.

If you are getting married on a beach in the UK, chunky blankets that match your colour scheme and umbrellas for your guests will be the perfect finishing touch to a truly authentic Great British wedding!

Hopefully this blog has opened your eyes to the many possibilities that a beach wedding can bring. Beach weddings are not just limited to high-end, white-sand occasions in the Maldives! A beach wedding can be tailored to suit a range of budgets and tastes and can take place almost anywhere in the world! Whatever venue you decide on for your big day, we hope that all your wedding dreams come true!


Sheffield City Centre post wedding shoot with Jess and Tom

This photoshoot took place on a spring evening in Sheffield city centre, a few months after our Sheffield Town Hall wedding. On the day of our actual wedding, a combination of terrible match-day traffic, busy Christmas markets and drizzly weather meant that some key photo ideas we had planned to do were sadly missed. But more importantly, this extra shoot meant that Tom and I could do something a little bit more ‘alternative’ than we went for on our actual day, and Michal was able to capture some interesting shots using Sheffield murals and more urban backdrops.

Urban post wedding shoot in Sheffield City Centre

Although we wore similar outfits – of course my wedding dress was going to feature, I would wear it every day if I could and so I was thrilled to be able to put it back on for more photos! – a few tweaks to toughen up our looks echoed the more grungy, alternative feel of the photoshoot compared with the festive glitz of our wedding day. I went heavier on the makeup, finished with a burgundy lip instead of the classic red. We wore our Dr Marten boots, which was something we did consider for the wedding day but ended up with more elegant footwear in the end. Tom wore his leather jacket to match mine, and I switched my dainty emerald jewellery for bigger, statement gem earrings.

Putting our wedding outfits back on did feel a little strange, but it was so fun, and we are so glad we did! A few passers-by congratulated us, which was funny, but we just went with it! Because we’d already had so many photos done with Michal on the day, we felt even more at ease in front of the camera by this point and I think this meant we were able to take some shots which were more serious which comes less naturally to us. Saying that though, there are still plenty of us laughing at ourselves, it’s hard to take it seriously all the time! This makes me think it would be really helpful to have an engagement shoot if it’s something you can stretch your budget for, because it would mean you are more relaxed in front of the camera when it comes to your wedding day.

We had a few murals in mind to go to, and Michal mapped out a little route for us to walk round, but we also wandered down Milton Street to our old haunt Corporation, somewhere we have spent many a night having maybe a few too many coloured pints! It must have been meant to be because the owner was just leaving as we were taking photos outside, and he kindly invited us into the courtyard so we could take a few photos there. Those images in front of the Sonic mural are some of my favourites, the bright colours of the mural really contrast with the moody, darker tones of our outfits and the rest of the picture.

Smoke bomb wedding photos in Sheffield City Centre

Using the smoke bombs for our final photos was probably the most fun part, and I think all three of us were pleased to be able to get some photos with them as we didn’t end up taking any on our day back in December (we were enjoying our evening party too much to go back outside!). The colours look amazing, and because you only get one go at pulling the pin, you’ve just got to go for it which is so exciting!

It was great for us to have been able to explore a more alternative, rock ‘n’ roll style wedding vibe with this photoshoot, pay homage to our favourite city, and end up with some photos in which we look much cooler than we really are.

-Jess

I hope you enjoyed this post as much as I enjoyed photographing Jess and Tom. If you are looking for a Sheffield wedding photographer for your fun post wedding shoot then please message me. Thank you!

 

Dress: Tilly by Brighton Belle, bought at Blushes bridal in Sheffield.

Shoes: Dr Martens

Makeup: Done by myself!  jessicakatemakeup.co.uk

Necklaces: Debenhams

Groom’s attire: Reece Ford suit hire, Dronfield

Waistcoat: Noose & Monkey

Flowers: Faux from The Bride’s Bouquet


Owston Hall wedding

Jen and Matt's wedding at Owston Hall

Today’s post takes me back to another fabulous Owston Hall wedding. Not that I’m complaining, because it is always a pleasure to be there and it’s such a great venue to hold a wedding. Also being a Doncaster wedding photographer I’m only few minutes away rom this fabulous venue. This time it was a November wedding full of autumnal colours and warmth. Maybe the fact that it was this part of the year somehow made the day feel more relaxed and chilled out, although I have a feeling that is more to do with Jen & Matt’s planning!

Owston Hall Wedding – Jen and Matt

Jen and Matt met in York on a night out, and had a first date at Nandos which was the first time Matt had been. Matt proposed in Cuba in 2017. ‘I’d even taken receipt of my ring from the postman and he told me it was cufflinks for his dad!’ – said Jen.

‘I was SO lucky’ – says Jen.  ‘My sister’s Mother in Law, Mary owned a bridal shop in York, and she was retiring. So she asked me if I wanted a dress. Weirdly before we got engaged. So I had to call Matt and say, this is weird and I know we aren’t getting married but Mary’s offered me a free wedding dress. What do you think? Matt told me to go for it (apparently we could ebay it or use it as halloween dress up) – but unbeknown to me, he’d ordered my engagement ring. So I went off with my mum and sister to Mary’s shop trying on dresses when I wasn’t even engaged. The dress was a Benjamin Roberts. I loved the simplicity of it.’

‘The most important thing that it was important for us to have our friends and family present and have a relaxing, fun day. We were fortunate that we have handy friends and family who made all of the table decorations. In terms of the colours – I ok’d a pink with the bridesmaids and they were happy so the men just had to go along with it!’ – says Jen.

Jen spent the night before the wedding at home with two of her bridesmaids (Mel and Jo) and Matt was at Owston Hall with Dave and Andy the best men. Jen went to her friends salon (Steph at Blush) as they have a bridal part where they all had drinks and nibbles and their hair done. Matt had a couple of beers at the bar! All very relaxed. Jens uncle drove her to church – he did the same for Jenn’s sister Kate so it’s now a family tradition. Jen looked stunning in her Benjamin Roberts wedding gown!

Owston Church Wedding – same place different time

The ceremony took place at Owston Church, which happens to be the same church that Jen’s grandparents got married in too – a very special ceremony in front of close friends and family. Here is a same place different time wedding photo of Jen with her dad under the lamp at the gate outside All Saints. Jen’s nan had a similar photo taken 55 years earlier.

Same place different time wedding photo - Jen and her grandparents at Owston Hall in Doncaster
A special Owston Church wedding – Jen married Matt at the same church her grandparents married years ago.

‘My dear Nan married my Grandad here and so it was so important to me (Jen) that I got married here. Nan was sick on the day, but knew we got married at ‘her’ church. Owston Hall is pretty – we chose to have the reception here purely as it was next door to the church. We had guests coming from far and wide and so we wanted everything to be easy and in one place.’ – says the bride.

They didn’t decorate the church. Firstly because it was beautiful and secondly because it was Remembrance Sunday the next day and the church had been decorated with poppies. They felt it would be wrong to try and cover up the poppies given what they stand for.

Jen and Matt wanted a religious and a contemporary reading. Mel and Jo picked these out as their input into the ceremony. They’ve know Jen for 26 years so they knew what she’d like. Hymns they picked because they thought them popular and remembered them from school.

After the ‘I dos’ they left the church to ‘All you need is love’ by the Beatles which really is so true!

Owston Hall Wedding

A beautiful sunny November day welcomed Jen & Matt’s guests to South Yorkshire – a fine day for a wedding! After the ceremony the newlyweds led their guests to Owston Hall for drinks and canapes.  It was a lovely day and the sunshine made it feel very summery. We completed all of the family and group photographs outside Owston Hall in plenty of time allowing the guests to relax and enjoy the afternoon.

The guests were called to the dining room all set out in its splendour. Jen went for DIY decorations for the reception and stuck with the pink theme. She had candle jars made by Mel and sweet trees with Lindt balls on each table made by her dad’s partner Gill and daughter Amy which replaced favours and table decorations. Place names were wooden laser cut outs organised by Kate, Jen’s sister. Balloons around the room, were organised and blown up by the groomsmen.

Matt’s mum Pauline made our wedding cake. We asked for something simple and she delivered, it was beautiful! They danced to Tom O’Dell’s ‘Grow old with me’. ‘Just the words are exactly us’ said Jen.

Jen says their favourite moment of the day was coming down the aisle and seeing each other at the end and everyone that came. As a piece of advice for all brides and grooms to be, Jen says to take a few minutes to yourselves and stand back, watch everyone and absorb it all in as the day flies by.

Here are a few photos from that day…

List of suppliers:

Venue: Owston Hall, www.owstonhall.com

Wedding dress and accessories: Benjamin Roberts, alterations were done by Nicole at Elise designs in York. I had my sisters veil, and mum got my earrings – a vintage like look. I had two bracelets – one matched the earrings and the other was what Matt had given me the day before.

Bride’s shoes: for the ceremony some Vivienne Westwood x Melissa silver globe heels – for later on (my feet hurt) some jewel encrusted pointed flat shoes.

Makeup: Elouise at Blush, Carcroft

Hair: Steph Hirst at Blush, Carcroft

Bridesmaid dress: Adult bridesmaids – ASOS , flower girl marks and spencer.

Bridesmaid shoes: Debenhams

Groom’s attire: ASOS and Next
Favours: Sweet treat with Lindt balls and white ferrero rocher
Flowers: Maxines florist (harworth)
Cake: Matts Mum, Pauline
Food/catering: Owston Hall
Ceremony music: I know he’s called Rich and does the DJ at the Regent Hotel Doncaster – he’s my sisters friends partner
Table decorations: Hand made by Melissa, Amy and Gill.
Wedding car/transport: My uncle took me to church, as he did with Kate my sister. We didn’t need anymore transport as we then walked next door to the reception
Rings: Ernest Jones
Photobooth: Giggle box


Wedding day timeline

Wedding day timeline - a typical order of the day

Are you planning your wedding day timeline and don’t know where to start? I’ll try to show you a typical order of the day from a photographer’s perspective.

Anyone who has ever been to a wedding will know that there really are never two alike. As a wedding photographer this means being able to react to situations as they arise without compromising on the quality of your photography.

Typical wedding day timeline UK

Fortunately most weddings follow a similar structure, even if the details are very different, therefore I have put together a diary of a ‘typical wedding’ to give you an idea of what I would be aiming for during your wedding day. My typical wedding day timeline broken down looks like this:

  • Getting ready
  • Ceremony
  • Family and group photos
  • Wedding breakfast
  • Couples portraits
  • Evening reception

Order of the day – wedding day schedule

Wedding day order - typical vintage palette timeline

Preparation

Weddings are all about preparation, so it makes sense that you would want to record this in your wedding photography.

At this stage the house is normally buzzing with people – Bridesmaids, Parents, Hair & Make-Up artists, maybe even a Videographer, and of course the Bride herself.

At this point I aim to capture the atmosphere and energy that is going on all around us. This may include final touches to hair & make-up, the Bride’s dress and shoes, perhaps a little note from the Groom.

Depending upon the timescale of the preparation we may have opportunity for a few Bridal portraits before departing for the ceremony venue, however experience has shown that often this is best left until we reach the ceremony venue due to the ‘wedding fever’ that descends as the ceremony draws near.

Wedding day order - getting ready photos
A typical wedding day timeline starts with getting ready photos.

Ceremony

The Wedding Ceremony, or Marriage, is the centerpiece for the whole day. This is the point where two people make a promise to spend the rest of their lives together.

I like to arrive at the ceremony venue ahead of the Bride to capture some shots of the venue before the guests arrive. This means I am able to meet the Groom and his party for a few portaits before they become too busy / nervous to stand for a photograph.

Being at the wedding venue also allows me to capture the arrival of the Bride in her chosen mode of transport. Upon her arrival there is normally a very short window for us to capture a few portraits of the Bride with her party before she is sequestered by the officials conducting the wedding. During the ceremony I try to remain as anonymous and invisible as possible so as not to distract from the ceremony itself, while still capturing the key moments.

The ceremony concludes with the signing of the register and the exit of the Bride & Groom, which is normally followed by a period of congratulations from your family & friends.

Family and group portraits

Traditional wedding photography was based upon family portraiture, and this is still an important part of your wedding timeline.

This is the part of the day where I work with you beforehand to decide which photos you would like to include and how long to set aside for this portion of the day. This is one of the only times where we would ‘assume control’ of your wedding for a few minutes to organise your family photos.

Many people are unsure of how many photos to request or how long this will take to complete. My rule of thumb is approximately 10-15 group shots will normally take around 30 minutes to arrange. This is usually a reasonable time for guests to chat, have a drink and enjoy whatever entertainment you have arranged.

I would suggest that if you require more group photos than this then it may be best to arrange more formal entertainment for guests so that they feel included while photos are taking place. It’s also important to allow more time for those in your wedding day itinerary.

Group photos as part of a wedding day timeline
Group photos are an important part on your wedding day timeline.

The wedding breakfast

Although I use the term ‘wedding breakfast’ this really relates to the activities that surround your afternoon reception, such as the speeches & cutting your wedding cake.

Your wedding breakfast is the most relaxed part of your wedding day in terms of photography. I use this time to move around observing and capturing yourself and your guests as you take part in the festivities that follow your marriage.

Highlights from this part of the day tend to be the speeches, and the cutting of the wedding cake.

Couple portraits

Aside from your Wedding Ceremony, your portraits as a couple are some of the most important photographs that I produce on your wedding day. These will be the images that will describe you as a newly married couple when you look back on your wedding with your family.

Although I will spend almost the whole day taking photographs of you individually and together, your Bride & Groom portrait session provides the opportunity for you to spend a little time together away from your guests. During this session we will work together to produce a series of portraits of your both in a calm and relaxed environment while your guests entertain themselves.

Do not worry though. I don’t do too much unnecessary posing. I will make sure that you are comfortable and confident now that all the formal elements of your wedding day have been completed, so that your portraits reflect you in the best possible way.

Instead of doing it all in one go I tend to take my couples for a few short photo walks around the venue. The exact times of these sessions may also be affected by the time of year if we are hoping to use natural light for your portraits. Usually 2-3 short sessions (approx 10 minds each) is enough to produce a good amount of photos. This way your guests don’t feel like they are left on their own for a long period of time.

Couples portraits as part of the wedding day order
Couples portraits don't have to interfere with your wedding day order.

Evening reception

Time to relax and enjoy yourselves with your family and friends on the dance floor.

The culmination of our coverage is your first dance together as a newly married couple. This is a tradition that family and friends love to watch and makes a great way to complete your photography.

During this time I work in a very fluid way to capture you as a couple. I do not pose you for your dance, instead I capture this part of your day as it is seen by your guests.

After your first dance I will stay for a while to capture some boogie woogie and then I will quietly pack away and say goodbye to let you enjoy the rest of your evening with your family and friends.

Wedding day timeline UK


Rogerthorpe manor wedding - bride and groom

A rustic autumn wedding at Rogerthorpe Manor - Amy & Wesley

These two are like Link and Zelda, a perfect fit, made to be together. A wedding day is a present day, kind of. You get yourself a new hubby or a new wife. You’re about to do the rest of your lives together. It doesn’t get any better. Well, maybe when The Almighty sends you a little bit of sunshine when he previously decided it was gonna be a wet day. Check out these photos from Amy and Wes’s Rogerthorpe Manor wedding.

Rogerthorpe Manor wedding – Amy and Wes

We met 2014 after being set up by a couple we both knew. After a few weeks of texting, we went to Bella Italian for our first date and followed by the cinema to see American Hustle and we’ve been inseparable ever since.

Wes proposed whilst we were on a mini break to a very wet east coast. It was a really wet and miserable week but we tried to make the most of it with various outings to Whitby, Robin Hoods Bay and Scarborough. I often joke that Wes had to do something to save the holiday!

The planning was for the most part pretty easy. Both being very laid back people, we didn’t get caught up in the insignificant details. We knew we wanted to get married after the summer and autumn is a beautiful season.

The venue is one we had been to before for a wedding and loved, so it didn’t take long for everything to start falling into place.

How would you best describe your wedding theme?

A rustic autumn theme. Lots of use of burnt orange and teal colours.

Ceremony music

The music before the ceremony were songs from musicians we both like that were somewhat on the mushy side (Mumford & Sons, Muse, Snow Patrol, The Lumineers).

Amy walked down the aisle with her father to ‘Northern Wind’ by City and Colour. City and Colour is her favourite artist and the opening verse was fitting for the autumn theme of the wedding.

The ceremony was perfect. It helped that the registrar was so lovely and laid back, she put our minds at easy and made the whole thing go smoothly (no fluffing up of lines!). We had one reading, which the registrar read which was taken from The Kindly Ones by Neil Gaiman, a light hearted poke at how horrible love is.

The closing ceremony music was much more upbeat and light hearted, taking inspiration from the Guardians of the Galaxy movie soundtrack.

‘You + Me’ by You + Me. This is a collaboration between Dallas Green and P!nk. The song is a love realistic look on love and how people just are just meant for each other – flaws and all.

Favourite moment of the day?

When we went to the front of the venue to take some photos following the ceremony and the mingling and group photos. It was the first time we really got to be alone (plus Michal) and talk.

Any advice for couples planning their wedding day?

It sounds cliche but don’t stress the little things. They really won’t matter!

Pictures from Amy and Wes’s wedding at Rogerthorpe Manor

Rogerthorpe Manor wedding suppliers

A shout out to some other talented humans that helped to make this wedding at Rogerthorpe Manor special:

Venue: Rogerthorpe Manor

Bride’s gown: Highstreet dress with minor alterations made. I wanted a lace dress with a vintage style this was perfect.

Bride’s shoes: Lace Converse which I added teal ribbons to for laces. I bought the shoes before I bought the dress!

Makeup: Laura Harrison

Hair: Euphoria Hairdesign

Groom’s attire: Tickled Pink

Favours: Alziheimer’ Society

Flowers: MKendraWedding @ Etsy

Cake: Vintage Cake Fairy

Photobooth: Viva La Booth

Photographer, me, Doncaster wedding photographer