So this week on the blog I’m going to tell you about a great experience I had this week.
It started with Eric McDonogh of Clever Business Websites inviting me along to his networking group Opendoorz, the session was a two year anniversary for the Oxford Group and to highlight such a grand occasion a special guest speaker had been arranged. Given my passion for sport and my near obsession with the recent Olympics I was pretty darn excited to find out that the guest was none other than Greg Searle. Greg Searle hadbeen one of the top media stories in the Olympics as 20 years earlier in Barcelona 92, along with his brother he had rowed to Olympic gold, fast forward 20 years and here he was again bidding for Olympic Glory, adding into the mix ten years of focusing on business rather than rowing it was no mean feat.
The day started at the Old Bank Hotel in Oxford, it proved a friendly and ambient location, I did my best mingling and actually got to speak to lots of interesting people, I enjoyed Champagne and a bit of high tea, I was made to feel extremely welcome, especially by Cathy & Sonia they run the business, given I was a guest they really did make me feel part of the day and went above and beyond to make me feel at home. Being honest having never really attended such an event I was sceptical about how much I would take away, the reality was far removed, I made some good contacts and unearthed a few opportunities as well.
The event was both professional and fun, there was some charity funds raised for Wolvercote Young Peoples Club and Breakthrough Breast Cancer, Greg Searle did a fantastic session, his story is brilliant, a really unique life tale, he was honest and engaging, there was a lot of food for thought from the experiences he shared and I even got a hold of his medals afterwards.
Overall I laughed a lot, met some great contacts, felt inspired and changed some of my previous perceptions about the benefit of networking forums.
It’s been a really busy period lately, I’ve had more enquiries for weddings in the last three weeks then I’ve ever had before and I’m planning on launching the commercial site shortly, very busy but really exciting x
Lizzie and Steven were married at Lains Barn in Oxfordshire on a beautiful day in February, which created the most amazing light, which was a treat. There are some real personal touches in their wedding, from the wedding cake, rustic table centerpieces, twinkling lights, vintage bus and Lizzie’s grandfathers RAF pin tucked in her beautiful bouquet. The wedding really was such a lovely day everyone had made me feel very welcome including the Pugs, well it wouldn’t be right to leave them out!
At the start of the year I had the pleasure of working with Pam Edwards of Slice, a truly great and inspiring cake maker, her cakes and style are really unique but oh so pretty, the attention to detail is fantastic and as well as looking amazing I can guarantee the cakes taste beautiful.
Despite the very cold weather and the snow on top we had a fun day, filled with a lots of cake sampling throughout!
For those of you who have not come across Pam at Slice then I urge you to check out her very yummy and stylish cakes.
We’ve reached that stage in December where we start to look back at what we’ve been up to throughout the year that has been 2012. Before I start rambling on, let’s look back to what’s happened through a selection of my favourite images and projects of the past year.
My lovely wedding fair stand
Cheltenham Gold Cup
Weary Runners in the London Marathon
A beauty over from Ireland www.facebook.com/realtaphotography
Lovely little Dexter Reynolds
My Nan’s old Jubilee picture, thats her with the heart.
The very talented Nick Cope www.nickcope.co.uk
Olympic Party fun
Adam and I’s first year wedding anniversary
The very talented gang at www.cleverbusinesswebsites.co.uk
The very beautiful France
The very tasty coffee over at www.uecoffeeroasters.com
France again, can’t seem to keep away!
I would like to say a huge thank you to everybody I have had the pleasure of working with this year, It really has been amazing from the Olympics to my Weddings and the birth of my niece and nephew it’s just simply been a great year.
Have a jolly Christmas and a happy New Year xxxx
This week on the blog is one of my favourite features, another lovely bride back in her dress, the beautiful Katie takes a step down memory lane talking about her wedding day and at the same time providing some lovely images.
Name - Katie Bentley
Date of wedding – 9th April 2010
Why did you choose the venue for the photo shoot? I’m a PE teacher, whenever people think of me, I think they usually think of my sporty hyperactive side!
Location of ceremony and reception? St Nicholas Church, Lincoln and my Mother and Father in laws back garden
What made you decide to get married where you did? We wanted it to be very personal to us, by having a marquee, it meant we could pretty much do what we wanted. Decorate how we wished, find the perfect caterer and have a free bar (very important to our friends!).
How long did you take you take to plan the wedding? 18 months
How did you meet? And how long have you been together? We met At school. We didn’t start dating until university, as my husband thought I was too geeky at school! Clearly I got cooler at Uni… We’ve been together for 9 years by the time we got married and almost 11 years now.
Tell me about the proposal? Totally taken by surprise. On holiday in Cornwall, camping in the cold and wet. We went to Padstow for the day. Hymie had booked us into Rick Steins restaurant and booked us the last two nights in our favourite hotel. All of which was a surprise on the day. At this point, I was just having a great day. Then we went out for a walk along the coastal cliffs, at which point Hymie gave me a kiss and got down on one knee. You couldn’t wipe the Cheshire cat grin off my face!
Why did you choose Krystina to do your bridal shoot? Because she’s a fab friend! Every week I see her photos on Facebook and think how amazing they are. I had such a great time and I feel really lucky to have taken part.
Who was your dress by and your accessories and shoes? Charlotte Balbier was the make of my dress. My necklace was a gift from my Mum and Dad on my 21st birthday. It’s a diamond heart, I knew I would wear it on my wedding day. It was a factor when choosing my dress. My shoes, in this shoot are my adidas trainers that I wear to teach in. Bright and overly enthusiastic, just like me!!!
What sort of flowers did you have? Roses, cream and pale pink.
What sort of decoration did you have? Everything was silver and pale pink to coincide with the dress and necklace.
Did you have any personal touches? We did almost everything ourselves, as we had a blank canvas with the marquee. One of the best things about the wedding was that we had a band but no DJ. In the times when the band wasn’t playing, we plugged our iPod in. It was great because, we had asked all our guests to suggest songs that they would like to hear. All night, the dance floor was packed because everyone loved the song choices. I love dancing, so having all our friends and family dancing the night away with us was perfect.
What were your special moments or highlights of the day? It Obviously was the actual getting married part. Aside from that, I have two very special moments. The first was with my Dad, when everyone else had gone to the church, we were waiting for the car. I suddenly realised that I didn’t have anything ‘borrowed’. My Dad, said, don’t panic and he went and found a St. Christopher that he’d been given when he got his first car. I popped it into my bouquet. The second was with Hymie. We both had said that we would meet up at some point during the evening reception to be alone and share our best points of the day so far. We found a garden swing outside and just took a moment. It was lovely, we could hear all the music inside and see everyone having a good time. It was a very surreal moment, sitting on a swing in your wedding dress and suddenly realising that you’ve just got married!
What was your biggest surprise of the day? Hymie had been to our school where we first met. In the school hall, there is an awards board with our names on it. We both got sports person of the year. He blew the photo up and used it to illustrate the fact that we were made for each other. It’s hung up on our wall at home now.
What advice would you give any other couples about planning your big day, or any tips? For the day itself? Make time to enjoy the fact that you’re getting married! It can be really stressful. But make time to go out for a meal together and remind yourself why you are getting married in the first place.
If you are a bride that would like to get back in your dress then please let me know, all the memories will come flooding back, together we will pick a location and theme to suit you and generally have a lot of fun.
Welcome to my Week In Pictures! What’s new with you? Well this is what’s new with me, a photo shoot with a gorgeous newborn baby, a bunch of mini footballers, a portrait shoot with the lovely lot at http://www.cleverbusinesswebsites.co.uk, a feature in the Oxford times and not to mention being featured on the critically acclaimed and genuinely brilliant Boho Weddings blog http://www.boho-weddings.com with one of my summer weddings, it’s all been going on here.
I have to say that I’m loving it, I’m really busy but the Christmas excitement is coming, the tree is up and I have much more fun to come this weekend. Starting with a bridal shoot on an athletics track can’t wait for that one, then to further get things in the festive spirit I shall be going back home to wonder the streets of Lincoln at their famous Christmas market. Looking forward to seeing my good friend Gemma, mulled wine here we come.
Still adjusting to the darker days, it feels like there’s a lot less time to get things done and to take photos and I seem to want to go to bed way earlier. Have a great weekend everybody.
A few months ago Adam and I traveled to picturesque Paris, I simply love Paris Maybe because it’s the way the streets twinkle at night and how the Eiffel Tower sparkles from where ever you are. I love being in Paris. Hand in hand, glasses of wine, long walks and lots of sight seeing and even bumping into a couple on there wedding day having some rather funny pictures taken!
Here is a scrapbook of our journey, a few days in Paris
Well I hope you all have had a happy Halloween and are now looking forward to the fireworks tonight.
Things are all good with me, it’s been a busy couple of weeks, I’ve been doing some more work with http://www.cleverbusinesswebsites.co.uk to update my online client log in, fingers crossed the updated version should be there soon. I’ve also been getting into Google Analytics a fantastic tool enabling website analysis, I’m now borderline obsessed and now spend many an evening crunching through the stats of website access and referral, a special thanks to Eric for all his help on that one.
I attended a great wedding fair through http://www.guidesforbrides.co.uk last weekend, it was at the http://oxford-spires-hotel.four-pillars.co.uk and saw a nice amount of people through the door, I had two couples enquiring about 2015 which was pretty scary and always got to meet lots of different people, it never ceases to amaze me how every wedding is different, every couples dream is different to the next one. I’ve been thinking about the wedding fairs this week and chatting with a couple of colleagues about what the best type of fairs are for both suppliers and your happy couples, you tend to get either a large all-encompassing fair or much more smaller intimate fairs. For the Bride and Groom I think it depends at what stage you are, whilst a smaller fair may give you less people to meet and less choice it will still broadly give you a good indication of the types of things you will need to look at and it will give you much more time to chat to the suppliers. The larger ones are very useful if you are looking to get things planned quickly, if you want to get a real feel for differing styles and broadly make a commitment to some of the people in the room. If its early stages of the planning I think the smaller ones are going to be more useful, if you’re looking to get things tied up or it’s taking place soon then I’d go big . On a personal level I do both but I prefer the smaller ones, you get less people through the door so less opportunities but you get a lot more time to understand what people are looking for, they are more intimate and they seem to fit my style a lot more.
I was also forwarded a great link this week which I’ve pasted into the article Great Idea, it’s really interesting for a couple of reason, it’s an innovative yet simple idea, a new concept which undoubtedly we are going to see increasing in the UK, it’s in tune with what (in this case) woman want and it also really shows the importance of delivering the right experience. If your motivated to succeed, can understand your market and deliver an experience that matches, then you have got a great balance for a successful business, not many would of said you could build a £20m business from blow drying peoples hair.
I also was able to catch up again with my lovely baby niece Poppy last weekend, I’ve put some pictures below, I’m so proud of my brother and his wife they are adjusting really well and enjoying every day. Seeing people so close to you experiencing parenthood is an amazing thing, its definitely taken me back, it’s just a wonderfully unique, yet trying and tough experience all rolled up on a daily basis. Poppy was a dream to photograph, she has the most beautiful eyes that seem to follow you around, it’s amazing as well as at only a couple of weeks old you could see her exploring her surroundings, she was truly mesmerised by her own arm, I’m already looking forward to my next visit and some more special Aunty cuddles.
Right I’m off to prepare for a firework display, wish me luck…
As the intensity of the wedding season comes to an end, my work life begins to take more of a switch to commercial jobs. This week I have had a lot of fun working with Dominic, Ori & Pascal who are the team at Ue Coffee Roasters. So who are Ue well they are the UK’s only wood powered commercial coffee roasters. I was there to take some images for their revamped website by the talented Clever Business Websites and at the same time was lucky enough to be treated to a number of samples.
It was a really enjoyable job, the guys made me feel really welcome, they have a passion and approach which is reflected in how they work, where they work and how they talk about it. I tried to capture both what they do and their style in the images.
It felt to me like they have a unique proposition and combined with what they are able to give as a team I think they will continue to go from strength to strength. It also helps that the end product is by far the nicest coffee I’ve ever tasted.
If your in Oxford and want to sample it for yourself they also run an independent coffee shop called the Missing Bean, drop in and let me know what you think.
This week I also met my gorgeous baby niece for the first time, Poppy is simply beautiful and it was so nice to give her a cuddle. I’m now looking forward to a nice family weekend at home after some busy weekends working,
Take care x