You’ve got the venue booked and the date is set, so what next? One of the most important suppliers to choose for your dream wedding is the photographer.

Once the big day has gone by in a flash (and it will!), your head will be bursting with the most wonderful memories of the day you said: “I do”. But, nothing quite beats sitting down and sharing photos of those special moments with your friends and family. You will also want to recapture the memories in years to come, maybe with your children and grandchildren.

Of course, your guests will no doubt take plenty of snaps, but will they know to get a photo of your precious aging nan or the cousins you’ve not seen in years?

Have a read of our top tops on picking your wedding photographer…

• Do your research into the style of wedding photos you want. Do you want the traditional family line-ups or would you rather a photographer mingles quietly, capturing more natural, non-staged images? This will help to narrow down which photographer you go for.
• Meet your photographer in person before appointing them. If you don’t like their personality, they could become a real irritant on what is a very important day. They will be by your side all day long, so it’s vital to find one you get along with.
• Ask to see plenty of examples of their work. It’s best to see complete wedding albums as any photographer can get the odd lucky shot – you want to see how they cover an entire wedding day.
• Be clear on what you get for your money. Photographers can be expensive – avoid the post-wedding argument over extra fees and establish from the outset what you get for your money and what will need paying for separately. Also, ask whether you will get a disc of all of your photos after the day – not all are willing to hand over their work in this way.
• What is their contingency plan? What if they are ill on your wedding day, have they got back-up?
• It will be helpful to show your photographer any style of images you would like to recreate on your day. Give some thought to what group shots – if any – you want taking and what parts of your wedding venue you particularly want to feature in your photos.
• Have an engagement / pre-wedding photo shoot at your wedding venue. This gives the photographer the opportunity to get to know you as a couple and learn the types of shots which will work for you or not. You can then also walk around your wedding venue together to highlight particular shots or backdrops you like.
• Have a clear plan of how you want your photographer to work on your wedding day – do you want coverage of both of you getting ready, do you want them to stay for the first dance, etc? Work out timings between you so every part of your wedding day is captured how you want it.

If you’ve picked the right photographer and done the right planning together, you’ll be able to relax on your wedding day, safe in the knowledge they have got it all covered.


Chinese couple arriving in white Roll RoyceSo, you’re getting married? Congratulations! Now the fun really begins as you plan your dream Essex wedding.

It can be daunting facing the huge task of planning what is supposed to be the biggest and best day of your life – whether you are dreaming of a large or small wedding. You may never have planned an event and not have a clue where to start or what is required.

Don’t panic! Hylands estate manager, Ceri Lowen, is offering the following top tips and unique wedding ideas to help get you started…
• Set a budget. Or, at least decide on priorities for your funds. You will find there are some areas you’re happy to make savings on, while with other aspects – such as your wedding catering, for example – you want to pay for the best.

• Prepare a draft list of guests to get a rough idea of how many people you will need to cater for – most of your wedding suppliers will need to know numbers so this needs to be one of your first jobs.

• Book your dream wedding venue – ensure the venue you choose is suitable for your numbers and for the style of occasion you are after. If the room is a blank canvas, bear in mind the cost of decorating. Choosing a venue with period features will give the wow factor without the need for accessories.

• Name the date! If you are having a civil ceremony, book the registrar immediately as they get booked up years in advance.

• Send out save the date cards, texts or emails. This will help you to revise your guest list as those with prior engagements will be able to let you know straight away.

• Decide on your colours, themes and wedding centrepiece ideas; this will dictate the suppliers and wedding venue accessories you book.

• If you have already got certain wedding suppliers in mind who you want to use, book them as soon as possible to avoid disappointment. Wedding photographers, florists, entertainers and caterers get booked up early so make sure you get who you really want by booking asap.

• Start thinking about music – it can be a real challenge finding the right music for your ceremony and first dance, so give it some thought early, especially if you don’t already have a song that is yours as a couple.

• Research honeymoon destinations – bear in mind the time of year you are marrying as this can dictate where you honeymoon.

• Most of all, enjoy planning your dream wedding! It should not be stressful, it should be full of joy and excitement as you plan the biggest day of your life. If you do feel under pressure, call on your closest friends and relatives to help you. Your wedding venue should also have planners on hand to assist and share the load and offer unique wedding ideas.

To find out more join us at one of our Wedding Fayre’s or Open Days:

– 1 March, Wedding Fair
– 7 June, Vintage Wedding Fair
– 14 June, Wedding Open Day
– 2 September, Wedding Fair
– 25 October, Wedding Open Day
– 22 November, Vintage Wedding Fair

Valentine’s Day Love Birds

Vintage Essex Wedding at Hylands

February 14 is fast approaching and romance is very much in the air. When it comes to popping the question, women are more likely to say yes on St Valentine’s Day than at any other time of the year. And of course, the extremely romantic Hylands House is a perfect setting for weddings on this day.

It is said that St. Valentine of Rome was imprisoned for performing weddings for soldiers who were forbidden to marry. Valentine’s Day is not new, it was first associated with romantic love as way back as the Middle Ages. Writer, Geoffrey Chaucer wrote a poem in 1381 in celebration of the engagement of King Richard II and Anne Bohemia:
For this was on seynt Volantynys day
Whan euery bryd comyth there to chese his make.
Which to you and me means: – “For this was on St. Valentine’s Day, when every bird cometh there to choose his mate.”

Valentine Cards
The earliest surviving Valentine doesn’t have the words ‘roses are red, violets are blue’. It was a card sent by Charles, Duke of Orleans to his wife in the 15th century, and declares his love. At the time, the duke was being held in the Tower of London following his capture at the Battle of Agincourt
Are these times so romantic though? It seems that Valentine’s Day is going virtual with love birds more likely to use social media. A recent survey found that 62 percent of couples will use some form of virtual reality to share their declarations of love. Most send a text or use Facebook, some use email and 22 percent send an e-card.

Tokens of Love
The best gift is to tell someone you love them but there’s a growing desire to be just a little bit spoilt too. Women have cited a holiday or a car as their favourite Valentine’s Day Gift. Perhaps that’s why some Valentine’s messages remain anonymous!