Tuesday, 14 January 2014

[Men] A Month to go - Buying an Engagement Ring!

Well Guys, if you are planning on proposing to your girlfriend for Valentines day then maybe this guide will help you choosing the right ring to make your lady's heart jump and go YES!

I used to work in a Jewellers before I was a photographer, and loved helping people guys who came into the shop to find their perfect ring for their proposal! And I used to love hearing stories of how the proposal went if we needed to change the ring size.

How much are you wanting to spend on the ring? Many years ago it used to be 1-3 MONTHS wage, now some people say it is around 3-4 WEEKS wage. A lot mainly depends on where you want to purchase the ring from, the type of ring you want and how big a diamond you want! 
Available from Ernest Jones for £399 Solitaire

Do you know her ring size? Does she already wear rings? Does she ever take them off? There are many sneaky ways to find out what ring size she is. Next time she leaves her rings in the bathroom then why not slide it on to one of your fingers - and see where it fits - its only a rough idea  but better than just guessing! If not, does her mum know what you are planning? She will probably have a rough idea of her size or hands of similar size sometimes! 

If your lady already wears jewellery, is it white or yellow? This will help make a decision on what colour to buy the engagement ring, white gold, yellow gold or platinum (the most expensive). If she doesn't wear any jewellery at all - then what does she do as a job? White gold will need re-plating more often for people who work in nurseries, cleaning a lot, or hairdresser's and beauticians due to the chemicals used in their jobs.

Diamond (if you are going the traditional route) comes in several different shapes. The most popular is the Brilliant cut, or the Round one. The Square one (Princess cut) is also popular. However these are different ideas of what you could have.
Cluster ring available from Beaverbrooks £550

Carat (or points)
This is the diamond weight. You can get diamonds in either a single stone, or several little ones - you will generally find that several little stones is cheaper than purchasing a single stone of the same Carat weight.

Available from Argos £650

Make sure, that if for any reason if she doesn't like it or it is the wrong colour gold - that you can take it back and get a refund if necessary. Some shops only let you exhange!

Friday, 3 January 2014

[Tips] So you're engaged - now what?

So you are engaged...now what is going to happen! Scared Excited? Want to shout it from the rooftops! Of course you do! Here is my 15-top tips of where to start now you are engaged!

1. Tell everyone you know!
Half the fun of getting engaged is being able to tell people. However before you post it on facebook for everyone to see, make sure you call your nearest and dearest first, mums and dads, brothers and sisters, Grannies and Grandads, best friends and anyone else you are really close to. Ask them to tell Aunties and Uncles or people you don’t really speak to and THEN update 
on facebook!!

2. Get your ring resized
So the ring that has been picked is perfect in every way but its not quite the right size, make sure you get it resized as you wouldn’t want to lose it (or turn your finger blue!) Depending on your jeweller and if you’ve worn it – they may swap it if they have the right size in stock, order a new one, which could take a week, or get it resized for you which is about the same.

3. Have a manicure!
Everyone will want to see the ring on your finger, and make sure its just as beautiful as they have been imagining! If you bite your nails, or don’t like them, then get a manicure! Make sure your nails have a gorgeous French tip – or a beautiful colour! As everyone will want to look at it!

4. Get your ring insured!
Nothing can ever replace the sentimental value of your ring, but if something happens to it, then you may at least get it repaired, or a replacement. You can either add it to your home insurance, or even jewellers do their own insurance which will repair/replace where needed – but be careful most insurances full stop wont cover for loss.

5. Tell the story!
Everyone will want to know the story of how the proposal happened, who knew and who didn’t that it was going to happen. Telling and retelling the story is the fun and excitement of being engaged. However, why not write it down – that way you will never forget it – but you can always email it to family and friends you don’t see that often so you aren’t retelling them 9 months down the line!

6. Set a Date
Everyone will want to know the date, its one of the next questions that they ask. Think of an idea of when you are going to tell people. If you are saving up and paying for things yourself and you know money is tight, tell them not for a couple of years, we’re liking just being engaged right now, oh we aren’t thinking until 2016. At least people will then have some form of “mental” idea in their diary – but nothing is confirmed.

7. Set a budget.
The Wedding of your dreams doesn’t have to go into astronomical figures, but they don’t come cheap. Think of a way that you can get a budget. This will depend on how much you are earning, how much you are wanting to save and if you have any helping hands. Try as much as you can to have a “base” total budget – and then from this when you are ready to start booking things, start setting aside other smaller pots of your budget for the things that you require.

8. Start a savings account

This will help, set up a joint savings account and see how much money you can save each month – whether its £50 each, or £150 together every little will help when you are putting it into the pot and this will then help when you are paying supplier deposits, as well as final balances the closer to the Wedding.

9. Get organised
You will start getting Wedding Brochures and finding idea’s and your budget and picking up leaflets. So get a folder, or a box to keep everything in. Keep your favourites and your “must have’s” closer to the front so when you come to booking things at least you have your hands on them easier!

10. The Ceremony
Is it going to be a religious ceremony, or a civil ceremony? Make sure you chose a ceremony that you find is right for you!

11. Inspiration Everywhere!
Start looking at what you like, and make it about you – you will find inspiration everywhere, but you will find most of it at home. Make yourself a pinterest account to keep all your ideas in one place, but if you don’t want your friends to “steal” ideas, then make sure its private!

12. Mock the List!

Do you want a small wedding, or a larger wedding? Do you have specific people on your “must have” list, and a reserved list? This number of people generally depends on your Wedding style, your venue and of course your Budget. Have a rough idea in your head, but sit down with your partner and write your “must have” guests so you know that your numbers will be realistic.

13. The Venue
The venue is one of the biggest parts of getting married and will take up the biggest chunk of your budget (around 50%). There are many different things to think about and you will visit a few venues before you decide on the right one for you. Does it have nice outside grounds or would photographs need to be done inside? Does it have nice inside options in case it rains? Is it all in one room, are there several rooms, are you the only wedding? Is it easily accessible for older and disabled guests? Many things to think about – don’t just book the first venue you see, but venues will not hold a date without a deposit!

14. Your Suppliers
Your Wedding Day won’t be the same without some suppliers, whether its your Photographer, chair covers, florist – you will need some of these! Most suppliers cannot take a booking from you until they have your confirmed Wedding date, which is only after you have confirmed your venue. When you have almost set your heart on your venue you can start looking at suppliers. Attend Wedding fayres, and collect leaflets to go in your Wedding Folder!

15. Celebrate!
You are ENGAGED! Celebrate this fact, whether you use it as an excuse for a party – or a meal with your friends and family, or an exclusive night for you two in a beautiful restaurant and hotel – celebrate the engagement. Don’t jump in with both feet for the Wedding Planning – just remember – you both have an amazing future ahead of you!

To Discuss your Wedding Photography with myself please email adele@bluelightsphotography or call the office on 01226 872491 

Thursday, 2 January 2014

[Wedding] A beautiful NYE Wedding at Kenwood Hall

On New Years Eve I had the pleasure of photographing my first New Years Eve Wedding and my first Wedding at Kenwood Hall.

I started in the morning with Kim in her room - whilst the hair and makeup artist were there before their 2pm Ceremony.

When I drove to Kenwood Hall on NYE Morning, it was horrid weather, raining, misty, and dull. I kept giving myself a big pep-talk that it didnt matter - the weather would be perfect later and we would get outside to get some yummy photographs! 

The Ceremony room and downstairs there were candles and little personalised items everywhere! It was so lovely! Just amazingly beautiful and so personal to Kim and Nathan.

I first met Kim when I photographed her brother's wedding in 2012, so it was lovely to be able to see many of the family again and it made my job a little easier that I already knew one side of the family too!

It was chilly, but everyone was such good sports for the photographs, coming outside where it was cold, and even removing their wraps and shrugs for some of the photographs. 

Kim & Nathan are clearly in love (and as silly as each other too) 

Kenwood Hall provided an amazing backdrop for photographs, the lakes, and even this random staircase that Nathan said they should go up! Kim was such a good sport!

Thank you for choosing me to share your beautiful special day.

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

[2013] A Year in Weddings and Love

Wow! As 2013 has drawn to a close and 2014 is upon us, then I must share with you the amazing year that I have had at Blue Lights Photography with all my gorgeous Weddings!

February saw an early (and cold) start to the Wedding Season with a beautiful Wedding at Cubley Hall, Penistone for Mr & Mrs White.

And then March came and brought beautiful Weddings at Silkstone Church and The Fairway, Rogerthorpe Manor, and my first Wedding at Aston Hall, Sheffield.

April and May celerbated our 100th Wedding since I set up the company, a lovely Military Wedding at another new venue for me at Mosborough Hall, and also at Hotel St Pierre, Newmillerdam and Whitley Hall, Sheffield - and not missing our "farm" Wedding which has also been in Wedding Idea's Magazine!

Beautiful June came along, and brought me Weddings again at Rogerthorpe Manor, Kings Croft Hotel, and new venues such as Pastures Lodge, and The Manor Golf Club.

The only July Wedding I had in 2013 was Mr and Mrs Risk, on what must have been the HOTTEST day of 2013! It was very very hot at Wortley Hall, which again was a new Venue for us, teamed with a Wedding at Allerton Castle in August.

At the end of July, I got to celebrate a small Wedding which was at the Town Hall, Barnsley, and another little mid-week Wedding there also. And another trip to Kings Croft Hotel.

September brought me another two wonderful weddings, at two brand new venues again to Blue Lights Photography. I got to photograph my first ever Civil Ceremony for Elli & Mandy at a beautiful intimate ceremony at Swinton Park, whilst I then went to Hotel Van Dyk!

As winter approaches, the weddings tend to get a little quieter - however in November it was off to Waterton Park Hotel for a lovely (and cold) Wedding with the snow machine too! And then just before Christmas off to the Peak District for a lovely Wedding at Losehill House Hotel and Spa - another new venue in 2013!

And the final Wedding for me was New Years Eve at another new venue at Kenwood Hall. Absolutely Beautiful!

With 10 New Wedding Venues Photographed this year...
3 Newborn Babies born and 2 Due for the couples I have photographed this year.

I think that 2013 has been a fabulous year. What do you think?

Bring on 2014!!

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