Flower girl sitting on wall looking at cows - Picture by Amanda Karen Photography

Getting to Know – Amanda Karen Photography

Amanda Hutchinson of Amanda Karen Photography

Amanda Karen Photography logo

Interview with: Amanda Hutchinson

Company Name: Amanda Karen Photography

Website: www.amandakarenphotography.co.uk

Location / Coverage: UK and destination

How did the business get started and who works at Amanda Karen Photography?

I have always loved weddings, but when I got married in 2013 that love grew even more, knowing just how much work goes into them and all the beautiful details that come together to make the most amazing day. It was then that I knew wedding photography was where my heart lay, so I started second shooting for some really amazing and lovely photographers. As I grew as a photographer I knew that this was the industry for me. From there, in October 2014, Amanda Karen Photography was born, and I am lucky that my husband (yes it still excites me to say that!) is a great photographer; it’s great to shoot weddings as a team.

Bride and groom in yellow field - Picture by Amanda Karen Photography

Had you always wanted to be a photographer?

I have always loved taking photos and my parents always had albums of us growing up, but it didn’t really occur to me that it could be my living; that only came in the last couple of years. But I know I am so lucky to be doing something I love.

Flower girl sitting on wall looking at cows - Picture by Amanda Karen Photography

Can you remember how old you were when you took your first picture? What was it of?

I can’t say I remember how old I was, or to be honest what my first photo was, but it would have been on a film camera; I loved waiting for the photos to come back. My earliest memory though of taking photos was a trip to Disney when I was 10 or 11, and taking a whole roll of film at Sea World – dolphins were my favourite animal!

Which areas of the UK do you cover?

We primarily cover Essex, London and the South East, but for the right wedding we will travel anywhere!

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Silhouette of couple appearing to stand on water - Picture by Andrew Keher Photography

Getting to Know – Andrew Keher Photography

Andrew Keher of Andrew Keher Photography

Andrew Keher Photography logo

Interview with: Andrew Keher

Company Name: Andrew Keher Photography

Website: http://andrewkeher.co.uk

Location / Coverage: North West (Merseyside, Cheshire, Greater Manchester, Lancashire etc.)

How did your business get started and who works at Andrew Keher Photography?

My business came about almost by accident. My background is in construction (I’m a qualified Quantity Surveyor!), but following the economic downturn in my sector I felt compelled to seek other income avenues, just in case. I discovered I really, really enjoyed taking photographs of people and it just seemed a natural progression to weddings.

Photography was always a hobby of mine but it turns out I was far better at taking photographs and running my own business than I ever was at working in a 9 to 5 office! That’s not to say this all happened overnight; I’ve worked my socks off, many days from early in the morning to well after midnight in order to study and hone my techniques. It’s a constant learning experience and I’ll never stop striving.

Bride and groom walking through a field - Picture by Andrew Keher Photography

Had you always wanted to be a photographer?

Not really! I’d always wanted to be a police officer, but due to my poor eyesight at the time it never became a reality. A good few years later and luckily, following laser surgery, I have perfect vision now – it does come in handy in my line of work. My younger brother has ended up joining the police instead!

Bride standing in road - Picture by Andrew Keher Photography

Can you remember how old you were when you took your first picture? What was it of?

Sorry, can’t remember! It was probably really rubbish though!

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Last Night of Freedom - Specialists in Stag and Hen

Getting to Know – Last Night of Freedom

Last Night of Freedom logo

Interview with: Louise Henderson (Content Editor)

Company Name: Last Night of Freedom

Website: www.lastnightoffreedom.co.uk

Location/Coverage: Based in Gateshead, Tyne and Wear. Cover UK and Abroad.

What does Last Night of Freedom do?

We organise the best stag and hen weekends in the world – not that we like to show off or anything! We have over 65 locations worldwide and endless activities, so we’re able to tailor your hen or stag weekend exactly to your specification. We also offer the UK’s largest range of stag and hen party costumes and accessories, with everything from the sophisticated and sexy to the rude and ridiculous.

Last Night of Freedom - Specialists in Stag and Hen

How did the business start and how long has it been going?

We started back in 1999, when our MD, Matt Mavir, was a student. He set up the Last Night of Freedom website purely as an informative service, offering advice and inspiration to stag groups, but people kept contacting him and requesting to book their weekend through him and so he began with a small offering. Shortly after getting stag weekends off the ground, hen weekends were introduced too. The company has continued to grow and evolve – and we have no plans to slow down.

Who works at Last Night of Freedom and what are your roles?

I’ve been with the company for two years now and the staff numbers have doubled in just that time, making us a 50-strong team. Our events department acts as a personal travel service, talking to our customers to book and operate their stag and hen weekends. The costume and accessories side is always a flurry of activity. Our warehouse is on site and we have people packing and shipping orders and making personalised T-shirts (some ruder than we care to mention!) and we’ve added photography and film studios too, so you’ll often find a photo shoot happening for new shop products. When we launched our new website we wanted to be bigger and better, but we also wanted to reinstate the essence of how LNOF began, by bringing back an Ideas section where we could inspire and entertain our customers. Our Digital, Content and Marketing departments work together to make sure we strive to give our customers the best possible experience when they come to the Last Night of Freedom website.

Last Night of Freedom - Hen and Stag Party Costumes

What’s it like working at the Last Night of Freedom HQ?

There’s a huge camaraderie in the office and so much passion; it’s amazing coming to work in such a hive of activity. Our office is open plan, meaning that all the departments overlap and work together. We also have the arduous task of experiencing our activities, so, you know, it’s a real chore having to go to cocktail making workshops, nude life drawing classes and male strip shows! Being in the events business, we also know how to throw a good party. We had a huge do when we launched our new website and we drank way too much champagne and raided the warehouse. Our photograph is a result of wine-fuelled dressing up at midnight – (that’s me on the right). We were dreading seeing the photos, but when we looked the next day we decided that the suits were far too cool to offer only to stags, and just as many hens order them now.

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Original Drop Top Guest Book in European Oak - The Wedding Tree

Getting to Know – The Wedding Tree

The Wedding Tree logo

Interview with: Richard Ford

Company Name: The Wedding Tree

Website: www.theweddingtree.co.uk

Location / Coverage: We are based in Tamworth, Staffordshire but sell nationwide

What does The Wedding Tree do?

The Wedding Tree is the maker of the Original Drop Top Guest Book, a unique alternative to a traditional guest book. The Drop Top Guest Book is a solid wooden frame with a slot at the top. Guests write on wooden hearts with their well-wishing messages and drop it into the frame where it will sit forever more, creating a magical one-of-a-kind piece of art to be displayed in the home after the wedding day.

The Wedding Tree also makes other wooden guest books including our fun Oak Block Guest Book, our Drop Box Guest Book and more. As well as guest books we also make wooden gifts, homeware and furniture.

European Oak Drop Top Guest Book - The Wedding Tree

How did The Wedding Tree come about and how long has the company been running?

We set The Wedding Tree up after our own wedding where we made nearly everything to go in our barn themed wedding. A lot of people suggested we should start a company selling items we had made as they were not available anywhere else. At the time we were the only wedding company in the UK specialising in wood for weddings, which was fantastic and such a great achievement for us. Our workshop has been running for nine years now and we branched out into the wedding world three years ago.

Whole Lot of Love Guest Book - The Wedding Tree

Who works at The Wedding Tree and what are your roles?

I (Richard) own The Wedding Tree and do everything from designing new products to making them come to life. I have a very helpful apprentice Josh; Emma does our PR and social media and my wife Jen keeps us all in check. We have a great mix of people and work really well together. We have been slowly growing and are expanding further very soon… watch this space!

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Couple kissing on beach by rowing boat - Picture by Jude Middleton Photography

Getting to Know – Jude Middleton Photography

Jude Middleton of Jude Middleton Photography
Image by Lexi Fleming

Jude Middleton Photography logo

Interview with: Jude Middleton

Company Name: Jude Middleton Photography

Website: www.judemiddleton.co.uk

Location / Coverage: UK and destination

How did your business get started and who works at Jude Middleton Photography?

I decided to change careers after being made redundant from my job when I was pregnant, nine years ago. I went back to college to study photography soon after my daughter was born, and worked for a while with one of the students I met there. With my own style developing more and more it was time to branch out on my own, and so Jude Middleton photography began.

Bride and groom about to kiss - Picture by Jude Middleton Photography

Had you always wanted to be a photographer?

I had always wanted to work creatively, but life took over and I ended up taking jobs to pay the bills and make a living. It took a while for me to figure out photography was what I wanted after dabbling in science, music and drawing, but it has the right mix of geek culture and prettiness, and I find it immensely satisfying on many levels.

Bride smiling in mirror - Picture by Jude Middleton Photography

Can you remember how old you were when you took your first picture? What was it of?

I remember always having a tiny point and shoot with a square, four use flash bulb. I took it on holidays and school trips and always had plenty of photos, and I always got a buzz from seeing the films come back developed.

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