Inspirational UK Wedding Blog
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Interview with: Jacqueline Cottrell

Company Name: deWintons – a passion for food

Website: www.dewintons.co.uk

Location: London

What does deWintons do?

As a contemporary company, you can expect a fresh approach to catering. Whether you have something in mind or are looking for inspiration for your event, our talented team can bring exciting ideas to the table. Above all, what sets deWintons apart is their people – from founder to chef to events manager and waiting staff – the immense passion and dedication to provide their clients with the perfect event every time is what keeps people coming back time and again.

Crab Fish Cakes with Black Sesame Seeds

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

I founded the Business in November 1996, following a successful career in teaching catering at Leith’s School of Food of Wine in London, to working at Moismann’s Belfry and various outside catering companies. I set up the business to follow a dream in working for myself to provide a boutique experience to a wider audience.

Why is the business called deWintons?

The name deWintons originated from my Grandmother’s maiden name; her family changed their name by deed pole in 1839 from Winters to deWintons as it was very fashionable to have a French sounding name. I thought deWintons was an usual name, with my tag line of ‘a passion for food’

Chocolate Marquee with Caramelised Bananas and Hazelnuts

Who works at deWintons?

I took on a business partner 10 years ago, James Symington, to help grow the business. The team consists of executive chef Cris Macis, with our Senior Events planner Gemma Banks and our event planner Charlotte Bradford.

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Interview with: Mathilde Robert

Company Name: Planet Weddings

Website: www.planetweddings.co.uk

Location / Coverage: UK

How and when did Planet Weddings get started?

I have been in business for three decades, and arranged our first ever wedding in Cyprus some 20 years ago!

The Algavre, Portugal

The Algavre, Portugal

Which destinations does Planet Weddings offer for weddings abroad?

Cyprus, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Croatia, Malta and Gozo.

What type of packages can Planet Weddings offer couples planning their wedding abroad?

All kinds, from simple no frills to big, bold and luxurious, tailor-made to suit the bride and groom and their budget.

Kefalos, Kos, Greece

Kefalos, Kos, Greece

What extras can couples organise through Planet Weddings for their wedding abroad?

Photography, video, flowers, cake, receptions, music, entertainment, decorations for the venue and reception, transport, accommodation and flights, not just for the couple but family and friends.

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Interview with: Mathilde Robert

Company Name: Planet Holidays

Website: www.planet-holidays.co.uk

Location / Coverage: UK

How did the business get started and who works at Planet Holidays?

We started the company in 2001, Harry Kyrillou is our Commercial Director, Reservations Jackie Myerson, Peter Ward is Agency Sales, Dominique Jubien looks after our design, brochures and the website, Marlen Taffarello does our PR, plus those wonderful resort representatives in both Cyprus and Greece.

Aldemar Royal Villas, Anissaras, near Hersonissos, Crete

Aldemar Royal Villas, Anissaras, near Hersonissos, Crete

Why are you called Planet Holidays?

We provide holidays that are out of this world.

What honeymoon destinations does Planet Holidays offer?

Cyprus, Egypt and Greece.

Archipelagos Hotel, Kalo Livadi, Mykonos

Archipelagos Hotel, Kalo Livadi, Mykonos

What type of packages can Planet Holidays offer couples planning their honeymoon?

All kinds, from luxury honeymoon suites to villas with private pool, to multi-centre or off the beaten track.

Amphitryon Hotel, Nafplion, Peloponnese, Greece

Amphitryon Hotel, Nafplion, Peloponnese, Greece

Can couples tailor their honeymoon or do you only offer packages?

We are delighted to tailor-make as that means we can best utilise our extensive knowledge. Our 208 page lifestyle brochure can be viewed online; check it out.

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Jessica Edwards - Jessica Lauren Cakes

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Interview with: Jessica Edwards

Company Name: Jessica Lauren Cakes

Website: www.jessicalaurencakes.co.uk

Location: Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire

How did Jessica Lauren Cakes get started and how long has the business been going?

Once I had discovered a love for decorating cakes I decided I wanted to gain as much professional training as possible, so I went to Le Cordon Bleu Culinary School in London. After I had graduated from Le Cordon Bleu I did an internship with Mich Turner at Little Venice Cake Company, where I refined my cake decorating skills. I then set up Jessica Lauren Cakes in May 2012, as I wanted the chance to use all the training I had with my own creative style and freedom.

White Rose Cascade Wedding Cake - Jessica Lauren Cakes Follow Your Arrow Wedding Cake - Jessica Lauren Cakes

Have you always wanted to make cakes?

No, I originally started making cakes as a distraction from a university degree I wasn’t enjoying. I have always been creative but never found the right outlet for this creativity. I originally pursued a career in the media, studying Media Arts. Once I started making cakes it quickly became the only thing I wanted to do.

Can you remember how old you were when you made your first cake?

The first proper decorated cake I made was for a friend’s 18th Birthday. It was a princess cake where the dress was made from cake with a Barbie sticking out the top. Some of my earliest memories though are making marzipan shapes and figures with my brothers at Christmas time.

Pretty in Pink Wedding Cake - Jessica Lauren Cakes

What types of cake do you make?

I offer a lot of different styles of cake. Mostly I make cakes covered with sugarpaste and decorated with intricate piping or sugar flower work. I’m also starting to make a lot of ‘naked’ and buttercream decorated cakes, which are a great alternative for people who don’t like the taste of sugarpaste. In terms of flavour I tend to mostly make sponge cakes these days, which can be made in a wide variety of flavours. For the more traditional, I still offer a rich fruit cake laced with cherry brandy.

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Company Name: Just Miniatures

Website: www.justminiatures.co.uk

Location: Hadleigh, Suffolk

What does Just Miniatures do?

Just Miniatures is a specialist supplier of miniature bottles of spirits, engraved glasses and personalised miniatures for weddings, events and personalised party favours.

Miniature Spirits - Just Miniatures

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

Just Miniatures started as an idea between two brothers after we first became aware of the large number of miniature bottle collectors in the UK, and the scale of their demand for miniatures. When we first launched our website in 2003 we catered almost solely to their requirements, stocking pretty much Scotch whisky and nothing else, but it wasn’t long before demand arose for a wider range of miniature spirits, and we realised that people also saw our products as the perfect items for wedding favours and small gifts. We diversified our range and vastly increased our stock, and the company as we know it was born!

Moet and Chandon Champagne - Just Miniatures Heidieck Monopole Champagne - Just Miniatures

Why is the business called Just Miniatures?

Because, well, we sell ‘just miniatures’! Perhaps that isn’t quite so true anymore: we initially set up only to supply miniatures to collectors, but our range has grown and broadened to include bigger bottles of whisky, beers, wines and liqueurs, as well as personalised shot glasses and gift boxes.

Which areas of the UK do you cover?

We ship to the whole of the UK, excluding the Channel Isles.

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Tasha of Ikonworks

Ikonworks logo

Interview with: Tasha Newland

Company Name: Ikonworks

Website: www.ikonworks.co.uk

Location / Coverage: Hampshire based, but happy to travel almost anywhere. My website has details of my National UK and International costs.

How did the business get started and who works at Ikonworks?

Ikonworks was founded in 2009 while I was still working fulltime as an Executive Assistant within the Telecoms industry. I had my son, Sam, in 2004, and my daughter, Abby, in 2007, and after falling head over heels in love with them, as well as with the memories I was able to capture by taking pictures of them, I decided there had to be more to life.

I needed a challenge, wanted a different focus, and desperately needed to feel inspired. I started a photography course at a local college; it was the content of the course, as well as the attitude of the tutor, that defined my future path. Clare is a wedding photographer, and it was her teaching and motivation that made me stop, think, re-train, and re-evaluate my profession.

Ikonworks is just me; 36 hours a day, 9 days a week, 4million days a year and, honestly, I would not have it any other way. I truly love what I do, and firmly believe that this comes across in my work, my attitude and my approach.

I was lucky enough to give up my day job completely in 2012, and I now focus solely on Ikonworks. This allows me to truly develop the business into what I dreamed it could be six years ago. It’s something which constantly evolves through hard work, determination, and constant learning.

Boho bride - Picture by Ikonworks

Had you always wanted to be a photographer?

NO! This career-path truly had not crossed my mind until I had my children. I figured my career as a PA was ‘it’, and actually used to get annoyed when people asked me what I wanted to be when I “grew up” (10 years into my career). Then I found myself staring through a camera lens and my perspective totally changed! I used to say that I did not have an artistic bone in my body; my stick men drawings are a testament to that! However, camera in hand, holding my breath as I press the button, I find myself complete.

Bride on swing - Picture by Ikonworks

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

One of the first personal images I remember taking was of my husband on our honeymoon, all dressed up ready to go to dinner after a dusk stroll on the beach (that was over a decade ago, and I remember it as though it was yesterday).

One of the first professional images I took was at my dear friend Natalie’s wedding at Oakley Hall in Basingstoke. It was a picture of her daughter Ashlee in her dress and feather cape. The picture appeared on her Facebook page and we giggled about how young she was in the picture. Those were captured memories that can be treasured forever, and I love that Nat and I have that connection which can never be taken from us. Surely that is the point of working for someone as a photographer; to catalogue moments, occasions and celebrations, so that they can be enjoyed and remembered forever.

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Paul Tansley of Stylish Wedding Photography

Stylish Wedding Photography logo

Interview with: Paul Tansley

Company Name: Stylish Wedding Photography

Website: www.stylishweddingphotography.com

Location / Coverage: Mainly South East UK – Hampshire, Surrey and Sussex, but will travel further afield. Have shot weddings in Wiltshire, Dorset, Kent, Berkshire, Oxfordshire and London. Will cover national and abroad if requested.

How did your business get started and who works at Stylish Wedding Photography?

I shot editorial fashion in London for nearly 20 years for many leading UK women’s magazines and wedding titles, including many front covers. I was also the Daily Mail’s main fashion photographer for 12 years, before moving to shooting weddings four years ago.

Carol, my partner, is an Art Director, and during her career was the Art Editor/Director of Wedding magazine for 7 years. From our first wedding assignment, Carol has shot alongside me as a ‘second shooter’. She has an incredible eye for an image, and as there is no pressure on her to get the main shots, she is able to have a lot of freedom to capture creative angles and scenes that I might miss when I am busy covering the main action. This is particularly useful in situations such as shooting the groom looking nervous at the beginning of the ceremony, where I can concentrate on him and the bride walking up the aisle, while Carol can concentrate on the bridal party waiting to enter.

This year however, I’m starting to push shooting solo on more jobs, as couples can’t always afford two photographers, but having both of us is still our premium package. I think no solo photographer can be in two places at once, however good they are.

Bride and bridesmaids looking in mirror - Picture byStylish Wedding Photography

Had you always wanted to be a photographer?

When I left school I had no idea what I wanted to do in life. I was planning on studying computers at university, but that was simply because I had no other plans. However, after leaving school, I started a fine art black and white photography evening course (aged 18). That got me interested in photography in a serious way and opened my eyes to some of the world’s greatest photographers.

When I was 23 I gave up my office job and moved to Rome to study Fashion Photography. Two weeks into my stay I started assisting one of Rome’s leading photographers, and haven’t stopped working in the photographic industry since. I spent five years assisting some of the world’s best fashion photographers.

I’ve now been working in photography for 27 years, and shooting professionally for over 20 of those years, so I’ve been around a long time and have seen the move from film to digital, and also the move from staged wedding photography to today’s reportage styles.

Bride having make-up done - Picture by Stylish Wedding Photography

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

No idea; my parents always had a camera. I probably shot something boring as a kid with dad’s camera! However, I do remember my early work aged 18 on the black and white course. My tutor, the late Mike Skipper, taught us one evening that ‘anything’ could look good in a black and white image, so long as the light was good. He then added, “well, almost anything – maybe not a milk bottle”. I’ve always loved being set a challenge; I’m a problem solver, I just love puzzles etc. So, at next week’s class I bought in a picture I’d taken of a milk bottle, the glass type from the good old days! It was a stunning image. To this day it’s one of my all time favourite images, with light falling naturally through a window and reflecting through the glass; I’m a lover of natural light and reflections.

Which areas of the UK do you cover?

Mainly Hampshire, Surrey and Sussex, although we’ll travel anywhere practical in the UK and abroad. So long as couples’ budgets allow for accommodation and extra days travel etc. then I’ll travel anywhere in the world. I’d love to shoot weddings where the light is beautiful – Italy or anywhere sunny.

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Kevin Wood - Scott-Wood Photography

Scott-Wood Photography logo

Interview with: Kevin Wood

Company Name: Scott-Wood Photography

Website: www.scott-wood.co.uk

Location / Coverage: UK, Europe, and Worldwide

How did the business get started and who works at Scott-Wood Photography?

My wife was instrumental in me making the change and starting my business, by asking me one deceptively simple question when I reached a point in my life where I was unsure of my career path. She asked me ‘what would make me happy’. It was an immediate response – photography full time.

Bride and gromm ducking from confetti - Picture by Scott-Wood Photography

Had you always wanted to be a photographer?

Yes, but life took me on a different route initially with a career in engineering, before returning to college to study photography.

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

I have an early recollection of taking (or trying to take) family snaps when we lived overseas, but then after that my earliest recollection is the excitement of discovering photography again when I went as a young 18 year old to work in the US.

Bride and groom on gondola - Picture by Scott-Wood Photography

Which areas of the UK do you cover?

My local area is Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire, but I work anywhere in the UK (and beyond!).

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Jen Stuart-Smith - Blooming Green

Interview with: Jen Stuart-Smith

Company Name: Blooming Green

Website: www.bloominggreenflowers.co.uk

Location: Loddington Farm, Linton, near Maidstone in Kent

How did Blooming Green get started and how long has the business been going?

My cousin Bek and I started Blooming Green in a mushroom shed on the family fruit farm in 2007.

I’d pestered Bek for years to start an eco-florist, and as the movement towards locally grown produce and British-grown cut flowers really took off, she got excited at the thought of being involved and finally gave in.

Before we mulched the first beds and sowed any seeds we did our homework. We found out about growing foliage at the Tregothnan Estate in Cornwall, and took LANTRA funded training under the Women in Agriculture initiative.

After we’d prepared the land and established the flower beds using borrowed equipment from a neighbouring strawberry farm, we waited and watched the ground hopefully to see what would emerge. I’m happy to say Blooming Green has grown steadily from that first year.

Bride holding pink balloon amongst flower beds

Why is the business called Blooming Green?

Our ethos is about being environmentally friendly, creative and sharing a passion for organic and locally grown flowers. We use the natural beauty of flowers and foliage to prove that “green” is anything but dull.

Who works at Blooming Green?

Our success comes from the mix of our skills and personalities. My big cousin and environmentalist Bek is at home in the polytunnel or out on the plot. She nurtures our seedlings, chats to the perennials and jokes that she avoids contact with customers as much as she can, although she’s great company really.

I’ve been creating rustic flower arrangements since I was 12, when I entered a local garden show. I arrange flowers once they’re picked and impart my love of flower arranging to brides-to-be.

Jen and Bek of Blooming Green

Where is Blooming Green based and do you have a shop? Which areas of the UK do you cover?

Blooming Green is on an acre plot in the middle of our family fruit farm near Maidstone in Kent. Brides love the experience of pick-your-own wedding flowers and many then learn how to arrange the blooms themselves. For our full wedding flower service we can also arrange delivery as part of the overall package. Cost-conscious brides, using the budget wedding flower service, arrange for friends and family to collect their arrangements from the shed at Blooming Green, or they come themselves, to de-stress before their big day.

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Ria Mishaal - Ria Mishaal Photography

Ria Mishaal Photography Logo

Interview with: Ria Mishaal

Company Name: Ria Mishaal Photography

Website: http://riamishaal.com

Location / Coverage: Hampshire, England. Available to photograph anywhere in the UK and beyond.

How did your business get started and who works at Ria Mishaal Photography?

Growing up, there were always old cameras around. I liked taking pictures of the natural world around me as a way of capturing how I felt about something. I also did a lot of visual artwork, creating panels of images for my Royal Photographic Society distinctions and for competitions and exhibitions.

When I was studying at University, I, together with another photographer friend, were asked by a couple of colleagues to document their wedding in our own styles. To my surprise, I absolutely adored the experience; I was able to photograph the wedding as I photographed on the street – capturing moments, emotions, details that caught my eye or moved me. This was back in 2004.

Then, some friends of this first couple saw their album and wanted me to document their wedding too, and through referrals and word of mouth my business grew. I loved this work so much it took over the other vocation I had planned for myself, and it only made sense to embrace it.

My husband, Jake, photographs with me on wedding days. We have been working together for many years now, so we complement each other’s styles very well.

Bride and groom under tree - Picture by Ria Mishaal Photography

Had you always wanted to be a photographer?

The first thing I remember wanting to be was a photographer for National Geographic Magazine. Both my father and grandfather are keen photographers, so I had a lot of exposure to photography from an early age.

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

I was very young, maybe four. It was of my mother, and my parents still have the image somewhere.

Bride and groom - Picture by Ria Mishaal Photography

Which areas of the UK do you cover?

Jake and I will go anywhere in the UK or abroad to photograph. For weddings, we work most regularly in Somerset, Gloucestershire, Hampshire, Hertfordshire, Surrey and London. We have done engagement shoots from Bala in Wales to Norwich, from Edinburgh to Brighton.

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