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By rekeeley, Mar 20 2015 11:00AM

Next up in our wonderful series of Wedding Expert guest blogs comes from Ben & Hannah of HBA Photography. Here they tell us about their passion for photography, pooches & saxaphones alongside some invaluable tips and advice!

1. Please tell us abit about how you got your business started

Myself and Ben were married in 2008 so we know how important a wedding truly is. We understand that while not everyone loves to have their photo taken, they still want beautiful images to share and remember their day. So our aim is to be unobtrusive where ever possible, to be friendly, helpful and provide as much guidance as you need so that we get the photos you’ve always wanted without having to worry about being stood in front of a camera. - See more at: http://hbaphotography.com/about-us-2/#sthash.IAbrgDNl.dpuf

We are based in a little South Derbyshire village, we live here with our two crazy dogs, Scampi the labradoodle and Bella the Newfiepoo.

Myself and Ben were married in 2008 so we know how important a wedding truly is. We understand that while not everyone loves to have their photo taken, they still want beautiful images to share and remember their day. So our aim is to be unobtrusive where ever possible, to be friendly, helpful and provide as much guidance as you need so that we get the photos you’ve always wanted without having to worry about being stood in front of a camera.

2. Please try and describe the style of your business in 3 words

Personal, creative, unobtrusive

3. What kind of services do you offer?

We offer wedding photography and Stop Motion videos. Also Ben is a professional saxophonist so we can offer that service during the Wedding Breakfast and light background music.

4. What has been your favourite event to work on and why?

I'm sure it's impossible to answer that question without writing an essay! We had one wedding that was held at the Old Royal Naval College in London, then the reception was held on a barge on the Thames. It was so beautiful sailing up the Thames at night! A real experience that stays with you for a long time.

5. Have you had any unusual photographic requests?

Not really.... at one wedding a few years ago we were asked to photograph a guest jumping naked into a lake. Drunken antics - it looked pretty cold!!!

6. Do you have any special business plans for 2015 you’d like to share?

Along with lots more beautiful weddings, we've got some amazing styles shoots lined up and a couple of Love the Dress shoots too. We're also in the middle of having a complete re-brand and new website, so make sure you come back and take a look and the fresh face of HBA Photography later in the year.

7. What advice would you give to couples when seeking a wedding photographer, what questions should they be asking?

Make sure you meet your photographer, it's so important to get on with them as people - you're going to spend a large portion of the day with them so it's important to get on! The more relaxed you feel, the better your photos will be!

Ask to see a few weddings in full, a lot of photographers will only show you their very best pictures, which is easy to do, but it's great to see a whole wedding from start to finish so you know that everything looks great, not just the best 10 images.

Make sure that you will have permission to use and print your photos included in the price. Some photographers charge extra for this.

Make sure that your photographer has insurance, has spare equipment, even a spare car - in other words make sure they have contingency plans in place. The very cheap photographers often don't have any of this and regularly only work with one camera - what if that one breaks?!

8. Do you have any advice to couples wanting to get friends and family to take their wedding photographs?

There's nothing necessarily wrong with having friends and family take your wedding photos, after all we photographed my best friends wedding last year! You just need to manage your expectations. If you have a family member that is a professional photographer and they're happy to photograph your wedding for you, and you love their style, then great - but just be aware that they won't have much time to relax and enjoy the day!! However for an amateur, weddings can be very challenging events and you need to manage your expectations - you can't expect the same stunning images from Uncle Bob as you will get from a professional.... things move very quickly and as an experienced wedding photographer you can often anticipate things happening and get yourself ready for an amazing shot - you only get one chance to photograph those awesome moments most of the time and if you're not expecting it, you'll probably miss it. You need to be able to deal with potentially difficult registrars or vicars, often very little light, a lack of space, bright days, rainy days and snowy days, sometimes all at the same wedding!

9. We hear you organise a wedding show, please can you tell us more?

We organise the Giant Wedding Show. The next date is on Sunday 26th April 2015 at Osmaston Park near Ashbourne, it's an excellent event with about 70-80 wonderful wedding exhibitors and the location is one of the best in the country! You can find out more about the event here: www.derbyshireweddingfayres.co.uk

Visit the HBA Photography website http://hbaphotography.com/

By rekeeley, Feb 27 2015 08:46AM

It's been a little while, but we are very pleased to update you with our latest #WeddingExpert guest blog from the delicious FiZiGiG Cakery based in Milford, Belper. We caught up with business owner Sarah to find out all about the art of cake making and to get some hints and tips for all those choosing a wedding cake maker.

1. Please tell us a little bit about yourself & FiZiGiG Cakery

I feel very lucky that I live in this beautiful part of Derbyshire. Milford has been my home for 28 years and now it is where I make my cake creations. From my windows I can see the hills rolling down towards Belper. This area has influenced my making, creating & design; it’s a peaceful environment to work in.

I have a BA (hons) Degree in Graphic Design & a Diploma in Art & Design and have a studio for painting, drawing & photography.

I was taught to bake by my Mother, she was a brilliant cook & very artistic, I think these two things go together well. Three years ago a friend asked me to make a cake for her, she was so pleased with it she insisted that she paid me for it! The design process of creating a work of art that was going to be eaten and make people happy, really appealed to me. Then more people started to send in orders and so FiZiGiG Cakery was born!

2. Please describe FiZiGiG Cakery in a few words

Bespoke design, high quality & attention to detail.

3. What kind of services does FiZiGiG Cakery offer?

FiZiGiG Cakery offers a complete design service. Sometimes a customer knows exactly what they would like & sometimes they like me to design the whole thing. Discussions/ meetings/ planning and reworking ideas are all part of what I like to offer. I welcome customers to come & see me or talk on the phone to finalize ideas. FiZiGiG Cakes are special & made everytime with care & love.

4. What's the most unusual cake you have ever been asked to make?

I’ve been asked to do many unusual cakes from a couple in a hot tub to a British rail Locomotive! Among the most unusual was a Mexican man & a wedding cake to include the grooms Landrover!!!

5. What has been your favourite cake or event to work on?

Occasionally I have stalls at fairs and events. The one I always look forward to the most is The Belper Games. It’s a fantastic event, growing every year and is held in aid of the Scleroderma Society, Pulmonary Fibrosis Trust & Ataxia UK. I attend in Memory of my friend Penny Wheeler.

I do a cake stall, this year on the theme of ‘Village Show tea tent’. Come & find me in the main Marquee on July 18th at Belper Rugby Club.

6. WHat are your plans for 2015?

The FiZiGiG Cakery plans this year are all about expansion! I’m working on a big idea that should be ready to launch in the summer!! News hot off the press will be released on FiZiGiG Cakery Facebook page!! All I can say at this point is that a merging of Cake, Art, Coffee will be happening!!

I’m also planning to run pop up hen day cake decorating events & vintage tea parties.

7. What advice would you give to couples seeking a cake designer?

Customers researching information for their cake orders often contact me. I’m always very happy to talk to anyone & give advice, prices, and ideas. I think it’s really important to find out as much as you can about your baker/cake maker before you place an order. The final product needs to look fabulous and taste amazing too. Look at their previous work if you can, Facebook pages & websites are great for this. Read the reviews, take notice of recommendations, word of mouth is really useful especially if it’s a previous customer. Remember though, when you ask a cake maker for information & prices etc.…real quality should cost a bit more, don’t be tempted to just go for the cheapest price… as always in life ‘you get what you pay for’. It takes time, skill, expertise, and a whole lot of attention to detail to create a wonderful cake. Keep all this in mind when you set your budget and go cake maker hunting!

8. What advice would you give to couples hoping to make their own wedding cake?

If you are planning on making your own wedding cake, my advice is, keep it simple, make sure you have set aside at least the 2 full days before the big day to make the cake! It takes a lot longer than you might think & it’s got to be nice & fresh for the wedding day. Most importantly…structure is key, think about transportation to the venue, if the cake is going on a road trip you must ensure it’s structurally safe!

9. Final thoughts

I love my little business, I’ve met so many lovely customers who keep coming back to me. I’m proud that FiZiGiG Cakery has a reputation for quality and creativity & feel honored that I can contribute to people’s special events by creating their cakes!!

You can see more of FiZiGiG Cakery's work on their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/fizigigcupcakes#!/fizigigcakery?fref=ts or find them on Twitter https://twitter.com/fizigigcakery. Contact Sarah on 07762 752826 for all your cakey enquiries!

By rekeeley, Dec 14 2014 09:00AM

We are swooning over the 3rd in our #WeddingExpert guest blogs by the lovely Elizabeth Malcolm Bridalwear owner Lizzie! We were lucky enough to have stand at Lizzie's grand opening earlier in 2014 and couldn't think of anyone better to ask those all important wedding dress questions!

1. Please tell us a bit about you and how you got your business started

I'm Lizzie Malcolm and I own Elizabeth Malcolm, a couture bridalwear label, with a boutique in the market town of Belper, Derbyshire. We offer a purely bespoke service where all gowns are designed and manufactured for each individual bride.

A bride can come into the boutique and either choose from our extensive range of handcrafted wedding gowns made from fine silks, satins, French leavers lace and Swarovski crystals. Or they can have the ultimate in luxury couture and have their dream wedding dress designed and handmade to their exact specifications.

All of our bridal gowns are designed and handmade, exclusively by us, right here in Derbyshire, and are not available through any other outlets anywhere in the world.

To say that owning my own bridal boutique was always the goal would be an understatement. As a child I was given second hand wedding dresses to play with and twirl in and thus began my love for bridalwear. A surprise gift one birthday of a sewing machine had me well away sewing bits and pieces, cushions, clothes and I do remember the odd dress made out of a pair of curtains!

I took a BA Hons Degree in Fashion and was dedicated to focusing on bridalwear throughout my studies. For my final project I created a 1930s inspired bridalwear collection, called “Putting on the Ritz!”. I then went on to complete over a year of work experience at various bridal shops and manufacturers, one being Phillipa Lepley, the UK’s leading couture bridalwear designer.

Having left my 2 year bridalwear seamstress job in April 2014 I took the plunge to start up my own boutique with my own designs. Having found the perfect location, Derwentside Shopping Mill, I had my unit renovated and we set about creating my vision of what I wanted the boutique to look and feel like.

I was passionate about creating a beautiful, relaxed space where every bride feels comfortable to try on as many dresses as they like and not to feel embarrassed to come up with their own ideas of the perfect dress. We take one to one appointments, close our doors and produce the ideal environment for the bride to choose her perfect dress.

2. Please try and describe the style of your business in 3 words

Bespoke, Classic designs and beautiful embellishments (I know that’s 6!)

3. What kind of services do you offer?

We specialise in creating purely bespoke wedding dresses, however there are plenty of beautiful styles at the Belper boutique, with my signature classic shapes and exquisite hand sewn embellishments for brides to choose from. I also have a range of stunning British made accessorise and stock some of the most fabulous Rainbow Couture shoes. These shoes can also be dyed to your specific colour, before your wedding, or even after the big day so you can wear them again and again!

And, even if you haven’t had your gown made by us we still offer an alteration service, where we can do a simple fit or hem line, or we can add elements to the dress such as a sash, flowers or crystals etc.

4. What has been your favourite dress/event to work on and why?

My favourite dress changes every day, depending what mood I am in. Today I really love my Ophelia gown with matching lace appliquéd veil. The fabric is a delicate porcelain satin with a French leavers lace overlay on the bodice. The scalloped lace edge falls high on the neck, and the delicate sleeves are reminiscent of popular elegant Edwardian fashions. The beautiful full circle skirt is made out of a stunning Chiffon that I am in love with. To accentuate the waist you could chose between a variety of belts. You could have a lovely chiffon sash tied in a delicate bow, or add a splash of colour and have my Rose belt made out of the same satin with a gorgeously girly handmade pink silk flower!

5. Do you have any special plans for 2015?

I will be creating even more beautiful gowns for my lovely brides, and expanding the boutique a little with more collections!

6. What advice would you give to brides when seeking their dream dress?

The single most important piece of advice I could give to a bride would be not to worry if you don’t know what you want when you start looking for wedding dresses. Be open-minded and don’t be afraid to try on as many different styles as possible! All dresses look different on the hanger and you might have an idea of what you like, try it on and be amazed at how different it looks on you.

Also don’t worry if you don’t react in floods of tears. Everyone is different and reacts differently!

7. What questions should brides always ask their dress maker before they book?

As it takes some commitment time wise from brides it is always good to ask how many appointments/fittings they will need to attend. For one of my gowns it could be 5 to 6 appointments, so we can get the all important fit of the gown perfect.

When will I receive the gown?

How can it be cleaned? This is always a good question to ask anyway. It is easer to ask a dressmaker who has made the gown though as they will know what it is made from and all the interlinings that have gone into it. All the embellishments sewn on and whether or not it is silk.

8. Do you have any advice to brides wanting to make their own dress?

Its all down to the pattern and cutting out. Get your pattern perfect before even cutting it out in your chosen fabric, which means lots of practice dresses! Also being accurate when cutting out your pieces, following the right grain line, making sure the fabric is the right way round, matching patterns together if you have lace or a patterned fabric. This is essential preparation that needs to be perfect otherwise you are on the back foot before you even start to sew the gown together!

You can find Elizabeth Malcolm on the web through www.elizabethmalcolm.co.uk or call the boutique on 01773 417707. All email enquiries to [email protected]

Elizabeth Malcolm Bridalwear is based at Derwentside Shopping Mill (Antiques Centre), Derwent Street, Belper, Derbyshire, DE56 1WN

Find them on facebook www.facebook.com/ElizabethMalcolmBridalwear

By rekeeley, Nov 30 2014 06:23PM

Next up in our Wedding Expert series of guest blogs comes from the multi-award winning Tineke Floral Design in Derbyshire. Tineke have just been awarded the East Midlands best wedding florist for the 4th consecutive year which is true testament to their skills and expertise. Owner Kerry has very kindly taken time out of her hectic schedule to offer up some invaluable advice to all those future couples who are on the look for a wedding flower advice. Whether you are hunting for your perfect florist or tips on DIY floristry, Kerry has some great advice to offer.

1. Please tell us a little about your business, how you got started and why?

I have been interested in flowers since the age of just 11 years old, which gives me over 20 years experience in the floristry world. I absolutely adore flowers, and love creating new designs for weddings. We are currently based in Hulland Ward near Ashbourne, and were in Matlock and Sutton in Ashfield before then, constantly growing.

2. Please try and describe the style of Tineke Floral Designs in 3 words

Timeless, elegant, romantic

3. What kind of floristry services do you offer?

We specialise in wedding flowers, and can offer everything from the buttonhole, bouquets to full venue styling. We also have Tineke flower school, offering interactive flower workshops.

4. What are your own favourite flowers?

Hydrangeas, peonies and stocks – gorgeous!

5. What has been your favourite wedding or event to work on and why?

Any wedding that features my favourite flowers! The highlight of 2014 has to be providing the wedding flowers for Rebecca Adlington and Harry Needs gorgeous wedding featured in Hello! magazine – front cover too!

6. What are the most important things to consider when selecting your florist?

Definitely experience, knowledge and proof of previous work, wedding flowers can be extremely hard work, caring for them from them arriving to the workshop to delivery on the wedding morning.

7. What questions should you always ask your florist before you book them?

Have they worked at your venue before? Do they have a contingency plan in case the head florist is ill or unable to work?

8. Any tips for brides wanting to try DIY flowers for their wedding?

Practice practice practice! Even I will practice something before a wedding if its something unusual of different.

You can contact Tineke through their website www.tinekefloraldesigns.co.uk or find them on Facebook and Twitter by searching "Tineke"

By rekeeley, Nov 14 2014 09:50AM

Over the coming weeks we will be showcasing a variety of wedding suppliers and asking their expert advice on all things wedding-related in a new series of guest blogs. We'll have florists to cake bakers, photographers to dress makers to name but a few! To ensure you don't miss out follow us on Twitter and Facebook and look for the #WeddingExpert hashtag

The first in our series comes from our wonderful friend Karyn at Little Bird Vintage China Hire in Nottingham.

Please tell us a bit about you, how you got your business started and why?

I've often felt I was born in the wrong era, much preffering the nostalgia of the 1940's and 50's so when I got married in 2012 I wanted to create a day with a nod to that style. I spent many happy months collecting pretty vintage china and making dolly mixture coloured bunting for the wedding breakfast. Little Bird Vintage was fledged because I couldn't bear to part with any of my collection (which continues to grow) and I wanted it to be appreciated by other people rather than just kept in display cabinets. I'm based in Nottingham and cover the county and immediate surrounds.

How would you describe the style of your business in 3 words?

Flexible, eclectic, personalised

What kind of services do you offer?

We are able to hire out a range of items to help you style your day at a fraction of the cost of buying it yourself. We have trio sets (tea cup, saucer and side plates), lovely cake stands and sandwich platters, hand embroidered table cloths, tea pots, flower jugs, old glass bottles. Oh, and of course bunting.......

Do you have any favourite pieces in your collection?

I have some particularly ditsy floral teacups which I love! I have a Victorian teapot which is my favourite and I'm now too attached to hire it out, just in case something happens to it.

What has been your favourite event to work on and why?

I donated the use of the china for use at a palative care hospice event. It helped brighten up the venue and created a lovely talking point for patients and their families which was very satisfying.

Do you have anything special planned for the business in 2015?

To spread the joy of bone china and cake stands and make Little Bird Vintage a successful little start up with a broader client base.

What advice would you give to couples wanting to create a vintage style wedding?

Things don't need to match and they still look great next to each other. Ask family and friends if they have any props they can donate for use on your day; They'll be delighted to help and you get assistance with personalising your venue. Try and get hold of a record player and some old vinyl and put it in a room off to one side if you can - the oldies in the wedding party can then slope off to it in the evening and reminisce whilst the band kicks off for everyone else.

You can visit Little Bird Vintage China Hire’s website to see their wonderful collection from a bygone age here http://littlebirdvintage.zohosites.com/ or contact Karyn directly on [email protected] or through their facebook page www.facebook.com/LittleBirdVintageChinaHire

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