Kirsty and Luke’s relaxed, outdoor, tipi festival wedding was one of those weekends that just stays with you as two of the best days of the summer. I still have the wrist band and a persistent bit of glitter that just won’t budge off the sole of my silver wedding shoes!
Their dream was to have a wedding that had a laid back mix of tradition, personality and most of all fun. If you're looking for inspiration for your very own wedding music festival, take a look. A perfect partnership of creatives, a photographer and a drummer, Kirsty and Luke's free spirited attitude meant that their wedding represented their passion for music, encapsulated those laid back summer vibes and set the tone for one hell of a party across two of the hottest days of the year.
The pair were married in a ceremony that was sensitive and heartfelt. Held at St Mary’s church, a pretty little Welsh chapel in the village of Usk where the bride and groom were both born. Some of the couple's much loved family members were both married and buried there so it was the obvious choice for them. After the ceremony, the couple took a quiet, private walk through the church grounds and laid a sunflower on the graves of their loved ones. It was beautiful and poignant.
The newlyweds then hopped into a vintage VW camper van to their festival site, where a gorgeous, tipi reception was set up on the green fields of Usk cricket ground, where their guests awaited them armed with a handful of rainbow petal confetti.
The details that Kirtsy and Luke included were so personal, a festival wristband and a jelly shot upon entrance, welsh cake favours, home grown flowers in rainbow coloured watering cans, hand painted signs and a mobile 'hip shaker bar' were among the many little details that made their day so special.
The sunny afternoon was a laid back party, lounging on hay bales and dancing in the cool shade of the of the bell tents where the guests rocked out to some incredible musicians and were treated to festival food from local suppliers and donuts from a donut wall. Even their local ice cream van turned up!
In true festival form the bands lit up the stage and packed the dance floor. The groom, Luke took centre stage to bash out a few sets on the drums and everyone had a weekend they will never forget. Their guests spent the whole weekend laughing, dancing, drinking cider barefoot on the grass, falling out off hammocks and laughing again
Kirsty and Luke, thank you. Your wedding festival totally rocked and I am so happy that I was part of it . Now, where do I sign up for next years?
Photography: Jennifer West Photography
Videography: Trust Productions
Tipi: Timber & Canvas
Bride's dress: Perfection Bridal, Cardiff
Bridemaid's dresses: Mix Bridal
Flowers: Emily Santos & Annala Walker
Wedding flags: Event Flag Hire
Ice cream van: Mel’s Whippy
Catering: Clever Chefs
Make up: Hannah Hazel
Hair Stylist: Burlesque Hair Co, Caerleon
Cake toppers: Jenevieve’s Creations
Over the years I have photographed weddings during every season and every type of weather, sometimes, all in one day! Hopefully, these tips, from a wedding photographer's point view will help you plan for a totally amazing day and take the stress out of worrying if it will rain or be a bit chilly because a winter wedding can be like no other!
1. Embrace the season...
Sure, a summer wedding in the UK can be ‘’easier'’ the longer hours of daylight and the lesser chance of rain can make the warmer months the obvious seasons of choice but people sometimes forget how incredible the autumn and winter light can be. Whether you have that lovely low winter light or dramatic stormy skies, winter can make for a truly beautiful wedding. A rainy wedding day can be incredibly romantic, it forces people to get closer, to huddle together. Talk to your suppliers, your florist, make up artist etc are all experts and will have loads of creative ideas of how to make the most of your wedding season.
2. Have an extra pair of shoes (for both of you)...
These don’t have to be seen or photographed but can be an absolute life saver if you need to leg it in the rain or if you’re heading outdoors for a shoot and the ground underneath is a bit muddy. Pack a spare pair of flats (or wellies) you can slip on when needed and keep those wedding shoes that you spent hours deliberating over, clean and dry.
3. Wrap up...
Wear something warm for the outdoor shots. Embrace the opportunity to get gorgeous and wear a glamorous faux fur, a tailored trench or a or wrap a big snuggly blanket round you both for some romantic shots, it also prevents against your lips going blue!! Don't forget about your bridal party too, the last thing you want is one of them putting their orange anorak on to stay warm. I’ve got nothing against orange anoraks if that’s your thing but have a plan to keep you all cosy and in keeping with your style.
4. Take a good umbrella...
It’s easy to forget to think about what umbrella you take, when you have so much to think about but a large white umbrella can work to not only shelter you from rain if needed but reflect a lot of light back into your faces for a photo shoot. A lot of wedding venues will have spare umbrellas on site so it’s worth asking before hand just in case, although many have golfing umbrellas with big logos on the side so it may be worth investing in a few white or clear umbrellas just for the day. You can generally pick them up pretty cheaply and then maybe sell them on after your wedding.
5. Prepare your people...
It doesn’t have to be regimented but it’s always handy to prepare and get the help you need from your wedding party on the day, whether its assigning someone to be the umbrella holder while you have a few couple shots taken, keeping the train on your dress out of the mud or or help in directing your guests from A to B, things always run smoother when you have people who know how they can help you .
6. Talk to your venue and take your photographer...
All good wedding venues will be fully prepared for weddings during the cooler seasons and will have lots of ideas of how to make the most of your wedding day even if you don't go outdoors.
It’s always a great idea to arrange a venue visit with your photographer to get your plan in place for the photography. I always love to have a little look around before with my clients, it gives us the opportunity to get excited about the location and scout out little hidden corners that may not be initially obvious for a gorgeous photo opportunity.
7. Hire a photographer who is confident with rainy wedding days and creative in low light...
Like all good wedding professionals, it is really important to chat with you photographer about what happens if it’s really rainy. They should be able to not only put your mind at rest at the thought of a rainy wedding but make you feel excited about the possibilities that a cooler season wedding can provide. A good photographer is not only one that takes great photos when the light is perfect but one that takes great photos when it’s not and makes the best of every situation.
8. Be Unique...
Most importantly, if you have your heart set on an outdoor wedding in mid winter, do it! It’s your wedding and it’s the way you make it your own that you will truly remember. One of my all time favourite wedding memories was an outdoor ceremony that absolutely hammered it down while the couple were saying their vows, it was one of the funnest days and everyone huddled together and howled with laughter as we all got very wet. It remains one of the happiest memories I have of a wedding to date and one that none of their guests will ever forget!
There ain’t no party like a MINI PORTRAIT PARTY!...
As a Mum, I know it’s all about multi tasking and budgeting and I’m calling ALL parents that have been considering a photo shoot of their little ones...
I so excited to be able to be launching a BRAND NEW venture for Jennifer West Photography that I am trailing in October 2018 ONLY, so get in there quick if you’ve been considering a photo shoot but maternity pay and time have been limiting you...
This October, INCLUDING HALF TERM WEEK for a few limited week day dates only, I will be offering for the first time ever...GROUP mini portrait shoots.
It's a lovely thing to do with your NCT buddies or friends and will have all your Grandparent’s Christmas pressies sorted. Sorry, I know it’s still only September, but the parent in me can't stop planning ahead!.
HOW IT WORKS:
Choose one of the dates available (scroll down for dates).
Get your NCT group or girl gang and your babies/ toddlers together for a morning, at one of your homes. All parents and siblings welcome too of course.
Stick the kettle on, change nappies, feed, put the world to rights, repeat!
I’ll come to you for a 2 hour shoot where you have a mini photo shoot EACH.
WHAT YOU GET:
Each family gets a personal 20min shoot and 15 digital images INCLUDING the hi res printable versions.
And... the best bit...
SPLIT THE COST! With up to four other families.
The Price: £350 for a 2 hour shoot.
A HUGE discount as the value of a two hour shoot is £450 per family.
So Split between 5 families, is ONLY £70 per family.
This two hour time slot works for up to a maximum of five families so for larger groups please enquire here:
DATES CURRENTLY AVAILABLE:
The dates available are mid week mornings and are limited to these dates only :
Thursday 11th October- BOOKED
Friday 12th October- BOOKED
Thursday 18th October -BOOKED
Friday 19th October -Provisionally BOOKED
Thursday 25th October- OPEN
Friday 26th October-OPEN
Please note that this is currently an offer for London and surrounding areas of Bromley only and slots are strictly limited to one per date on a first come first served basis. I will update these dates as often as possible but please check availability first.
So to avoid disappointment, please get in there quick and let's get this MINI PORTRAIT PARTY started!
Eeek what have I let myself in for?
Only Joking, I'm all smiles really! Can't wait to hear from you!
If you're anything like me, you've nearly run out of storage space on your phone and you spend hours flicking though countless baby photos of your little ones when you're supposed to be catching a short break from anything child related. It's easy to get carried away with photographing everything they are doing, but here's my own list of what I personally feel to be a top 10 list of shots to take of your children every month as they change so quickly.
1) Getting messy...
They say a child with grubby hands and knees is a happy one and my own little one is no exception. After a particularly messy dinner time or an eventful muddy puddle splashing session, grab that camera and capture them looking less than squeaky clean, these are the times you will remember them in their wild, happiest gloriously grubby whole self.
2) "Say cheese"...
A child's own interpretation of a smile for the camera can be so funny and can change depending on their mood and age. Capture their cheeky expressions before they master the art of a 'proper' smile and grab those opportunities for gappy toothed grins.
I have never really taken enough sleeping photos of our daughter. Sleep has always been a bit of a precious commodity in our house and the thought of risking waking her from nap time with a click of my shutter put me off taking them as it was too much of a risk. Looking back, it's now something I wish I had more of now that nap times have stopped altogether.
4) Being cheeky...
That look when you catch them doing something they know they shouldn't. You probably see that look every day but photograph it and capture it.
5) With family...
It's not just your little ones that change. More often than not, most grown ups can be a little camera shy but make sure you capture those precious memories with Mums, Dads, Grandparents, Aunties, Uncles and of course those lovely moments with siblings.
6) Quiet time...
Our daughter sings to herself all day. She hums when drawing or will belt out a wholehearted rendition of something if the urge takes her but one of my favourite times to capture her is when she's humming away while drawing, in quiet( ish) contentment.
Let them just be, whether reading a favourite book or totally immersed in their own imagination, it's a great time to capture them at a time when they aren't running around in a blur!
7) The details...
Those little fingers, the dimples on their little hands, the curl of hair at the nape of their neck, those eyelashes. Those things as parents that we simply marvel over the beauty of and ask ourselves, how on earth did we manage to create something so perfect?
Whether it's the month that your child takes their first steps, starts school or just the first time they have scribbled a wobbly portrait of you, celebrate these triumphs, big and small and get them on camera.
9) Grumpy Face...
Let's face it we'd love our family photos to show the best of our children and be all smiles but how much fun is it when we catch that perfect pout.
10) With you...
Probably one of the most important but the easiest to forget. Try to get in the frame yourself with your family, even if you're not the most comfortable in front of the camera, you will treasure them in years to come.
Please get in touch to ask about booking a family photo shoot.
On a chilly Saturday in January, I headed to Kensington, London to photograph Sandy, Jesse and their gorgeous children Harrison and Rossi for a winter family photo shoot.
It's such a wonderful thing to be asked to return to a family for ongoing shoots, to witness the children changing and to be part of their lives as they grow. This was my third shoot for this lovely family and I knew that whatever the weather, it was going to be another fun one.
Our original plan was to wrap up warm and head to a local park for an artistic outdoor location shoot, but in good old British tradition, The London weather decided to have other plans. We opted instead for an indoor shoot at home and made the most of the high ceilings and natural light through their grand Georgian windows.
When I arrived, I was instantly made to feel part of the family when greeted with high fives from Harrison (such a little dude) and a cuddle from an extremely cute dinosaur. I couldn't resist taking a few shots before little Rossi had her hair brushed was changed into her pretty dress for her shoot. I love these unplanned opportunities to capture the essence of childhood so naturally. While children are a little unkempt and their hair a little wilder!
True to form Harrison and Rossi were adorable throughout and we captured some lovely images of the closeness of their family and the fun they have together. They made it so easy and fun. Grabbing a cute umbrella, we even managed to capture a quick extra photo outdoors when there was a short break in the rainy weather.
When planning to photograph your family it can be tempting to put off taking photos until the sun is shining but I'm so glad we didn't.
Sometimes all you need is a little imagination, a lovely family... and if you have one, a dinosaur onesie is always an added bonus!
Thank you Sandy, Jesse, Harrison and Rossi so much for a lovely rainy day photo shoot. I loved every minute.
And here's what they had to say about me...
"It is a delight working with Jen! We have worked with her for several family shoots and birthday parties. We are so pleased with her work and her professionalism. She creates a calm and fun environment for my children and always has great ideas for our shoots. Importantly, Jen’s attention to detail shows through her work and photographs. She has the natural ability to make everyone smile and captures candid moments, which is priceless. It is always a pleasure working with Jen and we look forward to our next shoot with her! "
To ask more about a family photo shoot, please get in touch.