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Photo Shoot - First One Under The Belt
P. Millen Jul 02,2019

We did it …. Our first photoshoot!

It was a fantastic experience, but a lot of hard work too. We had to get 12 suppliers altogether on the same day, each one all doing it for free or in some cases an expense to themselves. As I have discussed them through this blog, I have put their contact details underneath the paragraph. Please take the time to look through their Social Media and Website pages. All the suppliers we used are well established and completed many weddings offering huge experience. We wanted to try something different to the usual social media advertising or the Wedding Shows that we do in all the various venues around the Cheshire area. We wanted to create a Wedding Day, taking photos of the key moments to help advertise each supplier involved. We have manged to capture some fantastic pictures which we will be sharing soon.

The photoshoot brought many challenges such as what venue to choose. We are spoilt in Cheshire with such a lovely varied mix of the elegant through to the rustic venues. For us though we wanted the Plough Inn in Eaton. It offers such amazing architecture inside with its wooden beams while offering fantastic photo opportunities outside such as the Lovers Bench and the old Barn Doors. The wonderful staff understood the idea straight away and we had our Venue we wanted.

The Plough Inn is a beautiful half timbered, half Cheshire brick Inn dating back 400 years. Located in the beautiful rural hamlet of Eaton in the heart of Cheshire and overlooking the Peak District National Park, The Plough Inn offers you the perfect place to eat, drink and stay. I can assure you that you will always receive a warm welcome and excellent hospitality. The Plough is licensed to hold Civil Wedding Ceremonies and can cater for weddings large and small in their beautiful barn. I’m always shocked that whether it’s 50 guests or 130 guests, it never seems empty or congested. It proposes an intimate feel while still giving you your own space.

Facebook: @theploughinneaton Website: www.theploughinn.co.uk

It’s great the venue was in place, but probably the most important contributor at this point of organising a photoshoot is the photographer. We know of many, but Lydia Ann Photography was the ideal choice. Lydia is so friendly with a great sense of humour. She makes the Bride and Groom so comfortable in front of the camera and as vital as a great photographer is, the importance of someone who can make you feel relaxed and be yourself in front of a camera is worth so much when you will look back at these photos for the rest of your life. Men especially find it difficult in front of the lens, but she somehow even gets the most “frozen” of man to enjoy it. She is also used to doing Children’s photo shoots which I imagine you need to be patient but quite playful too.

Facebook @LydiaAnnPhotographyPage Email: Lydia.sharkey@icloud.com

With the 2 main aspects of the photoshoot in place we had to decide how full on we were going to be. My staff don’t do things by halves and they wanted a Bride and Groom, so the pictures were real to life and not just pictures of objects that we hire. They wanted items to be pictured in context. Finding a fake Bride and Groom isn’t easy. We quickly worked out we needed a real couple but very few couples both like their photos to be taken. We put an advert out on Facebook to the sound of radio silence. We took to the Streets of Congleton High Street and pulled a hairdresser out of The Gallery Hair & Beauty, a hairdressers in Congleton town centre. We found the stunning Ashleigh Watson, who managed to convince her partner to whom she is engaged to, to come to our rescue. I thought he was great. He worked for a gas company so when he told his workmates about this, he got some real stick for it as you can imagine but the camera loved him, I’m sure his workmates will be jealous haha (Good luck).

Lydia Bedson is a fully qualified Makeup Artist & Beautician who applied the Brides makeup. We had recently met her at a Wedding Show. She came across so friendly and knew her trade superbly. She was the first name the staff came up with. Lydia stayed all day and helped tidy at the end which shows good character. Lydia will help you look your best on your wedding day. She will travel to your home or venue for both your trial and wedding makeup on the big day. Lydia uses the very best products, techniques and makeup styles to create a perfect bespoke look for your wedding day.

Facebook: @lydiabedsonmakeupartist Website: www.lydiabedson.co.uk

Our Bride, Ashleigh chose her hair stylist, and wait till you see the pictures, as her hair looked amazing. The Hair Lounge is a professional Hair, Nail and Make Up salon based in Congleton town centre, offering a fun friendly and professional service. Thankfully they are shut Mondays which meant we could use them.

Facebook: @THEHAIRLOUNGECHESHIRE

We then had to dress our Bride and Groom. Colin, the owner of L and J Formal has been a friend of the company for many years now. He loves a chat as much as I do. Colin formed the company in 1996 and has a wealth of experience. He has offered great advice over this time and I even used him for my own Wedding suit attire. In the comfort of your own home or his friendly showroom based in Middlewich, you can select from his huge range of jackets, waistcoats, trousers, shirts and accessories for your wedding day. All garments are of the highest quality with competitive prices. They are a recommended supplier of Willington Hall, Wychwood park, Peckforton Castle,Nunsmere Hall, Plough Inn,Cranage Hall and probably many more. He keeps completely up to date on new trends as well. From a personal experience, collection and drop off was made so easy and I can’t recommend this company enough.

Facebook: @landjformalhire Website: www.landjformalhireltd.co.uk

A lot like Colin who I have just mentioned, Swan Brides is very similar with an impressive show room based in Congleton, Cheshire. At Swan Brides Boutique you will find a carefully curated selectionof wedding dresses by Stella York, Martin Thornburg - A Mon Cheri Collection, Wendy Makin, and plus sized wedding dresses EveryBody/EveryBride by Stella York. My wife used them when we were getting married and the customer service was second to none with their team of Bridal Experts. Even me as a man was wowed by the dresses that they lent us for the photo shoot. They took such care in getting this right even to the extent of Ashleigh going for a formal measuring.

Facebook: @Swanbridesboutique Website: www.swanbrides.co.uk

So, with all the fundamentals in place it was then time to decorate the Plough Inn as if there was really a Wedding happening. As we specialise in the hiring of party props then this was important for us. In setting up the various shots we wanted to include something a little different each time. While setting up inside we took our 4ft Floral Letters and heart outside capturing moments in front of the Plough Inn’s key picturing areas.

As this happened me and my Wife, Joanna struggled getting the Selfie Mirror out of the place and into our van as it was there from a Wedding the night before. I was basically a removal man for the day, letting my staff be boss me around arrrghh. I must admit Katie and Hannah did go easy with me. They sorted things out brilliantly, sticking to their schedule, concluding in great work to which I am very thankful. Katie even laid out a food refreshment table for any suppliers who stayed. Back at the office things were running smoothly with Zoe carrying out office duties, getting ready for the up and coming Weddings for the week, and Jason busily maintaining the 4-foot LED letters from the weekend just passed.

We, The Added Extra were showcasing the launch of our new Neon backdrop range which will be discussing more in the next blog. We had a wooden frame, a copper frame and a green topiary wall recently made to all enhance the look of the backdrop. Look out for the pictures!! I can say that we used the words “Always & Forever” but we will be doing many more sayings and we are even going to offer personalised surnames which you happy couples can keep afterwards. I like anything that offers fantastic photo opportunities, but not only for your photographer taking the pictures of the married couple, but for your guests. I like to think that in the products we offer, they include all the guests of your party and creates great talking points too, consequently creating fond memories from the day that people will talk about for years to come.

We brought our rustic metal LOVE 4-foot letters too to help create the final seen. These letters were one of the first designs The Added Extra produced. Hannah was so excited for this bit and even bought a confetti gun. The excitement was short lived when there was a loud bang and a dribble of paper came out the top. We resulted in throwing the confetti over the happy couple stood on chairs but Hannah had been holding a clump of it in her hands for a while and when throwing it had formed a solid ball which she the proceeded to throw in our poor grooms face with a thud. He took it with great humour.

However, we did need a little help in adding to our decoration….

One of the scenes included a Wedding Cake. Cakes by Bethany who is a recommended supplier of the venue anyway was the obvious choice. Based in Congleton with a big customer base, she has already got a fabulous reputation. I must add my own thoughts at this point and just say I love her cakes. The designs and innovative ideas she has are brilliant but I’d happily eat it all day! I even make sure she does my daughters birthday cakes just so I can have some!! I try and think of special landmarks in our lives to when I can have a cake made. Beth is getting married very soon too, so a big congratulations.

Facebook: @CakeByBethany Website: www.cakesbybethany.co.uk

A company called Black Lab Events also helped with the decoration of the room. They do the little extras that go unseen but create an overall picture. They offer a quality lighting service to the events industry. They provided the up lighters which have interchangeable colours. Every event party room needs these but are often forgotten or couples assume that the venue supply them. This is not the case. The right up lighting can really set the tone of a party. They created another backdrop for us in the way of an LED twinkling white curtain. These can be used in the ceremony part of the Wedding giving a relaxed romantic feel to the room, but at night sets a party seen giving an elegant tone to the proceedings.

This Company is worth a look as I don’t want to undersell what they do, as they do all sorts in event room decoration. I see them at the Plough Inn for example when setting up Weddings and they put great care into their Weddings.

Facebook: @BlackLabEvents Website: www.blacklabevents.co.uk

We needed to lift our backdrops with some flowers, and we found a lovely company in Rosaline’s Flowers. Rosaline is a floral designer who is inspired by the textures and colours found in natural and wild floral landscapes. Her work is botanically focused and reflects her love for country life. When it’s big props I’m fine but when it comes to the intricate details such as flowers then I seek advice. Rosaline is extremely friendly and offers good advice and ideas I wouldn’t have even thought of. She was very busy, so I was pleased to have a selection of flower arrangements from her. As the neon range is now launched and with what I hope will be a bombardment of bookings to follow, I hope to work with this lady more.

Facebook: @rosalinesflowers Website: www.rosalines.co.uk

When it came to table decorations, we all agreed that Ruth from Heaven Scents was the lady to do it. We run into each at various Weddings throughout the year. Heaven Scent is a Cheshire based Floral Design Company with over 25 years’ experience, offering a personalised and friendly service where they can arrange a free no obligation consultation at a time and place convenient to you. Ruth was very generous in her rustic table display which suited our rustic 4ft LED letters perfectly. Ruth went the extra mile and even designed the wedding bouquet and decorated the beams of the Plough Inn. It’s touches like this that can make your day extra special. You can see Ruth loves her work and would be a huge asset to your day when organising a Wedding.

Facebook: HeavenScentFloralDesignbyRuthRodger Contact: ruth.heavenscent@gmail.com

Last but certainly not least was the balloon arch we had for one of the backdrops. As we were launching the Neon backdrop, we wanted bright colours and Karen certainly delivered on this. She came straight after a School drop off and it was fascinating to see how she did it. Karen owns Desired Weddings & Occasions a Venue Stylist and Designer of Wedding Stationery based in Middlewich, South Cheshire. She’s obsessed with weddings and has been dressing venues in and around Cheshire since 2012 and have loved every minute of it. Just speaking to her you can tell she cares about your special day. Karen is now a recommended venue dresser at DeVere Cranage Estate, Holmes Chapel.

Facebook: @DesiredOcassions Website: www.desiredoccasions.co.uk

I hope we got some great pictures and are waiting for Lydia to send them to us. We at The Added Extra hope you can see the fun we had through the pictures that are to follow. Please take the time to look through our pages as well as the suppliers involved. I have listed their Facebook and Websites, but most will have Instagram as well. Thank you to all that were involved.

Thank you for reading until the end.

Paul