To veil or not to veil

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Long ones, short ones, thick ones, thin ones, or no ones at all. To veil, or not to veil on your wedding day? The veil has been around for centuries and historically signified the bride's modesty and virginity. Her unveiling, at the end of the marriage ceremony was said to represent the husband's gaining of paternal permission to enter in to conjugal relations with his new wife. Perhaps this is the reason that modern weddings rarely employ this tradition - after all, how many 21st century couples can say that they have abstained from their conjugals before the day of their wedding?!

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From a photographer's perspective, a veil provides a number of creative opportunities. There is the chance to add texture to an image, whether shot in close-up or to be appreciated in full length. 

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A partially concealed face can be beguiling, and just as appealing as full flesh and make-up. There is a certain mystique about an anticipatory bride-to-be making last minute adjustments to her headwear and moving her fingers beneath the lace of her veil. Poetic, methinks.

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One thing to bear in mind is the location and conditions in which you are expecting to be married. A clifftop, whilst the epitome of romance, is rarely without a breeze; ditto the beach, so watch out for windy days...even a short veil will take off if the conditions are blustery!

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Heavier fabrics and longer, cathedral lengths can give a vintage impression. The almost impenetrable mesh of a classic, old fashioned veil hides the bride's beauty until the second of the great reveal, and the mystery of her virtues remain intact until that moment, helping to create an early 20th Century feel. It is said that a veil was once also designed to actually prevent the bride and groom from seeing each other before they were married, so heavier fabrics were a necessity.

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A well-timed breeze can definitely be a benefit in other ways, however. A half-caught glimpse of a bride's eye beneath her billowing veil can be a very romantic treat. 

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Whether or not you are planning to be veiled on your big day, consider the pros and cons. Yes, they add a certain coquettish charm, but they also require careful handling and need to be matched with your headgear and hairstyle.  Try on several in different styles before settling, and since you've gone to all that trouble, ask your photographer to capture your careful choice on film.  

For wedding photography enquiries, please contact me, Helen on 07957627217, or at eyesomephoto@gmail.com.

Boutique bouquets - wedding florals

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The brides that come to me for wedding photography tend to be chilled. Their wedding-day-in-planning is destined to be relaxed and intimate. It will be a day without pomp, but chock-full of celebration and love. 

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No expense will be spared on the important items - an exquisite bridal gown, fabulous food and a half decent photographer, but neither will money be thrown out of the window like the proverbial baby with the bathwater. When it comes to the florals, my girls, being both classy and romantic, opt for understated and generally petite bouquets which enhance but do not overpower their look.

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In many cases I've noticed that my brides have chosen a single colour for their flowers, often just cream or white, and have added herbs and foliage to strengthen the design. Often it is the waft of these herby additions which out-plays the perfume of the flowers themselves. The bouquet above belonged to Frankie, whose bohemian Italian themed nuptials with Richard were inspired by the couples' engagement in Sicily. 

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Elegance and romance appear to be the consistent watch-word, however. I have rarely had a bride who has thrown investment at great swathes of rose pergolas, or festooned the altar with six foot standing floral displays. They have selectively added their splashes of scent and colour in a discreet and well thought out manner, in order to optimise their impact whilst saving the bigger bucks for the real show stopping items.

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A pink posy accompanied its owner, Tala, her hubby and their three children at their relaxed and gloriously summery, tiny family wedding. The occasion was less about big statements of ostentation, and more about the affirmation of their togetherness. The roses came along for the joy ride.

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The gents are never forgotten. These gloriously cute daffodil buttonholes which featured in the recent Easter wedding of Charlotte & Simon summed up the time of year perfectly. Little sprigs of rosemary and string ties added a rustic touch.

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So when you're planning your big day, remember that size isn't everything. Spend it, but spend it well. The carefully curated selection of blooms you hold in your hands on the day you meet your man at the altar will most likely remain special in your heart for many years to come. Make sure you have them photographed.

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Inner City Pretty

If you're into alternative and atmospheric wedding imagery, then this one is for you.

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Last week was my birthday. Some people might treat themselves to a new frock on such an occasion, or a pair of shoes. I took a slightly alternative route and spent my birthday money on a full day's photo shoot with Photography Farm. This is my personal idea of fun. Me time. Utter selfishness. A day with myself, my camera and a delightful bunch of strangers in the inner city of Sheffield.

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Our venue was a the Abbeydale Picture House, 100 year old semi-derelict cinema. Magnificent in its shabby condition, the peeling walls were nothing if not an asset for the photographer's eye. We were spoiled by the addition of two professional (and totally sublime) bridal models from J'Adore Models and the experienced and thoughtful styling of Erica at Mr & Mrs Unique.

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Once I had overcome my fear of the dark (not, you understand, because I believe in ghosts, but because I know that to make photographs one requires light), and explored a bit, it became evident that the old picture palace (venue organised by Inner City Weddings and which is, incidentally, available for hire for weddings) was littered with pockets of natural light, eeking in to the building through tiny cracks and pores, and little port-hole windows. Perfection.

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The shafts of light which pierced the darkness provided just enough drama to prove that you can make a beautiful bridal portrait just about anywhere. In the case of the image below this happened to be on an ill-lit, crumbling stairwell with wonky steps and splintered windows. The ancient walls retained just enough paint to add urban interest, complementing the softness of the incredible bridal gowns provided by the fabulous E&W Couture and Bowen Dryden

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The faces of the two beauties in frocks were both naturally magnificent, but were enhanced by the skills of professional Make Up Artist, Jenn Edwards. Further details and embellishments were contributed by Campbells Flowers of Sheffield, Halo & Co (jewellery), and Faber Novella (shoes).

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It was our privilege to be led by four aspirational pros for this romp in self-indulgence. It was as fascinating to watch and talk with them as it was to snap away in this masterpiece of a venue, so thanks indeed for the patience and tolerance of the following:-

Lisa Devlin, Jo from Enchanted Brides, Lee Allen and Lisa Jane.

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If you are interested in my wedding photography, please get in touch via email or my social media, or by using the contact form

Horseshoes for luck

too good to miss the irony in this directional sign intended for wedding guests

I do not generally consider myself a lucky person, but I have been very fortunate where wedding photography has been concerned.

a moment of quiet away from the bustle of ceremony, just minutes married

Some stunning brides, idyllic locations and as yet I've never had to battle with torrents of rain or wild disasters disrupting the nuptials (that's the kiss of death right there, eh?)

Maybe it's a coincidence, but the brides I seem to attract are uber-relaxed and unconcerned with pomp and detail. I LOVE this. Frankie, however, took 'carefree' to a whole new level, leaving the lion's share of the wedding planning to groom, Dickie. I have never seen this before but what a refreshing change!

The girl contingent of this wedding party strolling from the parents' field where the Reception was held

It became quickly obvious that by posing detailed questions to bride Frankie about the format of their wedding day, I was on a hiding to nothing, as she deferred one decision after another to the (super)man in her life. I came to see quite early on that Dickie is a real keeper.

This was a wedding without transport, without hotels, without enormous floral displays and without stress, yet it had everything Bohemian summer nuptials should have, and more.

Just a short walk to the church and back for the wedding party and congregation

The bride was walked to the church, just 100 yards from her parents' home, by her dad. After the ceremony, the newlyweds strolled back in the June sunshine, followed by their congregation.

Beautiful summer bride, Frankie, lapping up the last of the sun's rays in her parents' field

The reception was held in a field behind Frankie's parents' house, where a large Yurt awaited. Simple green and white bouquets and olive trees complemented the rustic Italian-themed details, and the bridesmaids got sunburned whilst they mingled with guests seated on hay-bales.

Yurts and hay bales perfected the rustic nature of this relaxed wedding day

My luck endured as this perfect day went without a hitch, and my love for shooting weddings of this type continues to grow.

looking relieved, relaxed and blissful, the bride and groom

Congratulations gorgeous couple.