planning a wedding: top tips

Planning a Wedding: useful links and tips

Congratulations: you’ve got engaged and now the fun begins!

Planning a wedding: useful links and resources

In this article I’ll offer some useful links and information to help you on the journey of planning your wedding. First up I’ll post some links for the impatient among you, then I’ll write some stuff below mostly about the photography bit which is what I do.

Pinterest: When I find cool stuff my clients might find helpful I like to pin it on my pinterest board

Off-beat Bride: This is a cool website and blog for alternative, creative and geeky couples

Photography: How to choose a wedding photographer

Vintage Tea: Bridal parties and weddings in Wales see also: this blog post on bridal tea parties

Venues: Llechwen Hall above Pontypridd and Manor Parc Hotel in Cardiff.

Planning your wedding should be a really fun and creative journey. Although it can get stressful at times, the important thing to remember is that the day is for you and your partner. And the day should be one you both enjoy. Here are some helpful tips, including things to look for when choosing a photographer.

Planning a wedding: getting started

So – first things first: start assembling your mood boards. Details make a difference when it comes to weddings, so go through magazines, websites, catalogues and collect ideas and images that inspire you. It can help to have a scrap book for the stuff you tear out of magazines, but for webstuff you really need to get in to pinterest. It’s easy to use – once you have set up an account you start creating boards to ‘pin’ your images on. When you find images on the internet you can copy the image to your pinterest board, add notes about what appealed and it will automatically create a link back to the source so you can find the vendor when you need.

Planning a wedding: choosing the venue

The choice of venue will have as much impact on your wedding photos as the choice of dress. When you are looking at venues, look at their website for wedding photography and then google “[venue-name] weddings”. Obviously, stunning country houses make for some great photos but some of the more modest boutique hotels offer really beautiful backdrops to your wedding and can be very cost effective. If you are having a wedding in a 1980’s brick built hotel in the town centre it may make really beautiful group and couple shots difficult. A good venue will offer a combination of affordability, nice surroundings and good service.

Planning a wedding: choosing the photographer

With the market flooded in cheap DSLR cameras, everyone thinks they are a wedding photographer – but there is more to wedding photography than simply ‘taking snaps’. Learning how to take good quality photographs takes time and practice and there is a skill in knowing how to work with a couple and the wedding party to get people at their best. There are subtle but important considerations when it comes to posing that will flatter you and your partner – simply asking you to lift your arm slightly or turn slightly can have a massive effect on how you look, and the job of the photographer is to catch you at your best.

When most people take a photograph they snap the camera and download the image. When a professional wedding photographer takes an image we will spend several minutes with each image making small adjustments to create the best toning and composition possible: the images a professional photographer produces should not look like the ones you take – they should look like the ones you can’t take – that’s what you are paying the money for.

Wedding Photography: Photoshop is your friend

Modern digital cameras capture images to such high resolution that every imperfection becomes apparent. Its important that your images show you at your best, and as people see you. when we look at a person, we don’t scan the skin for imperfections or focus on the dark circles under the eyes – we just take in the person as an overview. The amount of correction I will apply depends on the model and the use of the image. In the image below, which was part of a fashion shoot, the processing is a little more than I generally use on a wedding but you’ll see how light skin corrections help bring the natural beauty of the model to the fore.
planning a wedding - choosing the photograher

If you look through my wedding photography portfolio you’ll see the standard I produce my wedding photography to.

For more on choosing a wedding photographer as part of your wedding planning, here’s another link to my article How to choose a wedding photographer I cover some of the key considerations.

Cardiff Pride March 2014

Cardiff Pride

[Alex Drummond is lead photographer for GrrlAlex & Associates: weddings, portrait and commercial photography.]

I’m really proud to be invited back as the official event photographer for Pride Cymru 2015. It will be the third time I’ve photographed the Cardiff Gay Pride event. (You can click this link to read about Cardiff Pride ‘Mardi Gras’ 2013). Here’s my report on the 2014 event and upcoming news on 2015.

Gay Pride march Cardiff 2014

Cardiff Pride News: Pride Cymru 2015

Update: Date announced for Cardiff Pride 2015: Saturday August 15th 2015 (so bookmark the date in your diary!) More information to follow soon. You can visit the Pride Cymru Webiste via this link.

Cardiff Pride 2014

Pride Cymru: Cardiff Mardi Gras 2014

Cardiff Pride (formerly known as Cardiff Mardi Gras) is the signature event of the year for the Pride Cymru team. It’s a celebratory parade through Cardiff city centre and festival event in Coopers Field, celebrating LGBT+ identities here in Wales.

Although the Pride Cymru team work throughout the year, campaigning for LGBT equality and putting on various LGBT events, the August Pride event is the focal point for many. With a range of artists and performers, the Coopers Field event is designed to have broad appeal, but with an emphasis on creating a positive and safe space for people who identify as LGBT+. Pride Cymru’s party in the park is a chance to celebrate being out and proud (and enjoy a day of entertainment).

Pride Cymru: Cardiff Pride 2014 crowd

Cardiff Pride Parade

Now establishing itself as key part of the Cardiff Pride celebrations, the Pride Parade this year involved over three thousand people. By 10:30am, the parade had started to assemble. Gathering at the top of town on Churchill Way (by the Capitol Shopping Centre): Samba bands; dancers; performers; LGBT community groups; supporters of the LGBT community and various others from across the LGBT spectrum processed through the city centre, making this quite a spectacle. The parade route leads off from Churchill Way, down Queen Street and then across towards the Hayes before heading down St Mary St. to the Castle Street entrance to the park and then on to Coopers Field.

Pride Cymru location Coopers Field map

Cardiff Pride: Video of the 2014 highlights

I was delighted to secure the contract to be the official event photographer for Pride Cymru (Cardiff Pride) 2014. It’s a long but enjoyable day for me and my assistant, but helped this year by good weather and great crowd. 2014 was probably the most successful pride event to date so here, I’ve assembled a collection of images and short video clips to give you a feel for the event – especially helpful if you’ve never been before.

Cardiff Pride: A varied program of events

As well as the main stage acts, a variety of smaller stages and events are placed throughout the field. There’s also a children’s play area; silent disco; stalls; and fairground rides. Various community support groups offer advice and guidance available for a range of issues relevant to LGBT+ lives.

silent disco pride cymru 2014

See you in Coopers Field for the 2015 Pride Event – Saturday August 15th!

wedding show wales Cardiff

Wedding Show Wales 2015

Had the opportunity to do some events photography for JR Events for the big Wedding Show Wales event held once again in the Cardiff City Hall

The show was held on Sunday 18th January 2015 and brought together a wide selection of vendors. Many of my friends were there -gotta give a mention to my pal Sharron of LoveDub Weddings, Noel of Champagne Wedding Cars, and Alicia of Llechwen Hall: (a fab wedding venue on the hilltops above Pontypridd)

Wedding show Wales storm trooper

Wedding Show Wales: Catwalk show

The catwalk is one of the real highlights of this wedding show and once again we saw a great selection of Bridal Wear, Menswear, and Mother of the bride outfits. For me the Catwalk show is the thing that distinguishes the Wedding Show Wales above the majority of wedding fayres held throughout the year. I’d shot the event last year and it was good to see familiar faces on the runway. There is an album of the set below, but first, here’s a presentation video I produced of the show:

Bridal Wear vendors featured in the catwalk show were:

Laura May Bridal – Click this link to visit Laura May Bridal website
All About Eve – Click this link to visit the All About Eve website
Timeless Elegance – Click this link to the Timeless Elegance Bridal wear website

Menswear vendors featured in the catwalk show were:
Slaters – Click this link to visit the Slaters Menswear website
Moss Bross – Click this link to visit the Moss Bross website
Dyfed Menswear – Click this link to visit the Dyfed menswear website

Attendance figures were healthy and the whole event had a good buzz about it. Getting married remains as popular as ever!

The video has a short selction of images from the shoot – below you’ll find a full set of images form the set I posted on my facebook page:

This is the second time I’ve done event photography at the Wedding Show Wales – for those of you interested in seeing some of the images from the 2014 show, here’s a link to my event photography from the Wedding Show Wales 2014

All credit to Jessica & Jamie of JR Events for putting together a really excellent show.
Wedding Show Wales by JR Events

Buying Bespoke engagement rings

Buying an engagement ring

How to buy an engagement ring

With Valentine’s day one of the most popular times to propose marriage, I thought I’d get my friend Orit Adiri-Niemogha of H&D Diamonds to offer some top tips on how to buy an engagement ring. Orit is a professional diamond grader who has worked for many years in the diamond trade: she now heads H&D diamonds who offer custom made and bespoke diamond jewellery.

Buying an engagement ring: how to choose the right one

Jewellery is a very personal thing. And the safest way of ensuring you are buying an engagement ring your partner will like is to take them with you!

However, if you are set on the idea of handing over a ring in a box when you propose you could be well advised to use a ‘Promise Ring’ as this shows you are considering your partner’s choice when it comes to selecting the actual engagement ring (which, lets face it we intend them to have for the rest of their lives).

If you are set on going for the big one first time, hopefully your partner has taken you window shopping and been pointing out the sort of engagement rings they like. Or it may be they have a Pinterest board of cool stuff you can raid for inspiration. Either way, it’s worth making sure you get one they love. And this takes us on to the next bit.

Buying an engagement ring: choosing the metal

Most people who wear jewellery will either suit silver or gold – skin tone makes the difference here, so if your partner doesn’t have gold jewellery you might want to consider platinum or white gold for the band. On some skin, gold doesn’t look right. And this leads us to the stone: over to you Orit:


How To Choose A Diamond Engagement Ring

If you are considering buying an engagement ring then learning a bit about diamonds can help you make a sound purchase. Diamonds have for a long time been associated with engagement rings and for good reason. Diamond is the hardest gemstone known, and asides from looking beautiful, it will always be there to symbolise the strength of your relationship and the love you share with one another.

Buying an engagement ring: So how can you choose a diamond ring?

As Alex has written above, when buying an engagement ring, you should think not only at what you like but also what you think your partner would like. Have a look at other jewellery they have and see if there is any hint to help you choose. You can also browse together at celebrities rings in a magazine and make comments together on which one you like or dislike. An important consideration is to decide on the cut (or shape) of the diamond that will be the centre-piece of the ring.


As the image above shows, there are a variety of shapes of diamond available (if you click on the image you can visit my website to find out more about each type). Having identified the cut of the diamond there are some more things to think about. Once you have a general idea of the look of the ring get into the smaller details and think about the style of ring you want. Will it be a solitaire or would you rather have a multi stone ring? Would you consider a cluster ring? Take time to browse shops together to understand what you both like.

Buying Diamonds: the four C’s

There are four things to look for in a diamond: Colour; Clarity; Carat and Cut. A diamond is forever so doing a little research on what to look for can help you make a wise choice. The most obvious quality to note in a diamond is for it to be bright in colour and have a ‘life’ or the sparkle we all associate when we think of a diamond. If you choose for a solitaire and not sure on how you should judge the diamond you buy you can pay a little extra for a ‘certified diamond’.

Certified diamonds are diamonds that have been graded in a laboratory and been given a certificate stating all the information about that diamond. You can compare it to a passport or identity card of that specific diamond. The reason people choose to buy a certified diamond is as a reassurance that they know what they get.

If you or your partner prefer to have colour in the ring you can have a mixture of diamonds and semi precious stone on a ring. This will substantially reduce the total cost of the ring.

Buying an Engagement Ring: Bespoke and custom options

But what if you already have a really good idea about the ring you want but so far haven’t seen it anywhere? It could be a combination of several rings all combined with one, as often happens. In that case, you might want to consider a bespoke ring. Buying a bespoke ring means you can have something very personal and unique to you as a couple. If you are not sure and feel you can benefit from a free consultation with a diamond expert please contact us on 0845 600 5557.

To find out more about diamonds click on the image below:


H&D Diamonds is an online diamond jewellery shop that offers bespoke services by a Bond Street jeweller. Based in the North West but operates all over the UK.

See also “How to choose a wedding photographer”