Hayley Ruth Photography

Friday, 29 October 2010

Vintage Style Hire

Following in the footsteps of my Mother, I have been collecting vintage items from reclamation yards, boot fairs, charity shops, even skips for as long as I can remember.  Our home is furnished with the treasure I have found along the way, my most prized possession is a ‘Stockman’ mannequin which I bought from a flea market for just £30.

My wedding and event planning business has grown over the last year and has offered a great opportunity to combine my interest in interiors to style weddings and events.  Take a vintage sofa, an old travelling chest and an occasional table with a vase of flowers and you have the perfect outdoor seating area.

Probably due to the weather and the opportunity of getting married outdoors, this style is most often seen across the pond, but there are so many inspiring ideas we can recreate over here too.

Photo oh darling!

Photo April Smith

My new venture will supply brides, wedding planners, stylists and photographers with unique vintage items to give their weddings, events and photo shoots style and originality.  I have an extensive range of one-off items available for hire.  Tables and chairs for reception drinks, glass storage jars for sweet table displays and pressed glass cake stands for the cake table.  If there is something you had in mind, or a look you are trying to create, I will happily try and source the perfect vintage pieces for you.

Photo Jessica Zais

Photo Rock Paper Scissors

Please forgive my amateur photography, but I have taken a few shots of a selection of items, soon to be styled into stunning sets and arrangements! 


To complement my existing wedding and event planning business, I am working on a website design, organising photo shoots and cataloguing stock, so there is a lot to do.  If there are any photographers or suppliers that would like to be involved, I would be excited to hear from you. 

If you are planning your own wedding, organising a wedding for someone else or photographing and styling a wedding or event that needs a little 'vintage style', do get in touch kate@katefletcherevents.co.uk

Photo Gabriel Ryan

Monday, 25 October 2010

Good working relationships

I am an associate member of the UK Alliance of Wedding Planners.  UKAWP has run training courses for new wedding planners since 2005 and spend much time teaching students the essentials of venue finding, working successfully with venues and planning together as a team. To find out more about their training courses, please visit their website www.ukawp.com

I was asked to write a guest post for their blog on the working relationship between a venue a wedding planner.  This relationship hasn’t always been a rosy and smooth one, however with a bit more understanding of both roles, the relationship can blossom to everyone’s advantage, most importantly to that of the bride and groom. 

I would be delighted to hear everyones thoughts.

Having started my career in event management in the corporate sector, my ‘wedding’ career began setting up a new wedding venue. I offered the personal touch to the happy couple, showing them round the venue, answering their many questions, reassuring them at all times that everything will be taken care of. Liaising with the caterers, selecting the wines - even setting the tables to their requirements. Yes, a venue does provide a great deal in planning your day and this is how it should be as you are paying a premium.

A venue does however have many weddings every month and in most cases does not simply have the resource to provide a full co-ordination of service for each and every aspect of the wedding planning . An independent wedding planner is personally involved with the bride & groom and their families, acting as their ‘PA’ to organise every detail to create the day they have always dreamt of. From ‘mood boards’ and styling advice, sending invitations and collating guest responses to liaising with suppliers, negotiating discounts, managing the wedding budget - the list is endless. It also allows the couple time to relax in the months leading up the wedding, something a venue will welcome.

For those venues that are slightly sceptical about wedding planners, please be reassured. We are here to make your lives easier, to be part of the team, not to bark instructions from a clipboard! A good wedding planner takes calls from the bride day and night. We field the countless questions a bride undoubtedly has and call you once, rather than ten times or more! We know you have rules and regulations, not to be awkward and dictatorial, but to ensure things run as smoothly as possible with a ‘tried and tested’ method. Finally don’t forget, it will be the wedding planner they turn to on the day when the string quartet has lost their way!

Working at a wedding venue has been a great advantage to my business. I appreciate the hard work a venue does to ensure every wedding is special for the couple, but equally I can relay the planning process and procedures to the bride and her family, hopefully offering the minimum of stress to all.

A wedding venue and a wedding planner should be the perfect marriage - don’t you think?

Friday, 22 October 2010

I talk to Mark Bothwell, wedding photographer at Layer Marney Tower

I would have liked to have included a few photographs of our wedding at Layer Marney Tower back in 1997, but unfortunately we don't have anything stored digitally!

Mark Bothwell is one of the preferred photographs at Layer Marney Tower.  I met him many years ago at a venue I set up back in 2004 and we had a good catch up recently and talked about what we had been up to.

Based in East Anglia, Mark has been a professional photographer for over 15 years and during that period has established a reputation for producing simple, striking work.  Demand for his editorial portraiture and bespoke wedding photography has developed to the extent that magazines, book publishers, PR firms and private clients now commission him to produce his relaxed content on an ever-growing basis. 

A great believer in the fact that variety breeds creativity, during recent months Mark's work has been featured in numerous publications shot in renowned locations such as Westminster Cathedral, Claridges, Woburn Abbey, The Dorchester, Cowley Manor, Great Fosters and Norwich Cathedral.  Many established venues around the UK, including Layer Marney Tower now recommend him as a 'preferred photographer' to their wedding clients.

He kindly shares a few photographs with us.

I asked him a few questions:-
How long have you been a photographer at Layer Marney Tower?
Three or four years ago I did some panoramic shots for the venue, something nice and different to show off the scope of the grounds and the building and that became a springboard for being one of the recommended suppliers to their wedding clients. Since then I've shots many jobs there and every time really enjoyed the work (it's also about 10 minutes from where I got married, which I often find quite amusing).

What do you enjoy most about photographing weddings at Layer Marney Tower?
It's a great space, perfectly suited to a wedding day, because there so many little corners to explore. I've shot commissions there where the drinks reception has taken place in at least three different areas, which is quite rare I think because most venues have a set procedure and location for different parts of the day.  With Layer Marney Tower you have some choice, which is always good. Same goes for the wedding itself because a civil ceremony can take place in the Corsellis Room or couples can be married in the church, which is gorgeous. Having lots of options to show to potential clients is definitely one of the reasons it's so popular. Another element I like is the Tea House, which is a private lodge within the grounds where a bride can stay the night before and get ready during her wedding day morning. It has a wonderful holiday cottage feel and the Tower is in full view from the lounge, I love the place.

Are there any inside locations for photographs if the weather is unkind?
Yes, you can use the upstairs space outside the Corsellis Room after a civil service, the stairs into the Long Gallery can also work, so there are definitely options. And also on a day when poor weather is in and out all the time, you're within easy reach of the lawn and steps to nip out and get some shots if you need to, before venturing back in. 
Where is your favourite backdrop for a picture of the Bride & Groom?
I don't really have a favourite, there are so many nice nooks and crannies which you can make work in a shot. I would have to say the classic picture is a couple walking down the pathway with the Tower itself in the background. It sums up the environment and clearly illustrates the quality and feel of the venue.

Thanks Mark.  I hope we can work together at this amazing venue in the not too distant future! http://www.markbothwell.com/

Monday, 18 October 2010

Layer Marney Tower

I thought this was the most appropriate day to blog about one of my favourite venues -  Layer Marney Tower.  My husband, Jonathan and I were married there on 18th October, 1997.

Situated between Colchester and Maldon, the house was built around 1520 by Henry, 1st Lord Marney.  He was the Lord Privy Seal to Henry VIII and intended his palace to surpass both in size and grandeur to Cardinal Wolsey's work at Hampton Court.

Layer Marney Tower remains a family home, part of which is available for wedding ceremonies and receptions throughout the year.  Ceremonies take place in the Corsellis Room which seats up to 120 guests and The Long Gallery is perfect for a wedding reception with wood panelling and a polished oak floor.

The uninterrupted view from the steps across the fields are breathtaking and a great back drop for wedding photographs.

We would certainly choose Layer Marney Tower again if we were looking for venues today.  We had the most fantastic day.

Visit their website www.layermarneytower.co.uk

Monday, 11 October 2010

A whirlwind romance

I met Elaine and Stuart about a week after they got engaged to talk about organising their wedding.  Nothing out of the ordinary for a wedding planner?  Actually quite extraordinary, as they had only met three weeks previously!

If they hadn't told me this amazing snippet of information, I would have thought they had been together for years.  It was great to be involved during the planning of their wedding and to get to know them, as they got to know each other.

Luckily they had already booked a venue - Hanbury Manor in Ware, Hertfordshire.  Everything else though had to be booked in just eight weeks!

Elaine before the Ceremony

Elaine, Iona & Julia

It was a lovely ceremony in Poles Hall which I watched from the gallery up above.  Close friend Shelina did a beautiful reading and Chereene http://www.chereene.co.uk/ played the violin throughout the service.

Poles Hall before the Ceremony
Shelina's Reading

After the ceremony, they had champagne and canapes on the Terrace and Chereene continued to play in the Library.  The sun started to shine just as they were married. 

Elaine, Stuart, Ross and Iona

Chereene in the Library

I should probably mention the dress at this point.  In the short space of time Elaine had, she probably tried on more dresses than any other bride.  Stuart was with her while she tried on most of them, including a quick trip to the New York bridal shops!  Elaine finally chose her stunning silver Dolce & Gabbana dress - the only one she completely loved and the only dress Stuart had never seen.  Whilst I doubt I would fit into her slimline dress, I would make every effort to squeeze into her shoes.  I loved her shoes!

One day they will be mine!

Gareth Davies http://www.gdaviesphoto.com/ took some fantastic photographs in the afternoon sun.  I was thrilled he was available at such short notice. 

Behind the scenes, Poles Hall was being transformed for their wedding breakfast.  To complement their Scottish heritage, they had little wraps of 'tablet' fudge tied with a 'Gordon' tartan ribbon. The tablet was sourced from Crief and made by the sweet shop where Iona (Stuart's daughter) works on a Saturday.  A note was attached to say 'thank you for sharing our special day'.

The stunning floral arrangements and bouquets were all designed and made by Ali, their good friend and partner of the Bestman, Adam.

Ali & Adam
After the meal, the speeches began - even Elaine did a speech.  Adam's was exceptionally funny (I'm sure Stuart has now forgiven him!) 


Jason Cole from 3D Events http://www.3deventscompany.co.uk/ did an amazing set and everyone was up dancing into the night.  They all seemed to have a great day.

I had just finished writing this post, when I received this lovely testimonial from Elaine which I thought I would share with you.  Why not?

Following a whirlwind courtship Stuart and I decided we would have a whirlwind engagement and set a date for our wedding just 11 weeks after we got engaged.
It dawned on us pretty quickly after we booked the venue that we had completely underestimated the task in front of us.  Questions began to pour in from various sources including but not limited to: the registrars; the venue; friends and family.  So with eight weeks to go I decided that my 'superwoman' approach was more foolhardy than foolproof and with just a tiny bit of 'control freak' reluctance, I decided to go in search of some help with my wedding planning.  A great believer in research through the internet and trusting my gut feel, I began the 'smile and dial' part of my search.  Three phone calls later I was pleased to have an appointment to meet that evening with Kate Fletcher of Kate Fletcher Events.  Kate arrived at our home promptly at 7.30pm and following a warm handshake and a smile to match we sat down to discuss the challenge ahead.  It was clear Kate had had a lot of experience, her portfolio was both extensive and impressive and her knowledge of events planning working for Cable & Wirelss filled us with confidence that she would manage whatever issues ( and there were lots of them) arose to a successful conclusion.

I wont bore you with all the details but the run up to the big day was filled with 'bumps in the road' and suffice to say when I eventually handed complete control to Kate, I was never more relieved.  People say the planning of a wedding is fun and exciting - it probably is if one has a year or two in which to organise it - its definitely NOT when the time frame doesn’t even allow you to 'blow your nose'

Kate was fantastic - I can think of many words of praise for her like: 'creative' 'professional' 'caring' 'efficient' ' positive - can do attitude' perfectionist' to name but a few.

In summary she was simply 'brilliant'!

Thanks Elaine - I know you will both be very happy.

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Would you like to get married outdoors?

I lived in Australia in my early 20's and whilst I was out there went to quite a few weddings, one of which was in the most beautiful setting out in the 'bush'!  When I returned to the UK and started planning my own wedding, I was surprised to find out that open air weddings were not permitted in this country.

Penny & Martin from duo wedding photographers http://www.tinoandpip.co.uk/ 
have started The Any Campaign to change the law in the UK.  I do ask the questions why noone has taken on this challenge before? 

I quote:
"UK law states that a marriage ceremony venue must have a roof, be moored to its foundations, and licensed by the local registrar. There are thousands of gorgeous licensed wedding venues in this country, offering stunning scenery and many would love to offer their own beautiful grounds for outdoor ceremonies, especially as they can hold the reception too.  We live in a beautiful country with breathtaking beaches, ruined castles, parks, mountains and woodland. Why not celebrate this and incorporate these spectacular landscapes into our wedding ceremonies?"

I personally would be delighted to organise a wedding for a couple who would like to have an outdoor ceremony as this only can add to the challenge and the beautiful styling opportunities this brings!

Did you know?
Another highly outdated law in the UK says that weddings must take place between 8am and 6pm. This rule was drawn up when civil marriages were first introduced in 1837 and it was designed to stop people marrying the wrong partner in the dark in the days before electricity!

Marriage License 1837

I am in full support of The Any Campaign. Penny & Martin need at least 1,000 British signatures to present their petition to the government.

Click on the link to add your name to the petition and do please pass it on!