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Getting Married a Second Time or Getting Wed Later In Life

e072fe88cbc7f909d73e1045eb9ebf15_0_500_0More and more people are getting married a second time or later in life.  The great thing in both cases is that you can truly be in charge of the happy day.  You don’t need to be constrained by some or all the rules that seem to affect the young first time marriage.

Second time around you tend to be more wary and worldly wise, and later in life you can do your own thing.  In both cases, most of the time the couple tend to be “more in love” than “also in lust” like the younger couples.  It is usually a very conscious decision to tie the knot and commit to each other. Quite often the couple are better placed financially. The “how”, the “why” and the “where” are less constrained by tradition.

The second or later wedding brings a different family dynamic.  There may be children (and even grandchildren), parents may no longer be alive and friends come in different packages.  There are number of things that you can do differently.  The formality of the wedding, the location, the style and the size can be different to tradition.  Indeed you can “style” your wedding to suit your desires.

Despite many experts suggesting that traditional wedding attire may not be appropriate, you do not have to listen to them.  If you want to have an elegant wedding then the pair of you can.  Later in life and second time around you are less likely to bother what others think about your decision.  You will recognise that the wedding is for you.  It is a chance for you to cement your love and commitment for each other.

Additionally, the old rule of having a small, discreet, second wedding no longer applies; feel free to do what you think is appropriate and will make both you and your future spouse happy. Whether this means a large wedding with you in a long white dress and

veil or a small, intimate gathering with you wearing anything but a white dress, is entirely up to you.

Maybe your first wedding was a simple affair and this time you want to pull out all the stops. Now that you are older, you probably feel less obligated to make your choices based on your parents’ wishes, so you have a wider range of choices available to you. Here are some ideas

Here are a few thoughts in planning:

Dress.You may want to have the usual ornate gown, but you can choose a more Party atmosphere.  I have seen some very informal second marriages, which are either themed dress to make it more fun  Quite often the groom will often still wear a suit, but the bride will have a more formal dress rather than the “princess dress”.

Family Members. There are likely to be children and parents may not be alive. I saw a really lovely second wedding recently where the bride and groom’s parents were both dead.  They involved their children in a lovely and inclusive way. They were married in a Registry Office.  The Groom’s son was the Best Man. That also meant that the “top table” at the Reception consisted of the combined family. This was a great way of bringing the two families together.  Incidentally the groom’s first wife attended and was very supportive.


Location.  There are various options; some churches are allowing second marriages more often now.  However, the options are actually a little wider:

  • Destination Weddings.  This can be overseas, somewhere special, but is usually a holiday location.  The ceremony and reception can take place together and can double as a holiday for everyone who attends. Obviously this is a more expensive option for the family and the couple because of the travel and accommodation costs.  This means that this type of wedding is often restricted to close family and friends.
  • Private Ceremony with a Large Reception.  To make the wedding more intimate, couples can choose to have a private ceremony that is followed by a big party where friends and family are invited. The private ceremony may include only immediate family, or I have seen just the bride, groom and witnesses.
  • Surprise Weddings. In this type of wedding the guests are not invited to a “wedding”.  It is often disguised as a birthday party or holiday get-together.  The couple then springs the surprise by telling them that they are getting married today – here and now.  You are the guests.  This ploy is often used when the couple want to avoid a great deal of fuss, but to celebrate the happy day with friends.

A friend of mine told me of the ultimate surprise wedding he attended many years ago.  He worked with the groom, who walked into the office at about 11 am one morning and said “What have you lot got planned for lunch today?”  The office, most of his friends, all said not much.  He responded by saying  “Okay, well at about 12.09 pm I am getting married next door in the Registry Office next door, by the way Frank and Jane will you be the witnesses”? At 12.05 they all trooped downstairs and waited at the bus stop outside, his bride to be was a clippie on one of the local buses, she gets off and they all troop into the Registry Office for the ceremony.   Then it was into the Pub next door for pie, chips and beer.  The new wife then goes back to the bus an hour later and gets on with the next journey.  Everyone else goes back to work – definitely the way to keep things secret.

So whatever your thoughts about the second or later wedding, you can have much more control over the event.  You can have as much or little fuss as you both want.  The end result is that statistically second or later marriages tend to be more resilient and last.

If you decide to have a second or later life wedding, why not choose a Photographer who will complement your wedding  and contact me at Martin Neeves Photography or call me on 01455 271 849 or on 07973 638 591.

Wedding mistakes to avoid

d89dcb1447e02bdc116ec06fad8fb7f1_500_0_0 (1)Your wedding is one of the biggest and happiest days of your life, but it is easy to make mistakes.  The great thing is that you are not the first to get married or organise a wedding, so you can learn from others’ mistakes.  These problems can start at the planning stage and continue right up to the day.  Having seen a large number of weddings now, I thought you might want to know some of the things that I have seen that can be avoided.

Talk to Your Partner.  It is usual for one or other of you to take the lead.  But a word for the wise; make sure you talk to each other about the whole process.  Make sure you agree what kind of wedding you want and what is going to happen. Remember it is both your wedding; do not let one feel they have been railroaded into something they are not comfortable with.  It always helps the process if both of you regularly update on what was planned and what is happening.

a05d5de8e93183399a402e1fbbedb4b0_500_0_0Random Setting of the Date. You will not be able to avoid all possible clashes of date, but there are some simple guidelines that help.

Try to avoid important dates that are close like birthdays, major holiday periods.  Also, think about the interests of the majority of your guests.  If a large number of your potential guests have a common interest then try to avoid key dates in their calendar.

Understand Your Wedding Timelines. Some elements of wedding planning need to be planned in advance.  Venues, photographers and similar providers are often booked up well in advance.  Ideally, your guests will need some notice in order to “put you in their diary”.

 Do not book a venue, before planning the broad outlines of your guest list.  In the last paragraph I said that a venue is an important thing to book early.  However, if you book a venue that is too small to accommodate your planned guest numbers you have to either cram people in or restrict your guest list.  Some venues ask for as deposit and you may lose it should you have to rebook a bigger venue.  I guess there is another factor as well, you don’t want to pay for lots of empty, unused space.”

cac5aed18a2fc9c8e4b11e163ca321f9_500_0_0Planning the guest list.  Your budget may dictate the numbers you are going to invite.  There is always the issue of who you do not invite as this often causes friction.  I have seen some rather unfortunate occurrences when couples have invited people who have messed up the wedding.  These have been ex-girlfriends or boyfriends, problem relatives or former friends you no longer get on with.  If you really have to invite them then I recommend either not inviting them to the whole day, or having someone who can look after them.

There is often pressure to invite a lot of people, or you feel you want to have a lot of people to your wedding.  Be realistic and stick to your budget.  Once you have planned for a set number, do not go vastly over it.  If you planned for 50 guests and then invite 150 then you may end up not having space, food or spending much more than you budgeted for.

Do not think that you will have total control over the guest list.  You will want to invite those who are important to you.  Be careful about allowing others to invite people to your wedding.  They may invite folk you do not want to attend or they may invite more guests than you planned for.

Now that word – Budget.  The given wisdom is that planning a wedding without a budget is a recipe for disaster.  If you do not plan you could be left with a HUGE bill at the end of it that takes ages to pay for. Unless you really have a bottomless wallet, then plan – budget.  Be realistic about your aspirations.  It is important to have an idea how much money you have to work with before you start, but don”t take the costs that planning guides in the wedding magazines give you as gospel as they are often wildly out.  There will always be a wide range of prices for every wedding service or product (from cheap and cheerful to top-of-the-range and exclusive), but only you can decide which services are more important to you (and therefore worth paying more for) and which are not so important.

There are things you must have and things you would like to have.  Make sure the “must haves” are accommodated first.  Also remember, the wedding is for you as a couple.  Do not plan things in because someone else wants it – if it is not what you want then stand your ground.

One last word on the budget; do not forget to consider your parents.  They may well want to spend on your wedding, but again be realistic. You and your partner may want to shoulder some or all of the expenses.  But if your parents get involved don’t overburden them with too many demands.  You should not assume that all your whims will be given to you.  Read my article about budgeting.

Hiring Friends.  This can be a sensitive subject.  It can also be a problem area especially if they have “a great eye for it”.  This can range from cake makers, flowers, photographers, videographers, DJs at the reception and many more.  Even if you are on a tight budget, you’re often better paying a professional for the major items.

Additionally, if your friend (or family member) is busy taking photographs they won’t be able to enjoy the day. And what happens if something isn’t delivered to a professional standard that can be very awkward.  If you do hire a family member or friend then do make sure they understand what you want.  Working with family can be tricky, but treat them like another person supplying services to your wedding – write things down.


Photography.  Of course I am going to talk about this subject as it is close to my heart.  Do not book a photographer based entirely upon price.  Make sure you have seen examples of their work and they fit in with your requirements.  If you think anyone can do wedding photography or it is something worthy cutting corners on just Google “bad wedding photographers”.  Or even read my blog on “The Worst Advice I’ve Ever Heard About Choosing a Wedding Photographer

Choose the style of photography you want to have.  Do you want to have the standard posed photos or do you want a more unobtrusive style, usually called “Reportage”?  Each requires a different amount of time to be set aside.  Many conventional photographers will tell you that anything less than an hour isn’t enough for a portrait session after the ceremony; sometimes even hour-and-a-half.  If you chose this conventional style, what are your guests going to be doing for that time?

Getting Ready. Make sure that you plan enough time to get ready.  Make sure you book appointments for hairdressers and makeup artists well ahead of the day.  Make sure they have enough time to finish in time to get you ready.  Most photographers, wedding planners, venues etc will tell you that timetables are usually too tight. A friend of mine is a caterer and she often finds that couples are late arriving at the venue, photographers take much longer than planned etc.  That means that the food has to be kept warm or cold for much longer than planned, which will mean it is not at its best.  Traditional wedding photographers are notorious for making the day run late, however that is not usually a problem with reportage wedding photographers (such as me).

Do not have too much to do for the morning of the wedding.  You will have plenty to do getting ready.  All decorating decisions should have been made.  Do as much as possible before the morning of your wedding. If it has to be done on the morning, make sure it has been delegated to someone else.

Travelling Time.  Remember travelling time needs to be built in.  You will need time to get to the hair salon and back.  Do not forget time to get to the ceremony, and then to get from the ceremony to the reception.  Always assume that the 10 minute trip will take at least twice as long.  Traffic is always worst when you want to travel.  Cars can be late or not start.  At one wedding I attended, the wedding was at a church and the couple decided on a horse and carriage to get to the reception.  The trouble was that the reception was at a venue 10 miles away.  All the guests went in their cars and were sat around for ages. Worse still it was an open top carriage and it rained for most of the ten miles.  They had planned on it taking “about 20 minutes” – result one soaking wet bride and groom arrived much later than planned.   I had a drenched pair to photograph and the food was prepared an hour before it was eaten.

If your ceremony and reception are at different venues, plan, test-drive it and add in “problem time”.  Remember that vintage wedding cars cannot go as fast as your modern car, so allow for that in your timings.  Try to minimize the in-between time that leaves guests wondering what to do. If a time delay cannot be avoided, then try to ensure guests know this and are looked after.

When you have planned your timeline effectively, why not let Martin Neeves take the pressure off you by letting him manage your wedding photography.  Contact Martin Neeves Photography or call me on 01455 271 849 or on 07973 638 591.



Quorn Grange Hotel Weddings – Alex and Shane’s Wedding

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Please CLICK HERE to view a small selection of photos I took of Alex and Shane’s wedding at Quorn Grange Hotel in Quorn, Leicestershire. 


Quorn Grange Hotel is a beautiful 19th century building set in stunning gardens, surrounded by the picturesque Leicestershire countryside.

The day started with Alex and her bridemaids getting ready in the hotel’s very stylish and modern bridal suite.  Alex bought her wedding dress abroad but she had alterations made by Leicester dressmaker Edith Cattell.  I was amazed when I saw Alex’s shoes as she wore 7-inch heels!  I was even more impressed that she was able to walk in in them all day!

Alex and Shane made the most of a lovely sunny day by holding their weedding ceremony in the hotel’s pretty gazebo in the garden.  After a drinks reception and a short photo shoot in a neighbouring field, they were treated to Quorn Grange Hotel’s first class food at their wedding breakfast.  The wedding flowers were supplied by Broughton Astley florist Karina’s Flowers and the chair covers, table covers and other internal and external decorations (including the gazebo) were supplied by Rachel of Create The Scene.

After meal Alex and Shane cut their wedding cake which was made by Alex’ friend Chris Wicks, before heading off to the dancefloor to the sounds created by Dancefloor DJs & Events of Thorpe Astley, Leicester.

After seeing her wedding photos for the first time, Alex sent me an e-mal that said “I had to look the photos first before I reply to your email as I wanted to see them so badly 😉 they are absolutely amazing and words can I describe how happy we are with them, thank you so so so much and I am so glad we had you as our photographer at our big day!


If you want a Leicestershire wedding photographer to unobtrusively capture all the emotion of your wedding at Quorn Grange Hotel, please give me a call on either 01455 271849 or 07973 638 591.  Alternatively, please CONTACT ME at Martin Neeves Photography using this contact form.

Wedding March Music – What is It all about?


These days wedding music can vary dramatically.  There are also some differences between a civil and a church wedding.  Essentially a processional song is the music that you and your wedding party walk down the aisle to.  You can have one song for everyone, or choose a separate song for the bride’s grand entrance. At the end of the ceremony, the bride and groom leave the church or venue to what is known as recessional music, and this tends to be more upbeat than the processional.

Some couples find traditional wedding marches less relevant these days.

The History of Wedding March Music 

The history of Wedding March music is varied and goes back some time.  It also varies in different cultures and religions.  Pre orchestral music, the wedding music was very much influenced by the availability of the instruments of the time.  Once orchestras and organs became more common place then things took a leap forward.

One of the traditional tunes associated with the wedding march is the “Bridal Chorus,” the prelude to Act III of the Lohengrin Opera written by Wagner that has become known as “Here Comes the Bride”.  Many Catholic Churches do not like this music because it is essentially secular music.  If you are familiar with the story of the opera, it quickly becomes apparent why it is not appropriate for church weddings. Composed by 1848,Lohengrin features “Bridal Chorus” as the prelude to a very short-lived, doomed marriage between Elsa and Lohengrin.  What many people do not appreciate these days is that Wagner was anti-Semitic. Hence the song is rarely played at Jewish weddings.


Felix Mendelssohn’s “Wedding March” from A Midsummer Night’s Dream and was first used as a recessional march in 1847.  It became very popular after 1858when Prince Frederick William of Prussia’s and Victoria, The Princess Royal married.  However, again it does have a negative side that some churches do not like.  The music portrays fantasy, murder, sex, and other delights that many would not feel is appropriate for a church wedding.

Spring from Four Seasons – Vivaldi. This is from a series of 12 concertos and by far Vivaldi’s most popular music and some of the most loved music of the baroque era written in about 1720.

Ode to Joy – was composed by Beethoven in 1824. This piece is often used as music for celebration.

Trumpet Voluntary was written for the opera The Island Princess by Clark and it tends not to be too controversial.

Allegro Maestros from Water Music was written by Handel when his patron, King George requested a concert on the River Thames.

Another piece written by Handel was the Hallelujah Chorus from Messiah and this was first performed in Dublin in 1742.  Its jubilant ending is an ever popular wedding recessional.

Johann Sebastian Bach’s Jesu, Joy Of Man’s Desiring was written in the early 1700s, between 1716 and 1723.

And on to the Modern Era

More modern couples have taken to choosing a song that symbolizes their love for one another.  Some recent examples are:

  • Light My Fire by The Doors
  • (Everything I Do) I Do It For You – Bryan Adams
  • A Moment Like This – Kelly Clarkson
  • All Of Me – John Legend
  • All You Need Is Love – The Beatles
  • Always And Forever – Heatwave
  • Amazed – Lonestar
  • At Last – Etta James
  • Because You Loved Me – Celine Dion
  • Best Of My Love – Eagles
  • Biggest Part Of Me – Ambrosia
  • By Your Side – Sade
  • Canon In D Major – Johann Pachelbel
  • Celebration – Kool & the Gang
  • Chasing Cars – Snow Patrol
  • Colour My World – Chicago
  • Crazy Love – Van Morrison
  • Danny’s Song – Loggins & Messina
  • Daughter – Peter Blegvad
  • Differences – Ginuwine
  • Everlasting Love – Robert Knight
  • Every Day With You, Girl – Classics IV
  • Everything – Michael Bublé
  • Friends and Lovers – Gloria Loring and Carl Anderson
  • Get Me To The Church On Time – Stanley Holloway
  • Giving You The Best That I Got – Anita Baker
  • Glory Of Love – Peter Cetera
  • Grow Old With Me – John Lennon
  • Have I Told You Lately – Van Morrison
  • Here Comes The Bride – Richard Wagner
  • Hot Hot Hot – Arrow
  • I Believe I Can Fly – R. Kelly
  • I Do – Colbie Caillat
  • I Give All My Love to You – Rhonda Vincent
  • I Honestly Love You – Olivia Newton-John
  • I Knew I Loved You – Savage Garden
  • I Love You – Climax Blues Band
  • I’ll Always Love You – Taylor Dayne
  • I’ll Be – Edwin McCain
  • Into The Mystic – Van Morrison
  • Let’s Stay Together – Al Green
  • Longer – Dan Fogelberg
  • Love – Sugarland
  • Love of a Lifetime – Firehouse
  • Lovin’ You – Minnie Riperton
  • Never My Love – The Association
  • Safe and Sound – Hawksley Workman
  • Sweet Thing – Van Morrison
  • The Carnival Is Over – The Seekers
  • The Colour of My Love – Celine Dion
  • The Day Before You – Rascal Flatts
  • The First Day of My Life – Bright Eyes
  • The Power Of Love – Jennifer Rush
  • The Rose – Bette Midler
  • Thinking Out Loud – Ed Sheeran
  • Through The Fire – Chaka Khan
  • To the Aisle – The Five Satins
  • True – Spandau Ballet
  • True Companion – Marc Cohn
  • Trumpet Voluntary – Jeremiah Clarke
  • Waiting For A Girl Like You – Foreigner
  • We’ve Only Just Begun – Carpenters
  • Wedding Song (There Is Love) – Noel Paul Stookey
  • When A Man Loves A Woman – Percy Sledge
  • When God Made You – NewSong
  • You Are So Beautiful – Joe Cocker
  • You Look So Fine – Garbage
  • You Were Meant For Me – Jewel

Hymns for Church Weddings.  It is usual for two or three hymns sung during a church wedding service. It always helps to use hymns that your guests are familiar with and are easy for them to sing.

Registry Offices.  They often use taped music that is appropriate to the occasion.  They tend to be relaxed about the music used, but do like the ceremony to be kept formal and appropriate to the seriousness of the occasion.

Licenced Wedding Venues.  They tend to be the most relaxed about the music used.  Their attitude is that you are the paying customer and can choose whatever music you wish.  The appropriateness, or otherwise, of the music chosen is seen as the bride and groom’s prerogative.

If you want a Photographer who will complement your wedding march why not contact me at Martin Neeves Photography or call me on 01455 271 849 or on 07973 638 591.


The modern trend of renewing wedding vows

Written by Martin Neeves – Reportage Wedding Photographer Hinckley

D2344-86-Prestwold_Hall_is_a_stunning_wedding_venue_in_Leicestershire Over the last 10 to 20 years there has been a growing trend of people renewing wedding vows.  Peoples’ opinions about this trend vary from “what a waste of time” to “what a lovely idea” – very much a “marmite” approach to it.  The reasons are numerous, but here are a few:

  • On a key anniversary like 10th, 20th, 50th etc.
  • If the couple have gone through a rough period in the marriage and have come out the other end, so they want to symbolically “start again”.
  • Sometimes it might be after recovery from a serious illness to celebrate their future together.
  • To have a more expensive or splendid wedding if they could not afford it when they were first married.
  • If had a civil wedding in a registry office and now want to have a “more real or religious wedding” in a church.  This is especially true if someone becomes more religious as they get older.
  • To relive the great memories of the wedding day again.
  • A desire to reaffirm the couple’s commitments to each other.
  • A statement of the couple’s continued love for each other.
  • They originally got married abroad and were not able to invite any or many of their family to the celebration.
  • To demonstrate their love for each other to the world or their family.
  • To reaffirm vows after one or other has strayed or split for a while as part of the healing process.
  • As a way to tell each other how much they love each other.
  • To provide a good example of marriage for children and grandchildren.
  • It all seemed so long ago and they wanted to refresh their memories.
  • To make a particular overseas holiday special.
  • If their wedding photos were terrible and they want to re-run it to get a better set of photos.
  • No reason, just felt they wanted to.

Where can I get my wedding vows renewed?

The location for the renewal of vows may be affected by the reason for having the ceremony.  The number of venues and ideas providing these ceremonies is very wide.  Indeed an industry has grown up around the idea.  Here are a few of the types of location where a renewal of views can be held:

Churches. Until recently it used to be the rule that you could not renew your vows in a church if you were not originally married in a church, this rule has been relaxed in many churches.

Registry Offices.  It is not just churches that now do renewal vows; Registry Offices in the UK have been providing this type of service.  I know people who advocate that “every couple should renew their vows”; that seems a bit prescriptive as I think it is for the couple themselves to decide if it is for them.

Home.  This can allow a very intimate and friendly ceremony.  This type of ceremony can be very focused on family and close friends.

Holiday destinations, Hotels and venues.   This type of ceremony is now very widely available at a wide range of venues.  The up-market Sandals holiday destination offers it.  There are even some rather ostentatious venues like the Graceland Wedding Chapel with a look-a-like Elvis conducting the ceremony.

Gretna Green.  No mention of a wedding destination would be complete in the United Kingdom without a mention of Gretna Green. 

On ships.  Many cruise lines specialise in such ceremonies, some conducted by the Captain, others by a ship’s chaplain. 

Some basic rules about renewal of vows:

  • These are actually not prescriptive and are just ones that I have found when I have been carrying out the research for this article.  The basic rule is to remember that renewing your vows is not a second wedding.  You cannot get married twice unless you have been divorced or widowed.  What it is is some form of restatement of the vows.
  • The renewal ceremony is not a legal ceremony, so anyone may officiate at the event. 
  • There is no need for the bride’s father to escort the wife up the aisle.  Probably much better for the husband for escort the wife up the aisle, after all the deal has been done and you are making a statement about you being a couple.  Perhaps you both start from opposite sides of the room and symbolically meet in the middle.
  • Keep your renewal of marriage vows casual and simple.
  • If you have written vows it is not good to draw attention to negative aspects of your past. Focus on the future together.


Hopefully this has given you an insight into the reasons why you might take part in a renewal of marriage vows.  

If you feel that this is something that you would want then why not consider asking Martin Neeves, a very experienced wedding photographer to capture the essence of your renewal of vows in a way that you will remember, then contact me at Martin Neeves Photography or call me on 01455 271 849 or on 07973 638 591.

Weddings at Prestwold Hall

Prestwold Hall is one of the best wedding venues in Leicestershire and I am proud to be one of their recommended photographers.  Here is a slideshow of photographs of some of the many weddings I have been lucky enough to document there.

Situated in the beautiful Leicestershire countryside near Loughborough, Prestwold Hall is a stunning stately home set in magnificent grounds with manicured gardens.  The bride and groom and their guests are guaranteed a fabulous wedding to remember at this handsome wedding venue as not only does the splendid house interior match the grand exterior, but the food is always top notch and the staff are extremely friendly and helpful.  For more information about Prestwold Hall, please CLICK HERE to view their website.

If you want an experienced wedding photographer who is recommeded by Prestwold Hall, please contact me at Martin Neeves Photography or call me on 01455 271 849 or on 07973 638 591. 

Traditions, Myths and Rituals of Weddings

Written by Martin Neeves – Reportage Wedding Photographer Nuneaton

D2334-305-The bride_and_groom_share_a_kiss_at_sunset. Depending what area of the country, culture or religion you herald from, weddings are steeped in traditions, myths and rituals.  Some appear to have some reason based in the past for their usage, whilst others seem quite illogical.  Over the many years that I have been photographing weddings I have come across a great number.

Some traditions have grown up over a long period of time.  Some myths appear to have been generated by superstition.  Weirdly there is no scientific or factual grounding for many of these rituals, although some do have some reasoning in history.  This led me to think about these more where these traditions, myths and rituals about weddings came from.

If the groom sees the Bride before the Wedding it is bad luck. It is bad luck for the groom to see the bride’s dress before the day of the wedding.  It will bring luck if he does not glance at the dress as the bride walks down the aisle.  Surprisingly there is some reason in this in history. In times when there were arranged marriages, often as business deals, then the pair were kept apart.  The groom and bride did not meet before the wedding so that the groom could not find out if the bride was less attractive than he desired and called the whole thing off.   This is also given as the reason that a bride would wear a veil.  Such romance!

 The Bride should stand to the left Groom during the Ceremony.  This goes back to mediaeval times when the groom had to have his his sword arm free to defend her and fight off any man who may wish to take his future wife.  In fact the reality was that it was not expected that he should protect the bride with his sword. The best man had that role – incidentally he is called the best man because he is assumed to be the “best swordsman”.  When the couple were facing the altar, the best man faced the guests ready to use his sword to defend last minute protests from the bride’s family

D2334-55-The-smile_on_the_groom's_face_says_it_all.You must wear a white dress.  This appears to have originated from the idea that white is a virginal and pure colour.  Patently a dress does not make you a virgin and today it is not uncommon for brides to choose a variety of colours.  On the subject of colours, one is “if you marry in blue then your lover is true.  Marry in pink and your fortunes will sink, so the myths get very mixed up.  And furthermore, many wedding dresses in China, India, Pakistan and Vietnam are red, a traditional colour of good luck. It is interesting that until the 1940s most brides did not wear wedding dresses, but their “best dress” – sometimes called the Sunday best. 

Something old, something blue something borrowed.  There is some historical reasoning for this.  It comes from the time when people could not afford a “one-use” dress.  There are records of some villages have a common wedding outfit that was lent to the bride on the day of the wedding.  The blue element actually comes as a counter to the tradition to wear a white wedding dress.  Traditional wedding dresses were Blue because it was the colour of purity, but it was a colour not easily produced by dyes unless you had a lot of money. Blue was also the colour associated with the “Virgin Mary”.  So that is where the “something blue” came from.  

 There is a more modern interpretation that wearing “something old” represents the bride’s past.  “Something new” symbolizes the couple’s happy future. The “something borrowed” is from someone who is happily married so that person’s good fortune rubs off on her. “Something blue” denotes fidelity and love

D2217-68-Upper_Broughton_Melton_Mowbray_wedding_photographer_LeicestershireYou should have a one-year engagement.  Now why is one year the prefect engagement?  No idea, everyone is different and many people live together for long periods now before marrying so a year seems quite irrelevant. 

You wear a wedding veil for protection. They were worn to ward off evil spirits; this was according to Greek and Roman tradition.  The veil will keep wicked spirits, ghosts away. 

If you drop the rings you’ll die.  Apparently, whoever drops the ring will be the one to die first.   There is a counter myth that dropping the rings is good luck because it “shakes out the evil spirits”.

Be the first to buy something.  This apparently means that the first to buy something will hold the upper hand in the marriage.  This set up the “tradition” that the bridesmaids took something small to the wedding to “sell” to the bride.

D2471-297 If a hungry cat eats out of your shoe you will have good luck. This seems a real wacky superstition that holds that if a cat eat out of your left shoe a week before the wedding you will have good luck. So your shoes will then smell of Felix?

People should throw shoes at you. This is a Tudor custom where the men at the wedding throw shoes at a newly married couple for good luck.  This has been overtaken by tying shoes to the car at the end of the wedding – not sure if a pair of size 12s round the ears would be particularly lucky. 

It is bad luck for the bride to wear pearls.  This myth holds that wearing pearls brings future tears and heartache.  But there is a counter myth that pearls take the place of the bride’s real tears and her wedding will be tear-free.  Yer takes yer pick and yer takes yer chance methinks.

Signing your married name before the wedding is bad luck.  Apparently this tempts fate – this is also tied up in the myth that a bride should not wear ALL her wedding outfit before the wedding – bad luck it appears.

The bride should not marry a man with a surname that starts with the same letter.  This came from Victorian times for no other reason than they had the rhyme:  “To change the name and not the letter; is to change for the worst and not the better.”

Wear the ring on the 4th finger of the left hand.  The rationale for wearing the engagement and wedding rings on the 4th finger of the left hand was because it was believed that a vein in that finger led directly to the heart.

The Bride should be carried over the Threshold.  This dates back toMedieval Europe where it was believed that the bride was vulnerable to evil spirits through the soles of her feet. To avoid bringing any evil spirits into the new married home, the groom carried the bride.  Another factor in Medieval Europe was that it was seen to be scandalous for a woman to enthusiastic about losing her virginity. So if she was carried over the threshold by the groom she avoided looking too eager about losing her virginity. Some countries in Europe believed that if a bride tripped over the threshold of a new home that it would bring bad luck to her home and marriage.

Bells being rung at the wedding.  The tradition of ringing wedding bells was supposed to ward off evil spirits.  Some thought that it represents a “harmonious life” 

Breaking glass or plates.  In many cultures it is believed that the smashing of glasses or a plate brings luck.  It also foretells that the more broken pieces there are, then the longer the marriage will last.  Hence the very enthusiastic throwing of the fragile article so it smashes into as many pieces as possible.

In summary

Whilst some wedding traditions, myths and rituals have some roots in history, some are just pure superstitions, often based on pagan or religious thinking.  My view is that it would be sad to lose many of these traditions because they do add to the special atmosphere of the magical wedding day.  But at the same time I would not want brides and grooms to have too much belief in the efficacy of them.  Much better, in my humble opinion, to work hard at the marriage and do things for love.

I hope this helps you to better understand the traditions, rituals and myths surrounding weddings.  If you want someone who will make your wedding a legend, why not contact me at Martin Neeves Photography or call me on 01455 271 849 or on 07973 638 591.

Wedding flower ideas

Written by Martin Neeves

1654D_23ahcp-brides_bouguet_at_a_wedding_in_London Having now photographed a great many weddings now, I am amazed how different wedding flowers can be.  Done well they really make a wedding look memorable. It is interesting how choices are made, or not made, by couples.  Some just leave it to the florist or venue to fix.  Others want to have floristry as part of their theme.  In other cases the bride’s mother or family ladies take charge of the wedding flowers.  

There is also a difference between just having flowers at the church or marriage venue and “doing out” the reception area. I thought that I would give you some ideas of some of the elements of thinking through your flowers for your wedding.

D2356-166-The_groom_helps_the_bride_with_her_veil_in_the_Mill_Garden_in_Warwick If you are looking for some great ideas for your wedding flowers, or you are perhaps looking for something slightly different from the traditional, here are a few that have caught my eye over the past few years.  Flowers offer an opportunity for your guests to have a feast for their eyes.

What different ideas are there for flowers?

There are so many areas where flowers can and are used:

  • Bouquets and button-holes
  • Church decoration
  • D2258-199-wedding_reception_at_Coombe_Abbey_Hotel_near_Coventry_Warwickshire Reception decoration
  • Venue Decoration
  • Table decorations

Different seasons will provide different options for floral decoration.  The great thing with wedding flowers is that you have the choice of so many shades, textures, styles and designs.  It is easy to find fine wedding flowers that can add natural beauty and a unique dash of creativity to your memorable day. For many brides, the bridal bouquet is often the first and most important choice.

Bouquets and button holes

D2257-68-wedding_flowers_at_Knighton_Leicester Chosen well a bridal bouquet can be a real scene stealer.  But it can also be so overpowering that it detracts from the bride and her dress, so thought must be given to the overall effect.

Another aspect of bouquets that sometimes florists and brides get wrong is how to wrap the bouquet for holding.  Effectively how do you make the handle that the bride will be hanging onto so it is easy to handle and manage.  Some florists use a wire wrap, which adds stability, but done badly and it can make the bride’s hand sore.  There are various things that can be used the cover the wire D2358-193-The_groom_kisses_the_brideand make it very attractive.  The important thing to remember is that the “handle” or stems should  not be so bulky that the bride has trouble getting her hands around them.

The hands and the stems can be hidden from view with generous use of ribbon.  I have also seen some really extravagant coverings for the flower stems, with jewels, silk and even metallic covers. It is very much a matter of taste which way you chose to go.

Button holes can range from a simple carnation style flower to be pinned to the button hole to something more exotic.  A lot will depend upon the dress style being used; lounge suit will be different to tail suits.  Additionally, at some weddings the men and women have “button-holes”, whilst at others the ladies have a corsage. They can also range from artificial flowers to real flowers. The flower might just have the stem bound in green tape, or it might have other additional garnishing or foliage or ribbons. 

Church decoration

This can range from a variation on the usual flower arrangement that you see in a church to D2451-206 some more resplendent decorations.  There is a growing trend towards some very traditional and historic church decoration, with church doors being draped in floral arrangements, very much in the mediaeval and Victorian traditions.  

Some of the most elaborate church decorations that I have seen have had flowers bedecking the end of each row of pews.

The decoration of altars will have to be discussed with the vicar or priest.  Some have the view that it is fine, whilst other stake the view that the altar is D1894_135-Bride_and_bridesmaid_at_a_wedding_in_Frankton_Warwickshire part of the religious architecture of the church and should not be decorated.  Another idea is to build an arch of flowers in the aisle just inside the church so the bride and her father appear through it in triumphal entry.

Reception Decoration

Floral centre-pieces can range from quaint and pretty to large arrangements that almost form a  barrier down the middle of the table.  In some cases the venue will provide flowers as part of the service, whilst others will be happy for you to add your own artistry. 

Your wedding flowers will be one of the most photographed details of your wedding, besides the bride and groom. Therefore, it is important to plan wedding centre pieces and bouquets that really fit your wedding style. Start by finding flower types you like. These can then be arranged in a range of styles from casual and rustic to formal and glamorous. Another way of choosing flowers is by colour, again your overall theme needs to be adhered to so you avoid colour and style clashes.   


D2344-49_The bride_and_her_sister_bridesmaid There is no doubt that flowers form an important part of most weddings, but they can be the source of a lot of tension.  They can also be very expensive, so you should be clear about your budget.  There is also a view that the day is about the wedding ceremony and everything else is secondary.  Obviously, this will be a discussion that you and your partner will want to get right.  Be in no doubt there will be lost of advice from your relatives and friends, all wishing to be helpful.  But remember their opinions are exactly that – opinions.  The wedding is about the two of you.  Many couples just commission a florist who specialises in weddings to manage the whole process.  I guess a lot will depend upon your own confidence with flowers and how much time you want to spend organising them.

No matter what you decide, if you are looking for a photographer who is going to capture the essence of your wedding in a way that you will remember, then contact me at Martin Neeves Photography or call me on 01455 271 849 or on 07973 638 591.

Wedding list or gift ideas

Written by Martin Neeves

Wedding list or gift ideasWedding gift ideas can sometimes be a challenge, both for the couple and those buying the gifts, despite the increasing use of wedding gift lists.  The only problem with the gift list is that it nice to give a special gift that is more personal.  Or perhaps you are a bride and groom trying to think what to add to your wedding list.  Either way it can be difficult to choose well.  It is a truism that many wedding gifts get put in the cupboard and do not often, if ever, come out or get used.  Or worse still get recycled quietly on eBay.  There are several reasons for this.

Firstly, couples tend to fall into 3 groups:

  1. The highly organised who think practically and build the wedding list with their head and not their heart.  They tend to provide lists that reflect their actual needs.  They build good lists.
  2. Those who either get stuck with what to choose or where they take a random look through chain stores check lists without understanding how the gifts will fit their lifestyle.
  3. Lastly, there are the eternal romantics who choose things that are really cool or look great or “I’ve always wanted one of those.  They tend to choose things that are not going to get used or will not be practical. These tend to end up stashed under beds or in cupboards, as one of those nice to haves.

Next, wedding guests fall into 4 groups:

  1. Those who consult with the couple or use the wedding list wisely.  They will understand the need to buy something that is both practical and looks great.  They will tend to set aside time to make the choice and will buy wisely.
  2. Next come the last minute planners who look at the wedding gift list at the last minute and therefore have little, or worse still, no choice.  They may then make a panic buy that does little more than fill the wrapping paper in order to provide something to give on the happy day.
  3. Then comes the “grand gesture”, we must get a gift that reflects our status and sets us apart from the rest of the lesser guests.  Well that can work if the gift is chosen well.  But it can also end up tucked away because the couple cannot find a use for it.  But by all means buy them the luxury yacht or house; I am sure you will only get thanks and admiration for that splendid gift.
  4. Finally, there are those who know best what the bride and groom will need and chose the gift based upon their own likes and dislikes.  This is definitely more likely to be cupboard bound or re-floated on eBay at a suitable time after the wedding. 

I am not going to get into the trap of recommending actual gifts as that is very much something for personal taste and will vary from couple to couple, a guest to guest.  However, I would offer the following guidelines for both groups of people.

Choosing Gifts for Couples:

  • By all means use chain store gift list generators, but plan it carefully.  Do not get swayed by sentiment because you will need to generate storage space for things you do not want.
  • Consider if you are going to rent a house or buy it or live with your parents (or others).  If you are renting a house, then it is likely that you will be moving regularly and that the gifts need to be durable to withstand the moving process.  If you are buying your own house, then you are likely to stay there a bit longer and you will want to personalise it with your own style, but remember that you need to balance style with functionality.  Now if you are going to be living in someone else’s house, then you may have to buy things to store for later”.  Is the item on the gift list one that will not degrade, go out of fashion, become superseded by newer technology or be just plain destined permanently for the cupboard?  
  • It is worth thinking about a theme or style for your gift list.  It is worth giving guests guidance about your tastes; remember I might think that a bright fluorescent pink kettle if cool but you might think my taste is “different to yours”! Your idea of contemporary is likely to be different to others.

Choosing Gifts for Wedding Guests:

  • Try to work with the couple to choose your gift, even if they have a list.  It is worth asking about their tastes and the reason they have a particular item on the list.
  • Remember; do not make choices based upon your taste, think about the couple. This avoids embarrassment and stuff getting lost in cupboards.
  • Couples will have distinct ideas about style, what their lifestyle is likely to be etc.  You may think the deep fat fryer or bread making machine is the best thing going, but the chances are that they may have other ideas.

I hope this helps your select the wedding gift more effectively.  If you want a good gift idea, why not get the couple a wedding photography voucher or ask me to record your wedding day?  Many couples pay for their wedding photography themselves but add the cost of their wedding album to their gift list for their guests to contribute to.  If this sounds interesting then contact me at Martin Neeves Photography or call me on 01455 271 849 or on 07973 638 591.

What about having a wedding day emergency kit for the bride and bridesmaid?

Written by Martin Neeves

1286E_21hp-documentary_wedding_photographers_in_Birmingham_West_Midlands Over the many years that I have been photographing weddings, I have come to the view that it is a good idea for brides and bridesmaids to have access to an “emergency kit”.  Why, you may ask?  Well it is not uncommon for “accidents to happen” during the wedding day.

This is not just about hair being blown in the wind, or that ladder in the tights.  I guess that my instinct as a photographer is to have fall back equipment because I know “stuff happens”.  So I thought that I would flag up some of the things that would cover most eventualities, based on those little problems that have occurred.

Chances are you may not need the kit, but what a godsend it will be if “stuff happens”.  So here is my suggestion for the “Kit List” that can be carried by Mum, Dad, the best man etc:

  • Blister Plasters.  For that blister or scrape from new wedding shoes.  This is more likely to be needed for the reception when you start dancing.
  • Mini First Aid Kit.  Have some Band-Aid plasters, burn relief, liquid bandages, and antiseptic.  Also don’t forget some pain reliever, allergy medicine, antacid and breath mints.   Be prepared for headaches, allergies and indigestion.
  • Sunscreen. This can be especially important in the summer if you have a short sleeved or low cut dress.
  • White chalk.  If you have a white wedding dress and you get something untoward on it that will not be removed.  It is amazing what you can hide with white chalk, and most folk will not even notice. 
  • Tape.  This might be fashion tape, white duct tape or stick on hemming tape.  This will solve many wardrobe malfunctions.
  • D2451-25 Small Sewing kit with the right coloured cotton.  Again wardrobe accidents.
  • Safety Pins. Always a good fall-back for repairs, or tighten bras etc.
    • Super Glue.  This is great for fixing shoes, nails, jewellery, head pieces, and – well important stuff.
    • Personal undergarment kit.  Spare underwear, tights, feminine products and ladies personal liners.
    • Tissues.  Not only for the tears of joy, but for other spillages.
    • Spare Make-up.  It is always best to have some blusher, lipstick, nail polish.  You might just want to retouch, but you may have the need to redo bits that get smeared. Oh and don’t forget the nail file.
    • Cotton buds and makeup remover.  It is amazing what mistakes happen when you try to retouch the make-up.
    • Lint roller. Great for the pre-ceremony once over, and as the day moves on..
    • Extra earring backs.  If you are wearing pierced earrings then spares are always useful and they do not take up much space. 
    • Hair grips and elastics. Great for last minute hair repairs or if the wind is a bit more frisky than you planned for.
    • Hairspray and a comb/brush.  See last point.

When you have got it all prepared and the wedding is taking place, Martin Neeves will be happy to answer your questions about the professional way he can photograph your wedding.  If you want to find out more, then contact me at Martin Neeves Photography or call me on 01455 271 849 or on 07973 638 591.