Family Funded Weddings – A Blessing or a Curse?

Without going off and doing some research, as far as I’m aware, the rule used to be that the Bride’s family paid for her wedding.

Great news for anyone who’s just got sons ey?! 😉

I’m not sure when this tradition
started to phase out, or even if it was ever actually upheld by anyone other than the wealthy, but to me it’s really quite bizarre. Especially in the modern world. What happens if there’s two brides? Or two grooms?

Myself and Ste both have jobs, we live in our house together and we have our savings. We buy the things we want and expect no help from anyone else, but we know our family would always be there to support us if hard times fell. I think I’ve just described most couples!

It was never an option, nor a thought even, to expect my family to foot the bill for our wedding.

It wasn’t until we stared planning and booking that people began saying things like “Aren’t you glad you’re paying for this yourself?!”. I realised having your wedding wholly or partially funded by someone else is both a blessing and a curse.

Yes there’s little or no financial stress and you’re not the one constantly worrying about the budget. You can use your money for other things like a house deposit or a stellar honeymoon. Half the problems that crop up for the wedding aren’t your problem. Who cares if the caterer just added an extra £500 for nicer linen? No big deal if the harpist is charging an extra £100 to learn the song you want.

But the curse sets in when you find yourself disagreeing with the budget holder. If your family have kindly offered to foot the bill they will expect some kind of input. Yeah it depends on personality types but doubtless they will still want a say on who is invited, where the wedding is and what they are eating on the day. Even if family members are just making a contribution, they’re likely to have an idea of where they’d like their money to be spent. That is a lot of pressure. Your family handing you hundreds or thousands of their hard earned or hard saved cash, all to help towards one day. £500 from your Gran was spent on the singer that everyone will enjoy but £500 from your Aunt was the damage waiver for the venue. Conversation killer.

I know I’m stereo typing but the point I’m trying to make is that, while we would all love a helping hand with the costs of a wedding, it’s never that straight forward!

I feel for the bride with the pushy mum/aunt/sister interfering all the time just as much as I feel for the bride with no help/input who is likely to wrack up some debt for the wedding of her dreams.

It’s so easy to say the words “It’s YOUR wedding do what YOU want” but in reality it’s a whole different story.

Regardless of who’s paying for your wedding or who is planning it,You will offend people unintentionally and people will offend you unintentionally.

Best advice I have is to just crack on and remind yourself that the only person stopping you enjoying your day is you.

Lots of love :)

The Year of The Wedding

2015 is actually The Year of The Goat, according to the Chinese Zodiac calendar, but this year happens to be the year I get married. I like the zodiac calendar; it’s telling me this year is my year, being that I was born in 1991, and I’m not going to argue! Either way it reminds me of the cool roll up calendars Chinese Takeaways used to give out. Do they still give these out?

Our wedding is September 2015. That used to seem so far away, now it’s closing in quicker than I can handle.

I am excited of course I am. But I can’t deny the rising panic every time someone asks me how the planning is going. Truth be told it started off great, super organised, loved every minute spent planning. Everything was going grand and we were sorting things out super early giving us plenty of time to sort a honeymoon.

Then we hit a bump in the road. It was a slightly major bump and it knocked us both and really took all the wind out of my sails for planning. I didn’t even want to think about the wedding and for three months I completely ignored all planning that needed to be done. It just felt like we were being taken for a ride by someone we should have been able to trust.

We’ve always said from the moment we decided to get married in England that we wanted to source everything as local as possible. And we did, we sourced so much locally and from small and family run businesses, it was a great organic feeling on top of the wedding bliss we were in. Why wouldn’t you put your money back into local economy?

We soon learnt the hard way that going local and family run isn’t always the best way to go. We were blinded by people talking the talk with rustic looking websites and grand promises. In our naivety we paid huge amounts up front to pay as much off the wedding costs as soon as possible and begin saving/paying for the honeymoon this year.

Well it came back to bite us on the arse and the three months that followed were the most stressed I had ever been. I always said that I’ve been fortunate enough in my life to never experience real stress before. When I finally tasted real stress I really didn’t like it, I lost my apetite, I couldn’t sleep and I didn’t want to speak to anyone. I lost almost a stone in a month and I started to feel pressure and guilt because I had chosen the particular company that were at the the root of this problem.

The pressure wasn’t to make the wedding happen, that happens when it happens. The pressure was to avoid losing thousands of pounds 12 months before the wedding.

With no ounce of begrudging, Ste and I are funding our wedding ourselves. It was never a question and in all honesty it seems bizarre that it can be any other way in this day and age. It’s not a secret that Ste earns a lot more than I do and to pay for the wedding we want he’s spending most of his time away from home and all its comforts. He works so hard and he does it for our future and I cannot thank him enough. Yet here we are facing losing thousands, we were devastated.

I’d love to say the issue has been resolved, but the route to resolving it is looking like court. I was genuinely in a rut and I was beginning to resent my own wedding.

Just before Christmas we were forced into a harsh realisation of what life is really about. Life is too short and family is too important! What brought this about is not my story to tell but never has anything kicked me into gear so much in my life before.

The new year has brought a new outlook. The money we are currently losing will come from somewhere else, our deposit for a new house or our equity in our current one. Either way we are moving on, booking with someone else and forgetting all about the pesky company. We will pursue it after the wedding, who wants a court battle over money while you’re planning your wedding?!

So here I am in January, at the start of “my year”, trying to remember where I left everything when all this mess began. I’m behind on everything, but I’m slowly looking back through it all remembering where I left off.

So bear with me while I hide my panic when you ask me “How’s the planning going?”

Lots of love, the worst bride-to-be in the world.

xx

Food for thought…

to the battles we fight

You don’t always know someone’s story. The worst thing you can do is assume you do. You know what they want you to know, just because their scars aren’t on display for you to see doesn’t diminish their importance.

Everyone has a story. However significant, severe or life altering it has been or will be, a personal battle, physical or psychological, is a battle all the same.

So here’s to the battles we fight.

‘She’s got that ‘White Wall’ thing going on’

I’ve always wanted to create images a la Terry Richardson and Rankin. I love how they seem to focus on the relationship between the ‘model’ and the camera. They do a lot of work with familiar faces and show them in a way you might not have seen them before. Fashion is all well and good but my favourite images are the ones that you either hate or love.

I love the questionably appropriate poses, I love how they aren’t serious, I LOVE that even if you hate the image there is no denying that the person in the shot looks amazing.

I’ve recently worked with two girls from my area, Becky and Sophie. Even though I’ve attempted these shots before it all came together on the shoot with Becky

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And so naturally when Soph was on a brief visit up north again I HAD to have her do this with me. I’ve shot so much beauty, ‘fashion’ and arty stuff with Soph I was dying to show a new side to her that I love, but have never shown before.

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I call them White Wall pictures because there really is no other way to describe it!
I use one shitty light that only works when it wants to, against my ‘lace white’ (that’s what Dulux called it) wall.
We are treated to the delights of my music library (my cousins seem to hate it but Becky and Soph embraced it), eat whatever I can find in my house, last night was Yorkshire tea and red grapes, and prance around playing dress up basically! Or dress down…

Not to forget Sam who loves to lie right where you need to stand ;)

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I like to think all my shoots are fun and I like to keep it as laid back and pressure free as possible. It’s just a mess around, the images aren’t for any other reason apart from FUN!
We don’t think we are amazing or superior and we certainly do not love ourselves. In fact both Becky and Soph both give me evil eyes if I try to tell them they look hot! Considering they are both so beautiful neither of them are full of it. So incredibly down to earth and goofy (you wanna see the outtakes!). I love working with people who are just as stupid and crazy as me, and people who don’t love themselves but are just making the most of what their momma gave ’em!

I’m always told it’s a confidence boost doing a shoot with me. That makes my day, helping someone feel better about themselves feels great!!!

Got some new stuff to share soon that’s completely new from me, can’t wait to show you.

✌ peace out homies :)

No more dancey :(

2013 will be my first year since I started dancing where I’m not involved in the carnivals. It’s so super strange, I really feel like an outsider.

I started dancing when I was 3/4 and my first carnival was odd, these people were strange. It all soon became the norm and I was 100% in love with all the strange things about it.

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I’m at the back in pink, left. Safe to say I was pretty useless at first.

My early years of dancing were filled with endless fun and laughs and I made some great friends that I cannot imagine never having known.

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Carnivals were FUN! they were play time, you got to show off your dance and then spend the rest of your time eating rubbish from the stalls and spending all your pocket money on the rides.

I danced with the same group of girls from the moment I started and we all danced well together, we all got along great. As we got older we went through our ‘we’re too cool to be told what to do’ stage. Thinking we knew best and the carnivals became something too lame to be excited about. Having to walk the parade and see school friends laugh at you in your silly costume. As we got older our tastes changed and I didn’t always like the dances the outfit the hair and make up etc… I saw what other dance schools were doing and they had younger dance moves, skimpier outfits and cool hair! I loved my dance school and loved my teachers but it was no secret that I wasn’t enjoying myself as much.

The icing on the cake for me was when all the girls I had danced with for years and years had to leave dancing for jobs or for university. It was so strange dancing without them and I realised once they had gone that they were the reason I had carried on so long.

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I left the dance school I had learnt everything from and had been with for so long. I loved my time there and it was hard to say goodbye to all that, but I’m glad I left when I did. I’ll always be grateful for my time there and what I learnt.

It’s so easy to get caught up in the world of tap dancing in this town and you forget it’s a hobby, something you do for fun. If the fun is gone why are you still there? I was forcing myself to go each week and my mam (who was still paying for my class at the time) was spending a lot of money on something I wasn’t really enjoying anymore. In the end I decided the best thing for me to do was leave. I had changed but the dance school hadn’t.

I knew I didn’t really want to stop dancing, I thought I still had a few carnivals left in me, but I didn’t really know if I felt right going to a different dance school. Dancers and teachers can be quite patriotic and you can easily be thought of as a traitor, no one would ever say it but they’d be thinking it!

I joined a fairly new dance school that had a young choreographer with dance moves I’d never done before. It was hard work again and I had to really work to keep up. It was fun and challenging just what I was looking for.

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It was so strange going somewhere new after being in one place for so long. I didn’t really know anyone and being such a weirdo I usually struggle to fit in. Everyone was nice to me and people were happy to go over anything you were unsure about. I’ve made some really good friends since moving but it was hard as everyone already had their friends and groups. Also my mam stopped paying for me, suppose I was about 18…

The main thing for me was that I was, working hard at dancing again, I liked my dances and I was being treat like an adult. I threw myself into helping at the carnivals which is something I never used to do (because I was obviously such a cool rebel).

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Because I don’t drive the carnivals became even more hardwork than before, I had no lifts to and from the carnivals from my mam as my little sister had stopped dancing. Even when she joined with me I had to chaperone her each week. Not fun. The carnivals became stress central for me.

So this year I’m just going to be watching at the side lines. I’ll be watching closely and pretending I’m head judge ;)

✏📋😎

Who am I to judge?
Well I’m no one really but I quite fancy myself as an Arlene Phillips ;)
I’d love to be a judge at a carnival but I have no idea who I need to be best friends with in order to make that happen. :O

Saying that I don’t know anything anymore! It’s so strange, it’s like when I stepped out of the carnivals I stepped out of a secret room only the people involved in the carnivals are allowed into. Where will I get my first programme to read all the dance names to then spend 15 minutes deciphering what everyone is? Where will I sit at the carnivals. Holy shit is there even an impartial colour I can wear on the field so I don’t offend anyone? Dear me.

Regardless, I’ll be there at Dalton (or which ever bloody one they decide is first this year) with my beady eye watching everyone, making my mental notes, awarding my own 3rd, 2nd and 1st and secretly wishing I was still dancing.

Yours

Erin Browne – retired dancer, soon-to-be-head-judge.

;)

My Halloween Tradition.

So for the past few years I have created images especially for Halloween! I love Halloween but being 21 and antisocial there aren’t many ways for me to celebrate it. I decided one year to try something I had seen done numerous times off the back of a photoshoot I was doing in a studio. It just so happened to be the week before Halloween and thus my tradition was born. I have been unable to do the pictures I had planned this year but I’ll get round to them and delight you all when I do ;) stay tuned! But for now I’ll reminisce…

The Gorgeous Jody Lamb was my first victim!

From this…

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To this…

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Next up I roped the beautiful Bethan and Mel into my madness! They didn’t quite have the comforts of a studio in fact Bethan has probably had the worst conditions of my photoshoots to date!

Here’s Mel being her usual gorgeous self…

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And here is Mel after I was done with her…

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Beautiful Bethan in a lovely warm environment working her angles…

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And now a little bedraggled and after revenge?

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Safe to say by the end of these things we all want to…

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Life

Recently life has been getting in the way.

I want to blog but I have nothing to show. I have work to be finished that I’m dying to share but it’s all a matter of timing. Time is a funny thing.

For the past few weeks my family have been going through a hard time. We lost someone, my nephew. He was 7 months old.

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He has fought a battle his whole life, and his future has always been uncertain. We all loved the little fella, we are all devastated. The funeral has been quite delayed but it’s finally been confirmed for Monday. My sister can finally get some closure. Everyone feels in limbo.

But she has two other rays of sunshine to help her through…

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Tilly and Leon :)

So while Monday will be sad, I’m going to try and smile the whole time. I’ll speak on behalf of my family and my sister, and I’ll try my best to keep my voice clear and strong. I’ll say the words we don’t want to hear but I’ll show people it’s okay.

Kane Philip Smiles.

Forever young.

There are a few…

There are a few pictures I have produced over the years that will always stick in my mind. Almost like a mini personal Avatar for the person in them, like when you assign a photo as ‘caller ID’, it’s pretty cool.

This one is Sophie. She’s had many over the years because we have shot so much stuff together, but this is the current avatar ;)

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