Bride Vs Groom » Wedding Experiences & Guidance for the Bride & Groom

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We live in a world where social media is everywhere, but should it have a place at your wedding? With many couples choosing to embrace the social media age and put it to good use with wedding hashtags and photo-sharing on the day itself whilst others ask their guests to go completely “unplugged” these days it’s something you definitely need to consider. So, to help you decide we’d like to share a little infographic from the folks at all about using social media at your wedding…


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matt-avatar WhitenedThe internet: Bringer of infinite knowledge, re-joiner of friends long forgotten, saviour of the procrastinator. The world wide web is an incredible tool and its influence touches each of us on a daily basis. It has inspired collaboration and helped taken a stance against corruption and for that it truly has been a wonderful game-changer.

But there’s a dark, desperate and lonely, forgotten side of the web that, for all its shininess, we try in our rose-tinted love of picking up our phones and finding out anything we could ever need to know in an instant, to forget about. I speak not of those seedy x-rated websites nor the underground community of hackers and thieves. Not of the hidden terrorist networks nor the theft of private information. For there is a more desperate place amongst both these dark and golden web pages, a place of such despair we can hardly bare to speak of it: the hidden world of the website designer.

For a while now we’ve been wanting to make some changes to Bride Vs Groom as well as to our other various websites and this is a task that I had initially rather looked forward to. Having been a blogger and in charge of my own business for a while now website design is something I feel I’ve learnt quite a bit about and, with our resident expert website builder rather busy on other projects at the moment I relished the chance to have a go myself and see what I could come up with.

For those who have built websites themselves you will, I’m sure, appreciate the simple joy of finally starting on your site, dropping in your logo, building a quick menu and getting some basic place-holder content onto the site within a short space of time. With CMS structures like WordPress or Blogger boasting the ability to create entire websites without an ounce of HTML programming knowledge it really should be a breeze to create a great looking and unique website without worrying about whether you’ve put that bracket in the right place or checking e-bay for an enigma machine to try and crack what the heck any of this seemingly random code actually means.

And it is. Right up until the point that it isn’t…


WordPress seems particularly keen on luring you into a false sense of security. Within a few hours you can often have several pages looking almost exactly the way you want them. Except for one minor detail – one minor detail that stops the whole thing from working. One minor detail that inexplicably you will not be able to find a solution for in the entire infinite knowledge of the world wide web. Amongst the literally millions of websites that have been created and the huge communities of website designers, the infinite FAQ sections of theme support and the hundreds of strangely named people with odd quotes underneath who seemingly exist solely to help you with their own unique brand of mockery and condemnation on forums, somehow no-one will quite know the answer to your problem. After effectively smugly building your entire website in under 4hours you will then spend the next 4 months searching for the answer to your problem until, on the incredible, euphoric day that finally (after deciding it was simpler to just learn all of HTML coding from scratch) you work out that it was all caused by a conflict with that plugin that inexplicably quotes Louis Armstrong, you notice that someone has released a new theme that would probably work better in practically every way.

Until it doesn’t.

And so the cycle continues. One day, dear readers, you shall have a new look Bride Vs Groom, and on that day I shall almost certainly be declared master of the matrix and told that our world isn’t real and tasked with ripping it all down. Until then, the dark, despairing world of the would-be web designer shall remain my realm.

So whilst idly surfing the web at a speed of 10 sites per minute, spare a thought for the poor buggers that designed them. For to master the art of the <H3> tag one must surely sacrifice a part of your soul.

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Well, we’ve been talking an awful lot about the First Look this week and we couldn’t resist featuring as our story frame one frame from Zara & Rich’s epic first look overlooking the sea. It’s a moment of quiet contemplation and nervous anticipation for Rich and one that stopped Zara in her tracks as she paused to take a breath before continuing on to see her soon-to-be husband. Perfect.
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The receiving line: the traditional method of greeting each guest as they prepare to sit down and enjoy the wedding breakfast. But is it the most efficient way to make sure you’ve greeted each and every guest or simply a waste of time? Let’s see what our expert debaters make of it…


In the Red Corner, arguing against the formal receiving line, well she never did quite understand the British love of queuing after all, it’s Dom “The Tog Bride”

In the Blue Corner, arguing for the receiving line, although come to think of it he is only really happy to stand in line if he gets fish & chips at the end of it… it’s  Matt “The Gormless Groom”

Receiving Line Vs Just Take a Seat


Dom: Receiving lines can be hugely time consuming and often you don’t even get to say more than a quick hello to each person anyway as even if you only spend a minute with each guest, if you have 60 guests that’s already an hour of your day taken up and means the people at the back will have been waiting longer than most rides at Alton Towers!

Matt: But even if the conversation is nothing more than a hello you can be sure you have at least spoken to every one of your guests whereas otherwise you might well miss people completely.

Dom: Really the only sensible time to have a receiving line is before the meal when everyone is hungry and just wants to sit down and eat rather than have to wait to be formally introduced. Plus by that point you’ve probably already spoken to a lot of your guests, is there any need to re-introduce yourself more formally?

Matt: Receiving lines give your parents a chance to be introduced to all of your friends, many of whom they may never have met and also helps introduce the bride and groom to some of their guest’s partners who they may not previously have met or even friends of the bride that the groom doesn’t know and vice versa.

Dom: Whilst the receiving line often starts with nice chats with all the guests, by the end it can easily become a case of trying to push people through as fast as possible which isn’t particularly enjoyable for the people further back or for the members of the receiving line themselves who by that point are generally pretty tired of hugs and handshakes and looking forward to sitting down!

Matt: The day goes by so fast and it’s nice to make sure you’ve at least taken some time to speak to each of your guests and if it doesn’t happen at the receiving line you can end up spending your whole evening being pulled aside to say hello to different people without getting the chance to relax and cut loose.

Dom: Whilst the guests may appreciate the sentiment of wanting to make sure you’ve spoken to each of them, after already potentially had to stand around waiting for group photos and having probably not eaten yet they’d probably appreciate being able to sit down and eat more!

Matt: The receiving line is a long-held wedding tradition and, when you have 50 guests or more, is considered good etiquette and the polite thing to do.

Dom: It’s very difficult to judge how long a receiving line is going to take and that can cause big problems for the caterers trying to judge when to have the food ready. It also adds extra nerves for the speakers who may be wanting to get their speech over and done with.

Matt: If you’re looking for a classic traditional, elegant wedding then a formal receiving formal line is very in keeping and helps set the tone for the evening

So those are our thoughts but where do you stand? Leave a comment or place your vote below!

Receiving Line Vs Just Take a Seat
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Well, after a few technical hitches on Wednesday we decided to give you a little more chance to have a read all about Matt’s views on the first look and why it’s worth considering. But it got me thinking about a post I wrote some time ago all about the first look and, as it’s officially #throwbackthursday, we thought we’d keep in the first look spirit and share it with you once again! So here we go with one of what we like to call our “classic” posts…

Wedding First LookWhen I wrote my piece last week on letting go and giving 100% to your wedding photographer, I was stunned and delighted by the reaction. So many wedding photographers and bloggers retweeted and shared it I was jumping up and down with excitement! It was just awesome that so many people found it helpful but it did lead on to another question that I didn’t expect… so many brides-to-be emailed and tweeted me the same question…

WHAT is a First Look?

First Look by Ed Peers PhotographyAs a wedding photographer I almost forget that a First Look isn’t a common and immediately understood household term. When you are working in the industry it’s so easy to get caught up in that assumption and just expect everyone else to sleep, breathe and ummm eat weddings! First looks are most definitely still not common in this country and in fact even as a wedding photographer I am personally yet to photograph one as seeing your partner for the first time whilst walking down the aisle is still the traditional thing to do.

Now this post is most definitely not a declaration that every bride and groom in the UK should do a First Look! But I do want to give you the facts so you can make up your own mind… every couple is different and who knows, the first look might just be the perfect solution for you!

So the First Look originated in the USA and is a fairly new idea for your wedding, it has been championed by USA photographers like Jasmine Star and has risen in popularity over the last few years. The idea of a first look is for the bride and groom to see each other before the wedding in a private spot organised normally by their wedding photographer. The first look can take place anywhere but it needs to be somewhere which is secluded (you don’t want to run in to any of your guests in your wedding gear!) and preferably somewhere in a gorgeous location so that the photographs will be doubly as beautiful!

Now being primarily a documentary wedding photographer myself it may have risen a few eyebrows that Matt and I decided on a first look. Most people would probably have expected us to go with the pure documentary approach and it certainly was a pretty out-there decision… especially as it was the day before! But we chose to go for it as we knew we had only one day of beautiful sunshine and we really wanted to take advantage of it! But there were other reasons to choose to have a First Look and, with the benefit of hindsight…

I would still have had the first look even if it had been gloriously sunny all week.

Bride and Groom First LookIn a normal traditional wedding ceremony, when the groom sees his bride for the first time it’s a wonderfully magical moment there is no denying it. But magical as it may be it does, sadly, last just seconds. Before you have a chance to even properly look at each other you are asked to start the ceremony and then honestly the day is such a whirlwind before you know it it’s 10pm and, if you’re not careful, you’ve not had any time alone with your new husband at all.

The First Look enables you to have as long as you want alone with the man you’re about to marry (well… alone aside from a stealthy, ninja photographer!) I was honestly so lost in the moment that our photographer Ed managed to creep right up to Matt’s shoulder before I had even registered he was there! The photographs he took of that moment are so incredibly precious; you can see the expression on Matt’s face when he first sets his eyes upon me and it gets me every time! I really will treasure it forever. It is documentary in it’s own way, it may start off as a posed concept but when you tap your husband-to-be on the shoulder and he turns around and see his face… wow!.

It most definitely felt real to me.

The other point in considering a first look is the extra time you get to have your photograph taken. Now if you’re not into photographic portraiture then the First Look might not be for you, and that’s absolutely fine. If you don’t want the big set pieces of your wedding day and want to purely avoid the cameras and pretend they don’t exist until you get those pictures back then that’s exactly what you should do, and you’re more likely to really get the best out of seeing your partner at the head of the aisle.

If, however, posed photographs of you and your husband are something that’s very important to you and you long for the big epic canvases of you both hanging proudly over the fireplace then you should definitely consider the First Look.

The First Look gives you more time to take photographs in places that it would normally be impossible to reach after the ceremony, gives your photographer full rein to really exercise their creative potential and allows them to explore ideas that just aren’t possible to squeeze in between the ceremony, groups, confetti, guests and dinner! The First Look is also really quite relaxing and a lot of fun; you’re not worrying about keeping your guests waiting, you are both just in the moment excited about the prospect of things to come and buzzing from all the adrenaline! We got so many wonderful photographs from our first look and the portraiture afterwards that we simply wouldn’t swap for the world. Don’t get me wrong, we also did get some fantastic posed images on the day of the wedding too (the storm didn’t hit until we were safely inside for the reception!) but we didn’t have to spend our wedding day running around trying to get variety in the shots, and we weren’t kept away from our guests and the wedding itself for long periods which was a lovely position to be in.

The shots taken in the mountains and in the mist would have been impossible to get on the wedding day itself and they have proved to be some of our favourite pictures from the entire wedding gallery. Every time I look at them they make me smile and fill my heart with glee knowing that we definitely made the right choice and I couldn’t be happier about it.

There is no doubting that by having a First Look you do give up something: walking down the aisle to see your groom for the first time moments before you become husband and wife is special. But as a bride who walked down the aisle twice (having completed the legalities in a UK civil ceremony as well as our Destination Wedding) I know that for me the most special part was tapping my man and husband-to-be on the shoulder on that incredible cliff-top over looking the sea and seeing his look for the first time when he saw me in my dress not for one second but for ten whole minutes.

It’s a moment you need time to take in and a moment you will truly remember forever.

Wedding photography by Ed Peers

If you’d like to hear more about the arguments for and against the First Look check out our Friday Fight-Out post on the topic here!

All images courtesy Ed Peers Photography

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  • Kayleigh Herbertson - October 3, 2014 - 12:48 pm

    Have to say, my first take on this was “no, no way” but hearing your experience has made this something I’ll probably consider. I’m so afraid I’m going to cry at my wedding I’d honestly just be concerned at wasting the money for a load of photos I won’t want to look at.ReplyCancel

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