Cheyne + Stacey // UK Wedding Photographer

Being in the home building industry in the UK, Cheyne and Stacey knew they wanted to have their wedding in a home rather than a chapel. Their own home just wasn’t going to work, well maybe it would’ve but who doesn’t love to travel? They decided that the one place they would work is their auntie’s home in SA, being just the right size to host them and a couple guests. They packed their bags and off they jetted expecting blue skies and and sunshine but it turns out that England’s weather snuck into their bags too. As they arrived they realised that the wedding they’d been planning to have in their auntie’s garden had to be moved indoors. With not much time to spare, everyone pitched in and moved the entire wedding indoors. You’d think this would dampen the mood right? Not a chance! This turned out to be one of the most romantic and emotionally filled weddings ever. These two have such a strong love for one another that it turned out no matter what the weather did, this day was going to be a success.

It was an honour to share such a special day with these beautiful souls.

 

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6 tips for planning your tropical island destination wedding

Why can’t all weddings just take place on a tropical island? I mean, who doesn’t need more beach time? Fortunately as someone who suffers from wanderlust, I’ve been lucky enough to photograph some amazing island and beach weddings and along the way I’ve picked up a few invaluable tips and tricks to help you out when planning your wedding.

 

1 – Deciding on a location
I’ve shot for couples who have had their dream location set out in their minds since the day they met to couples who haven’t even seen their venue until the day before their wedding. Picking a location is one of the most exciting parts when it comes to planning. Decide on whether you want to have a beach wedding while watching the sun set below the ocean horizon and then having your evening reception around a bonfire or, perhaps you’d prefer to retire to a traditional ballroom to dance the night away! If you’re as spontaneous and adventurous as some of the people I’ve met then the decision could be as simple as spinning a globe and going wherever your finger lands. However, the majority of people like to have some structure in place. Knowing how many guests you want at your wedding could affect your decision. You should find out how well-traveled they are to make sure that passports and visas don’t determine whether some of your guests have to decline your invitation.

 

2 – Timing is everything
Spending a year planning your wedding and thinking about the Caribbean sun glistening upon your glowing skin every day until you get married only to be greeted by tropical rain storms and wind can be somewhat of a downer. Pay attention to the seasons and typical weather conditions round about the time you plan on getting married. Mother Nature can be a bit moody in tropical locations, just because it’s raining in the morning doesn’t mean you can’t expect there to be lovely sunshine in the afternoon. Although there is something you can expect to be consistent all year round and that is insects. Make sure you pack bug-repellent or at least buy some the day you arrive, you don’t want to look like you’ve been shot with rubber bullets on your wedding day.

 

3 – Arrive early and make a vacation out of it
I really focus on getting to know my couples as friends before their wedding day. It really would suck to have some strange fellow show up at your wedding who you’ve never met before and let them into some of the most intimate and emotional moments of your life. Recently, I was invited along for a week-long vacay before the wedding just to party it up with the couple and their friends in the days leading up to the wedding. This made me realise how great it is to really bond with your friends and family before the wedding. The wedding day ended up being a “grand celebration” to end off what felt like a vacation of a lifetime.

 

4 – Coordinate to minimise stress
Coordinating a wedding day from afar can seem quite daunting, so hiring a destination wedding planner is advised. Many destination venues actually have pre-packaged plans designed to assist you when planning.  Although, if you do want to go about doing it yourself, make sure to get planning early. This will not only lift a huge boulder of stress from YOUR shoulders closer to the time, but it’ll make it easier on your guests and give them ample time to prepare for the expense.

Something I strongly recommend is to set up a website specifically for your wedding. That way you can keep your guests updated on all the plans as they happen, or change as well as all the necessary information they’ll need to know about your wedding destination. If you’re concerned about your guests budgets then you can even suggest some of the nearby hotels and often they’ll give you discounted rates if you let them know in advance that you’ve got a multiple guests who’d be interested in booking some rooms.

Coordinating travel plans with your photographer is essential too! Make sure they arrive at least a day or two before the wedding just to account for any travel delays, hotel check-ins and of course the forever dreaded jet lag. This will also allow your photographer to scout the location beforehand and make sure that he doesn’t get lost on the day somewhere in the jungle where he’s forced to live with the local tribes eating raw snake meat and grains until he’s found again.

 

5 – Make it a wedding and more
Think about adding extra activities to the day of your wedding or to the weekend if your guests will be staying for a couple days. If you’ve opted for a Caribbean wedding, chances are you won’t be too far off from some stunning coral reefs so snorkeling could be an option. A sunset cruise after the wedding ceremony in place of a cocktail hour will have your guests talking about your wedding for years. Our goal here is to make this one of the most memorable weddings ever right? The perfect goodbye to your guests may be to release “wish lanterns” at the end of the night. Unless it’s incredibly windy and everyone has had one-too-many tequilas then this might not be the perfect send off after all. Oops.

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6 – Be comfortable
So, you’ve decided to have your wedding in Hawaii, it gets HOT and HUMID. If you don’t want to be perspiring like a pig during dinner time then make sure you dress the part. A full suit and thick long flowing dress may be off the cards but it’s a small price to pay to have your wedding in the location of your dreams. It really is up to taste; if you’d prefer to go the formal route with black ties and heels or a more casual flip-flops and swimsuits vibe, the choice is yours. Barefoot adventures may just be the answer to beach weddings though, no need for special runners to be laid out or heals sinking into the sand.

Don’t forget to stay hydrated, passing out during Uncle Andrew’s speech about how you’re his favourite niece because you always listen to his drawn-out speeches about his days in the army will have him questioning whether you actually are his favourite.

 

Have a blast
Most importantly, as you obviously know, is to have the time of your life. You’re getting married…on an island! What more could you ask for? If your guests are fed, watered and entertained they’re going to have a killer time. Hire photographers and videographers that you love because they’ll be with you the majority of the day and let this surreal experience be something you and your friends never forget.

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I may just be a photographer, but if you’ve got any questions about planning your destination wedding, ask a question below and I’ll try help out as best I can.

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