2014 has been a very eventful year at Viva HQ. Our Wedding Photography & Cinematography adds to a total of 38 weddings, travelling far and wide, from the beautiful Isle of Arran to picturesque Bavaria. Lucky Guille even photographed a gorgeously romantic engagement shoot in Paris! Once again we’ve had a truly eclectic mix of cultures and some stunning venues with very original styling. We’ve covered some delightfully quirky weddings this year featuring goats, owls, guinea pigs and storm troopers from Star Wars! We just can’t wait to share all these weddings with you on this blog, but for now, sit back and enjoy the best of 2014!
When Donna and Andy told us they wanted us to do their Scotland wedding photography and cinematography on the beautiful Isle of Arran, we jumped at the chance! Donna’s grandparents first visited the island over 30 years ago and since then it’s been a well-loved holiday destination for the whole family and holds a special place in their hearts. It’s the first time we have ever caught the ferry to a wedding location, and what a crossing! The views were magnificent and the island itself was a photographer’s dream, with majestic mountains and sweeping sea views.
Donna and Andy’s day did justice to the dramatic setting, with a horse-drawn carriage to escort them to the picturesque St Bride’s church where a Scottish piper entertained the guests. Donna looked amazing in her strapless gown with its full tulle skirt and Andy and his groomsmen were dapper in blue-grey morning suits. The bridesmaids wore flattering Grecian-style flowing dresses in a pale pink that was echoed in the stunning bouquets and the groomsmen’s ties. Even Charlie, the couple’s Labrador retriever, got in on the act with his smart bib and bowtie!
The traditional ceremony was followed by a drinks reception accompanied by the mellow tones of the harp. Meanwhile we captured some romantic shots of Donna and Andy, making the most of the scenic setting. We think you’ll agree that the light on Arran was just fabulous! The evening party was fantastic fun and there was a great atmosphere throughout the day. Friends and family had travelled from far and wide to see this couple wed and it was clear that it meant a lot to all present to be part of this loving couple’s celebrations.
One of the nicest things for us was catching up Donna’s sister, Charmaine, whose wedding to Peter we filmed a couple of years ago, now sporting a lovely baby bump! Donna tells us she is now a proud Auntie to Isla, a gorgeous little girl with a beautiful Scottish name. We were also delighted to hear that Donna and Andy are expecting their own first baby in April this year! Congratulations guys!
Donna and Andy had a strong vision for their Scottish wedding photography and cinematography and we enjoyed making it reality. It really was a privilege to be part of their day. Let’s hear it for Mr and Mrs Jennings!
Deej and Rachael wanted special engagement photography & cinematography that they could show during their wedding reception and we were delighted to get our teeth into such an exciting project! They had very clear ideas about the kind of cinematography and photography they were looking for with warm, neutral tones and a relaxed vibe and sent us some links to videos they liked. It was brilliant for us to work with a couple who had such a strong vision for their film.
We collaborated with them to bring everything together and discussed a variety of locations for filming. In the end they chose Buxton in Derbyshire, where they were to celebrate their wedding reception, but in order to have a different setting, we researched picturesque places nearby and found the stunning Solomon’s Temple, a Victorian tower on a hill close to Buxton town. Deej and Rachael agreed that it was the perfect spot for a romantic lunch; so armed with a beautiful vintage picnic hamper they set off into the Derbyshire countryside!
We made the most of the backdrop and the lovely weather to get some wonderful romantic shots of the pair. Guille took care of the engagement photography, while our talented cameraman Rick did the filming. We think you’ll agree that Rachael and Deej look relaxed, gorgeous and very much in love!
Samir and Samia almost share a name. They also share an infectious sense of humour as you can see from their wedding cinematography and photography! We had a lot of fun filming and photographing this couple’s wedding celebration, which took place in central Manchester in November.
“In Pakistani culture, there are two weddings,” explains Samir. “The first, known as the Baraat, is hosted by the bride’s family and is traditional, conservative and religious in nature. The Walima is the second part, hosted by the groom. This tends to be more of a party and nowadays there is often entertainment and dancing. Viva la Wedding covered our Walima but in hindsight it would have been great if they’d covered the Baraat too.”
Samir planned the decor in midnight blue and cream to match Samia’s wedding dress. He wanted the occasion to look modern, slick and impressive and the Mercure Hotel in Manchester ticked all those boxes. With over four hundred guests, organisation was key, so Samir chose toast master Malcolm Kindon to make announcements and ensure that things ran smoothly.
An evening wedding in winter means no natural light for outdoor shots, but we made the most of the glittering lights of Manchester to get some stunning images of the pair simply oozing urban cool! Some of my favourite shots are from the hotel room. The funky wallpaper made for a fantastic backdrop!
“Viva la Wedding were brilliant!” adds Samir. “The photos were great and the video was sensational. Everything was delivered really quickly too. Highly recommended!”
Venue – Mercure, Manchester
DJ – Delsonic, Leeds
Food & Catering – Kavi, Birmingham
Décor and Flowers- Simplicity Events, Manchester
Bride’s Dress – Daminis, London
Cake – Richard’s Cakes, Manchester
Toastmaster – Malcom Kindon
Artwork and Stationary – Asparagus PR, Liverpool
Cartoon – Desire Designs, Manchester
Guille and I were married in 2009. Our first dance was to an Arcade Fire song, Tunnels. It was pretty epic. We didn’t choreograph it; we just threw each other around a bit, but when the chorus “You changed all the lead, sleeping in my head!” kicked in, the whole room joined us and started jumping up and down and punching the air. It was an ecstatic moment!
So being the thoughtful soul that he is, Guille gave me a beautiful gift to celebrate our fifth wedding anniversary; a trip to Verona to see Arcade Fire in an ancient castle. Verona was of course the setting for Romeo and Juliet so I had high expectations for this romantic city and I was not disappointed. We rented a studio appartment on Air BnB. It was compact and bohemian in style, owned by a beautiful young Italian woman with perfect English whose diaphanous scarves and long wavy hair wafted an air of mystery and sophistication through the cobbled streets as she led us from carpark to flat.
We visited the city and lingered in the Roman Amphitheatre. One of the nicest things was just hanging out by the river and soaking in the beautiful colours. Italians know how to paint a town pretty. The colour palette is yellow ochre, bright bottle green and terracotta. We vowed to redecorate our bedroom in those shades and maybe this winter we will actually do it! We also discovered our new favourite drink: Aperol Spritz. This poisonous-looking orange liqueur is mixed with prosecco and soda water to make a very refreshing cocktail, perfect for sunny afternoons by the river.
The gig itself was all splendour. A ruined castle with the outer walls still standing, a festival atmosphere with Italian hipsters lounging on the grass with their plastic beer glasses and an imminent storm that gave us full on pyrotechnic effects with thunder and lightning in the twilight sky, but never actually broke. Miraculously the first raindrops fell as we buckled our seatbelts for the ride home. And they fell torrentially. AF were amazing. Enough said, you should see them if you haven’t already and if you have you should see them again! I was particularly impressed with the pearly king and queen costumes with Arcade Fire spelt out in buttons worn by a couple of fellow fans! BTW, Please ignore me and Guille giving you evil looks in these pics. We don’t mean anything by it, just don’t mess with us, OK?
The day after the gig we went to Lake Garda and gate crashed a German campsite. It looked like a lot of fun – they were having a BBQ party with karaoke that night – but unfortunately we couldn’t stay as we had to catch the plane. Guille managed a swim. I wasn’t brave enough but it was nice to just sit on the stony shore and enjoy the beautiful view of the lake.
I forgot to mention that we ate loads of ice cream and drank plenty of local wine…and that I ate the loveliest pasta dish ever, that was just spaghetti dressed in olive oil and garlic. Also, I had a lot of fun just wafting around the apartment listening to Fleetwood Mac. We have three kids aged under five so I don’t get much time to waft…and of course I’d been inspired by our chic Italian host!
Anyway chaps, if you want a romantic minibreak or even a minimoon location, you could do a lot worse than fair Verona. Ci vediamo lì!
You HAVE to watch this incredible North East wedding film! Laura and Rob’s story is blockbuster material! How often does a real life love story turn out to be so romantic? Their wedding was an incredibly fun day which had their quirky personalities stamped all over it. I caught up with Laura who told me more…
I love the story of how you and Rob met – it’s definitely the most original story we’ve ever had! Is there anything you want to add about that? Do you feel like it was fate that brought you together?
“We like our story too! Definitely one for the grand-kids! I have to say I’m not a big believer in fate but we have certainly been given plenty of reasons to believe that everything happens for a reason. I was happy to have found and helped the ‘boy who broke his back’ when I was younger and now that boy has grown into a man I’m extremely happy and proud to call him my husband!”
“It was ace! I loved planning our special day and adding all the little touches that made it so special for us. I’m fully aware that many of the finer details would have been missed by our guests but it meant so much to me to have planned and implemented them. There were times that were a little stressful but all in all i had a ball planning, I’d like to do it all again!”
What was the most memorable/special part of your wedding day for you?
“The reaction of people after our first dance, 100%. We have never had so many high fives and hugs before, it was amazing. We just had so much fun and it was lovely to see that people had fun with us.”
Were you nervous?
“No, not until I heard that the music wouldn’t play at the church then I started worrying that everything would go wrong but as soon as I was at the end of the aisle those nerves went too.”
Did everything go according to plan?
“No! But find me a wedding where everything does! We had a mare with the music at the church, I had music made and edited for me to walk down the aisle to and also for when we were leaving the Church and despite us testing this days before on the day it decided not to work. This made me late as we then tried re-writing disks at home and find alternative music but in the end that didn’t work either and I ended up walking down to ‘Be still for the presence of the Lord’! Oh well, another story for the book I suppose!”
Were there any funny/emotional moments that stand out for you?
“Walking down the aisle with my Dad, Rob whispering ‘I want to kiss you’ in my ear every time the reverend wasn’t looking, The readings in the church, the video my brother did as part of the speech, high fiving everyone as we entered the room for our first dance and also having everyone around us for the last dance which was to ‘The Greatest day of our life’ by Take That.”
I thought it was a brilliant touch arriving in your dad’s truck! What was the significance of that for you?
“I am a total Daddy’s girl and hated the thought of not sharing my name with him anymore so for my last journey as Laura Waddington I wanted to be sure that EVERYONE knew I was, and always will be a Waddington. As such, arriving in our family firms truck with the name all over it seemed the best way to get that message across! Plus, all the ‘Waddingtons’ like to make an entrance and the truck with its air horns certainly gave me the entrance I wanted!”
“I think you can tell when you watch it that no lessons were involved in the making of that dance! In all honesty the preparation was poor. Rob wasn’t up for doing it to begin with so I had to choreograph it, get the music edited and then force him to learn it. We only had a week to do it and eventually rob started to enjoy it and we were off!! It was so much fun and he did so well.”
Are there any other special touches that you planned for the day, such as favours, table settings etc that you want to tell us about?
“There were loads! I went crazy with personal touches! I planned, sourced and put together all of the table centrepieces myself as I couldn’t find anyone who would do what I wanted, I wrote a poem that was read by my cousin in the church about Rob and I’s story so far , made confetti cones and mini flags for our guests to be gifted as they left the church, made the photo board and props for the reception, hired an amazing magician, made a massive sign telling our story which was displayed at the top of the road down to the church, Created a children’s fun room full of crafts, DVD’s and a sleep corner for our little people, ahhh the list goes on – too much to mention – like i said, i loved planning and knew exactly what I wanted and to ensure i got that i did most of it myself.”
Is there anyone that you want to mention who helped you a lot in planning your day?
“My Mum. Every Tuesday night for the year before the wedding she had to put up with me telling her my latest plans and support me whilst I made it a reality. Even when she didn’t agree with it all! She was such an amazing help, especially on the week running up to the day as I only had the day before off work so she ended up having to do a lot of jobs – what a star!”
Venue- Rockliffe Hall
Wedding Dress- Mori Lee
Bridal Hair- Caludia Fois, Shine hair and beauty
Bridal Makeup- Siobhan Caffery, Shine hair and beauty
Bridesmaids Dresses- Mori Lee
Flowers- Rachel Robinson at Thompson and Franks florist
Cake- Nicola Taylor
Magician- Paul Lytton
Band- Hip Operation
Photographer- Joe Stenson
Bridal Shoes- PINK Paradox
Truck- Waddington Buildings
Bridesmaids Cars- Love dub cars
We are thrilled to share this promotional film we made for bridal designer Amanda Wyatt’s Blue Iris Collection!
The Blue Iris launch took place at the Mere Hotel in Knutsford on 24th March. The venue was a hive of activity when we arrived at 8.00am to capture the preparations for this dazzling showcase. Florists, Red Floral Architecture were hard at work, decorating the tables with their fabulous floral creations, each one different from the rest and all featuring the blue iris flower, the emblem of Amanda Wyatt’s new collection. With our team of three cameramen concentrating on capturing beautiful video footage, I was frantically snapping the preparations with my iphone, so I could share the pics with you here!
The models were having the finishing touches put to their hair and makeup, as rail upon rail of gorgeous dresses, veils and accessories began to arrive. The AW team was like a well-oiled machine, preparing the room to ensure that their guests, suppliers from Bridal Boutiques around the country and abroad, could get the best possible view of the collection. Amanda herself and her daughter, bridal designer Charlotte Balbier were on hand to oversee the preparations and were happy to chat with suppliers throughout the day.
Then came the catwalk show, and what a show! The tone was modern, sassy and fun, with some cool choreography and a fab soundtrack.
Amanda is keen to show that her dresses can suit women of all different sizes, so many were modelled by a size 16 as well as a size 10-12 model. It was inspiring to see how the same dress could flatter completely different shapes. After the show, the models came out again wearing each dress in turn at the request of suppliers, who wanted to take a closer look at their favourites. Working alongside photographer, Jonny Draper, this was our chance to capture some detailed shots of each dress.
We also seized the opportunity to interview many suppliers who gave us the word on the street about the new bridal collection. As you can see they were wowed! Amanda’s promise to listen to her customers and design a collection that responded to the needs of the brides really paid off. There was a dress for everyone, short dresses, dresses with sleeves, fishtails, full skirts, straighter lines and even a fabulous detachable lace jacket with a full train, which allowed for two completely different looks in one dress! There was a lot of love for Blue Iris, the signature dress of the collection, and I have to say a lot of love and respect for the Amanda Wyatt team and their brilliant customer service.
For us it was a rollercoaster of a day. We had three cameramen, one assistant (me!) and a host of complex equipment to operate, from sliders to minicranes, all the while staying discreetly in the background. We made two films for Amanda Wyatt: a catalogue film aimed at bridal boutiques, showing each dress in detail and this promo, which gives a flavour of the new collection and a sense of the buzz around this fantastic launch event .
We are delighted to know that our catalogue film is already bringing in new business for Amanda and we hope this promo will whet the appetite of brides and suppliers for this stunning bridal collection, which is due to hit the stores in June this year.
Here are the fabulous people and businesses who made this event come alive:
Venue: The Mere Golf Resort and Spa
Florist: Red Floral Architecture
Catwalk Stage, Sound and Lighting: Lightech
Venue dressing: Boris and Betty
Stationery: Lucy Ledger
Photography: Jonny Draper
Illuminated LOVE letters: Typical Type
Inspirational Speaker on Bridal Sales Training: Helena Cotter
Guille is always telling me that I’m a daddy’s girl, so maybe I’m a little biased, but for me the father of the bride speech is the most special of the traditional wedding speeches. More and more brides are making their own speech, which is great, but if a bride decides not to speak, then dad, or whoever takes his place is the one who is going to tell her side of things. You are there to represent your daughter, your family and your relationships on the most important day of your little girl’s life… so no pressure then!
The good news is that you couldn’t have a more willing audience. The room is full of people who are brimming with goodwill towards you and your family, and especially your lovely daughter. They will devour your accounts of her childhood foibles and teenage pranks and hang upon every word of praise for the wonderful woman she has become. And that’s basically your job: to tell us some stories!
My own dad is a master of this, which is fortunate as I’m the eldest of three daughters so he’s had to tell two lots of stories already and is cooking up some classics for when my youngest sister gets wed!
So here’s the Papa Howard Patented Formula for Wedding Speech Success:
1. Begin at the beginning (babyhood) and don’t be afraid to embarrass your daughter just a little bit! (more…)
As wedding videographers, we have seen a fair few best men in action, and we reckon we know a thing or two about making that nerve-wracking speech go with a zing! Here’s our recipe for success!
1. Fresh ingredients – don’t recycle tired old jokes off the internet. Think about your mate and your friendship. What’s special about him? What makes you laugh? What story can you share that says a lot about his character?
2. A generous helping of bro love – I know it’s the done thing to embarrass the groom, but just remember that he picked you to do this because you are his best mate in the whole wide world! So don’t stitch him up too much in your best man’s speech. He can probably take it, but can his mum? We’ve seen a fair few speeches fall flat because the BM has been too harsh for the taste of the wedding party. So consider a ratio of 2 parts friendly ribbing to one part, “but seriously, what a guy!”
3. A pinch of humour – You don’t have to have them rolling in the aisles. A genuine wry smile is worth more than a million forced belly laughs. Be warm, be truthful, be yourself.
4. Serve with a sense of occasion – You can be original in style and content but you must fulfil certain conventions: Praise the bride and not just her looks on this day. It’s very heart-warming for guests to feel you genuinely like her, so mention how happy she has made your friend. Admire the bridesmaids, the mothers of the bride and groom, the decor, the effort that has gone into the planning of this amazing day. Oh yes, and stand up straight, speak up, slow down and make eye contact – they will be eating from your palm – trust me!
We are always looking for new ways to make our wedding films look different and special. From lenses to minicranes, we are constantly investing in gadgets and widgets and fancy new technology to make sure we keep ahead of the game.
We are big believers though, that it is the brain behind the lens that makes for a really great video. This is never more true than with Super 8. Why go back to a format from the 1970s that means using rolls of real film that only last for three and a half minutes? Why invest thirty quid in buying one of those rolls and sixty in having it processed, not to mention the fact the we have to send the film to Germany to be developed and converted into a format we can edit, which takes at least three weeks! We are talking a whole lot of time, expense and effort, which begs the question, why bother?
Well the answer is this: we believe in film! Film is organic; the very fact that you can see the grain of the cellulose reminds you that you are not seeing reality, you are seeing a version of reality and you are seeing it through the eye of an artist. If you shoot on Super 8 you can’t afford to waste a shot. Every second counts, but at the same time, the mundane is transformed into a beautiful nostalgic portrait.
It’s like watching your parents’ old cine films, except it’s you! That’s a big part of the appeal for me; because the texture and colour is so reminiscent of my parent’s old photographs, I feel like I’m seeing myself through the eyes of my children in 30 years time, and I like what I see! Film is warm and a little bit fuzzy and that’s just how it makes me feel inside! We’ve had an incredibly positive response from the couples featured in this highlights clip, many of whom told us it was perfect for capturing their vintage wedding styling. We are planning to film a lot more Super 8 footage this year. Watch out for our new Super 8 packages!