First of May! It's been a bit wet and chilly lately and there is a great anticipation of sun and warm weather, which will hopefully come soon! I shared the images from Cilla and Alan's Monks Barn wedding last week. It was one of the warmest and sunniest days in April, and I really enjoyed photographing their day. It's time for Cilla to share her experience of planning their wedding. If you at the 'planning' stage I hope you will find this post helpful)) Feel free to leave your comments and questions at the end of the post! Hello, I’m Priscilla Miller and I’m one of Dasha’s newlyweds. I got married on the 14th of April at Henley on Thames Town Hall, then had the reception at Monks Barn in Hurley. I’m not ashamed to say I began looking for a photographer before my husband even popped the question. I had an inkling it wasn’t too far off, and as a teacher I’m quite an organized person so I began to look around for a few ideas. I found Dasha on a great photography website, and I am so glad I did. She captured everything so wonderfully, and has become a real friend. She has asked me to share my experience of wedding planning, so I hope my experience is useful to any future brides to be.


I loved planning the wedding! It took away from all the school-based work related stresses, and gave me a great excuse to procrastinate while still feel that I was using my time well!

The best thing I did when beginning to organize, was create a to do list. My bridesmaids and I got some nibbles, and together we went through several wedding guides and wrote up on a loooooooooong piece of wallpaper roll everything that needed to be done month by month. It stretched half the room! Having that done made the whole task seem suddenly manageable. The key here though is that once we had done that, we didn’t need to look at it again. All I would say is don’t think you need to book everything by a certain date. The things that are important to you get onto ASAP, otherwise you might find the perfect caterer and they are already booked. Everything else you will always have time at some point to sort out.


One of the reasons I enjoyed planning so much, and why the day went so perfectly, was the quality suppliers I found. Simple as that. Yes I had a budget to stick to, and yes we went slightly over, but at the end of the day you do get what you pay for, but you also get a feel for true professionals and truly wonderful people. Dasha was a brilliant photographer who we knew would take photos to last us a lifetime. The lighting company was run by a brilliant lady who offered us a great deal as they put the lights up with a ladder rather than scaffolding. And my caterer - it was like hiring a master of ceremonies and wedding planner at the same time. She was just brilliant.


Even before getting engaged, I began looking around for ideas. I knew I wanted something different to the usual weddings, one of the main things being afternoon tea instead of the breakfast (Alan and I are tea-maniacs!). So I started buying magazines. And bought more. And more. I have a huge bag of them now. Small tip - limit yourself on how many you buy, and buy ones around the time of year you are getting married. Christmas ones were a great read, but useless to a spring wedding.

Then I discovered the blogs. They were so beautiful and interesting, I found myself keeping up with 5 different ones on a daily basis. I always criticized my husband for following football blogs, but he had nothing on me. After a while, it became too confusing. If I hadn’t slowed down with it all, the wedding would have been an aladdin’s cave of DIY wedding ideas. I doubt there would have been room for the guests! So do your research, but try not to let it take over.


And pass the schedule on! I had made a running order of the day, and had given it to my caterers and photographer, but completely forgot to share it with, well, everyone basically on it! I feel sorry for Alan’s best men, who had to desperately study it on the morning to see what they needed to do and when. A schedule of the day is key, but so too is one for all the things you need to do the few days before. DIY weddings are beautiful, but tough. I became a taxi driver in the three days before the wedding, I was in the car more than not. Keeping on top of where you need to be and when before the wedding will keep you calm in the days leading up to it.


Every bride will tell you, delegation is the key (as is choosing the right bridal party -girls you rocked!). I am very ashamed to say I should have followed that advice more. I am such a control freak, I found it tough giving others responsibilities, as they just didn’t seem to completely picture what I was getting at. The fact is, on the day, some things weren’t exactly as I pictured. Some things I ran out of time before I got to do. And although I laughed at other brides who said it didn’t matter, the fact is it really didn’t. And not just because on the day, getting married is the most beautiful thing. When you see all your efforts begin to come together, it is a beautiful thing, even if the seating plan is a last minute job, and you didn’t get to make that burlap runner for the top table. It’s still all gorgeous! And you did it!


A lot of times during planning, we’d ask people what they thought of certain ideas (one of the key ones was take away pizza for the evening, which never failed to return a great response). As we were doing it our way, there were times when we were really concerned whether people would enjoy it or ‘get it’ as we did. But that is what invitations are for. At the end of the day, they are people you love and that love you. They have come to celebrate the biggest day of your life so far. They will always have fun. I think the thing that was the biggest surprise was Dasha’s style of photography. We know couples who had the traditional ‘line up every different group one by one’ and while yes these photos are incredibly important, and if that’s what you want, that is brilliant; it’s not what we wanted. As a guest I have found it necessary but slightly dull waiting for that part of the day to be done; I wanted to celebrate with the couple! As a bride, I wanted to get everyone to the party as soon as possible, so we didn’t have many of those photos. For certain older more traditional family members, this seemed strange to them. We even got one or two comments afterwards about how it was a shame we didn’t have more of them. But we stick to our decision, and always will. The photos record our wedding, and we couldn’t be more in love with them. It is the photos showing every real moment, every touching memory, that take us back there.


My husband isn’t exactly extroverted. We have never shown many public displays of affection. And one of the most daunting things for him when we first got engaged, was his speech...and being photographed. I never expected having a pre-wedding shoot, so when Dasha said it was something she did with all her couples, I didn’t really know how Alan would take it. We are both so glad we did though. Alan was nervous at first, but he really relaxed (completely due to Dasha’s relaxed style) and we have some pictures before the wedding that we absolutely love. It also meant that on the day, it was one less thing to be nervous about. We knew her style, we got great photos because of it. Always have a pre-wedding shoot if you can.


I wouldn’t change a thing. Well, nothing in my control anyway. I stressed so much on the day, wondering what would go wrong, would people remember to turn up, would it rain. The fact is, everything works out; nothing can ever be perfect, but it feels perfect. The one piece of advice I will say, is try to circulate at some point during the meal, and again at some point in the evening. For yourselves more than anything. In the day, we were able to talk with most of our guests, and circulating the tables during the tea really helped this, but by the evening we were so in the groove with celebrating, that we barely got to talk to those that had turned up after the tea. In similar situations, I haven’t minded when brides and grooms haven’t been able to talk to me as much, but as a bride it would have been nice if we had managed. Oh, and a small tip to the guests...get on the dance floor! That’s where you’ll find us!