Ann & Karl’s Destination Wedding in Bristol, UK – The Reception

While every wedding is as unique as the couple and all of their family & friends, every wedding seems to divide itself natural among three parts of the day – getting ready, the ceremony, and the reception. The emotions that flow through these three portions are very distinctive as well, differing levels of joy, happiness, nerves, relief, and pure bliss. You never sense the joy as much though as those first minutes after the ceremony. Everyone just wants to congratulate the couple – and the happiness in the room rises to an amazing, palatable point.

As we did some brief family photographs, Karl’s mum & his grandmum had to take a moment to check out his brand new ring.

Meanwhile, in another part of the room, some of Ann’s knitting friends actually MADE her a garter during the ceremony! I saw them finishing it up – they crocheted their masterpiece, which was faster than knitting it, in colors to compliment her wedding dress. Ann was suitably surprised! Karl was kind enough to tie it on for her. Brilliant!

Ann’s wedding bouquet was so stunning – and so perfect. Thistles to represent her Scottish heritage, and roses to represent Karl’s English heritage.

The wedding was on Guy Fawke’s Day, which is celebrated traditionally with fireworks. As such, Ann & Karl had mini-sparklers in the vases filled with favors on the tables, along with what we refer to as champagne poppers – the little plastic bottles that when you pull the string, streamers fly out. Everyone had fun with them as we enjoyed the delicious food the Byzantium served.

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Ann & Karl’s Destination Wedding in Bristol, England – The Ceremony

I shared the history of my friendship with Ann & Karl in my first post about their destination wedding in Bristol, so you can just imagine what a moving moment for me it was to see the love that they have for each other and the emotions during their wedding ceremony.

I’m a sap and I cry at almost every wedding, but this one? This was different. Ann & I have been friends for 10 years now, and it was just incredible to witness first-hand how much Karl loves her, and how much she loves him!

Their wedding ceremony was held at the Byzantium in Bristol, England. Ann’s beautiful wedding dress was purchased at a shop in Bristol as well, and was perfect with her stunning, sparkly Jimmy Choo’s. She knit her wedding shawl herself. (For the knitters, her Ravelry details are here.) Her hair was done at MeMe’s Salon in Bristol, and she did her makeup herself.

The British wedding ceremony is different than it is in the United States. Parts of it are the same, but the order is changed up. Fortunately, I’m pretty big on photographing everything that happens, no matter when it happens! I just find different cultural traditions so fascinating!

Oh, and the hats!?! Why do we not wear amazing fascinators and hats to our weddings in the US? I think someone needs to start this tradition up again!

After Ann & Karl exchanged rings, Ann read the second reading which was a poem about marriage to Karl.

Now we get into the part that was a first for me – since they had a civil ceremony, they had to sign the registry during the ceremony. I was informed before the ceremony by the registrar that I could photograph them signing the registry from far away, as long as you couldn’t see the paper that they were actually signing. After they signed, he would allow them to pose as if they were signing for me, and then he would invite other guest up to photograph them as well. Obviously, signing this is a BIG deal!

The above photograph was what I took when the registrar invited me to come forward during the ceremony to get the posed photograph. Then this happened…

One last story about the day … Ann & Karl wanted something slow & somewhat “traditional” for the recessional of their ceremony. But Ann is a HUGE Formula 1 racing fan. Seriously, HUGE. So she also wanted to include the theme song from the BBC’s televised coverage of Formula 1. After all, the wedding day is just the start of the race of life! So after Ann & Karl selected the music, my husband Mike spliced together the opening and first chorus of “We’ve Only Just Begun” by the Carpenters with the BBC Formula 1 song, with a smooth transition and everything. It was AWESOME. This was the moment that the song changed over to the Formula 1 theme, and Ann was just giddy. Loved it!

Ann preparing her wedding day makeup

Ann & Karl’s Destination Wedding in Bristol, UK – Getting Ready

Ann preparing her wedding day locket with her father's photo & her mother's hair

You might want to go grab something to drink – this is going to be a long post!

When I headed to London last November for Ann & Karl’s Destination Wedding in Bristol, UK, it was not my usual wedding trip. I’ve known Ann thanks to blogging since 2000, and we met because of our shared love of photography. That has always been the most beautiful thing about blogging for me – the ability to meet people thousands of miles away who love the same things that you do. We met in person in 2004 while Mike & I were on our honeymoon in London, I visited her again in June 2006 when I returned to London with Mike on a business trip and stayed a few days at her flat, and we got to spend time with her in 2007 when she came to Austin, Texas for her first adult trip to the USA to visit SXSWi. By 2007 she was already dating Karl, and my wedding photography business was underway. She hesitantly mused at one point that he might be “the one” – but it was still early. As the years passed, she told me that someday, she wanted me to photograph her wedding.

Then while I was in Belize photographing Melissa & Brandon’s wedding, I got the call! In July of 2009, Karl brought Ann to San Francisco, and after fireworks (fitting, since they met on Guy Fawke’s Day) and time spent visiting wine country, he proposed! YAY!!! I was over the moon thrilled for them! So once the date was set – Guy Fawke’s Day 2010 – we made plans for Mike & I to head back to London for their wedding in Bristol, England!

(I wrote a lot more about how we met and shared photos from my past trips to London & time spent with Ann on this post back in November, written while I was in London.)

I wanted a bit of time to spend with Ann before the wedding – plus time to get over dealing with jet lag – so Mike & I flew in the Saturday before the wedding. I’m so glad we did, because then we got to spend time getting to know Karl better, enjoying a proper Sunday Roast, Halloween in the UK, British television, an afternoon shopping & visiting Susannah, and a wonderful dinner with several of the London knitters where Ann & Natalie of The Yarn Yard presented me with the most amazing lot of yarn. Most importantly? I got to put my years in the wedding industry to use as I helped Ann finalize timelines, details, shopping lists, packing everything to get it from London to Bristol for the wedding, and a whole lot more. It was absolutely splendid, and I wouldn’t have traded it for the world! I joked that I was making myself an honourary bridesmaid for the week so we could get everything done. Brilliant!

We finally had everything loaded up and we headed from London over to Bristol, on the western side of England. I had been to Cardiff, Wales back in 2006, but that was via train. I’ve never driven across England, so it was wonderful to get to see England from a new perspective, and to visit another city. That is always one of my favorite things about destination weddings – I love the opportunity to see new places and get to truly know the wedding guests as we spent several days with Ann & Karl’s family & friends.

One thing I learned on this trip is that I can be the master of lists. Every day I would start us off with a list of what we needed to get done & prepared. The lists definitely helped, and we were amazingly efficient in getting it all done! The one list I didn’t keep a copy of that I wish I had still? The instructions that Ann had me write out the night before the wedding on how to put on a kilt! I had no idea it was such a complicated process, but it turns out that a kilt is really heavy, so it is essential to do things in order!

Mike assisted me with photographing the wedding & reception. He will say he isn’t a photographer, but what I always find fascinating when he assists me is how much he has watched my work over the years and how he has a keen eye for capturing images in a similar style. He stayed with Karl & Dan as they got ready & captured the images of them getting dressed.

On the day of the wedding, I went to meet up with Ann at Me:Me Salon where she was having her hair done. As she waited for her turn, she spent time checking in on Twitter where she had her very own hashtag going of #pixnups which we later displayed on the wall at the reception. She also prepared her locket that she had purchased with a photograph of her Dad and a lock of her mother’s hair so she could wear it at the wedding. (That is the photo above.)

Oh yes, we are geeks. Our very own wedding hashtag for the day – I loved it!

Me:Me Salon in Bristol, UK where Ann got ready for her wedding Ann checking in on Twitter and the pixnups tweets

Orchids for Ann and her wedding hair - Bristol, UK

Me:Me Salon Bristol UK

Ann preparing her wedding day makeup

When Ann told me she had found *the* dress, I couldn’t wait to see it. I knew that Ann just wasn’t the traditional white dress type of bride. I’m so glad she held out for the most perfect dress ever! How beautiful! A lovely burgundy wine color, with layers of black netting underneath, a variety of fabrics & textures, and the bodice with the embroidery was so perfect! It was just SO Ann!

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The Fabulous Miss J!

Miss J - Hot Mama Boudoir Photography - Houston, Texas

What can I possibly say about Miss J that you can’t see just by looking at her photographs? She is just such a stunning beauty! I’m so grateful to her for giving me permission to share her photographs here on the blog & my Facebook Page.

She came in for a Valentine’s Day session for her sweetheart and to make a boudoir book for him. Jennifer Aronson (my studio mate) did her makeup for her, and it was flawlessly perfect! I love that Jennifer not only takes into consideration what colors look the best on my clients, but that she also looks at the outfits they plan to wear for the session and coordinates with them as well. Love it! For this session, Jennifer left us with a fantastic red lipstick for Miss J to wear as well, so half way through we could change it up with an outfit change. It was great having two options!

Houston Boudoir Photography - Miss J Pearl Necklace Lingerie boudoir photography

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Miss J Pink Lingerie Boudoir Photography Houston Miss J - Houston Hot Mama Boudoir Photography

Boudoir Photographer Houston - Miss M

Houston Boudoir Photographer Hot Mama Miss J Miss J's Boudoir Session - Christine Tremoulet Photography

Once Jennifer was done with her makeup we had the most phenomenal session! I’ll let Miss J tell you about it in her own words – this is just part of her review; you can read the rest of it here.

WOW!! There is only one word needed to describe my shoot with Christine; WOW.

When I arrived I was promptly greeted by Jennifer. Jennifer and I had a fun time with my makeup prior to the shoot. She made me look amazing! Jennifer also helped give me tips on the makeup she was using so I could find it to use at home. Christine came in about halfway through my makeup session. She’s such a joy when she enters a room! Full of energy and life, I felt energized just being around her. Christine and Jennifer do a great job making you feel comfortable! That was a big plus for me.

Once we started the shoot I had a hard time relaxing but Christine knew just how to bring me out of my shell. A few corny jokes and funny poses later, I felt like I had known her for years. We went through tons of outfits and with each one I continued to feel more at ease. My favorite part of the shoot was that Christine would show me the pictures in her camera as we took them. I was so taken aback by how beautiful her photos were. I had seen them on the website but now they were me! I haven’t ever had a photographer that can bring out my beauty as well as Christine. I was so comfortable by the end of the shoot that I was taking pictures in my undies in the front room of her studio. It was wonderful and a huge confidence-building experience for me!

This was one of the best experiences in my life. I felt pampered, beautiful, and sexy while laughing and having a great time. Christine, you rock!

Miss J & I talked a lot during her session about how incredible it made her feel, what a boost to her confidence it was having intimate photographs done like this. It helped me put into words why I think boudoir photography is so important – it is just amazing the transformation I see my clients have right before my eyes through the process. I have the best job in the world! Thank you Miss J for reminding me of that – and you rock too!

Miss J - Houston Boudoir Photography Astros Houston Boudoir Photographer

Miss J's Boudoir Session - HoustonHot Mama Boudoir - Houston Photography

Miss J Houston Boudoir Photography

These are the photographs from the front window that Miss J was talking about — I never ask a client if we can shoot up there if I think they might be uncomfortable. The windows are really tinted and it is hard to see into the room, but if you’re standing right in front of the curtains I’m sure you can be seen if people are looking! We were fast though, and we both loved the images!

Miss J - Houston Boudoir Photography Miss J Boudoir Session - Houston Hot Mama Photography

Thank you again, Miss J! It was incredible working with you, and I can’t WAIT to do it again soon!