Browsing Category

Our Wedding Stories

0 In Our Wedding Stories

DIY Wedding Planning, Our Story

James and Rachel Wedding Espresso

“We just fell in love with helping Brides and Grooms to have AMAZING Wedding Days through DIY Wedding Planning…”

Hey there, we’re Rachel and James and you’re probably wondering who the heck we are!

We LOVE DIY Wedding Planning, movies, music, books… and cats!

We spend most weeks either at the Cinema or gigging…

Once upon a time we even met one of our absolute favourite bands of all time. Poets of the Fall… so awe struck was I that I couldn’t seem to open my eyes for a single shot!

But hey, we’re doing it AGAIN! This time for the win! 🙂

But take note grooms to be… don’t do that on your Wedding Day!!!

Practice with your favourite band regularly!!!

Poets Of The Fall with Wedding Espresso - DIY Wedding Planning

And here’s Barney… our “post Wedding Cat”. Proof if any was needed that cats kinda love us too!

Barney The Post DIY Wedding Planning Cat

How this DIY Wedding Planning thing began…

So let’s start at the start and I’ll share the story of how Wedding Espresso came to be and how we created a fresh look at DIY Wedding Planning.

Are you sitting comfortably?

Good Let’s begin!

12 years ago, I filmed my first Wedding at Ripley Castle in North Yorkshire. It was amazing and I loved every second of it.

Straight off the back of this success, I secured my next paid gig within a couple of weeks… filming a Wedding at Rudding Park in Harrogate. (very posh, you might have heard of it!)

James from Wedding Espresso - DIY Wedding Planning

The internet was a much smaller place back then…

and I was filming on tapes… TAPES! Can you believe it!

So whilst that makes me sound “ancient”, I do prefer… “experienced”!

(and actually, I’m not even that old really!)

So yes, this was obviously a good calling for me as I quickly became a recommended supplier at several top venues in the region…

and even some further afield!

However, it wasn’t until I met my (then) girlfriend (now) wife, Rachel that things really stepped up a notch.

Rachel quickly integrated into my filming team to become my full time number 2.

Rachel from Wedding Espresso - DIY Wedding Planning

Our favourite part of each and every Wedding was actually meeting up with the couples before the big day.

We loved sitting down, having a good natter about their Wedding over coffee and biscuits… DIY Wedding Planning!

We’d always make our couples super relaxed before digging into the very fine details of their arrangements.  We’d carefully sculpt a plan that would maximise their potential and minimise their risk / wasted opportunity.

Time after time, couples came rushing back after their Wedding Day to thank us for (what was essentially) going overboard and beyond the call of duty in helping with the planning and timings of their big day.

We even included a full DIY Wedding Planning guide which was so inclusive it could have easily been published and sold on Amazon… had that been a thing back then!

We’re not Wedding Planners as such, but we do love to offer support with DIY Wedding Planning!

I’d never suggest that we were Wedding Planners, but with over 300 Weddings under our belts, we had a very good idea how things REALLY work…

the kind of experience that most people getting married never get in their lifetimes.

(no one, I mean, NO ONE has THAT many friend’s (even on Facebook!Weddings to attend!)

It just seemed natural to us to share. Yes it took longer, and no we didn’t get paid for it… we just enjoyed it.

More over, it’s the best feeling in the world when you do something for someone else and they appreciate it beyond words. You KNOW in your heart of hearts that you’ve secured those fantastic memories for that couple for the rest of their lives… and generations to come.

It’s a pretty big deal!

Lego Bride and Groom in Scotland - DIY Wedding Planning

Whilst this was happening, the Internet was also happening…

Growing in scope and scale – making all sorts of new things possible.

Then the biggest of big things happened…

We decided to start a family!

And now baby Xander is on his way to joining our winning Wedding team (well, in a few years anyway)

So we set about creating Wedding Espresso to be able to share our love and passion for DIY Wedding Planning with an even bigger community of awesome Brides and Grooms.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but people just like you!

It’s an adventure unlike anything we’ve ever done before but we’re having an absolute blast.

James and Rachel - Wedding Espresso DIY Wedding Planning

The idea that we can extend our help to even more couples than ever before is just the best. It’s absolutely become our buzz!

To pull off this feat of unprecedented magnitude, we’ve engaged some of the very best people in the Wedding Industry to join our cause.

They’re buzzing about being able to help and guide you too, they share our philosophy and values!

Most importantly, they’re really, really nice people. The kind of people we love to hang around with and so…

Our friends are now your friends 🙂

We only want the “right” people hanging out with us, and with you, so we’ve gone to great lengths to ensure that anything we share with you is absolute top drawer!

You’re now a part of this exciting adventure, and you wouldn’t be reading this if you weren’t absolutely awesome. So a huge thank you from the bottom of our hearts for letting us share this experience with you.

We’re here to help, guide and support you so any feedback, suggestions or comments, good or bad would be gratefully appreciated.

Achnagairn Inverness Rachel and James DIY Wedding Planning

Check in often as we’re constantly adding fantastic and exclusive content to Wedding Espresso… who knows what you’ll discover tomorrow!

Happy DIY Wedding Planning!

Rachel and James Wedding Espresso Round









0 In Our Wedding Stories

Hag Do … or don’t?

The Hag Do Featured

A few years ago we filmed the Wedding of a very unique couple who absolutely had their own vision of love, partnership, fellowship, family and togetherness… and Hag Do’s!

This really transcended anything I’ve ever seen before and we were pretty moved by it all to be honest.

Quite clearly MADLY in love, these gorgeous people had a philosophy that if they were going to enjoy doing something, they were going to enjoy doing it together.

Now whilst this might sound “clingy”, it’s not. It’s just a point of view and I personally, rather like it. Hence, The Hag Do!

So traditionally, as I’m sure you’re aware, the Bride goes off for her Hen Do and the Groom goes off for his Stag Do. Never the two should meet.

However, these guys had decided to combine the two into a “Hag Do”…

Now you can see where this is going! 🙂

OK OK, this isn’t going to be everyone’s cup of tea, but bear with me, it’s pretty cool!

So the Hag Do became a massive affair, with the entire Bridal Party all going off on a mad adventure together, guys and gals, one big party.

I loved that.

I’ve always felt sort of neutral between my guy friends and my girl friends. Rachel is very similar. Our friends are “our friends”.

So Rachel and I planned a Hag Do for our Wedding whilst our friends plotted our Hen and Stags.

(Not to undermine these as they were AMAZING! I did performance Go-Karting whilst Rachel went Lama Trekking. Neat!)

What an awesome decision this turned out to be!

Because not only did we invite our Bridal Party, but we extended the invitation to our close family too… a few were brave enough to join us 🙂

So as you can imagine, we had quite the merry troupe!

So…. What was our Hag Do?

The Hag Do - Water

We settled on a 4×4 off roading experience up in Scotland, the day before the Wedding.

Wowser! What fun that was!

The Hag Do 4x4

The really cool thing about having both the guys and the gals along was that sense of competition that always prevails at these sorts of meet ups.

Very much a sense of boys vs girls and what a laugh it was!

The Hag Do - Submerged

So whilst we went off the deep end a little and plugged in some extreme driving… EXTREME DRIVING! … there are tons of other ideas you could use for an amazing day out or adventure.

The Hag Do Featured

After the thrills and spills of mud and diesel, we all met up in Inverness for some good pub grub and to share tales of bravado and derring do!

I still remember the coach ride into Inverness and passing two takeouts right next door to each other… “Mr Chips” and “Mr Rice”… the prevailing theory was that the owners were two brothers who ran a takeout called “Mr Chips and Rice”… then they fell out!

Hey ho! The things you remember, right!?!

So thanks to an excellent Hag Do that day, we arrived back at our Wedding Venue excited and buzzing.

This kicked off our celebrations in fantastic style and also acted as a superb ice breaker for everyone to get to know each other a little.

The Hag Do Scotland

Just one little example of how you can take an existing idea, run with it, make it your own and come out with fantastic memories… and photographs 🙂

All made possible by our amazing Photographer Jeff, who quite happily bobbed along with us to cover the events and still to this day I can’t quite wrap my head around how he knew exactly where to be from a crude map for a man made track in the middle of a wood!

What a legend!

The Hag Do Forest

his is truly gold standard!

And so The Hag Do, not a gathering of witches but a left of centre Hen and Stag for those so inclined

Remember, you’re only one inspiration away…

Happy DIY Wedding Planning!

Rachel and James Wedding Espresso Will my Suppliers turn up









0 In Our Wedding Stories

Celebrant Led Wedding Ceremonies… I went a courtin t’other night

and why you need the right person for the right job, Celebrant Led Wedding Ceremonies and Choice!

So in nearly every family, there’s always someone who’s “a bit of a character”.

Now depending on what type of character they are, you can either choose to lose it, or use it…  🙂

In our case, it was very much “use it”!

Celebrant Led Wedding Ceremonies

But before I dig in, I just want to rewind a little, or is it fast forward? Maybe a bit of both!

Now Celebrant Led Wedding Ceremonies are not a massive thing here in England.

We’ve certainly filmed some in the past… and some amazing one’s at that. But Celebrant Led Wedding Ceremonies are not as common as you’d expect.

A Civil Ceremony or a religious Ceremony. These are the 2 options for most couples. Job done!

Well, one of our friends gave us the shock of our lives the other day!

This particular shock was relating to the choices available for their Civil Ceremony…

Or the lack of!

Quite the box ticking affair I’m afraid to say….

“Hi Sarah, which of these 5 approved readings would you like…”

Now I don’t know how clued up about your actual choices you are, but suffice it to say that the above isn’t your ONLY choice… not by a long shot!

As you know, in Scotland, A Humanist Ceremony is legal. Ultimately, that’s what we chose!

We enjoyed complete free reign over what was included and what was not. A Humanist Ceremony is, after all, a Celebrant Led Wedding Ceremony!

That doesn’t help folks wanting to get married in England, Wales or Ireland. But there’s a work around and it’s an amazing one!!!

If you elect to get officially married in a registry office, perhaps with only close family members in tow…

you’ve sealed the deal in the eyes of the law, happy days!

You can then opt to have Celebrant Led Wedding Ceremonies at a place and time of your choosing.

What’s more, this Ceremony becomes YOUR Ceremony and you can do and say as you please.

Your options with this are nearly limitless!

As a result, you can plan the Ceremony of your dreams and have it in a way that means so much more to you both.

Get married in a barn, in a forest, in a castle, on a moat, boat or surrounded by goats…

That pretty much sums up our collected experience 🙂


So back to our Wedding to exercise the point I’m making…

We chose this reading from an old book entitled “Yorkshire Songs” as we wanted to take some of our beloved Yorkshire up to Scotland with us.

My brother Matt, was the obvious choice for this reading as we knew he’d embrace the opportunity whole heartedly.

Now being an old Yorkshire song, it was, of course, written in old Yorkshire!

So… well… see for yourself…

Now this meant the WORLD to us, not only for the performance and the recording which we’ll enjoy for the rest of our lives, but also for the meaning attached to it.

SO personal and so meaningful.

Isn’t that what a Wedding SHOULD be?

That’s EXACTLY what Celebrant Led Wedding Ceremonies are!

So as one of the “Weducated” we really do implore you to explore your options and get as much good advice and as many ideas as you can handle.

Once upon a time, I penned the lyrics “Memories are the architects of feeling” and nothing has even been truer of the memories we created on our Wedding Day…

and the feelings they create every time we relive it.

Convention or typical choices need not rule you here!

Why not liberate yourself to make your own decisions and love the outcomes you design.

Remember, you’re only one inspiration away…

Happy DIY Wedding Planning!

Rachel and James Wedding Espresso Celebrant Led Wedding Ceremonies









0 In Our Wedding Stories

Honeymoon in Iceland a.k.a – Honeymoon on Ice!

Honeymoon in Iceland Waterfall

Well here we go, our second Honeymoon in Iceland…

That is, our second Honeymoon (don’t worry I’ll explain), our first Honeymoon in Iceland!

Honeymoon in Iceland

*phew* Glad I managed to clear that one up!

Firstly, you may remember that we decided to cram in as many Honeymoon’s as possible until, well, until we couldn’t anymore… family planning and all that.

Aptly, we chose a Honeymoon in Iceland as a funky destination.

You’ll remember that we really do recommend putting your Honeymoon on “ice” whilst you go off and enjoy a smaller “Minimoon” first.

That way you have something to look forward and knock post Wedding blues on the head!

So it all began in Norway, the year after our Wedding…

Honeymoon in Norway prior to Honeymoon in Iceland

That’s where we had our first Honeymoon and I guess you might say, we were bitten by the Nordic bug!

We LOVED it! What fantastic people, what a chilled out and happy country!

Consequently, the obvious next choice was to go exploring having a Honeymoon in Iceland too.

Honeymoon in Iceland Wide

In retrospect, I suppose this was a tough one to plan ahead for!

A Honeymoon in Iceland would end up being literally unlike any other adventure we’d ever had.

I’d dare say Iceland is completely unique!

And thus, the PERFECT destination for a Honeymoon.

You’re looking for those once in a lifetime type experiences, right?

Now contrary to many a mistaken belief, Iceland is NOT permanently covered in snow and ice… that’s the Antarctic!

Honeymoon in Iceland Waterfall

We had our Honeymoon in Iceland in August and it was perfectly warm and sunny most days.

So rather than be completely covered in snow and ice, the landscape in Iceland is actually very delicate. Much of the rock is covered with a precious moss that takes years and years to grow.

Honeymoon in Iceland Moss

Fancy farming in Iceland?

Well that’s particularly tricky as the animals have a tendency to eat up all the vegetation faster than it can grow.

See, unlike the UK where grass just grows anywhere and everywhere it can get a foothold…

there’s a fragile base moss in Iceland, which is the first requirement for an area to become fertile. So walking on it is a complete no no as it would take literally years to recover…

Our tour guide, Albert told us that Iceland was ALMOST growing enough food to support it’s native population…

so as you can image, MASSIVE amounts have to be imported to cope with the influx of tourists every year.

When we drove around Iceland, even just outside of Reykjavik, some areas are barren wastes as a result of accidental over farming from wandering goats. Areas like these have to be carefully cultivated back to life and protected.

Love to be inspired by jaw dropping awe? There’s a sense of delicate awe everywhere in Iceland!

Honeymoon in Iceland Awe

Iceland has 3 major glaciers which cover a large proportion of the country. These are home to all sorts of activities such as snow mobiling, which, if you’re thrill seekers like us, you’ll absolutely love. We love breath taking scenery and atmosphere and you’ll find it here in spades!

Honeymoon in Iceland Snow

In these kinds of environments, large groups of humans are not included! It’s just you, your small group and the ice. Amazing!

Honeymoon in Iceland Groups

Iceland’s “off the beaten track” landscape is constantly changing…

Why not explore the ice caves that appear and melt within days. Experienced mountain climbers will take small parties out to go on expeditions through these uncharted territories and we’ve never seen or experienced anything like it!

Honeymoon in Iceland Ice Cave

Water around Iceland is heated by geothermal energy which is amazing.

When you turn on the shower, you’re enjoying natural warm glacier melt water. Hot water is transported around Iceland in giant metal over land pipes which have been designed to maintain the maximum amount of heat possible. Icelandic engineers are the world leaders in this technology! Fantastic!

Even more crazy is the fact that the cold water we drank in Reykjavik originally melted from ice around the time we were born!

It took over 30 years to travel through the rock, being filtered to emerge as crystal clear drinking water in 2017. That’s different!

We have it on good authority that Iceland is home to the world’s ONLY uncollapsed magma chamber.

You can literally go inside it to see a rainbow of scorched deposits from the magma which burst out of the earth’s core.

Honeymoon in Iceland Volcano

Several people have speculated as to why this magma chamber in particular, did not collapse on this super rare occasion. One leading theory is that everything cooled so rapidly that the heat of the magma did not have time to collapse the volcano in on itself!

We were super lucky on my birthday to see the man who discovered this “earth treasure” doing some survey work on the crater!

Honeymoon in Iceland Discovery

Now here’s one for all you romantics out there!

Diamond lake is a fascinating place!

Honeymoon in Iceland Diamond Beach

Watch glaciers slowly calve giant ice blocks into the river. Marvel as they float downstream to meet with the ocean around 300 metres away.

We witnessed these ice blocks collect in the water and slowly melt into the sea.

Because this process is taking place, hundreds of tiny ice formations wash up on the beaches like hundreds of tiny diamonds… hence the name 🙂

Honeymoon in Iceland Diamond Ring

Some, yep, make pretty good fun Wedding or Engagement Rings… whilst they last 🙂

An absolutely huge percentage of the Icelandic population live in Reykjavik with the remainder of the population spread across the entire country.

In contrast… the sticks are pretty sparsely populated out there.

Honeymoon in Iceland Beautiful

At one point we had a 4 hour round trip from our Hotel pictured above, to the next large(ish) town…

For a recommended trendy Pizza place that cooked up all manner of amazing flavour combinations, naturally! 🙂

As a result, if you love road trips, you’re absolutely in the right place and the scenery is to die for! Hot Tip: Bring your camera, make sure it’s insured against accidental damage!

We’d love to know if a Honeymoon in Iceland makes your shortlist!

We found Iceland to be like nowhere else and we can honestly say that we came back changed people.

I think our appreciation of nature, it’s forces and natural beauty was really heightened by this trip and we’d recommend it whole heartedly to anyone looking for a life changing experience!

Honeymoon in Iceland Perfect

Remember, you’re only one inspiration away…

Happy DIY Wedding Planning!

Rachel and James Wedding Espresso Will my Suppliers turn up









0 In Our Wedding Stories

Will my Suppliers turn up when…

Volcanic Ash Clouds Attack?

Gosh! Is there a single Bride or Groom to be who hasn’t thought “will my Suppliers turn up”…

Will My Suppliers Turn Up

This is a fairly extreme example but you know, will my Wedding Suppliers turn up on my Wedding Day? Are they going to remember? Are they going to let me down? That kind of stuff!

When we spoke with Wedding Espresso couples recently it was a topic that just kept coming up again and again.

And rightly so!

There’s a lot on the line here. Both financially and emotionally.

So you’ve done the right thing – bought some Wedding Insurance… but even that’s not giving you 100% confidence… how do you shake that nagging feeling of “will my Suppliers turn up” from creeping up on you?

You’ve already got enough to be worrying about.

Am I right!?!

So I’d like to share a little story with you from my own experience of this very situation.

But not from the perspective of a Groom, but actually from the perspective of a Supplier!

Unless you ARE or have been a Wedding Supplier, you’ve not spent time in their shoes.

Any Wedding Supplier worth their salt holds your Wedding in the highest of high priorities. Trust me!

The question of will my Suppliers turn up on my Wedding Day really isn’t that big of an issue.

I mean, sure, you hear the horror stories and these get blown out of proportion, but for the most part, good Wedding Suppliers are in abundance and you’ll know deep down when you’re talking to one.

It certainly put my mind to rest when I came to understand just how far we Wedding Suppliers were willing to go to fulfil our promise and commitment to you, our cherished Brides and Grooms.

Faced with this scenario myself, it became clear to me that if I booked the “right” Suppliers for our Wedding, we’d get that exact same undying devotion.

Will my Suppliers turn up for my Wedding Day simply became, we can’t wait to see our Suppliers on our Wedding Day.

That’s a weight off!

Weddings! They’re a big deal!

We REALLY rolled the dice when we booked a Photographer from California!

That’s how much we trusted in our Suppliers 🙂

Will my Suppliers turn up on the Wedding Day? We flew one across the globe!

I digress, let’s get back to the story I wanted to share with you.

It all began with a modest sized Volcanic eruption in Iceland…

Do you remember that enormous Volcanic Ash Cloud that disrupted air travel across Europe for weeks in 2010?

If you don’t here’s a handy refresher:ökull

Teamed up with my Photographer brother Simon, we packed our gear bags and headed out for a Post Wedding Shoot with our Client… in Venice.


Now will my Suppliers turn up for our Post Wedding Shoot? Surely that question came up in our Client’s minds once or twice… no one’s bulletproof!

The plan was to meet them at the Station where they would be pulling in on the Orient Express.


Well I’m happy to say that worked a treat. The Orient Express people were superb and even gave us exclusive use of a carriage…

Not sure quite how we wrangled that one, but there you go!

Now Simon and I were quite used to modest accommodation on these types of jaunts, we had no wi-fi, no TV and 3 days to scout locations, shoot the material and hop on back on over to the UK.

Now celebrating it’s 10th Birthday, here’s the film we made…

Shot on big cameras, big tripods and big glide tracks by the way… not the dainty and far more practical small digital SLRs and Mirrorless Cameras everyone uses now 🙂

But that’s not the end of this story, not by a long shot!

Satisfied with everything having worked like clockwork, Simon and I headed back to the Airport via water taxi, luggage and footage in tow.

We arrived to what can only be described as mild pandemonium!

People scuttling about everywhere, looking lost, looking panicked.

We were shattered and ready for home!

There were an unusual number of flight cancellations on the boards.

Our flight appeared…


How? Why? WHAT?!!!!

So we went to the airline help desk to find out what was going on.

Haven’t you heard?

Well no, we hadn’t. We’d been in a communications whiteout, with no news reaching us at all.

Flights are getting cancelled across Europe due to a Volcanic Ash Cloud.

Well, that’s new!

How bad is this?

Well, there are no flights leaving Venice for the next few days!

OK, so first thoughts are, a few more nights in Venice could be great, right?

Wrong! We had Weddings to Film and Photograph that weekend and we had 3 days to get back to the UK!

That nagging question “will my Suppliers turn up” had now done a full 360, we HAD to get back to the UK for Weddings that weekend!

CAN we, as Suppliers, turn up when the whole of Europe is grinding to a halt?

So we pressed!

NO flights?

Well there’s one flight leaving for Paris in an hour, presently, it has spare seats and hasn’t been cancelled.

We booked on it!

Paris, that’s a whole lot nearer the UK than Venice!

The take off was an interesting one…

We can’t say with 100% certainty what communication took place between the pilot and air traffic control, but suffice it to say that we hit the runway whilst luggage was being stowed in the overhead lockers!

We also took off at a fair whip… the pilot wanted to get home too!

Will my Suppliers turn up? Yes, as long as the plane lands.

Relief washed over us as we landed in Paris.

But then we had to find a hotel with Wi-Fi so that we could try to arrange our next mode of transport.

Our options were now limited. Ha! That’s an understatement.

Hertz had 1 car left in France, it was something like 3000 Euro’s a day!

So that was a no go.

We then took alternative shifts, searching the interwebs and sleeping, trying to find some form of transport that could get us over to the UK.

Time and time again, our available options would mean getting home too late to get to our Wedding bookings!

We struck gold however, and secured 2 seats on a packed out ferry!

Setting off again after just 2 hours of on and off sleep, we arrived at the ferry port by bus.

Landing in Portsmouth in the wee small hours, we met up with Rachel, who had a gruelling 6 hour drive down in the dark to meet us.

We then shared (actually Rachel did most of it) the drive back up whilst Simon and I literally conked out.

Holy smokes though, we made it back up to Yorkshire with enough time to charge batteries, load up on fresh media and back out the door to shoot our Weddings that weekend.

Now that’s a fair indication of the level of commitment good Suppliers are willing to go to in order NOT to let you down.

Will my Suppliers turn up, you’d better believe they’ll move heaven and earth to do it!!!

I’ll add to the story that one other Supplier didn’t make it and elected to stay in Venice, defeated…

Well all I can say to that is that they were clearly not a “good” Supplier.

When you first meet up with a Supplier, your gut will tell you all you need to know!

Well that’s a happy ending to our little story and a fantastic memory.

Rachel and I later went to visit Eyjafjallajökull, the source of all that ruckus…

But more on that next time 🙂

I’ll leave you with a thought to calm your nerves about whether your Suppliers are going to turn up.

Book good, get good! Relax!

We’ll use Planes, Trains, Automobiles, heck Donkeys and Llamas if needs be! We’ll be there for you!

We’re MASSIVE globe trotting nature lovers and we (the humans) often lose sight of what’s MOST important in our world. Things DO happen beyond our control, insurance companies call them acts of God. The value of having a good contingency plan for any eventuality can never be understated!

We’ll always do our best, and on very rare occasions, that may HAVE to fall short. Just keep a backup in mind so you don’t have to get stressed if we’re facing a zombie apocalypse!

Remember, you’re only one inspiration away…

Happy DIY Wedding Planning!

Rachel and James Wedding Espresso Will my Suppliers turn up









0 In Our Wedding Stories

First Dance… Cant Dance, Wont Dance!

Wedding First Dance Can Dance

Ahh, the first dance… what song? How long? When? Where? How?

Wedding First Dance

In all our long years filming Weddings, it was the First Dance that ultimately became one of the most complicated arrangements of the whole Wedding.

Want to know why?

Well I have a theory!

Because it’s easy to assume that it’s perfectly straightforward and “just happens”…

But as the day draws nearer, you start to think about it some more…

Shouldn’t we have arranged something? We haven’t even picked a song yet!

Hubby to be is a terrible dancer… or an amazing dancer…

Time and time again, at our last meeting before the Wedding Day, it would be the first dance arrangements that had yet to be sorted.

Worst case scenario, a plan never materialised!

This left the DJ / band in a bit of a muddle as to how to kick off the evening dances.

More often than not, it sort of limped into action amidst guest confusion.

Any kids at the Wedding will start dancing, own the dance floor and before you know what’s going on, they’ve just danced away the Band’s first set.

Sometimes your mum joins in and the occasional dad… but it isn’t exactly what you wanted 🙂

It happens more than you realise!

The next most common muddle is when it is assumed that the DJ will have the song you were going to dance to.

A mad scramble then takes place, trying to download the song to an iPhone and get it hooked up to the sound system.

Note: ALWAYS take spare recordings of your song on CD, mp3, iPhone, iPod and anything else you can find 🙂

A really fool proof plan is to dance your first dance to the band playing your song if they know it or are prepared to learn it for you…

We’ve heard some AMAZING covers done this way!!!

This is probably one of my favourites. It adds an extra layer of awesome to it.

Wedding First Dance Can't Dance

We couldn’t do this however as our chosen song was a remix of a cover of a song by Jacques Dutronc…in French… whaaaaaat!?!

Yes, it’s true!

So we went the CD route… and brought several backups too…

I believe that our sound guys copied the track to hard drive, tested it and played it from there!

Now as you know, we had a pretty small and intimate Wedding so we did wonder whether it was worth investing the time, money and effort into learning something.

I recall with much fondness a couple who’s Wedding we filmed a few years ago, practising their very complex routine outside the marquee at dusk, where no one could see.

Luckily, I was investigating angles, spotted this and caught a glimpse of it on camera…

and it was fantastic. The look in their eyes was just so real, that was truly a “moment”.

The ultimate conclusion was yes, absolutely we should do this. We were ALL in!

I’m a self confessed TERRIBLE dancer – hence the title of this article.

I’m happy enough jumping around and waving my arms in the air a bit but anything more than that and you’ve lost me.

So probably the absolute WORST case scenario guy for leaning a first dance routine.

What I’m trying to say in a round about way is, take heart!

If I can do it, literally ANYONE can do it!!!

Now we had the BEST dance teacher. Kathryn arranged our entire dance for us and taught us the moves.

I don’t think it was easy for her at all, but she persisted and knew what to say and when, to get us there.

In a sec, you’re going to get to watch the whole thing, as it happened on the day.

But there are lessons to be learnt from this first 🙂

Firstly, Kathryn was always reminding us that when you’re performing, 150% effort looks like 100% effort to the audience.

So you need to constantly over express to stop it looking limp.

You think you’re killing it with your groovy moves and then you watch it back…

(Kathryn filmed our rehearsals so that we could study ourselves!)

Ahah! See what you mean there, Kathryn. You’ve got to get over that 100% effort you think you’re putting in and raise the bar even higher.

Now come the Wedding Day we discovered something that in all fairness, we HAD been warned about…

Dance floors, well they can be slippy when they’re all clean and fresh!

Ours… yeah, you guessed it, it was SUPER slippy!

During our practice run when, thankfully, there was no one watching, Rachel went flying and that really put the heart palpitations in us!

But we persisted, Rachel now barefoot.

Watching it back now is amusing for us, as you can literally see our feet sliding about as we try to control our movements.

This did make it about 1000% more difficult for sure and we HAD to hold back a little for fear of falling over.

But when all is said and done, this is great fun right?

I mean, Mr can’t dance, won’t dance did a massive 4 minute routine with his new wife to the delight and excitement of our family and friends.

We even filmed it so baby Xander can enjoy it in a few years.

I’d LOVE to have seen my parents get married and having a great time!

This is a gift for him which we hope he treasures his entire life.

Theatrics are kind of cool too, we love that stuff, so we actually tacked on a dramatic intro from another song and borrowed the idea of confetti cannons from a Wedding we’d filmed the year before.

What a blast! 🙂

Another grand finale that we really liked, if your dance is slower, is to bring on your bridal party to join you on the dance floor for the closing minute.

Ours is a version of this, we just used a second track to kick it off.

This signals to everyone else that the dancing proper is about to begin.

Ultimately, what you want is for the party to begin in style and send a clear message out that the evening do has begun 🙂

Wedding First Dance Can Dance

Can’t dance, won’t dance but could dance, DID dance 🙂

Remember, you’re only one inspiration away…

Happy DIY Wedding Planning!

Rachel and James Wedding Espresso First Dance









0 In Our Wedding Stories

Wedding Weather… or not!

Wedding Weather Outdoor Ceremony

For Wedding Weather on your Wedding Day, our little islands do pose a significant threat to one particular type of Wedding…

The outdoors one!

Now we’re like you, like most people actually.

The idea of sun drenched Wedding Weather, a country garden Wedding with birds chirping, flowers blooming and a rustic arch to get married under is all well and good.

Until it rains! You know what I’m talking about… disappointing British Wedding Weather!

The birds go home, the flowers are dripping wet and everything looks dull and lifeless.

Well let’s not lie to ourselves… Bad Wedding Weather, well, it happens! A LOT!

I’ve spent years pondering this – us British types are just so darn hopeful! We ALWAYS seem to bank on good Wedding Weather as soon as the sun shines… even if it’s only for a day!

You know how it goes – sun’s out on Monday, BBQ this weekend! Or let’s go to the beach on Saturday!

Truth is, our weather system changes like the wind… (wonder if that’s related?)

Sunny one minute, raining the next… and don’t even get me started on Scotland (we love you really Scotland!)

So Summer Weddings… good Wedding Weather guaranteed, right?

Sorry, no!

Increased chances? Yes sure.

But we’re here today to say to you “don’t bank on it”.

Be realistic!

Even with 10 years experience under our belts even we fell victim to this…

A bit… not 100%, but maybe at least let’s say, 40%, which is kinda high!

It’s human nature and you’ve got to get that stuff under control!

Here’s what happened…

We decided to get married in Scotland 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 woop woop! and…

If you’ve ever spent a significant amount of time in Scotland, you’ll know that hopeful Wedding Weather for this destination is a right old gamble, for sure!

But hey ho, we rolled some pretty big Wedding dice and got lucky!

Wedding Weather Good

Why Scotland? Because we love it…. plus, if you want a humanist ceremony, Scotland is your friend with benefits!

Our chosen Venue, just outside of Inverness had beautiful gardens, a long sweeping path down to a little amphitheatre with…

Wedding Weather Outdoor

yep, you guessed it, a beautiful arch to get married under… provided we had good Wedding Weather, of course 🙂

Wedding Weather Outdoor Ceremony


Now we had it in our minds that our Wedding Weather might let us down, so like every Bride and Groom since the dawn of time…

we refreshed every five seconds for months in advance…

(Wedding … ha, now that WOULD be a thing!!!)

That constant need to check just got worse during the week before…

And worse still on the drive up!

Partly because as we drove, we left grey clouds behind and it was roasting when we crossed the border. Woohoo said we!

So plan B, which was to get married inside the house, which was also beautiful, was quickly becoming plan Z in our minds.

Wedding Weather Indoor Ceremony

As we had the place for the weekend, we decided to have a warm up party the night before, put some food on, have a disco, throw in some fancy dress!

I nearly got sun burn it was that hot and sunny!

Wedding Weather Sunshine

It was glorious and we made full use of the grounds for frolics and fun!

Wedding Weather Fun

We woke up the next morning and it was misty, dark, maybe even a little gloomy!

We had a late Ceremony so there were a few hours to breathe, take it all in, get ready etc.

As the hours rolled on, the whisper mill began, was it going to be outside or not… eventually a judgement call had to be made.

To compound things, our AV guys needed a good hour to set up, either inside or outside so we had to decide well in advance.

Ultimately, we made the call and moved indoors.

We’ve seen it before when folks have pushed it, only for the heavens to open and everyone run lock, stock and two smoking bridal shoes back inside in the middle of the Ceremony… it’s not the best if you can help it!

So we played it safe, and once the gears were in motion, everything just felt natural again and any ideas of “missing out” or “compromise” went quickly out of the window.

Wedding Weather Bad Indoor Ceremony

As fate would have it, it DID rain throughout the Ceremony, we didn’t notice, and come the Drinks Reception, it had stopped.

So we all moved outside and enjoyed our group shots outside and everything was fine.

Wedding Weather Outdoor Group Shots

Now the second Wedding Weather gamble we played was having Fire Dancers perform to close the evening… we left this until midnight to get Scotland as dark as possible.

Wedding Weather Fire Dancers

Again, I suppose we were lucky. The rain had long since given up and everything went without a hitch… but you know what… perhaps in hindsight, we should have had a gazebo to throw up… just in case!

At past Weddings, when there have been Fireworks and the couples have not been so lucky with their Wedding Weather, we’ve seen everyone huddled into doorways to watch, so I’m going to say for the cost, which is really negligible, DO consider having an emergency rain cover for your guests if you’re planning something outside…

Or ask the Venue if they have something suitable. Brollies – they don’t really cut it.

So whilst you can’t trust the Wedding Weather in the UK, you can trust preparation and realistic expectation. Plan for all eventualities and you’ll come out swinging with memories to last a lifetime.

Don’t let regrets rule your day! You’re in control!

Just not of the weather 🙂

You’re only one inspiration away…

Happy DIY Wedding Planning!

Rachel and James Wedding Espresso Wedding Weather









1 In Our Wedding Stories

Honeymoon in Transylvania

Honeymoon in Transylvania beautiful country

A Honeymoon in Transylvania !?!?!?!

So I’m guessing a little back story is needed here 🙂

Are you ready? Great! Here it comes!

Rachel and I have been married for over 4 years now, we’ve enjoyed a few Honeymoons, including our Honeymoon in Transylvania, and we took some great advice at the time…

Hold off on the Honeymoon!

Save up, go somewhere amazing and really live it up.

Straight after the Wedding, head out on a “minimoon” – take a few days to relive it all and so we did.

We took a week in Scotland, right after the Wedding, doing all the things we’d always wanted to do – micro bucket list stuff like Horse Riding, Whale Watching and visiting some new areas.

Wedding Minimoon in Scotland prior to Honeymoon in Transylvania

We saved the biggie up so we could look forward to it!


You know those post Wedding blues everyone talks about?

Well the best way to avoid them wholesale is to have something amazing to look forward to!

I guess we’re living proof that it works.

But we put our own unique twist on it!

We decided to carry on having Honeymoons for as long as we possibly could.

We made a list of places that we REALLY wanted to go that would be potential nightmares for us as a small family with kids.

So Comicon is on the back burner for a few years… if Xander is anything like his Dad… well 🙂

Comicon, not a Honeymoon in Transylvania

One by one, we’ve been ticking them off our Honeymoon list – you might call them holidays, but we treat them as Honeymoons – it gives us that “reliving your Wedding Day buzz” when we look at them this way.

Whilst this will depend entirely on your family planning of course – we’ve managed to squeeze in 3 epic Honeymoons and one of them, I’m going to tell you about now…

So a Honeymoon in Transylvania… that’s an odd choice!

Exactly! And as of, August 2018, now officially Royalty approved!

And you know what? It’s AMAZING!!!

Firstly, it’s absolutely beautiful.

Do your research and stick in the middle like we did, you’re going to love it!!! A Honeymoon in Transylvania is a fantastic choice!

Honeymoon in Transylvania beautiful country

It’s a land of mystery and hidden treasures!

If you’re looking to make memories and have adventures then a Honeymoon in Transylvania should be pretty near the top of your list!

Honeymoon in Transylvania Mystery and Treasures

It’s really, really good value!

doing and eating is very inexpensive and the food is simply delicious. Some of the best eat outs we’ve ever had in our lives. Simply divine!

If you’re a bit of a foodie like us, then a Honeymoon in Transylvania is right up your alley!

There’s a zoo, which is 80p entrance for adults… the rest is comparable 🙂

We drove over 1000km and it only cost us £56 in fuel!

Villa Prato in Brasov is an amazing place to stay!

Honeymoon in Transylvania stay in Villa Prato

Have you ever dreamed of staying somewhere where the staff rush out as you’re leaving to ask if you might like an umbrella… you know, just in case it rains… how about chef prepared breakfast every morning in a garden conservatory overlooking the town… you got it! All of this and more on our Honeymoon in Transylvania, for under the cost of a Premier Inn in the UK!

Honeymoon in Transylvania stay in Brasov

The people are some of the nicest you could meet anywhere in the world!

Honeymoon in Transylvania where only awesome happens

The cablecar up to the Bucegi Mountains HAS to be one of the most thrilling rides ever conceived by mortals.

Excitement and terror maxed out all in one swoop! Plus, the ambience and serenity of the plateau littered with rock formations at the top is awesome!!! One of the most amazing places to “be”….

Honeymoon in Transylvania Bucegi Mountains

But don’t forget that the last ride back down is at 3.45pm… that is, if you can find any information telling you this. Otherwise you might find yourself enjoying a 4km trek back down the mountain on foot… like we almost did…

Honeymoon in Transylvania Bucegi Mountains View

Oh yes, and sometimes, it’s closed on Tuesday – but that’s cool because there’s a note on the door when you get there! 🙂

We found that signage in Transylvania is sparse to non existent… and this must be because either a) us British types are too tightly wound or b) the lovely Transylvanian people are too relaxed 🙂

Websites do not have much up to date info and opening and closing times are flexible!

The Turda Salt Mine is a MUST!

Honeymoon in Transylvania Turda Salt Mine

I mean… just look at it!!!

Honeymoon in Transylvania Turda Salt Mine Boats

If you’ve even dreamed of rowing a boat out onto an indoor lake deep underground in a disused salt mine with cool Tron-like lights everywhere, you now know where to go!

In Sibiu the houses watch you – the more I look at this the more amused I am about it 🙂

Honeymoon in Transylvania visit Sibiu

So yep, this is the stuff of memories and that’s what Honeymoons are all about if you ask us – creating amazing memories that will last a lifetime.

Relaxing is cool too (yeah right, when was the last time we did that) – but we’re go-getters.

And no, Transylvania is not full of goths and vampires 🧛‍♀️ 🧛‍♂️ – that’s actually one of the most miss sold fabrications of our time. There were a few Dracula mugs for sale on our walk up to Bran Castle but the truth is that Vlad the Impaler probably only visited Bran Castle once… and even that’s tenuous…

Honeymoon in Transylvania Bran Castle

But we did go to see the house where he was born… probably.

Honeymoon in Transylvania Vlad The Impaler

So it really is worth considering a visit to both of these historic sites of importance to the Romanian people… and all the better without the Hollywood gloss!

Finally convinced? Maybe Transylvania belongs on your shortlist too!?

You’re only one inspiration away…

Happy DIY Wedding Planning!

Rachel and James Wedding Espresso Round









0 In Our Wedding Stories

Best Wedding Speech of all time… possibly :)

Best Wedding Speech of all time…this must make a top something list at least!

Firstly, we’ve seen some absolute crackers throughout our career – poems to make you laugh, poems to make you cry, full on audio visual presentations, epics, one liners and just about everything in-between… many could well be considered one of the Best Wedding Speeches of all time!

Best Wedding Speech

But there’s an art to a short Wedding Speech and a weight to it that can’t be conveyed by adding more words or talking for longer.

Then there’s my Wedding Speech, which, correctly, was quite long as I had a ton of folks to thank and I wanted to cover some serious ground and get everyone in… I come from a large family, I have 4 brothers AND a sister! Rachel’s family is Irish, so there are a few new extended family members to go at there too!

But this “Best Wedding Speech” from my centenary old Grandpa was to our minds, absolute perfection.

You’ve got to give the right people the right opportunities I suppose and this was a happy accident.

The decision to have Grandpa (ex Naval Captain, Headmaster and Principal Lecturer) speak at our Wedding was actually based on our combined amazement that he could be there!!! And not only walking but dancing!

What happened ultimately is that Grandpa had something to say that would perhaps seem awkward in any other circumstance.

We simply allowed the Best Wedding Speech ever, to happen naturally.

And this is true of so many people on your Wedding Day. Let them have a go at it if you feel they may have something to give…

More on that in a future post 🙂

Now something else you may or may not be considering… which I’m about to introduce into your Wedding brain…

This is video right!?!

Now what would be the result of NOT having our Wedding Day filmed?

Well… loss? Faded memory? An inability to recall the minutia of the moment?

No reliving the Best Wedding Speech of all time?

Yes, to all the above.

Do we have the stills? Yes absolutely.

Are they the same?

Whilst we treasure them dearly and the memories they evoke… no, they’re not the same at all.

A photograph will capture a moment in time, a singular expression, emotion or highlight. But the Best Wedding Speech of all time (TM) can ONLY be relived on film.

Would we trade one for the other?

Not a chance! 🙂

So you can see how this works.

If you’ve been on the fence about whether to have your day filmed and photographed I don’t think anyone could present more compelling evidence for you!

Also, whilst we’re on the subject, why not say hello to Wesley, our Wedding Filming friend. Not only are his films absolutely sublime, but he believes in ALL the same emotion, legacy and perfectionism as we do. Meet him here 🙂

You’re only one inspiration away…

Happy DIY Wedding Planning!

Rachel and James Wedding Espresso Best Wedding Speech