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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

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

Perfect!

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 weather.com every five seconds for months in advance…

(Wedding Weather.com … 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!

WHAT A LIFE SAVER!!!

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