ILLUMINATED FINE ART + FILM PHOTOGRAPHY WORKSHOP: SPAIN, EUROPE

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One of the absolute highlights of my career has been the absolutely incredible opportunities I’ve had to collaborate with like minded artists on editorial shoots, as well as meeting up and coming talent through my teaching and workshops.

Some of my absolute favourites have been a rustic fig inspired shoot as featured twice on Style Me Pretty, as well as in various other online and print media, the first Illuminated Collective workshop as featured in You & Your Wedding Magazine, Wedding Sparrow, and 100 Layer Cake amongst many others, a minimalist grey and ivory editorial that is appearing in Issue 10 of Magnolia Rouge, with a little preview from the day already featured on Wedding Sparrow. Most recently I also created a rich pink & plum editorial with gold accents at Aynhoe Park that has yet to be revealed… just you wait!

So it is with genuine excitement that I can announce here that the next Illuminated Collective workshop for photographers is being hosted in THE MOST BEAUTIFUL location in Spain, just an hour from the magical city of Barcelona. The venue is a grand Cistercian monastery with thick walls, massive columns and about 800 years of history in the heart of the spectacular Monasterio de Piedra park in Nuévalos, Zaragoza. Famous for the beauty of its natural surroundings, the ceremonies can take place within the abbey or outdoor surrounded by cascades and waterfalls.

Please REGISTER HERE to attend from 14-15 September 2015 | Price £850 / €1195 / $1316| Read FAQ’s

One of our amazing (and down right lovely) tutors Ashlee from Taylor Barnes Photography went on a little excursion there just a week ago so that we could share some images of the location, a handful of which are seen below in this blog post. Just. Too. Dreamy.

To say I am excited to be spending two days here with a group of incredible artists, styling both a wedding and lifestyle editorial shoot on each day, and making friends over delicious food and wine… well… understatement!

Join me alongside destination & luxury photographer Katie Julia, fine art and film photographer Ashlee Taylor, and insanely talented floral designer Amy from Bo Boutique as we take you on a journey where not only will you be able to shoot incredible images for your portfolios, but where we also teach you valuable skills in marketing your business to the ideal client, working effectively with wedding planners in Europe, as well as hands on film and styling tutorials throughout. See the full itinerary here.

Please REGISTER HERE to attend from 14-15 September 2015 | Price £850 / €1195 / $1316 | Read FAQ’s

Places are strictly limited and on a first come first serve basis, if you’d like to pay by instalments then contact the Illuminated Collective here for more details.

Jessie

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FIVE BEST BEAUTY BUYS FOR BRIDES

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As a wedding planner I’m often called on for advice outside of what most would consider “normal” duties! One of them is to recommend beauty products to brides, whom almost always want to be looking their absolute best on their big day (this usually means long locks, clear skin and healthy nails!). So here are a few of my tried and tested products, from personal experience and feedback from my lovely ladies.

1. EVE LOM CLEANSER

Described by Vogue as “probably the best cleanser in the world”, this has been my number one skin care recommendation since I first tried it 5 years ago – it’s a balm that effectively cleanses, exfoliates and tones with the regime that includes massage using a muslin cloth. It’s expensive but lasts forever, and basically replaces a lot of your facial care steps (unless you are me, and you buy new products simply because the packaging is pretty!).

2. VICHY IDEALIA SMOOTHING AND ILLUMINATING CREAM

I’ve experimented with a lot of moisturisers, a lot! This one is my all time fave, for sure. It’s totally gentle, suits all skin types, smells lovely and makes your skin feel all glowy. The packaging isn’t anything to write home about, but I kinda like the old school French pharmacy looking products on my shelf. It is both rich and light, which is hard to find in a moisturiser I think.

3. BAUME DE ROSE, BY TERRY

My make up artist (the extremely lovely Sophie Everett) introduced me to by Terry when I got married, and I adore this lip balm that also doubles up as a fabulous treatment for nail cuticles. Good news, they also do them in tinted colours now!

4. AVEDA DAMAGE REMEDY

The whole collection of hair treatments in this range is amazing, totally restores hair that’s been frazzled by heat/bleach/sun (or in my case all three!). Fabulous for those ladies (99% of us) who want to grow our hair out for TBD (The Big Day).

5. LUSH DADDY-O SHAMPOO

If like me your hair turns a little brassy a couple of weeks post highlights, then you definitely need a purple shampoo. This one smells amazing and is really pigmented, so works a treat! I reviewed it before here I’m also about to trial this one from Bleach London, who are constantly tempting me to buy their lilac hair dye. I’m not brave enough though, not nearly! The Aveda shampoo and conditioner called Blue Malva is also scent-a-licious but I find it’s not so pigmented. Perhaps better for every day use though!

Anyone else got favourite products for brides-to-be that they’d like to share? I avoided the nitty gritty stuff like teeth whitening, tanning and waxing – needless to say with all that prep, what you pay for is what you get, and don’t try anything new close to the wedding date!

Jessie

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IMAGE CREDIT: Taylor Barnes Photography

 

WHAT IS FINE ART PHOTOGRAPHY, AND WHY BOOK A FILM PHOTOGRAPHER FOR YOUR WEDDING?

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I first fell in love with fine art film photography when I met my now dear friend Ashlee from Taylor Barnes Photography, just under four years ago. She persuaded me to take part in a bump shoot whilst pregnant with Flora, and the light filled beautifully posed images made my heart skip a beat.

Fast forward to last year when we collaborated on a styled shoot at Barnsley House & Spa in the Cotswolds, as part of a fine art photography and styling workshop with the Illuminated Collective – the talent shown by the attendees blew my mind. I had no idea we had so many home grown incredible film photographers based here in the UK, and I adored how different each of their images were too.

So, I thought I’d showcase some of those amazing artists here on the blog – I hand picked five incredible photographers for you to admire, and asked them to choose their favourite three photos from the workshop, along with their personal thoughts on why a real bride should book a fine art or film photographer…

SARAH HANNAM

Sarah Hannam Photography provides natural light, documentary wedding photography services throughout the UK and internationally.

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What does fine art photography mean to you?

Fine art photography is a combination of bringing all the details big and small together and creating a styled artistic aesthetic that brings cohesion to the whole wedding, as well as documenting the wedding day’s important moments. Fine art wedding photography is basically what you see in magazine spreads – it’s editorial, giving you a feel of the look of the day. Even within the genre of fine art photography, there are a lot of different styles. Some photographers go for very over-exposed, high contrast & heavily saturated colours or way out posing, but I prefer to keep things looking natural not only in terms of colour, but composition too. I suggest some informally choreographed poses for portraits but I limit it to what looks natural. For me, the most important thing is capturing a moment of real emotional connection.

Why should a couple choose a film photographer?

Film is wonderful for its softness on skin tones, luminosity and delicate colours, so lends itself perfectly to capturing weddings and portraits. Often digital images of a white wedding gown can overexpose and burn out the fine detail, which is not ideal if the bride wants to see that couture gown in all its beauty! Having your wedding shot on film is undoubtedly a luxury high end product, due to the unavoidable base costs, but with flattering tones and a timeless quality, in my opinion it is a wise investment and pretty trend proof, which is an important factor to consider. Clients can also feel reassured that their film photographer really knows their craft and can think on their feet, because there just isn’t the option to quickly view the LCD. Remember not so long ago the thrill of collecting your developed films and walking along the street excitedly looking at the prints? Maybe that’s just me but what is alarming today is that we hardly print off digital files and no longer enjoy the pleasure of holding a real photograph. This is why I always offer a full set of proof prints as well as a USB, so clients actually have a tangible product to keep and look at. I think it is so important to be able to have the physical photographs in your hands, plus sitting down looking through your wedding album in years to come with your children or grandchildren will mean so much more than searching through tens of thousands of files on your computer. After all the festivities are over, the only thing left you have of your wedding day are the photographs.

You can see more of Sarah’s images from the Illuminated Collective workshop on her blog here and here, and where they were featured on 100 Layer Cake

RENATA FRY

Devon based beautiful fine art wedding photography and family portraits.

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I chose these 3 images as I feel they sum up what the Illuminated Collective Workshop meant to me; beauty, elegant styling and warmth. Everything about the workshop was beautiful. The venue, the models, the detailing and the other attendees images from the day. The styling was simply stunning, as evident in the photos I have chosen. The weather on the day of the workshop was perfect; a warm sunny summer’s day which meant the light was perfect for late afternoon portraits in the grounds of Barnsley House. I just love the warm palette of corals and peaches in each of the images.

What does fine art photography mean to you?

Fine Art photography to me is all about capturing details, styling and romance. It’s about recording a moment through the eye of an artist, seeing things from a different view point and focussing on the little details that have been carefully chosen by the couple. My aim is to use natural light and soft tones to record those memories to cherish forever.

Why should a couple choose a film photographer?

I just adore film photography. The flattering skin tones, the use of natural light and the amazing palette of colours that film delivers are just simply stunning. When I look at images captured on film they remind me of impressionist paintings by great masters such as Claude Monet. The depth of colour is incredible. As a photographer I have to carefully compose each shot and I am more selective with what I photograph. I also have to think carefully about my camera settings to obtain correct exposure, so I am constantly learning and improving my own skills by using film.

You can see more of Renata’s images from the Illuminated Collective workshop on her blog here, and where they were featured on So You’re Getting Married.

THOMAS, BOWTIE & BELLE PHOTOGRAPHY

Gloucestershire based fine art wedding photographers who travel the UK

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What does fine art photography mean to you?

Fine Art Photography means different things to different people; but overall, I think that it is photography shaped with the photographer’s artistic vision. Fine Art photographers do not simply document, but take part in the creation of an image, be it film or digital. Our vision of fine art photography is to capture moments filled with light, creating dreamy airiness and elegant simplicity. Every image we capture is special, and being able to participate, shaping beautiful moments into beautiful images is what the fine art ethos is all about. It takes a unique perspective, involves emotion and therefore every photographer, and every image is different. A fine art style helps create romantic, classic and timeless imagery, capturing the moments that make memories, and the individual details that bring everything together.

Why should a couple choose a film photographer?

Every wedding is special, unique and beautiful. When you choose your photographer, you want one that documents every aspect and truly captures the essence of you and your day. I think film is precious, and as a result, can capture precious moments. It’s creative, intimate and considered – capturing real emotion through thoughtful framing and beautiful colours. Film fits perfectly with a fine art style, documenting your moments of romance, joy and happiness; as a bride and groom you get beautiful shots that are delicate and real. It has a unique, soft look not found in digital with a real depth that brings images to life. To be able to shoot film well means understanding how to create and shape an image, film speed and light. Choosing a film photographer you can be confident they will be considered, caring and invested in creating timeless images for you, perfect to print for your album. You’ll get imagery conveying the emotion of your big day for years to come, every time you flick through the pages.

You can see more of Thomas’ images from the Illuminated Collective workshop here

CLAIRE GRAHAM

London based fine art photographer specialising in beautiful artistic wedding & lifestyle portrait photography.

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What does fine art photography mean to you?

I believe fine art is a way of storytelling with artistic and beautiful photographs, using natural light, soft gentle colour tones and styled pretty details.  Fine art is often a story being told by putting all the small pieces together to create a comprehensive story with detail shots being just as important as the portraits. In my opinion, fine art photographers have more freedom to explore unlimited visual opportunities and include more of their personal expression when crafting their work.

Why should a couple choose a film photographer?

Film has a softer focus and a less then perfect quality that many people are growing to love or/and appreciate.  I adore the colour, dynamic range, grain and little imperfection film gives to my photographs. By using film I can create a soft romantic look to my work. I think being a film photographer has made me more aware and pushed me creatively, as well as giving me new perspective as a wedding photographer.  I personally feel a better photographer by incorporating film into my workflow.

You can see more of Claire’s images from the Illuminated Collective workshop here and where they were featured on Burnetts Boards

RACHEL JANE

Wiltshire based fine art and film photographer specialising in weddings & equine portraits

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What does fine art photography mean to you?

Fine art photography to me is capturing even the simplest of detail and turning it into something beautiful; something you would expect to see on the pages of a magazine. When I’m shooting, I always look for the most beautiful light which can transform an ordinary image into something magical. I love to style every last detail, making sure nothing is missed and this helps me produce a coherent set of images with a very artistic feel to them. I concentrate on capturing real emotion. I do a few ‘posed’ shots throughout the day and even then, I only gently direct my couples. This is typically how a fine art photographer works- shooting with more of an editorial style.

Why should a couple choose a film photographer?

Film creates tones and colours that digital fails to capture which is the main reason I choose to shoot with this format. It also means I have to think more about each shot and this in turn has helped me develop my style further. I create soft, romantic imagery aimed at the modern day bride.

You can see more of Rachel’s photos from the Illuminated Collective workshop here.

Supplier & Vendor Credits:

Workshop: Illuminated Collective | Styling: Jessie Thomson Wedding and Events | Venue: Barnsley House | Florals: The Rose Shed | Linens: Table To Dine For | Stationery: Juliet Grace Design | Cake: The Natural Cake Company | Engagement dresses: Maids to Measure | Wedding gowns: Johanna Hehir | Hair Accessories: Kelly Spence | Jewellery: Astely Clarke | Tableware: Helene Millot | Make up: Nina Norman | Hair: Nicholas White

BLUSH + GOLD TRADITIONAL COTSWOLDS MARQUEE WEDDING

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I have so many beautiful weddings to share with you from last year, and still can’t quite believe I managed 15 weddings whilst pregnant with Augie Bear. I simply couldn’t have done it without my fabulous team of assistants and suppliers, namely my sister Georgia from Westwood Design who I trust simplicity to care for the little details as much as I do!

I thought I’d actually share one of my favourites with you today, which happened to be just three weeks before I went into labour (!) – every wedding is special, but doing full wedding design and planning brings you so much closer to a couple and their family – and I adored this chic and traditional Cotswolds church wedding with garden marquee reception.

The wedding was featured on Style Me Pretty and you can find the full list of vendors at the end.

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Event Planning, Design & Styling: Jessie Thomson Wedding Planning | Photography: Taylor Barnes Photography | Videography: Hugh Farrow Films | Floral Design: The Rose Shed | Wedding Dress: Ellie Sanderson | Wedding Cake: Curtis & Co | Stationery: Letterpress Of Cirencester | Catering: Calcot Kitchens | Hair & Makeup: Roseanna Velin | Band: The Hit Brigade | Assistant Stylist: Georgia Westwood | Horse & Carriage: Kevin Merry | Linen: Table To Dine For | Marquee: Alpha Hire | Photobooth: Little Bird Photobooths | Signage And Table Plan: Lizzy May

BABY LOVE: AUGUSTUS STANLEY JACK

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I can’t quite believe it’s been 6 months since we welcomed our latest addition to the family, little Augustus Stanley Jack. He is just the sweetest boy, full of smiles and already sitting + crawling (so different to Flora who was quite content to sit still and play with whatever was closest at the time!).

To celebrate his birth I enlisted the help of my sister Georgia, who happens to be an incredible florist and set designer in London, and had my dear friend Ashlee from Taylor Barnes Photography come and spend a day with us in October last year. I dressed us all in white, adorned us with fresh flowers and foliage, and headed out to our local park to spot fairies in the wildflowers with Flora. I hope you love the results!

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For those interested, Flora’s dress was from Zara Kids and my dress was from Asos, while Augie wore H&M Baby. Flora is also wearing an amber teething necklace – never been sure if it worked but she’s grown rather attached to it over the years!

 

Photography: Taylor Barnes Photography | Florals + Foliage: Westwood Design

STYLING WORKSHOP FOR WEDDING PROFESSIONALS

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Last year I started teaching for the first time after receiving hundreds of emails asking for business advice or help creating styled shoots for publication. It all started with the very first Illuminated Collective workshop – a one day event for wedding photographers looking to refine their style towards more fine art weddings. I did a couple of sessions on styling props + decor, and can’t wait to share with you some of the images from a selection of attendees too.

I then took part in The Wedding Academy with Flourish & Prosper alongside a cast of industry heavyweights like Kat Williams from Rock n Roll Bride, Marianne Taylor, Sinclair Sellars from Maids to Measure and many more. It was eye opening, there is just so much business know how that wedding industry entrepreneurs have yet to take on board. From blogging to social media and PR, we covered it all!

There will be more photography workshops this year that are already making my creative brain explode with excitement, but first and foremost I am collaborating with so much more amazing talent at The Styling Workshop 2015 hosted by Flourish & Prosper on 27th April 2015 at the ever so fabulous Aynhoe Park in Oxfordshire.

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So what’s it all about?

This one day workshop is an exclusive “how to” for wedding creatives looking to gain amazing images for their portfolio and increase coverage with magazines and blogs in order to attract more of the clients they’d like to work with. We show you how to build a beautiful tablescape, style + pose models, and arrange pretty details – as well as hands on styling sessions where you’ll get top tips and have your own creations photographed by a leading European fine art photographer. PLUS a chance to get your portfolio reviewed and a super lovely gift.

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Who’s speaking & contributing?

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Who is the workshop for?

This event is of most interest to stylists, planners and photographers planning their own editorial shoots – but also any other wedding creatives with products or services to sell, from cake bakers to prop hire. We’re encouraging all attendees to bring their own items to style with our guidance, and will be giving everyone a little styling homework (we promise it’s fun!).

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How much is it and how do I register?

The investment for the day is £595.00 which includes all materials and refreshments, but not travel and accommodation. You can purchase a ticket here and get 10% off with discount code JESSIELOVES or request payment by instalments by emailing info@weareflourishandprosper.com – there are limited places available, in order to make sure everyone get’s the highest level of attention and teaching.

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These images were taken by Taylor Barnes Photography as part of the Illuminated Collective workshop last year, who will also be speaking at The Styling Workshop on 27th April 2015. It was styled by me with an amazing cast of vendors you can find below, and is in the current issue of You & Your Wedding Magazine available in shops now.

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Vendors: Photography: Taylor Barnes Photography | Styling: Jessie Thomson Wedding and Events | Venue: Barnsley House | Florals: The Rose Shed | Assistant Stylist: Westwood Design | Linens: Table To Dine For | Stationery: Juliet Grace Design | Cake: The Natural Cake Company | Bridal Boutique: The White Rose Bridal | Engagement dresses: Maids to Measure via The White Rose Bridal | Wedding gowns: Johanna Hehir via The White Rose Bridal | Hair Accessories: Kelly Spence | Jewellery: Astely Clarke | Tableware: Helene Millot | Make up: Nina Norman | Hair: Nicholas White

Intimate + Vintage Inspired Dinner Party Wedding in the Cotswolds

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You know what makes me happy? REALLY happy? Seeing my beautiful brides and handsome grooms gracing the pages of my fave ever magazines and blogs. It’s so nice to see all of the pretty details and sweet moments gathered together into a little love story for others to admire and share.

Ever since I got engaged myself in 2009, I have obsessed over pretty much everything that Style Me Pretty features. So to be a member of their exclusive little black book, and have my work published by them is a dream come true. Literally!

Recently they featured one of the most lovely weddings I’ve ever worked on, set in the Cotswolds was this intimate wedding inspired by the glamour of Great Gatsby. I honestly adored the bride, she is one of those girls you really want to be friends with. You know the ones?

Anyway, I hope you enjoy the photo’s and be sure to read the original feature on Style Me Pretty too!

 

Photography: Hannah Millard | Event Design: Jessie Thomson | Event Planning: Jessie Thomson | Floral Design: Rose Hamson | Caterer: Berry Blue | Entertainment: The Hipcats | Cutlery, Crockery & Glassware: Helene Millot | Feather Chair Backs: Things By Laura | Hair & Make Up: SGRVintage | Linen:Table To Dine For | Macarons: Anges De Sucre | Marquee/Tent: Artisan Marquees | Private House: The Parsonage | Typewriter: Penny Lane Vintage | Vintage Furniture: Poppy Trading Company

10 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Hire a Wedding Planner

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Yup that’s right…. 10 reasons why you SHOULDN’T hire a wedding planner…. because although I am one, and I firmly believe that we are pretty much as close to fairy godmothers as you can get, it’s not always a given that you should hire one for your big day.


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1. If your budget is seriously restricted. Think about it, if hiring a wedding planner means that 50% of your budget is now blown, that’s not leaving much room for other essential items like a decent venue. Or food.

2. If you are pretty much replicating your sisters (or other family member) wedding – same marquee at the family home, same suppliers, same timeline… etc. Especially if your parents are hosting and don’t mind running around in the final weeks and on the day itself. You might still want an on the day co-ordinator though, just to take off the pressure from Mum & Dad.

3. If you don’t actually want a wedding planner. That relationship is never going to work! You need to trust someone to do their job properly.

4. If you LOVE being organised, are creative, don’t have a full time job, or kids. Oh and you just happen to know who the best and most reliable suppliers in the industry are. Top tip: it’s not always those with the prettiest websites who appear at the top of Google.

5. If you have lots of friends who work in the wedding industry. Soak up their knowledge and take their advice (assuming they are good at their job!). Even then, who manages the day itself for you?

6. If you’re after a homespun, DIY, laid back, no traditions or schedules kinda wedding. Just remember, it’s the most well organised events that actually feel the most relaxed for those attending.

7. If you are thinking about booking a super cheap and inexperienced planner. Consider carefully and think of value rather than cost. Better to have no planner than a bad planner?!

8. If you have a seriously strong network of friends and family. A huge part of my job as a planner is acting as stand in BFF and counsellor, an impartial voice of reason who will never ever call you a bridezilla or not pick up your calls.

9. If you are very decisive and have a clear vision for your big day – with the help of the internet and some handy referrals then you are well on your way with planning. However you’ll also need to manage budgets, timelines and choose someone else as a point of contact for the day.

10. I actually can’t think of ten reasons NOT to hire a wedding planner. So I’m going to write another list of reasons why you SHOULD hire one next, I’ll try my very best to stick to just 10 on that one.

Jessie – Owner of Jessie Thomson Weddings & Events

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Photo Credit: Hannah Millard, as seen on Style Me Pretty

 

 

Jessie Thomson Weddings & Events {Behind the Scenes July 2014}

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So I’m sitting here at 40 weeks pregnant (plus a few days!) waiting to welcome my second little bundle of joy into the world, and realised I hadn’t given you lovely readers a round up of what I’ve been busy with behind the scenes of Jessie Thomson HQ last month!

I also had two beautiful weddings at the start of August before I went on maternity leave, which I hope to share with you soon too.One a colourful barn wedding, and the other a classic marquee tent wedding.

Unique and special, in equal parts. But for now, here’s to an amazing July (and a little from the end of June)….!

 

I’ll be sharing behind the scenes pics from August and some official wedding photo’s and features coming very soon, possibly mixed with a few cute baby pics. I apologise in advance for the Instagram takeover!

Jessie

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Flourish & Prosper – Coral, Pink and Gold Styled Shoot

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Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, I’m hoping by now you might have read a little bit about my new venture with Louise Beukes from b.loved – a brand new resource for suppliers and business owners in the wedding industry, Flourish & Prosper.

F&P came about because we spotted a small problem in our wonderful world of weddings – it’s completely unregulated, full of new business start ups (some incredible, some not so much), an industry growing hugely both in the UK and worldwide – and yet, there seemed to be very little out there for any of us to gather together, share best practices and know how, get advice on key activities required to make our businesses an even bigger success story.

Louise and I both left our corporate lives behind for a reason, but we’re ultimately also successful business women! So we decided to make a community where we offered all of the above (and SO much more), but in a stylish and fun environment that should go hand in hand with working within such a creative profession.

When we first founded this new business, we decided we really needed (ahem… yes needed!) to create a super pretty styled shoot to help launch our website and announce our plans to the world. With a host of amazing suppliers and the help of my lovely friend Ashlee from Taylor Barnes Photography we did just that! It was featured on Style Me Pretty soon afterwards, but I’ve yet to share the images here on the blog.

Well here you go, a little treat! If you are a wedding business (or if you have a friend in the industry) do make them aware of our first event – F&P The Wedding Academy – held in London on 1st November 2014. Leave a comment with your email below and I’ll send you a special Jessie Loves discount code for our shop too.

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Photography: Taylor Barnes Photography | Florist: Stephanie Saunders | Make Up: Clare Bryce | Hair: Vallenders | Shoot Location: Montpellier Park Cheltenham and Dragonfly Contemporary Designs | Cookies : Nila Holden | Props (Balloons) : Eagle Eyed Bride | Props (Confetti): Peach Blossom | Stylist: Jessie Thomson Wedding Planning| Stylist : Louise Beukes

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