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Wedding

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In a world where every love story is unique, Kingsdown Rings stands as a beacon of bespoke craftsmanship and personal connection. Founded by lifelong friends Laura and Hayley, Kingsdown Rings emerged from a shared passion for jewellery and a dedication to creating memorable experiences for couples. Their journey from traditional high street retail to establishing a beautiful, intimate space is a testament to their commitment to excellence and innovation.

At Kingsdown Rings, each ring is more than just a piece of jewellery—it’s a reflection of a couple’s journey, crafted with love and care. Laura and Hayley have redefined the wedding ring selection process, offering a private, personalised experience that allows couples to savor every moment. With a deep understanding of the emotional significance of wedding rings, they ensure that every design embodies the unique story and style of each couple.

Join us as we delve into the inspiring story of Kingsdown Rings, a brand that not only creates stunning rings but also celebrates the essence of love and commitment…

How did the idea of Kingsdown Rings come about?

Our journey began with a deep passion for the jewellery and wedding industry, backed by extensive experience in both fields. We’ve always cherished working with engaged couples, guiding them through the special process of selecting their wedding rings. We noticed a significant gap in the market for providing an exclusive, private experience that couples could cherish forever. This inspired us to transition from traditional high street retail and create a beautiful, intimate space where couples can savour every moment of choosing their rings.

What has been the most rewarding part of creating a bespoke wedding ring service?

Helping couples find their perfect rings without compromise. It’s incredibly fulfilling to see their dreams and visions come to life and to celebrate the significance of a wedding ring by crafting a unique design that truly reflects their love and commitment. Seeing how much joy this experience provides our couples is the ultimate reward!

Your studio sounds incredibly inviting. What was the vision behind designing such a cosy and welcoming space?

Our vision for the studio was to create a space where couples could feel truly relaxed, away from the hustle and bustle of a busy shop floor. We wanted to provide a private, comfortable environment where they could take their time and feel at ease while selecting their wedding rings. All of our couples comment on the awesome vibe and decor!

What has been the most unique or memorable ring request you’ve received?

One of the most unique and memorable ring requests we received came from a couple who had each inherited their grandparents’ wedding rings. They wanted to honour their grandparents but felt the original styles didn’t match their tastes. We helped them design rings that truly reflected their individual styles while using the metal from their grandparents’ rings.

We also extracted diamonds from one of the rings, setting several into the bride’s band, perfectly shaped to fit her beautiful engagement ring. Additionally, we set one of the diamonds inside the groom’s band as a nod to his wife-to-be’s ring and as a symbol of their two families coming together. When they collected the rings, the sentimental value was so evident that we all shed tears. Helping them honour their grandparents while creating a design that resonated with their own styles is a testament to what we are passionate about as a business.

How do you balance creativity with the practical needs of your clients?

We offer our clients the freedom to express their own style through our bespoke design service while also providing expert advice on important factors such as metal choices and settings. This ensures that their rings are not only beautiful and unique but also durable and suited to their lifestyle.

Can you share a heartwarming story from one of your at-home visits?

One of our most heartwarming at-home visits was with a couple who had recently welcomed their first child. They wanted their wedding rings to reflect this new chapter in their lives.

During our visit, the baby was present, adding an extra layer of warmth and love to the experience. We discussed various design options while the couple shared stories about their journey together and their hopes for the future. In the end, we crafted rings that incorporated the baby’s birthstone and a subtle engraving of their child’s initials. Seeing the joy and emotion on their faces when they received the rings was incredibly touching and knowing that we could create something so meaningful for their family is a memory we cherish.

What advice would you give to couples who are overwhelmed with the wedding planning process?

Our advice is to focus on enjoying the journey rather than striving for perfection. And when it comes to choosing your wedding rings, make the experience special and personal. Take the time to explore designs that truly reflect your relationship, and don’t rush the decision. Above all, remember to take moments to relax and appreciate each other during this exciting time.

How do you ensure your services cater to every budget and style?

We provide tailored recommendations that align with our clients’ vision and budget. Whether it’s selecting different metals or incorporating alternative gemstones, we strive to create beautiful and meaningful rings that reflect each couple’s personal style without compromising on quality or craftsmanship.

What trends are you seeing in wedding rings this year?

This year, we’re noticing several exciting trends in wedding rings! One prominent trend is the increasing popularity of lab-grown diamonds, which offer a sustainable and ethical alternative to mined diamonds without compromising on quality or brilliance. Couples are also embracing custom engraving to personalise their rings with meaningful dates, coordinates, or messages. Vintage-inspired details, such as milgrain and filigree, are also trending, adding a touch of timeless elegance to modern designs.

If you could design a ring for any celebrity couple, who would it be and what would it look like?

For Elsa Pataky and Chris Hemsworth: For Elsa’s ring, we would design a stunning band inspired by the landscapes they cherish from their travels. The ring would feature a mesmerizing Australian opal or a vibrant turquoise gemstone, symbolising their adventurous spirit and connection to nature. Surrounding the centre stone would be a halo of smaller diamonds set in a warm rose gold or yellow gold band, reflecting the colors of sunsets over exotic landscapes. The band itself could be intricately engraved with patterns inspired by their travel experiences, adding a personal touch and capturing the essence of their journey together.

For Chris Hemsworth, a rugged yet refined wedding band would be perfect. Crafted from durable materials like black rhodium-plated platinum or palladium, the band could feature a matte or textured finish reminiscent of the rugged terrains they’ve explored. The band might also include a subtle engraving of coordinates or a significant date from one of their favourite travel destinations, symbolising their shared adventures and deep connection. This design would encapsulate their love for exploration and nature, celebrating their bond in a meaningful and unique way that resonates with their adventurous lifestyle.

What’s your favourite part of the ring design and selection process?

Our favourite part of the ring design and selection process is witnessing the personalisation and creativity that unfolds during each interaction with our clients. We love getting to know our couples and hearing about their wedding plans, as it allows us to understand their unique stories, preferences, and emotions. It’s incredibly rewarding to see their excitement and satisfaction as we collaborate to create a ring that not only reflects their individual styles but also captures the essence of their relationship.

How do you stay inspired and keep your designs fresh and innovative?

Staying inspired and keeping our designs fresh and innovative is a continuous process that involves several key elements. Firstly, we draw inspiration from our clients themselves – their stories, personalities, and unique preferences provide a wealth of creative ideas. We actively listen to their vision and strive to translate it into designs that exceed their expectations.

Secondly, we stay on top of current trends in both fashion and jewellery design while also looking beyond trends to timeless elements that resonate with our clients. This helps us blend contemporary styles with classic craftsmanship. Additionally, we find inspiration in art, architecture, nature, and travel. These diverse influences often spark new concepts and approaches that we integrate into our designs.

What has been your biggest “pinch-me” moment since starting Kingsdown Rings?

Our biggest ‘pinch-me’ moment since starting Kingsdown Rings was when several highly respected local wedding venues approached us to collaborate and recommend our services to their couples, in our first year of business. It was incredibly validating to receive recognition from these popular venues for our dedication to creating personalised and memorable wedding ring experiences.

This acknowledgment not only affirmed the quality of our work but also opened up new opportunities to connect with couples who value craftsmanship and individuality in their wedding rings. It’s moments like these that inspire us to continue striving for excellence and pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in our industry at Kingsdown Rings.

How do you support each other in the business, especially during challenging times?

Supporting each other is fundamental to our partnership and the success of Kingsdown Rings. As best friends for over twenty years, we’ve built a foundation of trust, understanding, and mutual respect that underpins our collaboration. We prioritise open communication, actively listening to each other’s perspectives, and making decisions together based on our shared vision for the business. In our business operations, we leverage our long-standing friendship to enhance teamwork and efficiency.

We understand each other’s strengths and weaknesses, allowing us to divide responsibilities effectively and play to our individual expertise. Furthermore, our enduring friendship encourages a growth mindset and a willingness to learn from each other’s experiences. Overall, our deep-rooted friendship is a cornerstone of our business partnership, enabling us to navigate challenges with unity, creativity, and unwavering support for each other’s success.

What does a typical day look like for you at Kingsdown Rings?

When we’re in the studio and not out on styled shoots or exhibiting, we always begin our day with a coffee and catch-up session. We prioritise contacting our clients with any updates from our workshop, as keeping them informed about the progress of their rings is paramount to us. Next, we review new emails and inquiries that have come in since our last studio session. This ensures that we promptly respond to new potential clients and address any questions or requests.

Following that, we dedicate time to social media. We discuss and plan what we’d like to share on our platforms for the day, ensuring our content reflects our brand values and showcases our latest designs. We also prioritise engaging with and supporting other suppliers, venues, and businesses in the local area by liking and sharing their posts. In the afternoon and evening, our schedule usually revolves around consultations with new clients who are eager to discuss their wedding ring preferences.

We also set aside time for our current clients to come and collect their rings, ensuring they leave with smiles on their faces. This structured yet dynamic routine allows us to blend creativity, client care, and business management seamlessly, ensuring each day at Kingsdown Rings is productive and fulfilling.

What are your future goals for Kingsdown Rings?

Our future goals for Kingsdown Rings are focused on growth, innovation, and sustainability within the wedding ring industry. We aim to expand our reach regionally and nationally while enhancing the client experience through streamlined processes and innovative offerings.

Sustainability is a priority, and we’re committed to integrating more eco-friendly materials and practices into our designs. Strengthening community engagement and partnerships with local venues and suppliers is also crucial. We aspire to push the boundaries of design by exploring new techniques and styles, ensuring each ring remains unique and cutting-edge.

If you could give one piece of advice to women looking to start their own business, what would it be?

It would be to believe in yourself and your vision wholeheartedly. Trust your instincts, embrace your unique perspective, and don’t be afraid to take calculated risks. Surround yourself with a supportive network of mentors, peers, and advisors who can offer guidance and encouragement along the way. Stay resilient in the face of challenges, learn from setbacks, and continually educate yourself in your industry. Most importantly, remember that your voice and ideas matter— never underestimate the power of your passion and determination to drive your success.

Kingsdown Rings

Our readers love to travel, what destination is at the top of your bucket list?

For Laura, Bali is her dream destination. She’s eager to explore the picturesque beaches, turquoise waters, and lush landscapes of this tropical paradise. Discovering the vibrant culture, indulging in delicious cuisine, and spiritual relaxation are all part of her dream getaway.

For Hayley, New Zealand remains at the top of her bucket list. She dreams of exploring the stunning landscapes, from the dramatic fjords of Milford Sound to the geothermal wonders of Rotorua and experiencing the rich Maori culture.

What’s your go-to quote when you’re lacking motivation?

Our go-to quote is “And so together they built a life they loved.” This phrase holds immense significance for us as friends and business partners, reflecting the journey we’ve shared in building Kingsdown Rings and creating a business and life that brings us fulfilment and joy.

It’s not just a reflection of our journey but also resonates deeply with our couples, symbolising the meaningful experiences and relationships we help create through our work. This quote is proudly displayed in the entrance hall of our beautiful studio, serving as a constant reminder of our commitment to pursuing our dreams and supporting others in doing the same.

Where can people follow you and find out more?

You can follow us on Instagram and Facebook @kingsdownrings to stay updated and learn more about our latest designs, client stories, and behind-the-scenes insights. Visit our website for detailed information about our bespoke wedding ring services, testimonials and how to get in touch with us.

The story of Kingsdown Rings is a beautiful example of how passion, creativity, and dedication can transform an idea into a cherished experience. Laura and Hayley have created more than just a bespoke jewellery service; they’ve built a haven where love stories are celebrated and turned into timeless pieces of art.

For more inspiration and to learn about their unique designs, visit House of Coco.

In weddings, bridesmaid dresses are quite important. They are not only more visually pleasing overall, but they also have symbolic meaning. These outfits are picked with care to match the bride’s dress and keep the overall motif consistent. These dresses emphasize the relationship and support the wedding party has with the bride while fostering a sense of harmony and togetherness among them. We’re going to go over 6 various colorways today to give you ideas and motivation for your own bridesmaids.

Top 6 best bridesmaid dress color ideas

Here is a list of the top chosen colors for bridesmaid for their big day:

Pink gowns

A little romance and fun are added to a wedding with the pretty, feminine option of pink bridesmaid dresses. The color pink, which is frequently linked to sensitivity and love, gives the wedding party a delicate and lovely feel. Hey, who wouldn’t want that? These dresses will convey a feeling of femininity, beauty, and festivity, whether the color is hot pink, baby pink, pastel pink, or any other shade of pink.

Orange gowns

Consider using orange bridesmaid gowns to add some color to your bridal party. Due to its association with warmth, zeal, and inventiveness, orange is a great color for bridesmaids who wish to make a striking and unforgettable impression. This bright and brilliant color gives the bridal party a splash of color and a lively, upbeat vibe. They’re a great option, particularly if you want to have your wedding outside.

Black gowns

If you’re anything like me, you most likely own half a black wardrobe. And for good cause, too! Black looks classy, is classic, and works with many outfit styles. The same is true for bridesmaid gowns in black. There is no denying the classic beauty, grace, and refinement of black bridesmaid gowns. They provide a touch of sophistication and elegance to the big day, which is why they are frequently used for formal or nighttime weddings. They offer a clean and modern look that works well with a variety of wedding themes and color schemes. White wedding dresses contrasted with black bridesmaid dresses are a striking combination.

Bridesmaid Dresses

Navy gowns

Remember that navy bridesmaid gowns are still a thing! Given how stunning they are, how could we possibly resist? Any wedding is made more elegant and refined by the deep, rich tint of navy blue. For formal and nighttime weddings, navy bridesmaid gowns are a popular option since they exude subtle beauty and create a refined image. Therefore, if you’re planning a formal event, your bridal party’s color may be navy. And it’s hard for us to blame you! Navy is a stunning, elegant, deep, and timeless color for your special day.

Bridesmaid Dresses

White gowns

It’s not common for people to consider white bridesmaid gowns. This makes sense because a bridal gown is usually white. However, that doesn’t mean your bridal party can’t look amazing in white bridesmaid dresses. A unified and tasteful appearance is achieved with white bridesmaid gowns. Particularly when worn with the bride’s dress! They provide the bridal party with a beautiful sense of oneness. Modern and contemporary designs may coexist with classic and timeless forms in white bridesmaid dresses. This preserves the bridesmaids’ unified look while letting each of them show off their styles.

Grey gowns

These grey bridesmaid gowns are the next in line. Grey bridesmaid gowns are a stylish and adaptable option that radiates refinement, understatement, and elegance. These gowns may be found in a variety of colors, from dove grey to charcoal, which is a darker, more dramatic shade. Grey is a color that is believed to be highly feminine. The other wedding components may take the stage thanks to the simple, subtle style of grey gowns. This includes items such as the bride’s dress or the more vibrant flower arrangements. Enhancing the elegance of your wedding may be achieved by using some grey elements.

Bridesmaid gowns may complement your theme in a variety of ways, regardless of the color you choose. But it’s your big day choose what you have dreamt of for your special day. Remember, happy brides are the prettiest brides!

Welcome to a journey through the lens of passion and perseverance, where every frame tells a story of love, authenticity, and artistic vision. Today, we embark on an exclusive interview with none other than Mija Mera, the visionary force behind Mija Mera Photography.

Join us as we delve into the essence of Mija’s artistry, exploring the influences that shape her unique style and the experiences that fuel her creative fire. Through laughter, love and the occasional mishap, Mija Mera reminds us that true artistry lies not only in technical skill but in the courage to stay true to oneself.

So, grab a cup of your favourite brew, settle into the cosy embrace of inspiration and let the magic of Mija Mera Photography ignite your imagination. This is more than an interview; it’s a celebration of the human spirit and the boundless possibilities that await those who dare to chase their dreams…

Mija, your passion for capturing timeless wedding memories is evident. Can you share with us a particularly memorable moment you’ve experienced while shooting a wedding?

Dear Laura, thank you so much for your invitation; it’s a pleasure to meet you. I think the most memorable moment for all photographers is probably their very first wedding. Back then, during the kiss, there was absolute silence, and I stepped on a stone, which made a loud noise on the floor.

Luckily, everyone took it with humour, and I was able to put my biggest fear of embarrassing myself as a wedding photographer aside right away. Since then, I’ve been able to shrug off little mishaps with a laugh, and funnily enough, they happen to me all the time.

Your editorial style is captivating. How do you ensure each wedding you shoot tells a unique and compelling story?

Thank you very much. Due to my background as an editor, the editorial perspective is always the starting point for my work. Couples book me because of my artistic “signature,” so it’s important that my images have the desired recognition value.

Nevertheless, every wedding couple is unique, every bride and groom is individual, and there are all those little unplanned moments that need to be captured. They are what make every wedding a unique story. That’s why I place a strong focus on details and authentic storytelling in my photography, packaged in a fashion magazine-like aesthetic.

Where do you find your inspiration as a photographer?

I have always been fascinated by fashion magazines, which was probably the reason why I decided to study media and economics. Fashion photography is, therefore, my biggest source of inspiration to this day, which gives my pictures their obvious editorial look. But I also find a lot of inspiration in architecture, art, nature, and the great emotions of life. There are also a few role models whom I admire for their photographic work and who also inspire me a lot.

Overall, however, I try not to be influenced too much by other photographers but simply to stay true to myself. I recently read a great poem about this: ‘Your art is not about how many people like your work, your art is about if your heart likes your work, if your soul likes your work. It’s about how honest you are with yourself, and you must never trade honesty for relatability’ (Rupi Kaur).

How would you summarise your photographic style in a few words?

Finding your own style is a never-ending process and certainly one of the most difficult tasks at the beginning of a career as a photographer. My style is still evolving, which is important because only with evolution comes improvement. Overall, however, my visual language is often described as elegant, minimalist, and iconic. It also has a strong artistic flavour, which gives my photos their unique look and has been described by VOGUE as ‘soul-stirring,’ which I think sums it up well.

You mentioned the importance of creating a relaxed atmosphere for your clients. How do you achieve this amidst the hustle and bustle of a wedding day?

As a wedding photographer, you need to understand that people don’t just book photos; they book the experience. Put simply, people book people. That’s why good chemistry with the bride and groom is particularly important to me; then a pleasant and relaxed atmosphere is naturally created – and this is also reflected in my pictures.

Your own wedding taught you valuable lessons. Could you elaborate on how those experiences have influenced your approach to photography?

Of course, but I’ll be brief so as not to go too far. My own wedding taught me that not everything goes according to plan and that you have to remain flexible. I’ve also learned how important it is to have a good relationship with the vendors and to be able to rely on their professionalism.

That’s why I’m available to my wedding couples throughout the planning process to answer any questions and take over on the day of the wedding if we need to improvise. You should simply be able to enjoy your big day so that the beautiful moments and great memories outweigh the negative ones, even if something doesn’t go as planned.

We’d love to hear more about your furry friends! How do your dogs inspire or influence your work, if at all?

Well, my dogs are certainly my most photographed subject. Above all, they are my retreat to relax after a stressful wedding and get back to everyday life. From a photographic point of view, they have taught me that perfection is not always the most important thing in pictures, but that it is above all individual characteristics or everyday moments that need to be captured.

Unfortunately, our four-legged friends won’t be by our side forever, and I already know that these pictures will be invaluable to me one day.

Being an extrovert who also cherishes alone time must offer unique perspectives. How does this balance reflect in your photography?

I love meeting new people or immersing myself in crowds. But I also enjoy the peace and quiet and time for myself, as mental hygiene, so to speak. I also utilise this balance at a wedding: sometimes you’ll find me in the middle of the action, for example, on the dance floor, to capture the atmosphere up close. Sometimes, however, I deliberately take on the role of an observer and capture the events from an outside perspective: all the unnoticed moments, the small details, and the authentic encounters. Because I find that the candid pictures are often the most beautiful in the end – and they also capture the moments that the wedding couple themselves may have overlooked.

The story of how you met your husband sounds like it’s straight out of a romantic comedy! Can you tell us more about that serendipitous encounter?

Yes, that’s right. Our love story is a classic matchmaking story. One day, mutual friends came up with the idea that we might be a good match and told us about their plan. Neither of us was keen on the idea at first. I mean: What are the odds?! Nevertheless, we agreed to meet up with our friends for a night out. We initially arranged to meet at my house for a few drinks, which meant that my now-husband just turned up on my doorstep that evening.

The rest is history.

Growing up in the USA and traveling the world must have been incredible experiences. How do those multicultural influences shape your photography style?

That’s right; my childhood was certainly not normal. I still love looking at the pictures from those trips today, and they have made me a big fan of film photography. Even back then, we always had a camera with us to capture our adventures – and as I was still a child, I would have forgotten many of my memories without these photos.

So traveling has taught me how valuable pictures can be. I also believe that traveling has given me a different perspective on life. I want to make the most of every moment; I like to experience new things, and when a wedding is in a great location or in a different culture, I just can’t say no.

Family seems to be a cornerstone of your life. How do you incorporate the essence of familial bonds into your wedding photography?

Definitely, I am an absolute family person. I have a very close bond with my parents and sisters, and it’s always fascinating to experience this cohesion in other families at a wedding. Because every family is unique, with its own traditions, emotions, and constellations. I love observing them and capturing them authentically. When I photograph a wedding, I, therefore, always keep an eye on the family members to capture their emotional reactions and interactions. After all, they are often the ones who go unnoticed by the bride and groom but are later the most precious memories.

Laughter is such a powerful force. How do you infuse humour into your work to create genuine moments of joy?

Laughter is a constant companion at weddings. So I don’t see myself as an entertainer but rather as a silent observer of authentic events. I’m also a positive person by nature who likes to laugh a lot – and I’m sometimes a bit clumsy, which regularly makes me and others laugh. So humour flows naturally into my work and makes it a fun experience for everyone involved.

Winning the German championship in hip-hop dance is quite an achievement! How, if at all, does your background in dance inform your approach to capturing movement and emotion in your photographs?

Dancing is still a great passion of mine. It has certainly sharpened my sense of posing and expressing emotions, which makes it easier for me to guide my couples or show them my creative vision. I also like to keep my wedding couples moving, which leads to more vibrant images. This automatically makes the groom and bride feel more comfortable, and the images look much more natural.

Being self-employed for over a decade is impressive. What advice would you give to aspiring photographers looking to carve their path in the industry?

Thank you! Well, the path to self-employment is never easy; that should be clear to everyone. Being a good photographer is not enough to turn it into a successful business. There are many impressive photographers out there. Above all, you need to have the right attitude, a strong will, endless discipline, and patience.

A broad network is also helpful. I would, therefore, advise every photographer to set clear goals, build a strong brand from the outset, and focus a lot on business issues such as marketing, not just photographic development. Ultimately, these are different pieces of the puzzle that only work together.

What’s one piece of advice you wish you had received when you first started your journey as a wedding photographer?

I started photography out of passion; it was never about the money. Nevertheless, I encountered a lot of resistance. Be prepared for the fact that there will be a lot of opinions when you go public with your art. You will receive praise, but also unsolicited criticism. You will probably even lose friends. That can be unsettling. But if you stay true to yourself and walk your path with confidence, you will become successful and meet new people who will enrich your life incredibly.

In my opinion, the most important piece of advice would be to be courageous and authentic, don’t let fears stop you, and don’t let opinions influence you. Because your art will never please everyone. There will always be people who love what you do and people who hate what you do. So just stay true to yourself, and the right couples will find you.

Why do you think you became successful in the industry so quickly?

Strong brands don’t chase; they attract. I have followed this principle from the very beginning, and it has brought me to my goal faster than I could ever have imagined. Of course, the basics have to be right first: the technical and artistic understanding of photography itself. The sooner you know where you want to go, the more purposefully you can work towards it.

With two companies under your belt, how do you manage to balance the demands of both businesses while maintaining your artistic integrity?

This only works with very clear priorities and a lot of consideration for yourself. I have been very exhausted in the past and have learnt to set better boundaries and take care of my health. You inevitably reach your mental and physical limits again and again.

But that’s where I’ve grown incredibly as a person, and I believe that this experience has made me the artist I am today and is reflected in my photographic work. At the same time, I have severely limited the number of weddings I take on so that I can photograph each one with full passion and do my best work for each couple. I also allow myself more breaks between weddings, and this helps me to recharge my “creative battery”.

How has being self-employed shaped you as a personality and photographer?

Over the years, self-employment has repeatedly challenged me and pushed me to my limits. But it has also brought me great success and given me a lot of self-confidence. I now know exactly what I can achieve, and I stand up for myself. Because when you’re self-employed, nobody does it for you – you’re basically a lone wolf.

I’ve also learnt to focus on the next step when I’m faced with an overwhelming task – and not be intimidated by the big picture. This attitude also helps me in wedding photography to stay relaxed and positive even in challenging situations, and it’s certainly reflected in my love of detail and minimalism in photography.

Your commitment to telling authentic stories shines through. How do you ensure that each couple’s unique narrative is preserved in your photographs?

Every wedding is unique by nature: its composition, its location, its people, its events. That’s why no two stories are ever the same, and that’s what makes this work so incredibly exciting.

Our readers love to travel; what destination is at the top of your bucket list? And is there a location where you would particularly like to photograph a wedding?

I have a long list of countries I would like to visit for the first time or again. If I had to decide right now, the Cook Islands would be my choice because my husband and I simply love island life. Professionally, I dream of photographing in Quinta do Muro in Portugal. Overall, I currently have a weakness for modern architecture.

And I love love love love Venice… it would be a dream come true to photograph a wedding there.

Lastly, what keeps you inspired and motivated to continue capturing love stories day after day?

The love, the locations, the wedding dresses, the atmosphere, the details… For me, a wedding feels like a real life editorial set where I can fully unleash my creativity. Not only is there one story to tell, but there are so many unique encounters and moments to capture, which always makes it a fascinating experience, both personally and photographically. But it’s also the people who give me so much appreciation and joy every time. I’ve made so many new friends along the way and look forward to every wedding long in advance.

Where can people follow you and find out more?

I am most active on Instagram under @mija.mera. You can find my website at www.mijamera.com. It is currently being updated and will soon be available in English.

Many thanks for the great conversation; I feel honoured!

As we bid adieu to this captivating conversation with Mija Mera, we’re reminded of the power of authenticity, creativity, and unwavering passion. Her journey serves as a testament to the boundless potential that lies within each of us, urging us to embrace our unique visions and pursue them with fervour.

But the adventure doesn’t end here. Dive deeper into the world of inspiration and discovery by exploring more stories on House of Coco Magazine. From captivating interviews with trailblazers like Mija to insightful features on travel, lifestyle and culture, there’s something to ignite the spark of curiosity in every reader.

Meet Qiya Ng, the visionary founder of Kompactfaen, a wedding documentation company like no other. With a passion for storytelling and a keen eye for capturing the essence of love, Qiya embarked on a mission to redefine the way we perceive wedding photography and videography.

Armed with creativity, empathy, and a penchant for delving deeper into the emotional intricacies of relationships, Qiya and her team at Kompactfaen have been crafting unforgettable moments that transcend the traditional boundaries of wedding documentation.

Join us as we delve into Qiya’s journey, where every click of the camera and frame of the video tells a story of love, authenticity, and the beauty found in the unscripted moments of life’s most cherished celebrations…

kompactfaen

What inspired you to found Kompactfaen, and how does its philosophy differ from traditional wedding documentation companies?

There’s a magic about low-key lighting, about the way it showcases details and highlights emotions. It is probably also the reason why we’ve been obsessed with the cinemas (films), and paintings in the Renaissance and Baroque period, where low-key lighting is often used and emulated. We were wondering why something like wedding documentation doesn’t adopt the use of low-key lighting.

Relationships are something so multifaceted, so complicated, with layers and layers of emotions to unveil. Somehow wedding documentation seems largely focused on just the one aspect of love with joy magnified. Nothing wrong with that as love is a wonderful thing and happiness does come from love, but it felt like something in the narrative of wedding documentation was missing.

We wanted to bridge this gap—making wedding documentation creative, non-conventional, raw, and real at the same time. This is where “delving deeper” came about. With the style of low-key lighting and its ability to represent layers of narratives, we wanted to dive deeper into the more complicated parts of a wedding and of a relationship.

Instead of having your wedding works just showcasing the happy, sometimes staged, part of the day, what if they could also represent the relief, the triumph feeling of being through obstacles before the wedding day, and the mixed feelings one actually feels through the day itself.

What if your wedding works could actually encapsulate your real thoughts and feelings at that time, serving as a time capsule in years to come when you need a reminder of what your choice and your relationship were all about?

What if wedding works are not just an immortalisation of a moment, but a portal to promote understanding in your relationship? With “delving deeper,” the wedding works will not just be a recap but an opened door into something deeper that couples can revisit and relive. Wedding works become timeless and way more personal in that sense—a couple’s thoughts and vibe contribute greatly to the wedding works instead of just standard “typical” wedding photos and videos.

Can you share a memorable moment from a wedding shoot that perfectly encapsulates Kompactfaen’s approach to capturing emotions and connections?

It’s difficult to pinpoint one moment as every couple is different and we genuinely do enjoy every shoot that we have. We love seeing people in love, we love documenting love and honesty. Couples that come to us usually want to dig deeper into their marriages, into their relationships, and their weddings.

So, every shoot gives us different insights into different relationships, and we learn so much from all the couples we’ve shot. One of our personal favorites is the first wedding we shot in Hong Kong. It was held in the high school where the couple first met.

Friends and families flew in from different parts of the world for a reunion, for the celebration of the couple. The day wasn’t packed with events after events, but instead, lots of time for friends and families to mingle, to have conversations, to talk about and with the couple, and to simply be present to bask in the love for the pair. Instead of putting thoughts into how the wedding should look, the bride took note to ensure that everything at the wedding meant something to them; jotter books, flowers they love, name tags, old school photobooths etc.

Even the emcee of the wedding was their receptionist back when they were still in high school. During the wedding reception, speeches were given by many of their friends and families to talk about the struggles they overcame and how everyone loves them as a team. Performances were done not by vendors, but by their friends and families.

With a setup that’s simple but so organic and intimate, there were many tears shed and laughter shared that night. Everyone was comfortable enough to showcase their emotions abundantly and poured out their love to the couple. It was truly a celebration of love from deep within, and we felt like we got to know about years of the couple over the span of a few hours.

It was truly delving deeper into how love is not just about two persons, but the people around them. How love is not just good moments, but struggles, support, and triumphs.

How do you ensure that your team maintains sensitivity and empathy while documenting such intimate moments during weddings?

We have two lovely ladies working with us for years, and it’s been such a wonderful journey with them. Before starting to shoot for us officially, we had many chats with the team on the ethos of the company—we’d never want to interrupt or repeat any moments just because we didn’t capture it.

As much as possible, we’d educate ourselves on the proceedings of the wedding, understand the rationale behind every event plan through meeting with the couple, understanding their emotions and objectives of the wedding, and take it upon ourselves to anticipate the moments to come.

Couples should be focusing on each other, on their guests, and on celebrating their love during their big day, not on voices of the photographer and videographer. Being aligned in this manner within the team and with our clients, it helps us observe more, document more, and be more attentive to the littlest moments. We maintain sensitivity and empathy in this manner.

What role do darker and moodier tones play in your visual storytelling, and how do they enhance the portrayal of emotions in your work?

We can always use light to draw focus to a particular scene within a photo. This gives us a little more creative freedom in trying to highlight emotions and/or details we want people to focus on. Darker and moodier photos leave room for imagination. The use of neutral colors also adds elegance and sets the unspoken mood without overwhelming the audience. Interestingly, we’re hence more reflective when looking at darker and moodier images.

When a scene is slightly darker, we can have a peek at how a couple looks and how they are emoting but it’s not exactly shown directly in your face. This leaves room for interpretation, for us to understand an image via our understanding of the world, and that allows us to connect with the images a little more.

Could you walk us through your creative process when conceptualising and executing a wedding shoot?

It often starts with meeting the client. We’ll try to understand their story, observe their interactions, figure out and expand on their objectives for the pre-wedding and/or wedding shoot. With that, we’d roughly have a visualization of how they’d be during a shoot and/or a wedding day, and we work around that. The process is very personal.

Even though the wedding works are consistent in terms of the shooting and editing style, the content (the photos and videos themselves) are not. We’ll never know what we’re going to get with each couple. This makes every set of wedding work unique—we combine our artistic style with the values of each couple. This hence makes the wedding works at Kompactfaen relatable and unique. Every couple is different and has a unique dynamic, no two persons move the same way.

We sometimes get new ideas and/or poses just simply photographing a couple in their most natural state. The creative process becomes a collaborative effort and we’re glad we’ve been meeting great couples who understand that ethos, and work closely with us to make their wedding ideals come true.

In what ways do you strive to make each wedding documentation sincere, personal, and unique to the couple?

As much as possible, unless we’re doing artistic shots purely for visual purposes, we try our best not to pose couples too much. The entire planning process (mentioned in the previous question) is hence really important. We need to be sensitive in understanding the couple, knowing their boundaries and being in tune with their objectives for the union.

Instead of directing the couple on what to do in a straightforward manner, we’d think of activities that can prompt the couple to interact. From there, capture their interactions, conversations, and chemistry. This way, the photos and videos mean so much more to them as well.

How do you balance capturing authentic moments with respecting the privacy of the couples you work with?

When we do feel like a private moment is needed, we do leave the couple alone after notifying them gently. It’s a constant struggle between the need to stay when a moment is really intimate so that we can capture everything, and letting them really own the moment that they’re having.

However, we realized that photos are nothing without having the experience of really being in that moment—that instance when a couple is alone and exchanging intimate thoughts is what makes the photos from the particular hour precious. After shooting weddings for 6 years, we’ve learned to balance our thoughts and stand in couples’ shoes through the day, feeling what they feel, hence knowing what they need; if it’s us being there, or us being away from them for a bit.

It’s about the sensitivity and being in sync with the couple’s thought processes. This is why we do a lot of inner work and prep work before each shoot—it is important to have our minds be clear, focused, and empathetic during a wedding shoot. It is also important to understand the couple’s objective for their wedding, and have the team be on the same page as that.

Can you share any challenges you’ve faced in conveying emotions through imagery, and how you’ve overcome them?

There are times when a couple isn’t as emotive and/or their love language for each other doesn’t compromise physical touch. It can get tough trying to capture their emotions for each other, or to capture interactions between them. We try to give them some space, and figure out a set of activities for them (based on their personalities) to be engaged in while we step away with the cameras so that they feel a little more at ease, and open up to each other a little bit more through the activities, before we slowly step back in with the cameras.

What advice would you give to couples looking to make their wedding documentation more genuine and meaningful?

Don’t overthink it. Be confident in yourself that you, your partner, and your relationship will have an interesting story to tell. Focus on that, and the celebration of that for your wedding, while you find a photographer and/or videographer who understands that. It’s your wedding for yourself, just once in this lifetime, so don’t focus on how it’d look on camera. Leave the job to us while you focus on yourself, and focus on enjoying the whole wedding process.

How do you incorporate storytelling techniques into your visual work to create a cohesive narrative of a couple’s special day?

As how a film has a plot, characters, setting, highlight and resolution, we try to replicate such elements in our wedding works. While taking photos and videos of the day, we always keep in mind these details that we need so that we don’t just shoot the day like any other event. Instead of just a recap, the wedding works instead piece together to form a narrative of the wedding day.

What trends do you foresee in wedding documentation in the coming years, and how is Kompactfaen adapting to these changes?

To be very honest, we don’t really look at trends that much as the way we document weddings are really personal and focused on the craft. It’s hard to create such intimate works if we were to follow trends so this is quite a difficult question to answer! We do notice more and more wedding photographers exploring low-key lighting so we’re super glad to see that! It’s something we really love.

Could you share an example of a project where you’ve pushed the boundaries of traditional wedding documentation to create something truly unique?

More often than not, wedding shoots are very constricted to the locations they’re being shot at. In a city as small as Singapore, everyone ends up going to the same places. However, we always believed that wedding photos and videos shouldn’t be location-based, but the focus should be on the couple themselves. Location does matter to a certain extent, but it’s not everything.

We hence did shoots in the void decks of public housing in Singapore, and unpopular opinion, we really love it. These are areas that the couple walk past every single day—so many conversations and things happened in that space. It may seem unassuming but, the results of shooting in a void deck always surprises us.

How do you approach client collaboration and ensure that their vision is accurately reflected in the final product?

We’d always have a chat either over coffee or a call to see if we can find a common ground in wedding documentation. It’s important that we’re able to chat, and have a conversation with one another so that it becomes a collaborative effort where the couple is the story while we tell it. We also try to understand their thought processes to see what their values and objectives are—this really helps us in accurately reflecting them in the final product.

What role do technology and digital media play in shaping the perception of wedding documentation, and how do you leverage them to enhance your work?

With the usage of social media, and short-form content, it’s definitely easier for us to reach out to the mass in showcasing our works, and our ethos in wedding documentation. It sometimes also gives us ideas on how we can better our storytelling skills.

Instead of just the old school storytelling techniques, which we still love very much and follow thoroughly, it’s good to explore new ways of representing a day (e.g. with an introduction with a hook) to see how we can better our wedding photos and wedding films.

Can you tell us about a particularly challenging or emotionally charged wedding shoot you’ve experienced, and how it impacted you and your team?

There really isn’t a shoot that was challenging per se. The thorough pre-planning gives us a good foundation to anticipate things on the day of, and to maneuver around any possible difficulties. Personally, I’m a very emotional person and I often tear up and/or cry when I see someone being emotional, whether I know them personally or not. It’s hard to keep still while shooting a video, or capturing a moment, while trying to wipe tears off my face.

It’s also slightly embarrassing as guests will see me being all emotional (as I’m standing up and they’re seated down) while trying to be professional and pull a straight face while working. However, this does help me in remembering the moments that I felt the most, and pull these images and/or footages out when I’m editing after the wedding.

How do you maintain authenticity and avoid clichés in your storytelling, especially in an industry saturated with traditional tropes?

Personally, I don’t really look at the works of others or Pinterest. Instead, I visit museums, watch a lot of films and try to draw inspiration from everything else that’s not related to photography and wedding.

What motivates you and your team to continue pushing the boundaries of wedding documentation despite the challenges you may face?

As creatives, it’s always satisfying to know that you’ve created something, and not copied something. Though the process of coming up with new things is difficult, and to be very fair, it takes time for people to accept and to get used to something that’s different.

The process is often tedious with a result that’s seemingly unsatisfying at first. Not everything we create is going to be popular during the first try either. But when you see a new work taking off, that satisfaction is really something we love. When couples come to us, telling how the works are still great after years of looking at them, sometimes even telling us how looking at their wedding works resolved certain problems in their marriage as they remembered a moment and/or a conversation during the shoot, it keeps us going because we know that the work we do matter, and is timeless.

How do you ensure diversity and inclusivity in your portrayal of weddings and couples in your work?

We don’t say no to anyone, unless what they’re looking for in wedding documentation is completely different from how we see and do wedding shoots. To us, love has no boundaries, love is genderless and love is simply, a choice of commitment.

Love is just love.

With this belief, we celebrate every couple as they are and we celebrate love with them. It is evident in the things we post and write on our website and our social media platforms. Couples come to us hoping to get their emotions immortalized and their stories told, we hence have shoots for couple of all kinds and we’re so blessed to have lived through so many love stories as their photographer and/or videographer.

Can you share any upcoming projects or collaborations that you’re particularly excited about?

We’re currently doing a brand refresh, after 6 years! This is to better communicate our ethos to new couples who’ve found us, and also to change the idea that couple shoots can only be done with the event of a wedding. We hope to better communicate the love lessons we’ve learned from each couple we shot, and spread more love to everyone around through our digital presence. We’re really excited about that!

Our readers love to travel, what destination is at the top of your bucket list?

It’s hard to name one country as there are just so many places to travel to. But I’d definitely love to visit the Middle Eastern countries, and even do shoots there if possible. I’m lucky enough to be pretty well traveled, but that’s a part of the world that I’ve not visited.

Where can people follow you and find out more?

They can find us via @kompactfaen on most social platforms like Instagram and TikTok. Also, you can view more of our works at http://www.kompactfaen.com/.

Finally, what do you hope couples take away from their experience with Kompactfaen, beyond just the photographs and videos?

We hope that they find out more about themselves and their relationship through the entire process with us, and always remember how their photos and videos are representation of their promise to each other in their own ways. For us, we always learn new life and love lessons from each of the couple we shoot, and from their friends and families whom we’d meet during the wedding day.

We bask so much in the best parts of humanity during our work and it’s something we truly value. Thus, “delving deeper” became the guiding light of the company—we want to explore more about love, and have couples understand each other’s’ thoughts better through doing shoots with us. We hope each couple end their shoots with us feeling more in love with one another than before the shoot.

As Qiya continues to push the boundaries of wedding documentation, her dedication to authenticity and meaningful storytelling remains unwavering and you can follow her via her personal Instagram too. Through Kompactfaen, she has not only captured countless love stories but has also touched the hearts of couples around the world, leaving a lasting impact that extends far beyond the lens.

If Qiya’s story has inspired you to seek out more tales of passion, creativity, and innovation, look no further than House of Coco. Explore our magazine to discover a treasure trove of inspiring stories from visionary individuals like Qiya, who are reshaping industries and leaving their mark on the world.

Weddings – a word that conjures up images of love, unity, and ceremonial beauty that vary across cultures, each with its own beloved customs. In the Muslim world, two such traditions that bud from centuries-old roots and blossom in today’s celebrations are the Mahr and Mehendi ceremonies, each brimming with significance.

Love’s Financial Seal: The Mahr

Imagine a practice so central to a Muslim marriage that it balances romantic commitment with a practical promise—the Mahr. Often misunderstood as a dowry or a price tag for the bride, the Mahr’s true meaning is far more profound. At its heart, the Mahr is a gift, a token of love and economic security willingly given by the groom to the bride during the Nikah, the wedding ceremony. It’s a promise written not just in the hearts but also in the ledgers of life, symbolising the groom’s readiness to embrace the financial responsibilities of married life.

This transaction, mandated by Islamic tradition, isn’t a relic but a continuing rite that protects the bride. It is she who decides how this gift—be it cash, jewels, or property—should be used. Families might discuss and decide its value before the wedding, but ultimately, the essence of Mahr boils down to respect and support.

Imagine the ceremony, steeped in the gravity of commitment, as the groom presents the Mahr to the bride. It’s a moment when love and tradition intertwine, as the bride receives a tangible assurance of her partner’s dedication, care, and respect.

Mehendi’s Colourful Embrace

In stark contrast to the solemn vows of the Mahr, the Mehendi ceremony is a riot of colour, joy, song, and dance. It’s a prelude to the wedding, where the bridal party gathers, and henna is applied in elaborate, beautiful patterns on the bride’s hands and feet. These patterns are not just for adornment—every line, dot, and curl is steeped in hope and blessing, symbolising prosperity, fertility, and the fortitude of the couple’s love.

Cultural resonance is fundamental to the Mehendi rite, which comprises shared stories and laughter. Each creative swirl represents life’s beauty and fertility as a loved one’s gentle touch on the bride’s skin forms a visual sonnet. Besides its spiritual and ceremonial functions, henna is said to provide medicinal and soothing properties that prepare the bride for marriage.

As the bride is painted with henna, which represents her loved ones’ wishes and blessings, and it dries, they attach to her skin, and a quiet change occurs. One of the most intimate elements of the wedding is when the bride’s closest friends and relatives sew their aspirations and dreams into her flesh.

The Ripple of Traditions

Mehendi and Mahr are more than rituals—they carry valuable historical and symbolic information. Symbolising respect, value, and duty, the Mahr provides financial freedom for the woman within the sacred framework of marriage. In front of witnesses, it confirms the groom’s promise, respecting the bride’s dignity and health.

A shared delight and family tale is told in the Mehendi. Henna designs are a silent prayer for strength and guidance, embracing the bride with communal wisdom and care. Each ceremony adds its own strands to the marriage’s fabric of love, respect, and prosperity. See the joyful anticipation in Mehndi’s vivid, complex designs and the Mahr’s solemn pleas for protection and security.

The Mahr and Mehendi resist time’s unrelenting march, which threatens to erase their legacy. These rituals successfully weave timeless principles into modern life. Immerse yourself in Muslim wedding rituals. Enjoy the Mahr reassuring the bride about her future and the family benefits of Mehendi evenings. These ceremonies establish a lasting image of marriage in the couple’s hearts and the community.

Final Words

Muslims believe that every step leading up to a marriage has a greater meaning and purpose. With heartfelt gifts and the joyous dance among the earthy scent of henna, the wedding journey is a lovely ode to the eternal dance of love. It leads the pair to a future together, surrounded by the comforting arms of tradition. All of these significant events, from the Mahr exchange to the Mehendi tale to the best Muslim wedding invitations, show what marriage is really about. Marriage is like a rose: beautiful and quiet, but full of meaning and promise of a sacred, forever bond.

Going through a divorce is never easy. Unfortunately, things don’t always get easier when your divorce is over, either. In some cases, your ex may not follow what was included in your divorce decree. In other cases, they may say or do things that you don’t agree with.

Even if you think your ex isn’t listening, there are some things you can do if you don’t feel like they are holding up their end of the bargain after your divorce is final.

Ask Your Attorney to Help With Post Judgement Motions

Not liking something your ex does is one thing. Not following the rules set forth in your divorce decree is quite another. Whether it’s a custody arrangement that’s causing problems or child support issues, if your ex isn’t following what the judge ordered, it’s time to call your attorney.

Enforcement and contempt motions in divorce proceedings are an available option if you need help compelling your ex to do something they are legally bound to do.

Your lawyer could help you:

  • File a motion for contempt to get your former spouse to follow orders entered by the court
  • File a motion to compel your former spouse to take a certain action
  • Offer mediation and collaborative law options so you don’t have to involve the court

Often, just getting your attorney involved is enough. Once your ex-spouse sees that you’re serious about following your divorce decree, they will hopefully comply.

Pick and Choose Your Battles

There are going to be things your spouse does that you don’t like after a divorce. That’s especially true when kids are involved. They may decide to allow the kids to do things that you never would. It can be especially infuriating if your ex knows you don’t like it.

It’s important to pick and choose your battles after your divorce. You may not let the kids eat ice cream for breakfast or stay up past their bedtime just because it’s a Friday night, but in the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t really matter.

When you don’t argue about petty things, your ex is more likely to listen when it comes to the things that really matter.

Don’t Hash it Out in Front of the Kids

It’s normal to be angry with your ex. They will likely do and say things that make you mad, or there will be contentious topics that the two of you have to discuss. Try your best to have heated discussions without your kids present.

Name calling and threats stick with children. They can eat away at your family and make your children feel like they’re caught in the middle of a bitter war between their parents. It isn’t uncommon for children to develop mental health issues when their parents—married or not—spend a lot of time fighting.

Don’t bring up sore topics when you’re picking up or dropping off your kids. Plan a phone call for after they go to bed, or plan to meet up without the kids present.

Be Careful Who You Complain To

It can feel good to complain about your ex with a trusted friend. Just make sure you’re careful about who that friend is.

Even if you’re close to members of your ex’s family, it’s a good idea to avoid complaining and ex-bashing when you talk. Even if they care about you deeply, they are likely to side with your ex. Even if they agree that you’re in the right, hearing horrible things about someone they care about can make them uncomfortable.

Be careful with shared friends too. Talking bad about your ex can end friendships, and what you say could come back around to your ex.

Maintain Boundaries That Work For You

Boundaries are important after a divorce. The trick is creating boundaries that work for you.

For example, you might decide that you’re uncomfortable with your ex dropping by. Instead, you would like to plan your interactions ahead of time. You might decide you’re more comfortable communicating over text messages than calls, or you may decide that you don’t want to get together with a group of friends if your ex’s best friend will be there.

It doesn’t matter what they are. Just make sure you create boundaries that make transitioning to your new life without your ex a little easier.

Tell Your Kids Without Demonizing Your Ex

Kids can tell when there’s stuff going on. Instead of pretending like everything is alright, you should talk to your kids.

The trouble is, talking about your ex with your kids is hard! You can make it easier by focusing on the situation instead of the person. It’s okay to share that you’re sad that their dad can’t pick them up today or that their mom can’t make it to their game. Just don’t say anything about why they can’t make it and how you feel about that.

The more you can talk about your ex in a neutral way, the more open you can be with your kids, and the better off everyone will be in the long run.

Let it Go

The entire process of getting divorced is about letting go, but letting go doesn’t end just because your divorce is final.

There will always be things that you need to let go of as your children grow and your relationship with your ex changes. It might be letting go of something they said or something they did, or not letting your child’s preference for who they want to spend time with or where they want to live affect you. Learning techniques like changing your perception, meditating, and replacing your thoughts can help you learn to let go of things that don’t need to take up space rent-free in your head.

Your relationship with your ex will continue to evolve after your divorce. Learn how to stand up for yourself, let things go, and support your children through the process, and you’ll be able to spend more time looking towards the future than back towards the past.

Weddings are exciting but sometimes we can get swept away in all the preparation. There is a lot of pressure to look your best and it can feel overwhelming to pick an outfit that you’re happy having photos in. This feeling gets even worse when you’ve left putting your ensemble together until the 11th hour.

But don’t fret – sometimes the best things come at the last minute and your outfit will be no different. The ideal springtime dress should flatter your figure and keep you warm in the evenings since temperatures are likely to be a little chilly. Here are some of the best last-minute outfit ideas for an upcoming spring wedding.

Bardot Pleated Midi Dress

Sophisticated and flattering, the fitted bodice of a Bardot midi dress will emphasize your curves while the pleat in the flowy skirt allows for ease of movement. You will turn heads with a classic silhouette that perfectly fits a formal event while staying comfortable enough to dance the night away.

To further accentuate your look, pair your Bardot dress with a clutch bag – an accessory that seamlessly takes you from day to night. Clutches have versatile strap options that can be swapped to suit every vibe.

Slip Dress

Elegant. Fashion-forward. And best of all, simple. Slip dresses are a staple of every springtime wardrobe and can be styled in many ways. In the summer and spring, you can pair your slip with a pair of strappy heels and a light shawl to wrap around your shoulders and add some texture to your outfit.

It can even work at a winter or autumn wedding! Add layers to your look with a sleek blazer or stylish coloured fur coat to keep warm throughout the day.

Print Wrap Dress

Pairing this flattering silhouette with an abstract pattern can make a statement at a wedding. This style of dress is another wardrobe staple that stays in fashion year after year and flatters every body type.

Choosing a wrap dress with a leg split helps to break up the print and adds an exciting, sultry touch to your look.

Cowl Neck Maxi Dress

Embrace nostalgic style from the 90s with a cowl neck maxi dress. This feminine neckline creates a soft drape that visually minimises the chest area, which makes for a flattering wedding guest dress for those of us with bigger busts.

The long maxi skirt will flow over your curves to create the perfect silhouette and a floral print pairs beautifully with the spring. Leave your chest bare of jewellery to not take away from the neckline but load your hands and wrists with glittering bracelets and rings.

Poppy Print Midi Dress

Wearing floral prints during the springtime might feel like a no-brainer but poppies and wildflowers in particular meet the vibe check. While it is traditional etiquette to never wear white or cream-coloured dresses to a wedding, the print reds of the poppy make it completely acceptable.

Your wedding day is a momentous occasion, and one of the most symbolic elements of this special day is the exchange of wedding bands. Classic wedding bands have stood the test of time for their timeless elegance and meaningful tradition. They symbolize everlasting love and commitment, making them a significant choice for many couples. In this comprehensive guide, we will take you on a journey to discover the perfect classic wedding band that will capture the essence of your love story. If you’re ready to explore the world of classic wedding bands, let’s begin! For more inspiration, visit https://www.diamondsonrichmond.co.nz/wedding-rings/classic-wedding-bands collection of classic wedding bands.

Understanding the Significance of Classic Wedding Bands

Before delving into the finer details of choosing the perfect classic wedding band, it’s important to understand the significance behind these timeless rings. Classic wedding bands are circular, symbolizing eternity and never-ending love. They are typically crafted from precious metals like gold, platinum, or silver, symbolizing the durability and preciousness of your commitment to one another.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Classic Wedding Band

Now that you recognize the symbolism of classic wedding bands, let’s explore the factors to consider when selecting the perfect one for your big day.

1. Metal Choice

The metal of your wedding band is a critical decision. Gold, platinum, and silver are the most common choices. Gold comes in various shades, including yellow, white, and rose gold, allowing you to pick one that complements your skin tone and style. Platinum is known for its durability and hypoallergenic properties, making it an excellent choice for sensitive skin.

2. Band Width

The width of your wedding band can significantly impact its appearance. Classic wedding bands come in various widths, from slim and delicate to wide and substantial. Consider your style and comfort when selecting the bandwidth that suits you best.

3. Engravings and Personalization

Adding a personal touch to your classic wedding band can make it even more special. Consider engraving your wedding date, initials, or a meaningful message inside the band. Personalization adds sentiment and uniqueness to your ring.

4. Finish and Texture

Classic wedding bands can have different finishes and textures. Common options include high polish for a shiny, reflective surface, a matte finish for a more subdued look, or a hammered texture for a rustic feel. Choose a finish that resonates with your style and personality.

5. Stone Accents

While classic wedding bands are traditionally simple without gemstones, some couples incorporate diamonds or other precious gems for added sparkle. Remember that this can alter the classic look, so choose stones that enhance rather than overpower the band’s elegance.

Matching His and Hers Bands

Couples often match their wedding bands to symbolize their unity and shared commitment. If you’re considering this, look for classic wedding bands with complementary designs, such as subtle variations in width or detailing.

Choosing a Reputable Jeweler

To ensure the quality and authenticity of your classic wedding band, choosing a reputable jeweler is crucial. Research online reviews, ask for recommendations from friends or family, and visit local jewelers to see their collections in person. A trusted jeweler will certify the materials used and offer warranties for your peace of mind.

Conclusion

Selecting the perfect classic wedding band is a meaningful and memorable part of your preparations. It represents your commitment, love, and the beautiful journey together. By considering factors like metal choice, bandwidth, personalization options, and a reputable jeweler, you can confidently choose a classic wedding band that speaks to your unique style and love story. Remember, this symbol will be with you for a lifetime, so make sure it reflects the beauty and timelessness of your love.

In the enchanting realm of visual storytelling, where emotions unfold through the lens, Katharina Haupt stands as a maestro, weaving tales of love, empowerment, and the celebration of self through her lens.

With an unwavering commitment to capturing the essence of human connection, Katharina’s photography transcends the ordinary, transporting us into the heart of unforgettable moments.

As we delve into her world, we uncover not only a skilled photographer but a compassionate guide, dedicated to empowering her clients and immortalizing their unique narratives. Join us on a journey through the artistry and passion that define Katharina Haupt’s captivating approach to photography….

Katharina, capturing the essence of love and emotion is central to your work. Could you share a memorable moment from your career where you felt you truly encapsulated the emotions of a couple’s special day through your photography?

In 2022, I photographed a truly special couple. Their first look before the ceremony was a moment to remember – they were over the moon seeing each other, and you could feel the love pouring out. They exchanged compliments and tears, setting the tone for the whole day. It was a day full of heartfelt emotions. One of my favourite shots was during the ceremony, capturing the bride wiping away her tears while the groom looked towards her, equally emotional. It was one of those beautiful days where everyone felt the joy and love in the air.

Your approach emphasises making couples feel comfortable and natural in front of the camera. How do you create this atmosphere, allowing your clients to express their genuine emotions during such intimate moments?

Creating a comfortable atmosphere starts with building a strong connection with my couples. That’s why I always meet them personally before they decide to book me. It’s crucial that we’re a good fit; this way, they feel more relaxed and hardly notice me on their big day. During the shoot, I guide them just enough to help express their love – be it through hugs, gentle touches, or kisses.

I love adding a bit of movement to the poses, as it brings photos to life. And, of course, I tailor this to each couple’s unique vibe, whether they’re bubbly and outgoing or a bit more reserved. It’s all about capturing their true selves and the genuine emotions of the moment.

Weddings are filled with unpredictable moments. Can you tell us about a challenging situation you faced during a wedding shoot and how you creatively navigated it to capture beautiful photos?

At one particularly well-planned wedding, the bride, a perfectionist, had everything meticulously organised. This left little wiggle room in the schedule. As often happens, the congratulations segment ran over, cutting into the time for formal photos.

Despite my advice to keep the necessary guests nearby for these photos, they were sent to the reception early. This, combined with an unexpected rain shower, caused some stress. To manage this, I quickly adapted by moving the photo location closer to the reception area. It’s situations like these that highlight the importance of flexibility in planning and listening to your wedding vendors’ advice.

Everything turned out beautifully in the end, but it was a reminder that a bit of buffer in the schedule can be a lifesaver.

Emotional moments are often intertwined with cultural and personal traditions. How do you ensure you respect and honor the diversity of these traditions while documenting the essence of each couple’s unique love story?

I’m passionate about photographing intercultural weddings and their unique traditions. To ensure I capture these special moments, I gather as much information as possible from the couple beforehand.

Whether it’s photographing Nigerian relatives in their stunning traditional attire and enjoying their self-cooked meal or capturing the Polish custom of a vodka shot and glass-breaking at the reception, I’m always ready to adapt. I believe these traditions are a vital part of the couple’s heritage and the essence of their wedding day, and it’s my job to document them beautifully and respectfully.

Your work not only focuses on weddings but also on capturing the journey of couples. How do you approach storytelling differently for weddings compared to other moments in a couple’s life, such as anniversaries or maternity shoots?

Wedding photography for me is about capturing the moment as it unfolds, with a focus on documentary-style storytelling. It’s also a lot about setting the mood and showcasing the location. For anniversaries or maternity shoots, however, the approach shifts. These sessions allow for more creativity in portraits. We can experiment with poses, lighting, and locations, as there’s generally more time than at weddings. During weddings, the time for couple shoots is often limited, so I rely on my trusted poses and techniques to quickly capture professional and emotionally resonant images.

Being inconspicuous is an art in wedding photography. How do you strike a balance between capturing candid moments and being unobtrusive, allowing the couple and their guests to enjoy the celebration without feeling overly observed?

Being on the same wavelength with the couple is key to blending in at their wedding. It helps me to be a natural part of the celebration rather than standing out. My approach is to let moments happen naturally, as I’m there to document the day, not to unnaturally create moments.

This means allowing the couple to fully enjoy their time with loved ones. I mingle with guests and take photos casually, using different focal lengths to capture moments both up-close and from a distance. This flexibility is especially important during the ceremony, as it allows me to avoid obstructing views.

When possible, I even turn off the shutter noise to minimize my presence, ensuring a relaxed atmosphere where candid moments can unfold organically. In fact, I’ve received numerous compliments from couples who mentioned their guests found me very friendly and hardly noticed my presence throughout the day.

Your photography is described as emotional and modern. How do you incorporate modern elements into your work while ensuring the timeless quality of the captured moments?

I blend my personal style, particularly in color grading and creative vision, with an awareness of modern wedding trends. This involves keeping an eye on high-quality wedding vendors both locally and internationally, as well as following wedding blogs.

While I make minor adjustments to stay current, I avoid clichéd, outdated poses like the stereotypical ‘couples hugging trees’. Instead, I draw inspiration from other art forms such as paintings of the romantic era and film noir. It’s about striking a balance: staying fresh and modern without chasing trends, ensuring the emotions and moments I capture remain timeless.

Photography is not just about capturing images but also about understanding people. How do you connect with your clients to truly understand their vision and expectations for their wedding day?

I believe in the power of personal connections, so meeting my couples before they book me is essential. This initial meeting is a chance to get to know them and understand their plans and expectations for their wedding day.

I take detailed notes and offer advice where I can. A few weeks before the wedding, I reconnect with them to go over the final details and any specific wishes they might have. If necessary, we’ll also arrange a quick phone call to ensure everything is aligned with their vision.

Your job allows you to witness and be part of some of the happiest moments in people’s lives. How does this experience influence your perspective on love and relationships?

I’ve always been a romantic at heart, believing in true love for everyone. Being a part of my couples’ special days, seeing their love and their connections with family, only reinforces this belief. It’s truly heartwarming. I recall a few years back, going through a tough break-up. Documenting others’ love stories was challenging, yet it also brought healing.

Listening to couples’ vows, understanding what drew them together and what they cherished in each other, profoundly influenced my perspective on what makes a relationship work. It was a powerful reminder of the strength and beauty of love.

Creative collaboration is often essential in the artistic field. Can you share a story where you collaborated with a couple to create a unique and personalized photography concept that turned out to be exceptionally meaningful?

This year, I had the opportunity to photograph a wedding at a stunning German castle. The couple, already fans of my work from a pre-wedding shoot, trusted my vision completely. Despite the cloudy day, we decided to take their photos inside the castle, with all the lights turned off. The castle’s interior was quite dark, and even a staff member suggested turning on the lights.

However, I felt confident that the natural interplay of shadow and light would create a more romantic atmosphere. The couple supported my decision, and it paid off. We captured one of my all-time favorite shots, a beautiful testament to the power of trusting in a shared creative vision.

Photography has the power to evoke emotions and memories. In your opinion, what makes a photograph truly timeless, and how do you ensure your work stands the test of time for the couples you capture?

In my work, I blend current trends with my unique vision to create timeless photographs. Key to this is my approach to color grading. I ensure the colors in my photos, like the blue of a groom’s suit, remain as true to life as possible while still reflecting my personal editing style.

Additionally, my use of light is inspired by professional photography techniques and timeless styles from other art forms, like the romantic era paintings and classic black and white photography. This combination of authenticity, artistic influence, and technical skill is what I believe makes a photograph truly timeless, resonating with couples for years to come.

Your work involves capturing not just the big moments but also the subtleties of love. What advice would you give to couples about appreciating the smaller, often overlooked, moments in their relationship?

It’s essential for couples to remember that the magic of a relationship isn’t just in the big events like weddings. The small, everyday moments are equally important. For instance, sharing your daily struggles or simply enjoying a book together in silence can be incredibly romantic and meaningful.

I’ve been exploring the Japanese concept of ‘Ikigai’ recently, which stresses the importance of finding joy in life’s little pleasures. This philosophy also suggests that appreciating these smaller moments can lead to a more fulfilling and happier life. My advice to couples would be to cherish these subtleties, as they often form the foundation of a strong, lasting relationship.

Every photographer has a favorite location or setting. Is there a specific place or type of wedding that you particularly enjoy capturing due to its unique atmosphere or challenges?

I have a particular fondness for weddings held in beautiful castles. There’s something magical about having the entire day unfold in one stunning location – from the getting ready, to the ceremony, the couple shoot, reception, and the party.

Not only does this create a relaxed and stress-free atmosphere for the couple, but it also allows more time for them to enjoy with their family and friends. This often results in more natural and emotionally rich documentary photos. And let’s be honest, capturing couple portraits in or in front of a grand castle? It’s breathtaking. The beauty of such a setting really enhances the quality of the photos.

Our readers love to travel, what destination is at the top of your bucket list?

Scotland, particularly the Highlands, is at the top of my travel bucket list. The moodiness of the landscapes, the rich greens, and the breathtaking natural beauty are exactly what I love to capture in my photos. It’s not just the nature that appeals to me; the ancient castles nestled within these stunning scenes are absolutely awe-inspiring.

I’m eager to explore Scotland both for personal travel and to hopefully photograph a wedding there one day. It’s my number one dream destination!

Lastly, what message or emotion do you hope your photographs convey to the couples who entrust you to capture their special moments, and what do you wish for them to remember when they look back at their wedding photos years later?

I hope my photographs serve as a vivid reminder of the deep connection and love my couples share. My wish is for these images to be a source of strength and trust, especially during the tougher times in their lives. Beyond that, I want them to look back at their wedding photos and vividly recall the beauty of the day, the joyous moments, and the precious time spent with loved ones. Essentially, my aim is for these photos to be a timeless testament to their love and the wonderful memories they created together.

What inspired you to specialize in boudoir photography, and how do you believe it contributes to boosting an individual’s self-confidence and sense of value?

My journey into boudoir photography began in 2021 with a client who had a great impact on me. Although I’d always been intrigued by boudoir photography, I hadn’t ventured into it until this client, who loved my work, entrusted me to capture her beauty.

The most rewarding part was seeing how the experience boosted her confidence. She felt empowered and incredibly beautiful, particularly as she embraced her curviness. This resonated with me personally, as I had also experienced changes in my own body. Having my portrait taken by another photographer helped me see myself through new eyes, reigniting my self-confidence. I was captivated by the idea of offering this empowering experience to other women, especially in a world where unrealistic beauty standards have been imposed.

Boudoir photography is a powerful way to help women see their true beauty, regardless of curves, scars, or any perceived imperfections. It’s about celebrating oneself fully and authentically.

In your description, you mention that boudoir shoots go beyond taking photos in underwear and are a personal gift to oneself. Can you elaborate on how you create an environment during the shoot that makes clients feel comfortable and empowered to express their unique selves?

Creating a comfortable and empowering environment for boudoir shoots starts with building trust, much like with wedding couples. This aspect is even more crucial in boudoir photography since clients often share their insecurities with me. It’s a vulnerable experience, confronting aspects of themselves they might not feel confident about.

To establish a safe space, I arrange a video call with potential clients before booking. This helps us determine if we’re a good fit and if they feel comfortable entrusting me with their boudoir photos. This initial interaction is also vital to show them the real person behind the camera, especially as most find me through social media or Google.

I encourage them to approach me with any concerns during the planning process, including outfit choices, fostering a friendship-like rapport. Clients are also welcome to bring a close friend to the shoot for added comfort and support. It’s all about creating a genuine connection that allows them to express their unique selves freely and confidently during the shoot.

Your approach focuses on the experience of the shoot, emphasizing that no posing experience is needed. How do you guide clients to feel at ease in front of the camera and ensure a memorable and enjoyable experience for them?

Having posing experience is a bonus, but it’s not necessary for my boudoir shoots. In fact, part of the fun for clients is watching me demonstrate the poses first! I adapt each pose to suit different body types and consider any areas the client might feel self-conscious about.

You’ll often find me trying out poses on the floor or bed, figuring out the best angles and positions before guiding my clients through them. I’m always there to encourage them, offering simple adjustments and cheering them on. It usually gets a good laugh when I’m sprawled out with my camera, exclaiming ‘Yes! Perfect! This is so beautiful!’ – and I genuinely mean it every time. It’s all about making the experience memorable, enjoyable, and empowering for them.

Offering shoots at clients’ homes is a unique aspect of your services. How does shooting in a familiar environment contribute to the overall experience, and what challenges, if any, do you face when shooting on location?

Shooting in a client’s home offers a level of comfort and ease that a studio simply can’t match. Clients feel more relaxed in their own space, lounging in comfy clothes until their hair and makeup are done. Plus, having their personal belongings at hand means there’s no need to pack or rush to a different location. It creates a memorable experience – imagine looking back and remembering yourself all dressed up in your own bed! However, there are challenges.

The biggest one is when clients don’t prepare their space as advised. A tidy environment is crucial for creating the right atmosphere and getting the best shots. Also, having partners or children at home during the shoot can be distracting. I recall a time when I had to clear a bedroom for the shoot while the client’s partner and child were in the living room, which isn’t ideal. It’s important for clients to understand that while I’m there to capture beautiful moments, a cluttered or busy home can detract from both the experience and the final photographs.

In your boudoir photography work, you primarily encourage women to experience the shoot for their own empowerment and enjoyment. However, if a client wishes to do a boudoir shoot as a gift for their partner, would you still recommend this approach?

Absolutely! A boudoir shoot can be both a powerful act of self-empowerment and a beautiful gift for a partner. These two aspects complement each other perfectly. In fact, many of my brides opt for a boudoir session before their wedding day. They not only embrace the empowering experience for themselves but also create a special, intimate gift for their partner, often presented in a stunning photo album.

As we conclude our glimpse into the world of Katharina Haupt, we’re left with an indelible impression of an artist whose lens serves as a bridge between moments and memories, between self-discovery and shared love. Stay up to date with Katharina on Instagram too!

Through her empowering approach to both wedding and boudoir photography, Katharina invites us to see beyond the images, encouraging a celebration of authenticity, intimacy, and the beauty found in every subtlety. In her hands, a photograph becomes more than a frozen moment – it becomes a timeless testament to the profound connections that define the human experience.

Here’s to the magic of love, empowerment, and the artistry that preserves them forever.

Your wedding venue will set the tone and backdrop for your entire day, so choosing the right one is an important decision. Shropshire offers a wonderful selection of wedding venues to suit a range of styles and budgets. Follow these tips to find your perfect Shropshire wedding venue.

Consider Your Priorities

Before you start hunting for wedding venues Shropshire Shrewsbury, decide what’s most important to you. Do you envision an elegant hotel ballroom or a rustic outdoor setting? Is budget a major factor? How many guests will you have? Prioritising your must-haves will help narrow your Shropshire venue search.

Browse Your Options

With medieval castles, stately homes, barns, and more for weddings in Shropshire, the area is brimming with characterful wedding venues like Bromwich Park Shropshire weddings. Search online listing sites like Hitched to browse venues by location, capacity and style. Visit sites for venues that catch your eye to get a feel for their look and offerings.

Make a Shortlist

Once you’ve researched, compile a shortlist of your top 3-5 Shropshire wedding venues. Ensure they align with your priorities in terms of style, capacity and budget. If you love a pricier venue, have a few affordable backups just in case.

Schedule Viewings

Narrow your selection further by visiting your shortlisted wedding venues in Shropshire in person. Viewings allow you to get a sense of each venue’s atmosphere and suitability. Have a list of questions ready, such as:

  • What’s included in the package? Look out for hidden costs.
  • How many guests can be accommodated?
  • What are the decoration restrictions?
  • Is the venue available on your preferred wedding date?

Inspect the Facilities

Utilise your viewing to inspect important facilities like catering options, accommodations if applicable, parking availability and disability access. Make sure the Shropshire wedding venue can cater to your needs.

Visualise Your Day

As you tour each venue, envision how your wedding would come to life there. Can you picture saying your vows in that ceremony area and celebrating in that reception space? Go with the venue that makes you feel most excited to get married!

Compare Venue Packages

Catalogue what is included in each Shropshire venue’s wedding package, like food, drinks, staff and equipment. Also, note down the rental fees for any extra elements you’ll need. Compare packages to find one that offers good overall value aligned with your budget.

Read Reviews

Research online reviews from past couples who’ve wed at your venue contenders. This gives helpful insight into their real-life experiences working with each venue. Watch for trends in the feedback.

Trust Your Instincts

When visiting Shropshire wedding locations, tune into your instincts. You’ll likely experience a “wow” moment at the right venue for you. The venue you’re most excited about, suits your theme, and feels like you, is the one to book.

Book Early

Once you’ve chosen your dream Shropshire wedding venue, book it as early as possible. Popular venues get booked up fast, sometimes over a year in advance. Put down a deposit to secure your date.

With so many wonderful options in this picturesque county, you’re sure to find the perfect Shropshire wedding venue for your needs and style. Stay focused on your priorities, take time to view venues in person and you’ll discover the ideal backdrop to say your vows. Best of luck finding your special Shropshire wedding location!