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Choosing shoes for your wedding

D2358_019Choosing shoes for your wedding is a very personal thing, but there are some factors that you might want to consider.  Having photographed hundreds of weddings, I have seen all sorts of choices that brides have made for their wedding shoes.  These have ranged from the usual high heels to designer boots.  Bizarrely, the designer boots were a better choice than some of the shoes others have chosen.  They remained wearable and comfortable for the whole of the day.

Shoes can make or break a wedding if they make your feet sore, uncomfortable or look terrible.  It is not unusual for brides to ditch the high heels after the start of the reception because they are so uncomfortable.  One bride had chosen the most incredibly tall stiletto heels that she could barely balance on them.  Indeed she toppled and twisted her ankle, which did put a bit of a dampener on the rest of the day.

D2451-45-Big_heels_for_the big_dayChoosing wedding shoes

Be a little bit practical.  Remember you are going to wear the shoes for a good part of the day. However good they look, those towering stilettos may look good, but they are not very flattering when you are struggling to balance on them.  Nor are they very comfortable after and hours or so of wear.

One solution is to have a back-up plan and to have the show shoes for the wedding and a pair of flatter shoes for the reception and dancing.  If you have to get from the car to the reception venue across a wet area in winter, consider having a pair of wellies just to get into the venue. The precious wedding shoes can be carried to keep them pristine and mud-free. Also it is worth noting that some historical venues do not permit stilettos because they damage irreplaceable floors.

D2211-138-Stanford-on-Avon, Leicestershire_wedding_shoesSometimes brides chose a really fancy pair of shoes with all sorts of beading, buckles and other accoutrements on.  They then find that part way through the wedding the shoes start to rip or catch in the dress. If you do choose higher heels or even flats, it is worth considering having ankle straps to avoid losing the shoes when walking down the aisle.

Wear them in.  Comfort is most important.  If the first time you wear the shoes is on your wedding day, you could be in for a sore surprise.  Consider this, a razor strop is made of leather and sharpens razor blades, imagine what leather can do for your feet.  One tip I heard was not to go shoe shopping until the end of the day when your feet were more likely to be a bit swollen.  They are more likely to be a better fit, especially if you are intending to wear them all day.

Wear them round the house a bit to get them moulded to fit your feet.  This will also soften the leather a bit so they do not rub.  It is good to practice walking in the shoes so you are used to them on the wedding day.  This will also let you know if there are any pinch-points or areas that rub.  You will then be able to make adjustments to get rid of the problems. Make sure they do not feel a little tight; it will cause problems after an hour or so.  Consider putting heel cushions (sometimes called foot petals) to stop chaffing. A good shoe shop will be able to stretch shoes or remove hard, sharp spots to avoid cutting your feet to ribbons.

D2566-6It is also good practice to take the shoes to your dress fittings so that any issues can be highlighted early on.  Quite often the dress maker can make adjustments to avoid potential problems.

Have a pedicure before the wedding to make sure your feet look great, shoes on or shoes off.  Then if you have to take your shoes off you will still look great.

Are they just for the wedding?  Many brides buy wedding shoes that they can wear out on other occasions. Just remember that you can have style and comfort; they are not mutually exclusive.  Quite often, a really striking wedding gown does not need special shoes as the dress carries the day.   If you have too busy a fashion statement with elaborate dress and sparkly shoes it looks too much.

Are you shorter than the Groom?  One good reason you might choose to wear higher heels is if you are shorter than the Groom. Or, flatter shoes if you are a lot taller than the groom.

If you want to make sure that your shoes and the wedding dress are photographed at their best, why not contact me at Martin Neeves Photography or call me on 01455 271 849 or on 07973 638 591

Romantic wedding proposal ideas

Written by Martin Neeves – Reportage Wedding Photographer Hinckley

Ideas for a romantic wedding proposal

A romantic wedding proposal idea may not be all grooms’ idea of fun, but not all grooms approach to the wedding proposal is “do you think we should get married”?  Some go to great lengths to surprise their future bride with a romantic wedding proposal, whilst others just treat it as a normal part of a conversation.  There is no doubt that the lady would prefer a “romantic” proposal.  The problem for the man is having got the courage to ask, finding out or deciding just what is going to be seen by the lady as that “romantic” proposal. What happens if she says NO!?

So what ideas are there for a romantic wedding proposal?

The romantic holiday or weekend away. This is quite common, but it does have the benefit that you are on your own as a couple. One alternative on this theme is to ask the flight crew on an airplane if they will announce it mid-air.

The place where you first met.  If it has a little magic, then fine but if it was not particularly romantic or was at work then maybe not.  Oh and by the way it will fall flat if you get the place wrong.

Someone else’s wedding.  It can work, but it can also seem like you are either stealing the show or just “jumping on the band-wagon”.

At a concert, show or the cinema.  This is quite good, assuming the show is good.  One chap I know was able to get the comedian at a show to announce the proposal and he had woven it into a joke.  Luckily for the guy the lady saw the joke.

Adding a sign on the way to work.  If she is easily embarrassed then that could be a problem.  If she turns you down then you will have a lot of public embarrassment.  I guess this is one option you only try if you feel confident of success.

Put the ring in a box of chocolates.  Some chocolatiers will do this as a service.  However, you have got to be there when the choccies are opened or it will lack impact.

Sky writing.  It’s been done before and you have to have the good weather and ensure she is there to see it.

Kinder Surprise.  One chap carefully opened a Kinder Egg and put the ring in it, carefully resealed it and gave it to his girlfriend.  When she opened the Egg he proposed on one knee.

Advert in the Local Paper.  This has been done before.  One guy put an advert in the Eastern Daily press.

Flash Mob/Choir.  You could arrange a choir to “flash mob” the man and his partner and sing a suitable song.  At the end of the song, the man then gets down on his knees and proposes.

Bake a Cake.  Either bake the cake yourself or get a bakery to produce one for you with the proposal iced on the cake – possible with the ring on top of the cake.

Canal Boat Ride, Horse and Carriage or some other novel form of transport.  This can be a good way to propose.  It can be private and you can arrange for a hamper with champagne to be available to celebrate the event.

What do you do if she says No?

Does she mean – not now?  She might just not be ready yet; try to work out when it is going to be the right time before asking again.

Not at all.  Try to work out if she just does not want to get married; then you need to find out if she wants a relationship but without  the ties.

Married, not with you!  Only ask the question if you know you are “an item”.  Make sure that you have discussed living together beforehand.  But occasionally the answer may be NO.  Well at least you know where you stand, but it not going to be easy being rejected.  Various experts consider that in this type of event, the best solution is to put it down to experience and walk away.

In conclusion

There are many ideas for a romantic wedding proposal that will excite your partner.  If you go to Mr Google, then you can get heaps of suggestions for exotic ideas of locations and ideas for proposing.

After your romantic wedding proposal, when you have decided that you both want to get married, then Contact Martin Neeves Photography or call me on 01455 271 849 or on 07973 638 591 for the highest quality Reportage Wedding photography

Catthorpe Manor Wedding Photography: Jodi & Craig’s Wedding

Here are some photos I took of Jodi and Craig’s wedding at Catthorpe Manor in Leicestershire.

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Getting Ready

Jodi and her bridesmaids started the day by getting ready at home in Countesthorpe on a very rainy morning.  The bridal hair and makeup was ably taken care of by Rachel Liney (who I have worked with on many occasions and she always does a great job), before stepping into her gorgeous wedding dress which was supplied by Brides & Belles of Wigston, Leicester.  Jodi and her dad were then taken to St. Mary’s church in Lutterworth in great style  in a 1960 Armstrong Siddeley Star Sapphire vintage car supplied by Classic Sapphire.

Church Ceremony

Craig, the groom was well prepared as he waved a pack of tissues at Jodi as she and her dad walked up the aisle as he knew there would be a few bridal tears!  This brought a huge smile to her face when she realised what he was up to.  Wedding videographer Mike Maher of Maher Productions worked alongside me to capture video footage of the day.  We worked well together and didn’t get in each other’s way!

Wedding Reception at Catthorpe Manor

After the ceremony and the confetti was thrown, we all headed off to the wedding reception at Catthorpe Manor in the village of catthorpe, near Lutterworth, where toastmaster Mike Jacobs eagerly waited the wedding party.  Catthorpe Manor is a magnificent 19th century country house set in the heart of Leicestershire and it has become a very popular wedding venue.  The wedding flowers were by Fleurissimo and A Perfect Setting decorated all the tables, while JJ Cakes supplied the wedding cake.

Evening Entertainment

The entertainment was taken care of by pianist Christopher Langdown of Romantic Piano (who played during the wedding breakfast), a photo booth by Hello Foto Booths and The Noel Fraser Band.

Kind Words

When Jodi and Craig received their wedding photos, they sent me the following email: “Thank you so much, we love them all!!! Going to be hard to decide which ones we want in the album as they are all so beautiful!  We are really impressed with the moments you’ve captured and the quality of the photos, we couldn’t have asked for anything more! Thank you!!!

If you are looking for a reportage wedding photographer for your wedding at Catthorpe Manor, please contact me at Martin Neeves Photography or call me on 01455 271 849 or on 07973 638 591.

Why do we throw confetti at weddings?

Written by Martin Neeves – Reportage Wedding Photographer Nottinghamshire

D2358-160-The_happy_couple_are_covered_in_confettiWe have become quite used to the throwing of confetti at weddings, but have you ever wondered why we do it? Our understanding of confetti is the pretty multi-coloured paper or foil stuff we toss over the bride and groom. So where do this all come from?

Many of us will put forward the idea that it has something to do with rice or that rice has something to do with the eco-friendly solution to throwing confetti. Although there is well recorded history of things being thrown at various carnival parades, the use of confetti or cut up coloured tissue at weddings seems to date back to Victorian times. Previously, Victorians had thrown coloured leaves and petals over the happy couple. So it is not as old as people think.

Throwing things at newlywed couples dates back at least to at least Roman times. It may go back even further. The use of various types of seed or grain has happened in many countries for an unknown time. It is thought that the idea of throwing seed or grain represented future prosperity and fertility for the newlywed couple. Rice became the popular choice in America, with wheat in France and sugar coated nuts in Italy. And it is from the Italian sugar coated nuts tradition that the word confetti evolved.

D2590-113The invention of confetti in Italy comes from an amazing piece of entrepreneurism in 1857 in Milan. Enrico Mangili was an Italian businessman who noticed that the silkworm breeders cut little holes in sheets of paper used as a form of bedding for the worms. The holes were cut to help the silkworms get out of their eggs. The paper holes were punched big enough for the silk worms but not the eggs to pass through. The silkworms could smell the mulberry leaves set below them and this encouraged them to force their way down to the leaves. This shed the eggs and allowed the worms to grow (if they did not lose their eggs they did not grow and produce the silk). Enrico Mangili gathered up all these punched pieces of paper and sold them as paper confetti. This was thrown for the first time at the Carnevale of Milan in 1857.

The use of rice moved to the USA with the Italians. As with many practices, there have been some urban myths that grew up around the use of rice for throwing over the happy couple. For a while, especially in the US, it was discontinued because someone started the scare story that the rice was dangerous to birds that ate it. The myth was that when the birds ate the rice it swelled up and killed them. There were even greater embellishments of the story that some birds even exploded “because rice is like popcorn”. None of this was true but it was a tale that gained pace and meant that the Italian use of paper confetti was introduced.

Now it is possible to get confetti cannons, piñatas with confetti in, personalised confetti printed with the couple’s name and many other ideas all designed to give individuality and make money.

When you decide to plan your confetti throwing event, commonly known as a wedding, why not choose a Photographer who will complement your wedding  and contact me at Martin Neeves Photography or call me on 01455 271 849 or on 07973 638 591.

I want a wedding that is very different!

Written by Martin Neeves – Reportage Wedding Photographer

I want a wedding that is very different!All brides and grooms want to have a memorable wedding; one that will stick in theirs and their guests memories.  There will, be many ideas on what makes it truly memorable.  It might be a themed wedding, a different quirky venue, but some people do choose some very unique places and ways to get married.  Now I am not talking about getting married in castles, caves, on glaciers, or in the nude (yes it does happen) or anything as straightforward as this.  No I am talking REALLY different weddings.

I suppose what triggered the article was my recent tandem sky dive.  One of my wacky friends said “well now you’re qualified to photograph a sky dive wedding”.  Well yes I did know that some people had “non-standard” weddings, so let me cover a few for you.

A wedding that is very different


Sky Dive Wedding.  Well having mentioned it, I had better start off with this.  Jessy Schild and Ingo Mueller actually got married onboard of a plane before skydiving 13,000ft in wedding clothing.  In America there are businesses who will set up the weddings in aircraft before they skydive to cement their relationship.  But one couple even exchanged short vows in mid-air whilst in freefall. They had to work hard to find a vicar to perform the wedding.

Wing Walking to marriage.   Daredevil couple married Darren McWalters and Katie Hodgson on top of the wings of two planes.  This happened near Cirencester at 1,000 feet above the ground. They were strapped to the top wing of 2 separate biplanes flying alongside each other. They were wearing traditional wedding dress and suit and a third aircraft was positioned just ahead with a vicar on the wing.  The brave Rev George Bringham married the couple using an airborne communications system. The ceremony was played through loud speakers to the congregation who were still on the ground.

Martin Neeves on his tandem skydive at Langar Airfield - done partly as a midlife-crisis bucket list type of thing and partly to raise money for the Bamboozle Theatre Company.

Climbing to your wedding.   Enthusiastic climbers Jamie Lamb and her husband David Lamb climbed up a peak called the Chief, in British Columbia, Canada so that they could get married at the top.  The priest and guests were already waiting at the top (no brave souls there then). Luckily the weather was good and the guests had a nice view while they waited for the different style of arrival of bride and groom.

This had also been done in Scotland when a couple who are mountaineers (I only have their first names – Rob & Jo). With their best man and bridesmaid they climbed the North Gully of Buachaille Etive Mhor in Glencoe: and were married at the top.  No pink fluffy limousine for them!

Diving Wedding.  One couple in Hawaii got married underwater and another had an underwater ceremony under the Indian Ocean.  All vows were displayed on a board and the couple used signs to acknowledge each vow.  They even exchanged rings.  After the ceremony Chris and Janet emerged happy and married.

On Horseback. Naturally this happened in America. A couple in Texas got married on horseback, with the pastor also on his own horse.  Unlike a few “novelty weddings” all the guests were also on horseback.

Wedding in a Shark Cage.  Now why would anyone do this?  Well they both love the sea and sharks – well I guess you have to if you want to do this.  In June 2010, April Pignataro and Michael Curry from New York City got married in a 120,000 gallon shark tank at Atlantis Marine World in New York.  The bride was dressed in a white wetsuit and, naturally, the groom had a traditional black wetsuit.   The cage protected them from sand sharks, nurse sharks, moray eels and a giant grouper. Also, as part of their diving gear, they had microphones and the service was conducted over a radio system.  Their guests and the officiating registrar were less enthusiastic and carried out their roles on the pool side.

Bungee Jumping.  Well I guess someone had to do it.  Jeroen and Sandra Kippers from Belgium, had their wedding ceremony 160 feet up on a platform, held in place on a crane.  On that platform there were 20 guests and an officiant.  Interestingly, the guests were strapped into their seats – sensible folks in my book. Some musicians were on a nearby platform to provide music for the ceremony.  When they had completed their vows they bungee jumped off the platform.  Since then, the company that set it up have been inundated with requests for similar weddings.  The photographer did not jump but was on the same platform as the musicians.

Hot air balloon  Wedding.   Michael and Mackenzie Chavez, who had their first date at the International Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque, New Mexico, decided that it seemed quite logical for them to get married in the basket of a hot air balloon.  A small wedding ceremony, with 9 guests and a vicar took off in the balloon baskets holding 12 passengers. They had watched balloon flights for a few years together and felt it was a natural progression to get married in one.

Wedding on a Roller Coaster. Bride Angie Brashares had to work hard to convince her husband to get married., After taking a long time convincing the bride to “take the plunge” she was prepared to do anything to make sure he did not back out.  He wanted to get married in a roller coaster so she agreed.  The wedding took place on the Millennium Force roller coaster at the Cedar Point amusement park in Ohio.


I am sure that people have great reasons for having exciting and different types of wedding.  Whether it makes a stronger marriage or not is debatable, but I am sure it will be remembered by everyone present for ever.

Even if you have a wedding that is very different, why not choose a Photographer who will complement your wedding  and contact me at Martin Neeves Photography or call me on 01455 271 849 or on 07973 638 591.