Tag Archives: silent disco

Relaxed first dances to match your personality

How to choose a song and tell your story, whether you’re shy with two left feet or a pro who loves the spotlight. Here are my ten top tips for finding a first dance you can relax and enjoy, from a choreographed masterpiece to a private moment for non-dancers.

Planning your first dance is often left to the last minute, but it’s a great opportunity to choose something unique and personal – and it’s often where some of my favourite photos are captured. Maybe you can’t agree on a song or you hate the idea of being the centre of attention. Maybe you’re looking to include your story and culture or you want to perform a grand finale. Relax – there’s a perfect first dance for everyone.

1. Choose a song that makes you smile

It can be hard to choose a song – it doesn’t have to be romantic or even seasonal (my first dance was to “All I want for Christmas” and I got married in September!) just something that makes you smile. If it’s hard to pick only one, try a mix tape with clips from all your favourites or even a song from each year you’ve been together. And if your tastes are totally different you can always go for rival playlists in a silent disco dance off!

  

2. Embrace the romance

You don’t have to be a dance professional to have a first dance – it’s fine to just hold each other and enjoy the moment. Some couples feel more relaxed with simple steps to follow and there are many dance instructors who can tailor something just for you.

  

3. Go for it and laugh!

Who cares if you aren’t ‘Strictly’ standard – just learn a ballroom hold, throw in the odd twirl, go for it and laugh your way through. Remember enthusiasm is both appealing and infectious – you’ll soon have all your guests up and dancing!

 

4. Escape the spotlight

If you can’t stand to have others watching, then how about a private first dance? Head into the ballroom before your guests or escape for a few minutes to dance under the stars.

  

5. Tell your story

First dances don’t have to be all music – some couples have recorded voice overs telling the story of their romance. And you can even use props and act out your proposal.

 

6. Showcase your culture

First dances can also be a chance to share your culture or passion – whether it’s ceilidh dancing with a folk band, showing off some salsa style or breaking out your best Bollywood moves.

7. Involve your wedding party

Consider getting your wedding party to join you for a conga line, a choreographed group dance or get everyone on their feet and dance and dazzle your way through the crowd.

 

8. Let the little ones shine

Little guests always add cuteness and often steal the show.

  

9. Solo spots

For those with killer moves, keep everyone’s eyes on you and step into the spotlight for a solo.

 

10. Grand finale

Want a first dance that no one will forget? Take centre stage with dramatic twirls, streamers and confetti canons – end with a kiss, or sweep your bride right off her feet.

  

Good luck finding the perfect first dance to suit your personality!

And if you’re looking for a wedding photographer who loves weddings where personality shines through, it would be lovely to hear from you. Let’s tell your story.

www.hannahlarkinphotography.com

2016 Wedding Highlights

At the start of each year I like to look over my weddings from the year before and remind myself of the special moments I’ve been privileged to capture. In 2016 I was lucky enough to travel and photograph weddings across two continents, witnessing colourful Bengali & Hindu weddings, traditional church services and intimate civil ceremonies. I was able to tell the story of close friends as well as finding new friends in couples who booked me.

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Wedding Venues

I photographed a huge range of venues in 2016, from schools decked with paper pompoms to marquees filled with bunting, soaring naval chapels to small local churches, grand manor houses to university college halls, pubs alive with music to brightly decorated hotel suites, small registry offices and even a boat on the Thames. Three of the wedding venues were chosen as the bride or groom’s parents had celebrated their marriage there, making the celebrations part of a family tradition.

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Wedding Rings & Jewellery

I like to find a way to capture something of the day when I’m photographing the rings, incorporating the colour theme,  wedding stationery or foliage. Rings included engravings, shaped bands, solitaires and eternity bands. Last year I particularly enjoyed learning more about traditional Indian wedding jewellery, photographing intricate golden tikkas, nathas and the mangala sutra. I also loved seeing grooms choosing special pieces for their day: from engraved cufflinks to pocket watches.

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Wedding Flowers & Cakes

I saw a variety of wedding flowers last year, from all white bouquets to deep red buttonholes, thistles and home grown flowers, with a relaxed rather than overly formal feel – including table arrangements in teapots! And in wedding cakes I saw lots of personal touches, from swooning dancers to super hero cake toppers, simple tiered white cakes to decorated towers of cheeses, gold trimmed icing to individual cupcakes.

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Bridesmaids & Groomsmen

Choosing just a handful of groups to photograph gives you time to celebrate with your squad. And whilst I capture more formal group portraits my favourites are always seeing groups relaxed and laughing, enjoying themselves. Different shades or mix and match dresses were popular with my brides last year, whilst groomsmen attire featured tailcoats & pinstrips, kilts and ties of every colour! I like to see the different approaches bestmen take to keeping the groom calm and see the banter between friends – including kisses on the cheek & sneaky peeks under kilts!

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Little Touches & Little Guests

I love to see how couples make their wedding their own and am a huge fan of unique or quirky touches. Last year I admired beautiful henna designs, Venetian masks and bubble guns instead of confetti. Also a big hit were the groom’s socks with a hidden secret message, Charlotte Mills shoes with a silver sixpence in the sole for luck and wedding wellies! In the speeches there were surprise appearances from childhood toys and a groomsman dressing up as the groom to mass hilarity. One bride and groom passed a love letter before their ceremony and instead of a guest book asked friends to put a message in a bottle, while other couples asked guests to sign photo frames or canvas prints of their engagement photos. As well as these special little touches, there were also special little guests, some incredibly cute flower-girls and pageboys (including a pair of identical twins) with a range of bow-ties, braces, flower crowns and ear defenders!

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Wedding Portraits & First Dances

With all these beautiful venues I was lucky to have lots of incredible settings to photograph couples. From flower filled private gardens to riverside walks, carved arches to beautiful doorways, docks with pink sunset reflected in the water to winding woodland paths illuminated with fairy lights. I also enjoyed a range of dances, from secret first dances under the stars to choreographed masterpieces complete with confetti canons, brass band music to energetic ceilidhs, romantic slow dances to festival inspired silent discos.

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I loved all the weddings I was honoured to photograph last year, especially all the ways they were unique and personal. I feel so lucky to get to see the nerves and excitement, the blushes and laughter and most of all the pride and love of a wedding day. I’m excited about 2017 & if  you’re getting married this year, I’d love to talk to you about capturing your special wedding story.

www.hannahlarkinphotography.com

Back to school soundtrack

Last year I blogged about the songs providing the backdrop to my summer – time has flown and now it’s ‘back to school’ time! Here are the five top tunes I’m happy to have stuck on my iPhone and in my head:

1). I’m gonna be (500 miles) by Sleeping at Last

When the bride and groom told me their first dance would be to “I would walk 500 miles” I couldn’t really picture it! But I had no need to worry about the bride attempting to march in a long white dress to the Proclaimers 80s hit – often played to rouse Scottish football fans. This beautiful ballad version set to a simple piano accompaniment is just so romantic and dreamy it makes a perfect first dance.

2). Suitcase full of sparks by Gregory Alan Isakov

I’m a big fan of crime drama and recently finished the latest series of The Blacklist. I love the show, but when this song was played as part of the soundtrack I struggled to focus on the plot. It’s a haunting tune with an amazing mix of instruments and vocal backing – I think there’s a banjo and accordion in the mix. The melody and refrain “honey I’m just trying to find my way to you” are sure to stick in your head. I can’t wait to see him supporting Passenger in November!

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3). Carrier of a secret by Sissel

A trip to the arctic circle at Easter let me tick off an item from my bucket list – a visit to the ice hotel. During my Scandinavian trip, I was reminded of the amazing Norwegian singer Sissel. Her voice, especially for the highest notes, is as pure and clear as the river ice that forms the hotel. I listened to her songs on cassette and later CD while revising for exams at school and university and I’ve loved reacquainting myself with old favourites.

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4). Shut up and dance with me by Walk the Moon

One of the couples whose wedding I photographed this year found a clever way to keep their party going late without disturbing the neighbours – they had a silent disco! With headphones lit in red for the bride’s playlist and blue for the groom’s it was great to see the lights change colour as different songs came on. I’m not sure whether this song was on the bride or groom’s playlist but with its strong beat it had everyone jumping around and dancing! It’s now my go-to energising song for an instant boost.

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5). Holiday in Spain by Counting Crows

Karaoke (in a private room, not on a stage) is one of our favourite ways to spend an evening. I generally think musical ability is not really required – it’s all about passion and enthusiasm! However when a friend of a friend chose this song (which I’d never heard before) and sang it beautifully, I instantly loved it and bought the Counting Crows version there and then. I think it’s perfect and as autumn begins, it leaves me dreaming of jetting off for some sunshine.

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So that was the soundscape to my summer. I love stumbling upon new artists or being prompted to rediscover old favourites – so please leave any recommendations!
www.hannahlarkinphotography.com