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Your wedding flowers are a once-in-a-lifetime couture accessory! When else do you get the opportunity to carry around a beautiful bouquet specially created for you all day? To help you find your perfect match, guest blogger Aideen McCanny shares the blooming marvellous trends topping the floral charts this year.

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Vintage vibe

Vintage inspired bouquets continue to prove a popular choice with brides this year and show no sign of wilting any time soon! From perfect posies to hand-tied bouquets, brides are dreaming of a bygone era.

Pretty pastel peonies and roses are given special attention and finished off with simple ribbon tied in a bow, while family heirloom brooches add a personal touch.

Carry the theme throughout your wedding day with finishing touches such as rustic jam jars finished with delicate lace and brimming with your favourite combination of flowers –  a simple, yet effective centrepiece for your big day.

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Beautiful brooch bouquets

With many brides searching for something that little bit different for their big day, brooch bouquets are a fab alternative to real blooms! Incorporating just about everything including crystals, brooches, rhinestones and flowers, there are no rules when it comes to this trend. And, it makes for a fun way to incorporate that all important “Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue” tradition. Time to raid those jewellery boxes girls!

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Go bold

Fancy something a little bold? Add a splash of personality and vibrancy to your wedding with the season’s hottest trend, bold blooms!

While last year focused on a soft, muted colour palette, this year more brides are opting for vibrancy when it comes to their bouquets. From lush arrangements of red and orange poppies to hot-pink sweetpea arranged with jasmine, and fringed tulips, the options are endless.

Whether you start with a few neutrals and add a pop of colour, or fully embrace the trend with bright and bold colours, bold brights evoke a sense of passion and romance.

Your wedding is one of the most special days of your life, so why not fill it with a wonderfully happy combination of colours!

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Tears of joy

Tear-drop or cascade bouquets are all about the drama! Victoria Beckham’s iconic wedding bouquet instantly springs to mind. The perfect partner with fishtail dresses or ballgowns, these daring designs involve an abundance of overflowing flowers, from large and dense flowers at the top, tapering towards smaller flowers in a point at the bottom.

Choose a cascading bouquet and you’ll discover various ways of dressing it up – a length of coloured ribbon or lace tied delicately around the stems is the perfect way to coordinate with your dress or those of your bridesmaids.

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The finishing touches

Wedding flowers are not just about the bouquets. This year brides are discovering more and more unique ways to incorporate the power of flowers into their wedding! From prom inspired wrist corsages for bridesmaids, to flowers intertwined in their hair and ornate vases overflowing with beautiful blooms, it’s time to get creative ladies!

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New creative start-up engages experts from around the world to educate aspiring and professional photographers in concept, portrait, wedding, fashion photography and more.

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Earlier this year, I launched a new digital start-up, Engage, to offer aspiring and professional photographers free online training in all aspects of the photography business, from concept, portraiture, wedding, food and baby photography to brand creation and business planning.

After deriving so much creative fulfilment from photography, I wanted to give something back to the industry that has given me so much. I’m very lucky to have solid friendships with expert photographers working around the world, and have engaged them to work with me on this exciting new project.

Engage sees specialist photographers from around the world stream live two- or three-day master classes on the Engage website, filmed in HD and involving interactive chats with Engage users, which are subsequently made available to purchase as downloads to enjoy and learn from on-demand.

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The aim of the company is to help photographers of all abilities to get creative, sharpen their skills, learn new tricks, network and ultimately establish themselves as brand leaders in their chosen fields.

When I moved from marketing into photography, I needed assistance in so many things. I needed to learn about the art of wedding photography, about composition, equipment, lighting, editing and more, and about how to translate those skills into a successful business.

I found that there were few courses readily available online, or indeed in-person, teaching those types of skills. So, after learning from friends within the industry, I was determined to offer other aspiring photographers a means to learn and develop themselves as professionals. Engage is now in place to do just that.

Engage has offered a number of test courses since launching at the beginning of 2015, including an exploration of iPhone photography art with award-winning specialist Gerry Coe, whose ‘Lone Tree’ piece sold out at the 2011 Royal Ulster Academy exhibition. Video of this class, and more, is available to download from the Engage website now.

For information on forthcoming Engage classes – involving newborn posing, child portraiture, food photography and much more – visit the Engage website.

Photo props come in a variety of shapes and sizes so choosing the right ones for your wedding can be a bit daunting. Props are a fabulous way to infuse some personality and fun into your special day, but remember, these are there to enhance your photographs, rather than takeover, so don’t overdo it! To lend a helping hand, we’ve rounded up our top 10 wedding day props to make your photos pop!

1) Sign me up

Quirky signs emblazoned with cheeky remarks are the perfect way to inject some fun into your wedding photos. Whether it’s your pretty bridesmaids bearing “What until you see her” signs, or a bride holding up a “Shut up and kiss me” banner, these make for some truly topical wedding photos. And the best part is, you can choose exactly what you want these signs to say, meaning these can be as personal as you like and for example, could even bear a private joke shared by just you and your other half. Finally, take the opportunity to have your photographer snap a photograph of you both holding a ‘Thank-you’ sign – the perfect photo for your thank-you cards, following the wedding.

Check out these fab wooden signs from Etsy, found here.

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2) On yer bike

A fun vintage bike makes for a perfect photo prop! Ideal for (but not confined to) a bride with a fun and flirty 50s style dress, a vintage bike can look equally stunning in the background, as it does with the happy couple on it.

Check out local company, Look Crafty about hiring a vintage bike for your big day here.

3) Arrive in style

If you are hiring a car for your wedding day, as well as arriving on time (and in style) remember that a stunning car can make for some amazing photos. When choosing your car, keep this in mind. For something that little bit different, check out this VW Microbus from LoveBug, which will definitely serve as the perfect backdrop to some truly unique wedding photos. Find LoveBug on Facebook here.

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4) Beautiful balloons

No, we’re not talking about your regular old party balloons here… think oversized speciality balloons and hanging lanterns. Available in an unbelievable array of colours of sizes, these will instantly transform a white canvas into a spectacle of colour and will look delightful in your photos.

5) In the frame

No matter how they are displayed, frames make for a great and inexpensive prop for your wedding photos. Source these online, from local charity shops or vintage fairs and don’t forget to ask around. You’d be surprised at how many family members have these stowed away in attics, just waiting for a chance to be revived!

6) Mirror mirror

If your venue boasts gorgeous, ornate frames, use them to your advantage. Likewise, stunning window frames offer an unmissable opportunity for truly unforgettable photographs.

7) Paper props

When the lights are down low and the drinks are flowing, it’s time to bring out the paper props! Everyone loves a good photo booth, and the opportunity to don an extravagant hat or moustache. This element doubles up as a wonderful wedding favour and offers any of you DIY brides and grooms the chance to get crafty! Check out these free paper props on Pinterest here or if you’re arty, draw your own. Simply print and adhere to wooden sticks and purchase a Polaroid camera to amuse guests for hours.

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 8) Under my umbrella

Not to rain on your parade, but the chance of rain on your wedding day demands a backup plan, in the form of pretty parasols! Come rain or shine, matching umbrellas ensure your photographer can capture pretty cool outdoor shots, whatever the weather.

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9) Lights, camera, action

Perfect for that all-important first dance, illuminated initials look spectacular positioned on the dance floor and are sure to impress your guests.

10) Hang tight

For those getting ready shots, props can also play an important role. A wedding dress hung up on a customised wooden hanger looks super in photographs!

I love it when a plan comes together! 15 months ago I set my second shooter, Michael Love up on a date with a childhood friend, Vanessa and the two of them hit  it off and haven’t looked back.

I was incredibly honoured to have been asked to shoot the couple together for some fun images in Ebrington. While Michael knew many of my techniques it was funny having him on the other side of the camera for once.

One thing was evident to me, Vanessa and Michael are peas in a pod and are perfect for one another.

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To see more of Vanessa and Michael’s shoot check out the slideshow below!

I am really looking forward to Ciara and Shane’s wedding at the Caetlegrove Country House Hotel in August.

We had such a fun time on the shoot with their daughter Lily as we explored the forest around Castlefinn.

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To see more of Ciara and Sean pre-wedding shoot check out the slideshow below!

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