What to Wear For Your Pre-Wedding or Engagement Session | Grace Elizabeth, Colchester, Essex Alternative Wedding and Lifestyle Photographer

I know what it’s like planning an outfit… I can’t even plan one on a daily basis, let alone for a special occasion like your pre-wedding session photos or your engagement session photos! As a result, I’ve decided to put together a bit of a guide / my top five go-to tips of what you could look to wear, what you should avoid, and how to feel your best self! Oh, and this guide is based not only on what my past clients have worn, but what I’ve worn to my own couple sessions with my boyfriend. I’ll include photos of how we co-ordinated our wardrobes for the day, so I totally know how you feel, trust me!

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Mother's Day Mini Sessions | Cudmore Grove | Grace Elizabeth, Colchester, Essex Alternative Wedding and Lifestyle Photographer

Our parents deserve to be celebrated don’t they? Luckily, there’s two occasions every year where we can celebrate everything they do for us, those being Mother’s Day and Father’s Day!

This year, to celebrate Mother’s Day, I’m offering mini sessions! I know how difficult it can be to round up all of the family for a lifestyle session, but mini sessions are just a quarter of the length of my usual lifestyle sessions, at just 30 minutes long, and these ones are for a very special price, too!

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Anne and Charlie's Wedding Previews | Intimate Wedding at All Saint's Church, Maldon | Grace Elizabeth, Colchester, Essex Alternative Wedding and Lifestyle Photographer

Anne and Charlie’s wedding yesterday was just so wonderful, even if it was probably the most blustery wedding I have ever photographed!

I first met Anne and Charlie at John and Amy’s wedding at Tunnels Beaches last September, where they were guests. I actually remember them pulling me aside to ask if I would take a photograph of them together - I didn’t expect an email to land in my inbox from them just two months later asking me if I would photograph their wedding, what an honour!

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Fletcher's At-Home Mini Newborn Session | Barnstaple, North Devon | Grace Elizabeth, Colchester, Essex Alternative Wedding and Lifestyle Photographer

Fletchers at-home newborn session is still up there as one of my very favourites. Laura and Lee’s home was full of beautiful natural light, which poured through the windows of their little house in North Devon and bounced off of all of the neutral-toned decor filled within. Honestly it was a photographer’s dream… and don’t get me started on the adorable little monogram onesie Fletcher was sporting!

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Behind the Scenes | We Only Need 15 Minutes For Your Wedding Portraits - Yes Really! | Grace Elizabeth, Colchester, Essex Alternative Wedding and Lifestyle Photographer

Regularly, when I explain that I will need a little time in your day to get those beautiful couple photos you see across my website and my instagram, I often hear ‘Oh you won’t take us away for hours will you?’ or ‘We aren’t that fussed about couple photos… We were at a wedding recently where the couple disappeared with the videographer and photographer for two hours! We don’t want that.’ Therefore, most couples are actually super cautious about having any couple photos together at all, which makes me super sad because I LOVE them… so let me tell you something!

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Colourful Intimate NYE Registry Office Elopement at Colchester Town Hall | Kim and David | Grace Elizabeth, Colchester, Essex Alternative Wedding Photographer

Just a month before the two planned to wed, an email popped into my inbox from the loveliest couple, David and Kim. The couple had been together for over thirty years and were finally planning to tie the knot in a super intimate ceremony, with just Kim’s daughter and her mum present, although there was going to be a big party a few months down the line with all of their friends who would then be aware of their wedding!

Noted in their email as ‘what will probably be the speediest wedding ever’ although quite correct, as they were in and out of the ceremony within 20 minutes, it was such a wonderful way to end 2018 on a high and definitely a lovely thing to witness.

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Baby Beau | Crow Point, North Devon Family Session | Grace Elizabeth, Colchester, Essex Alternative Wedding and Lifestyle Photographer

So Beau’s mum, Kelly, and I actually go way back. She is the twin sister of one of my very best school friends, the first girl to befriend me when I moved to Devon as the shy 14 year old I was. When she fell pregnant and asked me to do Beau’s baby photos, I was so excited, if not a little nervous, because the last time I properly saw Kelly was probably in 2012! I also love that she and Jordan waited until Beau was just a little older, rather than being a newborn before she booked to do these photos, because he had so many hilarious expressions to show us, and had perfected his grumpy face almost perfectly for the photos!

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Tyler Family's Christmas Session | Hertfordshire Extended Family Session | Grace Elizabeth, Colchester, Essex Alternative Wedding and Lifestyle Photographer

This might just be the biggest family I have photographed in one go!

When my friend (and amazing photographer!) Emily asked me to take her family portraits, I was so over the moon! It is always such a privilege when another creative (especially a photographer!) asks you to take photos with them, and this would be a lovely session to take some more for the family album.

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Mark and Laurence's Wedding Previews | Crondon Park | Grace Elizabeth, Colchester, Essex Alternative Wedding Photographer

I’m just gonna say it… This wedding might just go down as the best party of the entire year. And yes, I do realise we are only just in January, but oh my was this a wedding and a half!

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Dedham Extended Family Session | McPherson Family | Grace Elizabeth, Colchester, Essex Alternative Wedding and Lifestyle Photographer

This extended family session was truly special, and let me give you a bit of background as to why…

Laurel Beth first got in touch with me when I was shooting a wedding in December, and her enquiry was just so sweet that during my meal break I had to reply! She told me that she and husband Ryan had moved to the UK back in spring last year for work, and that this was meant to be their first family Christmas apart. Having experienced having long distance family and relationships myself, I totally knew how she felt. However, as I read on, I was so overjoyed to hear that her family had planned to fly from Tennessee to the UK to spend Christmas all together - how precious is that?!

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Beautiful Twilight Wedding at Newland Hall | Sophie + Mark | Grace Elizabeth, Colchester, Essex Alternative Wedding Photographer

Sophie and Mark’s gorgeous bohemian twilight wedding last September at Newland Hall was definitely one of the highlights of 2018 for me, and I am so excited to finally be able to share their day with you! You might be surprised to know that I was absolutely full of flu when their day rolled around (seriously, who gets the flu in September?!) but I absolutely would not have missed this wedding for the world. I had SO much fun and it was absolutely gorgeous!

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Post-Wedding Sessions | The Clark Family | Grace Elizabeth, Colchester, Essex Alternative Wedding Photographer

This blog post is going to be introducing something new to you - my post wedding sessions! I am so excited to launch these, because I think they might just be a huge game changer (not to mention a stress reliever!) when it comes to the formal photos on your wedding day…

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Best of 2018 | Grace Elizabeth | Colchester, Essex Alternative Wedding and Lifestyle Photographer

What an absolute year 2018 was. It was the year I went from doing photography on the side, to going fully self employed, and for that, I am so very grateful. 2018 gave me the opportunity to photograph the most amazing weddings and lifestyle sessions, and to meet so many amazing people. It was a year full of love, I started the #GoldDustProject, I photographed quite a few charity events and I documented a few eco friendly vegan events too. So here it is, a round up of the best moments of 2018!

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Retro 50s DIY Crabbs Barn Wedding | Rhia + James | Grace Elizabeth, Alternative Wedding and Lifestyle Photographer, Colchester, Essex

When bride Rhia first got in contact with me back in the summer, I knew from her messages that right away we would get along, so it wasn’t long before we organised meeting up to chat about their plans. It was the middle of summer, with the blazing hot heatwave, and I think I must have spent about three hours at their home… No wonder that now we are such good friends! Funny how you never know where one facebook message might lead six months down the line!

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Winter Family Beach Sunset Session at Cudmore Grove | Bushell Family | Grace Elizabeth | Colchester, Essex Alternative Wedding and Lifestyle Photographer

I first met Jo (also a wonderful family photographer!) through one of my Gold Dust Project participants, Lorna. After photographing Lorna with her little ones at her home (and spending a little too much time chatting at the end!), just as I was leaving, Lorna’s good friend Jo turned up for a catch up with her. I never expected that a few months down the line, Jo and husband Stephen would be looking for family photos. It is always a HUGE compliment when another photographer wants to book in with me!

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Classic Intimate English Wedding, Wivenhoe House and St Osyth | Sarah + Alex | Grace Elizabeth, Alternative Wedding and Lifestyle Photographer, Colchester, Essex

You know what, if I could shoot intimate garden weddings all of the time, I totally would, and this wedding is exactly why…

Sarah and Alex got in touch with me just ten days before their wedding day in October. Having wed in France in a beautiful chateau a few weeks prior, they planned an intimate re-run of their day, so that Alex’s grandmother would be able to attend (you’ll spot her as the smiley blonde lady in the blue dress in the photos later!) Straight off the bat, I thought that was just so kind and I absolutely said yes to doing their wedding (what a stroke of luck it was that I was free!)

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Cosy Woodland Extended Family Session | The Dow's | Grace Elizabeth, Alternative Wedding and Lifestyle Photographer, Colchester, Essex

After heading to take a few photos with Joe and Emily’s grandmother at her home, we all drove a short distance to Donyland Woods on a chilly but sunny November morning, somewhere that Joe and Emily spent many hours exploring as kids with their parents and grandparents. I am always happy to suggest photo locations but more often than not, it’s lovely when you take the lead because it lets us make memories in a place which is probably already packed full to the brim of memories from years gone past!

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Freespirited Bohemian Beach Maternity Session in Kent | Jess + Kerion | Grace Elizabeth, Colchester, Essex Alternative Wedding and Lifestyle Photographer

Jess is such a special friend to me. I remember when she announced she was pregnant in April with a WhatsApp message that went something along the lines of ‘So, Grace, would you ever do my maternity photos?’ of course she knew I would say yes, but I had no clue that she was literally asking me to do them, in October of this year, because she was pregnant! ‘Is this your way of telling me you’re pregnant?!’ I asked, hesitantly. ‘Well, yes!’ She exclaimed, and honestly I have been just as excited as them both for this little baby’s arrival!

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Intimate DIY Rainy Beach Wedding at Tunnels Beaches, Ilfracombe | John + Amy | Grace Elizabeth | Alternative Wedding Photographer, Colchester, Essex

Oh where do you start with a wedding like this one? A beautiful couple (actually, let me correct myself *a beautiful family!), beautiful location and beautifully thought-out, DIY wedding day. I couldn’t ask for any more.

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Vegan Yogi's Take over the University of Essex | Grace Elizabeth, Colchester, Essex Alternative Wedding and Lifestyle Photographer

If you headed down to the University of Essex this Sunday, it would’ve been hard to miss the hundred of people armed with yoga mats, reusable cutlery and yoga leggings making their way onto the grounds! To celebrate World Vegan Month, the University became host to Essex's first Yoga and Vegan Festival, organised by Yogific. The festival consisted of all-day long Yoga and meditation classes, talks, workshops, classes for children, yummy vegan food and ethical shopping (which we all know I love!) Besides local yoga teachers, teachers from various locations taught on the day, including the lovely Scarlet Pigot, from Ireland and Tara Ubachs, from the Netherlands, along with various teachers heading down fro London and Cambridgeshire.

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