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Good morning, you wonderful people! Do I seem like I’m in an overly good mood? That’d be because I am! Why? Because today Festival Brides welcomes our first canine-centred styled shoot, and I could not be any more in my element!

I’m a dog lover, can you tell?

When the lovely Michelle of Hurley’s Wedding Day Dogs showed us a little preview of her styled shoot with the ever-wonderful photographer, Ed Godden, I hugged my BFF (Best Furry Friend) out of sheer glee! These darling creatures that so many of us call ‘family’, had been given centre stage (and rightly so!) for a bright, fun wedding styled shoot!

Not only will you gain some major inspiration as to how to style your gorgeous hounds from today’s shoot (think luscious flower collars like no others!), but you’ll also learn a little about the incredible new pets-at-weddings chaperone service that Hurley’s offer dog-loving couples!

Side note here: my beau and I had our fur-baby (a 30kg lap dog of slobbery, chocolately energetic Pointer gorgeousness!) attend our woodland wedding, and oh! Let me tell you! Unless you have the most subdued dog in the entire world, it adds a whole other level of logistics to your wedding day! I would’ve JUMPED at a service like Hurley’s for our wedding day, Instead my ever-gracious mum chaperoned our darling hound (as if she hadn’t done enough to help already!) and I’ll be forever grateful!

So I speak from experience when I say: wedding planning dog-lovers, Hurley’s pet chaperone service is for you! Now, let’s hear all about these divine doggies and this wonderful shoot from Michelle herself…

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Primarily a fully qualified Nottingham based dog groomers, Hurley’s Dog Grooming, we decided to branch out in to our pets-at-weddings chaperone service in August of 2015 and began showcasing all we have to offer at the beginning of this year.

Whilst having your beloved little hound at your wedding isn’t exactly a new trend, having a small and reliable family run business take care of them from start to finish definitely is! Collecting, walking, accessorising and even grooming – we really do do it all.

As a nation of dog lovers we often spoil our canine companions, treating them as one of the family… And rightfully so! So, when it comes to the big day, why wouldn’t you want them there?

We take away the stress of having to arrange for your pooch to be picked up and brought to the venue, providing bow ties or floral collars so they look the part, too. We used this photo shoot to give people inspiration and peace of mind, knowing that Hurley’s Wedding Day Dogs can help you achieve a wedding with the whole family.

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I can’t talk about the shoot without drawing attention to some very important dogs. These dogs all hold a very special place in my heart and were impeccably behaved and patient throughout the day. So, without any further ado…

 

Tick + Scooby

Lets start with Tick: (that’s him in giving our model a kiss in the shots above!) a particularly handsome Shepherd cross (we’re not sure what with!) that his owner, Louisa, rescued from Rhodes. Tick is a gentle boy and is a true example of a ‘pack leader’.

He and his equally pretty brother – chocolate Labrador, Scooby – are a joy to be around, they love a good biscuit and set a real example to other dogs.

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Lola + Jeffrey

Bulldogs – I love them! Their unique features really do give them character and despite not being everyone’s cup of tea, I was over the moon to find out that both British Bulldog, Lola, and a Frenchie, Jeffrey were going to join us on the shoot.

I mean, just look at them!

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Ruby

Then there’s Ruby, the Black Labrador. Such a beautiful example of her breed and she’ll do pretty much anything for a fuss… Or food!

Ruby was first up on the day and definitely set the bar high for the other dogs – sitting patiently whilst modelling exquisite floral collars. What a pro!

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Ollie + Hendrix

The youngest of the bunch were 10 month old apricot Cockapoo, Ollie, and 6 month old English Bull Terrier, Hendrix. Both boys have completely different temperaments, but adored being around each other.

Ollie is a placid, sweet-natured little pup that loves a cuddle. While Hendrix is a typical Bull Terrier – cheeky and somewhat stubborn with character aplenty! His brindle markings are stunning and you can’t help but adore him.

The boys were total superstars throughout the day and these photos really do their beauty justice!

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Hurley

Last but not least, our six year old Border Terrier, Hurley.

Hurley is just something else. His expressive face, Terrier tendencies and devoted temperament make him much more than a dog to us.

He is spoiled beyond belief and was the inspiration behind an ever-growing, successful business.

Hurley had to wait until the end of the day for his time to shine but that didn’t stop him producing some very sweet images!

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Dogs are full of character, they pretty much speak for themselves. So when we began arranging this shoot there was no real ‘theme’ to it – there didn’t need to be!

I just wanted these delightful dogs to model exactly what we offer and together with some incredibly talented suppliers, that’s exactly what we did.

As for the venue, we were lucky enough to be invited to The Kedleston Country House on a networking evening several months back and after a fabulous meet and greet with wedding coordinator, Robyn, and her team, we realised we couldn’t have found a venue more suited than here.

Their Plum & Ashby doggy decor runs throughout the stunning boutique suites and they encourage any couple to include their dogs at any wedding held at The Kedleston… If only I could get married again!

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Then there was our photographer: Ed Godden. We met Ed at a wedding fair in February and were instantly in awe of his inspiring images. The talent that Ed possesses is ridiculous and, combined with the fact that he is a real gent, I just had to ask if he’d be willing to get involved. Luckily for us – he agreed!

Here’s what Ed had to say about our canine-centred shoot…

Photographing the dogs was fun… It always is! Maybe that’s just because I absolutely love dogs. 

Whenever one of my couples tell me that they’re bringing their dog along to their wedding I always get excited. Not only because I know it will make some really cool, and different photos, but also because I always see couples relax a lot more when their pet is in attendance.

Even if it’s only for half an hour, including your pet in the wedding day is a great idea.  

As for our styled shoot at Kedleston it was slightly different, because we had a whole bunch of pooches running around. All good fun though!

The best advice I can give to anyone trying to photograph dogs around expensive wedding dresses, is to just be patient, and not set your expectations too high. Unless you’ve ridiculous ‘dog-talking’ skills, you’ll soon find out that a dog wants to do what a dog wants to do. Luckily for me all the dogs on the shoot were extremely well-behaved, and I think I managed to get a great shot of all of them at some point during the shoot. Trust me, it is a lot easier on a wedding day when you only have one dog to photograph.

By the way, not all dogs like flower crowns placed on their head, or bow ties around their neck. No great surprise there though!

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Amy L Wilkinson was the MUA on the day and worked her magic on our beautiful model, Rebecca Elston. A fun bright pink lip matched perfectly with the collection of flower crowns we had, and together with Everyone’s Looking Rosie’s elegant hairstyling, our bride looked utterly beautiful.

Elizabeth Malcolm was kind enough to allow us use of her magnificent gowns too – something of real bravery when dogs are about!

To top it off, you’ll notice the addition of Stella & Dot jewels for a modern twist on bridal jewellery.

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Wendy at Wild Thyme was recommended to us through Kedleston and I have to say, we had such fun exchanging ideas about the floral crowns, collars and lead wraps. Wendy went above and beyond and each piece was just gorgeous.

As a backdrop alternative, Kirsty and Esme brought their Little Creative Caravan, which sat perfectly in the grounds of Kedleston, in front of a vibrant rapeseed field. Needless to say we had a giggle attempting to dress the dogs in some of their photo booth props… Key word being ‘attempt’!

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I want to take this opportunity to thank every single one of these wonderful suppliers for being involved in the shoot, the day was filled with fun and sunshine and each and every photo is testament to that.

The Line Up:

Concept, Styling + Hound Coordination: Hurley’s Wedding Day Dogs
Photographer: Ed Godden
Hair Stylist: Rosie Dexter of Everyone’s Looking Rosie
Make-Up Artist: Amy L Wilkinson
Bridal Gowns: Elizabeth Malcolm
Jewellery: Stella Dot 
Model: Rebecca Elston
Florist: Wendy Anderson of Wild Thyme
Photobooth Caravan: Little Creative Caravan

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