All posts by Christiana Courtright

A beach engagement shoot










Welcome to Wedding Wednesdays!

Symon and Catherine are one athletic and adventurous couple. They met through their passion for snowboarding at University and years later Symon proposed at sunset after the pair went on a bike ride in Chicago.

When it came to their engagement shoot they decided it was a natural fit to be photographed at the beach because, according to Catherine, “it is our version of the perfect day together”, and the location came complete with wetsuits, surfboards and their own natural wind machine.

Photographer Stephanie Swann knows how to capture a couples unique personality by observing their natural habits. From forehead kissers to hand-holders, she makes sure that you interact with one another like you would in private- no matter how harsh the weather conditions are on the day!

During  Catherine and Symons’ engagement shoot all three were battling against fierce winds, “Stephanie was literally being sand blasted straight in the face whilst she took the shots. There were other kiters on the beach actually wearing ski goggles. Stephanie was totally determined and we gave in to the elements before she did. We know that whatever the weather at our wedding we will get fabulous photos!”

(Now that’s a committed photographer I would recommend!)

Looking through this engagement shoot there is not one photo where Symon and Catherine look like they’re posing (or being slapped in the face with sand)- they are simply being their “oh so completely in-love, cannot believe we are getting married” selves. The black and white close-ups in wetsuits are particularly intimate- it’s like the couple were unaware Stephanie was even there.

I truly cannot decide which photograph I love the most and so in my head Symon and Catherine have printed and framed the whole album along one long hallway! (I’m so right, eh?)

Top Tip from Stephanie Swann about engagement shoots:

I don’t know about you but the idea of being photographed turns me into Chandler from Friends with the fake smile. I know I’m not the only one so I asked Stephanie for her top tips about how to get awkward people (like myself) to look as natural as Catherine.

“Firstly when possible, I try to have a coffee and chat before photographing a couple so we all go into the shoot feeling relaxed. Then during the shoot I am conscious of trying to keep my camera away from my face as much as possible, to seem less threatening. Chatting away between shots can be great for relieving any tension towards having photographs taken. I’m also naturally quite goofy and usually end up tripping up over a rabbit hole or similar, which usually makes the couple giggle. Sometimes I’m found clinging onto a tree or poised in a silly position for the best angle which can provide amusement too. I don’t try to pose my clients too much either and observe how they interact with each other e.g. are they hand holders or waist huggers and then build ideas from there reflecting their personalities. There’s always lots of fun and laughter on my shoots which I hope translates to my images.”

It’s clear from Stephanie’s portfolio that her method works because each couple she has photographed inspires me to think about who Chris and I are and how that could be captured in our own unique engagement shoot. Thanks for sharing- I look forward to the wedding photos!


Welcome to The Lifestyle Directory

Oh my goodness! Are we seriously live?! This blog was months in the planning and weeks in the web designing but now here it is.

Well, welcome to The Lifestyle Directory.

My name is Christiana and I wanted to make a UK blog that focused on weddings, interiors and food.  Why these three things you ask?

Weddings: For the family reading this, NO- CHRIS AND I ARE NOT ENGAGED, what we are is T.B.T.W. ( Too Broke to Wed) I am not ashamed to admit this because it feels that every young couple in the world is in the same boat as us. Committed and ready to get married but with no funds available to even buy the engagement ring. Living in London means almost all our salary goes towards rent and the rest towards living expenses, what we do have left, we spend on holidays to keep ourselves sane. And may I ask, when did weddings start costing on average £18,000?

Interiors: As I mentioned we recently moved to a 2.5 bedroom flat in East London, which we share with another couple. No, Chris does not have a hipster beard and I do not wear fake reading glasses, guys, we are not that cool. We live in the cheap part of East London in a gated community with a communal barbecue, a Cockney porter and a Sainsbury’s the size of Cornwall. This apartment isn’t our forever home but how do I make it feel like one? Well, this blog will be full of renting tips from interior designers to help out that huge percentage of UK renters who are facing the same conundrum.

Food: I am a certified chef and a food lover. Chris knows I would consider trading him in for a lifetime supply of fresh lobster with lemon butter. Weird fact: When I eat food that is beyond words delicious I subconsciously wiggle with joy and close my eyes. I know. So there was never a doubt about including my original recipes and London restaurant reviews into the blog.

I hope you enjoy reading this blog as much as I love writing it. Expect lots of beautiful pictures, top tips and food porn coming your way. My directory will also slowly be filled with UK businesses I support and love in the wedding, food and interior design industry- so make sure to contact these professionals if you want something truly unique, personal and fun.

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