Italy Destination Wedding Workshop: Santa Maria Secret Retreat

Italy Destination Wedding Workshop: Santa Maria Secret Retreat

A picture of a quaint authentic Italian seaside town, Santa Maria, or twinkle town as I later learnt its affectionate name, tugged at my travel-prone heartstrings. Booked a holiday here…and then just a short while later The Secret Retreat workshop was launched. I had to go, simply could not miss this opportunity with 3 fabulous photographers I’ve admired   for a while Claire Penn, Andrea Ellison and Lucy Woodrow in this special place. No lie it sold with an hour … …but yay I got a place!!

As we were flying in to Naples I took some shots of  islands just offshore Naples, I knew it wasn’t Capri…. Mental note to google map later.

So there we were 30 girls all mixing well and having a great time in the sunshine, eating pizza, sunbathing by the pool, we had a party night with music, dancing and surprise fireworks…..oh  yes and we did get t to shoot in two amazing palaces  with real couples head over heels in love with each other and meet the Prince and Princess of Belmonte who were so hospitable to us. What more could we want!

Each day a  leader set up a styled shoot and gave an informative talk and exercises to help with the business planning  side of things, something for everyone whatever level. Even with many years’ experience but I craved new inspiration, new creativity and new guidance on branding and marketing, always developing.

I can honestly say I got all this out of it and so much more – really cannot thank ALL the girls enough for this experience.  Valuable time was also spent networking and bouncing ideas off each other.  Special thanks to Mandy the creative expert from Saddleworth Shindigs for all the goodies she used was in detail heaven!  And to the florist and make up artist who did a fabulous work on our amazing couples Paul and Bev and Luigi and Antonia.  Extra special thanks to Julie McKenzie and daughter Emily of My Secret Italy  they really are the best wedding planners her and go the extra mile for you– can appreciate how much hard work goes into organising such an event, often having to make impromptu changes on the day.

Words are inadequate to fully sum up this amazing amazing experience, we all received motivational kick up the backsides and I know not only myself but everybody else will be buzzing from this magical workshop  and putting things into practice for a good few months yet.

I dared to dream ….and  my dream is coming true I will be back here in May 2016 for a wedding….and as for those islands I discovered it was Ischia and Procdia…places I wanted to visit on honeymoon 30 years ago   …and now we are in less than 2 weeks time carrying on the love affair with Italy.

Santa Maria in the summer




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Want to see more of this amazing workshop – then check out this amazing secret retreat 2015 video

captured by Laura Jane Dale Photogrpahy – huge thanks Laura, fabulous memories

Rowton Hall: Blue Orchid Collaboration

Rowton Hall: Blue Orchid Collaboration

Blue Orchid and Wirral Wedding House Collaboration

The collaboration shoots with The Blue Orchid Boutique and The Wirral Wedding House are going from strength to strength.
Here we are at the wonderful  Rowton Hall Hotel, Chester.  One of our favourite wedding venues, a beautiful elegant country hotel with landscaped gardens to enjoy the outdoors in.  We were here recently for Lauren and Craig’s real life wedding – also with some of our Blue Orchid Suppliers.
The theme for this shoot was neutral and lace, a contrast to our last one with its bright colours.

Just look what was created by our fabulous team!  This really is a tremendous example of how we can inspire each other and you as a bride to be for a wedding theme and see it all come together beautifully from like-minded quality suppliers.

Caroline , a previous real Pixsmiths bride,  was visiting the UK just in time to gladly offer to model for us and she looked exquiste in the bridal gown and lace edged veil, supplied by Stephanie and Jennifer of The Wirral Wedding House.  Cheryl of Pink Sherbert Designs and Claire of Moo Roo stationery  created invitations place cards, menus, table numbers and a large A1 seating plan. Even adding little tags to Sue’s cake pops with beautifully embellished lace and ribbon perfectly matching the theme.  The designs incorporated a layered lace effect – a combination of real lace and printed lace with luxurious over-sized satin ribbon bows and opulent hand-finishings – sparkly, but also simple pearls showing the versatility of their work. Colours were neutrals, different shades of ivory with champagnes and golds running through.

The cup cakes with their delicate lace edging looked almost too good to eat and the wedding cake was a triumph from Sue of Bella’s Cake Pantry.  The cake pops and  heart shaped biscuits with matching ruffle and lace icing make tasty wedding favours too.

Katey from Blue Orchid Boutique surpassed herself with the gorgeous bouquet and huge centre pieces using cream and white stock, astilbe, faith, quicksand, Avalanche and sweet Avalanche roses.  Ribbons, lace and diamante on the bouquet handle made it look so elegant.Vintage pink waterfall hoods with lace overlays and origami flower embellishment on ivory Lycra chair covers graced the chairs and complemeted the entire setting. and perfectly demonstrating her venue dressing skills. Oh and just look at the ribbon and origami flower fringe skirt which decorated the cake table – how clever is Anne to think of that! Anne also crafted wands with ribbons, bells and lace – flower girls will love these!

Dave and Sandy were in their element photographing all this gorgeousness – just a selection shown below to give you an idea

A big thank you to the owners and management of Rowton Hall Hotel for making their beautiful venue open to us.

We really enjoy getting creative with these styled shoots and even more so with your wedding plans to create your perfect theme and day for you.













Pink Sherbert Designs and Moo Roo Creations – Staionery
Wirral Wedding House – Bridal Boutique
Blue Orchid Boutique Florist and Venue Dressing
Pixsmiths Creative Photography – photography
Bella’s Cake Pantry – Cake
Venue: Rowton Hall Hotel

Consults with suppliers can be made with individual suppliers, at the Blue Orchid Boutique in Hoylake  or Wirral Wedding House in New Brighton but Why not set up an appointment to see us jointly and get your wedding planning off to a great start and to save you time.
We’d love to hear from you 🙂

Watch out for more shoots coming up in the future and our open events – the last one was so well attended it was hard to move, so don’t miss out!


Blue Orchid Boutique Styled Shoot: 30 James St

Blue Orchid Boutique Styled Shoot: 30 James St

Pixsmiths are deighted and proud to be part of a a luxury one-stop-wedding-shop with like-minded and quality, high-end wedding suppliers at The Blue Orchid Wedding Boutique.
Our first collaboration photo shoot, took placeat 30 James St – Home of the Titanic and we are thrilled it has been featured on the leading blog, Brides Up North!

Photographys – Pixsmiths Creative Photography Dave and Sandy Smith
Stationery – Pink Sherbet Designs Cheryl Carden
Flowers and Origami – The Blue Orchid Katey & Ed Burke and Anne Murphy
Cake – Bella’s Cake Pantry – Sue Gates
Venue Dressing – Elegant Twist – Melanie Nolan
Venue – 30 James Street – Home of the Titanic

It showcases brilliantly how we can all combine to give you a bespoke co-ordinated theme and look to your day and all be prettily photographed for those lasting memories.
The inspiration for this shoot first came from  Cheryl of Pink Sherbert Design’s gorgeous stationery – the Ava collection –  with hues of coral and navy, very contemporary.
All the suppliers had great enthusiam for this sheme and each took it on board to bring about the stunning co-ordinated look. We think flowers around a table plan are totally on trend and look amazing.  Sue’s cake was equally gorgeous and matched the theme perfectly. Our thanks to 30 James St, home of the titanic, a stunning Liverpool city centre location, for thie hospitality.

See what you think and check out the full blog from Brides up North…/dainty-daisies-a-spring-styled-bridal-s…

We look forward to our next collaborative shoot with the Blue Orchid Boutique dream team and hope you’ll be inspired by our collective creativity!

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Pixsmiths Wedding Review of 2011

Pixsmiths Wedding Review of 2011

Its New Year’s Eve and time for a little reflection.  We so enjoyed all our wedding in 2011, a huge thank you to all our fabulous couples for allowing us to share and capture memorable moments, we couldn’t have done it without you! 2012 is already looking busy and we have more great  couples and wedding venues lined up we are really excited about – so thank you to those who have already booked us and soon we’ll start arranging the pre-wedding shoots we love to do for you. Happy planning but remember to take some time out to talk to each other and not mention the “W” word, it can get a little stressful so times to relax are also important.

We have taken thousands of images this year  – its really difficult to choose the hi-lights – from the getting ready shots, the details, those candid and fun moments, special father daughter moments, that first look, first kiss, first dance, those moments when you didn’t realise we were there with our cameras!   We’ll do it all again in 2012 but for now please enjoy a look back at some iconic moments in 2011 and to all have a fantastic 2012.

Leverhulme Hotel

Leverhulme Hotel

Leverhulme Hotel Weddings

The Leverhulme Hotel is a unique boutique hotel set amongst the idyllic village of Portsunlight on the Wirral. Back in 2009 Pixsmiths shot a wedding here for an overseas couple. Now they should have been in the ballroom but since the hotel opened in 2008 it has been undergoing a series of transformation. It will be great, once it’s finally finished. Needless to say, the promised ballroom for our couple was not quite ready which was a little disappointing for them. However they still had a great wedding in this beautiful art deco hotel and we really enjoyed the day with them.

Leverhulme Hotel

One year on we were watching the wedding of a colleague at Portsunlight Christchurch, their reception was also at the Leverhulme and happily, the ballroom was completed by then.
Other work is still ongoing though, the garden area has been landscaped and a new gazebo had recently been installed. When the garden around it has matured, it will add another useful photographic feature.

A big improvement is a new road, owned by the Leverhulme which links to the rear entrance of the ballroom all the down to the back of Christchurch.  Not only much easier for wedding cars to access the hotel this way but it connects the church and hotel so well it makes it easy for the bridal party to walk in fine weather.  Keith and Lisa decided to do this, and Keith’s brother the morning of the wedding had linked the trees with ribbons and bows in the wedding colours to indicate the route – a brilliant idea!

Gazebo, Leverhulme Hotel