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The truth behind trashing the dress
CONTRARY to popular belief, Trash The Tress – or TTD – shoots are not actually about ruining a wedding dress. 
Usually taking place a few days after the ceremony, the sessions involve photographing the bride – and sometimes groom – in unconventional locations, from train tracks to derelict houses, waterfalls, cornfields and even ice cream vans. 
Some brides choose to damage their dress by submerging themselves in water for example, while others simply flirt with the dirt, and enjoy posing in a different environment, away from their wedding day. 
The trend has it’s roots in New York, where an American photographer called Mark Eric shot his first TTD session in 2006, and soon after began a website dedicated to the style. 
Sofie Louca, who directs Amorphia Photography with her husband, is in charge of promoting TTD shoots in Europe, after meeting Mark on a photography forum. 
She said: “Despite TTD being barely a year old, hundreds of photographers worldwide have embraced the concept and are creating images which have changed bridal photography. 
“The sessions are an ongoing celebration of the couple’s wedding and an opportunity for them to express themselves away from the stresses of the big day.” 
There are those that criticise TTD photography, claiming it is a travesty to ruin an expensive gown, and branding the concept offensive and wasteful. But Sofia believes the shoots are about creation, not destruction. 
She added: “It remains to be seen whether the trend is here to stay, but does it really matter? At this point in time, all that truly matters is that clients can experience something they probably would never had chance to if TTD had not come along. 
“When shot professionally and stylishly, brides get a chance to shine like a top model in front of the camera and for them that memory is everlasting.” 

Homophobic venues facing loss of licence
APPROVED wedding venues now risk losing their license if they refuse to conduct civil partnerships or discriminate based on sexual orientation. 
Under new guidance issued by the General Register Office (GRO) and the Local Authorities Coordinators of Regulatory Services (LACORS), a gay couple who feel they have been treated in a homophobic manner can now report the venue to the local authority, who have the power to revoke the wedding license. 
Gino Meriano, founder of gay wedding planning company Pink Weddings, said he exposed a loophole in the Civil Partnership Act 2005 and Equality Act 2006. 
Venue owners and managers could apply for and be granted a license to hold marriages or civil partnerships or both. 
By permitting venue management to choose not to hold to civil partnerships, it meant many could openly discriminate, while hiding behind their approved license. 
He said: “The new guidance adopts my recommendation that an approved venue must not discriminate simply based on sexual orientation. 
“If a venue is granted a license and is found to discriminate against gay and lesbian couples they will have their license revoked. 
“This should now close the loophole that any homophobic owners and managers were using to wriggle out of legislations.” 
A spokesman for LACORS said: “The Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2007 require providers of goods, facilities and services to ensure that they are not treating their customers unfairly on the grounds of sexual orientation. 
“If the holder of an approval is deemed by the Local Authority to discriminate on the grounds of sexuality of the couple, the Council reserves the right to revoke this approval.” 
Gino added: “This is absolutely groundbreaking in terms of equality. It will also expose homophobic suppliers and I’m sure it will lead to a lot of venues being named and shamed, and – if they have their license revoked – becoming unavailable to all couples, gay or straight.”

Church relaxes rules in bid to attract weddings
THE Church of England is relaxing legislation to allow couples to marry in a church of their choice, in a bid to attract more weddings. 
The General Synod, the governing body for the Church of England, recently approved steps to widen wedding regulations, making it easier for couples to get married in a church that has special meaning for them. 
Provided it is available, couples will soon be able to have their wedding in a church of their choice, without the need for a special license, providing they meet some ‘qualifying criteria’. 
Ben Wilson, spokesman for the Church Of England said: “The number of church weddings have certainly dropped in the last decade and we are keen to make up some of the lost ground. 
“Changing the rules in this way means we can be more welcoming to those couples who would like a church wedding but maybe don’t worship regularly, or those who are anxious about approaching a vicar.” 
New venues available to them will include their local parish, the parish where they were baptised or confirmed, a parish they have lived in for six months or more, and a parish they have attended worship in for at least six months. 
Couples will also be able to marry at a parish their parents lived or worshipped in, or one their parents or grandparents were married in. 
At the moment, if a couple want to marry in one of these parish’s they must apply – and pay for – a special license. 
The legislation is currently being prepared for passage through parliament, and if approved, the new rules are expected to come into effect by Autumn 2008. 
Ben added: “The Church is very aware that couples have a wide range of options when it comes to choosing their wedding venue, and that as the population has become more mobile, couples who have moved away from home often want to wed in a church where they grew up.”

48 hours to organise £150k day
LONDON wedding planner Mark Niemierko faced a race against against time after being hired to organise a £150,000 wedding from scratch – in just 48 hours. 
Mark, of West-End planners Smith and Niemierko, was booked on a Thursday morning for a wedding the following Saturday and the couple, a wealthy South African entrepreneur and his girlfriend of four years, had organised absolutely nothing. 
Mark and partner Susan Smith – who had been recommended by a friend – were left to decide every aspect of the wedding.  
Mark said: “When I got the call I felt excited as I knew this kind of thing probably wouldn’t happen again. With such a large budget and all the decisions left to us, I felt like a kid in a sweetshop.” 
They began by choosing the Lanesborough Hotel on Hyde Park Corner as the venue and the couple and 21 guests were flown over business class from Johannesburg on the Saturday morning. Invitations by Mount Street printers were delivered to each guest’s suite on their arrival. 
As the bride finished checking in, Mark organised for three bridal dress representatives and designers to pitch their gowns. 
The final choice was a dress by Elizabeth Emanuel, whose team of seamstresses had to rush off to have it altered and sew 600 crystals on – all in time for the service at 6pm. 
Andy Davenport from Wild About Flowers organised a last-minute floral shipment from Holland and French caterers Lauderee created a metre tall Macaroon Pyramid cake, filled with raspberry, rose and vanilla flavoured macaroons.
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