HAYLEY + MARIANNE - A LONDON ENGAGEMENT SHOOT

HAYLEY + MARIANNE - A LONDON ENGAGEMENT SHOOT

Anyone else a little tired from all this heat and humidity yet..? I’ve had to escape the house where there doesn’t seem to be any air, and I’ve come to favourite little place in town, Café Thrive. I love it here for the coffee and the munchies. Good stuff for veggies and vegans like moi.

These two beauties contacted me last year about their beach wedding, sending me a message through my Instagram page; I was walking along the beach with Rob at the time and just happened to be right by the Bournemouth Beach Weddings hut, so I replied with a selfie and we hit off instantly. Needless to say, they booked me for their big day and we’ve become awesome friends since. When I met up with Hayley + Marianne at their fabulous beach venue for the open day last September, we talked through everything and they told me that they were looking for an engagement shoot, but felt nervous about it being all posed and corny. Pish posh! No such thing with me. We decided on a complete contrast to their actual wedding, opting for an urban adventure instead.

Marianne has a brother who lives in Hackney, I’ve always wanted to explore Shoreditch, it was a match made in heaven!

They’re such a fun couple; always giggling away together, total couple goals and unbelievably cute together. They loved the idea of using lots of colour and as it happens, Shoreditch is jam-packed with murals and street art. We all met at Liverpool Street Station, had a very chilled out day just exploring the area, chatting, having a cheeky strawberry iced daiquiri and making the most of the sunshine and colour on all the walls. It also happened to be June 1st - the first day of International Pride Month. So we basically lived our gay unicorn fantasy, chasing rainbows around Shoreditch, The Nomadic Community Gardens and Boxpark.

I literally cannot wait for their wedding in September, I know it’s going to be so much fun and full of laughter.

Check out the photos below, just a selection of my faves from our day together. And if you’re thinking you might like to have an engagement shoot before your big day, something a little like this one, I’m definitely game for it, so get in touch and tell me all about your plans!

Until next time,

R x

EMMA + MARK - SCAPLEN'S COURT WEDDING, POOLE

EMMA + MARK - SCAPLEN’S COURT WEDDING , POOLE

I decided to take myself out of my usual ‘office’ today to write this little blog; Why is it that Wi-Fi in coffee shops is always so bad?!! Also, I totally forgot that it was the summer holidays and all the kids were roaming free, so everywhere is packed and not particularly welcoming.

Anywho, I digress…

So when I first got the enquiry through from Emma + Mark, I was so excited as it would mean I got to shoot again at one of my favourite local venues; Scaplen’s Court is nestled away on the road near Poole Quay and just across from the museum. It is hands down one of the quirkiest, character-filled venues on the south coast (in my humble opinion anyways). It has a real Shakespearean feel to it, complete with a Ye Olde style games room, wooden beams aplenty and a class room to boot. What more could you want?

After replying to their email, we set up a date to chat on the phone. It turned out that Emma’s sister, Jessica, was organising the day for the couple. Now that’s awesome in my books, Emma must’ve been enjoying this for sure. After speaking with Jessica for a good half hour or so, I knew that we would be a great team. A little later down the line they emailed to ask if I would be at the open day the venue were hosting a few months prior to their wedding day. As luck would have it, I had literally just secured a spot to exhibit and finished chatting with the event organiser a few minutes before. Call it luck, destiny, fate, or serendipity, whichever, it was meant to be! During the open day I met with the fabulous couple, Jessica and their parents. What a beautiful family!

I caught up with Emma about 6/7 weeks before the wedding and we chatted over coffee about all of their plans for the day. They are one of the most relaxed couples I’ve met - I know I say that a lot, but it’s true - and the only staged photo they had mentioned (other than the family photos) was a shot of them shaking hands when it came to the register signing, like they had just done a deal. You know, to some it may sound corny, but I was game. I’m not a massive fan of the fake register signing any way, so this made a nice change in my eyes.

It was a beautiful, intimate affair, with only the closest family and friends in attendance - just my cup of tea. The more intimate, the better for me. I love being able to mix with everyone, get some fab candids, and make a connection. You just can’t do this at larger weddings and it’s a real struggle to capture everyone.

The courtyard and garden were in full bloom and decked out with colourful paper lanterns, a really subtle and beautiful feel flowed through all of the decor the couple had provided themselves, with the most gorgeous bouquets provided for the bridal party by Rhea at New Street Flowers (she’s based just down the road from the venue if you want to check her out, total babe too). So we did all the formals in the courtyard and some group shots in the gardens, then the couple and I snuck away for some awesome couple shots close to the quay. I love the cobbled street and the brick walls around there, they make for some super effective backdrops.

We returned just in time for the bagpiper du jour to march the couple in for the wedding breakfast, and what was the most amazing spread provided by The Perfect Pig Dorset, and what a a super cool man he is. I had a plate piled high with the best of the best, while the guests all tucked into juicy burgers, salmon and loads of other scrummy barbecued bits. Tea and coffee came out along with some homemade treats, made by Nanna’s fair hands, and the speeches followed, full of funny and touching anecdotes. The cake was cut and the couple danced, with the help of the rest of the wedding party. I love this part of the evening when everyone gets on the dance floor for a smooch and a boogie.

After saying my goodbyes and pinching a few more of Nanna’s treats, it was time for me to go. I cannot wait to come back to Scaplen’s very soon.

Extra special mention to Mark after he said he was very much like Chandler from friends, in that he wasn’t much of a photo lover, but he was a total natural on the day and Chandler stayed well and truly in the Friends episodes. Total props to him and the other guys for wearing full Scottish regalia, complete with kilt and dagger. Emma and I had great fun when she lifted it for some shots during their couple shoot. I always approve of a guy in a kilt.

As always, a bunch of my favourite images from the day and the suppliers are below for you to check out, and if you’re getting wed and fancy having me snapping away, I’d love to hear from you.

>>>>Click on the photos to get the ‘big picture’<<<<

Until next time,

R x

Scaplen’s Court / New Street Flowers / The Perfect Pig Dorset

BEC + TANIA - BARN 1890, ADELAIDE

 BEC + TANIA - BARN 1890, ADELAIDE

So as I’d mentioned, I was sat on a busy train to London, I’d just been booked by Bec and Tania, and was currently getting funny looks for squealing. Yep, I was going to Adelaide. YAASSS!!

Fast forward ten months and I’d just finished a wedding on my birthday, had started the walk home along the beach. S*** was about to get very real. I think I’d packed and re-packed my suitcase and camera bag at least five times by now. My original plan was to spend the whole of the Sunday - the day before I flew out - with Rob, which I suppose I did, it just wasn’t the day we were hoping for. That night when I got home from Rachel + Ryan’s wedding, shortly after Rob had made me some dinner, we had to rush our fur baby, Moscow, to the emergency vets and the outcome was a tragic blow; we had to make the painful decision to let him go and he went for one final long sleep. The Sunday was pretty much spent crying and trying not to panic about leaving Rob on his own for the best part of three weeks.

The next day I unpacked and re-packed my things a couple more times before taking the coach to Heathrow. I arrived early, grabbed some food and coffee and checked in with Rob back home. I think we spoke via FaceTime two or three times that evening. Then the time came for me to board the enormous A380 to my connection destination of Singapore. After 18 long hours (8 of which I managed to sleep on the first flight), I was boarding my flight to Adelaide. Both flights were so good and we landed into Adelaide at 7:30 am, bang on time and fresh as a daisy (maybe a little spaced out). Bec picked me up, we drove to her and Tania’s home in the suburb of Belair in the hills of Adelaide, and after a quick shower, a change of clothes and a coffee we headed out to meet her family at a nearby Vineyard that also doubled as a Kangaroo sanctuary. We ate the most delicious meal, washed down with some fine Australian chardonnay and fed the Kangaroos -a life goal mine very much achieved!

We had a few days together before the big day; I helped the brides with some finishing touches to their table decor, we ate more amazing food, drank more amazing wine, and I spent a lot of time with their family which was super sweet - a real plus to this trip and wedding. On the Thursday and Friday I spent time exploring the city - the train ride from Belair down into the centre was so good, travelling through the hills with the view over eucalyptus trees to the sea. If any of you have thought about a trip to Australia, I would highly recommend seeing Adelaide whilst you’re there. It has a great feel to it, more like a small town, but with all the amenities of a city, and the added bonus of being surrounded by parkland, vineyards and beautiful beaches. Plus - and it’s a big one - the coffee shops and restaurants are incredible.

So down to business…

After having a very chilled evening in the home of Bec + Tania while they enjoyed a night together at the cottage on the grounds of the wedding venue, I was picked up by their very cool friend who drove us out to the venue (about 45km south of Adelaide). The girls were getting their hair and make-up on in the shade of the cottage patio; I started with some shots of the prep as I love it so much, then took myself off for a quick walk around the grounds, jumped on Insta Stories for a cheeky live video, but the reception wasn’t great and the sound kept cutting out… #FirstWorldProblems

I returned to the cottage to continue with prep, had a cuppa and chatted with the ladies as they enjoyed a drop of champers, then once they were ready we snuck off into the vineyard for their couple shoot. Doing this before the ceremony and the guests arriving was such a breath of fresh air. It gave us some real quality time together to have some fun and frolic around the vineyard, it also meant that the brides were much more chilled out come the ceremony and once that was done, they could focus on having a party with their guests. If you’re not doing the traditional thing - and I would highly recommend it to all of my couples - you will definitely have a much more relaxing time for the rest of the day.

I won’t lie, there is definitely an element of added pressure when you’re doing a destination wedding (there are so many other things to factor in that could potentially go wrong on the lead up to the day), and coupled with the fact that Bec has been a friend of mine for the last 14 years or so -- enough said. Once the guests started to take their seats and gather under the enormous eucalyptus tree where the ceremony was held, the music started, and I couldn’t help but bubble up with excitement and pride while watching them both walk down the aisle together, accompanied by Bec’s father, Tony. It was a super sweet moment for sure. The ceremony was full of love and laughter, and some really special readings from their great friend and witness, Julie, Tania’s brother, Andrew, and her eldest son, Connor. I’ll openly admit that at one point as they read their beautiful vows to one another, a few tears crept into my eyes and I was awash with emotion.

Following the ceremony there were bubbles galore, and hundreds of hugs going around. We all gathered for some family photos in front of the barn (a stunning backdrop if ever there was one), then we wandered around to the terrace for bubbles of the boozy kind and some super tasty treats prepared by the awesome catering team - trust me when I say this, the food in Oz is like nothing you get over here - PHE-NOM-ENAL!! The whole team on duty that day were absolutely exceptional and were not only giving 200% to the guests, but looked after me like I was a VIP.

Some touching speeches followed the banquet, lead by Connor - boy, that kid is a real wordsmith - then came Rupert’s turn, Bec’s incredibly funny and rascal of a brother, Bec’s parents were up next with some great stories and it all got a bit emotional again, then a few sweet and heartfelt words from Tania’s youngest son, Rhett. I wish I was better at remembering people’s name, but I have to give a huge shout out and major props to the awesome friend and MC for the day, as she was absolutely superb and hilarious to boot!

So we cut the cake, which almost seems like a shame when it’s so damn beautiful, but it was also delicious and handcrafted by Tania’s very talented hands - I know it was delicious as we were all scoffing the off-cuts on the Friday morning with coffee before they both headed off to the venue to set up. Then what’s left to do at a wedding….?

P-A-R-T-Y!!!!

Damn this was a fun party and the reason why I like to stay and party with you all; as a wedding photographer, why would you want to go home after the first dance…? I know, I hear you, you’re tired and bed is calling, but this is when everyone really comes alive and into their own. If it were allowed, I’d probably just post photos from this part of the day, but people love to see the happy couple before they reach obliteration. Their friend and awesome DJ sure pulled out the dance floor bangers, and even threw in some vintage Madonna (both Bec and myself are HUGE fans!), so he gets a huge gold star. As the venue curfew kicked in, we all gathered outside the barn and the brides made their exit to even more hugs and drunken giggles before we were loaded onto the coach to take us back home. I’d go on about the rest of the trip, but it would need to be a whole series of blogs…

Just know this; it was a life-changing, life-affirming, extremely fun, totally emotional, banging trip that I can’t wait to repeat and I know our friendship is much stronger for it, and a bonus bunch of Aussie friends have been made in the process.

If you’re considering escaping abroad to elope or to treat the rest of your friends and family to the wedding of a lifetime somewhere, I’m game and my passport is ready for you!

Please check out the super awesome supplier's pages (linked below), give them some social media love and most of all, check out Bec + Tania’s awesome highlights below!!

Until next time,

R x

Barn 1890 / Amanda’s Flowers - Blackwood / Melange a Trois / BeYoutiful Make-up by Anj / Medhi El-Aquil / Chef Steele

RACHEL + RYAN - HALLMARK HOTEL BOURNEMOUTH CARLTON

RACHEL + RYAN - HALLMARK HOTEL BOURNEMOUTH CARLTON

Rachel came to me back in 2017 after booking my wedding stylist buddy, also a Rachel, from Love By Design Weddings & Events. Always love a recommendation, it sure does make you feel good about what you’re doing. We met and chatted over coffee for an hour or so, and I liked her straight away. Even better after she said they were including their British Bulldog, Cookie, in the wedding. I ruddy love doggos - every couple who has one should include theirs in the day.

This is the first time ever that I’ve worked on my birthday, a day I rarely celebrate, so being able to capture a fantastic couple’s wedding on this beautifully warm early April day was a treat.

Wendy from Sapphire Styling Bespoke Hair & Make-up was getting the ladies all glammed up for the day. It’s the first time we’ve worked together on a wedding and she is an absolute gem. This was another day when the bridal party girlies made me a banging cuppa and there was a tonne of pastries to munch on. Gotta love a plate full of pastries.

Rachel and Ryan are such a chilled couple who just want to do things their way and not have a lot of fuss getting in the way of the day. It was a super chilled day from start to finish, bloody perfect if you ask me.

The stunning dress was from Isobel’s Bridal & Groom, and the bridal party wore gorgeous minty green. The bouquet was a cracker from Paper Bouquets UK, all handmade paper flowers with beautiful jewels and trinkets to represent Rachel’s Nan who had passed. Rachel and her fab team had gone above and beyond for this one, with a cool coastal theme; windmills and sea shells and a custom made beach hut to boot - personalised with the date as the beach hut number…6419 - just awesome! There were also deckchairs and plenty of oversized beach games for the kids and the ‘big kids’ to play with. And space hoppers for those who love a good bounce. The tables were adorned with more seaside bling, buckets of ice cold beers and not just one cake, but three giant fondant fancies and a tonne of cupcakes from Sugar Paste Dreams. There was even one especially for me, and I tell you, it didn’t last long.

We had a fun, sun-filled ceremony with a super cute reading by Rachel’s daughter. Cookie lead the newlyweds out into the sunshine for the drinks reception, where we had a few family photos and some time alone for the couple shots. A posh picnic followed and I had to try damn hard to not eat, then Rachel stood to give her speech and shocked the room when she announced a surprise honeymoon for Ryan to Bali. How cool is that!?!

Before and during the wedding breakfast, we had a local artist/caricaturist, Danny Byrne doing caricatures for the guests, and I even got one as a special birthday gift. It’s framed and waiting to be put up on the wall in my new work space at home.

Breaking from tradition a little more, after this we all headed to the bar to watch the Grand National which made for some awesome photos of the wedding party having a few drinks and cheering the horses on. I had a bet on two horses, one of which only went and won. The day was going well…

For the evening reception, Rachel and her team had decked out another room and there was photo booth shenanigans from Photo Blast and casino fun to be had with the guys from Viva Las Vegas Fun Casino. I’ve never seen kids at weddings get so into the roulette table. Absolutely hilarious. And for the first dance, well, Rachel and Ryan took centre stage and my jaw almost hit the floor as I’m sure she said this wasn’t going to happen. Then the DJ dropped ‘Sex On Fire’ and the room went bloody bonkers. It was like being in the mosh pit at a rock gig, just the kind of crowd I love to stay and snap away for. I finished with a couple of gins, said my goodbyes and walked home along the beach. This was a wedding I could’ve happily stayed all night for, but I had a certain Australia trip to get ready for.

Thanks again for such a great bunch of people showing me a super fun day.

Check out the links below for the ace suppliers and get in touch if you’re planning your wedding and want a bit of RGW PHOTOS magic.

Until next time,

R x

LOVE BY DESIGN WEDDINGS & EVENTS / SAPPHIRE STYLING BESPOKE HAIR & MAKEUP / ISOBEL’S BRIDAL & GROOM / SUGAR PASTE DREAMS / PAPER BOUQUETS UK / VIVA LAS VEGAS FUN CASINO / AMBERSPICE

PRIDE - 21st Century 60's Styled Shoot - The Kings Arms, Christchurch

PRIDE - 21st Century 60's Styled Shoot - The Kings Arms, Christchurch

So this shoot was a way of celebrating love in its simplest of forms, the love that is shared between two people regardless of gender etc. Love is love is love. Also, I love yellow.