One of the things I love the most about living in Bournemouth - and subsequently running my business from here - is being surrounded by so many stunning places of natural beauty. We have the New Forest, Moors Valley Country Park, The Jurassic Coast, The Purbecks, Brownsea Island, and so many more. On top of that, an almost endless list of venues that fill these areas, which you couples get to choose from.
Basically, we are spoilt for choice.
For me as a wedding photographer, it is one of the most amazing things, to firstly be invited into a couple's special day, but on top of that, to get to work within these venues - that's just incredible.
I've been very fortunate in the (comparably) short time I've been a wedding photographer, by having a portfolio that is now made up of completely different venues for each couple I've photographed - with the exception of just two. Next year also, the venues I'll be covering weddings at are all different. So far I've worked at the following: The Legacy Rose and Crown Hotel, Merley House, Passford House Hotel, Poole Guildhall (twice), Bryanston School, Les Bouviers. This year I still have weddings at Bournemouth Town Hall, Dudsbury Country Club, St. Laurence Church in Upwey (with reception and evening at Upwey Village Hall and The Old Ship Inn), The Holiday Inn - Southampton, and Gorwell Barn, Abbotsbury.
Next year I've got a growing list of fabulous venues which include: The Hilton - Bournemouth,The Italian Villa, The Old Hall - Ely, The George Hotel - Huntingdon, The Sibson Inn, The Chine Hotel, Newbury Rugby Club, The Orangery Suite, Spitbank Fort, Kingston Maurward, Barford Park and RAC Woodcote - Epsom to name a few. I'm absolutely loving the variety.
I've always been a bit of a dreamer, and was always told that unless you win the lottery, you are the builder of your own dreams. I stand by this. So in light of this, when I first started down this road of becoming a photographer, I purposely made a 'wish list' of venues/types of weddings I think of as my dream list to photograph.
The List - or at least a portion of - in no particular order:
- Same-sex weddings
- Bournemouth Beach wedding (obviously)
- Kew Gardens (and any other botanical gardens)
- London/Urban wedding
- Theme weddings (especially Star Wars!)
- Destination weddings - New York would be amazing (because I LOVE to travel)
- Festival weddings
- Barn weddings
- Cinema/Theatre wedding
- Forest wedding
Specific venues would include: The Barbican Centre, The Southbank National Theatre, The Sky Garden (Walkie Talkie building), The Shard, so basically most well known buildings in London.
Anyway, I digress. Getting back on topic, I suppose what I'm trying to say is; I fully understand the dilemma couples must face when it comes to planning their wedding. They're a political minefield anyway, but to add on top of that choosing where to hold the day can be (but hopefully won't be) a nightmare.
I remember planning our wedding. Rob and I did the guest list first, then sorted everything else out around that. We live in Bournemouth, most of Rob's friends and family who came live in fairly close proximity, so the only challenge was whether we held it here or nearer my family. Both options caused the similar issues - namely travelling distances. So we thought about it some more and came to the conclusion; it wasn't about making our families happy, but rather about making us happy. So we landed on London and had a bloody good long weekend there. So that would be my advice to all of you future newlyweds; choose somewhere that makes the both of you happy, reflects you as a couple and the guests that join you will enjoy it all the more for doing so.
Below I've posted a few photos from the venues I've covered weddings at, so expect a follow-up to this post at some point next year.