bournemouth businesses

Spoilt For Choice - Choosing Your Perfect Wedding Venue

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.  

Until then, 

R x

 

 

Collaboration - A Vintage Woodland Wedding

The day finally arrived! 

After being rained off on the original day we had planned to do the shoot, this time the sun was out and the light was just perfect.  As much as we'd talked about and planned this, there were certain elements that had been kept secret even from me, which I suppose is fair enough given that social media drives our businesses these days, and you don't want to give it all away before the big day. 

So we arrived at the wooded area Vicki had chosen as our location, unpacked and trekked with all of our gear into the woods.  Luckily, there were no bears, but plenty of wild mushrooms, slimy logs (yuck!) and mosquitos - I have the bites on my arms and ass to prove it.  Back to the photos.  Once we'd got everything to the site, it was immediately clear in my mind that we had to recreate a pseudo-Alice in Wonderland/Mad Hatter's Tea Party set.  

If you're wanting this theme for your wedding, believe me, we can pull it off for you!  With Vicki's glorious vintage china and Lucie's mind blowing cake creations, how on earth could you go wrong?!  If you're in any doubt, just take a look at their pages (links below).  I suppose you'll be wanting to see some photos...well feast your eyes! 

Until next time, 

R x

Vintage China Hire - www.grannyschinacupboard.co.uk

Stunning wedding cakes - www.lucielovestobake.com

Love is Love

Hi guys and gals! 

So I'm officially back from my days off with the other half - did you miss me??

I've had five brilliant days together with my wonder-man, Rob.  We celebrated his 21st... ahem, 37th birthday, spent a day playing computer games (both massive geeks!), had a wonderful night in Brighton, a day at Moors Valley Country Park, and a day at Compton Acres.  Side note: I can't wait to do my first wedding there in March!!

So what's the reason for this post, I hear you all ask?

Well, when we were in Brighton, we got to walk hand-in-hand and watch other same-sex couples doing the same - it was truly heartwarming.  Brighton was the first place where we shared a night away together back in the early dating days.  Before we came home, we were stood at the Victoria Square fountain, I was taking a photo and Rob tapped me on the shoulder - a couple were meeting there.  What's so special about that you might ask?  It was two young guys, one was waiting by the fountain as the other approached, they immediately went to hug and kiss one another, and then the guy who was waiting by the fountain took the hand of his partner and span him around - it was the most romantic scene I have witnessed in a very long time. 

When we got home, I was going through the photos on my computer and looked through the photos from our civil partnership back in 2011 - there was probably a maximum of 50, all taken on the phones/compact cameras of our guest as we didn't hire a photographer (doh!) - and it got me thinking... Mainly that I wish we'd had a photographer that day, and about how much it means playing that part in another couple's special day.

I know I bang on about this all the time lately and it's probably driving some people nuts - I'm sorry (not sorry) - but I mean this, that it would be everything for me to be involved in another (or many) gay couple's wedding.  I've had two wonderful years of photographing so many beautiful couples with many more to come, but I'm still waiting for the day another gay couple book me as their photographer. 

I've tried many ways to attract more same-sex couples to RGW PHOTOS, and almost got there with one.  So I've put my thinking cap on again. 

I would like to offer a FREE couple's shoot to all you gorgeous gay guys and girls - how's that for aliteration!  You don't need to be getting married (just yet!), but ideally be planning it in the not-too-distant future.  

What do you get?

  • A free (yes, FREE!) photo shoot with me
  • All the photos lovingly edited by me
  • An online gallery to view, share and download all of your photos
  • One mounted 10x8" print of your choice from the shoot

Ideally the shoot will take place in the Bournemouth area, and all travel will be covered, but if you want to do the shoot somewhere else, all I'd ask is for a contribution toward my travel. 

If you're interested, get in touch, I would love to hear from you!  You can email me at: richard@rgw-photos.com - message me on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/RGWPHOTO - or just give me a call on 07533 401199. 

Until next time, 

R x

Collaboration - It's good to work with other businesses.

Starting out in the wedding industry is so easy... said no one, ever! 

Two years of blood, sweat, tears and a lot of frustration later, and I can finally say that things are starting to come right in my little world as RGW PHOTOS.  I jumped in head first thinking it would be an easy ride to a flourishing business and an easier life - and I was a fool to think that way.  There have been many instances where I've been asked if I do it all myself and the answer is, YES.  There have been an equal amount of instances where people have asked if I ever assisted other wedding photographers, before I went it alone, and the answer should have been yes, but it was, NO.  Shoulda, woulda, coulda.  Sound familiar?

I had quite a lot of confidence and belief in myself at the beginning, constantly telling myself that one will lead to another - which technically it did - but the reality of it all doesn't always match up to what was in my head.  

After putting it off for the last two years, I've finally started to make a concerted effort to network with other small, local wedding businesses.  You might wonder, 'why didn't you do it sooner?'.  Good question.  The answer is, I have no bloody clue!

Not all other wedding industry folk/businesses are as forthcoming with useful tips to point you in the right direction.  Which is the most bizarre thing.  I don't personally know their reasons why they are so resistant (I've got my theories), but the truth is, there's not always a lot of support from business to business. 

Until now. 

A few weeks ago whilst doing my regular trawl through Facebook, I came across a page for wedding businesses like my own called Build Your Wedding Business With TWE.  Since joining the group I have met up with and organised styled shoots with three other businesses - Love by Design - With Love From  and Granny's China Cupboard.

Love by Design is a local venue decoration business run by Rachel, based in Christchurch near Bournemouth.  

With Love From is a florist catering for weddings and other occasions, run by Natasha and based near Bournemouth. 

And Granny's China Cupboard is a vintage china hire business run by Vicki, catering for weddings and other events, based in Canford Heath, Bournemouth. 

I've since done my first collaborative shoot with Rachel from Love By Design at a local bridal boutique, Chameleon Bridal Boutique, where Rachel will be dressing the windows each month.  I've attached a sample of the shots we did.  Tomorrow we'll be getting together again for another shoot, this time on the beach near to Boscombe Pier, and working along side Natasha from With Love From and her beautiful floristry!  Keep your eyes peeled for a follow-up blog on that. 

I'll be writing a blog featuring these wonderful wedding businesses, each one will showcase the shoots we'll be working on together.  This is more of an introduction for them, there will be plenty to follow, I assure you. 

My main point is, there are others out there who are in the same position as you are, who are more than willing to help you out.  Even if it's just to meet up, have a coffee and a chat about what you're up to.  At the end of the day, you don't know where these chats might lead and who will be willing to lend a bit more assistance than you first expected.  They're not all know-it-alls who hit the ground running.  I'm a firm believer than business breeds business, and if we're all a little more open to helping out someone else, we all stand a chance of growing and becoming a success. 

Until next time,

R x