dorset photographer

Hygge Inspired Autumn/Winter Wedding

I feel very blessed to know and work alongside some fantastic people; local wedding suppliers who get me and my aesthetic.  It's one of the things I love most about my job. 

This week we brought to life a Scandinavian/Hygge inspired wedding shoot at the East Cliff Cottage Hotel in Bournemouth (you may have seen my first attempt at a Facebook live video).  It's a lovely little place, tucked just behind the main east cliff road, perfectly suited to this style of shoot, and would be an ideal location for an intimate wedding reception. 

A few years ago, Rob and I took a holiday in Copenhagen and instantly fell in love with the city, the people, their immense style and their way of life.  Last month, we flew out to Stockholm to continue our new found Scandinavian obsession, and the same feelings came flooding back.  It was clear what I wanted to do with out next collaborative shoot, and I knew just the right people to be involved in it. 

I delved into my copy of 'The Little Book of Hygge' and read up on the Hygge manifesto.  It has ten points, which cover the basics to what Hygge is all about. 

  1. Atmosphere - Turn down the lights.
  2. Presence - Be here now. Turn of the phones.
  3. Pleasure - Coffee, chocolate, cookies, cakes, candy. Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!
  4. Equality - 'We' over 'me'. Share the tasks and the airtime.
  5. Gratitude - Take it in. This might be as good as it gets. 
  6. Harmony - It's not a competition. We already like you. There is no need to brag about your achievements. 
  7. Comfort - Get comfy. Take a break. It's all about relaxation. 
  8. Truce - No drama. Let's discuss politics another day. 
  9. Togetherness - Build relationships and narratives. 'Do you remember the time we...?'
  10. Shelter - This is your tribe. This is a place of peace and security.

I'm pretty sure these points can be applied to literally every aspect of your life, including your wedding.  My hope from this post is that you can take some inspiration from our combined effort, and apply it to your autumn/winter weddings, wherever you have them.  We also wanted to show you that there is so much more scope out there for styling your autumn/winter wedding - it doesn't all have to be about red, silver and white.  

There is so much choice out there and available to us nowadays, it's so easy to forget or look passed the things we already have.  

Incorporate items you have at home.  

Most of this shoot was pieced together using things we all had in our own homes, and they came together perfectly.  You don't need to spend thousands of pounds on things you will never use again.  Why be wasteful when you already have everything you need.  Or at least buy something you will re-use or keep for the future.  

None of your guests will care an iota about the money you've spent/not spent on your wedding day - it's your wedding, not theirs!  What they will care about is how much love you've put into it and how much fun everyone else is having, the atmosphere on the day, the general feeling of love and togetherness everyone has on the day.  Believe me, I've been at weddings where I've felt part of the family and I've been at those where you feel very isolated.  You don't want it to be the latter. 

Okay, that's enough from me for now.  

Here's some suppliers you might want to be a part of your day. 

  1. For perfect venue decor and styling - http://www.lovebydesignweddings.co.uk
  2. For stunning floral arragements - http://www.with-love-from.co.uk
  3. For beautiful wedding cakes - http://www.thesweetsuitedorset.co.uk
  4. And for modern and relaxed wedding photography - ME!! ;)

Until next time,

R x

Love - Avril+Tracy

Photography for me is art, it's expression, and it's therapy.  It allows me to interact with others and tell their story the way I see it - vicarious art, if you will. 

I first met Avril and Tracy after I ran an advert on Facebook - seriously not as dodgy as it might sound.  I was looking for models, real couples, to be a part of a series of shoots I'm planning for 2018, where I'm working alongside a whole bunch of other talented wedding suppliers.  Models are great because they're beautiful, but they're rarely believable, and I love to showcase REAL love and emotion in my work. 

And I found it in the form of these two gorgeous ladies.

Tracy was notably nervous the day we did their couple's shoot in Christchurch.  I don't blame her, as I would be too if the shoe were on the other foot.  I tend to allow my couples free reign of what they want to do, where they want to go and what they want to wear, as I prefer them to be as natural and comfortable as possible.  

Getting to know these two has been a gift to me.  If there's one thing I really love about my work - and I struggle to class it as that - is the ability to connect with so many people, getting to know them, all their little quirks, their stories, and they in turn get to know me.   Avril and Tracy have some beautiful stories, some that really resonate with me on a very personal level, and they share a love that is unique to them,  a love that was a dream to capture.  I know this sounds a little corny, but I really feel like I've made some incredible friends and can't wait to see what their future brings.  Here's to you ladies!!  

"We are full of stories to be told."

Until next time,

R x

Hitched - Daniel+April

How do you know when they're the one?  

Believe me, when you meet them you know.  I'm speaking from both sides here, as both a photographer and as the couple.  It's a similar feeling you would get in almost any situation of meeting someone for the first time.  

When I met Daniel and April, it was very clear that it was a good match, both for them as a couple, and as a whole for us all working together.  They were clear with what they wanted and also what they didn't, and that ticks so many boxes for me.  I'm pretty straighforward which makes for a great collaboration when your couple are on the same page as you. 

Anyway, fast forward a few weeks and we headed out to Swanage for their pre-wedding shoot.  April was nervous as hell, and I think Daniel might have been too.  To be honest, I am as well, but I try not to let it phase me anymore.  I just get stuck in, let you do pretty much what you want and I snap away to get the best shots.  I hate telling people what to do, or how to stand, as it generally makes for a more uncomfortable couple than you begun with.  

Fast forward another month and their wedding day had arrived.

I have never set foot in Upwey before, but by god is it a gorgeous place!  The sun was shining, in fact I had to take off my jacket I'd worn for the day - a sweaty photographer is not a nice sight.  We did morning prep at April's mum's house, a beautiful limestone cottage.  Everything was within walking distace of their house, which is very handy and gives me a chance to get all of those strolling shots I love so much (take note future couples, hehe).  I even learned a new skill that day of tying the ribbon to the wedding car.  Tick! 

A glorious church ceremony followed at St. Laurence Church, with an afternoon tea-cum-picnic reception at the village hall right next door to the church.  The family and couple's shoot was done in the ever-so-stunning Upwey Wishing Well gardens.  Amaze!!  With evening festivities taking place a staggered walk up the village at The Old Ship Inn.  A massive thank you to the newlywed couple for allowing me to take them into the corn field and tick off a shot from my wish list. 

I always think each new family are my new favourite, and I kind of hate myself for saying this, but Dan and April, your families were seriously awesome!  And we got some wicked moves from April's mum and dad on that dancefloor.  Check out some of my faves below, and get in touch if you'd like me to capture your big day! 

Bridal Flowers - Fiona Penny at Sunflowers 

Bride's Dress -  Butterfly Brides, Poundbury 

Cakes by Dan's sister, Ellie - Instagram: @bristowbakes

Bridesmaids hair and make-up - Morgan Brown Hair & Beauty 

Venue Decorator - D Dee's Bespoke Parties  

Bride's hair and make-up -  Leanna Stibbon Makeup 

Ps. the G&T's from the pub are served in HUGE goblet style glasses which gets a massive tick from me! 

PPs. Those outfits the groom, best man and ushers wore... very nice!! 

Until next time, 

R x

Hitched - Jason+George

Well, what can I say about this one...

This was a first - a first of many more to come, a dream come true, a day filled with truly beautiful moments.  Ever since I proposed to Rob back in 2008, to our civil partnership ceremony in 2011, to our upgrade to marriage in 2015, to being a wedding photographer myself, I've wanted nothing more than to be able to capture these precious moments for another gay couple. 

After much wishing and dropping a multitude of hints on my Facebook page, to writing a blog that almost instantly got the attention of George and his now husband, Jason, I finally got what I wanted.  My mum always said that you make your own dreams come true, and as always, she was right.  You are the builder of your own dreams, so there's no point just dreaming them, you have to chase them and make them come true. 

Thursday 24th August was the day Jason and George's dreams came true, and the moment they said their 'I do's' I had to hold back a tear or two.  That moment made me feel every emotion I felt the day Rob and I said 'I do' to one another.  

It was similar to our day on so many levels: A town hall ceremony at the Bournemouth Town Hall, followed by the reception at The Dudsbury Country Club, attended by their closest family and friends.  The boys suits were from Zara and River Island, the beautiful wedding cake from Pandora's Bakery in Ferndown, and flowers/buttonholes from Amore Flowers.

Best of all for me, was I finally got to make use of my coloured smoke flares.  I've been dying to use them, and both grooms were totally up for having a few shots done with them.  

For those who don't already know, George is a fabulous drag artist known as Marilyn Mountbatten, and Jason, a drag DJ, Miss SeeQueen.  Go follow them on Instagram, or better still, go see them live at Cafe Jagos before they head off on their next big adventure together, to London. 

You guys helped make a dream of mine come true, so I wish you both the brightest future together.  I hope all of your dreams come true. 

As always, here's a selection of photos from their day.  Enjoy!

Until next time, 

R x

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