hampshire wedding

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 - A Coastal Chic Styled Mini-Shoot

By now, you've probably heard me going on about how good it is working with other local suppliers.  Well, for those of you who think I'm talking out my a***, you'll be eating humble pie soon. 

In less than a month, I've got to know some fabulous, talented and inspiring, like minded people who just so happen to be local wedding suppliers.  There's no room for berating and competing with other wedding industry folk - after all, that's far too bloody easy to do.  It seems too difficult for some people to actually contribute and support. 

Anyway, a long story short, we did it.  We shared some ideas and got together last Wednesday down at Boscombe Overcliff for a coastal chic themed styled photo shoot.  God, that was a mouthful.  It was great fun seeing what others do, and getting involved, helping with the set up of our shoot.  After all, most people think that as a photographer, all I do is turn up with my camera and take some pictures - I wish it was that easy.  I like to get involved.

Rachel and Natasha brought so many cool things along.  It's really incredible to see how much talent these women really have and chic is most definitely the right adjective for their goods.  It's hard to believe that most of Rachel's items are homemade - there is so much attention to detail, it's crazy!  As for Natasha, her artistic floristry is so elegant - I couldn't believe that some of the arrangements were artificial.  The combination of natural and artificial flowers was genius, and you would have never known.  So, this will be a regular thing, and I'll be doing another later this month - a woodland themed tea party shoot.  WITH CAKE!!!  So you haven't seen or heard the last of us yet. 

Well that's enough from me for now, so here's some photos from the shoot. 

Until next time, 

R x

To shoot or not to shoot...? Why you should have a pre-wedding shoot.

So you've recently got engaged to the love of your life and are now in the midst of planning your dream wedding.  Congratulations to you both!! 

You start buying all the best bridal magazines, taking day trips to the venues you've always wanted to get married in, the list of guests is getting longer, you've decided on the theme, and you've booked you wedding photographer.  Looks like you've got things under control.  

When you had your consultation with your photographer, you noticed that the package you want/have booked includes a pre-wedding/engagement shoot and you're wondering whether it's worth it, or whether they may knock a bit off the price if you don't bother with it.  All fairly reasonable thoughts to have.  Then you think, 'Why are they offering it in the first place?'.  

Just to clarify, this blog isn't meant to sway you towards booking me as your photographer - unless you really want to ;) - more to let you know the reasons why you should take your chosen photographer up on their offer of that pre-wedding/engagement shoot.  I'd say I'll give you five reasons, but I'll probably give you more. 

  1. No one likes to feel awkward  -  I'm guessing this is the first time you've been engaged?  Being in front of a camera and a photographer can be a daunting thought - believe me, that's why I'm the photographer - so why not take that out of the equation.  I was always told that practice makes perfect, or least makes you better at something.  The same applies to having your photo taken.  You're bound to want a romantic shot (or ten) of the two of you to look back on, and the photographer will want only to give you the best photos they can.  
  2. Practice makes perfect  -  As I mentioned in the point above, practice does indeed make perfect, or at least better at what you're doing.  The photographer you've chosen will want to direct you at some point, regardless of their style.  So a pre-wedding shoot will allow you a bonus couple of hours - or more if they're a generous photographer - to spend going over ideas and getting you relaxed in front of the camera in readiness for your big day.
  3. No one likes to feel awkward...pt.2  -  Going back to my first point - no one likes to feel awkward.  If nothing else comes of it, you will enable yourself extra time to get to know one another.  Your photographer will be able to see the chemistry you have as a couple, what you feel comfortable with and most importantly, what you don't.  
  4. It's a day out with an added bonus  -  On top of getting a bunch of extra photos of you both, you will have a great day out.  For example:  I like to choose a location within Dorset - there are a multitude of them - or to visit the venue.  We have a coffee, some cake, and then I stand you up against a wall and shoot you.  Kidding!!  Forget I'm there and enjoy yourselves.  Just like on your wedding day, your chosen photographer will use their skills to document you in an unobtrusive way, most likely without you even noticing.  If you go to your venue for the shoot, you'll already know the best places for photos on the big day.  Bonus!!
  5. They're really good fun!  -  It's not like going to one of those photo studios to have your family portrait taken.  You know the sort, the ones with the fake backdrops of Christmas trees or beaches, or whatever they have nowadays.  No.  You'll most likely be outdoors somewhere you've been together and enjoyed, or have wanted to go to for a while.  And like I said before, there could be cake involved.  I also like to bring some other extras with me, like sparklers or coloured smoke grenades to give your photos an extra pop. 
  6. It's probably included in the package, so what the hell!  -  If none of the above has managed to convince you, then hopefully this will.  It's more than likely included in the package you've booked or are about to book, so just go for it.  It's not like you've got anything to lose, just more to gain.  Honestly, you may kick yourself for not doing it, and there's nothing worse than seeing a friends, falling in love with their photos and thinking 'If only I'd done it'. 

Well, there you have it, six bloody good reasons why you should have that pre-wedding shoot after all.  I could've added more, but I think there's enough in there to convince you.  If you're still not convinced, send me a message and we can have a chat. 

The photos are from a pre-wedding shoot I've done. ;)

Until next time, 

R x