local 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 - 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