uk gay wedding photographer

BEC + TANIA - BARN 1890, ADELAIDE

 BEC + TANIA - BARN 1890, ADELAIDE

So as I’d mentioned, I was sat on a busy train to London, I’d just been booked by Bec and Tania, and was currently getting funny looks for squealing. Yep, I was going to Adelaide. YAASSS!!

Fast forward ten months and I’d just finished a wedding on my birthday, had started the walk home along the beach. S*** was about to get very real. I think I’d packed and re-packed my suitcase and camera bag at least five times by now. My original plan was to spend the whole of the Sunday - the day before I flew out - with Rob, which I suppose I did, it just wasn’t the day we were hoping for. That night when I got home from Rachel + Ryan’s wedding, shortly after Rob had made me some dinner, we had to rush our fur baby, Moscow, to the emergency vets and the outcome was a tragic blow; we had to make the painful decision to let him go and he went for one final long sleep. The Sunday was pretty much spent crying and trying not to panic about leaving Rob on his own for the best part of three weeks.

The next day I unpacked and re-packed my things a couple more times before taking the coach to Heathrow. I arrived early, grabbed some food and coffee and checked in with Rob back home. I think we spoke via FaceTime two or three times that evening. Then the time came for me to board the enormous A380 to my connection destination of Singapore. After 18 long hours (8 of which I managed to sleep on the first flight), I was boarding my flight to Adelaide. Both flights were so good and we landed into Adelaide at 7:30 am, bang on time and fresh as a daisy (maybe a little spaced out). Bec picked me up, we drove to her and Tania’s home in the suburb of Belair in the hills of Adelaide, and after a quick shower, a change of clothes and a coffee we headed out to meet her family at a nearby Vineyard that also doubled as a Kangaroo sanctuary. We ate the most delicious meal, washed down with some fine Australian chardonnay and fed the Kangaroos -a life goal mine very much achieved!

We had a few days together before the big day; I helped the brides with some finishing touches to their table decor, we ate more amazing food, drank more amazing wine, and I spent a lot of time with their family which was super sweet - a real plus to this trip and wedding. On the Thursday and Friday I spent time exploring the city - the train ride from Belair down into the centre was so good, travelling through the hills with the view over eucalyptus trees to the sea. If any of you have thought about a trip to Australia, I would highly recommend seeing Adelaide whilst you’re there. It has a great feel to it, more like a small town, but with all the amenities of a city, and the added bonus of being surrounded by parkland, vineyards and beautiful beaches. Plus - and it’s a big one - the coffee shops and restaurants are incredible.

So down to business…

After having a very chilled evening in the home of Bec + Tania while they enjoyed a night together at the cottage on the grounds of the wedding venue, I was picked up by their very cool friend who drove us out to the venue (about 45km south of Adelaide). The girls were getting their hair and make-up on in the shade of the cottage patio; I started with some shots of the prep as I love it so much, then took myself off for a quick walk around the grounds, jumped on Insta Stories for a cheeky live video, but the reception wasn’t great and the sound kept cutting out… #FirstWorldProblems

I returned to the cottage to continue with prep, had a cuppa and chatted with the ladies as they enjoyed a drop of champers, then once they were ready we snuck off into the vineyard for their couple shoot. Doing this before the ceremony and the guests arriving was such a breath of fresh air. It gave us some real quality time together to have some fun and frolic around the vineyard, it also meant that the brides were much more chilled out come the ceremony and once that was done, they could focus on having a party with their guests. If you’re not doing the traditional thing - and I would highly recommend it to all of my couples - you will definitely have a much more relaxing time for the rest of the day.

I won’t lie, there is definitely an element of added pressure when you’re doing a destination wedding (there are so many other things to factor in that could potentially go wrong on the lead up to the day), and coupled with the fact that Bec has been a friend of mine for the last 14 years or so -- enough said. Once the guests started to take their seats and gather under the enormous eucalyptus tree where the ceremony was held, the music started, and I couldn’t help but bubble up with excitement and pride while watching them both walk down the aisle together, accompanied by Bec’s father, Tony. It was a super sweet moment for sure. The ceremony was full of love and laughter, and some really special readings from their great friend and witness, Julie, Tania’s brother, Andrew, and her eldest son, Connor. I’ll openly admit that at one point as they read their beautiful vows to one another, a few tears crept into my eyes and I was awash with emotion.

Following the ceremony there were bubbles galore, and hundreds of hugs going around. We all gathered for some family photos in front of the barn (a stunning backdrop if ever there was one), then we wandered around to the terrace for bubbles of the boozy kind and some super tasty treats prepared by the awesome catering team - trust me when I say this, the food in Oz is like nothing you get over here - PHE-NOM-ENAL!! The whole team on duty that day were absolutely exceptional and were not only giving 200% to the guests, but looked after me like I was a VIP.

Some touching speeches followed the banquet, lead by Connor - boy, that kid is a real wordsmith - then came Rupert’s turn, Bec’s incredibly funny and rascal of a brother, Bec’s parents were up next with some great stories and it all got a bit emotional again, then a few sweet and heartfelt words from Tania’s youngest son, Rhett. I wish I was better at remembering people’s name, but I have to give a huge shout out and major props to the awesome friend and MC for the day, as she was absolutely superb and hilarious to boot!

So we cut the cake, which almost seems like a shame when it’s so damn beautiful, but it was also delicious and handcrafted by Tania’s very talented hands - I know it was delicious as we were all scoffing the off-cuts on the Friday morning with coffee before they both headed off to the venue to set up. Then what’s left to do at a wedding….?

P-A-R-T-Y!!!!

Damn this was a fun party and the reason why I like to stay and party with you all; as a wedding photographer, why would you want to go home after the first dance…? I know, I hear you, you’re tired and bed is calling, but this is when everyone really comes alive and into their own. If it were allowed, I’d probably just post photos from this part of the day, but people love to see the happy couple before they reach obliteration. Their friend and awesome DJ sure pulled out the dance floor bangers, and even threw in some vintage Madonna (both Bec and myself are HUGE fans!), so he gets a huge gold star. As the venue curfew kicked in, we all gathered outside the barn and the brides made their exit to even more hugs and drunken giggles before we were loaded onto the coach to take us back home. I’d go on about the rest of the trip, but it would need to be a whole series of blogs…

Just know this; it was a life-changing, life-affirming, extremely fun, totally emotional, banging trip that I can’t wait to repeat and I know our friendship is much stronger for it, and a bonus bunch of Aussie friends have been made in the process.

If you’re considering escaping abroad to elope or to treat the rest of your friends and family to the wedding of a lifetime somewhere, I’m game and my passport is ready for you!

Please check out the super awesome supplier's pages (linked below), give them some social media love and most of all, check out Bec + Tania’s awesome highlights below!!

Until next time,

R x

Barn 1890 / Amanda’s Flowers - Blackwood / Melange a Trois / BeYoutiful Make-up by Anj / Medhi El-Aquil / Chef Steele

Parley Manor Wedding Photography | Jemma+Alice

Back in the day, I ran a contest to win a couple’s shoot. I’m not ashamed to say that it was a way to help boost my portfolio. In the process, I met a wonderful couple, Jemma and Alice. We met and had coffee in the sun outside Cafe Flirt in Bournemouth’s Triangle area. We sat and chatted for quite a while about how they met, my style of photography, etc. etc. It was quite obvious that we got on well and that the shoot would be great fun.

When we met for their shoot a couple of months later, Jemma very coyly announced that since we last met, they had got engaged. Amazing!! So it was now an engagement shoot.

We had so much fun walking around Hengistbury Head in the sun, then onto the beach where we chatted some more about their plans for the wedding. They seemed super organised as they had already selected the venue and booked a date. These ladies were my kind of couple. Fast forward to the day they received their photos from the shoot… they liked them so much, they decided they wanted to book me as their wedding photographer. The best result I could have hoped for.

It may seem like a cheap marketing ploy to some, but I’m not that shallow. Sometimes it might make things easier to a certain degree, but that just ain’t my style. I want couples to want to book me; I want there to be a connection between us all; I want them to love my work, but ultimately, I want it all to be genuine.

So the day arrived and I met the ladies in their respective rooms at the Avon Causeway Hotel, just a few minutes from Parley Manor - their stunning wedding venue. Bridal prep was great fun, and a real chance for me to meet a large portion of the wedding guests/family, as they were all there getting ready themselves. It was hilarious. In one room, out and into another, collared by another family member to get some shots of them in their knickers (only joking).

For those who have never been to Parley Manor, firstly, you really should. It’s simply gorgeous and a real photographers playground. Especially on this particular day. Late May bank holiday 2018 was a scorcher; the perfect day to allow guests to fully explore the grounds of the venue, and enjoy some nice chilled boozy bevvies in the gardens. I don’t tend to repeat venues too often, which in a lot of ways I’m very grateful for as I get to expand my portfolio and explore lots of new places, but Parley Manor is definitely a venue I would return to in a heartbeat.

So back to the day…

Jemma and Alice’s bridesmaids were hilarious, really great fun to hang out with and make light work of the day. Helping to organise the troops for the family shots and boy could they all party. The marquee was decked out with all of the decor Jemma and Alice had spent months working on and making themselves, with trimmings of bunting from Bunting By Chris. The barbecue was incredible and I always like this kind of set up for photos of the guests getting their munch on. Speeches were both emotionally charged and funny as hell, there were cocktails served to guests on the lawn and a DJ who played some ace tunes, a random pheasant gatecrashing and a sparkler finish. All in all, a perfect day! Check out the photos below.

If you’re now looking for your wedding photographer, whether it’s for later this year, 2020 or even 2021, I would love to hear all about your plans.

You can follow me on Facebook and Instagram to stay up to date (links below).

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Until next time,

R x

Pre-Wedding | Alice+Jemma

A couple of months ago I met up with Alice and Jemma for a coffee and a chat about a project I'm working on. They agreed to a couple's shoot with me, then a few weeks ago Jemma text me saying they'd got engaged. 

Bloody brill news!

We all met up at the Hiker's Cafe at Hengistbury Head, the sun had come out and we set off for a walk.  It's a brilliant location for this sort of shoot; loads of open space, the beach, the woodland and the head.  Personally, I love it round on the beach with all the colourful huts and luckily, so did the ladies.  It's always a bonus when you can have a good laugh and a decent conversation with your couples like you've known each other for years.  

I loved hearing all about their wedding plans, and was blown away when they told me the big day was next year - they're some seriously organised brides-to-be. 

I fully believe that we are destined to meet, that eventually our circles will move close enough to become concentric.  
You can feel it's so, you know when it's true. 

Love is a beautiful gift. I feel truly blessed to capture it.

Here's a few more tasters from their shoot.  Your gallery is almost ready, I can't wait to share it with you! 

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