uk wedding venue

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).

Facebook / Instagram

Until next time,

R x

Bournemouth Wedding Photography - The BIC | Chloe+Adam

Bournemouth Wedding Photography - The BIC | Chloe+Adam

I’ve known Adam for a while now through working at the Bournemouth International Centre and had the great pleasure of meeting his beautiful fiancée (now wife), Chloe, when we all got together last summer at Flirt Cafe for a pot of tea and cake.

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