The Italian Villa Wedding Photography | Tom+Lizzy

When Tom and Lizzy asked me to be their wedding photographer I was so happy, and then they told me the day would be at The Italian Villa and I was over the moon!

Wedding season 2018 is officially on!

To say I wasn't nervous (excited nervous) would have been a lie, in fact, I think I get as nervous as the couple themselves. I've been looking forward to this moment for so long now, that when the day actually came to be, it was very surreal. It was fabulous! The sun was shining - someone had heard my prayer - and it was a true spring wedding. The setting couldn't have been more perfect; The Italian Villa is a dream venue for most couples and local Dorset wedding photographers alike. 

When I started in wedding photography I created a wish list, and this was right up there with the best of them. The Italian Villa and Compton Acres were the first place my husband and I visited after moving down to Bournemouth 11 years ago. I know exactly why couples love the idea of having their wedding there, it is pretty spectacular. The gardens are gorgeous at any time of year, but particularly in the spring and summer when they are alive and in bloom. 

The groom, Tom, and his troupe were smart AF in their royal blue suits and Lizzy looked magnificent in her dress. Seriously, the dress was stunning! I'm a big fan of simplicity and elegance, and their day was all of that and some more. Little details like the bicycle themed cake topper, favours and those stunning classic bikes near the top table were a very sweet detail to match their love for biking. Tables weren't number, but named after places they'd visited together. 

I'm usually all about the documentary angle on wedding photography, and their day was definitely captured true to this approach, but being in this venue made me want to step out of my comfort zone and try some more classically posed shots, I mean, you just have to! To not take a shot in the grotto would be foolish.

After dinner, we all headed downstairs to the Sienna Bar, where Echo Tape (formerly Marc and the Wild Things), their band for the evening, were set up ready to rock the party. Two tables of Tom+Lizzy's friends in particular, were a wedding photographer's dream. Necking a tray of shots, lunging in time to the music and basically having a bloody good time! I had a cheeky G&T and hit the sweet stand on my way out, and was pretty sad to leave. It was a truly great day! 

Here's a selection of my favourites from the day, I hope you enjoy. And if you're planning your wedding, I'd love to hear from you. 

Until next time,

R x

Hengistbury Head Engagement Shoot | Jack+Stacey (and Leo)

As you probably know by now, I absolutely love doing engagement/pre-wedding shoots. I also love Hengistbury Head, so combining both is perfect for me. 

This shoot was perhaps a little different/unusual to most, as in, usually an engagement shoot is just for the couple. Or so people are led to believe. I'm all about bending rules, mixing things up, being different. Whatever way you want to dress it up. I'm not 'normal' and photography shouldn't fit a certain mold either. 

The thing with me and children is, I don't have any of my own, so when I meet them for the first time we either hit it off straight away or it's an uphill struggle for those great shots. When I met Jack and Stacey's son, Leo, it was an instant hit. In fact, if I'd kept all of the pebbles he was giving to me from the beach, I probably would've been so weighed down I may not have made it home. He certainly was a cool character with so much energy. 

The sunlight was amazing but the wind was something else; ice cold and biting. Definitely not ideal for this type of shoot, but I've never let a bit of weather stop me yet. We had a good walk along the beach, then passed the cows, or the 'Moos' as Leo called them, and then we had a tantrum on the Mudeford Spit side. It was all a bit much for him and an ice cream was needed.

Don't think for a second that an engagement shoot has to be just the two of you, and neither should it be about standing in front of trees making heart shapes with your hands together. It can be whatever you want it to be, and wherever you want it to be. It's your shoot, so make it about you!

Here's a selection of my favourites from this cool (in both meanings of the word) day.

Until next time,

R x

Pre-Wedding | Lucy+Lewis - Bournemouth Beach (and town centre) Engagement Shoot

Hello again!

The last couple of months have been pretty great, ending 2017 on a high with a New Year's Eve wedding, and going straight in to 2018 with a whole bunch of pre-wedding shoots lined up. And they haven't stopped coming in. Since booking all of my 2018 couples, I'd say that at least 90% of them have reconsidered their initial decision to not have an engagement shoot. 

And good for them (and me), I say!! 

At the end of the day, there really is nothing for you to lose. You get to spend more time with your amazing photographer, and let's face it, as you'll be spending the most time with them out of all of your wedding suppliers, you may as well. 

I know, I know, you hate having your photo taken. 

Don't worry, we're not all paparazzi from the 1980's. Some of us have boundaries too and know when close is too close. Or something like that.

I treat my shoots the same way as my approach to the big day itself -- documentary style with a sprinkling of creatively posed shots. The best thing about this is, you'll get some practice in before the big day comes around. Being awkward in front of the camera is one thing, but why run the risk of winging it. After all, you wouldn't hire a cowboy photographer who winged it on the day, right?! 

Anyway, last month I got to do a few more engagement shoots, one of which was with Lucy and Lewis, who will be tying the knot at The Salterns Hotel next month on the 7th April (the day after my birthday!). We had a great day hanging out in and around Bournemouth town centre and the beach. It was really nice to be able to mix it up with a more urban setting, and loved our shots down on the beach, too. I think my personal favourite has to be the one of little Annie. She actually stopped just off camera, then wheeled herself back to give me that questioning look. Bloody hilarious! 

I love it when my couples are totally game for whatever you suggest on an engagement shoot. Although I think I'll wait until the summer before I go under the pier again... it was FREEZING under there!!!

Here's some of my favourites from our day together. If you're looking for your wedding photographer (or would like to know more about my lifestyle portrait shoots), why not send me a message and book in. 

Until next time,

R x

Pre-Wedding | Jess+Paul - Hengistbury Head Engagement Shoot

Yesterday it was glorious sunshine as far as the eye could see, freezing cold, but still sunny. Today it's attempting to snow here in Bournemouth, and boy is it cold again. So I'm sat making my way through some recent engagement shoots, keeping myself warm with lots of hot tea, and I thought I'd post some of the photos from Jess+Paul's recent pre-wedding shoot at Hengistbury Head. 

It is by far the most popular location for engagement shoots with my couples, which is fine by me, as I love it there. If you've not been, you really should get down there (and take me with you!). 

Since we all first met late last summer, Jess+Paul have become more than just another couple to me (not that any of my couples are JUST a couple), they are now more friends.

I KNOW, I KNOW. I CAN HEAR YOU ALL RUNNING FOR A BUCKET... 

Sometimes you click and others you really click -- we're all comic book geeks, so we have more in common I guess -- plus they brought their scrumptious dog, Fozz, along for the day which was a massive bonus. 

So for any of you lovely couples out there who are yet to have your engagement shoot with me, and you're wondering whether to bring your dog, the answer is quite simple...

BRING YOUR DOG!!

Jess was harping on about forgetting her Fitbit, but it was all for nothing as we walked plenty that day. A full loop along the coast, up to the head, down to the beach huts and back again. I slept very well that night, and no gin was needed. 

By now, you'll know I have a different take on photographing people, as in I don't spend a lot of time or energy posing couples. I like to incorporate walls, bright colours, even bushes if they're around. I'm not your run-of-the-mill wedding photographer who tells you exactly how to sit/ stand/ look, in robotic fashion. I might suggest somewhere to stand, like against a mural wall, or the awesome coloured beach huts at Hengistbury, but how you interact with one another is totally down to you. 

So talk about the weather, the dinner you're planning that night, say you farted to see if that gets a smile/ laugh. Hell, tell him/ her you love them and have a smooch, it's up to you. I like to keep things as natural and laid back as possible. 

Blah, blah, blah. 

If I haven't sent you to sleep by prattling on, here's some of my favourites from their awesome pre-wedding shoot. 

Ps. If you or anyone you know would like to book in, give me a call or pass them my details. I love having a day out and snapping away.

Until next time, 

R x

Pre-Wedding | Adam+Chloe - Moors Valley Country Park Engagement Shoot

You know that wedding season is kicking up a gear when you have a whole bunch of pre-wedding shoots lined up. A couple of weeks ago I got to shoot my second of many - and it was a really good one!

I have a few places that I fell in love with when we moved down to Bournemouth, and since becoming a wedding photographer, I love them even more. Moors Valley Country Park is up there with the best of them for me. I love that feeling of getting lost in the woods, disconnecting from everyday life and being able to take in some of this planet's truly wondrous natural beauty. 

The majestic pine trees seem to go on forever when you look upward at them. At this time of year there is something quite magical about being in the forest for a couple of hours, what with the feet of the trees being laden with amber ferns. 

I was so pleased when Adam and Chloe decided upon Moors Valley as the place they wanted to have their pre-wedding shoot. Although it's pretty busy at the weekend, especially the first weekend of half-term, you can still get lost and away from everyone else for some romantic and atmospheric shots of the two of you. 

For anyone else who has recently got engaged, and you are thinking of having a pre-wedding/engagement shoot, this is definitely somewhere for you to consider!

Here's a selection of my favourites from our morning in the woods. 

Until next time,

R x