Dorset weddings

Dorset weddings

DORSET & WEDDINGS

Wedding & Dorset

I cant think of any easier task then writing about Dorset & Weddings. The county of Dorset has everything that I need – With its rolling hills and sandy beaches, there is much to love. It really does have it all! I have photographed weddings for over half of my life and it is a complete joy to be a part of. 

Over the last 25 years I have seen many couples come to Dorset to get married. Often the couple have some connection to this magnificent place, either having family locally or having a holiday here and have forged a relationship. Many couples come down from London because the world of Dorset is so different to a large 24 hour city. A place you can breath and relax…..peace.

Below, you will find a map of Dorset venues and some web links to my favourite venues in the county. Under that I have some stories of weddings and my favourite photos that I have taken. I have got Caroline from ‘Amazing face – Hair and make-up’ to write some tips and tricks for new brides-to-be. Honestly, Caroline is one of the most awarded wedding hair and make-up artists. It is worth reading this article just to hear her knowledge. At the bottom I discuss my favourite Dorset walks. Enjoy!

DORSET WEDDING VENUE MAP

It must be incredibly daunting looking for your Dorset wedding venue. You know that you want to get married in Dorset but have no idea of where to start. Here is a map of the area with all the best wedding venues and hotels. Underneath the map you will see some web links of some amazing hotels

DORSET WEDDING WEBSITE LINKS

DORSET VENUE BLOGS

As a Dorset wedding photographer I have been to many of the brilliant venues. There has been loads of absolutely fantastic days and so many stories that I could tell. Here are 3 of some recent weddings in Dorset.

King's arm's pavillion wedding photography

KINGS ARMS HOTEL

At the heart of Christchurch this hotel is incredibly lucky to be in walking distance of Christchurch priory. My favourite weddings are always with this mix of these fab wedding venues. Mixing the traditional with the modern.

Gorwell farm wedding

GORWELL BARN

Gorwell Farm is found in a secluded wooded valley just 2 miles from the village of Abbotsbury and Chesil Beach. As you enter the farm the views of the Jurassic coast is outstandings.

Connaught hotel wedding

CONNAUGHT HOTEL

This fantastic celebration of two cultures was a real highlight of 2022 for me.  With my highlight of when Paul & Esther entered their reception to flying napkins to the song ‘Lac du Connemara’ 

Beauty Tips and Tricks with Amazing face

Who else would I go to but Caroline Swaffield from Amazing face to give you Bride’s-to-be some hot tips on your Hair & make up. Enjoy!!smile

Intro

In the makeup world, it’s important to know that for everyday makeup and clubbing makeup (more importantly Instagram makeup) you will need a specialist who knows the real world of wedding makeup and hair. Your makeup will need to last into the later hours, will need to be photographed in different light scenarios and your stylist will need to make you naturally look your very best knowing that no filters will be available on the big day!

Let’s start at the beginning

Book your hair and make up artist as soon as you are engaged! Seriously, you should look at their testimonies, reviews and awards, and make sure to go right back and make sure they have loads of experience with lots of real brides. If their Insta is full of pics of themselves and not of successful weddings, then they are probably quite new and don’t yet have the experience needed for such a big day. Most of the good makeup and hair stylists are booked 1-2 years in advance on certain dates so if you do find a stylist that you love, then I recommend that you book them immediately. 

Questions to ask

What brands do you use?
Are you capable of doing makeup on different ethnicities?
Can you look after mature skin?  (don’t forget to book both Mums in for hair and makeup – they often get left out and are distressed they are not involved!)
Do you have a team?
Do you charge for travel and parking?

Other tips

Hairwise, consider the time of year you are having your wedding in relation to your hairstyle; think about wind, rain, humidity, and an outdoor wedding if you’re having one – and don’t forget about the dancing! All of these come into play when choosing a style for your big day.
Book manicure / pedicure 2-3 days before your wedding. Lots of brides forget about this and might find it difficult at the last minute.
Start a great skincare routine to get that bridal radiance.
Buy hair accessories or veil for trial or matching hair extensions should you require them.
Have a trial or two before your wedding. This is done as soon or as late as you want – no hard rules here.
Always bring photos of hair and makeup styles you love along with you to your trials. Furthermore, colour swatches of flowers and your dress, which you should also have a picture for too.

 

Little things to note

Wear dressing gowns in a silky texture to avoid hair being pulled by toweling ones.
Make sure to prevent nasty red strap marks on shoulders and ankles by avoiding tight clothing.
Wash hair day before wedding – bridesmaids too! On the day, arrive with clean bare skin as your makeup artist will prep and prime.
A schedule rarely goes exactly to plan; don’t stress, this is normal and you will all be ready on time.
After showering, pop on your body lotions and perfume to prevent oily patches of skin.
Remember to spray your perfume last minute and walk through it as doing so avoids getting oil all over your dress.

To find out more about ‘Amazing face’ Please take a look at their website. Link below –

DORSET WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY FAVOURITES

Dorset wedding
Dorset wedding
Sopley mill wedding
Bride and groom at the Connaught hotel Bournemouth - Registry shot
Couple on the mound with Christchurch priory in background
Couple on knoll beach Studland
Friends arriving at Christchurch Priory
Studland bay house wedding
Bride and bridemaids fooling about at Studland bay house
Bride and Groom at the Wall near Christchurch priory
Bournemouth beach couple with friends
Friends shot on the bowling green at Kings arms pavillion
Bournemouth registry office with couple and friends

DORSET WALKS

Dorset photography over the Purbecks

view over Chapman pool

One of my passions is the search for peace and enjoying the sounds of the natural world. There is nothing better for the soul then sitting on a hill side looking over a view with the warm sun going down.

This, you might feel has nothing to do with the organisation of your big day but it does. Having a connection to a place is part of the journey of finding your wedding venue.

I spend lots of my time enjoying what Dorset has to offer. From the local world famous beaches to the Purbecks and the south west costal path. I am not someone who likes to sleep in and do find myself getting up before anyone else and seeing the start of the day. Below are some of my favourites and some hidden gems.

MUPE BAY

Dorset photography over the Purbecks

This is one of my favourite places in the world, not alone Dorset. The bay is in the Lulworth Ranges and can only be accessed on bank holidays and some weekends.

I am going to set a scene. On 26th December 2018 I got up at 5am to journey down to Lulworth cove. On my way down the weather was awful with a gentle splash of rain hitting my windscreen. It didnt look like I had chosen well but as I got to the car park at Lulworth there was a lovely red line on the horizon. There was still over an hour to sunrise so excitement was brewing. It is a good hour to get to Mupe. Firstly you have to journey up the side of the hill. When you reach the top you look over Lulworth cove. It is still dark and with torch light I walk down the side of the cliff by some 100 steps.

I can still hear the water hitting the pebbles on the beach. The sunrise at this stage is looking really good but there is still quite a walk over very muddy terrain to the gate to enter the Lulworth ranges. It is a relief when the gate opens as most of the time it is shut.  When through the gate the fossil forest is right next to the cliff top. Well worth a visit. Slipping and sliding over the path for a round a mile to the steps down to Mupe bay. The view above is what I saw. The sunrise was happening as I got down to the bottom and I took some photos. Afterwards, I sat there and watches the dancing birds flying about. There was not a sign of anyone. Gorgeous

Every year since I have done the same. Even after heavy storms. It is my Christmas present to myself.

To know when you can access Mupe bay please take a look at this website –

Lulworth Ranges Access

 

Hengistbury head sunset

HENGISTBURY HEAD

This is the best walk for families to get together. Three routes you can take. The beach, The hill and the woodlands along the edge of Christchurch harbour. They all go to the same place but all give a different feeling. The beach is stoney and quite hard work if it has been windy. Love going down the beach at Sunset. Had this view last August. The people on the beach was my wife and my Henry. At the far end of the beach you have Mudeford Spit which has some very expensive beach huts. These are some of the most expensive sheds in the world!

When you get back to the car park it is always worth getting a cuppa in the Hikers cafe.

Welcome to the Hiker Café

NEW FOREST BLOG

Thank you very much for looking at my blog on Dorset weddings. I have done a sister blog on the New forest which you might want to look at. Please follow the link below to find out more.

The kiss on Rhineifields ornamental drive. On the way to reception at Rhinefield house

CONTACT ME

Thank you very much for your interest in my Dorset wedding photography. If you would like to know more please fill in the form below and I will get in contact with you as as soon as I can.

DORSET WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY TESTIMONIAL

We got in touch with Charles to take photos at our wedding. My partner and I have been blown away by how fantastic Charles has been through the whole process.

He made us feel completely at ease and comfortable with having our picture taken. We thoroughly enjoyed the pre-wedding shoot and had so much fun with Charles on the day of the wedding.

We are immensely happy with the final package of photos we have received. He got great pictures of us with our family and so many amazing moments that we were too busy to see on the day.

We would unreservedly recommended Charles to anyone for any event, especially a wedding.

Paul & Esther (October 2022)

MORE ABOUT ME

Thank you for looking at this blog, I do hope you have found it useful. If you would like to know more please take a look at my ‘about me’ page. Please, by all means make any comments below.

Connaught hotel wedding

Christmas wedding at the Kings arms

Christmas wedding at the Kings arms

CHRISTMAS WEDDINGS AT THE KING ARMS

A Christmas wedding at the Kings arms is a very special occasion. I might be a bit biased as it is my local but the hotel does it so well. I love a good wedding at Christmas time. Everyone is wanting to have a good time at this time of the year but throw into the mix a good celebration it is the ultimate party time!

The King arms is a fabulous hotel in my local town of Christchurch. There is two parts to have a wedding at the hotel. Firstly you have the Pavillion. This is opposite the hotel near the ruins and is where you can have a good gathering for your wedding. Inside the hotel is set for for your party and your food.

The time and attention spent on decorating the hotel in lights and christmas decoration was fabulous and really added to the festive vibe.

The Kings arms Pavillion
The Kings arms hotel

BACKGROUND TO THE DAY

It is amazing to think what we all went through in 2020 and 2021. Covid was rampant and just doing the normal things was difficult and stressful. Trying to organise a wedding at this time was incredibly difficult. Not knowing if it will happen or wanting to get excited but didnt want the disapointment of having to start again. Roxy & Ben had to cancel in 2020 but thankfully rearranged for the following year and even though Covid was all around the day went ahead.

THE WEDDING DAY

With all the background of what was happening all around us THIS wedding went ahead and for one day only the awful virus was forgotten and there was a huge celebration of love and family.

Looking back on the day I just remember laughing most of it. There was so many moments where I tried to keep my camera steady from all the jokes and stories in the speeches and the  handing over of the rings.

It will live in my memory banks for years to come.

THE SUPPLIERS

Dress – Cherished Bridal Wear (https://www.cherishedbridalwear.co.uk/)

Hair – Grace Bailey Bridal Hair (https://www.facebook.com/gracebaileybridalhair/)

Make up – Laura McGrugan

Venue decorators and flowers – Simply Flowers (https://www.simplyflower.co.uk/

Cake – makesandkakes (https://www.facebook.com/MakesAndCakes/)

Band – Skylark acoustics (https://www.skylarklivemusic.co.uk/)

SLIDESHOW OF THE DAY

THE WEDDING

If you are having a Christmas wedding at the Kings arms or organising an event in the Dorset area please get in touch.

Chewton Glen Wedding Photographer

Chewton Glen Wedding Photographer

CHEWTON GLEN WEDDING

WHAT DID THEY SAY ABOUT ME

Thank you so much for sending our photos through, we are struggling to find the words to say how absolutely incredible they are. You have captured our day so perfectly and we have relived our wedding time and time again through your photos. Not only are they photos but they really are works of art; from the cheeky smiles of the flower girls to the raw emotion we both felt on the day and everything in between.

We have had so many comments from all our guests about how lovely you were on the day quite honestly we all forgot you were there. You directed us when we all needed it and as a result the photos are perfect.

Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for being so understanding in times of covid when we had to move our date time and time again. Never once did we feel like you would let us down. Our pre wedding shoot enabled us to gain excitement for our big day and you ensured it happened when we both felt down about our first wedding postponement.

We are genuinely over the moon and we cannot wait to show all our family and friends our wonderful day and to relive it over and over again.

Dan & Martha (July 2021)

HOW I PLAN YOUR DAY

pre wedding shoot

Having feedback like the above means so much. 25 years of experience of being a wedding photographer has taught me to never take a couples wedding day lightly. It is treasured by the couple so everything has to be right. Planning is the key and I do this in several ways.

Firstly, a part of all my packages is a pre wedding shoot. This essential element is so important as we all hate our photograph taken. This is mostly because we are never taught how to have a nice picture. How best to stand? What to do with feet and hands? Is it best to look at the camera? The most important thing is to feel comfortable infront of the camera. If you are relaxed then lovely photographs are easy. Why leave anything to chance and doing this on the most important day of your lives? On the shoot I will give you some ideas and tips on what may work for you so on your wedding day. We will have some fun along the way with potentially some dancing.

Secondly, we make a plan. This might sound quite obvious but having a timeline of what is going to happen? Which group shots you would like? How many guests are coming? What shall we do if it rains? Everything is discussed so on the day we all know what is happening and how best to get the right picture. Nothing is done by chance as your day is so important.

 

THE WEDDING DAY

This wedding was originally going to take place in May 2020 but of course was taken over by the pandemic and the lockdown. It was then going to take place in early January this year and it looked like it was going to take place but within hours of meeting up  at the end of December we heard the news that again we had another lockdown. Another date followed with disapointment in May but optimism was growing that soon weddings would return so a further date in July was booked. It happened!

What an amazing sunny day it was. From dawn to dusk we had warm sunny conditions. The Gods really smiled on both of them and the relief showed on their faces the whole day.

So many memories of this fantastic day but one that really sticks in my head is when they came out of the main ceremony room with pure delight on their faces. So happy to finally get across the line and say they’re a married couple.

 

 

SLIDESHOW OF THE DAY

Enjoy this short video showing the fantastic wedding of Daniel & Martha.

CHEWTON GLEN HOTEL WEDDING’S

Chewton Glen is a beautiful Hampshire wedding venue which provides the ideal country house setting for your special day. This award-winning 5 Red Star Hotel is recognised as one of the finest luxury wedding venues in Hampshire, and is superbly located within the stunning New Forest countryside.

The venue can accommodate up to 140 guests for a wedding banquet and 200 for a wedding ceremony or drinks reception.

This venue is absolutely fab and am I lucky to call this one of my local venues. Proud to be a Chewton glen wedding photographer.

For more information Chewton Glen hotel please take a look at their website

https://www.chewtonglen.com/get-married/

To see my front page please take a look here

https://charlesthornephotography.co.uk

To see more of my blogs from weddings close to Christchurch. Please take a look at this wedding from The Kings arms in Christchurch. 

or take a look at this small affair at the Christchurch harbour hotel

Thank you very much for your interest in my photography. If you would like to know more please fill in the form below and I will get in contact with you as as soon as I can

We looked long and hard to find the right person to photograph our wedding day and Charles was the perfect choice. He was a pleasure to work with, meeting us for a lovely pre-wedding shoot, helping us to plan everything out in the run-up to the big day and then providing us with a beautifully presented final set of photos once we returned from honeymoon. On the day itself he put us at ease right from the start, blending in seamlessly with our guests and other suppliers. We were really impressed at the way he worked with the bridesmaids and ushers to guide us all smoothly and very efficiently through the organised group photos but were also so pleased with his gorgeous candid shots of some really lovely moments during the day. Thank you Charles, we will treasure these photos for a long time to come!

Tom & Amy (September 2019)

highcliffe castle wedding photographer

highcliffe castle wedding photographer

Highcliffe castle wedding photographer

HIGHCLIFFE CASTLE WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER

Capturing happy memories as a Highcliffe castle wedding photographer is easy. Most bride and grooms want a castle wedding looking over the sea. This place has it all. Gorgeous ceremony room, vast banquet room that can fit all your guests and access to an amazing beach at the bottom of the garden.

For 20 years I have been doing wedding photography at Highcliffe castle. Initially it was just the ceremony room which was open for couples as over 50 years ago there was a huge fure in the castle which totally gutted the building. Over the years, they have been rebuilding and opening new rooms. Believe me if you are a couple looking for that little bit extra, this has it.

THE VENUE

Highcliffe castle is situated on the boundary between Dorset and Hampshire on the coast. When you arrive you have this amazing stone drive to the main front door. It is one of the biggest doors you will ever see. Bridal portraits are often taken in this area before walking round to the main entrance for the wedding ceremony. Some brides come by different transport including horse and carriage and grand old cars. It must be an amazing experience coming by horse and carriage up the long drive to the entrance!

As you come round the building to the back you have the stairway to the Ceremony room. The room is floor to ceiling with windows . The room can fit 100 people, It is amazing sight seeing the bride come in through the doors and going down the isle.

If you follow round to the back entrance of the castle you see the full extent of this magnificent building and you can look down the garden towards the beach. Lot of my main group shots are taken with the castle in the background.

HISTORY OF HIGHCLIFFE CASTLE

The architecture is Grade 1 listed and dates to the 1830’s.  Much of the stonework is Norman and Renaissance, shipped from across the channel.  It has intricate Gothic revival features and stained glass that make it appear older than it actually is.

The castle was the dream and realisation of Lord Stuart de Rothesay, a distinguished diplomat and the gardens were laid out by the infamous Capability Brown.

This style flourished at the end of the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th century. The castle played host to many important guests during its glittering heyday with royalty from France, Germany, Holland, Spain, Greece, Italy, Sweden and Norway visiting which amounted to six Kings, ten Queens, ten Princes and twelve Princesses visiting.

The local council bought the property in 1977 and has slowly renovated the castle.

HIGHCLIFFE CASTLE WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY MEMORIES

Bride infront of large front door at Highcliffe castle
Highcliffe castle wedding ceremony room
Dream weddings at Highcliffe castle
Bridesmaids group shot at a highcliffe castle wedding
Speeches at a wedding at a Highcliffe castle wedding
Bride and father infront of large front door at Highcliffe castle
excited brides at a Highcliffe castle wedding
Bridesmaids entering ceremony room at a Highcliffe castle wedding
Tears at a wedding at Highcliffe castle
Register photo with all the guests in the background
First dance at a highcliffe castle wedding
Entering ceremony room at a Highcliffe castle wedding
Bride and Groom on Highcliffe castle beach
Bride and groom leaving the ceremony
Highcliffe castle wedding candid group shot
letting your hair down at a wedding at Highcliffe castle

HIGHCLIFFE CASTLE BLOG

Romantic couple on the beach

Christchurch harbour hotel wedding photos

Christchurch harbour hotel wedding photos

This Christchurch harbour hotel wedding may of been a small affair but it was full of character and emotion. The hotel was filled with laughter from the moment they arrived, reverbrating around the room. It was such a warm and friendly wedding which has stayed with me ever since.

When knocking on Kirby’s hotel door in the morning it was so peaceful. The room was full of relaxed tones and gentle laughter.

Both Mark & Kirby come from the Midlands and come to Mudeford quite a few times a year. They both have happy memories and wanted to spend their big day here instead of back home. The only guests were their close family and you could tell they loved each others company. It was quite infectious and found myself in tears of laughter through out the day. By the end of the day I felt a part of their family and found it difficult to leave.

CHRISTCHURCH HARBOUR HOTEL

The Christchurch Harbour hotel is a friendly place with lovely staff. The hotel is readily accessible from London Waterloo, Bournemouth Airport, or Southampton Airport. Christchurch station is a 5-minute taxi ride. The main draw to the hotel is the stunning backdrop looking over Christchurch harbour.

BRIDES FAVOURITE MOMENT

 ‘The story that comes to mind is thinking I had lost my dad’s sixpence (past through his family) on Avon beach only to find it in the bedroom when I went to put my pyjamas on! Thank god I went back in the room. ‘

MARK & KIRBY’S WEDDING SUPPLIERS

Dress – Wed2b ‘Amore’ https://www.wed2b.co.uk/amore

Suit – Mark Darcy https://marcdarcy.co.uk

Flowers – https://www.angelk.co.uk/

Hair and Makeup – https://jennydmakeup.co.uk/

Famous pink pj’s! https://www.thewhitecompany.com/uk/

Rings – https://www.diamond-heaven.co.uk

Cake – https://www.facebook.com/JJCelebrationCakes/

Invitations and place cards – Tree of Hearts – https://www.treeofhearts.co.uk/

Doughnuts – Krispy Kreme – https://www.krispykreme.co.uk

Doughnut bags – https://m.facebook.com/ballardcrafts/

The Hotel – https://www.harbourhotels.co.uk/christchurch

Thank you so much for everything, Charles. We are so pleased with the pictures you captured of our special day; they truly document the day in its entirety and we can see the story behind each image. From initial contact through to receipt of our photos, the service you provided was first class. You are a lovely, talented man who made us feel totally at ease. We consider ourselves so lucky that we found you as we could not have asked for better

Mark & Kirby (Sept 2019

To see my front page please take a look here

https://charlesthornephotography.co.uk

The Christchurch Priory & Kings Arms Hotel

The Christchurch Priory & Kings Arms Hotel

Christchurch wedding photographer
christchurch wedding photography

CHRISTCHURCH WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY

 Taking Wedding photograph’s in Christchurch is nothing without the Priory and the Kings arms Hotel. They go so well together and it is always the highlight of every year photographing there.

CHRISTCHURCH PRIORY

Since my childhood Christchurch priory has been close to my heart. When going into the church for a wedding the realisation of having such an amazing backdrop always excites and never fails to fullfill it’s potential. With its amazing architecture and it gorgeous ambience there isnt many churches that gives so much.

SUCH A HAPPY DAY

This was a lovely wedding in August 2019. The original weather forcast wasn’t looking good. Which I was really gutted as we had such plans for the day. As the day got nearer the forecast got better and better and when the day came it was nearly perfect. Beautiful sunny skies with a bit of a keen breeze. In the mid afternoon the wind calmed down and the skies got a lovely milkiness as if it was in the golden hour. I was getting as giddy as a school boy. Loved every minute of it.

The below images are my ‘storybook’ of the day. So many memories that the couple will treasure for years to come. Please click on an image to increase the size.

Thank you so much for our beautiful photo’s and for being so amazing, not only on the day but on the lead up too. You really put us at ease and you were so patient. You are brilliant and we are so happy we had you as our photographer!

Darryl & Louisa (August 2019)

CHRISTCHURCH WEDDING FAVOURITES

groom party in christchurch town centre
Bridal portrait at kings arms hotel christchurch
Christchurch priory wedding photographer
Christchurch wedding photographer
Confetti shot on a windy day at the Priory
christchurch wedding photography at the side of the Priory
Christchurch wedding photography
christchurch wedding photography on the Mound looking over the Priory
hristchurch wedding photography on the old bowling green
Dorset wedding photographer

Have a look at Christchurch Priory website – https://www.christchurchpriory.org

To find out more about the Kings Arms Hotel in Christchurch please take a look at their website – https://www.harbourhotels.co.uk/kings-arms

To see more of my work Here is a link to my home page – https://charlesthornephotography.co.uk

Thank you very much for your interest in my photography. If you would like to know more please fill in the form below and I will get in contact with you as as soon as I can

We looked long and hard to find the right person to photograph our wedding day and Charles was the perfect choice. He was a pleasure to work with, meeting us for a lovely pre-wedding shoot, helping us to plan everything out in the run-up to the big day and then providing us with a beautifully presented final set of photos once we returned from honeymoon. On the day itself he put us at ease right from the start, blending in seamlessly with our guests and other suppliers. We were really impressed at the way he worked with the bridesmaids and ushers to guide us all smoothly and very efficiently through the organised group photos but were also so pleased with his gorgeous candid shots of some really lovely moments during the day. Thank you Charles, we will treasure these photos for a long time to come!

Tom & Amy (September 2019)