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!


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



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


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 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


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


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
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 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.


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


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


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


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.


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)


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

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.


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.


 ‘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. ‘


Dress – Wed2b ‘Amore’

Suit – Mark Darcy

Flowers –

Hair and Makeup –

Famous pink pj’s!

Rings –

Cake –

Invitations and place cards – Tree of Hearts –

Doughnuts – Krispy Kreme –

Doughnut bags –

The Hotel –

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

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