Vintage Inspired & Wedding Shoot At The Cottonwood Hotel

September 2017 has been one of the most exciting months since I started my photography journey.

Back in August, I ran a model call looking for people to be part of a vintage-inspired photo shoot, but the shoot became so much more!

The Cottonwood Boutique Hotel in Bournemouth is one of the most vibrant and unique hotels in Bournemouth. It’s bright, colourful, welcoming and the views over the cliff top are beautiful. They kindly opened their doors to me for the shoot and excitedly told me about their new outdoor wedding facility.


Now I had a location, I needed clothes!


Nervously, at the Poole Goes Vintage Fair, I noticed a stand and decided to ask them if they wanted to join in. Mags, the creator of LeMaitre, is passionate about vintage clothes. Every detail has to be created in an authentic and compassionate way to match the era. She happily accepted my invitation to join in with the shoot and we discovered a mutual love over Audrey Hepburn’s dress in the film Sabrina (if you’ve seen it, you know which dress I’m talking about).



More clothes were needed, so I approached Bournemouth’s Vintage Emporium who were more than happy to help and showed me their impressive collection of men’s vintage clothes and accessories. Although it should be stated that the Emporium stocks far more than clothes; furniture, artwork, jewellery, records, cake, the list goes on!


Speaking of cake, I was lucky enough to meet Cake Heaven who kindly provided over a dozen beautiful vintage inspired cupcakes. As someone with a gluten allergy, I always look and cakes and sigh, wishing I could have a bite. Amongst these beautiful delicate cupcakes were 6 with a gold wrapper, “Those are the gluten free ones I made just for you,” she told me. I wish I could tell you I shared them, I wish that after reminding nieces and nephews to share their toys ‘or else’ that I was not a hypocritical Aunt, I wish I could tell you I didn’t eat 5 of the 6. They were delicious.


Next was hair and makeup! As Mags from LeMaitre put it “every time I see you, your hair is a different colour!” clearly I am not responsible/talented enough to be in charge of hair and makeup. Luckily I discovered Wendy from Sapphire Styling Hair & Makeup who is incredibly talented. Not only skilled with eyeliner, but she recently created Dolly’s Makeover Parties which offers vintage-inspired makeover parties. She knew how to create wedding AND vintage looks. She was a star.


Speaking of weddings, I received an email “Hi, do you need wedding dresses for your shoot?”. Intrigued, I arranged to meet Stephanie, the owner and designer of Stephanie Frances Bridal, in her boutique in Southbourne. Her boutique stocks a romantic dreamy selection of her own wedding dress design as well as other talented designers. OK, I might have tried one on, just one, I promise!


That wasn’t the only email, I received; “Do you need any diamonds for your shoot?”, I feel that from now on ALL emails should involve offering me diamonds. Beau Bijou is (in my opinion) the gem of Westbourne (pun intended), stocking a glamorous selection of vintage and contemporary pieces. Diamonds, sapphires, rubies, emeralds, pearls, a girl could get dizzy thinking about how beautiful the pieces are.


Whilst in Westbourne, I thought I would speak to the Fab Frocks. If you’ve been to Westbourne chances are you have looked in their window. Prom dresses, formal wear and Mother-Of-The-Bride wear; Perfect! Tracie, the owner, told me how MOTBs are so much more than the traditional dress and jacket combination and are becoming brighter and more stylish. Style has no age limit!


There was one element missing and I had heard enough people talk about them to know exactly where to go. Poppies Bournemouth Florist may look small, but there is a LOT of talent in that florist. Exactly a week before the shoot they were even awarded Three Best Rated in Best Business 2017! Not being one to read wedding magazines, I wasn’t entirely sure what flowers were popular for weddings. They knew. BIG BOUQUETS are looking incredibly popular for 2018, as well as more foliage, it’s all about the green!


We had all the pieces and thanks to the model call, I was lucky enough to meet 6 amazing models, all with different backgrounds and styles.


The day was spent laughing, taking photos and admiring the art and knowledge of some of the most talented independent businesses in Bournemouth.


Thank you to the models and contributors to this shoot, you all made it something beautiful.






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