Every time I receive a wedding inquiry, my heart swells with gratitude. But there's a special kind of thrill that courses through me when that inquiry is for a destination wedding. It's akin to an electric jolt, a buzz that travels straight up my spine, igniting my passion for both photography and travel. Travel has always been a significant part of my life. Growing up, I was fortunate enough to journey with my family to mesmerising destinations like Florida, the Canary Islands, the Balearic Islands, various parts of Spain, and France. Those trips instilled in me a deep appreciation for diverse cultures and landscapes. However, life took its course, and after setting up a home and starting a family with my wife at a relatively young age, my opportunities to travel dwindled.


But destiny had its plans. As I ventured into wedding photography, the world opened up to me once again. Every new location I get to visit for a wedding shoot is a reminder of the privilege I hold. I often pause and reflect on how fortunate I am, especially when I think of many talented individuals who never get such chances. Even when I'm exploring new corners of the UK, places where I've never set foot before, the excitement remains. Since embarking on this journey in 2013, I've had the honour of capturing moments in exotic locales like India, Brazil, Bali, Kenya, Chamonix, Australia, and Santorini. Each place has its unique charm, its stories, and its memories etched in my heart. As of writing this, North America remains an uncharted territory for me in terms of wedding photography. But I remain hopeful. Someday, I believe, an inquiry will lead me there, and I'll get to add another chapter to my ever-growing tale of destination weddings.

Travel Logistics


Whenever I discuss destination weddings, a common question arises: "How does the whole process work, and what are the associated costs?" Organising a destination wedding doesn't have to be daunting. My goal is to simplify the process, ensuring affordability without compromising quality. Travel expenses are often a primary concern. This usually involves flight costs. I opt for economy class to keep prices down. We'll work together to find the best flight deal, whether that's a direct flight or one with layovers. I carry my camera gear as hand luggage for safety, while personal items and some backup equipment are checked in. I ensure my equipment's safety during transit. For those curious about travel costs to airports in Hampshire and London, my packages cover these, so there are no extra charges.


Accommodation is another consideration. I require a private room with air conditioning, a lockable door, and an ensuite bathroom. Staying near the wedding venue is ideal to reduce travel or hire-car costs. Many couples find it beneficial to accommodate me in the same resort or hotel where the family is staying or where the wedding is being held. This not only reduces costs but also allows me to build a rapport with the family. Such familiarity often translates into more natural and candid photographs on the wedding day. Upon arriving at the destination airport, I'll need transportation to the hotel. I usually arrive two days before the wedding and depart a day or two post-wedding, making my stay about 4 to 5 days. The only other expense is my meal on the wedding day.


India


In 2008, I embarked on my journey as a professional wedding photographer. It took five dedicated years of honing my craft and building my business before I had the opportunity to photograph my first destination wedding. And what a destination it was - the vibrant and culturally rich India!


This Indian wedding remains etched in my memory as one of the most colourful and lively events I've ever captured. Given the sheer scale of the wedding, with hundreds of guests in attendance, I realised I would need assistance to do justice to the occasion. I was fortunate to collaborate with Sam, a local photographer who also ran his own photography business. Together, we set out to chronicle the three-day extravaganza. The festivities kicked off with an "Arabian Nights" themed reception party on the first day. The air was filled with the rhythmic beats of Boliyan music and the energetic moves of Jago dancing. For those unfamiliar, "Jago" translates to "wake up" in Hindi and is a traditional dance performed to draw attention to wedding celebrations. This day was also marked by heartfelt speeches from various guests, each sharing their joy and blessings.


Day two brought with it the "tilak" ceremony, a significant ritual for the groom. As the day unfolded, guests were treated to a delightful BBQ karaoke session right on the beach, allowing everyone to let loose and enjoy the seaside ambiance. The third and final day was the pièce de résistance. Before the main wedding ceremony commenced, the playful "Joota Chupai" ritual was enacted. This involves the bride's friends cheekily stealing the groom's shoes and demanding a ransom for their return. It's all in good fun and adds a touch of levity before the solemnity of the wedding rites. The main ceremony took place at the stunning Holiday Inn Resort in Goa. In a grand gesture, the groom made his entrance atop an elephant, setting the tone for the majestic events to follow. The wedding itself was a breathtaking affair, held outdoors on the beach with the backdrop of the shimmering Arabian Sea.


Looking back, this Indian wedding was not just a professional milestone for me but also a deeply enriching cultural experience.

Bali


After showcasing the vibrant photographs from the Indian wedding on my website, I was inundated with inquiries for destination weddings from all corners of the globe. The response was overwhelming. However, my calendar for the subsequent year was already filled with commitments for UK weddings. Regrettably, this meant I had to decline some enticing offers, including weddings in both Japan and California. But then, a delightful opportunity arose. I received an inquiry for a wedding in Bali from some dear friends of mine from Australia. To my delight, the dates aligned perfectly with my availability. The connection was even more personal as one of my closest friends was set to be the best man at this wedding.


Upon my arrival in Bali, I was warmly welcomed into the same resort in Denpasar where the family was staying. The hospitality extended further when I was invited to the groom's stag do, which took place shortly after I landed. The couple's affinity for Bali was palpable. This was their sixth visit to the island, making it an ideal and sentimental choice for their nuptials. Their wedding took place at the picturesque Bali Mandira Beach Resort. The day began with me capturing the intimate moments of the bridal preparations. Occasionally, I'd step out to snap some candid shots of the groom as he readied himself. The ceremony setting was nothing short of enchanting. Held outdoors, the couple exchanged vows under a traditional Balinese structure adorned with a cascade of flowers. The ambience was truly breathtaking.


Interestingly, the hotel had its own team of photographers. So, the event was bustling with multiple lenses capturing every moment. Despite our language barriers, we all worked great together. We collaborated seamlessly, ensuring we all captured the shots we aimed for. The atmosphere was so relaxed that some hotel guests even waded knee-deep into the pool to witness the ceremony, a clever way to beat the Bali heat. As dusk settled and the evening reception began, the skies hinted at an impending storm. However, this didn't dampen the spirits of the newlyweds or their guests. The celebrations continued, and the couple danced the night away. After capturing all of their memorable moments, I felt content with my work. Setting my camera aside, I joined the festivities, celebrating with the couple and their guests before retiring for the night.

Brazil


A few months after my memorable trip to Bali, I embarked on another exciting journey, this time to Brazil for a destination wedding. The entire experience was a revelation in many ways. The couple I was working with primarily communicated in Portuguese, with only a basic grasp of English. This meant that all our interactions, from emails to face-to-face conversations, required translations. While this might sound like a daunting task, we navigated through it with patience and determination. Initially, I had reservations about how smoothly the process would go, given the language barrier. However, to my surprise, it turned out to be one of the most rewarding experiences of my career. In preparation for the trip, I took the initiative to learn a few essential Portuguese phrases, and in return, the couple made an effort to pick up some English terms.


My journey to Brazil was quite an adventure in itself. After a layover in France, I flew to Rio de Janeiro, then to Recife, and finally boarded a connecting flight to Brasilia, the couple's hometown. By the time I landed in Brasilia, I was understandably drained. To add to the exhaustion, I was informed that my luggage had been misplaced in Paris and would be sent to the couple's home once located. While this was a stressful situation, I had fortunately anticipated such scenarios. I always travel with my camera equipment as hand luggage, and I had packed an extra T-shirt and a pair of tailored shorts for emergencies. This foresight proved invaluable. Fortunately, the day before the wedding, my suitcase was delivered, right on time for our journey to Casa de Campo in Juripiranga, the chosen wedding venue. Despite our linguistic differences, the couple and I collaborated seamlessly. I emphasised my journalistic approach to wedding photography, explaining that extensive communication wasn't necessary. All I needed was a schedule, and I could capture their special moments based on that.


The couple exchanged their vows in the open air, just outside a pristine, gleaming white church. The setting was truly enchanting, and in all my experiences since, I've rarely come across a scene so picturesque. The bride made a grand entrance, arriving in a magnificent horse-drawn carriage that added a touch of timeless elegance to the proceedings. Throughout the ceremony, there were numerous heartfelt moments that tugged at the heartstrings of everyone present. As the day transitioned into evening, the sun began its descent, casting a golden hue over the surroundings. With the diminishing natural light, I had to adapt my photography techniques. I opted to use an external flash, strategically bouncing its light off the church's white walls to illuminate the subjects. This technique not only compensated for the lack of light but also added a unique and ethereal glow to the photographs. The end results were nothing short of stunning, capturing the essence and beauty of the day.


The warmth and hospitality of the couple extended beyond the wedding. They introduced me to their friends and family, ensuring I felt like a part of their community. As a gesture of their appreciation, they hosted a farewell meal for me and presented me with thoughtful gifts. Feeling grateful and content, I then travelled to São Paulo, where I spent a few days unwinding by the beach, reflecting on the beautiful memories I had created and captured.