With Christmas behind us and a New Year ahead, this has been a season full of festivity and tradition. I hope your holidays have been filled with friends and family, enjoying good food and of course, the occasional drink!

There are lots of traditions during this Holiday Season, many of which we are familiar with, such as singing ‘Auld Lang Syne’ on New Years day (even if we are less than sure of the lyrics!) but there are many more traditions with which, we are less familiar today – for instance, how many of you opened your back door on the stroke of midnight to let the old year out?

And so, with my thoughts turning to the weddings coming up this year, it got me to thinking about those wedding traditions that have their roots in our past but which still have significance in contemporary wedding celebrations, primarily those traditions that have the intention of bringing the newly wed bride and groom lots of luck for their future together! I’ll start with one tradition that is quite close to my heart and to my own roots.

Love Spoons...

In Wales, the carving of love spoons is a centuries old tradition. Young men would lovingly carve a spoon from a single piece of wood to give to their loved one, not only as a symbol of their love and devotion but as proof of their capability to provide for the family. Practical skills in a husband are, of course, very desirable and in the past a beautifully carved spoon would demonstrate the young man's skills. If a young man succeeded in capturing his partner's heart, then the spoon would be treasured and proudly displayed on one of the walls of their home, much as a wedding photograph would be today.

Thankfully, you can commission someone else to do the work, if, like me, your whittling efforts would be more likely to end in losing a finger than in an ornately carved gift! And that’s just what I did for my bride on her wedding day – as you can see above, I gave her a love spoon, with a detail of a bell between two hearts, on the morning before we were wed. The bell signifies that it was our wedding day and is also meant to indicate being together in harmony; the hearts, one for her and one for me, to indicate our love for each other! The original love spoons would likely have been quite simple by design but ever more intricate designs were created as time moved on and as young men vied for the attractions of their lover - the more complicated and difficult to carve, the more it was meant to symbolise the depth of the creator's love and desire to labour on behalf of his loved one. It has also been suggested that the size of the spoon would reflect the carver's love, spoons can vary considerably in size but then size isn’t everything is it?

My mum being Welsh, it was my parents that introduced me to this tradition. When my baby girl was first born, her nanny and grandpa bought her a love spoon, with the symbol of a dragon on it – not only a reminder of our welsh roots but also a symbol of protection. The walls of my childhood home were adorned with love spoons, both of the bought and paid variety as well as those my dad spent hours whittling away in the garage. My dad made love spoons for occasions such as wedding anniversaries, or, Valentines day but also for those occasions he might have found himself needing to say sorry.  And so, cast out of the house (I may exaggerate a little) he would carve my mum a love spoon in order to remind her of his love and to restore some harmony!  These gifts, borne out of celebration, or, apology, or, simply as a way to say ‘I love you’, provide a unique snapshot of my parents’ life together, quite unlike anything else - well they certainly beat flowers from the garage anyway!


Other traditions intended to bring luck and good fortune to married couples include incorporating horseshoes into the wedding décor. In Scotland, horseshoes have traditionally been sewn into the hem of dresses, or, carried by the ring bearer, or, added to bouquets. The horseshoe should always be carried with the open side facing up, by way of holding your luck in. Be careful not to point it down, as to do so, would allow your luck to fall away!

The Bells, the bells...

In Irish wedding tradition, it is popular to give bells as a wedding gift, or, to incorporate them in some way into the wedding day. Much like the bell carved onto the love spoon I gave my wife, the chiming of bells is harmonious and to hear this ringing is to remind the couple of their vows and to restore harmony if the relationship experiences difficulty.

Something old, something new...

And ever popular, the tradition of something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue prevails to this day in England. Acquiring a sixpence for your shoe though, has become somewhat more difficult since decimalisation! The something old refers to wearing an item, such as family jewellery, to represent a connection with the bride’s family and her old life - some ideas for your 'something old' can be see in the infographic below. Wearing something new, the wedding dress being the most obvious, is said to represent good fortune and success. Wearing something borrowed is meant to bring good fortune to the marriage. Wearing something blue, meanwhile, represents loyalty in the marriage.

Wedding traditions infographic

Infographic: Simply Bridal

Whatever, traditions you follow, or, whichever new celebrations you plan for your wedding day, I am sure they will be as unique to you and as treasured as the love spoon, above, is to me. If you are looking for a wedding photographer, do take a look at my work and get in touch, I’d love to hear more about your plans.

By Rob Dodsworth

Christening Photography in Norfolk | Burnham Deepdale

Christening Photography in North Norfolk

A few months ago, Gemma and Dickon sent me a lovely email requesting my services at the Christening of their beautiful little baby girl, Ottilie. I was honoured and delighted to be asked to document this special occasion which took place at St. Mary's Church in Burnham Deepdale, near Brancaster, on the North Norfolk Coast.  More and more people are looking to hire the services of a professional family photographer to document occasions such as these and I couldn't be more pleased - a really lovely day, it was a pleasure to play a part in it. Ottilie was an angel throughout her service and for the portraits that followed.  Here's just a few preview pictures of her special day, more to follow soon.

For more details about my photography services, please get in contact.

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Back in the Summer I was commissioned to work with George Clarke and Tim Cross, entrepreneurs with a new but flourishing foodie business based out of Norwich but available across Norfolk and Suffolk.  The Wood Kitchen is a pop-up pizza wagon - a retro, 1930's vintage, Citroen van fitted with a wood fired oven. The fare tastes just as good as the van is unique and in-between mouthfuls of pizza (I had more than my fair share of the Puttanesca), we made some great images for their social media, branding and website. The wagon caters to customers throughout Norfolk, at special events such as weddings and street fairs - they'll even come to your house if you're throwing a party! I popped down to one of their regular Friday night stints, at the Eaton Cottage on Unthank Road in Norwich, to get a few photographs of the boys and their van. I hope you enjoy these images as much as I enjoyed taking them (eating pizza!).
















The Wedding Speeches | Wedding Photography

Norfolk Wedding Photographer

The speeches at a wedding are one part of the day I really look forward to. They are often full of emotion and I love capturing images of those people delivering the speeches but also the responses to them – the laughter, the tears and more often than not, a good dose of embarrassment!

The speeches always deliver some really touching and heartfelt moments. The father of the bride, offering his remembrances of the bride's childhood and wishing his daughter and her husband a happy life together, often results in some really beautiful interactions - mum will often be struggling to hold back the tears. The groom’s speech can also result in some really lovely moments, a tender touch of a hand, or, a simple look between the groom and his bride. And of course, there is one speech, traditionally saved until last that almost always results in the groom burying his head in his hands as his, so called, ‘best man’ does his absolute best to embarrass him, regaling guests with tales about the groom as a young man, or, what they got up to on the stag-do (sometimes accompanied by photographic evidence!).

It’s my job, as your photographer, to capture these moments, moments that you might otherwise have missed. These are the images that when you come to look back on them, will help to tell the story of your special day - who’s laughing, who’s crying and who’s in an absolute fit of giggles!

How Much does Wedding Photography cost?

Why is wedding photography so expensive?

How much is a wedding photographer in the UK?

Have you found yourself asking, “Why do wedding photographers charge so much?” or, are you wondering, “How much does a wedding photographer cost?“. It’s not easy to answer these questions but the following article might just shed some light on the subject.

I originally wrote this article in 2013! But in 2021, it remains an oft-asked question and with the fall-out from the Covid-19 Pandemic, Brexit and tough economic times ahead, it is becoming an increasingly common concern for couples looking to get married.

In 2013 the average wedding was estimated to cost just over £20,000. But according to one study the average cost of a wedding has gone up £10,000 since 2013 to in excess of £30000. Reading around, it seems that while supplier costs have risen, much of this extra cost is going into things like marquee hire, catering and venue dressing! According to another similar study, by wedding directory Hitched, the average cost of a wedding in 2019 was £32000. This is slightly less expensive than in 2018 but still up by £5000 more than in 2017!  Out of a list of 10 of the biggest spends, wedding photography is, on average, the seventh biggest spend, while hiring a Wedding Venue and going on honeymoon come in at the top of the list!

When it comes to Wedding Photography, prices are likely to be inflated by weddings in places like London but nonetheless, weddings are a large undertaking with the potential to be expensive.  There are all sorts of costs to consider including the venue, rings, catering, the dress, the flowers, the cake etc. When it comes to photography, the study, mentioned above, suggests that the average price paid for wedding photography in 2019 was £1,155, slightly down on the 2018 figure of £1,166.  So, why pay so much for wedding photography, you may ask, after all it’s only a few hours work, is that really worth paying upwards of £1,000 for?

Yes, wedding photography can be expensive and there is always someone willing to take your images and offer them all to you on a USB to print for a few pounds at your local pharmacist.  But there are plenty of horror stories about cheap wedding photography and a quick Google revealed one wedding photographer touting themselves as akin to a budget Irish airline – “cheap and cheerful”!  That’s fine but a quick search for said airline reveals less than stellar feedback about its customer service and plenty of negative headlines!  Being a good wedding photographer involves a great deal of investment, both time and money. If you’re considering a cheap wedding photographer, you should first ask yourself, “What corners is the ‘budget-airline’ wedding photographer cutting to keep their prices so low – insurance, equipment, training?”

Are wedding photographers worth it?

So, what exactly are you paying for? My work does not end when your wedding does and it usually starts long before!  I commit time to meeting with you before your wedding, either over a coffee or, by Skype. This way, we can discuss what you want from your photography. This is a good way to get to know each other before your wedding day. Another great way to get to know each other is by having pre-wedding photography, this can help put you at ease about being photographed and can, for some people, make things more relaxed when it comes to being photographed on their big day.

There is of course the wedding day itself, where depending on your requirements, I can spend anywhere between 6-12+ hours.  As well as the time spent with you taking images, there is, of course, the work going on behind the scenes, such as my preparation time, undertaking a recce of your venue, editing images, designing albums…the list goes on.  I won’t bore you with an exact breakdown but as you can probably tell, there’s a lot more hours involved than you might, at first, imagine.

In addition to this, there are of course the costs involved in maintaining a wedding photography business – taxes, insurance, advertising, and training.  On top of these costs, top quality, professional camera bodies, lenses, computers, software, digital storage mediums etc. can set you back in excess of  £30,000.  And, of course, this equipment needs replacing more often than you might think.  Then there are the costs involved in using a professional photographic lab, album suppliers and framers.  It is important to me that the images I produce, as well as being a document of your wedding day, stir your emotions and look fantastic hanging on your wall.  The quality of high-street printers is variable and so I only use craftsmen that work to the very highest standards but of course, this costs me more than popping down to Boots.

Norfolk Wedding Photographer Rob Dodsworth Homepage

In a survey for their wedding issue in 2013, New York magazine asked 100 brides “What They Would Have Done Differently” if they were able to go back in time and plan their wedding again.  21% of those polled responded by saying that they wished they had spent more money on their wedding photography, while only 12% wished they had spent less.Wedding info graphic

A similar study that asked 2,000 people married in or, after 2010 the same question found that “of the top five spending regrets, people would have put more money into the honeymoon fund, how much they spent on rings, and would have ponied up more for a stellar photographer. The lesson? People felt it’s important to not skimp on the things that last long after the celebration itself.” In almost all online articles and magazine features, one of the biggest regrets people have about their wedding is hiring a cheap photographer. This quote from a 2019 survey on wedding regrets sums it up:

“I regret not paying *more* money on a photographer whom I loved and reflected my tastes. Instead, I settled for an okay photographer for a good price and for good photos but she didn’t do a great job really capturing our essence.”

So, how much is too much for a wedding photographer? What is a reasonable price for a wedding photographer?

Wedding photography might seem expensive, at first but what value do you place on being able to look back at your wedding photos, to truly enjoy and relive those memories, with friends and family and perhaps, in the years to come, with your own little people?

I have been a wedding photographer for more than 10 years. My prices have gone up year on year as my experience and the value I offer has grown. I’m far from the cheapest photographer out there and I work in a hugely competitive market but I am fortunate to work with amazing couples, couples who trust me to capture their big day, couples who value good wedding photography.

All that being said, wedding photography is, by and large, a luxury. You don’t absolutely need it. And if there isn’t room in your budget, there are alternatives to a professional wedding photographer. You might have a friend or, a family member who is good at photography or, you might consider a student or an amateur photographer. I’d be lying if I said I took amazing pictures right off the bat. Every wedding photographer started somewhere and I’m really grateful to the people who trusted me at the start, with very little experience of wedding photography, to capture their day. Those weddings might not be amongst my best work but it was my stepping stone to doing what I love and being able to make a living from it.

If you do go the route of hiring a student or, amateur photographer for your wedding, my best advice would be, at the very least, to take a look at their portfolio and ask some questions about how they would handle photographing your wedding day. This way both of you know what you’re getting into and will know what to expect. And if you think they won’t accept payment for their time and effort, do try to get them as substantial a gift as you can. Rewarding them with a thoughtful gesture will mean the world! Also, don’t presume they’ll want to do it. Ask them in a way that gives them room to say no. If it’s one of your invited guests, they may just want to enjoy your wedding.

Long after your flowers have wilted, your cake has been eaten, your guests have departed and your venue swept clean, it will be your wedding photographs that help you to look back and remember the tears, the joy and the excitement of your wedding day!  Ultimately, it is your wedding day and you must do what is right for you and your budget.  There’s no doubt that wedding photography can seem expensive at first but bear in mind that wedding photography is no ordinary purchase.

Can you negotiate wedding photographer prices?

If you are looking to make savings, try to cut back in other areas if you can help it.  Also, bear in mind that your photographer is likely to be able to help you in some way.  While I offer an all-in package that includes my time from bridal preparations, right up until your first dance (and often beyond), if you don’t have the resources to hire me on this basis, then please don’t hesitate to contact me to discuss your needs and to see what I might be able to do for you.

I hope you have found this article helpful, if you want to talk further about my photography and discuss your wedding plans, then please, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

UPDATED: February 2021

The shortest distance between two people | Norfolk Wedding Photographer

UK Wedding Photographer

I’ve been to many a wedding, both professionally and personally.  There are often tears, laughter and of course, tears of laughter and sometimes it’s not just me. ;-)

The late comedian and musician, Victor Borge once said, “Laughter is the shortest distance between two people.” When you laugh with someone it brings you closer together.  I think this is why everyone loves a wedding, family and friends coming together to celebrate and share in the joy; it’s very rare to see a grumpy face in the crowd on a wedding day.

Wedding celebrations are infectious and I never grow bored of seeing people smiling, laughing, or, dabbing away at their eye with a handkerchief (ok…so I saw a handkerchief once but still...!).  These are most often my favourite images to capture and on this cold, grey Monday morning,  I thought I'd share a few.  I hope they might bring a smile to your face…enjoy!





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Luxury Wedding Albums

Wedding Photography

As part of the investment you make in me as your wedding photographer, your photographs are made available to you in a beautiful, hand-made, wedding album from Queensberry. This family business, established in 1969, works from the ethos that they serve those "strangers in the viewfinder" by crafting their memories into a treasured possession that tells their story. This is a core principle in my own wedding photography (except of course we won't be strangers) and is the reason why a Queensberry Wedding Album is part of the service I offer to you.

Digital storage has come a long long way in the last decade and there are many great ways to view and share your photographs with family and friends but an iPad just doesn't compare to the luxury of one of these albums. You can choose various different cover styles, colours and materials for your album as well as different types of mount and display. Sliding a finger across a digital display can not compare to the look and feel of one of these albums and as great as that iPad looks now, it's not likely to be handed down generation to generation. To be fair to the iPad though, it was never intended to be, unlike a Queensberry!

If you want to know a little bit more about my wedding packages click here.