Chichester cathedral wedding | sabrina & Luke
Sabrina and Luke booked me for their Chichester Cathedral Wedding followed by a reception at Southdowns Manor, so when planning their engagement shoot we chose to visit the Cathedral and Bishop’s Palace Gardens to familiarise ourselves with potential shots spots on their day and make the most of the Autumnal weather at the time. Here’s a little look back at that!
As a wedding photographer, I’m always involved at the event planning stage where the location and other details are taking precedence. I do love finding out how people met! Sabrina and Luke’s love story began in their local gym where they met and got to know each other. I think this is brilliant, and I am always in awe when people say they met at the gym, as from my own experience I’d be such a sweaty ball of mess I think I’d be hiding from public view!!
On their wedding day, Sabrina and Luke planned for a Chichester Cathedral Wedding, followed by a reception at Southdowns Manor. What a beautiful pairing of locations to have as a backdrop their day!
Sabrina and her ladies primped and prepared at the gorgeous location of 4 Canon Lane, just behind the cathedral… the light and space within the house was just absolutely breathtaking! Perfect for capturing those small details while looking out to see the cathedral right in front of you!
Luke and the boys got themselves ready a short walk away at their home! You’ll probably notice the difference between the serenity of the ladies vs the playfulness of the gents as they prepared for their wedding!
As a photographer, I usually lean towards colour as my main supply of finished images, but when shooting at the cathedral and it’s grounds, I couldn’t help but feel more and more of the frames lent themselves to a black and white conversion. Sometimes it’s very easy to define whether an image should be either colour or black and white, however there are occasions when even I can’t make up my mind so I supply both versions… perhaps it’s also because I’m already considering the album layout and whether a set of images will work better than the other version!
When the girls were getting ready, for me there was a very strong sense of wanting to use monochrome. Sometimes I find it just makes the subject more impacting! The light and setting just really lent itself to this classic feel… I’m not surprised Arleta D picked that prime spot to apply Sabrina and her mum’s make up! The girls had the run of both 4 Canon Lane and an additional building to wait and prepare in which we were able to jump between while the preparations continued.
To complement the monochrome prep, I ensured that a selection of images of Luke and his Groomsmen were also provided in black and white! I love how when showing off his Dartagnan’s “Black & Gold” suit, Luke’s gang of fellas couldn’t help but get really handsy with him!! I especially like their “strut walk” through the city to arrive ready for their Chichester Cathedral Wedding, anyone else hear the soundtrack to Reservoir Dogs in their mind?
While Luke was on his way to the Cathedral ready to greet the arrival of their guests, Sabrina was still in the final throes of getting ready. With the most striking gown from Proposals in Chichester (which is now Whyte Weddings), it was hard not to feel the anticipation and excitement in the room as Mum helped Sabrina into her dress. You could feel the pride and love flowing through mum at this special moment!
Sabrina retained the reveal to her bridesmaids until she was dressed, who then helped her with the finishing touches of her veil and shoes!
The final stage of the bridal prep was still not done! Sabrina had yet to see her Dad…. when we were planning her day photographically, she mentioned the statement staircase at 4 Canon Lane. What better way for a father’s first look than seeing his beautiful daughter emerge from height and walk towards him down such a grand aisle?! The front door made a tidy little frame too for their first pictures together!
The pathway connecting Sabrina’s preparation venue and the cathedral was in full bloom of colour. What a sight to see them all walking down towards her guests and waiting groom whilst ensuring her dress was kept aloft and pristine before her arrival for their Chichester Cathedral Wedding.
Most of my weddings are shot by two of us. This serves a number of purposes. Firstly, it ensures that we don’t have to compromise between choosing a candid or more structured moment to capture. Both can happen simultaneously by either of us. My second shooters and I have worked closely together for a number of years where our communication has largely become non-verbal. This has really helped our shooting become seamless and cohesive.
Secondly, it means we are able to capture both evolving scenes from each partner. So many of my couples love to be able to see and share the experience of what the other was doing while they were busy with their own preparations.
The second shooters I use are also professional photographers themselves, and I often shoot for them too in a “second” capacity. This really helps us as professionals step away from being primarily responsible for capturing the day (as well as ensuring timings are kept to, people are where they should be etc) and helps us practice our craft with a creative freedom. It also enables us to practise our ninja skills in a variety of settings where rolling under bushes and hiding behind walls and pillars are essential moves to “get that shot”!
The point is illustrated perfectly here for this Chichester Cathedral Wedding where both perspectives in these final few moments before the ceremony are captured for the other to see.
The time has come! The Dean of Chichester Cathedral is ready and waiting with the Verger to accompany Sabrina and her Bridal Party down the long aisle towards her waiting groom. This is always the moment that gets me in the solar plexus… no matter how many weddings I shoot, I’m still a softy at heart, feeling the knot of nerves in my gut and the emotion seeping out of my eyes as both partners experience the anticipation of the ceremony about to start. I’m glad when I see my couples also feeling ALL the feels!!
The images will speak for themselves, but you can see that Sabrina and Luke chose very well with a Chichester Cathedral Wedding. With the gothic architecture, the traditional symbolism and the tall grand building, it was a ceremony fitting for all the time, planning (and pandemic re-scheduling), styling and love that was packed in that space.
The emotion was palpable, the celebration from their guests immense and the traditional aspects of their service felt perfectly sacred too. What a pleasure to be able to create images that not only show the intimacy of the ceremony, but the grandeur of the venue too.
During the wedding planning session, Sabrina and Luke wanted to minimise the the “formal group” shots, focussing on just the immediate family and bridal party. One of the reasons for this is they wanted a more candid approach when documenting their day, but also so while their guests were mingling and being transported to Southdowns Manor for the reception which was planned to be a full on party, they could spend some quiet time together in the cloisters and cathedral grounds capturing their portraits.
Sometimes having a large number of formal shots can be time consuming, especially when guests need to be somewhere else for the next stage of the day. To minimise disruption, we often plan in the timeline the vital “formals” then structure in a list of “must have” shots which can be more candidly captured and arranged in a more relaxed way at appropriate times later during the day.
There is limited availability to book a Chichester Cathedral Wedding, perhaps 12 per year, so taking the opportunity for some portraits of just the newlyweds in the grounds was a must have! While waiting for Luke to see off some of the guests, Sabrina was the perfect model to show off her stunning style and poise in her finest gown.
We revisited the cloisters from the engagement shoot as well as ensuring we had a shot of the vintage car Sabrina and Luke had hired for the occasion. Scott at West Sussex Wedding Cars was as wonderful and accommodating as usual to get his 1025 Rolls Royce Phantom looking it’s best for it’s close up!
Next stop, Southdowns Manor! A firm favourite of mine, not just for its location and setting, but also the service and team that make it a joy to work at. A wedding venue that truly goes above and beyond, I can’t recommend them enough.
The guests were already being served with drinks and canapes when we arrived, a self service Pimms set up was a great idea (and one I wished I could have taken Sabrina and Luke’s invitation to partake in, were I not driving and on duty!!). While the newlyweds greeted their guests, Lee and I did the rounds capturing the candid moments and the details involved in this part of the day. From a violinist providing background music in the courtyard, to the guests getting into the social spirit, to the table details and Beauty and te Beast themed wedding cake by Foxwood. Here’s a small selection from that time…
In the 10 minutes or so needed for the Southdowns Manor staff to usher the guests in to the dining hall and find their seats, I usually take this period to take the newlyweds away from the crowd to capture a few more portraits. This serves 2 purposes… On the one hand, when you remove the main attraction, the guests are more likely to head to their next destination… this helps the serving staff immeasurably. On the other, it gives the couple a few minutes together to reconnect with each other. We’re often using long lenses at this point and asking them to just walk and talk together. Giving them some privacy and us some more candid portrait moments.
I had to include Sabrina and Luke’s “we’re done, we’re off ” moment as it made us all laugh that they could go back to their drinks ready to be welcomed into the dining room for their wedding breakfast!
Southdowns Manor always provide the most scrumptious food for their guests and this wedding was no exception! With the speeches set between courses and drinks flowing freely, I think everybody thoroughly enjoyed this break in the day to refuel. With 2 best men, the speeches were very tongue in cheek, Luke took this all in his stride with laughter, even when he was presented with lingerie of his own! It was great to see the top table (and the guests) wiping away the tears of laughter!
When Sabrina and Luke said they were going to bring the party, they really did! With a hefty supply of prosecco and pimms stocked up behind the bar, an extra cocktail bar as well, they and their guests were all in a great celebratory spirit! A lot of fun was had…
Here’s a small glimpse midst the cutting of the cake and the first dance!
As we say our goodbyes and head off into the sunset, while the revellers continue their party, our job is not yet over. The first thing that happens is the lengthy process of ensuring all the memory cards are uploaded safely and backed up securely. The editing process is quite complex and goes through a number of stages over the next 8 weeks or so resulting in a beautiful set of images from the day.
Firstly, the couple get to view their images before they then choose which ones are for the album! Sabrina and Luke had gone for the Deluxe Collection which means they get a Duet Album. One for the main highlights, with thick pages and a high definition finish and the other a larger coffee table style book which holds the whole day in print. The great benefit to this is you don’t really have to compromise on what’s printed and what’s not. This collection also includes smaller, parent copies of the highlight album which make a great gift for those family members who have supported you on this journey.
Sabrina and Luke also chose a number of fine art prints for their wall. All of my printed products are handmade in Italy using the finest materials and inks, using the most up to date printing technology to ensure the optimum quality, colour balance and longevity of the photographs.
Here’s a quick glimpse at their albums, I’ll save the video of the un-boxing for another time!
Thank you so much Sabrina and Luke for choosing us to create the memories of your beautiful day. We had the most amazing time getting to know you both better over the years of preparations (and covid) and wish you health, wealth and happiness for your future together.
xX Fiona Xx
Chichester Cathedral Wedding
Venues: Chichester Cathedral & Southdowns Manor
Dress: Proposals (now Whyte Weddings)
Suit: Dartagnan’s “Black and Gold”
Flowers: Mundham Nursery
Car: West Sussex Classic Wedding Cars
MUA: Arleta D