West Sussex Photographer | Natasha & Neale Petworth Park
Natasha and I met at a wedding fair about a year or so ago. We’ve been back and forth a number of times creating plans, timelines, looking at album ideas and generally getting plans ready for their wedding day. It wasn’t until I met Neale further down the line that we realised that Neale had been Best Man at a wedding I shot some 6 or 7 years ago (long before I started blogging!)
When planning their test shoot, Natasha said she’d really like to have it at Petworth Park, as it was one of those places they often visit together. I’m all for experiencing locations I’ve not seen before and I’m very glad to have made the trip.
One of the main aims for me when meeting a couple for their pre-wedding shoot is to increase their comfort and confidence in front of the camera (and me!) Wedding days are so busy with your guests all wanting to talk, drink, dance and be with you I would much rather spend less time on the “formal” portraits enabling their day to flow and be enjoyed with minimal interruptions by me. Having this time means I really can spend 10-15 mins here and there on your wedding day creating your portraits as you will have already learnt posing tips and got over touching each other in public (unless you love a bit of a PDA, then you’ll have no probs!)
One thing I loved about shooting Natasha and Neale is that they are sooo comfortable with one another. I often shoot from a distance, so I have no way of knowing what they are saying, but I just loved how much they laugh together!
As a West Sussex Photographer, I cannot believe I had not visited Petworth Park before. The views are incredible. When Neale said there would be deer, I didn’t realise he meant HUNDREDS of deer. Herds of the things, seemingly oblivious to us traipsing through their home trying to capture them in the background. Be warned, with hundreds of deer come thousands of deer-poop (not good for a photographer who likes to lay on the ground a lot!
Natasha and Neale make such a gorgeous couple together. Despite Neales best efforts to not look at the camera EVER he managed a grand job of looking natural and relaxed. Natasha will make the most stunning bride, I cannot wait to see her in her wedding dress as she prepares to marry Neale at Farbridge Wedding Venue this summer.
The other thing I ask couples to practise is *THE KISS* Swooping kisses, lifting kisses, looking-at-each-other-almost-there kisses. They all rock! Not that I’m a secret voyeur, I’m usually looking away or at a safe distance with my long lens, but that newly married kiss you’re gonna do at the end of the aisle in front of your guests is totally worth practising, right?!
This was an ace pre-wedding shoot. I can’t wait for the real deal!
FionaMillsArt | West Sussex Photographer | Natasha & Neale Petworth Park
I just love new venues (to me) and Sopley Mill in Dorset is no exception. My photography spidey-senses went on overdrive when visiting here last week! The grounds and landscapes around Sopley Mill are stunning, as are the tranquil villages you pass through to get here after the M27 runs out. Wild horses, chocolate box houses, meandering streams and village pubs a plenty.
Lorraine and Andy are getting married here this coming Sunday, so in amongst our crazy schedules we booked in a slot to have a recce, practise posing and create a timeline of the day. Here’s some previews of what we got up to as we explored the environment.
I met them through recommendations of mutual friends and I’m surprised our paths hadn’t crossed before now. Lorraine and Andy are a great couple, fun loving and lively. Their wedding day is bound to be a craic courtesy of Lorraine’s Irish family, full of live music organised by Andy and plenty of timed opportunity for more drinks! Eager to have some input in their photography style, they were very keen to show me some poses they had also been practising for their big day, so we will be sure to include that in their newlywed portraits!
I can’t wait for Sunday and hope for the most fabulous day for them both and their guests. I’m sure they will be beautifully looked after at such a beautiful venue.
Sussex Photographer | India & Russell’s pre-wedding shoot
I just love it when the seasons come together to create the ultimate in high blooms! When planning in the diary for a pre-wedding test shoot for India and Russell I was hoping for the Bluebells to still be around, we could not have timed it better to get the maximum carpeting that surrounded us in the quiet spot of Angmering Park Estate.
India and Russell were using their pre-wedding shoot as a two-fold exercise. Firstly, as part of the complementary service I offer all my wedding clients, we invest a little time into getting comfortable in front of the camera and I, talking through good and bad posing techniques, hand signal communication I might use on the day and generally getting ourselves more acquainted with one another. Secondly, they loved the idea of using their images in an album which they will use as a guest signing book on their wedding day. As a Sussex Photographer seeing my work in print and displayed as it is meant to is one of the reasons I do what I do.
With that in mind we set about using the textures and landscapes of the Bluebell Woods. I honestly don’t think there is another wild flower that leaves me in utter awe like this one. India and Russell looked great together as they posed and played around with each other. It was brilliant to see their personalities come out as our session developed and the camera became less of a “thing”! I can see their wedding day is going to be filled with great love and laughter!
Despite the tiredness kicking in (modelling is hard work you know!) India and Russell willingly agreed to go on another journey with me, this time to a glamorous lay-by in Houghton while the Rape Fields were in full bloom…. I take all my clients to the fanciest places!! I’m so glad we made that quick stop as the contrast of the yellow against the session in the Bluebells is so bold and colourful! I love it!
The main difficulty after the images are ready is choosing favourites for the signing book! I think you will agree that the GoBook by Graphistudio in Italy is a perfect album for this purpose. Encased in a Box Frame that will stand upright displaying their favourite image on the front, they will treasure for years the messages of love and congratulations from their wedding day.
I’m looking forward to their wedding day, capturing more of those precious memories!
Bognor Regis Wedding Photographer | Pre-wedding Shoot
I met the lovely Charlotte and Rob at a wedding last year that I shot at Two Woods Estate (have a look to remind yourselves!). Barely weeks had passed before we were getting together to discuss their October wedding plans for the following year. I shoot all over our beautiful country, but it really is a joy to be on my own doorstep sometimes as a Bognor Regis Wedding Photographer. We were able to meet at a local pub to us all and plan the pre-wedding shoot to happen in our town.
I’m a regular on our beach, walking the dog, playing with my children or just paddling on a warm evening when the tide is out. It was a perfect spot to hang out, practise posing and take some portraits. We managed a cheeky half before setting off and capturing a portrait with their baby daughter before she was whisked away to play with Grandma!
Today happened to be deceptively chilly quite a windy day, we really felt like we could have blown away! We played on this with some Hadouken fun! I happen to be a sucker for reflections too! Charlotte and Rob are planning a more alternative approach to their wedding day so I really wanted to capture some of this in our pre-wedding shoot.
Running alongside the beach is Marine Park Gardens, so we sauntered our way through there on the way back to the pub, somewhat more sheltered from the wind! I like to look at scenes from different perspectives. While Charlotte and Rob looked quite symmetrical from the front, I just love how they appear more abstract when viewed from the side through a peep-hole window.
Next on the agenda is to plan their wedding timeline. October may seem a way away yet, but it will certainly fly by! I can’t wait!!
Bognor Regis Wedding Photographer | Pre-wedding Shoot
**UPDATE** Vicky & Tom are now Mr & Mrs Heard, Yay!!!!! Congratulations!! Read all about their Two Woods Wedding here
Take a look through Vicky and Tom’s Engagement Shoot Southsea beach….
Vicky and Tom are due to get married in a couple of weeks in a fabulous new venue in Pulborough called Two Woods Estate, they have been super speedy organising their wedding, going from planning to wedding day in less than 3 months (I’m all for this, far less time to stress about things. I think we arranged our wedding in about 10 weeks!). Their venue is set in gorgeous woodland with space for meadows, marquees and music, however they are water babies at heart, so it was no problem to arrange their pre-wedding test shoot to be near the water. The location for the Engagement Shoot Southsea was chosen as it is near where they live.
We met, together with their daughter, early in the evening where the sun was still high and not a cloud to be seen. Perfect weather for sunbathing, but sadly not for photos (much to the surprise of many I speak to) so we decided to explore some more shady areas. The structures and supports under the pier being one.
After spending some time under the pier we came out to be greeted by many obvious signs warning us to stay out due to it being structurally unsound. How we missed this at first I couldn’t tell you!
Thankfully there were some shady spots where we were sheltered from the direct sunlight near the water as Vicky and Tom paddled and played with their daughter, Florence. It was great to have Flo there too as she will obviously be a big part of their wedding day, so the more comfortable she is with me, the better (this theory goes for the grown-ups too!)
In order to grab a couple of shots with Vicky and Tom on their own I tried to bribe Florence with my iPhone, she wasn’t having any of it, but we still got a shot or two of them together.
I’m really looking forward to seeing them again at their wedding in a couple of weeks and getting my camera teeth stuck into this new wedding venue!
**UPDATE** Vicky & Tom are now Mr & Mrs Heard!! Yay, congratulations!! Read all about their Two Woods Wedding here
Chichester Engagement Photographer | Maddie & Rob | Chichester Canal
When planning what sort of a wedding collection Maddie & Rob were looking for, it was clear that they loved the creative arts, so instead of strolling through their wedding venue for a recce and test shoot, they opted for something a little more personal. An engagement shoot at Chichester Canal, with a flying visit to Bishops Palace Gardens at Chichester Cathedral too.
After our initial shoot was postponed (good old British weather) we met up on Sunday on what would prove to be perfect weather for our shots. We started at Chichester Canal, a first for me for an engagement shoot. Maddie and Rob were like seasoned riverboat professionals (one of their first dates was on the canal), I on the other hand, kept my gear plenty clear of the water and narrowly avoided the duck poo that was dotted about the banks!
Although they didn’t row far, there was a nice selection of opportunities to shoot through reeds, capture walls of green as backdrops and enjoy the calm reflections of a lazy Sunday afternoon. Chichester Canal didn’t disappoint, neither did Maddie & Rob, who had used Pinterest and it’s posing ideas and tips and trick to its max potential! As we journeyed through the shoot it was lovely to catch up and get to know them more, as we hadn’t seen each other since they originally booked me back in April.
Thirty minutes on the canal flew by, so after returning all the bits and bobs we hotfooted it across town to the Cathedral. Timed well with the 3pm Matins, Bishops Palace Gardens and the surrounding areas were lovely and quiet.
Chichester Cathedral and Bishops Palace Gardens are a really popular spot for couples to come either on an engagement shoot or their wedding day, so I find myself excited about the challenge to find new spots and different ideas for photographs so I’m not shooting everything the same as I have done before. It certainly helps to have ever changing flowers in bloom, but I can never resist a good old fashioned door or bench!
Maddie & Rob did a great job of shuffling a little to the left, moving their hands up a touch and whatever other instructions I was bleeting out to them! The afternoon felt very relaxed, which hopefully goes a long way in how relaxed they felt having their pictures taken.
While we were fooling around with how to look at each other or off into the distance, where to place hands and arms and how to hold each other, I love how the shots below came together well to look like a burst from a passport photo machine (well, without the plain white background and stern expressions anyway!)
As always, Bishops Palace Gardens came up trumps. Coupled with the session on Chichester Canal, Maddie and Rob now have their work cut out to decide which images to use for their wedding ‘Save-the-Date’ cards or invites. I’m looking forward to the next stages with them…. the planning of the day, then the wedding day next August and finally the wedding album… until then, I will just have to occupy myself with the dozens of other fabulous couples also booked in.
I hope you enjoy the images, and I really look forward to shooting their August wedding at Worthing Pier.
This is a short story all about Matt & Jen and their Live Proposal at the Angmering Bluebells Wood.
When Matt contacted me in May about doing his and Jen’s wedding photography in September we talked about how all wedding collections come with a test shoot. This would prove to be a tactical move as Matt hadn’t actually proposed by this point. Matt told me how he and Jen were pushing the wedding through quickly as there were key family members they would love to be able to attend before it becomes too difficult for them to make the journey overseas, but as they had been living together for some years and had a young son together, the actual proposal was just a tradition that had not yet been met.
Matt mentioned that Jen loved the outdoors, nature and was a big fan of the bluebells that covered the forest floors this time of the year, so we booked a date in at the soonest opportunity to catch the tail end of the blooms under the guise of it being a formality and a great chance to grab the three of them in a portrait.
I had mentioned to Matt that before proposing we leave it 15/20 mins so they all get used to having me and my cameras in close proximity. I have to say, I was waiting with baited breath for THE MOMENT to happen! My long lens was out to give them as much space as possible (for the tech geeks out there, I was shooting with a couple of Canon 5D mkii’s and switching between *The Beast* 70-200 f2.8L mkii and *The Tank* 24-70 f2.8L. *The Fave* 50mm f1.2L was decommissioned for this shoot, but a bag of mini cheddars and a pull-back car proved useful). Matt, Jen and Stanley wandered through the woodland acting natural during this time. Although we were at the tail end of the bloom of the Bluebells, they were still an impressive sight to see blanketing the ground of the woodland at Angmering Park Estate
After about an hour (the suspense is killing me by this point!) Stanley is happy perched on a tree stump with some snacks and toys while we “practise posing techniques” with Matt & Jen.
Matt pops back to the bag for a moment before declaring “One last picture”… and there it is, THE MOMENT we’ve all been waiting for happens. The Live Proposal! He drops down on one knee and asks Jen if she will marry him! Obvs, blog fam, she said YES otherwise we wouldn’t be sharing this story together. Jen seemed genuinely surprised at the timing as Matt had always said to her he had it (the proposal) in hand. A very humble romantic, it seems, Matt had used one of Jen’s Grandmother’s rings and had it remade into an engagement ring. How sweet is that! What a talking point for the future.
Massive congratulations to Matt & Jen on their Engagement (finally!!), I’m looking forward to your wedding…. let me know if you are planning any more surprises…
West Dean Gardens Photographer | Engagement Shoot | Caroline & Geoff
When Caroline told me she and Geoff wanted to do their Engagement Shoot at West Dean Gardens I was super excited, I’ve been meaning to revisit for a long time. I hadn’t been there for many years when my sole purpose was to sketch and draw the sculptures for an art project… I wasn’t paying that much attention to the flora and fauna (although, were you to see my final sculpture based on my visit you’d be fooled into thinking my attention was on point!)
As is the norm for an Engagement Shoot we spend the first 15 mins or so bedding in (pardon my horticultural puns there!) to get relaxed with the camera and each other. It is a great opportunity to break the ice and get those nerves out of the way before the wedding day itself when the last thing a couple want is to feel they are on an endless photoshoot rather than celebrating their wedding day!
Caroline and Geoff were pro’s, a couple so visibly comfortable with each other it was an honour to be brought in to that fold. Geoff mentioned he had been awake since 7am the previous day, he was a trooper. Never once complaining or passing out from tiredness! A true professional to the end!!
West Dean Gardens are beautifully landscaped grounds centred around West Dean House, a place of artistic and creative education as well as hosting fabulous events throughout the year (I would personally recommend the Chilli Festival). The whole location is just made for a photoshoot!
There is this gorgeous Edwardian Pergola that has been extensively restored that cries out to be photographed. It was springing into bloom as we visited. Caroline and Geoff sprung to action being the perfect models as we traversed it’s 100m length, pausing at the pool to catch a calm reflection.
The Sunken Gardens are also a must visit, and for the foodies out there, the Walled Kitchen Garden as a source of inspiration for allotment growing (sadly, I have not inherited my Mother’s amazing green fingers, but greatly appreciate the abundant crops shared with me!)
As we strolled around the grounds together it was very hard to not just stop at every corner to take another snap. As a photographer at West Dean Gardens I was in my element. There are huts, nooks and crannies, green arches and endless fields all begging to be included in the shoot. We had planned to be there for an hour or two…. Four hours later we realised how absorbed we had all got, but it was certainly worth it! We talked about wedding plans, work, life, kids etc, it was hard to make this day feel like work!
As you can see from the images, Caroline and Geoff were true naturals during their Engagement Shoot at West Dean Gardens, their love and warmth for each other just shining through. I’m really excited for their post-wedding shoot when we can revisit in all their wedding outfit glory and create some stunning Newlywed portraits.
I can’t wait for next year and their April wedding!
FionaMillsArt | West Dean Gardens Photographer | Engagement Shoot
When planning to have your wedding or family portraits captured on camera, or as a photographer, planning to shoot that wedding or portrait session it’s pretty normal to think along the lines of, “How can I make this unique?”, “How can I make this stand out?”, or “Where can I get ideas?”.
There are hundreds of ways to get ideas and inspiration, but today I’m going to focus on the virtual scrapbooking that is Pinterest. For those who know it, I’m sure you’re nodding your head in agreement of the genius that is Pinterest. For those that don’t here’s a brief summary: You log on to this app on your device, throw a few key words into the search panel and out pop hundreds of images relating to your search keywords. You can then save the images you choose to your personal “boards” and refer back to them at your leisure. Some images are just that. Images. Others link onto blogs, how-to’s, recipes etc etc. You can also upload your own images and links from which others can pin and share.
So far I have pins relating to gardening ideas; inspiration for my downstairs bathroom; more inspiration for my upstairs bathroom; kids craft ideas; indulgent recipes; storage solutions and many more! For the purpose of this blog however, I’m going to focus on the photography ones!! Obviously!!
So, as a wedding photographer for West Sussex or a client, just head over to Pinterest, log on or set yourself up and start searching. you may be looking for “newlywed poses”; “wedding photography”; “baby portraits” etc. The great thing about the app is that it also gives you keyword suggestions as you type, e.g “romantic”, “creative”, “quirky” etc. As you scroll through the related images that pop up you have the option to save them to a board.
Boards are great, they enable you to catalogue a subject matter together in a virtual scrapbook. Just add a title for the board, a brief description, pick a category and you’re away! You may have “wedding hair ideas”, “groom’s suit”, “newborn poses”…
When working with a new client I often encourage them to create a board and add me to it so I can see and contribute. This is great for weddings and stylised photoshoots as we can bounce ideas to one another and see what the current inspiration is. What’s even better is we can do it from anywhere! Sitting on the bus, during a boring movie, while having your morning coffee, Anywhere! The other thing that is also great is you can create secret boards….perfect for planning a portrait gift or the theme for your wedding without giving the game away. As much as I have my own style and creative ideas I like to know as much as possible where my client is coming from so I can bring their inspiration, likes and dislikes into the photo’s I create with them, resulting in some super unique imagery to preserve forever.
So, If you haven’t already, get yourself set up and start being inspired by what you can see! You can start by following my Pinterest page here. Good luck and happy pinning!!
You know that feeling when you know you are going to enjoy something before you start it? Well, that’s how I feel about this blog, and I predict there’s gonna be a lot to say!!
I have known Christina (or CJ as she is lovingly referred to) and her family for many years. We have all been members of the same church in Bognor Regis and its a privilege to class the Jenkin’s family as my friends. When CJ’s boyfriend was planning to climb Ama Dablam last year for charity, CJ’s sister, Sophia, couldn’t resist sharing with us his greater plan to take the ring he was planning to propose with up to the summit to photograph as part of the big proposal! (I popped a little of that back story in my blog about their engagement). Of course the months between Jon’s climb and the proposal seemed to take forever, but naturally, on Christmas Day, CJ said yes to Jon!
When CJ and Jon asked me to be their wedding photographer in Chichester, I felt incredibly honoured (and a little scared…”can I put my pro head on when I’m with my mates??!!”), but the responsibility didn’t end there. As part of our church, we are encouraged to have a “Marriage Preparation Course“. It’s a course designed over a number of sessions to cover a whole host of subjects to really help a couple prepare themselves for marriage: what it means; what they expect from each other; what difficulties or points of difference/conflict may arise; how to identify and work through them etc etc. It’s actually a great course that I would recommend to anyone planning to get married whether they have a faith or not. Anyhow, CJ and Jon felt that my husband, Tom, and I were the ones to take them through this course. How we faired by their estimations? You would have to ask them! But for Tom and I it really deepened our relationship with them and got to see their hearts for each other as a couple. We didn’t know Jon too well before this as he lives in Bristol, but having a monthly get together where we had dinner and ran through that sessions course material with them and shared stories was a wonderful time where we really bonded. It really helps too as a photographer to have your subjects at total ease with you, and after going through the course and all we discussed, I guess there was no room left for being camera shy!!
CJ & Jon had chosen Southend Barns near Chichester as their reception venue. The bonus to this was the use of the large Bridal Suite behind the Milking Shed in the morning. A necessity when you come from a family full of loud, vibrant and excitable women with Italian blood!! CJ and her bridesmaids (sister, cousins, friends), her hairdresser (Auntie), her make-up artist (friend) and Mum were all well established in the process of getting ready (and chatting) when I arrived, you could just feel the energy bouncing around the walls! While the girls were busy taking pictures, Tweeting and Instagram-ing everything I quickly got to work. My first point of call was CJ’s beautiful wedding dress and her shoes. It was the most stunning gown with a sweetheart bust, and yards of hand stitched lace embellished with crystals and pearl drops over a satin gown. CJ had chosen to dress the bridesmaids in coral and the flower girls in soft pink and had managed to find a pair of shoes for herself that captured her favourite colours…not to mention a killer heel!!
While the girls were busing themselves, Lee, my trusted No.2 was hanging out with the boys at Jon’s brother’s house in Bosham. I think we would agree that the atmospheres were worlds apart! While the girls were still deciding which eyeliner, how much hairspray and talking at each other at the same time while spontaneously falling into giggle fits, the boys were chilling out on the sofa comparing notes on Apple devices and generally not worrying about a thing. Except for maybe the ironing. Oh, and the tie tying.
CJ was having her hair done in a rather complicated up-do (I can barely manage the most basic plait, even with Pinterest instructions!!) by her incredibly talented Auntie Angie of Elegancia Hair. It really did look stunning. The rest of the girls had loose, flowing curls from waterfall plaits and large daisy pins. The overall look was naturally, rather than formally, glamourous. When it was time to do CJ’s makeup, she chose to have this done in her bedroom. This was a great opportunity to capture her without any distractions…and have a quick catch up!! Larissa & Sophia, CJ’s mum and sister, came to help her get into her dress. It was so lovely to see the interactions between three people I know so well as they took part in this poignant moment of the day. I have to admit to welling up a little myself, at which point CJ swiftly told me off as I was the one she said she was relying on to “hold it all together!!”. At this moment, when many brides get the sudden turn in the stomach as the nerves appear, CJ just looked naturally stunning and happy.
When CJ did the big reveal of herself fully dressed and ready for the ceremony it was great to capture her bridesmaids doing a little of what they had been doing all morning…..taking pictures; Tweeting & Instagram-ing!!
Before journeying to Bognor Regis for the ceremony, the boys had a quick stroll around Bosham Harbour which provided a great backdrop for some portraits of them together. I love the movement in the clouds and the calm water, not to mention the cheeky catalogue pose!!
CJ had time in the morning to share some gifts she had bought for her bridesmaids. Some lovely earrings which they all chose to wear that day. In true CJ style, she had coordinated the wrapping and ribbon with the colour theme set throughout the day! We had time to take a quick portrait of the girls together….with a special illusion of Kiara, the flower girl, appearing to grow out of CJ’s dress!!
While Jon and his groomsmen were at Opengate Church greeting their guests and making final tweaks to the set up, CJ was on her way to the awaiting VW Campervan with her father to be delivered to the church. Now, Southend Barns is a stunning setting, with a photo opportunity around every corner, but on this occasion, there were a few unwelcome wasps hovering around. The thing that makes me smile most about this picture is actually the shot I took a second before this when all calm composure was lost and a look of absolute terror took over CJ’s features as the wasps appeared! For the sake of my friendship, I will not be including that image. Instead, you can see the version where a proud father looks lovingly at his beautiful daughter…..
I love how, when we arrived at the church I was able to see the contrast again of how the girls vs boys were handling the anticipation of the “walk down the aisle moment”. The girls, continued to chat and giggle and emit nervous excitement while the boys looked as chilled out as chilled out can be!! The church and aisle had been decorated in wild flowers with bunting across the ceilings in the same colour scheme as the dresses. As CJ approached Jon and met at the end of the aisle, their joy could not be more pronounced.
An interesting fact about this service is that CJ’s father is also a Pastor, therefore after having a somewhat awkward conversation with himself over “who gives this woman away” he quickly stepped up to the post and took on what I’m sure would have been an even greater honour than giving his daughter away. Marrying her to her betrothed aswell. We were all in stitches at this point shown in the first photo, however, when Steve started leading the vows and called his future son-in-law by the wrong name!!! The ceremony was full laughter and love. They had started with a period of time for worship before settling in for the vows and talks, all lead by close family or friends. It was really evident during the course of the day how much family meant to them both and how importantly they valued it.
Once Mr & Mrs Craig had signed the register they exited the building to a loud Rudimental track, leaping off the stage before dancing back up the aisle! After a short while of hugs, kisses, congratulations and chatter the guests started making their way to Southend Barns while Lee and I got to hang out with CJ and Jon for some portraits. It was a lovely day with perfect conditions so we nipped down to the beach for some shots, giving CJ and Jon a chance to catch up with one another. The thing I love about shooting weddings is it gives you the chance to do things that on a normal day the general public would not give you the grace for….like stopping traffic or taking over someone’s beach hut!
When we arrived at Southend Barns after a short journey filled with kit-kats and updating of Facebook statuses…because “if it’s not on Facebook it didn’t happen!” A roar of cheers and clapping from the guests greeted them as they walked through the gates and a wall of confetti to receive their much needed welcome drink. As the rain was starting to fall, we decided to do the family portraits in the Milking Shed as opposed to outdoors in the grounds. I’m really pleased with that decision as the photographs made for a less traditional line up with no one hiding or trying to duck out of shot as is often the case!! A lot of silly face pulling was also on the agenda for many of the photos!
While the guests made their way to the main barn for the reception meal, we were able to whisk CJ & Jon away for a few moments to take advantage of the break in rain and explore the other sceneries the venue had to offer. The infinity water feature was one of my favourites.
As we all sat down for the meal, I had the pleasure of sitting next to my husband. As he plays in wedding bands it’s a rarity that we are at the same wedding at the same time! We got chatting with some lovely people who had come down from Bristol to be part of the nuptials. The meal was delicious….a tasty soup followed by the most succulent beef. Field and Fork do a great job of catering for weddings and events at Southend Barns. I would really recommend using their services in Chichester too. I really felt stuffed and replenished after the busyness of shooting that day. While multi-tasking camera battery charging with dessert eating you could feel the energy change in the room as plates were cleared and speeches were prepared. As is oft the case, the Father of the Bride speech brought tears to eyes, the Groom’s speech was glowing in thanks and praise and the Best Man’s speech, well, that served well to embarrass Jon with tales from his stag do. Especially when the picture appeared of him dressed up in a pretty frock and stockings for the quad biking part of the stag do…
As you can see from the picture above, the cakes were numerous! Some friends had created a plethora of these naked cakes that I can thankfully say I managed to taste!! Normally as a wedding photographer you would never assume to help yourself to what is on offer for the guests, but when faced with these I had to quickly whip out my guest card and dive in for one of these beauties!! Delicious doesn’t even cut it. In fact, as I write this at 10 am, I am considering stepping out for more cake to try and recreate the experience knowing that I will be disappointed if it’s not as good.
While the tables were being swiftly cleared and the barn prepped for the evening’s party we had a great chance to sneak the bridal party out the back for some fun photos. I don’t know what trickery and magic Southend Barns use for their lawn, but I would really like some of it for my garden. It is the greenest, bounciest, prettiest lawn I have seen in a long time. As you can see from the next picture, CJ needed no invitation to sink her bare feet into it’s softness and relax back in extreme comfort! Her Bridesmaids quickly followed suite. In an other image, not shown here, shows the groomsmen all standing around looking perplexed as to why lying on the floor would be fun, or even comfortable! I guess they missed out eh girls?!
The group photo is where the boys really excelled themselves. They were incredibly creative when it came to finding alternative ways of having their portraits done. Some scaling of the building occurred, some sleeping and lots of jumping!! The girls did great too looking sexy and sassy as the boys played. How CJ & Jon missed all this going on, who knows!!
Jon was keen to see the bridal suite as he had not been there since they booked the venue for their reception. A lot of silliness started to occur….at this point the call for a coffee was strong so I sensibly left them to it!!
After the coffee had kicked in for us and the guests the party really started! CJ and Jon danced their first dance to John Legend’s “All of You” sung by Sophia, CJ’s sister and bridesmaid. It really was a beautiful rendition. I’m looking forward to seeing her cover of that come up on YouTube soon. Mr & Mrs Craig then led their revellers in a flash dance to the Macarena. It is incredible after all these years how many people still know the actions!! The outside area has a fire pit where the men naturally flocked to show off their fire skills (and eat toasted marshmallows!). For those that are more camera shy we had a portable polaroid frame with which to entice & capture people as they partied. The poses became somewhat sillier as the evening progressed.
The evening went on till late, with music, pulled pork baps and a bar keeping the masses entertained. The dance moves got more inventive and the chatter became more animated. It really was a lovely wedding where family and friends all pulled together in a vibrant display of love, laughter and joy centring around the happiness of a couple newly married.
Mr & Mrs Craig, I am delighted to call you my friends, and honoured to have been able to be your wedding photographer. I am looking forward to seeing more of you in your new home together in Bristol, having amazing coffee made for us and scrum my meals too. I wish you every blessing in your new life together, may it continue to overflow with the love and happiness that you share.