The wedding of Mr & Mrs Elliott at St Peters Church, Brighton, followed by the reception at Long Furlong Barn, Clapham.
There are so many routes I can go down to approach this blog, but I think I’m going to try to go down the kindness road, rather than the teasing and mickey-taking that could happen. You see, we know Jim, we know him really well. He used to rent a room from us, plays in a band with my husband and friends, is a founding member of the Push Community that my husband started a few years ago. We also shoot & video together sometimes, him being an ace videographer that we use for our music videos (me an inexperienced second following his command -and occasionally ignoring him totally!), and he a fab assistant at weddings for me from time to time.
Now, Jim’s relationship history was a bit of a disaster, and I mean with a capital D. It was becoming a standing joke that there would be a tale to be told when he was asked about his current state of affairs, he could have written a book. So, it was to our surprise when we met Olivia that she was normal. When I say normal, I mean she’s hot, stunningly gorgeous. She’s also intelligent, bright, strong, passionate. An independent character, full of faith, who happened to have fallen for our mate! As we got to know them more we could see they were a perfect match, bringing out positive sides to Jim that we hadn’t seen before, so I was really honoured that they asked me to be their wedding photographer. No pressure!! Jim & Olivia had met at St Peters Church in Central Brighton, although not a home church for either of them, it was fitting that they chose it as the location for their wedding.
On the wedding morning I popped into Olivia’s parents house on the way to St Peters so I could capture some moments as she got ready. Sadly, the weather was not great for the day, but the colour palate that had been chosen really made up for the lack of sunshine. Beautiful sunflowers adorned the bouquets as well as white roses, and Olivia’s bridesmaids were wearing lovely pale yellow. I have to admit, when I asked Olivia’s mum to bring down the dress for me so I could photograph it, I got a little emotional. It was stunning! Full bodice with textured lace detailing that flowed tight around the hips to open up to a fishtail skirt. With a full length veil and an additional sheer lace sleeved top. This dress was going to look amazing.
As Olivia came down the stairs towards her awaiting Dad, it was lovely to see the emotion in both of them. A few snaps with them all, then I was heading off to Brighton to catch Jim at St Peters.
As I mentioned earlier, the weather forecast wasn’t amazing, so we hadn’t planned for much outdoor wedding photography at the church, which was lucky, as the building was surrounded by scaffolding that had to be 100m tall!! The Church is going through some major renovation work inside and out, but it still managed to invoke feelings of reverence and sanctity. I can’t wait to see it complete. I managed to grab Jim and some of the boys while they were all busy milling about. Jim seemed….well. He was obviously looking forward to the day that was about to unfold, but you could tell there were some nerves kicking in!
St Peters filled up, everyone got into place…Jim’s best man Rex was leading worship for the most part so rather than being by his side, he was up on the stage ready to break into song. This was a blessing in disguise as I was not permitted near the front, so I had tasked Rex with the job of catching a few snaps of Olivia walking down the aisle from his iPhone (I know, groan…..but beggars can’t be choosers here!!) Then, the hush happened. Olivia and her bridal party arrived. Walking down the aisle with her father towards her groom, they both looked so happy.
The service was full of worship, prayers, vows and love. It was full of the faith that Jim & Olivia hold so dear and important. There were children playing in the aisles, smiles, tears and laughter. Our mate Jim was married. Amazing!!
Did I mention the weather was awful?? After the ceremony we sped to Long Furlong Barn to be met with a wall of rain. A literal wall of rain. Thankfully there were two barns to entertain the guests. One was set up for dining, the other contained games, hay bales, snacks, cards, giant Jenga, giant connect 4 and a bar! I grabbed the newlyweds for a quick (dry) portrait in the private bridal suite so they could carry on enjoying their guests.
Guests arrived, played games, chatted nibbled on the snacks provided while the caterers finished cooking their giant hog roast complete with wood-fired pizzas and paella. As the guests were sitting down to eat, this was the moment the skies cleared. We grabbed 10 minutes to venture outside to take a few more portraits before the heavens opened again. The setting at Long Furlong Barn is stunning. Located near a village called Clapham, 10 minutes from Worthing, it sits in the South Downs National Park. Surrounded by rolling hills, this valley location has a backdrop that changes with the weather and crop seasons. Today, the field was partly ploughed which created a great line for the eye. I like lines. Have I mentioned that before??!
The speeches were much cause for hilarity, if only there was a video. As is tradition, the groom generally offers the thanks for those who have contributed to their day…Jim kindly thanked the Father of the Bride for the gift of his daughter, that he “planned to unwrap slooooooowly, then fast” later that night. It was actually hard to photograph this as I found myself laughing so hard!!
After the meal, guests helped themselves to cake and a sweetie stand. Once suitably fuelled with sugar the party really started. So, Jim is in a band right? The Deloreans. Pretty awesome band (even if I do say so myself, go check them out people!) They came to play. How does this work you ask? Well, my husband is the dep-guitarist for the band so he stood in for Jim. As some of the members are the same, they also played a combined set with The 88’s (also amazing, check them out too….no, not just because my hot hubby is in it!!). So while they played some amazing party hits there was a limbo game set up on the dance floor. I challenge any bride to resist!! The band surprised Jim with the Steel Panther cover of The Backstreet Boys “I want it that way” that he’d been requesting (and been denied) for years as an addition to their repertoire. Jim also got up to play! He totally rocked out, even contributing to dance moves that he is usually pretty immune to!
As the party slowed to a close, guests and their children began to leave, it was time for Jim & Olivia to make their exit. Under a tunnel of arms, clutching his iPad, Jim led his beautiful bride Olivia off into the distance to start their married life together.
Congratulations Mr & Mrs Elliott, we can’t wait to see more of you as you grow together in your life journey.
Much Love, Fiona xx