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Cissbury Barns Wedding Photographer

Cissbury Barns Wedding Photographer | Jess & Joel

Cissbury Barns Wedding Photographer

Many of you may be thinking, “I recognise this couple?!” Well, of course you do, they’ve been incredible models for me in the past on styled shoots at The Weald & Downland Museum and also Bailiffscourt Hotel. This time, however, IT WAS THEIR REAL WEDDING!!

I’ve known this couple for many years and after seeing their relationship develop and grow it was a true honour to be their wedding photographer. I had never photographed at Cissbury Barns either, so I was doubly excited for their day 馃檪

As with all of my wedding photography collections, an engagement shoot is a must. We split this into two parts… after Joel proposed during a sunrise walk up The Trundle near Goodwood, we met later that day in Chichester so they could have some shots for the Facebook announcement!! Classic Jess & Joel forward planning, who am I to refuse such a request!!

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They later planned their proper engagement shoot at Elmer Beach, a place they regularly go to walk, swim and generally chill! I loved the playfulness they both had on this day… A far cry from the previous wedding shoots we’d structured!

Engagement Shoot, Elmer, Bognor Regis

Jess and Joel had chosen September to marry, a wonderful month in my opinion… still basking in the Summer warmth while the surrounding backdrops still full of light and colour, starting that gorgeous warmed toned change into the rich colours of Autumn.

To start the day I popped to Joel’s parents house to spend some time with him and the boys while they faffed with ties and buttonholes! It was a very chilled morning, beers were open and the atmosphere was full of joy! The boys looked awesome in their coordinating gray suits from Astares Menswear, with Joel himself looking stylish in his Herbie Frogg three piece suit. I love the attention to detail with the cufflinks from EllieEllie and coordinating blush-gold ties sourced from Swagger & Swoon.

I couldn’t resist getting some shots with Joel and his parents. I’ve been very lucky to have got to know them all over the years and love their cheeky interaction with each other… Joel especially taking great joy to continually tease his parents which they seem to relish in with equal joy and love!

The weather was perfect for some action shots with the groomsmen too, these boys certainly loved strutting their stuff for the camera. In fact, I don’t think any form of encouragement was needed from my part at all!!

Cissbury Barns Wedding Photographer

Cissbury Barns Wedding Photographer

Cissbury Barns Wedding Photographer

Cissbury Barns Wedding Photographer

Cissbury Barns Wedding Photographer

Cissbury Barns Wedding Photographer

Next stop was driving across town to see Jess while she and the girls got ready. They had rented a stunning AirBnB on the seafront to host them all with tremendous views over the sea! I think myself very lucky to also live in this stunning area, it was a great move on Jess’ part to pick this spot. Toni Todd was working creative wonders on Jess’ hair and makeup while Jess could peacefully look out to the horizon and take in that fresh, sea air. The girls were busy getting ready downstairs while this was happening, each requiring varying levels of help from each other to get those straps just perfect!!

While the bridesmaids were wearing stunning silver toned Amore dresses from Etsy, Jess had chosen an Enzoani Blue Juri gown from Proposals in Chichester. A delicately detailed dress which showed off her shape to perfection. The flowers were from Fleur de Lis, with blush hoops for the girls to hold and as a something blue, Jess’ were finished with blue fabric as a nod to the movement of the sea they were so close to. Jess, an accomplished calligrapher and sign writer had also created lovely, personalised hangers and gift boxes for her ladies! A lovely touch.

I loved the quiet moments while Jess was getting into her dress, followed by the loud exclamations of joy as she revealed herself to her waiting friends and family. A quick few moments were spent with the bridal party on the seafront to make the most of their location. Time well spent I feel!

Cissbury Barns Wedding Photographer

Cissbury Barns Wedding Photographer

Cissbury Barns Wedding Photographer

Cissbury Barns Wedding Photographer

Cissbury Barns Wedding Photographer

Cissbury Barns Wedding Photographer

Cissbury Barns Wedding Photographer

Both Jess and Joel practice their faith, so chose to get married in Joel’s childhood church, The Shore Community Church where Joel’s mum Julie works and is on the leadership team. This meant that Julie could actually marry them, an incredibly personal honour for any parent to be able to do.

Jess arrived and was led into the church by both her Dad and Step-Dad. A wonderful way to honour both Dads in her life. Preceded by her bridesmaid and flower girls, it was wonderful to see the joy and anticipation on both hers and Joel’s faces.

The service, led by Joel’s mum Julie, was also full of other personal touches. Jess’ signwriting was evident in much of the decor that sat alongside items decorated by To Have and to Hire. The band leading worship were all friends, Jess’ mum played the flute and Jamie, the Minister of The Shore, served up a very humorous address! The stationary was designed by Jess and Joel themselves to tie in with their theme. A superbly personal service.

I’ve not known Jess to often wear heels, so it came as no surprise when I looked down at one point to see her at the front of church bare footed!! I couldn’t resist a quick shot!!

After being prayed for by friends and family, Jess and Joel ensured they were first in line for the donuts waiting in the foyer! The timings of the day were quite tight, so we elected to dash straight to the venue so the newlyweds could enjoy 15 mins alone before the arrival of the rest of their guests.

Cissbury Barns Wedding Photographer

Cissbury Barns Wedding Photographer

Cissbury Barns Wedding Photographer

Cissbury Barns Wedding Photographer

Set high up in the South Downs near Findon, Cissbury Barns is a stunning, secluded wedding venue. It was a real treat to spend some time with the newlyweds whilst giving them some time alone to just catch up on the last 24 hours. This moment immediately after marrying is so precious, as all the flushes of joy are literally buzzing around the couple! Thankfully armed with the photographers’ toolkit that includes super long lenses, I’m able to give a couple space and privacy whilst shooting these precious portraits. I think you’ll agree the setting is gorgeous!

Before too long the guests arrived and started enjoying the available bar and canapes. The time to sit down for the wedding breakfast was arriving fast so with the help of a *very* organised best man, we worked through the list of group shots Jess & Joel has created.

Prior to the meal, it was important that Grace was said, this came courtesy of Grandad! The food was delicious and thoroughly enjoyed by all, including me! Usually I’m hidden away in a quiet room during the meal, however on this occasion due to our friendship and knowing many of the guests too I was seated in the hall with the others. It was great to catch up with many I’d not seen for a while (wedding season can do that to us photographers!)

Speeches came in due course, Jess even managed to surprise Joel and get on the mic gifting them some new jumpers as a nod to their new marital status. The highlight had to be Joel suitably embarrassed by a wonderful, yet cheeky speech by his best man.

Cissbury Barns Wedding Photographer

Cissbury Barns Wedding Photographer

Cissbury Barns Wedding Photographer

Cissbury Barns Wedding Photographer

Cissbury Barns Wedding Photographer

Cissbury Barns Wedding Photographer

Cissbury Barns Wedding Photographer

Cissbury Barns Wedding Photographer

Cissbury Barns Wedding Photographer

Cissbury Barns Wedding Photographer

Cissbury Barns Wedding Photographer

Cissbury Barns Wedding Photographer

Cissbury Barns Wedding Photographer

Cissbury Barns Wedding Photographer

Cissbury Barns Wedding Photographer

Before the evening party kicked off with a bang, we took some time during the golden hour to capture some more creative photographs with the bridal party as well as some intimate portraits of Jess and Joel. Incidentally, as well as winning Wedding Photographer of the Year 2019 in the Master Photographers Association South Central region, I also scooped the 2nd prize with one of the images I took during this golden hour moment! #humblebrag lol!!

The flower girls had a great time spent with Jess as they showed off their matching metallic shoes courtesy of Asos & Toms!

The first dance was a beautiful moment where one of Jess’ bridesmaids played and sung in their first dance together as a married couple. The 88’s then kicked off with all the party tunes which proved a hit with the crowd, especially when Adrian, the sax player, bought out his illuminating saxophone to the dance floor! A first-timer as a Cissbury Barns Wedding Photographer, I was so impressed with the venue and the service provided. They had a great spaces available for those who wanted to dance, those wanting some chilled time to chat and drink, those wanting to play party games or toast marshmallows.

The evening was finished off with a sparkler exit before the newlyweds departed for their first newlywed night together!

Cissbury Barns Wedding Photographer

Cissbury Barns Wedding Photographer

Cissbury Barns Wedding Photographer

Cissbury Barns Wedding Photographer

Cissbury Barns Wedding Photographer

Once the images had gone through the editing process the next stage was to design their Graphistudio album! In previous consultations Jess and Joel fell into the classic roles where Jess loved the images and how hers might look on a spread, while Joel spent hours marvelling over the materials box with it’s secret compartments and sliding doors! Before too long we had a design that worked perfectly so we completed our collection by supping on champagne and beer while they opened their album for the first time ever! I absolutely love this moment, seeing all the years of planning and the beauty of the day, presented in a timeless album, a legacy they can cherish and look back on for many generations to come.

Thank you so much for including me in such a joyful day. It has been a pleasure and an honour to be a small part in this journey… I also love how we still have pizza nights long after the wedding has passed where Joel takes great pleasure in cheekily getting my kids all hyped up just before their bedtime is due!

xX Fiona Xx

Cissbury Barns Wedding Photographer | Jess & Joel

 

Bognor Regis Wedding Photographer

Bognor Regis Wedding Photographer | Pre-wedding Shoot

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聽with their baby daughter before she was whisked away to play with Grandma!

Bognor Regis Wedding Photographer

Bognor Regis Wedding Photographer

Bognor Regis Wedding Photographer

Today happened to be deceptively chilly聽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.

west sussex wedding photographer

chichester wedding photographer

Running alongside the beach is Marine Park Gardens, so we sauntered our way through there on the way back to the pub, somewhat 聽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.

west sussex wedding photographer

Chichester wedding photographer

Bognor Regis Wedding Photographer

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!!

Fiona xx

Bognor Regis Wedding Photographer | Pre-wedding Shoot

Vicky & Tom | Engagement Shoot Southsea

**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聽was chosen as it is near where they live.

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We met, together with their daughter, 聽early in the evening聽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.

Southsea engagement shoot 1

engagement shoot southsea

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!

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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!)

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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.

Engagement Shoot Southsea

Southsea engagement shoot 5

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

Mr & Mrs Lewis | St Andrews Chorleywood

Matt and India’s wedding at St Andrews Chorleywood, felt like it had been a long time in the making as I had been booked by them over a year before, so it was a great pleasure this Spring and Summer to start setting down plans for how we were going to approach their wedding photography. They planned to get married at India’s home church, St Andrews in Chorleywood. During my first visit to their church to have a scout around I was amazed as I drove off the M25 straight onto a single track road into a stunningly, rural looking village! Where had the city and motorway and noise gone??!! it was like a mass disappearing trick, only there was still access to the tube!

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On the wedding day morning, I planned to spend a short time with India at her parents home in Croxley Green as she prepared to get ready before hotfooting it back to St Andrews Chorleywood, with my assistant Lee, to capture some moments with Matt and the throng of guests arriving.

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It was the most colourful day, with masses of glamorous looking people arriving for the ceremony. Matt and India had chosen a lovely colour palate of burnt orange, royal blue and white. The groomsmen and bridesmaids looked fabulously coordinated, and the Vicar declared himself fashioned on Meat Loaf with his long, dark, dress coat! I especially like Matt’s camera themed cufflinks!

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As a wedding photographer in Chichester, the ceremony was lovely, capturing the foundation of faith that Matt and India share, along with worship and prayers led by those close to them….but the kiss…. The kiss was the LONGEST kiss I have ever witnessed at a wedding!! After the signing of the register and Mr & Mrs Lewis’ exit, they came back in again so we could capture a quick panorama of the congregation before they exited to rapturous applause once again.

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After the ceremony, while the guests snacked on cake and tea, we popped out to the church gardens to capture the group photos the new Mr & Mrs Lewis had chosen. The joyful moment with three generations of Lockhart ladies giggling together really touched me. 聽I just loved how Matt’s family instantly obeyed when I called out a mood-lightening “lunge challenge”!!

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We also managed to get the bridal party to engage in some lively action聽for some GIF ready pics. Matt and India are a really fun couple, and with Matt’s interests lying in video and photography I thought I would treat them to some moving images of their own….and seeing as I am not聽wholly聽experienced in the art of wedding videos, comedy GIFs were the next best聽thing!!

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Chorleywood wedding photography_0308

 

THE-KISS

During the lull when the guests made their way to the reception venue, the newlyweds detoured to Rickmansworth Common in a white wedding taxi with Lee and I hot on their tails! With a warning of not too much PDA, we took advantage of the scattered woodland and took 15 mins to capture a few portraits.

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Once we arrived at Sarratt Village Hall we found the simple hall had been transformed into a stylish wedding reception venue with the colour theme on display throughout. There were fantastic coordinated details: CD gifts for everyone with Matt & India’s favourite tunes; sweetie bags for the kids; crisps to keep everyone going until the Fish & Chip van arrived (cue wedding photographer selfies!); positive messages scattered around and dessert on the go courtesy of an Ice Cream van! I especially love how little washing up this generates!!

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After the racy speeches (complete with videos of Matt from his childhood- and adulthood – in various stages of undress) the party got into full swing to the music of a fantastic covers band. We made the most of the lowering light聽to grab the bridal party for a few more shots before we left.

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The-Escape

The #lewhartwedding was lively, colourful and fun! A great joy to serve them as their wedding photographers!!聽Wishing you both all the best for the future,

Fiona xx

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Mr & Mrs Bezerra | Bishops Palace Gardens, Chichester

Wow. There is nothing more than can describe Jess and S贸stenes’ wedding day and their visual declarations of love for one another other than wow, but I will try!

A fairly normal start to a wedding morning, Lee and I hotfooting it to Jess’ parents house. Amongst the tea and pancakes that were being devoured we were able to capture the moments as Jess was transformed from a stunning, make-up-free young woman in her checkered pyjamas to a glamour-puss siren immaculately styled from her hair and make up to her dress, shoes and jewels in what can only be described as befitting for the red carpet, on Oscars night, and the Bafta’s and every other ceremonial event that screams glamour and style! There was a definite Cinderella theme going on here, those shoes got featured a lot!!

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Chichester Cathedral Wedding Photography 47

 

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Jess and S贸stenes share an incredibly strong faith, so were determined to spend some time together before the ceremony in prayer with one another without either clasping eyes on each other or sneaking a giveaway peak as to what colours S贸stenes had decided to wear. This coupled with a cheeky flower girl and paige boy led to some fun photos capturing both the seriousness and happiness that was present. This took some fun juggling to ensure Jess & S贸stenes didn’t聽accidentally聽cross paths!

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While Jess was spending some final moments with her family, Lee and I took S贸stenes to Aldwick Baptist Church to await their ceremony. It was a very moving and joyful ceremony. Jess & S贸s had legally married prior to this ceremony so were able to unleash their creativity in their declarations of love. S贸stenes had written his own vows for Jess, while Jess had been taking secret singing lessons and sung a song to him in Portuguese. This surprise brought S贸s to tears of emotion as Jess had predicted! After lighting candles to represent their joining in lieu of signing the register, they danced out of the church to the sound of Uptown Funk!

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wedding photography bognor regis

After a brief detour to Hotham Park to capture a few small family portraits the new Mr & Mrs Bezerra swiftly came to Bishops Palace Gardens, Chichester to have their portraits taken in the grounds of the beautiful cathedral. The setting here is fantastic, a fabulous array of backdrops. We could have spent far longer, but here are some of my favourite shots from the afternoon…including a quick Cinderella and Prince Charming recreation!

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The evening reception was also full of vibrancy and fun. As the newlyweds聽arrived at their reception venue, Jess’ home church, Opengate, it was Jess’ turn to be surprised as instead of a first dance, S贸stenes sung to her in the middle of the crowded hall. During dinner there were party games, lip-synch battles and a mass of homemade desserts which went down fast and easily. Interspersed with music and dancing, some of the guests took advantage of a studio booth we had popped up and continued the fun!

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Congratulations Mr & Mrs Bezerra, it was an absolute pleasure to have been a part of your wedding day by being your wedding photographer in Chichester and I wish you every blessing as you embark on this next stage of your journey together. Fiona xxx

 

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Liz & Jack | The Engagement Shoot

It’s been quite an exciting summer as yet another set of friends prepare to tie the knot this year and I have the pleasure of being their photographer. I have known Liz and Jack for a number of years now, but since they’ve been a couple, with Jack being at University in Canterbury, Liz in Chichester and their time together precious, I haven’t had the chance to really hang with them as a couple and get to know what makes them tick together. The engagement shoot in preparation for their wedding was a great opportunity.

Liz & Jack

To start off we visited a place close to Liz’s home called Brandy Hole Copse in Chichester. As we were trekking through brambles, warding off wasps and kicking playing toddlers off picturesque benches, Liz and Jack shared with me why this Copse was so special to them. It was where they had their first date, first kiss, where Jack asked Liz to officially be his girlfriend and then later asked her to be his wife! I mean, seriously! How romantic can you get?! To top it all off, Jack had even drawn Liz a picture at random (pre-dating) of the same clearing with a pond, trees and a couple hanging out before he had visited! Meant to be or what?!

Liz & Jack

Liz & Jack

Liz & Jack

I loved the light flares created by the dappled woodland when shooting into the light, and natural framing of the shots emphasised by the surrounding foliage. I could have spent far longer exploring, but the couple of hours at Brandy Hole Copse doing a photo-op recce was definitely rewarding as we plan to return on their wedding day and really come full circle in their dating journey. We detoured via Liz’s house to grab some much needed lunch in preparation for the next stage鈥.Boxgrove Priory & Ruins.

Liz & Jack

I came to realise during our time together that Liz and Jack are an incredibly tactile couple. I decided to use this to my advantage as it made for some really romantic shots. The ruins are a wonderful backdrop for romance. As they are having their wedding reception at Boxgrove Village Hall it will be perfect to return here with all their wedding day finery and attire to capture some more portraits.

Liz & Jack

Liz & Jack

Liz & Jack

I’m hoping too, to be able to inject some youthful spirit into the wedding day photos as we are planning to bring the bridal party – consisting of their best friends, here for some fun shots!

Liz & Jack

The last part of Liz and Jack’s engagement shoot consisted of an impromptu trip to Bognor to visit the sea. Jack and Liz really got to know each other in Bognor at Opengate Church that we all attend, so they have spent much time at the beach or walking the prom together. As they will both be moving to Canterbury after their wedding, Liz really wanted to get some photos of them together at the beach, capturing those precious memories.

Liz & Jack

Liz & Jack

Again, I had great fun playing with light flares and rebelling against the photographers’ golden rule of not shooting into the sun鈥.especially during the Golden Hour!! One of my favourite moments from this part was the moment Jack lost his footing on the moving stones as a wave rushed in whilst he was paddling and holding a shrieking Liz! They soon made up鈥.as you can see!!

Liz & Jack

Liz & Jack

Liz and Jack

The beach in Bognor, along Aldwick Bay, was a lovely, quiet spot to finish the day. It was lovely to hang out with Liz and Jack and really get to know them better, as well as priming them for a whole day of being papped by two of us on their wedding day. I can’t wait!! Roll on September 6th!!

Liz & Jack

Lythe Hill Hotel

Mr & Mrs Greenaway | Lythe Hill Hotel & Spa

I met Steve and Diane last year through a friend of mine who put them in touch with me as a potential wedding photographer for their upcoming nuptials. They were planning to get married at a lovely location called Lythe Hill Hotel & Spa in Haslemere, Surrey. Now, for those that know me, I’m always on the lookout for nice spa hotels鈥.with 2 toddlers and a business & household to run I am partial to being treated by my loving husband now and then!!

Steve, Diane and I met up again at Lythe Hill Hotel to discuss and arrange the plan of their day, but also to scope out the land for suitable photographic spots whilst stalking them with my cameras to help get them prepared for being photographed on their wedding day. The hotel had many stunning spots: outdoor gazebo’s; ponds; bridges; acres of green landscaped lawns鈥.but we became a little adventurous and wandered through the thickets and brambles to find a hidden bluebell crop. This is one of the shots from that day that Steve & Diane chose to have printed and mounted so their wedding guests could sign the mount before framing it, as a momento from the day.

Diane & Steve engagement
Hunting the bluebells on their engagement shoot

On the morning of the wedding day, I dropped Lee (my trusted No 2!) at Lythe Hill to capture Steve as he prepared for the ceremony with his son Dom. I made my way up the road to meet Diane at her sisters鈥.I hadn’t counted on my sat-nav become a little confused in the small country roads and signal-free Surry hills. Thankfully a quick phone call later, we were all where we should be ready to go!

Steve & Dom
Steve & Dom suited & booted ready to go.

Diane, her sisters and her nieces & nephew were all at the house getting ready, as well as parents, husbands and dogs! It all seemed incredibly under control and calm however. Everyones hair and makeup was done, all that was left to do was get Diane in her dress. After clearing the room from all except one sister and niece (also a bridesmaid), Diane was helped into the most stunning ivory gown. It was simply elegant. The fabric curved and clung in all the right places, the neckline sat just off Diane’s shoulders with a classic brooch on one side and the train showed off it’s length without being flouncy or in the way. It really was elegant.

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Diane's wedding shoes

Diane & the dress

Diane and her wedding dress

As their wedding day approached, we had all been eagerly watching the weather report as a rainy day had been forecast. This is not normally a problem, but Steve & Diane had originally planned on their ceremony being held outdoors on the lawns in the gazebo overlooking the pond. Despite more clement weather arriving for their wedding day, the grounds were quite wet from the previous nights rains, so they moved their ceremony to the stunning Garden Room with wooden beams and a great glass roof. They decorated it with handmade pompoms and bunting which complemented the pink and purple colour theme. It was here that Steve was waiting patiently, doing his best to show how nervous he wasn’t!

Steve waiting in the Garden Room

Steve waiting

As Diane travelled with her father to Lythe Hill, she was met by the rest of her bridesmaids who were waiting for her at the venue. This was also a momentous occasion for Nicky, Diane’s chief bridesmaid and niece as she would not only be leading the way down the aisle for her aunt鈥.she was also the Hotel’s Wedding and Event’s Co-ordinator. nothing like a bit of pressure for the staff working that day!!

Diane arriving

Diane arriving

Here comes the part of the day that sets the butterflies in my stomach going, even now! The part where the Groom finally gets to watch his bride walk down the aisle towards him. The sun had come out and sunlight was streaming in through the glass roof of the Garden Room, really illuminating the colours that had been put together so thoughtfully. I must admit though, Steve still didn’t succumb to “normal Groom behaviour” as there were still no sign of any nervousness from him!

Diane & Steve

Diane & Steve

As friends and family looked on to witness Steve and Diane get married, very few could hold their amusement as the happy couple giggled their way through their vow taking鈥.prompting a question from the registrar as to whether they were actually serious! I felt this just encapsulated the laughter and love they share together as a couple. I had certainly felt this on the previous occasions we had met together. They even managed to squeeze in some time to take a selfie whilst signing the register!

Diane & Steve Ceremony

Diane & Steve Ceremony

Diane & Steve Ceremony

After the ceremony, we spent some time taking some of the formal group shots, before whisking Diane & Steve away for a spell to capture some portraits of just the two of them. The weather held up beautifully. Considering it was due to be a rainy, stormy day, we were all very thankful to see the sun! Steve & Diane had become naturals at having their photo taken, especially after the Engagement Shoot session we had previously had. It was such a great way to get to know a couple better before their big day (and to get them used to being papped all day!!)

Lythe Hill Hotel

Lythe Hill Hotel

Lythe Hill Hotel

As well as the acres of greenery with the old tudor style buildings in the distance, the hotel also had some more modern options for photographic backdrops, including the wall of the Spa we were all desperate to have some time in!!

Lythe Hill Hotel

Lythe Hill Hotel

Lythe Hill Hotel

As Lee and I prepared our last shots for the day and Steve & Diane prepared to enter the Garden Room ready for the wedding breakfast, we lamented that we would not be able to stay for the party鈥.especially as my husband was in the band, The 88’s!! Next time!!

Many congratulations Steve and Diane鈥.May you continue your marriage with as much (if not more) laughter & love as which you entered it! It was a pleasure to serve you both.

Diane & Steve

CJ & Jon | The Engagement Shoot

Having known CJ and her family for many years, to say I’m excited to be shooting her wedding next month is an understatement!! I’ve been really blessed to have developed a great friendship with CJ and her fianc茅 Jon over this last year. Also, knowing the family, I have often had inside information and exciting tidbits about developments within their relationship that are yet to happen!The biggest secret so far has been “The Proposal”

The Trundle Spin
You spin me round round, baby right round鈥.

Jon is an avid mountaineer and decided to combine his passion for CJ with that of scaling great heights. Last year, Jon went on a trek to climb Ama Dablam, a mountain in the Himalaya range in Eastern Nepal. Asides from doing the climb to raise money for charity and because he enjoys it, there was another mission. To carry and keep safe an engagement ring with which to propose to CJ. At the summit of Ama Dablam, Jon took a picture of the ring flanked by snow capped mountains. Upon his return, this ring picture was printed into a canvas and hidden from CJ for a WHOLE MONTH before presenting it to her, gift wrapped on Christmas Day. Needless to say, she said yes!! How cool is that!!

Ama Dablam heights
A proposal with a difference

So, when we discussed what kind of Engagement Shoot they wanted we decided to combine both of their loves. The Trundle near Chichester, West Sussex was chosen as although not a mountain, it is high (for me). An Iron Age Hill Fort that boasts spectacular views of West Sussex and Hampshire. Jon, being from Bristol, hadn’t been to The Trundle. We also decided to go to the beach in Bognor Regis as it is a place that CJ is often to be found, relaxing, walking, paddling & hanging out with friends and family. The beach is a place close to her heart so it seemed the perfect place to capture her with the man who heart she holds.

CJ & Jon at The Trundle
Feeling On Top Of The World

The Trundle was a great place to take pictures. With fabulous views for miles and scenery awash with different shades of green it felt incredibly peaceful. It was also pretty low on human traffic. That gave us a great chance to slowly meander our way around pausing here and there to take pictures, look at the flora and fauna and have a general natter about the forthcoming wedding.

Sitting in the glory
Watching The World Go By
CJ & Jon at The Trundle
Trying hard to ignore the creepy crawlies
CJ & Jon at The Trundle
Happy Faces

After we’d exhausted The Trundle and tried to locate our homes in the views we set off back down to Bognor Regis and the beach. Rather than diving straight in, we had a coffee and ice-cream break. This gave us time to plan the finer details of the wedding day that will be happening at Opengate Church in Bognor Regis and Southend Barns in Donnington. It also gave the tide the chance to retreat some more!

CJ & Jon on Bognor Beach
Watch out for those rocks!!

The great thing about the beach is there are a plethora of backdrops and natural props to use. Fishermen leave their boats up on the stones, families lovingly decorate their beach huts and nature has blessed us with sand, sea, pebbles and giant rocks!! We unanimously decided we’d have a shorter session on the beach as the air had developed a windy chill and our tummies grumbled louder for food. We couldn’t resist, however, pausing to take pictures with this fabulous beach hut that gave a cheerful end to a lovely day of photos and wedding talk.

CJ & Jon @ Bognor Beach
The lingering smell of the fisherman’s haul is not off-putting at all, no really…
CJ & Jon @ Bognor Beach
Summer Lovin’
CJ & Jon @ Bognor Beach
Salty Kisses, Summer Wishes

Roll on August 28th!!! Can’t wait guys!!

wedding day photography, london photographer, central london, devonshire terrace

Mr & Mrs Jennings | Devonshire Terrace, London

For those that know me, May the 4th is usually spent enjoying my birthday… *ahem* 24 *ahem*!! This year however I found myself hotfooting up to the City of London with my trusted 2nd Lee to shoot the wedding of Maria and Stuart.

Bride & Groom portrait in London
Just leaning on a post in your wedding day suit, as you do…

What a fabulous day it was. We started the day finding Maria and Stuart at the Doubletree Hilton Hotel in Tower Hill getting ready in their respective rooms,of course, Maria had the bigger of the two鈥.what bride wouldn’t!! While Lee was busy with the boys and their struggles to tie ties and attach cufflinks with one hand, I was on hand with Maria, her mother, and her bridesmaid Lauren. Aside from the make-up and hair, and the fabulous something blue (a gorgeous pair of blue Manolo Blahnik stilettos) my favourite capture of the day must have been the look on Maria’s face as she opened her gift from her husband-to-be鈥 gorgeous diamond bracelet. Of course, this became a new accessory for her bridal outfit!

Mulberry cufflinks, London wedding
These new cufflinks will go on…
London wedding, Manolo's
A little Manolo Blahnik to make you walk tall
Diamond, London wedding
Maria opens her lovely wedding day gift from Stuart

As Stuart and the boys were finishing up their drinks and preparing to head to the venue, Maria was putting the finishing touches to her outfit and hair. It was a real privilege to be there to capture those precious and intimate moments of emotion between mother and daughter, and awe from the flower girl arriving and getting her first look at the beautiful bride.

Doubletree Hilton, Tower Hill London
Stuart and his Groomsmen enjoy one last tipple before the cabs arrive
Mother of the bride, Hilton, Tower Hill, London
Maria and her Mother share a touching moment
London, Doubletree Hilton, London wedding photographer
As Maria greets her page boy and flower girl, the look on her face says it all. Utter awe.

A short taxi drive later and we arrive at Devonshire Terrace in Central London. Being in the centre of the financial district, it is usually closed on weekends, except for weddings, so it was really nice to have an urban oasis in the middle of the city that was relatively tourist free. The building Devonshire Terrace is situated in is impressive. Imagine (with lego, my visual brain says) building the deep, outer walls of a rectangular block 6 storeys high leaving the central space free of building, instead turning it into a usable courtyard space protected from the elements by a glass roof.

The ceremony was fantastic. As the groom, Stuart, nervously waited for his bride, Maria was busy having some photos with her bridal party under the large brick arches that connect the courtyard to the outside world. Then she arrives, a beautiful vision in an ivory bejewelled gown with stunning satin corsetry and a fashionable tulle fishtail skirt.

Devonshire Terrace, London, Wedding photography
Those precious moments before Maria goes to meet her Groom
devonshire Terrace weddings, London, wedding photographer
This shot gives a great look at THE DRESS, but also an feel for the venue, Devonshire Terrace

Maria surprised her new husband by hiring vocalists and musicians who popped up out of the congregation as the ceremony finished, performing ‘All You Need Is Love’, inspired by the film Notting Hill. They also sang the new Mr & Mrs Jennings back down the aisle to a rendition of Stevie Wonder’s ‘Signed, Sealed, Delivered’

I had planned to take Maria and Stuart out into the London streets to capture some urban portraits of them both. Immediately out through the arches provided some fantastic backdrops with which to compose them. They were a great couple to work with who were very happy to be papped on their special day. We went for a series of candid and artistic poses as well as some more traditional shots. One of my favourites was the an edgy edit I did where the (now filthy) underskirts of Maria’s dress were exposed. This appealed to my alternative creative side.

wedding, london, devonshire terrace, photographer, portraits
Those first moments where a drink and a catch up is much needed!
wedding photography London, kiss portrait,
Well, it may not be the famous painting鈥.but pretty close I reckon!!
wedding photography London Devonshire Terrace,
You would never know, 50m on there is a constant stream of traffic and pedestrians. We got lucky!
wedding dress, Manolo Blahnik heels, blue shoes, london wedding photography
Something for the dry cleaners鈥.

While Maria, Stuart and their guests sat down to enjoy their meal Lee and I took a well earned break to devour the amazing tapas style food that was on offer and do what all good photographers do鈥..talk gear & shots and drink coffee!

The rest of the evening continued in good cheer and celebration. Speeches were delivered, toasts made, champagne drunk and dances danced. First up on the dance floor were the page boys and flower girls who well and truly rocked out before Maria and Stuart took to the floor for their well choreographed first dance.

Bridal party portraits, London wedding photography, Devonshire Terrace Photographer
Well, with kids, what else is there to do?!
Wedding day first dance, children, bridal party, wedding photography London
Before anyone else got to boogie, these little guys rocked!!
wedding day photography, london photographer, central london, devonshire terrace
Mr & Mrs J take to the dance floor

Maria had thoughtfully provided some comedy props which came in incredibly handy, especially when coaxing the shyest of the party to be photographed. This is certainly something I would recommend doing, especially if a studio photo booth isn’t feasible.

wedding photography in London, Devonshire Terrace wedding photography
As a rule, every wedding couple have to have at least one picture of their photographer!!

As the night for us came to an end and all our gear was re-packed and loaded into the car, we began the journey back to the South Coast with our eyes on lookout for a coffee stop! The wedding of Mr & Mrs Jennings was a fabulous day. A lot of fun and a wonderful experience. It was a pleasure to be able to play a part in their day. Congratulations Maria & Stuart, wishing you a lifetime of blessings and happiness.

wedding photography in London, Devonshire Terrace wedding photography
One Last kiss for us to capture under the arches of Devonshire Terrace, London
Fiona Mills

Choosing Your Wedding Photographer

After many conversations over the years I have put together a guide on how to choose your wedding photographer. I hope it helps you.

Step 1: Ask A Friend.

It is so easy to tap into Google “your location”+ “Wedding Photographer” and have a zillion hits in under a nano-second, but where do you go from there? Clicking on a few will certainly give you a great starting point, often though, you may find that just doing a shout out amongst your friends will give you a list of personally recommended local photographers that won’t have made it on Google until at least page 5!! As these photographers may have shot their weddings/christenings/family portraits etc, your friends will be able to tell you if they had good, bad or amazing experiences…you may even have walked past and complemented some of these images as you’ve sat in their lounge having a cuppa!

Asking your friends on Facebook will net you a good response.
Asking your friends on Facebook will net you a good response.

Step 2: Stalk Your List (Research)

You’re armed with a handful of potential photographers, your computer and a large coffee (or glass of red!!)…start stalking them. Check out their websites, online portfolios and prices. Is there a style you are seeing that you really like or don’t like? Have you a budget in mind for your wedding photography/videography? Set up a board on Pinterest and start to catalogue the type of things you have liked the look of. Are there a few photographers you’ve come across that you would like to find out more about? create a shortlist of ones to meet.

Check out the online profiles of potential photographers.
Check out the online profiles of potential photographers.

Step 3: Define Your Details

Style: As you have been researching, you may have found a particular photography style that stands out to you, be it formal; black & white; digital vs film; light and airy; quirky etc. Many photographers will display an array of styles in their portfolios as they will be adaptable to the clients needs, but checking out their bio may give you some insight into what their main shooting style is. Again, a portable list of examples like a scrap book, or Pinterest is a great tool to use when you meet potential photographers, but be aware every picture is unique to a set of circumstances: location; people; lighting; time of day; equipment used etc etc so it is very unlikely that a photographer will be recreating those images on your wedding day, rather, they will be using your inspiration to inspire them creatively.

Price: A wedding is made up of so many factors that all come with a price. Some items are administrative (registering your intent to marry) and others are product or labour based (the catering, for example). Some are short term (the flowers & the canap茅s) and some are long term (the wedding rings and the photographs). It is really important to look at your overall budget and decide how you want to divide it. It wouldn’t necessarily be the wisest choice to blow 50% of your budget on a harpist while you sign the register while leaving 5% for your wedding photographer.

Portioning up Your Wedding Budget
Portioning up Your Wedding Budget

You may find the price of a wedding photographer frighteningly high or shockingly low…myself and a number of photographers I know generally agree that there are 3 main brackets for wedding photography prices: Low; Medium & High.

Low: A photographer who is in the low bracket will usually charge under 拢500 to shoot your wedding. In my experience, they are usually someone who is just starting out or working to get more experience in their chosen field. They may also be lower in price as they don’t offer the same post production service & finished products than those in a medium-high bracket will.The risk with choosing a photographer from a low price bracket is the potential lack of experience and the use of equipment that isn’t of a professional grade.They may not have the experience of what to do in situations when things go wrong, and may also not have sufficient back up gear. On the other hand, they may be incredibly talented photographers who just need a break and the experience to put their skills to the test. Due to their lack of experience, they may try harder and go above and beyond their duty to really make an impact….and they may be great in a crisis!

Medium: A medium priced photographer should be around the 拢1000-拢2500 price range. This may sound like a lot, but what you are paying for is more than someone for a day. Generally photographers in this bracket are experienced in their field and will have a host of digital and actual portfolios to share with you. The gear they use will be of a high professional grade and they will also be carrying spares! An assistant will usually be on board and this will be part of the cost, and the photographer will spend a considerable amount of time on post production (editing). For me a wedding from planning to finished product usually uses between 50-80 hours of work. You should expect a photographer in this bracket to be fully insured, offer planning and preparation as part of your package and offer a number of options as to how you would like your finished product. E.g:聽 usb stick/online gallery; wedding albums; wall art; canvasses; prints etc. You may also find these photographers are very aware of the current economic climate , so will be able to guide you in how to cut corners and shave your budget and offer you options that suit your budget. They may also offer budget-tipping extras like: videography; pop-up-studio; engagement/trash the dress shoot; hand made albums etc. Many will also have started their journey to be aligned with a professional photographic association (BIPP/MPA/SWPP etc). If you’re lucky, they’ll be winning awards too and recognised in their field!

High: Those in the high bracket start their fees in excess of 拢3-5000. A photographer in this field will usually be exceptionally experienced with a standard of finished images and products that lend itself to the high price range. Their equipment will be of an ultra-high level pro grade and assistants on the shoot will come as standard. These photographers will often have developed a style that is unique to them and highly sought after by clients, rather than the med-low brackets who may be more flexible to the clients style needs. They may also have a celebrity following, think Hello / OK magazine wedding photography here!

When: Have you set a date yet for your wedding? It may seem silly, but getting your heart set on a photographer before setting your date could be dangerous! Also, have you through about how long you would like your day captured professionally for? From getting ready? Just the ceremony? First Dance? Finest party moves? You may find the length of coverage is a negotiation between your budget and dream photographer!

Step 4: Meet Your Shortlisted Photographers

This is not just an ideal opportunity for you to meet with a potential photographer, but for them to meet you too. It can be an incredibly emotional time on your wedding day, so it is important to feel comfortable with the person who is likely to be there, taking those intimate photos and walking that emotional journey in close contact with you. Aside from all the practical stuff, you are likely to feel a vibe, or have a gut feeling about the photographer. If your gut says an emphatic “NO” chances are that connection isn’t there. Strike them off your list.
Practically it is important to meet face-to-face, or if that isn’t possible at first, schedule a telephone conversation. Ideally meet with the photographer as a couple, if not, bring someone you trust with you, a family member, friend etc. Check out their portfolios, find out who they are and how they are likely to conduct themselves on your wedding day. Discuss your needs, show examples of what you like and don’t like and see if this is something the photographer gets.

See if your photographer gets your ideas for the day.
See if your photographer gets your ideas for the day.

Are they feeling your day….do they have ideas that could capture the vibe of who you are as a couple? Tell the photographer your dreams. Us photographers love to be creative, you may find we have something up our sleeves that isn’t advertised. Don’t be afraid to talk budgets! It is a real part of the deal that shouldn’t be embarrassing or awkward to bring up. If you’ve done your research you’ll know whether you’ve scheduled a meet with a photographer whose prices start at 拢1750, when your allotted budget is 拢750. Do be honest as to what you can and cannot afford, but don’t forget, you wouldn’t pop to TopShop and expect to pay half the ticket price just because it’s not in your budget.
Get a quote. You may get this in person at the meeting, but also get it in writing with details so you can compare and refer back to it when making your decisions. This will likely be emailed or posted to you after the meet. Ask questions. Do they need a deposit? When is completed payment due? How long do the images take? How long does an album take? What is the deal with copyright? What if my Mum wants an image? Who else will be there on the day? Hidden costs? Insured? etc etc. Take notes!! Remember, you should feel at ease with your chosen photographer, if you don’t, it may reflect in the images.

Step 5: Choosing Your Photographer

You’ve done the research, made your budget, set the date, booked your venue and met a bunch of photographers…..so, how do you choose? My first instinct would be to go with your gut, but that isn’t always practical or financially viable.
Break your shortlist down. Get rid of any you didn’t feel any sort of personal connection with, then look at your budget. Are there any on your shortlist that are wildly out of your budget? Unless you can shuffle your finances, maybe they also need to come off your shortlist. You may be left with one or two strong contenders at this point.

There is no hard or fast rule with how to make this final decision. For some, the image “wow factor” may be the deciding vote. For some, the personality of the photographer. For others, it may even be down to the 拢50 difference on the quote. If it is a small difference in the quotes it may be worth a quick call to your favourite choice to see if 拢50-拢100 can be shaved off somewhere. If you still can’t make your mind up, other than meeting up a second time, you may just need to chat with your fianc茅, sleep on it and just go with your gut!!

Good luck!