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The Gridshell Weald and Downland Museum

The Gridshell Weald and Downland Museum | Vicky and Dan

Vicky & Dan | Win a Wedding Winners | V2 Radio

Highlights Blog of the wedding at The Gridshell, Weald & Downland Museum

In 2023, V2 Radio held a Sussex wide competition for a lucky couple to win a wedding! What a treat, with so many local wedding suppliers on board providing their services for the lucky couple. After a series of nominations, draws and a competition where the finalists had to battle it out with each other. Vicky and Dan were declared as the winners!

I met with Vicky and Dan on a sunny day at the Weald and Downland museum to have a little walk through, take them through a test shoot and chat more about the plans of their day. I loved their continuous cheeky banter and playful energy with each other! With the plans all settled and set into motion, the next thing to do was eagerly await their wedding day.

John and I started our day with a quick stop at Vicky’s to capture some details. With hair, make up and the usual hustle and bustle of the preparation time, we made quick work of the details before our next stop to find Dan! I had major shoe envy when I saw Vicky’s choice of footwear. Converse for the win, and those “bride” socks were a brilliant addition!

Vicky’s Dad made an appearance while she was getting into her dress, and in true mum style, multitasking was high on the agenda while Vicky also helped her son and daughter into their outfits for the day! The manicured gold “D” on her ring finger was also a helpful guide for Dan to make sure he knew where the bling would land during their ceremony!

Vicky and Dan have A LOT of friends and family, so much so that they upgraded from Crawley Hall, to The Gridshell at the Weald and Downland Museum to fit them all in! It is a striking and stunning venue, unique in every way, and used not just for weddings and events but also as a fully working workshop for the multitude if work, repairs and restorations that happen at the working museum.

Dressed by the Little Events Company, The Gridshell retained the connection to nature with soft pinks, trees and foliage moon arches and an array of festoon lighting. Vicky had sourced a variety of other details, both from the prize packages available and from her own inspiration. Thankfully for them, I didn’t think to leave them a garbled message on their audio guestbook, but I can imagine they had a lot of fun listening to the messages that were left as the night progressed!

Dan and his groomsmen took some time out from greeting the arriving guests to have a quick moment in front of the camera, and I have to say, at this time, Dan was full of chat and hiding his nerves very well!!

The Gridshell Weald and Downland Museum

The Gridshell Weald and Downland Museum

The Gridshell Weald and Downland Museum

The moment of Vicky’s arrival is here! You can literally feel this shift of energy change at this time. It’s like everyone goes on high alert, voices are lowered, butterflies start to kick in and suddenly it’s all systems go.

With Vicky’s daughter,  Ellie in charge of keeping the little ones in check ready for their moment down the aisle, Vicky was having some finishing touches to her veil. Unbeknownst to Dan, their son, Thomas, was walking down the aisle first, armed with his red Lightsaber to The Imperial March (Darth Vaders theme). He took his role very seriously and nailed his march, every step of the way. Followed by the slightly less intimidating flower girls, page boy and Ellie, it was time for Vicky’s grand reveal on the arm of her father. You could see the emotion and love between Vicky and Dan when they saw each other for the first time

The Gridshell at the Weald and Downland museum makes for a beautiful backdrop to a wedding. So spacious,light and airy. The ceremony was lovely, and full of laughs as Vicky and Dan giggled with each other and navigated the minor complication of sliding the rings on!!

The Gridshell Weald and Downland Museum

The Gridshell Weald and Downland Museum

The Gridshell Weald and Downland Museum

The Gridshell Weald and Downland Museum

The Gridshell Weald and Downland Museum

The Gridshell Weald and Downland Museum

The Gridshell Weald and Downland Museum

The Gridshell Weald and Downland Museum

The Gridshell Weald and Downland Museum

The Gridshell Weald and Downland Museum

A wedding wouldn’t be a wedding without a face plant of confetti and some group shots!! With a quick bit of time structured in to ensure we had covered the confetti spray and some family group shots, the guests were able to enjoy the grounds, the bar and the incredible crisps buffet to snack on! There were some favourites of mine in that collection… scampi fries and space raiders for the win!!! You could see their guests really enjoying themselves, catching up with friends and settling into to the space to relax and celebrate!

The Gridshell Weald and Downland Museum

The Gridshell Weald and Downland Museum

The Gridshell Weald and Downland Museum

I had already had a full confession from Vicky and Dan that they are not a fan of having their photos taken… the pre-wedding shoot was a great ice-breaker for this, but being the fantastic sports that they are, they conceded that portraits on the day were an essential!! In the suitable lull before the wedding breakfast, we took a stroll around the grounds to capture them at their finest (including those cheeky moments Dan almost vanished under Vicky’s dress!!) I think you would all agree that despite not being fans of the camera, they look amazing and are absolute naturals. The superb thing about getting married at the Gridshell, is that you have full use of the grounds of The Weald and Downland museum too. We certainly made the most of it!! The fields, the historic buildings and just the closeness to nature is just divine!

The Gridshell Weald and Downland Museum

The Gridshell Weald and Downland Museum

The Gridshell Weald and Downland Museum

The Gridshell Weald and Downland Museum

The Gridshell Weald and Downland Museum

The Gridshell Weald and Downland Museum

The Gridshell Weald and Downland Museum

The Gridshell Weald and Downland Museum

Again with the music choices, we arrived back at the Gridshell to all the guests seated and ready… Vicky and Dan were applauded in to the sound of The Prodigy’s “Smack My Bitch Up”!! A first for me, that’s for sure. The meal was a delicious hog-roast by Foresthogs Smokery, with Mark Anthony Bars, eagerly distributing the shots ready for the toasts and speeches! With favours also provided by way of mini bottles from Chichester Harbour Gin, it was evident that a party would be happening for sure!

Toast Live were on the case with the party, Nick was DJing that evening, and he always gets the party started. Not that the crowd needed too much encouragement! With light sticks and loud music, as soon as the first dance came to an end, the dance floor filled and all the shapes started flying out! It was a fantastic energy flowing, John and I were sad to be coming to an end and not be in the thick of it! Needless to say, we also missed tasting the delicious looking buffet that was being laid out by MA Bars too! Our final parting shot was of Vicky and her best friends…. her “something blue” as portrayed by their outfits! I loved that idea and twist on the more traditional blue garter!

Thank you so so much for having us Vicky and Dan, we hope you had a thoroughly spectacular wedding!! I’m looking forward to finishing off my edits nd tweaks and delivering the full set of images very soon!!

xX Fiona Xx

Full Supplier List below (please let me know if I’ve forgotten anyone!)

Competition set up by: V2 Radio

Venue: The Gridshell, Weald and Downland Museum

Decor: Little Events Company

Dress: The Bridal Suite

Bridesmaids: Rosedene Bridal

Suits: Stephen Lawrence

Rings: L Guess Jewellers

Flowers: Manor Nursery Florist

Cake: Lauren’s Cakes

Wedding Favours: Chichester Harbour Gin

Hog Roast: Foresthogs Smokery

Bar & Buffet: Mark Anthony Mobile Bars

Evening Entertainment: Toast Live

Reasons for an Engagement Shoot

Reasons for an engagement shoot:

By offering both engagement and pre-wedding shoots, as a  West Sussex wedding photographer, I like to ensure that couples have a comprehensive and personalised photography experience leading up to their big day. From building connections and creating memories to exploring venues and perfecting the bridal look, these shoots add value and excitement to the wedding journey.

I often hear people suggesting that they don’t need this aspect of the service, and I totally understand the reluctance. However, once people have experienced it, they always feedback that they were so so glad they did.

For those sitting on the fence, I thought I’d prepare a little dive into some reasons for an engagement shoot:

Reasons for an engagement shoot

Connection Building: An engagement shoot provides an opportunity for the couple to bond with each other and with the photographer. This helps in building a comfortable rapport before the wedding day, resulting in more natural and intimate photographs. Believe it or not, our work is very relational… we want to know more about you and what makes you tick as a couple. This will help us capture your true vibe on your wedding day! It also helps us to discuss in a relaxed space any tricky or awkward dynamics that may come up on your wedding day and how we can help you navigate them.

reasons for an engagement shoot

Practice Session: It serves as a practice session for both the couple and the photographer. Couples can get accustomed to being in front of the camera, while the photographer can experiment with different poses, angles, and lighting setups. We will be a mine of information on how to pose, what to do with your arms and legs and how to make you look more natural in front of the camera. It also help to break the ice so you’re accustomed to PDA’s and being photographed without awkwardness and feeling self conscious! It’s better to get this done in a relaxed environment so we’re not wasting precious time on your wedding day covering the foundations to make you comfortable. Honestly, we’d rather you were having more fun with your guests on your wedding day, then endless shoots!

reasons for an engagement shoot

Personalised Experience: The engagement shoot can be tailored to reflect the unique personality and style of the couple. Whether it’s a romantic stroll on the beach, a playful session in a park, or a cozy indoor shoot, it allows for personalisation. This sessions is about you! Taking you to your favourite place, or a significant spot in your relationship journey just adds to making this a service for you. Just this time for you both as a couple is enough reason for an engagement shoot!

Reasons for an engagement shoot

Save-the-Date Cards: The photographs from the engagement shoot can be used for creating stylish and personalised save-the-date cards or wedding invitations, adding a personal touch to the wedding preparations. Some people have used the images to decorate their wedding venue as part of their visual journey together. I guess what I’m trying to say here, is use them!!! Get your faces out there! Its you we’re all celebrating after all!

Reasons for an engagement shoot

Memorable Moments: Capturing the love and excitement of the engagement period through photographs creates lasting memories that can be cherished for a lifetime. These images serve as a beautiful reminder of the journey leading up to the wedding day. So often the focus goal is your wedding date, but don’t forget, this journey is important too! Let’s capture it!

Venue Exploration: A pre-wedding shoot provides an opportunity to explore and capture stunning photographs at the wedding venue or other meaningful locations. This allows the couple to envision their wedding day and discover the best spots for photography. We are well versed in shooting in both the familiar and the unfamiliar, but if an opportunity arrises to shoot in your venue, then this is a real bonus!!

Reasons for an engagement shoot

Trial Run for Hair and Makeup: If timings and diaries align, it can be a chance for the bride to do a trial run for her hair and makeup, ensuring everything looks perfect for the wedding day. Seeing how the makeup translates on camera helps in making any necessary adjustments. What better way to be picture perfect than have a professional tending to those details too! This doesn’t have to be a chore, let’s turn it into a treat for you.

Relaxed Atmosphere: Unlike the wedding day, which can be hectic and fast-paced, the pre-wedding shoot offers a relaxed atmosphere for capturing beautiful moments without any time constraints. It allows the couple to focus solely on each other and enjoy the experience.

Reasons for an engagement shoot

Guest Book or Wedding Album: The photographs from the pre-wedding shoot can be compiled into a guest book or used to create a stunning wedding album. This provides a unique keepsake for the couple and their guests to look back on and reminisce about the special day.

Reasons for an engagement shoot

Capture the Proposal: Some of you may even be thinking way ahead! This is great… having a photographer actually capture your live proposal will make for beautiful memories to look back on! We love getting involved from the very beginning and sharing this journey with you! An incase you worry about being ousted by a hovering photographer, don’t worry… we’re great at hiding in bushes!! Here’s a blog about a “family shoot” that was a secret proposal… Matt & Jen | The Live Proposal 

Best engagement photographer west sussex

I hope these reasons for an engagement shoot have convinced you! It’s worth doing, you definitely won’t regret it! I’m so on board with this myself which is why I include a complementary engagement shoot with every wedding collection. 

If you’re neck deep and overwhelmed in your wedding planning journey, do check out my other helpful blogs: How To Plan a WeddingHow to Choose Your Wedding VenueHow to Choose Your Wedding Dress

Good luck! I hope to see you on your wedding quest!
xX Fiona Xx
Reasons for an Engagement Shoot
Dorset photographer

Dorset Photographer | Sopley Mill Pre-Wedding Shoot

Dorset Photographer | Sopley Mill Pre-Wedding Shoot

Dorset Photographer | Sopley Mill

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.

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dorset-photographer-sopley-mill_0005

Dorset Photographer Sopley Mills FionaMillsArt

dorset-photographer-sopley-mill_0006

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!

dorset photographer

dorset photographer

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.

Big Love

Fiona xx

Dorset Photographer | Sopley Mill Pre-Wedding Shoot

Sussex Photographer

Sussex Photographer | India & Russell’s pre-wedding shoot

Sussex Photographer | India & Russell’s pre-wedding shoot

sussex portrait photographer

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.

Sussex Portrait Photographer

Sussex Portrait Photographer

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.

sussex portrait photographer

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!

Sussex Photographer

Sussex Photographer

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!

sussex photographer

sussex photographer

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.

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I’m looking forward to their wedding day, capturing more of those precious memories!

Big Love, Fiona x

FionaMillsArt | Sussex Photographer

sussex photographer

 

commercial photographer chichester

Commercial Photographer Chichester, Sussex | Somerset

Commercial Photographer Chichester, Sussex

This year I’ve been so busy with my usual wedding and portrait photography work, I haven’t had much opportunity for shooting my other love: Bands and music. I’m very lucky to have a husband who works in the music industry. It makes my access to great music and gigs much easier. The downside of course, is we need more babysitters to go on these gigs together!

A recent Arkyard Tour featuring the great Rivers and Robots, Josh Gauton and Tom McConnell saw me hanging out in small, quirky venues. The Green Door Club in Brighton and Mole in Bath. If possible I love to structure a portrait of a band or musician before their gig as well as capturing the live action.

Commercial photographer chichester

Commercial photographer chichester

Commercial photographer chichester

Commercial photographer chichester

As a commercial photographer in Chichester and Sussex, I come across a whole range of industries requiring products or people photographed for commercial purposes, but I do think the music industry has to be my favourite. The sounds, smells and visuals all combined to capture moments shared by hundreds of others, hopefully taking them right back to that moment when they see the images. I like to play with both Colour and Black & White photography. Sometimes by choice, sometimes due to the colour of stage lighting beaming down on someones face. I do love atmospheric lighting…add a smoke machine too for an absolute winner!

Music photographer Sussex

Music photographer Sussex

Music photographer Sussex

Music photographer Sussex

Here’s some moments captured of Housefires from their recent UK tour put on by The Big Church Live. The venue in Bristol was filled to the brim, tickets sold out. The atmosphere in the venue was incredible, and to top it off,  they were the most lovely band too. A real honour to be up close and personal with these guys.

Commercial photographer chichester

Commercial photographer chichester

Commercial photographer chichester

I’m so thankful to have been able to meet and shoot these fantastic musicians this year, and we’re only in the first quarter! I’m looking forward to what the rest of the year entails for me as I fly the flag for capturing the Music Industry as a commercial photographer Chichester.

Love,

Fiona xx

FionaMillsArt | Commercial Photographer Chichester, Sussex