Home » Sussex wedding photographer

Tag: Sussex wedding photographer

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

Bailiffscourt Wedding

Bailiffscourt Wedding | Petra and Neil Highlights

Bailiffscourt Wedding | Petra and Neil

Bailiffscourt Wedding

Petra and Neil opted for a springtime Bailiffscourt wedding, a wonderful choice I have to say. A venue I regularly recommend for weddings, spa days or a cheeky getaway nestled right next to Climping beach, close to Worthing, Brighton and Portsmouth but still retaining that rural vibe where you can just get away from it all. While I’m finishing up the final edits and gallery, here is a preview of highlights to whet the appetite!

The start of the wedding day usually begins with capturing the preparations that are happening. Petra was in a gorgeous family room with a very comfortable looking four poster bed surrounded by her sons, her parents, sister, niece and friend. There was plenty of room for all!! While Petra was having her hair and make up beautifully applied by the very talented Toni Todd, the rest of the family helped with the final details and keeping the younger ones occupied. It was lovely to capture the moments as they unfolded, and make sure that we had a record of the details of the day that had been curated (links provided at the end).

The Music Room was adorned in a palate of soft pinks and white, and I loved their guest book…. a painted globe with pens provided for their guests to sign!

I loved Petra’s sense of style. She chose the most gorgeous dress from Karen Millen, so slinky with incredible jewelled detail on the back and neck. It suited her perfectly. Usually, I would be flitting between both halves of the couple, however, on this occasion this wedding will be forever known to me as “The One With the Forgotten Trousers”!

Somehow, Neil’s suit trousers weren’t where they should have been. With the clock ticking closer to the ceremony time, Neil and his friend rushed to the nearest Next to find a new suit. The staff pulled out all the stops, and I have to say they did a great job decking him out for his wedding! Petra took all this in her stride, even finding time to paint her nails to fill in the short delay! It made a great aisle moment where their outfits were a surprise for both of them!

Bailiffscourt wedding

Bailiffscourt Wedding

Bailiffscourt Wedding

Bailiffscourt wedding

With a scary threat of rain hanging over, it was a wonderful surprise to have a dry day for their planned outdoor wedding. Once all the guests were seated, and Neil in his box-fresh suit, it was time for the ceremony to begin.

Petra was accompanied by her sister, niece and father for the walk from the hotel to Neil, waiting patiently at the end of the aisle. With the space around the seats, it was a rare treat to be able to simultaneously capture both Neil and Petra’s expressions as they saw each other for the first time.

I loved how their sons had made a lego ring box to safely store and present the rings during the ceremony. A superb touch!! In the presence of their friends and family they made their vows and commitments to one another during their Bailiffscourt Wedding.

Bailiffscourt Wedding

Bailiffscourt Wedding

Bailiffscourt Wedding

Bailiffscourt Wedding

Bailiffscourt Wedding

A drinks and canape reception was held in the Rose Garden, which enabled everyone to enjoy a much needed catch up after the bustle of the morning and it’s unexpected problem solving! We had scheduled in some time for some group shots, confetti… and even Archie, the resident peacock made an appearance in time for a quick photo!

Bailiffscourt Wedding

Bailiffscourt Wedding

Bailiffscourt Wedding

Bailiffscourt Wedding

We always schedule in some time for the couple alone, so while the guests mingled, checked into the hotel and prepared to be seated for the wedding breakfast, Petra, Neil and I took a stroll round the grounds for their portraits. A truly lovely couple, it was great to have such a beautiful day to enjoy the emerging flowers, life and colour that Bailiffscourt offers.

Bailiffscourt Wedding

Bailiffscourt Wedding

Bailiffscourt Wedding

Bailiffscourt Wedding

Bailiffscourt Wedding

Bailiffscourt Wedding

Bailiffscourt Wedding

Once the guests were seated it was time for Petra and Neil to be announce in to the Music Room. With a round of applause and cheers, the newlyweds were greeted in style! The speeches were scheduled to happen first, enabling everyone to then relax and enjoy their meal. There was so much love in the room, and a few tears of joy too. The speeches were translated by Petra’s sister to ensure that all languages were covered and everyone was included. It was tangible to hear how loved they both are by their families.

With my day nearly done, before I left them to enjoy their meal and the rest of the celebrations, I couldn’t leave without capturing the cutting of the cake. A truly stunning masterpiece that I would have been scared to touch! I’m sure it tasted as delicious as it looked!

Many congratulations Petra and Neil on your marriage and stunning Bailiffscourt wedding. It was a glorious intimate day and I’m very thankful to have been able to capture it. I’m looking forward to completing the final edits and hitting your inbox with the full set of images very soon! For now, I hope you enjoy the highlights.

xX Fiona Xx

 

SUPPLIER LIST:

VENUE: Bailiffscourt Hotel & Spa

DRESS: Karen Millen

SUIT: Next

HAIR & MAKE-UP: Toni Todd

CAKE: The Cake Temple

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
Southend Barns Wedding

Southend Barns Wedding | Emma & Lee

Southend Barns Wedding | Emma & Lee

An April 1st wedding??? No! This is not a joke! (I admit, I did wonder when the enquiry first came through, but thankfully Emma and Lee, and their Southend Barns wedding was very real!)

Emma and Lee, despite living in a different county, chose Southend Barns as their wedding venue. They had family and friends in the area and just fell in love with it! We planned their engagement shoot for a day when they could visit Lee’s mum, ensuring she has some quality time with her grandchildren while we went for a stroll on West Wittering beach. The weather gods decided to give us everything they had that day! Wind, sunshine rain and even hailstorms! I love the final image in the set below, where they’re cloaked in sunshine and you can just see the dark clouds rolling in behind them. Thankfully the cafe was a lovely haven for us to dry off and warm up after (and we really did need drying off) while working through the timeline of their day.

I had, rather foolishly, assured Emma and Lee that a repeat of the “every weather system” was very unlikely to occur on their wedding day. Ha!! How wrong was I!!! Thankfully, when planning for a Southend Barns wedding, the venue is very well equipped with stunning indoor and outdoor spaces. As the rain wasn’t due until later, Emma and Lee still chose to have their wedding outside as originally planned. Baskets of blankets and soft sheepskin rugs came out before the guests arrived to ensure warm bottoms and shoulders for those who needed it! The weather is a pretty important factor to consider when choosing your venue, if you need more help with that, do check out my blog with tips on how to choose your venue.

We started in the bridal suite with Emma, her children, sister and both mums for the preparations. A spacious apartment suite, there’s always plenty of space and light for the hustle and bustle that goes on during the preparations.

I loved how the children also got involved, with Emma & Lee’s daughter almost getting away with wearing Emma’s bridal shoes! While this was happening, Lee and his groom squad arrived from their B&B (or maybe the pub 😉 ) to start greeting the guests. I found it quite ironic that while their son was being helped into his outfit by all the ladies in the bridal suit, Lee also needed help too! Check out the detailing on Lee’s outfit to honour their dog who had passed away, what a lovely touch

Southend Barns Wedding

Southend Barns Wedding

Southend Barns Wedding

Southend Barns Wedding

Southend Barns Wedding

Southend Barns Wedding

With the time arriving for the ceremony, and the weather still dry (albeit pretty windy) it was action stations! Lee was waiting with his guests at the foot of the aisle and a pianist providing the background music, all that was for Emma, her dad and bridal party to make their way through to join them.

A civil ceremony at a Southends Barn wedding is usually pretty swift, a blessing for everyone I think on this occasion as the winds, and the chill that came with it, only increased as the time went on. Seeing Lee’s face as both his children, then his beautiful bride came down the aisle towards him. It was clear for all to see and feel the love that is shared between them all.

With a flurry of confetti, everyone made their way back to the covered drinks reception area to enjoy some drinks and a catch up! Thankfully the sun had come back out, so we made the most of the dry space for some family portraits.

During the planning session, Emma and Lee had expressed that they erred on the preference for candid documentary with some family portraits and some newlywed portraits. Enjoying their party was high on their list, and they wanted to see their day back from a documentary style. We made sure that although some structure for the formal portraits needed to be made, we kept those moments efficient and fun!

Southend Barns Wedding

Southend Barns wedding

Southend Barns Wedding

Southend Barns wedding

Southend Barns Wedding

As per our plan, we whisked Emma and Lee around the grounds for some very quick portraits. We kept it light and easy while ensuring they also had time to catch up with each other too for those precious moments alone. One item that was on their hit list, was the alpacas… and very cute they are too! What a wonderful addition at the venue! Everytime I return I’m sure Southend Barns have restored/renovated and added to their repertoire of being a very highly sought after wedding venue.

The other item on the agenda was to create a portrait with them and their children, and a balloon that Emma had brought with her! Timing it right around naps, and garden games distraction was key, but thankfully, all our well measured plans came together!

Southend Barns Wedding

Southend Barns Wedding

Southend Barns Wedding

Southend Barns Wedding

Southend Barns Wedding

Southend Barns Wedding

Southend Barns Wedding

Southend Barns Wedding

Southend Barns Wedding

With a full on night of partying planned, it was definitely time for a meal break! With Emma and Lee making a grand entrance into the barn, the finely cooked food and flowing wine was clearly appreciated by all. To top it off, an array of speeches, including ones by Emma’s daughter and sister!

There were not many dry eyes in the house by this point… but it was ok, as Lee’s best men soon ensured the hilarity was reinstated, regaling embarrassing tales of their best mate in true style!

Instead of a traditional cutting of the cake, Emma and Lee opted for a cocktail tower. Starting with their first drinks together as newlyweds, using glasses that Emma’s dad had hand painted. Then it was a free for all as everybody else joined in. Such a great idea!!

Southend Barns Wedding

Southend Barns Wedding

When Emma and Lee broached the idea of staying later, I was initially reluctant (not because of later nights, but I don’t want to increase someone’s spend if it’s not needed) but they convinced me a party is what they would be having, and boy were they right!

With mid-evening fireworks thrown in and a pounding dance floor all night, it was definitely worth the extra time!

To start, Emma’s dad and sister had secured a surprise band for her. It was Emma’s favourite, and the surprise and joy on her face was evident. That and the fact she was first on the dancefloor and pretty much stayed on it! There was a brief interlude for the fireworks and the first dance, but after that the party cracked on!

It was an incredible night and a most energetic, fun and love filled wedding! We made our exit just as ties were coming off and turned into headbands, but the party was still going full pelt!

Southend Barns Wedding

Southend Barns Wedding

Southend Barns Wedding

Southend Barns Wedding

Back home, our job isn’t over! Files need to be uploaded, backed up and stored. Then it’s the process of culling and editing…. Caffeine is a photographers friend during this process!

The finished result is sooooo worth it.

As part of their collection, Emma and Lee had chosen the Duet album. This is a 2 part collection, handmade in Italy, of a 30 page A4 album and a 100 page A3, nestled together in a bespoke box. This was a perfect way to display both the highlights and portraits in the 30 page album, plus the candid flow of the whole day spread across the larger, coffee table style book. The colours designed to compliment the colours of their day.

Thank you Emma and Lee for having us on such a beautiful and lively day! Wishing you all the happiness in the world!

xX Fiona Xx

Southend Barns Wedding

 

Arundel Wedding Photographer

How To Plan a Wedding

How To Plan a Wedding

Eeeeek, the festive period has just passed, you’ve got a new bit of bling on your ring finger, learning your new title of fiance, and January has started with a to-do-list to get your nuptials sorted! Are you in Camp Overwhelmed or Camp I’ve-been-planning-this-since-I-was-seven??!! If it’s the latter… High five to you, let’s chat more, you can give me tips. If it’s the former, I bet the first thing you did was google, “how to plan a wedding”?!

Firstly! CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!!! This is wonderful news!! Just take a moment to bask in that glow!

Although planning a wedding is a big deal, don’t forget that this period of being engaged is also a pretty special time in your life too, one that’s not usually repeated. It’s like that liminal space between dating/being a couple to the actually formalities of legally being bound to your chosen life partner forever. And there’s a whole lot of planning that happens in that liminal space. Buying a house, having children and planning a wedding are up there on the list of the most stressful things you can do as a couple.

Let me help you break it down. I’m going to try to work on this chronologically in the ideal to-do order. I’m not going to tell you how long this should take, some people have a short engagement of weeks and months, some go years and years… it all depends on your budget, timeframe, availability of your must have factors and how focused your organisation can be.

1: Post on the ‘gram / wedding email

If it isn’t on social media, it’s not real!!

Haha!! Just kidding, this has nothing to do with how to plan a wedding!! Socials aren’t for all, but if you’re gonna pop your bling on display, it’s a great excuse for a trip to the salon for a manicure LOL

This well organised groom-to-be knew he was going to propose on a certain day, so booked me for a quick shoot on that day to make sure their announcement was ready to go in picture form!

In all seriousness though, instagram aside… to avoid an inbox of doom and lost threads of emails, set up a wedding email address so when you start planning, all your supplier correspondence is filtered to that account. This is simple enough to do with any mail provider (gmail/hotmail/yahoo etc) and you can both set it up on your devices to share the wedmin load!

engagement shoot chichester

2: Set a budget

You may have been saving for this very moment. Planning to budget on the go. Or even have family who would like to support you and contribute to your wedding day.

Whichever way the money ends up in your pocket, try to discuss and decide between you what services you value the most. Is it all about the epic party? The album that will be looked at forever? Or is it all about that dress?

When you start looking at quotes, you’ll probably realise that everything costs far more than you anticipated. Expect the assigned budgets for different services to have wiggle room as you move funds from one service budget to another. You don’t want to be spending more than you value on flowers if your priority was actually the rings which you end up compromising on.

3: Nail in your date and venue

This is going to be the deciding factor that will determine how the rest of your planning is structured and within what time frame. Without an official date, no other suppliers can be booked that require one (think caterers, photographers, videographers, entertainment, registrars, outfit hire, transport etc)

You may have your ideal season or venue already in mind, so scheduling in some viewings is a great place to start.  Don’t forget the added bonus of google images. If you’re viewing in January for a summer wedding, the venue will look different, so be sure to also use their portfolio and the internet to get an idea what the venue looks like in your preferred season.

Use wedding fairs as a tool to look around venues. These usually occur throughout the year and have a host of other suppliers to get your inspiration going. They’re also a great place to go later down the line if you’re just after those final services to finish off your plans (or a glass of bubbles and a taste of free cake!!).

Once you’ve booked your venue, do check what’s included (a planner/designated coordinator on the day/catering/registrar organised/PA system etc). You may find the services provided within your venue may well help you with how to plan a wedding.

If the venue booking seems overwhelming as a place to start, I’ve written a more detailed blog about that here: How to choose your wedding venue

Once you’ve got your venue you can start to finalise your guest list with the knowledge of your venue’s capacity. Depending on your plans and whether your ceremony is in a different location to the reception you may need to segment this into ceremony/reception/evening party

How to plan a wedding

4: Start booking vendors

Vendors and suppliers may be limited to how many bookings can be taken on a single day. Us photographers, for example, can only be at one wedding a day so dates can book up well in advance. Others suppliers, like entertainment agencies, may have a number of options on their books but once those options are booked, they’re booked.

To avoid disappointment, I would consider now the time to book the following services:

  • photography
  • videography
  • caterers (if not already provided)
  • registrar/celebrant (if not included)
  • band/dj
  • hair & make-up-artist
  • stationers

Looking at these services comes with its own level of research and preference. It’s down to you to work out what your wants and needs are in these areas, as well as your budget and priority value. I would say, however, that research, looking at reviews and evidence of their work is pretty key! Also chatting with those suppliers is important to get a feel for how you’ll get along. If you can’t stand to be in the same room as you’re hair & MUA, yet you love their work, that discomfort may set the tone early on in your day (FYI this does not apply to the lovely Toni Todd featured below!)

I plan to do more detailed blogs on these services in the future, but for now I have a regular Monday Mini-Blog up on my Insta with tips on how to choose your wedding photographer, go check it out here!

How to plan a wedding

5: Start scouting for your wedding dress / suit

You may be thinking “whaaaaaa??!! Already??” but yes, already. Many bridal shops are now appointment only, which means scheduling slots into your weeks and spare time to start looking at gowns. If you’re lucky enough to find the perfect dress off the peg with minimal alterations, you’re winning. Many are made to order, or come with a generic structure that will still require bespoke alterations and adjustments. I have a more detailed guide into choosing your wedding dress here.

The same goes for suits, if a hire company is required, it may still need booking in to ensure all the members of the party are catered for with the right sizes for the right day. If the suit is going to be tailored to fit, time needs to be allowed for this to happen (as well as the fitting and measuring appointments.

And don’t get me started if you’re planning radical health regimes in the lead up to your wedding!! Making sure you allow enough changes for adjustments becomes even more important. This post may be about how to plan a wedding, but I have written one about how to look and feel your best on your wedding day.

how to plan a wedding

Chichester Cathedral Wedding

6: Send out ‘save the date’ cards or invitations

By now you will have booked the venue and hopefully some other key players in your supplier team. Each service should provide you with a timeline of any action points they require between booking and your wedding date (booking make-up trials/dress fittings/menu tastings/engagement shoots/music choices etc). Make a note of these micro details and when they’re supposed to happen.

You may also be closer still to getting your outfits. It’s time to nail that guestlist and get those invites out!! It may also be time to look at a gift registry, should you wish to include a link to that too.

I’m going to be real here. People can be a total pain in the backside (and we’re likely all guilty of it)….you get those invites out and even make sure to put a RSVP by date on it AND STILL you are waiting, chasing up and using precious energy on invite admin. It’s frustrating to say the least.

It may be worth investing in setting up a wedding website which can handle your save the guest lists/dates/invites/RSVP’s/gift registry/details of the day etc. (here’s a site for example that does this).

If you’re more analogue than digital, then make sure to create some sort of spreadsheet so you can keep track of replies/dietary requirements etc.

If you’ve hired a lovely stationer for your invites, consider also that they may also be able to provide you with bespoke stationary on the day (order of service, welcome signs, table name cards, menu sheets etc)

How to plan a wedding

7: Research and book additional suppliers

Consider the suppliers you’ve already booked the macro detail of the day, and you’ll have an action timeline for those already…. Now’s the time for the micro details, the threads that will tie in the theme, style and energy of your day, connecting all the larger pieces together.

This list is by no means exhaustive, whose services you’ll need to engage will depend on how you see your day shaping up, but here goes!

  • florist
  • cake
  • rings
  • venue decor
  • additional entertainment (music for drinks reception/magician/tattoo artist/lawn games / clay pigeon shooting etc)
  • additional details (dance floor flip flops / photo booth / wedding favours)
  • additional catering (ice cream van / pizza van / sweet cart /cocktail bar etc)
  • transport (for couple and/or guests too)
  • honeymoon (don’t forget that!!!!)

how to plan a wedding

lifestyle commercial photography west sussex

8: The final purchases

Pretty much everything major and minor should now be purchased (or as close to a decision as you can), it’s time to make sure you have some final details bought and ready.. you are really nailing how to plan a wedding!! This is actually quite a fun part as it’s some more personal touches, and you may already have sourced these earlier on, but if not, don’t forget these:

  • Bridesmaids/groomsmen/flower girl/page boy outfits including any shoes, jewellery and accessories
  • Your shoes!! Make sure you and your fiance have enough time to practise wearing your shoes inside so they get nice and comfortable for your wedding day.
  • Underwear. A nice treat for the both of you on your wedding day… 😉
  • Jewellery (including watches, cufflinks, earings, necklaces etc)
  • Bridal party/groomsmen gifts
  • Gift for each other
  • Any gifts etc to be given out during the speeches

how to plan a wedding

9: The final arrangements

This is it, you’re so close!! It’s all down to final arrangements and logistics now!

If you haven’t already, these are the final things you will need to make sure are organised, and signed off with whoever needs to know. Also, make sure that whatever is planning to happen on your day, someone other than you and your fiance are in the know… your wedding day is your time to enjoy, so make sure you have one or two people you can rely on who knows what should happen where & when.

Anyway, back to those final bits and pieces. Here’s what you may need to do:

  • finalise any readings
  • choose music (for ceremony, reception backgrounds and reception party)
  • nail down your shot list with your photographer
  • finalise your order of service and timings of the day
  • arrange your seating plan
  • write your vows and speeches
  • book any last minute spa or beauty treatments
  • pick up your rings
  • pack for your honeymoon
  • drop off any items to the venue/s
  • ensure everyone knows their role

August syrencot wedding

10: ENJOY YOUR DAY!!!

That’s it!! You’ve made it!! All the epic time, energy, though and hard-earned dosh has gone into this day. Sit back, take in the vibe and enjoy every last minute! You deserve it!

xX Fiona Xx

How to plan a wedding

Millbridge Court wedding

Sammy & Danny’s Millbridge Court Wedding

Sammy & Danny’s Millbridge Court Wedding

To say I was doing a happy dance when Sammy and Danny announced their nuptial location is an understatement! A Millbridge Court wedding had been on my wish list for a while! I was sooooo excited to shoot here!

I had met Sammy and Danny over a variety of weddings and events over the years through our mutual friends (and my wonderful second shooter Lee). On this occasion, Lee was planning on being busy as their wedding guest, while his fabulous wife Lisa was a bridesmaid, so I was very honoured to be tasked with their wedding photography, trusting that Lee wasn’t judging me in the background while I lunged and ninja rolled my way through capturing his friends wedding, haha!!

Millbridge Court Wedding

With guests travelling from all over, the Surrey-Hampshire bordered based wedding venue was a perfect location to host everyone, including beautifully furnished rooms available for those staying, and a secret hideaway for the newlyweds. It’s such a tastefully designed space with quirky features like antler chandeliers, and mirror walls while maintaining a crisp, lofty feel that makes personalising it for your wedding theme very very easy.

Millbridge Court Wedding

Preparations:

Millbridge Court has some incredible spaces for both sides of the wedding party to get ready. John and I were spoiled for choice while we captured the first part of the primping and prepping.

Sammy was in the light and airy loft room (that overlooks the ceremony room) with her girls, surrounded by beauty mirrors, dressing rooms and a chill out area, while Danny and his boys had a den with a woody, earthy feel and a much needed bar area!

There always so many micro details to capture during the preparations, as well as watching the scene that is unfolding. Sammy was in stitches watching her bridesmaid get stuck in her dress… this is the point that you hope the mascara is waterproof! I have to admit to not being able to hold my own giggles!

Danny went all out with gifts for his boys, and made sure to take the opportunity for some magic shots of his Louboutins! A worthy wedding day purchase if ever there was one!

Millbridge Court Wedding

Millbridge Court Wedding

Millbridge Court Wedding

Millbridge Court Wedding

Millbridge Court Wedding

Millbridge Court Wedding

Millbridge Court Wedding

Millbridge Court Wedding

With Danny ready for business looking super sharp and stylish in his tailored suit, it was time for Sammy to finish her transformation into the glam queen that she is.

If you’ve not considered it for your wedding, perhaps this is your sign that white gloves are a must to protect all that white satin, silk and lace! While we’re on the subject of inspiration, it’s also worth considering assigning one of your gals to ensure you can always access the bubbly, even if that means hand-feeding you!

Millbridge Court Wedding

Millbridge Court wedding

This is it!! The moment where the excited atmosphere of the preparations gets super charged with nervous anticipation! I absolutely love this energy shift, it’s so tangible to feel!

With a final shot with the girls together before everyone starts to take their places, we’re off!!!! Danny’s looking happy and relaxed with his Best Man, it’s always this moment that the classic ‘have you got the rings?” comes out!!

Sammy saved her first look moment with her Dad for downstairs, using the reception room. Listening to them both warning each other to not cry, then both fail at not crying was the sweetest,  touching moment!


Millbridge court Wedding

Millbridge Court wedding

Millbridge Court Wedding

Ceremony:

The ceremony room for a Millbridge Court wedding is just stunning. With the full height picture window looking out to the gardens, pouring oodles of natural light into the hall, it’s a dream to photograph!

After being walked down the aisle by her father, the ceremony was an emotional affair with family and friends doing the readings and witnessing the marriage. Not only was there a room full of love and laughter, there were also very few dry eyes in the house. We all know the antidote to tears though….. Confetti! And lots of it!

Millbridge Court Wedding

Millbridge Court Wedding

Millbridge Court Wedding

Millbridge Court Wedding

Millbridge Court Wedding

Millbridge Court Wedding

Millbridge Court Wedding

Portraits:

After the ceremony, there was a drinks reception with some time set aside for portraits. Sammy and Danny split this into a few components. Family, the bridal party and themselves, with a different location and backdrop for each.

After checking his new, engraved pocket watch (again!) we got started. The formal group shots can be tiresome for guests, so I try to plan it to be quick, concise and fun. No one wants to be hanging around for hours, it’s far more fun catching the canapés and getting access to the bar.

After scoring some family dynamics we switched to the pergola to capture the bridal party and their differing personalities.

Millbridge Court Wedding

Millbridge Court Wedding

Millbridge Court Wedding

Millbridge Court Wedding

Millbridge Court Wedding

Millbridge Court Wedding

Millbridge Court Wedding

For the newlywed portraits, rather than stick to the venue, we ventured down to Frensham ponds where we had gone for their engagement shoot. It’s a fantastic landscape with sandy beaches, barren heathland and treelined vistas. While this was happening, John stayed at Millbridge court to capture the magician doing the rounds with the guests who were getting seated ready for the wedding breakfast.

I loved the variety of shots we were able to capture here, from close-ups, dynamic landscapes and of course some details of their well styled outfits

Millbridge Court Wedding

Millbridge Court Wedding

Millbridge Court Wedding

Millbridge Court Wedding

Millbridge Court Wedding

Millbridge Court Wedding

Millbridge court frensham ponds

Millbridge Court Frensham Ponds

Wedding Reception:

On our return, we found the magician was in full swing eliciting LOTS of awe, wonder and laughter. The details on the tables were so well thought out and in keeping to the rest of the perfect styling at the Millbridge court wedding. With the most incredible meal dished up, it was time for everyone to start dining their stomachs ready for the speeches and toasts.

Millbridge Court Wedding

Millbridge court wedding

Millbridge Court Wedding

So, the deserts were done a little differently here with the most INCREDIBLE self service display. It was very hard to not just stand here at the dessert buffet banquet and quietly help myself to some tasters!

The space at Millbridge court is designed so well, with outdoor areas for a cheeky cigar, quirky open-spaced through ways to stop and mingle and relaxing sofas for those who would like to relax a little after their meals. There really is something for everyone.

Millbridge Court

Millbridge Court

Millbridge Court Wedding

Millbridge Court Wedding

As with many weddings, the party doesn’t really start until the cake has been cut and the first dance has been danced. The hexagonal cake was monogramed and decorated with a perfect replica of Sammy and Danny… there was definitely no grooms attacked by ninja-brides at the cutting!

With music by The Deloreans, it didn’t take long at all for the dance floor to be filled and the ground shaking with dance-moves galore being displayed.

Millbridge Court Wedding

Millbridge Court wedding

Millbridge Court Wedding

Despite having a long journey home still in front of us, it was very hard to leave this wedding while it was in full flow, with a bunch of friends on the dance floor partying to our favourite band! This Millbridge Court Wedding was so much fun! Sammy and Danny definitely know how to organise and throw an insane party.

It was such a pleasure to shoot this day. I’m so glad that Sammy and Danny have a gorgeous Graphistudio album to continue to look back on as their life journeys forward. It’s also a superb treat to catch up with these guys over a tequila or two and all the subsequent parties that just keep happening!

That you so much for having us Mr & Mrs Horada, here’s to a lifetime of health, wealth and happiness!

xX Fiona Xx

Millbridge Court Wedding

Millbridge Court Wedding

Venue: Millbridge Court 

Dress: Proposals, Chichester (No longer trading)

Hair & MUA: Olivia Mills

Suit: Vintage Suit Hire Company

Cake: Vanessa Albury

Flowers: Longacres

Band: The Deloreans & Magician Richard Kettle both provided by Toast Live

how to choose your wedding venue

How to Choose Your Wedding Venue

How to choose your wedding venue

When planning your special day there are so many elements to consider. I have created a helpful guide on how to choose your wedding venue, which is most likely the first point of call on the wedding to-do-list! So whether you’re dreaming of a rustic barn, manor house, beach, or a romantic garden. This blog will let you explore how to find a wedding venue that will make your special day truly unforgettable!

ow to choose your wedding venue, bride and groom outside Winston house

Wedding Date

Your wedding date plays a huge role in determining wedding venue options. The season can have a big impact on your budget as the pricing of a wedding venue will vary depending on the time of year you choose to marry. Prices during low season are often much less expensive, while booking a venue in a high season month (between May and September) could cost you more.

Are you planning a spring or summer wedding? If so, would you consider your ideal venue having a beautiful outdoor ceremony space? Maybe a beautiful garden or a terrace? Do have a contingency plan incase of rain though!! Some venues are solely designed as an outdoor space and are stunning for it, but my concern would be the “what if”. Is it a risk you want to take?

Southdowns Manor Wedding outside wedding venue

Or is a winter wedding is more your thing? Then a rustic barn or manor house with a twinkling christmas tree, fire pits and cosy interiors might be exactly what you’re looking for. It’s always worth googling the venues you’re earmarking to see images during different seasons. What looks warm and inviting in the winter may look cold and stark in the summer. If that’s got you thinking, I’ve another post about winter wedding inspo over here….

Sussex Winter Wedding

If you are planning to get married between May and September then it is also a  good idea to start looking for venues as early as possible. This period is when wedding venues are in high demand, meaning that it could be difficult to find one that both matches your budget, and wedding vision. Looking early is also important because you don’t want to fall in love with your dream venue only to find out they’re fully booked for the next 12 months. Wedding venues can get booked a year or more in advance.

how to choose your wedding venue, bride and groom walking through meadow

Civil or religious ceremony

This is a very important factor to consider… For churches and other places of worship, there may be rules regarding how you have access to that building for the ceremony. Perhaps you or your family may have to be members, or attend regularly. Or is there a parish connection? Some churches require bans to be read and a certain number of services you should attend in the lead up. Some have a limited number of weddings per year, some have restricted access to other providers (musicians, photographers, videographers etc) that may be in conflict with aspects you would also like on the day. Some places of worship have very clear definitions of how their wedding ceremonies are conducted, and others are more fluid and open to the less traditional approach.

Chichester Cathedral Wedding

When having a civil ceremony, the world of venues available for your ceremony opens up! It is also worth noting that there are many aspects to this. There is the local register office, whom will often have a hireable room for ceremonies, or a registrar will have to be booked from the district in which your venue lies to come to your wedding to conduct the ceremony. The time of your wedding will be dictated by their availability. There is also other forms of ceremonies. Some choose to be married by a celebrant, or have a humanist ceremony, or a friend conduct the service. To ensure the legality, the marriage register will still have to be signed. Some people choose to do the “legal” part on a different day, ensuring that the wedding day spent with their chosen guests is exactly how they want!

Weddings at Arundel Town Hall

Location

Having an idea of your preferred location is very important during your wedding venue search. You have to think about things like, are there hotels nearby? Will we need to transport our guests from the ceremony location to the reception? Is it accessible for people with disabilities? Is there parking nearby? Where is the nearest airport? These things should all play a role in your decision making to give your guests the best experience on your big day.

I would definitely recommend giving your guests detailed information on travel/directions if the ceremony is being held in a different location to the reception. Or, will you be including in your budget the transport from one venue to another for your guests? Doing a test run yourself would be beneficial so that you can see how long it takes. This will help also in the scheduling and timings of the day.

If you’re looking to cut costs for your wedding, then a great solution is having the same venue for the wedding ceremony, breakfast and reception.

Wedding transport double decker bus

How to choose your wedding venue, a wedding in the woods

Wedding Style

Identifying your wedding style before you start looking for a venue will really help in narrowing down the search because you will know straight away what isn’t suitable. Pinterest is the perfect tool to help you get inspiration for your wedding style and also looking at my Portfolio of other weddings. Creating a visual mood board is great way to get inspired and will help you really visualise how your wedding will look.

Rustic barn wedding venue

You will then need to ask yourself questions to work out what style/theme you and your partner want. Things like, do you know what kind of wedding you want? Will it be formal or casual? Inside or outside? Intimate or a large celebration? Traditional or fun festival vibes? Adults only or children welcome?

During this process also write down the priorities of things you want the venue to definitely have, for example an outside space to have the ceremony (if the weather allows!) Doing these things and asking yourself the questions above will really narrow it down for you to find your perfect venue. If all this talk about style has got you thinking about your dress, I hear you!!! I’ve written a little ditty about finding your perfect dress over here…

Wedding Venue Decor Ideas

Meet a Wedding Planner

Hiring a wedding planner isn’t necessary, but it can really make a difference when choosing a wedding venue. Wedding planners are professionals with extensive experience, however this will come at an extra cost and is something you will have to consider. Many venues will come with a wedding planner included in the wedding package, which is a fantastic opportunity to get the best advice. They will know the venue perfectly to ensure that the space is created in a way to make it unique to you.

Bride and groom getting married at Chichester Cathedral

Budget

Having a wedding budget is important, so that you don’t fall into the trap of over spending. It is very easy to get carried away when you choose your wedding venue and suppliers that your well intentioned list starts getting longer with more ideas to make your wedding the most perfect day. Proper planning is so important!

It is very likely that your venue will be a large chunk of your budget and it’s important to bear in mind all the added costs that can come with a venue, like chair covers, table linen, catering, corkage, insurance and service charges….to name a few! That is why when you have found a venue that you like you need to ask questions and be prepared. Ask things like, what is the rental fee and what’s included in that price? How many hours does the rental fee include, and is there an overtime fee if I stay longer? Do you have liability insurance? Can I have my ceremony here too and is there an additional cost?

Many venues will offer wedding packages, offering things such as venue hire, catering, entertainment etc all included for a lower price. If you’re planning a wedding on a budget, opting for a wedding package could be a great way to save some money, as well.

Wedding breakfast and speeches at Syrencot Wedding Venue by FionaMillsArt

Having a set budget in mind will help you stay focused on finding a space that has all the important features included at the price you can afford to pay. And remember to ask family and friends for help where they can  to cut costs, for example, someone who can sing in the ceremony or play an instrument. Or maybe you have creative people in your life who could make your wedding invites or even bake the cake!! Use the talents of your guest list!

Wedding Decor and Style ideas, teal and gold

Guest List

You should have a guest list before you start looking at wedding venues. Even if its a rough idea, because it will save you any disappointment if you find your perfect venue and discover its not going to accommodate your guest list. Especially if you’ve set your heart on it!

Whether you’re planning a huge celebration or an intimate one, you want to celebrate at a venue that is perfect for your number of guests.  If you are having a big wedding with many guests then I would suggest to find a venue that can accommodate more than the number on your list. There should be ample space for your table layout and for the guests to mingle and dance. You should also be aware that if you are having a smaller wedding and you hold it in a large a large venue  it may feel empty and lack the intimate vibe you would want for a smaller wedding. Size of venue really does matter!

Worthing Wedding Bride and Groom walking up aisle smiling

When a venue is empty it is hard to imagine how it will look when filled with tables and all your guests. If you can visit the venue when it is set up for a wedding, then it is a great idea. If this isn’t possible, ask to see photographs. Another tip is to ask for a seating plan of the room as this will give you a good idea of how much space there is.

Think about Catering

Weddings are a celebration of your marriage and also a time to eat, drink and be merry so the food served deserves your special attention. Think about whether you want internal or external caterers, as many venues will provide catering services and others will leave it entirely up to you.

Wedding catering

Also consider what type of cuisine you would like when you choose your wedding venue. If you’re going for a venue with catering included, make sure that the type of food you want is available. Sampling the food before you make any decisions is a really good idea, the last thing you want is a venue with a fantastic atmosphere but average food!

Also, ensure that the catering provides food that is suitable for all your guests, check with them to see if anyone has any dietary requirements, whether they’re vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free etc. If children are invited, then providing kids’ meals is also important.

Trust Your Gut

When making the final decision to choose your wedding venue, it’s good to think of a few final things. Look at the venue from the guests perspective. Would you enjoy a wedding as a guest at the venue? Do the staff seem friendly, focused and professional, as well as genuinely excited about your big day? The staff can actually make or break your day!

Ultimately your gut will let you know when you have found your perfect wedding venue, you will feel excited, warm and probably get that fuzzy feeling in your stomach!

If you’re lucky enough to have multiple places that fit your overall criteria and budget, pick the one that makes you FEEL the best and excited for your Big Day!

Country House Wedding Venue
I hope that this guide has given you lots of helpful advice on how to choose your wedding venue!

If you are still looking for a wedding photographer than take a look at my PORTFOLIO on my website, I would love to hear from you.

Xx Fiona Xx

 

Here us some helpful links for when you are choosing your wedding venue:

Pinterest

Wedding Mood Board

Wedding Venues in the UK

Wedding Planner

Pangdean Barn Wedding Venue

Two Woods Wedding Venue

Syrencot Wedding Venue

 

 

Alternative Autumn Wedding

Lucy & Alex’s Alternative Autumn Wedding

Lucy & Alex’s Alternative Autumn Wedding

While I’m in the final stages of completing the full set of edits, let me journey you through some highlights of their wedding day. We started this October day at Alton House Hotel where the wedding prep and ceremony was happening. It was a glorious day. You know, one of those autumnal days where the sky is blue, the leaves are starting to turn and the air is still warm!

Alternative Autumn Wedding

As some of you may know, autumn is one of my favourite seasons. You may also know that I have a penchant for black clothing and I’m a little too fascinated by skulls and other kooky things.

There is also a strong chance you will not know any of this, but you may well know Lucy and Alex, who I discovered also shared my quirkier tastes. We planned from the offset how to incorporate those black and gold deer skulls into their portraits and I couldn’t wait!!

While Lucy and her bridesmaids were getting ready, and Alex was returning from a coffee run, we took the time to take some shots of all the details available. Lucy had chosen a stunning black gown from Hannah Black Bridal in Luton, with the bridesmaids dresses sourced from Ever Pretty.

I was chatting to Lucy during the lead-up to their wedding about how she found her dress. It seems there aren’t very many places that actually stock black or alternative styled wedding dresses, so she worked hard to get this right for their wedding! We’ve also got a blog here all about finding your perfect dress!

Alternative Autumn Wedding

The bouquets were adorned with black feathers, skulls and chains as well as a spray of white flowers… So striking! Lucy’s shoes were from Demonia. Apparently they were VERY comfortable!! A win when spending the whole day on your feet. After seeing Motley Crüe a few of months previously, I was mighty envious of that jacket too!!

Alternative Autumn Wedding

Alex was wearing a Charles Gale green tweed suit and gamers dice cufflinks, which were a perfect complement to Lucy and the general theme of their day.

Alternative Autumn Wedding

Lucy and Alex exchanged gifts during their preparations. Lucy had purchased some pretty special rum for the occasion and had it delivered to Alex in a newly personalised hip flask (of course she made sure to have a flask for herself too!!) Alex had commissioned a necklace which contained images of their three cats whom were unable to attend their wedding day for obvious reasons!! Lucy was under strict instructions to open her gift before applying her makeup incase she cried…. unbelievably she resisted all watery temptations and held it together!!

Lucy’s dad came to collect her for the ceremony, but not before he had a little readjusting to his buttonhole. With the final details of ensuring Lucy’s mum’s garter was secured and boots all zipped up, all were ready for the ceremony.

Alternative Autumn Wedding

Alternative Autumn Wedding

Alternative Autumn Wedding

Lucy and Alex’s alternative autumn wedding kicked off at Alton House Hotel in their light and airy ceremony room. It was a lovely ceremony presented by a Hampshire registrar with some wise words of wisdom! I loved how the rings exchanged continued the green theme spun through the day.

Before Lucy and Alex walked back down the aisle together as husband and wife, we made sure to create a quick group shot of everyone. This is often a super time saver that is worth considering, as once that bar opens, gathering your whole congregation again can be somewhat like herding cats!!

Alternative Autumn Wedding

Alternative Autumn Wedding

While the guests journeyed to Beech Village Hall for the reception, we had planned a short interlude for some specific group portraits at the hotel, then off to an old abandoned Abbey that Lucy and Alex had found, just down the road! We went armed with smoke bombs and a host of inspiration! Here’s a peek at that time!

Alternative Autumn Wedding

Alternative Autumn Wedding

Alternative Autumn Wedding

Once at the Beech Village Hall, we were met with a “Rumception” drinks bar and a parliament of owls being handled by the guests. We won’t talk about the unwelcome deposits the birds made on a certain gown!!

With the weather so fine and warm, most of the guests found themselves mingling outside, munching on canapés while supping on rum cocktails (or from whatever concoctions were now in those hip flasks!!!) It wasn’t long before everyone was ushered inside to be seated at a decadent table display of blacks, greens and golds, including some hand-painted deer skulls set midst the flower displays.

alternative autumn wedding

alternative autumn wedding

After the meal, and with a box of smoke bombs still to play with, we gathered Lucy and Alex with their bridal party to have a quick play. This led to some others waiting in the wing for a turn and some time of hilarity while we all ran around getting engulfed in plumes of smoke! In the green at the village hall there was a play area for children…. this, however, is what seemed to keep some of the “bigger kids” entertained for a while!!

Gothic wedding

gothic alternative wedding

I loved the detailing that went into Lucy and Alex’s cake table, but what tipped it all off above that was the knife that Lucy had commissioned as a gift for Alex. Unbeknownst to her, their friend had also engraved it with key dates in the coded language used in World of Warcraft.

The evening reception continued after the cake cut with a first dance and a father/daughter dance. With a playlist full of the couple, and their guests favourite songs, plus a photo booth and continued bar, there was much more continued merriment to be had!!

alternative wedding

Alternative Autumn wedding

Alternative Autumn wedding

We had absolutely the most fun time shooting Lucy and Alex’s alternative autumn wedding, being able to sink our teeth into venues and landscapes we don’t regularly frequent, with a couple who truly chose to create a wedding day that honoured who they were and what their interests and personalities are.

I’m really looking forward to finishing the complete set of edits over the coming couple of weeks. In the meantime, if you’d like to pre-register to see Lucy and Alex’s gallery once they have received it and made it live for their family and friends, you can do so here.

Thank you so much for having us!

xX Fiona Xx

Alternative Autumn Wedding

Lucy & Alex’s Alternative Autumn Wedding

Lucy’s Dress: Hannah Black Bridal

Lucy’s Boots: Demonia

Alex’s Suit: Charles Gale

Bridesmaids Dresses: Ever Pretty

Venues: Alton House Hotel & Beech Village Hall

 

Chichester Cathedral Wedding

Chichester Cathedral Wedding | Sabrina & Luke

Chichester cathedral wedding | sabrina & Luke

Sabrina and Luke booked me for their Chichester Cathedral Wedding followed by a reception at Southdowns Manor, so when planning their engagement shoot we chose to visit the Cathedral and Bishop’s Palace Gardens to familiarise ourselves with potential shots spots on their day and make the most of the Autumnal weather at the time. Here’s a little look back at that!

engagement shoot chichester

The Preparations:

As a wedding photographer, I’m always involved at the event planning stage where the location and other details are taking precedence. I do love finding out how people met! Sabrina and Luke’s love story began in their local gym where they met and got to know each other. I think this is brilliant, and I am always in awe when people say they met at the gym, as from my own experience I’d be such a sweaty ball of mess I think I’d be hiding from public view!!

On their wedding day, Sabrina and Luke planned for a Chichester Cathedral Wedding, followed by a reception at Southdowns Manor. What a beautiful pairing of locations to have as a backdrop their day!

Sabrina and her ladies primped and prepared at the gorgeous location of 4 Canon Lane,  just behind the cathedral… the light and space within the house was just absolutely breathtaking! Perfect for capturing those small details while looking out to see the cathedral right in front of you!

Luke and the boys got themselves ready a short walk away at their home! You’ll probably notice the difference between the serenity of the ladies vs the playfulness of the gents as they prepared for their wedding!

Chichester Cathedral Wedding

Chichester Cathedral Wedding

Chichester Cathedral Wedding

As a photographer, I usually lean towards colour as my main supply of finished images, but when shooting at the cathedral and it’s grounds, I couldn’t help but feel more and more of the frames lent themselves to a black and white conversion. Sometimes it’s very easy to define whether an image should be either colour or black and white, however there are occasions when even I can’t make up my mind so I supply both versions… perhaps it’s also because I’m already considering the album layout and whether a set of images will work better than the other version!

When the girls were getting ready, for me there was a very strong sense of wanting to use monochrome. Sometimes I find it just makes the subject more impacting! The light and setting just really lent itself to this classic feel… I’m not surprised Arleta D picked that prime spot to apply Sabrina and her mum’s make up! The girls had the run of both 4 Canon Lane and an additional building to wait and prepare in which we were able to jump between while the preparations continued.

To complement the monochrome prep, I ensured that a selection of images of Luke and his Groomsmen were also provided in black and white! I love how when showing off his Dartagnan’s “Black & Gold” suit, Luke’s gang of fellas couldn’t help but get really handsy with him!! I especially like their “strut walk” through the city to arrive ready for their Chichester Cathedral Wedding, anyone else hear the soundtrack to Reservoir Dogs in their mind?

Chichester Cathedral Wedding

Chichester Cathedral Wedding

Chichester Cathedral Wedding

Chichester Cathedral Wedding

Chichester Cathedral Wedding

Chichester Cathedral Wedding

While Luke was on his way to the Cathedral ready to greet the arrival of their guests, Sabrina was still in the final throes of getting ready. With the most striking gown from Proposals in Chichester (which is now Whyte Weddings), it was hard not to feel the anticipation and excitement in the room as Mum helped Sabrina into her dress. You could feel the pride and love flowing through mum at this special moment!

Sabrina retained the reveal to her bridesmaids until she was dressed, who then helped her with the finishing touches of her veil and shoes!

Chichester Cathedral Wedding

Chichester Cathedral Wedding

Chichester Cathedral Wedding

The final stage of the bridal prep was still not done! Sabrina had yet to see her Dad…. when we were planning her day photographically, she mentioned the statement staircase at 4 Canon Lane. What better way for a father’s first look than seeing his beautiful daughter emerge from height and walk towards him down such a grand aisle?! The front door made a tidy little frame too for their first pictures together!

The pathway connecting Sabrina’s preparation venue and the cathedral was in full bloom of colour. What a sight to see them all walking down towards her guests and waiting groom whilst ensuring her dress was kept aloft and pristine before her arrival for their Chichester Cathedral Wedding.

Chichester Cathedral Wedding

Chichester Cathedral Wedding

Chichester Cathedral Wedding

Most of my weddings are shot by two of us. This serves a number of purposes. Firstly, it ensures that we don’t have to compromise between choosing a candid or more structured moment to capture. Both can happen simultaneously by either of us. My second shooters and I have worked closely together for a number of years where our communication has largely become non-verbal. This has really helped our shooting become seamless and cohesive.

Secondly, it means we are able to capture both evolving scenes from each partner. So many of my couples love to be able to see and share the experience of what the other was doing while they were busy with their own preparations.

The second shooters I use are also professional photographers themselves, and I often shoot for them too in a “second” capacity. This really helps us as professionals step away from being primarily responsible for capturing the day (as well as ensuring timings are kept to, people are where they should be etc) and helps us practice our craft with a creative freedom. It also enables us to practise our ninja skills in a variety of settings where rolling under bushes and hiding behind walls and pillars are essential moves to “get that shot”!

The point is illustrated perfectly here for this Chichester Cathedral Wedding where both perspectives in these final few moments before the ceremony are captured for the other to see.

Chichester Cathedral Wedding

Chichester Cathedral Wedding

Chichester Cathedral Wedding

Chichester Cathedral Wedding

The Ceremony:

The time has come! The Dean of Chichester Cathedral is ready and waiting with the Verger to accompany Sabrina and her Bridal Party down the long aisle towards her waiting groom. This is always the moment that gets me in the solar plexus… no matter how many weddings I shoot, I’m still a softy at heart, feeling the knot of nerves in my gut and the emotion seeping out of my eyes as both partners experience the anticipation of the ceremony about to start. I’m glad when I see my couples also feeling ALL the feels!!

The images will speak for themselves, but you can see that Sabrina and Luke chose very well with a Chichester Cathedral Wedding. With the gothic architecture, the traditional symbolism and the tall grand building, it was a ceremony fitting for all the time, planning (and pandemic re-scheduling), styling and love that was packed in that space.

The emotion was palpable, the celebration from their guests immense and the traditional aspects of their service felt perfectly sacred too. What a pleasure to be able to create images that not only show the intimacy of the ceremony, but the grandeur of the venue too.

Chichester Cathedral Wedding

Chichester Cathedral Wedding

Sussex cathedral wedding

west sussex wedding

wedding in chichester cathedral

Chichester Cathedral Wedding

Chichester Cathedral Wedding

Chichester Cathedral Wedding

Chichester Cathedral Wedding

cathedral wedding

chichester wedding

Chichester Cathedral Wedding

Chichester wedding photographer

signing the register in chichester

Chichester Cathedral Wedding

christian wedding

cathedral wedding

chichester wedding photographerChichester Cathedral Wedding

Chichester Cathedral Wedding

Chichester Cathedral Wedding

Chichester Cathedral Wedding

During the wedding planning session, Sabrina and Luke wanted to minimise the the “formal group” shots, focussing on just the immediate family and bridal party. One of the reasons for this is they wanted a more candid approach when documenting their day, but also so while their guests were mingling and being transported to Southdowns Manor for the reception which was planned to be a full on party, they could spend some quiet time together in the cloisters and cathedral grounds capturing their portraits.

Sometimes having a large number of formal shots can be time consuming, especially when guests need to be somewhere else for the next stage of the day. To minimise disruption, we often plan in the timeline the vital “formals” then structure in a list of “must have” shots which can be more candidly captured and arranged in a more relaxed way at appropriate times later during the day.

Chichester Cathedral Wedding

Chichester Cathedral Wedding

Chichester Cathedral Wedding

There is limited availability to book a Chichester Cathedral Wedding, perhaps 12 per year, so taking the opportunity for some portraits of just the newlyweds in the grounds was a must have! While waiting for Luke to see off some of the guests, Sabrina was the perfect model to show off her stunning style and poise in her finest gown.

We revisited the cloisters from the engagement shoot as well as ensuring we had a shot of the vintage car Sabrina and Luke had hired for the occasion. Scott at West Sussex Wedding Cars was as wonderful and accommodating as usual to get his 1025 Rolls Royce Phantom looking it’s best for it’s close up!

Chichester Cathedral Wedding

Chichester Cathedral Wedding

Chichester Cathedral Wedding

Chichester Cathedral Wedding

Chichester Cathedral Wedding

Chichester Cathedral Wedding

Chichester Cathedral Wedding

Chichester Cathedral Wedding

Chichester Cathedral Wedding

The Reception:

Next stop, Southdowns Manor! A firm favourite of mine, not just for its location and setting, but also the service and team that make it a joy to work at. A wedding venue that truly goes above and beyond, I can’t recommend them enough.

The guests were already being served with drinks and canapes when we arrived, a self service Pimms set up was a great idea (and one I wished I could have taken Sabrina and Luke’s invitation to partake in, were I not driving and on duty!!). While the newlyweds greeted their guests, Lee and I did the rounds capturing the candid moments and the details involved in this part of the day. From a violinist providing background music in the courtyard, to the guests getting into the social spirit, to the table details and Beauty and te Beast themed wedding cake by Foxwood. Here’s a small selection from that time…

Southdowns Manor wedding

Southdowns Manor wedding

Southdowns Manor wedding

Southdowns Manor wedding

In the 10 minutes or so needed for the Southdowns Manor staff to usher the guests in to the dining hall and find their seats, I usually take this period to take the newlyweds away from the crowd to capture a few more portraits. This serves 2 purposes… On the one hand, when you remove the main attraction, the guests are more likely to head to their next destination… this helps the serving staff immeasurably. On the other, it gives the couple a few minutes together to reconnect with each other. We’re often using long lenses at this point and asking them to just walk and talk together. Giving them some privacy and us some more candid portrait moments.

I had to include Sabrina and Luke’s “we’re done, we’re off ” moment as it made us all laugh that they could go back to their drinks ready to be welcomed into the dining room for their wedding breakfast!

Chichester Cathedral wedding

Chichester Cathedral and Southdowns Manor wedding

Southdowns Manor WeddingChichester Cathedral wedding

Southdowns Manor always provide the most scrumptious food for their guests and this wedding was no exception! With the speeches set between courses and drinks flowing freely, I think everybody thoroughly enjoyed this break in the day to refuel. With 2 best men, the speeches were very tongue in cheek, Luke took this all in his stride with laughter, even when he was presented with lingerie of his own! It was great to see the top table (and the guests) wiping away the tears of laughter!

Southdowns Manor wedding photographer

Southdowns Manor wedding photographer

Southdowns Manor wedding photographer

Southdowns Manor wedding photographer

Southdowns Manor wedding photographer

When Sabrina and Luke said they were going to bring the party, they really did! With a hefty supply of prosecco and pimms stocked up behind the bar, an extra cocktail bar as well, they and their guests were all in a great celebratory spirit! A lot of fun was had…

Here’s a small glimpse midst the cutting of the cake and the first dance!

Southdowns manor photographer

Hampshire photographer

Sussex wedding photographer

As we say our goodbyes and head off into the sunset, while the revellers continue their party, our job is not yet over. The first thing that happens is the lengthy process of ensuring all the memory cards are uploaded safely and backed up securely. The editing process is quite complex and goes through a number of stages over the next 8 weeks or so resulting in a beautiful set of images from the day.

Firstly, the couple get to view their images before they then choose which ones are for the album! Sabrina and Luke had gone for the Deluxe Collection which means they get a Duet Album. One for the main highlights, with thick pages and a high definition finish and the other a larger coffee table style book which holds the whole day in print. The great benefit to this is you don’t really have to compromise on what’s printed and what’s not. This collection also includes smaller, parent copies of the highlight album which make a great gift for those family members who have supported  you on this journey.

Sabrina and Luke also chose a number of fine art prints for their wall. All of my printed products are handmade in Italy using the finest materials and inks, using the most up to date printing technology to ensure the optimum quality, colour balance and longevity of the photographs.

Here’s a quick glimpse at their albums, I’ll save the video of the un-boxing for another time!

Graphistudio Wedding Albums

Thank you so much Sabrina and Luke for choosing us to create the memories of your beautiful day. We had the most amazing time getting to know you both better over the years of preparations (and covid) and wish you health, wealth and happiness for your future together.

xX Fiona Xx

Chichester Cathedral Wedding

SUPPLIER LIST:

Venues: Chichester Cathedral & Southdowns Manor

Dress: Proposals (now Whyte Weddings)

Suit: Dartagnan’s “Black and Gold”

Rings: Ebony

Flowers: Mundham Nursery

Cake: Foxwood

Car: West Sussex Classic Wedding Cars

MUA: Arleta D

Chichester Cathedral Wedding

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Winter wedding inspiration

Winter Wedding Inspiration

As 2022 draws to a close, I thought I’d round up a selection of images of winter wedding inspiration for those planning their 2023/24 winter weddings.

It can be a challenge when planning a winter wedding to factor in a number of components that may have a direct effect on your day. These may include: Staying warm in your outfits; navigating the shorter days and loss of natural light; styling your wedding venue and creating a theme.

Outfits: For anyone braving the cold outdoors, layering up is a must! The same applies for your outfits… Styling your outfits with removable layers is a superb idea for keeping the chill off, it also enables us to provide a variety of images, with and without the layers throughout the day!

Take a look at some images for some winter wedding inspiration for your clothing 🙂 You will notice that a fur bolero or jacket is a popular choice for keeping that winter chill off! Have you considered a colour that fits your theme too? Despite a kilt appearing to only enhance cold knees, a full outfit, jacket and socks can actually provide more warmth than expected for those gents who want to go back to their gaelic roots.

Sussex Winter Wedding

Sussex Winter Wedding

Chichester Wedding Photographer

Chichester Wedding Photographer

Southend Barns Wedding Photographer

Arundel Town Hall Wedding Photographer

Winter wedding inspiration

winter wedding inspiration

Flowers: Another factor often looked over… when sourcing flowers, it’s worth considering that going for blooms that are in season can be a more affordable option than choosing a bouquet or floral decor with items that need to be sourced from overseas. Please bare in mind that when sourcing flowers that are out of season and not native to this country, extra attention needs to be given to their storage and preparation to ensure they are fresh for your big day.

I love seeing the creativity some couples have used… you can see here in this set of images that your floral winter wedding inspiration can be out of the box! We have broches, winter blooms and foliage, colours to complement the theme, Christmas decoration inspired centrepieces etc! The possibilities are endless!!

Winter wedding inspiration

Weald & Downland Wedding

Southend Barns Wedding Photographer

Chichester wedding photographer

Styling: What about dressing your venue? Are you planning to incorporate Christmas, Narnia, or your own theme? The wonderful thing about the winter season is it is the perfect season to use the darker days to go crazy with decor and fairy lights!! You can go as subtle or as ostentatious as you like! Keeping the christmas tree in the background as a subtle reference or going in hard and make the most of it! What will be your winter wedding inspiration for your decor and venue dressing? Handmade or hired? Sometimes these aspects are down to your budget, creativity, time and energy. Some people love to spend the time hand making everything for their day, others would rather hire a company who have the tools, stock and know-how to make your vision happen in a flash. Either way, the opportunities are boundless.

Winter Wedding Inspiration

Winter wedding inspiration

Arundel Town Hall Wedding Photographer

Arundel wedding photographer

Wedding Photographer Arundel Town Hall

Sussex Winter Wedding

Weald & Downland Wedding

Weald & Downland Wedding

Chichester cathedral wedding photographer

Chichester cathedral wedding photographer

artistic Chichester Wedding Photographer

Photography: What about your portraits and group shots? It’s worth considering that if you absolutely LOVE natural light photography, then a winter wedding might not be for you as the low sun and dramatically shorter days will have a direct impact on what is able to be achieved and captured using natural light. If a winter wedding is for you, then consider hiring a photographer who is comfortable and competent in both natural light and off-camera flash & additional lighting. This will make a big difference in your finished portraits.

It’s also worth considering that your plan of the day may need to be navigated to make the most of the natural light… this will happen during the planning conversations with your photographer. to give you an example, during the summer, your planned portrait sessions may be over two or three very short sessions at appropriate parts of your day to make the most of the longer days and changing light. However, during the winter that window is shorter, so you might find yourself allowing more time between the ceremony and wedding breakfast to ensure enough time is allocated for groups and newlywed shots. All these things are worth discussing with your photographer and planning in advance.

The location of your groups and portraits is also worth thinking about… you may find yourselves making moments en-route so guests aren’t subjected to more cold. Or, taking advantage of christmassy scenes in the local area. Some couples have chosen to get re-dressed on another day and shoot their portraits without the pressure of timings and light. Whatever works for you, I hope you can find some winter wedding inspiration for your planned portraits and group shots:

Winter wedding inspiration

Winter wedding inspiration

Arundel Wedding Photographer

Christmas wedding photography

Arundel Town Hall Wedding Photographer

Arundel Town Hall Wedding Photographer

Arundel Town Hall

Arundel Town Hall Wedding Photographer

Sussex Winter Wedding

Award Winning Wedding Photographer FionaMillsArt

Southend Barns Wedding Photographer

Southend Barns Wedding Photographer

Chichester cathedral wedding photographer

Chichester cathedral wedding photographer

Chichester cathedral wedding photographer

talented Chichester cathedral wedding photographer

Chichester cathedral wedding photographer

So, in summary (no pun intended) for your winter wedding inspiration, I hope my offerings have helped!! Whatever the season you choose to wed, you can make it your own! With a little foresight and planning you can also keep within your budget and have the perfect wedding that you’ve dreamed of!

I’ll add a list of suppliers who have also featured in the images above, incase you need some sign-posting for your day 🙂

xX Fiona Xx

 

Dresses:

www.whyteweddings.com

https://trulygorgeous.co.uk/#/

www.bijoubridal.co.uk

Suits:

www.astares.co.uk

https://www.greyssuithire.co.uk/

https://www.moss.co.uk/

Flowers:

www.flowers4worthing.co.uk

https://www.janewalkerforgeflowers.co.uk/

https://www.earthseedtobloom.co.uk/

Venues:

www.wealddown.co.uk/commercial/weddings

www.southendbarns.co.uk

https://www.arundeltownhall.com/

www.norfolkarmsarundel.com/weddings/

www.chichestercathedral.org.uk/venue/vicars-hall

Stylists:

www.littleeventscompany.co.uk/

https://www.tohaveandtohireweddings.com/