West Sussex Winter Wedding | Emma & John
After a break from blog writing for a while, I thought it was about time I played catch up with what I’ve been shooting. First up is the West Sussex Winter Wedding of Emma and John. This is a massively personal blog for me to write for many reasons. Firstly, it’s down to Emma, the beautiful bride! She is a really close friend of mine who moved into our home in 2009 until 2017, becoming as close as a family member to my family. Despite now marrying her off, she’s still a sister from another mista!
The first thing we do once I’ve sealed the deal as your wedding photographer is we book in a pre-wedding shoot! Emma and John were no exception. We took a stroll round Hotham Park during the golden hour, hung out, chatted and got comfy in front of the camera! It’s such a wonderful time to capture the joy of the engagement period, a time often spent rushing and planning. Let’s honour it, and document it while also helping you feel less camera shy!
So, Emma being very close, was caught in the quandary of having me as her bridesmaid or photographer! We decided to go for it and try being both (in secret I was quite bricking it, but then I tried to convince myself that as this is my profession, of course I can handle it haha!!). The beauty of this is that I got to hang out with Emma wedding dress shopping, chatting about plans etc! I feel rather proud that I can lay a claim on spotting her gown first at Bijou Bridal Boutique in Barnham! Emma got ready at my home (which was also hers for many years) and it felt soooo lovely! The rest of her bridal party were either friends or family, their nephews were page boys and my daughters, flower girls. It was a fun morning, a gaggle of girls getting ready, enjoying the prep time together! I feel I got the best of both worlds… getting ready with the gang and shooting it simultaneously, curling the hair of some bridesmaids while thrusting my camera to the florist to take a shot with me in it!
Emma and John chose the most gorgeous colour palate for their West Sussex Winter Wedding. Deep reds, mink and white offset with evergreen foliage. Emma gave her bridesmaids a colour palate and asked us to choose our own style of dress from Asos, although her sister Laura found the most exquisite Karen Millen dress that no one could have turned down! John and his groomsmen wore suits from Marks & Spencer.
Arriving in a striking gold VW Camper van, the ceremony was held at Opengate church in Bognor Regis. Again, keeping with the personalised day, Emma’s father Graham was the pastor of this church up until a recent move. He had the honour of walking his daughter down the aisle before turning around to conduct the service, marrying them! I loved the intricacies that went into the planning of how we were all going to “aisle walk”. I snuck down with my flowers in hand and my cameras strapped on before the music started, turning to shoot the rest of the bridal party! My biggest fear…. high heels and a long dress, followed by the paranoia that my own kids would do something crazy at their turn to walk haha!! Seeing John and his uncontained, joyful emotion as Emma was preceded down the aisle was just lovely. Very emotional to watch as you see someone you love preparing for one of the biggest days of their life!
Their faith being a major part of their life, John and Emma kicked off the service with worship. Sophia, one of the bridesmaids got up to join the band as they sung through the first part of the ceremony. The worship was lead by the Push Community, a community of Christian singers and songwriters that Emma was a part of, set up by my late husband Tom (you see, this really was becoming a very very personalised wedding!) And a cheeky behind-the-scenes shot of me taken by my lovely friend Toby, who also helped press the trigger when I was in the group shots! It was a service filled with love and joy!
It was so beautiful to watch Emma and John be married by her Dad. A wedding ceremony is a brilliant thing at the best of times, but it really isn’t every day you get to something where so many are intimately involved. The delicious cake that was cut before their first dance was made by her other very talented bridesmaid, Charlene!
Emma and John flipped their wedding day upside down! After the ceremony and a short time for some family portraits the party kicked off with a hog roast by Great Big Pig and an early disco with Nick, supplied by Toast Functions. Quite considerately, Emma realised that as many of her guests would be there with young children, so instead of many having to go home or find sitters, they went for a relaxed and early finish. A small group of us headed to Bailiffscourt Hotel for an intimate Wedding Breakfast (and a conveniently beautiful place for John and Emma to spend their wedding night!). It was all decked out with Christmas trees and fairy lights, a perfect West Sussex Winter Wedding venue!
Due to the close timings and light on their wedding day (a factor that is necessary to consider with a West Sussex Winter Wedding) we had planned in advance to focus on their newlywed portraits after their sunny honeymoon in the Maldives! In homage to the beach we went down to the Witterings on a cold, but dry day. Armed with wellington boots, a sherpa blanket, a flask of coffee and some Prosecco we got some beautiful portraits of the two of them. A couple of which even netted me some prestigious awards! Not bad for multitasking as a bridesmaid and photographer!
I’m so so very glad to have been a part of their day (and life in general). It is an honour that my family have been able to do life with them in so many ways. There is now a very cute addition to their family, by way of an adorable little boy called Finn…. I’m sure you will see more posts with him included in the future!
Thank you so much Emma and John for trusting me to multitask so massively! It really was a huge honour!
FionaMillsArt | West Sussex Winter Wedding