Let me start by saying Happy New Year to you all! It's been a fantastic year of weddings for me - 20 beautiful brides, 16 awesome grooms, and 16 venues between them! I've sewed on buttons, stuck lucky six-pence pieces inside stilettos, popped out for bubbly at 8 am and searched for lost speeches! I've pinned on buttonholes, fed toddlers, and even bravely donned a bikini for a beach wedding (I'm the wrong side of 40 with 2 kids, but vanity goes out of the window when armed with a waterproof camera and two awesome brides!) As a West Sussex based wedding photographer, most of my weddings are local to Sussex, but in 2015 I also laughed and cried my way through ceremonies and speeches in Hampshire, Wiltshire and Surrey, plus one very special trip to Cornwall (yes, that one). I also gained my Licentiate qualification with the prestigious Master Photographers Association, a goal that was really important to me.
My personal life was pretty eventful too: for a start, my son became a teenager. Big time. To his credit, he also won bronze at the British Jiu-Jitsu championships - a very proud Mum moment. And I was equally proud when my 11 year old daughter announced that she wanted to become an actress then landed herself an - albeit tiny! - part in the new Huntsman film. My happiness for her was slightly dampened by the reality of 5.00 am wake up calls to drive her to Pinewood Studios, not least when she broke her foot doing her other passion - gymnastics - and determinedly showed up to the final days of filming on crutches. What with the broken foot and my Dad's emergency triple-heart bypass, I spent a great deal of time in Worthing and Brighton hospitals and although things like blogging fell off the agenda, I was extremely thankful to be self-employed and able to devote the time to my family. Happily my amazing husband took over the kitchen, and I had the luxury of arriving home at all hours to a wonderful meal and happy - or at least, well fed - children. I'm pleased to report that Dad's now back on the mountain bike, and after a relaxed and happy family Christmas, I'm also raring to go, and looking forward to my first wedding of 2016 at the stunning Long Furlong Barn in Worthing in three weeks' time.
What better way to start the year than with a look back at all the amazing couples whose weddings I photographed in the past 12 months. I actually found it incredibly difficult to pick out just one photo from each, so I chose images that best represent my style of wedding photography: relaxed, natural images of my couples which capture their personalities and showcase the venues they've chosen for their special day. I really get to know my couples and so wanted a say a few words about each one to accompany the image. If you're reading this as someone looking for a wedding photographer, this will hopefully give you some insight into my personality too, and how I approach wedding photography. I've featured half of the weddings here, and the remaining half will be introduced on next week's blog.
Annabelle & Rob: Worthing Dome
My year kicked off in style at Annabelle and Rob's fab rock'n'roll style wedding at the Worthing Dome in February. With the ceremony taking place at dusk, The Dome's atrium was beautifully lit with fairy lights and candles, and decorated with splashes of red in keeping with the couple's accessories - This image of their first dance was one of my favourite shots of the day. You can see more images from their wedding by clicking here.
Lauren & Dan: Royal Military Chapel, Sandhurst and Lythe Hill Hotel, Haselmere
Talented musicians Lauren and Dan wanted a discreet photographer presence and candid, natural images of their day - this photo of them emerging from the stunning Royal Military Chapel at Sandhurst perfectly captured their happiness following a very special ceremony. Their colleagues provided brass instrumental accompaniment to the service and the musical theme was cleverly continued at Lythe Hill Hotel with potted plants wrapped in scores of their favourite classical pieces. A beautiful wedding that really reflected Lauren and Dan's passion.
Sophie & Ben: St Nicholas Church, Crawley and Tulley's Farm
When I first met Sophie she was extremely nervous at the prospect of being photographed on her wedding day, and Ben wasn't too keen either! I'm so happy that I was able to reassure them and gain their trust - they both really enjoyed their day, and were even up for some naturally posed images of the two of them - such as this one of Sophie looking happy and radiant in Pearl, the campervan, and later with off-camera lighting as the sun set over Tulley's Farm. You can read their lovely testimonial about me here!
Hannah & Steve: Bartholomew Barn, Kirdford
Hannah and Steve's day started with rain and ended with glorious sunshine. Hannah wasn't fazed by the rain or the camera (or in fact anything - a very relaxed bride!) and we captured some wonderful candid photos as they exited Bartholomew Barn under umbrellas following their ceremony. The rain stopped just in time for some happy group and couple photographs, shot from across the venue's beautiful pond to make the most of the stunning backdrop and reflections. But I particularly love this natural image of Hannah and Steve just walking and talking as the sun set and enjoying some quiet time away from guests as husband and wife. Please click here for a short video with more images from their day.
Kathryn & Shelley: Pangdean Barn, Brighton
When I first met Kathryn and Shelley at a wedding fair, they told me a friend would be photographing their wedding. But they were so lovely, we chatted for ages anyway and I found out all about the day they had planned. I was over the moon when a few weeks' later they called to ask if I'd photograph their day so their friend could enjoy being their guest. In the event, their friend, Hannah, captured guests arriving while I photographed each bride separately with their fathers, on The Brighton Grand's magnificent staircase. In November, I was invited to Kathryn and Shelley's home for a lovely reunion of everyone who helped make their wedding special - and we've planned to meet up again for dinner with the husband soon!
Helen & Ian: Worthing Dome
I returned to the magnificent Worthing Dome in July for Helen and Ian's special day. As the sun set and the light softened, the couple headed onto the beach for a little confetti throwing, following by a quiet stroll on Worthing Pier. Helen's a little camera shy, but I gently suggested a few spots where they could stand and share a little time away from guests while I captured the scene. I was horrified to hear that the couple were burgled recently and their wedding images stolen. An awful thing to happen, but hopefully some consolation that in the digital era, images are easily replaced, and I was able to get a duplicate personalised USB to them in time for Christmas.
Megan & Lee: St Ann's Church, HM Dockyard Portsmouth, and Explosion Museum, Gosport
I can't wait to retell Megan & Lee's story through the wedding album they've purchased - I started out at Megan's home in Gosport, then travelled by boat with the wedding party across The Solent to Portsmouth. The couple exited the church to a military sword salute before heading onto the boat with guests, bound for Explosion museum. The wind did dramatic things to Megan's amazing veil and quite a few hats (of which more in an upcoming blog devoted to black & white). But alongside the candids, the couple were up for a few naturally posed photos, so we headed out at sunset with a couple of off-camera lights to make the most of their surroundings and Megan's gorgeous clam-shell shaped dress. This is one of Megan's favourites.
Michelle & Dane: St James The Less, Lancing and Sweet Hill Farm (private venue), Steyning
A keen horse rider and professional dog walker, Michelle is an outdoor girl, through and through! She had planned their outdoor, festival-style wedding to a 'T' - complete with vintage duke box, an awesome band (Pandora's Jukebox) and not one, but two classic American vintage cars - including this gorgeous red pick-up - lovingly restored by her dad in time for the big day. Earlier in the day I'd positioned their guests in and around the truck for some fun and informal group photos, and in the evening I waited until the light was just right to capture the couple enjoying some time (almost!) alone as husband and wife.
Portsmouth College might not sound like an obvious wedding reception venue - but add in a cool tipi by Tentario, Caravanilla icecream, a photobooth and a bouncy castle, and you have the perfect ingredients for a relaxed summer wedding! For the group photos I seated the guests informally on haybales in front of the marquee, which made for the perfect backdrop for a casual wedding. For this particular shot, I lit the dancefloor inside the tent and the couple with off-camera flash as the setting sun disappeared behind the clouds, creating a relaxed portrait of Kerry and Lee against dramatic skies.
Whether you've skimmed through the images or read my couples' stories in full, I hope you've enjoyed this little taster of my first 2015 weddings. I'll be bringing you the remaining weddings next week! I only do 20 full day weddings each year, so if you love my style of photography and would like to check my availability for 2016 or 2017, please contact me here!
Thanks for visiting,