One of the things I love most about being a Sussex wedding photographer is the huge variety of picturesque venues I get to work in - from historical buildings and country manors, to marquees and barns. From rustic to luxurious, and quirky to sophisticated. My wedding season (if you can call it a season when November and December have been almost as busy as July and August) usually encompasses a good mix of the familiar and the new. Whilst I love revisiting a venue I've photographed at before, I always make sure I leave dates open for new venues, whether new just to me, or recently launched as wedding venues, such as Brookfield Barn or Cissbury Barns, or stunning Little Thakenham. Why? Because my creativity is sparked by the unfamiliar, giving me fresh ideas and inspiration.
So I was excited when Jodie and Sam booked me for their Hurst College Wedding last summer - a venue I'd often driven past but never had a wedding enquiry for. Or at least, not one for a date I still had available. (I turned away a couple yesterday who are getting married at London Zoo - sadly I can't be in two places at once, although I was rather gutted). Anyway, back to Hurst College, or Hurstpierpoint College to give it its full name. As always with venues that are new to me, I visited it beforehand to get the lay of the land, to meet with Father Jeremy and suss out parking. SatNav's a godsend to us wedding photographers - I can photograph at 3 or 4 different locations during a single wedding - but I've learnt not to rely on it exclusively in the midst of the Sussex Downs. Most of my venues fall under the "address doesn't exist, navigate to the middle of the postcode range?" prompt given by my SatNav, which is way too scary for me to rely on when I'm leaving the bride's house in a hurry to get to the ceremony before she does. Bearing in mind I have to park, often at some distance, and then get my equipment sorted, while the bride just rocks up outside the venue, the timing needs military precision. I do have photographer friends who ride scooters to weddings, cameras hanging off their person as they go, but it sounds a little scary to me. I think I'll stick with the stress of parking.
Happily there are no parking nightmares at Hurst College, which has its own chapel and courtyard and plenty of car parking spaces. Jodie had rented a gorgeous B&B, Little Turrets, not far from the venue for her bridal preparations, which I also checked out beforehand and we tasked the driver of their vintage Rolls to find some local fields for the natural looking couple photos that Jodie and Sam wanted. Happily their June wedding was warm and dry and the 120+ guests were able to mingle in Hurst's beautiful courtyard, leaving me free to wander around and take plenty of my signature style candids with my favourite outdoor wedding lens (a 70-200mm f/2.8, for the interest of my photographer readers). Often I love venues more for their outdoor than indoor space, but Hurst college was just as photogenic inside, with both the chapel and the reception area flooded with natural light and filled with stunning floral and candle displays from local florist Belinda at Chez Fleur.
A delicious wedding breakfast laid on by Imogen Tyler caterers was followed by a Hog Roast in the evening and entertainment by Brighton-based funk band, Oomphf, who had everyone up on the dance floor. Before leaving, I set up some lights outside to create some romantic, atmospheric images of Jodie and Sam in the chapel doorway and courtyard, which, although taken twelve hours after my first image of the day, ended up being among my favourites. Being inspired by my surroundings certainly keeps the adrenaline pumping!
And now for the important part - the story of Jodie and Sam's day as told through my images. Enjoy!
Recently engaged and looking for venue inspiration? Scroll through my blog posts to find lots of real wedding examples! And whether you opt for one of my regular venues, or somewhere not currently on my radar, I'd love to hear from you! You can get in touch to check my availability by clicking here.
Until next time,