For many of my couples planning Spring and Summer weddings in Sussex, Surrey or Hampshire, the most important factor in choosing their venue is access to the big outdoors. Whether a barn wedding in the stunning, natural setting of the South Downs, or a marquee wedding opening out onto rural fields, beautiful views and celebrating al fresco are a big draw.
Michelle and Dane chose their venue for exactly those reasons. Michelle is a keen horse-rider and professional dog walker - glamourous though she looked in her beautiful fitted wedding dress (which she found on ebay for a song and had made to measure perfectly by Michelle's Mum, a seamstress), she normally lives in jeans and muddy boots, and loves nothing more than to be outside in nature. The couple chose a religious wedding ceremony at St James The Less church in Lancing, West Sussex, and for their celebrations, were lucky to be offered the use of a glorious, privately-owned barn set amongst stunning Sussex countryside in the South Downs. To ensure they could accommodate their 80-odd guests undercover, they hired an attractive tipi marquee (Tentstyle), open on one side, and filled it with bunting, flowers and vintage china. But, aside from a classic, fully working American dukebox, their main 'props' were two vintage American cars - a yellow & white Zodiac and a shiny red pick-up - both lovingly restored to perfection by their owner, Michelle's father.
The couple wanted beautiful but natural images that reflected their day and their personalities. I'm happy to say that when we met, they fell in love with my relaxed, story-telling style of wedding photography and we knew immediately that we were a great match.
On the day itself - in August last year - the bride and groom were blessed with glorious warm sunshine and a stunning full moon as dusk settled. Delicious pies were served by local catering company, Petal & Feast, who also made the beautiful bouquets and buttonholes (the company also caters and manages Wedding bookings at The Secret Barn - another rustic barn in West Sussex, with stunning natural surroundings - you can see an alternative wedding at the Secret Barn by clicking here).
Guests were entertained with bubbles, hula-hoops, games and more crazy costume props that I've ever seen at a wedding! And after sunset, the packed dance floor partied to the sounds of the extremely talented multi-piece wedding and party band, Pandora's Jukebox.
The day was exactly as the couple had planned, which, if I had to sum it up in a single word, would be FUN!
Planning a relaxed, outdoor wedding? Please do get in touch - I'd love to hear all your plans.
Venue: a private barn in West Sussex. A similar West Sussex venue is The Secret Barn
Catering: Petal & Feast
Bouquets and buttonholes: Also Petal & Feast
Band: Pandora's Dukebox