Normally I arrive to photograph a wedding as a relative stranger. I've got to know the bride and groom from our pre-wedding meetings and engagement shoot. And I may know the wedding co-ordinator and caterers if it's a venue I've photographed at before. But with so many different wedding venues in Sussex and neighbouring counties, and hundreds of registrars, florists, make-up artists, videographers, DJs and cake-makers, it's rare I meet the same people twice.
But this wedding was different. Sarah owns a successful Brighton-based business, Let's Cook At Home. And like many local business owners I know, she's an active member of The Mumpreneurs Networking Club. If you don't know what that is, I'll tell you my story to explain. Regular readers of my blog will know that I started my photography business in America. I lived in Miami for a little over five years with the hubby and kids, and on our return to the UK, had a great wedding portfolio, but no clients! The fantastic word-of-mouth recommendations I'd managed to build in Florida weren't hugely useful the other side of the pond, so I started afresh.
Being largely desk-bound as I re-built the business, cabin-fever set in and I started talking to the cat a little more than was probably healthy. Cue Mumpreneurs. I can't remember exactly where I first heard of it, probably Facebook, but the idea of meeting up with a group of other Mums who ran their own small businesses was suddenly appealing, even through I'd never networked before and didn't really know why I should. So when I dug a little deeper and found a group in my home town of Shoreham, I decided to be brave and go along. There were a few things I wasn't expecting, like the fact that Mumpreneurs welcomed not only all women, regardless of whether or not they had children, but also men! But I enjoyed the first meeting, and three and a bit years on, still enjoy being a member.
Anyway, back to Sarah. On her engagement to Pat, instead of trawling through bridal magazines, wedding blogs or chancing on Google, she approached individuals she'd met through her networking meetings. Over the years, Sarah had got to know many people in the wedding industry, their skills and personalities, and used that knowledge to hand-pick the perfect team for her wedding to Pat. Sarah and I had met often in the Shoreham and Worthing Mumpreneurs groups, and had further got to know each other through working together - Sarah had made the most amazing personalised cake for my parents' 70th, and I'd given Sarah DSLR camera tuition. So when she asked me if I'd photograph her wedding, I was over the moon!
Sarah & Pat's Pangdean Barn WeddingAll their wedding suppliers were local contacts of the Bride, Sarah.
Sarah chose her wedding suppliers from The Mumpreneurs Networking Club and other local contacts
And I was even more excited to find out that a whole host of other local Mumpreneur members would be involved: Claire, who had recently embarked on a new career path as a celebrant with her business Creating Ceremony, worked with the couple to create a truly personal and unique ceremony; Carron of Dymond Jewellery made stunning pieces for the big day; Evelyn, of Chocadyllic made one of her fabulous (and very delicious!) chocolate creations; Darren of Rainbow Carpets (one of the Mumpreneur men I mentioned earlier!) proved he does more than supply carpets with his suberb DJing skills; and Stef Sale made Sarah look a million dollars with her talents in hair and make up. And although not a mumpreneur, but rather a contact Sarah met through her baking group, I have to give Sarah's superb florist Penny Blake a mention too. The bouquets and centrepieces were stunning. You can check out all their talents in the images below. Finally Mi, videographer, mumprenuer and owner of True North Vision even captured some footage of me in action - watch this space...!
So from the bridal preparations through to the end of the night, it felt like I was among friends. Sarah and Pat honestly did not stop smiling the whole day and told me afterwards it had been the perfect day. And that meant absolutely everything to me and all the other people who played a part in making their day so special.
We are absolutely thrilled with our wonderful set of wedding photos, they capture our day perfectly. Jenny was so calm and unobtrusive,working incredibly hard to record the tears, laughter, sleeping children, crazy dancing and all the special moments throughout the day. She had even looked up the time of the sunset resulting in some amazing shots.
As neither of us are keen on having our photo taken we found that the engagement shoot was a great way for us to get to know Jenny and feel relaxed in front of the camera. All our family and friends have commented on how lovely our photos are and we highly recommend Jenny as a fantastic wedding photographer.
Thank you Jenny for a set of photos that we will always treasure.
Sarah and Pat
Sarah & Pat's Pangdean Barn WeddingClaire Bradford - a celebrant and owner ofCreating Ceremony
Want to find out more about any of the wedding suppliers I've mentioned? Just click on the links in the text above or ask me for more info. Having seen them in action, I'd recommend each and everyone of them in a heartbeat. And Pangdean's one of my favourite Brighton venues too - both for its barn and grounds, and also for its exceptional catering and service.
I hope you've enjoyed this peek into Sarah & Pat's day and if you're a small business owner, you might want to check out your local Mumpreneur group too!