Wow! What a year it's been! My 2016 Wedding Season kicked on in style with Ellie & Jamie's beautiful and romantic winter Wedding in January, and ended with Josie & Paul's awesome fun New Year's Eve wedding. It's certainly been an amazing season! Both my first and last weddings of the year were at stunning Long Furlong Barn in West Sussex, and this year has also seen me getting creative at several stunning Sussex wedding venues new to me, including Worthing Pier, Cissbury, The Ravenswood and Hurst College. I was also happy to return to two of my favourite Sussex barns, Bartholomew Barn and Pangdean Old Barn.
My lovely couples have plied me with sloe gin, homemade jam, candles and sweets a plenty! I've photographed the most incredible cakes (Choccywoccydoodah anyone?), ridden on a golf cart, eaten amazing food and enjoyed fantastic live music. I broke three cheap hotel needles sewing a bride into her boned wedding gown from top to bottom when the zip stuck (amazingly, we were only around half an hour late for the ceremony, although my fingers were a little the worse for wear!) I also broke a camera lens and several umbrellas! But despite the little mishaps, I had so much fun!
I looked forward to each and every one of those 22 weddings and none disappointed. Why? Because whilst every wedding is different, what they have in common is that at their core, they're all about people and relationships. And that's where my real passion lies - in observing and capturing the little moments and exchanges between people. I've laughed and cried along with the guests and photographed what I felt with my heart. When I catch myself smiling as I edit, I know I've captured the magic of the day and the true personalities of people through their emotions. And for me, that's what contemporary wedding photography is all about. Yes, I'm fortunate to photograph weddings in stunning venues set in the Sussex Downs or by the coast, and take pride in creating beautiful scenic photos for my couples to cherish. But without capturing the spontaneous laughter, the tears, and the crazy stuff that people do at weddings, it would lack the magic. A beautiful and stylish shoot, but devoid of all the memories that make a wedding personal and special.
I've met up with each and every one of my 2016 wedding couples to hand over their images in person. (Well, not quite - just my lovely New Year's Eve couple to go as I write...not long now guys!) And received the most amazing feedback. And that's what inspires me to continually push myself, to experiment and to take my photography to the next level. I have enjoyed working with an exceptional multi-award-winning photographer and mentor this year, Simon John, whose accolades include BIPP Wedding Photographer of The Year and 10 Kodak Gold Awards for Excellence in Portraiture. With Simon's support, I aspire to acheiving my Associate qualification with the Master Photographers' Association (I am currently qualified to Licentiate level), although I aspire to achieving a better work-life balance more, so I'm not setting any deadlines for that one right now!
As soon as I've published this blog, I'll be packing for my next learning experience - a week with PTO (Photography Training Overseas), an organisation which is celebrating its 30 year anniversary in Cuba next week. And even better, my husband will be joining me for a second week (that's the work-life balance sorted for February then!) So I'll leave you to get to know my couples a little...
View this wedding in full: Ellie & Jamie's Fairy-Tale Winter Wedding at Long Furlong Barn
The scenery at Long Furlong Barn is stunning year round with it's beautiful South Downs backdrop and natural wood fences. Given the shorter hours of daylight, Ellie, Jamie and I took some time away from their guests immediately after their church service to make the most of the scenery before the wedding breakfast. You can read Ellie & Jamie's lovely review of my work, along with other testimonials here!
Jo & Spencer's Worthing Dome WeddingAlternative wedding at the Worthing Dome by Wedding Photographer Jenny Rutterford
Worthing Dome's quirky, historic interior is perfect for alternative weddings. Jo and Spencer wanted purely candid photography for their relaxed and informal wedding, and I enjoyed capturing many happy and emotional moments, including this one, taken just as the registrar pronounced them man and wife.
Sarah & Pat's Pangdean Old Barn WeddingWedding at Pangdean Old Barn, Brighton. Image by Pangdean and Brighton wedding photographer, Jenny Rutterford Photography
View this wedding in full: Sarah & Pat's Perfect Pangdean Barn Wedding
I was so happy to return to Pangdean Old Barn in March for Sarah's wedding to Pat. Sarah had chosen several of her wedding suppliers from local networking group, Mumpreneurs, including myself and Independent Celebrant, Claire Bradford of Creating Ceremony This was Claire's first wedding since becoming a celebrant and the ceremony couldn't have been more meaningful or personal to the couple. I'm happy to be working with her again this summer at Cissbury Barns.
Hannah & Paul's Bartholomew Barn WeddingBartholomew Barn Weddings, West Sussex. Image by Bartholomew Barn Wedding Photographer, Jenny Rutterford Photography
View this wedding in full: Hannah & Paul's Easter Wedding at Bartholomew Barn
The weather certainly didn't spoil Hannah & Paul's romantic day at Bartholomew Barn, and we used it to our advantage for some cracking back-lit rain shots after dark! Hannah also had the most amazing wedding shoes which you can see by clicking on the blog link below the image.
Carly & Mark Shoreham-by-Sea WeddingShoreham-by-Sea Wedding Photographer, West Sussex Wedding Photographer
View this wedding in full: A Beautiful Wedding in my home town of Shoreham-by-Sea
March was a popular month for me in 2016! The last of my three March weddings was in my home town of Shoreham-by-Sea, with a beautiful traditional ceremony at St Mary de Haura parish church, followed by a reception at La Galleria Italian restaurant. Carly and Mark wanted purely documentary photographic coverage, but there was certainly no shortage of lovely moments to capture, including some very emotional speeches!
Louise & Amos Brighton WeddingBrighton Town Hall Wedding by Jenny Rutterford Photography
View this wedding in full: Fun, Relaxed & Happy: Louise & Amos' Perfect Brighton Wedding
Louise and Amos certainly win my laid back couple of the year award! Louise's son played a starring role in their relaxed, intimate wedding at Brighton Town Hall, with around 20 guests. The great weather gave us plenty of opportunity to capture some natural couple photos as we strolled along Brighton beach front. Then into a taxi to Shoreham, where the guests were enjoying the sunshine with bubbly at Shoreham's Beach House restaurant. If you want to see the kind of photographic coverage you can get for three hours, please click the blog link below the image!
Lily & Matt's Hotel Du Vin Brighton WeddingBrighton Wedding by award-winning Sussex wedding photographer, Jenny Rutterford Photography
I returned to Brighton Town Hall later in May for Lily's and Matt's wedding ceremony, happily with more sunshine for the couple photos they wanted on the beach. The couple also wanted three-hour coverage which this time continued at Brighton's Hotel Du Vin, where I captured plenty of candid images of their family and friends before leaving them to enjoy their wedding breakfast.
Jodie & Sam's Hurst College WeddingSummer wedding at Hurst College, Hurstpierpoint, West Sussex. By Hurst Wedding Photographer, Jenny Rutterford
View this wedding in full: Jodie & Sam's stunning Hurst College Wedding
Jodie and Sam's wedding was my first time at Hurst (Hurstpierpoint) College, and I would love to return! The chapel is absolutely stunning and set in a picturesque courtyard which had plenty of space to capture candid image of the couple's 150 or so guests enjoying themselves. It may be a college canteen, but the wedding breakfast room was breathtaking, with beautiful window light and candles, transforming into a huge dance floor which heaved to the sounds of live band, Oomphf.
Becky & Patrick's Worthing Pier WeddingSummer Wedding at Worthing Pier's Southern Pavillion. By Worthing Pier Wedding Photographer Jenny Rutterford
My second 'new' wedding venue of 2016 was Worthing Pier's Southern Pavilion. Come rain or shine, Becky and Patrick wanted their wedding images to showcase the sea, and were hoping for drama! They certainly had it, with storm clouds a plenty and a rumble of thunder midway through the ceremony. Rain quickly gave way to clearer skies for some fab couple photos along the Pier, and a beautiful evening sunset. I've yet to blog this wedding, but if you're local to Worthing, head into the Southern Pavilion for a peek at their showcase wedding album.
Sue & Dan's Mercure Maidstone WeddingSummer wedding outdoors at the Mercure Hotel near Maidstone, Kent. By Sussex and Kent wedding photographer Jenny Rutterford Photography
July took me over to The Mercure Hotel near Maidstone in Kent. Lush green grounds and a gazebo with wedding licence made for a truly lovely outdoor ceremony. I was particularly glad of the peaceful green setting after the stressful half-hour before, when the zip on Sue's gorgeous boned wedding gown got stuck half way up, and I swapped my camera for a needle and thread (I've since invested in a sewing kit which lives permanently in my camera bag!) I'm happy to say the dress stayed put and Sue laughed about it for the rest of her day.
Sarah & Matt's Ravenswood WeddingSummer wedding at The Ravenswood, Sharpthorne in West Sussex. Stunning wedding photography by Sussex based Jenny Rutterford Photography
Another stunning venue worth checking out if you're West Sussex based and at that stage in the planning, is The Ravenswood in Sharpthorne. Having plenty of gorgeous couple photos was really important to Sarah and Matt, and we checked out the venue grounds together to earmark the best locations ahead of the day. The 20 acres of landscaping included a lake with boathouse, where I set up some lights, then headed the other side of the lake to capture some very special and unique images. I'll certainly be blogging this wedding before too long!
So that's the first half of my 2016 in weddings! I'll be blogging my August to December wedding couples soon, so watch this space! Now heading off for my first pre-wedding shoot of the year (it's 0 degrees outside, and we're headed to the beach - don't worry Chris and Bryony, I'll be going for lots of romantic cuddling up close images!)
Thinking you might like to be one of my couples for 2017 or 2018? Do get in touch - I'd love to hear from you!