I first met Annabelle at Belles Events' Wedding Fair at the Worthing Dome. She excitedly told me about her fabulous knee-length wedding dress - perfect for the Rock 'n' Roll theme she and her fiancé, Rob, had planned for their winter wedding at the same venue. Even as she spoke - some months before they actually booked me(!) - I had in my head the image of her twirling in that dress for their first dance. By the time that day came, almost a year later, I absolutely had to get that shot! Disco lights can be wonderfully atmospheric, but pink and yellow splodges on a bride's face aren't always the most flattering, and with the image I'd planned firmly in my mind, I wanted to leave as little to chance as possible. So I set up two lights at either side of the dance floor, the first to beautifully light the couple while retaining the atmosphere of the room; the second to reduce any shadows on the couple's faces from their movements. Annabelle and Rob absolutely loved it and it remains one of my favourites.
It was a February wedding, with the ceremony planned for 4pm. Knowing it would quickly be dark, the couple strung fairy lights around the Dome's stunning whispering gallery, and lit candles in an eclectic assortment of glass jars around the 360 degree window ledges. Their rock 'n' roll theme was brought alive by splashes of red - Rob's polka dot tie and pocket handkerchief, Annabelle's ballet pumps, balloons, bunting and bows tied around the candle jars. The couple's two children were appropriately themed too - their son with a red polka dot bowtie, and daughter in a gorgeous red dress.
I met up with Annabelle and her Mum at the nearby Ardington Hotel to capture those special moments of mother and daughter preparation before the ceremony. Annabelle's fitting accessories included a fabulous 50's style handbag and shoes, plus a white feather headpiece to enhance the rock 'n' roll curls created by Amanda Samain - one half of the fab wedding duo Not Just For Hire. Even the nerve-calming glass of Martini felt in keeping with the theme of the day!
I dashed the 100 metres or to The Dome, keen to capture guests arriving before the bride arrived. In the event, bad traffic had delayed several guests, and the ceremony started later than planned, but the Dome's Whispering Gallery simply became more atmospheric as dusk fell, with stunning views of Worthing Pier lit up after dark.
The couple's son had a very important job to do as ring bearer...
The ceremony felt relaxed and happy, just as Annabelle and Rob had wanted, and I loved capturing their natural expressions in such a beautiful setting.
Annabelle and Rob wanted a relaxed style of photography too, ideal for my story-telling style, so a fun group shot from the Whispering Gallery and a few twirls of Annabelle's amazing dress was as formal as it got. There was no shortage of opportunity for great candid shots of friends and relatives laughing at the speeches and rocking out to Elvis.
I defy anyone to think that winter weddings are cold and dull after viewing Annabelle and Rob's fabulous evening at The Worthing Dome! Definitely a venue that has wonderful light and atmosphere in all seasons, and one where I'm proud to be the preferred photographer.
In fact, as soon as I've written this blog, I'm off to clean my lenses in preparation for a return to the Dome tomorrow, where Helen and Ian will be enjoying a warm and sunny wedding, if weather reports are to be believed. Complete with a blues band too - can't wait!