Hello and welcome to my blog! In this latest post I'm telling the story of Clair and René's intimate Brighton wedding, a wonderful August day shared with just 20 close family members - including the couple's two young children and five of their little cousins and friends.
Couples opt for smaller weddings for many reasons - some are keen to keep costs down, some would rather have fewer guests but at a luxury destination, and others simply want a relaxed family affair with the minimum of stress and organisation. The current Clovid-19 pandemic adds a further reason; with no one knowing quite when and how weddings will resume, it makes sense for newly engaged couples to consider a more intimate gathering if they're keen to get married sooner rather than later. Wedding size could well be a factor in the shorter term, and mid-week dates will certainly be easier to come by.
With that in mind, now seems like the perfect time to show you what a small wedding can look like. As a documentary wedding photographer, I'm still unobtrusively capturing all the little moments and interactions between people. Of course, there are fewer guests to hide behind, but I have a knack of hiding in plain sight, and tend to find that people stop noticing the camera after a while. I love the intimate feeling of the smaller wedding - there's usually plenty of raw emotion on display and guests often all have a role in the proceedings.
In fact, when I first met with Clair, she told me they were a particularly camera-shy bunch - especially the groom! - and they'd chosen me specifically for my fly-on-the-wall approach. I had reassured them that they didn't have to have a single posed photo if they didn't want to, but by the time the ceremony was over and a few congratultory drinks enjoyed, Clair asked me if I would in fact take a few photos of her with her new husband. I was pleased to hear that René felt comfortable enough for a little gentle direction, and we happily strolled along the seafront to Brighton & Hove Bandstand.
To start at the beginning, the day kicked off at Brighton's Hotel Du Vin, where the wedding guests had spent the previous night. René hails from The Netherlands, and several family members had travelled for their wedding.
I arrived early (I always do for central Brighton weddings - I only live 5 miles down the road, but am always nervous about traffic!) and waited in the bar area. Gradually the children came down the stairs and started playing. There were some lovely candid moments to capture as the groom descended the stairs and hugged this children, and the girls enjoyed twirling around in their dresses. With everyone united in the bar area, the Bride came down the stairs arm in arm with her Dad before hugging her financé, a really emotional moment - check out the groom's face in the black and white image below as he sees his bride for the first time!
The couple had hired The Big Lemon to take them to the ceremony - a Brighton based bus that's environmentally friendly and a bright yellow colour to boot. The happy photo of Clair getting off the bus clutching her equally colourful bouquet (courtesy of Rebecca Crag Floral Design) is one of my favourites from their day.
There were plenty of tears and laughter during their lovely ceremony at Angel House in Brighton, followed by bubble-blowing and a very joyous confetti moment on the steps outside. Angel House is literally right opposite Brighton Beach where the party headed in the August sunshine. It's always fun capturing weddings on Brighton seafront, and important for me to include some of Brighton's famous landmarks (note the Angel statue and British Airways i360) and unique cosmopolitan atmosphere in the photos.
The celebrations continued at local restaurant Al Fresco, with drinks and canapés, plus fun activities for the children. That's when the newlyweds and I snuck away for some couple photos nearby. Being a Friday, the seafront and Bandstand were quiet, and I was able to capture some relaxed and romantic images of the couple's first hour as husband and wife.
The guests later joined us on the Bandstand for a handful of family photos, before heading to the play and pool area for the kids to let off steam. Clair swapped her heels for glamourous white sandals that looked fab with her tea-length dress and I captured plenty of natural photos of the children playing and being dried off in turns.
As the party returned to Hotel Du Vin for their wedding breakfast we said our goodbyes. That's when I usually finish at smaller weddings, as photographing the mealtime for an intimate family gathering would be obtrusive and isn't necessary. It depends on location and numbers, but typically 3-5 hours of photography is my norm for a wedding of less than 30 guests.
For this wedding, I joined Clair, René and their guests for five hours. Please enjoying scrolling through the images below for a little insight into their wedding story:
So that's what a small Brighton wedding can look like. I usually do around two or three intimate weddings a year and absolutely love them! So if you're planning something small - whether close family or even an elopment with just the two of you, please don't think you'll need to compromise on the photography.
The shorter coverage means lower rates which I'm always happy to offer on midweek or last minute dates. Simply get in touch with your plans and I'll let you know my availability. We can talk through your timings and figure out the best length of photographic coverage to perfectly tell the story of your day.
Pop back soon!
Clair & René's Wedding Suppliers:
Venue: Hotel Du Vin, Brighton
Ceremony: Angel House
Drinks & Canapés: Al Fresco (Now Brighton Beach Club)
Florist: Rebecca Crag Floral Design
Transport: The Big Lemon Bus Company