Well, that's January nearly over! It's been a tough month, with the combination of grey drizzle (sadly no snow for us down on the coast) and the continued uncertainly surrounding weddings.
As I write, I have just two couples holding out for small weddings in April and May, with all my other weddings from the start of the year now postponed. So whilst we're all hoping for a return to pubs and restaurants soon, I now have 18 months of weddings condensed into 5 months; if all goes to plan, my social life will just have to wait! I'm not complaining though, those weddings that my couples have waited so long to enjoy are going to be epic and amazing to capture.
A marriage of Malaysian and Indian cultures
Whilst waiting for the action to start, I'm going to blog a few more of my weddings from 2019, starting with this absolute corker of a wedding at Brookfield Barn in July. This was the union of a Malaysian bride and Indian groom, packed with traditional wedding customs and alive with the vibrant colour of Asian costumes.
Newly married bride and groom walk around grounds of Brookfield Barn. Bouquet by LadyLissy Floristry
Bridal prep with a difference: traditional Chinese-Malaysian challenges!
The day began with the bride and bridesmaids getting ready at an AirBnB the families had rented near Brookfield Barn. But this was no ordinary morning of bridal preparation. Once the bridesmaids were dressed and made up, and the bride was helped into her gorgeous princess gown by her Mum and sister, there was a knock at the door. The groom and groomsmen had arrived, ready to take on a series of "challenges" devised by the bride's family. This is a Chinese-Malaysian custom, whereby the groom comes to collect the bride before their wedding, but before he can see her, has to pass a few tests!
Challenges included identifying tea flavours, moving sweets from one bowl to another using just chopsticks, and correctly identifying medical xrays (the bride and groom both being junior doctors). It was absolutely hillarious and I wanted to capture every great expression!
Bride and groom 'First Look'
Having passed the test, the groom then waited in the grounds for a traditional 'First Look' with his bride. This is a custom common in the US as well, but in British culture, the couple's first sighting of each other in their wedding garb is usually at the start of the ceremony. For me, it was a first, and lovely to capture their joy in seeing each other before their wedding.
They returned to the house to rapturous applause from the families before everyone headed to Brookfield Barn to join the other guests in preparation for the ceremony.
Outdoor ceremony at Brookfield Barn
The vows were said outside under Brookfield's purpose-built ceremony arch, with its beautiful natural backdrop of lake and trees. Afterwards, a jazz band played whilst guests mingled in the sunshine and I took a few family photos and captured some natural moments of the newlyweds walking around the golf course.
Ice Cream and a Traditional Chinese Tea Ceremony
After the wedding breakfast and speeches, the 130 or so guests piled back outside, where ice cream was served on the patio. Then came the second of the big Asian traditions and another first for me to capture - a traditional Chinese Tea Ceremony. This began with the bride and groom changing into traditional Chinese costumes, which family members had brought over from Malaysia, and serving tea to their family elders to pay their respects. The ritual then continued with the bride and groom sitting down and being served tea by younger family members. The bridesmaids acted as attendants, handing the beautiful Chinese cups to the couple on ornate trays.
The atmosphere was one of fun and reverance, with lots of hugs and laughter. I'd definitely be up for another one, although maybe a cushion for my knees next time, as it's quite a lengthy custom with large families on both sides!
Customary Asian First Dances
Guests lined the barn for the traditional Asian first dance, followed by the bride's dance with her father and a bouquet throw. And at dusk, with the couple changed back into their original wedding gown and suit, I captured a few romantic photos of the bride and groom with subtle backlighting to showcase Caroline's gorgeous dress.
Such a fun celebration, jam-packed with traditions and happy moments between generations. I'm proud to share the lovely testimonial I received from the couple:
"Jenny was really amazing on our wedding day, right through from the morning prep and “first look shoot” and ceremony, through to the evening reception and after-dark photos.
We’re so glad we chose her to photograph our wedding, she completely understood what we wanted and all of the photographs are gorgeous, very special reminders of our big day (and engagement shoot!).
We’d highly recommend her to other couples!"
Caroline & Bhavin
I'm really looking foward to my return to Brookfield Barn - this September all being well!
Do pop back in February for my next wedding blog. And if you love my relaxed style of photography and are planning a wedding in 2022 or 2023, please do get in touch! It may seem a long way off, but the pandemic has resulted in many couples postponing to 2022, and dates are filling up much earlier than usual. I'd love to hear your plans.
Caroline & Bhavin's fab wedding team:
Venue: Brookfield Barn
Decor: To Have and To Hire
Florist: LadyLissy Floristry
Cake: Kasserina Cakes
Hair & Make Up: Kimberley Louise Make Up
Ice Cream Cart: Boho Gelato (Worthing)
Videographer: Mark at Short Film Company