As a wedding photographer I’m so lucky to visit so many beautiful wedding venues around the country. Highdown Vineyard, nestled cosily on the slopes of the South Downs, in-between Worthing and Littlehampton in West Sussex, is easily one of the most beautiful. I also count myself very fortunate to have photographed a number of weddings at Highdown.
So when I met up with Crystal and Dom, 6 months earlier on a cold grey day in south west London, and they told me they were having their wedding reception at Highdown Vineyard, I knew I had to be their wedding photographer.
A Sussex Wedding Photographer
In fact, the reason Crystal and Dom had contacted me about being their wedding photographer was because they had seen some of my previous Highdown Vineyard wedding photography whilst visiting this most beautiful West Sussex wedding venue.
So once they had booked me, I couldn’t wait for their wedding day to come around. And when the day came around I definitely wasn’t disappointed. The sun was shining beautifully and I found myself down on the Sussex coast, ready to shoot the bridal preparations at Crystal’s parents in the seaside town of Bognor Regis.
I have to confess I’m still a kid at heart and the merest mention of the seaside gets me all excited, so I arrived early in Bognor Regis and enjoyed a light breakfast looking out across the beach and sea beyond. I just knew this was going to be an idyllic wedding to remember.
Bognor Regis Wedding Preparations
I’d agreed to meet Crystal and the bridal party at a hair salon called Lotus Styling in Bognor Regis town centre. As you’d expect everyone was really excited for the day ahead and the salon itself was a really cool setting, with Banksy graffiti on the walls and woodland murals. As a documentary wedding photographer I couldn’t fail to get some great shots of such a fantastic hairdressers.
One hair was styled and veils in place, it was back to Crystal’s parents home for the bridal preparations ahead of the wedding ceremony. Of course, the excitement continued as more family members and guests arrived, including the flower girls.
Getting Ready at Home
Everyone by now knows I love the preparations part of the day – be it a bride or a groom – it’s always a time of laughter, nerves and, yes, the occasional tear. I see it my job, as a documentary wedding photographer, to capture all these natural moments, genuine emotions and real stories. And Crystal’s wedding preparations lived up to expectations.
Preparations done, it was then time to get down to the delightful West Sussex coastal village of Pagham for the wedding ceremony itself, at the stunningly beautiful and historic St Thomas à Becket parish church, or often simply referred to a Pagham Church. I say historic, as there has always been a church on the site going back 1300 years to the 7th Century Saxons. The current church is much the same as it was 800 years ago and is largely considered to be one of the best of its kind. I will say it’s definitely one of the most beautiful churches I have shot a wedding at. It’s the perfect English rural wedding setting.
Pagham St Thomas à Becket Church Wedding Ceremony
Inside the spacious and airy church, Dom was waiting nervously for Crystal to arrive. He’d certainly brushed up well since I’d last seen him a month or so before for the pre-wedding portrait shoot in Richmond Park, in south west London. He definitely cut a dashing and handsome groom along with his brothers-come-Best Men.
Crystal arrived with a huge and dazzling smile on her face – could there be a more fitting example of the blushing English bride? The wedding ceremony was the expected mix of smiles, laughs and, at the end, a very entertaining and carefully choreographed dance to a particular hymn, which made it all huge fun.
A Quiet & Touching Wedding Moment
Once the wedding ceremony finished, it was out into the beautiful grounds of the church and some glorious Sussex sunshine. After mingling with guests for a while, Crystal then took herself away to spend a quiet moment at the resting place of her grandmother, Patricia, who was buried in the churchyard where the wedding had taken place – such a lovely and touching connection.
Highdown Vineyard Wedding Reception
The wedding reception took place a few miles away at the beautiful Highdown Vineyard, where I’ve shot weddings before – so I knew it was a fantastic Sussex wedding location. Such a beautiful setting makes life as a wedding photographer that much easier. The vines are a wonderful backdrop for portraits, the lawns a great spot for games and mingling and the buildings and marquee fantastic for eating, drinking and dancing – none of which were in short supply on Crystal and Dom’s day!
The speeches were full of emotion – both laughs and tears in equal measure. Then as the sun set and the band entertained dancing guests inside, the groomsmen sneaked outside to enjoy a wedding cigar and reflect on the day.
This was also a perfect opportunity to try out a new “toy lens” I’d gotten hold of. I’m always looking for a new and unique way to document a wedding day. The SLR Magic 50mm lens is definitely a quirky and imperfect lens that captures unique images. I’d much rather capture a perfect moment than worry about technically perfect photos. The cigar image above, was one of a few images captured with this interesting lenss
I’m sure you’ll agree, from a small selection of the wedding photographs that follow, it really was the idyllic wedding day I promised it would be!
West Sussex Wedding Photography
Book a West Sussex Wedding Photographer
Are you getting in married in West Sussex? Perhaps in Bognor Regis? Or maybe at Pagham Church? Or you’re having your wedding at Highdown Vineyard?
Alternatively, you may just enjoy my natural and unobtrusive documentary wedding photography approach and think it would be a great fit for your wedding day? I’m a London wedding photographer but cover the whole of the UK and destination weddings overseas.
Whatever the reason, I’d definitely love to have an friendly and informal chat with you about your wedding plans. So give me a call or SMS on 07920 422144 or send me a message via my contact page and lets start making plans for your wedding.