October 10, 2018
Penny & Steve's Farbridge Summer Wedding
It was a hot August day in West Dean, where Penny and Steve chose to marry in the idyllic rustic barns of Farbridge. Set in the heart of the Sussex Downs, these beautifully restored barns played host to a dreamy day, full of fun, laughter and romance. The styling, theming and decor were awash with on-trend cool pastel mint and warm peachy tones. Echoing throughout the barns, this soft-hued palette enhanced the venue and reflected the couple’s lovely relaxed approach and easy-going personalities, whilst the best of our british summer weather complimented the calming and romantic ambience of the day. The evolving magical light added so much feeling, starting with its cool pale blue skies, then coating the vast corn fields beyond the barns in the warm blanket of gold. Finally all the richest of colours were captured as the day finally ended in a glorious peachy pink sunset before totally fading away.
I was pleased to be invited to photograph Penny and Steve’s wedding, and having already shot a friend's wedding a couple of years back, I was excited to capture some unique and memorable pictures for this lovely couple. It was a fantastic clear morning when I first met Steve and the groomsmen at Farbridge and with both Steve and Penny’s brothers alongside, the group was completed with two of Steve’s close friends. These guys wasted no time in getting into the swing of some contemporary styled wedding photography where we used symmetry and shaping to create the strength in the shot against the slightly muted countryside backdrop. The unusual use of the bridge here gave licence to an element of the unexpected, which I often like to consider for group images in a bid to avoid too many predictably posed situations. Having Steve positioned in the foreground added another layer of depth to the image and also emphasised his importance in the day.
Meanwhile Penny was getting ready in the bridal suite and preparing for a special visitor. Her beloved Gran was on her way making her way through the beautifully manicured gardens, super excited to be joining in with the bridal preparations alongside Penny and her close friends. The girls had plenty of time on their hands and so they enjoyed a comfy sit down on the sofa for a catch up before getting into their dresses!
As Penny got ready, I spied her stunning bouquet and thought how beautiful and very unusual. The inclusion of a pretty succulent amongst the pink and peach blooms seemed to be a lovely scandi influence (which would make sense as the bouquet was designed by local florist Nordic Twigs!). The bridesmaids held smaller versions and the barns were decorated cohesively throughout with similarly styled arrangements.
Penny beamed as she donned her sleeveless, trumpet style fitted gown with sheer bateau sweetheart neckline. The lace over the bodice with illusion neck and low scoop back looked elegant, feminine and flattering. I loved how Penny was so relaxed and able to have a laugh with the girls that morning despite any nerves. She genuinely could not stop smiling, her happiness was unstoppable!
It wasn’t long before Penny’s father was escorting this delighted bride through the gardens to the light-filled Meadow Barn. The special father-daughter bond was clear to see as they walked arm-in-arm, sharing happy chatter and glances back and forth to each other along the way.
Soon Penny’s head was turned and her eyes were firmly fixed as her entrance down the aisle brought her to meet her groom. Giving his precious daughter away, Penny’s Dad looked on fondly with pride in his eyes as the bride and groom took each other’s hands. It was touching to see the inclusion of family as both Steve and Penny’s mothers were honoured to be involved in the ceremony, acting as witnesses for the couple.
A few vows and a couple of rings later, Steve and Penny had become Mr & Mrs! It was a brilliant moment cheered on by delighted friends and family and as is tradition, the formal part of the marriage was finally sealed with a kiss!
After the ceremony, guests were pleased to soak up some warm sun and enjoy a refreshing glass of Pimms (or two!) out on the lawns. Having allowed a little bit of time for congratulating the couple and for quick catch-ups with friends and family, I gathered the bridal party, stealing them away from the chit-chat for some photos together.
It was lovely to see how the subtle mint shade of the bridesmaid gowns looked so fresh against the blue sky and how the guy’s dark blue suits gave that contrasting boldness, further enhancing the overall look of the group.
The bridesmaids wore clever multiway dresses which allowed each individual girl to have a unique style, whilst all coordinating with each other in the same fabric and shade. The result was very effective and the delicate tones complimented Penny’s dress and flowers perfectly.
Heading off with just Penny and Steve, we ventured down a lane in nearby fields and discovered an old dairy barn which we decided would make for a fantastic backdrop full of texture and colour. The juxtaposition of the situation is what can make an image like this powerful and I was excited to pose the couple in this setting. It was the purity and perfection of the couple wearing possibly the most valuable clothes they own, versus the age and derelict state of the barn, weathered and covered in rust and grime. It was the vintage versus modern. Past versus present. Worn versus new, and so on. Just another example of how I like to cast other perspectives through wedding photography and hopefully offer something a little unexpected within the mix of timeless and classic wedding portraiture.
We took a gentle stroll back from the farm along the track as the sun started to lower and the sky become pale. Guests were being seated inside the barns ready for a delectable dinner provided by the venue's in house caterers, Cuckoo. I tailed behind Penny and Steve as they enjoyed the walk and some catch up time away from all the hustle and bustle.
The Lavant Valley Barn is a large, high-ceilinged rustic room with old oak beams and Sussex flint stone walls. It was dressed stylishly for the reception with pastel florals and greenery adorning the tables amongst the shiny silver and glassware. The glorious wedding cake designed and created by Milk Street Kitchen stood three tiers high, wrapped in a cascading garland of peachy english garden roses which tied in perfectly with Penny’s floral theme.
After fantastic food and a bit of a giggle at the speeches, the groomsmen ventured outside in great spirits. We soon discovered these guys were itching to unveil the bright sock theme they had going on, and in their whoop of delight they flashed their crazy socks with pride!
It had been a fun day full of laughs and it was time that the newly-weds took to the floor for that all-important first dance. Having kicked off the evening celebrations and welcomed more guests, I suddenly caught sight of the the sky ablaze outside. Not wanting to miss an opportunity, out we went once more to capture the firey peach and pink tones of the most awesome sunset. It was the ideal backdrop for a romantic embrace at the end of an incredible day.
Penny and Steve, I just loved capturing your wedding! It was amazing to see how you cared for each other throughout the day and were so supportive of each other in every moment. The weather treated you kindly and the setting was pretty perfect too in these stunning barns surrounded by beautiful nature. I loved your pretty colour scheme and witnessing your all-day-long happiness! Thank you for getting on board with the more creative side of the photography as well as the classic, it was truly a pleasure to be a part of your day. Congratulations!
Love Kelly x
Kelly Hearn A.B.I.P.P - A.M.P.A