Sussex Country Village Wedding
One of the many things I love about being a Kent and Sussex wedding photographer is that I get to photograph quite a few country village and country garden weddings. One such summer wedding was Camilla and Stephen’s beautiful stylish wedding in the pretty village of Alfriston in East Sussex. It was an absolute pleasure to shoot.
On the day I joined Camilla at her mum’s house where she was getting ready. She was in good spirits and had her team of bridesmaids with her along with a very important member of the bridal party, the family dog, who looked just as excited as everybody else! The girls relaxed in the garden with some lunch before having some photos in their robes and more importantly with the dog!
Camilla looked stunning in her Jenny Packham bridal gown and wow’d her bridesmaids when they finally saw her. It was lovely to have some time to get some photos of her, her mum and her bridesmaids in the family garden before they left for the church. Another thing about country village weddings is that often brides will walk to the church ceremony, usually from their family home, it’s lovely!
Weather on the day was grey and by the time Camilla needed to leave it was drizzling. This didn’t deter her from walking to the church though helped by her bridesmaid and a brolly! By the time she arrived the rain had stopped so we were able to get a few additional photos by the church before the ceremony.
My husband Jim was second shooting with me on the day caught up with Stephen and his grooms getting ready at nearby Wingrove House Hotel. They all looked very smart in their tails and blue ties and Jim got some lovely shots of them walking across the village green to the church.
A Church Ceremony
St Andrew’s church is fondly known as ‘the cathedral of the South Downs’ and it’s clergy house was the first property ever acquired by the National Trust. Founded in the 1360’s and located close to the winding Cuckmere River it really is a unique and very pretty church. It was particularly special for Camilla as her family had lived in the village all of her life.
They had a very simple but beautiful ceremony with three readings, one from Camilla’s sister and three hymns.
The Reception Next Door
The wedding reception was held just next door in Alfriston’s War Memorial Hall. This hall is without doubt the most attractive village hall I have ever seen and Camilla and Stephen had dressed it beautifully, it looked amazing. One of the best features of the hall is that it offers direct access onto Alfriston’s village green so Camilla, Stephen and their guests could really soak up the beauty of this gorgeous village. It had stopped raining but was still grey. I was hopeful for a glimmer of sunshine later in the day but unfortunately it never appeared! We used the archway at the bottom of the church path for some family group photos and then a few on the green by in the village hall.
Camilla had arranged in advance for us to go into the National Trusts Clergy House for some quiet time and some photos of just the two of them which was a beautiful location. Camilla particularly wanted to have a photograph of them in the Clergy House from the riverbank which mirrored a painting that her mum has at home.
As guests happily milled around and chatted, I got the chance to get some really romantic portrait images of them in the Clergy House and then on the bridge over the Cuckmere just beyond the village hall.
Fun Speeches and a Cardboard Cutout!
After the wedding meal there were some very well received speeches, the first by Camilla’s mum, then Stephen and then the best man. Stephen bought a cardboard cut out of a friend who couldn’t make it on the day, who would have been one of the best men. Still, the cardboard cut out of him in a kilt had a fabulous day! He somehow managed to photobomb many of my group shots strangely enough and he even dangled precariously over a bridge and found time to run around the gardens chasing guests! I don’t know how accurate a representation of the real him this was!
Evening celebrations started with the cutting of the most beautiful wedding cake before Camilla and Stephen took to the dancefloor for a romantic first dance and it wasn’t long before they were joined there by their loved ones.
I loved shooting Camilla and Stephen’s country village wedding. Simple, understated, elegant and casual. A masterclass in how to truly personalise your wedding and get it just right!
Ceremony – St Andrews Church, Alfriston, Sussex
Reception – Alfriston War Memorial Hall
Brides Dress – Jenny Packham
Caterer – Green Fig Catering
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