A Gorgeous Wedding Venue
The Georgian Riding School at Firle in Sussex has to be one of the most amazing wedding venues I’ve shot at. It is situated in the Firle Park private estate in the heart of the South Downs National Park. Going for the recce a few weeks before Aimee and Matt’s wedding, I had the chance to have a good walk around the whole village. I even drove up into the hills above the village to see if there were any photo opportunities there. One of the favourite parts of my job as a Sussex Wedding Photographer, this recce meant meeting up with Aimee and Matt, (though we had talked on Skype already) and going through all of their plans for their wedding day. I love meeting up with couples whose wedding I will be shooting, it’s a great chance to get to know each other while discussing the day we are all excited about. Add to that we were walking around an amazing and interesting estate on a beautiful summer’s day in Sussex! It doesn’t get much better than that. It was great fun talking to Aimee and Matt, they already had some clear ideas about how they saw their big day. I put some ideas forward too and together we came up with a plan for the day.
On Their Wedding Day
On the day itself I started with Aimee at The Old Glebe in Waldron, a huge holiday let that accommodated a lot of the bridal party. The sunlight was fantastic, couple that with predominantly white walls and floors and I had beautiful, soft light to work with to photograph the bride and her bridesmaids. The light was lovely for skin tones and made documentary shots easier because I didn’t have to wait for the light or until my subject had moved into the right light. Since I try to set up as few shots as possible on the day this last one was crucial for me.
Once Aimee was in her dress and getting ready to leave, I headed over to Firle where my second photographer was covering Matt getting ready and then with his groomsmen having a drink in The Ram Inn before walking to the Church. Firle has it’s own St Peter’s church, which is within easy walking distance of the Riding School. This meant the whole day ran really smoothly with the church service, signing of the register and some confetti afterwards, then the reception outside the Riding School running seamlessly together. That quick walk between the church and reception was beautiful showing the Firle Estate at it’s best.
Photos of the Happy Couple
While everyone else was relaxing in the gorgeous sunshine, I took Aimee and Matt off for some photos of just the two of them. I try to direct as little of the day as possible, just some shots of the couple and some group shots, but even with the photos of the couple I try to not to direct too much. Some of the best shots I’ve taken of newlyweds are when I’ve just given them a bit of space to be themselves with each other. It’s also a chance to try a few shots that are technically different to the rest of the day, such as using a telephoto lens with a very short depth of field. In most situations on a wedding day I am reacting fast to ever changing situations, whereas when photographing Aimee and Matt I had quite a controlled and slow moving situation, perfect for trying a few new things that would add to the coverage of their day. It was great photographing Aimee and Matt, they were so relaxed and into each other that I pretty much just set them off and then followed them around photographing as they chatted and enjoyed a few minutes out of the chaos of their wedding day.
Wedding Breakfast and Dancing
After I’d shot a few group shots we were called in for the wedding breakfast. The light in the Riding School was excellent, meaning I was able to shoot with the available light for shots of guests and the father of the bride, groom and best man speeches. The light pouring in through the high windows was mostly soft with a few spots of intense sunlight, pretty much perfect conditions for a documentary photographer.
Aimee and Matt’s first dance kicked off the dancing after the cutting of the cake. They went for a semi choreographed dance. They’d practised a few moves, but not so much that they were strictly kept to a certain routine. As a result their dance was wonderfully natural, whilst being funny and interesting. The guests loved it and I was able to get some great shots. I don’t usually put this many first dance shots into a blog, but I really like the ones I’ve put in.
A beautiful day in a wonderful setting with lovely people. I know Aimee and Matt had a great day, from my photos I know their guests did too. I have to say a big thank you to Bryony, who is the planner at Firle, for not only being really helpful throughout, but also for recommending me to Aimee and Matt in the first place.
This wedding was shot at a wonderful Sussex wedding venue.