We first met Jessie&Jay in the Marwood coffee shop in Brighton, our home from home (and where we had our own wedding reception!). They came over as a couple completely in love and relaxed in each other’s company, which really showed through in their wedding – an eclectic sprawling extravaganza taking in half of Chichester, and giving their guests a whirlwind tour of their home town.
Within minutes of our first meeting, we’d discovered that Jess was a musical genius and in the process of writing music to a favourite poem to be sung during the ceremony, that Jay’s family was from the same part of Scotland as my mum’s, and that he wouldn’t be wearing a kilt – I always ask, I suppose I’ve never been brave enough to take advantage of my Scottish roots!
We loved hearing all about how they met online whilst Jay was at sea about 300 miles off the coast of Angola! He’s an officer in the merchant navy! Less than a year later they went on holiday to the snowy mountains of St Anton, Austria, where Jay proposed, kneeling in the snow at the highest accessible point in the mountains surrounded by breathtaking views!
Their day gave a nod to the 50s from Jess’s tea length wedding dress & heels, the rather beautiful powder blue, soft top Austin Healey, and the jazz trio entertaining guests at the garden party, with a little Alice in Wonderland beautifully thrown in! With the stunning steeple of Chichester Cathedral and the amazing sunshine watching over every part of the day, Jess & Jay’s guests really made the most of that summer feeling, homemade raspberry gin with rose lemonade in hand!
Oh, and the music that Jess composed…well that was sung by friends from her choir, and was heart-stoppingly beautiful- you could literally feel the love from their voices. Everybody’s Free filled the room as Jess entered the room- the marriage song from Baz Lurman’s Romeo and Juliet, which Penny has always loved and was completely moved by on the day. It was such a powerful song, perfect for that moment!
♥ Your style is beautiful, unobtrusive and thoughtful… ”Having two photographers in my family, it was really important to find someone who’s work we all admired. I remember at one point I’d narrowed my list down to 17! But having spoken to Penny and seen more of your work, I was sold. And after we met, Jay and I were thrilled that you’d be shooting our wedding. Your style is beautiful, unobtrusive and thoughtful and it was such a pleasure to have you around. When it was time for you both to go, Jay and I looked at each other with the only frown of the day and said it felt like two of our guests were leaving.
The pictures we received from you are delightful. You captured all the details we were so proud of. And how you managed to get such poised photos from what felt like total chaos with our extended families was astonishing! The “couple” shots are lovely and we smile looking at them because despite thinking it would be uncomfortable being photographed during these intimate moments, it felt totally natural on the day.
We would recommend you at every opportunity and hope you don’t mind being our official family photographers!”
Much love for this loving and relaxed (vegetarian fayre) wedding!
Some of the people who helped make it happen:
Ceremony: The Assembly Room, Chichester Council House
Reception: George Bell House and Vicar’s Hall, Chichester Cathedral
Wedding dress: Essence from Catherine Francis Bridal Boutique in Arundel
Accessories: Head piece made to order by Beretun Designs ink Brighton
Shoes: Heels by Rainbow Club, white sneakers by Victoria
Groom’s suit: Three piece by The Kooples from Carnaby Street
Bridesmaids’ dresses: Joules
Place name cookies and cupcakes: Rebecca at Frizelle Cakes
Flowers: Samantha from Spriggs in Petworth
Tea towel invites: Karen at The Original Wedding Tea Towel
Wedding stationery and signs: Handwritten by chief bridesmaid Rebecca
Garden party entertainment: Hot Club Trio
Evening entertainment: Andy from Sound Division
When we first met Anna&Oli, we were sat in their gorgeous brewery conversion apartment, chatting about all their wedding ideas, colour schemes, handmade invitations, guest lists, Sicilian family and inevitable glorious food, but all the while I had my eye on the hula hoop in the corner! I just couldn’t resist, so, stood in the middle of the kitchen, I proceeded to frantically swivel my hips – this wedding photography booking left hanging in the balance! Thankfully Anna&Oli went and booked us anyway, despite my dismal hooping skills- something about “making them feel relaxed”, so I guess there’s something to be said for making a fool of yourself in front of potential clients!
Before Penny digressed to hula hooping, they told us all about Oli’s romantic proposal in Anna’s favourite Sicilian town, Taormina. Anna spent her summers there with her family as a child and she said that now it felt like he was a part of Sicily and her wonderful memories there! Swooon!
We asked them to describe each other in three words;
Anna said: kind, generous, athletic Oli said: caring, thoughtful, generous
The morning preparations at The Shelleys in Lewes, were full of calm, sweet Sicilian nibbles, champagne, scotch, thoughtful presents and subsequent tears- everything one would hope for! It means a lot that Anna felt at ease too; “I really could not have asked for a more lovely, calm person to have around me on my wedding morning- Penny truly was a star and the photos of the morning were perfect and everything I imagined.” (Shucks)
I always ask if the bride would like shots in her specially selected bridal lingerie, or if she’d just prefer me to skip straight to fastening the dress. My heart sinks a little (though I completely understand), when she says she’d rather not. The thing is, there’s really no need to put the pressure on yourself to pose for the photos Boudoir style- photos of you running round in those luxurious skimpies, preparing to step in to your wedding dress are just as, if not more beautiful- as Anna here is demonstrating wonderfully, (in underwear from Ouh La La in Brighton incidentally)! Of course we don’t all have her immaculate figure, but believe me, there are ALWAYS perfect photographic angles for every shape and size! (Garter from notonthehighstreet.com)
Anna&Oli were particularly worried about the weather in the lead up to their big day. In fact we met up with them a week before the wedding (on a particularly cold and blustery day) specifically to go through a wet wedding plan! ”They were brilliant at calming my nerves… this really was godsend to a hysterical bride a week before the wedding!” Anna was so thankful when she woke up on the morning of her wedding to glorious sunshine! “I almost burst into tears. I literally felt like the luckiest girl in the world that morning. My mum passed away 16 years ago and I like to think that this was her special gift to us.” Anna tied her mother’s wedding ring into her dress, so that she could keep her close on her special day- a beautiful touch, that actually brought a tear to my eye.
I love writing these blog posts and gathering as much wedding inspiration and info as I can! I don’t know if people actually read it or just look at the pictures, but if you are reading this, please leave a comment below so I know! Anyway, Anna is a reader (thank you), and actually found her wedding shoes through a link to Rachel Simpson on our blog! And just how beautiful are they?!
Anna’s dress was from Leonie Claire Bridal Boutique in Brighton. It was a Justin Alexander design that she had adjusted to a sweetheart neckline. She wanted us to mention that she would highly recommend Leonie Claire to any bride to be as they were so friendly, welcoming and accommodating.
One of our favourite wedding details was the pom pom confetti… homemade pom pom confetti! Adorable! Anna wanted us to give a shout out to everyone who helped her make them after deciding to do them just a month before the wedding, and also to the person who got her right in the face as they walked up the aisle!
Urgh the temptation of that ‘treats table’ was immense! It looked AMAZING, sat proud in the centre of The Shelleys entrance hall, bursting with colour and fragrance! They had all the best penny sweets, marshmallows, Smarties and even homemade cupcakes and fudge from Roly Poly fudge shop in the Brighton Lanes (which I may have sneaked a tiny chunk of, thanks to some hefty encouragement from one of the guests)! Everyone loved it! They were all running off to get their sweets and cake in time for the speeches!
Anna had lots of lovely friends helping her to make all sorts of wonderful bits for the wedding. There was an assortment of padded fabric hearts hanging in the marquee and around the venue, as well as in their birdcage centre pieces, designed by Greenfingers florist in Worthing. Another shout out to Lucy and Amy for putting hours of work into helping her make these! Anna&Oli designed and made the little place names and the table plan which was displayed on a birdcage silhouette from The Range.
Anna’s super-talented friend Daisy designed her wedding invitations and another little production line of friends made them. The design was so cute, we actually used it for the cover of Anna&Oli’s alternative wedding album. The fabric hearts inspired the spread design too!
♥ Anna&Oli gave us an amazing, and rather lengthy testimonial which you can read in full here, but we’ve picked out a few of our favourite snippets:
“Once we began comparing Penny and Martin’s pictures to others we had identified there was no comparison… we both loved how artistic every picture was… They made us feel incredibly relaxed, this was a major winner for me as I hated having my photo taken and I wanted someone there who understood what we wanted and made me feel relaxed. I also regularly went on the website and I just loved how enthusiastic and passionate they both were about weddings and the couples that they photographed- it really was a charming quality that appealed to us… On the day of the wedding Penny and Martin were fab- I completely forgot they were there, which was exactly what I wanted. I really did think that this would not be the case but they proved me wrong!… When the photos arrived it was so great to see what Oli had been up to in the morning and Martin got some great shots that made me feel jealous I was not at the pub!… Penny and Martin came and met with us to discuss the design of our wedding album- again their ideas were original and exactly what we wanted. When the album arrived I was so pleased with it, it is exquisite and unique. It truly is something that Oli and I will treasure forever and I can’t thank Penny and Martin enough for that gift.”
Bridal hair piece- Polly Edwards from Leonie Claire.
Bridal earrings- notonthehighstreet.com.
Pearl necklace- a vintage shop in Brighton recommended by Leonie Claire.
Hair&make-up by friends.
Oli’s tailored wedding suit- from Hugo Boss in Brighton.
Bridesmaids’ dresses- Coast and own shoes.
Engagement ring and wedding rings- Number 10 Brighton.
Wedding cake by one of the bridesmaids.
Wedding band- Soul City.
When we first met Fabienne&James, we chatted for hours- we just clicked! We were sat on the floor in the middle of their lounge surrounded by little wedding gems that they had been collecting for months. Just as we thought that must be everything, Fabienne would remember another little heart ornament, bridesmaid’s dress, tealight holder or lantern she had stowed away- we were in our element!
We fell head over heals for Fabienne&James’ wedding venue, The Old Rectory in Old Town, Hastings- it has a wonderful French chic, meets seaside, meets super designer style. Their guest rooms are individually designed using reclaimed, hand painted or even découpage wallpaper! The room that Fabienne got ready in was our favourite- a perfect photo backdrop for her Jimmy Choos!
Fabienne&James’ wedding style was very much shabby chic. There were loads of gorgeous little mis-matched hearts nestled in the trees, flower borders, hanging off railings and even taps! They had pitchers and tin buckets full of wild flowers that Fabienne had gathered and arranged herself, with little chalkboards displaying table names, and a beautiful cake to the side, made by the father of the bride! We were in the marquee photographing Fabienne’s gorgeous tablescapes, when James came in and saw it all together for the first time. He was overcome and brimming with pride for his wife to be!
This beautiful bride made her entrance in a Maggie Sottaro wedding dress, accompanied by her 5 bridesmaids in mismatched vintage dresses, to All You Need is Love, by the Beatles. They even had a painted wooded sign on the gift table to match! The ceremony, filled with giggles, tears and applause, ended with Burning Love by Elvis.
After their beautiful outdoor ceremony we wandered down the road to the beach for some photos. The beach at Hastings Old Town presents A LOT of wedding photo opportunities, with all the rusty, flaking old boats and fishing huts!
Their first dance was Hey Soul Sister by Train which apparently played continuously when they were travelling. We just loved their open air first dance- they had so much fun with it and their guests were thoroughly entertained!
Fabienne told us that their favourite part of the day when they hid behind the marquee and watched all their friends and family dancing outside and having the best time! And who wouldn’t, accompanied by the super-fun, wonderfully nuts wedding band The Lucky Ones?!
Additional mentions: Fabienne’s accessories were her grandmothers. She did her own make-up. James wore a bespoke suit made by A Suit That Fits. Their rings were made by Mark from Number 10 in Brighton. The bouquets were made by Shimizu in Old Town Hastings.
♥ Thank you for your lovely thank you! “Thank you so much for all you hard work on our special day. You captured the wedding brilliantly, we love all the photographs. Everyone looks so happy, just the way we wanted it! Thank you once again for capturing our magical day, it truly was the best day of our lives.”