A Sentimental Summer Festival Wedding at Newnham Park, Crowborough ~ Heather & Dan

We’re pretty sure that you’re going to fall in love with Heather and Dan’s romantic and rustic outdoor ceremony, with its sunny skies, vintage and homemade touches and one truly amazing Jenny Packham wedding dress. It’s time to put that kettle on and get lost in this week’s wonderful wedding…

Heather and Dan, who live in Billingshurst tied the knot on 26th July this year and held a tear-jerking ceremony (conducted by their best friends) at Dan’s family vineyard, Newnham Park in Crowborough, continuing their celebrations with music from family and friends, into the early hours. But, enough from us, here’s beautiful bride Heather to give us all the goss on her and her new hubby’s lovely wedding day:

After being whisked away to Florence, I couldn’t understand why Dan had a slightly stressed glint in his eye. On our first evening there, we went for a romantic meal and after drinking and eating too much I decided I was tired. Dan suggested we go back to the hotel, relax for a bit and then go for a moonlight stroll along the river.

When we got back to the room, Dan nipped to the bathroom and by the time he was back I was fast asleep! The next day, the stressed glint was back and he was a bit quieter than normal but we went off for a walk around Michelangelo’s Gardens. We settled in a beautiful spot overlooking the hills and on the stroke of 4pm Dan proposed – it was perfect!

Dan later told me that he was planning to propose at midnight the night before on the bridge until I fell asleep – that certainly explained the stressed glint!

Hen Night Hospital Visit

It’s not often the hen party out does the stag but mine did. The last picture of the weekend break in the Cotswold’s, was me in A & E. This was the result of me thinking I didn’t need to walk down a flight of stairs, of course I could fly!! That’s when the countdown of the wedding really started – would I be off the crutches by then and get into my heels – having a father walk his daughter down the aisle was never needed quite so much!

Newnham Park is Dan’s uncle’s vineyard.  As well as being stunning, the vineyard is of huge sentimental importance to the family, so was the only place we would have wanted to get married at. It is a place where all generations of the family get together, as well as being the resting place of Dan’s Nana and Granddad – whilst they couldn’t be there for our wedding day in person it was the closest we could get to having them there.

Most suppliers where either found online or were recommendations, with the exception of our photographer and our band who are all good friends. Where we could we sourced things locally, like our flowers and food. Pinterest was essential to our planning!

Luckily for us, many of our friends have had beautiful weddings so inspiration came from those. We love music so knew a relaxed festival theme would be perfect with live music being played by our friends and family.

That Jenny Packham Dress

I saw the Sabine dress online, a week after getting engaged in 2012 and fell in love with it. I had never looked at wedding dresses before this but knew I wanted something a bit different. As luck so happens, there was a sample sale in Mayfair later that week so I thought I’d go along but not really expecting to find it – but there it was and it was the first dress I tried on, I knew it was my dress but thought I’d try two more on whilst I was there quickly, as I didn’t want anyone to say I rushed into my decision! Needless to say I bought it there and then which soon became a gift from my Dad after he saw it.

We knew we wanted to get married in front of all our family and friends at Newnham Park but as it wasn’t licenced we knew legally this would not be possible; so we decided the ‘paperwork/ legal ceremony’ would be done in my hometown, Louth, Lincolnshire, two weeks before the wedding. Without saying our vows in front of our family and friends, we didn’t view it as being married, it was merely paperwork (however it did turn out to be a very special day for us with just our close family).

Why Get a Stranger To Marry You?

Our friends mean the world to us and as we were legally married we thought why get a stranger to perform the wedding and talk about our relationship? Instead we had two of our closest friends, people that were there from the very start of our relationship nine years ago. We couldn’t ask for anything more perfect then what they did – it  was amazing and I would recommend it to anyone, who better to have stood up there with you on the biggest day of our lives than our closest friends that were always there for us, before we had each other.

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Why Plan A Wedding In Sussex?

Photograph by Andrew J R Squires

We’re biased, we know, but there’s just so many reasons why local couples and those from further afield choose to tie the knot in stunning Sussex. Whether you’re after a romantic and rustic countryside celebration, a seaside ceremony or an out of this world outfit, you’ve come to the right place…

Country Weddings

Boasting the picturesque South Downs and miles upon miles of rolling countryside, Sussex is an ideal base for a country wedding, be it in a manor house, barn or field! We love that, thanks to good road links, the country is easily accessible, meaning you can escape the hustle and bustle of it all in minutes. Just think of how pretty your wedding photographs will be…

Photography by Brighton Photo

Oh We Do Like To Be Beside The Seaside!

From pretty, nostalgic resorts like Eastbourne and Worthing to the bright lights of quirky and cool Brighton, Sussex’s seasides really are a stunning bunch! Go for romantic photographs on the beach, a ceremony over looking the sea or for a true summer DIY wedding, how about a picnic or BBQ on the beach?

Photo courtesy of Wookie Photography

OMG Outfit!

People come from far and wide for our talented wedding dress designers – Joanne Fleming, and Oh My Honey to name just a few, not forgetting our wealth of wonderful wedding dress boutiques too. However, Sussex is not just the perfect place to find the dream dress, with fabulous suit designers Gresham Blake and Hugo Morris, also been based here. And whatever you do, don’t forget the fun and fabulous Brighton-based Irregular Choice shoes for the bride and her lucky bridesmaids to add some quirkiness to that strut down the aisle.

Image by PhotoMadly

Wedding Guest Get-Away

Rated in the top ten most visited counties in the U.K, (East) Sussex is an especially popular destination for holiday-makers and sightseers. With that in mind, having a Sussex wedding can make a memorable holiday away from home for guests, if they tag on a weekend before or after the wedding. There’s plenty of great hotels to stay at and it means wedding celebrations can continue over a few days longer too – win, win!

Photography by Danni Beach

Spoilt For Choice Hen and Stag Dos

On a similar note, with so much to do – be it partying it up in Brighton or indulging in some pre-wedding relaxation, those who choose to have their before-the-big-day ‘do in Sussex will be spoilt for choice!

Jet Away (or Stay) After Your Big Day

In Sussex, you’re never too far away from Gatwick airport, where you can jet straight off to almost anywhere in the world… or, why not stay on the sunny south coast and have your honeymoon here? We wouldn’t blame you!

Image by Camilla Arnhold Photography

Sussex = Sunny!

Speaking of sunshine, Sussex was recently named THE sunniest place in the U.K by the Telegraph, so chances are if you’re planning an outdoor wedding, the weather will behave itself… Festival in a field anyone?

Photography by Darren Cool

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The Love Sussex Weddings Readers’ Survey

Here at Love Sussex Weddings we aim to bring you regular, local and lovely wedding inspiration and information. We also try to make our website as useful as possible and want to check in with you to see how we are doing?

We turned two years old in June and want to find out more about you, what you like and don’t like and what we can do to to make our website better for you. Please do let us know your thoughts and feedback in our swish Love Sussex Weddings Readers’ Survey below, we really would love to hear from you (yes we mean you), whether you’re a: bride-to-be, groom-to-be, wedding guest, part of the wedding party, wedding supplier, or Blogazine reader – don’t be shy! (If the start button doesn’t appear below after a few seconds then please click here to take the survey). . .

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Alternative Brighton Hen & Stag Ideas: Festivals & Events

We love hen and stag do’s here at Love Sussex Weddings – they are almost as fun as the big day itself! Not only are they great for getting guests together before the wedding, but also a celebratory way for the bride and groom-to-be to let off some of that pre-wedding steam too.

Brighton, of course is a top destination for many a stag or hen party to descend, as there’s always something exciting happening. Here’s just a few of our favourite festivals and local goings on, if you’re looking for something a bit alternative and fun to fill your Brighton hen or stag weekend (and keep you out of the pub for at least some of your weekend)!

Brighton Food and Drink Festival: 6th-7th September 2014 Who doesn’t love good food?! The Brighton and Hove Food Festival, which takes place twice a year (in September and April) on Hove Lawns is a food-lovers delight! With talks, tastings and a terrific atmosphere this two day festival is a perfect way to spend a hungry hen or stag afternoon.

Photo by Emma Lucy Photography

Lewes Bonfire Night: 5th November 2014 For all of you tying the knot in winter, the infamous Lewes Bonfire Night celebrations are well worth a visit. The small picturesque town comes alive with fireworks, a huge bonfire and processions, as the town celebrates being the only (and longest standing) bonfire night of its kind in the U.K.

Photo by Nicki Feltham

The Great Escape 14-16th May 2015 This annual event is a must for music lovers! Boasting the best upcoming solo artists and bands around, The Great Escape takes over 35 unique (and slightly suprising) of the city’s venues across two days for over 400 performances – better still these are all accessible with just one wristband, so there’s no worrying about where you’ve put your tickets. As the venues are dotted around the city centre, you could always incorporate a cheeky bar crawl into the plans too…

Brighton Festival and Brighton Fringe Festival: May 2015 The two festivals promote exciting and unusual art-based events throughout Brighton for the whole of May. From music to film, art to dance all genres are covered and there’s bound to be at least one thing your party would like to see! Cabaret at the Spiegaltent is always great fun!

Brighton Pride: August 2015 Brighton Pride is a highlight in many a Brightonian’s (and visitors) calendar. A celebration of LGBT lives, the day starts with fun and fabulous floats passing through town, from Brighton Wheel all the way to Preston Park, where the party continues, big style!

Brighton’s Big Screen: June 2015 Playing popular films such as Dirty Dancing, Bridesmaids, Jaws (and covering big sporting events too) on Brighton beach, the Big Screen (which also has it’s own bar) pops up each June for a month of FREE films, making it a great way to unwind and get the party atmosphere flowing before a night on the town!

Paddle Round The Pier: July 2015 Brighton’s charity beach festival has a jam-packed itinerary of events for the entire weekend! Swim to the pier and back, cheer on others from the side-lines or indulge in some booze and food from one of the many stalls on Hove Lawns whilst listening to music from the main stage. Entry is free but a donation to the festival’s chosen charity is welcome.

Shakedown: July 2015 Fancy going to a field-based festival for a PROPER party? Put Shakedown in your diary! Based a few miles from the city centre, this much-loved music festival is regularly frequented by the likes of disco DJs Basement Jaxx and Groove Armada. Organisers also run a FREE Shakedown Shuttle from the Old Steine to and from the festival, leaving you time to just enjoy the event and party the day away.

Love Supreme: July 2015 Just 30 minutes from Brighton, the Love Supreme jazz festival is held in the grounds of an impressive Elizabethan manor house and ties in toe-tapping tunes of the finest jazz artists with pretty and picturesque views. If you’re after a lazy and laid back picnic and Prosecco style do – this one’s for you!

Photo by Brighton Photo

Chilli Festival: September 2015 Postponed from last year, this fiery food festival plays host to some of the hottest foods, live music and not forgetting, the famous chilli eating competition in Victoria Gardens. Do you dare?

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Gorgeous and Glamorous Weddings at The George In Rye

Photo by Anneli Marinovich Photography

In recent years, The George in Rye, East Sussex has become a favourite wedding venue for Sussex brides and their grooms who want an elegant yet relaxed big day.

Image courtesy of Alan Harbord Photography

The George, a boutique townhouse located at the heart of Rye’s historical high street is just a stone’s throw from the Town Hall where couples can tie the knot before continuing their celebrations at the stunning venue, late into the night.

Photography by Jacqui McSweeny

Boasting an original Georgian ballroom (for that all-important first dance!) and 16th century coaching inn, The George, which dates back to 1575 is unsurprisingly popular with couples wanting a sophisticated ‘do with a pretty vintage vibe.

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The Diary of a Brighton Bride-To-Be: Engaged! Now What?

 

Today our lovely Brighton based feature writer Shelley who is planning her very own Sussex wedding talks engagements, what to do next and feeling a little overwhelmed. . .

I don’t know about you but as soon as the ring was on my finger, I was thinking about my dream wedding day; the venue, the guest list and not forgetting the dress. And, if I’m being really honest I’ve found it all a little overwhelming.

With that in mind I thought I’d share some sound advice given to me by friends, family and past Love Sussex Weddings brides that helped me to find my wedding planning feet:

Whatever You Do, Do It Your Way

Some of the best weddings I’ve been to or have fallen in love with here on Love Sussex Weddings have been the ones that you can tell were planned between a bride and her groom with their personalities shining through every aspect of their wedding day. It’s your day so why not do it your way!

Photo by Sara Reeve

Talk to each other

I know this sounds silly, but so many past brides have said it and I’ve already found it useful! If in your head you’re dreaming of an elegant stately home ‘do, while your other half is imagining an intimate church ceremony with cool pub garden reception, it’s important to know this sooner rather than later, so that compromise and inspiration can be drawn from both sides.

Image courtesy of PhotoMadly

Nowadays, it seems grooms don’t want to shy away from wedding planning and want to get fully stuck in – what does he want from a wedding day? Is there anything he’d really like or not like? I’ve been really surprised with some of the suggestions that my groom-to-be has made – I was expecting a ‘Oh, I don’t know you decide’ remark when I asked him, but instead, just by chatting ideas through we are already getting a good idea of what we hope our big day will be like.

Photo by PhotoMadly

Bridal Budget

Regardless of who you talk to or which magazines you read, everyone will tell you a different sum for a wedding budget. I think it’s important to remember that you can spend as little or as much as you want and are comfortably able to, there is no set amount you have to spend.

To get a general idea of what your wedding day might cost, there’s no harm in having a chat with a few venues and key suppliers such as caterers, photographers and bridal boutiques to get a rough figure.

Photography by Sara Reeve

Decide on a Theme

What would you like your wedding to be like? Choosing a theme, even loosely, can be a useful starting point for thinking about what you want for your wedding (I have certainly found it useful), it can help you think about what sort of venue, dress and decor you might want.

Image courtesy of Wookie Photography

Take bright colours for example, a key look for 2015, to me this conjures up images of a summer wedding, summery food, colourful cocktails, a sassy dress and a city venue. Having a theme sort of makes everything slot into place, without much effort. There’s loads of real weddings here on Love Sussex Weddings you can look through for ideas and Pinterest is a great tool for playing with too if you’re struggling to pin down a wedding theme.

Photography by Darren Cool Images

Book…But Don’t Rush

If after visiting a venue you both know it’s the one and you can afford to, book it! The same with your wedding suppliers. Just don’t feel that you have to ‘take’ the first venue/photographer/caterer you see, in fear that you need to jump on the wedding conveyor belt – this advice from my dad.

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Honeymoon Hotspot: Santorini, Greece

I’ve noticed that more and more of the couples we feature here on Love Sussex Weddings are choosing the beautiful Greek Island of Santorini as their honeymoon destination, so when Love Sussex Wedding’s feature writer Shelley and her very own groom-to-be jetted off there on holiday a couple of weeks ago I asked her to report back on what all the fuss is about! So here’s Shelley with some of her gorgeous holiday snaps and the inside scoop on this beautiful island as a hot honeymoon destination. . .

Over recent years, the picturesque Greek island of Santorini has become a buzzing honeymoon hotspot for newlyweds to relax and recuperate after the busy lead up to their wedding day.

Taking just over three and a half hours from Gatwick, Santorini brimming with it’s blue-domed buildings, traditional Greek tavernas and black sandy beaches, feels like landing in a different world. Offering both a post-wedding chill-out and also plenty of places to explore, it’s easy to see why so many honeymooners from across the world fall in love with this idyllic island.

Fantastic Fira

Fira, also known as Thira, is Santorini’s stunning city. Set around a caldera from a volcanic eruption over 3,600 years ago, the sheer cliffs laden with winding cobbled streets and white-washed buildings are guaranteed to take your breath away. Take a donkey ride, cable car or walk down to the old port to see Fira’s iconic back drop at its best and then head for the highest point to witness the awe-inspiring sunset. Our tip: there’s nothing more romantic than having a meal as the sun sets on a perfect day, but restaurants can get busy. Make a booking at a taverna over-looking the bay for a truly memorable evening – most just take a 10 euro refundable deposit.

The city isn’t just about sight-seeing, oh no! For you stylish Sussex shoppers, Fira is a mecca for locally-made leather, lace and beauty products. It also boasts beautiful boutique shops, bars and a few classy clubs if you feel like having a post-wedding celebration boogie or two.

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10 Gorgeous Wedding Cake Ideas!

Here at Love Sussex Weddings HQ, we love a good cake, so to celebrate the mouth-watering (and some amazingly OMG jaw-dropping) cakey choices of just some of our Sussex brides and grooms, we’ve put together our top ten inspirational wedding cake ideas! Prepare to feel very hungry:

1. Naked Wedding Cakes

Image copyright of Clare Fitzgerald Photography

Over the last few years, scrumptious and stripped back naked cakes have become a very popular choice for relaxed and rustic themed weddings, think barns, chilled outdoor ‘dos and boho-inspired big days. Normally, these delicious delights are based on the traditional Victoria sponge, filled with copious amounts of jam and cream and topped with summer fruits – perfect if you’re after that rustic summer fete feel. We fell in love with Hannah and Chris’ nostalgic naked cake handmade by the bride’s mum, doesn’t it remind you of sunny days gone-by?

2. Cakes of Cheese

Image by Mia Hooper photography

Yes, yes, we know a ‘cake made out of cheese’ – and no we’re not going all Peter Kay on you, we literally mean it! For those of you who long for savoury rather than sweet, a ‘cheese cake’ (i.e. a ‘cake’ made from different types of decadent cheeses) is a great option. Kate and Tim’s amazing cheese stack, made by the super-talented Sally from Standean Caterers  certainly caught our attention back in May this year.

3. Cupcakes

Cupcakes exploded onto the wedding cake scene almost a decade ago (with help from Carrie and co from Sex in The City) and are still a firm favourite amongst couples and their guests. Individual cupcake towers are perfect for handing out cupcakes to lucky guests, if you don’t fancy cutting up and sharing out your cake (we don’t blame you…) or if you don’t want a traditional big cake.

Speaking of big cakes, cupcakes don’t have to be dainty – oh no, in the last couple of years, we’ve also seen giant cupcakes take centre-stage at vintage-inspired Sussex weddings and boy-oh-boy, do they really add to the cute and quirky ambience of a retro-themed wedding!

4. Doughnut Towers

Image courtesy of Sara Reeve photography

After something a little less formal than a cake? Take a doughnut out of Lewes-couple Laura and Chris’ big day book with a doughnut tower made by Circa Events! Guests can dig in and choose their favourite, mmmmm doughnuts.

5. Seaside Themed Cakes

Image copyright Photomadly

Oh we do like to be beside the seaside! Living so close to the sunny south coast – an inspiration for many a Sussex wedding – it’s easy to see why seaside inspired wedding cakes, in the form of cool beach huts, sandcastles and even the pier are so popular!

Image courtesy of navy blur photography. Cake by Flutterby Bakery.

6. Rainbow Cakes

Image by Velvet Wedding Photography

From stationery to flowers, décor to now, cakes, mix-matched colours are big news for big days, none more so than rainbow brights. Rachel and Dan’s multi-coloured masterpiece from Brighton’s Flutterby Bakery is one of the first rainbow cakes we clapped eyes on, for their epic barn wedding back in 2012! Needless to say, it’s a subtle way of injecting your fun, frivolous colour pop theme into your dream day.

7. Buttons and Bows

Image by Photomadly

Whether you’re inspired by the bow-tied Tiffany box your engagement ring came in or a lover of delicate details, pretty button and/or bow accessorised cakes, like this one from Consumed By Cake are simple yet stunning choices for a wonderful wedding cake.

8. Flower Power

Image copyright of Photomadly

From traditional roses to sophisticated lillies, a wedding just wouldn’t be complete without some fabulous flowers. But why stop at just decorating your venue with them, when you can turn your cake into a floral fantasia? This oh-so-romantic rose covered cake, made by Chatter Cakes, would work in a whole host of settings from an elegant hotel celebration to a DIY village hall ‘do.

9. Top Of The Cake

Image by Miss Cake

Fun and quirky cake toppers are one of this year’s wedding bestsellers. Go for cake bunting, a personalised Mr and Mrs addition or even a LOVE topper, like Love Sussex Wedding readers Lisa and Alex, to really stamp your personality on your cake!

Image courtesy of Emma Lucy Photography

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An East Sussex Wedding (Take Two!) at Pekes Manor, Chiddingly ~ Charlotte & Jarred



It’s not very often that we come across a couple who are already married and want to re-marry, doing it bigger and better than before, but that was until we came across Charlotte and Jarred from Hailsham, East Sussex who tied the knot (for the second time) in March.

Originally marrying at Brighton Registry Office exactly a year beforehand, the couple (who own the popular Chapter 12 Wine Bar in Hailsham) decided to hold their BIG-ger day a year later, complete with romantic church service and stunning Pekes Manor reception.

As well has having two ‘dos, Charlotte also stuck to her bridal budget by buying a pre-loved wedding dress from a local charity shop and as she proves, it’s certainly worth considering ladies!

Here’s Charlotte to tell us all:

We met through my best friend Emily who Jarred worked with in Australia, Jarred got mugged in Spain while travelling and needed somewhere to stay other than Emily’s sofa, I needed a lodger and Jarred never moved out! Jarred proposed on Christmas Day 2012 in Australia.

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Shhh, A Secret Brighton Town Hall Wedding ~ Natasha & Jamie

In late March, Worthing long-term lovers Natasha and Jamie tied the knot in a small (and secret!) wedding ceremony, with just four guests – Natasha’s mum, their two children and their wedding photographer Victoria JK Lamburn in Brighton’s Town Hall.

The Love Sussex Wedding readers kept their Brighton big day a secret until after their vows were exchanged, favouring a more romantic and intimate affair. They also shunned the traditional reception or honeymoon, choosing to stay in sunny Brighton and have some truly iconic photographs taken in The Lanes, North Laines, Victorian beach-side bandstand and at the Royal Pavilion to tell their secretive story instead!

Here’s gorgeous bride Natasha to spill the beans on their hush-hush wedding day:


We have been together since 1997 and Jamie proposed in the Christmas of 2005, the same year that our son was born. It was very simple and romantic!

We had ideas in our heads of the colour scheme and we knew we wanted a small and romantic wedding with a vintage twist, so it was just a case of making those ideas a reality. Jamie’s parents had a small romantic wedding at Brighton Town Hall in 1974 when they were 18 and we wanted to have the same for ourselves.

“How to Tell Family Members You’ve Had a Sneaky Wedding…”

We found the florist because they are local to us, but mostly we found suppliers via the internet including our photographer and venue. We read a lot of blogs on how to go about getting married, like how to tell family members you have had a sneaky wedding!

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