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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Secret Garden Wedding Inspiration Shoot at Cisswood House, West Sussex


We’ve certainly got a little treat up our sleeves here at Love Sussex Weddings HQ for you today, in the form of a stunning Secret Garden photo shoot! If you’re thinking of having a laid-back and lovely outdoor wedding, get those notebooks at the ready, you’ll love this post.

Here’s florist and super stylist Claire from Ditchling-based Francesca and Florence to talk florals, flowing dresses and unusual (yet amazing!) wedding favours:



The shoot was inspired by author Frances Hodgson Burnett’s Secret Garden book. I wanted to create a summery, garden vibe to inspire summer brides. Having worked with Horsham-based photographer Andrea Sarlo, I knew she was the lady for the job and she kindly agreed to collaborate on the project.

The shoot took place mid-May at Cisswood House near Horsham. This is a lovely friendly venue which I have known as a wedding venue for five years now. The weather wasn’t ideal but the rain held off and the whole shoot was very relaxed, the brief being have fun and the images certainly capture this.

Our stunning model Jemma, wore dresses supplied by Leonie Claire in Brighton. Leonie selected stunning and delicate dresses by Claire Pettibone and these dictated the style of the shoot. [CLICK TO READ MORE]

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A stunning Willow pattern hand-painted wedding cake by MurrayMe Cakes

Today we are handing over to the uber talented Natalie from Brighton based, MurrayMe to hear all about her beautiful hand painted wedding cakes and her latest Willow Pattern wedding cake design. . .

My obsession with painting started at a very young age. My mum says she distinctly remembers noticing my drawing skills were better than the average five year olds the first time she saw my work at nursery. I know, I know – all mums would say that their childs work was better than anothers, but on this occasion, I can’t help but belive her story because ever since I can remember, I’ve not been able to live without my pencils and paintbrushes.

So how did MurrayMe  come about? I always knew I’d go into something ‘arty’ and I’ve always wanted to run my own business. Having got married a couple of years ago, I spent a lot of time on wedding blogs and websites. I stumbled across an article about painted cakes one day, and I couldn’t quite believe my eyes. I’d never heard of this kind of thing before, and I certainly had no idea that you could paint something so detailed and beautiful onto icing. With a love of cake too (well, I am a girl!) I just couldn’t imagine anything more well suited to my talents, and the decision was immediate that I must give it a go.

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A Nautical Arundel Town Hall & Arun Yacht Club Wedding ~ Catherine & Robert

All aboard brides and grooms-to-be, it’s time for this week’s stunning Sussex wedding! Robert and Catherine (a Love Sussex Wedding reader) tied the knot (sorry!) in mid-March at Arundel Town Hall and continued their nautical celebrations at the Arun Yacht Club in Littlehampton.

The couple and their fantastic photographers (Clare and Marcus from FitzGerald Photographic) stopped off for some rustically romantic and seriously swoon-worthy photographs amongst the nearby sand dunes, that we think you’ll love.

Enough from us, here’s wonderful Worthing bride Catherine to sail us through her wedding journey:

We chose to get married in Sussex as we wanted to stay local. We both grew up in Littlehampton and liked the idea of having our wedding in places that mean something to us as a couple (we often spend days in Arundel or go for walks down at West Beach).

We did a lot of our wedding ourselves, particularly the décor and smaller touches. We made watercolour wedding invites, origami sailboat placecards, hurricane lamp centrepieces, pompoms and put up a lot of fairy lights!  We wanted our big day to have an elegant feel but also be very relaxed in the evening, so we went for a cute/ rustic, nautical theme.

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Vintage Wakehurst Place Wedding Inspiration Shoot ~ Candy Floss and Bow Ties Photography


When some pretty pictures and a touching email from the lovely Lucy at Sussex-based Candy Floss and Bow Ties (yes, we loved the name too!) landed in the Love Sussex Weddings inbox, we just knew we had to share them with you.

Photographer Lucy arranged this wonderful styled shoot at the stunning Wakehurst Place near Ardingly in West Sussex to not only showcase the beautiful venue and talented local suppliers, but also to commemorate the second anniversary of her dad (and fellow Candy Floss and Bow Ties photographer) passing away, as we’re sure you’ll agree, it is a very lovely tribute.

Over to the lovely Lucy to hear more:

I love Wakehurst Place and wanted to pull together a styled shoot to showcase the venue and some great suppliers. I co-ordinated the day which involved around 12 suppliers in total and approximately 50 people, including the 20 or so models!

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A Lovely Laid Back Pub Wedding In Lewes ~ Louise & Lee

If you’re a fan of fuss-free non-traditional weddings, you’re going to love Louise and Lee’s relaxed big day. The bridesmaids and groomsmen sorted their own matching outfits (top marks ladies and gents!) and the bride did her own hair and make-up too.

Marrying at Lewes Town Hall and continuing their celebrations at nearby pub, The Pelham Arms, these former Mancunians (now living in Brighton) have really blown us away with their unique, quirky and quaint wedding.

Here’s the lovely Louise (a Love Sussex Wedding reader) to tell us all:

Lee proposed in a snow storm in Iceland. Initially he planned to propose under the Northern Lights, but after three days there was no sign of any activity. He then planned to propose in a National Park whilst admiring the waterfalls but en-route the weather got in the way!

We’re from Manchester originally but have both lived in Brighton for over five years and it now feels like our home. Sussex is a beautiful part of the UK, lots of history and stunning countryside, it was an easy choice to get married here.

Our inspiration came from visiting cosy pubs in Sussex, our love of Brighton and its quirkiness and the desire to create something that reflected our personalities. We love vintage/ bric-a-brac style and wanted a small, intimate and informal reception in lovely, quaint surroundings.

I got ready with my bridesmaids (and Mum and Dad) at the Pelham House Hotel, while Lee got ready with the boys in our flat in Seven Dials, Brighton. Following our ceremony at Lewes Town Hall, we walked down the hill to the lovely Southover Grange Gardens, where friends had set up a gazebo for us to serve drinks and the staff from The Pelham Arms came down to feed us all canapés.

Our wedding was a little untraditional as we didn’t use a ‘wedding venue’ as such and made our day as customised to our tastes as possible. We would have also forgot to cut the cake had someone not reminded us! We also created our own playlists for the reception and there wasn’t a usual wedding reception song in sight!

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