An East Sussex Garden Party Wedding at Birling Manor ~ Hannah & Conor

If you’re struggling with these dreary and grey autumn days, we’ve got just the tonic for you, in the shape of Love Sussex Weddings readers Hannah and Conor’s August bank holiday bash!

The couple, who originally hail from Leicestershire (Hannah) and Belfast (Conor) and live in Teddington, London tied the knot in a beautiful bunting and fairy light  laden ceremony at East Dean’s Birling Manor and continued their pretty vintage-inspired garden party themed big day in a capri marquee on the crocket lawns.

We caught up with gorgeous bride Hannah to talk crafting, mother-in-law cake offs and why these London-locals chose to marry in Sussex:

Hi Hannah! Before we start chatting away about your beautiful big day, tell us – how did Conor propose?

We’d been together six and a half years in July 2013 - Conor had just started working for a new company and they used to have competitions every Friday with amazing prizes. Conor pretended he’d won a night away in Stoke Park Hotel –a luxury 5 star hotel. On arriving in the amazing suite, I tried to rifle through the mini bar saying that as we were not paying for the room we should treat ourselves to a bottle of champagne – Conor obviously very uncomfortable, tried to convince me otherwise!

We had a fabulous meal with the very last course being bought out to us both under a silver dome.  Still completely oblivious to it all I lifted off the dome and underneath was a red ring box! Conor then got down on one knee and said “it’s not a competition, will you be my wife?” The ring belonged to his grandmother and is from the 1930′s.

What a charmer! That’s such a lovely proposal story! So, spill; why did you choose to get married in East Sussex?

We both love East Sussex! It’s just short drive from London and the sun always shines (mostly!). I think we will move, eventually. Conor saw our wedding venue, Birling Manor online. We decided to go down for the weekend and it was love at first sight! We didn’t see ANY other venues and signed up for the Bank Holiday weekend there and then.

We don’t blame you, it’s a gorgeous wedding venue! We take it you stayed locally?

We rented six Beachy Head Cottages for 4 days, to include the wedding party and close friends, all centred around a beautiful kitchen garden.  It really was so much fun nipping in and out of each other’s cottages during the whole weekend! We were looked after so well by the estate manager too. We had a BBQ Sunday and it made the wedding into a whole weekend celebration rather than just one day. [CLICK TO READ MORE]

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A Rustic and Romantic English Country Garden Michelham Priory Wedding ~ Keri & James (and bump!)

If there’s one thing that really makes us reach for our hankies, it’s seeing a bride with a bump! This week’s wedding is Keri and James’ rather marvellous East Sussex big day from June 2014, where our beautiful bride was four months pregnant and just starting to show – how magical?

Our lovely London couple tied the knot at St Andrew’s in Alfriston and carried on their elegant yet rustic celebrations with a reception at the nearby Michelham Priory. Enough from us – here’s Keri to tell us more:

It was August 2010 when we met. My mother received the rather elated call from me upon my return from my annual holiday to Ibiza. When I delivered the unexpected news that ‘I had met the one’ at the Blue Marlin beach bar, I think given the location of our meet she may have been slightly sceptical, but I was only going purely on her motherly advice that ‘when you know you really do know’, and I have never doubted it or looked back.

Three years on I was whisked away for a long weekend to the North East Coast of Majorca to a stunning hotel called Can Simoneta, part way through our stay at the old monastery, on a beautiful Saturday evening, just as the sun was going down I was taken for dinner to a private table, in a secluded location overlooking the sea to watch the sun go down where I was treated to some incredible food and even better wine!

James spent the whole dinner checking his watch and hurrying me through the meal so my hopes were dashed! I presumed there must be a rugby match on and thought nothing else of it other than being a little disappointed as I had hoped something may happened that evening given that romance doesn’t come naturally to James! We were met at the top of the path by the hotel manager who swiftly handed James a torch and I was ushered to the spiral staircase that took you down the cliff face to the water’s edge, the way had been part lit with hurricane lamps and tea lights. We navigated our way down the winding path, carefully following the candles that led our way. I was greeted at the end of the path, by a champagne bucket (thankfully with bottle in!) two glasses and several large hurricane lamps. I turned to face James to see what was going on and he was already down on one knee, wielding a ring. I guess my mum was right, when you know you know!

James had his stag do in Newquay with a small army of men who joined him there for the weekend, surfing, going to the beach festival and just general boozing. My hen was a slightly more civilised affair, given the news I was pregnant. I therefore allowed my hens to do my bit of the drinking and they did me proud! It all began in Chelsea for brunch at Tom’s Kitchen. We then descended on Chelsea Farmer’s Market and ended the day with dinner and cocktails at Nobu Berkeley, and then cocktails follow by a casino for the hard-core and bed for the pregnant and sensible!

We chose to get married in Sussex as we own an old Farmhouse in Arlington which neighbours Michelham Priory, so spend most weekends down exploring East Sussex. We wanted an English Country Garden / shabby chic theme with dusky pinks, whites and greys.


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An Intimate and Elegant Hotel du Vin Brighton Wedding ~ Olivia and Andrew

Thinking about going small and intimate for your Sussex wedding venue? Well read on for some gorgeous inspiration! We’re so excited to share with you Olivia and Andrew’s absolutely delightful Brighton wedding held at Hotel du Vin in July.

Inviting just thirty guests, having a pretty blush and grey colour scheme and adding some truly personal details (including a nod to Olivia’s late Nan), this summer wedding will have you smiling and reaching for your hanky at the same time!

We caught up with beautiful bride Olivia to hear about her stunning Brighton wedding day:

Hi Olivia! We’re so excited by your Brighton wedding! So, tell us why you chose to get married in Sussex and how you chose your venue?

We are both from Brighton and after visiting Hotel du Vin, we loved it, and booked it up straight away! 

It looks absolutely stunning! Where did all of your inspiration come from to create such a pretty day?

There was lots of looking through wedding mags, a lot of researching online including looking at Love Sussex Weddings, Pinterest and also recommendations from friends. I had a clear idea of what I wanted so it was just a case of putting it all together!

And it seems you did that perfectly. Your wedding seems a low-key, chilled affair – how did you make it look so easy?

We wanted to have a very small wedding with only 30 of our immediate family and close friends, it was really important to us to keep the day relaxed. We invited extra guest to celebrate with us in the evening.  

That’s a great idea. What other personal touches did you add to your big day?

So many! We had old wedding pictures framed of both of our parents’ weddings and my grandparents wedding on our guest book table. 

We had a Polaroid guest book with props, for our guest to take pictures of themselves, and stick it next to their note.

We had a candle at the bar to remember my Nan with a poem “we know you would be here today if heaven weren’t so far away.” 

Our page boys and flower girl had personalised toy bags with vintage toys in to keep them busy. 

We had a basket of “dancing shoes” near the dance floor for the girls to change into, a mixture of slippers and flip flops tied up with twine.

Adrianna, who did my dress alterations, used a button which was my nan’s to secure the train of my dress up for the evening, and she attached some blue ribbon which was also my nan’s to the inside of my dress for my something blue!

Oh, that’s so lovely! What a touching addition to your day. Did you have a go at making anything too?

I made lots of things! I made candle holders for the courtyard using old jam jars, lace and ribbon. I also customised my Nan’s candle in the same way and attached the note using a brown luggage tag.I made our table plan, I brought the birdcage for $10 in Orlando and customised it myself. I used brown table number tags and hand stamped them, I then brought a vintage rose garland to wrap around the edge of the bird cage. 

I used vintage photo frames to display our table names, our table names were our favourite pubs from Hove.

They look lovely! Nice pub choices too! So, if you had to pick, what did you enjoy the most about wedding planning?


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The Irregular Choice Wondrous Winter Wedding Collection 2014

Good news for Irregular Choice fans! The fabulously funky Irregular Choice Autumn Winter 2014 Wedding Collection is in store now. We heart Irregular Choice here at Love Sussex Weddings and we know loads of you ladies do too – we’ve lost count of the number of brides we’ve featured who’ve strutted down the aisle in Irregular Choice. And you know this internationally acclaimed brand started in Brighton right? Well where else!? We’re loving Pearly Girly, which ones would you choose?

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A Quirky and Creative Brighton Wedding at the Duke of York’s Picturehouse and Proud Cabaret ~ Sam & Tom

Some days when a wedding lands in your inbox, you get a tingle of excitement and just can’t wait to get it live so that you guys can swoon along with us – Hove based Sam and Tom’s quirky big day is definitely one of those weddings, it evokes ideas, inspiration and best of all – our day our way, attitude. We love.

Tying the knot at the Duke of York’s Picturehouse, whilst showing a video they’d made together, this creative couple and their lucky guests then partied the November night away at Brighton’s Proud Cabaret.

Want to see more? We don’t blame you. Here’s beautiful bride Sam to tell us all:

Tom proposed in our favourite city, Paris, on the Pont Des Arts Bridge, at midnight on my 29th birthday with the Eiffel Tower sparkling in the background. Cheesy for some, absolutely perfect for me!

We chose to get married in Sussex because it’s where we met, fell in love and have set up our home.

It was very important to us to let our wedding day represent the type of people we are and what we like doing so the venue choice was easy: we simply chose the places we liked going the most! The rest was done via the internet from sites such as Love Sussex Weddings. I found other people’s weddings really helpful and certainly borrowed ideas from them.

Hen and Stag Do Debauchery

I went to Berlin for my hen do, I had always wanted to go and thought that a weekend away with a small group of close friends would be awesome and it was. If you want history by day and debauchery by night, Berlin is the place for you.

The Stag’s went to Marseille, where a group of eight kayaked and camped along the Huveaune River enroute to a large industrial electronica festival.

Our theme was definitely ‘a little bit of us’, we wanted to mix all the stuff we like into one day. We really didn’t care if things didn’t go together, it was just meant to be a reflection of the everyday with just a hint of something special.

On Film

We shot a vast amount of footage throughout the year leading up to the wedding, edited it into a film and played it after the ceremony on the big screen whilst everyone ate popcorn. Besides the vows, it was my favourite part of the day as we managed to capture nearly everyone at the wedding on film and no one knew about it beforehand.

I think most of our wedding day was non-traditional!

We got married at the pictures, didn’t have a top table and had scantily clad men and women serve the wedding breakfast.

I suppose the biggest non-traditional aspect was the fact that we didn’t tell anyone where we were getting married. The wedding party and most guests stayed at the Hilton on the seafront the night before (and night of) the wedding. We asked them to gather at the hotel at 1pm where we whisked them away on an old bus to the venues. We did, however keep a few things semi traditional like our first dance (outro by M83) and cutting the cake.

DIY Bride

We made video invites and sent them out via email. We love making films and it cost no money, it just took us a bit of time to edit, but that was fun and people’s reactions were great.  We also did our own seating plans, and the general bits for the tables (in fact my Grandma came down from Suffolk a few days early and helped out which was great). I also made the button holes from feathers, leaves and a Christmas decoration, and my brooch bouquet I made by following various videos on YouTube!


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A Beautiful Outdoor Ceremony at Buxted Park ~ Francesca & Matt

This week we’re bringing you Kent- couple (and Love Sussex Weddings readers) Francesca and Matt’s utterly stunning outdoor Buxted Park wedding, before we go any further we must say, if you’re a fan of princess style dresses, you are going to love Francesca’s beautiful gown – it certainly made us swoon!

Filled with pretty, pink and vintage-inspired details, this dainty big day was all about understated elegance and romance. Enough giddiness from us, here’s Francesca to tell us all: Matt proposed whilst on holiday in Rhodes, I had no idea he was planning it, but one night after dinner whilst having an evening walk along the beach he got down on one knee, opened a box with a perfect diamond ring and asked me to marry him. I burst into tears and of course said yes! It was the perfect setting surrounded by palm trees under the stars. I was so surprised and amazed he had managed to get the perfect ring and ask my dad’s permission, all without me knowing!

We felt Sussex was the perfect location for our wedding due to its beautiful countryside and views. We chose Buxted Park as we felt it was an amazing venue with stunning grounds. We got married on the Coat of Arms Lawn and had our wedding breakfast in the Ballroom.

We both had a good idea of what we wanted for our day and used the internet and Pinterest to get ideas. We also loved Love Sussex Weddings, where we found inspiration for our big day and our amazing florists Pollen. Pollen provided additional decor for the day. We had large LOVE lettering in the background during the service, a vintage style white post box, lanterns and Mr and Mrs white wooden letter on the mantle piece.

Our wedding colours were blush pink and navy blue. My dress was called Peony, it was a mix between ivory and blush, the men wore navy suits and bridesmaids had blush pink dresses.

Pretty Personal Touches

Matt is a designer so he designed all the invitations, table plan and table names. He also came up with our table names, which were Cockney rhyming slang with a wedding theme, for example the top table was Horse and Carriage aka marriage, this was a fun touch that had guests guessing.

We also created our own sweet table! We purchased bulk sweets online with paper bags to match our colour theme. We then got sweet jars from Ikea and tied blush ribbon in bows around them. Matt designed typography pieces to be displayed which referenced love and sweets and we sprinkled the table with love hearts. It looked amazing and was a fraction of the price.

Movie Music

I walked down the aisle to Pachebels Cannon in D, this is a piece of music we both liked and wanted something traditional to start the ceremony.

We are both big Pixar fans and wanted to have music meaningful to us, so chose a selection of music from the films to be played during the signing of the register.

We finished by walking back down the aisle to one of our favourite songs You and I by Crystal Fighters.

Our first dance song was I Luv you by The Ordinary Boys this was a special song to us which was released in 2007, the year we got together. [CLICK TO READ MORE]

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A 1950s Inspired Wedding at Brighton Town Hall & The Old Ship Hotel ~ Emma & Matt

Good golly Miss Molly, have we got a perky and preppy vintage treat in store for you this week? Courtesy of quirky couple Emma and Matt from Hove, and the oh-so-fabulous Fitzgerald Photographic, this May wedding takes us back to the rock ‘n roll era with vintage vinyls, retro coke bottles and swoon-worthy tea-length dresses.

Are we ready? We caught up with bride Emma, a Love Sussex Weddings reader, to hear all about her beautiful Brighton big day:

Hi Emma! You’re wedding looks a real stunner, but before we get down to the nitty-gritty, tell us – how did Matt propose?

Matt proposed whilst on holiday in Dublin, we’d gone out for a nice romantic meal and then for a walk around the city. We walked into Trinity College and under the Campanile where he got down on one knee and proposed…

How romantic! So why did you choose to get married in Sussex?

We both grew up in and around Brighton so wanted to get married by the sea.

We don’t blame you at all – Brighton’s a great place to tie the knot. How did you come up with your fun 1950s theme?

We loved the idea of a 50s style wedding as we both enjoy the music and the fashion and thought it would make fun, relaxed day.

It certainly looks like a great day was had by all! Did you do anything vintagey for your hen and stag dos?

We hen’s went to the Grand Hotel for Afternoon Tea and a boozy afternoon at Jamie’s Italian, while the stag’s visited Brighton Pier for the arcades, played Lazer Zone and finished off with a trip to Komedia.

Sounds like great fun! We hear that your groom had been a bit sneaky and ordered you a gorgeous wedding car to take you to the ceremony… how amazing was that?

Matt completely surprised me with a beautiful black and chrome Oldsmobile from Bugsy Car Hire. It was amazing, the driver (Graham) was fantastic and came fully decked in a proper vintage style suit, we had so many people stop and admire the car it was just brilliant.

Wow – we’re impressed! We loved the vintage touches you added to your big day. Can you tell us a bit about them?

We used 7” vinyl singles as place settings/favours and glass bottles of coke with a red and white striped paper straw tied to it as favours to keep within the 50’s theme.

They look great! Do you have any tips for other Sussex brides to be?

Make lots of lists! Make sure you keep on top of the budget, review it at least once a month and above all, don’t panic!

Great tips! You just can’t beat a good ole list can you? So, what did you enjoy most about wedding planning?


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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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