A Beautiful Brighton Beach and Barn Wedding ~ Emma and Maria

Emma and Maria 
from Yorkshire got married at Brighton’s Alfresco restaurant (a beautiful restaurant on Brighton beach)
 and held their reception party at Ditchling Village Barn and Green.

We love that Emma and Maria couldn’t imagine getting married anywhere else but Brighton and that they got engaged at the beautiful Brighton bandstand!

We’re handing over to lovely Emma for all the wedding planning details:

We got married in Brighton because it will always be a special place to us; we had two very happy years living there, and I proposed to Maria on the bandstand. So, when we decided to move back “up north” to be near family, we knew we had to squeeze in a wedding before we left; we couldn’t imagine getting married anywhere else!

We wanted to use as many local suppliers as possible, so we Googled to see what there was, made phone call enquiries and found most of them that way. We found our photographer at the Wonderful Wedding Fair in Brighton; we saw that she’d done a same sex wedding before and her style was exactly what we were looking for – soft, relaxed, and natural.

Pinterest gave us lot of ideas of ways to create a relaxed, natural, rustic-looking reception venue. 

My hen do was really fun; I abseiled into a gorge in the Yorkshire Dales and swam, slid and scrambled over rocks to get out again. Maria’s hen do was less adventurous but just as fun; she went back to Spain and met up with friends for a night out.

On the wedding day, it felt like everything was going wrong at one point, which we laugh about now. First, we opened the door to our photographer saying she wasn’t feeling very well (thankfully she powered through the day like a trooper). Then, our transport to Alfresco went to the wrong house (we almost ended up walking), and during the ceremony, the rings got mixed up and Maria ended up trying to force her ring onto my finger.

Our wedding colours were all very neutral and natural – creams, browns and peachy pink.

The weather on the day was amazing – it was like being abroad! Brighton and Ditchling looked even more beautiful in the sun. Looking out to West Pier and the sparkling sea during the ceremony was a moment I will never forget.

We got ready together the morning of the wedding; I think I would have been a nervous wreck if Maria hadn’t been there. Alfresco is normally set up with two aisles, so we both walked down the different aisles at the same time.

My tips for other Sussex couples getting married would be: create the wedding you would want to attend. We didn’t want anybody to get bored, so we made sure there were games and things to do. Ice-cream in the afternoon went down a treat too. Don’t stress and enjoy it!

The speeches were a very moving moment – lots of tears and laughter. It was amazing to have all of our friends and family in the same place celebrating with us.


We wrote our own vows – Maria’s in Spanish and mine in English – and had bilingual readings at the ceremony.

Most of our decor was handmade by us. We collected lots of jam jars and decorated them with hessian, lace and twine; we put tea lights in some at the barn, and we also put biodegradable confetti in them and placed them along the aisles in Alfresco. At the barn we had lots of fairy lights, fake ivy and white bunting.

Personally one of my favourite bits of planning was the planning spreadsheet and the challenge of sticking to a budget. Maria’s favourite part of the planning was buying and making the decorations and stationery.

My least favourite part of the wedding planning was deciding who and how many people to invite. It was difficult because the barn could only seat 48 guests in our preferred layout.


I thought DIY would be more personal, and obviously it would save us money, so we made the stationery, the photobooth and most of the decorations ourselves. Poundland was surprisingly good for crafting materials!

We had Spanish tapas and sangria as soon as we got to the barn, and later in the evening, we had a barbecue and salads. We provided the drinks for a self-service bar.

For our wedding favours we bought fudge in bulk from Sweet Williams Fudge Shop in The Lanes and gift-wrapped it ourselves two nights before the wedding.

We had an acoustic guitarist/singer during our ceremony.

If we could do it all again we would…? Do it exactly the same! But maybe not leave speech writing and deciding on a wedding dance ’til the night before…

Honeymoon hotspot: We had an amazing little holiday to Crete straight after the wedding, and then saved a bit more to travel around Australia at Christmas time.

Team Wedding:

Photographer: Sue Kwiatkowska

Brides’ dresses:
Emma: The Ozone Contemporary Bridal and Menswear, Maria: Maria doesn’t normally wear dresses, so she didn’t want to suddenly wear one on her wedding day. We spent weeks looking for a feminine bridal outfit that wasn’t a suit, but they didn’t seem to exist at the time. She ended up buying an ivory jumpsuit from America and glammed it up with a pearl belt from The Ozone.

Makeup: The Beauty Artist

Bridesmaids dresses: Debenhams.

Flowergirl outfit: Marks & Spencer

Flowers: The Brighton Flower Company 

Wedding band: RIOT (Brilliant band who kept us all dancing into the night)

Transport: Pavillion Coaches

Catering: The Garden Café

Aw thanks so much to beautiful brides Maria and Emma for letting us share their gorgeous Brighton wedding. We love the beachy ceremony and barn reception combo they chose. The weather and their wedding looks idyllic.

We are also loving the fact that Emma and Maria did lots of things their way too: getting ready together on the morning of the wedding, Emma wearing a jumpsuit instead of a dress (which looks a-mazing!), and the dare devil and Spanish hen do’s sounds like right good fun too.

Thanks also to local and lovely wedding photographer Sue Kwiatkowska for these gorgeous photos too.

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