Thinking of having a Balcombe Place Wedding? I cannot think of many places that are finer in Sussex for that chilled-out, luxe, weekend wedding vibe. Recently, Balcombe Place opened its mighty fine doors for us to host another of Photography Farm‘s Shoot Days there. These are portfolio building days for wedding photographers. It was a huge privilege to have access to the house and it’s glorious grounds. My co-host on this one was the ever brilliant Benjamin Wheeler. It was such a joy to see him work and see how much the attendees took away.
Our plan with this particular Shoot Day was to focus on the celebration parts of weddings. Like the toasts and the first dance. Alex, the incredible stylist and planner came up with the idea for a table plan made up of helium balloons at the entrance to the ballroom at Balcombe Place. These are some of my favourite images from the day featuring Brontë and Lewis.
Let’s sway, while colour lights up YOUR FACE. Let’s sway, sway through the crowd to an empty place …
Isn’t it incredible to be able to travel again? As soon as the announcement was made, I searched for a mini break. I thought, what is my ultimate dream for a UK getaway? It has to be a little beach house, a cabin, right on a beach somewhere. I remembered seeing something on the website CANOPY & STARS and went looking. There it was, the wonderful Sandy Toes Beach House on the Kent coast – on the Isle Of Sheppey to be precise.
At the end of a dirt track, our lovely host met us to let us in and we discovered that we were to be on the end of a jaunty row of beach properties. We immediately felt welcome and relaxed. It is truly off the grid but super cosy. We spent the days, walking in the neighbouring nature reserve, beachcombing, slow cooking, bird watching and teaching the kids to play backgammon. But mostly, we just looked at the phenomenal view – the huge skies and changing tides meant that it constantly refreshed. We all feel fully recharged and so lucky to have been able to call this little slice of paradise home for a few days. I’m now wondering if any of those neighbouring cabins ever come up for sale and if so, how can I buy one?
Could we do an Easter Wedding Editorial but make it fashion? That was the challenge the Rock n Roll Bride Magazine team set ourselves. This shoot might be all candy, sugar and bunnies in various shades of pastel but we booked an edgy model to keep it from becoming saccharine. This is actually one of my favourite shoots that we’ve done. The Easter theme was super fun and entered around the incredible cake from Cat Food Cakes. I had met Cat at this wedding and knew she would come up with something really creative for this. At the end of the shoot, we all got to eat some cake and it was so delicious. I also stuffed as many Easter bunnies as I could into my camera bag to take home – I mean look at them, so adorable!
Candy on the beach, there’s nothing better, but I LIKE CANDY when it’s wrapped in a sweater…
Even before COVID, micro weddings were a thing – we just didn’t have a name for them. There’s nowhere better in the UK, in my humble opinion, to have a low-key and lovely day than my hometown. Here’s my list MICRO WEDDING VENUES IN BRIGHTON. Some have got the licence and some would have to be legal ceremony elsewhere or reception only. Brighton is a wonderful city full of charm, but sometimes you need some insider knowledge to find the gems.
1. Brighton Town Hall
This one might seem obvious but there are more options with Brighton Town Hall than the main ceremony room that most folk go for. There is also the tiny Fitzherbert Room, the grand Council Chamber on the top floor and the Old Police Cells in the basement.
2. THE ROYAL PAVILION
The Royal Pavilion is the whole reason that the city of Brighton exists. It was King George IV’s party pad by the sea and the fashionable and hedonistic of European society followed his example and moved here.
The interior is a unique celebration of all things exotic, mixing regency splendour with decor inspired by India and China. You can hire The Red Drawing Room for a micro wedding and they can host receptions in three different spaces. My favourite is the William IV Room with its hand painted Chinese wallpaper and hanging lanterns.
3. THE SECRET GARDEN
This little hidden oasis in the city was originally one of the gardens for the grand houses in Sussex Square. The Secret Garden would have been accessed through a tunnel and it is the only one that now remains. From summer 2021 it will be open for socially distanced weddings.
4. PELHAM HOUSE
Just outside of Brighton, over in the super pretty town of Lewes is the gorgeous Pelham House. It’s an elegant Georgian Town House with beautiful gardens. At the moment they are offering deals on weddings and can take you on a virtual tour. You can have a ceremony, reception and stay over in their stunning bedrooms. It’s a great option if you want that country house weekend party feel.
5. ROCKWATER HOVE
This is a new venue in the city and I’m not even sure if it can cater a wedding but it’s worth an ask. Right on the promenade, Rockwater House is much more than a cafe, it’s a community hub for health and fitness too. They also have Shacks By The Shore so you could on a nice summer day get hitched at the Town Hall and then stroll Alina the beach to these beach huts serving drinks, street food, ice cream and cakes. You and your guests could hire some deckchairs nearby and have a super chill reception.
6. WHITE CLIFFS CAFE
This is a little gem, just along the coast a little at Saltdean. It’s an Art Deco building right on the beach at the foot of some cliffs. It has that faded British Seaside vibe, incredible sunsets, friendly staff and terrific food. White Cliffs Cafe will work with you on creating your wedding and making the best of their space.
7. PUB DU VIN
Both the Pub Du Vin and Hotel Du Vin in Brighton have rooms licensed for weddings. Expect relaxed, elegant spaces with good service. The drinks and food are so good here with modern British and French influence. They also do a wonderful breakfast.
8. WAGNER HALL BRIGHTON
This brand new venue is a blank canvas with big potential. I think the Fig Tree Garden looks like a possible winner. Think festoon lights, paper garlands, bright colours. You could even have an outdoor cinema, treating your guests to watch a movie as your evening entertainment. Imagine snuggling down in blankets with little snack trays. And if the weather isn’t so good, Wagner Hall do have indoor space.
This quirky cafe in Hove is another place that’s pretty close to the beach. They have a sustainable approach and focus on offering cocktails, brunch and afternoon tea. The interior at Oeuf is bright and airy plus they have a sweet little garden.
10. THE BANDSTAND
This venue most definitely has the best views for a wedding and it is licensed for ceremonies. It is best when the weather is fine but just in case it doesn’t play ball that day, the cute cafe underneath is also licensed. Find out more about The Bandstand here.
11. WILD FLOR
Great for Foodies, this small but perfectly formed restaurant has an upstairs room that can host a micro wedding. Wild Flor describes itself as a relaxed neighbourhood restaurant serving good good and world class wine. You can count me in!
12. THE GINGER DOG
The Ginger Dog in Kemptown is part of Brighton’s leading gastro group that also includes the Ginger Pig, Gingerman and Ginger Fox, all of which could accommodate your micro wedding reception. But the Dog has a private function room and it’s also not far from the beach. The food in all of these venues is utterly exceptional ‑ I should know, I’ve photographed a lot of it and yes I did get to taste it!
13. THE GINGER PIG
Close to the beach huts in Hove, this jewel in the Ginger group crown has a private dining space that leads into a private patio. You can also stay at The Ginger Pig as they have some utterly gorgeous rooms upstairs including two killer suites. The food is always the real star at any of the Gingers and I can personally vouch for their cocktails as my husband used to work there making them!
14. THE GARDEN BAR HOVE
If your style is more laid back pub vibes, then have a look at The Garden Bar a little outside of the main city. It’s light and airy with three possible spaces for a reception including it’s very lovely garden.
15. THE CELLARS AT THE OLD SHIP
Underneath the city’s oldest hotel is a unique venue for a micro wedding, The Cellars at the Old Ship. You get to it via a candlelight tunnel which opens out into cellar rooms that look like a film set. You can host an intimate celebration here and of course partake in some of the fine wines stored down there.
16. BLANCH HOUSE
This original Brighton Boutique hotel can host your wedding in its super chic rooms. They have specific micro wedding packages from £125 per person. The cocktails here are incredible and you are right on the beach so super easy for your photo session.
Right in the heart of the city, FABRICA is a former church that is now an Arts and Event Space. Yes it’s big and doesn’t have a license for ceremonies but it would be a wonderful space for an alternative ceremony and party. There is a small kitchen so catering can be brought in and it’s a blank canvas for any theme.
A Shoot for Chotronette Wedding Dresses for Rock n Roll Bride Magazine. How about florals, says Erica. How about Final Fantasy, say I. Honestly, you should see how long the group chats are pulling these editorial shoots together for Rock n Roll Bride Magazine. But we all utterly adore working on them and personally my favourite part is seeing how all our different input ends up translated into the final images. This time I think we can call this Final Floral Fantasy, am I right?
Each shoot is aimed at Kat’s readers who are never going to go for the straight white wedding option. They are pretty alternative but don’t always have a huge budget. So these frocks from designer Chotronette are right up their street and I know that so many brides went crazy on Kat’s Instagram when it was revealed that the dresses are priced between just £100-£850. (shoot credits below)