Southdowns Manor Wedding Photography with Vicki & Matt

August 12, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

Bride and groom in front of South Downs National park landscapeSouthdowns Manor Petersfield Wedding PhotographyCouple together

Southdowns Manor is a wonderful exclusive-use wedding venue which has very recently opened near Petersfield, nestled (the clue is in the name) on the edge of the beautiful rolling hills of the South Downs. I've been fortunate enough to be involved with them since their launch just before Christmas (if you would like to see photos showcasing the beautiful rooms and spaces that you can take advantage of on your wedding day you'll find plenty further back in the blog) and have been following its development and success keenly over the months since, so it was with much excitement that I joined Vicki & Matt for the first wedding that I was scheduled to cover there. What a wonderful day it was, and what a fantastic couple to share it with and to be there providing the photography for!

One of the huge attractions with Southdowns manor as a venue is that it's all yours - not just for the day, but right through to the following morning, meaning that you can cover everything in one place - bridal preparation, personalising and setting up the rooms to your taste with the help of the lovely team, guests arriving and relaxing in the beautiful lounge and out in the grounds admiring the views... - and then party right on through, crashing out in the many exquisitely finished bedrooms and finally emerge back downstairs the following day (possibly slightly bleary-eyed) for breakfast. The set up really does lend itself ideally to the full wedding experience, not least with the combination of the gorgeous bridal suite and a fully separate bridal preparation room (stuffed full of mirrors and comfy sofas). And the best thing of all about everything happening in one place, from my own slightly biased view: less time travelling means more time taking photos!

Blue skies over the lawns of the recently refurbished hotel, with gazebo in the foregroundSouthdowns Manor Petersfield Wedding PhotographyVenue exterior

Dress hanging from the four-poster bed in the bridal suite, and shoes presented on a heart-shaped dressing tableSouthdowns Manor Petersfield Wedding PhotographyDress and shoes The early stages of hair and make-up with the bridesmaidsSouthdowns Manor Petersfield Wedding PhotographyBridesmaids getting ready The bride works on her hair and make-up as a flower girl begins her own preparationsSouthdowns Manor Petersfield Wedding PhotographyBridal preparation Flower girl in the make-up chair as a bridesmaid gets the champagne flowingSouthdowns Manor Petersfield Wedding PhotographyBefore the wedding Finishing touches to the eyes, as another bridesmaid checks herself in one of the very many mirrorsSouthdowns Manor Petersfield Wedding PhotographyBridal make-up A bridesmaid caught sneaking downstairs to check whether the groom had arrivedSouthdowns Manor Petersfield Wedding PhotographyBridesmaid The groom with best man and ushers in front of the stone fireplace in the loungeSouthdowns Manor Petersfield Wedding PhotographyGroom and ushers The groom is on hand in the lobby area and ceremony room to greet guests as they arrive for the weddingSouthdowns Manor Petersfield Wedding PhotographyGroom and guests Groom, ushers and guests outdoors at the front of the hotelSouthdowns Manor Petersfield Wedding PhotographyThe boys outside Floral and decorative details in the ceremony room of the hotelSouthdowns Manor Petersfield Wedding PhotographyCeremony room Ushers receive their button-holes, and a rear view of the ceremony room with red carpetSouthdowns Manor Petersfield Wedding PhotographyFinishing touches Back upstairs, bride, bridesmaids and other members of the wedding party continue to prepareSouthdowns Manor Petersfield Wedding PhotographyBridal preparation In the bridal suite, the bride gets into her dress and puts on her jewellerySouthdowns Manor Petersfield Wedding PhotographyBride getting dressed Bride and bridesmaid in the bridal suite of the hotelSouthdowns Manor Petersfield Wedding PhotographyBride in wedding dress A bridesmaid uses a crochet hook to button up the back of the wedding dressSouthdowns Manor Petersfield Wedding PhotographyButtoning Up
As Vicki got into her extremely elegant and beautiful dress upstairs with the help of bridesmaids and parents, Matt was downstairs greeting guests, chatting with his ushers and generally keeping himself occupied up until that moment when the groom suddenly finds himself stood at the end of the aisle waiting for his bride to make her entrance. It was an absolutely beautiful day - blue skies, fluffy clouds... - and soft natural light was spilling in through the windows and across the ceremony room. Vicki came downstairs, and suddenly it was action stations!
As if there aren't enough photo opportunities inside Southdowns Manor, step outside the front door and onto the lawn and you are presented with beautiful views across the downs and the rolling West Sussex countryside. The weather was playing ball, so this was our scene for the group photos, which - as the other guests made their way through to the dining room for the wedding breakfast - we then built on with a few snatched moments of time-out photos with Vicki and Matt, before they made their grand entrance for the first time as husband and wife...
Walking together along a tree-lined laneSouthdowns Manor Petersfield Wedding PhotographyBride and groom on country lane On the lawn of the hotel with the South Downs countryside in the backgroundSouthdowns Manor Petersfield Wedding PhotographyBride and groom portrait Time-out with the bride and groomSouthdowns Manor Wedding PhotographyBlack and white couple portraits Tables and flowers arranged in the dining roomSouthdowns Manor Wedding PhotographyWedding breakfast decoration Waiting to make their entrance at the start of the wedding breakfastSouthdowns Manor Wedding PhotographyBride and groom together Checking out the cake and seating planSouthdowns Manor Wedding PhotographyWedding guests The father of the bride makes the opening speech as guests watch onSouthdowns Manor Wedding PhotographySpeeches Photos of guests during the speechesSouthdowns Manor Wedding PhotographyCandid guests Colour photos of guests watching the wedding speechedSouthdowns Manor Wedding PhotographyGuest reactions Southdowns Manor Wedding Photography The groom makes his speechSouthdowns Manor Wedding PhotographyGroom speech Candid photos taken during the meal Southdowns Manor Wedding PhotographyLaughter at the wedding breakfast Photographs arranged in the lobby and floral detailsSouthdowns Manor Wedding PhotographyLobby decorations Guests sprawled across the excellent settee in the lobby areaSouthdowns Manor Wedding PhotographyWedding guests Southdowns Manor Wedding PhotographySigning books and finger-print trees
One of the things I increasingly like to do with my wedding photography is split up the time-out photos with the couple into two smaller bursts, either side of the wedding breakfast. It really works for a couple of reasons: firstly it's much less disruptive - the bride and groom are only away from their guests for short moments; and secondly it means that we can take advantage of different lighting situations and locations at different times of the day. And that's exactly what we did here - as the guests finished their desserts and moved on to coffee we nipped away from the dining room to take a few more photos, firstly in the now-empty lounge and then back outdoors in the early evening light. Big thumbs up to Vicki and Matt for being very willing subjects and very comfortable in front of the camera (hopefully the pre-wedding shoot helped there). And then, as the evening guests started to arrive it was back into the hotel for the start of the evening's celebrations, kicking off as per tradition with the cutting of the cake (just a little note but one thing I was delighted to see was the cake being moved into pride of place in the middle of the room, rather than tucked away in a corner as it so often is: if it's not so big that it's completely immobile this is definitely one of my top tips!) and the first dance. And then an absolutely excellent band to really kick the party off - I love a band at a wedding!
Portrait of the couple in the hotel's lounge, in front of the beautiful stone fireplaceSouthdowns Manor Wedding PhotographyBride and groom Bride in the glass corridor and lounge areaSouthdowns Manor Wedding PhotographyBridal portraits Time-out photos with the coupleSouthdowns Manor Wedding PhotographyBride and groom outdoors Bride and groom kissing in the gazebo on the hotel's lawnSouthdowns Manor Wedding PhotographyKiss! A charming wedding cake, ready to be cut...Southdowns Manor Wedding PhotographyThe cake Bride and groom cut the cake and move into the first dance...Southdowns Manor Wedding PhotographyCutting the cake Bride and groom dance together at the start of the evening's celebrationsSouthdowns Manor Wedding PhotographyFirst dance ...and that's just the tip of the iceberg! The photos here in the blog are just a small selection from the full day: friends and family can view the complete set, and slideshow, in Vicki & Matt's online gallery (although, as ever, you'll need to ask them for the password first!).
 
Many congratulations to an absolutely wonderful couple on a truly fantastic wedding, and once again thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed the photos!
 
 
If you are planning your wedding at Southdowns Manor and would like to know more about my wedding photography services, packages and prices, please don't hesitate to contact me to to chat about your plans and ask me any questions you might have - I'm always happy to help however I can.
 
 
Plenty more blogs to come - it's been a busy Summer, so watch this space...
 
 
Stephen

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