When searching for wedding venues in Sussex, Surrey and the South East, it can seem like an impossible task - where do you start?
Welcome to the first in my 'Photographer's Eye' series of guides to wedding venues - a candid look at wedding venues from a photographer's perspective - designed to help you choose your wedding venue with your photos in mind.
So what do you need to think about first?
Well - of course, English weather being what it is, my first though, as a photographer, is 'What if it rains?'
I mean, of course, I hope your special day is a scorcher, but the reality is, rain is a commonly unwelcome guest, and one I have to manage with grace under pressure. So how does Long Furlong Barn , in Clapham, near Worthing, West Sussex fare?
Well, there are several options here: as you can see from the image, they have a lovely covered walkway from the bridal suite to the ceremony room, which can also doubles as a handy covered area under which your guests can shelter whilst I snap my way through the group shots.
It helps that my photographic style is very informal - I want your guests to look as if they are having fun, so unusual setups like this often give me the chance to create unique photos that capture the highlights of your day without too much cheese.
Because these guests had to stretch out under the canopy, I decided to photograph in sections, and then composite the photo to make a group panorama. It worked well but of course a sunny day is always easier!
When the weather is good, Long Furlong is surrounded by beautiful open fields and there's plenty of space to position guests either in the courtyard, on on the grass in front of the main barn, and using a wide angle lens really helps to showcase the venue, and your guests, in all its glory.
Inside, the ceremony room is long and narrow, so visibility from the rear can be challenging if the bride decides to walk first up the aisle, followed by her bridesmaids (from a photographic point of view, I'd always suggest the bridesmaids go first and let the bride take her time so we can catch the rear of the dress and try to capture the groom's expression as he sees her for the first time, once the bridesmaids have taken their places). When you reach the registrar, you'll find a glass panel which looks down on what I think looks like an old cellar - it gets a lot of comments and is a real talking point.
The reception roomis beautiful - high ceilings and tastfully lit uplighters really high.ight the space, especially when decked out by an expert venue decor specialist like my good friends at hire your day. There is enough indoor and outdoor space for guests to mingle and wander on a warm summer evening, or stay in, cosy and snug during the coldest winter's day. It's safe for kids too, when they inevitably need space to run around.
When it comes to taking the bride and groom off for a little bit of peace and quiet, there's the sweet walled garden which is ideal to capture those special moments once you've said I do, without feeling overlooked or as if you have an audience - it gives you, as a couple, a little bit of breathing space and a short while to relax and enjoy the moment.
I've photographed many weddings at Long Furlong Barn in my 10 year wedding photography career and as a wedding venue, I think it has it all.