South Lodge Hotel is a bit of a legend in West Sussex, close enough to the pretty market town of Horsham for convenience but set like a mellow old jewel in grounds so lovely it feels like you’re miles from anywhere. I rate the place highly, and was thrilled to be called there to cover the wedding of Megan and Adam.
The Lodge is an exclusive five star country house hotel situated amongst acres and acres of lush woodland just outside Lower Beeding. Because it’s north of the chalky downs the earth is nice and acid, perfect for rhododendrons, which is where our story starts. Imagine an outdoor wedding ceremony on a balmy early spring day, 14th April, surrounded by enormous, delicate, colourful blooms set amongst shining deep green foliage. In fact one of South Lodge’s rhododendron trees is the biggest single-stem rhododendron in Britain, a gorgeous thing smothered with enormous, vivid pink flowers. The setting was absolutely breathtaking.
Spring weather in a little slice of English heaven
While the leaves were not quite out on the trees, the skies were blue, the birds were singing and the grounds at the Lodge were at their splendid best. Deep, rich woodland, manicured gardens and lakes, it’s all part of the 93 acres of Sussex downland that the hotel offers. Plus sun terraces with gorgeous South Downs views, a mellow Victorian walled kitchen garden, croquet and tennis, and of course exceptional cuisine. It really is bliss, a little piece of English heaven.
I don’t just take beautiful wedding photos, I create memories for generations to come. And I take my responsibilities very seriously. The Lodge’s dedicated professional wedding support team and award-winning chefs are there to help happy couples create a day they’ll never forget. And what a happy occasion it was, another reminder – as if I needed one – that I’m fortunate to have one of the best jobs in the world!
Beautiful day, beautiful ceremony
There’s something extra-special about an outdoor ceremony, and it isn’t that common here in Britain where the weather is endlessly, fascinatingly unpredictable. I like to take a series of images revealing the scene, the couple making their preparations, the guests arriving, the ceremony proceeding, telling a vivid story that the couple can re-tell in pictures for years to come. The weather played fair for Adam and Megan, and South Lodge was the perfect setting to unfold the day in photographs from the start to finish in memorable detail.
Megan’s dress was a triumph, so pretty with its off-the-shoulder lace, perfect flowing skirts and slim silhouette. Adam looked incredibly handsome and self-possessed in a dark navy blue suit and bow tie. And a scarlet carpet laid on the immaculate lawns made the ideal focus for this very obviously happy couple to enjoy their special day. It really was a red carpet occasion.
A Sussex wedding venue I won’t forget in a hurry
I think this time around my favourite photos are those I took of the couple in the gardens with the most astonishing display of magenta rhododendrons forming the backdrop. Perfect! The candid reportage shots of the bride and groom are also something I’m very pleased with, capturing the joy and pride of the couple, their friends, families and loved ones really well – if I say so myself!
I’m also proud to say that South Lodge found a night shot photograph I posted of the hotel, tweeted it and shared it on Facebook. I’ll be thrilled to re-visit this wonderful venue again, and would highly recommend it to anyone getting married in Sussex. Thanks again to everyone concerned for a magical day – here’s to the happy couple.
Many thanks to Paul Smith the Toastmaster for all his help and assistance and excellent organizing.