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Gemma & Chris’ Grittenham Barn wedding was the glorious lovechild of relaxed country charm and Hollywood glam. You might not think of those two styles as natural bedpals but, as you’ll see, it was a match made in heaven. This was my first time shooting a Grittenham Barn wedding and I very much hope to be back soon.

The morning began with Gemma and her girls ensconced at The Halfway Bridge Inn on one side of Petworth, while Chris and the boys were posted at The Welldiggers Arms on the other. A few weeks before the wedding, Chris & Gemma had incredibly sadly lost Diego – their absolute goodest boy – to an unexpected medical complication. Understandably there was quite a bit of additional emotion kicking about along with the standard issue pre-wedding nerves. If you look careful you’ll spot Diego’s collar and the cufflinks in his honour. RIP you exceedingly loveable squidge.

Gemma wore a magnificent Justin Alexander gown. A simple skirt with a clean silhouette gave way to an intricately detailed plunging bodice of plumage-insipired beaded embroidery. It looked, if you’ll excuse my French, fucking amazeballs. Add sleek dark hair, a pop of red lipstick and the most winning smile you could possibly imagine and there was no doubt that Gemma was bringing the Glam. Across town Chris’ vibe was earthier and more grounded but no less well executed. His suit, from The Bespoke Tailor, was matched perfectly to the setting; a subtle sandy pallete paired with tan braces.

Once everyone was looking appropriately fly and Gemma had led her bridesmaids and family in an impromptu rendition of “I’m getting married in the morning!” I high-tailed it for Grittenham Barn.

Gemma arrived like a Disney heroine in a horse-drawn carriage arranged by her lovely Dad. A quick loop around the back of the barn to collect the entranced flowergirls and then it was down the aisle to get these two mazzled.

Gemma & Chris’ day might have been brilliantly thought through and impeccably styled, but the reason I loved it was the people and the vibe. That’s the heart of the best weddings. Gemma & Chris are both extremely affable. Hanging out with them and getting to know them, which is fundamentally what documentary wedding photography is all about, was very easy and an awful lot of fun! There’s no pretension – just great people obviously very much in love having the time of their lives.

Grittenham Barn is one of those venues that doesn’t feel like a wedding venue and that is invariably a good thing. Instead it feels like borrowing someone’s house and throwing a big party. Which, in reality, isn’t far from the truth. It’s beautiful, but unfussy – you’re free to organise the day you imagine rather than being bound by too much red tape and there’s no cloying corporate vibe at all. Highly recommended! Gemma & Chris dressed the barn with huge hanging sashes and drapes from the wonderful people at Stress Free Hire alongside gorgeous flowers by the incredibly talented Floral Artisan. The combined effect was superb.

The evening featured the marvelous Copper Top cocktail trailer and I was glad to get shots of some fairly amusing shots of very underage drinkers propping up the bar with their tipple of choice. Mocktails or hard liquour? I’ll let you be the judge! The night ended with one of the best sparkler send-offs I can recall. I always love shooting these as they’re proper high-energy and the steps of Grittenham Barn worked particularly well.

As usual, I have talked too much. It’s time for the photos! Thanks to Gemma & Chris for throwing an incredible bash and inviting me along. It was a proper joy. Hoping to be back for another Grittenham Barn wedding real soon!

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