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Sunflowers and Emerald Green at Southlands Barn, Sussex

Southlands Barn is a quaint and cosy wedding venue located in West Chiltington, West Sussex. Although it's relatively easy to get to from the main A24, you'll follow your maps down small single-track roads which wind round and round, until you feel well and truly lost and in the middle of the British countryside.

When you pull up the farm track and step outside you'll see perfect views of the South Downs - you feel as though you are right in the middle.

Phil and the team will make you feel most welcome, at their cosy, family-run wedding venue.

The home-from-home feel at Southlands Barn was exactly what Tom & Sally loved about their venue. And their loved ones would go on to have an incredible day celebrating the love of Mr & Mrs Phillips.

Black sign at southlands barn

Landscape view of the south downs

I started with Sally at her mum's house about half an hour away from the Barn. Although Southlands has a wonderful getting ready space on site, it was important for Sally to spend the morning at the maternal home with her girls, in a relaxed environment. I arrived in the rain and as I stepped through the door, Bernie (Sally's mum) immediately adopted me as an extra bridesmaid. Her warm Irish love shone through, the atmosphere was calm and full of laughter, and the hair-make-up artists (Ellie McGowan Makeup, tea & trim) were busy creating gorgeous bridal masterpieces.

a bridesmaid having her hair done

a bridesmaid laughing

The emerald green bridesmaid dresses and green ribbon were perfect nods to Sally's Irish side, paired perfectly with wildflowers and sunflowers all grown locally by friends and employers at Washbrooks Farm where Sally worked. It was clear that everyone had important roles for Sally and Tom's day, and had all pitched in to make it what it was.

collection of bridal details including shoes, engagement ring, glasses and flowers

Bouquet, bridal shoes and perfume on a chair

A wedding dress and veil hanging from a wardrobe

An engagement ring and bridal shoes next to some perfume

As Sally had her makeup touched up, I realised the only way to get the perfect photo was to venture through the French doors into the rain. One of her bridesmaids eagerly grabbed an umbrella to cover both of us and stood in the August rain with me, whilst gleefully serenading Sally. I marvelled at her energy and dedication to Sally on her wedding morning as she stood barefoot in a wet garden with no cares in the world. My kind of people, I thought.

A bride smiling at her bridesmaid

A bride having her lipstick and hair done

We made our way up the steep stairs and Sally shared some special moments with her mum, who helped her into the dress and finish the details. Sally spent a moment putting on her jewellery and perfume at her mum's dressing table. Bridal portraits can be a big part of a getting-ready morning: take some time to make them feel effortless and natural by photographing important moments as they happen slowly.

A brides mum helping putting on her wedding dress

A bride seeing herself for the first time

A bride putting on her wedding shoes

A bride looking at her wedding makeup in the mirror

A bride putting in her earrings

a bride looking at her wedding jewellery

I lined up Sally's girls in her mum's front room, eagerly awaiting to see Sally for the first time as a bride. It was important to Sally that she do a first look with her girls to get their reaction to her in the white dress.

There were plenty of happy tears at this moment, and the HMUA were on hand to finalise the look with her veil and last-minute makeup touch-ups.

Bridesmaids reaction to the bride

Emotional reaction from bridesmaids

A bride laughing with her bridesmaids

a hair stylist placing the brides framing hair

An emotional and happy bride

A happy bride on her wedding morning

Yes, Sally made her girls very emotional indeed, but what about her groom?

Tom was busy with his parents not too far down the road, also getting dressed to the nines ahead of his big debut. He wore a dark green suit jacket and emerald green tie (a nod to his soon-to-be wife's Irish side and very in-keeping with today's colour theme) the look was finished off with cute button holes of sunflowers and daisies to match the wildflower theme.

He arrived at the venue ahead of Sally to make sure everything was just as they had pictured, and greet their guests ahead of the i-dos.

A groom adjusting his shirt and cufflinks

Smart black dress shoes and a pocket watch

A groom putting on his waistcoat

A groom and his groomsmen walking down a track

a groom and his groomsmen with green ties

A groom with a green tie, tweed waistcoat and sunflower buttonhole

With everyone perfectly ready it was time to make our short journey to the venue. Sally and her girls were to travel in style: they had Peggy, a vintage VW campervan, to escort them to their rustic venue. We took some time for pictures outside the family home before Sally and her girls piled in for the final trip before marrying the man of her dreams.

An old VW van on a front drive

A bride stepping out of a house carrying her bouquet

bridesmaids holding up a brides veil

bridesmaids holding a brides veil up off the floor

A close up of a bridesmaid holding her bouquet

A bride holding her bouquet whilst sat in a VW camper van

A bride holding her bouquet whilst sitting in a VW camper van

We had one final stop on the agenda once we arrived at Southlands Barn. I went on ahead to meet Sally and her girls, who sneakily arrived through a side gate. They entered the reception room and were greeted by Phil and the team, who had decorated the barn perfectly. Sally had a moment to take in her vision-made reality and a wave of emotion washed over her. This was it, she was here.

To continue with the emotional roller coaster, Sally and her girls popped into the getting-ready room for some final touches and to read the letter that Tom had written her.

A bride stepping out of a VW camper van with help from her bridesmaids

A close up of a bride laughing and holding her bouquet

A bride surprised at her wedding venue

Tables and chairs in a wedding venue with fairy lights in the background

Tom and Sallys wedding newspaper rolled up

Daisys and yellow wildflowers made into a centerpeice at a wedding

A wedding reception set up with tables and decorated

A bride reading a card from her husband to be

An emotional bride reading a card from her husband

A bride crying after reading a letter from her husband to be

I left the girls to it and headed over to the ceremony room. Everything was in it's place and Tom was nervously awaiting the arrival of his Sally.

From the moment I spoke to them over a year before, I knew they were best friends. They radiated 'teamwork' and fun, and I felt so happy knowing them and knowing this.

An exterior view of a barn wedding venue with sunflowers ou the front

An arrow sign reading 'wedding'

A wedding ceremony room showing the aisle

An unplugged ceremony sign resting against a wooden post

A woman playing a violin

A man playing the guitar

This wedding day was all about personal touches: their friends were singing and playing guitar waiting for the ceremony to start, and would also be playing as Sally was walked down the aisle by her mum.

Although Sally had lost her dad years before, it was clear he was there with everyone in spirit and loving memory, on her right arm as she walked towards her new husband.

A groom waiting for his bride to walk down the aisle

A posterior view of a bride and her mum walking down the aisle

A front view of a bride and her mum walking down the aisle

A lady singing and a lady playing the violin

A bride meeting her husband at the end of the aisle ahead of being married

A bride and groom stood up waiting for the registrar to marry them

A bride and groom stood facing each other at the top of the wedding aisle

A bride gleeful and holding hands with her groom

A bride and groom bending down to take the rings from the ring bearer

A boy giving a groom the wedding rings

A groom putting a wedding ring on his brides finger

A bride looking lovingly into her grooms eyes

A bride and groom sharing their first kiss as husband and wife

A bride and groom exiting the wedding ceremony as husband and wife

Yes, the ceremony was beautiful, and Tom did have tears as he waited for Sally to join him, for the moment they were bound in matrimony.

They headed out for a glass of bubbles as their guests gathered outside for confetti by the pergola, always a win at Southlands Barn. Phil and the team helped guide the guests to line either side of the path, as handfuls of biodegradable confetti were divided up between the guests.

They brought the new Mr & Mrs back out to the top of the confetti line and guests showered their bride and groom as smiles and laughter (and of course confetti!) filled the August air.

A couple kissing in confetti

A couple walking with confetti being thrown

A coupe holding hands with confetti

bride and groom holding hands with confetti

bride and groom holding hands whilst confetti is thrown

bride and groom hugging in confetti

wedding guest group shot

We used the drone to capture a large group shot of the whole party, and continued the day with some photos of the gals' and guys', family photos, then of course, some couple photos.

I work with all my couples to establish a timeline that makes the most of their wedding day and capture it all as it unfolds without hopefully not feeling too rushed.

When it comes to the famous couples photos, I like to use a lot of movement and talking and try to avoid making people stand still and awkward. In my eyes, when you look back at a photo, you are taken back to the moment it was taken. If you remember having fun, being in love, and not feeling awkward, then those are the emotions which will be reflected back at you when you view your images.

That is how images stand the test of time, with the feelings and memories that are associated with them.

bride and groom kissing in front of vintage cars

yellow flowers on a vintage white vw camper van

bride and groom under pergola

bridle party under pergola

close up of bridle party holding flowers

bride and groom kissing with wedding party behind them

Whilst the guests and the couple were mingling, my team and I took a moment to capture some of those beautiful details dotted around the venue. The radiant sunflowers, the barn, the view, and of course, the resident peacocks.

two sun flowers

a wooden wedding schedule sign

peacocks in a field

different flowers in front of wooden fence

flowers in a pot

sunflowers in a pot on a patio

peacock and flowers in a feild

bride smiling behind her veil

bride and groom smiling behind veil

bride and groom looking at each other behind veil

bride and groom looking at each other behind veil

bride and groom looking at each other behind long veil

bride and groom kissing

bride and groom looking at each other lovingly

bride and groom embracing in front of hedge

peacock in a field in front of pergola

Sally and Tom took a quick ice-cream break (superbly served by Delicious Dreams Ice-Creams!). The traditional ice-cream vendor fits in perfectly at this warm rustic venue. The ice cream, which I have personally sampled on multiple occasions across different West Sussex weddings, is indeed delicious.

bride holding ice cream pot

bride holding ice cream pot with guests in back ground

bride and groom eating ice cream in front of barn

I took a moment to check out the inside reception area once more, ahead of the cake cutting, dinner and speeches. Not many venues allow lit candles but Southlands Barn is one of the few that still do. Honestly? You can't beat the look of the real candles.

The large reception room felt warm and welcoming, and as ever the food looked so inviting.

Sally & Tom chose Rens Kitchen caterers, who always deliver a fabulous service. The beautiful cake was of course created perfectly by one of Sally and Toms friends - what a creative bunch of loved ones they have!

bread and olives on a candle lit table

white tables and chairs set for a wedding inside a barn

white wedding cake with sunflowers on

white 3 tier wedding cake with sunflowers sat on a wooden table

bride and groom holding hands outside in front of umbrellas

a bride with her wedding guests

bride and groom cutting wedding cake in a barn

groom announcing his speech infront of fairy lights

bride crying, groom announcing his speech with a wall of fairy lights

wedding party raising a glass with a wall of fairy lights

After some brilliant and emotional speeches, Sally, Tom and the team ventured down to the bottom of the farm for a breather and some more pictures. We were escorted down by one of the farmers, past the cows and down to the waters edge.

Southlands Barn is a working farm and suited to those who love the rustic feel, who like cows, peacocks and ducks alike. If you love the outdoors then this is definitely a venue for you to consider.

The walk down to the run-off pond requires an escort due to the electric fences and livestock. I have removed the fencing in Sally and Toms photos walking down to the waters edge and ensured I was clever when videoing to avoid the electric fences.

We flew the drone over the run-off pond to get some good images and videos of Sally and Tom, from a different perspective, and then finally danced along the waters edge before heading back to the barn for some final fun shots in front of the Southlands Barn sign!

bride and groom embracing in front of venue sign

bride and groom holding hands walking away into a field

bride and groom kissing in field

groom fixing brides hair in front of lake

bride and groom holding hands next to lake

a lake with a bride and groom stood next to it with cows behind them

bride and groom holding hands walking in a field

bride and groom walking whilst looking at each other

groom spinning bride on grass in front of lake

bride and groom walking on the grass next to a cow

a bride and groom holding hands

a bride and groom wearing sun glasses in front of wooden barn

a bride and groom wearing sun glasses looking away from each other

a bride and groom wearing sun glasses and kissing

a bride and groom dancing together

a groom spinning his bride whilst dancing

The night ended with Sally and her Irish dancing crewe knocking all of our socks off. Tom and Sally danced their first dance and after, Sally's troop entered stage.

I've never been so wowed at a wedding, I had tears streaming down my face (I am a mum and I do happen to get quite emotionally invested in things!) and Phil and his team were also in the crowd, beaming at the marvellous dancing happening in their barn!

Hats off again to the team, to Sally's dance troop, to Sally and Tom and all of their loved ones who attended and pitched in making their day as memorable as it was.

a bride and guests onlooking

two girls holding hands irish dancing

a group of irish dancers dancing

three girls dancing

wedding guests cheering

Bride dress - @merylbridal

Bridal jewellery (necklace) - @kiriandbelle

Bridal jewellery (earrings) - @laceandfavour

Cake - @meg_mullany

Caterers - @renskitchen

Band -@altarnativesmusic

Bridal transport - @busandbugvintageweddings

Interested in talking about your wedding day and how we can work together? Drop me an email or a message on instagram @danielleweddingphotography

Dannie x


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