February 14, 2022

An English Outdoor Beach Wedding at Brighton Bandstand and Bison Beach Bar

When planning an outdoor wedding in England, there’s a general understanding that you better have a plan b! The weather is unreliable, at best. And the chances of rain on your wedding day are far less ironic than you might think. But mid-September of 2020, in a post-lockdown pandemic reprieve, Rosie & Sam decided to take a risk and plan an English outdoor beach wedding with absolutely no plan B in sight. Here’s how it all went down.

The Intrepid Couple

Rosie hails from the US of A, and Sam is English. They also have a gorgeous little girl called Eloise, who, of course, played a significant role in the whole day. What I loved about this couple was their determination to just go ahead and get wed. They’d originally scheduled their wedding for July 2020 but postponed it with all the pandemic shenanigans to 2021. And then, in a brave move, they decided to go for it when the restrictions were lifted enough to allow 30 guestsThey took it in their stride and redesigned the day they’d already planned. It was clear that it was important to them to get married, whatever was going on around them, despite Rosie’s family being in America and not able to be there, despite the restrictions. I’m sure you all agree when you see these photos that joy and love overflowed from this couple. It was my greatest pleasure and honour to be there, capturing it all for them and those that couldn’t be there with them.

The Ceremony

Rosie & Sam got married at the Brighton Bandstand, or the ‘birdcage’ bandstand as the locals refer to it. This gorgeous bandstand has stood on Brighton seafront since 1884 and is a shining example of stunning Victorian architecture. It’s one of the most beautiful spots for any couple to exchange their vows. I’d even say it’s the quintessential English outdoor beach wedding venue! But there’s no sheltering from gale-force winds or driving rain here. Be warned! So Rosie & Sam’s choice to go ahead without a backup plan is one that will forever show me what a brave and epic couple they are! Thankfully, though, the weather gods were smiling down upon this couple because we couldn’t have asked for more glorious weather. Especially in the middle of September!

A little Pre-Wedding Drama

No wedding would be complete without a bit of drama, would it? And Rosie & Sam’s did not disappoint. With less than 30 minutes before the ceremony was due to happen, Sam realised he’d forgotten the rings! Eek!! Luckily, one of the couples’ friends immediately came to the rescue and she hopped into a cab after some quick instructions from Sam about where he’d left the rings. She made it back in the nick of time, arriving minutes before Rosie. And thank goodness. You can’t have a wedding without the rings, right?

Rosie’s Walk Down The Aisle

After meeting with the registrar’s in her car, Rosie stepped out and was resplendent in her beautiful dress. Her parents accompanied her down the aisle in a different way from the norm. They were live-streaming on FaceTime to her phone! So no, Rosie is not totally addicted to her mobile, in case you were wondering.  I loved that she did this with them. It proves that even if someone can’t be there in body, they can definitely be there in spirit. That family bond and connection will carry across the miles, no matter what.

A Beach Front Walk

After the gorgeous ceremony, the couple and their guests took a wonderful walk all the way down the seafront before hopping onto the Volks Electric Railway and ending up at Bison Beach Bar to start their reception. The walk was a fabulous slice in an already incredible day. Immediately after the ceremony, the guests had Prosecco on the promenade before heading down the seafront. Along the way, we stopped for a few photo ops, and Rosie & Sam insisted on stopping at The Brighton Shellfish & Oyster Bar for a quick treat. Then, for Eloise, a quick stop at the fairground for a couple of rides. You can’t go to the seaside and not go on a ride, after all. I have to admit, I’d never even heard of the Volks Railway, even though I live in the area! At 135 years old, it’s the oldest still-running railway and was the perfect way to get to their reception venue. We decided to do a confetti throw on the platform before getting onto the train. Then there was lots of fun to be had, waving at people as we chugged on past!


Bison Beach Bar is an awesome pop-up bar with a rooftop terrace overlooking the beach. Again, this could have been a nightmare with bad weather, but on this blisteringly hot day, there was nothing to worry about. There were stacks of lovely little details waiting at the reception. Cocktails and Prosecco on arrival, with stunning flowers and rustic elements galore. Guests seats were marked with painted stones from the beach, tables were named after cheeses (because who doesn’t love cheese). It was super fun and so personal. After munchies and drinks, the speeches kicked off, and even Rosie’s Dad gave a speech over FaceTime on their iPad. 

And that’s where I left them, to enjoy their dinner in the warm September sunshine. It only occurred to me afterwards that this was the first wedding I’d done in England that was entirely outdoors. How mad is that!  I was so thrilled it all went the way they wanted it to, after the year it had already been.

Rosie & Sam are an incredibly loving couple, and that came through with every moment of their day. It was an absolute delight to be there, and I had such a fun day capturing it all for them. The couple kindly wrote this lovely email to me when they got their gallery: 

“Thanks so much for these [pictures]. They are so beautiful and you’ve captured so many really fun and lovely moments. It means so much to have such a genuine record of the day.”

If you’re thinking about braving it and having an English outdoor beach wedding, I’d love to be the photographer to capture those memories for you! Get in touch, and let’s have a chat about your day.