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The 2019 Review - Blog - Sally Rawlins Photography
best of review wedding photography

Well well well, here we are, it’s my 2019 review and a chance to look back over a very busy calendar year of weddings! In last year’s review post I said I believed 2019 would be my busiest year to date and I was correct, so if you’d asked me a few months ago in August about writing this round-up post, I didn’t think I’d make it to the end of the year alive!

There’s been so many incredible weddings, moments, clients, guests, buffets… so it’s with an overwhelming sense of pride that I look back over the last 12 months and see how it all unfolded. It goes without saying that I’ve only had a stellar year thanks to my incredible couples, and their accompanying gangs of crazy family and friends. It’s so important to me to only book couples where we are on the same wavelength, and I think on the whole, that pretty much sums up all you 2019ers, so thank you for putting your trust in me to capture your day. So, where do we begin?

Back near the beginning of the year, on an unseasonably warm and sunny February day, I kicked off 2019 wedding season by capturing the marriage of Chanelle and Shaun at the Reid Rooms in Margaret Roding. It was brilliant to start my photography year with them, as I’d already photographed Shaun’s mum’s wedding in 2016 (view that HERE) and it was so lovely to meet up with lots of familiar faces again. In fact, I’d meet up with many of them for a third time later in the year at Shaun’s work colleague Phil’s wedding to Lucy, too. I’m back at the Reid Rooms twice next year already.

It was with that sense of familiarity I shot my second wedding of the year, for Sarah and Miguel in late March. I used to be work colleagues with Sarah back when I worked in HR and lived a double life as corporate high-flyer (!) and wedding photographer. Sarah and I used to sit opposite one another when I worked in our London office, and I had a real sense of happiness to be asked to photograph their wedding day. I remember asking Sarah during bridal prep if she found it weird or surreal that her old work colleague was photographing her wedding, and after a pause, Sarah said it just felt natural <rosy cheeks emoji>. I’m not over-exaggerating when I say this was a wedding styling dream, as they enjoyed a London-centric day celebrating on the banks of the Thames. Check out that beast of a wedding HERE.

Into Spring we went and that’s where the weddings started to come thick and fast, starting with two in two days on the Easter weekend at one of my fave wedding venues The Compasses at Pattiswick, where I’m a recommended supplier. Rachel and Will, and Lisa and John were two of five weddings I’d be shooting at The Compasses in 2019 – along with me being an actual guest, attending a wedding there too, for my friends Gemma and Dave. Perfection.

May was my busiest month in 2019 (and it looks like it will be in 2020, too), and it was pretty crazy weather-wise. For large parts of the month, it decided to rain fairly heavily, but it didn’t faze any of my couples, and we enjoyed some absolute bobby dazzlers in May. I did 2 x three weddings in a row, which looking back on it was probably not my greatest idea, but it’s so hard to say no when fab couples approach you to capture their day. Flavia and Mikey’s wedding at Lanwades Hall had just about everything (and probably the kitchen sink too, given half a chance) and the memory of all their family and friends dancing to the brilliant dhol players just before their cake cut will live long in the memory. That, and their outdoor ceremony being conducted in the absolute pouring rain, where the heavens decided to open for the ten minute period we were outside. I remember Flavia looking over at me sympathetically as rain dripped off my nose in the downpour – but it was worth it. See that belter HERE.

Again this year I worked on my birthday, and I maybe mentioned this around 40 times to Yasmine and Luke before their wedding on 25th May. I never feel sad about working on my birthday because weddings are like parties and everyone’s having a great time, so it’s not an issue for me, plus Luke’s birthday shout-out to me at the beginning of his groom’s speech was really lovely.

In June the weather improved and we enjoyed a few more sunny days. I began to question if my editing style had changed as every photo in this period looked quite green, but I realised thanks to all the rain, every wedding venue looked very lush and green after being watered so frequently! Where the weather allowed, late May and June afforded opportunities to start going out at ‘golden hour’ to get some beautiful snaps at sunset, and it was fab that you guys were happy to do this, as the photos at that time of day always look wicked. Someone asked me if I was a ‘golden hour specialist’, and whilst I’ve never thought of myself this way, I guess I have a good knack of capturing those moments. I felt all spesh after that.


golden hour sunset photo



Lorna and Zoe’s intimate wedding at The Secret Garden in Kent was one of those weddings that stays on your mind for a period of time after the event. They may have only had 4 guests plus their 2 dogs, but their day packed a considerable punch, and it was my pleasure to capture the marriage of two people who are obviously head over heels for each other. Thank you ladies.

July and August – rain/heat/rain/heat! Thankfully I wasn’t working on the hottest day of the year – you remember the one – but I was working two days after it. Going from 40 degree heat to a grey and rainy day was a bit of a slap in the face, but Abi, Ben and I made it work in the short window of dry opportunity were given. I haven’t been shy in saying their wedding was one of my favourites, this year and maybe ever, and you can see that beautiful, colourful day HERE. It would be my first ever visit to Butley Priory wedding venue, but not my last this year.

I did another triple-header in late August, and it was also around this time I’d shot about 30 weddings so far in the year, and also the worst possible time for my Mac computer to completely break down. There was never an issue about whether photos were lost, as all my images are backed up in three different places, but it just meant I couldn’t really edit or do any proper work for about a fortnight. At the height of summer season, this was a nightmare! I may have cried a couple of times. Don’t worry, it got fixed, but I probably consumed about 17 bottles of wine in the interim.

The weather decided to turn colder in September, but there were still a few random hot days, such as Aimee and Matt’s sunny tipi wedding in the middle of the month. Aimee and Matt were, how shall I put this, a little relaxed with their wedding planning (which they will readily admit, hey guys?) but it all came together nicely for a hot and sunny wedding centred around Woodbridge in Suffolk. I’m sorry for making you go near the snakes for a photo.

From September it felt like it didn’t stop raining, and I think that’s one of my outstanding memories of the 2019 wedding season: rain. Jeez, it seems like there’s been more rainy wedding days than dry ones this year, in contrast to last year’s weddings which constantly felt like we were on the surface of Mars. There were a handful of weddings this year when it was so torrential we couldn’t go outside all day, but in true SRP couple form, you guys were always unfazed and light-hearted about the whole thing. Rain never takes away the joy of a wedding day.

When the weather finally decided to be hot, boy it was H O T ! Jess and Billy’s day on the late August bank holiday was probably the hottest for me, and probably all the Kiwis that had flown over for it were confused at the bright orange ball in the sky which we don’t usually have in England. What a day that was – glorious. See that wedding HERE.

2019 has been the year of the left-hander, and this makes me really happy as I too am left-handed. I realised this halfway through the year as I photograph all you guys doing the highly-staged signing of the register, and I noted how many of my clients are southpaws like me. All the best people are, to be honest. This year has also been the year of double-barrelling, with a good deal of brides and couples doubling up on their surnames, more than I’ve ever experienced before. Who run the world?

I’ve had more brides give speeches than ever before, and you’ll already know I’m a big fan of brides giving speeches, as I did this back at my own wedding in 2013. Brides and bridesmaids/maids of honour have done a great job in 2019, and I especially liked Emily’s from the beginning of June, where she recounted just before meeting her now-husband Ben: “I was a strong independent woman, who didn’t need no man.” Of course, shortly afterwards Ben arrived on the scene, and Emily is still a strong independent woman.

Dogs at weddings! So many of you brought along your canine friends to engagement shoots and the big day itself this year – long may this continue!

wedding dog

wedding dogs


Music – I’m happy to say I barely heard any Ed Sheeran this year (sorry Ed fans) as couples got a little more adventurous for their musical choices. I was loving Abi and Ben’s aisle exit music, Jessie Ware’s Champagne Kisses, and I more than once heard Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Everywhere’ which always makes my heart soar. Aimee and Matt’s first dance was a cheeky little acoustic cover of ‘Every Little Thing She Does is Magic’ by Sleeping At Last; I’m a sucker for acoustic covers and I loved hearing something a bit different. Though I was accused of being a bit of a saddo by one of my second shooters (thanks Ash), these songs at your weddings stick in my head for a long time.

Near the end of the year I found out I was a finalist for the UK Wedding Awards, the Wedding Industry Awards (East of England) and the Essex Wedding Awards, which was pleasing after such a bumper 12 months.

In addition, I realised during autumn that I’d shot one hundred weddings, which is quite a milestone. We all have to start somewhere, and to go from being a beginner with zero weddings under my belt, to one hundred, is to be celebrated. So I bought some balloons:


experienced wedding photographer


I could keep going but I’ve just seen that this post is fairly long already, so I’d better wrap it up. When people ask me what I do for a living, I take a minute to remember I’m a wedding photographer, and I get a little rush of imposter syndrome. To be honest, I still can’t believe that my job is photographing people on their wedding day. I never take it for granted, I never get tired of it, I never get bored of it. People also ask me if I’m sick of weddings – no way! What could be better than capturing two people on the happiest day of their lives? And yes, you see some crazy things… in 2019 I’ve seen more groomsmen’s testicles than I’d ideally like, I’ve seen random guests hook up, I drove the bride and her dad to the ceremony when their wedding car had a flat tyre, and it all forms the epic year of 2019. Be sure to check out my Behind The Scenes of 2019 blog post too where I’ll talk more about these things! (See that HERE)

As always, it’s only because of my wonderful clients that I get to make these posts and enjoy them so much. 42 couples entrusted me to capture their wedding day this year, which is 84 engaged people to keep happy… hopefully I did a good job.  To think, you were all once just names in my calendar! Thank you to all my 2019 couples, it really has been a pleasure and one that will remain long in the memory. I am really sad to see the back of this year, but I am excited at the prospect of 2020 and the adventure the new year will bring.

To summarise this stellar year of weddings, below is my video review of 2019. May I suggest you grab a cup of tea, put your headphones in, turn the volume up and press play, as it really is best experienced with sound. It’s where 2019 all began….








  1. Your talent unusual and your captures are unique. They encapsulate the essence of decisions, emotions and grace.

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