Love is in the air: Pilot wedding
A high moment for me in 2017 (literally) was hanging from a two-seater plane at 2,000 feet to capture a pilot wedding, the wedding of jumbo jet pilots Katie and Jon Gowdy. They took to the skies above beautiful West Sussex to celebrate their wedding day and embarked on their maiden flight as husband and wife.
Flying conditions were perfect and despite a fear of flying, it was crucial to get the right shots and capture their special moment. Having the camera to focus on, alongside the calming influence of my pilot, helped me tremendously as we soared through the air flying in formation with Katie and Jon. I and, more importantly, the newly weds were delighted with the results. I also think it cured my long-standing phobia of flying :-)! Below you can read an interview about the pilot wedding with the happy aviators written by Anna Khoo. The piece was published by the West Sussex County Times on November 2, 2017.
A couple who met through their love of flying have taken to the skies together for the first time since tying the knot. Katie Simmonds and Jon Gowdy from Thakeham first got together aged 16 and 17 at South Downs Gliding Club. Now both professional pilots, the pair decided to mark their wedding with an aerobatic display. And a month later, they’re back off the ground and firmly on cloud nine.
Katie said: “The weather’s been just glorious so we’ve been up in the air together. “On our wedding day we were absolutely blessed with the weather, it was perfect. “We got married in the church and my mum drove us to the air strip and we got into one of the RB4s. “We went upside down on our wedding day, which I don’t think many people can say!
Jon, who works for a long haul carrier airline like Katie, also takes part in Airbourne pyrotechnic displays. The Fire Flies do evening shows with fireworks released from their wing tips while they show off their aerobatic skill.
For Katie, flying has always been a special part of their relationship. “We did gliding together. Jon taught me to fly the tug that takes the glider up,” she said. “He taught me formation flying and aerobatics.
“At work, we both fly 747s and we do talk about our aeroplanes at home as well. ” After nearly twenty years of friendship, the Gowdy’s married at West Chiltington church on September 23 this year.
The pilot wedding’s service
The ceremony came just three weeks after Jon’s brother James married Hannah Steedman in the same venue to make it easier for relatives living in New Zealand.
After a few days of honeymoon in Wales, a trip to Phoenix came in the form of a long haul flight John had to pilot and Katie went along with him.
It’s not all work though. In their free time, the couple head to an airstrip near Storrington where they used to live. “It’s lovely when you’re up there,” said Katie.
For me, it was a wedding photography experience I will never forget. One of the many reasons why I do the wonderful job I do. Each wedding is different and throws up unexpected challenges. I just love that!
With my feet firmly back on West Sussex soil, I made my way to the Goodwood Hotel, Chichester. This is where the pilot wedding reception was held.
It was a delight to photograph this wonderful and talented couple. I was pleased to receive such positive feedback from them. “YeY! We were so grateful that you were there with us Maria! And what a superb job you did! If you and Derren ever want to come flying with us again just let us know. K&J xx”
List of suppliers at Pilot Wedding
- Photographer: Ebourne Images
- Venue: Goodwood Hotel
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