Love is in the air: pilot wedding

Posted on February 14, 2018 by Ebourne Images under Wedding
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Pilot couple are walking on air

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 and I also think it cured my long-standing phobia of lying ūüôā !

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.

Pilot wedding
Pilot wedding

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.

The church

West Chiltington church

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!

Pilot wedding Pilot wedding 

‚ÄúI ¬†did ¬†change ¬†out ¬†of ¬†my¬†wedding ¬†dress ¬†though,¬†otherwise I wouldn‚Äôt ¬†have¬†been able to see anything.¬†‚ÄúI ¬†knew I probably¬†wouldn‚Äôt ¬†be ¬†feeling ¬†up ¬†to¬†flying on our wedding day. So¬†Jon flew the aeroplane and¬†he was so cool and calm and¬†I was giggling away.‚ÄĚ

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.

Pilot wedding Pilot wedding
Pilot wedding

For Katie, flying has always¬†been ¬†a ¬†special ¬†part ¬†of ¬†their¬†relationship.¬†‚ÄúWe ¬†did ¬†gliding together.¬†Jon ¬†taught me to fly the tug¬†that takes the glider up,‚ÄĚ she¬†said.¬†‚ÄúHe taught ¬†me formation flying and aerobatics.

 Pilot wedding
 Pilot wedding

‚ÄúAt ¬†work, ¬†we ¬†both ¬†fly ¬†747s¬†and ¬†we ¬†do ¬†talk ¬†about ¬†our¬†aeroplanes at home as well. ‚Ä̬†After ¬†nearly ¬†twenty ¬†years¬†of ¬†friendship, ¬†the ¬†Gowdy‚Äôs¬†married ¬†at ¬†West ¬†Chiltington¬†church on September 23 this¬†year.

The pilot wedding’s ceremony

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‚Äôs not all work though. In¬†their ¬†free ¬†time, ¬†the ¬†couple¬†head ¬†to ¬†an ¬†airstrip ¬†near¬†Storrington where they used¬†to live.¬†‚ÄúIt‚Äôs ¬†lovely ¬†when ¬†you‚Äôre ¬†up¬†there,‚ÄĚ said Katie.


For me, it was a wedding photograhy 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.

Goodwood hotel

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”

Thanks for reading, Ria from Ebourne Images