Rhian and Andy got married in Cardiff’s New House Country Hotel on the 11th of July 2014. Their elegant wedding was captured by Hannah Miles Photography, we asked Rhian a few questions about their beautiful big day.
What was your budget? Below £15000
How would you describe your wedding theme? We had a champagne themed wedding. We decided on this theme as I couldn’t think of what I wanted to have for centre pieces and I wanted our wedding to be completely different to anyone else’s. The day Andy and I were discussing this we were in the kitchen of our home and had just celebrated our engagement with a bottle of 1997 Grande Annee Bollinger. The bottle was so beautiful and it just suddenly came to me, we could have champagne bottles as our centre pieces! We always have a bottle of champagne on an occasion so it just seemed right for us. It was also a good excuse to enjoy more champagne together as we collected the bottles for each table, with the top table needing a few itself! The rest of the theme was to be elegant, bay leaf trees with white roses and white and red roses in the champagne bottles.
What was your favourite part of your wedding? Definitely walking down the aisle and seeing Andy there. The aisle was L shaped so I couldn’t see him straight away, I was so nervous and excited to see his face, especially because I was so unsure as to whether he would actually like my dress! My other favourite part was having Harley, my dog, there! He’s been such a massive part of my life and to have him walk down the aisle with my sister and then be in some of the photos was just fantastic.
Tell us about your Wedding Dress My wedding dress was the complete opposite to what I always thought I wanted! When I was 16 I worked in Allison Jayne Bridalwear in Cardiff as a weekend job. I loved the designer Maggie Sottero and always thought I would have one of her lovely fitted dresses with a lace up back, a little bit of detail and the lovely rouching across the middle. When I started looking at dresses on the internet I immediately looked for dresses by Maggie Sottero and looked to see if Allison Jayne had the dress I had seen on the internet in stock. They did, so I made an appointment and my mum, sister and I went along. I picked a couple of different style dresses just to see, fish tail really didn’t suit me and the lace was just ok, I felt like I wanted something more, so I then pulled out a very plain but very elegant dress that was a little bigger than I had original thought by Ian Stewart. As soon as I put it on I knew it was the one, only the fourth dress I had ever tried, but that was it, as soon as I came out of the changing room my mum was in tears, I just felt right in it and it suited the elegant theme that I wanted, I felt like a princess and didn’t want to take it off! Again it was different to what everyone else was wearing and that made it even better! I loved it, I looked forward to every fitting and even made excuses to go and try it on when I’d had a hair trial, just to make sure the hairstyle fitted the dress!
Who did you pick as your bridesmaids &/or best man and why? My sister was chief bridesmaid, there was never a question that she wouldn’t be. My two best friends from Australia, where I lived for just over four years, came over to be my bridesmaids. They’ve been there for me through so much, we’ve shared some really good times and I love them both very much so I was very grateful and excited that they said yes and made the big trip over, the day wouldn’t have been the same without them there. Andy’s sister Kate was my fourth bridesmaid. Kate made an effort straight away to get to know me, her and her husband Rob, who was a groomsmen for Andy, invited us up to their home in Wrexham often and always made me feel like part of the family, calling me ‘Auntie Rhi’ to their children even before Andy and I we’re engaged! I get on very well with Kate and it felt right to ask her to be a bridesmaid. Kate and Rob’s children, Nia and Iwan were our flower girl and page boy also.
Why did you choose your venue? The view and the marquee.
How did the proposal happen? We were on holiday in Geelong, Australia, I had taken Andy back there for a couple of weeks to show him where Harley and I used to live (Harley is an Aussie dog, I flew him over when I moved back to the uk) and to introduce him to all my friends. We were staying with Sandy, who I call my surrogate mother, and her family, so for the middle weekend we went and stayed in a hotel in Melbourne. I had previously been to a bar on the beach in St Kilda with my mother when she had been over to visit me, and I wanted to take Andy there, it’s a lovely spot to watch the sunset in the hanging basket chairs that they have on the beachfront. So we got the tram down to St Kilda and start walking towards the bar, Andy kept asking where the beach was, I pointed to the right and said its that way, we’re going this way, to the left! As we came to the waterfront I pointed out the pier, which Andy then wanted to walk down. I was reluctant as it was quite windy and I had just straightened my hair! The view looking back to Melbourne is quite something so we did go for a walk onto the pier. I stopped Andy to take some photos and then was ready to head to the bar, Andy wanted to go a little further, so on we went down the pier. Another good photo spot came and so I stopped Andy, I took a landscape photo on my phone, Andy then said to take a portrait, I was wondering why on earth he would want this when the background was of the city, but anyway i set about turning my phone around and when I looked back up to take the photo, there was Andy on one knee with the ring I had tried on 5 months earlier! I was completely shocked as Andy had always said that he wasn’t going to propose in Australia as it was too predictable! Anyway, he had a whole speech that he had thought of, but actually forgot the most important words ‘will you marry me!’ He realised after he had put the ring on and we had walked off! So when we got back to the hotel room, after lots of bubbles at the bar that we did eventually make our way to, Andy took the ring, I went into the bathroom, and when I came out he was on one knee, with the ring in the box and simply said, ‘will you marry me.’
What was your first dance & why? Our first dance was ‘Beautiful War’ by Kings of Leon, it was the only song that we both liked!
In hindsight, was there anything you would have done differently? I do wish that we’d have had the wedding videoed, apart from that I don’t think there’s anything I would’ve done differently.
Do you have any advice for future couples? Take a moment to take everything in during the day, it goes so quickly! Just step back and look at everyone and everything.
What’s the best piece of marriage advice you received? Don’t go to bed on an argument and save money every month!
What was your favourite thing about planning a wedding? Being a bride! And having free champagne when looking at venues/ dresses/ rings/ honeymoons!!
Photographer: Hannah Miles
Ceremony Venue: New House Country Hotel
Reception Venue: New House Country Hotel
Bride’s Dress: Ian Stewart’s Blueberry Hill from Allison Jayne
Bride’s Shoes: Rainbow
Bride’s Headpiece: Allison Jayne
Bride’s Jewellery: John Lewis and Thomas Sabo
Groom’s Outfit: Dyfed Menswear
Bridesmaid’s Dresses: Timeless Elegance
Bridesmaid’s Accessories: Debenhams
Cake: Queen of Cakes
Flowers: Marks and Spencer
Hair: Ann McCormack
Make Up: Shevaun
Band: James Williams
DJ: Hotel resident DJ
Stationery: Home made
Caterers: Hotel caterers
The Wedding Album
Thank you so much to photographer Hannah for getting in touch, and thank you to Rhian & Andy for sharing your beautiful day with us. Who else has had their dog as part of the big day? Or other animal of course!