Our proposal story is really less about the proposal and more about how we got there. It was really improbable that we would ever meet, or maybe it was fate and we always would have.
In 2007 I had come out of a long relationship and needed a fresh start. I found a houseshare online and bravely moved in with a couple of strangers. Paul was a good friend of one of my new housemates. We moved in the same friendship group for a few months, sharing our love of photography.
On Paul’s birthday that year we went for a carvery with our group of friends. Paul suggested going to Mumbles for dessert. I didn’t know him that well at the time and laughed at the prospect of driving for an hour each way to get pudding. When I found out he was serious and we did indeed go to Mumbles for pudding I knew this was a man who was going to be important in my life.
Two weeks after we started officially dating, I was offered a job in London. This could have been the end of the early seeds of our relationship. Instead, it was the start of 18 months of driving up and down the M4 every weekend before Paul quit his job and moved to London. London is a difficult and expensive place to live and after living together there and then apart again for a bit we realised that our future only made sense together and in Wales.
One of my first encounters with Beth was at a party where she complimented me on my shoes. I later discovered that shoes are a big thing in Beth’s life.
I knew that I had to pick a place that was special to us when I proposed so it was a choice of two places: the location of our first date out to Raglan Castle, or Mumbles which has always been special to us. I engineered a weekend that involved both locations on consecutive days and bravely bottled it at the top of Raglan Castle, so on to the Mumbles it was.
Back to the shoes obsession… as I was plucking up the courage to pop the question by the lighthouse in Mumbles, Beth was being all romantic; listing how many shoes of different colours she owned. When she added that we had to head back to top up the car parking ticket, the romance was palpable so down on one knee I got. Presenting the ring, I was mugged by Beth’s inner magpie which swooped in and took the ring before then apologising and saying “yes”.
As Maria quickly discovered on our photoshoot, our relationship is built on laughter. I guess it runs in the family given Beth’s Dad’s reaction to us announcing our engagement. “Mumbles? Oooh nice…. Did you have pudding?”
If you are planning your wedding and considering having a marquee make sure you pop along to County Marquees‘ Marquee Viewing Weekend. They will be there to answer all your questions and help give you inspiration for your wedding venue. Here is Emma from County Marquees with all the details.
County Marquees would like to invite you to their next Marquee Viewing Weekend on 7th and 8th March held at The Woodlands, Sedbury Park, Chepstow. This is a great opportunity to view all our NEW Traditional Marquees with panoramic windows, along with our Clearspan Marquees with clear roof and gable. You will also see our full range of furniture and accessories including our NEW wicker sofas.
Please get in touch to make any appointment to be shown around the marquees and discuss your plans in detail. For directions please follow this link.
Bob Marley will always be remembered for his music that has transcended through all ages and races. This is where I would like to point out that he was also an inspirational man and his quotes on love and life should always be remembered. I love these two and think they would be very fitting in any wedding.
He’s not perfect
He’s not perfect. You aren’t either, and the two of you will never be perfect. But if he can make you laugh at least once, causes you to think twice, and if he admits to being human and making mistakes, hold onto him and give him the most you can. He isn’t going to quote poetry, he’s not thinking about you every moment, but he will give you a part of him that he knows you could break. Don’t hurt him, don’t change him, and don’t expect for more than he can give. Don’t analyze. Smile when he makes you happy, yell when he makes you mad, and miss him when he’s not there. Love hard when there is love to be had. Because perfect guys don’t exist, but there’s always one guy that is perfect for you.
Only once in your life
“Only once in your life, I truly believe, you find someone who can completely turn your world around. You tell them things that you’ve never shared with another soul and they absorb everything you say and actually want to hear more. You share hopes for the future, dreams that will never come true, goals that were never achieved and the many disappointments life has thrown at you. When something wonderful happens, you can’t wait to tell them about it, knowing they will share in your excitement. They are not embarrassed to cry with you when you are hurting or laugh with you when you make a fool of yourself. Never do they hurt your feelings or make you feel like you are not good enough, but rather they build you up and show you the things about yourself that make you special and even beautiful. There is never any pressure, jealousy or competition but only a quiet calmness when they are around. You can be yourself and not worry about what they will think of you because they love you for who you are. The things that seem insignificant to most people such as a note, song or walk become invaluable treasures kept safe in your heart to cherish forever. Memories of your childhood come back and are so clear and vivid it’s like being young again. Colours seem brighter and more brilliant. Laughter seems part of daily life where before it was infrequent or didn’t exist at all. A phone call or two during the day helps to get you through a long day’s work and always brings a smile to your face. In their presence, there’s no need for continuous conversation, but you find you’re quite content in just having them nearby. Things that never interested you before become fascinating because you know they are important to this person who is so special to you. You think of this person on every occasion and in everything you do. Simple things bring them to mind like a pale blue sky, gentle wind or even a storm cloud on the horizon. You open your heart knowing that there’s a chance it may be broken one day and in opening your heart, you experience a love and joy that you never dreamed possible. You find that being vulnerable is the only way to allow your heart to feel true pleasure that’s so real it scares you. You find strength in knowing you have a true friend and possibly a soul mate who will remain loyal to the end. Life seems completely different, exciting and worthwhile. Your only hope and security is in knowing that they are a part of your life.”
Samantha & Greig got married last June at the stunning Oldwalls, Gower. They had such an amazing experience making everything themselves that Sam now has her own Homemade shop and is joining Emma from Sylvie & Joan for her DIY workshops at CWTCHFEST in April!
How would you describe your wedding theme? Village Fete’ is probably the best way to describe the theme for our wedding day. We both wanted to make sure our guests were entertained from the very beginning to the very end. Everything on the day was homemade and personal – we wanted the day to be completely unique to us.
What was your favourite part of your wedding? What a tough question – I know it sounds cliché but I loved every part of the planning and of the day itself. Greig and I spent so much time and energy in the months running up to the wedding making all the homemade props so seeing them all in place was an amazing feeling. When we arrived at Oldwalls and we saw that it looked exactly how we had envisaged that was an emotional moment. We were married, we were surrounded by all our loved ones, everyone was having fun, and…the sun was shining – it was just perfect. I had booked a magician as a surprise for Greig – he was incredible! The atmosphere was so fun and full of joy. There was so many highlights – the speeches, the first dance, walking down the aisle and seeing everyone…the list goes on!
Tell us about your Wedding Dress I was really terrified about finding a dress as I didn’t think I would find anything I liked. I couldn’t have been more wrong, finding my wedding dress was an absolute joy. I went to Cardiff for the day with my Mum, Gran and Bridesmaids. It was 3 shops, lunch and cocktails – job done! I loved every dress I tried on. When I tried on ‘the one’ it was that classic moment – I just knew it was ‘the dress’. As soon as I took it off I couldn’t wait to wear it again. It was nothing like the style I’d imagined and I would advise brides to approach dress shopping with an open mind and use the expertise of the lovely ladies in the shops to help you find your perfect dress.
Who did you pick as your bridesmaids &/or best man and why? My Bridesmaids were 4 of my very closest friends, all Speech Therapists like me. They were the most incredible bridesmaids and I couldn’t have done it all without them. One of them flew over from New Zealand – I hadn’t seen her for 2 years. We drove to Heathrow in the wee hours of the morning to surprise her which was another incredible moment. Greig had his brother Arran as his best man. They are only a year apart in age and have always been really close. He did a blinder of a speech!
Why did you choose your venue? We knew we wanted a private venue in a rural area. We looked at a few places but when we went to Oldwalls we immediately feel in love with the beautiful setting. Greig’s family are from Yorkshire so it was really important to have lots of accommodation on site. Greig said my eyes literally lit up when they mentioned Glamping. The glamping tents were in place just in time for our wedding and were very apt as we got married on the weekend of Glastonbury festival.
How did the proposal happen? It was quite unexpected. We were sat on the sofa at home on a Saturday Evening. It had been snowing all week. Greig suggested we go for a walk, I wasn’t keen but he was quite persistent. When I went out he was down on one knee in the garden and he had written will you marry me in the snow. I said yes and he run inside and grabbed the champagne. It was romantic at the time but the message stayed on our front garden for days which was quite embarrassing :)
Any DIY stories/tutorials you’d like to share? I could share so many DIY tutorials – we literally made EVERYTHING – it made the day so personal and memorable. My bridesmaids helped us a lot. We made nearly 300 metres of bunting over a series of crafting weekends. Bunting is so simple to make and looks so effective (See the DIY tutorial we featured on Wednesday!). I also enjoyed making all the wooden fete stalls with Greig in his workshop and painting these in the garden on a sunny weekend. I made the Jam wedding favours about 9 months before the wedding which was great – anything you can do in advance is a bonus.
I made the cake myself. It was a 4-tiered cake, which I decorated with a lace design, bunting and a handmade personalised peg cake topper. The problem was I live in Leicester and was travelling home to Wales for the wedding – transporting the cake was a concern. I decided Greig would drive and I would have the cake on my lap…fully assembled. We got stuck in traffic and all the people in their cars on the M5 were pointing and looking at the cake. Thankfully it made it to Oldwalls in one piece.
I loved making all my own stationery. They were all made from Kraft card with hand sewn fabric details. When you make your own things it so much easier to maintain the theme. I used the same fabric and font on everything we made. My Bridesmaids helped me to make bags of confetti, vintage wall art and cushions.
Greig made a Sweet Cart from solid oak, which was an absolute masterpiece. We tried to make the venue really personal. We collected old family photos and displayed these on vintage stepladders in antique frames that was lovely.
What was your first dance & why? One of fete stalls was a ‘First Dance Lucky Dip’. We kept the song an absolute surprise from everyone. It was ‘Walking On Sunshine’ by Katrina and the Waves. Neither of us wanted a slow swaying song so we decided to choose something up-tempo and just have fun. We had 5 dance lessons in the run up and it was really enjoyable. Unfortunately my shoes and the shiny dance floor were not very compatible and I spend most of the dance trying my very best not to fall over. I spent the whole evening on the dance floor but after the first dance I lost the shoes! As the night went on more and more of the Photo Booth props made it onto the dance floor. I ended up wearing a horse’s head, which matched my wedding dress beautifully.
In hindsight, was there anything you would have done differently? I wouldn’t change anything about the day but I wish I’d worried less during the preparations. We worked so hard and I spent a lot of time worrying about it all coming together. We hired the incredible Emma Butler from Sylvie and Joan Wedding Planning for ‘on the day styling’. I created a styling plan with Emma that we used to ensure the venue looked exactly how we imagined. Initially I was so worried about relying on so many individuals – from the farmer delivering the hay to the cars collecting me in the morning. I felt like I was the top of a huge jenga tower and if any piece was taken out the whole thing would collapse. Working with Emma made me relax and enjoy myself much more – it was an absolute joy. I realise now that no matter what goes wrong, if you are married by the end of the day, it was a successful day.
Do you have any advice for future couples? Be organised. Planning a wedding is a huge task and I think it would have been quite daunting if I didn’t have a clear plan. I’m not a spreadsheet kind of girl – I had a beautiful scrapbook that I wrote everything in. I knew which projects needed to be completed in which month – this helped us stay in control of everything. I still have the scrapbook as a lovely memory of all our hardwork and planning.
What’s the best piece of marriage advice you received? Greig made us a ‘Guest Bench’ instead of having a guest book. We asked people to write advice on it. One of my favourites says ‘Always remember the feelings that brought you together today….’ I sit on the bench everyday and I often look at that message and it takes me back to the wedding day even on the gloomiest Monday mornings.
What was your favourite thing about planning a wedding? I loved the opportunity to put my creative side to good use. I found making all my handmade props so enjoyable and I developed so many new skills. I’ve recently started a little business making homemade gifts and wedding props to keep me busy in married life.