We have a beautiful relaxed real welsh wedding on the blog for you today. Amy & Michael were married on the 26th August 2013 and chose the family favourite, Oldwalls, Gower for their wedding reception. Bride, Amy works for the leading Welsh bridal designer Stephanie Allin, so brace yourselves ladies, she wore two incredible dresses! All images were captured by Marc Smith Photography. Lets hand you over to Amy with all the details of her big day. Enjoy x
What was your budget?
We didn’t have a set budget in mind as I was fortunate to know a lot of people in the wedding industry. I work for wedding dress designer Stephanie Allin and my family own Oldwalls wedding venue in Gower. Our main priority financially was ensure everyone we wanted was able to be there, if this meant sacrificing other things then we didn’t mind. We were fortunate enough to create our ideal wedding where lots of it was done ourselves with massive help from family and friends!
How would you describe your wedding theme?
I would describe our wedding theme as laid back and fun. We are quite relaxed people and were very disorganised and last minute when it came to our wedding. We didn’t want anything too formal and just wanted everyone to share the day with us in the most fun and memorable way possible.
Having grown up visiting my family at Oldwalls before it was ever a wedding venue, I was always aware of just how beautiful it was but this also meant I had seen it in every weather condition possible and knew how absolutely breathtaking it is on a gorgeous summers day. My uncle’s have done an incredible job of transforming the grounds and they really lend themselves to a summer wedding with the big marquee overlooking the stunning lake. Therefore, our theme was centred around the outdoors and the beautiful grounds (very risky strategy on an August bank holiday in Wales) but we hoped and prayed the sun would shine for us and it certainly did!! We couldn’t have wished for better weather so our idea of relaxed drinks in the garden with jazz band, The Gents playing in the background went absolutely perfectly! I wanted everything to look soft, romantic and effortless so we chose a pastel colour scheme with nude and soft lilac coloured flowers and lots of gypsophilia to create a less structured feel. Les belles Fleurs did our flowers who just so happened to be my best friend and bridesmaids Sophies’ mum! She did the most amazing job and gave such invaluable practical advise when planning the flowers. She managed to decorate 15 tables with such impact as you walked in to an overwhelming space but also made it look completely effortless and relaxed. My mum, sister and I spent months before the wedding collecting different candle holders and Sophie and her mum spent many nights before hand organising each table with it’s own box full of decorations! Thankfully we had their organisational skills on hand as left to us, our ideas were unlikely to have been followed through!
What was your favourite part of your wedding?
We had so many favourite parts to our wedding! I have such lovely memories of us sitting at the top table with the sides of the marquee up, the sun shining on the glistening lake behind us and looking out over a room full of 150 guests all of which were our closest family and friends and just feeling so lucky. Everywhere we looked people were relaxed and enjoying the day which is all we had hoped for and more!
In the evening, my brothers best friend Leon who has been a friend to our family since I was little agreed to DJ. We were so excited about this as he had been the renowned DJ in all of the clubs we went to when we were younger and I knew he would get everyone up and dancing all night. Well he certainly didn’t disappoint and he really was a true highlight of everyone’s night and someone everyone is still talking about! He played music that everyone could relate to and we didn’t realise until that night just how much of a difference that makes! So much so that he he did an impromptu set the following day at our BBQ and the party went on into the early hours of that morning too!
Who did you pick as your bridesmaids &/or best man and why?
I picked my sister Lucy, my cousin Hannah, Michael’s sister Nicola and my best friend Sophie as my bridesmaids. I had the most beautiful bridesmaids who helped me so much with all things weddings right from the very beginning. They did such a great job and looked absolutely gorgeous on the day! I wanted them all to be comfortable and to wear something that would suit their style so a friend of mine that I work with made individual dresses for each of them depending on what they wanted. Sophie was instrumental in pulling everything together along with her mum and also made the cake, cupcakes and made my ideas a reality. My bridesmaids and I had many a night creating a production line of printing, cutting and sticking all of our invites, name cards and orders of service were ready in time. Even my brothers and Michael did sew bow tying towards the end!!
Michael chose his brother Andrew to be best man. He has been such a great friend and brother to Michael that it seemed the obvious choice. He was so good during the build up too and was always around to help. He is a really good public speaker and didn’t disappoint on the day. His speech was brilliant and we still laugh thinking about it today! Michael also had my two brothers, his cousin and his uncle as ushers.
Why did you choose your venue?
It was an obvious choice for us because of the family connection at Oldwalls. I am one of 17 grandchildren on that side of my family and the first to get married so if it just seemed fitting. In all honesty, even if there wasn’t the family connection, we genuinely often say that we would still have chosen to get married there. The surroundings are just beautiful, the venue itself is gorgeous and it is so well run. Our wedding was testament to that as it was one of the biggest they’d had and a lot of the staff there are my family who were guests at our wedding but they still managed to pull it off in a spectacular way!
How did the proposal happen?
Well… We had been together for 7 years and our official anniversary was August 26th. So on August 26th 2012, we already had a busy day planned! Michael’s nephew’s birthday happens to be the same day and he was having a party at lunchtime and my dad and older brother were due to complete a charity bike ride from Paris to Swansea that day too so along with all of the other cyclists, were having a party at a hotel in the evening.
Usually we would have gone out for a meal or something but as we already had plans, Michael suggested we go for breakfast. So that morning, Michael disappeared at 7am coming back an hour later to pick me up saying he had made a picnic breakfast! it was a lovely morning so we went to Caswell Bay where we were one of the only one’s on the beach. He had told me it was 3 courses which happened to consist of my favourite strawberries and chocolate, an engagement ring and champagne to celebrate!! It was perfect as not long after we went to visit my family at our caravan in Gower, then onto Michael’s nephews party with all of his family and finished with the cyclists charity event at the Village Hotel where all of our friends also turned up!! A couple of days later was Michael’s 30th so we went on holiday to the South of France where we were able to enjoy just the two of us and start thinking about our wedding which was to take place on August 26th the following year.
Any DIY stories/tutorials you’d like to share?
We did a lot of things ourselves with thanks to family and friends. We found buying all of our table decorations actually worked out cheaper than hiring them and meant we could have exactly what we wanted.
My uncle had an old fashioned bike that he got a personalised sign attached to, it had a basket on the front so we used it for all of our cards and gifts.
We decided to have a fake wedding cake as we just didn’t have time to eat it! Instead Sophie made lots of cupcakes that we served in the evening.
What was your first dance & why?
We found it hard to choose a first dance because there wasn’t necessarily just one song that stood out! Down to our complete disorganisation mainly, we ended up telling our DJ our first dance whilst at the church after the ceremony!!
We chose Luther Vandross – So Amazing. We’d always loved that song and the words are quite fitting! The second song was Stevie Wonder – Isn’t She Lovely which my dad, sister and I danced to to get the party started!
In hindsight, was there anything you would have done differently?
There is not a single thing we would change about our wedding. This may be down to the fact that we didn’t put too much pressure on ourselves for everything to be perfect so the fact that everything went so well was just a bonus! We couldn’t have asked for more than what it was, we were in a beautiful place, surrounded by all our nearest and dearest with the sun shining and everyone having a great time! We had planned a small BBQ the following day which ended up turning into another party and everyone unexpectedly staying the night again!!
Do you have any advice for future couples?
The best thing for us was having the people we wanted there. I have a very big family and Michael’s is a good size too, add that to all of our friends and it worked out to be just over 150. We were aware that this was a lot and obviously the more people you have, the more expensive everything is but it really is the most important thing so I would definitely advise for people to sacrifice things in order to have the people you want there because that is what makes the day so memorable.
The two things we are so glad we were able to have were our photographer Marc Smith and videographer Dawn from Venus Videos. Having the days memories captured in such a lovely way that we are able to share with everyone is something we will cherish forever.
What was your favourite thing about planning a wedding?
All of it! I thoroughly enjoyed every second of the build up. I miss the shopping trips with my mum, nan, sister, auntie and cousin to get various wedding stuff. The endless lists we used to write to make ourselves feel like we’d done something and the late nights Sophie and I would have printing all of the stationery!! It really was a family affair and that’s what made it so enjoyable and stress free!!
Photographer: Marc Smith Photography
Videographer: Venus Video
Ceremony Venue:St Benedict’s Church, Sketty
Reception Venue: Oldwalls, Gower
Bride’s Dress: Stephanie Allin
Bride’s Shoes: Kurt Keiger
Bride’s Headpiece: http://www.gillclement.com/
Bride’s Jewellery: http://www.gillclement.com/
Groom’s Outfit: Dyfed menswear
Flowers: Les Belles Fleurs
Hair & Make up: Rebecca Davies
Band: The Gents
Other: We had a crepe maker come in the evening who made the most delicious waffles and crepes for our guests!
The Wedding Album