Real Wedding: Charlotte and Wayne’s Beautiful Castle wedding in Tuscany

Today, Welsh couple Charlotte & Wayne share their beautiful Tuscany Castle wedding with us.  All images by our very own Maria Farrelly Photography. 

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What was your budget? 

We were very lucky and grateful to be given money towards our wedding by my parents and had a budget in mind of around £10k. We knew the average UK wedding cost around £23k so didn’t want to spend anywhere near this and was one of the reasons we opted for a wedding abroad. We kept a spreadsheet that proved very useful when calculating estimated costs and actual costs. It’s worth setting one up so that you can note down everything you think you are going to need for the wedding. There will be more than you think!!

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How would you describe your wedding theme?

I would say our theme centred around the venue which was a beautiful castle set in the Tuscan countryside. I love lace and pearls so wanted to incorporate these into the theme also. My dress had an old vintage feel and we used hessian and lace to decorate the table and table plan. The tables were named after places we had been on our travels. I knew with the wedding being in Italy we couldn’t have too much detail but in fact the setting and venue made a perfect backdrop for the wedding. Wayne drove over with a few bits that added our personal touch to the day. We bought our guests funky sunglasses as favours and made fans for the ceremony which went down well as it was boiling!

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What was your favourite part of your wedding?

It is really hard to choose one part of the day as the whole experience was amazing from getting ready with friends to walking down the isle and feeling all emotional at the thought of what was about to happen. I loved having all our family and friends in the same place for 3 days so I think that was my favorite thing. The day before the wedding we spent sunbathing and drinking by the pool and the following day we arranged a pizza and lazagne party for our guests over where we were staying.

Italy_wedding_Tuscany029Italy_wedding_Tuscany056Italy_wedding_Tuscany088Italy_wedding_Tuscany013Tell us about your Wedding Dress

As soon as we were engaged I was itching to go dress shopping but opted for a wedding fayre in the CIA to start things off. I ended up trying a dress on there and then and loved it but decided to go to a few shops and try on a few different styles. I knew I wanted lace in the dress and for it to be long. I found my dress in High Society in Cowbridge. It is a stunning shop full of beautiful dresses and the lady who was looking after me really knew her stuff when choosing a selection of dresses to try. Once it was on I just knew it was the one. People always said to me your will just know when you find THE ONE but I didn’t really believe them. Its true I felt like a princess and knew it was the dress for me. Italy_wedding_Tuscany019Italy_wedding_Tuscany021

I met Ashley from ‘With love from Bobbin’ at another wedding fayre and fell in love with her head pieces. After a few meetings we decided on colours and materials and she handmade me the most precious headpiece that formed a special part of my look for the day. I am going to pass it down through the generations as it is versatile and can be added to or changed to suit different looks.

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How did you choose your photographer?

I always knew I wanted Maria Farrelly to photograph my wedding so the fact that I was getting married abroad didn’t change this! I love her style of shooting and her creativity and having our wedding in a castle in the middle of Tuscany meant we would have beautiful images to look back on in years to come. If you love a photographer don’t look at the price tag, look at what you will get at the end of it. You can always cut back on other things as I believe your images are one of the most important elements of a wedding as they are the lasting memories you will look at forever.

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Italy_wedding_Tuscany080Maria is friendly and assertive so will defiantly get the images you want on the day. She will also capture those funky dance floor moments when you don’t think anyone is looking!!

Italy_wedding_Tuscany153Who did you pick as your bridesmaids &/or best man and why?

My bridesmaids were my three best friends, Catrin, Rhian and Beth, and my sister Liz and sister in law Lisa. I also had 4 flower girls my nieces Kelsie, Hollie and Amiee and my friends little girl Dela. They did an amazing job on the day and leading up to the wedding. I had complete faith in them and always knew I wanted them there as my bridesmaids on our big day. All our friends own Pandora bracelets so I decided to get personalized charms for the girls and little bracelets for the flower girls. Italy_wedding_Tuscany051Italy_wedding_Tuscany093

Wayne couldn’t choose which of his friends to be the best man so had his two closest friends Tim and Richard. They did a fab job of organizing wayne on the day and gave him a fun filled stag doo. The speeches are always a favorite of mine at weddings and they didn’t disappoint. Ushers were my brother-in-law Chris and nephew Kyle. Italy_wedding_Tuscany015Italy_wedding_Tuscany017

Why did you choose your venue?

We knew we wanted to get married abroad as we wanted the warm weather and choose Italy as it’s not too far away from home and the food is delicious. We didnt have a particular area in mind but knew we wanted an old building were we would have exclusive use for the day. We also wanted a place big enough so that all our family and friends could stay in the same place.

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It was quite challenging and we spent hours on the internet trying to find the perfect venue. We stumbled across Castello di Modanella and knew it was the perfect venue to hold our wedding. It was a castle set in the Tuscan hills around 1 hour from Florence and had acres of land with accommodation to host all our guests. Italy_wedding_Tuscany040Italy_wedding_Tuscany041A year before the wedding we took a trip to Italy to visit the venue and knew we had made the right decision after meeting the staff and experiencing it in person.

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How did the proposal happen? 

Wayne proposed to me whilst we were on holiday in Turkey. We were singing our song on karaoke and he just got down on one knee half way through the song. I was so shocked I just kept telling him to get up and didn’t really realise what was happening!! I was in shock for ages after but so happy. We had been together for a while and he never really wanted to get married but knew I always did so was very sweet that he wanted to make me happy. I think he secretly enjoyed it all and has changed his perception of marriage.Italy_wedding_Tuscany130

Any DIY stories/tutorials you’d like to share?

We created most of our decor including table plan, jars as favours, flags for table names and one of my favourite items we made were the fans for the ceremony. 1552

I had seen the design online and wanted to personalise something for our wedding that included lyrics from songs we both liked. My friend created the design using text I provided and I sent to print on thick card. The finish wasn’t right so I bought a corner cutter which made a huge difference and would defiantly recommend using one for similar items. I then used spray mount and giant lollipop sticks to finish.

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I also decorated jars for the female guests with hessian material, string and coloured fabric and used the same material to create table numbers and table plan that tied everything together.

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What was your first dance & why?

Our first dance was to the song Soul Sister by Train as this is the song Wayne proposed to me and we both love it.

Our first dance was amazing!! We had bought sparklers for our guests as the reception and dance floor was outside and wanted them all to be lit once the song started and everyone standing around the dance floor. It was so nice to be able to see everyone’s faces and they looked like they were having so much fun with the sparklers they went down really well. I would defiantly advise getting them for a wedding abroad.

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In hindsight, was there anything you would have done differently?

We took a glass bottle and paper for people to write messages down and put in the bottle and the plan was to smash it on our 1st wedding anniversary and read all the messages. We didn’t announce this so people didn’t know to do this so only received one or two messages.

Do you have any advice for future couples?

Remember to enjoy your day and take time to spend with your husband/wife on the day as it goes so fast.

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There is a lot to do before and during your wedding so ask people around you to help don’t try and take it all on yourself. When you’re putting your guest list together, don’t feel obliged to invite people just because they are related to you or you’re worried about hurting their feelings. If you haven’t seen or spoken to them in 6 months then ask yourself if you really want them there.

What was your favourite thing about planning a wedding?

I think every girl has always dreamed of planning their wedding day and I loved every minute. I organise visits and events for my day job but its so different when your arranging something you feel passionate about.Italy_wedding_Tuscany151There were so many elements to think about and plan but when it all comes together on the day it is so worth all the hard work. It was very important for us to show our guests a good time and ensure everyone was smiling on the day. I think it fair to say we achieved that and people still talk about it now when we meet up.

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Wedding Suppliers:

Photographer:                       Maria Farrelly Photography
Ceremony Venue:                 Castello Di Modanella
Reception Venue:                 Castello di Modanella
Bride’s Dress:                        Carmen So Sassi-Sassi Halford
Bride’s Shoes:                       Queen Bee, Penarth
Bride’s Headpiece:               With love from Bobbin 
Bride’s Jewellery:                 Family
Groom’s Outfit:                      Next
Bridesmaid’s Dresses:         Monsoon
Bridesmaid’s Accessories:  Accessorize
Flowers:                                  Nadia Stiatti Fiori
Hair:                                        Friends
Make Up:                                Katie Reid – Skin Deep beauty and laser clinic 
DJ:                                            Enzo – The Italian Wedding Band
Stationery:                              Design- Anna Bowler, friend and graphic designer

The Wedding Album
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If you would like us to consider featuring your wedding on Cwtch The Bride, send 20 low resolution images and a short description of your big day to Charlie@cwtchthebride.com 

Honeymoon Inspiration from The Destination Bride

Earlier this year we introduced Destination Bride Jemma. Jemma loves to travel and working for Kuoni she really is an expert on all things destination. Her beautiful wedding in Italy proves that! Jemma is here today to offer some valuable advice on planning your honeymoon. 

Jemma on her wedding day in Sorrento. Image by Maria Farrelly Photgraphy

Jemma on her wedding day in Sorrento. Image by Maria Farrelly Photography

Honeymoon Inspiration

Planning a honeymoon can be just as important as planning a wedding, traditionally it was a couple’s first holiday together, today there are so many different styles of honeymoon and a whole host of places you can visit.

Traditional Honeymoon

This would be a typical beach break flying just after the wedding; some couples are looking for time to relax and quality time together giving them time to reflect recent events.  Typical elements couples are looking for are, luxury, white sand beaches, spa treatments and an exotic destination.

Places that would offer this experience would be The Maldives, Caribbean Islands, Mauritius and The South Pacific.

The Maldives

Maxi Moon

Some couples take the opportunity of a honeymoon and take an extended trip somewhere; this is usually somewhere completely different to where they have been before and somewhere to really have an adventure

Examples of this would be Driving Route 66, Travelling Australia/New Zealand, walking Machu Picchu

The Inca Trail. Image Source

The Inca Trail. Image Source

Sydney Opera House

Sydney Opera House

Mini Moon

This is sometimes an option for a couple who are only able to take a short amount of time off, due to financial or work commitments.  This is also an option for people who are having another belated honeymoon.  There are lots of wonderful places that you can visit in a short time.  I chose the beautiful city of Monte Carlo, other examples are The Italian Lakes, Paris, Venice, Rome, Morocco, New York the list goes on…

Me in Monte Carlo

Me in Monte Carlo

Monaco

Monaco

FamilyMoon

With lots of couples choosing to have a family before they get married, taking children on a honeymoon is becoming more and more popular.  It’s an opportunity to take a luxury holiday but spend quality time as a family.  Lots of 5 star resorts offer children’s activities whilst Mum & Dad can have some time by themselves.

Which ever option you decide to go for, a honeymoon will be special regardless of budget or destination.  Here are my top tips to consider when booking a honeymoon

1 – Be realistic, as much as travelling first class to the other end of the world sounds amazing, try and set a budget there is nothing worse than setting yourself a large financial commitment when you are in the middle of planning a wedding. Lots of people now have belated honeymoons giving themselves more time to save.

2 – Be mindful of the weather, if you are having a summer wedding and want a honeymoon straight after, lots of places around the world have a rainy season.  Be prepared to be flexible on your destination or even postponing the trip if you want the best weather.

3 – Choose itinerary that encompasses all your interests and passions, and at a pace that suits you.  There is no point in choosing a New York City break if you want something quiet and relaxing, there is a destination for everyone and every interest.

We’d love to know where you are going on honeymoon! Leave a comment in the box below and let us know where you have planned. Also if you have any questions about honeymoons then Jemma is the perfect person to ask…

Destination Wedding: Magalie & Barney’s French Country Vintage Chic

One thing I love about running this blog is being able to share amazing real welsh weddings with you. Most of them take place in Wales, however occasionally we publish ones that take a B&G or local photographer further afield. Today is one such wedding and takes us to a beautiful part of France, Bergerac. I had the privilege of photographing this wedding myself!

Magalie and Barney were married in July at the beautiful La Leodardie, Bergerac, France. It was a wonderful country vintage wedding that oozed french chic. I was flown over for three incredible days and captured some very special moments. Lets hand you over to Magalie with all the details.

All images in this post are by ©Maria Farrelly Photography 

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What was your budget? 

well, our budget was probably in the region of £18000, we spent about £7000 more!!

How would you describe your wedding theme?

French country vintage chic

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What was your favourite part of your wedding?

The getting ready, the tractors! the French church ceremony, the speeches, the fun times whilst dining, all the guest going swimming mid way through lunch! ( it was boiling hot!! ) the French band and the classic ‘dance de la brioche’ and the ‘Umbrella’ dance.
And of course , le retour du marriage the day after around the lake. The lunch and wild lake swims

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Who did you pick as your bridesmaids &/or best man and why?

My best friends, Lucy, Kit , Sarah and Sally. They have been my friends throughout my life in London, I have lived here for 24 years and we have been particularly close since having children. We go on holiday together and spend all spare times like Easter breaks and new years together.bergerac_wedding_france267 Spen has became Barney’s best friend since they met about 10 years or so ago in Glastonbury festival. They get on so well and share an incredible passion for cycling. Barney knew when he proposed that Spen would be asked to be the best man. His other best friends, Adam and Mike and his brother Simon, made the rest of the best boys team to be on Barney’s side! bergerac_wedding_france270

Why did you choose your venue?

la Leotardie because it fitted everything I wanted. It is the most beautiful place ever

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How did the proposal happen? 

Barney took me to Marrakesh for a ‘sans enfant’ rest.. We have a little girl with Autism and sometime it is nice to take time for ourselves, we hadn’t gone away together for a few years without her and also had one year old baby. Barney organised for his parents to have the children and took me away. He took me to the roof top on our beautiful Riad, ordered a cocktail and then started telling me how much he loved me, ect.. in a very nervous, clumsy way. I thought that he was about to tell me he was having an affair or something?! he then took out a box from his pocket and asked me to open it, I pushed it back twice telling him that he shouldn’t joke about these things. He told me it was no joke and told me that he wanted me to become his wife. I said yes, we cried and then texted the whole world to tell all our families and friends! Barney and I had been together for 15 years and I had kind of giving up that he would ever proposed.
He had organised a beautiful engagement ring to be made specially for me by one of our friends who is a gemmologist www.nicolaifinejewellery.co.uk , she is based in Cardiff and is one of my closest friends!

Any DIY stories/tutorials you’d like to share?

I collected vintage French and Moroccan stamps, postcards, and English and French vintage teapots for months! Barney designed the invitations and menus. Spen printed everything. I made envelops for the save the date cards. 
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I had my wedding dress made by Ann Green in London, she also made the bridesmaids dresses which inspiration came from Roland Mouret summer collection that year 2012. bergerac_wedding_france269Barney bought his own suit and had his wedding shoes tattooed with our initial and the place we got married.

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What was your first dance & why?

Robbie- Angel, we met when it was all that could be heard anywhere, anytime, we use to sing it out loud together, he now hates Robbie, we had to have it though, it was too significant to our meeting time, I still love Take That, but that’s a secret… Shhhhh… bergerac_wedding_france338

In hindsight, was there anything you would have done differently?

Nope, all was perfect!

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Do you have any advice for future couples?

If you want to marry abroad, be prepared for the astronomical amount of legal requirements and paperwork. Also I am a non practising Catholic, but wanted a church wedding, to fit in with my families requests, mum particularly and my French background. Barney isn’t so we had to do lots of prep with priest here and in France so that the church would marry us there.

bergerac_wedding_france115 We also had to get married here in a registry office first to make our marriage legal. That was fun too, we married in Bath registry on 17th March 2012 and had a secret wedding party in Babington house. We all had to keep it secret so that we didn’t spoil the big day in August 16th 2012.

My head bridesmaid and make up artist Kit was the most organised and helpful friend ever. Delegate, delegate, delegate…and don’t be afraid to pick up the phone to have a good cry and ask for help when things get too stressful.. Organising a wedding abroad when you are the only one speaking the language is highly stressful at times.. bergerac_wedding_france113

What’s the best piece of marriage advice you received?

Don’t wait 2 years! (I had a panic after our engagement about not having enough time to plan so I wanted to postpone the wedding to the year after, my best friend Kit discouraged me and we planned in 10 months, it was perfect, and I stressed 10 months instead of 2 years!!
If you cant find a dress, have it made ( I LOVED MY DRESS!!) bergerac_wedding_france097bergerac_wedding_france099

What was your favourite thing about planning a wedding?

Making home made things and researching things for the day like invites, cards, teapots ect..
Losing weight and getting fit!
Having the dress made and seeing it develop over the months, I designed my own dress.
Going to the venue for the first time..

Suppliers

The Wedding Album

All images by Maria Farrelly Photography

Getting married abroad and looking for a photographer?  Maria Farrelly is based in South Wales and travels all over the UK and abroad to photograph weddings. For more details you contact her here.