Hello lovely cwtchers! I am overwhelmed by all the lovely comments on my last post and I hope you all enjoy reading this one too. I promised I would show you pictures of my cats, so here is one to get you started:
The lovely Marvin
More kitty pics to follow I promise!
In my intro I told you the reasoning behind choosing our date, this week I’m going to tell you a little bit about why we chose our venue – Cardiff Castle. Choosing a venue is probably the first (and most important) thing that most couples do, it’s also very personal and the many interesting and different venues that other couples choose blow me away. When I tell people I am getting married in a castle I know they are probably thinking it’s because I want the whole fairy-tale princess thing but for me that’s not it.
I already knew where I wanted to get married long before we got engaged! Neither of us are religious so churches were out, although the services are often very personal and lovely I just knew that (for us) standing there and making promises to a God we don’t believe in would feel empty and a bit hypocritical. Also I know Mark would never go for it! Deciding whether or not to get married in a church is a very personal thing though and everyone has their reasons, it just wasn’t right for us.
One thing I do absolutely love though is old buildings, I love old cottages with exposed brick and rickety beams; I love buildings with character, personality and a story. Living down the road from Castell Coch (Red Castle) and remembering going past it on the motorway as a child and being in awe, this was where I thought I wanted to get married. It is an absolutely stunning building; it does have a bit of that fairy-tale magic about it too I admit. But as we looked into it we realised that it simply wouldn’t be possible, they have a lot of restrictions and we would not have been able to invite half of our families so we had to quickly rule it out. For an intimate ceremony with around 20 guests though it would be beautiful.
Castell Coch ©Raymond King
We then decided to look at Cardiff Castle, I’d never actually been there but Mark knew I had my heart set on Castell Coch so he suggested we look at Cardiff Castle as an alternative. I didn’t waste any time booking an appointment! We met with a lovely guy called Luke who showed us around. As soon as we entered the 15th century stone vaulted Undercroft we just looked at each other and grinned, it’s a bit dark and gothic and FULL of atmosphere. It was perfect! We both wanted something a bit unique and for us this was it. There was the option to have the wedding breakfast there as well, which is what I thought we would do (simply because of the cost!) but then Luke said he would show us the Banqueting Hall. From the website pictures I thought it looked a bit grand and not really “us” but again as soon as we walked in we both loved it. It is a little grand but not OTT and it comes with use of the Library and Drawing Room for drinks as well which really clinched it, as well as the grand staircase! I couldn’t help feeling a little smug being shown into the roped off areas while other visitors looked on!
We have been back a few times since, one of those times there was a wedding going on and we saw the Banqueting Hall all laid out and the bride and groom and their guests coming out into the courtyard for pictures and we were so glad we got to see this, it all looked perfect and made us feel so happy about our decision.
Mark at Cardiff Castle with a tiny bride in the background!
One great thing about having such a pretty and characteristic venue is that we will save loads on décor! A few candles in the Undercroft is all we need, and the Banqueting Hall is already so ornate there is no need to do anything. There are a few downsides that we had to consider. There is no parking for guests; those driving will unfortunately have to pay City Centre prices. Also the Castle is open to the public until around 5pm, but our wedding is on a weekday during term time so hopefully won’t be too busy and the ceremony is at 3.30pm so we won’t have to share the venue for long. The day that we saw the other wedding the tourists seemed to stand back and admire from a distance anyway, I can live with that!
If I could give any advice to you I would say follow your heart, look into all the pros and cons of your dream venue and if you’re not sure then shop around. There are hundreds of beautiful, unique venues – don’t settle. Whether it’s a church, castle or even a farm or old theater your venue is out there waiting for you to find it!
I would love to hear what venues you have all chosen and why!