Real Wedding: Charlie & Mark’s Castle Wedding by Maria Farrelly

Our classic bride Charlie is here today to finally reveal what we’ve all been waiting for: the wedding photos! :D

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The night before the wedding me, my mum, Mark and his best man Wayne stayed in the Cardiff Hilton: a great way to begin the wedding celebrations! We had access to the executive lounge and enjoyed a few relaxing free drinks after the stress of packing everything up! We met with my auntie who had come all the way from Australia and had a meal and then I tried to get an early night and some sleep.

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Mum and I were staying in the Presidential Suite which was an amazing room for getting ready, loads of natural light for applying make-up (and for photographs!) and plenty of room for us and the bridesmaids and the many visitors I had that morning. This dual hair and make-up station was the real selling point for me!

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I was really expecting to be either super nervous or super excited on the wedding morning but I woke up feeling really calm and just… happy. I think I surprised everyone with how calm I was – including myself! It wasn’t until I got to the venue that the nerves REALLY kicked in.

My hair was done by the amazing and lovely Kellie Henderson, I was so pleased with it and she was so relaxed despite being a guest at another wedding later on that day!

If you read my make-up lesson post you will know that I had decided to do my own make-up. I questioned my decision at many points leading up to the day but thankfully on the day everything went right and I was glad I’d stuck to my guns. Getting ready with all my girls with me was one of my favourite parts of the day, not least because this was before my nerves kicked in (and before the rain started)!

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Mark got ready in a suite downstairs with Wayne and one of our ushers- my brother Tom. This meant Maria could run up and down in the lift to get shots of us both getting ready. I thought they looked really dapper with their different coloured braces, and being a huge Doctor Who fan Mark just HAD to wear a bow tie!

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We decided to get married in Cardiff Castle, mainly because I wanted a venue that was a little different from the norm. (I wrote a whole post on how we chose our wedding venue if you missed it!) The castle staff were great on the day, Alice and Jodeyne were particularly helpful and couldn’t do enough for us, they even met us outside with umbrellas and got wet themselves!

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We (well me in particular) were gutted on the day that we couldn’t go outside and get our guest shots in the stunning castle grounds, but if you are going to get stuck indoors – get stuck indoors somewhere as beautiful as a castle! Maria did persuade us to pop outside with our umbrella later on, I was a bit nervous with my white dress and freshly dyed red hair (!) but it was totally worth it for the gorgeous pictures we got. Some advice: have a wet weather plan, but if it rains embrace it and make it a part of your day.

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We didn’t really have a theme; because the venue was so grand we tried to keep everything else as relaxed and fun as possible. We DIY’ed as much as we could, including our invitations (you can see my post on this here), bridal party gifts (for Mark’s post on this click here), orders of service, table plan, menu cards, table names, a birdcage to hold our cards, badge favours for the guests and the backing cards for our charity pin badges… I even made our page boy’s tie!

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Our table plan was an A1 board from Hobbycraft that we covered in sheet music from one of our favourite piano pieces, I Giorni by Ludovico Einaudi, which we then aged with coffee. This was a labour of love, especially when the first lot dried all wrinkly! Our tables were named after years during our lifetime, we had photos of us from those years as our table names and we decided for the table plan we would find 7” vinyls from the corresponding years to be the “tables”. Not as easy as it sounds when you are looking for vinyls from 2003; 1983 was MUCH easier! We think it worked though.

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As an ice breaker I made a personalised badge for every guest with either a nickname or an in-joke or a quip relating to them or their hobbies, (it was hard work thinking of something for every guest!) we placed them in a little bowl in the middle of each table and everyone had to try and figure out who each badge belonged to. I loved seeing people wearing their badges later on!

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 I will write more about our other DIY efforts, including our personalised orders of service, in future posts ☺

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My bridesmaids were my two best friends, Tania and Rhiannon, and my new sister in law Sara. Rhiannon’s daughter Lily was our gorgeous flower girl and I think she stole the show! Mark’s best man was his best friend Wayne, and our brothers Tom and Paul were ushers. Our page boy was Paul’s son Ryan. When it came to deciding who to have in our bridal party we didn’t even need to think about it, we just naturally knew who we wanted.

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I have so many favourite parts of the wedding day; despite my nerves at saying our vows in front of all of our nearest and dearest I really loved the ceremony and thought it went by way too fast even with our three readings. I also loved going off with Maria and Frank (Millar, our videographer) for our couple photos because it was so nice to be able to relax and spend half an hour (almost) alone with my new husband. (The catering staff even let us sneak through the kitchen so we could stay out of the rain (sshh!)).

I definitely recommend making the most of this time because the whole day is such a whirlwind and it is so nice to have a chance to reflect on the fact you JUST GOT MARRIED!

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The one thing I had really been dreading (apart from walking, and possibly tripping, down the aisle!) was our first dance. I really didn’t relish the thought of being up there dancing with all eyes on us so we very nearly didn’t have one but in the end, in a fit of romanticism, we thought that perhaps we should.

We didn’t have a song until about two weeks before the wedding and then I heard a song on telly and thought “maybe”, played it on my phone and then Mark popped his head around the door and said “first dance?”, so that was it decided! We danced to “One and only” by Adele, I asked our DJ (my cousin in law) to play a shortened version but on the night he let the whole thing play, still not sure if I should forgive him!

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I think the greatest success of the evening was our photobooth run by Maria. So many guests got up and made the most of it and we had so much fun. Mark even got to wear a fez!

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My biggest piece of advice that I would give to other couples planning a wedding would be to relax and enjoy it, it is your day so don’t be pressured into feeling you must do this or do that. We planned our day exactly how we wanted it and it really paid off. Of course there are things I would have done differently but I will save that for another post!

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Another piece of advice, which I feel really strongly about, is do invest in a good photographer. Maria captured our day so beautifully and I can’t stop looking at these incredible images, I really hope you enjoy looking at them too!

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Charlie x

Photography was by Cwtch the Bride creator (and award winning!) Maria Farrelly. You can see all posts featuring her photography here.

 

VideographerFrank Millar
Ceremony & Reception VenueCardiff Castle
Bride’s Dress – Sardinia by Nicola Anne, bought from A Class Brides in Bristol
Bride’s ShoesTopshop
Bride’s Hair Accessories – Birdcage veil from Mignonne Handmade on Etsy, Flower hair clip – gift from a friend.
Bride and Bridesmaids’ JewelleryLouloubelle Designs
Bridesmaid’s Dresses – A discontinued design, two are from Platinum Brides in Birmingham and one was from a little shop in Darlington who’s name I can’t remember.
Flower Girl’s Tutu – made by Martina Ward Creative Seamstress
Button Holes – Peacock feathers were bought from another bride to be. Flowers and assembly by Love Bouquets. Badges by me.
Groom’s and Groomsmen’s outfits– Suits from Moss Bros, Ties from Platinum Brides, Braces from eBay
Charity Badge FavoursJoining Jack
Cake – Wedding cake by Sarah at Cakes by Lavender Cottage, and a fruit cake by my nan ☺
Flowers – Bouquets by Love Bouquets, Venue flowers bought and arranged my Tania’s mum Carol, vases were my “something borrowed” from my friend Karen.
Hair – Kellie from Henderson and Co.
Make-up – Done by me
Music – Our ceremony music was played on the harp by Bethan Nia
DJ – My cousin in law Ian
Rings – From Newey’s in the Birmingham Jewellery Quarter
Stationery and Décor – Done by us, candelabras supplied by Cardiff Catering
Transport – My father in law’s car!

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19 thoughts on “Real Wedding: Charlie & Mark’s Castle Wedding by Maria Farrelly

  1. Such a gorgeous wedding Charlie and I absolutely LOVE the gifts you gave to the Bridesmaids…I cried reading the little note that comes with it. So thoughtful and unique. Your photographs are a whole load of pretty – especially loving the ones by the bookcase, the one of you both with the bridesmaids and ushers…in fact, love the whole lot. Really loved this post. xx

  2. only one thing more beautiful than this stunning venue is you Chaz. You radiant joy and happiness in every single shot, you both do. A gorgeous day captured perfectly by Maria.

    I could look at your photos all day long. Love you lots xxxxxxxxx

  3. It looks stunning, Charlie; such beautiful photos. The ones out in the rain were worth the risk! This post is making me very excited about my own wedding…glad I’ve book Maria too! X

  4. I could read this blog over and over again, and seeing the finished photographs, you really appreciate what a gorgeous memorable day this was.. (Yes, I was one of the lucky ones to share this wonderful day). Charlie you looked absolutely beautiful. Your dress looked stunning and you shone from within. You showed no nerves whatsoever, even though you must have been shaking with nerves!! I will remember yours and Mark’s day for a long time. You would never know it was raining, as the photos inside more than compensate for ones that might have been taken outside. But, I think my favourite one is the one of you both outside in the rain with the umbrella. Maria seems to sprinkle stardust when she takes a photograph, they are magical. It was lovely to be a part of the wedding party, and to share it with your friends and family not seen for a long time.
    You and Mark should feel very proud you put so much effort into your special day, and it shows, but it was done with no pretense or showiness. I loved every minute…. xxxxxxxxx
    P.S Do not give up blogging, you are a natural!! xxxxx

  5. I agree Tina :-) magical pictures and a magical blog capturing the fantastic day we all had :-) i’m sooooo proud of you Charlie :-) and Maria!! well for once i’m speechless!!! Keep the magic going between the both of you :-) xxx

  6. Chaz! Oh my I was going through thinking “that’s my fave must tell chaz, oh no that’s my fave or no that one….” So many beautiful memories of your day I even cried a little. You looked beautiful and happiness and is just shining out of you and mark!

    Beaut. Love you lots xxx

  7. Thank you all so much for your lovely comments, I am so happy with our wedding pictures it’s so nice to hear other people say nice things about them too! :) xx

  8. A little late to the party (as usual!), but WOW!!
    Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous!
    The beautiful venue, the fabulous photography, the gorgeous bride & groom…..I LOVE it all!
    HUGE congrats lovely, looks like everyone had an absolute blast!
    :-) xxx

  9. Hi Charlie!

    Your wedding looks stunning, I especially love the pictures outside in the dark with umbrellas so I agree, make the rain part of it!

    I want to have my wedding at Cardiff Castle as well and looking through the brochures and making up my mind about where and how – did you have the ceremony in the Undercroft, the wedding breakfast in the banqueting hall and then the dancing in the Undercroft again? How did that go? I am curious as I never been to a wedding where the dancing and music part was in a different place to where the food was served and where there are tables for people to sit who don’t want to dance.
    Also, did you have the food catered by Cardiff Castle? And if so, was is nice?

    Sorry for all the questions!

    Thanks,
    Lia

    • Hi Lia,
      I just posted an epically long reply and it seemed to break Cwtch so I’ll keep it short and sweet (if I can) this time!

      Thank you for your lovely comments! Cardiff castle is an amazing venue I’m sure you’ll love having your wedding there, Claire and the staff are very helpful.
      We did do it the way you said, and had drinks and photos in the library and drawing room. That way guests get to see a bit more of the castle and that extra grandeur ;)
      In the evening the castle laid out tables and chairs in the undercroft for those not dancing exactly as if we’d eaten there. We had the evening buffet there too.

      The food was by Cardiff Catering (this was mandatory) and it was delicious, I’m sure you won’t be disappointed. I asked them to do something different than their usual evening buffet too and they were very obliging, as well as providing candelabras, cake stand and knife.

      Would love to see your photos! Let us know if you do choose the castle and do send us your pictures after!

      Have an amazing wedding!

      Charlie xx

      • Thank you so much for your reply!

        That’s really good to know and am glad how accommodating the venue and staff are!
        Since we are at the very beginning of things there is a lot of saving up to do before it happens but I will definitely put photos up online when I finally do.

        Lia x

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