Our classic bride Charlie is here today to finally reveal what we’ve all been waiting for: the wedding photos! :D
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.
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!
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)!
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!
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!
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.
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!
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.
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!
I will write more about our other DIY efforts, including our personalised orders of service, in future posts ☺
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.
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!
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!
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!
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!
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!
Videographer – Frank Millar
Ceremony & Reception Venue – Cardiff Castle
Bride’s Dress – Sardinia by Nicola Anne, bought from A Class Brides in Bristol
Bride’s Shoes – Topshop
Bride’s Hair Accessories – Birdcage veil from Mignonne Handmade on Etsy, Flower hair clip – gift from a friend.
Bride and Bridesmaids’ Jewellery – Louloubelle 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 Favours – Joining 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!