I’m so pleased to share this wedding with you all today. I had the pleasure of photographing Christine & Alyn’s Red & Blue wedding last year. The whole planning process was going so well until two weeks before the big day, they were given the awful news that their wedding venue had closed down. I was with them when it happened and my heart sank. They are such a lovely couple and had been planning their wedding for two years. You’d think they would have crumbled under the panic and pressure. Oh no, read on to hear how this fabulous couple coped and how their wedding day turned out to be perfect in every way.
Our budget was about £17k but we came really under budget and only spent about £13k. In the end with all the trouble we had with our venue, it actually all worked out cheaper for us. Because I work in finance, I love my spreadsheets. Had a spreadsheet for my budget and spend. Even had a pie chart! Venue was the biggest cost with clothes and photos joint second. Spent a little too much on my dress but we always knew we wanted to set a bit aside for a good photographer. Both families helped with the budget and we’re really thankful to them.
We didn’t really want a theme but both being from a TV and film background, we decided to add a few movie things in. Our colour scheme was red and blue, being that I am from England and Alyn is Welsh. We used the British colours. We then used black and white for things to represent the TV/film side.
Really loved our menu and order of the day. Alyn brought two bits of wood, painted them black and designed it with a chalk pen. Took inspiration from ideas from Pinterest, where it really stands out against the black.
We had table numbers with different film scenes on the back. We had to have Ghostbusters on the top table as Alyn is obsessed with that film! Others included James Dean, Marilyn Monroe, Goodfellas, etc.
Also had a film soundtrack playlist from Spotify playing in the background of the reception, which Alyn and the best man, Rob had put together. Bit weird when the Godfather theme came on whilst eating our meal.
I was very relaxed most of that day except for that part when my heart was racing. All I wanted to do was see him. That was the best part, realising what the day was all about. I was about to marry my best friend and it was such a great feeling when I saw him and met him at the altar to become his wife. Also loved going off with our photographer, Maria Farrelly down to Penarth Pier. After a little bit of rain going into the church, the sun came out and it was gorgeous. Tell us about your wedding dress
I really wanted my mum and my sister, Nicola there to help me pick a dress. They live in Swindon, so we decided to blitz it on a weekend. I had arranged appointments at 3 boutiques in Wales as I didn’t want to get bogged down with loads of shops.
I originally went in with the idea of a very fitted straight dress with lace, nothing A-Line or big princess dress. I tried on a few like this but nothing really stood out.
It wasn’t until my sister persuaded me to try this A-Line, very simple wedding dress in Laura May Bridal, Cardiff. It had a gorgeous silk skirt and lovely lace detail on top. As soon as I saw myself in the mirror, I felt like a bride. I could not stop smiling and didn’t want to take off. It was completely the opposite to what I had imagined but so much better.
Who did you pick as your bridesmaids &/or best man and why?
My chief Bridesmaid was always going to be my sister. I had two other bridesmaids, my friend from university, Cath and Alyn’s niece, Ella. Alyn’s best man was Rob, who lived with Alyn in University. All our bridesmaids, best man and ushers were amasing. We have great friends and family.
Why did you choose your venue?
My first wedding fayre (just after I got engaged) was at the Coal Exchange, Cardiff. I was looking for venues at that point and someone mentioned about having the wedding there. The Coal Exchange is such a grand place with so much history and character, we instantly thought it would be magical. So we booked! 2 years in advance.
It got to about 2 weeks before the date and we were meeting with our photographer, Maria at the Coal Exchange to do a Reece. As we got to the venue, Mike who we had been dealing with, pulled me, Alyn and Maria to one side.
He told us that fire officers have been in that day to say that the building was not safe and would have to close. Two weeks before our wedding we had to look for another venue!
To be honest, I thought I would just freak out but Alyn helped. He drove me straight to get a bottle of wine and a fat piece of cake!
The next day I rang every venue I could think of. I was in work but just kept constantly ringing venues. The Coal Exchange and our caterers gave us a full refund really quickly which helped considering they themselves may have lost their jobs and livelihood.
It was with great luck that the St David’s hotel didn’t have a booking that day and we were due to stay there anyway on the wedding night. They were amazing! Got bumped up the the wedding suite, got a discount at the bar (due to one of our great friends who helped us out).
How did the proposal happen?
To be honest, Alyn is not the best person at keeping secrets. I had sort of an idea that he was about to propose. (Left a picture of an engagement ring in his jean pocket and a ring sizer in the car door!)
It was a really sunny summers day and Alyn decided we should take a trip to Cardiff Bay as it wasn’t that far from where we lived. We walked there and he took me out towards the bay looking out, I turned round and suddenly he was on his knee proposing. Even though I had some idea, I was still startled by what was happening. To be honest, I was so shocked I can’t remember if I even said, Yes. He then took me up to where the bars were and I noticed some familiar faces. Alyn had organised for some of our closest friends to come down and celebrate the engagement with us. We had champagne and a really lovely day in the sunshine.
Any DIY stories/tutorials you’d like to share?
I love my Pom Poms. With our first venue (story below), it was a great big hall and my idea was to create a load of pom poms to hang down around the venue. I had never made them before but found a pin on pinterest on how to make them. They are so easy to make. All you need is some tissue paper, something to tie with and some string. In the end, I didn’t do as many, as my venue turned out to be smaller but definitely brightened up the place and added some colour.
Pinterest was such a good place to get ideas and inspiration. Definitely recommend.
What was your first dance & why?
Our first dance was Lucky by Jason Mraz and Colbie Caillat. Me and Alyn were big Glee fans at one point and even went to see there live show once at the O2 area. We first heard this song on Glee. The words both expressed how we felt about each other. Plus it wasn’t a very well known song which we liked. In hindsight, was there anything you would have done differently?
I always said that I wouldn’t speak during the speeches due to tradition and the fact that it is scary! Though I do slightly regret not saying something or having some input into Alyn’s speech. For example, I would have loved to thank everyone personally especially our families.
Do you have any advice for future couples?
Everyone mentioned to us to enjoy the day as it goes so quick and it did! Even though they gave me this advice, I do feel like the day passed me by. So much happens and you have to try and take it all in. Also another bit of advice was to have a few minutes alone with the hubby. Whether with your photographer or take an extra lap with the wedding car. What was your favourite thing about planning a wedding?
Everything! Loved every part! So glad we had that couple of years to have fun in planning the wedding. I had so much fun organising, planning, using my spreadsheets and making my pom poms! Also marrying Alyn Luker! x
- Photographer: Maria Farrelly Photography
- Ceremony Venue: St Augustine Church, Penarth
- Reception Venue: St Davids Hotel, Cardiff
- Bride’s Dress: Laura May Bridal, Cardiff
- Bride’s Shoes: United Footwear, Swindon
- Bride’s Headpiece: Rachel Burgess Bridal Boutique, Penarth
- Groom’s Outfit: Next
- Bridesmaid’s Dresses: Gowns of Distinction, Swindon
- Cake: The Fluffy Muffin, Birmingham
- Flowers: Andrea’s Florist, Penarth
- Hair: Betsan Dafydd
- Make Up: Betsan Dafydd
- Band: Beatles for Sale
- Photobooth: Maria Farrelly Photography
- Any Reception Decor/Props: Chair Covers Wales
- Transport: Champagne Car Hire