Happy Friday Cwtchers!
Oh I have so been looking forward to showing off this gorgeous wedding of Rachel and Richard. Richard got in touch with us because he was so overwhelmed with how all of the suppliers they had had the pleasure to use, had been. We were so taken by his enthusiasm, we had to find out more.
When we discovered they had used the likes of Rachel Burgess Bridal Boutique, Sweet Peony, Laura May Bridal and Pencoed House (to name but a few), weren’t in the least bit surprised that they had had received such a wonderful service.
To top it off, their photographer, Sara Beaumont, took the most wonderful images of the couple and their friends and family, telling the story of the beautiful day.
So I will stop rambling on, and hand over to the couple to tell you all about it…..
Rachel and Richard
What was your budget?
We were really lucky as both sides of our family wanted to contribute financially to our wedding. With some of our own savings we were able to splash out on some luxuries that we wouldn’t have been able to afford otherwise.
As most of our guests were travelling we wanted to make sure that we made them feel welcome and showed them a good time so we decided early on that the food, drink and music would take priority.
Where something came in higher than expected or wasn’t part of our original budget we tried to make up the difference from our monthly income rather than take from “the pot”.
How would you describe your wedding theme?
Thanks to his Dad, Richard spent most of his childhood, teenage years….and adult life playing cricket so this featured quite heavily in our day.
She understood the style we wanted straight away and gave practical advice of how to achieve it without spending a fortune. The night before the wedding I popped into the shop and was blown away by the gorgeous scent and all the lovely blooms. I couldn’t wait to get hold of my bouquet!
What was your favourite part of your wedding?
I wouldn’t say I’m a shy person but walking down the aisle in front of 100 family and friends was not my idea of a good time. The night before the wedding we had a quick rehearsal at the church with the bridesmaids and ushers. Even with just a few people there I hated it. But on the morning of the wedding something clicked and I couldn’t wait to get to the church (our guests will find this surprising given how late I was!) I loved every second of my entrance and was overwhelmed by all the lovely faces smiling back at me.
But the best moment for the both of us has to be the car journey between the church and the venue. This is the first (and only) moment we had alone on our wedding day, the first as husband and wife.
I know nothing about cars but have always had a soft spot for jaguars. The MKII we chose was so elegant and offered a little bit of isolation on a very busy day.
Tell us about your Wedding Dress
I’m an incredibly fussy shopper and after spending every spare moment googling wedding dresses I concluded that the magical “dress moment” was not for me. As soon as I walked into Rachel Burgess’ Bridal Boutique I knew that was not the case.
The boutique is like a little bit of heaven. Rachel only stocks dresses that she loves, designed and made in Wales by wonderful local designers. I left my first appointment with three dresses I would have been absolutely thrilled to wear.
After 3 appointments (Rachel was very patient) I had chosen The One: Mable by E&W Couture. Sophie at E&W creates such beautiful dresses with really luxurious fabrics. I loved the way the tulle moved when I turned and I couldn’t stop prancing around the boutique! Rachel suggested I try a champagne slip instead of ivory which gave the dress an elegant vintage feel which was just perfect.
As each dress is made to order Sophie tailored the dress exactly as I wanted it. My wedding was in April so I added some sheer sleeves and I simplified the cowl neckline to make sure my Mum’s pearl necklace stood out. It was magical to see my dress evolve from a basic calico mock up to the beautiful gown I would wear down the aisle.
Sophie and Rachel went above and beyond for me arranging as many appointments as I needed to feel comfortable and advising on everything from underwear to how to hold my bouquet! Sophie gave me off-cuts from my dress to use elsewhere. I decided to wrap a little bit of the tulle around the button-holes for my groom and Father-of-the-Bride as a first insight to what they could expect (which was obviously lost on them!) Unknown to me my Mum also approached the girls for some extra silk to make a beautiful cushion to surprise me with on the morning of the wedding. It was so unexpected and incredibly thoughtful.
Who did you pick as your bridesmaids &/or best man and why?
My sisters have always been my best friends so having them next to me on my wedding day was non-negotiable but when I started to think about who I wanted to have around me on the morning of the wedding I knew I couldn’t do it without my pals Kate and Laura.
Just 6 weeks before the wedding, we found out that the girls’ dresses had never been ordered! Luckily they pulled through and thanks to the amazing girls at Laura May Bridal new dresses were lined up and ordered within 48 hours. I didn’t need to lift a finger. From that moment, I knew that no matter what went wrong on the day, as long as I had my friends around me, all would be well.
For Richard, there was only one choice for best man, his best friend Charles. He came up trumps on the day!
Why did you choose your venue?
When we first arrived at Pencoed House we fell in love with the way the long driveway felt like we were travelling down to our own little intimate hideout in the woods.
We wanted somewhere which had somewhere for us to stay with our immediate family at the end of the night and the elegantly decorated cottages were just the perfect place to rest our heads after a good old party.
But the venue itself had to be the main attraction. The tall trees and the stone walls were the perfect backdrop to our reception. The hall was full of character and didn’t need any further decoration to bring the place to life.
Tell us about your photographer
I first met Sara Beaumont when she photographed my sister’s wedding in 2013. Sara lives in Worcester but her passion for South Wales means that she is more than happy to make the trip for the wedding.
It was important to us to have a photographer who made us feel at ease. What we loved about Sara was her calming effect and her wicked sense of humour. She is able to boss around unruly family members when needed without causing a fuss and the results are incredible (which is lucky as she only had 5 minutes to capture our group shots before the wedding breakfast!)
How did the proposal happen?
Poor Richard had to think up two proposals before he was able to pop the question. I am absolutely obsessed with decorating the house at Christmas so his original plan was to propose whilst helping me decorate the tree, substituting a bauble with the ring. Sadly for him, I was just too impatient and insisted on putting the decorations up before he had been able to collect the ring! He had to turn to plan B.
We were travelling home to Wales for Christmas when Richard took a detour to Stratford-upon-Avon where we had spent a lovely weekend at the beginning of our relationship. I had been moody all day and instantly felt guilty that he had arranged such a lovely surprise. He told me that he wanted a quiet night with just the two of us before we got home to a house full of family and friends. We walked through the town centre looking at the Christmas lights and ended up on a bridge over the river where we had taken a boat trip 5 years earlier. I first started to suspect something when he stopped to “take a photo” in the dark. As soon as the bridge was clear he dropped down on one knee and presented me with the most beautiful ring. I spent the rest of the night watching it twinkle in the Christmas lights completely gobsmacked that he would still propose after how miserable I had been all day!!!
What was your first dance & why?
We chose 80s classic, Hungry Eyes by Eric Carmen. It took me about 4 years to convince Richard to watch Dirty Dancing with me but in the end he loved it! We are not the best dancers so we wanted to pick something which would encourage others to join us on the dance floor.
In hindsight, was there anything you would have done differently?
Even though we knew exactly who was coming to the wedding, seeing everyone together was completely overwhelming and I wanted to thank everybody individually for coming to celebrate with us. Getting around everyone is so hard, the day speeds by and there are always people you don’t get chance to speak to. I would have liked more time to speak to everyone but then I wouldn’t change a single second of the day.
Do you have any advice for future couples?
Make the most of your friends and family. We had amazing support from some really special people: my old school teacher and long-time family friend married us; Richard’s brother played the piano as I walked down the aisle and our friend Andy provided the musical entertainment whilst we signed the register. Uncle Robert was MC for the day, a family friend provided Yorkshire wool for Richard’s suit and my brother, Matthew designed the invitations and the order of service.
Utilising the talents and enthusiasm of those around us not only helped us save on the costs of a professional but also added an irreplaceable personal feel to our day.
What’s the best piece of marriage advice you received?
When we first got engaged, my parents sent us a card with a quote from Audrey Hepburn: The best thing to hold on to in life is each other. We have both grown up surrounded by strong marriages and understand that it’s not all a bed of roses. This card was a reminder of what it’s all about and that as long as we are a team, we can get through anything.
What was your favourite thing about planning a wedding?
Spending time with family and friends was one of the best bits of planning the wedding. My dress appointments were the perfect opportunity to go home and spend time with my Mum and it was really nice to get together with my bridesmaids for dress shopping and the hen party.
Photographer: Sara Beaumont Photography
Videographer: Silk Wedding Films
Ceremony Venue: St Mary’s Catholic Church Bridgend
Reception Venue: Pencoed House Estate
Bride’s Dress: Rachel Burgess Bridal Boutique
Bride’s Shoes: Rachel Simpson but found on ebay!
Bride’s Headpiece: Britten Weddings
Bride’s Jewellery: Mum
Groom’s Outfit: Carl Stuart Bespoke Tailor
Bridesmaid’s Dresses: Laura May Bridal
Bridesmaid’s Accessories: Etsy
Cake: Marks and Spencer
Flowers: Sweet Peony Floral
Hair: Rachel Mann (friend)
Make Up: Louise McCarthy (friend)
Band: Classic Soul Dogs
Stationery: I Do Designs
Caterers: E J Catering
Transport: Nev and Stella Padfield (now retired)
Other: Wool for Richard’s suit was provided by family friends, W.T.Johnson & Sons Limited
The Wedding Album