Samantha & Greig got married last June at the stunning Oldwalls, Gower. They had such an amazing experience making everything themselves that Sam now has her own Homemade shop and is joining Emma from Sylvie & Joan for her DIY workshops at CWTCHFEST in April!
How would you describe your wedding theme? Village Fete’ is probably the best way to describe the theme for our wedding day. We both wanted to make sure our guests were entertained from the very beginning to the very end. Everything on the day was homemade and personal – we wanted the day to be completely unique to us.
What was your favourite part of your wedding? What a tough question – I know it sounds cliché but I loved every part of the planning and of the day itself. Greig and I spent so much time and energy in the months running up to the wedding making all the homemade props so seeing them all in place was an amazing feeling. When we arrived at Oldwalls and we saw that it looked exactly how we had envisaged that was an emotional moment. We were married, we were surrounded by all our loved ones, everyone was having fun, and…the sun was shining – it was just perfect. I had booked a magician as a surprise for Greig – he was incredible! The atmosphere was so fun and full of joy. There was so many highlights – the speeches, the first dance, walking down the aisle and seeing everyone…the list goes on!
Tell us about your Wedding Dress I was really terrified about finding a dress as I didn’t think I would find anything I liked. I couldn’t have been more wrong, finding my wedding dress was an absolute joy. I went to Cardiff for the day with my Mum, Gran and Bridesmaids. It was 3 shops, lunch and cocktails – job done! I loved every dress I tried on. When I tried on ‘the one’ it was that classic moment – I just knew it was ‘the dress’. As soon as I took it off I couldn’t wait to wear it again. It was nothing like the style I’d imagined and I would advise brides to approach dress shopping with an open mind and use the expertise of the lovely ladies in the shops to help you find your perfect dress.
Who did you pick as your bridesmaids &/or best man and why? My Bridesmaids were 4 of my very closest friends, all Speech Therapists like me. They were the most incredible bridesmaids and I couldn’t have done it all without them. One of them flew over from New Zealand – I hadn’t seen her for 2 years. We drove to Heathrow in the wee hours of the morning to surprise her which was another incredible moment. Greig had his brother Arran as his best man. They are only a year apart in age and have always been really close. He did a blinder of a speech!
Why did you choose your venue? We knew we wanted a private venue in a rural area. We looked at a few places but when we went to Oldwalls we immediately feel in love with the beautiful setting. Greig’s family are from Yorkshire so it was really important to have lots of accommodation on site. Greig said my eyes literally lit up when they mentioned Glamping. The glamping tents were in place just in time for our wedding and were very apt as we got married on the weekend of Glastonbury festival.
How did the proposal happen? It was quite unexpected. We were sat on the sofa at home on a Saturday Evening. It had been snowing all week. Greig suggested we go for a walk, I wasn’t keen but he was quite persistent. When I went out he was down on one knee in the garden and he had written will you marry me in the snow. I said yes and he run inside and grabbed the champagne. It was romantic at the time but the message stayed on our front garden for days which was quite embarrassing :)
Any DIY stories/tutorials you’d like to share? I could share so many DIY tutorials – we literally made EVERYTHING – it made the day so personal and memorable. My bridesmaids helped us a lot. We made nearly 300 metres of bunting over a series of crafting weekends. Bunting is so simple to make and looks so effective (See the DIY tutorial we featured on Wednesday!). I also enjoyed making all the wooden fete stalls with Greig in his workshop and painting these in the garden on a sunny weekend. I made the Jam wedding favours about 9 months before the wedding which was great – anything you can do in advance is a bonus.
I made the cake myself. It was a 4-tiered cake, which I decorated with a lace design, bunting and a handmade personalised peg cake topper. The problem was I live in Leicester and was travelling home to Wales for the wedding – transporting the cake was a concern. I decided Greig would drive and I would have the cake on my lap…fully assembled. We got stuck in traffic and all the people in their cars on the M5 were pointing and looking at the cake. Thankfully it made it to Oldwalls in one piece.
I loved making all my own stationery. They were all made from Kraft card with hand sewn fabric details. When you make your own things it so much easier to maintain the theme. I used the same fabric and font on everything we made. My Bridesmaids helped me to make bags of confetti, vintage wall art and cushions.
Greig made a Sweet Cart from solid oak, which was an absolute masterpiece. We tried to make the venue really personal. We collected old family photos and displayed these on vintage stepladders in antique frames that was lovely.
What was your first dance & why? One of fete stalls was a ‘First Dance Lucky Dip’. We kept the song an absolute surprise from everyone. It was ‘Walking On Sunshine’ by Katrina and the Waves. Neither of us wanted a slow swaying song so we decided to choose something up-tempo and just have fun. We had 5 dance lessons in the run up and it was really enjoyable. Unfortunately my shoes and the shiny dance floor were not very compatible and I spend most of the dance trying my very best not to fall over. I spent the whole evening on the dance floor but after the first dance I lost the shoes! As the night went on more and more of the Photo Booth props made it onto the dance floor. I ended up wearing a horse’s head, which matched my wedding dress beautifully.
In hindsight, was there anything you would have done differently? I wouldn’t change anything about the day but I wish I’d worried less during the preparations. We worked so hard and I spent a lot of time worrying about it all coming together. We hired the incredible Emma Butler from Sylvie and Joan Wedding Planning for ‘on the day styling’. I created a styling plan with Emma that we used to ensure the venue looked exactly how we imagined. Initially I was so worried about relying on so many individuals – from the farmer delivering the hay to the cars collecting me in the morning. I felt like I was the top of a huge jenga tower and if any piece was taken out the whole thing would collapse. Working with Emma made me relax and enjoy myself much more – it was an absolute joy. I realise now that no matter what goes wrong, if you are married by the end of the day, it was a successful day.
Do you have any advice for future couples? Be organised. Planning a wedding is a huge task and I think it would have been quite daunting if I didn’t have a clear plan. I’m not a spreadsheet kind of girl – I had a beautiful scrapbook that I wrote everything in. I knew which projects needed to be completed in which month – this helped us stay in control of everything. I still have the scrapbook as a lovely memory of all our hardwork and planning.
What’s the best piece of marriage advice you received? Greig made us a ‘Guest Bench’ instead of having a guest book. We asked people to write advice on it. One of my favourites says ‘Always remember the feelings that brought you together today….’ I sit on the bench everyday and I often look at that message and it takes me back to the wedding day even on the gloomiest Monday mornings.
What was your favourite thing about planning a wedding? I loved the opportunity to put my creative side to good use. I found making all my handmade props so enjoyable and I developed so many new skills. I’ve recently started a little business making homemade gifts and wedding props to keep me busy in married life.
Photographer: Gilbert & Evans
Videographer: Cherished Memories Video
Wedding Planner: Sylvie & Joan
Ceremony Venue: The Church in North Gower
Reception Venue: Oldwalls Gower
Bride’s Dress: Perfection Bridal, Cardiff
Bride’s Shoes: Rachel Simpson
Bride’s Headpiece: Perfection Bridal, Cardiff
Bride’s Jewellery: Alan Hannah
Groom’s Outfit: Moss Bros.
Bridesmaid’s Dresses: All About Eve
Bridesmaid’s Accessories: Their own
Cake: Homemade by me
Flowers: Made in Mumbles
Hair: Taryn’s Mobile Hairdressing
Make Up: Charlotte Joy
Band: This River
DJ: This River
Stationery: Handmade by me Naturally Crafty
Any Reception Decor/Props: Handmade by me- Naturally Crafty Luminated Letters – Strictly Weddings
Transport: Love Bugs Weddings
Other: Magician – Sebastian Hunt Ice Cream – Bernard’s Ice Cream Tricycle
The Wedding Album
What DIY projects have you undertaken for your wedding? We would love to hear more :)