If you are debating whether to invest in having your wedding filmed. I’d like you to watch this before making your mind up. Wedding films have changed so much over the years. They are now becoming more and more like timeless epic story telling pieces and just as important as the photography. Investing in a good film maker as well as a photographer creates a beautiful collection of memories. Theres no doubt about it.
Remember, your wedding day is probably the only day in your life you will have all your favourite people in one place sharing in your happiness. I think its worth investing in having that documented in the best way possible.
As the years then begin to pass, only then will you truly understand the value of how special that investment was.
I have such an amazing treat for you lovely Cwtchers today photographed by Ben Moore. Suzanne and Ryan from iPop are letting us share their stunning, uber cool London wedding. We all have those friend that just do effortless and it looks amazing well this is one of those weddings. I sat green with jealousy as I edited this absolute beauty. I don’t think a cup of tea is quiet cool enough. Pour yourself a martini and enjoy. ~ Kate
What was your budget?
We really did not want to spend too much on our wedding, but we wanted all our guests to have an amazing day. We set ourselves a sensible budget….then went a couple of thousand over. As we work in the wedding industry we were very lucky to have been able to pull in some favours. We also chose to get married on a Wednesday as there are always midweek deals to be had with vendors. There were certain things we were happy to compromise on but we spent money on the really important things (Jimmy Choo’s). All things considered I think we had an expensive feel to our wedding for a bargain price!!
How would you describe your wedding theme?
We did not really have a theme as such but we wanted something cool, relaxed & luxurious.
What was your favourite part of your wedding?
We had our ceremony at Chelsea Registry office. At the time of booking it I thought it was quite fun and a bit Rock & Roll. As the day got closer I began question whether I had made the right decision. I kept looking back at the photos on line and thinking the room looked a bit underwhelming. I felt like I may regret not having the whole walking down the long aisle moment. On the day when I walked into the room and seen all my family, friends and Ryan in there it was magical. The decor was warm and glowy it felt like a dream. After the ceremony we walked out onto the iconic Chelsea Old Town hall steps on The Kings Road, all our guest threw confetti over us with beaming smiles , cars were tooting their horns, the public were waving and cheering…it was such an electrifying moment. I absolutely loved the entire day but this part was so unexpected that it was really special.
Tell us about your Wedding Dress
I got my dress from Rachel Burgess Bridal Boutique and it was designed by Welsh designer, E&W Couture, the dress is called Greta. You can try on a sample then it is hand made from scratch to fit you. I was adamant that I would not spend a fortune on a dress…ADAMANT! Until I tried on my little beauty. I fitted it on before checking the price tag, disastrous move! Of course I fell in love. The event was made even more special as the day I went to the shop my mum & dad were visiting from Watford, my Nan was down from Liverpool and my best friend was visiting from Abu Dhabi. (This never happens!) They all agreed it was the one! I excitedly rang Ryan and told him the price and I think he spat out his tea! I did have a major panic after this as he is normally really chilled. It was way more that I wanted to spend and I worried that I had just got caught up in the moment. In fact I called the shop and postponed the first fitting! I did a bit more searching but it had stolen my heart and nothing compared. I knew I wanted something a little different but I didn’t know what until I tried this dress on, it is exactly what I was after. I asked Sophie, the designer, if she could make me a mini version for my little girl too which was an absolute triumph and a real talking point of the day. When I walked down the aisle the first thing Ryan said to me was “I cant believe you nearly didn’t get this dress, it is the best dress I have ever seen” I felt a million dollars in my beautiful dress.
Who did you pick as your bridesmaids &/or best man and why?
I had 5 adult bridesmaids and my beautiful baby girl. I chose my best friends. Mel, Nikki & Sam are old school friends with over 20 years of tales to tell. Becky, her and I met when we were in the West End Production of ‘Grease’ The Musical. I played ‘Sandy’ she was Patty Simcox – I don’t think the characters were friends in the movie but we hit it off straight away :) Finally I chose Tamsin who proudly claims the cupid status as without her Ryan and I would not have met. Ryan chose his lovely brother as his best man.
Why did you choose your venue?
We love working in the wedding industry iPop play at over 100 weddings and events every year and The iGency our entertainment agency supply bands to hundreds more. As we play at so many weddings I did not want ours to feel like work, so we needed to choose something a little different. We met a great guy when we were out in Lebanon performing with iPop one summer…he seen us play at Iris a glamorous roof top terrace in down town Beirut and invited us to his equally glamorous restaurant Salmontini. It was literally the best restaurant I had ever been to with a cool vibe, with food to die for! He recently opened the same restaurant in the heart of Belgravia, London. We went for dinner one night and fell in love…we decided it was the one! We are real foodies so it was important to us that our wedding food was top class. The food on the day was sensational, we absolutely loved it and so did all our guests. Our vendors all said it was the best wedding food they had ever tasted and they work at a lot of weddings. We could not have been happier with the venue it was perfect.
Tell us about your photographer
Our photographer was the amazing Ben Moore. We wanted cool, candid shots with a bit of a rock and roll edge. When we got our photos back we were blown away. He truly captured the essence of the day. He was a dream to work with and his images are spectacular, we are thrilled with the results. We also had fabulous videographers Rich & Rhys from Aurora Video. They are based in South Wales but we were lucky enough to get them to follow us to London. They were so discreet on the day that you forgot they were there so they caught some magical candid footage. We recently got the hi lights video back and were instantly transported back to the moment. It is absolutely priceless! We can not recommend our photographer or videographers enough.
How did the proposal happen?
We got engaged in March 2014 after the birth of our beautiful little girl Seren Elvie. We had been together almost 8 years but having the baby made us want to make our little family official. The proposal was far from romantic. Ryan was away on tour drumming, he arrived back the day after my 30th birthday with no card or prezzie. I didn’t say anything because I am not really one for birthday fuss but he was definitely skating on thin ice. The next day he had to rush off early to a “rehearsal,” little did I know he was stopping off on the way to pick me up a rock! The following morning with a baby on the boob, greasy hair and cereal in my teeth he popped the question, in his own special way he thought it was romantic. On a positive note… If he wanted to marry me looking like that it surely must be love!
Any DIY stories/tutorials you’d like to share?
Ryan made a cracking post box for cards out of 2 snare drums. Well done Ryan! I ordered some cool wedding signs from Not On The High Street then went and bought some nice frames. My favourite sign was ” The hangover only lasts a day, the memories last a lifetime.” My hangover lasted a little longer than one day I must admit.
What was your first dance & why?
We chose ‘Best Friend’ by Queen. We didn’t have a ‘song’ as such but really liked the upbeat feel and the lyrics to this one. I also had a father daughter dance ‘Sarah’ by Thin Lizzy. My dad is a huge Thin Lizzy fan and this song has always been special. iGency artist and iPop guitarist Luke performed live for us and changed the Lyrics to Seren (my daughters name) instead of Sarah. It was a surprise for my dad and he absolutely loved it.
In hindsight, was there anything you would have done differently?
I do not think there is really anything I would do differently, I would just like to do it all over again!! The table plan had to change on the morning as a few people couldn’t make it. It was a bit of a pain but couldn’t be helped, what can you do? One other small thing was I forgot to take a mirror in my little handbag. I wanted to have a quick make-up check before the ceremony but I couldn’t see myself. Take a mirror girls for a last minute gloss.
Do you have any advice for future couples?
Don’t Sweat the small stuff it really becomes irrelevant on the day.
Relax and enjoy yourself on the day!
Don’t invite boring people…:)
Have the bar in the same room as the dance floor.
You get what you pay for do not compromise on quality live entertainment, photographer or videographer. Get the best your money can buy these are must haves and they are priceless.
This is not advice…just a fact. Table plans are a pain in the a**e!
Any other advise for future brides?
Because of our line of work lots of people have asked what entertainment we had. I think live music is such an important part of the evening. It can really make or break the night. It is so important that you go for top quality acts, don’t just go for the cheapest option, do not compromise on quality. People will remember the entertainment for years to come, book the best you can afford. As our venue was so intimate there was no room to have a full band so selected a number of our favourite solo artists including Kele Le Roc, and a female DJ, to keep us rocking until the early hours. We are very lucky that we have such a fantastic team of talent to call upon. The iGency can offer bespoke solutions for your event too if your venue is out of the ordinary or if you just fancy something unusual we can come up with some ideas for you.
What was your favourite thing about planning a wedding?
If I am completely honest I found the whole thing a bit stressful. We were so busy with work in the run up to the day that wedding planning seemed to be getting in the way and it was the last thing I wanted to do. Although we had been engaged for a while we only set the date in May 2015 so had around 4 months to get everything together. That said, I would not have done anything differently time wise. I must love a bit of stress. Last minute.com! After I had done all my planning I made a list of what needed to be done on the day and handed it to one of my best friends Chris who just so happens to be an event organiser. That was my favourite part of the planning process. A weight was lifted from my shoulders. Having him there on the day taking care of the finer details for me meant I could feel totally relaxed. I strongly recommend delegating these little jobs to someone so you don’t have to think about them on the day, if you don’t have a Chris ask your bridesmaids, best man, ushers etc.
To wedding video, or not to wedding video, that is the question. A lot of time during the wedding planning process is spent prioritising what you do and don’t want so you can stick to any budgets you’ve set yourselves.
Of course we all want to have everything but that isn’t always possible. To all those brides to be who are currently deliberating whether to take the plunge and book a wedding videographer or not, maybe this will help.
Your wedding day goes so quickly that you can’t possibly remember everything. You also can’t be everywhere at the same time so inevitably you miss parts of the day. I actually got really upset after the wedding that I couldn’t remember so much of the day but was reassured by many friends and family that it was completely normal and it would all come back to me when I saw the photographs and wedding video.
I absolutely love my wedding photographs, but there are certain aspects of the day which would never have been captured had we not have had a wedding videographer. For example, the reaction of my Dad when he first saw me in my dress, the ‘pep talk’ someone gave to Rich before the ceremony when they didn’t realise he had a microphone on, but most importantly, the kind words and wishes said by loved ones during the speeches. When I watched our wedding video for the first time it brought back so many happy memories.
I love my wedding video. It captures all the excitement of the day and it’s something we can watch in years to come as a perfect reminder of all of the love and laughter.
On Monday we teased you with a Cwtch of the Week from Christy & Richard’s wedding which was photographed by Sacha Miller. Today we have the whole beautiful day. Make sure you get a cuppa and settle in to read this, it’s such a good one!
What was your budget? Within reason, Rich and I didn’t really have a budget for our wedding. When we started planning the wedding, we decided that we would go with whatever options and suppliers that we really loved, whether that be the cheapest or most expensive.
How would you describe your wedding theme? I wouldn’t say that we had a wedding ‘theme’ as such, but I would describe our wedding as traditional, classic and elegant with a hint of modern. Once we had picked our venue, this had a massive effect on the other items which we chose, especially my dress. I always felt that when the venue and dress were chosen, the choices around flowers and decorations etc would be obvious.
When I chose my dress, I settled on a statement bow in the middle. Without Rich knowing why, I decided to have a subtle bow theme throughout the wedding. So subtle that people probably wouldn’t even notice. So to go with the bow on my dress, the bridesmaids and flower girl had a bow on their dresses too. I had a large crystal bow clip to go in my hair and my bridesmaids had smaller vintage style bow clips to go in theirs. Mum had a bow incorporated into her hat and I somehow even managed to persuade Rich to like the idea of having two bows on our wedding cake!
Being South African, I wanted to include a few acknowledgements to my home country. As there was a flag pole in the venue grounds, we decided to have a Welsh and South African flags flying so that people would see them as they were driving in. We also decided to name our tables after beaches in Cape Town.
What was your favourite part of your wedding? Oh gosh, I don’t know where to start so I’ll go with sentimental first.
My favourite part of the actual day was the actual ceremony. Not only did I get to marry my best friend, but it’s also the part of the day which I remember the most!! After the wedding, I felt like it had gone by so quickly that I couldn’t remember any of it (not alcohol related might I add!). I spent days after trying to piece together what happened and when. Apparently this is normal after your wedding. So many things happen in such a short period of time and the sheer overwhelmingness of it all means that the day feels like a bit of a blur. Once you see the photos though and watch the videos all the amazing memories come back.
Another thing I loved about our wedding was how we put our own little stamp on it to make it a memorable day for others and make sure that everyone had fun. One thing which we did was have a basket full of ‘pig’ and ‘horse’ biscuits with a sign telling guests to pick one based on whether they were team bride or team groom. I won’t bore you with the boring details about why we had pigs and horses but it has something to do with our nicknames!
We also had a ‘face mat’ put on every chair during the wedding reception. For those of you that don’t know what a face mat is, it’s a piece of card which slots around your nose and each card has a different chin/mouth/expression. They are absolutely hilarious and such great ice breakers. It’s a great way for people on wedding tables to get talking, swapping face mats and taking pictures.
We played a ‘guess the length of the speeches’ game where one of the ushers went around all of the guests to get them to pay £1 and guess how long all of the wedding speeches would be from start to finish and the winner would win the pot of money! We took it seriously; got the usher a clipboard, stopwatch, the lot!
There was a piano at the venue, so we had a pianist play during the day. We have a very musical bunch of friends and in the evening after the band had finished playing, all of our guests gathered around the piano and started singing to lots of different songs. It was so much fun and a great way to finish the day. Bohemian rhapsody was a particular favourite!!
We recently attended one of our best friends weddings where they taped GoPro cameras to alcohol bottles and got their guests to drink from them. They have since made a video of all of this footage and it is such a fun memory of the day that we decided to steal the idea.
Tell us about your Wedding Dress As soon as I got engaged my mum and sisters were sending me pictures of wedding dresses, however I knew exactly what I wanted right from the start. Classic, all satin, structured, clean lines. I could picture the dress in my head, I just needed to find it. I tried on a few dresses in various different shops but wasn’t satisfied I had found the right one. I started to panic slightly thinking that I would never find the dress I had pictured myself wearing. When I went to High Society in Cowbridge and described the features of the dress I was looking for, they told me straight away that Suzanne Neville was the designer for me. When I tried her dresses on, I knew instantly that they were correct.
Suzanne Neville is a British designer who is renowned for her beautifully constructed contemporary couture dresses. I ended up choosing the Suzanne Neville dress called ‘Lady’ and customising it slightly to make my perfect dress. The ‘Lady’ dress is a complete satin, A line dress with this slightly off the shoulder sleeves. I changed the dress by making it a strapless gown and adding a statement satin ‘bow’ to the dress. It was slightly nerve wracking buying a dress when you don’t know what the final product will be like, but High Society were so helpful with this process. They made sure that I was completely confident in every decision that I made.
One thing Rich likes about me is the way I dress. He loves that I have a very simple style – I’m not at all about frills and sequins. That’s how I knew I had picked the right dress and that I had picked something I knew he would love. From the moment I told my friends that I had chosen my dress, there were constant guesses as to what it would be like. Most guesses were for a tight lace fishtale style dress. I’m glad that I stuck to a style which represented me, and it was an added bonus that I chose something which no one else expected me to have so there was still that element of surprise on the big day.
Who did you pick as your bridesmaids &/or best man and why? I have two very special sisters, Vicky and Kate, so when I got engaged it was an obvious decision for me that they would be my bridesmaids. I also chose to have one of my best friends, Rhian, as a bridesmaid. Rhian is someone who I have remained friends with since comprehensive school and is just one of those people that even if we don’t speak for a few weeks, we know we can catch up for a coffee and it will be like nothing has changed. Rhian and I always joke about how we are partners in crime – we really are.
Rich chose to have his brother, Ryan, as best man. He also had 3 ushers who were childhood friends and people that he used to play rugby with.
Why did you choose your venue? Rich and I are at that stage in our lives where all of our friends are getting married (we actually attended 10 weddings last year alone!). There are so many beautiful wedding venues in South Wales but we felt we wanted to venture out slightly as we wanted a venue where no one had been before so that we had a blank canvas and we could put our own stamp on it without our guests comparing it to other weddings they had been to in the same venue.
We started looking in the Bristol area as we thought this wouldn’t be too far for our guests to travel. We came across ‘Coombe Lodge’ in Blagdon (a very small village not far from Bristol airport) on a random google search and decided to go view it that day as we had nothing better to do. We entered the premises, drove up the extremely grand entrance and parked the car. Rich was already sold on the venue at this point but I was still unsure.
From the outside, Coombe Lodge looks like a huge manor house set in beautiful grounds. Although I liked the look of the outside of the building, I was almost convinced that I wouldn’t like the inside of the building. I expected to walk in and see old patterned carpets and paintings on the wall of people I didn’t even know which was not the type of look I wanted for our wedding venue. When I walked into the building, I was completely shocked to see a very simple, yet stylish finish – perfect for what we had in mind. The floors are all wooden, with beautiful lime oak panelled walls and there are huge chandeliers throughout the hallway. This was topped off by the breath-taking views outside of Blagdon Lake.
Tell us about your photographer Having a sister that works in the wedding industry was really useful because she gave us great advice on tips. One of which being that in order to secure the suppliers we wanted, we would have to book them a long time in advance. Shortly after we got engaged I asked her to recommend a few wedding photographers for us to look into. She sent through a list of approximately 10 photographers which she thought would suit us and our style. I looked through all of their websites and when I came across Sacha Miller’s photos it was obvious that I had found the photographer for us.
Sacha specialises in documentary style photography; a very natural style of photography which captures real emotions and almost tells a story of your wedding. His photos are very real and natural rather than posed. He’s the type of photographer that will take a photo of friends taking a photo of themselves, rather than taking the photo himself!!
This was a really important deciding factor for Rich and I. We both knew that the day would go by so quickly so we wanted to spend as much time as possible with our family and friends rather than hours posing on our own. We gave Sacha a list of only 6 photographs which we wanted captured during the day – things such as brides family, grooms family, bridesmaids, groomsmen etc.
Aside from the 6 photos mentioned above, Sacha took Rich and myself away on our own for approximately 5-10 minutes before and after the wedding reception to capture photos with different lighting. He told us to just walk together, talk and act natural. This time was actually really lovely as it was one of the few times during the day that Rich and I got to spend on our own together.
I can honestly say that I didn’t even notice where Sacha was most of the day. At one point, I even asked my sister where he was! When we received our wedding photos, we couldn’t have been happier. Sacha really managed to capture such happiness, laughter and emotion – a true reflection of our special day. We cannot stop looking at them and reliving all of the wonderful memories.
How did the proposal happen? This is where Rich is going to get sympathy votes!
In December 2013, Rich told me that he had planned a surprised trip to Paris for us and we would be leaving in 2 days! Rich had taken me to Paris the year previously for my birthday and we both fell in love with the place. Having this trip sprung on my with such short notice and the fact that we had only just been there a few months before made me start thinking that he may have another agenda.
I became really nervous and obsessed with trying to find out if he was planning to pop the question. I went out with my Mum the day before we were due to travel and thought I’d try to find out if she knew anything. I started by telling her that I thought he may propose – I thought that I would be able to judge from her reaction whether he was or wasn’t going to! Having no luck from that, I decided to tell her that I’m not sure if I’m ready to get married yet and I’m not sure what I would say if he did. Still, she gave nothing away. Unbeknown to me, my Mum had gone back home in a panic and told my Dad that I was going to say ‘No!’. Later that day my Dad phoned Rich and told him about the conversation I had had with my Mum and that my response may not be what he was hoping for. Rich told my Dad that he was going to try his luck anyway.
When we got to Paris, Rich had booked us in for dinner at a lovely little French restaurant. Still determined to get some clues as to whether he was going to propose, I spent the whole meal talking about how I’m glad we weren’t at the marriage stage and how we could put that money towards saving for a new house. Unbeknown to me, Rich had the ring in his pocket and planned to propose by the Eiffel Tower that evening as we walked back to the hotel. After the meal, it was absolutely hammering it down with rain. Rich suggested a lovely walk back to the hotel via the Eiffel Tower. I refused, saying I didn’t want to get wet and insisted on getting a taxi back. After we had checked in and got up to the room I started unpacking. When I turned around I saw Rich down on one knee holding a box with the most beautiful ring in it. Even though deep down I knew it may be happening, I was still so shocked and overwhelmed. I couldn’t look at him and told him to stand up. Eventually, I said ‘yes!’. We spent the rest of the evening laughing as Rich told me what a massive pain I had been the previous 24 hours!!
When we walked down to reception the following morning, I was so shocked to see my parents and his parents in reception waiting for us. I had always told Rich that if we were to get engaged, I would want to share the experience with our family. Rich had flown both of our parents out to share the weekend in Paris with us. It really was a weekend to remember!
Any DIY stories/tutorials you’d like to share? I wouldn’t consider myself a creative person, lucky for me though my sister Kate is the Homemade Bride on Cwtch the Bride and loves all that sort of stuff.
Kate made the most beautiful table plan for us. I also mentioned that I didn’t want confetti thrown at the wedding because I didn’t want it stuck in my hair for the rest of the day so bought several bunches of roses and had her husband on my dad picking the petals off of them on the morning of the wedding to be used as confetti. The fresh rose petals were such a great idea not only because I successfully managed to avoid getting any stuck in my hair, but the colours and size really made them stand out in the photos.
What was your first dance & why? Rich and I could never agree on a first dance song. He always said he wanted Ed Sheeran ‘Thinking out Loud’ and I always said I wanted John Ledgend ‘All of Me.
I wanted to make sure that Rich had a few surprises during the wedding day. We had booked a South Wales band called ‘Best Supporting Actors’ to play on the day so without Rich knowing, I asked them if they would be able to play the Ed Sheeran song for our first dance. They agreed and I kept it a secret from Rich. Because Rich and I could never agree on a song, we just didn’t talk about it. In fact, even up until the wedding day when we were standing in the middle of the dance floor on our own with the band next to us waiting to play he said to me ‘we still don’t know what we’re dancing to yet’. I told him just to go with it. When he heard the beginning of the song he had a massive smile on his face. He says that was one of his favourite moments of the day.
In hindsight, was there anything you would have done differently? I can genuinely say that I don’t think we would have done anything differently at all. I’m sure everyone says it but for us, our day was perfect.
Do you have any advice for future couples? I know it is a cliche but I would just advise anyone who was about to embark on the wedding process to enjoy it. Other than that, I would give 2 other pieces of advice:
1.Involve your partner as much as possible in the planning as it makes it more fun.
2.Try not to get sucked up into all of it and remember the whole purpose of the day. It’s not about how many bottles of wine are on the table, or how many flowers you can fill the room with – it’s about marrying the person you want to spend the rest of your life with.
What was your favourite thing about planning a wedding? I really loved the whole of the wedding planning process. One thing which I particularly enjoyed though was planning the wedding with Rich. I was so happy with how much involvement he had and I can honestly say that every decision (apart from the dress) was made together and we had so much fun together in the process. Two of my favourite parts was meeting our florist and cake maker thinking that Rich would be completely quiet and not really want to get involved. I was completely shocked when he practically took over the appointments with his ideas! Who knew I was marrying an amateur flower arranger and cake designer!
One part of the planning process which I will never forget is the how it can strengthen the bond you have with family and friends. When you have a wedding to plan people find the time to come attend appointments with you and meet up for coffees to help make decisions – I even had a whatsapp group set up with my Mum and Bridesmaids to discuss all things wedding! It’s an excellent opportunity to spend time with your nearest and dearest. I guess it’s true what they say, weddings really do bring people together!
I would also like to take this opportunity to give a massive shout out to my wonderful sister, Kate, who played such a huge part in the planning process. Kate, you really are a wedding guru and I love you long time!
Back in April we excitedly welcomed a huge number of our lovely readers and fabulous wedding suppliers to CWTCHFEST: Wales’ biggest wedding festival. Cwtchfest was the brainchild of the amazing (and slightly bonkers) lady at the head of our blog, Maria Farrelly. After a lot of hard work from the dedicated team Cwtchfest was a massive success and we really hope you all enjoyed it as much as we did!
Our amazingly talented friend Richard from Aurora Wedding Films was there on the day and provided this brilliant film for us.Have a watch and see if you can spot yourself or someone you know!
We are already planning next year’s Cwtchfest in a new and incredible secret location that will be announced at a later date, it is going to be even bigger and better! We really hope that you will be there with us.
We have a lot of people to thank for helping to make Cwtchfest a big success and we will be back with further posts (and lots of photographs!) but in the meantime thank you to Richard for this video and MASSIVE thank you to all of you who attended and made the day so much fun!!