Real Wedding: Amy & Neilson’s Country Wedding by Owen Howells

Neilson & Amy got married at their parish church in Pembrokeshire and held their country wedding reception at Amy’s home farm on the 2nd of August 2013, we asked Amy some questions about the big day. Owen Howells captured these stunning photographs.

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How would you describe your wedding theme? Our wedding theme was country/rustic as the reception was held in the garden on our family dairy farm. The wedding ceremony was held in our local parish church in the village of Ambleston, we travelled the two miles back to the farm on the back of a trailer decorated with hay bales and bunting towed by our friend’s landrover. While we wanted quite a traditional wedding we didn’t want anything too formal and most of all we wanted our guests to have fun. We set up games on the lawn, had space hoppers and as Neilson is wicket keeper for his local cricket team Cresselly, we also played cricket which was good entertainment as well as producing some great photographs. Our sheepdog Max kept the children entertained by playing ball with them all day long. We had some photographs of just the two of us taken in a cornfield overlooking the farm which was fun and fitted in well with our theme. The marquee was decorated with trees, one of which was our ‘wishing tree’ guests hung their messages on it and we have now planted it in our garden at our cottage. We had pom poms suspended from the roof of the marquee, bales of hay and we had terracotta plant pots filled with country flowers and ears of corn. Our table names were terms used in cricket such as ‘Howzat’ and ‘Cow Corner.’ nacole-013 nacole-135 nacole-208

What was your favourite part of your wedding? We enjoyed every part of our wedding day, it’s difficult to pick out one particular moment, it was a beautiful sunny day and from getting ready in the morning to walking down the isle with my dad (a bit too eagerly towards Neilson!) and partying the night away in the evening with family and friends. It was just an amazing day! nacole-026 nacole-059 nacole-348

Tell us about your Wedding Dress I wanted to make the most of looking for my dream dress. I went to a number of bridal shops, a few in Cardiff one of which was quite a traumatic experience! I must have tried on at least twenty dresses which I only had on for a few seconds and then was whisked back into the changing room to try another. By the end of the visit everything was a blur and I could hardly remember one! I had decided to leave our local bridal boutique, White Bride in Narberth until last. My sister-in-law Victoria had bought her dress there the year before and recommended Sally. There was a wonderful selection of gorgeous dresses, the designers all had something different to offer. I did have an idea of what I thought my dream dress would be like but it was a good idea to try on all sorts of styles to be sure of choosing the perfect dress. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and although I loved many of the dresses, I knew as soon as I tried on ‘the one.’ My dress was called ‘Etta’ and designed by the wonderful Charlotte Balbier. A simple strapless fitted dress in a beautiful fabric with a slight sheen to it. It had covered buttons all the way down the back of the dress and along the short train. There was a pretty lace top with a ‘V’ back which I took off for the evening reception and added a Sassi Holford sash. It gave the dress a completely different look and was perfect for dancing! I also chose a delicate pretty headband which complemented the lace design on my dress and wonderfully comfortable ‘Rachel Simpson’ shoes. nacole-032 nacole-033

Who did you pick as your bridesmaids &/or best man and why? Picking our bridesmaids and best man was an easy decision for us. I had five bridesmaids, my sister-in-law, Victoria, our cousins Sara and Louisa and two best friends, Lauren and Becky. I couldn’t have imaged the day without them by my side….I didn’t want to make a decision that I would later regret so I made sure I had exactly who I wanted. They were amazing leading up to the big day and organised two fantastic hen dos!!
Neilson chose his brother Marc to be his best man. They have always been very close growing up, he organised the stag do to Edinburgh as well as making a great speech on the day. nacole-052 nacole-055nacole-298

Why did you choose your venue? I had always wanted to have my wedding reception at home on the farm, it was quite a lot of work for my family getting everything ready but they are a hard working practical lot and it was well worth it. It was so personal and special to us and Mum got some jobs done in the garden that she had wanted to do for years! We hired a marquee from my cousin George’s company called ‘Blue Sky’ who supplied a beautiful traditional pole marquee and gave us fantastic service; nothing was too much trouble or a problem. Keeping it in the family my cousin Lucy Harvey who is a trained florist with brilliant ideas decorated the marquee and made our gorgeous bouquets.  nacole-197 nacole-278

How did the proposal happen? We had known each other for about two and a half years, our first date was the first time we met (long story!) It was the day of my 24th Birthday and I certainly was not expecting a proposal as Neilson had said he would never propose on birthdays or Christmas as it was too obvious! He had told me that I had to be at his house at 11 am and I wasn’t to be late (which I usually was!) I then thought maybe he had arranged a spa day, which I love, or I had been hinting for a puppy for sometime, so I thought perhaps my persistence had paid off. When I arrived at his house he gave me a birthday card and a present. The card had a puppy on the front of it and when I opened my present, it was a dog lead and a bowl. I was so excited but checked that he had mentioned it to my parents as we were both living at home at the time and wanted to make sure they wouldn’t mind the new addition to the family! He replied “Don’t worry about it.” He then blindfolded me and said that we were going to go and choose a puppy, I was so excited that I didn’t think to ask why I had to wear a blindfold?!
It was only a short drive and when we arrived he led me by the hand with me still holding onto my lead! I heard a little child ask his mum “What are they doing Mummy?” I had no idea where I was, we must have looked a bit strange! Neilson then took me through what felt like a hedge and then said I could take my blind fold off. I took it off slowly and was greeted with a beautiful view of Carew Castle. I turned around thinking where’s the puppy? But instead found Neilson on one knee…I was so shocked, I can’t describe the feeling really, I was overjoyed when he asked me to marry him. I soon forgot the puppy!! He then poured us a glass of champagne each with strawberries….I couldn’t believe it, it was the best feeling ever! The ring he had proposed with was a ‘dummy’ as he had wanted us to choose the engagement ring together so we got back in the car and headed off to Cardiff. I then contacted my parents, who were at the local County Show, my dad knew about the proposal as Neilson had asked his permission the day before but he hadn’t told my Mum so she had a bit of a shock! We then had to tell Neilson’s parents quickly as we knew our news would quickly circulate in the show! That night I did not sleep a wink and kept looking at my engagement ring…what an amazing feeling! nacole-145 nacole-156 nacole-158

Any DIY stories/tutorials you’d like to share? We had wanted to make the most of the build up to the wedding and as I enjoy being creative thought it would be a good idea to make as much as possible ourselves which would also help with the overall cost. My Mum and I spent many hours looking through wedding magazines and gathering ideas from the internet. We made all our wedding stationery using ivory card, ribbon and lace, Neilson’s Mum Jan made jam and marmalade in small jars for the wedding favours, we covered the lids in chintzy fabrics tied with raffia and printed our own labels. We made pom poms to decorate the marquee buying coloured tissue paper in bulk from the internet and then we followed a tutorial video on how to make them. We also collected jam jars and decorated them with lace and ribbons; we put tea lights in them and hung them in the trees in the marquee and around the garden. We had a few Sunday afternoons when the bridesmaids would come to our house and put everything together. It made our day more personal was great fun, saved a considerable amount of money and it was very satisfying to see everything come together. nacole-168 nacole-173nacole-177

What was your first dance & why? Our first dance was “Marry you” by Bruno Mars which our band Swing Shift sang beautifully. They changed a few of the words to more appropriate lyrics e.g “…It’s a beautiful night, let’s look for something dumb to do” was altered to “….fun to do!”
We both like a bit of fun and are not that soppy so felt a more up beat song was most suited to us. The first dance can be quite awkward so we made sure we had a few spins and encouraged guests to join us on the dance floor half way through. nacole-337

In hindsight, was there anything you would have done differently? I can honestly say that there is not one thing we would have changed…the day was truly amazing! We were very lucky that everything ran smoothly and there are no disaster stories to tell! nacole-293 nacole-328

Do you have any advice for future couples? Our advice would be to make sure you are organised! We had a year to plan our wedding and that was about right I think. A friend gave me a wedding planning book which gave a month by month list of things to do which I found useful, I listed contact numbers etc and wrote down never ending lists of ‘things to do.’ It is surprising how quickly the months pass by and you do not want to be rushing around feeling stressed at the last minute.
Make sure your wedding day is ‘YOUR’ day. Include things that are personal to both of you. Have fun and don’t worry…it will all be OK!!
I have to mention Owen Howells our photographer who was extremely calm on the day which is exactly what a bride needs, especially on the morning of the wedding. He took gorgeous pictures and was professional from start to finish. Our advice would be to definitely not skimp on photographs as our day has been captured so wonderfully. Consider where your photographs are going to be taken and if you can think of some action shots then even better (we had space hoppers, a swing at the bottom of the garden and played cricket.). Also if you can, hire a videographer. We used Ben Walton who produces excellent professional films. Good music for the evening party is important; we hired a swing band called ‘Swingshift’ from Swansea. In between their three playing slots we had downloaded our own ‘playlist’ which we played through their amplifying system saving the cost of hiring a separate disco and we were able to choose every track. The dance floor was full all night long! nacole-359

What’s the best piece of marriage advice you received? The one thing that everyone kept telling us was that the day will fly by and that was so true! We were advised to take a moment for ourselves away from everyone to really savour the experience as a couple. So on the day we made sure we did just that. We consciously took time out to register what was actually happening.

What was your favourite thing about planning a wedding? I really enjoyed thinking of ways to make our wedding unique. Mum and I went to one wedding fayre, which was enough, we spent our time gathering lots of information and it was great for ideas.
All our family and friends coming together to help with the build up was lovely.
The highlight though was choosing the dress! I loved going off for day trips with my mum, mother-in-law, sister-in-law and Nan and trying on all the different dresses…wonderful memories of a very special time. nacole-122 nacole-132 nacole-145 nacole-163 nacole-365

The Suppliers

Photographer: Owen Howells
Videographer: Ben Walton
Wedding Planner: Mum & me
Ceremony Venue: Ambleston Church
Reception Venue: Home
Bride’s Dress: White Bride
Bride’s Shoes: Rachel Simpson at White Bride
Bride’s Headpiece: White Bride
Groom’s Outfit: Dress for the Ocasions
Bridesmaid’s Dresses: Rhapsody Bridal
Cake: Celia Evans Ace Cakes
Flowers: Lucy Harvey
Hair: Laroc
Make Up: Jennifer Mills
Band: Swing Shift
Stationery: home made
Caterers: Ian Eynon
Any Reception Decor/Props: homemade
Transport: landrover & trailer (friend’s)

The Wedding Album nacole-001 nacole-002 nacole-010 nacole-013 nacole-014 nacole-016 nacole-019 nacole-021 nacole-026 nacole-032 nacole-033 nacole-037 nacole-044 nacole-048 nacole-051 nacole-052 nacole-054 nacole-055 nacole-058 nacole-059 nacole-062 nacole-063 nacole-064 nacole-065 nacole-067 nacole-068 nacole-069 nacole-073 nacole-074 nacole-081 nacole-089 nacole-097 nacole-098 nacole-101 nacole-102 nacole-108 nacole-109 nacole-122 nacole-129 nacole-132 nacole-135 nacole-138 nacole-139 nacole-140 nacole-145 nacole-147 nacole-150 nacole-155 nacole-156 nacole-157 nacole-158 nacole-163 nacole-166 nacole-167 nacole-168 nacole-171 nacole-172 nacole-173 nacole-175 nacole-177 nacole-179 nacole-181 nacole-182 nacole-185 nacole-197 nacole-201 nacole-208 nacole-212 nacole-215 nacole-220 nacole-230 nacole-237 nacole-242 nacole-244 nacole-252 nacole-255 nacole-257 nacole-266 nacole-272 nacole-278 nacole-281 nacole-282 nacole-284 nacole-286 nacole-290 nacole-293 nacole-296 nacole-297 nacole-298 nacole-301 nacole-310 nacole-314 nacole-321 nacole-328 nacole-333 nacole-335 nacole-337 nacole-340 nacole-342 nacole-348 nacole-349 nacole-357 nacole-359 nacole-362 nacole-364 nacole-365Wow this really was a beautiful wedding, thank you so much for sharing it with us and our readers! If you have a real wedding you would like us to feature get in touch here.