Sometimes the best weddings are the ones where you strip away all the fluff and you are left with two incredible people in love, their beautiful families, a great venue and fabulous photographs. I absolutely adored photographing Sara & Darren’s wedding on the 23rd May last year at De Courceys Manor, Cardiff ~ Maria.
All photographs by: Maria Farrelly Photography
What was your budget?
We were fortunate enough to have some financial help from our parents and Darren sold his beloved car to pay for the final bits but our budget was around £15,000.
How would you describe your wedding theme?
We didn’t really have a theme, everything was very simple. We figured that we didn’t want to take away from the main point of what our wedding day was all about, to get married and share that with all our family and friends.
What was your favourite part of your wedding?
Our favourite part of the wedding was immediately after the ceremony. We had hired a car but as the ceremony and reception were both in DeCourceys we had no initial opportunity to spend anytime together immediately after the ceremony. However, we asked if it was possible to go for a little drive after the ceremony so, cocktails in hand, we got into our car and spend some time together being driven around. It was lovely to be able to have that time together after the ceremony, just taking stock of what we had done and just enjoying each others company before heading back to all our guests.
Tell us about your Wedding Dress
I loved my wedding dress! I had been googling dresses for a while before actually going and trying any on. I had a pretty good idea of what I was after and the style I thought would suit me. i also wanted it to be a bit different to usual. I found Angela at Blue Bridal Wear and she designs dresses that were right up my street. My mum and I went to her studio in Rhiwbina. The whole experience was awesome, I had 3 fittings over the year, even if I did put weight on and the dress was having to be altered, Angela never let on and the fittings were a breeze. I couldn’t wait to put my dress on and I loved wearing it all day long.
Who did you pick as your bridesmaids &/or best man and why?
My bridesmaids were my beautiful friends who suffered me through university. We lived together for 5 years. Like many others, we don’t see each other as much as we d like now but it really was a no-brainer who i wanted to be my by my side on our big day!
My oldest friend Liz was a witness to our marriage. It was so lovely to have people who matter so much to us being involved along the way. Darrens best man was Rob, we knew he would do an excellent job. He did an awesome best man speech including a lovely message from one of Darren’s oldest ex RAF friends in New Zealand.
Why did you choose your venue?
We loved Decourceys Manor. Primarily we wanted an exclusive venue, not one where there were lots of weddings at same time. We had been recommended De courceys Manor and so made an appointment to visit. Rachel was so friendly and accommodating and when it came closer to the date, Abigail and Lewis were incredible. So friendly, organised and professional, even setting Darrens OCD fears at bay!On the day, everything ran so smoothly, the venue is so lovely and set in beautiful grounds . the food at our reception was incredible and it was so lovely to be able to provide our guests with a menu choice. Awesome venue!
Tell us about your photographer
Ah ! Maria Farrelly! We were so happy that Maria photographed our wedding! We visited Maria, again after recommendation, and loved everything about her. She is so friendly and bubbly and immediately set us at ease, her work was exactly what we loved. She captures what actually happens on the day not spending large amounts of time having posed photos. All our guests commented on how lovely she was during the whole day. She was with us as we got ready and still there late at night, I don’t know how she finds the energy. The photographs; they are incredible, we could not ask for more! How did the proposal happen?
It was my 30th birthday. Darren had said he thought it would be a nice idea to climb Pen-y-Fan. We both love Pen y Fan, but it was the end of January and so I was fairly sceptical about how enjoyable the walk would be! Anyway, when we reached the summit, Darren proposed. He said he didn’t want to chose an engagement ring without me and therefore he proposed with a Haribo ring. Of course I said yes. However, the wind was howling and we were keen to get back to the car. On the walk back to the car, after the long walk I had started to feel a bit peckish so ended up eating the Haribo ring! Good job it was all a guise and Darren produced the actual engagement ring (that he’d bought after underhanded planning with my mother) prior to dinner in the Celtic Manor in the evening. It was such a special day.
Any DIY stories/tutorials you’d like to share?
Neither of us have an artistic bone in our bodies so we left everything to the professionals!!
What was your first dance & why?
We decided ( well I decided) that it would be good to learn a routine for our first dance. Initially we booked some group lessons but quickly decided that we were too left footed to be taught in the company of other people. Closer to the date we arranged some private lessons and our teacher taught us a (very) basic but lovely rumba routine to John Legend ” All of Me”. We felt the lyrics were beautiful and encompassed what we feel about each other.
In hindsight, was there anything you would have done differently?
No I don’t think so. I may have ensured I’d eaten more on the morning of the wedding (I should have listened to Maria on that one!!) but I don’t think we would have organised anything any differently if we had our time again.
Do you have any advice for future couples?
Our advice to future couples is advice that had been passed to us. Its very easy to get carried away and not spend anytime together during your wedding day. We made sure that we dedicated time within the day to step back and appreciate and enjoy everything. it can so easily pass you by. Also, it is so easy to pack your day full of lots of different things, we tried to keep things simple, spending time and money choosing the things that we held in greatest regard e.g. venue and our photographer. What’s the best piece of marriage advice you received?
What was your favourite thing about planning a wedding?
We were so confident in everybody that was involved in the wedding that we knew things would go smoothly. We enjoyed choosing our food for our reception. We loved choosing our vows for our service and the music for during the ceremony.
Photographer: Maria Farrelly
Wedding Planner: Abigail and Lewis at Decourceys Manor
Ceremony Venue: DeCourceys Manor
Reception Venue: DeCourceys Manor
Bride’s Dress: Blue Bridalwear
Bride’s Shoes: Rachel Simpson
Bride’s Headpiece: Blue Bridalwear
Groom’s Outfit: Hawkes Essentials, Shoes: Jeffrey West
Bridesmaid’s Dresses: Coast
Cake: Marks and Spencers
Flowers: Barkways, Cardiff
Hair and Make Up: Samantha Easey
Band: Jamie Mcguire
Stationery: Claire Broome
Any Reception Decor/Props:
Transport: Andrew Price Cars
Other: We had a toastmaster called Iwan Jones who ensured things ran smoothly and all guests were happy.
Finally, Glenda Clwyd played the harp during our ceremony, drinks reception and wedding breakfast. She plays so beautifully and we were so happy she played at our wedding.