Real Weddings: Mel and Matts Beautiful Summer Wedding

The weekend is here Cwtchers!! Happy Friday!

And to start you off, we have a beautiful wedding to share with you. Shot by the superb Hannah from Rocksalt Photography, Mel and  Matt tell us all about their beautiful summery day….

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Mel and Matt’s Beautiful Summer Wedding

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What was your budget?

We did and didn’t have a budget… we tried to be sensible (read “tight”!) but also considered each expense on its necessity, its worth and its contribution to our day!

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How would you describe your wedding theme?

I called our theme “Summer Gatsby”… all glass and art deco without the black and gold!

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What was your favourite part of your wedding?

Mel: I think- surprisingly for me- walking down the aisle was my favourite part of our day (surprisingly as I hate being centre of attention)! I was ready. My Dad on my arm, I was walking into the next chapter of my life and my closest friends and family were there to share that moment with me. Wow! That’s pretty sentimental!

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Matt: The band! I love live music and we’d hired an amazing band who entertained us for hours. It was also the time for me to relax and really enjoy celebrating with my new wife and all our guests.

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Tell us about your Wedding Dress

I was the bride who thought she’d never get married and had no idea what dress I wanted so my plan was to try as many styles as I could to find out what suited me.
My first experience trying on wedding dresses was a last minute appointment at David’s Bridal, Stratford with one of my bridesmaids. We were wandering Westfield after a day in London whilst our other halves went to watch the football at a nearby bar. Little did Pete know, Matt was about to ask Pete to be his best man so whilst I left London without a dress, Matt left London with a Best Man!
Being 5’2″ I never thought I’d go for a mermaid/trumpet style but I fell in love with an Essence of Australia number- during my next appointment at Laura May on Crwys Road, Cardiff- which was exactly that! The fit was perfect, I felt amazing in it (my bum looked great!) and most importantly-, my mum and mother-in-law-to-be loved it! To be sure it was “the one”, I arranged a second appointment with all my bridesmaids who I knew would be honest… even whilst I was 6 months pregnant! Nope, that wasn’t planned! Safe to say it wasn’t as ‘easy’ an appointment as the first however, it confirmed I’d picked the right dress- I just had to fit back into it!

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Who did you pick as your bridesmaids &/or best man and why?

Mel: It was pretty easy for me to pick my bridesmaids; my sister was Maid of Honour, or “Chief” as I liked to call her(!), Matt’s sister who I already saw as a sister, my two long-term, best friends and the Best Man’s wife who I clicked with as soon as we met a few years prior. I say it was easy but I always had a feeling something was missing- that something was another friend who I’d grown up with but now lives away. Now here’s the funny part… considering my bridesmaids’ ages and marital situations, it was always a possibility that one of them could fall pregnant before the big day but I never thought 2 of them would! I’d already bought the dresses so we could have had a dilemma but no! I had a plan! Shifting some bridesmaids up a size with the dresses and buying one new one to match the others, there was a spare dress… which fit my other friend perfectly! Now I’m not one to believe in fate but I do believe that some circumstances are meant to be and this was certainly one of them.

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Matt: My choice was easy- I chose Pete! Out of my group of friends, I knew he would be the one to a). get me home from my Stag Do in one piece, and b). get me to the church on time… I’m notoriously late for everything and Mel is the complete opposite!

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Why did you choose your venue?

Buckland Hall is a magical place! We fell in love with it the first time we visited. It was the last on our list of a number of venues in Brecon and I was tempted not to even go as their website was a little old fashioned. However, Matt convinced me and as soon as we pulled up to the long winding driveway I had goosebumps and a tear in my eye! That’s the truth! The staff there were so welcoming and we felt like it was ‘home’ from the start.

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Tell us about your photographer

We found Rocksalt (Hannah )after looking at the Welsh Wedding Awards lists and thinking they must be good if they’ve won an award for their region! We arranged to meet Hannah at a pub almost a year before we were getting married and found her easy to get on with from then.
Just before our wedding we met at our venue to discuss the wedding then by the big day it was as if we were old friends!
Hannah had a very easy-going personality which suited our crowd to a ‘T’. She offered advice on ‘staged’ shots (not too many) and arranged some brilliant photographs on the day, making the most of what our venue had to offer. She gauged her audience very well and quickly realised how to tame the rowdy groomsmen and had my brothers rounding up guests like they were cowboys with horses! Hannah had a great sense of humour and was a real pleasure to work with. The quality of her work is outstanding; the creativity with her shots are incredible- we were so excited when we received our photos so promptly after our wedding and the results were truly unforgettable. Hannah really captures the special moments from your day.

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How did the proposal happen?

Both Matt & I love Christmas so we woke up Christmas morning in 2013 all excited as usual and Matt said he had some last minute wrapping to do for one of my presents- for anyone who knows Matt, this was totally believable! I was gutted as I had to wait in the bedroom with the door shut- on my own!- until he shouted that he was ready.
So…. “Ready!”
I walked out of the bedroom and he wasn’t in the spare room. I looked at the mirror on the landing and there was a print-out of Santa with the words, “Follow the trail” stuck to it and there were rose petals trailing down the stairs! I followed the trail where there were more Santa print-outs leading me to the living room. I opened the living room door and there was Matt, down on one knee under the Christmas tree with our song at the time (“I’m Yours” by the Script) playing in the background. I took one look at him, began to cry, covered my mouth and said “noooooooo!”… but in the context of “I can’t believe it!”. I think he was a little miffed as he then said, “So will you marry me?”! and it took all of me to nod as I cried like a baby! I was so happy!
The hardest part of being engaged is being told to keep it quiet and this is what Matt said I had to do until lunchtime… every Christmas until we got engaged we’d wake up together but have Christmas lunch separately with our respective families. Matt didn’t want one family to find out before the other so I was told we had to Skype before dinner and that’s when we’d break the good news. Long story short- I had to avoid my Dad’s eye contact for 4-5 hours because Matt told me he’d asked for his permission on Christmas Eve, so he knew our secret! Then we had signal issues at lunch using Skype (think 90’s modem-esq video!) so once our news had finally broken, it was all a bit of a crazy, amazing moment! The best part for me was seeing my mum cry with happiness and my sister telling me she couldn’t choose between crying and eating her paté on toast starter!

Any DIY stories/tutorials you’d like to share?

I’ve always thought of wedding favours as an unnecessary expense, a forgotten ‘gift’ so I wanted to come up with a memorable favour; especially as I see myself as a creative type! After getting some inspiration and a laser printer, I decided we were going to use specialist paper to transfer our initials and each guests’ name and ‘role’ onto champagne glasses they could use on the day.

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To be fair to Matt, he spent many an evening transferring our monogram and individual names onto Ikea glasses, hardening them in the oven then carefully rubbing off the excess paper with isopropyl alcohol. It took so much time and effort we began to wonder whether it was worth it but when my cousin posted an Instagram showing he was using his glass again, it gave us a little warm feeling that actually, we’d made favours that were useful and brought back some amazing memories!

What was your first dance & why?

After buying a house and later having a baby, we spent a few Saturday nights in watching X-Factor and both absolutely loved James Arthur the whole series through! Once X-Factor was finished and the acts pretty much forgotten about, Matt still kept up with James Arthur online and found he’d made an EP called “The James Arthur Project”. One song on there he introduced me to was called “Superman”. It resonated with both of us and became the obvious choice- over The Script and Al Green- to be our wedding song,

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In hindsight, was there anything you would have done differently?

Neither of us can think of anything we would have done differently as it was such a great day. I think I would have liked to have taken more in and thought about myself a bit more and not worried about the guests so much but they make such an effort to come to your day, maybe I should have worried about them more?!

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Do you have any advice for future couples?

We only have the general advice I think; enjoy your day, don’t stress too much, take 5 minutes away from the chaos just for yourselves and remember- the little things don’t REALLY matter!
e.g. No-one noticed there was a bunch of lillies missing from our fireplace, or that my dress didn’t fit me as perfect as I’d hoped after alterations or that all the female guests were missing their ‘tickets’ before sitting down to dinner..!

What was your favourite thing about planning a wedding?

I think we both agree that although we had almost a 2 year gap between booking our wedding and getting married, it’s the final result which makes everything worthwhile. Seeing all your plans come to fruition and your nearest and dearest enjoying what you’ve worked towards is priceless.

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The Suppliers

Photographer: Rocksalt Photography
Reception Venue: Buckland Hall

Bride’s Dress: Laura May Bridal
Bride’s Jewellery: Accessorize
Bride’s Shoes: Carvela
Groom’s Outfit: https://www.cayzersmenswear.co.uk/
Bridesmaids’ dresses (and shoes): Monsoon
Bridesmaids’ accessories: Accessorize
Cake: Matt @ Cup & Cake Bakery
Flowers: Cath @ Brecon Blooms
Hair: Katie & Becky (Bridesmaid’s sisters)
Make-Up: Emily (Bridesmaid’s sister-in-law)

The Wedding Album

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Real Wedding: Rachel and Richard by Sara Beaumont

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…..

Real Weddings Banner

Rachel and Richard

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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.

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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.

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Otherwise, we wanted to keep the decor fairly simple. The hall at Pencoed House is beautiful so all we needed were some flowers to brighten the place up. Rachael at Sweet Peony was a godsend.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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!)

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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!!!

Sara Beaumont Rachel&Richard (89 of 90)

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Sara Beaumont Rachel&Richard (35 of 90)

The Suppliers

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

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Real Wedding: Lindsey & Mark’s St Fagans Wedding by Maria Farrelly

Good morning one and all and happy Friday!

What a week at Cwtch HQ. Maria’s (Cwtch the ride realtor) birthday, which in turn lead to up climbing Pen Y Fan (we thought she did suggest cocktails when we said we’d do whatever she wanted for her birthday), National Cwtch Day, St Dwynwen’s Day and we announced the sale of #Cwtchfest2017 tickets! Wooooooo

As you know, the amazing wedding festival that is #Cwtchfest2017, will be held at the stunning St Fagans National History Museum. So how perfect is it that we get to have a little throwback to our very own #Cwtchfest Organiser, Lindsey’s big day to her Mark, where you can see how stunning St Fagans is as a wedding venue …

Lindsey and Mark got married on the 7th of June 2014 at the amazing St Fagans National History Museum and their beautiful day was captured by our very own Maria Farrelly Photography. We asked Lindsey some questions about her and Mark’s big day. 

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How would you describe your wedding theme? Relaxed tea party St_Fagans_wedding372 St_Fagans_wedding579

LOVE Letters exclusively available to hire from Cwtch the Bride!

What was your favourite part of your wedding? The vows and how much in that moment I felt how much I meant it and how much it meant to Mark. He’s only ever cried to the film Marley and me so to hear his voice trembling with emotion gave me goose pimples. I have felt in a little happy bubble ever since. Also, our band Raspberry Jam were sooo incredible, we love live music and they just blew everyone out the water.

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Tell us about your Wedding Dress This is the point where I learnt Pinterest can be dangerous. I fell in love with a dress which I soon came to realise was a couture dress from a boutique in San Francisco. Very within my means. I probably drove my bridesmaids mad searching for something similar and to limit my choices it had to have sleeves! I found that the only place that exceeded my expectations of wedding dress shopping was Rachel Burgess Bridal Boutique in Penarth, I believed she really cared about making me feel like I wanted to feel in that dress. However, the dress I fell in love with was an Augusta Jones Mai dress from the lovely Laura May in Roath who were brilliant. My belt is my keepsake from the day made by Ashley from With Love from Bobbin it’s the only thing I’ve allowed myself to keep. I love it. St_Fagans_wedding141 St_Fagans_wedding146St_Fagans_wedding029

Who did you pick as your bridesmaids &/or best man and why? Mark had 3 best men as there was no choosing between them. They have been through thick and thin together. However they each had their own roles. Matt planned the stag, Jamie was at the end of the aisle with Mark and poor James got the speech.
I originally decided I would have no bridesmaids as I have a lot of very close friends and just didn’t know what to do. However, I read an article called ‘bridesmates’ and how since the recession brides have cut back on bridesmaids yet their friends are still bearing the stress and responsibilities and of course cost of being one. It quickly became apparent my four Cardiff girls were these girls they became my go to for everything I love them to bits!! St_Fagans_wedding389 St_Fagans_wedding399 St_Fagans_wedding404

Why did you choose your venue? We debated for ages whether to have our wedding in St Fagans as it’s where I work but when viewing other venues I just found myself constantly comparing it to there. I also love the fact that we can take our kids there and can visit when we are older etc. St_Fagans_wedding334St_Fagans_wedding527Tell us about your wedding photographer: 

From the second I saw Maria’s photography and met her I knew she had to be part of our day.  Her love and enthusiasm shone through the way she spoke and her work.   It was all I talked about with Mark that evening- I actually got up and danced when she said she had our date free.

It was really important to us that we did not spend hours having staged photographs and the results are stunning!! I cannot believe how Maria has captured the important moments in such a way that didn’t impact on the day and yet are still so beautiful.

As someone who works in the wedding industry I respect Maria’s professionalism and how much she cares for each and every client. I could not recommend anyone else more highly.

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How did the proposal happen?  Mark took me to Edinburgh for my 30th as a surprise. That in itself was a massive deal so I was blindsided when after climbing up to King Arthur’s seat on the morning of my 30th in the snow (after arguing all the way up as I kept falling as it was so slippery) with 2 plastic bottles of wine and strawberries he proposed. I made him call my dad straight away as he hadn’t asked permission and I know it would have meant a lot to my dad. St_Fagans_wedding149

Any DIY stories/tutorials you’d like to share? Everything I did was DIY. As I work in my venue I knew I could do everything myself. Invites were done by my fabulous bridesmaid Lisa. Flowers were delivered in massive buckets on Friday morning and we spent all day doing arrangements. Jars were collected and decorated by friends for their wedding and donated to us. Tables runners were cut the night before. Table plan was written on a mirror night before.
I wanted it to be DIY to feel relaxed. St_Fagans_wedding042 St_Fagans_wedding063 St_Fagans_wedding543

What was your first dance & why? We had no first dance. Music means a massive amount to both of us but neither of us wanted to do a first dance. So we didn’t.

St_Fagans_wedding737In hindsight, was there anything you would have done differently? No we loved our day. St_Fagans_wedding746

Do you have any advice for future couples? I meet so many brides who are stressed and do not enjoy the process of wedding planning. The only thing I can say is no one else knows what you have planned and what is supposed to happen when. Your friends and family will come have a great time and you will be in a big happiness bubble. The stuff people get stressed about does not matter. St_Fagans_wedding296 St_Fagans_wedding352 St_Fagans_wedding444 St_Fagans_wedding450

What’s the best piece of marriage advice you received? To never take the other person for granted and to end every day with ‘I love you’

What was your favourite thing about planning a wedding? Realising how much I personally knew about weddings and how to save money but still get the look and feel I wanted. I’m a geek sometimes and my inner arty self loved being crafty and also saving pennies. St_Fagans_wedding552 St_Fagans_wedding560 St_Fagans_wedding705 St_Fagans_wedding709

The Suppliers

Photographer: Maria Farrelly 

Ceremony Venue: St Fagans Castle

Reception Venue: St Fagans Oakdale Workman’s Institute
Bride’s Dress: Laura May Bridal
Bride’s Shoes: Jenny Packham from Debenhams
Bride’s Jewellery: Debenhams
Groom’s Outfit: His Own
Bridesmaid’s Dresses: Monsoon
Bridesmaid’s Accessories: With Love from Bobbin
Cake: Mark’s mum
Flowers: Bareblooms
Hair: Jackie at Yume Cardiff
Make Up: MAC
Band: The Raspberry Jam
Stationery: DIY
Caterers: elior@st fagans
Any Reception Decor/Props: DIY
Transport: Taxi
Other: LOVE letters from Cwtch the Bride

The Wedding Album St_Fagans_wedding006 St_Fagans_wedding007 St_Fagans_wedding012 St_Fagans_wedding017 St_Fagans_wedding022 St_Fagans_wedding025 St_Fagans_wedding027 St_Fagans_wedding029 St_Fagans_wedding035 St_Fagans_wedding041 St_Fagans_wedding042 St_Fagans_wedding048 St_Fagans_wedding050 St_Fagans_wedding062 St_Fagans_wedding063 St_Fagans_wedding066 St_Fagans_wedding071 St_Fagans_wedding077 St_Fagans_wedding080 St_Fagans_wedding083 St_Fagans_wedding086 St_Fagans_wedding087 St_Fagans_wedding089 St_Fagans_wedding094 St_Fagans_wedding095 St_Fagans_wedding096 St_Fagans_wedding098 St_Fagans_wedding102 St_Fagans_wedding103 St_Fagans_wedding106 St_Fagans_wedding108 St_Fagans_wedding118 St_Fagans_wedding123 St_Fagans_wedding127 St_Fagans_wedding133 St_Fagans_wedding136 St_Fagans_wedding141 St_Fagans_wedding143 St_Fagans_wedding146 St_Fagans_wedding149 St_Fagans_wedding153 St_Fagans_wedding154 St_Fagans_wedding156 St_Fagans_wedding161 St_Fagans_wedding164 St_Fagans_wedding168 St_Fagans_wedding172 St_Fagans_wedding183 St_Fagans_wedding185 St_Fagans_wedding187 St_Fagans_wedding188 St_Fagans_wedding189 St_Fagans_wedding192 St_Fagans_wedding193 St_Fagans_wedding196 St_Fagans_wedding199 St_Fagans_wedding201 St_Fagans_wedding207 St_Fagans_wedding209 St_Fagans_wedding221 St_Fagans_wedding228 St_Fagans_wedding234 St_Fagans_wedding238 St_Fagans_wedding244 St_Fagans_wedding246 St_Fagans_wedding268 St_Fagans_wedding271 St_Fagans_wedding274 St_Fagans_wedding286 St_Fagans_wedding291 St_Fagans_wedding296 St_Fagans_wedding299 St_Fagans_wedding301 St_Fagans_wedding302 St_Fagans_wedding312 St_Fagans_wedding334 St_Fagans_wedding340 St_Fagans_wedding350 St_Fagans_wedding352 St_Fagans_wedding359 St_Fagans_wedding365 St_Fagans_wedding372 St_Fagans_wedding377 St_Fagans_wedding378 St_Fagans_wedding389 St_Fagans_wedding399 St_Fagans_wedding400 St_Fagans_wedding404 St_Fagans_wedding419 St_Fagans_wedding441 St_Fagans_wedding442 St_Fagans_wedding444 St_Fagans_wedding449 St_Fagans_wedding450 St_Fagans_wedding466 St_Fagans_wedding470 St_Fagans_wedding472 St_Fagans_wedding474 St_Fagans_wedding477 St_Fagans_wedding481 St_Fagans_wedding483 St_Fagans_wedding486 St_Fagans_wedding490 St_Fagans_wedding492 St_Fagans_wedding494 St_Fagans_wedding496 St_Fagans_wedding499 St_Fagans_wedding501 St_Fagans_wedding511 St_Fagans_wedding516 St_Fagans_wedding518 St_Fagans_wedding522 St_Fagans_wedding526 St_Fagans_wedding527 St_Fagans_wedding529 St_Fagans_wedding535 St_Fagans_wedding536 St_Fagans_wedding538 St_Fagans_wedding541 St_Fagans_wedding543 St_Fagans_wedding546 St_Fagans_wedding548 St_Fagans_wedding551 St_Fagans_wedding552 St_Fagans_wedding556 St_Fagans_wedding560 St_Fagans_wedding568 St_Fagans_wedding573 St_Fagans_wedding579 St_Fagans_wedding595 St_Fagans_wedding606 St_Fagans_wedding623 St_Fagans_wedding625 St_Fagans_wedding638 St_Fagans_wedding643 St_Fagans_wedding646 St_Fagans_wedding652 St_Fagans_wedding657 St_Fagans_wedding705 St_Fagans_wedding709 St_Fagans_wedding712 St_Fagans_wedding713 St_Fagans_wedding714 St_Fagans_wedding716 St_Fagans_wedding720 St_Fagans_wedding732 St_Fagans_wedding737 St_Fagans_wedding742 St_Fagans_wedding746 St_Fagans_wedding747 St_Fagans_wedding758 St_Fagans_wedding762 St_Fagans_wedding773 St_Fagans_wedding774 St_Fagans_wedding779 St_Fagans_wedding784

Such a beautiful wedding! If you would like your wedding to feature on Cwtch the Bride you can get in touch here. And if you would like to hire our amazing LOVE Letters click here!

Real Wedding: Jenny and Thomas’s Edwardian Manor House Wedding

Oh its Friday again! Yippee!

And to start your weekend off in style, we have a truly lovely wedding for you!

Beautifully captured by the ever so talented Oliver J Photography, Jenny and Thomas got married at the breathtaking Edwardian Manor,  Llangoed Hall at the beginning of October.

It truly looks like it was just the most wonderful day, and we are totally loving this couple!

Over to Jenny and Thomas to tell us all about it…….

Real Weddings Banner

Jenny and Thomas’s Edwardian Manor House Wedding

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How would you describe your wedding theme?

No real theme. We tried to keep it in keeping with the décor of our chosen venue, an Edwardian Manor House in the Wye valley, Llangoed Hall.

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What was your favourite part of your wedding?

We genuinely loved the whole day. We wanted a relaxed wedding that we would enjoy celebrating with our guests in beautiful surroundings. The tone of the day was set by my friend’s gorgeous toddler who decided to abandon her parents and follow me down the aisle immediately making everyone laugh and it was the best way to calm our nerves. 

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Our best men were also brilliant and leapt up at completely the wrong moment to give us the rings making everyone laugh again and setting the tone for an incredibly fun day.

This carried through to the speeches during which all the speakers managed to balance genuine emotion with as many funny stories as they could squeeze in. As the bride, I particularly became a target and every personality quirk and childhood mishap suddenly became public knowledge. 

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My younger brother also decided he would do a speech as part of the father of the bride speech (fairly sure I didn’t actually give permission for that!) but it was incredibly emotional to hear our families talk about us with such love and affection. 

During the groom’s speech, Tom decided to share the story of the first proposal attempt which caused a lot of laughs at my expense particularly some of my friends decided it was time to share some of the antics from my hen weekend with the entire room.

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The laughter continued when the band started. I can honestly say I never expected to see my 80 year old grandmother who last danced at her own wedding in the ‘60s dancing with all my friends to Teenage Dirtbag and my parents – who also last danced in the ‘80s – jumping around to Mr Brightside. The band were amazing and getting everyone up and dancing and the set kept the energy going all night with a mix of music. 

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I’m not sure anyone is going to forget the dancing of that night, and fortunately – or unfortunately depending on how you felt about it – the photos and videos are circulating to remind those who would rather forget…

Tell us about your Wedding Dress

As we only had had 8 months until the big day, dress shopping was all a bit of a rush. I visited Laura May Bridal with one of my friends just to figure out what kinds of things I liked. 

I still couldn’t really imagine myself in a long white dress so had no idea what kind of thing I wanted. 

We described the kinds of dresses I liked and thought would suit me so along with the assistant, we picked shapes, materials, and styles to narrow things down. 

I was picking up art deco style pearl numbers, or lacy Kate Middleton style dresses, but the assistant picked up a plain silk waisted dress with beaded detailing on the back to try the shape. I barely looked at it and had passed in on the rack as not interested. 

I tried it on first to test out the shape and instantly loved it. It was simple, tailored and I didn’t feel completely overwhelmed by it. I told myself it was just because it was the first time I had seen myself in a wedding dress but every other dress I tried on felt like it was someone else’s dress and that I was completely overwhelmed by lace and beads and skirts. 

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I had taken one of my bridesmaids with me who was brilliant and telling me honestly when things suited me or not and I completely needed that brutal honesty because all the dresses were lovely. 

We narrowed it down to two dresses; the first one and a vintage 1920s beaded dress, and so I brought my mum back a week later to look at them. 

All week I had been thinking about the first dress. I tried them both on for my mum and we both fell completely in love with the first accidental dress and ordered it that day with plain ribbon edged veil and just prayed it would arrive in time. 

I ended up doing the thing they say you should never do, I brought the first dress, from the first shop, in under a week of looking.

Who did you pick as your bridesmaids &/or best man and why?

Picking the bridesmaids was difficult because there were so many candidates who would have done an amazing job. 

We eventually decided on two of my uni ex-housemates and one of best friends who had just returned from living in Australia. This worked brilliantly having people representing different friendship groups and bringing alternative ideas and the wedding would not have been so amazing without them. 

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From the hen weekend to the them completely taking over decorating the venue and organising everything the day before – working a night shift 24 hours before your wedding turned out not to be such a good idea- they just completely sorted everything and did an incredible job.

The two bestmen – in the end we couldn’t pick – were two of Tom’s uni housemates. They did a great job from organising a stag weekend in Dublin which Tom loved, to helping organise the suits, and the speeches. As always they were on great form and helped make the day what it was.

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Why did you choose your venue?

Llangoed Hall was the only venue we visited. I had heard about it from friends and researched a few, but just kept coming back to it. 

We are wanted somewhere that we could have the ceremony and reception, and that could accommodate our guests overnight. We visited and it was even more beautiful than we had imagined and we loved it instantly. 

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We liked having all the rooms downstairs available to our guests so everyone could mill around as they pleased, making the day more relaxed.

The team there were also great at helping organise things and were invaluable on the day. They took care of everything from rounding up guests, helping our florist set up and took care of everything we asked. It freed us and the bridal party up to simply enjoy the day.

Tell us about your photographer

Oh Oliver. I had seen some of Oliver’s photos of a colleague’s wedding and I loved what I had seen on his website. 

We wanted our photos to be more documentary type, and make the most of the beautiful surroundings. 

I met Oliver about five months before the wedding and got on immediately and this carried on through to the big day. We really appreciated his input and ideas – even if it did end up with a last minute rush order on sparklers – and they all worked brilliantly on the day. 

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He managed to somehow completely blend in with the guests and just become part of the wedding whilst keeping everyone on task and on time. 

Neither of us particularly likes being the centre of attention or having our photo taken, but Oliver put us both at ease and made the photos an enjoyable experience.

How did the proposal happen? 

So the proposal took two attempts!

Poor Tom with the help of his groomsmen had planned a romantic surprise weekend away in hotel and was going to propose at the evening meal. It was lovely. We had a suite with champagne and strawberries, amazing food with matched wine for each courses. 

Unfortunately I’ve always been a bit of a lightweight and enjoyed the wine with our lunch a bit too much and never made it to the evening meal where he planned to propose. 

He was so traumatised it took six months for him to plan another weekend away. 

He proposed at a hotel in Covent Gardens when we had been discussing our plans for the following day by revealing a fake ring and a plan to go ring shopping for a replacement together the following day. 

It was a lovely and low key way to propose and I loved it , and it did explain his panic when I had suggested after dinner drinks on the way back to hotel. 

We went shopping the next day and picked the first ring I tried on in the first shop and bought it there and then.

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Any DIY stories/tutorials you’d like to share?

We made all of the stationary and a lot of the decorations ourselves because we just struggled to find things we liked. The stationary seemed endless, but it made it more personal and was definitely worth it in the end.

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What was your first dance & why?

This was really tricky one because we don’t have “a song” most of the dancing we had done together had on nights out. 

I came across Ben Folds’s, ‘The Luckiest’ when it was featured in the film About Time and loved it and felt it best summed out how we felt about our relationships and each other. We have even learnt to waltz (via youtube) but then at the last minute abandoned the idea of a routine and waltzing and decided to take the pressure out of it and just wing it. 

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And whilst we will never win awards for our dancing, it was lovely to have a moment just the two of us together.

In hindsight, was there anything you would have done differently?

Absolutely nothing. We went in with the attitude of not stressing out about things being perfect because it would be a great day anyway and it worked for us. This meant we actually enjoyed the preparation and everything was perfect on the day. Not working nights 24 hours prior to the wedding would have been nice though!

Do you have any advice for future couples?

Go with your gut. If you like it and know what you want go for it. 

We booked the first venue, bought the first dress, bought the first engagement and wedding rings, and wouldn’t change a thing. 

We only had 7 months from engagement to wedding so had to get organised and make quick decisions, but it actually took a lot of the stress out of it because we didn’t overthink or question our choices.

What’s the best piece of marriage advice you received?

Laugh with each other and have fun. That way you will always be best friends as well as husband and wife.

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What was your favourite thing about planning a wedding?

It was a great excuse to get together with friends and plan something fun together.

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The Suppliers

Photographer: Oliver J Photography
Ceremony Venue: Llangoed Hall
Reception Venue: Llangoed Hall
Bride’s Dress: Martina Liana at Laura May Bridal
Bride’s Headpiece: Etsy
Bride’s Jewellery: Etsy
Groom’s Outfit: Ted Baker
Bridesmaid’s Dresses: Monsoon
Cake: Family Friend
Flowers: The Flower Hive
Hair: Brideology
Make Up: Brideology
Band: Rockit
Other: Favours – Fabulous Welshcakes
             Harptist – Alis Huws

The Wedding Album

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Real Wedding: Jess & Ella’s Glittery Brecon Beacon Wedding

We have been soooooo looking forward to sharing this absolutely stunning wedding by the ever so talented Abigail Apollonio. Meet the beautiful Jess and Ella (and their gorgeous bundle of fur, Cooper) their glittery brecon beacon wedding has had all of us at Cwtch HQ giddy with excitement. Their eye for detail and the the creative little touches will hopefully be a massive inspiration to you lovely lot. Without further ado I will hand it over to Jess and Ella! 

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How would you describe your wedding theme?

Our wedding theme was a glittery combination of autumnal pine cones and handmade bunting with a moody Brecon Beacons backdrop.Jess-and-Ella-Wedding-Oct-10th-2015-188

What was your favourite part of your wedding?

Hands down our favourite part of the wedding was our vows and the readings. We had chosen our vows to be simple and meaningful, and it was wonderful having our family and friends there for our ‘I do’s’. My sisters read the lyrics to ‘And I love her’ by ‘The Beatles’….. yep that pretty much had me in tears from the first word. The Beatles have been a big part of both of our childhoods, with both our Dad’s being huge fans. Davy, one of our closest friends, read a beautiful poem with so much heartfelt emotion, I don’t think there was a dry eye in the house!Jess-and-Ella-Wedding-Oct-10th-2015-316

Tell us about your Wedding Dresses

Ella’s wedding dress story –
So I went to a Wedding Fair with my Mum, and two sisters, the first one of the season in Cardiff City Hall. We had a mooch around all of the stalls, and we actually went to get ideas for venues, but Laura May had a stall with a very attractive sale rail! My dress was actually the first one that I tried on, and I remember saying to Mum, ‘But surely you’re not suppose to buy the first one you try?’. My sister Elise welled up and all three of them said they loved it. I tried on a couple of others, just to satisfy myself that this was ‘the one’ and after looking like a fluffy jacket potato in one, and a hobbit in another, I decided on mine. As there were a few repairs required, and my Mum is a VERY good seamstress, we had it for a steal. Jess-and-Ella-Wedding-Oct-10th-2015-152Jess’s wedding dress story –
Jess went dress shopping with her Mum and one of her best friends, Charmaine, to Rowberrys‘ in Swansea. She was really open minded, and thoroughly enjoyed trying on lots of different dresses before she picked her stunning dress. I remember picking Jess and her Nannie up after her fitting, her Nannie came out of the shop, flushed with happy tears and said ‘She looks like a film star’. We didn’t let each other see each others dresses before hand, but our Mum’s knew what each others looked like, just to make sure we hadn’t bought the same one! We couldn’t have picked more different styles; Jess went for a very Art Deco, ‘The Great Gatsby’ inspired dress, and I indulged my old Ballerina days and went for something with a strapless corset.Jess-and-Ella-Wedding-Oct-10th-2015-107Jess-and-Ella-Wedding-Oct-10th-2015-638

Why did you choose your venue?

We chose Peterstone Court in Brecon because we loved the beautiful house and stunning surroundings without there being a feeling of awkward pretentiousness. Brecon is also equal distance from Swansea (where Jess is from), Cardiff (where we live) and Cwmbran (where I am from) so it felt like a perfect location. Plus who wouldn’t want to get married in one of the most beautiful places in Wales!? The cherry on the cake was also the fact that our beloved dog, Cooper, was allowed to stay at Peterstone Court. We had so much fun having him in some of our wedding photos, and he always loves being the centre of attention.Jess-and-Ella-Wedding-Oct-10th-2015-458Jess-and-Ella-Wedding-Oct-10th-2015-330

Tell us about your photographer

Our wonderful photographer is our good friend Abigail Apollonio and she was assisted by her equally talented husband, Matthew Williams, who was our videographer. As soon as we got engaged, we asked Abigail and Matthew when they were free as we were so keen to have them capture our big day. We had seen Abigail’s work and were blown away by the way she is able to grab those really intimate, and natural moments rather than the more traditional, structured pictures. Matthew has a wicked sense of humour and they made a fab team. They helped us both feel really comfortable and also managed to shoot the pair of us getting ready. This wasn’t easy when we were both in different buildings!Jess-and-Ella-Wedding-Oct-10th-2015-534

How did the proposal happen? 

Our proposal story goes like this…. It was our second day on our holiday to The Big Apple and we had a typical American brekkie in a really lush diner up on the Upper East Side. Then we went for a walk across to Central Park and I had been thinking about where I would propose… I had a few ideas in mind but in the end thought that I would see which place felt right. There was a heat wave in New York that summer and it was scorching hot so having walked around for a bit, we sat down on a cute little bench opposite the Belvedere castle, near the Turtle pond. We were talking about how romantic the park was and how lovely and quiet it was and it dawned on me, ‘This is it, this is absolutely the right place and time’. So I took a (very) deep breath….. and I’m not quite sure how I worded it but asked her if she would marry me, and she said ‘of course!’

We decided to go engagement ring shopping there and then, so we hopped in a yellow cab and whizzed off to the Diamond District. Neither of us knew what type of ring we wanted, and we both went for completely different styles – like my wedding dress, I spotted mine straight away, I just knew it as soon as I saw it. We actually designed Jess’s while we were there and collected if three days later. The ring shopping was so much fun and for us New York was the perfect city to become engaged. Jess-and-Ella-Wedding-Oct-10th-2015-239

Any DIY stories/tutorials you’d like to share?

We had so many people help us with lots of aspects of the wedding; Jess’s Dad is a very talented artist and made our easel board table seating plan, amongst other things. Jess’s Mum made our delicious chocolate wedding cake & bara brith favours, my Mum made our top table bunting. Our friend, Angharad added marmalade to our guests favours and in addition to this, Starbucks in Cardiff Bay had graciously gifted us small bags of coffee beans for our guests, as a remedy for the morning after the wedding. We were so grateful for all of the help and support we had, and we really enjoyed flicking through Pinterest for ideas. Our table settings all had pine cones included in them, and its incredible what a couple of cans of gold spray paint can do! Jess-and-Ella-Wedding-Oct-10th-2015-522

What was your first dance & why?

Our first dance was to ‘Never can tell’ by Chuck Berry as featured in Quentin Tarantino’s film, Pulp Fiction. We both love films, and movie soundtracks, and the scene where John Travolta and Uma Thurman dance is one of our favourites. We didn’t want a classic, slow dance as our first dance, and we knew we’d enjoy this, plus it comes with its own dance moves so it was easy to get everyone else to join in!Jess-and-Ella-Wedding-Oct-10th-2015-791

In hindsight, was there anything you would have done differently?

Nope.

Do you have any advice for future couples?

Hmm, so our advice would be to stay true to what you want as a couple. It’s very easy to fall into the trap of others do/want, but I’m so glad we didn’t do that. We have wondered whether it was easier for us because gay wedding’s don’t come with the traditions that straight wedding’s do, but either way, we think this is really important when planning.
We also planned our wedding in a really short space of time, and in lots of ways this was great because we didn’t have time to agonise over small details; we made considered decisions quickly and stuck to them.Jess-and-Ella-Wedding-Oct-10th-2015-344

What’s the best piece of marriage advice you received?

Always make each other laugh and keep having date nights.

What was your favourite thing about planning a wedding?

Probably the fact that we were both really interested in creating and designing a day that reflected us both – Jess is a softball player, and I am a hockey player, so we created some great photos to reflect this, and also had a softball bat/hockey stick arch that we walked under after our vows. We are also both fanatical cyclists, and love riding our Brompton bikes everyday – we had a real hoot cycling along in front of our venue in our wedding dresses, and have some amazing pictures that Abigail caught so brilliantly.Jess-and-Ella-Wedding-Oct-10th-2015-422Jess-and-Ella-Wedding-Oct-10th-2015-443

The Suppliers

Photographer: Abigail Apollonio
Wedding and Ceremony Venue: Peterstone Court
Bride’s Dress: Jess – Enzoani Ella –Lillian West  (customised by Linda Rafferty)
Bride’s Shoes: Jess –Kurt Geiger  Ella – Manolo Blahnik 
Bride’s Headpiece: Jess – Gill Clement
Bride’s Jewellery: Jess – Gill Clement  Ella – John Lewis & Vintage (from my Mum)
Cake: Mandy Westermark
Hair: Ella – Amy’s Hair Boutique, Tongwynlais, Jess – Friend, Annika Brindley
Make Up: Jess – JM Make-UpElla – Amy’s Hair Boutique, Tongwynlais.
Band: Bayside Boogiemen 
Stationery: Made by Ella & Jess
Caterers: Peterstone Court
Any Reception Decor/Props: Chris Westermark & Linda Rafferty

The Wedding Album

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