So many brides and grooms theses days, love the reportage approach to wedding photography. Where the photographer captures the images of the day by working their weary legs off, and running around creating the Bride and Grooms Wedding Day story without anyone even noticing them there. A lot of people feel uncomfortable in front of a camera, the posing etc, is just not for them, so this suits them down to the ground.
Then there is this bunch of lads. At the wedding held at Caer Llan, clearly performing for the camera is in no way an issue, and it frankly resulted in Paul Marbrook capturing one of my favourite ‘Boys’ shots of all time!
Taken from Paul’s blog, here he is telling us about that gorgeous day!
Lets Hear it for the Boys: ‘The Leap of Faith’
These guys really could not have chosen a better day for their south Wales wedding. It was late July and by the time I arrived which was pretty early the boys were already on the beers and enjoying the hot sunshine and dazzling blue pool that makes Caer Llan one of the most unique wedding venues in Wales.
One of the hottest days we had in 2014. It was the perfect day to be a Caer Llan wedding photographer and this was my second time at this wonderful venue run by the very lovely Vicky & Jake Carpenter.
Caer Llan is in Monmouthshire which has been lovingly and painstakingly restored and developed by its current owners into a fabulous wedding venue set in the heart of Monmouthshire and the Wye Valley.
For me Caer Llan is one of my favourite wedding venues in South Wales, North Wales or indeed anywhere in Wales! It really does have something for everyone from the grand rustic interiors, the lawned gardens, surrounding woods and hills, landscape views with drama and the pool. Indeed the outdoor swimming pool could quite convincingly have been in the Italian mountains on that day.
I think you will agree, this is just superb! And no doubt, if you’re getting married somewhere with a pool like Caer Llan, you may be inspired to do the time! x
Good morning you lovely lot. Well we have a treat for you this morning. This gorgeous wedding of Ben and Gwenno, shot by the fabulously talented Paul Marbrook is just stunning. The dress, the flowers, the suits, the venue, the cow!! Its all so beautiful. So sit back, and soak this all up…..
We didn’t really set a budget and it evolved as we found out more about the wedding process. Obviously, this was something we hadn’t done before so didn’t want to tie ourselves to a strict budget not knowing what was actually realistic.
How would you describe your wedding theme?
Our theme was about making the day personal to us; we wanted every aspect of the wedding to be bespoke and didn’t want to include anything that didn’t mean something to the both of us. We decided quite early on in the planning that we wanted it to feel more like a celebration than a formal wedding and we tried to tie this through into the theme. It was our day and we just wanted to make sure that we enjoyed it.
What was your favourite part of your wedding?
It’s difficult to choose a favourite part of the wedding as the whole day was such a whirlwind. A lot of our friends and family live a long distances away so we really enjoyed being able to catch up with everyone that we love on the day.
If I had to choose a particular moment it would have to be when the male voice choir from Llangwm started singing as I walked down the aisle; it was an amazing way to start the wedding!
Tell us about your Wedding Dress
I have never particularly been a girly-girl and at just over 5” 2, I was a bit daunted about the prospect of spending a full day feeling uncomfortable in an enormous dress. I began at a local boutique in Sale that specialises in vintage dresses as well as custom made new dresses. I wasn’t expecting to find anything quickly and decided to take my husband-to-be, mum and mother in law for their opinion as it was such a big decision. The shop was lovely and the dresses were beautiful but there wasn’t a ‘stand out’ dress that I immediately fell for; I liked elements of different dresses rather than falling for one in particular and decided to try a few other places before making a decision.
Following this we visited a more ‘traditional’ style shop and as soon as I put on a big gown I felt like a child dressing up in their mum’s clothing – this definitely wasn’t me and I could tell by the look on my husband’s face that he also didn’t recognise me!
This confirmed that my initial feelings were right and that we needed to go back to the first shop. All the dresses are handmade to order so luckily I was able to meet with the local designer and pick and choose which parts I wanted of each dress so I ended up with something completely bespoke. I decided to go for a knee length tea dress, partly for a less formal look and partly because my husband-to-be has a history of accidentally standing on brides dresses!
The dress was simple and perfect for what I had wanted, with a layered skirt and sweetheart top with lace overlay. I decided to buy a separate underskirt to wear for the evening party to give the dress a slightly different look.
Who did you pick as your bridesmaids &/or best man and why?
The best man was Ben’s childhood best friend Andrew, and for the brides people I had three friends from University Alex, Amy and Jenny. I also had my two nieces Eryn and Lucy as flower girls.
Why did you choose your venue?
We looked at a lot of venues before finding the right one. We had a clear idea of what we wanted in our minds but it took us a while to find the place that fitted. The venue is an hour away from my parents house so it was a bit further then we would have liked to travel on the day but it was worth it for the right venue.
Tell us about your photographer
We were keen for the photography to follow the informal theme of the wedding and for something with a bit of imagination. We immediately fell for the work on Paul’s website that not only records but also captures the emotion and detail of the day. We liked his unusual and imaginative approach to photography, and that he was willing to try different things to capture the best shot. We had a pre-wedding shoot a few months before the wedding and this was invaluable to get us comfortable in front of the camera and to know what to expect. We were really pleased with the result and still can’t decide on our favourite shot of the day!
How did the proposal happen?
The proposal didn’t quite go as Ben had planned; he had initially wanted propose at Styal Woods near Manchester because it’s somewhere that we used to go walking during our early years together. However, we are also both keen runners and on the day that he was going to propose I was adamant that we should run through the woods rather than walk. Understandably, Ben didn’t want to propose breathless and in full lycra running gear so he had to wait for another opportunity. Fortunately, the following week we had booked to go to Paris so this seemed like the perfect opportunity. Ben knows that I would be mortified at a grand gesture at the top of the Eiffel tower or similar so he decided to organise breakfast in bed on our first morning. He hid the ring in a bag of croissants, expecting me to find it at which point he would propose. Unfortunately, I was quite hungry and completely missed the ring and started tucking into the croissants. After two failed attempts, he took the ring from the bag and of course, I said yes!
Any DIY stories/tutorials you’d like to share?
We were keen for every aspect of the wedding to have a personal touch and as we both work in a creative industry we wanted to be involved in the design and feel of all aspects of the day. We designed and hand drew all of our own stationary including invites, signage and table plans which we had printed at our local print shop.
We also decided to make our own naked wedding cake which reflected the informal theme and was very simple to make but also needs to be very fresh. I made 3 tiers of 4 cakes and inserted the dowels the day before the wedding, and gave a friend instructions on how to stack and decorate on the day. It just seemed like the easier option because we couldn’t access the venue the night before the wedding and didn’t want to worry about picking up or having a cake delivered on the day. I had a full practice a few months before which helped with timings and stacking the cake which was definitely worth it!
My mum is a keen gardener and we asked her to arrange the flowers on the day. We had a theme of using trees in our stationary design so decided to have a tree trunk base with three small pots of flowers on each table. My parents have a lot of antiques on the farm so we chose some glass bottles, milk churns and ceramic pots to hold the flowers.
We weren’t able to access the wedding venue until the day of the wedding as they had an event the night before so we ended up involving a florist that is a family friend to take the flowers to the venue and arrange on the morning so that my mum could enjoy the day rather than worry about arranging the flowers.
We also took some branches from a corkscrew hazel tree in our front garden and my dad worked with the florist to make it into a heart shaped feature to hang in the venue. It was a nice touch to the venue and we now have it in our bedroom as a reminder of the day.
What was your first dance & why?
Our first dance was Beloved One by Ben Harper, because it’s from an album that we listened to a lot when we first met so it reminds us of our first few months together.
In hindsight, was there anything you would have done differently?
When we booked the venue we didn’t think to check that we could set things up the day before, in hindsight this would have made the preparation a bit easier. Things worked out in the end but Ben and the ushers had a busy morning before I arrived putting the final touches to things!
I also should have given someone a list of timings and plans as there were a few things that we planned to do that we completely forgot about on the day.
Do you have any advice for future couples?
Try to take a few minutes to yourselves away from everyone else to appreciate what you have just done. We really tried to make decisions for ourselves rather than to please other people; this is your day so do whatever will make you happy, and most importantly – just enjoy the day and don’t worry if things don’t quite go as planned!
What’s the best piece of marriage advice you received?
By the time we married, we had already been together for a long time so not many people really gave us any advice. We both lead quite busy lives so I think the most important advice we received was to make time for each other.
What was your favourite thing about planning a wedding?
Our favourite part was probably designing our own stationary. We carved our initials into a tree trunk that we had in our garden and took photos of it that became the background to the stationary and set the theme to the wedding. We couldn’t find a font that we were happy with so we ended up hand writing and scanning all of the text in both English and Welsh.