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! 

Jess-and-Ella-Wedding-Oct-10th-2015-457Real Weddings Banner

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?


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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Cwtch of the Week: Cwtch the Father of the Bride

Rebecca and Michael got married at Peterstone Court, Brecon on the 29th of December. This gorgeous cwtch by Anderson Photography was taken before the ceremony. Rebecca’s dad Maldwyn has swooped in for a big cwtch with mam Lisa looking on.

Rebecca tells us “We aren’t a really cwtchy type of father and daughter – so this cwtch is even more special!”

Cwtch of the Week Submission Rebecca MorganRansom

Thank you for your submission Rebecca!

Real Wedding: Lydia & Simon’s Dreamy Vintage Wedding

We have a lot of Love for Lydia and Simons wedding this week. On wednesday we showed you their beautiful wedding film by Aurora. Yesterday we introduced you to bride Lydia’s new wedding business Belle Journee and today, we’re sharing their wedding album photographed by the lovely Jake Morely. Lets hand you straight over to Lydia with all the details. Have a fabulous weekend folks xxx

L&S0596What was your budget? 

The budget was always a sore point, after we got engaged we sat down and worked out estimates for everything but unfortunately most things were at the top end or over all the estimates! We knew there were certain things we didn’t want to scrimp on, such as the photographer and the band, but it’s fair to say that we wouldn’t have had the wedding of our dreams without the help of family. They were so generous, and we are forever indebted to them for helping us to have such a fantastic day!

L&S0578How would you describe your wedding theme?

I always found it quite difficult to come up with a succinct description of the wedding theme. I quite often referred to it as a dreamy, ethereal, vintage, french, nostalgic, 1930’s affair! I imagined soft greys, the palest of pinks, fluffy, blousey flowers, mercury glass votives and cut glass vases. I wanted old fashioned music playing in the background like Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday, tall candelabras with the candlelight reflecting off crystal bobeches, french signs and pretty decor all around the room to fill the window sills, fireplaces and surfaces.
 It’s clear to say I had a pretty definite vision! Family and friends helped me to scour charity and second hand shops for the vintage vases and I picked up lots of mercury glass and vintage items over the year before the wedding and now I have them all available to hire from my website.

L&S0356 L&S0208L&S0539L&S0646What was your favourite part of your wedding?

The whole day was perfect, and there were so many aspects of the day that I loved, from getting ready in the morning with my bridesmaids, to my Dad seeing my dress for the first time, the brilliant speeches, the food, dancing the night away to the amazing Big Mac’s Wholly Soul Band – but by far the best part for me was the ceremony. 
I’d felt surprisingly calm all morning, even with the terrible weather, but as I got in to the car with my Dad on the way to the Church, the nerves kicked in and I had to try really hard to compose myself. When Nat King Cole – When I Fall In Love started to play and I started to walk down the aisle everything changed and I felt like I could burst with happiness! Seeing Simon waiting for me at the end of the aisle (with tears in his eyes!), and everyone I loved smiling, I just felt like the happiest person on earth! 
My cousin and bridesmaid Polly sang Eva Cassidy – Songbird which was just beautiful and had us all on tears, it was such an emotional and heartfelt ceremony and was just so special.

L&S0004L&S0128L&S0220L&S0235L&S0725L&S0907Why did you choose your venue?

I spent quite a while looking for the right venue, and didn’t feel there was a lot of choice near my Church. When I finally found Peterstone Court Hotel I debated for a while the distance between venues; it was about an hours trip and I wasn’t sure if I could trek everyone up there, but the beautiful faded french ballroom and the breathtaking views of Pen-y-fan persuaded me! 
I created a personalised CD of songs from our youth and my sister made little snack packs for each car to keep everyone going on the trip. The venue was perfect, the staff were all friendly and the food was delicious, I don’t regret that choice whatsoever.

L&S0687 L&S0696How did the proposal happen? 

Simon and I met on a school trip to Barcelona when we were just 13! I was supposed to set him up with a friend back home, but that didn’t exactly go to plan – we ended up being set up at a disco by friends and sitting together awkwardly on the bus the whole way back home. We were together on and off throughout school and practically grew up together, we went through some real rough patches, especially during my University year abroad studying in France and Spain but we always stuck through it no matter what.

After University we both moved back home to save money to buy our first home and in 2012 Simon took me on a surprise birthday trip to Barcelona, where it all began!
 He proposed by the sea on my birthday after a beautiful meal and told me he couldn’t imagine doing it anywhere else or being with anyone else, it was perfect! 
Simon knows me well enough to know how fussy I am, so he let me pick the ring, and after a short search I found a beautiful 1930’s diamond ring in an antiques shop in Cardiff. 

L&S0543Any DIY stories/tutorials you’d like to share?

I had help from family with the Order of Service, but I designed and printed all the table numbers, name places and table plan myself. I picked up vintage keys, ribbon and luggage tags for the name places and my aunt and sister wrote the names on each one. For the table plan, I used larger luggage tags and backed them with wallpaper before attaching the paper and then hung them with a vintage key off a wooden key board I picked up in a small shop. We used the same wallpaper to cover a back wall to attach to the sweet table and my Dad created little wooden hanging french signs and found a little art deco mirror to hang in the middle. I decorated the table with antique photo frames, candles and cut glass bowls filled with bonbons, meringues and white chocolate buttons.

L&S0366L&S0445 L&S0682L&S0784What was your first dance & why?

We really struggled with the choice for the first dance song, we have quite an alternative music taste and a lot of the songs we liked just didn’t really fit for a first dance. We didn’t want something too slow, or too upbeat so in the end we went for Lover of the Light by Mumford and Sons, one of our favourite bands and a song that had slow and upbeat parts! It was still tricky to dance to, but it was the perfect choice for us for our first dance as man and wife!

L&S0820In hindsight, was there anything you would have done differently?

Other than change the weather, there was absolutely nothing I would change, it was the perfect day and I would do it over and over again if I could!

L&S0312Do you have any advice for future couples?

It’s true what people say about finding time for each other on the day, I remember sitting at the top table and us both looking out and seeing everyone chatting and laughing and feeling so blessed to have everyone we loved celebrating with us. 
I’d also recommend trying to loosen your grip on the planning a week or so before the wedding, it’s hard to let go but there’s a point where you need to just hand over to the suppliers and trust them with your vision. I found this really hard as I wanted everything to be exactly perfect, I was at the venue the day before tying chair covers and hanging tealights, but by that point I had just had enough of the planning and searching and as much as it was hard to do, I had to just let it go and trust them to pull it all together for me. They didn’t let me down, everything was exactly as I imagined, and I managed to get a few days of relaxing and pampering before the day! 

L&S0818What’s the best piece of marriage advice you received?

The best piece of advice I received was that in marriage you have to fall in love over and over again with the same person. I find that quite touching, as with every marriage it can become stale and it’s important to remember the person you fell in love with, and why you fell in love with them. Making time for one another, talking and listening to one another, and a good sense of humour I think is key in keeping things strong. 

L&S0565What was your favourite thing about planning a wedding?

I’m a very organised person and I work in the industry as a Wedding and Events Co-ordinator so I was in my element planning the day. I had spent months styling my house so turning those skills to the wedding came quite naturally to me, although I did find it hard to pull the vision together and spent a lot of time scouring the internet for the items to buy or hire which often proved tricky. I have now amassed a whole selection of beautiful vintage inspired items, that I now hire out.
The parts I loved most were spending time with my Mum and sister Grace, we started our day trips with Grace being pregnant and carried on with them even after my little niece Ella was born, with her in tow. Trying on dresses, looking in vintage shops, stopping for lunch – we had some lovely days together.  


Wedding Suppliers

Ceremony Venue: St Basil’s Church, Bassaleg
Reception Venue:
Bride’s Dress:
Bride’s Shoes:
Bride’s Headpiece:
Groom’s Outfit:
Bridesmaid’s Dresses:
Any Reception Decor/Props:

The Wedding Album