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!
How would you describe your wedding theme?
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!
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’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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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-Up, Ella – Amy’s Hair Boutique, Tongwynlais.
Band: Bayside Boogiemen
Stationery: Made by Ella & Jess
Caterers: Peterstone Court
Any Reception Decor/Props: Chris Westermark & Linda Rafferty