What is a wedding without flowers? This is something I was torn over when planning our big day. The men in my life (Mr P, my daddy and brothers) are extremely sensitive to pollen and the thought of my dad with streaming eyes from my bouquet whilst walking me down the aisle or spluttering and suffering through his speech whilst tackling the running nose and tickling throat was not pleasant for him. I toyed with other ideas – button and broach bouquets, balloon decorations but I just couldn’t come to terms with a wedding without flowers. After chatting to the boys, we decided to keep the floral arrangements, clean, simple and stick to blooms with the least pollen possible – roses and hydrangeas. Thankfully this worked for us and the end result created by the amazing, talented Emma of Love Lily in Abergavenny was superb.
I decided to go back to Emma and pick her brains about wedding flowers – who best to let all us ‘Cwtchettes’ into some inside secrets and helpful hints than the award winning master florist herself – and how lucky are we to have such talent here in Wales! Love Lily are a contemporary and creative master florist based in Abergavenny. They have recently expanded to a second large design studio to help cater for the volume of wedding and event floristry. Emma is well known on the Welsh wedding celebrity scene and although we cannot disclose any specifics, we will share some inside pics with you to help inspire. I won’t waffle on any longer so let’s hear from the lady herself…
Emma of Love Lily
With the growing trend for DIY weddings – why would you advise brides to hire a professional and not just give it a go themselves? Things can very easily go wrong with flowers. You must have the knowledge of how to care and look after them and believe me when I say catastrophes happen! Knowing what is in season & understanding the quantities required is not easy and takes years of experience. Many brides underestimate the scale of creating and setting up for the big day. It is a big job and takes a huge amount of time to plan, design and arrange – you need to ensure the flowers are perfect on the day itself – not peaking a day or two before or after! If you are still keen to have ago yourselves we run a flower school and hold different classes throughout the year – we were rated one of the best flower schools in the UK by “Flower Magazine”. The classes will help you gain an insight into how to form bouquets and arrangements, with handy hints and tips and you should gain an understanding of exactly what is involved before making a decision to go down the DIY route or hire a professional.
Love Lily, Abergavenny
Any advice when booking a florist and planning your arrangements? We ask brides to contact us when they have chosen their dress and bridesmaids dresses as this sets the brief of the wedding and often the colour palette. Every dress has a style and the flowers need to compliment this. Pictures, magazines and Pinterest boards are helpful if the bride has specific ideas but equally this is not important as professionals are here to help with creative ideas.
What is the typical spend per wedding? I would say around £1500 but it could range from £150 – £5000+ depending on the brief. Every wedding can be tailored for budget and style but I would ask brides to be realistic – flowers are not inexpensive.
What was your most lavish wedding to date? This was a wedding where flowers were very much the brides priority. It consisted of 3 enormous floral arches, elaborate candelabra centrepieces and many large displays including a 1m2 floral heart.
What is the most expensive flower? Lily of the Valley. Kate Middleton had a bridal bouquet of these which reportedly cost over £1000. A bouquet would start from £350+ since one small stem has a price-tag of about £4.00 – £5.00 and ideally you would need 150 stems per bouquet! This is the Queens favourite flower and we have a pic of her holding our bouquet below:
Her Royal Highness
Have you had any unusual requests? We had a bride who once requested the whole wedding in died blue roses. I generally don’t like working with artificial products but the whole effect was beautiful. Unusual requests are becoming quite normal today as brides have become more creative and daring. We have been asked for flowers to decorate horses, dogs and even a pair of wellies. What are bridal favourites?
Flowers –Peonies are a firm favourite all year round but you only get them May to beginning of July so bear this in mind when setting your date if this is a priority.
Winter weddings – Roses are always classic, simple & elegant.
Spring weddings – Anemones and bulb flowers like hyacinths, tulips and narcissus.
Summer weddings – Blousy blooms such as sweet peas and peonies.
Autumn weddings – Rustic blackberries and berried foliage.
BOUQUETS – Round hand-tied bouquets are still popular abut there is an increase in popularity of having something slightly softer and slightly trailing. There is a real divide between styles at the moment. The classic, elegant rose look is very popular but also the vintage ‘meadow’ natural look, very organic and not overly styled.
CENTREPIECES – Think about the space in your wedding venue – do you need height to fill the space or would you prefer to keep it low and intimate? Candelabras are always popular although the mish-mash of jam jars and vintage china to give a more rustic look is still holding a strong trend. You can go anywhere with these to reflect the theme, style and personality. They can be tailored to budget and prices can start from as little as £25 each but for a cost effective table centre, I would suggest looking at plants.
VENUE DECORATION – It is really important to empathise with your chosen venue and to work with what you have. Weddings are not just about centrepieces any more – everything is taken into consideration and they have become more of a “theatrical production”. There is a trend for more staged areas with props such as ladders, dressing tables etc. and it is more exciting than it’s ever been. I love my job as every wedding we work on and have ever produced has been different. A good florist will tailor the day very much for the individual. It is so involved, so in-depth with so many layers to the decoration now that I love to embrace every brief and can be more creative than ever.
What are your thoughts on the floral trends heading into 2015? The trend for blush or muted pastel tones is still going strong but we are seeing more requests for pops of colour with mixed brights. A shade making a huge impact this year is yellow as a stand-alone wedding colour too.
The’ vintage’ look will still be popular but taking this one step further in 2014 with a romantic and whimsical element – introducing more of an organic, ‘just-picked’ hedgerow look with organically mixed wild bouquets and foliage. Textured bouquets with a feminine softness will still continue into 2014 complimenting the ever popular bridal lace dresses with scented florals such as Lily of the Valley and Sweet Pea.
The Royal wedding of William and Kate bringing the outdoors inside is still having a huge impact on bridal trends. They had 20ft trees lining the aisle of Westminster Abbey and the English country garden feel is still a firm favourite with 2014 brides.
A big thanks to Emma from Love Lily for her help with this post. I hope this gives you some help and inspiration for your big day…happy planning…Pippa x
We welcome back our Luxury Bride, Pippa. Hooray! Today she is going to woo us with some beautiful designer bridal bags.
Wedding bags – to have and to hold? That is the Question…
If you’re anything like me (shoe and bag crazy) then the question of should I? Do I REALLY need one? didn’t really cross my mind, it of course was an ‘essential’ part of my bridal outfit. Looking back now though I don’t think I used it at all thanks to my very handy bridesmaids so I suppose I have to ask – did I really need one? Your wedding is a perfect excuse to add to your wardrobe with all manner of beautiful items but would your money be better spent elsewhere?
There are a whole range of beautiful bags to choose from at the moment and below are a few of my faves…
If you’re like me, I couldn’t be without my ‘suitcase’ (as Mr P calls it) on a daily basis filled with all my essential (and not so essential) bits. So for my big day I felt I needed the security of having a few items on hand…just incase! Now, I’m not advocating a shoulder slung bag over your beautiful frock (eeek…fashion faux pas) but a simple clutch could just be a saviour should you have a bridal emergency. Obviously, as beautiful as they are, you wouldn’t want to be carrying it down the aisle so you could leave it in the wedding car during the ceremony or maybe rope in a bridesmaid’s partner to help. I popped mine on the top table for the remainder of the evening but equally you could entrust your lovely ladies to help with bag duty.
You will need to cut down from your usual ‘suitcases’ though girls (I don’t even know what I carry in my bag half the time) so here are a list of items we think would be handy for any bridal ’emergencies’…
1. Mints (NOT chewing gum) – you will be kissing ALOT of people.
2. Lippie – keep your make-up looking fresh from your “I Do” to your photos and well into the evening. Personally I would avoid sticky lipgloss though and I’m sure your groom (and guests) will thank you for it!
4. Safety Pins
6. Plasters – just incase you haven’t broken in your bridal heels…tut tut!
7. Tissues – a must for the speeches!
We’d love to know what all our lovely Cwtch brides think – are you having a bridal bag? If so, what will you be carrying inside?
Our Luxury Bride Pippa, tied the knot with Matthew in a luxurious wedding last August with a beautiful ceremony at Llandefalle Church followed by a fabulous reception at Felin Newydd House. Photographer Maria Farrelly was on hand to capture the whole day.
We asked Pippa some questions about her big day…
What was your budget?
This is always a tricky one isn’t it? A girl never likes to give away her secrets – like that pair of shoes you “got in the sale” or the designer handbag that “was a steal”. I always try and reassure myself (and more so my husband) that I am not a spendoholic and my tastes aren’t that extravagant but I suppose part of me doesn’t really want to know the final budget (yes, of course we went over the original)! Let’s just say we were lucky enough to have a healthy budget thanks to my very generous parents and alot of hardwork and saving on our part. Our thinking was, we will only ever do this once so let’s go for it…and as long as you can afford to then why not?
How would you describe your wedding theme?
We didn’t have a theme as such but I knew I didn’t want it to be too ‘matchy-matchy’ – so NO definite colour-scheme. I love the colour blush so decided to incorporate lots of pastel colours into the day and bring the look together through the flowers. All the floral displays were different and no two tables, pew ends or displays were the same. I am very particular (have I mentioned this before?) and have a distinctive eclectic style but I did feel the pressure a little to style the venue being an interior designer! I found a beautiful Nina Campbell fabric that we used for our backdrop to the top table and we incorporated vintage props, china, flower jugs, trunks, suitcases, antique furniture, lanterns, frames, birdcages etc that we sourced ourselves from carboot sales, auctions, charity shops over the 14 months in the lead up to our big day. We are regulars at the local auction houses, usually looking for antique & retro furniture to re-upholster for our business (and home), but this was so much fun and Matthew was usually better at spotting little gems than me. In the end I suppose it ended up being about pastels, pearls and lace with a touch of vintage.
It was important to us that our day be personal too, simply to show and involve all the things we love. I roped in the help of my cousins who secretly found wedding photos of my Grandparents, Uncles & Aunts and it was fantastic to see their reactions when they spotted our surprise vintage family photo frame. Our families have a history of lifetime marriages , both of our parents have been married over 35 years, grandparent 50+ years and aunts and uncles the same and we wanted to show them as our inspiration, the ones who taught us about love.
What was your favourite part of your wedding?
The whole day was unforgettable and it’s hard to single out one part as my favourite but I think I would have to say the anticipation and excitement at walking into the Church and seeing Matthew waiting for me at the end of the aisle. It was very emotional and a memory I will treasure forever. I loved getting ready in the morning with my girls, all of my presents (I really was spoilt) and seeing people’s faces with all the surprises I had arranged throughout the day but the emotion we felt and I saw in Matthew at that point…it makes my heart flutter thinking about it now…but that’s what it was really all about..and the huge party to celebrate with our family and friends was a bonus!
Who did you pick as your bridesmaids &/or best man and why?
This was an obvious choice for Matthew as his closest friend is my cousin Ben whose wedding was responsible for us getting together. They have known each other since Primary School and he was such a help to Matthew & I not just being on hand throughout the whole day and delivering an unforgettable speech, but in the weeks and days leading up to our wedding too. Ben arranged a superb stag do for Matthew (not that he can remember much) and he & Matthew’s Ushers (our brothers Gareth, Jonathan & Nicholas) were a fantastic help to us both when setting up the marquee and venue the day before. There was so much to do, especially lots of heavy lifting, building our DIY bar (and stocking it) that we wouldn’t have coped without them. We were so glad they got to enjoy emptying the bar on the day – which was very much deserved!
It was a trickier decision for me as there were so many of my girls I would loved to have been beside me when I said ‘I do’. I am blessed to a fantastically large family and group of girlfriends that choosing was a daunting task as it was unrealistic to ask them all. I asked my lovely sister, Victoria, and four of my beautiful friends from University and London life, Natalie, Sarah, Natasha & Lucy to stand beside me at the alter – and luckily they all accepted. They were amazing to have around and it was so relaxing the morning of the wedding getting ready together and enjoying a few glasses of fizz – just what I needed to calm my butterflies! I think you’ll all agree they all looked absolutely stunning in the Twobrids dresses – maybe a little too good…I should have fattened them all up a little before the big day! It was important to me though to still incorporate my other lovely ladies into the wedding in different ways, whether saying a reading or ringing the church bells…they all did a fine job – ding dong! The girls did me so proud too with a hen weekend in The Hamptons, Brighton, I could have only dreamt of. Probably the less said about that the better ( what goes on away, stays away after all) but I will say I think there is a very young ‘Butler in the Buff’ out there that will be scared for life after meeting…our mums!
One piece of advice we would definitely share is to choose well and have people around that you want to be with you (not that you feel you should ask) as their help and support is priceless.
How did the proposal happen? (we love a good proposal story! :) )
You can read all about Matthew dropping to one knee in our engagement shoot post here
Any DIY stories/tutorials you’d like to share?
During my time as a student and first few years in London, I had to learn be clever with design on a budget and I developed a love for crafty projects -that interest was certainly flared up again during the wedding planning .
Our bar was a huge hit (although we did have a few strange looks when wheeling in the old barrels to such a fantastic venue). I had an idea for the rustic design to incorporate a fabulous picture by Maria Farrelly taken during our engagement shoot at the Sugarloaf Vineyard (our very favourite place in Abergavenny). My clever husband (eek…this still sounds strange) and brother-in-law put the bar together the day before, wallpapering the enormous picture (printed by Mr Perswall, c/o our interior company Jaybee Soft Furnishings attaching the bar top and constructing some shelving from shoe-racks…we were so pleased with the end result!
A few of the items I made are:
Wooden save the date signs
Table settings & name places
M&P Lace names
100s of Jam Jar lanterns (used outside with candles and in the church for flowers)
Linen and lace table runners
Chocolate moustache and lips (DIY tutorial coming soon)
We had so much interest from everyone on the day that we have started to hire all our props out.
If there are any aspects of the wedding you lovely ‘Cwtchers’ and ‘Cwtchettes’ spot and would like to know in more detail then we’d love you to get in touch with us – I’m happy to share any secrets!
What was your first dance & why?
This was a trickier decision for us as we don’t really have ‘a song’ as such. For a time I had an obsession with all the Jive and Rock-n-roll first-dance- routines on you tube but once I had chosen my dress I knew this would be impossible given the extremely tightly fitting mermaid shape of my Suzanne Neville creation! We stumbled upon “Feels Like Home” by Chantal Kreviazuk and the lyrics struck accord with us both so we knew it was perfect. I always imagined my first dance waltzing elegantly around the dance floor so Matthew (begrudgingly) agreed to a year of dance lessons (I do love my husband). The week of the wedding though, with a few nerves kicking in regarding Matthew’s speech, he was really feeling anxious about dancing a ‘routine’ so we decided to scrap the idea and wing it! This was definitely the right decision as it was more relaxed and we could just enjoy a moment together. The dance was much more intimate than I ever imagined it would be and was a great opportunity for us to take stock of the day and enjoy a special moment together as husband and wife. I will say the dance lessons definitely paid off though as knowing some basic steps, twists and turns off hand we were at ease on the dance floor and didn’t feel uncomfortable or wooden.
In hindsight, was there anything you would have done differently?
I can genuinely say, hand on heart, there is nothing I would have done differently but this was one of the important things Matthew & I would always refer back to during the planning stage. I know every bride probably says this but the only downside of the day for me was definitely it all coming to an end. Time really does fly by so quickly and was the perfect celebration we had planned – I loved every second of the day itself, all the preparation and everything in between! We did manage to eek out extra time though by asking our caterers to stay on an and provide a fabulous BBQ at Felin Newydd the day after for friends who had travelled to be with us and to share stories of the day before (of which there were many).
Do you have any advice for future couples?
One piece of advice when planning your big day is to hire a videographer if your budget will stretch. I know it is a cliche to say the day goes by so quickly but it really does! Matthew & I considered this but with our budget over-running in different areas we originally decided not to have our day filmed. I did however, arrange to have our day filmed as a surprise for everyone (including Matthew) so on the day it was amazing to see everyone’s reactions (there were a few tears)! The day went SO fast, we are now so grateful to have the day recorded so we can watch it back, fill in the spaces and remember the things that passed us by! Having read so many wedding blogs, a regret of many brides is not having their wedding filmed and looking back now, having a videographer was probably the best decision we made and I cannot recommend Martin of Razzelcam enough. I have never laughed and cried so much in one evening watching our film. He really is superb capturing our day in such a unique and special way – it was just our style and he was so fantastic to have around on the big day! Here is a sneaky peak at our highlight montage, edited a little differently for this website but I hope you enjoy as much as we did…
I really would advise choosing quality vendors. Like everything, you get what you pay for and if something seems too good to be true – it probably is!
More importantly is to enjoy everything! I know this is easier said than done in the sometimes stressful moments leading up to your big day (queue my episode after dropping my i-phone into the toilet, complete with all my vendor contacts and email correspondence the evening before we were due to set up the marquee) but really do take stock of every little moment as believe me you will miss it when it’s all over. It is ok to be a bit “particular” girls (you really are not alone)and want everything as you imagine it but on the day just forget all the worrying over every tiny perfect detail and just ENJOY the bigger picture…you are after all stealing your man’s last name…what else matters after that?
Why did you choose your venue?
You all probably now have an understanding of just how ‘particular’ (well fussy) I am and didn’t want to be married anywhere someone I knew had previously – I like to be different. We knew we wanted a big wedding, a traditional ceremony and a free bar but both like to have quirky and personal touches. The usual venues around the area, as lovely as they are, just couldn’t accommodate what we wanted to do so we decided to search for private hire houses. We stumbled across Felin Newydd House on the internet and instantly fell in love. It was just our style, combining beautiful original features, elegant antiques with quirky individual pieces – just our cup of tea! The grounds were stunning and the owners Huw & Elizabeth were fantastic and couldn’t be more helpful. We loved that the house was left to us to do with whatever we wished. It really felt like a home from home and was even more special that our close family and bridal party could stay together in the house over the whole weekend. We ended up hiring the house for 3 days (never one to eek out a celebration), holding the champagne reception on the lawn in front of the house and having a marquee attached to the side for the wedding breakfast so all our guests and the action of the day would be in one room.
The ceremony was held in Llandefalle church, just around the corner from our reception venue. A gorgeous rustic country church perched on the side of the mountains in Brecon. The views of the surrounding Black Mountains are beautiful and when we met our wonderfully colourful vicar, Ian Charlesworth, we knew that was the place and he was our man!
What’s the best piece of marriage advice you received?
After our first kiss as a married couple, Ian, our vicar, addressed us privately at the altar and spoke some extremely poignant words.
“As you take your first steps as a married couple, look into your hearts and think of the enormous love you have for each other. Take a snapshot of this moment – it will always be yours. In the many long years to come, you can always look back on this moment. You can look back into your hearts and see that you will always be so very much in love. This place is yours forever.”
What was your favourite thing about planning a wedding?
I bought some wedding magazines a few days after Matthew got on one knee at the Trevi Fountain (Rome) for the flight home and I was hooked. I loved everything about the organisation and was in my element with all the design details. This was by far the biggest project I have attempted and I loved every minute especially the shopping and sourcing of props. We had such an overwhelming response from our family and friends about how special the personal touches were which reinforced the effort was all worthwhile. We now also have some fantastic additions to our home decor that remind us of the most magical weekend.
I loved that our wedding highlighted the strength of some bonds between our family and friends – you certainly become aware of who the special people in your life are! It was also fantastic to know different groups of our friends who had never previously been introduced, have stayed in touch with each other…and we were responsible for it!
Many of the items including ushers waistcoats, bridal accessories, candelabras & props (frames, signs, birdcages, trunks, cases, pearls, chinaware, glassware, antique tables, cocktail dispensers, tin bath, lanterns, mason jars etc) you see in the pictures are for sale or for hire so please get in touch with us if you are interested in anything you see as we would love them to be used at another Cwtch wedding!
Our Luxury Bride, Pippa is back! Today she brings us lots of sumptuous inspiration to help keep you warm on your big day. Here are her top picks of designer bridal cover ups and where in Wales you can get your hands on them. Over to you Pippa…
“ On the coldest day, in the coldest place, your love will keep me warm”
The best thing about the dropping temperature is the chance to pull on something spectacularly stylish to beat the winter chill. With our wonderfully wicked Welsh weather have you thought about the practicalities on your big day? Looking back I was very lucky with our weather – a few glasses of bubbly teamed with my questionable dance moves were enough to keep me warm until the early hours. But what about all you gorgeous winter brides? Why not complete your bridal ensemble with some of these embellished cover-ups. From lace to feathers, pearls to sequins, add a romantic touch to your fabulous frock with the bonus of keeping you warm on a breezy night.