Real Weddings: Gwen and Trystan’s Farmer Themed Wedding!

Hap hap happy Friday!!!!

We have a bloomin gorgeous wedding for you today! Gwen and Trystan had the most gorgeous day! And it was on her Dad’s farm! Its just so full of lovely DIY bespoke items, and judging by the fabulous images by Vince from Whole Wedding Pictures, everyone had an absolute amazing time!

It is inspiriationaltastic! Enjoy….x

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Gwen and Trystan’s Farmer Themed Wedding!

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How would you describe your wedding theme?

As a Farmer’s daughter and having been brought up on a farm, it meant the world to me to have the wedding on my Parents’ farm and having a farmer themed wedding! This made my Dad laugh, as he explained in his speech that I was the one daughter (out of the three of us) that was least interested in farming as a child! I used to go out farming with my handbag and pearls around my neck!! But having the wedding in a tent on the farm was really special and meant a lot for us as a family. We had a stretch tent in the field with straw bales, two large bride and groom manikins made of hay bales, milk churns and watering cans holding the flowers to name just a few farming items.

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What was your favourite part of your wedding?

The favourite part of the wedding for me without a doubt was the wedding ceremony itself. Everything from arriving at the front of the chapel, walking down the isle, seeing Trystan for the first time, was just incredible.

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We were surrounded by our friends and family who mean so much to us which made the service extra special. Music plays an important part in our lives, therefore having a local male voice choir singing The Rose for us in the Chapel and Trystan’s brother Gwydion and my Cousin Lisa singing a duet of Come what may for added a really nice touch.

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A close friend to us, Dave, played the piano beautifully which made a beautiful vibe to the service and my friend, Sara made a reading of I’ll walk with you which was lovely. I thoroughly enjoyed the whole service and it went way too quick!

Tell us about your Wedding Dress

I found my wedding dress in Huw Rees Brides, Llandeilo. This was only the second bridal shop I visited, but when I tried this dress on I knew it was the one! My Mum came with me to support me and we both made the unanimous decision that this was the one! The dress was called Hanoi from the Blue collection designed by Enzoani.

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I really liked the detail in the top part of the dress and the subtle way it blended into simplicity. I enjoyed the experience of trying on the beautiful dresses however I enjoyed watching the Bridesmaids trying on their dresses more, as I could sit back and relax, enjoying the fashion show!

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

My two sisters, Trystan’s sister and my two friends were the five Bridesmaids on the day and my baby Niece, Cadi who was 8 months at the time was a little flower girl.

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Trystan’s two brothers shared the role of being Best men, and his three ushers were his two friends and his brother in law.

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We had a great time with this crazy lot during the planning of the wedding and more so the hen and stag parties!

Tell us about your photographer

Vince from Whole pictures was the clever man who captured our special day through wonderful photos. Our wedding day was a grey and foggy day and the sun didn’t make an appearance at all. Initially Tryst and I were slightly disappointed, thinking our wedding pictures would look slightly miserable. However, Vince was very excited about the blank canvas the fog created, and felt the weather offered a magical vibe.

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He created fantastic photos both outside on the commons and inside the Chapel and the stretch tent. He spotted a local quirky shed which he was eager for us to have a photo in front of due to it’s rustic, vintage vibe. We are both very pleased with our photos and keep looking at them, reminiscing about our special day.

How did the proposal happen? 

Trystan and I have been together since secondary school, since the ages of 16 and 17. We had been together for over ten years and had been living together in Cardiff for two years. In April 2015, Tryst had been living in London for a period with his work and my friend Katie was living with me whilst he was away. One average Wednesday, I received a bouquet of 12 red roses in my workplace. I was very confused and instantly thought that they must be from a grateful patient of mine. The card read “Caru ti, Tryst x” which means “Love you, Tryst”. Our anniversary wasn’t for another month so I instantly thought that he had done something wrong!! When I tried phoning him, there was no answer so just thought I’ll speak to him later. That night, I returned from work to Katie my housemate demanding that I needed to get changed and get ready to go out. When I asked more questions about where, what, why etc she said she couldn’t say, just that I need to be ready for 7.30pm. As you can imagine I was very confused and did not have a clue what she was up to! I got ready as ordered by 7.30pm and sat quietly on the sofa waiting for more clues. Shortly after, Trystan’s sister turns up at the house and stated that my carriage awaits! She drove me down to Cardiff Bay without giving anything away and did not answer any of my questions. She told me to walk over to the Italian Restaurant, Signor Valentino. As I walked into the restaurant, I looked around looking for a familiar face or a clue as to what was going on and the waiter told me to have a look on the balcony. As I approached the balcony, there I saw Trystan sitting on a table for two, overlooking Cardiff Bay, under a heater with two glasses of champagne. I became all coy and nervous and asked what he was up to. He made a little speech saying how much I meant to him and then asked me to marry him! I was gobsmacked and had the biggest smile on my face. Tryst had to ask again, “so…will you?!” To which I said, YES! It was very romantic I must say!

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

The biggest DIY project of the wedding was the sofas we made from pallets. Trystan’s friend had access to many pallets in his workplace which he kindly put aside for us. Trystan’s Dad is a carpenter so he was able to put them together for us in the style of corner sofas.

His parents own a caravan park therefore had access to lots of old sofa cushions which we shaped to fit the pallet furniture. Both our Mums are very handy with their sawing kits and very cleverly sawed duvet covers over the old sofa cushions. We had a selection of pastel colours on the four pallet corner sofas we made with a selection of scatter cushions to add colour and comfort. We painted the pallets white which made them look very effective. The aim was to have these sofas outside the tent however the weather wasn’t brilliant, therefore we had the sofas inside which worked well to create cosy corners for people to sit and chill when having a break from the dancing!

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What was your first dance & why?

Our first dance was to “All I’ve ever needed” by Nikki Reed & Paul McDonald. It has a gorgeous tune and the lyrics were very relevant. We loved having 2 minutes to ourselves, dancing to this beautiful song.

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

We had a big set back to the wedding preparations due to the weather! The stretch tent was supposed to be erected on the Saturday before the wedding, however due to torrential rain and strong winds it was not possible. The next available slot the tent company had to put the tent up was the Tuesday before the wedding and the floor couldn’t go down until the Thursday before the wedding. This made everything behind schedule which made us all panic a little bit. But all the hard work from all out friends and families made it all right on the night! We probably should of been a little more prepared but it’s easily said in hindsight! The crazy week added to the fun I suppose!

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Do you have any advice for future couples?

The day goes soooo fast, as everyone told us! So make sure you take it all in, even the build up to the wedding. Take time to spend with each other, not just mingling with all your guests – after all, the day is about the two of you. Just have fun and don’t let little things stress you out. If things go wrong, just try and laugh about them!

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

Being an opera singer, Trystan has to travel a lot which means being away from home and away from me. We got married in July and in August he was off to Zurich, Switzerland for 10 and a half months to sing in the Opera house there. With this in mind, the best marriage advice we received was “Let the wife make the husband glad to come home, and let him make her sorry to see him go.”

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What was your favourite thing about planning a wedding?

I enjoyed planning all the arty and crafty things in the wedding such as the invitations, order of service, name places etc. I count myself as quite an organised person so I enjoyed having my notebook full of ideas and a list of things to do and sort. I also had a board on my pinterest page which I loved looking for inspirations. It became quite an addiction towards the end! It was great having our two families working together to create our fantastic day and spending lots of time with our bridesmaids and groom’s men.

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The Suppliers

Photographer: Whole Picture Weddings
Videographer: Clic Productions
Reception Venue: Wedding Tipi
Bride’s Dress: Hugh Rees Brides
Cake: Rhwbeth Melys
Flowers: Sheep Shed Designs
Hair: Salon K27
Make Up: Delwedd Beauty Salon
DJ: DJ Bry

The Wedding Album

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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 Weddings: Jenny and Mike by Carly Turner

Good morning and happy Friday!

We have a superb wedding for you today! Images by the gorgeously talented and Lush Lister, Carly Turner, Jenny and Mike’s wedding looked amazing! Including a pink dress, gold belt and taxidermy mice!!

I will hand over to Jenny though to tell you more about this beautiful day….

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Jenny and Mike

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What was your budget?

Not as much as we spent on the honeymoon ;)

How would you describe your wedding theme?

It was us themed!

When we were planning our wedding we didn’t have a theme in mind, we just went for things that we liked. Thankfully it all came together and looked amazing!

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What was your favourite part of your wedding?

I have so many favourite parts!

One of the things that struck me the most was just how amazing it feels to have all of the people you love in one room together.

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The ceremony has got to be my most favourite part, closely followed by the food and speeches!

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Tell us about your Wedding Dress

I knew choosing a dress was going to be difficult for me. I didn’t want to wear a wedding dress, I didn’t want to wear white and the thought of spending hundreds on a dress, for me, seemed wasteful.

I visited a few shops and wedding fairs on the look out for a dress but I didn’t find anything I loved.

I bought a vintage dress a few months after we got engaged, it was a nude, beaded, full length gown, I loved it at the time. However, I tried it on a few months before our wedding, I had lost some weight so it didn’t fit and it just didn’t feel like me anymore. Cue major panic!

Luckily I came across my dress on ASOS when I was sale shopping one day and instantly knew that was the dress I wanted to get in married in! I loved the blush pink colour and delicate detail of the embroidered flowers and I felt like a Queen in it!

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

For me, picking my bridesmaid was easy! I chose my cousin Holly. We grew up together and were inseparable when we were younger. She’s been my best friend my whole life – plus she’s super creative and throws awesome parties!

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Why did you choose your venue?

It was completely by chance! Adam from Llwyn Hall had posted a Facebook advert and as we were on our way to Llanelli to visit family anyway we thought we’d pop by to check it out.

We loved it instantly! It was quirky, charming and served amazing food. We loved that we could have the venue all for ourselves and our guests.

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New owners took over the venue a month before our wedding and started renovations immediately – it was really stressful!! – but thankfully it turned out great, the renovations were beautiful, and Alex the new owner was so lovely and helpful!

Tell us about your photographer

Our photographer was Carly from Carly Turner Photography.
She was awesome – we found her through Facebook and loved her style, it was exactly what we were looking for! We met Carly for a coffee and clicked with her immediately!

Carly did an amazing engagement shoot for us! We were a bit nervous but she made us feel relaxed and we had loads of fun! We used some of the pictures in our wedding stationery.

Carly Turner COTW (Jen and Mike)

On the day she was incredible, a real photography ninja, catching amazing moments and fantastic photos. We really couldn’t be happier with the pictures and we feel so lucky to have had Carly as our photographer!

How did the proposal happen? 

We were on holiday in Krakow when Mike proposed to me.

We’d been out for an amazing meal followed by cocktails in the rooftop lounge in the Sheraton. On our way back to our apartment, as we were walking past the fire breathing dragon outside the Wawel castle, Mike asked me to be his wife. I don’t think he’d even finished asking the question before I said yes!

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

We DIY-ed loads for our wedding, and I am so grateful for our army of family and friends that spent the weeks running up to our wedding crafting, brewing and tying twine on everything!

We made our centrepieces from beer bottles we’d collected from different countries, we made our own table runners from some hessian we bought off eBay, my aunty made limoncello (or Manda’s Marvellous Medicine as it was labelled) for favours and instead of place cards we handmade Christmas decorations with our guests names on them!

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Mike is a Graphic Designer so he created all of our beautiful wedding stationery, including our wedding logo! All of family and friends loved them so he’s now starting his own wedding stationery business!

Making our decorations meant that our wedding was really personal and represented us as a couple and all the things we love!

What was your first dance & why?

Our song is 2Bears – Church but it isn’t a great first dance song! So we chose an acoustic version of Beyonce – Crazy in Love by Daniela Andrade.

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

Probably held off the alcohol a little… We had very sore heads for the next few days.

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Do you have any advice for future couples?

Remember that your wedding day is a celebration of your love and the commitment you’re making to each other – don’t stress about the other stuff.

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Glow sticks! Forget about hiring entertainment, just buy glow sticks for your guests. They provided hours of entertainment, as you’ll see by the pictures!!

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

We made some cards for the tables that asked people to write some marriage advice for us. We got some really funny responses but our favourites had to be;
– Keep going as you are
– Make sure the curry is always hot and the beer is always cold
– Don’t know LOL I’m just a kid (from Zac, aged 11)

and a surprising amount of them said, Remember Jenny is always right.

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What was your favourite thing about planning a wedding?

All the extra time you spend with family and friends :) We had loads of afternoons spent crafting, drinking tea and eating cake.

The Suppliers

Photographer: Carly Turner Photography
Ceremony Venue: Llwyn Hall Country House 
Reception Venue: Llwyn Hall Country House
Bride’s Dress: ASOS 
Bride’s Shoes: Borrowed from my mum!
Bride’s Headpiece: Sixpenny Bride
Groom’s Outfit: Formal Hire  
Bridesmaid’s Dresses: Lindy Bop 
Bridesmaid’s Accessories: Vintage
Cake: Wally’s Delicatessen 
Flowers: Ruth Milton Jones 
Hair: Signature Style 
Make Up: Makeup by Nicola 
Stationery: Design Yo! Wedding Stationery 
Caterers: Signature Catering

The Wedding Album

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Real Weddings: The Beautiful Welsh in Breathtaking Italy

Good Friday to you all Cwtchers!

We have an absolutely stunning wedding for you which is about to inspire the socks off you!  Our gorgeous couple, Jenna and Gareth always wanted to get married abroad.  So after lots of researching, they, and the rest of the Welsh contingency, flew to the stunning Lake Garda.

You wait until you see the results! Over to Jenna to tell you more about their breathtaking big day…

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Jenna and Gareth

Jenna and Gareth (65 of 97)

What was your budget?

£15,000 (approximately)

How would you describe your wedding theme?

We didn’t really choose a theme per se, we wanted the whole day to be a reflection of us with I suppose a touch of boho in terms of the dresses and flowers.

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What was your favourite part of your wedding?

Definitely the ceremony! It was just magical!

On a terrace of a castle over looking Lake Garda surrounded by mountains. I walked down the aisle to ‘Everybody’s Free’ by Jennifer Ann, which was playing when Gareth proposed on the last stretch of the Ironman. I have very talented friends and family who arranged to sing it flash mob style. It was beautiful and caused a lot of tears. Gareth and I wrote our own vows, mine were a lot more elaborate than his, including the line; ‘I promise to always lock the doors before bed and love you forever’.

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My youngest sister, Sienna, wrote a love poem for us. It was both funny and emotional. That poem, by a 10 year old, had the biggest tears and cheers.

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After the ‘I do’s’ were exchanged, we danced down the aisle with tambourines to T Rex’s Ride a White Swan. It was just perfect.

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Tell us about your Wedding Dress

I was probably an exception when it comes to the wedding dress cliche of going for something completely different to what you’d imagine.

I imagined a dress and was determined to find it. I visited a wedding gown boutique, tried on some beautiful dresses but none of them fitted in with my vision.

I went on a Pinterest mission for a few months and eventually came across Rime Arodaky. I fell in love with all her dresses but there was one ‘Solane’ that had all the elements that I’d envisioned; a low back, the neckline, beautiful embroidery, light fabric and flowy yet sexy.

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I hunted down the only shop in the UK that stocks her, The Mews in Nottinghill, London, and made an appointment. It became clear that Rime Arodaky was the designer for me, my maid of honour and my mum were sold too. All her dresses just suited me perfectly even though they were all so different. As soon as I tried ‘Solane’ on I felt like it was me, of course my mums tears helped. The price tag was way over my budget, so I held off for a few months until I knew there would be a sample sale and luckily ‘Solane’ was part of it.

The lovely girls at The Mews put the dress to one side for me & sent it up to the Bristol shop for me. I cannot recommend The Mews enough!

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

I had some difficulty picking bridesmaids as I have an amazing group of friends and also two sisters and two sisters in law.

Getting married abroad and wanting a small intimate wedding, I didn’t want to have a huge bridal party. I decided to involve my sisters in law in other parts of the wedding and have my niece and nephews as part of the bridal party. They both sang phenomenally, and were witnesses for us too. I had both my sisters, one as my maid of ‘dishonour’, my longest best friend of 25 years as the other maid of ‘dishonour’, school best friend of 20 years and my best friend from University of 13 years.

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Gareth knew who he wanted as best men probably before he knew he wanted to marry me. Geryn and Gavin have been his longest most loyal friends. They are complete opposites. Geryn is the organised and sensible one while Gavin is the wild and mischievous one.

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Why did you choose your venue?

We always wanted to get married abroad. We originally France, as we love it there.

However after some research we realised that we couldn’t legally get married there and actually becoming man and wife there was important to us, I couldn’t have a blessing and pretend.

A friend of ours had been to a wedding in Malcesine Lake Garda and said it was immense. We booked our flights and made various appointments for different venues around the lake.

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We visited the castle in Malcesine and the restaurant Al Corsaro first and was sold straight away. It was exactly what we wanted, laid back, rustic, open and the views were incredible.

Tell us about your photographer

We did a lot of research for a good photographer. Photography is important in our family. My father loves a camera and it’s his hobby. Originally he would take the photos but I wanted him to relax on the day and enjoy it.

Nikola Smernic popped up on Facebook. He had won a National Geographic award and several wedding ones.  His photography is random, relaxed and natural just how I like it. He and his wife are both so laid back to work with. We met them the morning of our wedding and said how we’d like a 10 minute photoshoot at the most as my husband hates it and that’s exactly what they did. To be honest I didn’t even really notice they were there. The end photos are amazing.

How did the proposal happen? 

I was very lucky to have the most incredible surprise proposal. Gareth competed in IronMan UK. The friday I arrived in Bolton he had already picked up all the merchandise and event booklet. I was sat there reading about the event when I came across a page containing messages from the competitors, I just scanned the page and saw Gareth’s name. I was about to read it out loud when Gareth snatched it from my hand and said I wasn’t allowed to read it. I should’ve clicked then, but I’m pretty gullible. Gareth said that he had arranged to do something stupid on the finish line and that I would spoil the surprise if I knew. He is pretty random so I believed him, I thought he’s not going to carry a ring around the course with him anyway and carried on eating Pizza.

The next day was brilliant. The pride I felt watching him complete the swim then the bike was immense. His parents arrived to watch his marathon as well as his best friend. We positioned ourselves along the finish line. I wanted to see him cross the line so made my way through the crowds a few meters before it. I saw him approaching and shouted out for him so that he knew I was there.

He to my annoyance turned around and came over, I waved him on as I knew that they timed the last 100meter split. He luckily ignored me. He gave me a sweaty hug, whispered in my ear that he had travelled 140 miles for me, that I was his first, his last & his everything and got down on one knee.

I still wonder how he got down on that one knee to this day. There was a huge crowd clapping us, Everybody’s Free was playing at the finish line and the presenter stopped the music to congratulate us on the big screen. I grabbed the ring before I even said yes, I was completely speechless.

All was captured on camera which I was so thankful for as it was a complete blur.

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

I made complete use of my friends and family’s talents.

From creating the chalk board signs, filming the wedding, musicians, to hair and make up. I am very fussy with hair & make up & getting married in Italy it was very difficult to shop around and have trials.

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Instead I had some trials with my bridesmaid Nicky, who, due to having a baby 6 weeks prior to the wedding, didn’t even know until 4 weeks prior that she’d make it. She also did some of the other bridesmaid’s hair too, whilst breastfeeding I might add. She’s brilliant at multi tasking. She did a beautiful job and it was exactly how I wanted.Jenna and Gareth (8 of 97)

My maid of honour Rhian did my make up. We had been to MAC and another make up artist for ideas and stocked up on the make up at the airport. It meant the getting ready was intimate and nobody knows me better than these girls so it made complete sense.

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All the name cards for the reception were polaroid photos of some of our favourite memories of our guests. I’ll be honest it took ages and the website crashed many times. But, the fact that most took them home with them showed how much they appreciated it. These doubled as a favour too as my husband has an unhealthy hate towards favours.

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We hired cameras from ‘Shoot it Yourself’ to film our wedding and chose responsible friends to film the day for us. Shoot it Yourself then does the editing for you. I was nervous, as were they, but it worked out amazing. I didn’t want the usual romantic montage as that’s not us at all. I wanted it to be funny and us. The final edit was exactly how I’d hoped and both of us were crying tears of laughter and happiness watching it.

What was your first dance & why?

First dance song obviously wasn’t the usual romantic ballad type, as that is just not our style. But, it wasn’t easy to choose a non-ballad that meant something to us.

We spent many wine fuelled nights playing different songs and trying to dance to them to see if they were right. We kept coming back to ‘our song’ which we had originally decided was too hard to dance to and a bit random.

I read somewhere to not choose a crowd pleaser song but choose one you’ll always remember as yours however random.
So we did.
We dance to Johnny Cash ‘Walk the Line’ with tambourines being played for added effect.

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After the first chorus we invited everyone in to join us for a boogie.

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

I’d have had a few Proseccos with everyone the day before to relax me as I was running around like a headless chicken trying to get everything ready and stressing. I’m guessing this is normal. I also found it tricky to recruit helpers as I was very aware that everyone had paid a lot of money to join us in Italy and were on holiday.

However my day before stress did mean that on the day of the wedding I was completely relaxed. I know also it’s a cliché but I would’ve got married a little earlier. The day flew by and by the time the 4 course meal and speeches were over we had little time for dancing.

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It really is true what they say, time does fly by.

Do you have any advice for future couples?

Don’t make decisions based on what’s trendy or what you think your guests will like. Choose what you both want as that’s what it’s about.

It’s good getting a man’s perspective as they don’t care about décor and details, a wedding day is a day to remember because of the atmosphere you create, good food, good wine, good people and good music.

Also if you’re planning a wedding abroad don’t feel as though you have to fork out those extra thousands for a wedding planner. We did it without and managed perfectly. It meant we got a few small trips to Italy in prior instead.

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

Always say I love you!

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What was your favourite thing about planning a wedding?

Our favourite thing was definitely the trips to Italy we made. We got to explore the Lake and visit nearby Verona and Venice, drank good wine and Limoncello, and ate a lot of Italian food.

The Suppliers

Photographer: Nikola Smernic 
Videographer: Shoot It Yourself 
Ceremony Venue: Castello Scaligero Malcesine
Reception Venue: Al Corsaro 
Bride’s Dress: Rime Arodaky ‘Solane’ 
Groom’s Outfit: French Connection
Bridesmaid’s Dresses: Jarlo at ASOS and Millie Mackintosh
Flowers: Tania Muser 
DJ: Roberto Palma
Stationery: Etsy
Any Reception Decor/Props: Etsy

The Wedding Album

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I think you will agree, this is a killer wedding! I wish so much I could go back in time, find Jenna, become her best friend, then be invited to the wedding!  But that sounds a bit creepy. So scrap that!

 

Real Weddings: Hannah and Jack’s Country Vintage Wedding

Happy Friday you lovely lot! So we have a deliciously gorgeously pretty wedding for you today! Shot by the ever-so-talented Leri Lane Photography, Hannah and Jack invite you all to find out the finer detail of their big day.  And its just wonderful – that tractor!! I mean, come on! I defy anyone to not want a tractor as their wedding car once they see it, and those shoes…..the dress…..right, I will leave you to find out for yourselves……

Real Weddings Banner

Hannah and Jack’s Country Vintage Wedding

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Firstly, a few words from Leri……

Hannah and Jack…. What can I say….? The moment I met these guys they were so excited about planning their wedding, we chatted for ages. It’s like I’d known them for ages. You could tell they were so excited to share their thoughts and it was so exciting to listen to… I knew I was going to love this wedding. They wanted Jack’s sister to design all the invites etc, Hannah wanted to grow flowers in her parents garden and use all around the wedding and she was so excited about going dress shopping! I was so happy when they booked me, photography was special to them, they even chose a second shooter within their package to make sure every element was captured.

Prior to the wedding day we discussed group photos and a wishlist of photos and I received instructions to ‘just capture the emotion of the day’ – which i just love to do! I feel we were just a perfect match.

The wedding day arrived and I made my way to Hannah’s parents home, the girls were getting ready and champagne popping! Hannah was blown away by all the details coming together in front of her it was so beautiful to see, how lucky am I to capture such precious stories. I then saw the dress, wow!!!! Beautiful and elegant and sparkly! One of my favourite photos is when Hannah looks at herself in her dress, her eyes filled up and she saw how beautiful she is!

I was so excited for Jack to see Hannah, I knew they were soul mates by what I had gotten to know of them leading up to the wedding and I absolutely loved watching Hannah walk down the aisle to stand next to Jack and being totally over the moon that they were married…. super cute!! As you can imagine I was so click happy in this day, I giggled alongside them, even shed a sneaky tear behind my camera during jacks amazing heartfelt speech about Hannah and thoroughly loved taking them away for a few photos as the sun was setting – they were such a pleasure to photograph.

They married at Gregynog Hall, which has truly beautiful grounds. There are pockets of hidden delights all around to photograph whether you want to capture the lawns, the building, or cwtch up in a little corner away from everything.

They are such a wonderful couple, their love, friendship and happiness just burst out of them xxx much love xxx

How would you describe your wedding theme?

Country festival meets vintage glam.

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What was your favourite part of your wedding?

Everything!

-Hearing our guests singing “It must be love” behind us during the ceremony.

-Stealing 5 minutes together to absorb the fact we’d just got married!

-Seeing our reception room transformed with all our carefully thought out bits for the first time

-The speeches

So many stand out snippets!

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Tell us about your Wedding Dress

This was the only part of the wedding planning I wasn’t looking forward to. I just didn’t believe I was going to find anything that suited me and thought I’d feel silly in everything. Luckily, my sister, mum and bridesmaids were excellent dress shoppers. I tried around 20 dresses on in all, at 4 different shops and quickly went from believing I’d never find anything to wondering how on earth I was going to choose. It was my sister who eventually picked out my dress from the rail – I had already walked past it.
As soon as I put it on, that was it. It sounds silly but I’d always hated my bum, but I actually thought it looked ok, so that was it! I had two more appointments booked in that day but cancelled them. I’d found my dress!

It was a Ronald Joyce, fitted number with lace, sequin and scallop detailing. I fell in love with the low back and gorgeous train. It was a sort of pale goldy colour, sparkled and just made me feel very glam.

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

I chose my sister as my maid of honour, one of my best friends from home and by two best friends from uni. I could have had at least 3 more but chose my other special 3 ladies (my 3 oldest friends) to be official witnesses and do readings/speeches. It was really important to me to share my day with all the people that mean so much to me.
Our best man was one of my husbands best friend and partner in crime. We knew he’d do a great job of the speech and he didn’t disappoint. He wrote a tongue in cheek poem which had all the guests in stitches.

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Why did you choose your venue?

The venue is smack bang in the middle of where we both grew up. Just after university, Jack worked behind the bar at our venue. I was a guest at another wedding when I first “noticed” him. We’ve actually known each other for years, but only as we grew up near each other. We got chatting and I asked him for a lift home. He actually left me there, but that was definitely the beginning of things to come. This meant, there really wasn’t another choice of venue for us. Gregynog Hall has played an important role in both our lives and is just stunning. It has amazing grounds, we go walking there all the time.

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Tell us about your photographer

Leri Lane is fab. I remember our first meeting to discuss our ideas. I could tell she knew what I was talking about. We just clicked. I was probably slightly over enthusiastic and our first meeting lasted a couple of hours whilst we chatted.
Then we had our pre-wedding shoot, where she gave us some tips and put us at ease.
It was great on the day to have a photographer that you thought of as a friend. It just made the whole experience enjoyable. We had fun. She did a great job in capturing our informal moments and all our little details. Toby H was her second photographer on the day. He was great and meant we had two perspectives of our day. He mostly hung out with the boys in the morning, so it was great to have both mine and Jack’s “getting ready” shots.

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How did the proposal happen? 

It happened about 2 weeks before my husband to be had planned it! It happened on Snowdon. We’d planned to climb it two week’s later but due to some glorious weather I made him come with me on that day. He’d always wanted to ask me on one of our hikes up Snowdon as it is one of my favourite places and somewhere I have been plenty of times with my Dad. Jack had wanted to be traditional and visit my dad to ask permission, but because of me and the “weather window” he ended up doing it over the phone while I was obliviously packing our hiking rucksack. At some point, he sneakily hid the ring in the same rucksack and refused to let me carry it, or retrieve my own coat/water from it for the rest of the day. He chickened out asking me on the top as there were too many people, so it actually happened on the way down, on a quiet, lesser trodden path – it was perfect. The first thing I wanted to do was tell people, but we didn’t have signal or see a soul on the way down. It was so exciting.

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

We tried to do a lot ourselves. My Dad and Gran grew a lot of my table flowers. Home grown sweet peas made the wedding smell so good!

My Gran makes her own jam, so has a hoard of jars, some of which were quite vintage. I raided her shed for plenty of jars, put them through the dishwasher, added minimal decoration to them and they made brilliant table vases for our homegrown flowers.

For our guests place names I engraved pebbles from our favourite beach in Pembrokeshire. They also doubled up as a great favour/memento for guests to take away.

We are fortunate enough to have some very talented designers in the family (My husband’s sister and husband). They helped us design all our own stationary and table plan (Which was based on routes up Snowdon). We only needed to organise for them to get printed. They were exactly how we wanted them and tied in with our colours and themes.

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What was your first dance & why?

Gabrielle Aplins version of “The Power of Love”. We’d seen her at a festival a few years previously and it’s just a special memory to us. We put up festoon lighting too from a gig memory, so everything about the first dance was festival themed and amazing.

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

Maybe found some money in the budget to have our ceremony video’d. There is so much that goes on during the day that you just don’t get to absorb everything. We are quite lucky as we have a lot of guest footage, but we don’t have the speeches filmed for example.

Do you have any advice for future couples?

Make sure you eat some of your cake! Our amazing friend Caroline made our cake and it looked stunning. I just didn’t get to eat any! It’s one of my only regrets of the day.
Other than that, don’t sweat the small stuff and try to enjoy the planning. Even if things don’t go to plan on the day, it really doesn’t matter as you are having such a good time.

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

Always remember you are a team and each other’s biggest fans. Work together, always.

What was your favourite thing about planning a wedding?

Working together, not just as husband and wife to be but also with extended friends and family. It was overwhelming how many people wanted to be involved and to help.
My god father immediately volunteered his vintage tractor as a mode of transport. That was a special part of our day.
We had a family friend who made our cake, flowers were grown by family, stationary was designed, poems were written, wine was selected. It was such a team effort and we loved sharing it with everybody and seeing how much they all enjoyed it too.

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The Suppliers

Photographer: Leri Lane Photography
Ceremony Venue: Gregynog Hall, Tregynon, Powys http://www.gregynog.org/weddings/
Reception Venue: Gregynog Hall, Tregynon, Powys
Bride’s Dress: Bespoke Brides of Chester
Bride’s Shoes: Monsoon
Bride’s Headpiece: Jessica’s Bridal, Shrewsbury
Bride’s Jewellery: Tiffany
Groom’s Outfit: Moss, Peter Posh, M&S
Bridesmaid’s Dresses: ASOS
Cake: Family Friend
Flowers: TMS Events
Hair: Unique Hair
Make Up: Nerys Lloyd
Band: Anthemic Live Band
Stationery: Hatched Creative 
Caterers: TMS Events / WestEnt / and our own 
Transport: My god father’s vintage tractor and a friend’s Range Rover.
Other: We also had a vintage photo booth which really made our evening great. The guests loved it. The vendor is Martha the photo booth.

The Wedding Album

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