Our boys are back, and they’re feeling a little over whelmed! With ten months to go, they’re feeling a little up to their eyes with it all. Over to Mike to full you in…..
The RAF Grooms are on Planning Overload!
When we first started planning the wedding it started really well, we knew what we wanted and what we didn’t want in our wedding.
Since then as time continues to dwindle we seem to be behind the drag curve in respects to our timeline. Mostly because I’m away with work;and James is currently working six days a week. (The sixth day is his training day in preparation for becoming a Special Constable with Wiltshire Police, as he leaves the RAF in May)
Our biggest controversy has been the guest list which has been critiqued, shall we say, for the lack of family we invited, as it became clear some family members felt put out by being left out, despite not seeing them for years.
We both have large families, a large circle of friends together and also separate so it was always going to be difficult. We think and hope it is resolved now.
In terms of actual wedding plans we managed to get the majority of it sorted immediately, but being typically gay and influenced by fashion (James mostly!) and very picky (Me!) we would change our minds a lot and still do.
We were good in booking a band, a florist and the venue with ease. Actually James booked the venue before I even saw it! (Berkeley Castle, Gloucestershire) However this guy knows me well and he chose perfectly. It was a castle built to keep the Welsh out for Henry VIII, trouble is it hasn’t worked as James’ family are all Welsh!
The Florist was a lovely lady who runs the flower shop in town and very competitive prices, so with a massive thanks to my mum and her husband Shaun who have agreed to pay for the flowers, we have lovely array of red and white with touches of blue.
So really it’s the finer details that has been left to be organised which are the finalising the catering for the evening food, the decorations, the wines and the table linen. So if any of your readers have any good knowledge on table linen then let us know please! (We are just wary we don’t want to hire the cloths when they cost the same as buying one (this is the picky side in me!)
Oh and the wedding cake – how can I forget that part?! We aren’t sure yet how we are going to tackle this. Whether it is an actual cake made for us costing hundreds of pounds designed to our every needs, or it is a few M&S fruit and sponge cakes decorated to perfection. But with a 100 invited to the day with further 80 in the evening, we know it has got to be good.
We still have ten months to go, so we are confident we will get the smaller but trickier items squared away in good time. It would be great to see what your other readers and couples have done in terms of wedding cakes and table linen etc.
Don’t worry boys! You will get it sorted! Its can get pretty overwhelming. Looking forward to hearing more x
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?
Our wedding theme was a glittery combination of autumnal pine cones and handmade bunting with a moody Brecon Beacons backdrop.
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.
So we have a wonderful cwtch for you today, that is sure to warm your cockles. Hannah Evans of Rocksalt Photography captured this beauty on Sully Island. Becky and Lyndsey took their dog Toby Han, to this beautiful part of the world for their engagement shoot. Not only do you have this gorgeous cwtch of the pair, but we just had to include the gorgeously handsome boy that is Toby!
Cwtch of the Week: Becky and Lyndsey’s Beach Cwtch
If that doesn’t start your week off on a lovely note, I’m not sure what will! xx
Love is love which is why we adore featuring all types of weddings.
We’ve got a ridiculously cool engagement shoot for you today courtesy of Richard Savage Photography. I hand over to Rebecca “Bets” to tell you how she proposed the Shelly.
Shelley and I have always been mutual friends. We were both in long term relationships that’s ended similar times and we were drawn together by a gathering with close friends. We started dating not long after, Shelley was working and living on Cardiff, she applied for a job in Swansea which was successful, we moved in together in our first home a few months after. Only a year into our relationship, I got that feeling, when you know, then you know.
I decided to ask her to marry me. I made reservations at a lovely restaurant under the pretense it was my Dad’s birthday. When we arrived for our meal Shelley was confused as to why it was just the two of us, but still none the wiser. I explained it was just a surprise “date night” as we had both been very busy as of late. During dinner I ordered champagne, I had a close friend on stand by to deliver roses and a gift bag once we had finished eating. In the gift bag was a heart frame – photos that had significance during our relationship, first date, first kiss, first house, first holiday etc. In the final window was a picture of the ring and the words will you marry me? She was completely surprised, but more importantly she said yes!
I think you will agree that Shelley and Bets Engagement Shoot is stunning. How is it that two people can make looking cool so effortless! ~ Kate
We have a wonderful relaxed Cardiff Castle wedding for you today with amazing photographs by Sacha Miller. Lee & Julian threw away the rule book and (in their words) followed their own path, the result was a relaxed and happy day which I think you’ll agree looks amazing!
What was your budget? We never really set a budget, but from the start decided to try and keep things relatively small and simple, but not skimp on the things that were important to us, like ceremony location, photos and food. We kept track of every bit of spending, and it ended up at £9,500. More than we’d anticipated, but looking back, it was worth every penny!
How would you describe your wedding theme? We didn’t have one, and never even thought about a theme. The Hotel did ask us to choose a colour for chair sashes, and not having any colours in mind, we chose olive green just to match the reception room curtains! Luckily, it was a colour we really liked, so we then bought ties and pocket squares to match.
What was your favourite part of your wedding? One of our favourite moments was when we arrived at the Guest Tower Rooms at Cardiff Castle, and saw our family and friends waiting there for us. Everyone had a glass of bubbles, were all dressed up smarter than we’d seen most of them before, and with beaming smiles. It was at this point that the day became very special.
Tell us about your Wedding Outfit We both decided early on, not to go with a dress as neither of us could fill one out up top! We quickly settled on matching dark blue 3 piece suits, and ended up choosing T.M.Lewin who tailored them for us. Luckily, they went with the reception room curtains.
Who did you pick as your bridesmaids &/or best man and why? The distinct lack of a bride meant that no maids were required, but we wanted to make Julian’s nieces, Delphina and Pearl, feel more involved in the day, as they were so excited about it all when we said we were getting married. We asked them to be our ring bearers, which they did amazingly.
We asked our very good friends Wayne & Lee to be Ushers for us, and they did an amazing job of handling things when we weren’t there, which allowed us to relax knowing our guests were being looked after.
Why did you choose your venue? I (Lee) grew up just outside Cardiff, and lived there for 18 years. We spent our first few years together there too before we moved to London. I always wanted a nice venue to get married in, and I think that Cardiff Castle always featured in my mind. We went to look at it, and both thought it was perfect for our small wedding (30 guests). We also arranged for our quests to have a tour of the castle before the wedding, as most people were not from Wales, which went down well.
How did the proposal happen? It was a month before same sex marriage became legal in the UK, and we were on the way home to London from a lovely weekend we’d spent visiting friends in Belgium. Julian had always said that I had to be the one to propose, as I’m the older one! I’m not sure if I proposed in France or England as we were somewhere in the Channel Tunnel at the time. Not the most romantic of places I know, and it wasn’t something I’d planned or even thought about until it was pretty much coming out of my mouth. We were talking about how great the weekend had been, and I just asked him. The rest is history.
What was your first dance & why? We didn’t have an evening function, but this is not a tradition we would have followed anyway.
In hindsight, was there anything you would have done differently? I wish we’d provided some finger food either just before or after the ceremony. We were told by a number of people that we’d provided more than enough alcohol from the start at 10:30am, but some people were feeling hungry well before the wedding lunch was served at 2:30pm. Everything else was just perfect.
Do you have any advice for future couples? Heterosexual couples seem to have the wedding thing all sorted out, and tend to follow a traditional format with most things centred on the bride. I’m finding that gay couples are making their own rules on the format of their weddings, and some people seem quite shocked that “You’re not having a cake?!” for example. I think our advice would be to follow your own path, and do whatever you want to make your day special for you. We did, and it was an amazing and relaxing day. A lot of people (even castle staff) commented on how laid back and enjoyable it was. Oh, and it whizzes by so quickly. Soak it all up!
What’s the best piece of marriage advice you received? To take time out together throughout the day. The day goes by so quickly, and you’ll both be trying to get around and spend time with all of your guests.
What was your favourite thing about planning a wedding? It was a really special moment when our rings arrived, as we’d never seen them other than in a picture. They had been made to order in America, out of a meteorite. It does feel good when it’s all done and arranged, and you can just sit back and look forward with excitement to the big day.