If a couple were to build their own wedding venue how might it look?
Set down an off road track in Pembrokeshire the secretive Nantwen cottage has been a personal project for owners Daniel & Jemma. As they plan their own wedding there in August, they tell us a little about their journey so far…
The thought of getting married before building a house never came to us. Instead we chose a joint mortgage and let a team of builders run wild on our barns whilst we continued with our careers as a Cellist and Goldsmith in London.
The moment the first barn was complete it became a firm favourite with honeymooners from all across the world. Hiraeth eventually set in so we left London and endeavoured to carve out a living in Wales. (Daniel as a teacher at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff and Jemma as a bespoke goldsmith with Slade Fine Jewellery.) [nb Hiraeth is a Welsh word that has no direct English translation. The University of Wales, Lampeter attempts to define it as homesickness tinged with grief or sadness over the lost or departed. It is a mix of longing, yearning, nostalgia, wistfulness, or an earnest desire for the Wales of the past] Our attention also started to turn towards the 3 stone walls which made up the derelict barn next door – affectionately known as The Bull Pen.
As a distraction from the question of what to do with these three stone walls we got engaged. I commissioned a ring from Jemma’s Hatton Garden colleagues, dropped it in the mud by a waterfall in the Gwaun Valley before popping it on her finger.That afternoon we phoned the bank, the council and the builders and the bull pen was set to be restored as a studio in which to get married.
The builders restored the entire thing in a few months working solely between 11am and 4pm on the change over days of the increasingly popular Nantwen cottage. Meanwhile Jemma and I were busy getting to know and enjoying our beautiful little daughter Elsbeth. Our next project was to think about getting married ourselves so we had the studio licensed for very small and intimate civil ceremonies.
This is our first season as a venue for intimate weddings and we are really excited to be planning our own wedding here alongside the other couples. With a venue on our doorstep and a goldsmith as the bride the only thing to really think about is the wedding feast and whether our guests will be able to find the secret little cottage with blue doors!
What makes Nantwen so important for us is that it is formed completely out of its surroundings. Guests to the cottage, don’t get told where it is until a few weeks before their stay, this adds to the charm of it. It is small, rugged, wild, unusual, peaceful and romantic. The contents has been scavenged from the old farm, it is incredibly eco friendly and the abundance of wildlife inspired the wilderness garden and wildflower meadows that surround it. We also love sharing it.
Nantwen offers various wedding packages including runaway weddings and honeymoons. See www.nantwen.co.uk or call 01239821139
WOW! What a BEAUTIFUL venue! I am very jealous of any couple that get married here! In fact if you are a Nantwen couple please send us your story, or if you are married send us your wedding photos! Email firstname.lastname@example.org