Real Weddings: Francesca and Nathan’s Relaxed Day

Happy Friday Cwtchers!

Ah, we have such a pretty, relaxed, happy wedding for you to start your weekend off with a big smile.  Shot by the lovely Heledd Roberts, Francesca and Nathan share their big day details with us.  Over to you two….

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Francesca and Nathan’s Relaxed Day

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How would you describe your wedding theme?

To be honest we didn’t really have a theme. We wanted a relaxed feel to the day and wanted to have as much input into the whole day.

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What was your favourite part of your wedding?

EVERYTHING! From the 6am wake up call to the 3am hot tub party with friends! We has such a blast! We wanted the wedding weekend to be based on love, life, and laughter, and we certainly achieved this!

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Tell us about your Wedding Dress

The dress was from Karen Lesley Bridal Shop based in Northrop. It was the first and only bridal shop I went to! The staff were amazing and nothing was too much trouble. I had no idea what I wanted, and after trying on a fair few I went back to the first dress! It was a Mori Lee, and was simply stunning with the lace details. My Mum and sister came with me and were very helpful.

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

I had two bridesmaids, my younger sister Laura and Nathan’s sister Monique. They were amazing and so laid back about it all. from the bridesmaid dress fittings to the day itself they were so helpful and kept me calm.

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Nathan had his best friend since school Gaz as the best man. We couldn’t of had a better best man! He made us laugh and cry during the speeches and was such a great support for Nathan on the day! Nathan will be playing the part of best man for Gaz next year for his own wedding! We have to mention the ushers! Ben, Ronnie, Anton, Adam, and JV!

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They all have been such a big part of Nathan’s life and it meant so much they played a key part during the day! They were all amazing and looked very smart in their Ted Baker suits!

Why did you choose your venue?

We were married in the Marble Church in Bodelwyddan. Both our families had strong links to the couch and it meant a lot to be married there as my Mum and Dad were married there 33 years ago. It is a beautiful church.

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We choose Pentre Mawr Country House in Llandyrnong as our wedding reception. It was the first and only venue we visited! We fell in love with the place as soon as we arrived, and Bre and Graham (the owners) treated us like family! Nothing was too much trouble and they always were happy to help and get stuck in. It is a beautiful country house with cottages and even safari lodges (very posh glamping) for guest to stay in!

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It boosted large grounds with beautiful views and of course a marquee with a newly converted barn attached for the dance floor. Myself and Nathan come from large families, and with having 130 guests in the daytime itself we were looking for a venue that provided the space but also freedom to do what we wanted.

Tell us about your photographer

Where do I begin? Heledd Roberts is AMAZING! A very talented young lady who captured our day perfectly. We aren’t a posey couple, we wanted a very relaxed and natural photographer, Heledd was just perfect for this. The photographs are truly stunning and she has done such a perfect job on capturing very special moments.

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How did the proposal happen? 

Our proposal isn’t the most romantic, but it always makes me laugh looking back at it. I had just finished 3 night shifts in the hospital and Nathan had told me before I headed to bed that morning that he was off with Gaz to collect some new fence panels for our home. I thought nothing of it as Nathan was always doing DIY around the house. I woke up a few hours later and Nathan asked if I wanted to pop out for tea that night. We headed out and Nathan randomly stopped at local beach (Rhos On Sea). He asked if I would like to get out and go for a stroll along the promenade before our meal. However, being slightly post night grumpy and in need of food I declined and said no! Poor Nathan got out, opened the boot and came back to the car with a clogau gold box. His plan had back fired and couldn’t get down on one knee, so he opened the box and there was a beautiful welsh gold engagement ring! I was shocked, and felt awful that Nathan’s plan didn’t work. After a lot of tears and laughter I said YES!

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

I just love EBay and a good bargain! I did a lot of DIY things mysellf and with the help of lovely family and friends. I wanted a personal touch on the decor and enjoyed looking for ideas on Pinterest! On the Thursday night before the wedding myself and Nathan (with the help of our brilliant family) set up the wedding venue, it was so much fun!

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What was your first dance & why?

Our first dance was sung by an amazing singer called Samwise. He sang a cover of “Can’t help falling in love with you’ on the ukulele. Choosing a song was tricky but we finally found the one which had so much meaning and felt right. It was amazing, and everyone got involved and even sang along. The dance floor was packed!

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

Not at all! I just wish we had longer. The day really does go fast!

Do you have any advice for future couples?

Enjoy every moment, the day really does fly by! Try and find some time just for the two of you during the day!

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

Remember the day is about you two, and nobody else! It had rained all morning on the day but I was not going to let that spoil the day. I was marrying my best friend and love of my life, that was all that mattered.

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What was your favourite thing about planning a wedding?

We planned our wedding over a two year period, and a lot of things were booked very early, which helped! It was interesting learning new things about each other, although we have been together 6 years. Both me and Nathan have strengths and weakness, it tested the water for sure! Overall it made us stronger as a couple!

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The Suppliers

Photographer: Heledd Roberts Photography
Videographer: Theo Woodford-Dyer Videographer
Ceremony Venue: St Margarets Church, Bodelwyddan
Reception Venue: Pentre Mawr Country House, Llandyrnog
Bride’s Dress: Mori Lee
Bride’s Shoes: Not on the Highstreet
Bride’s Headpiece: Accessorize
Bride’s Jewellery: Not on the Highstreet
Groom’s Outfit: Ted Baker
Bridesmaid’s Dresses: Dorothy Rose Bridal Shop 
Bridesmaid’s Accessories: River Island
Cake: Sarah Radcliffe (friend)
Flowers: Haf’s Floral Design
Hair: Fabienne at Hush
Make Up: Anna Baxter Make Up
Band: Samwise
DJ: Red Rooster Disco
Stationery: Paperchase
Caterers: Brooke House Mill (Denbigh)
Any Reception Decor/Props: Haf’s Floral Design
Transport: Just Rolls

The Wedding Album

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Real Wedding: Eric and Jemma’s Rustic Wedding

Happy Friday everyone!

And speaking of happy, this is such a smiley wedding for you to start off your weekend! Todays Real Wedding of Eric and Jemma’s rustic wedding, is superb.  The couple really couldn’t stop showing how overjoyed they were to be marrying each other.

Shot by Cross-Jones Photography, this wedding will really bring smile on your face!  Over to Jemma and Eric to tell you all about their lovely day.

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Eric and Jemma’s Rustic Wedding

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How would you describe your wedding theme?

Our wedding theme was rustic

What was your favourite part of your wedding?

Jemma: Every moment was truly magical, from the moment I arrived at Oxwich Bay, to walking down the isle with my father & seeing Eric looking very handsome in his suit.
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We had amazing adventures on the beach throughout the day and were able to capture and cherish beautiful memories with close family & friends. There is honestly not one thing I would have wished to have changed.

Eric: For me I have to say that my most favourite part of our wedding day is when I stood at the alter, a bag of nerves, with my brother by my side. The harpist was playing, I turned around and saw Jem for the first time, my heart skipped a beat and I nearly started to cry. I felt amazing, my wife looked stunning as she does everyday, but on this day she blew me away. I feel like the luckiest man alive.

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Tell us about your Wedding Dress

As a child you can only dream of a fairytale wedding with a princess dress, this made my dream complete. I had a very specific creation in mind and I was able to turn it into a reality, with the help & support of Lorraine Stone, Truly Scrumptious, a bridal boutique in North Cornelly.
I wanted a dress that was truly unique & every little detail of my dress was a part of me, from the finer flower lace detail & the colour to the magnificent grand bow at the back at the dress which was inspired from my shoes.

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The dress fittings were also an opportunity to spend quality time with my beautiful mum, which helped us throughout our incredible wedding journey. The both of us decided to have daffodils on the table for the wedding day as they remind me of beautiful memories with my grandmother, therefore we spent time flower arranging together too.

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

Eric: I choose my brother, Trevor, as I look up to him, not only is he my brother but he is my best friend. Trev is an awesome dad to his 4 girls and a fantastic husband. A great role model. Therefore I couldn’t pick a better person to stand by me on my big day.

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Jemma: We both knew that we were going to have 4 beautiful flower girls, they were Eric’s Nieces:Nakisha, Tia, Lexi & Amelia.Then my 2 gorgeous nephew’s as page boys: Mason & Harley. This made it complete and they were all truly stars on the day. Well Done & a BIG thank you. We love you lots & lots.

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Why did you choose your venue?

Eric:  Oxwich Bay has amazing memories from my childhood, from when my parents took me there as a child playing on the beach, it was simply perfect for us as we spend alot of time down there now as a couple. I love being outdoors and exploring amazing adventures together which I know will continue throughout time.

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Jemma: We spend alot of time walking our pooch down the Gower, when we looked at venues the Oxwich Bay captured everything we could have dreamed of. The outdoors is just surrounded by natural beauty, with the sound of the ocean and the feel of the sand between your toes.

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Tell us about your photographer

Eric: Cross-Jones Photography, Jon & Chantelle, were truly exceptional & we couldn’t have wished for anyone else to capture our magical moments on our wedding day. We were able to explore the surroundings of the Oxwich Bay Hotel with their support throughout the day to capture beautiful memories that will always be with us.

Jemma: We had photographs in the gardens with beautiful blossom trees enhancing our photos, but we had spectacular adventures down the beach including climbing rocks in my heels!
We cant thank Jon & Chantelle enough for everything they captured on our wedding day.

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How did the proposal happen? 

PARIS….. At the top of the Eiffel Tower!!!

Remembering it like it was yesterday.  It was a very hot sunny day, 37 degree’s to be exact, we had waited a considerable amount of time to reach the top of the Eiffel Tower. When we arrived at the top it was very busy, we had a glass of champagne and was admiring the views over Paris.

The next moment the waves of people seem to vanish & Eric got down on one knee with a stunning engagement ring in the shape of the tower. A lot of thought had obviously gone into the whole proposal, so I’m a very lucky girl.

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

Where to start on how we selected everything for our enchanting journey on our magical wedding day, below we have highlighted where we have sourced many items that may have been small however once they all came together created the bigger picture and formed a very incredible day for us both to share with our close family & friends….

The Wedding Favours had a very special meaning to us we supported 2 charities close to our hearts: Cancer Charity, where we purchased scratch cards & TY Hafan Pin Badges & Hessian bags which we used to create for children’s activity packs. Jemma currently works at Ty Hafan, Children’s Hospice as an Outreach Play Practitioner, therefore has a close connection at the hospice and in communities accross Wales with the children & families she works with and supports.

What was your first dance & why?

For our first dance song we choose, Shane Filan / Beautiful In White, the words were perfect, and we both fell in love with the song the first time we heard it, we listened to millions of love songs, but none came close.
It felt like we were in our own bubble, with the sounds of cheers and happiness as we danced through the song. It was followed by the bride dancing with her father which shared the journey.

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

Honestly, absolutely nothing, the wedding day was enchanting and we both had a magical day, there were lots of smiles & laughter with our close family & friends, some of which travelled far and wide from England & Scotland.

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Do you have any advice for future couples?

Enjoy every moment of your magical day, and take time to capture a moment together, we have created forever memories from our day that we will treasure forever.

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

We have known each other for 15 years now, and have been good friends through that time, advice from others has been to keep smiling like we do & to be happy. Instead of a guest book we asked our family and friends to write down their most memorable place that they had been too, so that we can visit those places to create memorable moments also on our journey together, so we have some incredible adventures now to complete.

What was your favourite thing about planning a wedding?

Eric: Jem was fantastic, she was so organised & in my opinion she could have a future job in wedding planning, but I know she is doing her dream job at present at TY Hafan. The food tasting was amAzing, to have the opportunity to spend time at Oxwich Bay with my future wife made me feel complete & I had never had that before.

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Jemma: We worked well as a team, ideas were created by talking to each other & if something wasn’t feeling quite right we would make the decision together to change it. We had a lovely day shopping with our nieces and nephews, both were wearing their clothing / shoes from Ted Baker & Next, and looked adorable.
However at times it was difficult as I had to keep things a secret from Eric, not only was my dress a surprise, but Eric had no idea about my Unique bouquet, or his buttonhole, made personally from buttons & brooches, which was exceptionally made with love by Leesa, from I <3 Buttons.

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The Suppliers

Photographer: Cross-Jones Photography
Ceremony Venue: Oxwich Bay Hotel, Gower
Reception Venue: Oxwich Bay Hotel, Gower
Bride’s Dress: Lorraine Stone, Truly Scrumptious Bridal Boutique
Bride’s Shoes: Forbidden Heels
Bride’s Headpiece: Flo & Percy
Bride’s Jewellery: Fraser Hart
Groom’s Outfit: French Connection
Bridesmaid’s Dresses: Ted Baker
Cake: Trellis Confectionery Port Talbot
Flowers: Jemma and her Mum
Hair: Antonia, Maples Hair & Beauty, Pyle
Make Up: Jodie Amner
DJ: Hotel Resident DJ
Stationery: Inspire Me Designs 
Any Reception Decor/Props: NiVi Designs

The Wedding Album

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Real Wedding: Jenny and Thomas’s Edwardian Manor House Wedding

Oh its Friday again! Yippee!

And to start your weekend off in style, we have a truly lovely wedding for you!

Beautifully captured by the ever so talented Oliver J Photography, Jenny and Thomas got married at the breathtaking Edwardian Manor,  Llangoed Hall at the beginning of October.

It truly looks like it was just the most wonderful day, and we are totally loving this couple!

Over to Jenny and Thomas to tell us all about it…….

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Jenny and Thomas’s Edwardian Manor House Wedding

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How would you describe your wedding theme?

No real theme. We tried to keep it in keeping with the décor of our chosen venue, an Edwardian Manor House in the Wye valley, Llangoed Hall.

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What was your favourite part of your wedding?

We genuinely loved the whole day. We wanted a relaxed wedding that we would enjoy celebrating with our guests in beautiful surroundings. The tone of the day was set by my friend’s gorgeous toddler who decided to abandon her parents and follow me down the aisle immediately making everyone laugh and it was the best way to calm our nerves. 

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Our best men were also brilliant and leapt up at completely the wrong moment to give us the rings making everyone laugh again and setting the tone for an incredibly fun day.

This carried through to the speeches during which all the speakers managed to balance genuine emotion with as many funny stories as they could squeeze in. As the bride, I particularly became a target and every personality quirk and childhood mishap suddenly became public knowledge. 

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My younger brother also decided he would do a speech as part of the father of the bride speech (fairly sure I didn’t actually give permission for that!) but it was incredibly emotional to hear our families talk about us with such love and affection. 

During the groom’s speech, Tom decided to share the story of the first proposal attempt which caused a lot of laughs at my expense particularly some of my friends decided it was time to share some of the antics from my hen weekend with the entire room.

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The laughter continued when the band started. I can honestly say I never expected to see my 80 year old grandmother who last danced at her own wedding in the ‘60s dancing with all my friends to Teenage Dirtbag and my parents – who also last danced in the ‘80s – jumping around to Mr Brightside. The band were amazing and getting everyone up and dancing and the set kept the energy going all night with a mix of music. 

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I’m not sure anyone is going to forget the dancing of that night, and fortunately – or unfortunately depending on how you felt about it – the photos and videos are circulating to remind those who would rather forget…

Tell us about your Wedding Dress

As we only had had 8 months until the big day, dress shopping was all a bit of a rush. I visited Laura May Bridal with one of my friends just to figure out what kinds of things I liked. 

I still couldn’t really imagine myself in a long white dress so had no idea what kind of thing I wanted. 

We described the kinds of dresses I liked and thought would suit me so along with the assistant, we picked shapes, materials, and styles to narrow things down. 

I was picking up art deco style pearl numbers, or lacy Kate Middleton style dresses, but the assistant picked up a plain silk waisted dress with beaded detailing on the back to try the shape. I barely looked at it and had passed in on the rack as not interested. 

I tried it on first to test out the shape and instantly loved it. It was simple, tailored and I didn’t feel completely overwhelmed by it. I told myself it was just because it was the first time I had seen myself in a wedding dress but every other dress I tried on felt like it was someone else’s dress and that I was completely overwhelmed by lace and beads and skirts. 

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I had taken one of my bridesmaids with me who was brilliant and telling me honestly when things suited me or not and I completely needed that brutal honesty because all the dresses were lovely. 

We narrowed it down to two dresses; the first one and a vintage 1920s beaded dress, and so I brought my mum back a week later to look at them. 

All week I had been thinking about the first dress. I tried them both on for my mum and we both fell completely in love with the first accidental dress and ordered it that day with plain ribbon edged veil and just prayed it would arrive in time. 

I ended up doing the thing they say you should never do, I brought the first dress, from the first shop, in under a week of looking.

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

Picking the bridesmaids was difficult because there were so many candidates who would have done an amazing job. 

We eventually decided on two of my uni ex-housemates and one of best friends who had just returned from living in Australia. This worked brilliantly having people representing different friendship groups and bringing alternative ideas and the wedding would not have been so amazing without them. 

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From the hen weekend to the them completely taking over decorating the venue and organising everything the day before – working a night shift 24 hours before your wedding turned out not to be such a good idea- they just completely sorted everything and did an incredible job.

The two bestmen – in the end we couldn’t pick – were two of Tom’s uni housemates. They did a great job from organising a stag weekend in Dublin which Tom loved, to helping organise the suits, and the speeches. As always they were on great form and helped make the day what it was.

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Why did you choose your venue?

Llangoed Hall was the only venue we visited. I had heard about it from friends and researched a few, but just kept coming back to it. 

We are wanted somewhere that we could have the ceremony and reception, and that could accommodate our guests overnight. We visited and it was even more beautiful than we had imagined and we loved it instantly. 

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We liked having all the rooms downstairs available to our guests so everyone could mill around as they pleased, making the day more relaxed.

The team there were also great at helping organise things and were invaluable on the day. They took care of everything from rounding up guests, helping our florist set up and took care of everything we asked. It freed us and the bridal party up to simply enjoy the day.

Tell us about your photographer

Oh Oliver. I had seen some of Oliver’s photos of a colleague’s wedding and I loved what I had seen on his website. 

We wanted our photos to be more documentary type, and make the most of the beautiful surroundings. 

I met Oliver about five months before the wedding and got on immediately and this carried on through to the big day. We really appreciated his input and ideas – even if it did end up with a last minute rush order on sparklers – and they all worked brilliantly on the day. 

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He managed to somehow completely blend in with the guests and just become part of the wedding whilst keeping everyone on task and on time. 

Neither of us particularly likes being the centre of attention or having our photo taken, but Oliver put us both at ease and made the photos an enjoyable experience.

How did the proposal happen? 

So the proposal took two attempts!

Poor Tom with the help of his groomsmen had planned a romantic surprise weekend away in hotel and was going to propose at the evening meal. It was lovely. We had a suite with champagne and strawberries, amazing food with matched wine for each courses. 

Unfortunately I’ve always been a bit of a lightweight and enjoyed the wine with our lunch a bit too much and never made it to the evening meal where he planned to propose. 

He was so traumatised it took six months for him to plan another weekend away. 

He proposed at a hotel in Covent Gardens when we had been discussing our plans for the following day by revealing a fake ring and a plan to go ring shopping for a replacement together the following day. 

It was a lovely and low key way to propose and I loved it , and it did explain his panic when I had suggested after dinner drinks on the way back to hotel. 

We went shopping the next day and picked the first ring I tried on in the first shop and bought it there and then.

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

We made all of the stationary and a lot of the decorations ourselves because we just struggled to find things we liked. The stationary seemed endless, but it made it more personal and was definitely worth it in the end.

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What was your first dance & why?

This was really tricky one because we don’t have “a song” most of the dancing we had done together had on nights out. 

I came across Ben Folds’s, ‘The Luckiest’ when it was featured in the film About Time and loved it and felt it best summed out how we felt about our relationships and each other. We have even learnt to waltz (via youtube) but then at the last minute abandoned the idea of a routine and waltzing and decided to take the pressure out of it and just wing it. 

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And whilst we will never win awards for our dancing, it was lovely to have a moment just the two of us together.

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

Absolutely nothing. We went in with the attitude of not stressing out about things being perfect because it would be a great day anyway and it worked for us. This meant we actually enjoyed the preparation and everything was perfect on the day. Not working nights 24 hours prior to the wedding would have been nice though!

Do you have any advice for future couples?

Go with your gut. If you like it and know what you want go for it. 

We booked the first venue, bought the first dress, bought the first engagement and wedding rings, and wouldn’t change a thing. 

We only had 7 months from engagement to wedding so had to get organised and make quick decisions, but it actually took a lot of the stress out of it because we didn’t overthink or question our choices.

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

Laugh with each other and have fun. That way you will always be best friends as well as husband and wife.

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What was your favourite thing about planning a wedding?

It was a great excuse to get together with friends and plan something fun together.

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The Suppliers

Photographer: Oliver J Photography
Ceremony Venue: Llangoed Hall
Reception Venue: Llangoed Hall
Bride’s Dress: Martina Liana at Laura May Bridal
Bride’s Headpiece: Etsy
Bride’s Jewellery: Etsy
Groom’s Outfit: Ted Baker
Bridesmaid’s Dresses: Monsoon
Cake: Family Friend
Flowers: The Flower Hive
Hair: Brideology
Make Up: Brideology
Band: Rockit
Other: Favours – Fabulous Welshcakes
             Harptist – Alis Huws

The Wedding Album

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Real Weddings: CTB’s Anna & Richie Celebrate Five Years

Hello lovelies! So today is Richie and my 5th wedding anniversary so I am hijacking the blog in order to say Happy Anniversary to this brilliant man of mine. I cannot believe that it was five years ago that the wonderful Maria Farrelly shot our wedding!  In the 5 years we have been married, we have moved to a new country (and back again), moved house 4 times and had 2 beautiful baby boys,  Harry and Albie who are now 3  and a half and one. I can honestly say (and I don’t do sloppy lightly) that these last 5 year have been easy and hard, rough and smooth. happy and sad.  But I absolutely could and would not have been able to do it without you Richie.  I love you a million and you’re the most fabulous human.  Here is to many more happy years………

Real Weddings Banner

Real Weddings: CTB’s Anna & Richie Celebrate Five Years

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What was your budget? 

Anna: To be honest, I can’t really remember! I could hazard a guess (seen as I am now married to an accountant) and say ‘as small as possible, but I am sure we had one! Rich?

Richie: Well, I had a budget yes! No idea what it was though.  I did to start with but it got blown out of the water by you.

Anna: Brilliant.

How would you describe your wedding theme?

Anna: Well I knew I wanted a vintage theme but back then, (all of 5 years ago?!?!), there was very little on the market and very few suppliers (if any) that I could buy what I had in my head from.  Which is why in the end I had to compromise, remove a lot of the vision I had, and make a lot of it.  I do love a bit of DIY and back then, we were childless so I had endless time to do these things!

Richie: Floral.

Anna:  Brilliant.

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What was your favourite part of your wedding?

Anna: I had a couple of ‘moments’.  The first was the one  I had been imagining since we started planning the big day and that was,being lucky enough to still ave my Dad to walk me down the aisle. Knowing a couple of friends who were not so blessed, this was not something I took lightly and knew how amazing it was to have him there. But it wasn’t just that, due to a wedding car malfunction on the M4, I ended up being stuffed into the back seat of my Dads Mazda and driven to the church, with my Dad driving, and my sister next to me.  One of those things I didnt even realise I would want until it happened!

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My second was the first dance. I didn’t really think much about it until it happened.  Now, you need to know that Rich and I are not slow dancers.  We love holding hands, dancing like idiots etc,but slow dancing? With lots of people watching? No no no. But it was amazing! It felt like we were the only two people in the room. A very lovely moment that I will never forget.

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Richie: Dunno Babe.

Anna: Brilliant.

Tell us about your Wedding Dress

Anna: Oooooo this is a sore point. You know those girls? Those idiots that order their dress 12 months before their wedding in the size they are ‘definitely’ going to be by the time the day comes. Then they come for the final fitting 4 weeks before the wedding and they’ve actually put on weight and the dress no longer fits? You know those tw*ts???
Yeah. That was me.
I was fortified and distraught that my beautiful dream Sottero and Midgley dress no longer fitted me. I was quite literally bursting out of it!  But the girls at All About Eve in Newport were absolutely incredible.  They did not once look at me like I was a complete imbecile (which lets face it, I was), they just made me and my Mum calm and worked their little bottoms off,and found me a dress that I actually ended up loving even more.  My Madeline Gardner dress was my dream dress.  So if you think about it, its a good job I put on a bit on timber!

Richie: Which one?

Anna: Brilliant

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

Anna: It was a no brainer really.  I had my big(tiny) sister Ceri, my niece Emily, and my best friends Sarah, Jo and Emma.  For flower girls, we had a firends little girls who looked gorgeous.  I also had two bridesmen (well, what else were my boy best friends going to be!?!) Simon and Anthony. I have known my best friends since we were all small and there was no question who would be standing (getting drunk and dancing lots) with me on the big day.

Richie:  I had two as I  am not very good at making decisions. Two good blokes who I knew I could trust, Matthew and Gareth.

Anna:  Brilliant. That was like getting blood out of a stone.

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Why did you choose your venue?

Anna:  The ceremony was at our local church, St Basils.  It was where I was christened and where many of our best friends have also got married.  Also, my brother is a vicar and so was able to marry us which was just massively special!  For the venue, we wanted somewhere that was beautiful inside and out and somewhere we could all stay.  We looked at so many places, but as soon as we got out of the car, I completely fell in love with the Coed-Y-Mwstwr in Coychurch, Bridgend.  Its so beautiful and then you walk inside and its stunning! The rooms are amazing, so we  booked it there and then.

Richie:  Um. Just felt really nice when we went there didn’t it?

Anna:  Brilliant.

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Tell us about your photographer

Anna: I had seen Maria‘s work on my friends Facebook page.  She is a make up artist and had posted some of Maria’s work taken at a wedding, and I completely loved them! I loved her style, the casual real way of capturing people.  Then we met and it was meant to be.  We also had out engagement shoot with her, and it was brilliant. Completely relaxed us,especially Rich who is not really down with the whole ‘don’t  pull a face and try and be serious’ photographs. Then on the day she was incredible. So happy even though she must have been shattered, managed to get everyone to listen to her for the group shots, and created the most wonderful story of our day.  We love her.

Richie:  She took lots of photographs and was really good at it and I really like her.

Anna: *massive sigh* Brilliant

How did the proposal happen? 

Anna: Well, considering I had been nagging him with ‘So, Baby……..?’, he would answer with, ‘Yes?’ and I would ask, ‘when are we going to get married’ for at least 3 times a week for a good 12 months, I did not think in a million years that he would chose something as cliche as Valentines Day 2010 to ask.  Anyhoo, we woke up on the day and Rich got up and let Cleo out dog upstairs as per usual for a weekend.  He then brought me some beautiful roses (as per his tradition) and asked me not to move and he had to pop out for a bit.  Under no circumstance was I to get out of bed.  Like he needed to ask twice.  With much reluctance, I picked up the remote, snuggled up to the pooch and watched some TV.
About 40 minutes late, Richie returned and came upstairs.  He then produced a Curry’s carrier bad and announced ‘Happy Valentines Day’.
Let me just highlight that.  A CURRY’S CARRIER BAG.
I thought, ‘he’s got me bloody electrical goods for valentines day!!!! What.  The.  Actual!?’
So I opened said bloody bag and he had bought me a digital photo frame and produced a memory stick to go in it.  I went with it at this point.  On the memory stick, and now the photo frame were images of ‘Anna and Rich’ from our first date to present day. I cried.  It was really lovely.  I watch the memories until the screen went blank. He did well.
Then some writing came up on the screen:  ‘So, Baby……..?’
With a gaping and most unladylike opened mouth, I turned to my left and there, whilst in my pyjamas, Richie went down on one knee and asked me to marry him with the most beautiful big, blue plastic ring you have ever seen.  Once I stopped gasping in complete ‘this is just not your style’ disbelief, I of course said yes!

Richie: You just described that didn’t you?

Anna:  Brilliant.

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

Anna:  I collected jam jars for 18 damn months and plied my friends with wine and pizza so they would help  me decorate them with a variety of lace and pretty doo dars. They were our vases for the  tables.  I designed our own invitations as I worked in Graphic Design and Marketing at the time. You couldn’t buy bunting anywhere at the time, but Breast Cancer Research were giving some to people in  order to help you raise money for their charity.  We therefore used it for the wedding and donated part of our budget to the charity.  Made us feel warm and fuzzy inside. I also bought a load of black lanterns that were massively reduced and we (I say we, but I think Richie  may actually have something to say on this bit) painted them cream.  Our gorgeous wedding cake was also home made by my beautiful friend Angelina and her Mum, Olivia.  We also bought some vintage suitcases which we hung photographs of all of our loved ones in, just because.

Richie: I painted all the lanterns.  I did at least the majority.  I decorated jars too.

Anna: Yes love, yes you did.

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What was your first dance & why?

Anna:  Our first dates were predominantly gigs.  One of our favorites was ‘Noise and Confusion’ where we saw our favourites, Foo Fighters.  One of our most meaningful songs was ‘Times Like These’ and the Foos (its what their bezzies call them) did the most amazing acoustic slowed down version on MTV.  So it went without saying that we would have that.  I also love that we asked the DJ to immediately play the original rock version straight after.  It had the desired effect and everyone joined us on the dance floor.  Apart from a small collection who just tutted at me, smiled, and went and sat down again.

Richie: It was ‘Times Like These’ by the Foo Fighters because its a song we both like.

Anna:  Meaningful baby.  Really meaningful.

Richie: Well we do though!?!

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

Anna:  I would say that if I did it again, I would like to stop worrying if everyone was ok and having a nice time, and just relax and enjoy it myself.  However I imagine I would just behave in the exact same way.  Do though brides and grooms.  Youve done all you can, this is it now.  Have fun, its your day!

Richie: Not got hammered.

Anna: I thought you might say that.  I wish I had been as relaxed as you! Maybe we should’ve met somewhere in the middle!

Do you have any advice for future couples?

Anna: Nope.  No point.  You wont listen to anyone, and that’s the way it should be. Do it your way!

Richie: I genuinely don’t!

Anna: Shocker!

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

Anna: You’re now a little team.  Always be there for each other.  Always.

Richie: All you need is love.

Anna:  Good one Lenn0n.

The Suppliers

Photographer: My gorgeous friend, Maria Farrelly
Ceremony Venue: St Basils Church, Newport.
Reception Venue: Coed-Y-Mwstwr
Bride’s Dress: Madeline Gardner from All  About Eve
Bride’s Shoes: Utter garbage off Ebay
Bride’s Headpiece: Jo Barnes ‘Gracie’
Bride’s Jewellery: Thomas Sabo
Groom’s Outfit: Ted Baker from Slaters, Cardiff
Bridesmaid’s Dresses: Isme (now Very)
Bridesmaid’s Accessories: Accessorize
Cake: Best Firend Angelina and her Mum, Olivia
Flowers: Thornes
Hair: The Hair Junction
Make Up: Rhianne Holvey
DJ: Ten Feet Tall
Stationery: Me! (Anna Lock)
Transport: Henrietta Hire

The Wedding Album

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Real Weddings: Kerry & Tom’s Snowdonian Weddings by Amy & Omid

And here it is!! Real Weddings: Kerry & Tom’s Snowdonian Weddings by Amy & Omid!  After showing you our North Wales couple, Kerry and Tom’s love story in the form of a Cwtch of the Week and their Engagement Shoot, we can now reveal their amazing big day, and its breathtaking.  Thank you Kerry and Tom and your fabulous photographers, Amy & Omid  for sharing this with us all. We’re going to kick it off with my absolute favourite of the couple.Over to you……x

Kerry & Tom’s Snowdonian Weddings by Amy & Omid

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What was your budget? 

Approx £10,000

How would you describe your wedding theme?

We wanted our wedding to be elegant, traditionally romantic with a touch of vintage colour and flair.

What was your favourite part of your wedding?

Kerry – I really enjoyed walking down the aisle with my Dad. He’s suffered with ill health over many years, and in the months leading up to the wedding Tom’s father passed away, so just to be able to have him there to walk me down the aisle was such a blessing.

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Also, I was so overjoyed to see for the first time all our friends and family who were so happy for us to have found one another both at the ripe age of 39! The other favourite part was the disco. The DJ was excellent and I’ve never been to a wedding where so many people were on the dance floor for so long! We had a blast!

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Tom – My two favourite parts of the wedding were walking out from the wedding ceremony, to Pharrell Williams’s song “Happy” and seeing all our friends congratulate us and throw confetti over us in celebration. It was a time to be able to relax after being announced as husband and wife. Also, the first dance – after the emotion of giving my speech, it was our time to spend together dancing to a song special to us.

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Tell us about your Wedding Dress

I have to say I think I was quite excited and a tiny bit stressed about getting the dress. With only five months from engagement to wedding, I took just one opportunity to go shopping to two different wedding dress shops. With my Mum and Mother in law to be, I tried only about 8 different dresses before finding the perfect one for me that was on sale and I could take away that day!

I had liked pictures of lace and tulle ballgowns in magazines and found a beautiful one made by Sincerity in Perfection Bridal in Cardiff City Centre. My Mum cried for the first time that day when I walked out in it, confirming that it was definitely the one!

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Although I got the most gorgeous dress that I loved, I did wish that I’d had time to try on more! I still like to watch “Say yes to the dress” a programme on Sky!

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

Kerry – I chose a long-standing friend and my two lovely nieces as my bridesmaids. I had done my friend’s hair for her wedding and knew she would be a wonderful bridesmaid to me. She was so calming and helped me so much on the day. I needed to take my dress off for a breather a couple of times and she had the unenviable task of undoing and doing up a number of little covered buttons! My nieces did wonderfully and looked really beautiful too.

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Tom – I chose a friend of 15 years. He is a former colleague (Teacher) and in fact interviewed me for my second teaching job. We worked together, socialised and played football for a team in the London area for many years. He is a very caring, understanding friend who’s been such a close confidant for many years. On the day he was so calming and reassured. He’s a very charismatic and genuinely funny guy …his speech (Although fairly lengthy) was just right and VERY, VERY funny. Given recent family events he pitched it ‘just right’ along with an amazing, thoughtful stag do 6 weeks before in the city of Bath.

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Why did you choose your venue?

Our venue was quite easy to choose. With nothing suitable in Tom’s beautiful home village of Beddgelert, The Seiont Manor is set in such a beautiful area out in the countryside near Mt Snowden and had plenty of rooms for our guests to stay with us for the weekend.

We were able to hire the whole venue which suited us well – most of our guests had to travel quite far and many had babies and children with them. We were able to have our legal and Baha’i ceremonies, reception, Wedding Breakfast and evening party all in one lovely venue. We didn’t worry too much about the weather (which was typically Welsh on the day!) as we didn’t have to travel anywhere! We still managed to take formal photographs in the hotel’s grounds.

Tell us about your photographer

Our photographers Amy and Omid were absolutely wonderful. They’ve been friends of mine since before they offered professional photography and we were just so pleased with their professionalism and with their comfortable and capable attitude.

We’d suffered the sudden loss of Tom’s father and had some inevitable sense of trepidation and emotion about the wedding, but after the engagement shoot, even before seeing the unbelievably amazing pictures they took, I felt a sense of such relief, I knew that they would keep us feeling relaxed and happy on the day itself. Such a priceless gift to us at that time.

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

I really enjoyed making up my own flower filled bird-cages for the top table, just picked up material flowers in our vintage dusky pink and lilac and ivory, some fairy-light roses and rustic birdcages from The Range. We also made up our own party bags which gave the table name, filled with goodies for each table, with pics of us and our dating story and wedding breakfast menus.

We also borrowed a large vintage suitcase from my brother for guests to drop any cards and gifts and simply strung bunting letters across it.

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We had wanted to do a lot of things ourselves, but with so little time in preparation we did as much as we could and enjoyed seeing people enjoy what we had created or put-together.

What was your first dance & why?

We chose the song “Better Together” by Jack Johnson and had those two words inscribed on the inside of our wedding rings as they very much sum up how we feel about our relationship.

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About twice before the day we tried to plan a dance to the song – but we gave up pretty quick and it was very much a natural style – nothing stylised or much-practiced! Luckily Tom’s a great dancer and he is able to turn me around and dip me down which I love!

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

We don’t really feel that there is much we could have changed or done differently. A little more time might have been helpful but we were very happy with the day and weekend.

Do you have any advice for future couples?

Every couple is different, but choosing things together was very important to us. The feeling that I had had a vision for the wedding and had put things together made me proud, but I would say that keeping things simple is also important! Being able to relax and enjoy the day rather than worry over every little detail was really important to us and has left us with our wonderful joyous memories of the day.

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

We have a lot of great guidance on marriage in The Baha’i Faith, some of which we read in the spiritual ceremony. Also we asked my lovely friend who is 91 years old to read a wise and beautiful piece ‘The Prophet on Marriage’ by Kahlil Gibran – I like the advice thats held within the poetic piece which starts;
“You were born together, and together you shall be forevermore.
You shall be together when the white wings of death scatter your days.
Ay, you shall be together even in the silent memory of God.
But let there be spaces in your togetherness,
And let the winds of the heavens dance between you”

What was your favourite thing about planning a wedding?

I enjoyed many things during the planning of the wedding. There wasn’t much time, but I enjoyed choosing our guests, the ideas stage, the buying stage. I found little ideas of things in magazines and online by chance like stickers to personalise coat hangers for the wedding party and crystal stickers for the bottom of our shoes saying ‘I do’ and ‘Me Too’. The little things made me happy and excited in the build up to the day!

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The Suppliers

Photographer: Amy & Omid Photography
Wedding Planner: Kerry McGrath
Ceremony Venue: The Seinot Manor 
Reception Venue: The Seinot Manor 
Bride’s Dress: Sincerity Venice beaded lace over tulle ballgown
Bride’s Shoes: Debut by Debenhams
Bride’s Headpiece: Perfection Bridal, Cardiff
Bride’s Jewellery: Brides Own
Groom’s Outfit: Ted Baker Suit in Mid Blue
Bridesmaid’s Dresses: Coast
Bridesmaid’s Accessories: Perfection Bridal, Cardiff
Cake: Brides Friend
Flowers: Ty Blodau
Hair: Local Hairdresser – Sioned
Make Up: Bride
DJ: Gav’s Disco
Stationery: Colorworks, Bath
Any Reception Decor/Props: ‘I Do’ Wedding Hire 

The Wedding Album

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Congratulations Kerry and Tom! This is just beautiful to see and to read – how amazing to have a ceremony in your Bahá’í Faith, so personal and important to you both.  Thank you so much to you both and Amy and Omid for sharing your love story with us. It has been a joy to watch it unfold. xx