Real Wedding: 1950’s Vintage Tea Party – Sophie & Gareth

Good morning you beauts,

A classic wedding never goes out of fashion! Especially the one from our very now Sophie! Just having a little throw back moment, so, sit back and enjoy…

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Sophie and Gareth knew they wanted a vintage wedding, and worked hard to make their day as personal as possible on a small budget. They got married on the 26th May 2012, and Sophie tells their story for us here.

Inspiration and Styling: 


We took most of our inspiration from our love of vintage (predominantly 50’s) styling. The guests knew what to expect and dressed in their finest 50’s-style glad rags. Gareth and I met at university eight years ago (I studied Fine Art and he studied English) and we wanted to touch on this also. I used my creativity to make and style as much as I could and we collected and used vintage books. Our rings were held in our favourite ‘old book find’. We love all things vintage so we spent a good year trawling charity shops, antique fairs and car boots looking for lace and vintage tablecloths, glass vases and accessories. My mother bought us an old Singer sewing machine as a wedding gift which we used and we even found an old wind-up gramophone and lots of 78’s from the 50’s which we left outside for guests to play with. We found 2 old postcards of our home towns (Leicester and Neath) which we framed and displayed too.


Another theme we touched on was the fact that it was the Queen’s Jubilee year. She was crowned Queen in the 50’s and one of our favourite props was a calendar we found at a flea market from 1953 celebrating the Coronation. We used this in our engagement shoot and on the day too. The vintage mis-matched china we hired sat perfectly with my tablecloths and vases and really added to the vintage tea party feel we were going for. Each guest had a tea cup on their place setting with their name attached to the handle. I also spent days making felt hearts which were attached to the teabags – it all looked gorgeous. Hot water was served in vintage teapots and we toasted the speeches with tea.

We hired an old typewriter which we used to ask guests to leave us advice on. This sat on a vintage wooden tea trolley and it went down a treat!



One of my favourite touches was a last minute idea to write our love story. We wrote this together and printed it on to recycled brown card ourselves. We left these on the ceremony seats so guests could read it before the ceremony (we’re not fans of the traditional order-of-service). We heard it left a few in tears.


But by far my favourite item was the 1950s rug I found. We stood on this during the ceremony and the idea behind it was that we could keep the spot we got married on forever.  It is now one of our most treasured possessions.

Vintage Wedding Sophie and Gareth - Brecon Beacons


Peonies – my favourite flower with Sweet Peas (my late Grandfather used to grow them in his garden, entering them into competitions, and I couldn’t have had a bouquet without them). The bouquets were tied with lace ribbon which belonged to my late Grandmother.



The bouquets were arranged by our florist (who grows the flowers on her farm) and she supplied boxes of flowers which the bridesmaids and I arranged into vases and around the barn the day before the wedding.



Vintage Wedding Sophie and Gareth - Brecon Beacons




Obviously we couldn’t handle doing EVERYTHING ourselves but we insisted on using local companies.

All photos in this post were taken by our very own, award winning Maria Farrelly :) (who did not write this bio herself!) Maria is located in Newport, but is always willing to travel. You can see all posts featuring her photography here.

Dress – Bardot by Stephanie Allin purchased at White Bride
Brides’ shoes – Venetia by Rachel Simpson
Bride’s jewellery, bag & ladies gloves – Vintage
Bridesmaid dresses – Tara Starlet
Bridesmaids’ shoes – Just Because by Seychelles Footwear
Bridemaids’ bags – Disaster Designs
Groom & Groomsmen’s suits – Slaters
Groom & Groomsmen’s brooches – Vintage – Sophie’s Grandmothers
Wedding Rings –  Sophie’s ring is vintage Tiffany & Co and Gareth’s ring was from Clive Ranger in Swansea
Ice Cream – Rowlestone Court Dairy – run by a husband and wife who make the award winning ice cream on their farm with milk from their own cows.
Food – Sugarloaf Catering – we had a BBQ in the day and a hog roast in the evening.
Venue – The Barn @ Brynich, Brecon
Music (band) – The Brothel Creepers (a local band who only play 50’s & 60’s music)
Invites – Old Black Hen
Flowers – Brecon Blooms
China Hire, Tandem bike hire, Typewriter hire – Sipping Pretty
Hair – Esme Walton, Sheer Madness
Make up – My friend Katie

The video my talented brother put together for us:


Ceremony – Sigur Ros – Hoppipolla
Signing the register – The Beach Boys – God only Knows & Van Morrison – Brown Eyed Girl
First Dance – Andy Williams – Moon River – we LOVE Breakfast at Tiffanys and my engagement and wedding ring were Tiffany too.

Continue reading

Emma and Carl’s Yesteryear Inspired Wedding By Lauren Owens


Hello you lovely lot! This is one for all you brides planning a vintage themed wedding. Emma and Carl’s yesteryear inspired wedding is stunning. Their eye for detail is remarkable and it has all been brilliantly captured by the ever … Continue reading

Colour Inspiration: Peach

Today I decided to give quite a controversial colour a whirl. Colour Inspiration: Peach.
Is just so pretty, I refuse to believe that it has been packed up into a chest along side St Elmos Fire, 16 Candals and The Breakfast Club.  It will not disappear with Martika and Dave Lee Roth’s solo career. I refuse to believe it will be left in a draw alongside my leg warmers and fish net finger less gloves.
Peach is light and happy and deserves to be brought back.  I agree that many things from the 1980s should stay right there, but peach?  Peach is not one of them.  Read on and find out why.
Anna x

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Colour Inspiration: Peach

We know, we know. Peach! It immediately conjures up hideous poofy 1980’s bridesmaid dresses with matching over sized hats, squashing down a fresh perm. Either that, or one of those toilet roll doll cover things, that everyone’s Nana had. You know, to make the toilet roll fancy.

But seriously – Peach! Its beautiful.

Its so soft and gentle and gives a natural feel and look. Its slightly dreamy and conjures up images of ethereal, daisy chained bridesmaids, dancing through a wheat field with pollen floating around, on a warm summers day.

It definitely wouldn’t rain if you wore peach!
(*disclaimer* Cwtch The Bride can only dream like the rest of us that the sun will shine on all you lovely Brides and Grooms.  We have no actual power over the weather)

Pair with some lovely hessian and lace, and you’re all set for that gorgeous vintage country feel.

Asos Dress PEACH

Sweet Peony PEACH

Dear Florence PEACH 2

Rachel Simpson Peach Shoes JPEG

Forbesfield PEACH Peony

Bridesmaid Dress – Coast at Asos

Bride held Bouquet – Sweet Peony

Room Decor – Dear Florence

Shoes – Rachel Simpson at Elegant Steps

Bottom Bouquet – Forbesfield Flowers

I mean come on! Look how beautiful it is! So, I hereby announce that peach is once more, on trend.  Go forth and peach it up, and please, share your photos with us! xx 


Emily and Martin’s Vintage Welsh Inspired Wedding by Sarah Elvin Photography

“Does everyone remember last year we ran our first bride to be competition. Today’s real wedding is of Emily and Martin Vintage Welsh Inspired Wedding . Emily was one of our finalists and you can read her entry here. You can only imagine my eagerness to feature her wedding photographed by Sarah Elvin. Grab a cuppa and a mince pie and enjoy.” ~ Kate



What was your budget? 

We originally planned it to be £10k – we had decided that we wanted to pay for everything upfront and not put anything on a credit card. We wanted to start married life on a positive note and not have any debt if we could help it! As the wedding drew closer the budget increased slightly. We didn’t want to go over £12k – Martin had always liked the idea of going on ‘Don’t Tell The Bride’ and we thought we would like the challenge of sticking to this budget just like the grooms on the show have to! In the end I think we had an amazing day – it just shows that you don’t have to spend lots and lots of money to get the perfect day. It is the personal touches that make the day special not flashing lots of cash.


How would you describe your wedding theme?

Our wedding theme was a bit of a mix up of Vintage and Welshness! We didn’t set out with a theme at the beginning, it just developed naturally. I have always loved the vintage era of 1950’s – we had an afternoon tea party style drinks reception and booked a vintage taxi as our wedding car with a vintage bus to take the guest to/from the church.


Being born and bred in Wales I really wanted to get married back home in my local church in St Fagans but it wasn’t that practical – so I brought Wales to the wedding. I made pew ends with Welsh words on them – with maps of where I grew up, where Martin grew up and where we were getting married. We had a male voice choir (not from Wales) but the next best thing – they were incredible and everyone loved them. We even had ‘Bread of Heaven’ as one of our hymns. My sister arranged for my dad to give us a love spoon during his speech and I was also given a t-shirt which summed up the day perfectly – ‘You can take the girl out of Wales, but you can’t take Wales out of the girl!’ To finish the theme off – there was a hint of travel (which is the industry I work in) and a hint of golf (which is the industry Martin works in).


Image-36What was your favourite part of your wedding?

My favourite part of the wedding (apart from feeling like a princess for the day) was seeing so many friends and family look so happy! It was incredible to share our happy day with so many people that are important in both our lives. Martin also arranged the best surprise ever – one of his ushers came to our room while we were getting ready to deliver a message written on cards (a bit like in Love Actually) which were shown to us with the song Memories are Made of This – by Dean Martin. Luckily my sister caught all of it on video!


Image-81Tell us about your Wedding Dress

I bought my wedding dress in Cardiff Bridal Centre – the staff were amazing in there! My dad unfortunately had a nasty road bike accident so I was back home in Cardiff so I could visit him in hospital. My mum and I headed into Cardiff to do something cheerful before visiting hours at the hospital and we went for a look at wedding dresses. I had an idea of what I wanted to wear, which I explained to the staff at the shop and she said ‘ I have the perfect dress for you’ and came back with my dress! What made it even more perfect was that it had £600.00 off it!

Image-537I absolutely loved the dress and the seamstress in the shop added some finishing touches to make it fit the theme perfectly – I wanted a splash of colour so she added a fuchsia pink net petticoat! The shop did such a great job that my sister has since bought her wedding dress there!


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

I picked my sister Laura to be my bridesmaid (I am returning the favour this August) and two of my great friends – Jo who I worked with when I lived in Cheltenham and Kirsten who I currently work with. They were all amazing bridesmaids. I had the best hen party back in Cardiff and they really helped support me in the lead up to the wedding. All their partners we also roped in the helping with the final preparations of the venue on the morning of the wedding so we could have plenty of time to get ready. Martin picked his good friend Huw, who he knows through golf, as his best man. He did a superb job! People have asked if they can hire him out for their wedding! Ha Ha!



Why did you choose your venue?

Old Thorns Manor Hotel was recommended to us by a work colleague. I went to visit it with one of my bridesmaids and I knew straight away it was perfect. Many venues along the South Coast are very expensive – we were not prepared to pay £5k for an empty barn! Old Thorns was very affordable and accommodating – we were allowed to bring in home made cakes for our drinks reception, have a BBQ for our wedding breakfast and bring in an external supplier for our dessert!


They had plenty of accommodation for all our guests plus great facilities including a golf course and leisure facilities. Whilst Martin was playing golf the day after our wedding with 20 guests I was in the spa having a hot stone body massage – just what I needed after dancing the night away on the dance floor. Another plus point was the amazing views for the wedding photos – we have some great shots from the 5th hole on the golf course.


How did the proposal happen? 

Martin and I were in Rome to watch Wales v Italy play rugby and we took a visit to some of the sights. Whilst we were at Trevi Fountain Martin proposed – very romantic! To celebrate this proposal at the wedding we had a vintage ice cream bike serving Italian Ice Cream (if anyone is ever in Brighton you need to visit Boho Gelato – their ice cream is yummy!)


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

I think it is important not to be afraid of doing things differently – adding some personality into the day will definitely make it more special. We had a cider station and a raffle – which added some extra fun to the day! I love a good DIY project so I made most things, which definitely helps save money. I made everything from invitations, order of service, table decorations, wedding favours, name tags, table plan, backdrop for the dance floor. If you have time to spare, we were luckily in that we had two years to plan our wedding, hunt around for the bargains. My bridesmaid dresses were £27.00 each! Now that is a bargain!


What was your first dance & why?

Our first dance was Amazed by Lonestar. From very early on Martin had picked our first dance song. I really liked it as was a typical wedding dance song and summed up our relationship perfectly.


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

I can honestly say that our wedding day was perfect to us! It took a lot of planning and lots of hours making everything, I did wonder at times when my fingers were stuck together with super glue if it was all worth it – but it definitely was!


Do you have any advice for future couples?

Try not to stress over the little things, they’ll seem so trivial on the day. Relax and enjoy your day, take it all in! Lastly, remember it’s you two getting married, don’t worry about what other think or want – it’s your day so enjoy it! I loved watching all our guests enjoying the day chatting and laughing whilst we were all seated having our wedding breakfast.

Image-1175What’s the best piece of marriage advice you received? 

It is very easy to get tied up with work and chores, and it is quite easy to neglect the relationship by accident. I think a great piece of advice is to make sure you make ‘quality’ time for each other – we are going to have a date day/night at least once a week!



What was your favourite thing about planning a wedding?

My favourite thing was planning all the personal touches. I didn’t want a standard wedding – I wanted things to be a bit different and quirky to reflect our personalities. I also loved how excited my mum and dad were – they helped so much with all the projects and it made everything extra special and brought people together with the added excitement! My mum was an absolute star – she made the wedding cake, some bunting, flower girl dress and even her outfit! My dad helped with painting the wooden name tag hearts and the MDF letters. Martin’s mum and auntie also got involved – everyone’s help was invaluable!


The Suppliers

Photographer: Sarah Elvin 
Videographer: Short Film Company 
Ceremony Venue: St Mary’s Church Bramshott (Hampshire) 
Reception Venue: Old Thorns Manor Hotel
Bride’s Dress: Cardiff Bridal Centre
Bride’s Headpiece: Hats and Stuff
Groom’s Outfit: Bartlett and Butcher 
Bridesmaid’s Dresses: BHS
Bridesmaid’s Accessories: Debenhams and Marks and Spencer
Cake: Brides Mum
Flowers: Holly Hill
Hair and Make up: Annette Bradford 
Harpist: Rebekah Webb 
DJ: Venue own
Any Reception Decor/Props: Light up letters – Doris Loves 
Transport: Porstmouth Wedding Taxi’s 
Vintage Bus – Safeguard Coaches

Male Voice Choir – Hampshire Police Choir 

Vintage Ice Cream Bike – Circa Events 

Ice Cream provider – Boho Gelato 

The Wedding Album









Vintage Wedding Hair by the Vintage Bride

Our Vintage Bride Sophie is back this week with a really helpful post on styling vintage wedding hair.

Vintage Wedding Hair

Hello Cwtchers!

I promised I’d be back to vintage business in my next post so let’s shimmy to it!

So you’ve decided to go vintage on your big day… just how vintage you go I will leave you to decide but a vintage or vintage-style dress definitely requires a vintage style hair do!

Firstly, you can find lots of era-specific inspiration in the Pinterest boards I put together for 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s weddings. I also wrote a series of posts on each of these eras to help and inspire you so choose a hairstyle you are happy with and then consider the following…

In the lead up to our wedding I had hoped a hairdresser friend would do my hair on the day but after a trial and a couple of failed attempts it became clear that the look I wanted wasn’t achievable without a lot of practice and some vintage-training.

At this point I was due to attend a vintage wedding fair in Swansea. I immediately spotted a lady styling hair in a corner; most vintage wedding fairs have one or two – I could stand and watch them working their magic all day. Retro hair styling is an actual art! I watched in awe as she sculpted the most immaculate victory rolls I had ever seen. She charged £10 for a trial on the day, an absolute bargain and I immediately realised that I needed her but her skills came at a price and cut backs had to be made.

When you book a vintage stylist, you are paying for training most hairdressers don’t have. The techniques used require patience and lots and lots of practice. The amount you pay is dictated by a number of factors.

Firstly it depends just how vintage you want your wedding to look. You could choose to make-over your entire bridal party or you could choose to focus on yourself. I chose to go the whole hog. I didn’t plan to marry again and styling has always been a love of mine so I thought ‘to heck with it’ and paid for myself, my four bridesmaids and my mother to be transformed into 1950s bombshells. Our hairdresser worked tirelessly from 7am through to 12pm and there wasn’t a hair out of place. I couldn’t have been happier. I wouldn’t like to say how much I paid (I did get married three years ago) but it stretched the budget and I believe it was a little pricier than a ‘modern day’ hairdresser. wedding_brecon_vintage433 b2bf7171cb4c3e16f941acb2355cb670

Secondly, the distance the hairdresser needs to travel will make a difference. This is usually the case with most wedding stylists so you are usually better off finding someone as local as possible. Vintage hair stylists are harder to come by than standard wedding stylists so you should start your search early to ensure they are available on your day and to avoid disappointment.

If you have lots of time and have a hairdresser who is willing to learn to create the look you desire then you could book in for multiple trials but in all honesty, and having spoken to various hairdressers, if a hairdresser wants your wedding booking and they can’t create the style you want, they will practice in their own time. You are not putting them out by requesting this – they will have additional skills which they can use in the future – and you shouldn’t have to pay extra. If they are not willing to do this then you are perfectly within your rights to find someone who can, so it is always worth asking!

If however, you don’t wish to spend much on hair but still want to achieve a well-rounded vintage look on your day, there are ways!

I have a copy of Style Me Vintage – Hair by Belinda Hay and highly recommend it. It is great for complete beginners and it’s a fantastic book to get you started. It is full of step-by-step guides to achieving various vintage looks from a beehive to a fifties pony tail. You could get the girls over and practice over a bottle of wine but you will need to practice a lot, and regularly, so don’t leave it to the last minute!

If books aren’t your thing, head over to YouTube. Cherry Dollface is an absolute pro. She will teach you everything you need to know, from immaculate hairstyling to perfect eyeliner flicks. She has a series of videos specifically for weddings too so not only can she teach you how to style your hair in the comfort of your own home but she will show you how to ensure your make up is applied correctly and will see you through your day. Here is the link to her YouTube channel so subscribe away!

And if you have no time to practice or it just isn’t happening for you, Mia Farrow looked incredible when she married Frank Sinatra. Just saying ;-)

Good luck and please send in your vintage wedding photos!

Love Sophie x