Steven and Beth were married at Penarth Fawr Medieval Hall in June. Their reception was held in a marquee in the grounds of Gorwel Cottage, a holiday rental with sea views over Cardigan Bay and Pwllheli harbour. They didn’t have a huge budget and so they homemade as much as they could including the flowers and stationery. They also had an afternoon tea and evening BBQ as their food which was a lot cheaper than many of the other options that they looked at.
“We didn’t really set out to have a theme however the vintage vibe lends itself to reclamation and DIY”, wrote the bride, “plus chintz is my guilty pleasure! We looked for months at conventional wedding venues but they were all too expensive or not quite right. We were at the point of giving up when we asked the owners of Gorwel Cottage if we could put a marquee in the cottage car park for the wedding reception and luckily they loved the idea! My parents already had the cottage booked for their annual holiday so they booked in for the following week too and we were married on the weekend in between on the Summer Solstice. Gorwel is really special place for my family as we have holidayed there for years and my Nan’s ashes are scattered in the area. Similarly it was the place me and Steven had our first holiday together. It’s really peaceful, overlooking the sea and the mountains.”
There was no doubt in my mind that I had to share this wedding with you.My heart skipped a beat as I clapped eyes on the beautiful Sarah and her stunning movie starlet-esque red wedding dress from The Couture Company and I flicked through Toast of Leeds‘ photographs holding my breath. What an utterly beeeeeeeautiful wedding.
“Our venue was Buckland Hall in the Brecon Beacons National Park, a country house in the Welsh mountains, that we could personalise and make our own for a long weekend”, Sarah began. “We had free reign of the house and grounds, which we decorated with family photos and personal belongings that we’ve collected during our time together. Sixty of our guests stayed on the night of our wedding and close family the night before. The ceremony was held in a room with views of rolling park land, the River Usk and snow capped mountains beyond.”
“We held a drinks reception immediately after the ceremony with vegan canapés, cherrytree Cola and cocktails we’d designed ourselves: Pimms #6 (made with fresh strawberry puree) and passionfruit mojitos (with organic fair-trade rum and sweetbird syrup). This was followed by a three-course sit down’vegan meal, with starter created by Steven (wild mushroom empanadas with fennel cream sauce).”
Dan & Charlotte had a two-day wedding celebration in Wales. They started off planning just the Saturday wedding by the beach with a pagan blessing, as this was what Charlotte really wanted. However they soon realised that legally, and for family reasons, they would need to have another ceremony with a registrar present, in a venue sanctioned for wedding ceremonies. “I did view having to have both ceremonies as a bit of a compromise”, Charlotte explained, “But rather than just doing the legal bit in a quick service on our own in a registry office or something, we set about finding somewhere just as beautiful for that part and made it into it’s own distinctive day. We also really wanted our wedding to last a bit longer than the usual one day which is why we split it into two. I would advise anyone planning their wedding to think about spinning things out a bit! It’s all over so quickly on the day and we really treasured the extra time we gave themselves over the weekend to spend quality time with everyone that came to celebrate with us.”
The first ceremony, on the Friday, was held right by Pistyll Rhaeadr, the highest waterfall in Wales. Afterwards they had a small reception at The Plough Inn - local pub in the Welsh village of Llanrhaeadr Ym Mochnant (!) They kept it informal with a roaring fire, a simple buffet, and a cosy, intimate and very laid back atmosphere. “We run our own business and dare to do things differently on a daily basis”, explained the bride. “Our shop was recently voted the ’7th Most Unusual Shop in the UK’ by the Guardian, so I suppose it was it was inevitable that our wedding would be a bit different! In terms of inspiration we both love nature and being out in the countryside, and I felt really strongly about being married as ‘outside’ as possible. We started visiting this waterfall a couple of years ago, so as soon as we realised we could get married at there it made complete sense. It’s a really special place, a lush green Welsh valley with the mighty fall like a hidden gem. There’s a calmness there, a natural spiritual feeling.”
The Welsh wedding of Ioan & Anona was planned with everyone in mind – themselves, their friends and their families. It was important to them that their wedding would be an enjoyable day for everyone in attendance. “On one hand we wanted quite a traditional wedding that would keep the parents happy but also one that both our friends and ourselves would feel bore our own individual stamp,” the groom told me. “I play guitar in a hardcore punk / rock band and am obsessed with old 70s riff heavy rock and classic album art so I was really keen to ramp up those kind of aesthetics. Anona’s mother was quite keen on a ‘spring flower’ theme and whilst initially I worried those two influences would clash spectacularly I think in the end it all came together and balanced each other nicely.”
“Although we were both keen to stylize the wedding to some degree, the bottom line for us was that we just wanted to have all our friends and family nearby and really enjoy the day for what it was, a celebration of our love and commitment to each other. I think ultimately that really came across and whilst there were traditional elements it was by no means stuffy and the little personal touches really shone through.”
With the groom being in a band it was obvious that music would play a big part in their day. “I was determined to get a proper rockabilly band that could really tear it up!” he continued. “Wild went down a storm and both the youngsters and the oldies were going crazy for it. It was important to me that the band be really tight and professional and as far removed from the kind of bands I’d been involved with as possible!!! The playlists that we spent hours crafting went down really well and it was such a thrill to see people enjoying themselves and dancing all night long.”
“My friend Sian did both our cakes and we were just absolutely blown away by her sponge, chocolate and icing creations”, he continued. “She made a really elegant cake with pretty flowers for the day and a totally rocking cake for the evening. The life size chocolate skull was a complete surprise and it really cemented our rock n roll evening theme. I’m not really one for playing up to the camera but I couldn’t resist going ape with the cake knife and inflicting some dramatic damage during our ‘cutting of the cake’ ceremony!”
This time last week I blogged a wedding at the beautiful Fforest Farm Campsite in Wales. I loved the location so much that when Francesca & Iain sent me their wedding at the same venue I didn’t hesitate to want to share it too! I think it really interesting to see two different weddings at the same place actually and to see how different a venue can look with a different couple’s aesthetic and vision stamped on it.
Francesca described her wedding theme to me as “Bohemian England meets Mexican Fiesta.” I just love how they brought this out with ideas such as the decorations from Lisa Piercy, the paper goods by Thunderwing Press and the amazing screenprinted napkins personalised by Leonie Flower. I’m also swit-swooing over the flower garland head wreaths worn by Francesca and her bridesmaids. This is a wedding trend that I hope doesn’t go away any time soon. I love it!
“We knew early on that we wanted to make a weekend of it, not just a day, and we couldn’t have found a better venue – in the middle of the Welsh countryside,” the bride explained. “Within an hour of people arriving they were tobogganing down hills in push-carts and sinking the local ale in our on-site pub. We had the whole place to ourselves and it felt really magical – the trees lit with fairy lights and big communal brunches and campfires.”
“We wanted an unforgettable experience that everyone could be part of, and so many people helped with decorating, flower arranging – even bringing and cooking me a special bridal champagne breakfast on the outdoor stove whilst I got ready. It was important to us that things be personal and that as many friends be involved as possible in bringing our vision together.”
Check out the beautiful video, made for the couple by Francesca’s brother…
A campsite in Wales played host to Maria & Chris’ fabulous wedding. With the help of their friends & family the couple pulled a lot of the wedding together themselves. The flowers played a huge part in the styling of their day as Maria explained, “For the flowers I wanted it to look as though we had picked them all from the fields that morning and used whatever we had lying around to put them in. We had been collecting vintage china for some time and used the various jugs, bowls and cups & saucers for the flowers on the tables. The campsite also had some rustic enamel jugs that we used too. Some of these Flowers I had ordered from the florist (Peonies, Cornflower, Lavender, Margharites etc) but the rest my Mum, her neighbour and my Auntie’s had brought with them from their gardens! The Tipi was decorated with ribbon and Ivy from my Parent’s garden too.”
“All the table decorations were put together by my Chris’ Mum and one of my Bridesmaids,” the bride continued. “It was late Friday, the night before the wedding and it was flower chaos! In the end it was all hands on deck and friends and family were all stepping in to help. Chris’ Mum also made 60+ stunning little bead & wire dragonflies to sit in the table decorations. I also had three silver butterflies that were a pair of earrings and a pin that belonged to Chris’ Grandma. She sadly passed away two years ago and by having the butterflies in my bouquet it was my small way of having her near all day.”
“We also used bay leaves and white roses that my two Granddads (who are no longer with us) had grown, in the table decorations - so the flowers became a very personal thing!”
The relaxed wedding didn’t really have a specific ‘theme’, the couple just wanted to pull together all the things they loved for their day. “We have always loved retro, vintage and homemade – long before it became fashionable again! So our inspiration was really always around us – homemade items created by friends and family and secondhand items that had a second lease of life (we left the vintage china at Fforest Farm to be reused at other peoples weddings!) Our inspiration was also the wonderful Fforest Farm and the countryside surrounding it.”
The bride wore a stunning Cymbeline dress which the bought online. “I originally was going to hunt down a vintage dress and after trawling the internet had made a list of specialist shops to visit in London. Then was on the internet one evening at my parents when my said ‘try eBay for a dress’ – I said that I had given up looking but my mum was insistent and there waiting for me was my dress to be! So - I purchased my dress from a very lovely girl on eBay! She originally bought the dress from Paris and it was made by Cymbeline, my Mum took the top in slightly but other than that it was perfect in every way!”
Can I also just draw your attention to this cake!? It was made by the bride’s Mum and both she and the bride crocheted the flowers and cake topper. How cute?! “The knitted and crocheted flowers were my idea,” said Maria, “and my Mum added the Mice and the mini version of our dog Poppy! I crocheted a few of the flowers but my Mum knitted & Crocheted the majority – she’s far more talented than me!”