Japanese-Inspired, Musical and Charity-Giving Wedding

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I’ve got a really adorable, totally joyful wedding for you this afternoon and I have a sneaking suspicion that you’re going to love it! Rhodri and Eimi decided to get officially married at the registry office the morning of the wedding, but then had a non-legal, blessing at their venue, The Hospice at Llawhaden Village Hall, officiated by a friend.

“Our venue was an 11th century ruin of a mediaeval hospice chapel”, Eimi told me. “We initially thought it would be too small for all our guests, but we decided the day before the wedding, just to go for it. We put out chairs for a few people, and asked our more able-bodied guests to stand. Our good friend Luke officiated. It was so special to have such a close friend lead our wedding ceremony. He made it so personal and meaningful, and we will never forget what he has done for us. The acoustic of the stone building was incredible and when our guests sang Guide me O thou great redeemer in harmony. The sound echoed around and sent the shivers down our spines.”

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The bride wore a vintage gown from 1946 which she belonged to her Nan who passed away the year before. “It had been ruined by mice so I had to have it restored”, she said. “The dress fit me perfectly, but it was covered in huge holes and stained with mouse urine! More than a few tears were shed when so many seamstresses told me it was beyond hope. Thankfully, someone pointed me towards the textiles conservators register, which is where I found Janie Lightfoot Textiles. They did a fantastic job and gave me a real ‘Cinderella’ moment. In the morning ceremony at the registry office, we dressed quite casually. I wore a Free People folk style dress that I bought from TK Maxx, and Swedish Hasbeens I got for £3 in a charity shop!”

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This was a DIY wedding in the truest sense of the word. “Our main vision for the day was for it to be bright, joyful and to make every guest feel welcome and wanted” the bride continued. “I love crafting and making things, so it was a great opportunity to express myself creatively too. By doing things ourselves, and roping in our very talented bunch of friends and family, we were able to make the day completely personal to us,”

“The cakes were made by our mums and we had a guest ‘bake off’ for puddings. A friend did the flowers, we did all the décor and we designed our own stationery. Both of us played in our own acoustic band, The Hilltop Fling, at the reception too. We had a special guest drummer – our 5 year old nephew!”

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“We also played after the ceremony. Rhodri and I met at orchestra in University, so music is a big part of our lives. So after the ceremony, while the canapés were being handed out, our friends including my mother, played chamber music. We also had an ‘open mic night’ section after dinner while everyone was eating cake. Some friends sang songs, we had some stand up comedy, cabaret and even had some opera! We are so lucky to have so many very talented friends who so enthusiastically played their parts in our wedding day.”

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“Charity was also a big part of our wedding. Our good friend passed away less than two years ago at the age of 28 with Cystic Fibrosis. She had been on the waiting list for a double lung transplant for three years and had had three false alarm calls, only to be told that the donor lungs were not viable. She was an incredible person, and if only one more person had been registered as an organ donor, then she might have been there with us to celebrate our wedding day. So, in her memory, we put out organ donor registration forms and pens as wedding favours, so that people could have that important conversation with their loved ones about their wishes surrounding organ donation. A few of our guests have been in touch with us since the wedding to let us know that because of our favours, they’ve since had the chat and signed up as organ donors, which, to us, makes it all worth it. Also, in lieu of gifts, we set up a page to collect donations for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust, Carers UK, and Live Life Give Life (the organ donation charity).”

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“Finally, as I am half Japanese, it was important to me to bring my Japanese culture into the wedding. My mother wore her kimono and at dinner Rhodri and I surprised all our guests by appearing on stage in our kimonos too. The kimono I wore was the same one my mother wore on her wedding day. The food was also all Japanese (okonomiyaki, udon noodles and sushi maki rolls) and my mum made a Hello Kitty wedding cake!”

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