Metal & Pagan Handfasting Wedding in Wales


April 28, 2017

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Sadie and Aaron initially wanted a Steampunk wedding, but after two years of planning it developed into an outdoor event in the Welsh hills with a dash of gothic, a hint of metal, and a sprinkle of pagan thrown in for good measure!

“We wanted to completely abolish the formality and pressures of a traditional wedding,” explained Sadie. “Our attitude towards the end of planning was ‘what will be, will be’. What was important to us was that not only our guests were chilled and enjoying themselves, but we were too. We decided to do without a sit-down meal and have an awesome buffet instead which meant that everyone could mingle easily. The guests also got the opportunity to explore the ruins near where we had our ceremony, and soak up a bit of history if they wanted too.”

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They had an outdoor handfasting ceremony which also included a unity candle ceremony. “Our ceremony was absolutely wonderful! Our celebrant, Ellie, even made our son Izaiah his own little cord (to match our handfasting cord) to tie around his wrist to symbolise our little family coming together. That bit made everyone cry! It was also unplugged which is something we will never regret. We wanted everyone to be in the moment with us, to watch and to listen as this whole thing would only happen once in our lifetime. Having banned the cameras and phones meant our photographer, Sassy, got some killer shots of our family and friends reacting, as opposed to staring at us through a screen.”

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The reception was held at The Muse, an arts and community centre in Brecon. “With the party venue we wanted something laid back, basic and somewhere where we could do whatever we wanted. We wanted a ‘house party’ vibe where people could go crazy as opposed to a formal setting… And the guests certainly did!”

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“The one thing we wish we’d know about planning a wedding before we began is that the little details aren’t as important as they seem and to not get stressed over them. In the run up to the day a recurring theme was ‘Fuck It’ and a lot of little projects got abandoned! We did make the light up POISON sign which went behind the bar, our massive metal-band-flag-backdrop-thing for the evening venue (which is probably the thing we were most proud of!), and our card box, which is now a memory box of the day. Other than that, we bought all of the alcohol and bits for the bar ourselves and sold drinks at cost price. Everyone managed to get very drunk on very little money!”

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They managed to save a lot of money with their choice of venue, by cutting down on the decorations, enlisting help from family and friends, and by doing the DIY bar. “We saved so much money by doing things ourselves”, she continued. “We had initially booked a wedding-factory-barn, which would have costed us over £4000. After realising we really could not afford it, we cancelled and then booked Tretower Court for the ceremony and The Muse for our reception. Because Tretower is owned by the Welsh Government and The Muse is a recently renovated community centre, we had both venues for under £1000.”

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“We saved on decorations because there were hardly any, and only spent about £45 on flowers from the supermarket. By buying the alcohol in ourselves and applying for a temporary licence to sell it, meant that there was no corkage or hiked up prices for our guests. My Auntie made our wedding cupcakes as a gift and the paper bouquets were made by a couple of our awesome friends.”

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“For catering, we managed to get a local café to provide food which ended up being much cheaper than a traditional wedding caterer, and the food was fantastic. We also cut out costs by me doing my own hair and make-up, by abolishing car hire, wedding favours, and all of the other little bits and bobs. My wedding dress was custom made by Lyndsey Clark, and the rings were made by a seller in the USA which are a lot cheaper there than here in the UK. Etsy is a great portal for finding creative people with a passion for what they do that doesn’t cost the Earth.”

“The ultimate best thing about our wedding was being able to come out of it all debt-free. We figured out how much we could put by each month for two years and there was our budget. It was a great feeling when we realised we had no debt on the way to our honeymoon!”

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“We are incredibly grateful to our family and friends for all of their help and support with our wedding, they are all truly amazing. All of the professionals involved in our wedding were incredible too and we cannot thank them or recommend them enough. Our whole day was just epic!”

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“Our advice for future brides and grooms is to to not rush planning the details”, she concluded. “However, in saying that, when you get a good feeling about a supplier – book them. When we met Ellie, our celebrant, we got instant butterflies, we knew she was perfect for us. We also booked Sassy, our photographer, two years in advance! To have a great day on a lower-than-average budget requires real digging and research, especially when it comes to venues that are usually pricey. It helps to think outside the box, like asking local cafes or restaurants to cater your wedding or hiring out a village or community space for the weekend. We would have ended up in a lot of debt had we had stuck with our initial venue.”

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“There is also a lot of Pinterest-made pressure to DIY so much nowadays. While DIY is a great way of saving money and can be a great aspect of your big day, don’t let your life revolve around it. Sometimes it helps to put down the paintbrush and just go and have your nails done and a facial instead (I abandoned making a ring box for that very reason!) If you don’t have deep pockets, prioritise what aspects are the most important to you both and splurge on those and scrimp on (or ditch) the less important things.”

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