DIY, Pretty, Real Weddings
A Pretty Homespun Welsh Village Wedding
25.02.2013

South Wales Wedding - Christopher Ian Photography 075

Jo and Nick’s wedding was a real family affair, with many of their family and friends contributing towards their day. They chose the village where Jo grew up to have their wedding, getting a marriage license for the local restaurant and having a marquee in a nearby field.

Jo wore a beautiful lace dress made by a friend, a custom made pendant and did her own make up. Nick chose a grey three piece suit with a pale blue tie and they look stunning.

They wanted their wedding to have a vintage country feel with a dash of science seeing as they are both scientists. They focused on the little details, with natural blooms, laboratory glassware, the cake was made by Jo’s mum and Jo decorated it, they collected crockery, made bunting and a photo booth. There are so many lovely elements they thought of, including the locally sourced food. I adore the whole ethos behind this wedding.

Thanks so much to the wonderful Christopher Ian Photography for sharing his photography this morning, here is what he had to say;

“A grand adventure in South Wales, on perhaps the most wonderfully bright day in early September for the wedding of Jo and Nick. I also took the opportunity to document some of the astounding scenery that South Wales has to offer, truly awe-inspiring. It started with one of the most picturesque and pleasurable drives I have ever had. A total of 3 hours of green grass, verdant hills and glorious sunshine i found myself in the idyllic Tal Y Bont in South Wales, there was so much to photograph i felt like a kid in a sweetshop, i just couldn’t tear myself away from it.

Nick and Jo were so easy to photograph, they made my job so very easy by doing the best thing a couple can ever do at their wedding – letting go and having fun! I was also humbled by the welcome i received from their families, i truly felt like a family friend or relative, it will be a wedding i treasure for the rest of my career as a photographer. I look forward to returning there this year as i am also the photographer for Jo’s brother, once again i can feel the excitement of being back there and feeling like i’m going to see some dear friends.”

 

 

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The Proposal…. He had the ring made by a local jeweller (Wong’s, Liverpool) and had kept it hidden in one of his draws for 6 months before proposing. He proposed on my birthday on May 23rd 2011. We were both in our pyjamas.

The Vision for the day…. Not totally sure, it was very unique. If I had to describe it as anything then it would be very country and slightly vintage meets science (we’re both scientists) with a focus on little details. I love little details.

The Planning process…. We were really laid back. I’m from a very small village in Wales and we really wanted to get married there. We booked a marquee in advance and I started to collect mismatched crockery and lots of other bits and bobs but everything only really came together at the end. The planning was slightly interrupted by my parent’s house being severely flooded at the beginning of June (up to 7ft of water destroying the whole downstairs of the house). We didn’t want this to ruin everything though. We really wanted the whole day to be in the village where I’m from. One of the local pubs had recently been taken over by someone I knew from school and was done up into a lovely restaurant. They decided to get a wedding license which was only finally approved a few weeks before the wedding. We were also able to have the marquee in a nearby field which was fantastic. The plan was to get ready at my parents house and walk across the road to the venue but since my parents house was uninhabitable at the time, my best friend’s family very kindly moved out of their house for the night so that I had somewhere to get ready. Our aim was to include as many friends and family as possible so we ended up with 150 people in the day and many more (who knows how many) at night.

Budget…. Approx £15,000

The Venue… Gwesty’r Llew Du, Talybont was the venue for the ceremony. Catrin and Sion who run the place were absolutely fantastic and managed to fit in with what we wanted to do. It was perfect for the relaxed feel that we were after. We didn’t want anything too formal, just a celebration where we and the people we care about could have fun.

The Dress + Accessories….. I tried on quite a few wedding dresses but most of them felt quite cumbersome and heavy. I’m only short and I wanted to make sure I could dance properly. In the end a friend made my dress. It was satin with a layer of vintage style lave over the top and a small amount of embroidery and beading around the waist band. It was one-shouldered, I absolutely loved it. I had a little lace bolero that was bought through etsy. I had originally bought some vintage style ivory shoes from Schuh (ebay outlet) but they were really high and in the end I decided to wear some bright blue/purple shoes that I already owned that I knew were more comfortable (but still gave me some much needed height). I borrowed some earrings off my friend Ayshe and wore a pearl necklace that we’d bought on a trip to Thailand. I also had a pendant made by Jesa Marshall to incorporate some sapphires from Thailand. It was absolutely beautiful, twisted branches set with sapphires and a tiny bird. The final sapphire was set into my platinum wedding ring. I also had a beautiful pair of weddington boots to put on if the field got muddy (which it did later on at night). My hair was done by a local hairdresser, Cherry Sidnell. She knew exactly what I wanted before I did and did my hair with wavy curlsover ton one side, with little fabric flowers and little plaits. I did my own make up.

Groom’s attire… Nick didn’t want anything too fussy or formal and we didn’t want anyone to have to hire or buy suits. He wore a grey three piece suit that he bought for the occasion from T M Lewin. All the other men also wore grey suits. We bought all the men matching ties from Pink.

The Readings + Music…. The entrance and exit were accompanied by a harp, played by Ester Llwyd (my uncle’s next door neighbour). The bride’s brother, Ben, read a Pam Ayres poem “Yes, I’ll marry you my dear”. The bride’s cousins, Hope and Tirion sang a beautiful duet in welsh, Ar Hyd Y Nos. As we entered the marquee, a friend played in a string quartet and while we were having dessert we were entertained by a local close harmony choir, Sgarmes. In the evening a local band called Smokin’ Guns played some fantastic tunes for us all to dance to.

Beautiful bridesmaids….. I made the difficult decision to only have one bridesmaid. It was either one or seven and the aisle wasn’t that long! My bridesmaid was my oldest friend, Katie Laidlaw. She was absolutely fantastic – as always. Her dress was a simple teal dress that cost £30 in a sale at BHS. We gave her some pearl earrings to wear on the day

The Flowers… The men had buttonholes of ivory roses and sea holly. My sister in law-to be’s mum, Janine, did all the rest of the arrangements and decorated the marquee. We bought some flowers from a local shop in blues, purples and creams. The rest were donated from loads of local gardens including loads of hydrangeas and trailing ivy. Each table had a set of laboratory glassware (conical flasks) collected from a recent clear out at work.

The Cake… I decorated the cake (with help from others). It was 5 tiers with a fruit cake layer (made by my mum), chocolate sponge, Madeira cake, carrot cake (made by Nick’s dad) and a regular sponge cake at the top. The whole thing was covered in pale blue icing and decorated with sugarpaste flowers. The top cake was decorated like a birdcage with 2 little birds on the top. I accidentally gave the boy bird a massive head (oops). We made loads of cupcakes decorated with flowers. For those with more savoury tastes, we had a massive cake of cheese from the Liverpool Cheese Company. 17kg of cheese – we’re still eating it.

Your Photographer…. Our photographer was Christopher Ian. He was fantastic and captured the feel of the day. We barely knew he was there but he got all the pictures we wanted and more. We didn’t want really formal photography, just beautiful pictures that looked relaxed and didn’t interfere with the fun we were having.

The Details + Decor…. Most of our wedding was done from scratch with no wedding planner.  We’d collected tonnes of beautiful blue, white and gold crockery which gave a really vintage feel. My mum had painted up and plated milk churns, pots and old buckets with plants to decorate the outside of the marquee. My dad made a fantastic homemade photobooth, inspired by something I’d seen from etsy and an old Victorian picture frame I bought for £10. It turned into a full fireplace theme where you could put on moustaches and hats etc and appear in the photo frame. We set it up with a camera on a tripod in front of it. It was brilliant and some of my favourite pics from the wedding are from the photobooth. We also had loads of outdoor games including a coconut shy, sack race and bouncy castle. I wasn’t sure about this at first but it worked out really well, everyone had fun and all the kids were occupied. I loved the table centres using the lab glassware, it suited us, as 2 scientists, perfectly. A friend lent us loads of solar fairy lights (leftover from her wedding) and they lit up the outside of the marquee at night along with loads on lanterns that we’d collected. We had a delicious hot buffet (provided by Gwesty’r Llew Du) during the day along with some scrumptious puddings. In the evening, a friend gave us a couple of lambs from their farm and we got a local butcher to do a lamb roast and barbecue. The whole marquee was decorated with bunting made by my mum. The first lot I made was lost in the flood, but a local fabric shop, Wheeler fabrics, were really kind and donated some fabric so we could make more bunting. So generous.

The Honeymoon…. We went to Kri Eco Resort, Raja Ampat in Papua, Indonesia. I think it’s the most beautiful and remote place I’ve ever been. The coral reefs were idyllic and full of diversity.

Memorable moments… Everyone working all week to get everything done. So many people in the village and further beyond helped out, I will never forget that. All the friends and family that joined us to celebrate (particularly the ones that came from as far away as Canada and Australia), my cousin’s singing Ar Hyd Y Nos, the beautiful patchwork blanket that my bridesmaid and other friends had made for us to commemorate our wedding, the speeches – they were all really funny.Yummy welshcakes made by Katie and James using a secret recipe. Bouncing on the bouncy castle, nick and me in fake moustaches, getting soaked at the end of the night while walking to bed. Smiling…..a lot.

Advice for other couples… I love making things and little details so I was in my element but it doesn’t suit everyone. Don’t get too bogged down by little things – it will all work out fine and you’ll have a fantastic day. Try to make it personal  - that was really important to us. If you are going to make things, do it early and give yourself plenty of time. Get people involved – so many people did things for us for free or a really good deal by contacting people we knew. It really wouldn’t have been the same without their help.

Credit where credit is due…

http://www.wongsjewellers.co.uk/
http://www.gwestyllewdu.com/en/
www.etsy.com
http://www.jesamarshall.co.uk/
http://www.weddingtonboots.com/
http://www.tmlewin.co.uk/
http://www.thomaspink.com/
http://www.liverpoolcheesecompany.co.uk/
www.christopherian.co.uk/
http://www.papua-diving.com/diveresorts/krieco/

 

Oh my, what a wonderful day they had. Thanks so much to Jo and Nick for sharing their beautiful wedding with us today XOXO Lou

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