A Charming Homemade Country Wedding

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Jacqueline and Peter dreamed of a truly home made day which was fun and relaxed. These two crafted every little detail in their venue at Upton Castle, Pembrokeshire, which looked gorgeous. From a handmade cake and cake pops on a log stand, lampshades hung up outside, bell jars with eclectic contents, paper flowers to hand tied knots.

Jacqueline opted for a beautiful custom made dress adorned with lace and a pretty sash, while Peter donned traditional tails for a classic look. The bridesmaids wore mismatched dresses and there were the cutest page by and flower girl.

Thanks so much to O&C Photography for sharing their sublime photographs with us today.

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The Proposal… 22nd June 2012 – on Eight Arch Bridge, Broad Haven South Lilly Ponds, near Bosheston, Pembrokeshire.

Beautiful evening walk down to one of our favourite white sandy beaches; packed the wrong walking boots so walked in my socks around muddy puddles, I stopped to take photos, he went down on one knee, and I said YES. The boy did good!

We later came back here (and the nearby woods around Stackpole) for our engagement shoot with O&C photography.  It is such a special place.

The Vision for the Day… Relaxed, fun and entertaining.  Limited to close friends and family, although still stretching to 130 guests.  It was evident that it was going to be ahHandmade/homemade day which told a story of our personalities and who we are, through a country/sailing theme.  Family and friends are important to us, and we just wanted a fun day with them; which it was, the day flowed effortlessly.

The Planning Process… A full 10 months to plan.  I bought a wedding planning diary (it was my bible for scribbling, sketching and collecting inspiration) and started my mood boards.  I humoured many a person when pulling out my moodboards.  I am definitely a designer!

The Venue… Service – St Mary’s Church, Burton Pembrokeshire. Quaint, intimate and warm; and a female reverend who adding bundles of humour to our service, including the now infamous line “Do you Peter take Jacqueline to be your lawful wedded HUSBAND!”

Reception – Upton Castle, Pembrokeshire. A beautiful setting; a castle (dating back to the 12 century, surrounded by mature gardens, nature trails, a huge lawn, a 700year old tree, and a pool.  We felt so privileged to have had our wedding there, the castle‘s lovely owners only open the doors to their gorgeous home for five weddings a year.  From the moment we first drove up the windy, stone mushroom lined private drive through the woods to the castle, we had ‘the feeling’ it was ‘THE’ venue.  Words cannot describe how wonderful the place is.

The Dress + Accessories… As a Designer, I knew that I was going to have a dress which was unique to me.  I always knew that I would design every detail and have it made.  I visited White Bride in Narberth, I was blown away by one of Sally’s stocked designers, Sassi Holford.  So, ‘the dress’ became an amalgamation of 2 Sassi Holford Dresses, with tweaks here and there to truly make it mine.  I designed a sash, knot and ribbon trail inspired by our love of sailing, coupled with a bespoke handmade waist accessory and headdress, that I made from beads, jewels and vintage broaches  – which were my grandmothers.

Finding the Dress… It was in my head, and I thoroughly enjoyed sharing it with Sally White Bride; even though it meant trying on her samples back to front, inside out, upside down and so on.  It was such a fun process, with no stress.  I could definitely try on wedding dresses for Sally again.

Groom’s Attire… Classic and dapper: he looked VERY good.  It was the one area he wished free reign and he always wanted to wear the classic tails, so I gave it a twist with the colours of cravats for him and his good men.

The Readings + Music… Taliesin String Quartet played in the Church and on arrival at the venue, we had them arrange some songs for my entrance that were personal to us, and injected an element of humour as they played “when I’m 64” as the register was signed!

The best wedding band, this was an obvious choice on their merit alone as we had heard them at a relative’s wedding earlier in the year, but the cream on the cake, and unbeknown previously to us they were friends of some of our guests, which lead to some perfect crowd/band interaction.

Beautiful Bridesmaids… I have never been a fan of dressing bridesmaids in the same dresses, the same colours and with the classic bridesmaid look, so we searched high and low for dresses which suited their personalities and body shape; and the four colours (duck egg blue, dusky pink, taupe and teal) which I matched to an ushers/bestman.  One piece of advice – it takes a lot longer to find the dresses when restricting colours with certain styles: so get the b’maid dresses sooner than you think.  It was the week before and one of my girls nearly had to arrive at the church wearing a blackbag. We look back and laugh now.

The Flowers… It was 3 weeks before the big day, and after a huge let down by a local Florist we were running around pulling upon our friends and family for help.  A truly inspiring great lady we sail with was my saviour.  We spent one evening sipping G&T and flicking through magazines, deciding on the flowers, designing the arrangement shapes and calculating the quantities, and then I had my shopping list.  Antique Roses, Anemones, Peonies, Ranunculus, Eucalyptus, Alstroemeria, Tulips,  Wax Flowers and Astilbe, were some.  Beautiful bouquets created by our friend, and I was left to my own devices to create the table flowers.  I was one very happy lady.

The Cake… I had so many ideas to choose from, one week we were having a classic three-tiered cake covered in fruit and flowers, then another I would be sketching a homemade, handcrafted (with Pete’s Chainsaw) three-tiered log cake stand.  I knew which was going to be more fun for us to go with.   It was fab.  My mam invested into 2 cake-pop machines and after many testing and tasting trials; we were professional Cake-Poppers! Fair play to her, she worked so hard with her mini Cake-Popper Team, and having her on any wedding prep team is a must – maybe I could make a business out of using her skills!

Then, to top it off was experiment number 2 with a CAKE, was a 5 tiered pink gradient cake to sit beautifully on the top.  I couldn’t resist not adding homemade bunting to it too.

Your Photographer… I love good photography, and quite early in the planning stage, my quest to find a photographer(s) began (as the creative one, Pete knew I was best fitting for this task).  We knew that we were looking for someone not only with great natural ‘paping’ skills, but we wanted to ‘click’ with them too.  I could say so much about our photographers; they are such great people.  They came to our house, and several teas and off-subject conversations later we loved them.  As husband and wife, O&C Photography captured our day so perfectly.  Stunning, beautiful and natural photographs.  I remember looking through them and feeling the exact feeling I felt that day; it was like reliving the day again.  How do they do it?

The Details + Decor… All the details and décor were collected or created by us.  You may think this to be an exaggeration, but literally, everything.  My list for handmade/homemade décor was huge.  Each table had a slice of a tree from our woods, topped with a vintage glass cloche which contained items of significance to our life together so far.  We spent many an evening ‘crafting’.  We are very practical people and love turning our hand to anything: from recovering lampshades with fabric sourced and wiring them up for our marquee entrance, designing the wedding stationery, making monkey fists and sailing knots, to making pottery hearts and cockerels.  I, Jak, have great talented creative friends – I thank them hugely for their help in the production line too!

The Honeymoon… TBC!!!!! We stole away for 3 days post wedding for our “mini moon” to the wonderful and secluded Lake Vyrnwy Hotel and are currently planning our big trip to Cambodia and Loas.

Memorable Moments… For Jak, there was one moment that was so poignant it is memorable; I was sat in my kitchen having just had my make-up done (by Jennifer Mills, Pembrokeshire) and everything around me was so busy and hectic.  I sat there with my eyes closed for what felt like ages, to soak up the sounds and the feelings, and to think of everyone who would be missing from our day.  It was incredible. (I think Charis’s photo truly captures how I felt – clever lady!)

For Pete, It’s hard to name one point, I’m not a materialistic person, I have quite a laid back approach.  I really enjoyed watching how much Jak got from planning and orchestrating the day in the lead up, that said it was a team effort and I got a real kick from the atmosphere we created, everything was perfect, I made a point to take 5 minutes out here and there to take a step back and just take it all in, but if I had to name one part, it was the speeches, we had given everyone carte blanche and had no idea what was written, each speaker (brother of the bride, mother of the bride, groom & best man) had the perfect balance of rehearsed and “seat of pants” and the fact that the guests all had a good time made it that much easier.

Advice for Other Couples… Choose your professionals carefully, you will be sharing your special day with them, and working closely with them in the build-up to the day (which is stressful).

One of the main criteria for us was how we got on with them. It’s true for all our professionals, but especially as the bar (The Bar, Neyland) and the caterer (Shindigz, Llangwm) not having done a wedding before we were confident in our ability to work with them all, and their ability to perform to the standards we wanted without having to get to diva stage!  Also, don’t be afraid to ask, it’s your day, trust your instincts and if you have an idea, ask for it, we did, and all of our crazy ideas were well received!

Credit Where Credit is Due…

Photography: O&C Photography

Venue: Upton Castle

Utterly gorgeous! I so love the muted and natural tones of their wedding decor. Thanks so much to Jacqueline and Peter for sharing their beautiful wedding with us today XOXO Lou

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