It all started with the sweetest seaside proposal, with a heart shaped stone underwater. And so WWW readers Sarah and Tom planned their quirky seaside wedding held at Oxwich Bay Hotel, Wales.
They had a meaningful humanist ceremony, sweet seaside inspired décor and pretty gypsophila throughout.
Sarah had the most gorgeous bridal look, a swishy 1950s inspired Candy Anthony dress with red and blue accessories, while Tom opted for a pale grey suit with blue tie. Such a fun and happy celebration.
Thanks so much to Amy Radcliffe Photography for sharing her gorgeous photographs with us.
THE PROPOSAL | Whilst holidaying in Thailand and staying in Koh Phangnan Tom suggested we went on a walk to go snorkelling. When snorkelling Tom seemed to be acting a little strangely which Sarah put down to him never having snorkelled before, when after a few moments she spotted a heart shaped stone under water with ‘Will you marry me Sarah?’ written on it. Later on the beach Tom explained the stone was made from Bath stone (we first met in Bath) and he had had it especially engraved. He then presented Sarah with an engagement ring charm for her charm bracelet, so that we could go together to get the ring when back in the UK. We then went for cocktails and to watch the sunset.
THE VISION | 1950s seaside was the main vision. We wanted it to be fun, informal and to reflect us as a couple. The seaside theme became obvious after such a wonderful proposal, we also both love the sea so felt it was very ‘us’. We knew we wanted fish and chips for the wedding breakfast (this is the meal we always have with champagne when we have something to celebrate so was an obvious choice for us to share with everyone on our wedding day).
THE PLANNING PROCESS | The main thing to plan initially was finding a venue, we knew we didn’t want a really long engagement so said we wanted to get married a year later. We decided to get married in South Wales (where Sarah is originally from) partly due to the beautiful seaside venues there and partly due to the majority of family being based there.
We struggled to find a venue near the sea that would allow us to be flexible with the menu. Eventually we narrowed it down to a few in Mumbles and the Gower. Tom eventually picked the venue as he fell in love with the view.
Once the venue was picked most other things fell into place – we had very definite ideas on what we did and didn’t want. We had a humanist ceremony and it was important to us to be able to do this in a great setting (due to weather we had to do it in the marquee rather than outside but we still had amazing seaside views). Music was also really important to us and family members assisted with this. Sarah’s cousin sang before the bride entered and her Uncle and friend were the wedding band, playing the ceremony music and later in the evening. We knew we didn’t want traditional music but wanted music to be involved, in the end we picked music that was personal to us. The humanist ceremony allowed us to have the music we wanted, say our own personal vows and be inclusive of the congregation. Before the wedding there were a lot of sceptics but afterwards everyone said how much they’d loved how personal the ceremony was.
We also felt personal touches were important so spent lots of time in the lead up to the wedding crafting things and making sure there were lots of special touches for our day.
VENUE | Marquee at Oxwich Bay Hotel, Gower, South Wales. We wanted a blank canvas with great views and this was definitely that! We wanted to be able to put our own twist on the venue and were able to do that here.
THE DRESS & ACCESSORIES | Sarah really wanted to wear black on her wedding day but in the end did this the day before at the legal ceremony (Humanist ceremonies are not legally binding in England and Wales).
For the main wedding: Dress and matching headpiece – Candy Anthony. Cardigan – Tom purchased this for Sarah as he thought it reminded him of the wedding. Shoes – Vivienne Westwood and Melissa. Jewellery – vintage from antique stores.
FINDING THE DRESS | The dress was fairly easy, Sarah knew she did not want a long dress and this was confirmed after a trip to a wedding fayre where she tried a few on (just in case!). After a search online it was decided there must be a trip to London as she would not find the sort of dress she wanted anywhere else. Sarah took her Mum to Candy Anthony to show her the ideal dress (with a view of seeing it for inspiration) her Mum agreed it was very ‘her’ and insisted she have the dress! Sarah knew she wanted lots of colour involved so the shoes were picked next and this decided the colour scheme for the rest of the wedding, including the blue sash on the dress and red petticoat.
GROOM’S ATTIRE | This was the hardest thing to find! Initially we wanted pale blue but couldn’t find anything that suited, so decided on pale grey, but we wanted something different with a bit of a vintage twist – eventually we found these suits with white trim which were perfect.
THE READINGS & MUSIC | Readings: Sarah’s godmother read – Edward Monkton – A Lovely Love Story. Lucy (Sarah & Tom’s friend) read – an excerpt by the Dalai Lama.
Music: We knew we didn’t want traditional music but wanted music to be involved, in the end the Bride walked down the aisle to Queen-Crazy Little Thing Called Love and during the ceremony everyone sang ‘Madness-It Must be Love’ and ‘Turtles-Happy Together’, with the bride and groom leaving to ‘Foo Fighters-Times Like These’, there was even a special surprise during the ceremony when a song was played that had been written especially for the couple called ‘Sarah & Tom’.
BEAUTIFUL BRIDESMAIDS | Sarah’s Goddaughter (Livi) was a mini maid and Sarah’s friend Kate was bridesmaid, her friend from university (Lucy) who has become a mutual friend to her and Tom was a female Usher.
Kate wore a 1950s style swing dress in pale blue which we accessorised with a ivory sash and Livi work a ivory dress accessorised with a pale blue sash. Livi knowing it was not a traditional wedding was desperate to where her converse and went out and got special pale blue ribbons for the laces.
THE FLOWERS | We knew we wanted something fairly simple as we had lots already going on with the colours and styles involved at the wedding.
Sarah has always loved gypsophila from a young age and hated being told when she was younger that it was just for mixing in with other flowers. So early on she knew she wanted this for her bouquet. We also wanted twine to create a rustic laid back look.
Sarah also knew she didn’t want bouquets for the bridesmaids as she wanted to give all the females involved in the wedding flowers to symbolise that they were also part of the wedding party, due to the 1950s style she quickly decided on corsages on a diamante bracelet when could be used again. Livi the junior maid had gypsophilia on a hairband.
THE CAKE | We had an amazing cake made by Cymrucakes for our engagement party as a surprise (depicting the proposal) so decided that we would entrust them with our wedding cake too.
We had three tiers – two chocolate and one lemon. We described our wedding theme to the cake designer and provided a copy of our wedding invite and left the rest of the design up to them so we had a lovely surprise on the day.
YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER | Amy Radcliffe. We knew we didn’t want a traditional photographer and saw Amy through a wedding forum, we thought her informal style would suit our wedding perfectly and after our love shoot knew we’d made the right choice.
THE DETAILS & DÉCOR | The detail was important to us right from the beginning and this started from the invites – we had vintage 1950’s/sailor jerry style invites designed for us as it was important that we set the scene from beginning.
We wanted lots of personal touches during the day, so there were lots of framed quotes that we loved and also photo bunting of our grandparents’ weddings.
As we were trying to get a 1950s seaside them/vibe we used lots of pictures of postcards that we’d picked up on day trips in Brighton and turned them into bunting to decorate the bar area.
In the main room we wanted to keep the seaside theme – so had lots of blue lanterns on the ceiling, the centre pieces were hurricane vases with sand, shells and candles and the table names were sandcastle buckets with flags we’d made with a picture of the different beaches we love (each table a different beach).
We also wanted to keep things fun so had a Polaroid camera with our guest book so got vintage style pics of all our guests, we also had quizzes on the tables and ‘fortune teller’ games, along with a sweet buffet (named Tom’s Tuck Shop) and lots of other fun touches, like a jar of dates (where guests had to put a date ideas into a jar for us to do during the year).
It was also important to us that our guests enjoyed and were comfortable/happy to we put toiletries and other supplies in the toilets, did bottles of water with personalised labels for those going home by taxi and made everyone staying a goody bag which we put in the hotel rooms.
THE HONEYMOON | We had a mini-moon immediately after the wedding (Majorca) where we relaxed and ate/drank lots.
We then went on a long honeymoon the next year (Hong Kong and travelling around Thailand). We put a lot of effort into the planning and ensured we had lots of fun trips planned and gorgeous hotels to stay in.
MEMORABLE MOMENTS | The ceremony itself was perfect and this is one of the most memorable parts of the day, as it had been really hard to envisage beforehand as everything was written just for us so was totally unique. On top of that we had not shared our vows beforehand so it was really nice to hear these for the first time on the day.
ADVICE FOR OTHER COUPLES | Be yourselves!
CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE|
Photographer | Amy Radcliffe Photography
Cake | Cymrucakes
Venue | Oxwich Bay Hotel
Dress | Candy Anthony
Amazing. Such a vibrant fun wedding.
Thanks so much to Sarah and Tom for sharing their lovely story with us today XOXO Lou