We’re ending the week with that Friday feeling and a super colourful wedding. My fave kind of day.
They wanted a multi colour nostalgic feel to their day, which was jammed packed full of meaningful touches. There were some brilliant music, burger cuisine and even a miniature railway to all delight guests.
I just love the rainbow bridesmaid dresses, Rosie’s stunning 1950s original vintage dress and the boys dressed in tweed. Not to mention the gorgeous home grown florals. Wow.
THE PROPOSAL | Rosie was living in London and I in Swansea. I had ordered a bespoke ring so I had 6 weeks to plan the proposal while they made it. I was going to collect Rosie from Swansea University in the afternoon of April 4th and the weather was looking fine. A couple of hours before this, I drove to Rhossili beach on the Gower Peninsular. After studying the cliff path and the tide tables, I had picked a spot to write my proposal in the sand with the spade I brought (in 2 metre high letters!). I got some great words of encouragement from well wishers and after writing the message I rushed back to my car and drove to collect Rosie, before driving back to the beach. I escorted Rosie along the cliff path overlooking the beach where she could see the words “MARRY ME?” written below her. She asked “Did you write that?” and I just got down on one knee and said a few words. Thankfully she said yes!
THE VISION | We wanted a wedding where everyone was having fun and the relationship between ourselves and the guests was celebrated as well as our marriage.
We aren’t really a ‘colour scheme’ kind of couple, so we opted for a multi-coloured theme, so that we could be quite relaxed about stuff and not having to match too much. We wanted it to be a bit nostalgic – not full on vintage but with a 1950s vibe to it.
Our vision was greatly enhanced through the help of Lindsay, of My Vintage Flower. She took our ideas and helped us to make it all come together and work. She’s ace!
THE PLANNING PROCESS | We got engaged in April, and decided to get married in September, so we only had 5 months to plan a wedding for 200 people!
Most of the big things, we decided in the car on the way home from getting engaged… We knew we wanted to get married near Rosie’s parents’ house as Rosie’s Dad was ill with cancer so that would be easier for him. Plus, it’s absolutely beautiful there! We knew what our first dance song would be, we knew that there had to be burgers!
Most of the planning was done within a couple of months – we sorted the legal stuff quickly, as that’s the essential part, then got cracking with the fun stuff like play lists, menus and outfits!
We were a bit worried about only having 5 months but actually it was great as it meant we had to be efficient, and go with our gut instinct rather than agonise over decisions for weeks or months. We would do a bit of planning in the evenings after work, where we would aim to tick off something. We’d check that we both liked the idea and then just went with it!
BUDGET | £10k
THE VENUE | We had dual venues for the wedding, with the ceremony to be held at Jabajak – a beautiful vineyard/restaurant in West Wales which is licensed for weddings. We took the risk of having the ceremony outside which fortunately paid off as we were treated to warm sunshine and beautiful views on the day.
We stumbled across the Teifi Valley Historic Railway by accident – the field we were planning to use was flooded and we were worried about how to organise facilities such as toilets, catering, parking. As we drove to the beach in West Wales we noticed the railway had a large flat car park (as well as a working steam train, play area, crazy golf, café etc) and Will decided it was worth a punt. So we rolled in and asked to speak to the manager (Martin) to ask if they did weddings. After a little hesitation, Martin asked what we had in mind and after 15 minutes of chat he was totally on-board with our crazy idea!
We would erect a large marquee in the car park of the railway, next to a small existing marquee. Here the guests would be seated for a sit-down meal and the speeches/toasts. The railway is equipped with proper porcelain toilets and sinks with hot running water so that was one worry out of the way. Martin was happy for us to use a third party to cater our “afternoon tea” style lunch and for them to use the kitchens. Martin also provided a stocked bar with bargain prices and agreed to cater the evening meal for all which would be an American style burger bar in their Signal Box Café!
All the guests had full use of the facilities including a real steam train, petting zoo, crazy golf, bouncy castle and kids train!
THE DRESS & ACCESSORIES | Rosie’s dress was found at Elizabeth Avey, London. It was a 1953 dress with a silk bodice and underskirt, lace sleeves, and tulle full skirt.
The shoes were Red or Dead, found in Office, when Rosie was shopping for Will’s wedding shoes. She saw them out of the corner of her eye whilst Will was trying his out. She went back a few days later to try them and they were subtly sparkly, and so comfy!
The veil was purchased for £20 on Etsy– Rosie wasn’t sure if she wanted a veil so she purchased a cheap one just in case. To go with the veil she wanted a floral slide or clip. Originally she wanted real flowers, but worried that they would wilt over the day, so started searching for another option. Two weeks before the wedding she still didn’t have something, but on her Hen party one of her friends was wearing a With Love From Bobbin slide, and Rosie then emailed them and asked if she could make something in a hurry for Rosie. She made a beautiful multi-coloured slide from 1950s paper millinery flowers. Rosie wore it at the back of her hair over her veil for the wedding ceremony, and moved it to behind her victory roll, minus the veil, for the party.
The jewellery was simple but special. Rosie’s Nan’s vintage pearl earrings, and a gold and emerald necklace that Will gave to Rosie for her birthday when they’d been going out for a year.
FINDING THE DRESS | Rosie had a clear idea of what she wanted for her dress – 1950s style, big puffy skirt, sleeves. Rosie and her Mum had 5 or 6 appointments over two days in London. The second shop was Elizabeth Avey, who sells exclusively vintage dresses. Rosie was desperate for a vintage wedding dress but knew that as she is curvy, it would be a struggle as most vintage wedding dresses are tiny! Elizabeth was great – when Rosie made the appointment she told Elizabeth her size, and what she wanted, so when Rosie and her Mum arrived at the boutique, Elizabeth had lined up a number of options. The first dress was a very puffy 1960s dress that looked ace, but was a bit too shiny! The second one was the dress and both Rosie and her Mum just loved it. It had a peter pan collar, and long sleeves. Elizabeth talked through some alteration ideas, but Rosie was worried about these, and decided to think about it. Rosie had a few other appointments so they went off to these (as well as popping into Borough Market for lunch and bubbly!). Rosie and her Mum found another option in a shop that sold vintage-style dresses. It was flattering, beautiful, and a good price, so Rosie reserved it. Over the next week Rosie was worrying about it and went to try it on again. When in the changing rooms she noticed that it was made in Taiwan. Although there’s nothing wrong with this, Rosie just didn’t feel right wearing it, so she cancelled the dress order and went straight home to ring Elizabeth Avey, who luckily hadn’t sold the vintage dress. Rosie went up to her boutique that afternoon and bought it!
Elizabeth put Rosie in contact with a seamstress who works with vintage dresses, and after a couple of fittings, some major alterations to the neckline and sleeves, and a custom-made petticoat, Rosie’s dress was ready!
GROOM’S ATTIRE | We wanted a casual dress code to go with Will’s usual state of dress! Also a rural farming style would go with the mid-walean setting and straw bales/retro feel at the reception. Will found some genuine Harris Tweed waistcoats at Edinburgh Woollen Mill which could be purchased online by groomsman. Persuaded away from jeans by the best men and his family, will chose moleskin trousers from Debenhams for the bottoms. Navy ties were found online at Debenhams. White dress shirts added a touch of formality and groomsmen were asked to wear natural leather belts and brogues to complete the ensemble.
We bought tie pins with the Groomsmen’s initials on the front and the wedding date on the back from The Little Homebird on Etsy to personalise the outfit and give as a gift to the groomsmen.
THE READINGS & MUSIC | We asked Will’s best (girl)friend Charlie and Rosie’s best (man)friend Dave to do readings for us and we allowed them to choose whatever they wanted. Charlie chose ‘On Your Wedding Day’ which was heartfelt and lovely and Dave, as a primary school teacher did an hilarious job of reading “A Lovely Love Story” by Edward Monkton – which is about dinosaurs!
Re:Choir (a choir formed at Swansea Uni when Rosie used to work there!) sung Here Comes The Sun by the Beatles for the bridesmaids, Rosie, and her Dad to walk into the ceremony to, as this was one of Rosie’s dad’s favourites and was a good positive song to start on without being too mushy! During the signing of the register the choir sang a medley of pop songs.
We danced to ‘I love you’ by The Pipettes as our first dance as it is not too mushy, but fun and quite short so we could bop around. After this Re:Choir came on and sang ‘Make you Feel My Love’ for the father-daughter dance as it was originally written by Bob Dylan and Rosie’s Dad was a huge fan of Dylan! Following a few more songs from the choir, we put on our home made Spotify play list for an hour or so whilst the guests mingled and enjoyed themselves. Later on popular ska band Crashline agreed to play a set of pop classics which they made their own! They wore great outfits including custom hats! To finish off Rosie’s brother Adam and Will’s friend Jack took to the decks and played an eclectic set ranging from Motown to electro!
BEAUTIFUL BRIDESMAIDS | Rosie had 10 (yes 10!) bridesmaids! Will’s three sisters, her two best friends from school, her 4 nieces, and her cousin Annie as Maid of Honour. They are Rosie’s fave girls and all bought different skills to Team Rosie. The Soffe sisters are fab at hair and make up, Nat and Alice (the friends) know how to keep Rosie calm and having fun, the nieces are all smiley, cheerful and great at distracting Rosie, and Annie was there as Rosie’s second-in-command – keeping everyone on task, running around doing last minute jobs, and keeping Rosie focused on enjoying the day. Rosie is a bit uptight and organised, and Annie is mega carefree and relaxed so she made sure Rosie didn’t stress about ‘the plan’ but enjoyed being in the moment!
The girls’ dresses were a bit of a worry for Rosie as she knew she wanted something A line and a bit 50s, and all the girls in different colours, but couldn’t find the right dress. Alice and Nat were searching online and found the Audrey dress from Lindy Bop. They were perfect as they came in a multitude of colours and they had a similar skirt length and style to Rosie’s wedding dress. Finding good colours in the right sizes for all of the girls was a bit of a military operation, involving lots of lists and colour preferences, but we managed it and they looked ace! We got them all a petticoat from Lindy Bop too so they could have some fun spinning round and swishing their skirts.
The flower girls’ white dresses were found on La Redoute, and were perfect for Mia and Ellie. We accessorised their dresses, and the ‘big bridesmaids’ dresses with Liberty print bows, made by Rosie’s aunty in France! The flower girls’ flowers were also tied with this fabric, to bring in a bit more colour.
All of the girls were given a custom-made necklace the night before the wedding with their name on, made by The Little Homebird, who also made the tie pins for Team Will.
THE FLOWERS | Rosie’s parents moved to West Wales about 6 years ago and since then, Rosie’s Mum has grown beautiful flowers. Rosie has always said that she’d like her Mum to grow her wedding flowers, so when we were in the early stages of planning, she asked her Mum, who accepted the job! It was a big job as Rosie wanted lots of flowers decorating the marquee, plus 10 bridesmaids, 10 groomsmen, and lots of extra button holes! Elaine did a wonderful job – sourcing the seeds based on pictures of wedding flowers on Pinterest and lovingly tending to them over 5 months. It was a bit stressful as you can’t guarantee that they’re going to flower at the right time, but the weather was on our side over Summer and we had hundreds of beautiful flowers, ready for cutting the day before!
On top of the flowers, Rosie also asked her Mum to make floral confetti, so any flowers that weren’t going to make it to the wedding were made into multi-coloured confetti that looked lovely in the pictures.
THE CAKE | Will’s littlest sister, Charlotte, is an amazing baker so we asked her to make us a wedding cake. We had no idea what design we wanted, but we knew it had to be Red Velvet, as it’s our fave. So we left Charlotte to design it. It was a surprise for us on the wedding day and she did an amazing job – it was swirled with cream cheese frosting, in a very 1950s style. The only thing we forgot was a knife or cake slice, so we borrowed one of the Flower Girls’ plastic swords to cut the cake, before our first dance and accidentally snapped the sword, much to everyone’s delight apart from the Flower Girls’!
YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER | Photography was really important to us and we were worried that we wouldn’t find ‘the one’ as we only had 5 months to plan our wedding. We short-listed down to 4 photographers and emailed them all. 3 of them could do our wedding date, so now we just had to choose! We chose Jess because her emails had been the friendliest and her pictures – wow – they’re just beautiful! We loved her style and meeting her at our pre-wedding shoot cemented our decision. She’s just so fun and didn’t take it all too seriously. We really didn’t want the typical ‘line up and smile’ type pictures and Jess promised that there would be none of that. She also came with a friendly sidekick, Adam, who made our gorgeous wedding video. We very nearly didn’t get a video but we watched one of Adam’s other weddings and it had both of us in tears – we didn’t even know the couple!
THE DETAILS & DÉCOR | We knew we wanted 1950s style and multicolour but we really didn’t want to stick to one ‘set’ of colours, rather just grab anything that was multi-coloured and mix it all up. So we had reams of paper ribbons as a backdrop for the top table, stripy, spotty and floral paper straws, coloured candles, stripy napkins made by My Vintage Flower from a vintage bed sheet, tin cans wrapped in coloured ribbon, and our favourite subtle decoration – fluffy paper pom poms hanging from bike wheels. Will is a bike fanatic so we used a few of his old wheels to bring a bit of biking into the décor. We also added one on the guest book table, full of cheesy photos of us! Finally, we trimmed everything with miles and miles of homemade bunting, carefully crafted by our close family friends.
THE HONEYMOON | We didn’t have a huge budget to go on a luxurious holiday, and we had focused so much on the wedding that we sort of forgot about the honeymoon! A month before the wedding we just decided that it was most important to spend quality time together, as we are so busy all the time that we never get to see each other. We booked a cute little B&B in mid-Wales (Graig Wen) and planned to spend our time walking, eating nice food and just catching up. Then we discovered that just half an hour away from our B&B at Antur Stiniog there was ‘Bounce Below’, (Google it!) and thus our relaxed and quiet honeymoon became a bit of an adventure. We went trampolining in a cave and white water rafting on Day 1, climbed Snowdon on Day 2, went to Zip World on Day 3 and, finally, on Day 4 we went wild swimming in a lake on the way to Ruthin Castle where we spent our final night and day, enjoying luxury food and a spa day. It was perfect. We couldn’t have wished for anything else as we got to be together, have some amazing experiences and spend the evenings with a cider, reminiscing about the wedding and reading all of the lovely messages from our guests in their cards and in the guest book.
MEMORABLE MOMENTS | Rosie’s 32 year old brother and 3 year old nephew curling up on the hay bales in the bar area for a snooze during the disco after a bit too much excitement.
After Rosie and Will’s dance, and the father-daughter dance, Re:choir started singing ‘God Only Knows’ by the Beach Boys. Slowly, all of the wedding guests joined us on the dance floor and we were completely surrounded by smiling couples, dancing away. Crashline (possibly the best ska band in the world) stayed to party after their sets for lots of impromptu dance-offs.
All of the bridesmaids, and Rosie’s family piling onto the vintage bus and singing songs all the way to the wedding!
The choir starting to sing, all of the guests going quiet and Rosie walking down the aisle with her Dad. It was beautiful, and then Rosie’s Dad exclaims (loudly) ‘Oh it’s bloody emotional isn’t it!?’
Sitting at the top table whilst all of our guests were chatting and tucking into their Afternoon Tea, and we just felt so happy!
The peaceful half an hour where we escaped to have our photos taken and Jess and Adam just told us to have a chat and a cuddle. We didn’t really notice them!
ADVICE FOR OTHER COUPLES | Focussing on activities for us and the guests was totally the right thing for us to do; watching them have a good time on our big day was almost as good as getting married! Bringing all our friends and family together in a massive party was unforgettable.
For us, it wasn’t so much about getting every little detail perfect, as I think we would have gone mad! We did focus on the little things, but only where it added a bit of fun, or it was really important to us. For example, we spoke for hours about table names and themes for different tables, but decided just to leave it as it wasn’t important. However we gave each guest a coloured name badge, as we thought it was a good ice breaker and would be a cute little souvenir from the wedding. We also had a fun afternoon a few weeks before the wedding where we went online and bought loads of plastic glasses, rave paint, glow sticks, face glitter and floral headbands. We left them in the chill out area, near the guest book and people found them after they’d had a few too many ciders and guests started appearing on the dance floor all glittery and wearing funny accessories! So our advice regarding the details is to relax and do what is important to you, but don’t panic about everything being absolutely perfect and organised. You probably won’t notice a lot of them on the day as you’ll be too busy having a good time!
Also, don’t be limited by the ‘wedding options’ available to you. Be creative! We very nearly booked a lovely, but very ‘weddingy’ hotel for our reception as we were panicking about not having a venue, but that afternoon we stumbled across the Railway and then just asked. It was so much better than a normal wedding venue as we were able to make it exactly how we wanted it rather than just having a package.
CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE |
The dress | Elizabeth Avey
Bride’s shoes | Red Herring (Schuh)
Bride’s veil | Etsy at The Bride’s Store
Bride’s hair slide | With Love from Bobbin
Bridesmaid dresses | The ‘Audrey’ dress by Lindy Bop
Flower girl dresses | La Redoute
Groom and groomsmen | Waistcoats from Edinburgh Woollen Mill, moleskine trousers from Debenhams, own shoes and belts.
Styling | My Vintage Flower
Photography | Jessica Withey Photography
Videographer | Adam Lyduch Films
Wedding venue | Jabajak Vineyard
Reception venue | Teifi Valley Railway
Bus hire | Swansea Bus Museum
Well wasn’t that just rather marvellous?
Thanks so much to Will and Rosie for sharing their wedding story today xo Lou