WWW readers Amy and Ollie tied the knot in the summer, with a church service followed by a pub reception at The King Arthur Hotel, Swansea. They wanted their wedding to have a quirky feel with vintage feel touches.
Amy looked beautiful in a 1950s inspired lace dress with a super special pair of gold glitter Christian Louboutin shoes. The bridesmaids coordinated in pretty blue prom dresses with peep toe heels. While the boys went for traditional morning suits which looked very dashing indeed.
I so love all of the home made personal touches, the pretty blue florals and fun wedding transport.
Thanks so much to Marc Smith for sharing his lovely images with us today.
The Proposal… Ollie and I had visited New York a few years previously and fell in love with the City, we always wanted to go back, so decided to visit at Christmas time.
It was a cold but sunny Saturday afternoon, Ollie suggested going to Central Park for the day. Whilst walking through the Park, Ollie spotted a quiet little area and suggested that we sit down for a bit. I could see that Ollie was a bit agitated but didn’t think anything of it. It was all a bit of blur from then on, because the next thing I remember is Ollie with a ring in his hand asking me to marry him . Even though we had been together for so long (10 years), I still had no idea that he was going to propose. Of course there was no hesitation and I immediately said ‘yes’.
But that wasn’t the end of the surprise, Ollie then went on to tell me that the ring he had actually bought me was not ‘the ring.’ He said he didn’t want to deprive me of a shopping experience (I love shopping) and it was by no coincidence that our next stop was Tiffany’s on 5th Avenue. I am a bit.. okay a lot more impulsive than Ollie, so whilst Ollie had set aside two days for me to choose the ring, I knew within 10 minutes which one I wanted. The service in Tiffany’s on the day was amazing and what made it even more memorable was the handwritten note (from the lady that served us) that we received when we returned home from New York.
The Vision for the Day… Vintage Beach – Traditional but quirky!
The Planning Process… I absolutely loved planning the day and would do it all over again in a heartbeat. As soon as we had the theme, I did a lot of research, visiting shops, looking at wedding blogs. and trawling the internet… Pinterest became my new best friend. I also had my trusty spreadsheet, scrap book and lists to keep me a bit more focused!
We had about 21 months from the proposal to the wedding day and I’m so glad that we had this amount of time, because it meant that we could spend time researching things and also most importantly, enjoy the whole experience of planning a wedding. The first thing we decided on was the Church and Venue and then after that everything kind of fell into place.
Budget… We were very lucky that our families helped us out with the wedding, we could never have afforded the special day we had without them.
The Venue… The Church: We got married at St Johns Church in Gowerton, Swansea, which is in the area where I grew up and where my parents still live. There was no where else that i would consider getting married.
Reception: Although we visited quite a few venues there was never ever really question as to where we would end up… The King Arthur Hotel. The King Arthur is family run country inn in the heart of Gower, the pub itself is warm and cosy with lovely log fires. Our reception was held in the breathtaking Avalon room, which has a lovely high pitched ceiling and oak beams and looks out onto the grounds of the hotel. Not only is the venue beautiful but the food is amazing and so are the staff, Rhian (our wedding co-ordinator) in particular went over and above to make sure our day was special.
The Dress + Accessories… I wore a 1950’s style Lace Forget Me Not Designs dress, called Louise. I love shoes, and have always wanted a pair of Louboutins, so the wedding seemed like the perfect excuse for me to treat myself to a pair, which is exactly what I did on a shopping trip to London. I had looked on the internet and seen the pair i wanted and luckily they were in stock – gold peep toe glitter sling backs. I tried them on and they were perfect – a true Cinderella moment!
I didn’t really want a traditional veil, but wanted to wear something in my hair. On one of our many shopping trips to Cardiff my sister spotted a lovely hat/fascinator in John Lewis. It was relatively plain, so I decided to have it customised and Wendy Wallace Williams was definitely the lady to do it – with the addition of Swarovski crystals, netting and a earring, it was transformed into the perfect hat/fascinator for my wedding.
Because the dress was so detailed and had a high neckline, i didn’t really need a lot of jewellery. In keeping with the vintage theme I wore a pearl bracelet and earrings, which I bought from John Lewis. My sister had also bought me a present from Betty’s Glamour Box – Something Old, New, Borrowed, Blue which was pinned into my dress on the day!
The make up was perfect too – Katherine really helped me to pick the perfect vintage style make up to go with my wedding dress and theme! Everyone else seemed to like it too because I have had so many compliments about the make up! Katherine and Charlotte came to my parents house in the morning, which was where we were all got ready. I loved every minute of the bridal preparations, thanks to Katherine and Charlotte for their amazing service!
Finding the Dress… I went dress shopping in Cardiff with my mum and two of my sisters and had arranged an appointment in a couple of shops. I had a bit of an idea of the type of thing that I was looking for but went into the shops with an open mind and tried on lots of different styles, even some that I didn’t really like the look of! By the end of the day I was feeling a bit disheartened because whilst the dresses were all nice, nothing really stood out.
A couple of days later I visited a local bridal shop – Pleser in Pontarddulais. I got to the shop and was greeted by Llinos who asked me what type of thing I was looking for. I explained what I liked from all the other dresses that I had tried on and with that Llinos pulled out a beautiful 50s style tea-length lace dress.
Whilst looking through the wedding magazines I had spotted a few tea length dresses that I liked, but wasn’t really sure whether or not the style would really suit me! But as soon as I tried it on I knew it was the one – it was perfect, I loved everything about it, the length, the shape, the neckline, the beautiful lace detailing, the back! I didn’t want to take it off! Needless to say that was the only dress that I tried on in the shop!
I was so happy to have bought my dress from Pleser, its a lovely, friendly family run business that has been around since I can remember. In fact 18 years ago I was in the very same shop with my oldest sister who was choosing her wedding dress. Who would have thought that 18 years later I would be back there choosing my own.
Groom’s Attire… Ollie and I went shopping for his suit, we visited a couple of places before deciding on Formal Hire. Ollie wasn’t really sure what he wanted, but Wayne was so helpful that it didn’t take long for him to decide on the perfect suit and accessories for him and his groomsmen.
The Readings + Music… The Readings: We had two readings at our wedding – a reading from St Pauls first letter to the Corinthians and The Gospel according to St John. These were both read out by the Reverend Timothy Williams (who was the officiant at the wedding but also a close family friend), which helped to make the service even more special.
Hymns: I spent quite a bit of time researching the hymns and eventually we decided on Love Divine, All Loves Excelling, we chose this one because it was one of the hymns that my parents sung at their wedding. The second hymn that we chose was ‘We Pledge to One Another”, when I stumbled across the words to this hymn they were so meaningful, it was an obvious choice for our second hymn.
String Quartet: We only decided to have a string quartet a few months before the wedding. We booked Apollo String Quartet Cardiff, and I am so glad that we did, they were amazing and really did make our service complete, it definitely wouldn’t have been the same without them! I walked into Can’t Help Falling in Love with you by Elvis Presley and we walked out to All you need is Love by the Beatles.
Perfect Day Party Band: Ollie came across the band on a works night out, they were playing at a local bar. I remember him ringing me that night to say that he had seen an amazing band and that we should both go and see them when they were next playing. As soon as we saw them again, we knew they were the right choice so we booked them immediately. The band were absolutely amazing, everyone loved them, the dance floor was full from the first song to the very last! The only downside was that they had to leave – we could have listened to them all night!
First Dance: Ollie and I were not sure whether or not we actually wanted to do a first dance. Neither of us were big dancers and the thought of dancing in front of so many people was really daunting. It was the only thing about the wedding that really did stress me out. We also struggled to find a song that we both liked and something that we could actually dance to, that was until were watching TV one day and the film Bewitched came on! We heard a song that we really liked and I immediately googled it to find out what it was. The song was Johnnie Taylor – Just the one I’ve been looking for.
We had given the name of our song to the DJ before the wedding, but had told him that we were going to leave it until the night to decide whether or not we actually wanted to do a first dance. We did end up doing a first dance and I’m glad we did, it wasn’t half as bad as I thought thanks to some of my family and friends who joined the dance floor a few minutes later!
The Flowers… I had seen Eve’s flowers before at a friends wedding and loved the style. After a couple of emails back and fore we met with Eve, as soon as we met I knew that we would end up with the most amazing flowers and we weren’t disappointed! Eve completely got my vision and was so helpful all the way through the planning! My bouquet was a mixture of ivory flowers accented with blue flowers and pale green greenery in a hand tied posy with ivory ribbon and a hessian bow. The flowers we chose were stocks, thistles, nigella, roses, freesias, hydrangea, slysianthus, astrantia and gerberas. The girls had a similar bouquet to mine but with slightly more blue flowers.
At the Church we had jam jars with mini posies, which were alternated with willow hearts with raffia and lace ribbon at each of the pew ends. The Church looked so beautiful!
The Cake… A family friend made our cake, which was a two tier fruit cake with a hessian band around the first tier and a lace band around the bottom tier. The cake was decorated with the most beautiful hand crafted flowers – they were so good everyone thought they were real! Not only did the cake look good but it tasted amazing too!
Your Photographer… We spent quite a bit of time looking for a photographer and met a few before seeing Marc. Choosing the right photographer was so important to us – we wanted someone who could take emotional but beautiful shots, and provide us with long- lasting memories of such a special day. We also wanted someone who was creative with a unique sense of style! Marc was all these things and more! His attention to detail and creativity is second to none, he really does go that extra mile to get the perfect shot!
As part of the our wedding package we had an engagement shoot down Three Cliffs Bay. To be honest we weren’t were really looking forward to it – neither of us really like having our pictures taken, but Marc made us feel so relaxed, we both loved every minute of it! I’m so glad that we opted to have the engagement shoot because not only did we have a memorable experience but we also really got to know Marc and his way of working, which really helped to put us at ease on the day.
Marc was also brilliant on the day and managed to capture all the moments in an unobtrusive way – he was always there at the right moments but never in our way. I love the natural shots from the day – the photos of the bridal preparations and speeches are some of my favourite shots!
When we first saw the photos it was like our wedding day all over again, Marc has really managed to capture every aspect of our day, from the more formal wedding portraits to the fun unassuming relaxed shots. We now have such great memories to look back on.
The Details + Décor… I really loved planning all the little details of the wedding, they were an important part of our day.
Guest Book – I had actually spotted Marnie Makes on Facebook and loved her doodle hearts. I was trying to think a way of incorporating them into our wedding and then came up with the idea of the guest book… we had two two doodle hearts, well one was actually just the outline of a heart, which people signed as our guest book, the other was a doodle heart, which included pictures and lots of special memories as well as things that are important to us. As well as the guest book, we also had doodle hearts drawn for the tables, which included the names of everyone on the table.
Stationery – To me invitations are really important because they set the tone for the wedding and give people that first glimpse of what your wedding will be like. So in keeping with our vision, we didn’t really want the traditional invite, we wanted something quirky and after seeing Shell’s display in Huppards Cupboard (where we bought the Bridesmaid dresses from) I knew that she would be just the person do it. Shell created us a bespoke design, which was based on a mood board that I had sent to her. When I received the proof back I remember just thinking ‘wow’ Shell really had managed to capture our vision and style in the invite. Not only did we love them, but everyone else did too – we had so many lovely comments about them!. We originally only intended on buying the invitations and order of service from Shell but we were so impressed with the service, design and product, we ended up ordering favour cards, menus, name tags for the table plan and thank you cards too, all of which were equally as amazing as the invites.
Favours – In lieu of favours we donated money to charity in memory of those that are no longer with us. We chose three charities – the Alzheimer’s Society, Motor Neurone Disease Association and the British Heart Foundation.
Chair Covers/Bows and Fairy Lights – Our chair covers and bows were supplied by Enchanted Décor a family run business in Swansea. We decided on Hessian bows and table runners, which complimented the King Arthur so beautifully. Beth’s attention to detail is second to none and we had every confidence in her- we knew that she would make the room look amazing, which is exactly what she did. Enchanted Décor also supplied the fairy lights, which really added to the décor of the room and helped to create the most amazing atmosphere in the night,
Place Names – Our place names were boats, which we made ourselves out of corks, cocktail sticks, card and polos. 60 bottles of sparkling wine later, we had enough corks for the place names. Luckily Ollie had roped one of his ushers into cutting all the corks into halves, which miraculously he did without hurting himself. Putting them together was definitely a mission, but something that I loved doing. Luckily we had so many friends and family that offered to help that it didn’t take too long to do. We were so pleased with how they turned out!
To say Eve only did the flowers is definitely an understatement. Eve really helped to create the most breathtaking decoration at the King Arthur. Our centrepieces were all different from real lobster pots to candelabras and bottles – perfect! I was really unsure about what to do for the top table and came across an idea on Pinterest – lots of different bottles with flowers in them. With the addition of a few candles, shells and sand the top table looked absolutely amazing, even better than I could have imagined.
Table Plan – we bought a door from a reclamation yard and stripped it down. Ollie worked really hard to transform it into our table plan. With the addition of some Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, 22 vintage style door knobs and name tags (from Shell at Something Kinda Cute) the door was transformed into our beautiful table plan.
Cars – In keeping with our vintage style we opted for a beetle and camper van as our transport from lovebugweddings. Elvis (VW Beetle) and Dilwyn (VW Campervan) were amazing and the service we received from Colin and Mark at lovebugweddings was perfect and really made our day. I love some of the shots that we had by the camper van and beetle.
Advice for Other Couples… Enjoy the planning and preparation as much as possible and take your time researching things to make sure you end up with what you really want! To me it was so important that I got on with the vendor/suppliers and that I trusted them implicitly. Trust is so important because it means you can enjoy your special day without worrying about the things like the centrepieces, flowers or the cake etc. The day goes so fast its important that you make the most of it and enjoy it as much as possible!
Credit Where Credit is Due…
Reception – King Arthur Hotel http://www.kingarthurhotel.co.
Stationery – Something Kinda Cute at Huppards Cupboard http://www.somethingkindacute.
Dress – Pleser, Pontarddulais http://www.pleser.co.uk
Grooms Attire – http://www.formal-hire.com
Flowers – Eve Francesca Designs http://www.
Cars – Love Bug Weddings http://lovebugweddings.com
Chair Covers, Chair Bows and Fairy Lights – Enchanted Decor http://www.enchanteddecor.co.
Photographer – Marc Smith Photography http://www.
String Quartet – Apollo String Quartet https://www.facebook.com/
Hat/Fascinator – Customised by Wendy Wallace https://en-gb.facebook.com/
Bridesmaid Dresses – Ears and Whiskars http://www.
Hair and Makeup – Rokoko Beauty Waunceirch https://www.facebook.com/
Guest Book (Doodle Heart and Table Doodle Hearts) – Marnie Makes https://www.facebook.com/marniemakes
Oh so lovely. Thanks so very much to Amy and Ollie for sharing their wedding with us today XOXO Lou