A festival by the sea, sounds like a fairly dream wedding set up don’t you think? WWW readers Rachel and Mark chose Bach Wen on the North Wales coast for their nuptials on the 30th June 2018, which were inspired by Glastonbury Festival. Think lots of colour, tipis, flags waving in the breeze and of course, plenty of fun and games.
As 2018 was a fallow year for Glastonbury itself, our pair decided to treat their friends and family to a festival of their very own, and what a time it was! The sun was shining (which can’t always be said of Glasto!) and the gorgeous seaside setting was a perfect backdrop for a wonderfully relaxed day. Rachel and Mark did lots of crafting, and I think you’re really going to love all the touches, from the pebble name places to the brilliant painted tins and the table plan step ladder.
Jessica O’Shaughnessy was the couple’s photographer, they loved her work and so do we! Thank you for sharing these glorious images with us Jessica.
The proposal took place on Rachel’s birthday in 2014 at Crosby Beach the site of one of our first dates. As we strolled alongside the amazing Anthony Gormley’s ‘Another Place’ sculptures in the sunshine Mark got down on one knee and presented me with a £4 ring encrusted with a button. While being applauded by all the dog walkers and day trippers I said yes! The ring however was upgraded but I treasure that little button ring.
We had been friends for over 10 years but it took a visit to Glastonbury Festival in 2010 that finally brought us together as a couple, and the rest they say is history.
When Glastonbury Festival announced that 2018 was going to be a fallow year it was our opportunity to fill the gap with our very own festival… a festival wedding by the sea – two of our favourite things! We knew from the off that we wanted the day to be relaxed and informal with lots of funky music, great food, dancing and lots of colour.
We visit the beautiful Llyn Peninsula in North Wales each year and have fallen in love with the amazing beaches and mountains so we knew that it was this bit of Welsh heaven was where we wanted to say “I do”.
The Planning Process
We started by scribbling and doodling on a sheet of paper writing and sketching all our ideas. It then got all a bit more business-like and we created the dreaded wedding spreadsheet! It actually proved really useful and we kept all the information, guest lists, quotes and final budget in one place.
We set a budget of £15k but we blew that in no time… but it was worth it in every way!
The ceremony took place at the ancient St Beuno’s Church in Clynnog Fawr on the Llyn Peninsula. The current church dates back to the late 15th century but the site has has been of religious significance since the 7th century as a stopping place for pilgrims heading to nearby Bardsey Island.
The church is directly across the road from the festival reception venue at Bach Wen Farm & Cottages. The farm is a mixture of quaint welsh cottages and cool glamping pods scattered on the Caernarfon Bay coastline. Luckily for us the farm is run by our friends Johnny and Helen who kindly allowed us to create anything we wanted on the site.
Your Outfits & Accessories
Finding The Dress
I have to be honest the search for the dress was a little stressful as I liked so many, but my vision was focused on my love for beautiful craftsmanship and amazing fabrics.
Luckily for me very close to where we live is the most beautiful bridal boutique, Adele Howarth-Winstanley Bride. The dresses in the boutique are exquisite and constructed of the most amazing fabrics. The owner Adele has the patience of a saint and she listened to what I was looking for and spent many hours letting me try on many, many gowns. I finally picked a gown that was the complete opposite of what I envisioned.
My dream dress was a Watters two-piece beaded crochet lace corset top and apricot coloured soft tulle skirt, with a bespoke veil to finish off the look.
The shoes I found much easier as I kept going back to the same designer again and again, Rachel Simpson, and chose the Mimosa made of soft leather in ivory and metallic. It was like walking on air, they were so comfy and yet so beautiful.
I treated myself to vintage-inspired earrings from Pandora and Mark presented me with the most beautiful bracelet on the day from Swarovski.
Mark chose a blue three-piece wool suit by Marc Darcy and Liberty print flower design tie and pocket square from T.M.Lewin. Cufflinks were from ‘Not on the High Street’ and embossed with a Manchester Bee and the date of the wedding that were a gift from Rachel on the morning of the wedding.
Rebecca Wilson from Jodie A Smith Make-up and Hair Team created our beautiful make up and hair on the day.
The best man wore a blue three-piece suit from Marc Darcy with champagne tie from T.M.Lewin.
Rachel’s sister Janine was the maid of honour and wore a silk dress from Ghost in oyster colour and shoes from Monsoon. The two teenage bridesmaids wore champagne and lace dresses from Phase Eight. The two flowers girls wore champagne and lace dresses from Monsoon.
The Details & Decor
The outdoor spaces at the venue were decorated with brightly coloured bunting,. We also used handmade flags decorated with bees and owls – the symbols of both our home towns (Manchester and Oldham) and some simple planted containers.
Inside the tipi we wanted a crafty but colourful feel that was true to the inspiration of all the festivals we have visited together. Tables were decorated with bright coloured glass tealights and I painted large tin cans in homage to the Glastonbury rubbish bins with images, song lyrics and words that meant something to us as a couple.
Guests had a pebble from the beach with their name hand-painted on it. I spent many evenings painting all the guests names on pebbles from the beach that were then placed on simple white cotton napkins tied with leaf garland on top of pale green tin plates.
I collected lots of items over many months such as rainbow umbrellas, crochet blankets and an antique wooden box for the cards. We and a old step ladder that was our table plan which was decorated with planted tin cans.
We decorated tin cans, filled with pot-plants, and placed these on an old wooden stepladder for our table plan – with tables names after areas/stages at Glastonbury eg The Pyramid Stage. Elsewhere we used giant blackboards for our timings and food menu to replicate the signs found outside music tents at our favourite festivals.
The Readings & Music
The groom’s sister Karen read the traditional Colossians 3:12–17. Rachel’s brother-in-law Terrence read the modern Ever Increasing Circles by Helen Marsh.
The bride’s entrance was Canon in D Major by Pachelbel. During the service and the signing of the register we chose two of our favourite pieces of music, People by Trashcan Sinatras and I Do by I Am Kloot. We danced back down the aisle as man and wife to Stevie Wonder’s Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I’m Yours).
It was really important to us both that there was live music at the reception and had brilliant performances from funky brass ensemble Twisted Tubes and the amazing vintage band The Retrosettes.
Luckily for us Rachel’s Mum has been a florist for 40 years and she created all the beautiful flowers for the bridal party and at the venue. I love British flowers and 99% of the flowers were grown in the UK to create a real splash of summer colour and beautiful scents. The flowers included roses, peonies, stocks, delphinium, cornflowers, thistle, hypericum berries and lots of asparagus fern in gorgeous apricot, blues, purple and pink colours.
We wanted a photographer that was relaxed and informal and who was great at capturing colour. Jessica O’Shaughnessy was perfect and was so lovely, particularly as neither of us like being photographed. Jessica really put us at ease and captured the day perfectly.
Mark’s oldest friend Tim brought along his GoPro and then very kindly edited it together with music from the wedding service.
I have to be honest neither of us was overly fussed about a cake but in the end we decided we would have one and use it as our evening food dessert. The cake was purchased from Marks & Spencer and decorated with flowers on the wedding morning by the bride. We topped the cake with a wooden Mr & Mrs Swanwick sign from Ebay. The cake however was completely forgotten about on the day and no guest received any in the end… but we enjoyed eating it with all our family and friends throughout the festival week holiday! It was delicious and a good way of saving some budget.
We are hoping for a romantic city break later in the year but until then we are off for a family holiday with our two boys.
Rachel fluffing her vows on the ‘for richer for poorer’ bit in the church!
Leading our guests down to the beach to them to find our funky brass band playing by the sea in the beautiful sunshine, with drinks and delicious canapés created by Johnny at Bach Wen.
My dress collecting every bit of seaweed on the beach as we had pictures taken in front of the amazing sunset.
Seeing all our friends and family, especially all the children, being so relaxed and happy in the sunshine.
Realising the day after that we hadn’t given anybody any cake!
Advice for Other Couples
Create a wedding that reflects you as a couple because a wedding with meaning really stands out.
Credit Where Credit Is Due
Venue & Food
Bach Wen Farm & Cottages
Make Up and Hair
Jodie A Smith
Rachel and Mark, thank you ever so much for sharing all the fun with us! Rachel x