WWW readers Sophie and Simon tied the knot on 3rd August 2019 at the Barn at Brynich. It was really important to them to plan an informal and laid back festival style wedding with not too many formalities, what a fun it looks! We’re so delighted that Sophie loved to visit WWW for inspiration in the lead up to the wedding, hopefully you’ll be similarly inspired reading all about their fabulous day!
Magda K Photography captured all the fun of their day and didn’t she do a wonderful job? Thank you so much for sharing these images with us today Magda.
Sophie and Simon really served some excellent food on their day with grazing platters followed by pizza and mac n cheese, what a feast! Simon was in charge of building the outdoor area with the help of family and friends, isn’t it the perfect centrepiece for the festivities? Enjoy everyone!
As Simon had been finishing his Architecture degree, we didn’t have the chance to go on holiday much at all during our first four years as a couple, so we planned our first ‘big’ holiday abroad in 2016 which was three weeks travelling around Thailand which we were super excited about.
In the middle of our holiday we treated ourselves to a couple of nights at this incredible resort on a little island called Koh Yao Yai, and Simon arranged a private dinner for us on the beach one night. At the end of a beautiful sunset Simon walked around the table towards me and got down on one knee and presented the most beautiful ring. It was all a bit of a hazy blur, but he told me he wanted to go on so many more adventures with me and would I marry him, and I of course said yes (and cried). It really was such a magical place to be proposed to and a memory I’ll never forget. We celebrated with a lot of Chang and Prosecco that night!
I’ve never really thought about the type of wedding I wanted as I was just never into that sort of thing, and always thought I would elope to Vegas, while Simon really wanted all our friends and family there, so we had to compromise when coming to plan our wedding.
However, we both really wanted an informal and relaxed wedding and change it up a bit, cutting out a lot of the traditional aspects of a wedding day, such as the long sit-down meal, cake cutting and exchanging rings. We came up with the idea of having a festival themed wedding which was very fitting for us, as we originally met through a mutual friend to go to Glastonbury, and we go every year that we can.
We wanted to incorporate all the best bits about a festival into the day; mostly outdoors, great food, good music and lots of fun. We wanted it more personal and to have family and friends put their creativity into it, letting people do their own thing, from the decorating to what people wore. We wanted lots of colour, individuality and for everyone to just enjoy themselves as much as possible.
The Planning Process
We booked our wedding venue two years before the wedding date which gave us plenty of time to plan the wedding. I took on most of the planning and made sure I booked a lot of the important things such as food, photographer and music early on, which eased the stress closer to the wedding date as a lot of the planning was already complete. I found a lot of our suppliers via social media (mainly Instagram) and looking at real weddings on WWW for any inspiration, and found that once I had followed one business, this lead to finding many other amazing suppliers, who all seemed to know each other and recommend one another which was brilliant.
Simon and I spent many evenings over a glass of wine (or two) discussing the finer details and what we’d like our wedding to be like and tried to make the planning process as fun as possible. We also kept chatting to our friends and family about our plans and delegated certain things to them which really helped make the process so much easier for us and much more personal. Simon had a great vision for how the outdoor area should look and wanted to make the outdoor area a real centre piece for the wedding day, so he took charge of this, and together with his dad figured out what we needed and sourced the poles for the lights and bunting. We had family and friends help us the day before to decorate and construct everything. Everyone came together to really make our day special; it was a real team effort.
Your Outfits & Accessories
Instead of a dress, I wore separates from E&W Couture which I got from the wonderful Rachel at Rachel Burgess Boutique in Penarth, which consisted of the ‘Scarlett’ full length skirt, the gorgeous ‘Isla’ crop with the ‘Anya’ bodice underneath. I knew I wanted something a little different and boho and Rachel’s boutique was full of beautiful unique pieces. I ended up with the perfect combination, which was beautifully made, fit like a dream but was also very comfortable and I had no problem getting the bottom of the skirt full of twigs or dirty from dancing outside or being dragged into a bit of a mosh pit in the evening! I then just wore flat glitter shoes from ASOS to be comfortable in all day, gypsophila hair pins from Luna and Wild for a pretty but understated look, and very little jewellery.
Simon wanted to also go for something a little different and less formal and wore a funky flowery shirt from Simon Carter with a blue tie, with dark navy trousers from House of Fraser, with a waistcoat from Dobell. It took a lot of different outfit changes to find the right combination for him but in the end, he found the right one and looked awesome, sticking to what he had in his mind from the beginning which suited him perfectly.
We both wanted to stick to a modest budget and not spend a fortune on our wedding, as we’d only just bought our first house and we wanted more money we could spend on the honeymoon afterwards.
We saved a LOT of money by not having a traditional three course sit down meal, and choosing sharing boards and food vans instead, which went down very well with everyone, and really fit in our festival themed wedding, along with our cake which was kindly made by friends of the family. Simon made our wedding invites, we borrowed the marquee, some outdoor lights and bunting from family, and only had our beautiful bouquets and buttonholes made professionally. I made the wedding favours myself and got creative with some chalkboards for signage, and just generally used certain items we had already such as the picnic basket for our cards and the drinks globe for Simon’s whiskey section.
We found that some things we could have spent a lot of money on really didn’t need to be expensive (or needed at all) and I found that personally keeping the wedding very relaxed and imperfect helped make me feel a lot happier and less stressed, and worked for us as a rather laidback couple.
We originally toyed with the idea of getting married in Thailand but it was too complicated and in the end we wanted everyone we loved at our wedding, so we decided on the festival themed wedding and we knew we wanted to get married back home in Wales.
We looked at one venue only and realised it was the one for us. A stunning converted barn in the heart of the Brecon Beacons, The Barn at Brynich, which had a lot of outdoor space and cottages on site so we could stay there with friends and family for the whole weekend, making it a three day wedfest! We were able to spend the whole day decorating and prepping the venue the day before on the Friday, and then spent the evening with our friends and family who were staying with us at the venue with dinner and drinks outside in the gardens, all getting excited about the next day. Then on the Sunday after the wedding it was so nice to be able to have breakfast together in one of the cottages, then spend the day in the sunshine drinking sangria, playing games and ordering the largest Chinese takeaway (banquet) known to man, all recovering from the night before and swapping wedding stories.
Simon, our wedding coordinator was so friendly and relaxed and really helped us create the wedding we were after and the made the day run like clockwork. We had the flexibility to do everything the way we wanted to in such an idyllic setting.
Hair and makeup was by the amazing Evie Smith who gave me an understated pretty look, keeping the skin fresh and like actual skin, with a bronzed eye and neutral lip. My hair was wavy and half up in a gorgeous plaited style which was very boho and relaxed. My mum had her make up done by Evie as well with a bold red lip to go with her black dress, and my bridesmaids all had different plaited styles, which they all chose themselves. They all looked so beautiful and I felt amazing all day, and it really took the stress away on the morning not having to do it myself and have someone lovely and chatty to help with the nerves. We also had a DIY glitter station for the day and most of our guests got involved and glittered up, even just after the ceremony it was brilliant!
Simon had five ushers altogether and two best men, and like what I had with my bridesmaids, Simon didn’t want matching outfits for them all, but to just stick to the main brief; cool shirt and waistcoat. They did shop together and get an idea of what to go for as a group, and they ended up buying a variety of different outfits, all from different stores. They really did do a great job together and all looked fantastic. I think it fit well with our rustic festival theme suiting their personalities and individual style.
I had two of my best friends and my cousin for my bridesmaids and my youngest cousin as my flower girl and I knew I wanted different dresses for them all that suited them individually. I chose blush/pink toned dresses for my bridesmaids, all from ASOS (Maya and Anaya With Love), and a white dress from Monsoon for my flower girl, all with beautiful tulle skirts. I felt that the colours complimented each other really well and I let the girls choose their own shoes, accessories and hairstyles as I wanted them to feel really happy with how they looked and felt on the day.
The Readings & Music
Music was quite a big part of our wedding as we were doing a festival themed day. I walked down the aisle to Vitamin String Quartet Pixies ‘Where is my mind’ which is one of my favourite songs and had quite a few people in tears including the groom. We also had some other Vitamin String Quartet songs playing before the ceremony and chucked in Jurassic Park to see if anyone noticed. We didn’t have any readings and instead kept the ceremony short and sweet. I didn’t think I would enjoy the ceremony part as much as I did, it was a lovely intimate and emotional part of the day and I feel incredibly happy every time I think about it.
Throughout the day we had different playlists as background music on through a PA system which we put together before the wedding, which was a mix of alternative indie songs, old classics and more mainstream music. We then had our first band Diving Bell play late afternoon, who are a Bristol based doom pop power trio, and coincidentally our friends, who put on a brilliant gig for us all, playing a mix of covers such as Pixies, Joy Division and Stone Roses. They really got the party well and truly started and got so many people dancing and singing outside. Our first dance was ‘There is a light that never goes out’ by The Smiths.
Later in the evening we had the band Alive, who were an awesome indie rock band who played three brilliant sets finishing at midnight, covering a range of classic indie rock songs from the 60s to present day. The dance floor was always full of people dancing and got wild towards the end with a bit of Nirvana and Rage Against the Machine! Then instead of finishing the night at midnight we decided to hire a silent disco and place this outside, so anyone who did want to stay and carry on dancing could, and it was such a highlight dancing away with headphones on in my wedding outfit and a bottle of Prosecco In hand.
The entertainment for us was such a big part of the day and having a lot of music on was crucial to keep the festival vibes going and the energy high.
The only flowers that I had professionally done for us were the bouquets and the buttonholes, and these were by Amanda French Flowers who was so lovely and did such an amazing job. I went for lots of eucalyptus green, ivory and dusky pink for my bouquet, and then the bridesmaids had eucalyptus and gypsophila, which matched Simon and the ushers/best men with their buttonholes. The style fit in the rustic festival vibes and such a range of different outfits, keeping it quite simple but stylish.
A special mention should also go out to my sister in law Jenny as she sourced and arranged all the flowers to into a variety of interesting gin bottles for our tables that we collected over the year. They looked so beautiful and the owner of the venue said they were the best arrangements she’d seen in a long while.
The cake was lovingly made by wonderful friends of the family; Sarah and Guy. The bottom tier was chocolate with vanilla buttercream, the middle tier was lemon cake with lemon buttercream and the top was a vegan chocolate. They also made a separate cutting cake; a gluten and dairy free lemon drizzle, so that everyone at the wedding could tuck into a bit on the day.
They included the bunting to fit into the festival theme and only added the pom poms to hide the joints between the tiers, and added the lights as a last minute addition, but were surprised and delightful to see we were using both pom poms and lighting in our wedding décor!
I spent a long time at the beginning of the wedding planning researching into photographers and trying to find the perfect person for the job, and eventually found Magda K Photography who was an absolute dream. I loved Magda’s photography style, she captured the whole day so beautifully in an amazing documentary style way, with lots of candid natural shots, creating a whole story of the day which we love looking through to re-live it all. All the little details were highlighted, and we really loved escaping together just us two with Magda for the portrait shots which were a lot of fun! We couldn’t have found anyone better.
The Details & Décor
For the barn we wanted it to be quite simple in terms of décor as the barn on its own is so beautiful, so we stuck to woven hearts in the windows, jars with candles and hanging ivy. We had a picnic basket set up for any cards, with a little photo collage of Simon and I made by Simon’s mum, and I made a small table plan just using kraft paper tags and pegging them to a photo display I had already, writing the names with a white calligraphy pen.
For the tables, we had a variety of cool gin bottles we’d collected over the year and my sister in law Jenny arranged beautiful flowers in these, which were placed on slices of wood. We also had bottles with tiny fairy lights in on each table, along with the limoncello favours which I made (lemonade for the kids in milk bottles), and we had sharing boards for the ‘sit down’ part of the day beautifully created by Kiley at Honey to the Brie, with a gorgeous mix of antipasti style food. These were all on biodegradable boards, with bamboo plates and wooden cutlery, with eucalyptus entwined, and the food was incredible.
The main bit of decorating was outdoors where we constructed a centre piece for the day with a circle of hay bales, then poles all around these with hanging festoon lights and bunting, which ran the way back to a small marquee for our first band to play in. This really made the wedding feel more like a festival and everyone enjoyed chilling out on the hay bales, with the lighting making it look extra special in the evening. We even had a flag made by my sister in law Jenny to go on the front of this which was such a lovely touch. We also had a fire pit for the night-time, a small tipi tent with cushions to relax in and a games section towards the back of the gardens including a giant Jenga, a pinata and coconut shy which was very popular and got a lot of people very competitive! We also just draped fairy lights over some of the trees, had colourful paper decorations and woollen pom poms dotted around and extra air chairs. I was adamant that we didn’t need a specific colour theme for the day and just wanted it colourful and bright, which I felt fit in with the festival theme.
Instead of a standard guest book we had a little photo booth section set up with help from some creative friends, and our usher Phil took it upon himself to ensure LOADS of polaroid photos were taken throughout the day of as many people as possible which was amazing. With these I can create an album of them all and always have them to look back on.
Next to the glitter station, we had a ‘Pimp your Prosecco’ section where I just provided a lot of different juices, fruits and cordials, and next to this was a whiskey and cigar section in memory of Simon’s grandad, and not surprisingly both of these were very popular! I also created an ‘itinerary’ for the day on a large blackboard just to give people an idea of timings and what to expect, considering our wedding wasn’t following a traditional order of the day.
We also had two food vans throughout the afternoon and into the evening, Ffwrnes Pizza and then Alp Mac a little later. Food was such an important part of the day for us for complete foodies, so we chose food that we loved and would keep everyone well fed and happy, and kept it very much like a festival. We had so many compliments on the day and afterwards about how good it all was, and people really enjoyed the informality of being able to go and get food when they fancied it. Who doesn’t love pizza and mac n cheese?!
Straight after the wedding weekend, we travelled around Bali and the Gili Islands for three weeks which was incredible and exactly what we needed. We enjoyed a lot of amazing food, Bintang, sunshine and got to see a lot of interesting sights. It was lovely to keep the happy wedding bubble going as long as possible and enjoy some quality time together after a really busy couple of years.
Honestly the most memorable part of our wedding was sharing the entire weekend with all our friends and family who we love the most, and seeing everyone smiling, laughing and enjoying themselves. There was a lot of love and happiness that day.
Advice For Other Couples
Leave yourselves enough time before the wedding to set up if you are doing this yourself and get family and friends involved, you’ll be surprised how many people will love to help. Try to book important things as far in advance as possible as great suppliers tend to get booked up very quickly and keep a good list of things you need to do each month to tick off.
Most importantly though, just do what YOU want to do as a couple, and don’t be afraid to ditch some traditions or aspects of the day if you want to. Don’t worry about the small things and don’t be overly stressed trying to make things perfect, you won’t worry about it on the day trust us.
Credit Where Credit Is Due
Magda K Photography
Venue and accommodation
The Barn at Brynich
Honey to the Brie
Mac and Cheese
What a lot of fun! Thank you so much Sophie and Simon for sharing your wonderful wedding weekend with us. Rachel x