I am thrilled to be sharing with you Mike and Nia’s gorgeous wedding day, which was held on the 15th September 2018 at Bodnant Welsh Food in Conwy, Wales. The autumn season really complimented the beautiful deep, dark and moody tones, which included burgundy and plum in the greenery laden florals, alongside forest green touches in the attire. Just beautiful! There was also an amazing VW Beetle wedding car, which coincidently tied into the wonderful colour palette.
The décor was kept pared back but really personal and much of it was DIY. Family and friends all came together to help craft their day of dreams, something I really love. In the barns, fairy lights and greenery were used everywhere, alongside brass accents in the details. The results were rustic meets luxe and super lovely to boot.
Mike and Nia both looked utterly stylish too, with Nia wearing an open back gown with veil by Wtoo and Mike donning a wool herringbone suit in grey. Wow.
We have Elaine Williams Photography to thank today for sharing with us these stunning captures. They really do capture all the emotions of this wonderful day.
Mike proposed in New York on December the 2nd 2016. Mike had always said that he wanted to buy a house before we got married so as this hadn’t happened yet I wasn’t expecting a proposal at all! I wanted to go and see the big Christmas tree outside the Rockefeller centre when we arrived and so off we went and as I was wondering around trying find a good spot to take a photo of the tree, I turned round to see Mike standing there holding a ring. A few blubbering minutes later I said yes!
We didn’t really have a ‘vision’ as such, I shuddered when people would ask me what the ‘theme’ of the wedding was as I didn’t want it to have a ‘theme’ I just wanted it to be personal! Me and Mike wanted the day to reflect ‘us’ as much as possible but without costing the Earth. We knew we wanted a venue that was relaxed, we wanted people to have plenty of good food and drinks, and we wanted to incorporate some of the things we love such as rum and gin, lots of food, all things brass and gold, dark moody colours, good music and so on.
The Planning Process
We started planning slowly after getting engaged, however, we also bought a house a few weeks after getting engaged. This house turned out to be much more of a project than we’d originally thought (we’re still renovating..!), which meant we had two very big projects running alongside each other. Because of this Mike wanted to leave the planning for a while but I didn’t so we eventually settled on getting married in September 2018 (nearly two years later)….turns out this still wasn’t enough time!
The planning process was relatively stress free as we both had quite a clear idea of what we wanted (or more importantly what we didn’t want) and we wanted to stay relatively within budget so we did most things ourselves (with the help of some incredibly helpful friends and family!)
We weren’t really sure what a realistic budget would be for a wedding having seen articles about weddings costing between £20,000 and £100,000!
We eventually settled on a rough budget of around £10,000 and probably did go over in the end but not by a lot.
We got married at Bodnant Welsh Food in Conwy. Having had our heart set on a full DIY wedding (empty barn, shed, tipi or something of the like) we realised this was too far beyond our budget and so when we went to see Bodnant we knew straight away this was the venue for us. With its original beams, wooden floors and views of both estuary and mountains we couldn’t have chosen anywhere better.
The Readings & Music
I found this bit quite fun but also very tricky! Trying to find readings that were romantic but not too cringey, poetic but not too wordy was quite a challenge! We also wanted to have one Welsh reading and one English reading as we are both bilingual and so having a bilingual ceremony was important for us.
Music – I walked in to Ludovico Einaudi – I Giorni.
During the signing my friend Elan sang Elvis Presely – Can’t help falling in love with you (accompanied by her boyfriend Dafydd on guitar), everyone commented on how lovely it was and let’s just say this song now always makes me cry!
We walked out to Beach Boys – God Only Knows for a bit of fun and a nod to Mike’s Dad who loved them.
Readings – As I said we had one Welsh reading read by my friend Llio which was ‘Addewid – Guto Dafydd’ and one English reading read by Mike’s sister Teresa which was ‘Love is friendship caught fire – Laura Hendricks’.
Our first dance was to an acoustic version of Biffy Clyro – Mountains.
Mike chose his little brother Steve as Best Man which conveniently left us with two brothers to be ushers! My brother Alun and Mike’s older brother Graham were our ushers and Gwion (Mike’s Nephew) did a great job as our ring bearer.
Best Man (Steve) wore a suit from Asos, and the ushers (Alun and Graham) wore trousers and waistcoats from Marks & Spencers and Next. Rather than go for ‘matching’ we chose a general colour (grey) and a texture and allowed them to choose between various different suits.
They all wore their own white shirts and all wore forest green ties bought online.
I had one bridesmaid, my sister Sara, as I just couldn’t choose between my other family and friends! I wanted to keep it simple too with minimal fuss and so chose to have my one and only sister as bridesmaid. We wanted to keep the colours quite ‘earthy’ and so opted for forest green for my sister and for the men’s ties.
My bridesmaid (Sara) wore the ‘Mykonos’ dress in forest by Rewritten, shoes from New Look, and hair pins by ‘Little Nell’.
Mike’s nieces, the flower girls, wore dresses from John Lewis and little white sandals from Next.
Our bouquets, buttonholes and the flower girls’ flower crowns were beautifully created by Rebecca from Ivy Pip & Rose. Everyone kept asking if we had planned for the flowers in my bouquet to match Mike’s VW Beetle but we hadn’t it was just a very happy coincidence! All I knew was that I wanted lots of greenery, some dark plums and that I loved Proteas and Dahlias. Rebecca incorporated all of these things beautifully.
As we were a bit tight on budget we created foliage garlands for the tables and beams ourselves (thanks to Kathy my mother-in-law and my friends for the help). We also used old gin and rum bottles we (and friends) had collected over the year to hold foliage and hydrangeas we’d foraged from around our homes. Although this bit was fun, do not underestimate the amount of time it takes and the amount of flowers/foliage you need to make a place look full! I thought we had loads but actually we could’ve done with some more!!
Your Outfits & Accessories
Nia – For a girl who spends most of her time in black jeans, a tshirt and a leather jacket it was hard to think of myself in a long white dress! After visiting around 6 bridal shops and trying around 30 dresses I kept coming back to the Lenora. My dress was the Lenora by Wtoo Watters bought from The Silk Loft in Felinheli. I knew I wanted something a little different and something with sleeves and the Lenora fit the bill perfectly. I particularly loved the open back as I didn’t want to be completely covered up.
Katie at The Silk Loft also suggested adding a small train which was a gorgeous touch and with the addition of a long veil (also from The Silk Loft) I felt like a superstar.
My ‘day shoes’ were from Miss Selfridge and my ‘party shoes’ were leopard print sandals from Topshop (my faves). My beautiful headpiece was by ‘Naturae Design’, earrings by Sarah Brown Jewellery and my bangle was my grandmother’s old bangle that she’d been given by my late grandfather which was rather special.
Mike – Mike always knew he wanted a three piece, something special that he could wear again as he very rarely has to wear suits (being an aircraft engineer by trade). One unique thing Mike raised quite early on was that he didn’t want me to see his suit. He said ‘If I’m not allowed to see your dress then you’re not allowed to see my suit!’ and actually this turned out to be a really nice surprise for both of us on the day!
Mike wore a grey herringbone wool three piece suit bought and tailored from Walker Slater in London. His boots were by Redwing London, arm cuffs from John Lewis, and he wore cufflinks that he hand stamped with his late father’s initials.
My make up was done by the wonderful Fflur Hogan and my hair by my brilliant hairdresser Kate Parry.
Both of these women are masters at their work and when they asked what I wanted I just said I wanted to ‘look like myself but on a really really good day!’. I never look very ‘put together’ and don’t wear a lot of make-up and so I feel that these ladies put a lot of effort into making me look my very best without making me look too ‘done’ which was just what I wanted!
Now then…this was where Mike left me to it. I spent hours, if not days looking for a photographer, looked through lots of websites and eventually landed on Elaine! I knew I wanted someone who did documentary photography well, who’s photos showed all the deep colours of the day and who told the story of the day through their photographs….and this is how I found Elaine! Elaine’s photos have a certain ‘moodiness’ to them which I loved!
What I love most about our photos is that Elaine has managed to capture the emotion of the day (from the laughter to the tears). I was worried that I would regret not having a videographer but after seeing Elaine’s photos I don’t regret this one bit!
The Details & Décor
Making the most of Mike’s creative family we opted to do all of the stationery and décor ourselves. Our invites were hand drawn by Mike’s niece Mia and then designed by Steve (the Best Man). We printed them ourselves and then purchased a personalised wax seal as a finishing touch for the envelopes. Our guestbook was screen printed by the Best Man’s girlfriend (Lucy).
For décor we collected lots of brass candlesticks from charity shops, car boot sales and so on to place on the tables with grey candles bought online. On each place name we put a sprig of rosemary and myself and Mike hand stamped each place name on a piece of brass which each guest could keep as a keyring afterwards.
As a ‘favour’ we had miniature bottles of Bombay Sapphire gin and Kraken Rum (these went down very well) and as mentioned earlier tables were adorned with foliage garlands and flower filled gin and rum bottles.
We spray painted a terrarium bought from Ikea to hold the cards, used a peg board for the order of the day and created the table plan ourselves simply using blackboard paint and a paint pen.
My favourite piece of ‘décor’ was the vintage style ‘face in the hole’ board we’d made as a sort of personal photo booth/welcome board. These have turned out to be some of my favourite photos of the day!
How could we forget the most important detail – the car! This 1966 volkswagen beetle has been in Mike’s family since it was created. It was his Nain (Welsh for ‘grandmother’) Dilys’ car which was passed down to Mike’s Dad and then to Mike. Mike has lovingly restored it since his Dad sadly passed away which made having it as part of the day an extra special moment.
Our beautiful and delicious cake was created by the amazing Lynwen from ‘Aderyn Melys’. I wasn’t going to have a cake but having tasted one of Lynwen’s cupcakes at a food fair I knew I had to have one of her cakes as the wedding cake! She created a lovely two tier cake, the first tier being plain chocolate, the second being chocolate and peanut butter finished with a caramel drip on top (I still have a bit stashed in the freezer for desperate times!)
We had a small honeymoon for a few days immediately after the wedding, to the Amalfi Coast in Italy where we just drank and ate and slept! I would highly recommend going away (anywhere) after your wedding just so you can sleep and relax!
We are hoping to save up to go for a longer trip to Canada next year, but in the meantime we have a house to finish!!
Every single moment of the day. We had the best day of our lives (cliché..) but I think our favourite moments were:
– Seeing each other for the first time and actually getting married!
– Having all our friends and family in one room to celebrate with us.
– The silent disco!!
– Seeing my grandmother dance to Wheatus – teenage dirtbag…
…but I think my favourite moment was dancing with Mike to the last song of the night which was Greenday – Good Riddance with all our family and friends around us.
Advice For Other Couples
– Try your best to do what you want to do and what reflects you as a couple (we had a lot of opinions along the way but we stuck to our guns and everyone had an amazing day!)
– Don’t sweat the small stuff. Being the control freak that I am there were things on the day that weren’t perfect, but I genuinely didn’t care (and no one else even noticed!)
– Remember the reason why you’re having a wedding. It’s not for Instagram or Pinterest, it’s not for your family or friends, it’s because you (hopefully..) want to spend a long future with the person you’re marrying and want to celebrate this in a really good party!
Credit Where Credit Is Due
Elaine Williams Photography
Bride’s Dress & Veil
The Silk Loft
Ring & Earrings
Sarah Brown Jewellery
Red Wing London
Mike and Nia, thank you ever so much for sharing your beautiful nuptials with us. It’s been an honour to share your story xo Lou