Hannah and Jacob are one of those couples who are just so inspirational. Their whole wedding had an ethos I really admire, with makers and artists incorporated into their super personal wedding.
To begin, they chose their own surname ‘Greys’, which was entwined into their celebrations in the details. An embroidery of their surname was hand stitched onto a rug, which they stood on to marry and now is now pride of place in their living room. The very spot they married. Amazing! Then there were the numerous hand crafted touches, from the yellow pom poms used as a flower alternative to the book paper details. Everything was so very thoughtful.
I’ve not even mentioned the extraordinary location yet, just check out that portrait above. The waterfall was a magical spot to tie the knot and the surrounding woodland made for some marvellous portraits.
Not to mention that Hannah donned a stunning vintage charity shop dress find while Jacob went for yellow trousers, effortlessly gorgeous.
Thanks so much to Lucy Little Photography for sharing these brilliant images today.
ALL IN A NAME | Mr & Mrs Greys. Having both built a career up around our names, neither of us really wanted to give up names which we considered to be a part of who we are. However, we both recognised that we wanted to be joined in union by a ‘married name’ and in turn pass our ‘married name’ onto our children to become a family united by one name.
We thought about it for a long time and perhaps controversially to some, we eventually decided that rather than one or the other of us taking the other’s name, we should create a new name, something unique to us. Our new name reminds us of all those who have shaped who we are today, and those who will help to shape our future.
Each of the 5 letters of ‘Greys’ has been taken from one of the following: Grooms birth name, Brides birth name, Brides adopted name Brides mother’s maiden name and Grooms mother’s maiden name.
THE PROPOSAL | In September 2013, we took ourselves on a short spontaneous trip to Rome.
It was wonderful to strut like a gladiator around the Colosseum; parade like a Roman around the forum; drink like a nun from the fountains of St. Peters; ride bicycles at top speed around the parks of every corner; frolic in wet clothes in the fountains with the locals; toast glasses of red like connoisseurs at every hour; gaze in admiration at the works of the masters; try to sneak a peek at the Pope in Vatican City; and of course, wrap up in the awe of the Sistine Chapel under the damning gaze of Michelangelo’s Last Judgement.
Every hour was perfection.
Just when we thought the trip couldn’t get much better, Jacob presented Hannah with a beautiful diamond half eternity ring and asked the question outside the Colosseum (the half eternity ring looks very much like the architecture of the Colosseum!) on the last evening after dinner, and we flew home, giddy with excitement!
THE VISION | Planning a wedding is wonderful! Those who fear and fret, simply forget the core purpose of getting married; which is simply that you want to unite with the one true person you love most.
Aesthetics had been at the heart of planning our marriage; we knew we wanted an intimate ceremony that would reflect our personalities and the happiness we had felt since announcing our engagement.
The relaxed nature of the falls lent itself to exactly what we were looking for. We took ourselves on an adventure to the falls one misty, wet day in January 2014. We settled ourselves into a corner of the tearoom, sheltering out of the rain over a pot of tea. The valley was veiled in fog and all we could hear was the roar of the rushing water as it fell to the plunge-pool below. With the sound of the fresh water almost metaphorically washing away our thoughts and worries, we knew that this was the place for us to exchange our vows.
THE PLANNING PROCESS | We started planning in January 2014 and got married 6 months later. In February we made our save the dates, we designed them ourselves – we used tiny bottles to host small yellow pompom flowers with the date of our wedding hanging from them on a tag, and the words, ‘save the date’ glued to the bottles (letters cut individually from the pages of a book). We packaged them in small cardboard boxes made from scraps of cardboard we had in the house. These definitely set the tone for what was to come over the next 5 months, ‘creative and on a budget!’ and we started making lists of other things we wanted to make for the occasion!
Our home became a flurry of wedding activity and making; with each of us settling down after work with one thing or enough to do or make.
The planning and the activity at this stage was just as much a part of our wedding as the day itself. We used secret Pinterest boards to share ideas with each other and were brought together in the decision making processes. Planning generally filled us with joy as we thought about the little details that would make us and our guests smile.
Perhaps Hannah’s background in event planning played its part, but we didn’t find the process of planning a stressful one. We just focused on the fact that ‘we were getting married!’ (which we were overwhelming excited by!) and enjoyed creating a wedding unique to us.
BUDGET | We’re proud to say that we didn’t incur any debt as a result of our wedding. We picked a budget that we could afford, which was a total cost (including the honeymoon) of £6,000.
We had a pick ‘n’ mix of budget v’s expensive items. Otherwise we could have brought it in at a lot less, however, we knew we wanted to put some of our money into handmade items by makers and artists so chose to spend a little more on this element of our wedding.
THE VENUE | The waterfall, with a 240ft drop, is the highest in Wales, surrounded by breath-taking Welsh scenery.
Crychiawg, ewynawg anian – yw y Rhyadr
Yn rhuo mal taran;
Colofn o dwr, gloyw-dwr glan,
Gorwyllt, un lliw ag arian.
Foaming and frothing from mountainous height,
Roaring like thunder the Rhyadr falls;
Though its silvery splendour the eye may delight,
It’s fury the heart of the bravest appals.
– George Burrow, Wild Wales (1862)
Tan y Pistyll, means ‘little house under the waterfall’, which houses a café and B&B/self-contained apartment which you can use for the day / night within the price of the venue.
Our marriage took place in the garden outside the ‘prayer lodge’. Guests gathered around us in the garden for the ceremony. Fortunately we were blessed with beautiful sunshine, but we had pre-warned guests that, ‘Come rain, hail or shine be prepared to embrace the Welsh weather and possibly, a soggy bride and groom too!’.
We invited our guests to join us in a walk to the foot of the waterfall for photographs and to take a walk into the woods to finish our ceremony by planting an oak tree.
It goes without saying that our wedding was less about ceremony and more about the joy of starting our lives together and the waterfall certainly provided us with the relaxed and magical backdrop in which to do so.
THE DRESS & ACCESSORIES | Hannah is a lover of charity shops and had Cancer Research Wales’ Bridal Suite at the top of the wedding shop list. With the mother of the bride, maid of honour and home-made emergency Welsh cakes (for grumbly bride-to-be bellies!) in-tow, she set off to try on every dress in the shop. Eventually a vintage silk dress was pulled off the rack. It fitted to perfection and was everything she dreamed of; it was meant to be! Plus at £75 it left plenty in the budget for commissioning jewellery for the occasion and getting some additions to the dress made so that it became truly unique.
GROOM’S ATTIRE | It goes without saying that our wedding was less about ceremony and more about the joy of starting our lives together. We wore an array of formal and non-formal attire, from an unconventional suit for Jacob to a traditional dress for Hannah. We informed our guests that whatever they wore, we just want them to be, dry, comfortable, warm and most importantly – themselves!
Which leads us to the groom; Jacob is known for his brightly coloured attire and delighted Hannah by choosing to wear yellow trousers for the occasion! The jacket and waistcoat were both from Ted Baker with a brilliant lining featuring ships and postcards, which paid homage to Jacob’s love of ships and matched well with his father’s anchor charm which had been stitched into Jacob’s boutonnière.
The mother of the bride had Jacob’s cufflinks made from old silver sixpences which belonged to Hannah’s grandparents, and Jacob wore his grandfather’s pocket watch set to 2pm, the time of our marriage.
Hannah had bought Jacob and the best men matching socks too, which featured the same design as the gate on the bridge to the waterfall and were purchased directly at the Corgi Hosiery factory.
THE READINGS & MUSIC | We were fortunate enough to have Hannah’s brother-in-law, a professional violinist at our wedding.
BEAUTIFUL BRIDESMAIDS | Just one beautiful Maid of Honour; Hannah’s best friend, Eleri Bennett.
THE FLOWERS | The only real flowers at our wedding were yellow roses, picked up from the supermarket the night before. Some were wrapped as a bouquet for the maid of honour and the others handed out to guests to use as confetti which made a beautiful photograph, and were eco-friendly to suit the venue.
All other flowers used were made by us out of yellow wool and Hannah spent months crocheting tiny cotton flowers with pearls to use as her bouquet.
THE CAKE | We were lucky enough to have our cake made by Hannah’s mum, Jacqueline Kelly the café manager at Llantarnam Grange Arts Centre. An absolutely fantastic baker, we had a three tiered cake comprising of lemon cake, chocolate cake and fruit cake.
Hannah and her mum decorated it together using yellow ribbon and crocheted flowers to match Hannah’s bouquet and Hannah’s stepdad chopped a log to use as a cake stand to complete the look.
YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER | We couldn’t praise our photographer enough. We knew the type of images we were after and wanted to find a photographer who was as sensitive to ‘detail’ and ‘aesthetics’ as we are. After months of creating and making items to include in our décor, as well as the sourced items from makers / artists it would have been a true shame for a photographer to miss these elements as they were as much a part of our wedding, as the guests… and us!
We had no worries at all with Lucy; after taking a look at her photographs online, we knew she had the right type of eye for detail and had a very relaxed look to the images of couples (the last thing we wanted was to pose artificially, and ‘gaze falsely into each other’s eyes!’)
After a short telephone call to kick start the process, it was as if Lucy was a long-lost friend and no question or crazy long list of items we’d made seemed too stupid or unreasonable to talk to her about. Lucy took the time to understand us, our personalities and our vision.
In a small wedding it’s important to find a photographer who will fit right into the party, and Lucy did just that. She became very much part of the day and all of our guests delighted in her company.
Equally, it was important for us to find a photographer who could capture our personalities without the formality or falseness of asking us to pose. We’re quite affectionate in each-other’s company and soon forgot that Lucy was around taking photographs of us as we chatted, laughed and kissed. Those precious moments are the ones which we refer to as, ‘when we were alone’ when in fact; Lucy was there the whole time. It’s a sign of a great photographer in our opinion and allowed us the opportunity to not only treasure the memory of that time, but also look back on them in her beautiful photographs.
THE DETAILS & DÉCOR | We loved creating the finer details of our wedding. Yellow pompoms flowers featured as boutonnières for each of our guests and the groom and also made it into the table decorations as an alternate to real flowers.
Books also featured throughout the wedding, Jacob reads to Hannah on a daily basis so we used the first book he read to her, ‘The Snow Spider’ (Hannah’s childhood favourite) to cut out paper butterflies as a backdrop for our vows and to make paper bunting for the wedding reception.
Our new married name was important to us and was incorporated into much of our making. Including being stitched into a grey rug which we wanted to stand on to get married, so that we could forever keep the place we were married (now in our living room in front of the fire).
As we had created a new ‘name / word’ we decided that the use of a dictionary would be appropriate for our guest book too, so we rebound an Oxford Dictionary using words that were significant from our relationship, such a ‘Rome’ to represent our engagement, and stitched Greys into the cover with a yellow flower which matched the one stitched into the rug.
Pillows stitched with Greys, crocheted bunting, crocheted garlands, painted yellow horseshoes, painted yellow signs, bunting made from scraps of salvaged material, we even utilised cotton and net curtains for layered table cloths!
Makers / artists we incorporated into our wedding:
The first ‘surprise’ gift of art that Jacob bought for Hannah was a necklace from Anne Morgan Contemporary Jewellery. It required Jacob to crawl across the floor to Anne, whisper what he wanted and crawl back again so that I didn’t see the purchase. Anne has understandably never forgotten this act of madness, so it seemed only right to have our wedding rings commissioned from this very talented lady.
Hannah’s wedding jewellery was commissioned from Anna Lewis Jewellery featuring a silver cut out of Hannah’s grandparents and a photograph of them from their wartime wedding pinned from the front to the back of Hannah’s wedding dress by strings of her Grandmother’s pearls.
Wedding gifts for the mother of the bride / maid of honour were commissioned pocket watches from Becky Adams Textiles featuring the time of the wedding & their initials.
Hannah’s hair piece was hand-made from pheasant feathers given to her by the Welsh painter Roger Cecil on the occasion of Hannah and Jacob’s engagement.
THE HONEYMOON | We went to Sicily which was wonderful! Followed by a surprise spa-retreat in the Cotswolds.
MEMORABLE MOMENTS | The moment we first saw each other prior to getting married; we both had to fight hard to hold back the tears of pure happiness!
Announcing to our wedding party that we were expecting our first baby! We found out we were expecting in March and decided to keep it a secret until our wedding in July. Along with much needed dress alterations and creative reasons for why we had Ty Nant water on the tables rather than our usual preference of a bottle of red, we were surprised that no one guessed earlier, but being able to share our joyous news with everyone on such a wonderful day, really made it that extra bit special!
ADVICE FOR OTHER COUPLES | Take the time to decide the kind of wedding you want and the choices which mean the most to you. Our wedding, right from our change of name through to the venue, decoration and even announcing our pregnancy was all of a very untraditional nature. However, it was true to who we are and allowed us to start our lives together with absolute happiness and go forward knowing that together we are united in the decisions we make.
Taking time to be by yourselves; without a doubt our favourite memories of the day are the ones which we managed to have alone (captured only by our wonderful photographer). We adore our family and friends, but it was perfect to soak up how wonderful everything was alone.
We’d recommend building in a couple of days following your honeymoon prior to going back to work to have some time at home. Jacob surprised Hannah with a spa retreat for two nights in the Cotswolds after landing back in the UK. It was the perfect way to ease hot tired feet and cure any post flight fatigue to keep you looking as fresh as you did on honeymoon! We also had three days at home before going back to work, which meant we could catch up on washing, get back to normal and enjoy being a married couple in our home before having to rush back to the office; everything just felt far more relaxed than the usual post-holiday madness!
CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE |
Photography | Lucy Little Photography
Bridal Jewellery | Anna Lewis Design
Pocket Watch | Becky Adams
Wedding Rings | Anne Morgan Contemporary Jewellery
Dress Alerations | Melanie Hobday Tailoring
Dress Shop | Cancer Research Wales Bridal Suite
Wedding venue | Pistyll Rhaeadr
Reception venue | Wynnstay Arms Hotel
B&B & self-catering cottage | Bron Heulog Guest House
Thank you so much Hannah and Jacob for sharing your story with us XOXO Lou