WWW readers Beth & Owain AKA Bowain were married over a weekend in July at Fforest in Cardigan, West Wales. They wanted their wedding to be very casual and rustic with a festival feel. They found their amazing photographer Pete via WWW :-) yay!
The weekend turned into a glamping trip for the guests, who stayed in tipis, nomad tents, domes and in crog loft cabins, how fun is that!? They shook up the normal wedding itinerary and left behind traditions such as seating plans. Creating an informal party weekend.
Beth wore a stunning lace dress with a crystal sash she made herself, i adore her beautiful hand-tied posy of blue and purple blooms. Whilst Owain went for a dapper River Island slim fit suit, he looks super cool.
I love this simple yet oh so charming day, filled with such amazing moments and memories for the guests i am sure.
Thanks so much to the amazing Pete Cranston for sharing his photography with us today.
Names…. Beth & Owain (AKA “Bowain”)
Wedding Date…. Saturday 7th July 2012…(well, it was actually a weekend affair so Friday 6th – Sunday 8th July 2012)
The Proposal…. We had been together for 8 months when Owain asked me to marry him. I said yes…but because we were living in different cities, had only been together a short time…(and there wasn’t a ring), we kept it to ourselves. One Saturday just after we had been together for a year Owain said he thought it would be a good day to go along to Hatton Garden. We found a brilliant workshop where you can design your own ring, however it took 2 weeks to be made, so we still didn’t tell anyone. We then went & picked up the ring, went along to the national Portrait Gallery restaurant, which is my favourite view of London, where Owain popped the question, this time officially, I said yes….and we even told people.
The Vision for the day…. Posh frocks & wellies! We wanted it be to be very casual and very very relaxed. Neither of us like being in the limelight and so we wanted to be able to ease into the big day without too much pressure. We wanted it be outdoors, rustic and definitely not too neat or perfect. We visited a pub, a barn and a botanical garden in our search…all of which were a bit too “nice”…and not quite right. We then found Fforest…and within minutes knew it was us.
So the plan then came together…A glamping weekend for our closest friends and family…we wanted our guests to have the chance to relax, play games, hang out both before and after the big day…its rare for us all to be able to just be with each other for a whole weekend and so rather than a wedding day we had a mini festival…Bowainbury.
The Planning process…. Owain & his friend Mark created our invite, a festival website (www.bowainbury.com). This gave everyone all of the information they needed for the weekend and required people to apply for tickets online, which was their RSVP.
Our guests all stayed onsite in tipis, nomad tents, domes and in crog loft cabins. The most difficult thing when planning the weekend was allocating who was sleeping where and with whom…but once we had slotted people in, the venue took over and took all bookings.
Fforest were really accommodating with our plans and ideas and literally catered for our every need. We only booked the venue 6 months before and so the only time that we could book the registrar for was 4pm. This meant that the day was restructured and we had the tea party first…this meant I arrived dressed up and we had lunch together before the ceremony…but this just meant that the day felt even more normal & relaxed.
We decided to have our speeches straight after the blessing, just so that my dad & our best man could do their jobs and then relax and after photos we had time to potter, play games and chat.
We didn’t have a seating plan…we wanted people to be able to sit with whomever they wanted to and we also didn’t have any table service – we had the most amazing hog roast, huge salad and haloumi & vegetable skewers for dinner, all of which was either produced on site, or was locally sourced and everyone just helped themselves.
The Venue…Fforest in Cardigan, West Wales, www.coldatnight.co.uk
The Dress + Accessories….. I started off my search knowing that I didn’t want lace. After hours of research online, I found my ideal dress…and it was nothing but lace! I wore a dress by Benjamin Roberts – it managed to be very simple, yet really pretty & delicate at the same time. As it was only two layers, it was easy to hitch up so that I could join in with the ceilidh…which was the deciding factor. It did have a little puddle/train…which I had to accept was going to get covered in mud because of our outdoors venue. I wore lovely ivory lace shoes from Monsoon…for all of half an hour…before these were swapped for my favourite aubergine hunter wellies. I wanted a little bit of bling and so I made my own belt using Swarovski element crystals and little pearls and beads from Liberty.
My sister Kate did my hair and make up…Kate added hair extensions to give my hair more body, put in light curls and I also wore a pearl tiara from Harmony Bride. Kate also did my make up perfectly – she knew exactly what I wanted before I did. I wouldn’t have changed this for the World.
Finding the dress…. A trip to Swindon Old Town was the destination because this is where my number one dress was stocked. My mum & big sister Ginnie came along…it was the first one I tried on…and we knew it was the one! The ladies in Harmony Bride were wonderful from start to finish – the huge hug from both Sharon & Julie after my last fitting is proof that they obviously make every bride feel very special.
Groom’s attire… Owain knew he wanted a grey slim fitting suit…and he found his perfect one in River Island. He wore this with a slim black tie & tan brogues…which were also pretty quickly replaced with wellies…
The Readings + Music…. Our friend Stevie read “Can We, Shall We” by Rob Ryan…we are both fans of Rob Ryan’s prints and words…and this was very us:
“Can we? Shall we?
One day very soon
Let us go away together
Just you & me
Can we? shall we?
Call in sick one day
And travel to the sea a
And hold hands all day.
Can we? Shall we?
Eat our sandwiches on the train,
Get drunk on fresh air
And come home tired and never tell anyone
Owain is a Welsh speaker and as in Wales, it was only right that one of our readings was in Welsh. Our lovely friend Elen read Mi gerddaf gyda thi (I’ll walk beside you):
Mi gerddaf gyda thi dros lwybrau maith,
A blodau, cân a breuddwyd ar ein taith;
I`th lygaid syllaf i a dal dy law:
Mi gerddaf gyda thi, beth bynnag ddaw.
Mi gerddaf gyda thi pan fydd y lloer
Fel llusern yn y nen ar noson oer.
Addawaf i ti `nghalon i yn llwyr:
Mi gerddaf gyda thi drwy oriau`r hwyr.
Mi gerddaf gyda thi drwy weddill f“oes,
Pan fydd yr haul ar fryn neu`r dyddiau`n groes;
A phan ddaw`r alwad draw, pwy wyr pa awr,
Mi gerddaf gyda thi i’r freuddwyd fawr.
I’ll walk beside you
I’ll walk beside you through the world today
While dreams and songs and flowers bless your way
I’ll look into your eyes and hold your hand
I’ll walk beside you through the golden land.
I’ll walk beside you through the world tonight
Beneath the starry skies ablaze with light
Within your soul love’s tender words I’ll hide
I’ll walk beside you through the eventide.
I’ll walk beside you through the passing years
Through days of clouds and sunshine, joy and tears
And when the great call comes the sunset gleams
I’ll walk beside you to the land of dreams.
Music: I walked in with my dad to “the Final Countdown”….we wanted the day to be light hearted…and this song definitely kicked this off nicely! We then left to Chuck Berry, C’est La Vie.
My dad put together a CD of old love songs which were all very fitting for a tea party and then we had a ceilidh for our evening entertainment. The party then continued in the bwythn (a traditional Welsh cottage which had been converted to a rustic looking pub), where guests partied to a play list put together by them.
Beautiful bridesmaids….. We had three lovely little flower girls…our nieces Mya, Enlli & Cadi. All three wore ivory dresses from Monsoon and bright pink cardigans from Zara.
My unofficial bridesmaids were Lexie, Laura & Stevie…the girls organised an amazing week long hen do, driving around Cornwall in classic VW campervans, made 100 beautiful cupcakes for pudding & ran around making sure I could relax on the day…although they didn’t have the traditional dresses, they were most definitely on duty and were amazing.
And not forgetting our best man…Geoff. Geoff not only introduced us but is both of our best friends and it went without saying that he would be the best man.
The Flowers… Fforest is set in 200 acres of woodland and they dress the barn with fresh seasonal flowers and foliage from their own wild flower meadow and farm.
Owain’s mum added extra flowers to each end if the tables in the barn. She displayed these in baked bean tins that my dad had dutifully collected, which she tied with raffia.
The girls and I each had a hand-tied posy with purple sweet peas, blue cornflowers & white lisianthus.
The Cake… The bride’s mum’s creation! We wanted to make sure that people didn’t get hungry and so rather than cake, my mum put together a cake made of cheese…which was topped with a heart shaped brie and Beth & Owain figures! She dressed this with grapes & foliage and this was accompanied with chutneys, pickled onions & crackers.
Your Photographer…. The one and only Pete Cranston…Pete was one of the best decisions we made.
We found his details on www and the three of us clicked instantly over our first pint at our pre wedding shoot. Pete was so dedicated…he shot photos from 11am until 3.30am when the party finally ended! Pete fitted in perfectly with the wedding party & we are proud to say joined in with dancing and celebrations because it was apparently too good not to…what more could we ask!?
Pete took us away for a good half hour after the ceremony…which was exactly the right thing to do & I would recommend every couple does this…it was lovely to have this time straight away just the two (three!) of us…and Pete took photos of us, just being us. We are going to have to think up another reason to be able to use him again!
The Details + Decor…. The weekend kicked off on Friday night with a BBQ, which was organised by our friend Rob. This was the perfect start…it was relaxed, everyone mucked in, we all embraced the rain and it meant we had a chance to talk to everyone properly before the big day. Most of us then stayed up far later than we planned in the bwthyn.
Our favours were distributed on Friday night and as with every good festival, everyone received their own bowainbury festival cotton bag, a lanyard with the line up and venue map, a bowainbury wristband and some sweets.
Saturday began with a big breakfast in the lodge. Guests played rounders, went for walks, pottered & caught up with each other before the wedding day started with Pimms & a tea party. Tables were set up with mismatched vintage crockery, cake stands with sandwiches, tray bakes & meringues….thankfully the sun was shining and so when our ice cream van arrived, everyone helped themselves to a 99.
A few of our close family and friends slipped away for the legal ceremony, while Elaina our quiz master led her Bowainbury quiz…the lucky winners of which won tickets to the front row of the blessing! The blessing was a humanist ceremony and was pitched perfectly. Jean, our celebrant had worked with us to put together the words that we wanted…and instead of a moment of silence to reflect, we had a moment of noise – under each seat was a noise maker, whistle, horn, party popper…everyone got involved which made it for us!
We made our own photo booth area…we made a giant polaroid frame and downloaded templates to make our own moustache & lips accessories. Guests posed with these and with boater, bowler & top hats, & lots of random sunglasses. We also made lots of bunting so people knew where to go.
We had a bonfire in the fire pit, marshmallows on sticks and once it got dark, everyone let off (eco of course!) Chinese lanterns…seeing all 40 from the top of the hill was an amazing sight.
The ceilidh was another perfect decision. Everyone joined in, everyone got it wrong, especially Owain’s dad…but everyone absolutely loved it! The band and caller made the party and even carried on playing when we all demanded more.
On Sunday morning to rid the hangover a group of us went Coasteering, while others spent the day in Cardigan, at the beach and visiting local waterfalls. Then on Sunday night we all cooked dinner together and then Fforest filled the tipi with giant bean bags and blankets and we watched back to the future with popcorn…
The Honeymoon…. We didn’t want to head straight off on honeymoon…we wanted a little time to recover but more importantly to be there and talk about the wedding before the hype disappeared! So next month our honeymoon will start with the End of the Road Festival in Salisbury (with our best friends!)…then straight off to Paris, then to Munich, where we will camp & drive through Bavaria & Austria and finish off in Berlin before flying back home to London.
Memorable moments… Waking up at 6.30am to the sun shining through our dome and going for a wander around Fforest while everyone else was still sleeping. Laughing a lot. Gigging through the ceremony & blessing, chaos & shrieking on the dance floor for the ceilidh, finally remembering at 3.30am to stop, look and remember as we walked back hand in hand to our dome for our first night as husband and wife. Literally having the best weekend we could have ever imagined…and being asked to make it a yearly event!
Advice for other couples… Stick with what you want. All of our married friends advised us to remember it is our day, it only happens once and to stick with what we want and not what others want…and that is our advice to others. Saying that…do be open to ideas…while you might know what you want, those that know you will help you make those ideas happen. So let others help…delegating little jobs to people is a must and with Owain’s mum on flowers, my mum on sweets & the wedding cake, my best friends on cupcakes, my sister hair & make up, Elaina running the quiz and Rob doing the BBQ all was very us and was one big family all helping out.
Credit where credit is due…
The Venue: Fforest – www.coldatnight.co.uk
Rings: The Wedding Ring Workshop – www.weddingringworkshop.co.uk
Dress: Harmony Brides – www.harmonybrides.com
Photographer: Pete Cranston – www.petecranston.com
Ceilidh: Redwing – Miranda ([email protected])
Ice Cream Man: Elfan (01994 230 827)
Blessing: Jean Francis – www.humanism.org.uk / [email protected]
Thanks so much “Bowain” for sharing your gorgeous wedding with us today… I so want to bookmark so many ideas from this day :-) XOXO Lou