What a treat we have in store today with WWW readers Kelly and Gary’s love filled, personal and homemade boho wedding. They tied the knot at Llys Meddyg in gorgeous Pembrokeshire on 22nd October 2018.
We’re delighted that Kelly took inspiration from these very pages to work with their florist on creating the stunning florals that you see before you. There are so many other touches that I’m so impressed with too, including repurposing some packaging to great effect!
Hannah Miles Photography is responsible for these beautiful images of their day. Thank you so much for sharing them with us Hannah! She also encouraged Kelly and Gary to take some time out from the day at the beach to take some photographs with their bridal party and aren’t they just gorgeous, make sure you take a look!
We had been together nearly 8 years. In this time we had our children, did up our house and begun our catering business around our day jobs so we had not had a great deal of time to think about a wedding (I think that being together forever kind of went without saying). That being said, I couldn’t help dreaming up/creating in my mind what our wedding may look like. I love a bit of craft and your own wedding is the pinnacle of all craft jobs! I had begun to wonder when Gary might propose….
On the 27th of December 2017 we went for a family walk to a woodland near to our house, somewhere we go often with the children. Being from Wales originally, I sometimes miss the countryside and the views, Gary had brought me to this spot when we first met, and although the M3 is very nearby if you look in the right direction you could very well be in Wales.
On this particular morning, it had been snowing and as we approached the top of the hill to a bench that has a lovely view, and as I comforted my son that had just fallen face first in the snow, I noticed Gary was squatting down with our daughter looking on the ground/in the snow. This wasn’t unusual, as we had once found a pound coin in that spot and we always checked to see if luck would strike us again. I continued to cuddle our son until I heard our daughter shout ‘Mummy look!’ for a split second I thought they had been lucky enough for find another gold coin!
As I turned Gary was still in his squat position and as I looked towards his hands I noticed the content was not a pound coin and in fact a little box. My heart raced, I popped our son down and walked towards him – in fact I think I bounced towards him! He had tears in his eyes and a big smile on his face, he opened the box, I also had tears in my eyes as I struggled to focus on the ring. Gary simply told me he loved me and asked me to marry him, I happily said yes and after he placed the ring on my finger, we hugged and blubbed.
At this point we realised the children had run into the nearby woods – and I said to Gary ‘we should probably go and find the kids’.
A day bursting with love and laughter!
As much as I couldn’t wait to get stuck into what the wedding would look like, the most important part for us was injecting as much of us, our personalities and our relationship into the day as possible. It is easy to get wrapped up in all of the aesthetics of a wedding day, so I made a conscious effort to remember all the important stuff!
Planning a wedding is wonderful but sometimes stressful and it is easy to take this out on the person that you are meeting at the end of the aisle. Gary probably couldn’t win as I wanted to him to be laid back enough to allow me to use my vision for the decision making but also wanted him to help – mind reading would have helped him!
Weddings have some wonderful traditions and we knew that many of these would be included in our day, but we also wanted to give ourselves the freedom to create a day that we would truly enjoy and always remember, a day without too many restrictions. A day that we knew our friends and family would enjoy but mainly a day that was for the two of us.
We are lucky enough to have some very talented and crafty family members and we knew that we would want to use everyone’s skills to not only help keep costs down but to create a day that the important people in our lives felt part of, helping to keep it really personal and unique to us. We soon set our family members to work!
To help keep it personal, we thought about the things that our friends and family thought of us, and how our day could represent our personalities and relationship. We are quite competitive –we had a bride and groom quiz! We have both won Basingstoke’s Strongest Man/Woman competition – we had a ‘strength challenge’! Gary is known for his love of cooking meat with fire –our table names were cuts of beef. Our family and children are at the heart of everything we do – we had a ‘Love Story’ picture frame that was mainly made up of the little people with a few dates and weekends away we have managed to have together over the past 8 years.
The venue didn’t need a great deal of dressing as it had so much soul and authenticity (the reason we were drawn to it initially) and it was special enough on its own. I do however love flowers and I was quite particular about my bouquet and flower crown and the flower crowns of the bridesmaids and flower girls. Anytime I tried to visualise our wedding day – flowers and lights were up there with the first things I pictured. Beautiful blooms in the day and fairy lights, candles and sparklers in the night. I love flowers and pretty lights in equal measure.
A relaxed, love filled, floral, autumnal, personal, happy, boho vibe was what I was visioning.
The Planning Process
I’m a real pen and paper girl. Spreadsheets, phone diaries etc are not my thing. I started with a good old fashioned scrapbook and started cutting and sticking and making hand written to do lists. Of course, I had to use technology for email communication and some research but I put everything in my scrapbook and wedding folder. It was good for me to have everything in one place to refer to and to be able to share with my friends and family.
There was only a 10 month turnaround between proposal and wedding so I didn’t have to much time to plan, it was mainly a ‘doing process’ rather than a ‘planning process’. I would tackle a small list of ‘to-do’s’ each week and thankfully we managed to get it all done on time.
With a young family and a new business we felt as though we had to keep the budget relatively tight. As important as the day was to us, there was a definite argument that it may be more sensible to invest money in other areas of our family life. In addition to that I love a bargain so this helped to keep costs down!
All in all the wedding cost about £13-14,000.
Llysmeddyg, Newport – Pembrokeshire, Wales.
I spent most of my childhood living in Pembrokeshire and have grandparents that still live there. As a child I took the beauty of this county for granted and not knowing any different, I didn’t fully appreciate all it had to offer. Moving to Hampshire (which also has many beautiful rural areas – but without the rolling hills and coast) and with age came that appreciation and in turn a desire to bring our nearest and dearest (the ones that hadn’t been) to this beautiful part of the world.
Gary was born in our home town Basingstoke, Hampshire and has always lived here, we had been to Wales many times together and he had become very fond of Pembrokeshire, he was more than happy for us to travel four hours West to get wed!
It was on one of these trips that we visited our favourite beach, Newgale Beach and we fancied visiting another before returning to my grandparents. We hopped in the car and hit ‘beaches’ on the Sat Nav and selected ‘Newport Sands’, one I had never been to before. As we arrived in picturesque Newport we passed a very cute foliage fronted brick building and I noticed the sign that read ‘Llysmeddyg’ and it rang a bell. I had seen it on one of my ‘unique places to get married in Pembrokeshire’ google searches. We had a lovely time at Newport Sands beach and as we drove back past Llysmeddyg I instinctively pulled into the car park for a closer look. It was then that Ed (the owner) happened to be walking through the car park and said ‘hello’ – I blurted out my reason for sitting in the car park (sounding a bit crazy) and he warmly welcomed us in for a look around.
Now lets bear in mind that we weren’t even engaged at this point but in we went – sand covered children in tow! For me, it was love at first sight. From the open fire in the room to the front of the building, lovely tiles on the floor, gorgeous décor, original features – it had soul and you could tell it was loved. The bedrooms were beautiful, the gorgeous big beds so inviting – you just knew you could sleep so well there!
Ed took us through to the Kitchen Garden at the rear of the building, a small sloped ceiling garden room, with a small bar, pizza oven and doors that opened out to the lovely garden. I could imagine the room with bunting, fairy lights and trestle tables filled with all of our favourite people.
The garden had lovely wooden tables, beautiful flowers and a sound of the stream running. Turning right into second part of the garden was the selling point for me, above us I spotted festoon lighting and ahead of us a yurt. Where do I sign?
Your Outfits & Accessories
During a visit and stay at Llysmeddyg over Gary’s birthday weekend (a month after getting engaged) we booked it as our venue and that same weekend I decided to go to a bridal boutique local to the area. I wanted to take the opportunity to share this experience with my mum, daughter and grandmother – four generations together.
I made an appointment at White Bride, we were warmly greeted by the owner Sally White whilst Gary, my grandfather and son enjoyed the January sun in the park. My mum kindly offered to buy my wedding dress and I (not surprisingly) headed straight to the sale rack. There were many beautiful dresses and I chose five to try on. The dress I chose happened to be the second dress I tried, I adored the lace, it was very comfortable and my grandmother loved it. My daughter wasn’t impressed with my choice, she preferred the one with more sparkle – typical of a five year old girl! I happily headed back home to Basingstoke having had a lovely and very productive weekend in Wales. Venue – booked, dress – bought… and in the back of the car!
My dress was a Charlie Brear dress and as I looked into the UK designer, I realised the relaxed style and boho feel of all her dresses was exactly what was after so it wasn’t surprising that I had fallen for one of her dresses. I did however want to have some alterations done and really make it MY dress. In the months before the wedding I visited the very talented Ben and Adrien from Nortier Shallow, local seamstresses that listened to all of my desires, happily received lots of screenshots and picture messages as I attempted to communicate my vision.
They kindly allowed me to have several appointments and fittings, during this time they were able to source the exact lace to construct the ‘wing sleeves’ that had been inspired by a Grace Loves Lace dress I had seen online. They added boning to the dress for a little more structure on the waist area, created a slit in the skirt, added buttons to the back and completed all of the other finishing touches. They also made the beautiful ‘barely there’ veil.
Whilst visiting another local bridal boutique with a friend to help her find her wedding dress – I spotted an accessory sale rack, the belt that caught my eye was £140 reduced to £10! It fit perfectly and was meant to be.
I bought my light grey suede shoes in New Look. My opal earrings were from Debenhams and I borrowed and opal bracelet from my Mother in Law. Gary bought me an opal necklace that I opened on our wedding morning. I must admit, I had dropped some very big hints and I was pretty confident he had bought me a necklace to wear, I was very happy with all the jewellery.
Getting married in Wales in October was risky business weather wise, but then what time of year can you guarantee sunshine in the UK? We love a crisp Autumn day but again, no guarantees! We were hoping to be able to use the gardens at Llysmeddyg as much as possible and thought there may be a trip to the beach on the wedding day, so I needed to find a way to keep warm if needed. I had considered a darker coloured, maybe brown, faux fur jacket but then stumbled upon The Mermaid Effect. Jemima transforms your own leather (or PU jacket) with her beautiful paintwork. I sent her pictures of my bouquet and she created a floral design with my new initials in a copper colour in the middle. She sent this to me to check that I was happy and she finished it off with the wedding date under the collar. Perfect. My bridesmaids surprised me on the evening of the wedding by all popping on their own leather jackets, they looked so good!
Even though the village we got married in experienced heavy floods the week before our wedding, so much so that access to the village was difficult, our prayers were answered with a glorious, sunny Autumn day. The jacket was definitely required in the evening though when the sun went in!
The three flower girls; our daughter Olivia, niece Daisy and God-daughter Millie wore dresses from Sainsbury’s (£8 in the sale), Faux fur jackets from H&M kids (£5 in the sale) and I splashed out on their beautiful sparkly shoes from Accessorise (£20). I also bought them matching sparkly bags as a gift and little bead bracelets, the earnings of which went to Save the Children.
Our son Edward wore chinos, a waistcoat and white shirt all from Next. We picked up his cute leather brogues in the sale in Debenhams.
I am quite particular about my hair, not fussy as such, I just like a full fringe to cover my generous forehead and the thoughts that it may not be in its place would have made me feel a little anxious on the wedding morning. Therefore, I decided to do my hair myself. I had practiced a few times but still hadn’t really got it perfect or decided what I wanted by the time the day came around. I also received my fresh flower crown from the florist just the day before so I couldn’t be sure how it would all go together. I just had to trust that I would have a good hair day and pull it off as best I could.
My maid of honour helped me put some curls in, my fringe stayed in place and the flower crown was perfect. I felt that the boho look I was hoping for meant that my hair could have a more natural, ‘imperfect’ look – I was happy with the result.
I also didn’t want my make up to be too different to the norm – I wanted to look like myself, just a slightly better version! I had my lashes done the week before the wedding, they really help to make the make up look extra special. On my birthday, a few months before the wedding, my mum and I visited a Bobbi Brown make up counter in a local department store and I had a free ‘wedding make up trial’. I was hoping to pick up a few tips (I’m not very good at make up usually) and purchase a few ‘must have’ items. The make up artist did a lovely job and once all finished my Mum made the hugely generous offer to buy all of the products used as my birthday present. I was overwhelmed and extremely grateful and it gave me the opportunity to practice my make up several times before the big day
The Readings & Music
Llysmeddyg is a registered wedding venue and it was important to us that we officially got married in the venue on the wedding day. That being said we had our heart on our ceremony being conducted by a celebrant. A specific celebrant called Colin Flaherty, who is not only the father of one of Gary’s closest friends but was also once the drama teacher that taught Gary and his friends at secondary school. We got legally married at 9:30am in the morning by two lovely ladies from Pembrokeshire County Council and then the wedding started at 1:30pm beginning with the ceremony run by Colin.
We met with Colin in the months before the wedding and decided all elements of the ceremony. Colin welcomed everyone and spoke beautifully about the significance of the day, he included ‘The Blessing of the Hands’, the ceremony included traditional parts such as the giving away of the bride and exchange of the rings. Gary and I had written our own vows which was important to us and we both laughed and cried whilst giving our promises to each other.
Colin welcomed the readings which included an ‘Extract from Captain Corelli’s Mandolin’ by Louis de Bernieres read by a friend of mine, Abigail, I met at University and ‘Union’ by Robert Fulghum read by Gary’s friend, Chris (who happens to be Colin’s son). They were delivered beautifully and conjured up emotion in the guests, us and the readers. The final reading was from my grandfather who had written his own ‘ramblings’, I wanted him to somehow sum up marriage advice based on his long and happy marriage to my grandmother and in amongst welcoming everyone to Pembrokeshire (he and my grandmother were the only guests that live in the area) and humour he provided the advice wonderfully.
We had made a number of playlists for the day – one whilst people were arriving/waiting, one for after the ceremony/during food, one for later in the afternoon/early evening (a bit more upbeat) before the band arrived, one for during the bands break, during pizza/evening food time and one for the ‘after party’ after the band had left. These were all songs we both like, some old – some current.
I walked down the aisle to an instrumental version of Callum Scott’s ‘You are the reason’ and this song was used in our wedding video so has become very special. The band we chose were a four piece band called Honey Fungus and they were amazing! I love live music and we both knew that the music in the evening is really important and a live band was most likely to please everyone. They sent me a long list of songs before the day and we narrowed it down, choosing a mixture of songs again to please everyone but mainly to please ourselves! We asked them to play one that wasn’t on the list for our first dance – Rod Stewart, ‘Have I told you lately’ and they were more than happy to do it and did a brilliant job, it was one of my favourite moments of the day.
The cake is a part of the day/supplier that was never in doubt – my wonderfully talented Mum!
My Mum started making cakes for my younger brothers and myself when we were children and over the years has built a wonderful business, supplying amazing, bespoke celebration cakes to customers every week.
Mum and I had talked about my wedding cake way before I had plans to marry. Once I was engaged and had begun thinking about colours, flowers etc my Mum was able to begin designing what she called her ‘labour of love’.
The main idea was to incorporate hand made sugar flowers from my bouquet in the cake finished with copper accents and mum exceeded all my expectations as she always does. The six tier beauty included a hollow tier, a tier with beautiful handmade icing ruffles, stunning sugarcraft flowers and one of the tiers displayed the pattern of the lace from my dress. My Mum cleverly took some spare lace from the dress and sprayed through it using a pearl coloured spray, it was a special touch.
My Mum spent eight hours the day before the wedding building the cake and doing all the final touches. Alongside her was Gary’s Mum who had the job of inserting fresh eucalyptus into an oasis at the base of the cake and adding copper lights which took as long as the cake building, but was well worth the time as it all looked stunning. The cake was exceptional and we are forever grateful.
The cake sat on a wooden barrel that we were given two days before the wedding, a gift from my younger brother. He had the barrel made at his place of work (Celtic Timber) and had it engraved with ‘Mr and Mrs Dinsey’ – a wonderful surprise.
As mentioned previously, the flowers were up there as one of my priorities and the thing that I always imagined when envisioning the day. Flowers can understandably be pricey and even though, in my eyes, they are completely worth the money – we had to be sensible about what we could afford. If I had endless pots of money I would have had flowers everywhere!!
When we booked the venue the owner recommended a local florist and once we looked at her work we realised why she had been highly recommended.
My bouquet was priority and a trawled the internet saving pictures of my favourite Autumnal flowers. I began communication with Annabel and started sending over the images, she was able to break down the bouquets into lists of flowers to give me a better understanding of what appeared to be my favourite flowers and foliage. The wedding flowers and colours were all based around one specific bouquet picture I had found online. My seven bridesmaids all had autumnal foliage bouquets, similarly the flower girls had foliage bouquets with a touch of wax flower. My floral crown (another priority for me) was made up of green foliage and the delicate white wax flower that appeared in the flower girls bouquets.
One of the flowers that I fell in love with was the white anemones, they were unfortunately not in season at Autumn. I found some artificial ones online and asked Annabel if she would be happy to include them in the bouquet and she was. This ended up being a fortunate decision as two days after the wedding I placed my bouquet on my late grandfather’s grave and whilst the flowers would inevitably die over the following days the anemones are still there.
Annabel made five beautiful button holes with Love Love roses for Gary, the fathers and our sons. I also ordered several Love Lace roses from Annabel which she delivered to the venue the day before the wedding to be incorporated into the table décor.
The only other flowers that were purchased were from a local wholesaler (near to our hometown), we wanted Eucalyptus for the base of the cake and I wanted some wax flower for table decoration. My Mum and I went to the wholesaler at 4am on the day before we left for Wales to collect our order – at this point I was rarely sleeping past 4am so it was actually nice to have a reason to be up that early!
The Details & Décor
The lovely trestle tables at Llysmeddyg were the perfect base for rustic table decorations. We had chosen BBQ meats with delicious side dishes that were served in a sharing fashion so I had to be mindful to leave space on the tables for the platters to move around. The centre of the table had a wooden slice that I bought second hand and my grandfather treated the wood for us. Sat on the wood slices were the framed table name in £1 copper frames from Asda which were given a touch of copper leaf detailing during a craft day with my bridesmaids and a small bunch of artificial flowers tied to the corners. It was from Asda that I also purchased small green candles holders (2 for £1.50), the glass candle stick holders were from poundland (you guessed it, £1 each). I also made good use of baby jars that I (and my friends) had saved, I sprayed some of these with a glass frosting spray and covered others with copper glitter. Gary actually has a bit of a glitter phobia so he wasn’t too convinced by this element! The small glittered jars housed baby succulents I had been growing for the best part of a year – I thought they would have been bigger by the time of the wedding but they did the job!
I sprayed tin cans in a copper colour and I had 3 per table with Love Lace roses from the florist and some left over Eucalyptus from the base of the cake.
The place setting/favours were again baby jars, this time filled with Rocky Road and topped with an icing succulent. The children had big plastic bowls filled with lots of things to keep them quiet – I mean entertained! Everyone also had the ‘Team Bride/Team Groom’ quiz in their place setting and copper ‘Team Bride/Groom’ glasses from Ginger Ray to remind them which team they were on. We had chosen the teams by picking names from a hat a few months before whilst at a festival and posted the evidence on our wedding Facebook event page (so everyone could see that there was no fixing!) all good fun!
Months before the wedding, I noticed Gary heading out to the bin with some cardboard and stopped him, enquiring as to what they it was. They were cardboard inserts from the bottom of his new BBQ smokers, basically packaging to keep the heavy smokers from the bottom of the box, not the slightest bit fancy.
I saw something different – I saw lovely frames! I used one of them for our ‘Love Story’, attaching a range of artificial flowers, copper lit and decoupage papered letters, finished with lots of photos of the past 8 years. This sat above a table that had our guest book and card box (both from Ginger Ray) and the jar of sparklers. I bought the sparklers on Amazon and finished them with some personalised tags that were also purchased online.
The other cardboard frame was used for the table plan, similarly I used artificial flowers to decorate (after spraying it a rose gold colour), attached a wooden plank with ‘find your seat’ and finished with the table names and guests.
Another craft project was the photo booth frame, I bought some wooden planks from a local hardware store and my handy brother fixed them together into a frame, I then covered it in artificial flowers and added a plank with hashtags to the bottom. The top of the frame displayed copper foiled cardboard letters to spell ‘photo booth’. My brother then made a wooden frame for it to hang from.
My grandmother is the person that all the crafty genes come from and there was no doubt that we wanted her to add her creative genius to the day. I asked if she would make us some bunting. I sent her a picture of the bouquet and she used that as inspiration for colours. I was initially thinking of having quite neutral coloured bunting and when she first sent me pictures of the brightly coloured fabric she had bought I wasn’t too sure. When it was all made – about 60+ metres of it and hung in the venue it was absolutely perfect!
Whilst visiting my other grandmother a few months before the wedding I had noticed two rusty milk churns in her garden and enquired what she was using them for, before we knew it she was painting and refreshing them and we added some artificial flowers for some more floral decoration in the venue.
My mother in law is yet another family member that loves to turn her hand to a bit of craft, after seeing the picture of the bouquet (and printing herself a copy) she set to work creating a heart shaped replica which looked beautiful hanging at the end of the aisle and now takes pride of place in our home. Many of the items made for the wedding now have a place in our home and they give us lovely reminders of the day. Our downstairs loo has become everyone’s favourite place in the house – it takes you right back to the day!
Before I had begun properly researching, finding a photographer was giving me the most anxiety! I adore photos. I adore capturing moments. I love arty, candid, emotion filled photos…. And if I’m in the photos – I love the ones that capture my good side!
I first saw Hannah’s name when browsing through wedding blogs and she made the shortlist straight away. With a little more research and browsing, I knew I had found the lady for the job. I actually did not even contact or get quotes from anyone else – when you know you know!
I could go on and on about her and the photos but, to me, they speak for themselves. Hannah got a good feel for us before the wedding – I had answered lots of questions about us and our day and also had a lovely chat with her on the phone one evening leading up to the wedding date. After the ceremony, cocktails and canapés Hannah suggested that the bridesmaids, Gary and I went down to the beach for an hour max (it was a 5 minute drive). She, Angharad (the wonderful second shooter) and our videographers piled the 9 of us into their cars and we whizzed down to the beach. I was initially slightly anxious about leaving the wedding and the other guests but I am so glad I listened to Hannah. The beach is a special place to us and it looked stunning on the beautiful Autumn day. I got to spend time with my friends and most importantly Gary, this is time that we may not have had at the venue in amongst all of our guests and the beach photos were out of this world. I would always recommend taking a little bit of time out with your photographer, not only to capture some beautiful shots but to use that time to talk, laugh and just be together on your special day.
I came across a ‘wedding festival’ on Instagram and really wanted to go but it clashed with something in my diary that I was unable to change. After ‘CwtchFest’ had happened, I caught up with the pictures on social media and checked out the suppliers that were there.
A supplier that caught my eye straight away was ‘Posh Bear’; it was the ‘Bear’ part specifically that caught my eye. Gary and I started a catering business at the end of 2017 called ‘The Hungry Bear’ and Gary is known to many as ‘The Bear’ so I had to have a closer look. As I did I realised they were videographers, at that stage having a videographer hadn’t really crossed my mind – well it had but I had quickly pushed it away thinking that we wouldn’t be able to afford one. I clicked on some of their highlight reels of other weddings and found myself getting emotional watching two people on their special day. The filming, the background music and the beautiful way they were all put together – it was all stunning! It was quickly moving its way up my desire list. I looked at the prices and then also read that the balance could be paid after the wedding before receiving the film and I began to wonder whether the video could be our gift from the guests that were gifting money.
Gary didn’t take much persuasion, he thought it was a great idea. I contacted Posh Bear and James communicated wonderfully with me throughout the months leading up to the day. We even arranged a meet up at the services on the M4 when we were returning from a Summer holiday in Wales to talk through the plans. He and his lovely partner Corey were wonderful on the day – relaxed, happy, friendly – you wouldn’t have really known they were there and yet they captured the most amazing footage of our day!
The drone shots were incredible and when I received the short highlight film ahead of the main film, it brought me to my knees! I wept, it was beautiful. When the main film arrived, it came in a gorgeous hamper that included a personal letter, popcorn, sweets for the children amongst other personal touches. Deciding to get a videographer and specifically choosing Posh Bear was one of our best wedding decisions we made!
Gary has a great group of friends that he has been lucky enough to know since school. He also has a brother that he is very close to so there was a great group of men to choose from to be groomsmen but he decided that there was one young man that he wanted to make feel really special and that was his son George who was 11 years old at the time of the wedding. He didn’t want George to feel any pressure or have to do any of the normal best man ‘roles’ he purely wanted to give him the title, have him wearing the same clothes, give him a special shout out to him during the speech and most importantly have some memorable time getting ready with him in the morning.
Gary’s friends weren’t officially groomsmen and they were able to wear whatever their heart desired on the day but we still gave them and their lovely wives and partners some jobs to do, to help us and to also involve them in the proceedings. Two were witnesses at the morning legal ceremony, two were in charge of confetti distribution, one had a reading during the ceremony and one delivered all of the Mr and Mrs quiz answers. They did a perfect job.
Gary didn’t want a stag do, instead he had a weekend in Amsterdam that he titled ‘a gentleman’s weekend’ – let’s be honest it was, of course, a stag do!
Gary’s jacket, waistcoat, shirt and shoes was bought in the sale in Debenhams along with George’s (Gary’s son and best man) waistcoat, we purchased the exact same shirt and shoes as Daddy for George. Gary and George also has matching chino shorts (yes shorts in Autumn!) from Next. Gary wears shorts all year round and there was no question that he would be wearing them on our wedding day.
I had an idea to get Gary cufflinks as part of his wedding morning present and ordered a personalised set from Barrel Craft Studio (found on Etsy). They were made from an old whisky barrel in the heart of Scotland. One cufflink had the bear logo from our catering business (The Hungry Bear) and the other had the letters ‘TBE’, a cheesy little thing we say to each other, the letters standing for ‘The Best Ever’. It was only after I had received them that I realised his shirt was not a cufflink shirt and had to sneakily get a friend of the family to alter the cuffs on his shirt to allow him to use his cufflinks. I managed to keep this a secret until the wedding morning!
When I moved from Wales to England aged 11, I was lucky enough to sit with a group of girls on that daunting first day that I am still fortunate enough to call my best friends. There are seven of them, I had a few moments of wondering if that was too many bridesmaids but I couldn’t possibly choose between them, so all seven it was. I chose a subtle colour for the bridesmaids dresses, a conscious decision based on how many of them there were! They did their own hair and make up as I wanted them to be happy with how they looked and bring their own style into their bridesmaid look, plus there wasn’t funds for seven girls to have their hair and make up done! They all looked incredible.
Six weeks before the wedding they planned a wonderful hen do for me to London. It included escape rooms, crazy golf which was underground with music, a bar and a great party atmosphere, we sat outside in the September sun to have lunch and then got ready for the evening. In the evening we had our own airstream caravan inside a buzzy bar in which we were served with amazing platters of food and had our own bar staff to bring drinks. We were able to plug our own music in, it was amazing feeling as though we were dancing around in the comfort of one of our own houses to the music we wanted to listen to with the people we wanted to be with, you forgot you were in a bar in London. I enjoyed every second of it.
I bought my bridesmaid dresses from H&M, they were originally £50 but I bought them in the sale and also had an online 10% off code that I was able to use in addition and they ended up setting me back a whopping £14 each. The guys from Nortier Shallow then did the alterations required including adding different sleeves for each of my lovely friends.
The bridesmaids wore dried heather crowns from Lotus Floral Art and the three flower girls wore gypsophilia versions. Katie from Lotus Floral art also made our Save the Dates and gorgeous dried petal confetti, that smelt beautiful.
I actually managed to lose one bridesmaids dresses – don’t ask me how?! So I ended up one bridesmaid dress down and unable to purchase another one as they were no longer available. I decided to purchase a different dress for my maid of honour, I initially looked for a matching colour but then decided to go for a pale pink to tie in the heather crowns. The pink was from the same colour palette as the other taupe dresses and thankfully worked well.
With two children to consider and due to us both working in schools (we got married on the Monday of October half term) along with the logistics of travelling back to England from Wales a couple of days after the wedding, we knew that if we wanted a honeymoon it would have to be more of a mini-moon.
After asking my Mum if she would bring the children home with her for a couple of nights after the wedding we looked at locations half way between the wedding location and home, we decided on Monmouthshire. We found a Shepherd’s Hut on a hill just inside Wales but with views of the Severn Bridge and England in the distance. The hut has magnificent views of the Wye Valley and the only neighbours were some beautiful alpacas and a cheeky Shetland pony. A couple of days of peace and quiet, relaxing and being able to digest and discuss the day was the perfect little mini-moon before we returned to reality. Heaven.
We officially got married in the venue at 9:30am on the wedding day morning with two lovely ladies from Pembrokeshire registry office, a couple of friends, one of my brothers and my Mum. I thought this part would be relatively emotion free and I wanted to get the legalities ‘out of the way’. That could not have been further from the truth, we (and the witnesses) blubbed all the way through the proceedings and it was a special, emotion filled part of the day.
The buzzy, excited atmosphere getting ready with my friends, mum and children.
My grandfather driving me to the venue and the greeting from all my bridesmaids and flower girls, they all cheered and were full of expression and emotion. They made me feel as though I looked the best I ever had, which is just how you want to feel before walking down the aisle.
The vows and readings – The ceremony was the part of the day I was looking forward to the most. We wanted to really express our love and commitment to each other and this part of the day created tears and laughter in equal measure.
The beach with Gary and the bridesmaids was a perfect way to step away from the wedding for an hour and have time to chat, laugh and take it all in. A little girl building sand castles on the beach said to me ‘I like your dress, it’s really pretty’ and it made me smile.
Cutting the cake and seeing my mum get the cheers and recognition she deserved for her beautiful cake!
Gary’s speech – it was epic!
The first dance was special, the band did an amazing job of Rod Stewart’s ‘Have I told you lately’ and I honestly felt like it was just the two of us dancing in the kitchen.
The sparklers – I wanted sparklers mainly for the great photos I knew they would create (which didn’t disappoint) but more than that it gave an opportunity to get everyone in one spot one last time and felt as though we were having the opportunity to walk down the aisle a second time!
Advice For Other Couples
It is YOUR day, do everything you can to make it all about the two of you!
You don’t have to spend a fortune, most guests will appreciate the personal touches more than pricey wedding purchases. Ultimately, spend what you are comfortable with, as little or as much as that is.
Have some things for your guests to do/look at/create a talking point during the day. Think outside of the box with this – is there something that is personal to the two of you that you could turn into a game, quiz, point of interest.
Spend some time with your new husband/wife – taking a little bit of time out for photos is a good time to do this. It is nice if this time is spent mainly chatting, laughing, a few kisses and hopefully your photographer will capture these real moments rather than you having to think about posing.
Get a videographer, if the budget can stretch – do it! Best decision we made!
The love/emotion between a couple, the food, the personal touches and the music are the main elements that shape and create the vibe of your day – spend some time getting these right.
Embrace it all and let go of any little things that may not go to plan, every minute of the day will become a precious memory – make the most of them all!
Credit Where Credit Is Due
Flowers by Annabel
Thank you so much Kelly and Gary. What a beautiful day with so many handmade touches and we’re so pleased to be able to share it. Rachel x