What a treat it is to be sharing this beautifully natural marquee wedding today. Mary Grace and Connor were married on the 1st June 2019 in a church ceremony followed by a marquee reception in the grounds of a family home in Wales. Their celebrations were so natural and pretty, with the pole tent marquee decorated simply, lush blooms all round and stylish attire.
First up I just have to mention how much I love Mary Grace’s BHLDN sequin gown, it really is very special. She also wore her hair in boho style plaits, which looked really lovely. Connor meanwhile went for a smart suit and tie combo, which coordinated with his best man.
Did you ever see such beautiful blooms? White flowers including hydrangeas, roses and peonies were nestled together with greenery for a real fresh and natural feel. I love the flower arch at the church and the bridal bouquet. Wow.
Fox & Bear Photography, thank you so much for sharing these totally gorgeous captures of a very happy day indeed.
It was amazingly simple! The whole day Connor had been overly compliant as I dragged him all over town to go shopping! Connor never goes shopping with me. We literally went everywhere! To be honest I noticed how nice he was being, but I didn’t think anything of it other than he was being a good sport! Around lunch he asked me what I wanted for dinner, and I said I want to go somewhere with calamari! Fast forward a few hours and we are watching a movie at home; I’m stuffing my face with popcorn because I am just starving for some calamari! It was probably 5 when I said can we please just go eat now, I’m starving and he replied “no, because I love you and I want you to marry me, and we have a dinner reservation at 7:30”! it was perfect. He was a little worried that it was too low key, but I never wanted a show of it!
We wanted to let Wales be Wales and show off its natural beauty. The valley my family lives in is so lush and green, we didn’t need to enhance it! We just envisioned lush flowers to fill in the empty spaces. Our reception was outside, underneath a stunning marquee, and all around us, gorgeous gardens and trees climbing up the sides of the valley. It was unintentionally rustic, but it worked perfectly with the garden and the house. The house is a 15th or 16th century stone walled home and it provided the most wonderful backdrop. Since we were planning our wedding from the US, we tried to minimize the number of vendors we would need to work with. It worked out so well for us that we chose Posh Frocks and Wellies to provide our marquee, as they also provide lights, decorations, flooring tables, chairs and much more. Once we chose them as a vendor, everything really came together. Their offerings really complimented the natural vibe we were going for.
It was also important to us to have a church service. We were originally going to be married at St. Grwst in llanrwst, but it was all booked up. My cousin suggested St. Mary’s in Betws-y-coed and wow. It’s a lovely Victorian church that made a huge impression on our guests, and us.
The Planning Process
The first thing we did was find a photographer. We had no idea where to start so like any good millennial, we went to google, and searched for wedding photographers in North Wales. We would find a photographer, go through their pictures, reviews and instagram to see if we liked their style of shooting and editing. We found Fox and Bear and they delivered! We have such lovely photos and couldn’t be happier!
My cousin recommended Posh Frocks and Wellies to us and we instantly fell in love with their marquees and all the offerings that they had. I wanted everything! They made it so simple to outfit our marquee with everything we needed! Steve, the owner is amazing! He went out of his way to visit our reception location multiple times leading up to the wedding. We even last minute opted for a larger marquee and Steve was able to accommodate us no problem!
We took a trip to Wales in March before our wedding. When we were there, we were able to meet with a lot of our vendors for the first time and had the tasting with the caterer we selected. We were a bit nervous about the catering, but we shouldn’t have been! The food was excellent! This trip was really to try and hammer out the final details and figure out what needed to be done the week of the wedding in June. This was helpful since we knew come the end of May, exactly what needed to happen each day to get ready for the wedding!
The week of the wedding was wild! We got to Wales on Tuesday after spending a long weekend in Paris with friends. That week we had to put a lot together quickly. With my parents and my cousins, we supervised the marquee set up, did some minor decorating, hung lights along the path to the house, put together gift bags and a million things more. The gift bags were fun! We had specific ones if you were a guest from the UK or the US. The US one was filled with our favourite treats from the UK and the UK bags were filled with our favourite treats from the US! The morning of the wedding, my maid of honour and I set out the gift bags and set the name cards and menus on the table!
Our wedding planner made everything go so smoothly. She was so organized and had so many great recommendations for vendors. She sent us a check list that was really helpful and had an itinerary that was sent over to everyone and our vendors. People ask us what was the thing that went wrong on our wedding day because something must… well if it did, I don’t know about it! Caroline took care of everything!
Our budget was around $15k US but I think we ended up spending a bit more. It was difficult to tell with the conversion rate and everything.
The reception was at the home of one of my cousins. They live is this gorgeous 15th or 16th century home in llanrwst. I had been dreaming about getting married there ever since I first visited as a young child. The house is in the middle of the valley, set back from the main road. They have lovely gardens! We were able to set up a kids play area in one of the garden areas and then a more secluded seating area in another. It was perfect since it allowed people to move about the property and not be in the marquee the whole time.
A local salon in llanrwst did my hair. They did an amazing job on me and my mom! I also had this cool hair piece with jewels on it and she wove it into my braid (plait in the UK I think). Stunning!
I did my own makeup. I went for a consultation at Nordstrom and the woman who has been doing my makeup for ages gave me step by step instructions on how to do it! I had this little chart and everything telling me exactly what brush to use and where to put what! It was so detailed which was great! I practised a few times before the wedding. I don’t typically wear makeup, so I had to get used to seeing myself that way!
Your Outfits & Accessories
In the US we do this dinner the night before the wedding called a rehearsal dinner.
So, the night before I wore this adorable lace like dress from this store called Anthropolgie. I don’t know if it’s in the UK, but they have amazing dresses and are known for their more whimsical designs and tends to be really feminine. It was honestly harder to find a rehearsal dinner dress than it was to find a wedding dress! I couldn’t narrow down what vibe I was going for and nothing seemed right. I don’t really remember why I chose this particular dress, but I knew when I put it on, I looked good! I wore the dress with blue topaz earrings that my dad gave me for Valentine’s Day the year prior.
I also wore this bracelet that has my childhood nickname on it. I gave one to my maid of honour on the day of my wedding with her name on it and the year we first became friends. She is my oldest and dearest friend.
To get ready I ordered some matching pyjamas from Confetti. It was just me, my maid of honour and another one of our friends.
My wedding dress was from BHLDN. It’s the bridal branch of Anthropologie. I love their designs and always wanted my wedding dress to be from there! I was obsessed with my dress; it is just so different and unique. I have yet to see something similar. I was a little nervous that it wasn’t bride-like, but I put that dress on and knew instantly that I wanted it! It had these copper and silver beads and moulded leaf like sequins on it. It really suited the natural vibe of our wedding as well. Connor’s mom let me wear her amazing blue sapphire ring. Its huge and gorgeous! I was surprised by how heavy it was! I also wore my great grandmother’s watch; it is rose gold and matched the dress perfectly. My earrings were also rose gold, with blue topaz. My parents had brought them back from Italy as an early wedding present. I also wore a broach that belonged to my grandmother and I used one of her old handkerchiefs to wrap around my bouquet.
So, we opted for suits instead of tuxedos. We tried to be conscious of the amount of money our best man and maid of honour would have to spend since it is already really expensive for people form the US to travel to the UK!
My husband purchased a suit from Nordstrom, and his best man rented his suit from this really cool website called Black Tux! It’s like rent the runway but for gents!
His best man was his one of his friends that he grew up with. I love the relationship that they have. They talk on the phone at least once a week in these terribly annoying accents that dive me and his best man’s wife bonkers! But its adorable how much they love each other so we suffer through it.
The Readings & Music
This was probably one of the hardest things to figure out! I don’t know how many songs we listed to or passages we read but we settled on the following:
- Calon lan- while guests arrive
- Jesu Joy of Mans Desiring – Bach – during the seating of the family
- Canon in D- processional
- Hallelujah – Handel – bride and father entry
- The Force Theme – from Star Wars- exit song (yes this really happened, and it was epic! The organist learned it for us! She said it was haunting and beautiful!)
Hymn 1 – Bread of Heaven all three verses (my dad and I love this one. It is my favourite hymn.)
Hymn 2 – Amazing Grace verses 1-4 (this is one of Connor’s mom’s favourite hymns and we really wanted to include it).
Ecclesiastes 4: 9-12
Song of Solomon: 6-7
My maid of honour was my best friend growing up. She is my oldest friend, we met when we were 12 maybe 13. We have been through so much together and I love her dearly. Her dress came from Nordstrom, the brand is Show Me Your Mumu and the dress was Show Me Your Mumu Noelle wrap dress. I wanted her to have something she could potentially wear again and that she would be comfortable in! My mom, Kelsey (MOH) and I went to Nordstrom to try them all on and we settled on the colour that looked 1. best on her and 2. best with the vibe of the wedding. My MOH is stunning! She could wear a sack of potatoes and rock it!
The Details & Décor
Most of the decorations came from Posh Frocks and Wellies. We only really added some photos and our guest book! They provided fairy lights, bunting, and king pole dressing. Once we added in the flowers from Luna and the rings at the back, it looked gorgeous. Since we were surrounded by these gorgeous gardens, we didn’t have much work to do as far as decorations!
One of my favourite parts were the lights we strung along the driveway. The driveway is long, and we had these bulbous lights lining both sides. Our guests had to be dropped off at the top of the driveway because the coaches couldn’t get down, so we wanted to light the path. It looked like a fairy tale!
We also used dried rose petals from my cousin’s rose garden for confetti when we left! Those are some of my favourite pictures.
We had this old Rolls Royce for our car from the church to the reception! It was the coolest car! We got to go and pick which one we wanted.
We did set up a play area for the kids outside the marquee with games and toys we found on amazon.
Luna Flowers in Colwyn Bay. She is amazing! We used the same flower from the rehearsal dinner for the wedding reception! Andrea also designed these hoops that were hung from the back wall in the marquee that looked wonderful. She also designed an arch that hung outside of the church. It was a splurge, but it was stunning! I think everyone went for a photo beneath the archway! After the wedding, we sent the flowers to my grandmother’s nursing home in Welshpool. They were so thrilled to get them!
Fox and Bear Photography. We could not have been happier with our choice in photographer! Dewi was an amazing photographer! We spent three days getting in lots of photos with him! We did pre wedding photos, rehearsal dinner photos and wedding photos! We ended up going with the most expensive package and it was so worth it! We have these gorgeous framed prints from our wedding and the coolest wedding album ever! We also received this box in the mail that had a thumb drive and photos in it. When we opened the package, the box was so beautiful wrapped with straw and a feather. Just the detail in everything they do is amazing. Also, Dewi was a major hit at our wedding. Everyone told us how awesome he was and how much they enjoyed him!
We also got to use their GIF photo booth! Giffy was so popular! Connor and I enjoyed going through all of the GIFs and looking at the younger people who did fun, GIF poses and the older folk who had no clue what a GIF was, they just stood there like it was a real picture! Epic! We went through all of them one night on our honeymoon, it was so fun to look at those!
We actually had 3 cakes! In the US they do something called a groom’s cake. It is a smaller cake and I really couldn’t say the purpose behind it! My aunt made a malteser cake for the groom’s cake! It was delicious! I’m not sure how many people knew what maltesers were. My husband first had them when we came to do our wedding trip in March.
Our second cake, our main wedding cake was made by my other aunt. She is also a talented baker and knows how to paint sweets and make flowers. It was gorgeous! We actually kept some of the sugar flowers from the cake and they are on our bookshelf at home with our wedding guest book!
Our third cake was from Emma James, a local baker in llanrwst. Incredibly delicious! She was able to provide us with sheet cakes for easy serving and provided gluten free and vegan cake for our guests with dietary restrictions. I remember sending my grandma off the next day with a giant piece of cake on her lap!
We spent 10 luxurious days in Japan. We had always said we wanted to go to Japan and it seemed like the perfect time to go! When else do you get to be so selfish? We spent the first 4 days in Tokyo and then 4 days in Kyoto and 2 days in Hakone. We used this tour company, inside Japan and they took care of everything for us. Using them for everything made our honeymoon super stress free! It was great! We also had some of the best food of our lives there!
There was this bit in our wedding service where the vicar spoke in welsh. It was so cool! I tried learning welsh, but my vocabulary doesn’t go much past diloch!
My cousin Ceri did a blessing in welsh. He did this at my eldest brother’s wedding also.
My niece was our flower girl and she when she walked down the aisle, she didn’t know what to do, she was 4 at the time, so she stood next to us for half of the wedding ceremony! It was adorable!
My brother and brother in law lifted my 93-year-old grandmother up on their shoulders so she could be a part of our group photo. She had already been seated in the marquee and I really wanted her in the pictures so they hoisted her up on their shoulders (in her chair of course) and carried her out so she could be in them!
Advice For Other Couples
I really recommend a wedding planner, even if they are just for day of things. I don’t know how we could have gotten it done without ours.
If you are on a budget, or if someone offers, use family! We were so lucky to have people offer to do so much for us, including our cakes. My aunts are such talented women and they offered up their expertise for us. Sure, it saved us money, but it was so much more personal and wonderful having their involvement.
Find music early! We waited pretty late to find a band for our wedding, and it was a little nerve racking. That being said, we had the most amazing band ever and everyone thought so! Radio Kings for the win!
You should probably overestimate the number of people that are going to come! We looked up statistics on how many people travel to international weddings, and we underestimated by about 15 people. That doesn’t seem like much, but when you invite less than 200 it is! Not to mention, those extra 15 people meant more tables, more chairs, and a bigger marquee! also, someone isn’t going to show up… even for an international wedding!
If you really want something! Go for it and shop around! I wanted these really cool luggage tags for our wedding guests and everywhere I looked they were so expensive. After shopping around for months, I finally found a vendor that was in my budget. I had this idea from the very beginning, and I wasn’t going to be happy unless I had them for my guests!
Credit Where Credit Is Due
Fox & Bear Photography
Posh Frocks and Wellies
Dinner By Design
Mary Grace and Connor, thanks so much to you both for sharing your fantastic wedding with us xo Lou