All the moody Autumn vibes today folks, YAY! I am so happy to welcome Gareth and Steph to Whimsical Wonderland Weddings with their St. Tewdrics House wedding held in Monmouthshire, Wales on the 23rd November 2019. They described their day to me as “moody floral, gin-soaked, best day of our lives” and you know what it looked blooming well brilliant from start to finish. They added moody touches with the divine colour palette of forest green, burgundy and gold, with the hues used in the décor and the stylish attire! Secondly the flowers were really immense, large modern arrangements were used throughout to make a fantastic statement. Finally, gin was added into their day with an upcycled drinks trolley gin bar, it looked amazing.
Other lovely elements to look out for have to be Gareth and Steph’s sensational outfit choices, the unique terrarium cake, the photo table plan and a very special pair of heels. Swoon!
When Charlie Met Hannah, thank you so much for sharing these gorgeous photographs and film, what a feast for the eyes!
Gareth proposed on the boat lake at Central Park. He managed to get the first boat of the day so we were completely alone in the morning sun, which was a lovely touch. I did forgive him for not going down on one knee in case we went overboard!
Just to get through the planning without murdering any friends/family/each other. In all seriousness we wanted our friends and family to feel like they had really been treated for the day, while doing exactly what we loved.
The Planning Process
We spent a year planning the wedding and took the approach of buying/sorting one item/supplier out each month. By doing this we managed to spread the cost and the stress pretty well. I (Steph) used to work for a wedding venue and currently work as a PA, so I’m pretty used to planning weddings and events.
We hadn’t really set a budget, but we approached each purchase with “is this essential?” and went from there.
St. Tewdrics House in Chepstow. Neither of us are from anywhere near Chepstow, but once we had visited the venue we couldn’t imagine getting married anywhere else. All of their Saturdays had already been booked for the following year (a testament to how popular it is) apart from one in November. So we snatched it up pretty quickly! St. Tewdrics is owned by Geraint & Sara Thomas (winner of the Tour de France).
Hair was done by Cath Coyne, a really talented bridal hair stylist covering South Wales. Make-up was by the wonderful Victoria Fox.
Your Outfits & Accessories
The wedding dress was a Wtoo Watters dress from Yasmin Rose Bridal Couture, based just outside Cardiff. Yasmin is amazing, and picked the dress out for me herself. My shoes were Charlotte Olympia (my dream wedding shoes!) and the designer has re-posted one of our photographer’s photos of our feet on her Instagram.
The Readings & Music
Aderyn String Quartet played all of our ceremony music, including Beyonce, Prince, Elbow and loads of our favourite songs. Steph walked down the aisle to Heroes by David Bowie.
We had two readings by our friends Allan and Helen – I Love You Because by Jim Reeves, and an excerpt from Dolly Alderton’s book Everything I Know About Love –
I know that love can be loud and jubilant. It can be dancing in the swampy mud and the pouring rain at a festival and shouting ‘YOU ARE AMAZING’, over the band. It’s introducing them to your colleagues at a work event and basking in pride as they make people laugh and make you look loveable just by virtue of being loved by them. It’s laughing until you wheeze. It’s waking up in a country neither of you have been in before. It’s skinny-dipping at dawn. It’s walking along the street together on a Saturday night and feeling an entire city is yours. It’s a big, beautiful, ebullient force of nature.
And, I also know that love is a pretty quiet thing. It’s lying on the sofa drinking coffee, talking about where you’re going to go that morning to drink more coffee. It’s folding down pages of books you think they’d find interesting. It’s hanging up their laundry when they leave the house having moronically forgotten to take it out the washing machine. It’s saying, ‘You’re safer here than in a car’ as they hyperventilate on an Easyjet flight to Dublin. It’s the texts: ‘Hope today goes well’, ‘How did today go’, ‘Thinking of you today’ and ‘Picked up loo roll’.
I know that love happens under the splendor of moon and stars and fireworks and sunsets but it also happens when you’re lying on blow-up airbeds in a childhood bedroom, sitting in A&E or in the queue for a passport or in a traffic jam.
Love is a quiet, reassuring, relaxing, pottering, pedantic, harmonious hum of a thing; something you can easily forget is there, even though its palms are outstretched beneath you in case you fall.
Urban Flower Studio. Lisa’s work blows my mind, the flower display stands at the end of our aisle were gorgeous and my bouquet was phenomenal. She was so chilled in the planning process so I would highly recommend her to any Welsh Brides and Grooms. Lisa also did installations on the fireplace and up the main hall staircase.
The Grooms suit was from ASOS. We had a pretty specific vision for the suits, as we wanted something a bit different and in-keeping with the darker colours for the wedding. They aren’t for everyone (as the Groomsmen kept telling us!) but we loved them, so tough!
The bridesmaids dresses were from Wed2B in Cardiff.
When Charlie Met Hannah, the kindest, most easy going, laid back photographers ever. We met at the Chosen Wedding fayre in Cardiff, our pre-wedding meeting involved G&Ts and the photography they have produced is beautiful. No complaints!
The Details & Décor
Our colour scheme was loosely based on Burgandy, Gold and Forest Green. Given the wedding was in the winter and I’m not a traditional ‘pale pink’ kinda gal, these seemed to work well as a starting point. From there we upcycled and made some of the details. Gareth made and designed the save the dates and the invitations, he upcycled a gorgeous gold hostess trolley gin bar bought from eBay, turned an Ikea room divider into a polaroid table plan, and handmade all of the favours bespoke gins, vodkas, tequilas and whiskeys.
Gareth’s mum, Mo, made our whole cake. It was a mix of fruit cake and winter spiced cake, with a gold and glass terrarium in the middle of the layers.
The Outrigger in Mauritius for 10 days.
The whole day was memorable and we both enjoyed getting ready with our friends.
For me though (Steph) it was opening the gift that Gareth had bought me, the morning of the wedding. It was a bespoke box with something old (a card from the restaurant we went to on our first date), something new (a Christmas decoration with our married name on), something borrowed (our dog’s name tag, stolen from Murphy the day before the wedding!) and something blue (a hand dipped bottle of gin sealed in blue wax). So romantic and it was a complete surprise.
For Gareth, the end of the night rave with 150 people on the dancefloor! 90’s dance at its best.
Advice For Other Couples
Don’t feel like you have to do anything you don’t want to. Be true to yourselves and don’t feel like you have to please everyone…please yourselves!!
Credit Where Credit Is Due
Photography & Videography
When Charlie Met Hannah
The Luxe Touch
Victoria Fox Makeup
Yasmin Rose Bridal
Oh so beautiful. Autumn weddings are always so cosy and magical aren’t they?
Thanks ever so much to Gareth and Steph for sharing their really wonderful wedding story with us xo Lou