When the week starts like this, you just know it’s going to be a great one folks!
WWW readers Harriet and Matthew were married in the Spring at Pencoed House Estate in South Wales and the whole affair was captured oh so beautifully by Carla Blain Photography. Bride Harriet is a wedding photographer herself, so knew exactly the type of day she wanted to celebrate their union. Boy oh boy was it stylish and of course totally on trend! There was an ethereal woodland feel to their day, with a real atmosphere of bringing the outdoors in. One of my very fave elements has to be the flowers of course! Just wait until you see the floral arrangements, especially the floral arch backdrop to their ceremony.
Live music was a high priority for the pair and they had an live guitarist during the ceremony and a rocking band to pack out the dance floor come evening. The tunes sound so meaningful and personal too. Matthew was handed full reins for the honeymoon, which was nothing short of spectacular. What a treat! These two really stole my heart, their dreamy woodland portraits, the utterly elegant attire and so many details to fall for.
THE PROPOSAL | Matt surprised me on Christmas Day 2015 with a planned trip to New York, a place we had always dreamt of going. On our first night there, March 5th 2016 we were queuing to watch The Knicks play in Maddison square gardens. Needless to say there was strict security going in, pat downs and electric scanners. Matt starts to fidget in the queue and suggests we go for a walk as we’re super early for the game. We had already been walking for hours at this point so I was dreaming of a large soda and my seat! But I agreed and we went back outside and down the road to the New York Postal Office Building. Stood on the steps of this incredible building, I was stood admiring the view in the big city when Matt goes down on one knee holding the ring of my dreams! I’ll always remember the words he spoke to me, and through a few tears from both of us I said yes! We went back inside to the game and needless to say I couldn’t concentrate and wouldn’t be able to tell you who won!!
THE VISION/PLANNING PROCESS | Being a wedding photographer I have seen my fair share of weddings and venues so I have known for a fairly long time what I could imagine my own day to be like. The week after we returned from New York, we went to view a venue close to where we live in Pencoed, South Wales. It is a venue I had never visited before and as soon as we walked in, we knew it was perfect for us. Pencoed House Estate ticked all of our boxes, a hidden gem in the middle of the South Wales countryside. Surrounded by woodland and beautiful grounds, it was important to me to bring this vision indoors. This is where our woodland theme came to life. My favourite colour and flower is lavender so we decided to centre the colours around this. The venue itself is so visually stunning that it needed little effort from us to make it stand out. Spring is my favourite season so March the following year seemed perfect. A year to plan seemed plenty! The staff at Pencoed House were incredible from start to finish, we felt like we were the only bride and groom to have ever got married there. We are so grateful how easy they made it. I am very lucky that my husband Matt encourages my creativity, so he happily left the whole planning and visionary process to me. He had his say on the big decisions and I always checked certain things so he could say what he liked and didn’t. This made planning super easy. Everyone always jokes that the guy has no involvement, but for us it worked!
THE DRESS | I was dreading the finding of the dress process. Anyone who knows me, knows how difficult it is more me to shop for a dress on a night out, let alone for a wedding dress! I had a few recommendations of a local bridal store in Cardiff, Timeless Elegance. As a body conscious bride, I told the assistant I imagined myself in sleeves and something to flatter my lower half. My dress was the 4th I tried on and I fell in love. It’s originally designed as a sleeveless sweetheart neckline with layered tulle skirt and lace detailing on the bust. Then delicate gems and stones around the waist. But the assistant found a lace bolero jacket that fit my criteria to cover my arms. Worn back to front, this gave the finished look I had hoped for. Matt mentioned afterwards that the dress had the perfect balance of contemporary and traditional with the tulle and lace and I completely agree.
I then matched to it a lace veil and a delicate headpiece to match the stones around the waist. I’m not big on jewellery so a simple set of diamond earrings finished the look. My shoes were my ‘something blue’ (and purple and pink) They were from Ted Baker’s spring range last year and completely non traditional. Everyone commented on how different they were and unexpected to see beneath my dress! And a massive bonus is I get to wear them again!
GROOMS ATTIRE | Matt’s suit was a three piece tailored navy blue suit from Marks & Spencer’s, a special edition designed by Alfred Brown. It was the official suit for the England Football Team (but we don’t mention this part as we’re Welsh). I searched high and low for the perfect tie and hanky to compliment the grooms suit and theme, and found the perfect liberty print ‘wildflowers’ on Etsy. For the rest of the groomsmen, we hired three piece navy blue suits from Dyfed Menswear, Cardiff. The dads had pale pink ties and hanky and the best men and usher had lavender to match the bridesmaid dress.
THE READINGS & MUSIC | We struggled to find a reading that meant something and wasn’t just picked for the sake of it. After weeks of searching, I found ‘ A Lovely Love Story’ by Edward Monkton. The cutest little animated story about two dinosaurs and their relationship. It was perfect, non traditional but such a sweet story to tell. It actually comes as a little book with drawings so we now have it as a keepsake to look back at in years to come.
I had dreamt of a live guitarist during the ceremony. We hired an old school friend of mine who is now a professional artist/performer. Tom Sutch, he oozes so much talent, it’s unbelievable. As a massive Ed fan, We had him play Ed Sheeran’s Photograph as I walked in. The words and the meaning were fitting for us. The sounds of Tom’s voice and the first few chords had me crying in the porch! He then played James Arthur, ‘Say You Won’t Let Go’ and Lady Antebellum ‘Golden’ as we signed the register. And then played the full version of Photograph again as we walked out. Tom then stayed to play to our guests in the bar and outdoor marquee before we sat down for food.
We hired a live band ‘The Velveteens’ for the evening reception and it was one of the best decisions we made. It was touch and go with our budget whether we would have this, but decided as it was our wedding day, it would be worth it. If you are in the South Wales area, look these guys up! They had a constant stream of people busting their moves on the dance floor with live covers of every genre but also controlled the DJ aspect. So many people commented that the live music throughout the day really set the the tone and we are so pleased we made those decisions.
BEAUTIFUL BRIDESMAIDS | I wanted a simple bridal party so chose Matt’s sister in law who is also my friend as Maid of Honour. Matt’s brother, her husband was best man so was quite fitting and we also had our little 2 year old niece as a flower girl. The bridesmaid dress and groomsmen ties were from For Her & For Him, an online site I found through Facebook! I was apprehensive at first from ordering online but they have a huge spectrum of colours but you send off your measurements and they make it custom for you. The colour was an exact match to the theme and meant the boys ties could be the same colour too. I would definitely recommend it as they have so many styles, you can really make sure you get what you imagine to flatter and fit all kinds of shapes. The flower girl dress was from Etsy.
THE FLOWERS | Our florist was an absolute dream, the flowers brought the whole day together. I was my own flower goals!
Lola’s company Walnut & Willow is based in South Wales and I found her online where she advertised alternative ideas. We had a consultation where I gave my woodland vision, I also mentioned I wanted a wooden archway, indoors at the end of the aisle. Nothing phased Lola, and when I arrived at the venue, I could not believe the woodland dream she had created for us. We had jars of lavender on the end of each row of chairs, and jars and jars of wildflowers in the windows and on the tables. We built the wooden archway ourselves and Lola created the most magnificent faux garlands to cover it with a simple light bulb string hanging down.
My bouquet was as if it had been picked straight out of the most beautiful cottage garden but still in keeping with our colours. This has since been dried and I’m super lucky as I can keep it in my dressing room. Lola also created our centrepieces with more wildflowers, log pieces and giant bunches of lavender. If I could advise everyone to use dried flowers, do it!! They are just as visually stunning, plus you can keep them for such a long time after! We now have jars of it placed around the house as décor but also as the perfect reminder of our day. It’s takes a lot of trust to pull the wedding day together, you can’t see everything you imagine until the day itself. You are putting your vision in someone else’s hands. Lola fitted that bill perfectly and knew even better then I did of what we wanted.
THE CAKE | I love cake. Cake was a high priority on my list!! I had daydreamed about or wedding cake, and I still am! There is a lady local to us called Janine Lee from Llantwit Major who has made family cakes for us for some years. She has the most incredible attention to detail so it was no question that we wanted her to make our wedding cake. We had a consultation and I said how we loved the ‘naked’ style cake that was becoming so popular. It wasn’t fussy, it had the traditional Victoria sponge, which is our favourite and would look incredible with berries and random flowers in our venue. We didn’t want to cut it on the day as had a family gathering the next day where we could serve it. So Janine also made an individual cupcake for each of our guests with a sprig of lavender on top. The cake was everything I wanted and more, the detail was just out of this world. Janine had spent two hours setting the cake up in the venue, three huge tiers with each one laden with iced berries and sprigs of flowers throughout. And it tasted INCREDIBLE. There was plenty to go around our families the next day and we had our last pieces on the megabus to Heathrow Airport for our honeymoon!
THE HONEYMOON | As I had taken over the planning for the wedding, it only seemed fair that Matt could plan the honeymoon. I knew where we were going but didn’t know what we would be doing or what hotels we would be in. I was very apprehensive about this! But boy did good. We had a three week road trip in California, and it’s safe to say, it was the best.trip.ever. We started in LA, headed into Malibu, Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz, Monterey, San Fransisco, flew to Vegas, Palm Springs and ended with a few days in Malibu to see some family. We made so many amazing memories, and had the time of our lives. We are planning on heading out there beginning of next year again. As he proved himself, I think Matt can plan all of our trips from now on!
MEMORABLE MOMENTS | The most memorable moment of the day for me, was lying in bed in our hotel room at 3 in the morning, (wheeeey) just talking! It was the first moment we had to just sit and reflect and catch up. From how my morning went compared to his, what we both enjoyed, how we felt. It was a really special time to reflect upon the day and everything leading up to it.
ADVICE FOR OTHER COUPLES | It’s difficult to give advice to couples as everyone is so different. Don’t settle for the first price or item you see, research it and research it again. eBay and Etsy were firm friends throughout my wedding planning, and we didn’t pay over the odds for anything. On the other hand, spend more money in the areas that mean most to you. For me, it was the photography and for Matt, the entertainment.
The results speak for themselves. And just enjoy it! There will be so many people to get around, make sure you spend time with those closest to you first, take time to have a drink with your friends at bar and make memories. It’s easy for it to feel like your hosting and worrying about everyone but the stress isn’t worth it. Your fun comes first!
Carla Blain, our photographer was a diamond from start to finish. As a photographer myself, this aspect scared me the most. Every detail had been prepped and planned with the photographs in mind and I needed someone to do this justice. After weeks of searching, I gave up and then just like that, Carla’s sponsored Facebook post appeared! I am a firm believer that social media is a godsend for wedding planning. Pinterest/Instagram and Facebook searches took over my life for a short period of time. Carla knew exactly what I had in mind and it really shows in our photos, I couldn’t have asked for anyone better to spend all day with. She hasn’t just captured ‘photographs’, but she has captured me and Matt and how we are as a couple. We’ll be forever grateful to her.
Everyone says they wish they could do their wedding day all over again. We really wouldn’t as it was perfect the first time and would not change a thing about it.
CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE |
So many people have their own contribution to how our day turned out, to name a few;
Photography | Carla Blain Photography
Make Up | Charlotte Joy Makeup
Hair | The Hair Studio
Cake | Janine Lee of Sugar & Lace
Venue | Pencoed House Estate and all of the staff
Musician | Tom Sutch Music
Band | The Velveteens Band
Lighting | Written In Lights
Suits | Dyfed Menswear
Flowers | Lola of Walnut & Willow
Photo Booth | Colin of Monkey Digital Media
Harriet and Matthew, thanks so much for sharing your nuptials with us and Carla, many thanks for these gorgeous images xo Lou