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We are heading off to Cardiff today for an intimate wedding in a big venue! Catherine and Alexander chose Castell Coch as it was local to them and totally grand and totally stunning! A fabulous building that allowed them to hold a magnificent ceremony with their closest friends and family. They followed this with a chilled out afternoon of tea and cake, opting for a no fuss, relaxed reception. The day has been beautifully captured by by Lisa-Jane at LJM Photography and I know you are going to love it!
Catherine and Alexander were married on the 7th May at Castell Coch, Cardiff followed by a reception at Glyndwr Vineyard, Cowbridge. ‘We wanted a small quiet wedding. And let’s face it….how could we say no to the fairytale castle down the road! We didn’t want a big wedding, just close friends and relatives. We took 12 months to plan, but it didn’t really take that long. It was only because we wanted a specific time of year.’
How they met
That’s a long story. We met in the circus society in the first year at Reading University. We both remember the first time we met, as we were spinning diablo together. We were friends during uni but then Alex moved back to Wales. We hardly saw each other for a decade, then Alex randomly invited me to his house warming party. So we have only been together for 2 1/2 years, but have known each other for 15.
Rather unconventionally, I proposed to Alex. It was Christmas Eve and we went on a lovely waterfall walk in the mountains, but I couldn’t seem to find the right moment. In the end I proposed in the house that evening. No, I didn’t get down on one knee and although I offered to buy him an engagement ring, Alex said it ‘wasn’t his style’!
How did you allocate your budget?
We spent it on the things which were most important to us, like the castle, and also used it as an excuse to treat ourselves, like hiring a Morgan for the weekend.
Where did you splurge and where did you save?
Our biggest splurge was on the hotel for the wedding night (yet another castle! We saved money by not doing unnecessary things. We didn’t want lots of guests, a disco, or a big dinner. Instead we had afternoon tea (we both love tea and cake). We didn’t have things like favours – we were already buying everyone lunch! We didn’t have bridesmaids, best men or ushers, so we didn’t need outfits or flowers for them. The location was pretty already, so we didn’t need chair covers and lots of decorations. We saved up jars in the few months beforehand and bought a few loose flowers which I took to the location the day before. We also planned well in advance and bought all the clothes in the January sales. I bought my dress from Preloved. It was a shop sample, but in perfect condition.
Why did you choose your photographer?
A friend of Alex’s studied photography at university, so we asked her for recommendations and she knew LJ. When we saw LJ’s photos, we knew she would be perfect for our style of informal, relaxed wedding.
My dress was by Stella York. Shoes from Rainbow and my accessories were from John Richard in the jewellery section of Debenhams.
Alex’s suit was Ted Baker.
Theme or colour scheme
The theme was vintage lace and afternoon tea. We didn’t have a specific colour theme, but ended up with quite a lot of pink.
Roses, lavender and others I can’t remember the name of – the florist was brilliant and really helpful.
When you see the drawing room of the castle, you realise it doesn’t need any more decoration. The barn at the vineyard is already beautiful, so we just added jam jars of flowers to the tables.
Afternoon tea – so sandwiches, scones, tarts, cake, pots of chocolate. We love the caterers we used – they don’t skimp on the portions and everyone was totally stuffed.
With so few guests, we really wanted a big cake but knew it would go to waste. So we had three tiers – lemon on top, chocolate in the middle and polystyrene on the bottom. We even cut it with a sword.
Because it was such a small wedding, the reception was only a few hours long and it was lovely for everyone to have a chat to old friends over a cup of tea. There was just some jazz playing on an ipod in the corner.
Our stationery was from Beautiful Day from notonthehighstreet.com
We had a lot of difficulty finding wedding readings we liked. Nothing out there seemed to sum us up, or it we had heard it at too many weddings before. Then we found A Lovely Love Story by Edward Monkton. Together we re-wrote some of the lines, so it fitted us perfectly. It made our guests cry and now we even have a copy hanging on our wall.
Special moments or highlights
Obviously, actually getting married was the highlight – it took us 15 years! And although it sounds odd, the evening of the wedding was particularly special, when we had left everyone else behind and it was just the two of us.
Advice for other couples
There are so many things people will tell you ‘must’ happen at a wedding – don’t listen. Don’t do anything you don’t want or spend money you don’t need to. It’s your day and it should be the way you want it, there’s no need to comply with so-called convention.
When we walked into the ceremony room, I hadn’t been expecting my brother to be there, as his first baby was only two weeks old. There’s even a photo of me looking really surprised!
Hi, I’m LJ. I currently live in Newport in South Wales with my hubby Luke and our adopted cat Seamus. As a Northern Irish lass, I absolutely love stories & I ﬁnd that photography is one of my favourite ways to tell them. As well as digital photography I love to shoot with my Diana camera and my Fuji Instax Polaroid and experiment with ﬁlm photography. I would say that my style is inﬂuenced by the classic look of ﬁlm and I aim for a natural, earthy feel.
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