This afternoon we are back with our regular feature ‘Advice from the Married Side,‘ real life wedding planning...
Happy Friday everyone! And Happy Halloween weekend! Have you got anything Halloween related planned this weekend? I am off work today as Dexter has an inset day at school, so we are off to meet some friends and going to White Post Farm for their Halloween special. Sunday I am out again with Nik and Dexter going to Cannon Hall Farm for their Halloween special, so lots of pumpkin picking and carving for me this weekend with lots of spooky goings on! Very exciting. Then next weekend it’s Bonfire weekend! So many festivities at this time of year, I just love it. And of course once Bonfire night is over we can really start to get excited about Christmas!!! Today we are celebrating the wedding of Orla and Henry who held a weekend long celebration at Plas Dinam Country House in Mid Wales. The weekend was full of laughter, fun, dancing and a whole lot of partying, all captured perfectly by Chris Morse.
Orla and Henry were married on 16th June 2018 at Plas Dinam Country House, Llandinam, Mid Wales. ‘We live in London, and are always busy, always rushing around. So we relished the thought of a weekend, country getaway for our wedding. Henry’s family is from Wales so he spent much of his childhood holidays there. And we as a couple have had some of our more relaxing holidays there, and we got engaged there. So it felt like the perfect choice, plus a good location for our guests travelling from Ireland and London. We both liked the idea of a country house or barn style wedding. We did most of our research of venues online. When we came across Plas Dinam, we were immediately taken by it – it seemed to tick all the boxes. You have flexibility with the suppliers that you can use, and you have the option of providing your own bar. You can get married inside or outside under the stunning entrance archway. What is particularly special about Plas Dinam is that you can hire it for the weekend. Everyone tells you how fast the day goes – so why not make a weekend of it! Plas Dinam ended up being the only venue we went to see – we loved it! We had 120 guests, we got engaged in May 2017 so it took us about a year by the time we started to look into things.
How they met
We met on Tinder! We chatted on there for a while before meeting for dinner and drinks at the BFI along the Southbank in London. I thought it went really well… Henry thought I wasn’t interested! But we went on a second date and the rest is history. We were together just over 4 years when we got married.
The proposalThe proposal was magical. Henry took me completely by surprise. We were spending the weekend in Wales. Henry took me to Three Cliffs Bay, where he spent many summers as a child. There he gave me a treasure map. Some might say I should have known what was coming…but I honestly didn’t. When we got to where the ‘x’ marked the spot for treasure, I found a bottle with a scroll in it. I opened up the scroll to find ‘will you marry me’ in Irish! Henry got down on one knee with a beautiful ring and proposal. It was just perfect (apart from almost getting washed away with the tide…!).
How did you allocate your budget?
To be honest the budget evolved and the whole wedding cost more than we originally thought it might (without any research that is). You can look up guides on planning and budgeting for your wedding, which are helpful, but these are only a starting point, as things are often more/less expensive than you anticipate. The ‘big hitters’ were definitely the venue, catering, the band and photographer though. But we monitored our actual spending against our estimated budget closely; this meant where we overspent in some areas, we could decrease in other areas and vice versa. I definitely recommend budgeting for a bit of contingency, you won’t think of everything at the outset!
Where did you splurge and where did you save?
We perhaps splurged on the venue, but felt that it was worth it as it ticked all the boxes for us – no other venue compared. We really wanted live music so having a band was a priority for us and worth the extra cost.
Savings: We did not have a wedding car. We had the ceremony and reception at the venue so we did not need one. My wedding dress was a bargain! I loved Rembo Styling – however I found it difficult to justify spending so much money on a dress for just one day. I was lucky to visit ‘Say I do’ wedding dress shop in Midleton, County Cork, Ireland. Here they had the Bjork dress in my size and on sale! I took it back to London with me and it hung in my wardrobe for about eight months before the wedding! I may have blown any savings on the shoes however. We had a lot of ‘DIY’ elements to our wedding – decorations, music playlists, photobooth. We definitely made savings by doing this and not outsourcing but it does take up a lot of time and leads to a very busy week in the run up to the wedding! But the result is a wedding which is uniquely yours. We also had a fun evening before the wedding decorating the Old Stables with our families and friends.
How did you choose your photographer?
We came across Chris through suggestions on social media. We immediately loved his style – natural and unposed! Henry and I agreed that we wanted to spend as much of the day with our families and friends as possible, and not away from everyone, posing for photos. So we really wanted to find someone who would just document our day. We arranged a video call to meet Chris and he was just incredibly easy going, helpful and accommodating. He also gives a discount to NHS staff! He is a wonderful photographer, but also a great guy to have around on the day! Everyone felt at ease with him and he very much became part of our wedding party, rather than an external photographer. The result was amazing natural photos which captured the atmosphere and emotion of our special weekend. He helped us with our ‘DIY’ photo booth, and also made us a silent movie of our weekend which we love! We knew he was going to be great from his previous work and our conversations before the day, but he really did exceed all expectations.
Rembo styling. My husband gave me a gift of sapphire earrings to match my engagement ring before the ceremony. These were from the same long established jewellers in Oxford: Rowell of Oxford. I also wore a bracelet from Links of London. Jimmy Choo shoes
The suit and bridesmaids
Ted Baker for the suit. I liked the look of mismatched bridesmaids’ dresses and felt this was more in line with our rustic, relaxed vision for our wedding. Most of all I wanted my bridesmaids to choose a dress that suited their style. As a result they are all quite different and from various suppliers: I had suggested a ballpark shade of pink as a guide. The dresses worked really well together and when complimented by the bouquets, were perfect.
Theme or colour scheme
The theme or vision we had was a rustic, country wedding. Our colour scheme was broad but in general, was shades of pinks.
We were very lucky – Henry’s Mum made our bridal party flowers! She took a very early morning trip to New Covent Garden Market a couple of days before to get the flowers. She used peonies, roses, lisianthus, astilbe, oregano, gyp, spray roses and hypericum, and for foliage; silal, asparagus and grevillea. It was an incredibly busy day before the wedding for her, but the bouquets and buttonholes were just stunning and so special. Tammy from Wild Bunch flowers supplied the venue flowers. These included vintage style flower arrangements which framed the archway entrance, underneath which we got married; green eucalyptus posy swags on the end of aisle facing chairs; and our table arrangements. The table arrangements in the Old Stables were one of the main decorative features. We had long rustic trestle tables, which were dressed with vintage style glass bottles of varying heights, filled with flowers and interspersed with green foliage and brass Nkuku lanterns.
Apart from the flowers and table arrangements, we decorated the venue ourselves. Plas Dinam country house is stunning and apart from filling the vases with flowers (Wild Bunch Flowers), it did not require any decoration. The Old Stables was our main focus. Here, we decorated the main stone wall with retro-polaroid style photos of us as a couple, and of us growing up and with our families and friends. We put our wedding invitation illustration (designed by a very talented friend) – a design with our initials encased in the archway of Plas Dinam’s entrance – on a large canvas and placed it as the centrepiece of the wall. The rest of the decorations were what we accumulated over the year – things we saw in shops or online which we thought would work. We also used lanterns, lights and light boxes, signs and blankets from our home.
We had a weekend of eating! We are both foodies so it was very important to us that no one went hungry! We had canapés and drinks on the lawn following the ceremony. Guests moved to the stables for our wedding breakfast. This consisted of meat or veggie pâté for starter; a choice of salmon, beef wellington, or parsnip and carrot roulade filled with fennel, leek and Gorwydd Caerphilly cheese for the main; and an assortment of desserts. There was shortbread and fudge with the tea and coffee, and later a cheeseboard. For those who were still peckish after much dancing, there were also late night nibbles.
We worked with Shirley and her team from Fingers and Forks. She catered for our 3 days at Plas Dinam, including a BBQ on the Sunday. She was wonderful and incredibly accommodating, and the team were fantastic. The food was delicious and no one went hungry.
We were very lucky that our wonderful and talented friend Joanna offered to make our cake! She asked us for guidance on what we would like – beyond wanting something with a rustic feel, we really didn’t know, so gave her total creative freedom! What Joanna came up with was incredible! Henry likes to bake and made a large fruit cake for the base, which Joanna decorated as a log base. She made the other three layers – lemon, baileys and salted caramel, and chocolate and Guinness! What she created was spectacular and could not have been more perfect!
We created playlists and used speakers for the ceremony and for background music throughout the day. We then had the band Trilogy for the party in the Old Stables, which we booked through HQ Music. They were amazing! We interspersed their sets with an Irish music playlist and our talented friend Kerry led our guests through a céilí. That was lots of fun! At the after party, some of our talented guests sang beautiful Irish and Welsh songs. The night continued until 4am on the hay bales outside the Old Stables; we reluctantly called it a day when the first dawn light came up!
Who supplied the stationery?
Again we were very lucky that our wonderful and talented friend Cara made our invitations for us. She created an illustration using our initials interlinking under the Plas Dinam archway entrance. It now hangs on a wall in our home. The table signs – named after cities we had travelled to – were homemade. We sourced a supplier through Etsy to create our travel themed table plan.
Yes, we did a lot ourselves. We used some things from our home – lanterns, blankets, signs. Other things we were lent from good friends. Other stuff we got through websites like ‘Not on the high street’ and ‘Etsy’. We had a DIY photo booth. We bought props online and asked some friends who we know like fancy dress to bring wigs, hats, costumes to the party. Chris our photographer lent us his Polaroid camera; we only had to get the film cartridges which he helped us with. The Old Stables provided the perfect background, and the pictures look amazing! We made our place names using rustic labels and twine, and the table names, using poloroid style picture of places we have been together, on a rustic card background. We used blackboards to display the food and drinks menus and roped in a friend with lovely handwriting to help with these.
There were so many! But to name a few – saying our vows to each other, seeing all our friends and family who had come to celebrate with us, our first dance, having our family and friends in the one place for a party…
Advice for other couples
I think the biggest surprise was how emotional it was! It is easy to get swept up with task lists, jobs and stress in the run up to the big day, and you easily forget that this will be one of the best days of your lives!
“My photography is very much focussed on people and the interactions between them. It’s all about creating images that have real emotion and genuine memories attached to them. I get in amongst the action, but never try to control it. I tell every couple that the most important thing to me is that they have the best day ever!”
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