If you are currently in the midst of wedding planning and feeling a bit overwhelmed...
Happy Friday everyone, I do hope you have had a good week? With the bank holiday on Monday this week has flown by, I can’t believe it’s the weekend already! I have a weekend of children’s birthday parties ahead of me, house admin and getting a few jobs done. Not exactly Rock n Roll but the next few weeks coming up are super busy, so I need this weekend to try and catch up with everything and get life organised, what about you? Do you have much planned? Any wedding planning jobs? Maybe you are getting married this weekend? Rhianwen and Oliver are sharing their Welsh wedding with us today, a day filled with rustic touches, mismatched decoration and a marquee filled with blue accents and lots of love, all captured by Lewis Fackrell Photography
Rhianwen and Oliver were married on 8th September 2018 at Plan Glansevin Masnion, Llangadog in Wales. ‘I always wanted to get married in my home country of Wales, after having lived in Bristol since I was 18. Our main criteria for a venue, which whittled the list down pretty quickly, was somewhere that we could stay for a whole/long weekend, with enough space to house our nearest and dearest. We also wanted somewhere that would allow us to bring in our own and as much, booze and food as we wanted and to decorate as we saw fit. Glansevin was the only venue we actually visited, as soon as we saw it and met Caroline the co-ordinator there, we knew it was the one, loads of space, and quite grand, but without being in any way OTT or too fancy, it still looked lived in and a bit higgledy-piggledy, which was ideal for us! We ended up with 90 day guests and 30 evening guests, We got engaged in December 2016 and started planning in the Jan/Feb 2017’
How they met
We met on the set of BBC Casualty! I work for a casting agency and back in 2007, when I had just started working there, I used to book myself out on filming jobs and so happened to have booked us both on a 9 day stint together on Casualty. He delights in telling people that we met ‘in a car park by the docks’ (which was where the unit base was!) when I was ‘dressed like a stripper’ (I was playing a podium dancer and so the costume was a little skimpy!). We hit it off straight away and there was a definite spark, but we remained just friends until 2010 when we started to ‘hang out’ much more regularly, and by the July were an official item.
In 2016, we had bought our first home that Summer and so decided that rather than cooking and staying in as we had the past few years in our flat we would treat ourselves to a posh meal out. We arrived and our first course was Oysters, they were served on a beautiful wooden tray, filled with pebbles and oyster shells, and in the centre was a wooden box, that perfectly matched said tray I therefore was totally oblivious and got very excited because I thought it was going to house some form of posh salt! I got more excited when I realised what was actually inside. He had had a beautiful sapphire ring made for me, and asked me across the table to be his wife! After the minute of looking like a floundering fish, I of course accepted with glee, and shortly after abandoned him at the table to go and phone my parents! Apparently the staff thought I’d done a runner! Oops! I wasn’t long, and we soon proceeded to eat 8 courses, each with a glass of wine, we had celebratory bubbles and cocktails and then when we eventually got home, our friends arrived with Champers.
How did you allocate your budget?
We didn’t really, as we really had no idea how much things cost, until we were well in to planning. We made a list of the things that were most important to us and what we estimated they would cost and then went through and added/changed that list as we started to book things in, we booked the venue, photographer and caterers first, knowing they would take up the biggest parts of the budget, and then tried to work in the other things at as reasonable a price as we could.
Where did you splurge and where did you save?
The venue was a major splurge, because we booked somewhere that slept just over 50 people, however, before confirming it, we contacted those people we wanted to offer rooms to, to check that they wanted to stay, and that they would be happy to pay for the accommodation at a similar rate to a local B&B, they were all excited to be asked so we went ahead. Unfortunately, we fell in love with the venue, before finalising our numbers/guest list and so AFTER seeing it, we realised we would also have to factor in the added expense of a marquee (which costs WAY more than I ever thought) We made it work, but meant having to try and save as much as possible elsewhere!
We saved on alcohol, as we ordered loads of booze online/via supermarkets when they had offers on. We made almost all of the decorations ourselves and those we didn’t we sourced from gumtree/sales/charity shops or borrowed!! We also found a brilliant caterer who sorted a menu to suit our requirements and limited budget per person with amazing food that really suited the style of our day without breaking the bank!
How did you choose your photographer?
I knew Lewis, our photographer through work, he is registered as an artist with the casting agency I work for. We arranged a meeting in person and suddenly all my worries about us already knowing each other vanished! Lewis was so professional, his work was exquisite and he seemed to really ‘get’ us. We explained that having been to a number of weddings where the bride and groom disappeared for hours on end, we really wanted to avoid that, and requested that we fit little windows in to the day where we could disappear just for short periods. There are so many photos from the day that I have no idea how he managed to capture, and really tell the story of the whole thing! We were sold!
I got my dress in Bridal Lane in Usk, it was the second dress I ever tried on, it was Eternity Bridal, and I made a number of alterations to it, shoes were Dune and my earrings were a surprise on the day from Ollie and were Swarovski. I also wore a ring from both of my grandmothers along with my engagement ring, on my right hand.
The suit and bridesmaids
The suit was Hugo Boss.The bridesmaids were in Dorothy Perkins multiway dresses – they are all such different shapes, and have very different styles, so multiway was ideal and I found them in the DP sale which was a total winner!
Theme or colour scheme
We didn’t have a set theme… I guess you could call it ‘rustic’, in that everything was a bit mis-matched, but with a similar style, and our colour was blue… but various shades of! Bridesmaids were in navy, Ollie was in blue, ushers/dads/best man/MC all wore matching light blue ties and then a lot of our décor was blue/green/natural, we had lots of wood, plants, foliage etc…We also had a few nods to Harry Potter and F.R.I.E.N.D.S included
I had a bouquet made up of gypsophila and thistle flowers, with a few colourful additions, the bridesmaids had just those 2 flowers, as did the buttonholes for the men and mums.
I was also very lucky to have a friend who recently became a florist (sadly, after I had already paid a deposit on the bouquets/buttonholes) who decorated the venue with flowers, we didn’t want a lot, but we had some gorgeous flowers in gin bottles dotted around the house and on the banquet tables, as well as having some milk urns filled with flowers, she absolutely NAILED the brief, she used lots of eucalyptus, thistles, hydrangea and then some beautiful colour pops of deep pink, purple and blue!
We had a big mish mash of decorations from huge wooden pallets and ladders, to mirrored doors with dates written on them!
We originally intended to split the day and spaces that we utilised, as it was such a big house and we wanted to make the most of it, into 3 sections and areas, the ceremony was in their dining hall, in front of a log fire that had been hung with lanterns and ivy. The milk urns stood at either end of the aisle.
We utilised the entrance hall and living room at the venue for our ‘reception’ with drinks and canapés. These spaces were decorated with an ‘order of the day’, which was a wooden pallet. We also had a blue ladder adorned with bits and pieces, a ‘meet the bridal party’ pallet, with polaroids of the bridal party, our cards box, which was an old suitcase of my grandfathers, and our ‘guestbook’ drop box frame. Tere were also loads of fairy lights, plants and succulents, and a mirror panelled door that we listed our important dates on… we also had photos of our parents and grandparents at their weddings.
The marquee on the back lawn, hosted our meal and then the evening party. Homemade centre pieces using glass vases, log slices, succulents and candles and gin bottles filled with flowers. We used hessian bunting, paper lanterns, more fairy lights, logs that I had planted more succulents in to, another blue ladder with bits and bobs on, mirrors, upturned crates, a STUNNING handmade cake stand which a friend built for us using log slices, and a light up tree that was adorned with flying keysthat we used as our favours and as another nod to Harry Potter.
We served canapés as our starters, and had a combination of duck skewers, sweetcorn fritters, salmon crostini and potato cakes with or without black pudding and pancetta.
Our main course was a banquet style hog roast, served to the tables on boards, with help yourself meat, bread, potatoes, and 4 different salads. The veggie option was a mediterannean vegetable stack. Dessert was a crème brulee with shortbread (or vegan lemon cheesecake)
In the evening we had burgers! Steak, cheese and bacon or vegan falafel/mushroom.
My cousin who is a pub landlord and ex chef had also sorted us a cheese course.
Our wedding cake was made up mainly of various flavoured cupcakes (salted caramel, butterscotch, vanilla and chocolate), we also had one small 8 inch top cake (a semi-naked Victoria sponge), so that we had something to cut, but then utilised the incredible cake stand and covered it in amazing cupcakes in various nude/natural shades, with navy floral décor.
I have been part of a choir for the last 5 years and I asked a chamber choir of friends to sing at the ceremony which was amazing.
After dinner we had a trio play various film soundtracks while we enjoyed cocktails back in the dining space where the ceremony had been, Ollie is a real film geek, so this was amazing, and of course, we had the HP theme included!
For the evening, we just had a playlist rather than a DJ, we asked people in their invites, to name a song to add, and tried to get as many on as possible.
Who supplied the stationery?
We did all of the stationery ourselves, a friend designed the invites and orders of the day and we used instant print to print them all.
The whole thing was so personal, we had planned everything from start to finish, designing the invites, the menu, all of the decoration, our order of the day, the centre pieces, all of the music, the table plan – we picked/made/designed/decided on pretty much every little detail, having a self-catered venue meant we could literally do whatever we wanted which was amazing! I also spent from last spring drying out my own petals to make confetti, we ended up with 2 huge vats of it, people had two handfuls each, and Ollie and I were absolutely covered, it was brilliant and the photos are epic!
However, I could never have done it all without the ARMY of friends and family who helped in advance with lending us things, making things, being a sounding board, helping sort shopping lists etc… and for all those guests who were staying at the venue who spent all of the day before decorating!!
We also could never have made it all work and run smoothly on the day itself, no matter how many lists and spreadsheets I may have had, without our ‘on the day’ wedding planner (Ness Shipman), who we only booked with less than a few months to go when the realisation of how much there was to do on the day itself actually hit us! She was an absolute Godsend.
The actual ceremony was such a highlight for me, it almost felt like an out of body experience, At one point during the vows, I just totally forgot to speak, I was just smiling at Ollie and my ability to repeat words failed me which gave everyone a laugh! We all sang ‘All you need is love’ the entire congregation, during the ceremony, which was hilarious.
We walked out of the ceremony to ‘My Best Friend’ and then had a few minutes pre confetti throw, just us two, which was amazing, because you actually don’t get that much alone time on the day so it was lovely to just bask in the ‘we did it’ glory for a minute!
The morning of getting ready with the girls and my mum will stay with me always, and the big reveal with my dad, where he just broke down and set me off too.
Advice for other couples
My earrings in the morning were a delightful surprise, and Ollie had a special watch from me that we spotted in London a year or so prior… We were both surprised at how emotional Jake got during his best man speech, it ended up being actually quite amusing as he tried to still get his words out, bless him!
I was genuinely shocked by the speed it all went by, and also how much prosecco you can drink without feeling in the slightest bit drunk when you’re running on adrenalin.
As a professional wedding photographer based in Cardiff, I’m there to document the raw emotions and moments as they begin to build your love story, So if you’re nervous about being in front of the camera, there’s absolutely no need to have any doubt. Capturing every detail and each ounce of happiness naturally through the entire wedding day and to be your support where you need it is why I’m here! As a fluent welsh speaker it’s even easier for me to blend in with your guests and capture everyone so freely using the medium of the welsh language.
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