Katie’s wedding report captures the romance of her wedding to Chris in December. She told me about being whisked off with her new husband for some special wedding photos: “It felt so romantic – as if we were in a love scene from a movie”!
I just can’t decide if the movie I’m seeing in these beautiful wedding photos is James Bond, Narnia or a vintage Hollywood treasure… perhaps a magical balance of all three. Regardless: the screenplay is magnificent, the stars are every director’s dream – and the story a timeless romance to play on your heartstrings.The very beautiful Katie and Chris were married at Margam Park Orangery – a wedding venue with a rich history and one of the most prestigious in Wales. The architecture is a deliciously extravagant backdrop for outstanding wedding photography – a backdrop Katie and Chris look born to enjoy.
There are details in this most incredible winter wedding which will inspire you: crystals glisten and snowflakes sparkle; Katie’s delectable vintage bouquet of brooches and crystals, flowers and twinkling accessories is simply out of this world – and she made it herself!
I mustn’t forget groom Chris: his silver shoes are the icing on the cake: I was over the moon to see a groom looking so fabulous and just that little bit flamboyant on his wedding day – Jimmy Choo eat your heart out: here’s Chris to show you boys can do wedding shoes too!
It’s time for me to hand over to Katie with her wedding report and to top UK wedding photographer Chris Hanley with some of the most exciting wedding photos I’ve seen. Sit back, enjoy and prepare to squeal in delight at what you’re about to see. That includes you too, boys…
A luxury winter wonderland wedding: Katie and Chris
“On the eve of the wedding we stayed at Morgan’s boutique hotel in the Maritime Quarter Swansea, along with our bridesmaids, ushers and parents. We all had a lovely supper together that evening. It was fun waking up in the morning with everyone there though it did cause some headaches for the best man and chief bridesmaid who had to make sure Chris and I didn’t bump into each other in the morning!
I bought my gorgeous satin ELLA wedding dress from a wonderful local bridal shop called White Orchid Bridal Centre. I had wanted a dress that was evocative of vintage Hollywood but couldn’t find the perfect one. The dress I chose was quite plain and strapless but was an exquisite satin with a beautiful train on the back. Mum and I decided to embellish it ourselves using a delicate deep scalloped lace that would look perfect for my vintage look. After I worked out the design we set about hand sewing 500 Swarovski crystals to the lace trim which was then attached around the bodice of the dress and edge of the train. The straps were made from a heavily encrusted crystal trim we found online and to complete the look we then made a beautiful waterfall necklace out of Swarovski crystals and pearls to hang down the back.
My handmade hair piece was also from White Orchid, it was a mixture of diamante crystals and pearls which were intertwined in a crescent shape to fit around my hairstyle. The jewellery I wore was a wedding day gift from Chris, a stunning matching crystal teardrop set from Olivier Laudus in London. My shoes were by designer Benjamin Adams and my handbag by LK Bennet, both were covered in Swarovski crystals.
We had been planning our day for 18 months and wanted a chic winter theme using silvers, greys and whites with lots of crystals, candles and lights.
Mum and I handmade all the bouquets and bridesmaids hairpieces with vintage brooches, crystals and fabric roses which we also made ourselves from grey satin. My bouquet was a mixture of enamel; silver; pearl and crystal, vintage, new and handmade brooches that we collected, had given to us or made. I finished it with a satin ribbon and Swarovski crystal trim.
The venue, a beautiful 18th Century Orangery set in grounds below a large Gothic mansion, lent itself perfectly to our theme, with beautiful stone flooring and 27 tall arched windows that flooded the space with light.
Chris wore a stunning grey slim fit suit from DKNY and a white paisley Duchamp shirt from Harrods.
His shoes were high shine silver leather from Hugo Boss which looked great with our silvery winter theme!
The wedding ceremony
I arrived in a vintage ice blue Rolls Royce. My Dad shed a few tears in the car on the way but I had been very calm up to this point much to my surprise!
We chose the powerfully emotional song Kissing You by Dess’ree to be played as I walked down the aisle and as soon as Chris turned around to look at me the calmness I had felt all morning totally disappeared. I ended up crying all the way through my vows which set off all 6 of my bridesmaids too! Chris’s Auntie gave a beautiful reading and then we were Mr and Mrs Jones at last!
The details: winter wonderland wedding
We used a company called RSVP Wedding Coordinators for our chair covers, tree hire and table decoration.
At the entrance RSVP had scattered artificial snow that we had bought from a company called snowbusiness.com who are experts in winter effects for TV. There were 2 large lit trees and lots of flickering lanterns either side of the doors, it looked magical.
Before you entered the ceremony room there was a wonderful stone floored reception room called the Grove which we decorated with a xmas tree full of silver sprays and whites beaded lilies and silver wreaths and beautiful large white church candles in the fireplace.
Chris and I decorated the Christmas trees, fireplaces and set up the Sweetie table with apothecary jars (using only silver and white candy!) the day before all with help from my Mum, brother and sister. It was lovely sharing those few hours with my siblings helping us prepare for our special day.
The ceremony room, which also had a stone floor, was flooded with light beaming through windows and looked stunning with the crisp white chair covers and 16 crystal draped metal trees on either side of the aisle. Everything was perfect!
We had an amazing day shared by all 150 0f our wonderful friends and family. Everything went smoothly but too quickly! Following the ceremony we had a drinks reception and canapés in the Grove.
The staff at Margam Orangery was amazing and nothing was too much trouble for them, our wedding breakfast of Welsh black beef was superb.
We had booked a great young pianist called Olly Hamilton who played a beautiful selection of classical and modern pieces soothingly in the background during the meal, although poor Chris couldn’t relax until the speeches were over. Thankfully they all went without a hitch.
Our advice to other couples would definitely be to get the best wedding photographer you can afford. Also, if you can, book a recommended videographer. The day goes so quickly and beautiful photographs and a well-made video will really be the only things you will have in the future to truly remind you of the most special day of your life
To fill that lull between the speeches and the evening entertainment we hired an amazing local magician called Chris Beard , our guests were enthralled and bewildered by the incredible illusions he performed including bending the prongs of the same fork in two different directions! Our evening entertainment was a Frank Sinatra tribute by Paul Holgate of So Sinatra. This man is ole blue eyes reincarnate! Our guests of all ages loved him and enjoyed all the wonderful old Sinatra favourites.
During the celebrations Chris Hanley our wonderful photographer whisked Chris and I away to the calm of the beautiful Gothic Mansion in the park grounds for photographs. It felt so romantic, as if we were in a love scene from a movie! It was lovely to have that more intimate time together because we certainly didn’t get a chance later on!
Then after some photographs we were announced into the main reception room by our lovely toastmaster Iwan Jones. We were really glad that we decided upon a toastmaster as they do far more than just announce the speeches. Iwan took on the responsibility for organising the rest of our day right up to when he announced our first dance at 8 o’clock.
Later in the evening we served a hog roast with salads and a vegetarian selection followed by 6 different flavours of cute mini dessert cups including banoffee pie, cherries with white chocolate and Eton mess. We also cut up and served cake from each of the differently flavoured seven tiers of our wedding cake which was beautifully made by Trellis confectioners.
At the end of a perfect day we decided to break with tradition and stayed to see all our wonderful guests off before we returned to Morgan’s for the night with our family.
Chris and Katie’s recommended wedding suppliers
- Chris Hanley Photography www.ChrisHanleyPhotography.com
- Gower Video www.gowervideo.co.uk
- White Orchid Bridal Wear
- Perfection suit hire perfectionmenswearswansea.co.uk
- Trellis confectioners www.trellisconfectionery.co.uk
- Morgan’s Hotel www.morganshotel.co.uk
- Margam Orangery www.margamcountrypark.co.uk
- La Crème Patisserie lacremepatisserie.co.uk
- Lee Mills Fabrics www.leemillfabrics.co.uk
- R S V P Wedding Co coordinators www.rsvpcoordinators.com
- Paigelizabeth.com wedding stationery paigelizabeth.com
- Chauffer Drive Swansea www.chauffeurdriveswansea.co.uk
- Olly Hamilton pianist Manchester www.ollyhamiltonpiano.com
- Chris Beard magician www.chris-beard.co.uk
- Paul Holgate…Sugar town…Sinatra tribute www.sosinatra.com
- Snow Business.com www.snowbusiness.com
- Iwan Jones…Toastmaster www.tostfeistrcymru.co.uk
- Barrie Hughes…Florist www.barriehughesflorist.co.uk
- Pure Indulgence Hair and Beauty pureindulgenceswansea.com
- British Heart Foundation www.bhf.org.uk
- Cancer Research UK www.cancerresearchuk.org