Winter is coming… and that phrase conjures up two things for me! The first is Game of Thrones – and me and my guy are rewatching every. single. episode. from the 1st season to the last… we started on Friday and I think we’ll be finished just in time for season 8 in May / June 2019! Winter also reminds me of snowy weddings, snuggly wraps and cosily beautiful wedding styling. So today I’m sharing a truly unique wedding from Lansdown Hall and Gallery in Stroud. Beautiful bride Jess and gorgeous groom Damian chose the venue because it’s very dear to their family, and organised everything themselves: decorations, lighting, DJ, the bar, outside catering, staff, setting up and clearing up. Take one look at their photos and you’ll see it was 100% worthwhile – it allowed them to plan and style their day exactly how they wanted. As well as the venue, highlights to watch out for are Jess’s E&W Couture dress, which is just perfect – and the bouquet of eucalyptus, white roses and pussy willow (my favourite!) by the wonderful Sweet Peony in Cardiff. The fabulous photos of Jess and Damian’s wedding are by UK photographer Jon Turtle, who’s based in Penarth, South Wales.
“We had a humanist ceremony led by our friend as celebrant; I walked down the aisle on my own with both my parents behind me. We wrote the whole ceremony ourselves, at first this felt overwhelming but what it eventually meant was that we had really thought about why we were getting married and what was important to us, it made the ceremony very special – tears and laughter all round.
The venue has a wonderful vaulted ceiling, big windows with shutters and a lovely wooden floor so it was a great base for decoration. The stage which we used for the ceremony was totally black so we were keen to break up the darkness. We used white drapes and tree branches with hundreds of fairy lights to create a wonderful setting for the ceremony. A friend’s mum who recently did a floristry course made large vases of greenery and jars of gypsophila to complement the bouquets and button holes.
I totally fell in love with my dress. I got it from the most wonderful Bridal Boutique in a lovely seaside town just outside of Cardiff. I had been to a few different shops and hadn’t really found anything that stood out, each shop might have had one of two I liked but when I went to the Rachel Burgess Bridal Boutique there were so many gorgeous dresses. I was in heaven. I tried on so many dresses I loved, but I just kept thinking about one in particular. Isla had a gorgeous satin slip and then an over dress made up of beautiful daisy fabric, the texture was just subline. Most importantly it felt like me! The shop specialise in Welsh designers and Sophie from E&W Couture did the fittings herself, it was so lovely getting to know her and sharing ideas for the day. Every appointment was a total joy.
Rachel Burgess Bridal Boutique really is a wonderful gem of a shop. Rachel welcomes you with such excitement and genuine interest in you and your plans for the day. She is incredibly attentive and has an amazing eye for style. The selection of dresses and accessories is so amazing. Sophie from E&W Couture is a brilliant designer, making stunning dresses that really wow. Many guests thought the dress was vintage as it was so different! The shop says they are for Brides who want to make their own traditions and that was just perfect for me.
I didn’t know where to start with accessories but Rachel from the Bridal Boutique had some great ideas. Claire Hill designs accessories for her shop and she made my amazing sparkly belt and silver headpiece. I walked to the venue with my parents and bridesmaid through the local farmers market, as it was February coats were essential, me and my bridesmaid had matching jackets to keep us toasty on the walk. As gifts for each other I bought Damian a Tissot watch he had coveted for a long time and he bought me a beautiful silver bracelet and amazing silver trainers to wear for dancing!
Walker Slater is a fab shop that specialises in tweed suits; Damian was keen to wear something different to an office suit he would wear to work. With it being winter, it was the perfect excuse to get a beautiful wool suit. They were great in the shop, really helpful with styling without the hard sell. Adjustments were also included in the price which was a bonus. Damian and his best man, dad and brothers all wore matching dark green ties with white spots to complement the bridesmaid.
Wedding photographer’s website:
We loved Jon’s style and how he manages to really capture the atmosphere and energy of the day.
Jon was absolutely brilliant, making us all feel so relaxed and really capturing the joy of the day. We had asked guests not to take photos during the ceremony as we wanted them to enjoy it and didn’t want to see loads of camera phones. Jon took beautiful photos of the ceremony and I wasn’t even aware of him, so sensitive to the occasion. He had also visited the venue before the day to check out good locations which was fab, really felt like we were in good hands.
It was so wonderful to see them all and relive the day; Jon sent us a sneak peek photo just a few days after the wedding. We were on honeymoon and it was so exciting to receive and gave us a glimpse of what was to come. When the full collection arrived a week later, we were blown away, so fabulous to see it all and remember all the special moments of the day.
Can you describe your wedding in fewer than 10 words?
Wintery, cosy, greenery, fun over stress, dancing, joyous, laughter, beautiful
Your wedding style or theme:
Not really a fan of big themes, but the use of trees and fairy lights certainly made it feel very wintery.
Where did you find your suppliers? (Blogs, magazines, recommendations?)
Mostly recommendations, a few of my friends work in the wedding industry so it was so good to be able to use their services and support their small businesses.
What’s your top tip for saving money?
Don’t bother with wedding favours, we didn’t do them and no one minded. It’s something people think they HAVE to do, but often it seems guests don’t really care about them. We ended up with a very big guest list, initially we were having to cut it down to be able to afford the day, but then we decided we wanted everyone there so had less of the formalities that often add to the budget and instead had a day that all of our good friends and extended family could be part of, full of loads of love, laughter and fun. With 160 guests we certainly got that!
… and which elements of your wedding are you glad you spent more on?
Our outfits, so wonderful to feel so good in what you are wearing.
Where did you buy or source your wedding stationery – or was making it a labour of love?
We didn’t have that much, the invites and order of services were designed by Jess and printed by a family member
Beautiful bridesmaids: what did your best girls wear?
I decided to only have one Bridesmaid, my best friend who is my total wing woman and did an amazing job. With only one it meant we could find her something that was really special and suited her beautifully. She has been a bridesmaid 10 times so I wanted to make sure she had a dress she really loved and she would wear again. I have always liked strong colours and green had seemed the right choice from the start. We found a dress from Coast, but then during a fitting with my designer she mentioned she had started making bridesmaid dresses and so then it all changed. Sophie made a brilliant outfit in a gorgeous deep green, the skirt and top separates were the perfect combination of elegance and fun!
Hair and make-up – did you DIY or hire a professional?
I always struggle to do my own hair as it can be quite flyaway so knew I wanted someone on the day to tame it. Harriet was absolutely brilliant, we had a fun trial a few weeks before the wedding and then on the day she worked wonders. All her products are organic which meant they smelt amazing and felt really good, even the hairspray which there was plenty of kept everything in shape but then was easy to brush out at the end of the night!
A good friend did my make-up; I don’t usually wear much and wanted to make sure I still looked like me! She did a great job and I even picked up some tips.
Crafts and makes – tell us about any homemade elements of your wedding… did you enjoy them?
Apart from the big decoration elements, we didn’t get that crafty. Though my Bridesmaid’s dad made 400 Welsh for everyone to enjoy with bubbly after the ceremony and they went down a treat.
The wedding cake: what kind of cake did you choose and why?
The cake was made by Damian’s very talented cousin who fortunately runs a cake business. We had 4 layers, alternating with Victoria sponge and Lemon. The cake was lightly iced with buttercream and decorated with flowers, greenery and berries. It was delicious; we kept the top and had it the next day!
Entertainment: any musical recommendations, surprises or treats?
A friend offered to DJ and she did an amazing job, we had a whatsapp group with her and we would send her song suggestions whenever they popped into our head. She put alot of thought into what she played, not sticking with one genre for too long so there was something for all tastes. The dance floor was packed all night so she clearly did a good job!
Words of wisdom: share your best piece of advice for other couples:
Write a countdown list for the few weeks leading up to the day to make sure you have time to do all the last minute bits. Then a detailed schedule for the day, with as much info as poss, give it to all your key people and let them worry about the detail. You’ve spent so long planning, it’s great to download all the info and let others take it on so you can fully enjoy yourself.
What’s the best thing about being married?
Having stood up in front of all our friends and family and really said what we love about each other and why we want to share our life has brought us even closer. The day was absolutely amazing but for us the most exciting thing is being married and working as a team to make our life the way we want it.
Favourite supplier web links for other brides and grooms:
Bridal Shop – www.rachelburgessbridalboutique.com
Wedding Dress – www.eandwcouture.co.uk
Accessories – www.clairehilldesigns.co.uk
Florist – www.sweetpeonyfloral.co.uk
Suit – www.walkerslater.com
Hair – www.harrietsorganic.co.uk
Cake – www.facebook.com/thepantryathexgreave/