I have literally been in utter amazement at the way our gorgeous couple have executed their rustic wedding at the fabulous Barn at Brynich.
Nathan proposed two weeks before the couple moved from Cardiff, to Melbourne, Australia so planning their wedding in Wales has been no mean task. Whilst the grooms focus was how long he could grow his beard in 18months (which is actually pretty impressive), the bride managed to order bridesmaid dresses for her best girls from across the pond and craft an abundance of delicious DIY decor as long as your arm.
I adore the lovely lavender wild flowers that Nathan’s parents dried in their sheds, the cute hand embroidered table names and how can I forget the knitted beards in homage to the groom. They even managed to secretly learn a choreographed dance to Ed Sheeran’s ‘Thinking out Loud’, which I bet that was spectacular.
The country fashion is to die for, the views of the Brecon Beacons are breathtaking and the love and moments captured by Natalie Martin of this wonderful couple and their amazing wedding are truly stunning.
Liz The Bride: I had an idea of the type of dress I wanted – lace, unstructured, non-meringuey. The main criteria – I had to be able to eat! I fell in love with my Maggie Sottero dress, Bronwyn, when in Allison Jayne, Cardiff. The small tear in my mum’s eye gave it away, but I had to go to the fifth shop and try on some more just to be sure! After ordering my dress, I didn’t see it again for 18 months, but luckily it was just as fantastic at my first fitting.
RMW became my daily reading on the morning tram, and I spotted my Rachel Simpson shoes (Mimosa in Pale Mint) on one of the featured weddings. I knew they would work really well with the colour scheme but couldn’t find an Australian stockist. I took a bit of a gamble and ordered them online and when they arrived, they just fit perfectly – so excited but so hard to keep them hidden in the wardrobe for 8 months or so!
My headpiece and veil were made by the talented Kate Petersen – my Mum had a beautiful gold and pearl brooch which Kate incorporated in the headpiece – my “something old”. I always wanted something a little different to a traditional veil and the birdcage was just perfect! Kate also did our hair, and a good friend Eleri Thomas did a beautiful job of the make-up. I made a garter from some crocheted lace I found in Mum’s sewing box, and added a beautiful crochet blue flower which my late Grandmother had made.
My jewellery was understated as I didn’t want to take anything away from my headpiece and veil. The necklace was a gift from my family for my 30th birthday from Goldsmiths Jewellers and my earrings were borrowed from my Mum. My necklace for the evening was a wedding gift from Nathan – a diamond pendant from Parkhouse – a perfect match for my engagement ring and a nice addition of sparkle for the after-party!
Nathan never wanted a traditional mourning suit. His focus was more “how long can I grow my beard” in 18 months! But to be honest he did a fantastic job of choosing his outfit for the day. He wore burgundy chinos and a navy Harris Tweed waistcoat, both from Next UK. His shirt was custom made (Aiden Sweeny, Brecon), and his tie was Peter Jackson, Melbourne. The colours complemented the theme and were just the perfect mix of rustic-smart-casual. He also wore a pocket watch from 1912 which I had bought for his 30th birthday and had engraved with our initials (as per a necklace design he had made for me 8 years earlier). Nathan’s shoes were kept a secret and were beautiful brogues from Brogue Trader in Cardiff.
The Bridal Party
Finding dresses for my ladies was not too challenging, even when one lived in Brisbane and the other two on different sides of the UK. I found Nancy Mac on RMW and just fell in love with her lace dresses. We took a bit of a gamble and ordered two in sage green and champagne gold, with the other a custom made reef purple with gold for my Maid of Honour. Hannah McMahon at Nancy Mac was just brilliant to liaise with and the girls just looked stunning and matched the boys brilliantly in their Next chinos and Harris Tweed waistcoats. Our little nephew looked just awesome as our Page Boy in his little chinos and braces with a navy jacket and hat! He stole the show!
There was no question as to where we would be married – my local church in Llangynidr. We injected some good humour into the service with a ‘his and hers’ version of Pam Ayres “Yes I’ll marry you my dear”, in addition to a beautiful reading from Romans 12: 9-18. The service was one of our favourite parts and having my brother play while we signed the register was magical.
The Barn at Brynich really had the “wow factor” even in the pouring rain in December 2013 when we nearly couldn’t get home because of the flooding!
We wanted a rustic wedding to add to the relaxed theme of the day. The barn just fitted perfectly and the staff were just incredible with frequent Skype conversations and just impeccable organisation. There was a beautiful outdoor space over-looking the Brecon Beacons where we set up lawn games (welly wanging was the most popular!) and we were able to stay with our closest friends and family for the whole weekend as the venue came with accommodation for twenty, allowing us to prolong the celebrations with a very wet BBQ the following day.
Our cars were a very generous wedding gift from very close family friends who happen to own five classic Alvis’s – such a special connection.
Shades of purple, green, cream and gold weaved their way through in the decor, flowers and handmade detail. We wanted a very laid back, rustic and relaxed theme to fit with the barn, and also to reflect us as a couple. The bouquets and buttonholes were made by Hilary’s Florist and the rest of the flowers we bought from Abergavenny Garden Centre – rosemary, lavender, gypsophila, lisianthus, veronica and blue eucalyptus. We had an excellent team of family and friends helping out the day before to create the windowsills, table centres and barn decorations. Nathan’s parents had dried literally a shed-load of lavender for us (his dad’s shed wasn’t so manly for a while!) and we had also used foliage from the church and a friends’ garden to pad things out! A friend of the family made the beautiful garland above the litch gate of the church – just divine!
So in the months preceding the wedding, we spent hours making, cutting, gluing, painting, sanding, drilling, stencilling, folding, hammering, de-gluing, sawing and embroidering:
140 de-glued, hand painted tin cans (welcome drinks)
150 jars cleaned and decorated
Sliced logs, sanded and stained
8 hessian runners
Photo-booth props made by my hens
Sanded and stencilled doors for hats and jackets
Welly wanging markers
Chalk board drinks list and church seating sign
Table-plan with hand-painted crates
Hand-embroidered table names of our memorable dates
100 confetti cones made from doilies
8 crocheted beards
Save the dates, invites, order of service, wine tasting notes, place names, menus, table quiz and colouring book for our nephew.
It was so worth it!
Oh my goodness, the food! Purple Carrot Catering created a menu which truly reflected us. After amazing canapés, we chose a slow cooked North African spice infused lamb with a hamper of sides. Every table had a “Hamper Hero” (complete with crocheted beards – a homage to Nathan) to cut the meat and share out the dishes. It was lovely to see everyone getting stuck in and the beards were hilarious! The evening buffet was pulled pork wraps with apple slaw and our three glorious cakes made by our Sister-in-Law. Neither of us were keen on traditional cake so we had a carrot cake, apple crumble cake and ginger cake. They were incredible and disappeared very quickly!
We chose wine from Innocent Bystander, Yarra Valley, and our favours were also from Australia – Melbourne Rooftop Honey.
Along with the lawn games of croquet, boule, tin can stack, quoits, welly wanging and giant jenga, the musical entertainment was provided by The Velveteens – the perfect mix of old and new and kept the dance floor full all night. Nathan and I had learned a dance in secret to Ed Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud”. We would recommend this to anyone as it kept us really connected during the last few weeks of the planning and was something that was truly ours.
I’ll have to mention the speeches too – by my Dad, Nathan’s Dad, our Best Man and also Nathan – who did his Groom’s speech in 20 minutes of rhyming poem. Not a dry eye in the house!
Last but not least was our brilliant and so, so lovely photographer Natalie Martin (also found on RMW). We just loved her relaxed style and are so happy with our photos of the day – particularly the ones from the mountain overlooking our favourite view of the Beacons….and there were horses! She captured the day perfectly – full of fun, love, laughter and joy.
So as some parting advice…if you’re going to “make your wedding”, take your time. We didn’t get stressed or panicked because we took it slowly (it also helped having a very handy and crafty Groom!). Ask for help – our decoration team were just amazing. Try not to keep things too serious, some of the best moments we had were with the comical and personal additions – we will be laughing about the beards for years to come! And, as everyone says, it really does pay to take some time out on the day to reflect. Our time on the mountain just made us feel on top of the world. Just breathtaking!
Photography by Natalie Martin Photography
- Dress Designer Maggie Sottero – Bronwyn
- Bridal Boutique Allison Jayne
- Bridal Shoes Rachel Simpson – Pale Mint Mimosa
- Headpiece & Veil Kate Petersen
- Makeup Eleri Thomas
- Bridesmaid Dresses Nancy Mac
- Bridesmaid Earrings A Pocket of Posies – Etsy
- Grooms Outfit Next
- Peter Jackson
- Aidan Sweeney
- Grooms Shoes Brogue Trader
- Venue The Barn at Brynich
- Catering Purple Carrot Catering
- Florist Hilary’s Flowers
- Entertainment The Velveteens
- Dance Teacher Ribbons Dance School