I bet you’ve never been to a wedding where the groom arrived on a pick-up truck before? If you have I’m jealous, what an entrance! Olivia & Gareth were also surprised with a fabulous exit too! Olivia’s father arranged a fleet of Landrovers to transport the wedding party from the church to the reception; it looks like they’re all on safari!
The fabulous reception was held in a marquee on the brides parents property in Wales, decorated with hanging green and white paper lanterns and had a amazing rustic wood theme throughout. The personalised pencils in particular are a favourite and an amazing wedding favour alternative to guests.
With very clever planning (considering the Bride & Groom live in New Zealand!) and lots of helpful family & friends I think Olivia & Gareth managed to pull off the amazing laid back, traditional wedding day they’d dreamed of perfectly.
Olivia The Bride: Getting married in Wales where I grew up was extremely important to me and luckily my husband-to-be agreed because, unlike most couples, we decided to get married 12,000miles from where we now live. Gareth (a New Zealander) and I met in Wales in 2000 when he was working in the UK but it wasn’t until I decided to have a gap year in New Zealand in 2009 that we reconnected and eventually started dating. Soon that gap year turned into 4 years and we were engaged. With the knowledge that we would be planning a wedding from the other side of the world we allowed ourselves nearly 18months to prepare everything. Luckily we had the wedding planner of the century on hand, my Mum, to arrange all logistics in Wales. To make things even trickier, my bridesmaids were located in Wales, England and San Francisco so lots of plans had to be made over video calls!
A year before the wedding I was in the UK for a couple of weeks for my cousin’s wedding; knowing that I wanted to purchase my dress in the UK my Mum lined up five dress shops in a week and in total I tried on 42 dresses! It wasn’t that I didn’t find anything I liked; more that I liked them all! At shop number five, Laura May Bridal I found ‘the one’, ironically it was one I’d spotted online the week that we got engaged but I tried on 41 others first just to make sure!
During that same visit to Wales, I met with the photographer, caterer, marquee hirer, hair salon, vicar and cake maker and managed to get most of the urgent things organised in a fortnight!
Overall we wanted our wedding to have a traditional feel with laid back flair and all of our suppliers enabled this to happen. We got married at my childhood church and then went back to my parent’s farm for our reception. As we, and over 20 of our guests, were flying to the wedding from New Zealand it was important to us to offset this air travel with sensible ‘green’ choices and almost without exception all of our suppliers were based within 30 miles of our wedding venue.
My Mum had worked extensively with our caterer, Lorna Greasley from Al Fresco Catering and knew that, with her attention to detail and considerable experience with outside catering, she was the perfect choice to cater for our 230 guests. We met with her the year before and chose our modern take on the traditional wedding breakfast. We were committed to sourcing all of our meat from local butcher, Andrew Rees, our seafood including welsh sea trout ‘Sewin’ from Welsh Seafoods and as much fruit and vegetables from nearby suppliers in Pembrokeshire. It was important also for us to include New Zealand concepts and features wherever possible and particularly with the wine. Roy from Celtic Wines was able to advise and source some brilliant wines for us.
The marquee was hired from Blue Sky Marquees who were superbly accommodating in being able to place the marquee in a tight space between farm buildings on my parent’s farm. This ensured that our wedding day felt like a true ‘send-off’ from our family farm and also allowed for easy access into our ‘Chill Out Room’, a stone barn filled with retro chairs and sofas and lots of tea, coffee and wedding cake for those who needed a break from the dancing! George from Blue Sky Marquees couldn’t have done more for us and, as he was so busy the weekend of our wedding, he wanted to ensure that our marquee was up well in advance. We therefore had the privilege of having it up a whole week prior meaning that the decorating (and celebrating) could start early!
To decorate the marquee I’d seen paper lanterns and loved the effect they created. The Hanging Lantern Company were super helpful in matching the colour as close to our bridesmaid dresses and advising on the numbers required to create the look we wanted. Having a husband-to-be who’s a bit of a perfectionist also helped as he ensured that the spacing and colours were mixed up brilliantly! We went for a wood theme as both of our farm names have a wood theme and we had heaps of wood available to us on the farm. This was cut up into logs to be used as table centres and name place holders. All vintage artefacts around the farm that we could find were used to decorate the spaces including an old butter churn, wheelbarrows, barrels, pots and troughs! My mother-in-law worked tirelessly in the two weeks before to plant colourful flowers in and around these artefacts which all added to the farmyard feel.
Our cake was made by Huckleberry Bakes run by my wonderfully talented friend Lou. Lou and I came up with a design which as she put it ‘is very you, Liv!’ and tied in well with the visual effect of our paper lanterns.
All our flowers were sourced through Next Door Florists in Narberth. Flowers are by no means my specialty so I gave Deb our amazing florist just a few photos of style ideas and she absolutely nailed it – our flowers became one of my highlights because of the fantastic job Deb did, particularly the hoola hoop flowers for our flower girl, Ellie.
The transport was the biggest surprise of the day for us. I went to church in my Mum’s car knowing that there was a surprise vehicle to leave church in. Meanwhile, my husband-to-be was sitting in the back of a pick-up truck with a winter’s load of mud on it and some ribbons. After a windy 7 miles in the back of that he was transferred to the front cage of a telehandler, brand new and bought by his best friends in Wales just in time for our wedding. A year before the wedding I had mentioned to my dad that I didn’t want anything too fancy for our wedding cars, no horse and carriage or vintage cars but my ideal vehicle would be an old-fashioned landrover with a straw bale and rug in the back for us to sit on. Unbeknown to us, through contacts of my Dad, he managed to get not one but five series 1 Land Rovers. It was an absolute dream come true for me and we were able to get all our attendants and children at the wedding to have a lift to the reception in the back of them.
As none of our bridemaids were located in the same place, we decided to get dresses made. As a wedding present a very good family friend, Fay, with oodles of talent made the dresses. Following video chats and self-measurements by the girls she produced the fantastic dresses in the perfect colour I was looking for. I wanted the dresses to be fun and allow the girls to dance the night away in!
All the mens’ suits were hired from Dress For The Occasions in Haverfordwest. Geraint was brilliant as we only fully decided on what we wanted when we arrived in Pembrokeshire 2.5 weeks before the wedding. In addition many of our ushers only arrived in the county two days before so it was a frantic journey for them to get to the shop in time to get the right sizes sorted – all handled calmly by Geraint.
Our band, Brother Ray, were superb. As a music graduate it was really important to me to have a very talented band that kept the dance floor packed all night and that’s exactly what Brother Ray did. With a combination of soul and funk, old and new tunes I couldn’t have asked for anything better. The band was interspersed with our DJ – Chris James who complemented Brother Ray perfectly with more dance numbers including a dance version of the Worzels ‘Brand New Combine Harvester’ a request of the farmer groom!
And lastly our photographer who we can’t praise enough – Whole Picture. Their style combined with their aptitude for wedding photography could not have been more perfect for our day. As we now live in New Zealand, it was extremely important for us to spend as much time on our wedding day in Wales with our guests and not head off for a couple of hours for photos. Vince from Whole Picture ensured that this could be the case without us missing out on the all-important couple shots. We feel that our pictures capture the fun and laughter of the day, a day that was perfect for us in every way.
Photography by Whole Picture
- Dress Boutique Laura May Bridal
- Marquee Hire Blue Sky Marquees
- Catering Alfresco Catering
- Meat Supplier Andrew Rees Butchers
- Fish Supplier Welsh Seafoods
- Cake Huckleberry Bakes
- Florist Next Door Florists
- Hanging Lanterns The Hanging Lantern Company
- Groomsmen Dress For The Occasions
- Wines Celtic Wines
- Band Brother Ray