This morning it’s all about glamour and sophistication. Rachel & Alex held their ceremony at The King Arthur Hotel in sunny Swansea and opted for an elegant white colour scheme and a dress code of black tie.
Rachel looks beautiful in an unusual Intuzuri gown paired with a glitzy bespoke headpiece. The beading on the bodice of her dress is absolutely divine. I’m also swooning over the Bridesmaids dresses – they are just such a pretty shape and colour.
And look out for the insanely cute page boys too – they look so dapper in their little suits and ties.
Rachel The Bride: I had no intention of buying ‘the dress’ the day I bought mine. I had intended to go up to London to buy my dress but as many London boutiques charge a consultation fee for just an hour, I wanted to identify what styles suited me best first to avoid wasting time in a one hour consultation. Whilst trying on other dresses, I noticed the Intuzuri Augustine dress out of the corner of my eye, it had been in the shop twelve hours and I was the first to try it on.
The second I looked in the mirror I knew it was ‘the one’. As a young bride I wanted something a little different from the norm and I loved the detail on the top and the capped sleeves. A veil had never appealed to me, and I felt that a veil would have detracted from the sparkly detail on the top of my dress, so I opted for a diamante hair piece which was custom made by Alison Tod Millinery in Abergavenny. My shoes were limited edition Karen Millen Swarovski crystal encrusted peep toes which I felt really complemented the sparkle in my dress; however, these came off in favour of a pair of River Island wedges for the evening reception because I couldn’t wait to get on the dancefloor and these were not practical dancing shoes!
My husband wore a French Connection dinner suit with a Hugo Boss dicky bow and black and white spotty braces. Again, as a young couple we wanted our wedding to be modern, contemporary and a reflection of our personalities so for the men, we opted for a ‘black tie’ theme which many of the male guests followed.
Alex felt more comfortable in a dinner suit opposed to the traditional tails, and added a bit of character with black and white spotted braces and dicky bow which went down well with many of our guests!
Our decision to adopt a ‘black tie’ theme was also influenced by our colour scheme; our Bridesmaids dresses were a taupe, champagne, colour which were impossible to match with any standard accessory colour stocked by high street suit hire vendors so we opted for black and white suits and the colour scheme and décor followed this trend.
The colour scheme and décor were 100% influenced by the Bridesmaids dresses which were the first thing I bought, nothing matched them! We opted for a white colour scheme with orchid and gypsophila centrepieces and a ‘wheat’ coloured satin chair sash with white lace overlay. As do many Brides at the King Arthur, we decorated the stunning oak beams with fairy lights and tried to create a simple and elegant atmosphere and were thrilled with how the room looked.
I knew we had found our venue the second we set foot in the King Arthur Hotel. With its oak beams, natural slate floors and landscaped gardens it was 100% the style I was looking for, and met our only non negotiable requirement – no carpets!
The staff at the King Arthur hotel were fantastic throughout the whole wedding planning process and we could not fault a single thing on the day. We were blessed with amazing weather which showed off this stunning venue and its beautiful gardens in all its glory.
The owner of AJ Gutteridge is a friend of my cousin; I had seen her amazing floristry previously and really enjoyed an initial consultation where bouquet and centrepiece ideas were brainstormed. Much of the floristry was influenced by Pinterest; I knew I wanted the table centrepieces to be something quite big and spectacular and had seen these amazing huge puff balls (almost clouds) of gypsophila on pinterest, and since white was my colour scheme, I thought a similar thing would be perfect.
Following the white theme, I loved the idea of an all white hand held orchid bouquet, and wanted to incorporate orchids into the centrepieces. The florist then suggested the big clouds of gypsophila with cascading orchid stems. We also opted for large gypsophila hearts to hang on the oak beams in the king Arthur hotel, and on the church gates, and to tie in the orchid and gypsophelia theme, my bridesmaids had gypsophelia bouquets, groomsmen and page boys had matching buttonholes, and my husband had a single orchid head buttonhole.
The page boys and mini usher wore dinner suits and dicky bows to match the groomsmen, and black converse shoes. Again, we wanted to add a bit of character and fun which is why we asked for the boys to wear the converses; their choice of footwear was a great talking point amongst guests, and went down very well! We had two page boys who came along to the church with the bridal party, and one ‘mini usher’, the son of one of the ‘big ushers’ who went to the church with the groomsmen. Our youngest page boy went ahead of me into the church with a ‘here comes the bride’ sign bought on Not On The Highstreet.com, and the older page boy carried the ring on a Minnie and Micky mouse ring pillow bought by my Mum in Paris which was a really cute personal touch. Our ‘mini usher’ stood with his Dad who was giving out order of service, and gave out bubbles and confetti from a wicker basket.
Groomsmen wore the same dinner suit as the Groom with a black and white spotty waistcoat and black dicky bows. My husband wanted to stand out as the groom and opted against a waistcoat himself, wearing braces and a dicky bow instead.
A special moment for me was walking down the aisle to Taliesin String Quartet playing Coldplay Yellow, this is a special song for me and Alex and this was a special and emotional part of the ceremony for me.
We also had a family friend to sing a traditional Welsh song which was very emotional.
We opted for a string quartet to play at both our ceremony and the drinks reception afterwards. For the drinks reception we requested current, chart songs to maintain the modern aspect. We wanted guests to recognise and enjoy the music and received many comments complimenting the choice of a string quartet.
For the evening entertainment there was no negotiation, from the moment of our engagement my husband knew he wanted his favourite local rock band ‘Devious’ to play at the wedding. The band perform every boxing day at Alex’ local rugby club and he never misses a year so he was thrilled when they finally confirmed they could commit to our wedding just 5 months before. They are a live rock band for whom crowd participation and involvement is key; the night ended with every single person on the dance floor and the King Arthurs first bride and groom crowd surf!
A three course meal followed by coffee and mints was provided by the King Arthur Hotel. Since our wedding was in the height of summer we wanted a light cool starter and opted for beef tomato and buffalo mozzarella on brushetta with balsamic glaze. The main meal was a choice of chicken or beef dinner, and desert was vanilla New York style cheesecake with an assortment of fresh berries served with locally produced ice cream. We were relieved we kept the menu light and cool as the weather on our wedding day was very hot.
We decided against canapés on arrival; a friend made 141 heart shaped Welsh cakes the morning before the wedding to serve with welcome drinks, and we decided to welcome guests with a chocolate fountain with a selection of fruits, donuts, fudge and marshmallows. I was not sure about using a chocolate fountain as a welcome feature as it is typically a feature of the evening reception, but it was very well received by guests (particularly the page boys), as guests could eat as much or as little as they wanted in the sunshine.
I aimed to utilise local vendors where possible; our cake was also inspired by Pinterest, and was made by a local company called Create a Cake based in our home town, Maesteg. The lady who made our cake was called Helen, and she had previously made the wedding cake filmed for the TV show ‘Gavin and Stacey’, which was another influential factor!
We decided on our photographer Martin Ellard at My Big Day Photos, after meeting with him to have a brief chat and view his portfolio. We noticed he had photographed the pictures featured on the website of our venue The King Arthur Hotel and thought the pictures were beautiful. After meeting with Martin, myself and my mum were drawn by his professional attitude, friendly nature and warm personality as well as his obvious passion for wedding photography; his outstanding professional portfolio was a bonus.
Martin was a fantastic photographer who effortlessly captured the emotion of our wedding day and sought to obtain the best images possible with evident skill and knowledge whilst respecting our desire to socialise with our guests and have quality time with each other. Martin strived to remain as unobtrusive as possible, and we often didn’t notice he was taking photos – this is reflected in the natural and candid images that we are absolutely thrilled with.
We were privileged to have been able to take photographs in locations special to us, Martin adopted a flexible approach and was extremely pro active in scouting out amazing locations to capture images on my grandpa’s farm and in local woodland where myself and my husband walk our dog. This was really special to us and means we will always have an affinity to the locations captured in our wedding photographs. Martin seeks to add personal touches wherever appropriate, and suggested we take a photograph as a surprise to my Dad underneath a tree that my Dad had told him he ‘loved’. This was such a thoughtful touch which really meant a lot to my Dad.
The videographer was a complete surprise to myself and my husband, and was a wedding gift from my Mum and Dad! It was a lovely touch, I have since received the video and it is fantastic; an emotional and candid reflection of the best day of our lives!
Photography by Martin Ellard My Big Day Photos
- Gown Intuzuri
- Headpiece Alison Tod
- Groom French Connection
- Venue The King Arthur Hotel
- Guttridge Flowers Florist
- String Quartet Taliesin String Quartet
- Cake Create A Cake
- Bridesmaids Karen Millen
- Stationery Crystal Fizz
- Decor Got It Covered
- Bridal Boutique Allison Jayne Bridalwear
- Make Up & Hair Farhana Ali