Inspiration

Eleri and Gareth are among the few couples who had a September 2020 wedding. They downsized their original 80-guest bank holiday weekend wedding for an intimate mid-week ceremony with 13 of their closest family and friends. In their words - "We didn’t really appreciate what our perfect day looked like until we had no option but to adapt." They filled their micro ceremony and reception with autumnal decor, dried flowers and festoon lights. Eleri wore an incredible homemade wedding dress and swung on a trapeze (yes, trapexe!), and every photograph captured by Jo Greenfield photography shows pure joy, love and laughter.

What Made Our Day Unique

We are among the few who got hitched in 2020! We adapted our original 80-guest bank holiday weekend plan to an intimate mid-week ceremony with 13 of our closest family and friends. A few raindrops used to be enough to ruin a wedding day but it turns out that getting married during a pandemic can be quite testing as well… but our battle to get down the aisle has shown us what we truly value, our friends, family and each other. So in front of 13 of our nearest and dearest on a rainy Wednesday, we got hitched in a tiny Church, no fuss, no stress, just a lot of love. As they say, rain on your wedding day is good luck because it signifies that your marriage will last. As you know, a knot that becomes wet is extremely hard to untie – therefore when you “tie the knot” on a rainy day, your marriage is supposedly just as hard to unravel. All I can say is that we must have had a hell of a lucky start… the rain was a piece of cake compared to hurricane Covid! The truth is that we just wanted to be married to each other so that’s what we did. We took back control and now I will always remember 2020 as the year that I married the love of my life. Here’s to breaking tradition and putting the marriage back into weddings!

Eleri & Gareth

Inspiration & Styling

Wild Welsh Wedding! We are inspired by the stunning Welsh landscape and incorporated lots of natural materials, colours and structures into our styling. Think cool slate contrasting with golden earthy tones. We had styled the barn ourselves, from sourcing antique brass tableware and candlesticks to creating an atmospheric festoon bulb ‘chandelier’ through oak branches hung from a vintage ladder. Most of the details were handmade by me, including the natural Welsh linen napkins (another benefit of not having 80 guests!) and painstakingly hand-transferred gilded slate invitations. I certainly can’t take any credit for the show-stopping dried, foraged Welsh flowers by Rosehip & Wren. Not only were they sensational on the day but we get to keep them forever in our home! Also, my lovely Nan made our wedding cake, and with only 13 guests there was plenty leftover!

Eleri & Gareth

September 2020 Wedding

After postponing their August bank holiday weekend wedding, Eleri and Gareth knew all they wanted to be was married. They adapted their plans to have mid-week, Septemeber 2020 wedding halfway between their two family homes, enlisting the help of local Welsh suppliers. The vibe was intimate, full of love and laughter and featured dried flowers and cosy lighting. They held signs in the church, Eleri swung on a trapeze, and they ate and drank around the firepit. It looks everybit as perfect as it sounds.

Suppliers

We chose a wedding venue in the heart of South Wales, exactly half-way between our two-family homes. Our Welsh heritage and culture are incredibly important to both of us as a Welsh-speaking family. All of our suppliers were Welsh independent businesses. From the foraged Welsh flowers by the incredible Rosehip and Wren to the award-winning Welsh street food by The Pink Peppercorn. The Groom sourced an all-Welsh bar featuring Penderyn Whisky, Bartu Ddu Rum and an impressive selection of Welsh ales. We sang welsh hymns so Cardiff’s most talented busker, Piano Man Max and our guests were armed with a welcome bag full of Welsh goodies. The star of the show was our genius photographer and videographer, Jo Greenfield. I came across Jo’s work after she had photographed my friend’s wedding last year. The photographs were even more important for us as we were unable to have all of our friends and family with us on our wedding day so we wanted the photographs to capture the details, special moments and overall energy of the day to share. We could never have imagined that our photographs would capture the day so perfectly, each shot is a work of art and Jo’s video of the highlights is the single most beautiful thing we’ve ever seen. Thank you, Jo!

Eleri & Gareth

Favourite Moments

It was genuinely impossible to pick a favourite moment, I know every couple must say the same but every single moment of the day was perfect. Dancing barefoot around the fire pit as my brother played guitar, the groom sharing a glass of famed Penderyn Whisky with his best men before setting off for the church, the moment that we surprised our families as they walked into the small barn we had decorated, even getting soaking wet in the rain by the mythical Welsh Lake where we married. Discovering a trapeze in the garden was a fun highlight! I trained as an aerialist with NoFit State Circus (@nofit_state_circus www.nofitstate.org) so had a lot of fun playing on the trapeze, tipsy and barefoot in my wedding dress. One of my favourite shots of the day is where I’m hanging upside down showing off my sexy bridal lingerie (by none other than Next!) The moment we will never forget was when we exchanged our vows. My husband said his vows in English and I said mine in Welsh, it was more beautiful than we could have imagined. We were honoured to be able to have our photographer capture that moment for our friends and family who couldn't be there.

Eleri & Gareth

Advice

If you learn to let go of control you might just find that fate had a better plan for you anyway. As it happens, we didn't really appreciate what our perfect day looked like until we had no option but to adapt. Having a small, intimate wedding allowed us to really enjoy every single moment of the day, to pause and really take in those special moments and share them, which we wouldn’t have necessarily been able to have at a wedding with 80 guests pulling us in different directions! I wasn’t able to have a hairdresser or make-up artist and I was nervous about how I would manage on the day but getting ready in the morning was even more special. I put on my favourite music and doing my own make-up felt ritualistic, even relaxing. After all, I’d been doing it myself for 15 years! Covid-19 has given the green light to elopements and smaller ceremonies, which have until now been seen as taboo. If they truly love you, your friends and family will understand and totally respect your wishes, as long as you take plenty of photos to show them afterwards!

Eleri & Gareth
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Homemade Wedding Dress

I made my own wedding dress! I read an article on the Vivienne Westwood Davies Street Bridal Boutique a few years ago which included a photograph of the stunning couture ‘Princess Dress’ [which I’ve attached to this email]. It was the single most beautiful bundle of fabric I had ever seen so when it came to my own wedding dress I couldn’t wait to get in touch with the lovely people at Vivienne Westwood and ask about it… I wasn’t quite expecting that my dream dress carried a £25,000 price tag so it was on to Plan B. I stepped into a bridal shop for all of 30 seconds before retreating to the pub and realising that I would settle for nothing less than ‘the dress’. I told myself that the only way I could move on was to give it a go myself and when it all, inevitably went pear shaped I might be open to alternative suggestions… but that ‘fuck it’ moment never came… Now I have an amazing piece of artwork that I designed and made just for me that I can pass on to my children (or dogs). I loved every second of this project, from researching Edwardian patterns to sourcing fabrics from Italy and Moscow. I even included a silver bear pendant on the zip to honour my husband (whose nickname is ‘Bear’). I used my Mam’s old sewing machine, which she taught me to use at a pretty irresponsible age and even interrogated one of the designers at Vivienne Westwood (it all got a bit Glen Close #fatalattraction). As an artist, I decided to approach the project as I would a painting. I planned it, practised, studied my tools, practised more, scrapped the parts I didn’t like, adjusted the drape, pulled, folded and re-worked fabrics until something that started life in two dimensions slowly took on three-dimensional form. I might not be everyone’s cup of tea but that’s what I think makes a piece of art. As if the dress wasn’t special enough, my veil was custom made by a woman who happened to shares the same name as my grandmother, Lena Harris. I could think of no better way for her to be with me on my wedding day. While I was researching, I read about parachute wedding dresses that became a trend in the 40s, a historic anecdote that resonates even more so during the current pandemic. Silk was impossible to source during and after the War. The men who returned presented their sweethearts with the parachutes that saved their lives for them to make their wedding dress. That’s the moment that a bundle of fabric becomes a masterpiece.

Eleri & Gareth

We love it when brides get creative and design or make their own gowns. Real bride, Chelsey from our archives was a fitted number with front spilt and Emily enlisted the help of her mum to make her off the shoulder lace gown.

Written by Lorna Shaw

Wedding Venue: Tall Johns House | Homemade Wedding Dress with Fabric From : Tissura | Mother of The Bride and Groom Outfits: Baroque Boutique | Grooms Suit: Hawkes Bespoke Outfitters | Groomsmen: Hatts Emporium | Veil: handmade by Lena Harris on Etsy | Bridal Shoes: Harriet Wilde | Grooms Shoes: The Brogue Trader | Food: Pink Peppercorn Food Co. | Florist: Rosehip & Wren | Pianist: Cai Maxwell | Trestle Tables: Andrew Jones

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