We absolutely love it when a bride and groom pour their absolute heart and soul into their wedding, and it's so apparent Sylvia & Pete did exactly that for their woodland wedding in South Wales. With an army of their nearest and dearest they created and decorated a dream DIY day, perfectly paying homeage to the Brides Italian heritage, and their proposal location with anti pasti starters, pizzas and ice-cream, not to mention the homebaked Ferrero Roche wedding cake and Limoncello favours. Every detail has a sentimental story behind it, so make sure once you've pored over (and pinned) all the amazing captures by Cat Beardsley you make notes of all the how-to's too. Happy Easter Monday everyone :)


Sylvia the Bride: The dress I wore was the Suzanne Neville gown ‘Scarlet’. The lady in the dress shop then pulled the ‘Scarlet’ gown out as a ‘wild card’, which we added a lace sleeved bolero over the top to see what it would look like with sleeves. I fell in love with it instantly. The split up the side just above the knee meant I would be comfortable even if I ended up barefoot in the woodland (which I think I did at one point), so it was perfect! However, the price not being so perfect, I searched for a second hand version, but there were none to be found. Incredibly, a friend of a friend was getting married and was wearing that dress and wanted to sell her dress after the wedding. It also just so happened that she was exactly the same height as me, and I just needed to stick to the wedding diet for a few more months and I was in my dream dress. I had the lace sleeves added by Cardiff Alterations, a lady called Rhiannon Jones who did an incredible job making the dress absolutely perfect for me. The veil was bought for me by my mum as a gift, and was from High Society in Cowbridge. The shoes were Miss KG from House of Fraser. My fiance loves the classic vintage style so bought me a pair of pearl earrings from Tiffany’s. My makeup was by Makeup by Dominique who followed my exact wishes of a natural but glowing look.

Grooms Attire

Pete the Groom: As soon as we got engaged, if not before I was always set on the idea of wearing a brown 3 piece tweed suit with a bow tie as I love the vintage and country look. Having been told the Spring was the wrong time to be looking for brown tweed by every suit shop, I finally found one on ASOS by Harris Tweed. Admittedly it was a little warm wearing thick tweed in the middle of summer, thank goodness it rained all day to help cool me down! My eldest brother bought me a pocket watch as an engagement present which I wore and the shoes were my favourite footwear the Clarks Wallabee - A classic!!

The Venue

Sylvia the Bride: The ceremony took place in St Teilos, a small church hidden in the trees in Merthyr Mawr, somewhere I’ve always wanted to get married. After looking at plenty of Wedding barns that didn’t fit our budget my mum stumbled across a small barn in a large woodland (Larp Candleston Campsite) often used for Live action role play events and the occasional filming (Lady Chatterly's Lover). We centred our DIY wedding around the rustic barn with our added marquees and games fort. The campsite offers, 4 yurts to sleep in, and many other hidden wonders. Camping was available to guests down a festoon and bunting laden path. Having lost our grandmother in the woods earlier in the week, my fiance hand painted signs on pieces of driftwood to help the guests.

Colour Scheme/Decor

With my Italian heritage and our love for Tuscany (our proposal location) we wanted a rustic, Italian feel. We wanted olive trees, wine barrels and plenty of Prosecco. We used old pallet tables, hay bails, hessian and lace bunting and amazing willow decorations by my mum Welsh Baskets, all under plenty of fairy lights and greenery. Our table names were Italian place names that meant something to us while the wedding favours were small bottles of homemade Limoncello. The furniture to fill the marquee and around the woodland was lent to us from my mums friends. Any spare chairs/ garden furniture they had we borrowed!


My mum did all the flowers; with the help of friend Jo Mcgaughy; despite never having done this before, and did the most incredible job. She picked the flowers with an army of friends to help, mostly from the organically grown from The Flower Hive, and from our own garden. She made me this beautiful white bridal bouquet with mediterranean looking greenery, and soft pastels flowers for the bridesmaids. She wove a stunning arch for outside the church, with pale blue hydrangeas picked from an obliging neighbours garden in the village. The Wedding Party Fashion The bridesmaids were in soft pastel shades all slightly different to each other by TFNC on ASOS, with homemade flower crowns by my mother, using silver weeping pear from our garden to give that mediterranean look again. Our hair was done beautifully by Blaise at Marooned Hair Cutters. The groom wanted the groomsmen to have matching tweed waistcoats, slightly different to his own suit, with black skinny jeans and of course matching bow ties.


It was a close competition as to who could cry the most during the ceremony, which the groom won. The ceremony had a laid back feel to it, with the camera happy vicar cracking jokes throughout. He even managed to grab a photo of the whole congregation half way through. My fiance wanted his grandad to do a reading and it went down so well with all the guests, being compared to a narration from Lord of the Rings by some!


My sister and bridesmaid Rose had incorporated one of the areas which was an enclosed fort, and organised a surprise games court with homemade fair games including a coconut shy, photo holes and a throw a ring on the finger. Our band Coverland had people dancing from soundcheck to the moment they left - they were brilliant!


Guests were greeted with antipasti prepared for by ourselves, served on slates we sourced from an old nearby barn. The main meal started with a tomato and mozzarella tartlet, with lamb meatballs or a spinach and ricotta tortellini in a four cheese sauce to follow. We knew we wanted simple but rich and comforting Italian food, and Tracy and her team at Vale Catering did an incredible job. The cake; an idea executed by my mum and sister with a little help from everyone else who had spare time during the week; was a three tiered Ferrero Rocher cake was made up of 3 different flavoured ganaches - coffee and hazelnut, chocolate orange and hazelnut. This was accompanied by gelato and sorbet served from my cousins ice cream bike. The night was finished off with delicious stone baked pizza from the guys at Ffwrnes Pizza. Drinks were served from a gorgeous converted vintage caravan bar, who catered to all our Italian needs with Aperol spritz and pimped up prosecco. Narelle and her partner at the Roaming Caravan Co really are the best and were so supportive throughout the whole day!


Cat Beardsley and her husband were the perfect photographers. They really made us feel at ease all day, never intruding and always finding the right time for photos. On a day shadowed by cloud and rain they managed to find spots of light everywhere. We were so over the moon with our photos.


We were desperate for a wedding video to look back after the day but our budget didn’t quite stretch that far. Luckily my sister’s boyfriend is very handy with the camera and had all the equipment needed to video our wedding and we are so grateful to him for doing it.


Use anything you can find and incorporate it into your wedding. We found so many things around the house that we could use for decoration; Old stools, step ladders and mirrors were all utilised. We also used beach driftwood, and pallets we found to make signs and tables. Also, give friends/family specific jobs early on to help ease the pressure - the grooms mother and aunty started making the white lace and hessian bunting two years before the wedding (and we had miles of it). Finally, if you find that dream dress but can’t afford it, don’t give up hope. There is always some way around it; whether you find a second hand version online, or find a local dress maker to make a similar version of their own for you!
Lorna Shaw

Written by Lorna Shaw

Dress Designer: Suzanne Neville - Scarlet | Alterations: Cardiff Alterations | Bridal Shoes: Miss KG from House of Fraser | Makeup: Makeup by Dominique | Grooms Suit: Harris Tweed via ASOS | Groom shoes: Clarks Wallabee | Bridesmaids: TFNC via ASOS | Venue: Larp Candleston Campsite | Willow Decorations: Welsh Baskets | Flowers: The Flower Hive | Hair: Marooned Hair Cutters | Band: Coverland | Catering: Vale Catering | Ice Cream Bike: Bernards Tricycle | Pizza: Ffwrnes Pizza | Drinks: The Roaming Caravan Co

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