Total Hollywood Glamour.

That is what bride Liz thought when she tried on Francesca by Jenny Packham, not the dress she necessarily expected but certainly the one of her dreams.

In fact there is plenty of the unexpected in the beautiful affair of Liz and Tom captured by Anna Hardy, not least the service at Pistyll Rhaedr Waterfall in Llanrhaedr, Wales. Yes, a waterfall.

And then there were mis-matched maids in a selection of beige shades, pink roses with burgundy carnations (yes burgundy – we love!) and a psychedelic Beatles inspired 3-tiered sponge cake. There is a yellow submarine cake -topper and everything.

Oh, and if you recognise the smiley blonde girl that’s because it’s RMW real bride Karen, there is an awesome I’m-on-the-phone pic of her.

Enjoy the pretty you gorgeous lot you.

Stop Traffic

I’ve never been into weddings or a girl who dreamt of her big day. So I didn’t feel comfortable with a veil, I’ve never really understood veils I sill don’t! I did try a few on but it didn’t feel right. So I went for a lovely tiara headband from No Angels, simple and understated and it went beautifully with the jeweled appliqué on the back of my dress.

I decided to be bold with my make up and I found a lovely make up and hair artist Melanie Meik, we had a lovely trial together and she really did just get it straight away. We went for a big loose curled pin up do that I wanted to look quite messy and unstructured. She used a hair bun and some hair extensions to give it extra volume, which I loved. Then for the make up we went for bold eyeliner and red lips. I have an addiction to blusher so I think that was the only thing I asked for more of, and more, and just a little bit more!

Hollywood Glamour

My dress was Francesca by Jenny Packham. I bought it from the lovely shop Amy Louise in Cheshire. I actually put a deposit down on a different dress after a moment of madness and a lot of maids tears! But after a lot of sleepless nights Tom agreed that I should just go for it and get a dress I really wanted. I had a limited budget but loved Jenny Packham dresses and Amy Louise had some of their Packham sample dresses on sale. So I raced over there with my BM Karen before they got snapped up. I would never have picked Francesca myself. I thought silk satin would show up all my lumps and bumps and not suit me but when the girls at Amy Louise picked it for me I thought I should give it a go. It’s a cliché but when I put it on I felt like a million dollars. It was total Hollywood glamour.

I loved the fact it was simple but it also had really intricate detail, which made it interesting and different. It felt glorious to touch and I didn’t want to take it off. I knew it was the one. Amy Louise agreed to sell me their sample Francesca and even though it was a huge reduction from the original price it was still over budget. A few flutters of my eyelashes to my adorable fiancé and he agreed to up the budget so I could get the dress of my dreams. No more sleepless nights for me only dreams of Fred Aistaire and Ginger Rogers. Heaven!

My fake fur stole (which saved my life) was borrowed from a family friend about a week before the big day! I was adamant I wouldn’t cover up the dress but it was just too cold to do without it. It was an absolute lifesaver and I was so grateful for the warmth it gave me!

Pretty Minus The Pomp

For the bridesmaids and groomsmen we wanted to try and cut down on all the ‘pomp’ of weddings with all the ‘fittings’ and the obsession with colour coordination. Our friends and family are all over the place so it would have been a logistical nightmare for everyone to get together.

We wanted people to be relaxed and comfortable on our big day so we let them wear what they wanted. We gave the bridesmaid a colour range of beiges and gave the groomsmen each a knitted burgundy silk tie. They all decided what to wear and they all looked fab.

Doing Me Proud

Tom loves his clothes and was very proud of all of his attire, he wouldn’t forgive me if I didn’t give you a full list of his threads! He wore a stunning Aubin and Wills/Fox Bros 3 piece wool suit, with a penny collar shirt from Saville Row, Grenson Brogues, a hand made silk woven tie by Doherty, Evans and Stott and his lovely Aubin and Wills red socks which he was very proud of as he kept flashing them at us all day!

He looked amazing and totally did me proud.

Re-useable Blooms

As a girl who isn’t what you would call a ‘girly girl’ I really struggled with flowers. I didn’t really have an opinion of what I liked. We had run out of money by the time we came round to organising them and we really didn’t have a clue what we wanted. We went to a shop called Hobo florist who I really can’t recommend enough. I gave them a rough idea of what I wanted and told them that we had limited budget. They were so good!

We decided to go with pink roses and burgundy carnations with lots of thistle and greenery. For the tables the florist suggested using the bridesmaid’s bouquets as the table centerpieces. We would never have thought of that and it saved us so much money, which just goes to show how lovely our florist was, she even went out and measured the jars that we were using on our tables to make sure the bouquets would stand well in them! They were possibly the nicest bouquets I have ever seen and I didn’t even like flowers to begin with!

Real Moments

We choose Anna Hardy as our photographer. We didn’t want a lot of group or forced shots, we wanted to capture real moments through out the day.

Anna was perfect, we saw her website and just knew. She has a real talent and we felt so happy we choose her; she really did just make our day. We didn’t want her to leave! She helped us with timings, she kept the day flowing, she caught the most amazing pictures and moments and to top it all off she did it all with a smile and a laugh. We love her and so did everyone in our wedding party. If she wasn’t happily taken I think the Best man might have tried his luck!

Submarine Surprise

Our cake was a total surprise on the day. Tom’s sister had offered to make us one, as she owns a restaurant and her deserts are to die for! We thought we were getting a very nice chocolate cake but on the day when I went to look at our cake I found a psychedelic Beatles inspired 3-tiered amazing sponge cake by Janet Moorwood Cakes of Sheffield. I love the Beatles, being born in Liverpool, as did Tom’s late granddad as he was born there too. So it really was a touching and sentimental surprise cake.

We have the yellow submarine from the top of the cake at home and it makes me smile every time I see it.

A Monsta Ball

A family friend played a few songs for us at the waterfall, it was a cold day so he really did do an amazing job keeping everyone entertained.

We found our band for the reception on the internet after doing a bit of research we went for JukeBox Mama – Why did I pick them? Honestly? Because they had one of my favorite songs on the set list ‘Apply some pressure’ by Maximo park.

That’s the truth of it! It wasn’t a recommendation, we hadn’t even seen or heard them play!

Luckily the risk paid off as they totally rocked and all the guests commented on how good they were. I think I danced for 2 hours straight. I barely spoke to my evening guests I couldn’t tear myself away, they kept playing great song after great song after great song. As a lover of good music a good band was essential and these guys blew us away. They have actually changed their name though and are now called Monsta Ball.

We also had our photographer do a photo booth. This was upstairs in another room so it gave our guests somewhere else to go and have a bit of fun. The results were hilarious and I think some people got a bit carried away! Including us!

Rule The World

Choosing a first dance was really difficult. My music taste is completely different to Toms and the only song we could agree on was Take That’s ‘Rule the World’. We loved the film Stardust and my late Aunts partner Struan who is an actor played the priest who accidentally gets murdered in the first scene (not to name drop or anything!)Tom always sings the song to me whenever it is on, so it had to be that one.

I wanted it to be special to us though as I can’t really say I’m a huge Take That fan. So I asked a close family friend who is an amazing musician to do a version of it to make it more suited to our big day and us. He came up with a beautiful understated acoustic version of it. We were so grateful that we had our own special song.


Tom came up with the idea of having an eggcup as a favour, we kept it simple with white porcelain eggcups. We decided to use these as name places and as favours. We wanted to do something personal so we hand painted them all (with a little help from Best Man Ben) with peoples initials and the date of our wedding. Hand painting 72 eggcups was time consuming but we were thrilled with the results it was definitely worth it and added a personal touch to the day.

Minimal Decor

At the waterfall we got married in a wooden prayer lodge and we had a toast in a small marquee – Tom and Ben decorated this the morning of the wedding, we kept it simple and traditional and covered everywhere in bunting. We had polka dot windmills in front of the lodge and a few hanging doves as our decoration. The boys did well and it was a lovely surprise for me to see it all in it’s finery on the day.

The Boutique hotel where we had our reception really didn’t need any decoration, but to make it more personal we made our own personalized bunting with photos of us intertwined with a Love Is…. Picture. We had our chairs covered with a pink sash by Elegant finishing touches. We decorated our tables with rose petals and ceramic love birds and had La Parfait clip top jars to put our bouquets in.

In Spirit

I couldn’t have asked for a more special location than Pistyll Rhaedr Waterfall, going somewhere so breathtakingly beautiful and being able to share it with your friends and family is something truly special that will stay with us forever.

Yes it was difficult getting there and back and yes the weather wasn’t kind but I wouldn’t have wanted to get married anywhere else. It was spiritual, beautiful and a place to return whenever we want and look back at the best day of our lives.

It was important to me to remember those that could not be with us on our wedding day. It was nice to feel that they were with us somehow and that we had to included their memory somewhere in our wedding, we had a Moris Minor to take us to and from the waterfall and this was the car my late Aunt used to pootle round in Camden when she was young, we had the Beatles cake to represent grandparents gone but not forgotten and I wore my late Nan’s ear rings and bracelet, all these little things helped us to feel as though even though they could not be there in person they were there in spirit.

My advice to future brides is not to worry about the little things, you can obsess about them so much and ultimately it doesn’t matter on the day – the only thing that matters on the day is how much you love your future husband and how happy you are to be marrying them – if everyone else can see that they won’t even notice anything else.

Brides Gown – Jenny Packham at Amy Louise Bridal

Grooms Suit – Aubin and Wills

Blooms – Hobo Florist

Reception Venue – Sweeney Hall Hotel

Cake – Janet Moorwood Cakes

Band – Monsta Ball

Photography – Anna Hardy

A giant banana…every wedding should have one. And a fur stole, how glamorous was that?

If you missed Liz’s genius way of getting more bloom for your buck then go back and have a read – Lolly and I were both all “oh! how clever!”

And I want to swank around with a back as beautiful as Liz’s all day every day please Santa.

Big Hollywood Love

Charlotte xxx

Author: Charlotte O’Shea
Purveyor of short shorts. Make-up junkie. Hopes to grow old disgracefully.

28 thoughts on “Total Hollywood Glamour.

  1. I’m in tears, Lizzie your words just bring the whole day back, it was so perfect. I have never been so proud than being one of your best girls with you on your big day.

    I’m about to run out of the door so can’t ramble on too much, but this really was the most beautiful, special, fun weddings I’ve ever been too, and it just so happened to be my best friend marrying the man of her dreams!

    GORGEOUS xxxxxxxxxx

  2. THAT dress!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    What a stunning dress, and a gorgeous bride 🙂

    And this venue…..well what can I say – you got married by a waterfall?!!!!!

    the photos of the two of you are so lovely, so much smiling 🙂 In fact all the photos look ace & obviously I am loving the booth action!!

    Congrats on a fab day xxx

    oh & @ Karen – photo of you dancing/fainting?!!! HIL.AR.IOUS!!!! had me in stitches :-p xx

    ps. fab photo booth prop ideas as well – might have to steal a couple of these! 😉

  3. LOVE that picture of you on the phone Karen hehehe

    Liz your day looked perfect, stunning dress, love your head band! Congratulations!

  4. Oh Liz, I am not exaggerating when I say you look AMAZING in that dress. I bet your lovely groom’s jaw hit the floor when you walked out in that, what a lucky boy!

    This wedding looks so much fun, and a flipping waterfall??? I have serious venue envy this morning!

    Congratulations Liz and Tom! xxx

    P.S. @Karen – Looking good my lovely 😉 x

  5. Hello gorgeous bride alert! I’m not normally a fan of a JP dress (I know, what’s wrong with me?!) but Liz rocks hers and I couldn’t picture any other style! Actually, all of the wedding party look super!

    I have spent many a childhood holiday in Wales and have visited Pistyll Rhaedr quite a few times and it is breathtaking – an amazing place to get married.

    Great photos too, look like they capture all the emotion of the day, and Karen’s dance moves are brilliant! x

  6. THAT dress. Oh my…. this is such a stunning wedding, I love her hair and makeup and thanks to Lizzie for explaining how they did it! Have been wondering about a hair piece as mine is so fine. The flowers are so gorgeous, groom and his boys have FAB suits…I could go on and on! Thanks for a lovely start to the day!

    Oh and Karen chanelling Gaga? I. die.

  7. @Kitty – Half my family are from Wales and I’ve never heard of this particular place – I know, how is that possible?! I definitely want to make a trip and take my camera 😉

    @MissVix – Only Karen could channel Gaga so well!

    Charlotte xxx

  8. Oh wow! I have serious venue envy!

    What a fantastic looking day, I love your dress and everyone looks amazing.

    Love that pic of Karen throwing herself around 😉 xx

  9. Oooh Charlotte you should definitely go 🙂 To be fair, it is pretty hidden away up a tiny side road in the village and the road to get there is quite long!

    Mum and dad also used to make us climb the mountain way up behind…there’s a path the goes up to a lake but it takes a while and you need good shoes! x

  10. Ah where to start with the list of loves on this wedding…
    Ok here we go…love the different bridesmaids dresses, they look fab! Double love: the hand painted egg cups (they look sooo professional), using the bridesmaids’ bouquets for centrepieces (genius idea by your lovely florist), the wishing tree (really wish we’d done that but it was one of those ideas that never got to fruition), a bespoke arrangement for your first dance (wow!) and of course Liz, you totally rocked that dress!
    Lovely location, I originally thought you’d had a ‘destination’ wedding when I saw the waterfall. And the fur cape fitted right in, looks made for the dress…

  11. @Charlotte – did you get onto the ‘Big Love’ bunting too? One of Liz’s little catchphrases shared by your good self! x

  12. Ooh and the waterfall? It’s about an hour from Liverpool – crazy!! Very special place for me and my family so I was very emotional when Liz and Tom discovered they do weddings!! xx

  13. @Charlotte well that’s sounds perfect, studded shoes def sound rugged enough for mountaineering

    @karen i think we all need to know what you were dancing too?!

  14. Wow!! Thanks everyone for your lovely comments I’ve got very damp eyes right now! The waterfall is a magical place and I recommend everyone to visit….we had such a great day and this is bringing it all back, so thank you, thank you Rock my Wedding for sharing our big day with all you lovely gals. I’m just glad I’ve got Karens wedding to look forward to now and with the inside info I’ve got its going to be HUGE. Big love to all!!

  15. This is absolutely beautiful…..super gorgeous bride, AMAZING frock (and hair, make up etc etc!), and the venue is out of the world.

    Really looks like the most perfect day – massive congrats! x

  16. They sound spot on Charlotte 😉

    You’ll have to watch out for the boggy parts though – my mum lost a boot up there once…it was a bit like that scene with the puddle in the Vicar of Dibley! Died with laughter we did!

  17. This is a fantastic wedding!

    I think it’s such a brilliant idea about the bridesmaids bouquets! Seems so obvious now! Also like the idea of sending bridesmaids a colour palette and getting them to choose their own.

    I could go on a long while with the things l like about this wedding…

    It looks amazing from the photographs – congratulations!

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