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31st Jan 2013

Elin & Jamie

I grew up in Pembrokeshire, West Wales, and Jamie grew up in Whitstable, Kent.
We met at Jamie's older sister's leaving party! I was living in Cardiff and was friends with Rachel, Jamie's older sister. Rachel was planning on emigrating to Australia with her family, and she had mentioned to me a few times that me and her brother would be a really good match.  I didn't even know she had a brother and had never met him and just assumed she was trying to match-make us as we were both single.  Plus as he lived in Brighton and I lived in Cardiff, and I had already had a couple of long-distance relationships, and didn't really want another one, I didn't think anymore of it, until she showed me a photo of Jamie, and I thought ooo he's quite nice! So, luckily for me, Jamie decided to attend Rachel's leaving party in Cardiff, and we met that night and completely hit it off and the rest is history!  Jamie didn't know anything of Rachel's matchmaking efforts by the way, until the day after the party!

We started our relationship as a long-distance relationship, with me living in Cardiff and Jamie living in Brighton.  We saw each other as often as we could, every other weekend if possible.  It was tough sometimes, but we knew it was worth the effort, and after just over a year together, I managed to get a job in London and moved down to Brighton to live with Jamie.  Life together is great.  Jamie has a (now) 12-year-old son, who is with us every other night of the week and every other weekend, and he has been really great.  I met him about a month after Jamie and I met and we got on from the word go, so we have been very lucky.  

Jamie proposed on Brighton beach on Valentine's Day 2010. We're not a very romantic couple, and despite having talked about getting married, it was completely unexpected!
Jamie chose the ring; it is white gold with a round diamond.

To be honest, I had never thought about my wedding or what it would be like until we actually got engaged. I definitely wanted something relatively simple, and flowers were really important to me.  We just wanted a fun, relaxed day and a party in the evening!
When finally looking for my dress, I initially wanted a lace dress as I really liked the vintage look, but I also liked floaty dresses, nothing too big.  
I tried on quite a lot of dresses, but once I saw my Jesus Peiro dress on the White Mischief website, and then tried it on, I knew it was the one. It just felt right and so comfortable and so me!  When Mum came back with me to see me in the dress, she knew it was a me too!  I wanted a dress I could move in, and one that Jamie could get close to me in, and this was perfect!
As my dress was floaty, and because Jamie and I are more or less the same height, I knew I wouldn't go for heels, so I chose some flat sandals from River Island which had pearl and diamond embellishments and matched my dress perfectly.

I wore pearls, which were not traditionally round in shape, but were more natural. I had a two-tier necklace; matching bracelet and small drop earrings.  I also wore my Mum's pearl watch, as my something old.
I added a brooch to my dress.  It was a Jenny Packham for Debenhams, round pearl and diamond brooch.  I pinned it on the bow area of the dress, and everyone said it looked lovely.  I also wore a feather and pearl piece in my hair, which I bought from Ribbon & Astor at Dorothy Perkins.
My bag was from Coast - the Felicia Clutch. It was a little bit extravagant, but I love it!

As I live in Brighton but was getting married back home in Wales, I decided to have a hair trial here with my regular hairdresser and then get a local hairdresser back home to recreate the style.  I tried an up-do, but whilst it did look wonderful, and my Brighton hairdresser did a great job, it just wasn't me and I didn't feel I looked like me.  So when I went home before the wedding for my hair trial, I asked the hairdresser to try curling my hair to give it body. I did love that look, but Jamie wanted me to look more natural and like me on the day, so in the end I went for a normal do on the day.  In hindsight, I'm not sure if this was the right decision as I think the hairdresser put some wax in my hair which flattened it a bit, so I spent most of the day spraying hairspray in my hair to give it body!
For my wedding makeup, my mum & dad picked up a leaflet for a wedding makeup artist from a local wedding fair, Jennifer Mills, so I contacted her for a trial, and loved the natural look she gave me, so decided there and then to go with her.

I chose my bridesmaid dresses from Coast. I wanted navy dresses and they did a beautiful dress, Symphony, which was available, both as a maxi and a short dress.  My sister and I went shopping to try them on and when she tried on the short version, we knew it was perfect and would go really well with my dress. Plus it was a dress that the girls can wear again, as it is pretty timeless.  I also ordered navy clutch bags to match for the girls and bought them necklaces - silver with a dove and their initial on them.  My flower girl wore the Grace Ivory Pearl bridesmaid dress from BHS.  The pearl detail on the waistband matched perfectly with my dress.  We accessorized her dress with a navy flower clutch bag from Debenhams and navy flower hair slides, also from Debenhams. As her dress had a high neck, I gave her a bracelet to wear with a slightly smaller dove to the one the bridesmaids wore, and her initial as charms on it.

The groom wore a dark grey French Connection suit from Moss Bros. We wanted to choose something that he could wear again.  His best man, ushers and both our fathers all wore the same.  They wore a white shirt with the suit and as our colour scheme was navy, emerald green and silver. We found the perfect tie in Tie Rack, which was emerald green with a navy and silver stripe through it. We found Jamie's son, Jay, a suit from BHS, which was more or less the same colour grey as the grooms suit.  He also wore a white shirt, but he wanted to wear a bowtie rather than a tie, so as we were struggling to find one for him, my wonderful and talented cousin, made a bowtie for him from the tie all the other men in the wedding party were wearing, so he matched perfectly!

Flowers were really important to me on the day. I wanted lots and lots, and we both wanted them to look like they'd just been picked rather than being too perfectly put-together.  My cousin Olwen, is amazing at flower arranging and has done some weddings before, so I knew she was the perfect choice to do my wedding flowers.  She understood my brief straight away - relaxed, loose arrangements, giving a fresh country feel. Either loose or tied bunches in a mix of vases on the tables, around 3-5 per table depending on size.  I wanted white and green flowers with lots of foliage and hints of blue, so we used foliage and some flowers from Olwen's and my Aunty Mary's gardens, and then she got the rest from the wholesalers.  I really wanted hydrangeas, but end of June is little early for them, however Olwen was able to cultivate some hydrangeas from both her garden and my Aunty Mary's, so on the day, I had about 5 green-white hydrangeas - I was so pleased!  Olwen recommended a florist, Next Door Florist in Narberth,  to do my bouquet, the wrist corsages and button-holes, and as Olwen knows the florist really well, they were able to work together to ensure that the flowers Olwen was doing would match those in my bouquet.  I had Avalanche Roses, Spray Roses in cream, pale blue thistles, green Lissuanthus, white Bouvardia, Dill, Thlaske and Snowball and the flowers were loosely put together with long stems which were wrapped with our tri-coloured ribbons.  My flower girl carried a small bouquet with the same flowers as in mine, also tied with the tri-coloured ribbons.  The bridesmaids and both our mothers had pearl wrist corsages with roses, and ribbons in our tri-colour attached.  The groom's buttonhole was a pale blue thistle and white rose, with the tri-coloured ribbon and all the other men in the wedding party had white roses with the tri-coloured ribbon in their button holes.

For the invites we wanted something simple, and after months of not finding what we wanted, we decided to send invites in the shape of large luggage tags, with the tri-coloured ribbons attached. A local printer at home, Cleddau Press made these using brown card; they looked fab!
We invited 146 guests, but I think in the end around 110 attended.  As we were getting married in West Wales, and knew it was a long way for a lot of people to travel, everyone was invited to the entire day and evening, there were no separate evening guests.  I have a very big family, and we have lots of friends, so this is why the number was relatively high.

We loosely had a shabby-chic/vintage/country theme.  We just wanted the wedding to be relaxed and not too formal.  I love buttons and ribbons, so wanted to incorporate these into the day, and navy, emerald green and silver was our colour scheme, so all the napkins were wrapped with tri-coloured ribbons in these colours, along with a vintage mother of pearl button. My mum spent hours putting these together!  Music is also very important to us, so we decided to use old vinyl records as our place -mats!  We decided to use luggage tags as the place names, and these were also tied to the ribbons on the napkins. I wanted a mix of random vases on the tables, so spent over a year collecting these from charity shops. The table plan was luggage labels attached to vintage frames sprayed silver.  This was placed on our guest-book table, along with a small, old vintage suitcase, which me and my sister used to play with as kids, in which we asked the guests to place their wedding cards

I woke up at around 3am as I was in a room on my own in the hotel, and I didn't really sleep much until my alarm went off at 7am!  I didn't fancy going down for breakfast, think I was feeling a little nervous, so Mum bought some breakfast up to my room, them me, my sister and niece headed to the hairdressers.  We were there for a lot longer than we expected, and I was panicking, as I knew the makeup artist would be turning up at the hotel!  When we finally got back to the hotel, I wasn't really sure what to do, as it felt like we had loads of time, and then all of a sudden I was being told that we needed to get downstairs!  So I don't know where the time went to be honest.  Will the owner of the hotel bought up champagne and sandwiches for us, which was lovely.  The room was a little chaotic as there were 4 girls, a flower girl, my mum and the makeup artist all in the same room trying to get ready, but it was fun!

I walked in to ‘Open Up Your Door’ by Richard Hawley, which is a beautiful song, and as soon as I walked into the room and saw Jamie, I didn't feel nervous at all. We had a civil service and my sister and one of Jamie's best friend's did readings, and the registrar also did a reading for us - she said it was her gift to us, as she is a extended relative of mine.  We had a bilingual service as I speak Welsh, but we both did our vows in English.  We walked out to ‘Hysteric’ by The Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs.  The ceremony was beautiful, everyone said so, which was really lovely.

The marriage and reception was all held at Beggars Reach Hotel, near Burton in Pembrokeshire.  It is a beautiful country house hotel, surrounded by countryside and is a really beautiful setting.  They have recently had an Orangery built, so we were married in there, and then had the reception in the main room.  Will and Gill who run the Beggars Reach were wonderful, and nothing was too much trouble.  Most guests stayed both the night before the wedding and the night of the wedding, so the hotel felt like our home for the entire weekend,  - so much so, that some of the guests didn't lock their rooms all weekend!

We kept things quite simple.  I chose white chair covers with white sashes, as I didn't want anything too fussy.  We had lots of flowers everywhere, big vases in random places, and then smaller vases on the reception tables. I love buttons and ribbons, so wanted to incorporate these into the day, and navy, emerald green and silver was our colour scheme, so all the napkins were wrapped with tri-coloured ribbons in these colours, along with a vintage mother of pearl button. My mum spent hours putting these together!  Music is also very important to us, so we decided to use old vinyl records as our place-mats!  We decided to use luggage tags for the place names, and these were also tied to the ribbons on the napkins. I wanted a mix of random vases on the tables, so we spent over a year collecting these from charity shops. The table plan was luggage labels attached to vintage frames sprayed silver.  This was placed on our guest-book table, along with a small, old vintage suitcase, which me and my sister used to play with as kids, in which we asked the guests to place their wedding cards. We decided on a polaroid guest book - so bought some comedy moustaches on sticks and asked guests to take a photo of themselves and then stick it into our guest book with a note to us.  This went down a storm and everyone really got into the spirit of it! Finally, my mum wore a hat on her wedding day and also carried a parasol.  I wanted to incorporate these in my wedding day, so we placed these on the table and they looked beautiful.  My parents celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary the same year I was married!  My cousin's daughter made some vintage bunting to hang over the entrance to the venue, and bunches of flowers were tied to these also.  So there was a bit of DIY and some thought did go into some of the records we gave guests as place settings. The guests could take them home with them, and some of them did!

As we got married at 2pm, we had champagne and canapés after the ceremony, then for the wedding breakfast, we had terrine as a starter, then chicken, and finally cheesecake or chocolate torte for dessert.  I actually had both!  As our wedding breakfast was quite late, 5pm, we decided on cheese and biscuits with cold meats, breads and olives for the evening, so everyone could enjoy our wedding cake.  Much later in the evening, as a surprise to us, the hotel came out with bacon rolls for everyone, which was fab and gratefully received by all!  Think it soaked up the alcohol for a lot of people!
Our first song was Destiny by Zero 7.  We had the original version, and then the DJ put on a remix version and everyone got on the dance floor to join us.

We opted for a cheesecake! So the hotel put together 5 wheels of cheese and decorated them with fruit and flowers, and I had bought 2 little lovebirds as cake-toppers, which unfortunately some guest’s thought looked like a moustache!!  This actually resulted in some comedy photos of me with a lovebird moustache!  The cake was amazing, everyone commented on it.  We had a fiery, chilli cheddar, smoked cheddar, blue cheese, brie and normal cheddar.

For the favors, the ladies and children, we gave welsh love spoon key rings, and the men had lottery scratch cards.
Our photographer was Daniel Staveley who is based in Llanelli, West Wales.  We met Dan when he was down on holiday in Brighton and we liked his photos and relaxed style so opted to go with him.

I just felt so happy on our wedding day and couldn't stop smiling. I know that sounds cheesy!   I think I did feel slightly overwhelmed, as I don't really like being the centre of attention, and of course you can't avoid that when you are the bride, but I really, really did enjoy the day, we both did.  We couldn't stop talking the next day when we were driving to Bristol, we kept remembering bits of the day we had forgotten and reminiscing about it all.
It was the best day ever!  Loved every minute of it.  It was quite overwhelming but so wonderful knowing everyone who loves and cares for you is in one room celebrating with you.  The day flies by so quickly though, I just really hope I did make the most of it...I think I did....

Someone gave me a really good piece of advice - be in the room, just try to take it all in.
Don't worry about anything that may go wrong, as you won't notice on the day even if it does!  And make sure you really enjoy yourself!

Shoes: River Island
Brooch: Jenny Packham
Hair accessory: Dorothy Perkins
Bag: Coast
Hairdresser: Andrew Price in Haverfordwest
Makeup: Jennifer Mills
Bridesmaids: Coast
Flower girl: BHS
Groom: Moss Bros
Photographer: Dan Staveley

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Photographer: Dan Staveley
Dress: Jesus Peiro at White Mischief Bridal
Location: Wales, UK
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