Blimey, it’s been over three months since I got married and I’ve shared barely anything about it over here! Life gets in the way as it often does and it has in this case. But now, with wedding photos ready and nostalgia for the best day of my life spilling over, it’s time. Let’s delve into our folky, DIY-heavy, Scottish-Welsh wedding.
All photos in this blog post were taken by Flux Bros.
Our day took place on Saturday 23rd July 2022 and for my husband, Rory, it started at the Celtic Manor Resort. We were actually having our reception at one of the venues on-property, so he stayed the night at the Resort and got ready with his best man and groomsmen. We’re not too much of a traditional couple, so spending the evening apart didn’t really matter to us. But, due to space and money, it worked out for the best!
The clue is in his name, but Rory is Scottish. One of his family’s traditions is that when you turn eighteen, you are given a kilt with the intention that you wear it at important events – such as your wedding! This was a great money saver on our half, but also for all other Scottish members of the wedding party as they had their own kilts. Did you know that the Welsh also have their own kind of kilts? These are called cilts (very original, Welsh language), and as I’m Welsh, I really wanted my family to be decked out in cilts. We hired the Welsh cilts from Formal Hire and Welsh Tartan Centre, and they were such a well-priced, excellent quality set of cilts. So between the Scottish and Welsh tartans, we ended up with a matching-but-not-really look, which set the tone for the rest of the day, as well as the deep jewel tone colour palette.
I’ve been waffling on about kilts, we won’t get anywhere if I keep getting side tracked. The lads got ready at the hotel and drove down to the church.
Meanwhile, I woke up at my grandmother’s house, where me and my bridal party got ready. Our hair and make-up were done by two wonderful artists from South Wales. My boho curls and bridesmaid’s updos were by Natalie at Beau Bridal, and our soft glam was by Ceri O’Mara. Both Natalie and Ceri were incredible, starting at 6am to get us all ready! The bouquets and boutonnieres were made Country Flowers in Caldicot. I knew I had to book them because they had made my parent’s flowers for their wedding day! I’m a sucker for that kind of nostalgia.
We chose blue thistles for Scotland, sunflowers as they are Rory’s favourite, white roses as roses are my favourite, and then the beautiful greenery to fit our botanical theme. Whilst I was getting ready, my bridesmaids helped to put ribbon on the flowers. This was a really special touch to have as the ribbon was from my great-grandmother. Once I was ready, my bridesmaids presented me a jar of messages from my loved ones, in which I tried not to cry off my makeup as I read. Then my dad arrived, in full Welsh cilt, to drive with me to the church! We were driven by my grandfather in his classic Triumph Dolomite, which was just perfection, as I grew up helping him fix up classic cars.
The wedding itself was held at Caldicot Methodist Church. We decorated the church ourselves, apart from the gorgeous tartan display by the floral committee at the church. We used tartan ribbon to adorn the seats and I learnt calligraphy to write welcome signs on mirrors.
We were always going to have a church wedding as I am a Methodist at heart, but this church also means so much to my family. This is where my parents got married, my grandparents had their wedding blessing, where I was christened, and it was such a central building in my childhood. Perhaps the sweetest thing? My mum married us. She is a Methodist minister in South Wales, so it made our day even more special to have her be the minister.
I walked into a slower version of ‘Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes)’ and my one wedding wish was granted – Rory cried when he saw me – yeah boy! In all honesty, the service went by so fast. It was just under an hour but it felt like I blinked and then I was walking out of the church, hand in hand with my husband to ‘Wessex Boy’ by Frank Turner!
After being doused in confetti on the way out of the church, Rory and I went with our photographer and videographer to Caldicot Castle. Not only is this one of my most favourite places on the planet but it’s also where my parents had some of their wedding photos done, so we really wanted to continue that tradition. In terms of being photographed, I’m not one for standing still and smiling. I’m awkward if I’ve got to be still in front of a camera, I just feel stilted. Thankfully, we booked a photographer and videographer who knew exactly what we wanted. Flux Bros, a Hampshire based company, made sure the photos were dynamic and charismatic, and I didn’t even notice them moving around the venue with their cameras.
You can really see our joy through the photographs, from couple shots, to end of the night. One of my favourite moments in our couple photos was the prosecco shot. It was hilarious – prosecco got everywhere, the cork hit the videographer, and the silliness of it all made us feel really at ease.
Then it was back in the Dolomite for the drive to the Celtic Manor Resort. We had our reception at the Via Julia Marquee and Chairman’s Suite, a beautiful room and permanent marquee attached to one of the golf clubs at the resort. Of course, we had the typical group shots outside, where after about five group pictures, I could feel my face aching from smiling so much.
At this point, I’ve got to drop the details on the dresses. The bridesmaids dresses were from Rewritten, modern dresses made from sustainable materials in the UK. The colour palette was ‘match the kilts’ and the silhouettes were all chosen by my bridesmaids. I wanted them to feel comfortable as well as beautiful, and really wanted the dresses to be rewearable.
My dress is from Madi Lane and is the Haven dress, with added lace sleeves. It was bought from Timeless Elegance in Cardiff, where I had the best experience. As a mid-to-plus size body (definitely plus when it comes to wedding dresses), I was terrified of the prospect of wedding dress shopping – terrified that I wouldn’t find something that looked good, that stores wouldn’t go above a size 16, every little fear you could imagine. I may love my body but I know that society has a long way to catch up. However, as soon as I saw Timeless Elegance promoting all bridal bodies on their Instagram, I knew this was the place for me. The lace on this dress was the final decider on our wedding theme – jewel tone meets botanical.
The actual wedding reception started with a three course meal which was delicious – I’m still dreaming about the starter to this day. All food and set up was delivered by the Celtic Manor, which is one of the reasons we chose them. With us being based in Hampshire and the wedding being in Wales, we wanted to book a reception venue that we could trust to deliver, with minimal outside worry. Whilst they set up everything, we were the ones who created everything. I grew our wedding favours from cut offs of my plants, we decorated bottles to be film inspired centrepieces, and my bridal party made the balloon arch from scratch. My in-laws even primed and prepped Scottish wooden circles to go on the tables too!
After the meal, we forgo a wedding cake – it was just an unnecessary tradition in our books. Then came the speeches – my dad, Rory’s dad, Rory, my maid of honour, and then the best man. I also ended the speeches with an emotional ‘thank you’ and shouted ‘FEMINISM’ at the room because I am nothing if not a caricature of myself.
After food, and a quick contact lenses/glasses swap for me, the guitar and numerous frisbees were brought out whilst the tables were moved for the dance floor. Just look at these photos – the joy is just infectious.
Our first dance was to ‘Home’ by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. Rory and I met at a busking society, and this was one of our favourite songs to perform together. It was also the song Rory proposed with, so we knew it had to be our first dance song. After about two minutes of dancing, we got everyone else on the floor with us, which really set the tone for the next part – the ceilidh.
For those of you who don’t know, a ceilidh (or twmpath, if you want the Welsh version) is a big group dance where there is a live band playing folk songs and a caller who teaches the dance.
Every single person got up on that floor at some point, it was honestly the best decision we could have made for our wedding. The band was called Cat’s Claw and made sure to do a mix of Scottish and Welsh songs and dances for us. After an hour and a half of sweaty dancing, it was time for the father daughter dance. We chose ‘It Must Be Love’ by Madness, as we like to think it’s our family’s official song. Rory brought my mum to the dancefloor, and my brother spun my mother-in-law around – it was just so perfect. Finally, it was time for the DJ, who played until 1am. He was incredible. That man read the room. One of my favourite moments of the day has to be running from the bar to the dancefloor, drink in hand, screeching “come ON, he’s playing ‘Welcome to the Black Parade'” at my bridesmaids.
And that, readers, was my wedding day. It all went by in such a blur. What I do know is this. Our wedding day has been the best day of both mine and my husband’s lives so far. Writing this post and looking through the photos again has just brought me so much joy and I’m so happy to be able to share them with you.
If you have any questions about my day, from how I grew the favours, to wedding dress shopping, all the way to the best places to stay in South Wales, let me know! I might even write a blog post or two on them…
Thanks for reading,