REAL WEDDINGS | A fabulous Welsh Farm DIY Wedding for Childhood Sweethearts | Kirsty and Adrian
1st July 2016
Happy Friday everyone on this first day of July!
We’re welcoming in the month on a totally upbeat note (I think we all need some fun right now) with this joyous Welsh farm wedding of childhood sweethearts last summer. Beautifully photographed by Eleanor Jane, there was only one place Kirsty and Adrian wanted to get married - the place they both called home - the stunning Welsh coastal county of Pembrokeshire with it's scenery and wide open spaces. Their attention to detail is staggering and the work that went into every little thing is amazing. Best of all is the way this couple embraced their loved ones throughout their planning and during the wedding weekend. Over to Kirsty and Adrian for the inside story ...
The Perfect Place
As childhood sweethearts, there was only one place we both wanted to get married – the place we both called home, the beautiful Welsh coastal county of Pembrokeshire.
It took only a few flicks of my first wedding magazine for me to fall in love with the simplicity and beauty of a tipi wedding! Unsurprisingly, it didn't take much to convince Adrian and we set to work to find the perfect spot to host our tipis and Celtic Camping was the first and only venue we visited since it ticked all the boxes:
- Panoramic views of the stunning North Pembrokeshire coastline set on a 250-acre farm
- Affordable on-site guest accommodation
- Weekend exclusivity
- Free reign to be creative
- An extremely warm and welcoming owner Ian Griffiths, along with farm dog Jack
With the venue booked, we were able to secure the beautiful and extraordinary Giant Nordic tipis from World Inspired Tents. The team were fantastic to work with from start to finish. The planning was superb and the build team worked tirelessly to make sure we could access the tipis to prepare as soon as possible.
Our ceremony was in St David and St Patrick Catholic Church. It was very personal, as this is my family’s parish church, the priest has known my family for many years and the registrar was Adrian’s aunt, making the mass so very special.
The Guest List
Sharing our special day with all our family and friends was of great importance to us both, so we invited 150 guests to the day and 180 to the evening. Since many of our friends and family would be travelling far and wide to attend the wedding we created a ‘Wedding Weekend’ full of celebrations and activities.
Our budget - did we Stick to it?
Adrian, as an accountant, was meticulous about tracking the outgoings and budget and he made some fantastic savings with his negotiation skills. However, I think very few weddings come under the original budget!
Our Vision and the Eco Elements
We really wanted a relaxed, fun wedding filled with music, activities and laughter, which was very personal to us and included lots of little touches. With colour pens, wedding magazines, pretty fabrics and mood boards and armed with a sewing machine, a sander, paint and glue I was in my element but it soon became clear that to achieve our vision we would need some much needed help from our talented and generous families and friends!
People helped in abundance, with Adrian’s aunt making personalised ‘A & K’ cushions for our chill out area, my brother cutting out a range of hearts and arrow shapes for signs, my mum searching for wooden pallets and logs, Adrian’s mum and dad ordering (and tasting) the booze, and Adrian’s brother making ‘Splat the Rat’ to name just a few!
Our wedding venue was chosen to showcase the outstanding natural beauty of the Pembrokeshire National Park coastline and presented me with an opportunity to harness skills developed as leader of my school’s eco committee and start the hunt for old objects to up-cycle.
As a school teacher who leads a committee of eco-warriors with a personal passion for DIY projects combined with an aim to cut some costs and showcase the natural beauty of our wedding venue, including eco-elements into the wedding came naturally.
Scavenged and Upcycled
Vintage books: As with any adventure that Adrian and I embark on, there is always a story where things have not quite gone to plan! With 11 years worth of stories, so many of which included our guests, the theme ‘Our Story’ emerged. Each table was named after chapters and we displayed anecdotes and photos of our many stories in vintage books as table centerpieces.
Wooden ladders and vintage crates: I hunted high and low for vintage wooden ladders and crates of different sizes to create displays around the farm.
Doilies: White cream and ivory vintage doilies which had been handed down from my Great Auntie were used to create the unique, simplistic yet beautiful bunting which decorated the tipi.
Jam jars: We collected and dressed what felt like 100’s of jam jars with beautiful lace some of which had been handed down from my Great Auntie. We filled the jars with pretty, bright coloured flowers from Tussie Mussie, our local florist.
Wooden pallets: We painted the pallets and any other scrap pieces of wood we found to create signs directing guests around the farm and to add décor.
Logs: We collected logs of all sizes to create interesting, rustic flower arrangements in the church and around the farm.
Saving paper: We made a ‘Save the Date’ scrabble themed video on YouTube and used www.appycouple.com to provide guests with advance wedding information on our personalised website. The website also allowed us to manage RSVP's, as well as record menu choices and any other special requirements.
The Biggest Project - the camper van: This was an old Volkswagen T25 in need of TLC which my sister had purchased on eBay a year before the wedding. My brother juggled his final university exams with a complete van rebuild and it was touch and go as to whether Daisy would be ready in time for the wedding. As you can see she made it! We laugh so much when we look at the photo of Adrian about to drive the van. It was the first time he had driven it and had only just received specific instructions on the use of the accelerator to attempt a hill start in the family’s new pride and joy in front of a lot of excited wedding guests!
With many of our friends and family offering their help and the need to dress the farm, the teepees and the church in one day we came up with the idea of a wedding workshop the day before the wedding. Dressed in their personalised ‘Bridal Team’ t-shirts the girls set to work with ‘The List!’. Other family friends met at the barn where I had set up a few stations and they folded napkins, attached the name cards, made cake decorations and any other little jobs we had not quite achieved.
We were absolutely buzzing with excitement on the Friday. It is such a wonderful feeling to be surrounded by the people you love, who are all helping you achieve your vision for the biggest day of your life. Some of our guests even had time to go Coasteering with Adrian and his instructor Uncle who organised it. We completed the day by meeting at separate pubs in St Davids for a drink to thank everyone for their help!
A Few Little Touches
Personalised Messages: On each name tag we wrote personalised messages to each of our guests just to let them know how excited we were to have them share our day with us.
Doing Our Bit: Adrian’s parents’ wedding gift was the broad range of drinks on offer behind the bar. We set up an honesty box where guests made donations to use the bar. As a result, we raised a fantastic £2,000 for Macmillan Cancer Support.
Secret Tie Message: I sewed a love heart with ‘I love you’ inside Adrian’s wedding tie as a surprise and placed it in a box full of little essentials and treats for Adrian to open on the morning of the wedding - his own something new, something borrowed and something blue.
Sweet Travel Treat: As the guests had a thirty-minute drive from the church to the reception venue, they were given a little Welsh sweet treat (made by Adrian’s mum) to enjoy in the car. To make sure they all knew where they were going, the postcode and venue details were printed on the paper bag.
Activity Bags: For the children, we made little bags which included pencils, notepads, play-doh and bubbles which kept them entertained through the speeches!
Rewards Ceremony: As so many of our family and friends had supported us in creating the day of our dreams, it only seemed right to provide them with awards! So, we created our own ‘A & K’ reward ceremony, awarding cake to the winners and giving medals to the main helpers.
Hangover Bags: As many of our guests were staying at the farm, either in tents or basic accommodation, we wanted to ensure they had the essentials for the morning after! The bags included water, sweets, chocolate and the much needed paracetamol!
Chill Out Area: Within our tipi chill out area, we provided a box of blankets, flip-flops and card games to satisfy the guests’ needs!
Can you be both Stylish and Green on your Wedding Day?
Absolutely! There is plenty of inspiration and helpful websites out there that provide ample of ways you can upcycle items to fit in perfectly with the style you have chosen for your wedding. Green Union, Pinterest, Etsy and other wedding blogs soon became my best friends when planning our wedding!
Tip from the Groom
When you both work so hard on your vision for the day, my advice would be to find a photographer who can capture all those magical details and moments in a creative style. Eleanor Jane with the support of her assistant Simon, captured our wedding perfectly. Unsurprisingly many of her photographs now decorate our home (and others’).
Huge thanks to Kirsty and Adrian for letting me feature their natural farm wedding in Wales - it is a real inspiration to all of us who love to DIY and upcycle! And thanks too, to Eleanor Jane for sharing these stunning photos of the wedding.
Our friends' at World Inspired Tents' do those fabulous giant tipis, you'll find heaps of information on their website.
Photography: Eleanor Jane
Tipi’s: World Inspired Tents
Venue: Celtic Camping
Dress - Timeless Elegance Bridal
Shoes - Vivienne Westwood
Hair - Andrew Price
Make up - Jennifer Mills
Suits - Dyfed Menswear
Bridesmaid Dresses - Monsoon
Custom Sashes - Rosy Posy Designs
Caterer: Holdens Catering
Flowers: Tussie Mussie
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