Hello and welcome to a brand new week of wedding inspiration here on Bridal Musings.

Let’s kick off with a pretty pastel wedding in Wales. This is what happened when two stylish teachers said ‘I do’ – the boys looked sharp, the girls looked whimsical, the florals were fabulous and a primary school choir sang at their ceremony. How sweet is that?

You may recognise Amy and Ashley from their unique wedding film slideshow by Mckinley Rodgers Film and Photography, well, today I’m thrilled that I get to share their beautiful wedding photos with you too!

Truth be told I have a bit of a girl crush on Amy, she’s one of the most naturally beautiful, joyful brides I’ve ever featured and her witty write up about their day is not to be missed. (Seriously her dress dramas will reassure any of you lovely brides out there who haven’t said ‘yes to your dress’ yet!)

The Colour Palette

We decided early on that we wanted a summer garden party style feel to the day. Our venue was a beautiful marquee with incredible views which, on a sunny day, was filled with light. To compliment this we decided on a pastel colour palette. We weren’t keen on limiting ourselves to one or two colours and choosing pastels gave us freedom with so many elements of the wedding. We were so pleased on the day when all of the colours worked so well together and created the light, pretty image we’d dreamed of.

The Wedding Dress

After getting engaged I had been incredibly excited to try on dresses and booked an appointment almost immediately. Unfortunately my first experience was far from ideal. I had very little idea about the type of dress I wanted. I was fairly certain it wouldn’t be a Katie Price princess meringue type number but I was open minded. I’d hoped for some gentle guidance from the sales assistant but was instead told to just pick up a few things I liked (faced with racks upon racks of white this was no simple task). Safe to say my choices were all disastrous but clearly the assistant was not one to admit defeat and insisted on forcing me into a glitzy WAG style dress that was absolutely fine but certainly not ‘me’. Despite making this clear she still wrote it down for me just in case I had a personality transplant and decided she knew me better than I knew myself. This didn’t happen.

I went to several bridal shops and failed to find anything that I liked. I think there’s a lot of pressure to have that “Wow it’s the one moment!” and waltz around the shop as if the dress is your second skin and I never did. My slightly subtler eureka moment came when I visited All About Eve. The sales assistant was an eighteen year old Saturday girl and was by far the most helpful person I came across. Complimentary without being pushy, she really made me feel at ease and it’s probably no coincidence that it was during that experience that I found the dress. It was the first and only dress to get the mum tears and whilst there was no waltzing I knew it was something I liked. This was almost two years before the wedding and I decided it was too early to make any definite decision.

When I finally decided to buy it a, mere 7 months before the wedding, I found out that the shop had sold their sample and I wouldn’t be able to try it on again. In the spirit of it’ll be alright on the night (or the big day in this case) I bought it. When it arrived it was 7 weeks until the wedding and it needed several alterations. It was at this point that my husband to be and family were incredibly thankful that I was the complete opposite of a stressy bride and again fell to my “it’ll be alright…” mantra. The dress had an enormous train that I really wasn’t keen on. I was met with a look of horror from the seamstress when I requested that she chop it off and it took a fair bit of convincing. When the alterations were complete it was then and only then that I finally felt the dress was mine, there might have been the slightest bit of waltzing.

The Ceremony

Ash and I are both teachers in Welsh medium schools. We wanted to include this in some way in the ceremony. We asked a good friend of ours to read beautiful Welsh poem and chose Calon Lan as one of our hymns. As a surprise for our guests we asked Ash’s school choir to sing during the signing of the register and they did an incredible job.

Groom & Bridal Party Attire

Ash and I knew from the very beginning that we weren’t keen on the traditional hired suits look. Clothes are one of Ash’s great loves his suit was just as important as my dress. A few eyebrows were raised at this decision but we stuck by it and it was one of our best. We went shopping for it together and had a Goldilocks’ moments before finding one that was just right. Ash decided on navy as he felt it would classic and not too heavy for our summer wedding. In one particular well know retailer I remarked that I didn’t think a suit was blue enough. The sales assistant replied “You won’t get bluer than that love’. A swift exit led us opposite to Reiss were we did indeed find an incredibly gorgeous bluer suit. Sold. I realise that I may be a little biased but he looked exceedingly handsome and dapper on the day.

We wanted the groomsmen to be comfortable on the day and asked them just to wear their own grey suits. We were really pleased with the result, they all looked so smart and helped us to create the more mismatched look we wanted. The bridesmaids were absolute stars and a breeze to buy for. Again we wanted them to feel happy with their outfits and we quickly came to a mutual decision. They looked like absolute stunners on the day!

Décor & Details

Décor was something that changed and evolved during the planning process but again centred around our desire to create a pretty garden party style setting. Having considered lanterns and pom poms to decorate the ceiling of the marquee we finally decided that bunting was the way to go. We flirted with the idea of making it ourselves but having found a lady on ebay who would make exactly what we wanted for an extremely reasonable price we handed the stress over to her and what she produced was perfect.

Travelling is one of our passions and we’ve been on lots of amazing trips together. We knew that we wanted to celebrate this in some way and decided that we would name our tables after our favourite places we had visited together. Using pictures of us in those places Ash created postcards to use as table names. Our table plan was a vintage style world map with luggage tags pinned on to represent each table. The plan itself was balanced on top of a beautiful hundred and fifty year old suitcase which was kindly leant to us by one of Ash’s mum’s work friends.

The Flowers

We changed our minds several times about centrepieces. I knew that I wanted flowers as a focal point as I’m a huge flower fan and I thought it would add a beautiful pop of colour to the blank canvas of the marquee. My mum suggested milk jugs after seeing them in a magazine and a couple of weeks later we went to a friend’s wedding and lo and behold flower filled milk jugs adorned the reception room. They looked incredible and after our friends kindly agreed to sell them to us the decision was made. Despite the fact that I love a good bloom I don’t actually know anything about them and went to the florist with the brief that I wanted fluffy, pretty, pastel country garden style flowers. What Sian created was beyond my wildest dreams. Being surrounded by such picturesque petals was one of my favourite parts of the day.

We had collected lots of pretty tea cups and couldn’t decide what to do with them until a few days before the wedding I had the idea of filling them with truth or dares to give our guests something to do during any lulls in the day. This was quite a fiddly job but was well worth it when they produced many hilarious moments and pictures on the day!

In order to further personalise the marquee we created a display of pictures and trinkets using old crates, we owe our lovely photographers for this idea as they had used a similar display at a wedding fair and it looked so effective we had to steal it! It helped to create a more homely feel in the marquee and we were really pleased with it.

The Favours

We went through a ridiculous amount of ideas for favours before fate intervened and helped us to make a decision. My dad passed away completely unexpectedly of a heart attack three months before the wedding. Being a typically nosey dad he had been a big part of the planning process and was so excited for the wedding, We were desperate to include him as much possible in the day itself. As well as including photos of him on the crate display we made a donation to the British Heart Foundation and received heart shaped paper which infused with wild flower seeds to use as favours.

The Refreshments

We are big cake fans and being conscious that it was long day for our guests we wanted to ensure that they had plenty to nibble on. We chose to have a cake buffet rather than a traditional wedding cake. This included cupcakes of various flavours, cake pops, scones, macaroons and delicious Welsh cakes made by Ash’s talented nan. We collected an array of plates and cake stands to display them and my vision was of a rainbow of tempting treats. Again this was something that I could only imagine until the wedding day and the reality more than lived up to my imagination. The next morning a solitary squashed macaroon was all that remained, hopefully a sign that our guests enjoyed them!

Favourite Moments

It’s so difficult to pinpoint a favourite moment in a day filled with them. But I do remember being sat at the top table during the reception, looking around and seeing all of our favourite people together laughing and smiling and just feeling blissfully happy. And I think that’s the key really, no one will remember the cake being the wrong colour (ours was slightly more orange than the pink we’d wanted!) or the bride’s veil blowing off several times in the wind (yep us again) they will remember all of the silly, funny, emotional moments that made it YOUR wedding.

The Wedding Music

Ash and I are both live music fans and we were very eager to hire a band for the reception. We were fortunate enough to get Big Mac’s Wholly Soul Band, a Motown style ten-piece band consisting of a plethora of instruments including saxophones and trumpets. From the moment they formed a procession through the reception to the last note they filled the dance floor and really helped create the party atmosphere that we wanted.

We know from the start that we wanted Al Green’s Let’s Stay Together for our first dance. A real classic and funky enough to avoid the awkward shuffle!

Photography & Videography

I spent a lot of planning time on wedding blogs and very early on came across a wedding that I completely fell in love with. This was in no small part owing to the incredible photographs. Rather than the endless posed shots with frozen smiles they were incredibly relaxed and natural and I could sense exactly how the people featured in them were feeling. The photographers had captured moments rather than images and we knew that was what we wanted. 

We contacted Mckinley Rodgers (the geniuses behind these pictures) and literally whooped for joy (and no small amount of waltzing) when they told us they were free. This was the second thing that we booked after the venue and was easily the best decision we made. Not only are Pen and Cam ridiculously talented they are also genuinely fantastic people. They blended in seamlessly with our wedding guests but also managed to create a huge impression on everyone that they met. We have had endless compliments not just on our wedding photographs but on the photographers themselves. Endlessly positive, enthusiastic and patient we felt that they genuinely cared about our wedding and every other wedding that they photograph and this was priceless. The video and photo montage that they created for us is something we will treasure forever.

Advice For Other Couples

So my biggest piece of advice would be do what makes you happy, whether that’s full on traditional or wildly whacky as long as you’re happy with it everything will fall into place.

Congratulations Amy and Ashley! Thanks for sharing your special day with us.

I don’t know about you but I’m totally hankering after one of those ‘delectable’ cupcakes now!

In case you missed Ash and Ashley’s wedding film, I highly recommend taking a look – it’s all kinds of gorgeous and there’s even a half naked man on the dance floor! (That got your attention, didn’t it.)

Photographer: Mckinley-Rodgers Film and Photography / Bride’s Dress: Enzoani 'Erin' / Bridal Salon and Veil: All About Eve / Bride's Earrings: Debenhams / Bride’s Shoes: Next / Groom’s Attire: Reiss / Groomsmen Attire: Next and Marks & Spencer / Reception Venue and Catering: The New House Country Hotel, Cardiff, Wales / Flowers: Sian’s Flowers / Band: Big Mac’s Wholly Soul Band / Invitations & Stationery: Sian Graves (good friend of the bride's)