Welsh and Wonderful

A lifestyle blog written by a Welsh lady living in Wales.

Friday, 15 February 2019

Things I learnt from planning our wedding


I've written this post to round off all my other wedding-related posts. For those of you who aren't really interested in wedding planning, you can breathe a sigh of relief; normal service will soon be restored 😂 Anyway, I've really enjoyed putting these posts together and sharing our experiences with you, so thanks for sticking around!

If you've got married then perhaps some of this will resonate with you; as I've mentioned previously, we absolutely loved our wedding day, but we found the lead-up to be a bit of an emotional roller coaster and quite stressful on occasion. I felt that I wanted to share some of my own personal experiences, which you may find helpful if you're planning your wedding.

So here's my final post about some of the things we learnt from planning our wedding. Are you ready? Let's go!

1. Friends and family mean so much
You'll discover that your friends and family will go above and beyond, and you'll really appreciate their kindness, and how they made you feel. Planning a wedding was hard work at times, and it was important to have stability and stay close to those who were reliable and supportive. I loved spending time with my family in the run-up to the big day, particularly as some of my family were visiting from overseas. A wedding is, after all, a celebration and a happy occasion, and it was precious to spend time with close family who assisted with the wedding preparations. My mum, in particular, was a rock throughout the build up to the wedding and on the day itself. Some people really are one in a million, and you will be so thankful for them and always remember their support and love.

2. Things won't always go to plan
On the other end of the scale, you'll find that things won't always go to plan and this can be frustrating at times.  For example, you may find that the wedding reception isn't available on the same day as the church,  or certain things may not be within your budget. It's a challenge juggling wedding admin when you've got full time jobs and other things to do. I actually came down with the flu when we had all our wedding invites to write, which was very bad timing! You may find that people won't RSVP, or they'll say they're attending out of politeness but cancel on you later on. Don't stress...it's only a wedding 😂 I think it's fair to say that not everyone fully appreciates just how much organisation is involved (we certainly didn't until we started planning our own wedding!), so you need to be flexible. Try to accept that these things happen and move on.


3. Your relationships with others can change
A wedding is a significant life event and it can influence your personal relationships in ways you may not have anticipated. Getting married can create ripples in all your other relationships; it's a period of adjustment which can feel a bit unsettling but it's also an opportunity for new beginnings. This is the start of an exciting new chapter, so embrace the changes and you'll find that things will gradually fall into place.

4. You don't have to spend lots to have a beautiful wedding
Lots of brides-to-be feel under pressure to spend a lot of money to create their perfect day, but you can have a beautiful wedding without going overboard with the costs. Weddings can be very expensive, so think carefully and discuss the things that are important for both of you and the things that you're willing to compromise on to stay within budget; it will still be a beautiful wedding.

5. It's great being married 😊
I love being married! People have asked me what it's like being married and the honest answer is that it's the same as before, only better! It's so special to make a commitment to the one you love 💗
Our wedding day at Oxwich Beach, Wales, UK

So that's it! My final post on wedding planning 👰
I've really enjoyed sharing my experiences with you, and I hope you've found these posts helpful.

Thank you for reading! Angharad x
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Wednesday, 16 January 2019

5 Things to do after your wedding!

After the excitement of your wedding day and honeymoon there will still be a number of wedding-related things to take care of. It can feel like everything is a never ending to do list, so I've written this post to help you plan ahead.

1. Say Thank You
We aimed to send out our thank you cards within three months of coming back from honeymoon. We were a little bit outside of this deadline we'd set ourselves for various reasons, but we made sure that each and every one of our guests and suppliers were sent a thank you card, to thank them for their kindness and generosity, and for celebrating our special day with us.

I was fortunate enough to win all our thank you cards courtesy of  Rosemood by following Rosemood on social media and entering a competition they were running, which was fab! I wanted a photo on our thank you card, and chose this particular photo because it captures the love and happiness of the day.

Rosemood did most of our wedding stationary too, and I would highly recommend them for their beautiful and affordable stationary, and excellent customer service.

We had about 70 cards to send in total, which took A LOT longer than we thought it would. I blocked out a couple of weekends and evenings to get this done, and we also kept a spreadsheet to keep track of everyone we needed to send a card to.

2. Name Change
I loved changing my title from Miss to Mrs and taking on my husband's surname, however, it's a HUGE task informing various organisations that your name has changed. I had the added complication of letting people know that I'd moved house as well!

Charlotte Rose has written a really helpful guide on her blog here (it's a lovely blog, so take a look!).

3. Tidy Up!
Our dining table became a dumping ground for anything wedding-related. So. Much. Stuff. It was a nice feeling when we were finally able to box up, recycle or throw away any stuff we didn't need after the wedding. I also made sure that I had my wedding dress professionally cleaned (I didn't get rid of this, haha.) It was great to de-clutter and get on with our lives post-wedding.

4. Choose your favourite photos
David and I were excited to see the photos from our wedding photographer and it was such a difficult task choosing our favourite photos for our wedding album. We ordered our wedding albums for ourselves and our parents, just in time for Christmas (it takes that long!), so give yourselves plenty of time for this.

5. Plan something nice to look forward to
A meal out at your favourite restaurant, a weekend away, renovating your house, a walk on the beach...plan something fun! We were warned about the post-wedding blues but this didn't actually happen to us. In fact, it was quite a relief when the wedding was over because it freed up time in the diary and gave us some non-wedding related head space.


I hope you've found this helpful...as always, thank you for reading! Angharad x
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Monday, 14 January 2019

How to deal with stress when you're planning your wedding

Planning our wedding was rather stressful at times, and there were several occasions when it wasn't much fun.  When we first got engaged, neither of us were quite prepared for just how much work would be involved in the lead up to the wedding day. There's so much to consider, so many things to research, and lots of decisions to make; it can be exciting yet overwhelming too. I've written this post to share my experiences with you, and I hope this helps you to deal with stress if you're planning your wedding.

Get organised
Spreadsheets, to do lists and planners are your friend 😊 I found it really helpful to write notes on my phone when I needed to remember something; it can be quite difficult to be systematic when you're wedding planning because there will be so much going on in your head and you'll be in the middle of sorting one thing out and then you'll suddenly think of something else.  David put together a great spreadsheet which kept track of things like costs, guest numbers, meal choices and contact details. This really helped, especially when we went to meetings with our wedding coordinator to go through everything.

Be prepared for the curve balls
There will be unexpected changes which may be relatively minor if they were just on their own, but these "small" changes will have an impact on 101 other things so it can be a bit of a big deal at the time. You'll probably be feeling more sensitive about things too, so try to accept that there will be some last minute changes.

Stay close to those who are supportive and reliable
There will be certain individuals who will shine like diamonds and will do everything they can to help things run as smoothly as possible for you. Don't be afraid to go to them and ask for help when you need it; you will always remember their kindness.

Take some time off the week before the Big Day
You'll need this time off because it will be hard to focus in work, what will all the wedding brain fog and excitement. You'll have appointments to attend, phone calls to make, last minute changes to deal with and emails to respond to.

Phone all your suppliers and check your appointments
Be proactive and check that everything's in order, let your suppliers know where they need to be and at what time, and that they have your contact details and an alternative contact.

Get plenty of rest
...or at least try to! I kept waking up super early in the days before the wedding day, and the light mornings certainly assisted with this! Did you know that the birds start singing at 4.30am in May?

Look after yourselves
Go for a nice meal, enjoy a walk, talk things through. Your wedding day will be amazing and all the hard work and stress will be worth it, I promise!

Hopefully you've found these tips helpful; they helped us when it came to juggling wedding planning with other responsibilities and keeping a bit of perspective. If you're in the middle of planning your wedding then try not to stress too much; it will all come together in the end 😊

Thank you for reading! Angharad x
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Saturday, 12 January 2019

My guide to bridal skincare & beauty!


I'm definitely not a beauty and skincare expert (far from it, haha!) but I thought I'd share with you what worked for me to help me look and feel my best on my wedding day. I guess I'm stepping out of my comfort zone by writing a post on this, but as a real-life bride I really hope that this helps you if you're getting married and planning your wedding day.

Firstly, confidence is truly beautiful, so have faith that you're going to look gorgeous and rock your wedding! Embrace your natural beauty and please don't feel you need to hide behind a mask of makeup. I went for a minimal makeup look because I wanted to look fresh and natural; too much makeup can look ageing and fake.

Another thing is that you don't need a makeup artist on your wedding day. By all means book one if you want to, but you can definitely achieve a naturally beautiful look without having one. I booked a trial with a makeup artist and it didn't work for me as I felt overdone and I spent most of the trial trying to tone it down. I've spoken to other girls who have had their makeup professionally done for a special occasion and they've had a similar experience. Less is more!

Makeup
Most of my makeup was from Bobbi Brown, which I purchased following a Bobbi Brown bridal makeup tutorial. I think there's something really lovely about having a fancy lipstick or mascara with beautiful packaging and branding for a special occasion. A wedding is the perfect excuse to treat yourself to something extra special that you might not normally purchase, and it's fun going round the beauty counters and trying something new. That said, you can still achieve a beautiful bridal look with less expensive makeup brands, and I used a couple of drugstore favourites too. I kept my makeup as natural and light as possible; there's nothing worse than seeing a bride caked in a mask of foundation and powder. I also made sure that I used a waterproof eye pencil and mascara; a wedding is an emotional day, so I was glad of this.

Skincare
In the run up to the Big Day I didn't do anything different other than use a good cleanser (EstÊe Lauder Perfectly Clean Cleansing GelÊe/Refiner is great for oily/combination skin, and lasts for ages), clarifying lotion (Clinique Clarifying Lotion 4), moisturiser (Clean & Clear Dual Action Oil-Free Moisturiser is fab; I've used this for years!) and eye cream (Clinique Pep-start eye cream is lovely for sensitive eyes.) I have oily/combination skin, and this was what worked for me; I also made sure I removed all my makeup before bed to keep my skin as clear as possible. I didn't try anything new in the weeks before the wedding day, just in case my skin didn't like it and I had a reaction. I also didn't wear fake tan, mainly because I don't like fake tan any more, and I also didn't want to get fake tan on my beautiful dress.

Fragrance
I wore my favourite fragrance; Chanel Coco Mademoiselle. It's a classic and beautiful scent; one that I keep going back to again and again. I mention to the sales assistant on the Chanel counter that it was for my wedding, and she gave me a card and a complimentary perfume sample to slip in my purse so I could spritz it throughout the day. I love how a scent reminds you of a special occasion, especially when it's something that you'll use for years to come.

Hair
I wore my hair in a half-up, half-down style. I had a hair trial on the same day as one of my dress fittings, so I could get an idea of how I would look, and this was the style that I felt the most comfortable with. The hair stylist used heated rollers to add volume, before clipping back the front sections. In the run up to the wedding, I made sure I had my hair coloured a few days before.

Nails
I had a gel manicure in a natural, pale pink colour. This lasted for almost two weeks, and meant that I didn't have to worry about my nails chipping.
I think this covers off everything in terms of bridal beauty; I hope you've found this helpful! If you'd like to know which products I used then send me a message or leave a comment 😊

Angharad x
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Tuesday, 8 January 2019

Wedding Stationary

If you're planning a wedding then you'll need to order or perhaps make some of your wedding stationary. You may feel a bit overwhelmed by the huge amount of options available, so here are some items to consider:

1. Save the date cards
2. Wedding invitations (day / evening)
3. Wedding menus
4. Useful information for guests (hotels, directions, parking, taxi numbers etc.)
5. Order of Service booklets
6. Welcome cards for guests staying at the hotel reception
7. Signs to direct guests to the wedding venue
8. Welcome sign
9. Order of the day sign
10. Table seating plan
11. Table names
12. Place cards for guests
13. Cards to let guests know if you've made a donation on their behalf to charity, rather than provide a wedding favour
14. Guest book sign
15. Thank you cards

Needless to say, figuring out what you need, whether you're going to do it all yourself or have it done professionally, how you're going to do it and the actual content and design for each item takes A LOT of time. And even then, after several people have proof read your final draft, there will probably be a mistake. And it's infuriating when this happens 😂

It got to the point where it was difficult to appreciate how beautiful the stationary was because I was paranoid that there would be a mistake. But now I'm able to look over the items and feel really happy with the end result, and it's nice to have something to look back at.

I wanted classic, timeless stationary so I chose Rosemood to print most of our wedding stationary. They were so helpful, so professional, and much cheaper than anywhere else (which was a lovely surprise!). I loved that they had a particular design called Beach Promise which featured a bride and groom on the beach. As soon as I saw this, I knew it was The One!

We used the same design theme for the Order of Service booklet and table names at the wedding reception.

With hindsight, I should have given myself more time to sort out all the stationary. I didn't anticipate that there would be so much to consider, nor did I think that everything would take as long as it did. But it all came together in the end and we were delighted with the end result.

Top tips
1.Work out what you need as far in advance as possible
2. Give yourself plenty of time (more than you think you'll need)
3. If you have your stationary printed professionally then choose a well established and reliable business with excellent customer service. Rosemood were fab!
4. Get someone to proof read everything
5. Enjoy the fruits of your labour!

Thank you for reading ! Angharad x
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Sunday, 6 January 2019

First Dance

If you're getting married then you may be wondering what song to choose for your first dance as husband and wife, and how this will all come together on your big day.

Not everyone feels comfortable with doing this in front of all their family and friends, and lots of newlweds choose to break this tradition by not having one, and that's absoutely fine. However, David and I felt that this was something we wanted to do, although neither of us are particularly good dancers, so this was a bit daunting to say the least!

If this is something that you'd like to do on your wedding day then here are some tips:

Choose a song you both love
I trawled through numerous "first dance" playlists on Spotify and came up with a shortlist of songs for our first dance. It was quite difficult choosing the song! Try to avoid choosing a really long song; a three minute song feels much longer when you're up there in front of everyone. We love the Matt Johnson cover version of Ben E King's Stand By Me, and it gave me goosebumps when the gospel choir sang this at Harry and Meghan's wedding (check it out on YouTube!) which took place the weekend before our wedding.

Go for dance lessons
David and I had three dance lessons before the wedding day. We weren't planning on learning a routine, but Sara Sirati at Ardour Academy in Cardiff made us feel at ease and helped us work out a sequence together. Three lessons are probably enough, but everyone is different so make sure you give yourselves plenty of time before the wedding day to have lessons. Some couples may choose to learn some moves from YouTube or a DVD, but we preferred going for actual lessons.

Keep it a surprise
We only told my parents that we were going for dance lessons. We didn't want people to know because it ramps up expectations, plus we wanted it to be a surprise.

Keep it simple
We kept our routine as simple as possible. You see some videos of couples doing their first dance and you can't help but cringe because the routine is too ambitious and complicated and they mess it up. I guess this makes the wedding day all the more memorable, but maybe for the wrong reasons!

Practice
Practice as much as you can. We found it helpful to write down the sequence of moves and talked to each other throughout the dance so we knew which move was coming next. As I said, neither of us are brilliant dancers but this was what worked for us.

Live music or a recording?
We had an acoustic singer and guitarist who played our first dance, which was really special. Louise Victoria is highly recommended for her beautiful vocals and song selection.

Enjoy
Enjoy it! It definitely brought us closer together and we were very happy with the routine because it wasn't too complicated but was less boring than just stepping from side to side. Our guests enjoyed it too, and we had cheers throughout! Preparing for our first dance was a journey in ways we didn't expect.

So there you are; everything you need to know about our first dance as husband and wife. I hope this helps you if you're planning your wedding...of course, you could just wing it on the day, bust out some amazing moves and do your own thing; it's your special day!

Dance lesssons: Sara Sirati at Ardour Academy

Thank you for reading! Angharad x
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Wednesday, 2 January 2019

How we decorated our wedding reception


In the lead up to our wedding day I spent a lot of time getting ideas for how to decorate our wedding reception.  I enjoyed going on Pinterest and reading bridal magazines to see examples of what other brides had done...the difficult part was deciding what we wanted, as there is so much choice! We were very fortunate that our venue Oxwich Bay Hotel was beautiful as it was, so it didn't really need much decorating/styling.

We didn't go overboard with the venue decorations/extras; we both had a "less is more" attitude to decorating the venue, although we still put a lot of thought into how we wanted it to look.

Our colour theme of ivory and dusky pink was quite subtle, and I loved how it all looked together with the floral arrangements. The drapes of white fabric hanging from the marquee ceiling looked so lovely, and we had ivory table cloths and napkins, and chair sashes in ivory organza.


The Table Theme & Centrepieces
For our seating plan we named the tables after our favourite beaches in Wales and Northern Ireland. This was fitting, as our reception overlooked Oxwich Beach, and we both love being by the sea. I purchased a seating plan template on Etsy and had this printed on A2 Foamex board at a local printing shop. I did something similar for the Order of Events sign. Oxwich Bay Hotel provided me with easels for both of the signs.


The Place Cards
For our place card holders we used shells which David and I had collected from Oxwich Beach. My brother-in-law kindly helped to make them into place card holders by cutting into the shells with an angle grinder (I have no idea how he managed to do this!) I loved how they were so unique and naturally beautiful for our special day. I considered writing the names on the place cards myself, but my handwriting isn't brilliant and I decided that learning calligraphy was an added stress that I really didn't need before the wedding, so I purchased the place card template on Etsy. I chose a design with a pretty calligraphy style font, printed them on thick card from Hobby Craft, and cut them to size with a paper cutter. This sounds straightforward but it took me quite a while to complete! The table centre names were printed by Rosemood, who did our beautiful wedding stationary.

The Table Centres
For our table centres we had pillar candles in vases on wooden stands, all of which were provided by Oxwich Bay Hotel. The florist made wreaths of flowers which sat around the candle vases and smelt absolutely gorgeous.

Wedding Favours
We decided not to get wedding favours for our adult guests, and instead we made a dontation to Dogs For Good on their behalf. We only had a few close family children at the wedding, so for their favours I ordered some personalised colouring kits from Etsy, which had a colouring pen and lots of activity sheets. I'd definitely recommend these if you're having any kids at your wedding, as it kept them occupied and went down well with the parents too!

Top Tips for decorating your wedding reception

1. Get lots of ideas from Pinterest
2. Ask your wedding reception/venue if any decorations are included in the cost
3. Write a list of everything you need (e.g. signs, place cards, and table centres)
4. Etsy is a great resource for purchasing bespoke templates for signs
5. Ask for help if you need it (particularly if it involves cutting a shell with an angle grinder!)

Thank you for reading! Angharad x
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