Presenting Charlie Brear's #FridayBride
"Love me tender, Love me true..."
Let the bohemian vibes flow through you at the sight of this vibrant couple's Wedding Day. This creative pair loved the idea of incorporating their favourite festival moments in to their celebration with poetry, music and festoon lighting, setting the scene. Gwawr & Joe created a unique ceremony, nonreligious and bilingual in nature, which perfectly fitted their venue - Fforest's Cardigan Quayside Pizzatipi & Coalyard in Wales. This gave them the freedom to include personal touches by involving friends and family who read poems and guided the pair through their vows; truly a heart-warming ceremony. Add an Elvis impersonator, a hog roast, cocktail lollies and hints of fresh florals, and you have the most perfect of celebrations!
Gwawr deserves to be this week's #Friday Bride for wowing in beaded perfection! Using our range of styling Additions, she created a 3-piece vintage-inspired look; our Sabine top and Catroux skirt layered over our Payton dress, adding an elegant and romantic touch to this beautifully eclectic day.
These magical moments were captured perfectly by Paul Marbrook, so scroll down and enjoy...
How did Joe propose?
He proposed on a bench in the park opposite our house which is where we met for our first ever date. I wasn't expecting it at all. It was a Saturday and he'd been working on a live sports broadcast all day. He'd been texting to tell me how stressful the day had been and then asked me to meet him in the park so he could chill out. I went over and he was sat on "our" bench. He seemed on edge. He then made me get up and turn around. I noticed an amazing picnic laid out on the grass behind the bench but with two old ladies stood by it. Next thing he thanks them for looking after the picnic while he was sat on the bench. I was very confused but then I saw the words "Will you marry me?" written on heart shaped chalkboards, hanging from a tree. He went down on one knee, presented me with a beautiful vintage ring, which was his Grandmother’s, and everyone in the park was cheering!
It was the perfect location to choose as we pass it a few times a day, everyday, we meet friends there and it's on my running route.
Where & When did you get married?
Fforest’s Cardigan Quayside & Pizzatipi in Cardigan in West Wales in April an 1.30 pm. The gang at the venue were just brilliant. They were very laid back but supportive about our plans and the staff were so ready to help in the lead up and on the day. They prepared amazing food, locally sourced, and for the evening meal they created a wonderful space under the tipi, magically lit, to serve delicious woodfired pizza and a hog roast.
Forest also has loads of different accommodation options so we were able to book our families and friends in to converted lofts, log cabins and a farmhouse. Joe and I spent our wedding night in a geodome in the middle of a field looking out at the sea. We can't thank them enough for everything they did and for creating such an utterly unique venue - so glad we found it!
What was your best experience when trying on dresses?
I chose a top, dress and skirt combination which I would never have even considered trying without encouragement and guidance from the girls in the Charlie Brear showroom. When I came out of the changing room in the dress; my future sister-in-law cried. It was a lovely moment and it’s what made me choose it in the end!
What would your advice be to other brides about shopping for a wedding dress?
Although I had a good idea of the kind of style I wanted, I did also try to stay open minded and try lots of different styles on. Do this even if only to confirm that what you want is actually the right choice. Also, take someone who is very honest with you. After trying on a few dresses you lose all objectivity and you need someone who you can trust to keep you on the right path. I also think you need to be comfortable in your dress and not feel like you have to breathe in or that something’s digging in somewhere - you need to be free to greet, hug and dance! My Charlie Brear dress was so lovely to wear, it just fell in all the right places.
How did you feel after you had ordered your dress?
I'm not great at making decisions so there was a sense of relief combined with excitement. It also meant that, now I knew what my dress would be like, I could move forwards with planning the bridesmaids' and the flower girls' outfits. I'd also spent 2 months obsessing about finding the dress so I had time now to get involved with everything else.
Did you struggle finding the right lingerie that worked with your dress, if so would you recommend anything for future brides?
Yes - as it was backless I needed to find some kind of bra that could work with the low 'V' back. I couldn't go bra less. I was very sceptical about the stick on cups but eventually decided to try them and they were great!
What shoes did you wear?
I wore a pair of gold Rachel Simpson heels.
Who did your hair & make-up and how did you find them?
Laura, a local hair and make-up artist. She was lovely and worked so hard to get myself and all the bridesmaids and the little ones ready on time.
What traditions did you follow?
Our wedding wasn't traditional at all but I did like the idea of keeping my dress a secret and not seeing Joe at all on the day of the wedding until I walked down the aisle.
How did you feel walking down the aisle?
It all felt quite surreal! But in a lovely way. I tried to take as much as possible in and also tried not to walk too fast! Both my dad and I are fast walkers so we had to really concentrate on slowing down! Then the moment I got to the front, everything started to happen! It flew by but it was definitely my favourite part of the day - everyone just seemed to be smiling from ear to ear the whole time.
What was the funniest moment of the day?
There was lots to smile about but Joe's speech went down a treat! He'd prepared a video with messages from lots of different celebrities and sports stars and combined it with a story about him and his quest to find love - it was hilarious! The guests loved it and were roaring with laughter. I didn't know anything about it before I saw it with everyone on the day - he must have put hours and hours of work into it!
Did your wedding have any quirky or unusual features?
Joe's dad made us an arbor decorated with antiquarian books - all of the books were about the area we were in and about marriage or love - that was our altar. My Aunty knitted us a small bag that our rings were placed in and passed it around all of our guests. They then gave us their good wishes for our future together. We have sloes growing on my family's farm, so I made sloe gin as favours and placed them in small kiln bottles on each table. We replaced canapes with traditional Welsh cakes and bara brith, baked by our Mothers. Between them they made around 400 cakes! After the ceremony Pop Cycle arrived, a lady named George on her bike with a crate of homemade G&T, prosecco and cocktail lollies, as an aperitif before the feast. As a surprise we had an Elvis impersonator for the evening party which went down a storm - he even had the guests calling for an encore!
Take 5 with this week's #FRIDAY BRIDE
1. Don't try to do everything yourself. Share the tasks between you and your partner. If they make a suggestion, embrace it and avoid dismissing them. It's their day too.
2. Putting the guest list together, as you would expect, is slightly tricky. Collecting all the addresses was time consuming. I'd advise everyone to start gathering these details as soon as possible so there isn't a mad and confusing rush when it comes to posting day!
3. Enjoy planning the wedding. I don't think I've been that creative in an arts and crafts kind of way since I was in primary school! It was very satisfying and we felt a huge sense of achievement when we saw it finally come together.
4. Buy accessories, shoes etc early on, once you've chosen your dress. There's so much to do nearer the date that you'll end up rushing your choices and having to make do.
5. Be prepared for everything to overrun!
What will you do with your dress now?
It feels strange to think I won't wear it again as it was so nice to wear, but as it was a 3 piece, I'm planning on wearing them as separates somehow. My cousin is getting married next year and I'm really pleased that she's going to wear my veil.
Who took your fabulous wedding pictures?
Paul Marbrook. He does documentary style photography so all of our photos are quite natural with only a handful of group shots. He photographed our friends' wedding a couple of years ago and we really liked his work then.
If you could do it all again what would you do differently?
In our eagerness to create a festival feel we had a packed line-up and probably tried to squeeze too many things in!
Be prepared for everything to overrun - the post ceremony drinks lasted longer as everyone was excited to see each other, the speeches and the 'thank yous' lasted almost an hour longer than planned (especially as Joe had three best men!) and before you know it the evening guests have arrived! We had to rush to our first dance and didn't really let anyone know it was happening so it kind of went unnoticed! I was so overwhelmed and having such a nice time that I’d kind of forgotten that we had timings and a running order to stick to.
What are you and your husband’s best memories of the day?
Neither the venue nor the ceremony were traditional and we were very lucky to have parents who supported our ideas. I'm sure there were moments where they wondered what on earth we were going on about but they bought in to it 100% and did everything they could to help us achieve our perfect day. It was one of the highlights of our day, seeing them having a great time and embracing every element.
We really enjoyed the two days leading up to the wedding day too. We decorated the venue ourselves - our friends and families pitched in, came up with ideas, made signs, delivered props, prepared sandwiches for lunch, kept us relaxed and were just a massive help - as a result - the day itself felt like a team effort.
Dress / Veil Payton dress, Catroux skirt, Sabine top and silky soft tulle veil from Charlie Brear
Venue Fforest's Cardigan Quayside Pizzatipi & Coalyard
Photographer Paul Marbrook
Hair & Make Up Laura
Accessories / Back Necklace Sally at White Bride / Claire Hill
Shoes Rachel Simpson
Rings Gwawr's band - TJ Davies
Joe's recycled rose gold band - The Sly Fox
Bridesmaids Brian Mallam costume designer
Joe's suit / bespoke shirt / accessories Victor Valentine / Nathan Palmer / Princes & Paupers
Flowers Grown and crafter by our friends, Laura and Ali from BlaencamelFarm in West Wales
Caterers Fforest Pizzatipi & Ken Davies & Son Butchers
Lollipops Pop Cycle
Entertainment Elvis impersonator, Elvis Desley
Share your #Friday Bride story with firstname.lastname@example.org