Hello you lovely lot!
This is one for all you brides planning a vintage themed wedding. Emma and Carl’s yesteryear inspired wedding is stunning. Their eye for detail is remarkable and it has all been brilliantly captured by the ever so talented Lauren Owens.
What was your budget?
Budget – Under £6,000
Our goal was to keep the budget as simple as possible whilst ensuring we had a spectacular day with everything we wanted. It was very important to us to start our new chapter in our book together as Husband & Wife without a huge heap of debt behind us (well more than the normal debt everyone has!) So we started saving as soon as possible and much to our parents despair we wanted to pay for everything ourselves, this was really important to us as a couple as we are both really independent – and sometimes stubborn!
How would you describe your wedding theme?
I absolutely love, love, love everything from “yesteryear” the “vintage” and “retro” looks really inspire me and I just adore how everything back then was built to last and how they are all coming back into fashion and decor. I think sometimes (and Carl probably thinks it all the time) that I am stuck in a time-warp!! I have a few vintage pieces around the house such as an original 1954 Murphy Radio and pieces given to me by my Grandparents such as an original Kenwood Mixer from the late 70’s – which is still going strong!!.
We wanted our day to be relaxed and more importantly fun!! We are far from formal people and I wanted to hand make as much as possible and source different and unique pieces to make our day personal from us to our family and friends and something that was not the norm! I set upon the theme of vintage and got immediately on the hunt for pieces from the vintage era and where best to start – Charity Shops with the aid of my well experienced bargain hunter Auntie Bev and my Mum, what an addiction and such a thrill to find quirky unique pieces for bargain prices, to be honest I can’t walk past a charity shop window now without having a peek inside at what treasures they hold. I sourced tea cups, saucers, teapots, books, glassware, pearls and after a long day on the hunt my mother realising she had an eighteen piece set buried in the attic was the cherry on the top of our successful day of hunting!!!
An absolute must for Carl and I, which he loved, was the Vintage Bus, which came with its own conductor and rear entrance just like days gone past. This was the ideal transport and to ensure our funds went as far as they could, we decided this would be the surprise transport we would have for all our guests, including the Groomsmen and then the Bridal Party (I did not want to miss out on taking a trip on this beauty!!)
We had such bargain finds, which made us have mini road trips travelling all over to shop. With us scouring the internet to find the latest vintage / retro bargain to add to our ever growing collection (my mums house slowly turning into a storage facility!!) Our most fantastic find had to be our 1960’s sideboard with Mirror which we drove all the way over the top of Merthyr Tydfil to get, to then squeeze it into a VW Golf (extremely funny!!) with the return journey with me sat cwtching my knees tight being squeezed into the smallest space whilst also holding some books and the odd teapot!! This unit was going to be our Sweetie Table. All the research I had done had brought up time after time, sweetie carousels, sweetie carts, but nothing quite different enough for me, so thought how about a retro sideboard. Carl did think I had lost a little bit of the plot at this stage but when I explained my plan he loved it!! We edged the mirror of the sideboard in retro fabric and obtained old family wedding photographs our parents on their special days, aunties and uncles, and pictures of those who were so dear to our hearts that could not be with us on that day, my very special Bampi Jack, my grandparents Nanny Marg and Grandad Ivor, my great grandparents Nanny & Grampa Hale and Carls Nanna Lorna topped off with baby pictures of Carl and I to add a bit of humour for the guests!!
My mum surprised us with beautiful tissue boxes at the Registry Office for each of our guests should they shed a little tear, to a gorgeous Newspaper Article produced for all the guests to read as a little memento of the day all about our story and the fact I had finally said Yes to Carl!! And our impending second wedding in the States with the one and only Elvis!!
Everyone commented on the day about how much was made by us (a lot made by Carl who had become a keen crafter throughout this process) and how personal the day was which was our main aim making the day about the celebration of two families joining together and having our closest friends around us to share in this celebration.
What was your favourite part of your wedding?
Ooooooh this is such a hard question because I absolutely loved every second and every element!! I’ve asked Carl this very same question and his answer was travelling on the Bus when we were together travelling to our Wedding Reception as Mr & Mrs!!
I absolutely loved every millisecond of the planning, preparing, making, and putting together of the whole day!!!
My heart melted seeing Carl in tears of happiness at the end of the aisle, and him whispering I say Yes to the dress when I joined him!! To us it was sharing the whole event with people we love our family past and present and our dear dear friends!!
Tell us about your Wedding Dress
Well – I said YES to the dress!!! (had a slight addiction to watching this USA show over and over again – apologies I still am!!)
My beautiful dress or should I say dresses as I was so lucky to have two dresses one for our UK wedding and one for our renewal of Wedding Vows a whole 7 days later in the bright light city of Las Vegas with my American Family with no other than Elvis himself!!
My UK dress is designed by Mark Lesley and is absolutely stunning in my view!, it’s got a slight sweetheart neckline with a beautiful crystal beading on the bodice of which the centre piece matched my headpiece and jewellery and for the bottom of the dress it was fun loaded and full of ruffles!! A style I would never have imagined for me going for but absolutely loved!!!
I absolutely loved the whole experience of visiting different boutiques and trying on all of the most beautiful gowns on offer. I enjoyed the experience so much I made sure I tried on as many styles as I could some were funny (with the help of my ten year old little cousin), some I don’t think I would have been able to move very far in due to the sheer volume of fabric and weight of them. (these were the preferred style of my little cousin and fair play I have a new found respect for the Disney Princesses walking around in their gowns!!)
My USA dress needed to be easy to carry due to travelling to San Francisco and on to Las Vegas, therefore in my relaxed frame of mind (much to the horror of my mum) I only bought it one week to the UK wedding and by accident!! It again represents what we wanted the day to be about FUN!!! It was soooo spooky that I had seen the dress in the window of Francesca Bridal wear Newport and pointed out to my mum & dad a dress hanging in the window in the style I was looking for. After an unsuccessful shopping trip and my dad starting to look like a “bag man” my mum suggested on the way back to the car go in and try the style on and see if it suits you!. So we went in and the ladies in the shop were ecstatic someone had come in top try the dress on. When they put the dress on me which was tea length with enough netting to push this dress out to its limits with such unique over lay of organza detail to really take this dress to the max I fell in totally love !! (Again!!) It needed a little alteration of taking in on the bust (unfortunately I’m not naturally blessed) and it would be perfect. When my mum was looking at the price tag she caught sight of the designer – Mark Lesley – the exact same designer as my main dress!!! So this was meant to be!!!
Who did you pick as your bridesmaids &/or best man and why?
To continue with going against tradition, Carl couldn’t decide out of his closest friends which one was to be Best Man, so he had all three!! Gareth aka “Mogzy”, Gareth aka “Ebbw” and Andrew aka “Hillo”, and not forgetting my gorgeous little cousin Ethan as “Best Butty” for the cute factor!!
My maid of Honour was my little sister Sarah aka “Ethal” who absolutely stole the show by bringing me to tears with the gift of a lifetime. She’d asked me if she could give a little speech which I thought that’s Ethal always the drama student so said yes. Unbeknown to me she had written to a very special person, telling them she’d missed out on special days such as me shopping for my dress, bridesmaid dress shopping, attending wedding fayres, so she said she felt sad about this fact so decided to write to my all time crush – KELLY JONES of the Stereophonics!!!!!
The response was amazing and tear jerking she read out on the day the email she sent to them and the response she received that the Management Team were in the Studio that day with Kelly and thanked her for contacting them and they would be over the moon to get Kelly to wish us Congratulations – so I had presented to me a Card Signed “To Emma & Carl Happy Days Kelly Jones” my day was as perfect as perfect could get!! It broke my heart the lengths my baby sister would go to and just was a day dream to come true!! A perfect present for a perfect day!!
My other bridesmaids were Lucy & Sarah my long term best friends from school years, who I wouldn’t of dreamed of having this day without them by my side, Carl’s beautiful cousin Charlotte and to compliment the sheer beautifulness of the older bridesmaids I had my beautiful little Cousin Isabelle and Carl’s beautiful cousin’s Lillie-Jay and Lacie –Jo. All of which looked absolutely Out of this World!
Why did you choose your venue?
I am from Newport originally and our beautiful Yorkshire Terrier is a massive part of our lives, Bailey is 9 years old and back last July we nearly lost her due to her developing Non Regenerative Anaemia, this made her Bone Marrow shut down and required her to have life saving operations and blood transfusions, it was at this point that we decided that if the Insurance didn’t cover Bailey that the Wedding would be put on hold. It was a major factor to our Venue setting that it was either close to our home for familiarity for Bailey or my mums address (Nannies) to which she was overly comfortable with. Once she had battled her little disease and come out the other end it was settled we would get married in Newport, Mansion House, although it is the Council’s Registry Office, it was once owned by the Mayor as their residence and once we visited we couldn’t think of anywhere more perfect. It was out of this world. The glorious Mansion House. Once we had decided this, I wanted to show Carl Belle-Vue Park, we visited in autumn time which the park was filled with squirrels, beautiful leaves creating a golden carpet over the ground. To picture what this park would be like in spring with the flowers in full bloom just made it a perfect setting to hold our celebratory drinks and photos. Carl was blown away with the park and the pictures this could offer us and our family.
Our wedding reception was held at Rodney Parade Gwent Dragons, a big factor of this venue was (a) It was close to my mums house for Bailey and secondly the price of beverages for our guests we wanted everyone to enjoy themselves without counting the cost. And the result a PARTY!! Which is what we wanted!! It was amazing seeing and spending time with all our friends and family!!
Tell us about your photographer
Well….. what can we say apart from absolutely talented, unbelievably creative and amazing!! We only booked Lauren three weeks before the wedding due to a complication, we had found her on Cwtch the Brides “Lush Suppliers” and O.M.G was she “Lush”!! She started as our photographer and she has ended as our friend!! Lauren has such an eye for detail, her photographs are amazing and I felt that she has made me look beautiful something I was not sure was possible. Her relaxed and friendly nature makes her blend into the family background with many of my family making her feel like family. Her eye for detail is beyond, this is one talented photographer who from the first meeting puts you at ease, finds out what is important to you and somehow manages to capture every single second of the day One thing we are so glad of is that we had Lauren with us, as without her we would not have the most amazing wedding pictures ever!! Especially the ones of Bailey which she knew was so close to our heart.
Her idea’s are awe inspiring, she has a natural flare of what will work and just an absolute natural talent.
Lauren is the “Stealth” of the photography world, she has this ability of being places no one would imagine, capturing shots no one planned, and just photographing the atmosphere of the day through her amazing talent and lense, and providing you with breath taking photos that make it sheer impossible to choose from.
And for brides out there that have gone through the process maybe slightly on the down slope now from the big day – when those photo’s arrive for your first viewing – grab that dress – put it on, whilst sitting there crying tears of joy like I did amazed at how beautiful your photo’s are adoring each photo and finish it off with a dance via you tube with your beautiful new husband, these times are to be cherished and remembered forever and me and Carl will never forget how special Lauren has captured our day and cannot thank her enough. She will be in our Family forever at every special occasion as we couldn’t think of anyone else capturing those special moments!
How did the proposal happen?
Well the last proposal was the one when I finally said Yes!! Carl had asked a few times over the years but I always thought he was joking with me. But on the 25th November 2013, we had gone to watch my all time favourite band Stereophonics at the Cardiff Motorpoint Arena with friends. We’d travelled to Cardiff a little earlier for a meal prior to the concert which looking back Carl had been so nervous during this meal, hardly eating or drinking or saying much –which is highly unlike Carl. We’d got to the concert and the band had started belting out their amazing tunes with that sweet voice of Kelly Jones and the Gig was amazing!!! Then Kelly Jones started to serenade the audience singing “Indian Summer” and in front of me popped a Red & White Haribo Ring and all of a sudden Carl had grabbed me tight and whispered in my ear “Will you marry me Emma-Claire” I could not but say Yes!!
This proposal was not going to be turned down I had my perfect Best Friend and Boyfriend and also the perfect singer serenading us!!
Our friends had been in on this proposal from the start and started to cheering and that’s how when we were picking our songs Indian Summer became the perfect song for me to come down the aisle to, to marry my best friend and love of my life, as this is what we had started this chapter on.
Any DIY stories/tutorials you’d like to share?
I absolutely love making things, crafting, sewing, and baking (Mogzy often thinks I am Monica from Friends who has a Ribbon Drawer!! – Yes Mogz I do and I love it!!) so to create and make as much as I could for our wedding was a dream come true!! Even Carl was enjoying crafting at the ending of it all!!
There is a wealth of tutorials and Do It Yourself ideas on the internet it is literally a crafters dream!! There are past brides, fantastic suppliers, creative bloggers all there to help you and love to learn different ideas!!
I would encourage everyone to utilise the free download’s out there for invite templates, place settings, posters, signs, little details all of which make your perfect day!!
I have found sites such as Offbeat Bride, Wedding Chicks, but would stress to each and every bride to be out their make sure you do your research and ensure you have good internet security as there are some websites that contain some viruses, so if in doubt look at the images on Google and look at how you can create that yourself using the wealth of tools on your laptop!!
My main advice is if you see a product or item you absolutely love look at how it’s made, ask yourself could I make that myself? Or do I know a crafty friend/ Family member? There are so many free templates out there, advice, suppliers lists it is well worth visiting amazing sites like Cwtch The Bride, visiting wedding fayres, Pintrest, joining blogs, wedding groups to gain as much advice and experience that is out there all of the Brides on these sites want you to have the most amazing day ever!!!
What was your first dance & why?
Our first dance was “Let’s Stay Together” by Al Green, but our DJ played a Michael Bolton version, and in the spirit of the day which was relaxed and fun we just got up and danced, followed by Carl doing a Solo Dance!! At the beginning of the dance a friend of ours had put two chairs out near the dance floor and promptly plonked us on them, everyone thought we had choreographed a special dance only to be as confused as them we sat their waiting to catch the lyrics of the song and once we’d noticed this was “our” song we decided to grab the moment and dance anyway!! This was soon overtaken by friends and family dancing and performing Karaoke until the early hours!!
In hindsight, was there anything you would have done differently?
Absolutely nothing apart from booking to do it all again every weekend after it!! We loved how everything turned out and how everyone enjoyed themselves, they all complimented the beautiful registry office, the food and how reasonable the drinks were and how much they loved overall the party!!! Which to us was mission accomplished!!
Do you have any advice for future couples?
Love absolutely every minute the planning the preparation, the production of the day and most of all every second of the special day!!
Get as many ideas as possible for your special day, take on board advice from previous lucky brides, enjoy every moment the good and the bad it only happens for a reason and will push you in the direction of greater ideas!!!
But most of all relax and don’t stress this is a fantastic day, the day you have always dreamed of marrying your partner in life, your prince charming and just enjoy and absorb every single possible second as the day after you will always try to remember sections and have blanks and its having your fantastic family and friends around you re-counting their aspect of the day that will trigger your memory and realise what a beautiful day you’ve had!!
What’s the best piece of marriage advice you received?
The best piece of advice we received was from my beautiful Nan, “Have tolerance, work together in everything you do, have an argument but make sure the making up is fantastic, do everything together and don’t have any secrets from each other. My amazing grandparents had been married 68 years so this seems perfect advice to follow!!
What was your favourite thing about planning a wedding?
Absolutely everything!! From dress hunting, getting décor idea’s, watching marathon wedding TV shows, looking at hairstyles, make up ideas, transport ideas, visiting wedding fayres, literally living, breathing, sleeping, weddings, I absolutely loved the process and still love looking at beautiful ideas and am eager and willing to help all of my friends who are due to get married!!!
Photographer: Lauren Owens
Ceremony Venue: Newport Mansion House
Reception Venue: Newport Dragons
Bride’s Dress: Mark Lesley
Bride’s Shoes: Dorothy Perkins
Bride’s Headpiece: Debenhams
Bride’s Jewellery: Debenhams
Groom’s Outfit: Oxford House Suit Hire
Bridesmaid’s Dresses: Little Pride Bride Dresses Taunton
Bridesmaid’s Accessories: Debenhams & Next
Cake: Made by the Bride Emma
Flowers: Made by the Bride Emma
Hair: Zoe Davies
Make Up: Sarah – Friend of the Bride
DJ: Bob – Family Friend
Stationery: Made by the Bride and Groom with help from Brides Father
Caterers: Brownings Caterers
Transport: Newport Transport Vintage Bus