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Fonmon Castle wedding ~ April 2019

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New bride

Hi everyone! I've been lurking here awhile reading these forums and lately I've especially enjoyed getting into the wedding planning threads! I've hit a bit of a slow patch with my own planning lately and decided to create my own planning thread to share what I've done so far and stop driving everyone I know in real life crazy with our wedding ideas 

How we met

My fiance is called Tom and we met while in uni. I was on the same uni course as his sister and she invited us both to a pub quiz. This became a regular thing but I never really considered anything more with Tom until one week where only me, Tom, and A (his best mate) were able to go to the quiz. Me and Tom spent most of the evening chatting to each other (sorry A!). Unfortunately I then went back to my parents' for the summer holiday, but we continued to message back and forth on Facebook and soon arranged a proper date for when I moved back to uni again. We went on a lovely first date (bowling and dinner), officially became a couple, and the rest was history...

New bride

The proposal

After being together for nearly 5 years me and Tom had both finished uni and got jobs. We had planned a holiday in Salou in Spain in May 2017. At this point we had talked about wanting to get married “in the future” but I was not expecting a proposal until I started to pick up on signs that Tom might be planning something! The first came some time before our holiday when we went to stay with my parents. As I was going to bed Tom insisted that he wanted to stay up longer with my parents, which was odd as he and my parents did not know each other very well and it was probably the first time that they had spent time together without me. It got me thinking why he would not want me there, as I had guessed this was when he let my parents know what he was planning. 

Anyway, after a few more accidental hints, we went off on holiday and the first evening Tom suggested that we walk down to the beach. I immediately knew something was up as it was completely out of character for him to suggest doing something like that! Sure enough as we started to get near the beach he was acting really nervous and said that maybe we should come back another time as the beach was very busy, but I insisted that we kept walking along the beach until we found a quiet spot. We sat down on the sand and he started to sing me the song from the Disney short Lava. He had changed the words to be about us and at the end he produced a ring and asked me to marry him. Of course I said yes!

We sat on the beach for a long time talking about the future. He thought he was being super secretive about the proposal and didn't think I knew anything about it! The rest of our holiday was absolutely lovely, it was great to have time alone as a couple to celebrate being newly engaged 

The Ring

Tom had chosen the ring with very little to go on from me; what kind of engagement ring I'd like was something I'd never really considered myself, let alone discussed with him. Generally I do not like gold jewellery which he had picked up on, as he chose a white gold ring. The ring looks fairly simple from the top, but it has a bridge with additional diamonds set into it. On the inside of the ring there is an engraving of “forever” with another small diamond set into the O. I really love these details in the ring, as well as the cut of the largest diamond, which has alot of facets that make it super shiny! 

                                                      

Bridezilla

Welcome, lovely proposal story!

We have the same engagement ring :)

My planning thread: http://www.youandyourwedding.co.uk/forum/your-planning-threads/town-centre-barn-wedding---august-2019/452338.html

New bride

MrsCToBee wrote (see post):

Welcome, lovely proposal story!

We have the same engagement ring :)

It is a lovely engagement ring! Are you thinking of getting the matching wedding ring? We just started looking for wedding rings and I'm not sure whether to get the set or not 

Bridezilla

Mrs P 2019 wrote (see post):
MrsCToBee wrote (see post):

Welcome, lovely proposal story!

We have the same engagement ring :)

It is a lovely engagement ring! Are you thinking of getting the matching wedding ring? We just started looking for wedding rings and I'm not sure whether to get the set or not 

Just looked at the matching wedding rings, they are way above budget for us but they are lovely!
I've already bought a diamond wedding ring, but I'm considering actually buying a plain wedding ring and wearing the diamond ring as an eternity ring....just because OH wants completely plain and I thought it would be nice if our rings matched. Not sure though.

 

My planning thread: http://www.youandyourwedding.co.uk/forum/your-planning-threads/town-centre-barn-wedding---august-2019/452338.html

Bridezilla

My ring isn't going to match my H2Bs at all because I found it at a craft fair in London and fell in love with it! I don't think we'll ever agree on one anyway. Just get something you really love and want to wear every day forever!

Cecilia x

My planning thread : http://www.youandyourwedding.co.uk/forum/your-planning-threads/relaxed-summer-wedding-in-the-chilterns/454084.html

New bride

I am favouring something plainer for the wedding ring and do think that the matching wedding ring is quite pricey compared to other rings that I like so it's not looking likely right now...

New bride

Getting started

So we got back from our holiday an engaged couple and broke the news to our very excited families. Tom's family live locally to us and had planned a mini engagement party with a cake that his mum had made  Tom's mum and sister gave us a few presents, including a lovely picture box that his sister had made and a wedding planning file and some wedding magazines to get us started. I really had no idea where to begin with the planning, not having really considered a wedding before and not having been to a wedding that I can remember! So I started to obsessively scour the internet and Pinterest for inspiration.

We talked a little about when and where we wanted to get married. We decided against Summer due to the increased prices in the peak season. Due to both our birthdays being in Autumn we did not want the wedding to be then, for the sake of having our anniversary at a different time of year for future celebrations. So we decided on Spring; Spring 2018 was too soon and so Spring 2019 was decided upon! We also knew that we wanted to get married near where we live in Cardiff, south Wales so that organisation would be easier. We considered getting married in a church as I thought this would be important to my mum who had insisted upon a church wedding when getting married herself. However neither of us are religious and when we looked into church weddings it seemed that any church ceremony would involve more of a religious aspect than we felt uncomfortable with. Luckily my mum was not at all bothered about us having a church ceremony, so we decided that we would look to have a civil ceremony and reception at the same venue. I realised that the main attraction of a church for me was a beautiful, historic building and that I could find another venue that fit this vision without having a church ceremony. 

After this we put off wedding planning for awhile. Up until this point we had not been living together, but we had planned to go flat hunting over the school summer holidays as I was working in a school at the time and knew I would have a lot of free time to organise moving in together. Soon after moving into our lovely flat I got a new job and am now working shifts with a lot of overtime :( Tom works 9-5, which has been an additional difficulty in having time off together to do wedding stuff.

New bride

Venues

By Autumn 2017 we were ready to begin wedding planning! We started by making up a guest list, which was a bit difficult. Tom has a large family with lots of aunts, uncles, and cousins and for the sake of fairness we decided to invite all of them to the reception, and closer ones to the ceremony as well. This put our guest list at a maximum of 80 for the ceremony and 130 for the reception. We started to look at venues and noticed that many offered packages deals with catering included. Looking at the menus offered I realised that this wouldn’t work for us as Tom is a very fussy eater and did not like food offered at most places! I made a shortlist of 4 venues that were more flexible in what they offered and we spent a day going to view them. The venues we saw were:

Pencoed House - this venue was very nice but by far the most expensive of the ones we saw as the prices were going up in 2019, so we ruled it out.

Margam Park Orangery -  this venue looked lovely from the outside but was less impressive on inside. The interior was like one long rectangular room and from the description of the day from the person showing us round it appeared that the guests would be ushered along through the venue as the day prgoressed. We didn’t like the sound of this and so ruled it out.

Craig Y Nos Castle – this ended up being our second choice venue. It was a beautiful venue and we liked that the rooms were a good size. It also had the benefit of providing accommodation within the castle for guests, which seemed very convenient with many of our guests having to travel a long way to get to the wedding and having to stay overnight. The castle offered a deal where venue hire was reduced if guests stayed in the castle which would have been good value for us. However the cost of staying there was around £80, and this was per person. We thought this was a lot to expect people to pay and additionally the venue was a good distance further from Cardiff and harder to get to so we decided not to have the wedding there.

Fonmon Castle was the venue that we chose! It is beautiful throughout and has lovely grounds. The interior is really quirky and full of lovely features and decor. It was a relief that minimal venue decoration will be needed from us as coordinating décor is not a strength of mine! One thing that I wasn’t overly keen on was the hall area where we will be having the reception disco, as it is bright orange and a bit on the small side. However I figured that these were issues that could be overcome. One thing that really sold me on this venue was Hannah, the wedding planner who showed us around. She was very knowledgeable and organised and super passionate about our day. The idea of having her to guide us through planning and help us on the day made organising the wedding that we wanted in Fonmon Castle seem totally achievable. Some photos from their website, including the gorgeous duck egg blue room where our ceremony and wedding breakfast will be and the the offending orange hall:

 

New bride

So glad I found this thread! We're hoping to get married outside Cardiff too so very much looking forward to learning about all your plans :)

New bride

TooHappyToBeFunny wrote (see post):

So glad I found this thread! We're hoping to get married outside Cardiff too so very much looking forward to learning about all your plans :)

Ohhhh :D What kind of place are you looking for? Will you be making a planning thread here? I would also be interested to hear the plans of another Cardiff bride :) 

New bride

Save the Dates and Catering

After finding our dream venue I had a proper conversation with my parents about our plans for the wedding and they offered help out financially which is so much appreciated :D They came to visit us and we did a second viewing of Fonmon Castle with them. They also love it and we decided to book our wedding there! Pre-my parents offering to help out we had been looking at getting married in March on a week day to reduce the cost of hiring the venue. With my parents we decided that we should get married later in the year to reduce the chance of adverse Welsh weather. We went for late April, which I am so, so glad about now, given that it snowed heavily in March 2018!! We also chose to have the wedding on a Saturday to make it easier for people to attend without having to take days off work. We set our date for a Saturday in April 2019 and paid the deposit :D

After securing the venue we took out wedding insurance and provisionally booked a registrar to marry us. We have since given our notice for the registrar and received a bunch of scary looking forms of all the decisions we have to make about our ceremony. For now we've put these to one side and just know that the ceremony will take place at 1:30pm.

We also “formally” asked my fiance's best friend and sister to be best man and maid of honour. We didn’t have any issues with too many to choose from to ask so this was pretty much a foregone conclusion! I also asked one of our other mutual friends to be my bridesmaid. She and her fiance, another mutual friend, got engaged after us so she asked me to be her bridesmaid too! I am very excited for this because I've never been a bridesmaid before!

We wanted to give people a heads up that the wedding would be in Wales, as most of our guests will have to travel a long way to get to the wedding, so sent out our save the dates very early on in our planning. I found some lovely save the date cards on Etsy that I loved; the seller creates a custom card with a drawing of your venue on it. However these were fairly expensive, so I put that idea on the back burner for future invites and we ended up getting some cheaper ones from Hobbycraft. My future MIL and MOH helped me added some red glitter to the cards and punch some red heart confetti to fill the envelopes. MOH has lovely calligraphy hand writing and kindly wrote all the cards while I did the envelopes. In the end I think that they looked okay :) 

We then looked in to catering. Fonmon Castle allow you to choose from 2 two caterers. Our wedding coordinator had already discussed our concerns about food with us while we looked around the venue and she recommended sharing platters, which would involve dishes being placed in the centre of each table for guests to help themselves. We really like this idea as it will allow for us to provide more of a range of options for food, hopefully meaning that everyone would have something that they liked to eat, including my fussy husband to be! So my parents, my fiance and I went to meet the caterer that Hannah had recommended. We discussed what we wanted for food and when it should be served through the day. After our meeting we made up a list of the food that we wanted; as well as the two courses of sharing platters we would like canapes to be served after our ceremony and a combo evening buffet of afternoon tea type snacks and more substantial hot food. Unfortunately we are still waiting for the caterers to come back with a quote for our dream menu. Not having this sorted is stressing me out a lot so my mum has taken over chasing it up, fingers crossed we will soon have the catering finalised and booked! 

New bride

Mrs P 2019 wrote (see post):
TooHappyToBeFunny wrote (see post):

So glad I found this thread! We're hoping to get married outside Cardiff too so very much looking forward to learning about all your plans :)

Ohhhh :D What kind of place are you looking for? Will you be making a planning thread here? I would also be interested to hear the plans of another Cardiff bride :) 

Venue viewings next weekend so I can update properly then, but all being well our ceremony will be in St Mary's Church in St Fagans so we're looking at venues around there.

I completely love planning threads so it would be madly hypocritical not to write my own but going to try to get a little further into planning first so I have something to report!

New bride

Photographer and DJ

In April my future MIL and MOH took me to a wedding fayre. I was sceptical that the wedding fayre would really be helpful but I was surprised to find that it did give me lots of ideas and inspiration and leads to work on for suppliers! I met some really impressively talented wedding suppliers who had a good chat with me about our wedding plans and how they could provide what we were looking for. One of these was Francesca Hill, who does absolutely beautiful photography and seemed to have a compatible kind of style for us as a non-photogenic couple! She was at the top end of our budget for photography though so we did look around at other photographers too, but cheaper photographers seemed to have less impressive portfolios or less experience in wedding photographer. I was nervous about compromising on the photographer; as I said we are not photogenic and are pretty shy about having our photos done so I wanted to ensure that our photographer would be able to get the best out of us in the pictures. A little while after going to the wedding fayre I got an email offering 20% off on Francesca Hill’s photography due to us attending the fayre and this ended our deliberations as we went ahead and booked her for our wedding! Her photography is documentary style but we will be having some posed photos of us. We have also currently ended up with the maximum advised 10 posed group photos :x Might be something to reconsider later down the line. She will be with us all day; we will be getting ready at Fonmon Castle in the beautiful bridal room in the morning so I am hoping that there may time to get some of the group shots done before the day gets started. Not sure how realistic that is though, has anyone done this with their photography?

We also booked our DJ for the reception after some Google searches for local DJs. We are just having the DJ and some coloured uplighting for the room; I did also look at some extras (starlight dance floor looked very pretty!) but seemed a bit over the top since it will be a room that is fairly small and highly decorated. My fiancé is helping me to make a list of songs that we would like for our disco. We both like 90s/00s dance music but are vetting our playlist for more romantic, wedding appropriate ones. Traditional cheesy disco songs will probably also make an appearance…

New bride

Cake

Initially we considered asking my future MIL to make our cake, as she is an aspiring amateur baker and makes a delicious cake  However when we talked to her about it this we thought that it probably wouldn’t be ideal; MIL has never made a cake on this scale before and doesn’t bake so much anymore since her oven packed in! I also wanted her to be able to be help us out on the day and enjoy the wedding rather than stressing about sorting the cake. Her and my future FIL did offer to pay for the cake though  I found our cake maker from yet more Google searching. I made a few enquiries with different cake bakers and we arranged to go and meet Sarah Garland, whose company is called The Crafty Kitchen and is based very close to our wedding venue (easy and free delivery). Me, my fiancé and future MIL went to meet her, and enjoyed a lovely chat and cake tasting session. She was so professional and helpful so we decided to book her. My fiancé’s input was to select the flavour for our third tier; chocolate sponge with salted caramel buttercream :P The other two tiers are going to be a fruit cake as the smallest tier and traditional vanilla sponger as the largest tier.  At this point I had to actually to give consideration to colours for the wedding; the main colour is going to be a kind of duck blue, similar to the ceremony room. The cake is going to be in this colour icing, with some white lace and sugar flowers to decorate.

Couple of pictures from my Pinterest cake board:

The top one is pretty similar to what we will be going for (flowers and lace will be placed differently). The cake on the bottom has more similar lace to what our cake will have; it will be cake lace rather than the piped lace of the top image. 

New bride

Wedding rings

At this point you’re caught up with what I had done when I created my planning thread. What I really wanted to do next was to sort catering; but no further developments have happened with that so far  I also want to get my wedding dress soon; but we couldn’t sort a date to go shopping for some time. The first time that everyone is available together is the third weekend in August, so I had to be content with everyone having set that weekend aside and making a bunch of appointments with wedding dress shops.

We decided instead to focus on doing stuff that we could actually get done; starting with wedding rings! We went to look in a couple of jewellers that I have a discount with through work. We wanted to get traditional matching plain wedding bands in white gold. As I mentioned earlier in the thread we had a look at the “forever diamonds” wedding rings that match my engagement ring; but these were really expensive (even though they are currently on sale). I did like the idea of having engraving inside the rings though.

Last night we had an appointment with a representative from Smooch who I had previously met at the wedding fayre. He brought a range of wedding rings to show us; though we still preferred the plain ones in the end there were some lovely patterned ones that I was eyeing up :P We had decided that for the engraving we would like our wedding date and each other’s names engraved on the inside of the ring. To match my engagement ring we want the names in the rings to have the “O” replaced with a tiny diamond; luckily both of our names have an O in I guess :P The man from Smooch thought that this was do-able; the only potential issue being that we wanted to have the name and date on opposite sides of the inside of the ring. He thought that it might only be possible to do the engraving in a kind of single line; but we would be okay with this if it had to be this way.

We paid the deposit to get our rings through Smooch even though in our case it was a bit more expensive than getting the equivalent kind of rings in the jewellers we had looked at. We are paying around £860 for both rings; Tom is having his ring in 9ct white gold which reduced the price for his ring, though it will still look the same as mine. We knew that they would be able to do the engraving that we wanted. The price also included after care for the rings (free resizing and rhodium re-plating for life) and some gifts for the bridesmaids and best man; so we felt that it was a pretty good deal. I’ve seen some questions on here about Smooch so I’ll definitely give some updates when we receive the rings. 

Bridezilla

The lady I sit next to at work got her ring from Smooch and it's lovely.

My planning thread: http://www.youandyourwedding.co.uk/forum/your-planning-threads/town-centre-barn-wedding---august-2019/452338.html