The "Perfect" Wedding

The Couple

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Kelly and Dave met on 28 November 2003.  They were both in the Army and met on operational tour in Iraq.  Dave was immediately smitten and credits Kelly's beautiful smile for that.  Kelly on the other hand, put her attraction to Dave down to his boyish good looks and silly dancing. 

Seven months later, Dave popped the question!  They were at their local steak house in Germany, where they were living at the time.  On the walk over, Kelly noticed that Dave's palms were a little sweatier than usual so she grew excitedly suspicious.   

As they sat down, Dave popped a ring on the table and looked at Kelly without saying a thing.  Kelly had previously said to Dave that if they were to get engaged, she didn’t want a fuss, Dave thought she meant it!   

Then came the wedding, only one month after the loss of their beloved little boy Ryley-Alex at only 9 days old.  Understandably, it wasn't the big white wedding they'd dreamed of but was full of love.  Fast forward 15 years, Kelly and Dave decided that they were to renew their love and finally have that white wedding they'd always dreamed of.  Their plan for a dream white wedding landed on my desk with 6 weeks to go before the big day.  250 guests, 6 weeks, 46 suppliers - piece of cake!     

The Venue

Having worked at Buckland Hall since May 2017, it was a no-brainer that Kelly wanted her big white wedding there.  Kelly fell in love with the venue and its beautiful grounds as soon as she stepped foot in there for her interview.  Dave obviously didn't need much convincing.  

Props Aerial Media captured the grounds in all their glory and from their footage, you will see how jam packed this amazing day was.  From an owl ring delivery to giant bubbles on the lawn and fun and games from Jitterbug Circus in their mini big top tent.  Everyone was taken care of and kept entertained from start to finish. 

Getting Ready And That Beautiful Dress

Eclipz Hair StudioLadiva Hair StudioBeauty Bug and Christina Cooling had four hours to work their magic in hair and make-up for the bride, the mother of the bride, 9 bridesmaids, and 2 flower girls.  Most would assume that's a stressful task but I popped in and out a few times to make sure all was well (and to bring my much needed planner emergency kit) and the room was full of joy, silliness, and laugher, as well as artistry!  And you can see that for yourselves.

After the bridal party breakfast and the getting ready, Kelly had a beautiful moment with her mum before I got the thumbs up that she was ready to re-marry the love of her life.  She was glowing in her beautiful dress from De Mariee Boutique finished off elegantly with a bouquet designed by friends and colleagues at Centre of Attention

Dave on the other hand was as nervous (but still composed) as most grooms are the first time around.  I remember checking in and him saying to me, "well at least she can't say no and not go through with it".  It was such a lovely moment for me.  I had come to know Kelly and Dave very well during the previous 6 weeks but it was in this moment, practicalities complete, that their love for each other really hit me.  These moments are precisely why I do what I do. 

The Flowers

Centre of Attention are regulars at Buckland Hall and know the venue inside out.  They dressed the stairs with large floral installations that were simply stunning, they created beautiful table centres on top a large martini glass vase, and of course button holes and bouquets.   

The Ceremony

The room was ready, the bride was ready, the 150 guests were being seated.  The excitement in the air was infectious and the bridal party look sensational.  Harpist Katie Bayliss filled the room with beautiful music that was just the right vibe for the audience.  The ceremony commenced with 9 bridesmaids and 2 flower girls making their grand entrance.  They were the most breathtaking bridal party and not just because they looked amazing but because their love and support of Kelly shone through the whole day.  Friendship goals springs to mind. 

And then came the bride and her two dads.  As she walked to her groom, there wasn't a dry eye in the room and the ceremony had hardly begun.  Jane Grayer of  Create Ceremonies had spent time with the family: Kelly, Dave, Beau, Chance, and the family's memory of Ryley-Alex and expertly crafted the most emotional, personal, humorous, and engaging ceremony.  

As the rings were about to be exchanged, ring bearer at the ready, I remember hearing gasps of surprise, "it's an owl", "oh wow", "there's a bird", " mum, look".  It was a great moment but as the planner, I know all too well that there's never a guarantee that a wild bird or animal will  do exactly what you want, and of course, I don't think we should expect them to.  On this day however, the beautiful owl glided down the centre of the ceremony room and it was breathtaking.  The owl landed on Beau's arm and Beau didn't flinch, he listened perfectly to the training provided by E and C Falconry to make sure the owl was well treated and not frightened and Beau carefully untied the rings and the owl, as if his best friend, completed the task and flew back as gracefully as he flew in.  It was quite remarkable and luckily, or not as the case may be, no one got pooped on! 

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The vows had been exchanged, the rings delivered, and tears wiped.  It was now time for a unity sand ceremony where 5 different colours of sand were poured into vessels for the family to keep, each colour representing a family member: Kelly, Dave, Beau, Chance, and Ryley-Alex.  Ryley-Alex's cousin, Josh, did the pouring honours on Ryley's behalf.  The tiny particles of sand, once combined, can never be separated.  The epitome of unity.  Just beautiful. 

  The Confetti Shot

With 150 day guests, and everyone keen to be fully immersed in the celebrations, there was a lot of confetti.  It looked beautiful but it smelt even better!  I have to say, I am a sucker for a confetti shot! 

The Love

Dave's only mandate throughout the whole planning process was to give Kelly everything she wanted, no matter what.  Quite frankly, he was the dream groom to plan a wedding with; hands on, organised, sensible, and focused on the most important part of the day, their love.  He also smashed the idea that grooms to be sit back and let brides to be do all the work.  That's not always the case and it wasn't here.  The love and determination to make his wife beam with happiness is only too evident in these wonderful moments. 

The Dancing 

If you haven't heard of Marryoke yet, you're in for a treat.  It's essentially one song, your guests, and a choreographed mimed music video.  Not only does it have everyone involved on the day, it can be done without getting everyone together all at once so logistically, it's easy and it's the editing that brings it all together.  I wouldn't recommend it in place of a formal videographer but it's definitely a fun addition and brings about a lot of laughter, both on the day and after. 

And here is the final edit courtesy of Ultrabooth and Jon Cundy.

And in my defence, I had morphed from wedding planner to guest by the time I made it into this video.  I'm pretty sure it was after midnight when I made my cameo. 

The Banquet And Speeches

After enjoying a delicious starter and main course, it was time for some heartfelt, hilarious, and inspiring speeches.  To kick off this part of the day, a video was played of messages from Kelly and Dave's friends who could not make their day.  It's amazing that two people can have in excess of 250 friends but having got to know them, I can see why they do! 

As the guests settled down to listen to some warming and sincere messages of congratulations and love, the room filled with intermittent applause, ooooos, and awwwws and when the last video started, the room erupted even more given how big a part Ed Sheeran had played in this vow renewal and the couples' lives.  He had seen Beau and Chance singing Perfect and had sent messages to the family prior to recording this lovely message for the day itself.  Top guy! 

Then there were speeches.  We had both of Kelly's dads up on their feet, the best man, the maid of honour, Dave, and rather unconventionally, I was invited to offer a short speech on behalf of Kelly and Dave to thank the hundreds of suppliers who set out to make the day so special, as well as the nearly 50 who contributed on the day.  It's rare that a wedding planner would have such a privilege and to make my day even more special, I was thanked with a gorgeous bouquet alongside the mums - it doesn't get much better than that on a job satisfaction front! 

The Detail

There were so many elements to the day and the detail can be seen everywhere.  The torn Italian paper used by Clarendon Designs for the on the day stationery was just beautiful.  The handmade soap wedding favours by Bubble and Fizz  added a personal touch with a message from the couple to their guests, "We couldn't say our I do without you" and of course, given how big a role Ed Sheeran has played in the family's lives of late, the ginger Ed men favours courtesy of Mamma Lou’s Cakes went down a treat. 

There was so much more, the circus, the owl, the LED love letters, the flower wall and matching table plan and welcome sign, the wonderful Beauford Open Tourer that gave the couple an all important 20 minute escape from the jam packed day of activity.  

 

The First Dance 

As far as first dances go, this one was the ultimate tear jerker.  Beau and Chance, Kelly and Dave's loving and brave young sons stood in front of 250 guests and sang every lyric from the first half of Ed Sheeran's Perfect as their parents danced and radiated love and positivity right before their eyes.  It was beyond emotional and the boys joined their parents to enjoy the second half of the first dance to a song that had developed such a meaning to the family. 

After a couple of hours of dancing, we stole the couple for a sparkler exit and a wonderful firework display by Pen Dragon Fireworks.

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The rest of the night saw everyone dancing to an amazing performance by live band Fonz and the Poet who broke through the crowd and rocked it on the stairway. 

After their work was done, they made their rock n roll exit through the windows so as not to get in the way of the dance floor as DJ Timothy Belcher of Beacons Disco kicked in until an epic 4am! 

Timothy, being the type of person to go way above and beyond, after spinning his decks for hours, volunteered to take some tired dancing feet home as the sun started to rise (well almost)!   What a guy! 

As beautiful as the photos are (all courtesy of Kath Evans Photography), you only really start to understand just how special this day was if you watch this amazing highlights video by Orchid Films.  Get your tissues ready!  

And of course, the perfect end to the Perfect Wedding is getting to meet Mr Perfect himself which happened only yesterday! 

Watch out for this amazing wedding soon to be featured in Your South Wales Wedding Magazine which goes on sale on 29 June 2018. 

For more information on how you can get your hands on a digital or printed copy of the magazine, please click here

Kelly, Dave, Beau, Chance, and Ryley-Alex, you are quite the family and you really have touched the hearts of the nation.  

It's been the biggest privilege. 

Bisous Bisous

Ava x 

Suppliers

Supporter: Wish For A Wedding

Wedding PA/Planner: Bisous d’Amour: The Wedding PA

Venue:  Buckland Hall

Photographer: Kath Evans Photography

Videography: Orchid Films

Drone Footage: Props Aerial Media

Stationery:  Clarendon Designs

Dress:  De Mariee Boutique

Hair: Eclipz Hair Studio and Ladiva Hair Studio and Beacons Barbers

Makeup: Beauty Bug and Christina Cooling

Band: Fonz and the Poet

Hand Painted Shoes:  Inanna Bespoke Shoes

Pageboy Gifts: Lauri Li Design

Suits: Ashworth & Bird

Groomsmen Gifts: Magpie Memories Keepsakes

Floristry: Centre of Attention

LED Love Letters: To Have And To Hire Events

Flower Wall: Fidelis Events

Confetti: Confetti Wishes

Favours: Bubble and Fizz and Mamma Lou’s Cakes

Celebrant: Create Ceremonies

Owl Ring Delivery: E and C Falconry

Harpist: Katie Bayliss

Photo Booth and Marryoke: Ultrabooth and Jon Cundy

Cake: M Bakery

Drinks: Morrison’s

Bar Hire: Black Dragon Bars

Bread: Caroline’s Real Bread Company

DJ: Beacons Disco

Children's Entertainment: Endless Entertainment

Circus: Jitterbug Circus

Creche: Brecon Mobile Creche

Fireworks: Pen Dragon Fireworks

Flower Girl Gifts: From Hereford, With Love

Bridesmaid Jewellery: Lucibelle Bridal Hair Accessories & Jewellery

Personalised Paper Cut: Book Folding Forever

Personalised Antique Card Trunk: Mad Hatton’s Attic

Giftbags: Ty Cariad

Vinyls: The Craft Cave

Wedding Newspaper: Photo Press

Speech Support: Wedding Speech Guru

Paper Flowers: Hibah’s Paper Petals

Wedding Car: Brecon Wedding Cars

Bridal Party Afternoon Tea: White Swan Tea Room

Guest Accommodation:  Rhimiau - A Hillwalker’s Heaven

follow friday

This Friday has been an office day.  It feels great to spend time on the nitty gritty of my clients' weddings i.e. shoulder deep in Dropbox Paper documents - if you haven't used them, give them a go.  My clients get to see me work in real time as I update their Master Doc each week with my progress; they love it!  

Anyway, I digress.  Here's my #folllowfriday recommendation which is very apt because it's Pride Month. 

My recommendation is for LGBTQ equality weddings:

who are they?

Emma McNamara of Ochre Eclectic designed this fabulous badge and offered it to the industry because she's pretty amazing like that. The LGBTQ equality weddings website, a community based project, quickly followed with its list of those sporting the badge on their websites. 

The purpose is to help couples start their wedding planning search with the comfort of knowing that they will get a fabulous service regardless of their gender, sexual orientation, race, religion, or anything else.  It's not a directory so they're not trying to sell suppliers a listing, it's a community effort to advocate for marriage equality.  

where are they?

UK based but happy to include wedding suppliers from all over the World.  If you're willing to display the badge, you're welcome on The List. 

what extras do they have? 

I don't think they need anything extra but that doesn't stop them!  If you refer 5 suppliers who quote your business name, you will receive a 1 week pass for the featured image spot on the main list page for your category!  Quick, email them and quote Bisous d'Amour so I can keep my image featured! 

how can I follow them?

They're on Instagram and you can read more about them on their website by clicking here. 

what do you like about them?

I like that they're advocating for love.  The world still has a long way to go towards equality for all and it won't happen by standing back and pretending it isn't a problem or ignoring it because it doesn't directly impact you.  LGBTQ equality weddings are giving the wedding industry a voice, they're helping an industry built on love and togetherness open their arms and welcome everyone in without judgement and it's a movement.  Hopefully, it will spill over into other industries until such time that it's just a given.  Business is about people, all people, and we are all consumers before we are businesses. Imagine wondering whether you'd be turned away because of your identity or life choices?  That would kind of suck, wouldn't it?  The List saves couples from having to wonder. 

Go on, get your badge and embrace the rainbow!  Oh, and don't forget to say I referred you!  

bisous bisous 

Ava x

follow friday

I spend a lot of time on social media trawling through thousands of wedding professionals to find those that share my ethos of impeccable customer service AND have amazing stuff to offer. 

One of the most fulfilling parts of my job is when I see an email from my couple to a supplier I have introduced them to, applauding the work that is being carried out for them, and with them. I tend to do a happy dance when this happens and I don't care who's watching!    

To make it happen, I have to really know my clients and listen to their every word and more.  I have to ask the right questions.  It's not as simple as having a huge list of trusted suppliers and throwing the kitchen sink at your clients.  I mean that's what Google's for.  It's about knowing who, within your tribe, are the perfect match for this specific couple in this specific moment.  It's about knowing and understanding people.  

It's a skill I'm proud of (and always developing) but I couldn't do it without having my tribe of awesome suppliers who are amazing at what they do.  I have therefore decided to share one super duper awesome supplier with you every time I spend a Friday in the office in a wedding related #followfriday blog post (like this one!). 

Welcome to my first #followfriday.  This recommendation is for the fabulous Mctrigg Campers.  

who are they?

They are a family owned business (yey!) offering a beautifully restored 1960 VW split-screen bus for your proposal, engagement shoot, wedding day, or even a chauffeured secret elopement with all the works! 

where are they?

Based in Farnborough, Hampshire and cover a wide surrounding area including Surrey, Berkshire, Oxfordshire, Hertfordshire, West Sussex & Greater London.

what extras do they have?

Air-cooled cruising (obviously), a vintage style bell tent come e-shisha lounge (if you fancy), state of the art sound system (of course), karaoke (oh yes!), and seat belts (you'd be surprised by how many vintage cars don't have these). 

how can i follow them?

InstagramFacebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.  You can also read more about them on their website by clicking here

what do you like about them? 

I like what they offer first and foremost.  I also like their vibe.  Friendly, relatable, flexible, warm, and will shed a happy tear just like me when they see the love right before their eyes.  These are the kind of suppliers you need on your day, the ones who are invested in love.  Trust me on that one.  Also, we are currently planning a really exciting partnership so WATCH THIS SPACE (or subscribe to the blog to be the first to know).  

I am on a mission to find a person (not necessarily a man) who would like to plan a proposal in the back of this chauffeur driven beauty, bubbles at the ready, with a hidden photographer in the front ready to capture the love.  Can you imagine telling that proposal story?  

Do you know someone who'd be all over this?  Then share this post far and wide and the referrer will receive a £100 Gift Certificate redeemable against any of my services.  I need some happy campers in my life! 

Bisous bisous 

Ava x

tuesday tips

The first dose of #tuesdaytips was a massive hit and so here I am again, spoilt for choice!  I really do love the generosity of the wedding industry; they are genuinely falling over themselves to help you have the best day ever.  They appreciate that you only have one shot and really do go above and beyond to make sure it's a dream come true.  So let's get to it...

tip 1 - letters from emily

 Photo by Letters From Emily 

Photo by Letters From Emily 

When working out how many invites you need, don’t fall into the trap of thinking you need one per guest! Partners and families need only one invite. It sounds obvious but lots of couples make this same mistake.

I did it myself when I got married three years ago and I now have 40 invitations sitting in a drawer with no idea what to do with them.

That being said, don’t forget to order an extra one or two for you, the couple, to keep. They make lovely keepsakes.
— Emily Stone
 Photo by Special Day Wedding Photos

Photo by Special Day Wedding Photos

If you have bridesmaids and/or flower girls, remember to send them down the aisle first and allow enough time for them to walk down and be seated or positioned to one side.

I have photographed weddings where this advice has not been taken resulting in confusion at the end of the aisle and my all important view being obscured by the bridesmaids.

Only when the aisle is free should the bride walk down. This is a very important moment and the bride deserves to have the floor to herself with her very proud father or other special person on her arm.
— Anthony Lyons
 Photo by Cake Me Up!

Photo by Cake Me Up!

Think about the time of year you are getting married. Flowers, especially organic edible ones, are seasonal and so this should be factored in. Additionally, if you are getting married in the hot summer months, (we live in hope!) a buttercream drip cake might not be the best option, unless you know your cake will be displayed in an air-conditioned room. It’s therefore important to consider where your cake will be stored or displayed and how that might impact your cake.
— Ali Anderson
 Photo by Jo Greenfield Photographer 

Photo by Jo Greenfield Photographer 

Please save your photographer an invitation and any other stationery so he/she can photograph everything as part of your story. It completes your album nicely.
— Jo Greenfield
 Photo by The Mermaid Effect 

Photo by The Mermaid Effect 

Make sure you have a personalised leather jacket to wear when the temperature drops!
— Jemima Rodwell

So there you have it, 5 more #tuesdaytips to keep you in the know!  The last one is definitely more of a product plug BUT seriously, brides should be prepared for a drop in temperature and if the adrenalin is enough to keep you warm, well, a hand painted jacket won't be a waste, it's that extra bit of fabulousness that you deserve! 

Until next time lovebirds.

bisous bisous

Ava  x

tuesday tips

The nature of weddings is that they only happen once.  It royally sucks when you come out of your wedding day with bags of wisdom for the couples that follow, and mild (or major) regrets of your own.  You need all the tips available to you pre-wedding, not post, and luckily for you, the Wedding PA is here to help.  Tadaaa!     

I am on a mission to pick the brains of a whole host of seasoned wedding professionals, and those in the know, to make sure you're tip top come your wedding day.  We don't do regrets, but we do love a play on words!   

Welcome to the Wedding PA's first dose of #tuesdaytips: 

tip 1 - bisous d'amour

Most couples dive head first into planning their day and do so with the immediate counsel of everyone around them. Do not start out in this way!

The very first thing you need to do is go away for the weekend, just the two of you. Work out in the couple what you want, what your limitations are, what concessions you’re willing to make and be ready to stick to them.

Save yourself the stress of having to go back to the drawing board when the politics get too much, by being prepared for them. They arise even in the most blissful of families.
— Ava Korwin
When booking a wedding venue where accommodation and catering etc is all part of the price see if you can negotiate an aggregate spend rather than a package price. That way when your guests are paying for their own accommodation your overall spend will be less than it might have been had you paid a fixed package price for the venue.
— Mike Riley
 Photo by  Chloe Lee Photography   Styling by  Party Squared    Floral runner by  The Botanical Shed  

Photo by Chloe Lee Photography

Styling by Party Squared

Floral runner by The Botanical Shed 

Decorating your venue yourself seems like an enjoyable thing to do. You can collect decor and buy things during the months leading up to the wedding. Some couples plan to sell items after the wedding.

In reality couples usually spend more than they intended and don’t have the space needed to store all their purchases. Decorating is a very time consuming process; packing up all the items safely, loading, delivering to venue, unloading, cleaning, polishing and finally styling your decor items. Then doing the same the next day in reverse.

Hiring styling props and decorative items, and appointing a stylist will simplify this process and save you valuable time and money. Stylists are very often talented crafters too and will make bespoke unique items to add to your day.
— Victoria Reed
Make sure to take 15 minutes away from everyone, just you and your new spouse. Having pictures taken or in the wedding car doesn’t count. Just some time to sit and take a breath, and take stock of the day so far. It’ll make the day go slightly less quickly and will probably be what you remember most from your day.
— Ellie Bowden
Try and book your floral consultations a year in advance of your wedding, that way you will be able to actually see what should be in season and available for your date. Always buy in seasonally for more for your money and higher impact.

Make good use of greenery and take into account your environment and lighting.
— Kelly Ann Atwood

Pretty good tips, right?!

Make sure you don't miss out on the next dose of #tuesdaytips by subscribing to the blog.  You can do this by entering your email address in the pop up subscription box, or by emailing me directly here.  

Do you have a great tip you'd like to share with my clients and readers?  Then pop it over here, together with any cool images, and you may just find yourself in a #tuesdaytips post very soon!

bisous bisous 

Ava x