REAL WEDDING: Sara and Neil's railway shed transformation with plenty of personality
Can anyone even remember what 2019 felt like? I for one am struggling! 2019 was my busiest yet, the business hit full capacity, my personal life was non-stop and my corporate work really peaked too. I travelled more than ever, and could count the amount of 'days off' I had on two hands! I remember getting to December and just wondering where the year went. My blogging had been virtually non-existent, and I really missed sharing a little more with you than just a few square images on my Instagram.
So, here goes a blog post, the first of 2020 … coming at you during the last week of April at a time where we all need to stop thinking about the realities of what is going on outdoors. We are starting with the wonderful wedding of Sara and Neil. Starting with a bang, guys! (or a 'choo', perhaps! Read on, I haven't lost my marbles).
I first sat down with Sara and Neil way back in 2018. Sara had been Maid of Honour at another of my Team Jade weddings (High five, Mr and Mrs Pearson!) and as she and Neil were now planning their own DIY wedding they enlisted my help! I knew this was going to be a good wedding right from that very first meeting. They are teenage sweethearts with a lovely history – and their wedding day was going to reflect that in as many ways as possible. Cue the venue reveal … Dinas Railway station. Hmm. OK! I had visited said railway station on one occasion prior to this meeting, to attend the Rail Ale Festival a few years previous. And so, all I could remember was a large rectangular shed, with no windows and sticky floors. Not your usual wedding venue that is for sure. But we love a challenge, and so I was super excited – even more so because this was to be the very first wedding at the station. And extremely so because there was a reason that they had chosen this venue, Sara used to work on the railway as a teen serving tea’s and coffees on the trains and Neil would pick her up from work. Love it!
I am itching to get to the day itself, and just share some bloody beautiful images with you so I won’t go into too much detail re the planning process. All I will say is that it was a lot of fun, we had a few challenges along the way including TENS license applications, changing a few suppliers around with little notice etc. but I always enjoyed our meetings at the local pub … where Sara and I would always order a pot of tea and we would chat a little too much about non-wedding topics first! Well, all the meetings paid off, because if ever there were proof that you really can transform any venue into the dream, this is it!
Here are my top 3 highlights
Because, well … LOOK AT IT! Karen Willis Holmes bridal perfection.
This gown was a showstopper if ever I have seen one. For weddings where the ceremony takes place at a different venue to the reception, I am pretty often the last to see the bride and groom. I can remember when the guests were starting to arrive at the Shed for the welcome drinks reception they were all talking about the dress! (even the men). The happy couple had stopped off for a Mr and Mrs photo session with Arabella, their amazing photographer in Nant Peris so there was a bit of a delay between the guests arriving for bubbles and canapes and the happy couple making their appearance at the Shed. But when Sara and Neil pulled up in the vintage Tacla Taid car, stepping out into the sunshine, Sara literally took my breath away. I can’t even imagine how Neil must have felt seeing her walk down the aisle in the Church. Simply stunning!
The venue looked amazing! I remind you now of the dark, and pretty dusty shed that we started off with. Well, it was unrecognisable on the day. The shed was decked out with my wonderful SNOWDON tables (oh, how I miss them) and some lovely cross-back chairs which complemented them beautifully. Sara and Neil had decided on whites and greens for the flowers, and they looked super stylish centrally lined along the tables. The ceilings had been draped and some super modern light fittings hung above the top table.
The loveliest part of the styling of the venue though, was the personalisation. Not in a 'here are our names printed on everything' kind of way, but through the subtle detail that had been added throughout. To name but a few pieces for you:
Sara is a primary school teacher, and the children from her school had prepared drawings to hang up at the venue! Neil created all of the stationery and signage for the day, including some super cute train tickets for guests (yes, they needed a train ticket, and we will get to that in a minute!).There were also plenty of photographs and paintings dotted around on ladders and on window sills, particularly of their engagement at Llanddwyn Island, Anglesey.
A wedding with a train ride! YAAS!
Following the wedding breakfast and speeches, which were lovely by the way!, the guests left the Shed and headed over to the platform with their train tickets in tow! They enjoyed a trip along the Welsh Highland Railway to Waunfawr, sipping bubbles and taking in the scenery on the way.
Not only was this a really nice thing for the guests to enjoy and break up their day, but it gave me the perfect amount of time to re-set the shed for the evening reception. This meant clearing away half of the tables and chairs, re-setting the styling, setting up a treat table and getting the band set-up and sound checked for the party ...
This was one of those weddings where I just didn't feel ready to leave! I stayed way later than my usual 'go home' time of the first dance or the evening food. Tidying around the venue and relighting candles whilst watching everyone enjoy themselves can be super rewarding and I can't wait until my next wedding to be able to do it all again!
Stay safe everyone, these joyful days will return.
A few more beautiful images below ...
THANK YOU to this amazing team of suppliers:
Photographer: Arabella Smith
Flowers: Ty Blodau
Caterers: Marc McAuley Catering
Wedding Cake: Aderyn Melys
Bar: Foelas Arms bars
Make-up: Colur gan Anest Parker
Hair: Steph PH
Transport: Tacla Taid
Furniture hire - Peak Marquees
Napkins and Arbour: Geriach Glesni