It’s Monday once again which can only mean one thing….another extraordinary real wedding to share with all you free-spirited lovelies! And this wedding, captured by the divine Anna at Pear and Bear Photography has me bursting with pride as it took place in my hometown! In fact, the couple’s portrait photos were taken in my local park, famous for it’s beautiful rose garden and horticultural offering to the beautiful city of Cardiff. Carl and Maria got married in a low-key ceremony in Cathays Chapel, close to the city-centre. Authentic and understated, with an ivory floral rimmed aisle runner, the historic chapel created the ideal bohemian canvas for the couple. A multi-seasonal colour palette, a touch of DIY boho and a global mix of Columbian and local influence set the perfect tone for this simply stunning Welsh wedding….not to mention the beautiful lace-draped bride who turned her back on convention by sporting floral converse high tops and a black leather jacket! Different and daring, we hand over to Maria to tell you more about her quaint, city chapel wedding….

We wanted to keep the venue quite simple and elegant at the same time. We knew we wanted to create things ourselves and include elements of the ceremony that represented us. Carl really likes nature, especially terrariums, so we created our own using soil from the garden and succulents purchased on Etsy. We used Pinterest for inspiration and for ideas on how to create our aisle runner. Together we made our vision a reality in just 3-months!

Building a life together

We went to Reykjavik in Iceland for a short trip in January. The actual engagement wasn’t traditionally romantic as you would expect but it was something we both decided on. We knew we wanted to be together forever and build a life together. It felt like a secret we could both cherish and it was nice to be in Iceland together with this ‘secret’….

The moment I finally said ‘yes to the dress’

My dress was from The Jet Set Diaries which I found on ASOS. I originally choose this dress because it had long sleeves and an open back which were the two elements that I really wanted! I had the typical “this is the one” feeling when I tried it on, and I jumped around and felt amazing when I saw myself in it for the first time! I’m actually a really indecisive person and I didn’t want to say yes to the dress until I’d seen more traditional dresses….So I tried on more than 30 in the end but always came back home ending up with the original dress on. I eventually realised it was a keeper! My ceremony shoes were by Vicky Tcherassi in Gold (Colombian designer). They were the ones my sister used for her wedding and it was my way of having something from her on the day as she was not able to be with me. I then changed into my flower embroidered Converse! When I was 14, I knew I wanted to get married in Converse! It took ages to find the perfect pair and one day, as I was about to leave the store, I spotted THE pair. As it turned out, they was the very LAST pair, in the SALE and in MY SIZE! They couldn’t have been anymore ‘meant to be’.

I wore a Gold Crystal Quartz Hair Comb found on Etsy and for jewellery I wore a gold ring that belonged to Carl’s mother. It was so important for both of us to have her honoured and close to us during the ceremony. Carl gave me this ring just days before the wedding and had it resized to fit me perfectly. It was totally fitting with my whole “boho” outfit vibe.

Carl wore a 3-piece suit from Noose & Monkey with a shirt from TM Lewin (with custom metal buttons). He also wore a pocket watch from Dezeen Store and shoes by Kurt Gieger. The cufflinks were a gift from me by Hedgehog Cufflinks.

Both Bridesmaid’s have very different styles and so I didn’t want them to have the exact same dress. It was a bit challenging as both bridesmaids live in different countries and we all had to rely on pictures to make our choices. They both looked amazing and their outfit complimented my look so beautifully!

Chapel wedding in wonderful wales

We found our venues through the Registrar’s approved venues. We picked Cathays Chapel because it felt very intimate and it was the perfect size for our small wedding. The venue also helped in defining our decoration. The Victorian Chapel has all the original detailing and stonework that added to the look and feel of the wedding. Therefore we only needed to add a small amount of decoration as the building created the perfect readymade canvas. We had our reception at Chapel 1877 in Cardiff City Centre.

Intimate chapel wedding livestreamed to the entire world!

Our ceremony was very intimate as we only had 28 guests attend and they were all close friends and family. We felt that getting married was something very private and personal and we didn’t want too many eyes on us. Saying that, the ceremony was live streamed via a laptop, and was watched by family and friends all over the world! This was especially important for me as my family are from Colombia and sadly they couldn’t make the wedding. Carl’s father, who sadly had a heart attack a few days prior to the wedding, was also able to watch the ceremony from the hospital.

We had melodic acoustic songs before, during and after the ceremony. We contacted musician Leon Marshall and asked him to learn a few song for us. He was very helpful during the planning process and he really made us feel at ease. We walked down the aisle to the song “How long will I love you” by Ellie Goulding and then Leon played “First day of my life” from Bright Eyes as we exited the chapel as husband and wife. Both songs were very sweet and represented what we were feeling about becoming partners for life.

We had my best friend Juan give a reading (one in Spanish and one in English). The reading was taken from a quote by Bob Marley. We picked it because it was honest about relationships and not too formal or ‘romantically fake’ but true to love. We also felt it represented us and the people who were there.

Wild, rustic and locally grown

Our florist was Justine from Farhill Flowers. We had an autumnal colour palette and loved the look and feel of wild/rustic flowers from this season. Our wedding was in April, so it proved a challenge for Justine to create the flower displays that we really wanted. However, we were thrilled with the outcome – the look and feel of the flowers hit our vision perfectly. The flowers were all planted and grown in Wales, so we loved the fact that they were fresh, natural and locally grown.

The Bride’s bouquets, bridesmaids’ bouquet and buttonholes turned out beautifully. The oversized bridal bouquet had all the flowers and colours I requested; we asked for foliage, soft pink flowers and dark red tulips. All the elements were there and I was thrilled with it, so much so that I barely put it down the whole day! I even kept it for the following two days and refused to use it in the bouquet throw!

The perfect photographer

Our photographer was Anna Dunleavy of Pear and Bear Photography. She was the perfect choice for our wedding. We had an engagement shoot prior to the wedding, which was useful as it helped us to prep and feel comfortable in front of the camera on the wedding day. Anna understood exactly the type of shots we wanted! The photos came out beautifully and captured our day perfectly. We’d definitely recommend using her.

Décor by an interior designer

The decoration was very important for us, especially for Carl.  He is an interior designer and has a good eye for detail so he was very picky and cared a lot about having the venues reflect us, our relationship and looking awesome.

The historical detailing of the Chapel helped a lot in making the ceremony venue look beautiful. We decided to add some small elements to enhance the space but not to overpower it. We installed an ivory aisle runner and added flowers to the sides. The flowers were laid above one another creating a border. It was simple to install and very effective. We made terrariums with succulents purchased online and used flowers from our garden. We bought two glass lanterns and lit candles either side of where we stood. On arrival we placed a sign on an easel saying ‘ pick a seat not a side, we are all family once the knot is tied’.

The reception venue had a lot of character of his own as it was an old refurbished chapel transformed into a restaurant. We had many of the DIY elements made in Colombia by my mother and sister. There was large brass ‘C & M’ lettering, a gift card box, gold leaf coated name tags which were attached to burlap coffee bags ( a nod to my heritage ) and these were filled with coffee beans coated in chocolate. We used these as seating tags and the wedding favours and we also used the terrariums from the Chapel for additional table decorations to our burlap table runners. They were designed by us and stamped with a logo and the date of our wedding. On the back it said ‘Gracias & Thank you’.

Any Advice?

We planned our wedding in just 3 months! This was for us actually an advantage rather than a hindrance as we made decisions as they came and we knew we had to keep up with it week after week. This meant we didn’t dwell and often made decisions based on vendors or items available for our date. However, this did cause us to argue often and in all honesty, the planning process was probably a little tainted because of our timeframe! I kept track of the logistics, time and budget while Carl was kept track of the design and timings for the actual day itself. In the first few weeks I’d already set up an Excel book with multiple sheets in order to keep track of money. Our budget was set at £7,000  and we were happy that it only came up to £8,000. Keeping track of our expenses, spending money wisely kept our minds at ease and kept us from going into debt before we started our journey together. We don’t miss the planning process however I guess it taught us a lot about ourselves which is ultimately a very important positive! My advice? Perhaps leave a little longer to plan that we did!!!

favourite moment

Carl – ‘Seeing Maria walk down the aisle, I felt the luckiest guy in the world, she looked incredibly beautiful…. I couldn’t stop smiling!’

Maria – ‘My favourite moment was the portraits session with my husband. It was the first time and probably the only moments we were together and alone as husband and wife on the day’.

The line up

Ceremony: Cathays Chapel
Reception: Chapel 1877
Photography: Pear and Bear Photography
Bride’s Dress: ASOS
Musician: Leon Marshall
Flowers: Farhill Flowers
Aisle Runner: PAB Events
Live Stream: Ustream


Wedding beauty on its way!

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