TNWC Real Brides Married! Nik’s back to tell us all about her relaxed coastal farm wedding
This lovely TNWC Real Bride has become someone I consider as a friend, so it’s been a real treat to hear all about her wedding day (and I’ve been buried in all her ‘official’ wedding photos recently which will soon be gracing these blog pages). Nik and Chris had, what I think was a very chilled out and down-to-earth wedding (two in fact!) back in July, with champagne on the beach and lots of animal appearances on the farm where they live in Wales.
Over to Nik…
Six Months On
Recently we celebrated our six month wedding anniversary (ok, I know, not technically an anniversary, but nice to acknowledge it all the same). By a happy coincidence, it turned out our wedding caterer, Trehale Farm, were hosting their annual wassail on the same night, so it seemed quite fitting for us to go along to toast the apple trees, drink cider, eat great food and commemorate our first wedded milestone.
Being at a party in an open barn was certainly more than reminiscent of our wedding day, and brought lots of happy memories flooding back!
Once married, you find that the strangest things cause thoughts of the day to pop up in your head – one of mine is ’74-’75 by The Connells; Chris and his friend were supposed to play it as part of their acoustic set on the day but never actually did! Nevertheless, it always makes me think of our wedding when I hear it.
You also find that the most memorable moments of the day are of the things you’d least expect: hot chocolate round the campfire at the very end of the night, singing happy birthday to two of our guests, and looking up during the ceremony to note with amusement that at least three dogs were sat in the congregation! It was certainly a very animal-friendly day…
Our wedding was in July; if you can recall it was el scorchio for weeks on end and as we were having an outdoor wedding this was a massive cause for joy. In all the hubbub I did forget my suncream and after our post-ceremony trip to the beach our legendary photographer, Pete Cranston, noticed I was turning a nice shade of beetroot and ran over to slather me in factor 30!
As we were hosting the day at our home by the sea in Pembrokeshire, in a working barn, we had LOTS of prep to do in the run-up. We’d already done a lot of landscaping work and clearing up around the place in the months preceding, but I also took a week off work and got my mum to come down to help me set up.
We soooo needed that time!! Despite knowing that we had a lot to get done, we had still underestimated just how long it was going to take us – we ended up working from 7am to 10pm non-stop for a week and I was still making buttonholes on the morning of my wedding day!
non-stop for a week and I was still making buttonholes on the morning of my wedding day!
It all came together in the end, even if some of the details were a little rustic! My mum was a dream, and did so much hard graft, as well as dealing admirably with my temporary Bridezilla-like attitude. She did a really beautiful reading for us during the ceremony too, and had everyone (herself included!) in floods of tears.
Chris was a huge help, and was the one who insisted on a wedding morning swim at our local beach. We were both awake super early anyway out of excitement and nerves, which meant we had the beach to ourselves. The water was like a millpond and crystal clear, so we swam around watching the fish beneath us and it was so therapeutic! Calmed me down a treat and was a lovely moment of quiet and stillness between the two of us before the madness of the day ensued.
Wedding Take 2
In addition to our actual wedding day, which was only attended by 25 guests, we also threw a big party/reception for all our friends and family in our home county of West Yorkshire, two days after the ceremony, It was an incredibly tiring two days ? we had to clear out the barn in Pembs, load up the cars with all kinds of garden games, blankets, cheese, flowers and decorations, drive the six hours to the venue in West Yorks, then decorate it all ready for guests arriving at 3pm!
(There were no official photos at the party, so these are exclusive sneak peeks from our friends’ and family’s photo albums!)
On reflection it would have been much better for us to leave the party ‘til the week after; so if you’re planning a similar thing, leave a gap to give yourself a breather (or get a second venue that will do all the decorating, food etc. for you)!
Despite the manic nature of it all, we were super pleased that we had the party – the ceremony was over, so the pressure was off and we were able to just enjoy ourselves with our mates in the sunshine.
We ate amazing stonebaked pizza from Hettie the pizza van, stuffed our faces at the dessert table (put together by my mum and her friends), challenged each other to hoopla and limbo on the lawn and then danced until we dropped to the Great Northern Ceilidh Band (converted a lot of ceilidh sceptics that night – the groom included!).
The morning after, we met all our friends for a parting breakfast before making a slow journey back to West Wales, stopping off twice to stay over in the cute towns of Ruthin and Aberaeron – places we’d always admired on the journey to see family but never had the chance to explore. It also gave us the chance to catch up on lots of much-needed sleep!
Settling in to Married Life
People keep asking me how married life is ? I always respond by telling them it’s exactly the same as unmarried life (which is a good thing, I think)! I think the only thing that ‘feels’ different is that I have this lovely feeling of contentment and security.
I worried that we would feel an anticlimax after the wedding, because there’s so much expectation and desire for it to be perfect. Thankfully that wasn’t the case at all, we had two incredible days and we both agree that we’re perfectly at ease with the fact that this milestone in our relationship has now passed and paved the way for the next phase of our lives, which I know we will cram full of many more incredible memories.
Images: (1) Illustration by Izzy Burton; (2) Pete Cranston Photography; (3 – 6) Brides own pictures; (7) Pete Cranston Photography; (8 – 14) Brides own pictures; (15) Pete Cranston Photography; (16 – 27) Brides own pictures