A Grey Hayley Paige Dress + a Bride in Glasses for a Dog Friendly North Wales Wedding in a Deconsecrated Medieval Church

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I’m so happy that we’re off to beautiful North Wales for today’s cosy and intimate autumn wedding. It’s where I spent three very happy years at university, and holds an incredibly special place in my heart.

It’s also a part of the world steeped in history, and this is reflected in the ceremony venue choice of our couple – a wonderful, deconsecrated medieval church surrounded by ancient yew trees. Secondary school teacher Fi, and Nath, a bar supervisor, were married on the 27 October 2018 at The Gwenfrewi Project – a heritage site and arts project on the edge of Snowdonia National Park, North Wales. This was followed by a relaxed restaurant reception at Manorhaus in Ruthin.

Images by Andrew Cockerill Photography

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“We wanted to keep the day as beautiful but as simple as possible. I was conscious that my Scottish roots needed to be present on the day, as I was getting married in Wales. This came through subtly in the presence of blue in our outfits and thistles for everyone in the ceremony. We also were given a Scottish drinking cup (known as a Quaich) by my parents. Directly after the ceremony, they filled the cup and we drank together, with my parents blessing us with health and happiness.”

Award-winning make-up artist Rhiannon Pritchard was on hand to create a radiant look for Fi (not to mention perfect winged eyeliner!), and handled Fi’s skin issues with grace and ease.

In her lovely hair, Fi wore a sterling silver thistle comb from Etsy boutique, Mae & Wren, and on her feet, sparkly silver kitten heels from Paradox London.

“Rhiannon has won awards for being the best make-up artist in North Wales, and she deserves every one of them. She approached my psoriasis covered face with such sensitivity on my make-up trial, and genuinely made me feel beautiful and not self-conscious for the first time in about 3 years. I cannot thank her enough for her talent, plus the eye make-up she applied lasted through multiple tears and tequila shots – she is a magician!”

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Fi carried a pretty bouquet of blooms from the Great British Florist, in a soft and muted colour palette of lilac, cream, grey and blue, which included silver brunia, roses, thistles and eucalyptus.

“The Great British Florist were the only option for me. I had very little idea of what flowers I wanted (other than thistles) and so it felt so nice to experience a surprise the day before the wedding. Prompt delivery, excellent presentation and easy aftercare – I would recommend them to relaxed brides everywhere!”

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From City Gate Menswear in Chester, Nath chose a fantastic grey suit jacket and waistcoat with blue and pink checks, and blue trousers, which he wore with a polka dot tie. The couple’s gorgeous dog, Roman, wore a super-smart bow tie from Moaning Minnie.

“Nath wore cufflinks from Not on the High Street. I bought these as a wedding morning gift, and they have the location of where we met, and the location of our marriage alongside ‘Caru chdi’ (I love you, in Welsh) and ‘Am byth’ (forever.).”

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“We were able to have our dog, Roman, present at the ceremony, resplendent in his bow tie! He made all of our guests laugh at his wagging tail at the moment of ‘I do’, and relaxed us both when he was running around the field during our photo session.”

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“Cars were not a priority for us at all, so we elected to take a taxi to the ceremony. Unfortunately, the driver was so speedy around the Welsh back roads that my mum was nearly sick, and all of us had white knuckles throughout.”

“I had always wanted to get married at 3pm like my parents had done, but due to the horrendous driving, we ended up being 30 minutes early, with the taxi driver refusing to wait. I can laugh about it now, fortunately!”

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“We actually chose the ceremony venue before we moved to Wales. I knew that our eventual goal was to move to North Wales, so I looked at intimate wedding venues, and I found Gwenfrewi but never thought we’d live anywhere near it. Imagine my surprise when we moved close enough to make our dream a reality!”

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When it came to her dress, Fi had been sadly left discouraged by a poor boutique experience, and after some thought, decided not to wear a traditional ‘wedding dress’ at all. She instead opted for something she felt completely herself in – a grey Hayley Paige bridesmaid dress from Laraine Westwood Bridesmaid Studio, with subtly shimmering embellishment, in a beautiful tea gown style cut.

“I had previously had a bad experience at a bridal boutique that left me unsure if I even wanted a wedding dress. I was forced into dresses that were too small, unflattering, and far beyond what I had envisioned. I left the boutique in what I can only describe as shell-shock! I resolved to be led by what I wanted to wear, no matter whether it was bridal or not.”

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“The 2+ hour drive to Beth at Laraine Westwood Bridesmaid Studio was absolutely and completely worth it. She totally rectified my previously horrendous shopping experience with her calm and positive attitude.”

“I originally imagined a short dress, but when my psoriasis flared all over my legs, I extended my search. I found the dress on Pinterest and sought it out. I felt like a Hollywood starlet in the dress; it hugged every curve and felt glamorous enough to forgo some other accessories.”

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From Etsy-based GLDNxLayeredAndLong, Fi chose a bar pendant necklace engraved with the wedding date, and a circular tag with Nath’s initial.

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Fi and Nath’s wedding rings were chosen at Beaverbrooks, with Fi choosing a diamond band, and Nath going for a two-tone platinum and gold band.

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“Gwenfrewi is steeped in history. The ancient yew trees are over 2000 years old, and with the church being deconsecrated, we could have the civil ceremony we wanted, but with the beauty of a church.”

The aisle of the lovely old church was lined with garlands and vases of flowers, and Fi’s bridesmaid made her way down first, wearing a beautifully draped dark teal dress by Sorella Vita, and shoes from ASOS.

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“It was important to me that I didn’t feel as though I was being given away, and so I had my mum and dad accompany me, side by side, down the aisle, journeying with me into the next step of my life. I’m glad they were with me; I was so nervous, I could barely stand.”

Pianist Carl Lewis played a version of If I’m James Dean, You’re Audrey Hepburn, by Sleeping with Sirens, a song that Nath played to Fi in the early stages of their relationship, and which means a great deal to them.

“Nath proposed on a very misty day on the banks of Cadair Idris’ heart-shaped lake. His hands were so cold he nearly dropped the ring! We were engaged for three years before we married. In that time we saved for a deposit, moved into our first home, and adopted Roman, our gorgeous rescue dog.”

Fi is an English teacher, and so the ceremony readings were carefully chosen to reflect her love of literature. Nath’s sister, Tara, read Seamus Heaney’s poem, Scaffolding.

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“It meant so much to have her involved, as she has been from the very beginning. She also shares my love of poetry and read the poem beautifully.”

The couple’s second reading was a specially written Englyn (a traditional Welsh and Cornish short poem) written by friend Lois, and kindly shared in its original Welsh, with an English translation.

“Hoff eneth yw Fiona
i Nathan, dyma’r daith felysa’
mae’n ddydd o ddymuno’n dda,
I’r dim yw’r cariad yma.”

“Nathan’s favourite girl is Fiona, and this is the sweetest journey. It is a day of well wishes, since the love here is perfect.”

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Capturing the dreamy beauty of Fi and Nath’s day, alongside the wonderful Celtic touches, was photographer Andrew Cockerill, whose work we’re sharing here for the first time.

“Andrew and Nath are friends from their hometown, and had previously worked together for music promotion shots. Andrew was calm, confident and an incredible addition to our day. It was like having a friend and a photographer rolled into one. The shots that he managed to get, whilst allowing us plenty of time to relax amaze me.”

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“Carl Lewis played a huge range of popular songs to accompany our cocktail hour. I can genuinely say that he was the best decision we made. His renditions of Greenday, Queen and Journey resulted in every guest singing, and this continued onto the bus.”

On arrival at Manorhaus, there was more champagne to be enjoyed with canapes before sitting down to dinner.

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Everybody piled onto a lovely vintage Routemaster bus, hired from Routemaster4hire, for the journey over to Manorhaus in Ruthin.

“They were such a lovely touch, particularly as most of our guests had travelled hundreds of miles from the south of England. They were also very understanding, as the hour long journey involved all 45 guests singing to a variety of songs including the Welsh National anthem, 500 Miles and Bohemian Rhapsody!”

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“Manorhaus had beautiful food and an intimate layout. Gavin could not have been more helpful in the setup of our day. He was organised, calm and reliable. We were inspired by another LMD wedding that had a restaurant reception, and loved it’s intimate, relaxed vibe that allowed our guests to meet and mingle.”

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The delicious wedding feast included seafood navarin, squash and sage risotto, chicken in a white wine cream sauce, and roasted vegetable tart. It was followed up with a beautiful cake, made by Fi’s talented Maid of Honour.

“I loved our video chats over a baking bowl, and following her progress from a distance. Boy did she deliver! Spiced apple sponge and royal icing, covered in gold leaf and decorated with foliage. She made me cry on the day with her gift of a cake topper. ‘Cariad’ means beloved in Welsh, and it is what Nath and I call each other.”

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“I knew that wedding days went by in a blur, but for me, I found the whole day to be so overwhelming that I barely remembered it. Seeing the joy on our families’ faces in the photos (both professional and the photobooth) really helped me to process what a fantastic day it had been. I loved the impromptu whole-guest singing to Don’t Stop Believing at Gwenfrewi – bouncing around with my nieces-in-law, giggling and singing at the tops of our voices.”

Loved ones had great fun in the evening, with a photobooth from Picture Blast, and sparklers outside in the crisp, autumn evening air to bring the day to a magical close.

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Post-ceremony drinks were enjoyed at Gwenfrewi, with champagne waiting on ice, as well as rose lemonade, to be drunk in delicate vintage tea cups (one for each guest, labelled with their name).

“Many of our guests ended up keeping the tea cups as an unofficial favour. I was so lucky to have joined the LMD private Facebook group, where I was able to collect the wedding décor of another bride after her day. This included glass vases, tealight holders, signs and table cloths. I’ll pass these on to another bride!”

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Words of Wedded Wisdom

“As we had a fairly simple wedding, our budget was low. However, we did everything we wanted to and saved only where we knew it wouldn’t impact on our guests’ experience of the day.”

“Trust your photographer. Andrew insisted that we have signing the register photos, which I thought were so cheesy at the time. The reality is that during our vows, I was so nervous that I couldn’t raise my voice above a whisper, my leg was involuntarily shaking and I looked terrified and sick in all of the vow photos.”

“The register signing photos are my favourite to look at, and really capture the love we have at making it official. The sunlight was so beautifully placed that it added an ethereal quality to the photos – they take my breath away.”


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Fi and Nath, many congratulations and thank you for sharing that joy with us, and for your honest and heartfelt words. Thanks also go to photographer Andrew Cockerill for these lovely images.

Wedding outfits can be whatever you want them to be, and in whatever colour you like, not just white or ivory. Over the years, we’ve shared lots of real weddings with brides in outfits of all colours, so do take a look through our kaleidoscope.

With love,


Credits & Thanks

Laura Callan

Laura Callan View all Laura's articles

Laura is a freelance writer and content creator who loves telling stories. She has keen eye for photography and art, and lives with her husband, cats, and huge amounts of books.