a stunning hilltop farm wedding in Wales | uk wedding blog

facebook-profile-picture By Phoebe

Good morning! Oh I have so much love for this wedding. Not many couples have parents with a picturesque farm in Wales and a grandmother who used to be a dressmaker! I also don’t think many couples would look at a silage shed and think that it could be turned in to the ultimate rustic reception venue, but that is exactly what Ceri and Nick did. There are so many beautiful images taken by Mike in this post that I hope you don’t mind it may be a little picture heavy but I just couldn’t leave any out. I know you are going to love this wedding as much as I did.

photography | Mike Plunkett 

Ceri’s parents’ farm near Welshpool in Mid Wales – ceremony on a hilltop and reception in the silage shed. For us it was a no brainer – I had always imagined getting married from home, and the hilltop where we had our ceremony is our favourite spot on the farm. The silage shed provided the perfect blank canvas for our reception space.

I’d like to say the silage shed was a great blank canvas but a few weeks before the wedding it was still full of several tonnes of animal feed – so the first order of the day was to get rid of that and a good pressure wash down! Nick and my brothers suspended hessian from scaffolding poles to create a false ceiling, from which we hung large flower wreaths swathed with fairy lights.

My brother Carwyn made rustic tables from salvaged wood which he will be able to repurpose as saw horses for his budding furniture design business. They were topped with flower centrepieces. For our table names we used mini signposts displaying Welsh field names from around the farm, and our table plan was a corresponding 6 foot tall signpost. Carwyn also came up with an ingenious sheep feed trough drink stand to keep bottled beers and soft drinks on ice.

Nick’s parents hung family photos on twine to cover the more – ahem – rustic sections of concrete wall and spent many hours draping fairy lights on potted trees that we are hoping to transplant into our garden.

With guest comfort in mind, we borrowed a warehouse heater – which wasn’t needed – and set up a hay bale lounging area with plenty of cushions made by my grandmother from old curtains! With a proportion of guests who weren’t massive drinkers, we set up a coffee and soft drinks table with iced tea and lemonade in Kilner drinks jars served in mini milk bottles. Outdoors we had plenty of seating for people to sit and enjoy the view, fire logs and a bonfire for when it got chilly and my grandfathers vintage Ferguson tractor, giant chalks and the pony in a nearby paddock to keep the children amused!

I would say our wedding epitomised rustic chic. Nick’s favourite colour is brown and mine is aqua so that was that! I was keen to have the focus on a relaxed atmosphere.

In order to help our guests feel comfortable on the day we had a suggested dress code – ‘Mumford and Sons chic (no ties)’ for the gents and ‘posh frocks and wellies (no hats)’ for the ladies!

Our flowers were white with a hint of pink – roses, hydrangeas and peonies with plenty of greenery. I ordered them from the trianglenursery.com with only a vague idea of the quantity I wanted and how I was going to arrange them and was very grateful to the army of friends who conditioned them on arrival – I was shocked to find the sheep water tank full of submerged hydrangeas the day before the wedding! My mum and bridesmaid then stepped in and arranged them the day before the wedding. I was most pleased with the ceiling wreaths and my bouquet.

Not many brides have a grandmother who happens to be a retired dressmaker! I have happy memories of ‘helping’ in my grandmother’s workshop and have always known I wouldn’t be buying my wedding dress from a bridal shop. My dress was made of dupion silk with cotton lace applique and I spent a few calming hours in the run up to the wedding helping my grandmother cut and stitch – under close supervision!

I bought a pair of knee high leather boots in the Dune sale – I’m not sure my grandmother was ever convinced on my choice of accessories, but I have had plenty of wear from them since! I had a tweed Joules jacket and an aqua Coast wrap in case of cold weather. Nick bought me my aquamarine earrings and necklace and I was lucky to borrow an opal ring from my mother, an antique lace handkerchief from my grandmother and my bridesmaid’s watch.

I wore fresh flowers in my hair as I didn’t fancy the chances of a veil in the wind. Special mention to Stacey at Unique Hair who somehow managed to give me hair that withstood being on a very windy hilltop without looking heavily hairsprayed!

My bridesmaids infinity dress arrived from abroad the week after the wedding…Luckily I had only one bridesmaid and Suzy very obligingly took herself shopping two days for the wedding in the hunt for ‘anything vaguely minty green’…

Walking up the ‘aisle’ was a special moment – I walked over the horizon with my parents and could see Nick and our family and dearest friends on the hilltop with the hills of Snowdonia in the distance. My brother Carwyn played the guitar, the sun was shining and there was a gentle breeze, setting the mood for the ceremony perfectly.

I was determined not to cry my way through the ceremony but was struggling to keep it together during the readings. Comic relief came in the form of our dog Ffi who – having been previously meandering around the guests amusing herself, appeared from underneath the train of my dress, looking like she was wearing my lace petticoat as a veil!

Guests arrived to a mid-morning snack of cookies (very kindly made by friends) and coffee, with beer and water then being provided at the ceremony site after a trek up the hill! We then provided Pimms, iced tea and blueberry lemonade with canapes after the ceremony, and my brother came up with an ingenious sheep-trough drinks stand for bottled drinks. Our local café Cwpan Pinc did a fab job of serving up a hog roast provided by our local butcher ‘family style’- with all the meat and trimmings served on the tables for people to help themselves. This was followed by cheesecake and strawberries, then cheese and port. Instead of favours, I gift wrapped a box of assorted mini Green and Blacks’ bars for each table. Evening guests were treated to pulled pork burritos and Mexican beers followed by marshmallows around the campfire later on in the evening – Nick’s only regret from the day was that he only had time to eat one burrito and not three!

My mum made the cake – the main priority for us was that it was delicious, but she also managed to make it beautiful! There were three tiers – chocolate Guinness cake, Captain Morgan tiramisu cake and champagne and strawberry cake. Needless to say there were not many leftovers.

Nick wore a three piece brown suit from Next with Barbour boots and shirt. He was the most excited about his braces!

Nick and I have a thousand pictures of ourselves pulling faces – a testament to how uncomfortable we can get when asked to pose in front of a camera. Mike’s brides and grooms looked really relaxed and it became clear when chatting to Mike that he was the reason why! Nick also noticed some beautiful landscape shots on his website of a wedding at the Mawddach Restaurant not far from home that perfectly captured the sort of day he wanted.

On the day of the wedding Mike arrived early and then promptly set about being as unobtrusive as possible – to the point that some of our guests commented that they never noticed we had a photographer! We even felt comfortable to have some extra portrait shots and gather family for the group photos we thought we didn’t want!

After the wedding, I must admit I had a few doubts about whether things had gone to plan – call it post-wedding blues – until our photos arrived! Words cannot describe how pleased we are with our photos of the day! He gave us a perfect mix of intimate portraits (no face pulling required), stunning landscapes, photos of our reception space looking beautiful and most importantly our guests having a blast!

The nearest anyone has come to describing Mike’s talent was my father ‘I knew you’d picked the right man for the job when I saw the first photo of the reception space – If he can make my shed look as good as a ballroom then you’re sorted!’.

Mike Plunkett Photography

My brother Carwyn played the guitar during the ceremony. My father also a keen guitarist and joined in to play a Welsh song ‘Ti’ during the ceremony and they also did a set together to kick off the evening reception

Our award winning DJ Andrew at Evolution Roadshow was amazing – his lighting setup along with our surprise ceiling monogram transformed the space and the music had even the most unlikely dancers on the floor, in their wellies, until the early hours of the morning!

Firstly, you won’t please everyone (and this is especially true the less conventional your plans are) – so stop trying! Have faith in your ideas and stick together as a couple – we had a few sceptics who were more than convinced by the time it all came together, not that we cared what anyone else thought! It helped that we were funding the wedding ourselves, so I would take this option where possible.

Don’t be afraid to think outside the box and DIY or use unusual vendors like your local café and butchers – we found we had good value for money and were able to support local businesses. Having said that – know your limits and know when to use the pros!

On the day relax and enjoy yourselves – one gem of a quote from my dad; ‘With these sorts of things (I think he meant weddings), about 80% will go to plan and the rest wont so there’s no point fretting over it!’

Extra suppliers:

Tables, table names, table plan and sheep trough drinks stand – C.Owen designs   http://cowendesigns.weebly.com

Catering – Cwpan Pinc www.cwpanpinc.co.uk

Hog roast – Pandy Butchers Llanfair Caereinion 01938 810671

Catering Hire – Tipples www.tipplesbar.co.uk/

Chair hire – Chairman chairs    www.chairman-hire.co.uk/

Bar and glassware – Severn Valley Event Bars www.severnvalleyeventbars.co.uk

Hair – Stacey at Unique Hair  www.uniquehairsaloncoedydinas.co.uk

Rings – Michael Grundy Jewellers www.michaelgrundyjewellers.com

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