How they met
Despite growing up only miles apart, Jess and Ian didn’t meet up until many years later, when Jess was browsing though her friend’s photographs. “I found a picture of Ian and the fun in his eyes took my breath away,” Jess says. “It was love at first sight and I couldn’t wait to meet him.” Their mutal friend put them in touch, and they spent their first date walking along the beach, exploring the rock pools and enjoying the April’s sunshine.
Towards the end of their first year together, Ian hinted that Jess should get her ring finger measured. “He and his best man, Gareth, had been looking at rings and he’d spotted ‘the one’,” Jess explains. “Some time later, we went shopping together, and Ian asked me what sort of rings I liked. By complete coincidence, I picked out the one that he had fallen for months before. It was fate!” Ian sealed their destiny by getting down on one knee early in 2007.
The bride’s outfit
Romantic Jess had her heart set on a full-skirted lace and tulle gown, and found just what she was looking for in her stunning dress from Ellis Bridals, which featured delicate lace appliqué and barely-there beading. “I wanted a dress that would make me feel beautiful, but that I could also move, jump, run and dance in,” Jess explains. “I loved the swishy skirt and the sound it made when I walked, and the fact that I could twirl like a princess. It was everything I wanted and more.”
The groom’s outfit
Ian and his groomsmen wore traditional dark grey Prince Edward suits, teamed with Mottram waistcoats and ivory ties, with buttonholes to complement the bride’s bouquet.
Jess picked just one special maid of honour, the best man’s wife Rhian. “We thought it was a nice touch to have our married friends supporting us on the big day,” Jess explains. Rhian wore an ivory dress from Coast, chosen to complement the bride’s gown.
The National Botanic Garden of Wales, just a stone’s throw from the couple’s home, was the perfect venue for Jess and Ian’s civil ceremony. “I grew up in the countryside, and had always imagined getting married in a country garden,” Jess says. “I was enchanted by the beautiful mix of elegance and nature.”
Jess chose a large cascade bouquet of pink peonies, freesias, gypsophila, avalanche roses, sweet peas, stocks and flocks. “My brother gave me my late dad’s blue handkerchief as my ‘something old,’ and my florist incorporated it into the handle of bouquet,” Jess adds. “It made it feel like my dad was holding my hand and walking down the aisle with me.”
Jess and Ian continued the celebrations in a marquee at the National Botanic Garden. “Our guests had access to all of the gardens, and were able to walk around the stable block, gallery and courtyard,” Jess says. The guests were served an aperitif of elderflower sparkler and Welsh cakes, whilst harpist Catrin Meek played in the beautiful gardens.
Dreamy, romantic, relaxed and natural were the keywords for Jess and Ian’s reception. “I have a background in art, Ian is a skilled woodworker, and my mother deals in antiques, so our theme combined all of our interests,” Jess explained. The couple scoured flea markets and antiques fairs for their vintage props, which included old postcards from the 1990s, advertising boxes, luggage labels, books, and glass cake stands. “Every detail told a story and made the day feel extra special,” Jess adds.
Jess and Ian opted for a pretty, timeless four-tier cake dressed with antique lace, pearls and fresh flowers. For extra impact, the cake was displayed on a vintage dressing table.
Jess and Ian drew inspiration from their love of history, art and culture, and honeymooned first in the Cotswolds, and then in romantic Rome.
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