How they met

“I met my husband while studying at Swansea University. I remember the first time we were introduced… I was attracted to his drive, his fun-loving personality, his intelligence, and, of course, his gorgeous curly locks!” smiles Rachel

The proposal

“Eugene and I now live in Australia, and we love taking our mountain bikes out together,” explains Rachel. “One sunny weekend we rode to a lookout, with stunning views over the rainforest and Glenrock beach in New South Wales. We took a break from biking and he started unpacking strawberries and cream from his backpack. I remember thinking it was really sweet, but unusual for a bike ride… Then out came a beautiful ring, and he popped the question. I said ‘yes’ and we celebrated with some Champagne (also hidden in the bag) then wobbled back down the hill on our bikes!”  120604_Dodd_084

The bride’s outfit

Rachel looked breathtaking in her floor-sweeping Pronovias gown that she bought from Alyson Jane in Cardiff. “I couldn’t stop myself from falling head-over-heels in love with the luscious long train, and walked around the shop after trying it on with a great big smile on my face!” says Rachel

The groom’s outfit

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Eugene decided to go for traditional tails, because it best suited their style of wedding. He picked his at Moss Bros in McArthur Glen

The bridesmaids

“I couldn’t have walked down the aisle without my big sister and, of course, my new sister-in-law, too,” remembers Rachel. “I also asked my two best friends, who were so supportive and full of fun. The bride’s niece and nephew were also flowergirl and pageboy, having travelled all the way from New Zealand to be there for the wedding. The adult girls wore duck-egg blue dresses from Coast, and the flowergirl wore an adorable tiered dress that was handmade by Rachel’s very talented mum

The ceremony

The couple’s service was held in the bride’s village church, which dates back to the 14th century. “My favourite memory was definitely walking to the church from my family home, with my family and bridesmaids. I also loved seeing Eugene’s face as I walked down the aisle, and trying to say my vows without tearing up,” says Rachel  120604_Dodd_436

The flowers

“The flowers were inspired by Eugene’s grandmother’s wedding bouquet – a teardrop flowing shape that included Lily of the Valley and miniature dusty pink roses. The flowers were provided by Bloomin Stylish Florists Pencoed, South Wales. Our flowergirl’s basket was made by my mother and the flowers were picked from her garden. The table centres were also picked from our family garden and displayed by my mother-in-law in simple vintage jars,” explains Rachel

The reception

Took place at the 13th century St Donat’s Castle in Llantwitt Major. “We picked it after falling in love with the tiered renaissance gardens, and the fact that it’s only a short walk down to the pebbled beach below. The rooms themselves are filled with rustic beams, high ceilings, and tall enchanting windows – full of natural light.”  120604_Dodd_340

The food

“The relaxed feel of our wedding was completed with a Mediterranean style hot carvery buffet, with local Welsh beef carvery leg, traditional Spanish paella with mussels, hand-carved honey roast gammon with a mustard glaze and caramelised apple, and lots of fresh summer salads,” recalls Rachel. “Instead of starters we had a selection of very different canapés including Welsh cockles wrapped in bacon and laver bread, grilled Welsh goats cheese and we can’t forget the 1960’s ice-cream tricycle!” she adds

The cake

The bride’s mum made their traditional rum-soaked fruitcake  120604_Dodd_325

The favours

Were pebbles collected from the local beach by Rachel, her little nephew and her bridesmaid. They had each guest’s name written on, and doubled up as favours and place settings

The honeymoon

“We didn’t go straight away, because we’d travelled over from Australia for our wedding, and wanted to spend some time with our families. We’re planning to travel to Japan next year, for hiking and snowboarding.”

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