Joanne & James
A pretty Welsh beach wedding for a couple who love to surf
Photography by Rachel Lambert Photography
“James and I met at Rest Bay – I’d booked into a surfing lesson and he was one of the instructors! He intrigued me – he was cute, fun and different. Our first date also involved surfing, this time at Llangennith beach, where we also shared a sunset barbecue.”
Rather appropriately, it was back on this beach that James chose to propose. “The beach was empty thanks to the terrible weather, and our family surfing trip had ended early, so it was only James and I. As we walked down the beach, he started saying lovely things and the next thing I knew he was holding a ring and asking me to marry him. It was our anniversary, but I really didn’t see it coming!” James chose a custom-made platinum and diamond ring, which he had designed himself, to propose with.
“My mother, future mother-in-law and future sister-in-law all came with me to High Society Bridal to shop for wedding dresses. They treated me like a princess and put me completely at ease. Emma discreetly checked my budget and suggested dresses to suit.”
“The one I fell in love with was a Jesus Peiro design – it looked fresh, classic and different. I really felt like a bride.”
Joanne accessorised with a lace-edged Rainbow Club veil, also purchased at High Society, and Rainbow Club ‘Lucy’ shoes. “Having chosen a dress that was covered in lace, I knew I needed my shoes to be plain and classic. James gifted me a diamond necklace, earrings and bracelet to wear.”
The groom opted for a three-piece slim-fit suit in blue, purchased from Dyfeds Menswear, teamed with a turquoise tie. “The bright blue was brilliant for our beach wedding at Oxwich Bay. I loved leaving the suit choice to him, it meant that he’d be comfortable and could make some key decisions too.” The groomsmen and pageboys wore vintage Mini cufflinks and beach hut coloured socks.
“One of my three bridesmaids lives in France, so after we’d finally found a good date, it was lovely to have the entire of the upstairs of High Society to ourselves when we returned to buy bridesmaid dresses.”
“We had a great girly day out – my bridesmaids tried on a whole host of different dresses to see what suited them individually and as a trio.”
“All three ended up choosing floor-length, single shoulder Dessy dresses.”
The couple tied the knot with a civil ceremony in the Chestnut Room at Oxwich Bay Hotel. “We had candles softly flickering and I walked down the aisle to my friend playing the keyboard. My wonderful sister-in-law read ‘He Never Leaves The Seat Up’ – we loved how quirky and funny this reading was. I felt nervous before walking down the aisle, but my proud dad brought my confidence out.
One of the best moments at our wedding was when James whispered to me during the ceremony. I was pretty stressed before the wedding so I told James not to expect anything too fancy from my dress and that it was quite plain. I was so nervous about everything being perfect. Then, when I got to the altar, he leaned in and told me, “you’re dress isn’t plain, you look beautiful” and it was just perfect.”
Guests tucked into a choice of melon, mango and mint salad with a chilli dressing or salmon and prawn Thai fishcakes to start. The main course tempted guests with braised Welsh beef in red wine and shallot sauce, baked cod with a white wine and chive sauce or vegan bean cakes. Desserts were no less decadent, with guests dining on lime and coconut cheesecakes or dark chocolate and almond mousses to finish.
“We wanted a seaside theme for our Welsh beach wedding to signify our story together and love of surfing.”
“Jane Booth, a family friend, designed pastel stationery and a world map with Oxwich Bay at the centre for their seating plan. Each table was named after a beach that we have surfed at and postcards became the centrepieces.”
Log slices, hanging lanterns and bunting decorated their marquee reception. Each chair also featured different coloured sashes in bright beach hut colours to continue their beach wedding theme. The mother of the groom made driftwood and shell mobiles to decorate the marquee, too.
Ruth Milton Jones provided the flowers, working with seasonal summer choices. White rose buttonholes added a timeless style, while gerberas added colour pops to the table centres.
“Our three-tier cake was amazing!” Topped with a VW Campervan cake topper, surfboards and sugar figurines of the couple added decorative touches. The bride’s aunt made the cake.
“We had a giant glass bottle at our reception and asked guests to write a message to go in the bottle. We plan to read them on our first anniversary.”
Three-piece band The Monophonics played an acoustic set to begin with, before playing electrically later on. The house DJ then took over until the end of the reception. “Bryan Adams’ ‘Can’t Stop This Thing We Started’ was our first dance song. It’s always been our song, and James is a huge fan, so it was an easy choice.”
The groom surprised the bride with their honeymoon plans.
“We took a road trip from Sydney up through New South Wales to Noosa in Queensland!”
During their epic Australian adventure, the couple snorkelled on the Great Barrier reef, took a cable car through the rainforest and had dinner under the stars at Ayres Rock. “We finished our time in the “Red Centre’ of the Northern Territory with a helicopter flight at sunset before taking the world-famous Indian Pacific train back to Sydney. Our final four nights were spent on Manly Beach, where James used to live and work as a surf instructor.”
VENUE Oxwich Bay Hotel
DRESS Jesus Peiro at High Society Bridal, Cowbridge
BRIDESMAID DRESSES Dessy at High Society Bridal, Cowbridge
GROOM Dyfeds Menswear
HAIR Taryn Williams
MAKEUP Charlotte Joy
STATIONERY Jane Booth
FLOWERS Ruth Milton Jones
ENTERTAINMENT The Monophonics