Your South Wales Wedding - November/December 2023 (Issue 94)

£3.55 NOV/DEC 2023 ONCE UPON A TIME Fall in love with fairytale-inspired wedding venues A honeymoon to Rhodes FALLING Seasonal inspiration GLAM The latest wedding dress trends WIN! SOUTH WALES WEDDING Glitz & Snow is

Felinfoel, Llanelli, Carmarthenshire SA15 3PJ T: 01554 756 156 E: Create your bespoke fairytale wedding at Llanelli’s most popular and romantic wedding venue. We occupy a fabulous position in Llanelli, where we have been catering for wedding receptions for the past 40 years. In this time we have built up a long standing reputation in South Wales for attentive service and fabulous food. We understand that every wedding is unique and whether you are planning a small intimate wedding for close friends or large grand wedding, at the Diplomat we will specially tailor the day to your requirements and budget. Our hotel holds a civil wedding licence and offers you the convenience of having your ceremony, wedding breakfast and evening reception all under one roof. We are also the only luxury hotel within a 30 mile radius with an indoor swimming pool, full spa and gym facilities. Weddings at the Diplomat Hotel & Spa Arrange an appointment with our wedding and events team to view our beautiful hotel and wedding facilities.

REGULARS 6 EDITOR’S LETTER What to look out for in this issue 9 NEARLYWED NEWS Catch up on the latest from around South Wales 13 FREEBIES & OFFERS Great giveaways and discounts up for grabs 59 HOT TOPIC Our experts answer your questions 93 COMPETITION Win a mini-moon in Rhodes worth £1,300 CONTENTS NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2023 On the cover... This issue’s cover is from Sam and Beth’s beautiful wedding. It was photographed by Lewis Fackrell Photography ( at Gileston Manor ( To see more from their big day, turn to page 34. VENUES 17 SPOTLIGHT ON MONMOUTHSHIRE, BRECON & THE SURROUNDING AREA Discover some of the best local venues 23 ONCE UPON A TIME Fairytale-inspired wedding venues 55 63 FEATURES 47 PLANNED TO PERFECTION We’ve asked some of the best companies in the region more about themselves 51 AWARD-WINNING SERVICE Meet the finalists of the Welsh National Wedding Awards 55 THE LOOK OF LOVE Local photographers share their favourite images 63 WRITTEN IN THE STARS A team of local suppliers worked together to create this modern, pastel-themed shoot at St Mellons Country Club 3

FASHION & BEAUTY 66 FASHION FOCUS The latest bridal fashion news, buys and launches 67 IN VOGUE These model looks showcase the hottest bridal trends for 2024, with delicate details, texture takeovers and playful shorter styles 72 PARTY PIECES Dazzle at a Christmas or winter wedding in stunning silver and crystal accessories 73 A TOUCH OF COLOUR Winter isn't about wearing a white wedding dress, pick a fruit-pastel inspired shade or something a little bolder 76 BEAUTY BUZZ Get the look with the latest must-haves 78 BEAUTY QUEEN We chat to Hannah Martin about her new book, Makeup, and all things bridal beauty 80 FASHION & BEAUTY Q&A Local professionals solve your problems 34 29 REAL WEDDINGS 29 YOU ARE MY SUNSHINE Rachel and Ghandi had a romantic, sunflowerthemed wedding at The Great House Hotel and Restaurant 34 ENCHANTED ROMANCE Sam and Beth opted for a boho-themed celebration at Gileston Manor 41 LOVE AT FIRST SWIPE Catherine and Steve met online and years later tied the knot at The Oxwich Bay Hotel GROOMS 82 GROOMS’ NEWS The latest best buys and product launches 83 MANE ATTRACTION Influencer Eyal Booker and his brother Ariel reveal their top hair care tips for grooms-to-be 84 DRESSED TO KILL Channel your inner James Bond with these black-tie options for the groom-to-be HONEYMOONS 86 HONEYMOON NEWS Our travel editor reveals the newest openings and honeymoon essentials 88 AN ICONIC ISLAND A honeymooners’ paradise, Grand Palladium Hotels & Resorts in Montego Bay have it all 90 THE ITALIAN DREAM Discover the delights of Sardinia with a stay at the impressive Forte Village 92 WHAT A TREAT! The stylish Retreat at Elcot Park is country-house comfort at its best 41 86 67 y 4

There’s no place like Holm ARRANGE YOUR TOUR TODAY AT Holm House Hotel, Marine Parade, Penarth, Glamorgan, CF64 3BG

Just like that, it’s the end of another year. I don’t know about you, but the older I get, the quicker time seems to fly by. It seems like only yesterday that I was writing about my upcoming wedding, and here we are over a year later. If you’ve recently become engaged and the wedding feels like it’s forever away, trust me, it will be here before you know it. The best piece of advice I can offer is to enjoy the planning process and celebrate the small things. If you’ve said yes to the dress or booked that special venue that you’ve had your eye on, take the time to celebrate – go out on a date, treat yourselves, and make a scrapbook of those key moments. Once the wedding is over, you’ll love having those memories to look back on. It’s been wonderful seeing the wedding industry flourish again this year. I’ve loved seeing your nuptials, businesses beginning to return to normal, and new companies opening their doors, so to celebrate and end the year with a bang, we’ve gone all out with an issue full of must-see venues, photography and wedding dresses. Happy planning! Melissa x Melissa Cullen, Senior Editor Channel your inner James Bond with these black-tie options for the groom-to-be. Festive cheer 84 34 51 Beth proposed to Sam on a beach on the Isle of Barra in August of 2020. It was the windiest day of the entire holiday, but still beautiful. After their engagement, the happy couple booked Gileston Manor for their big day, where their beloved dog Riley was given the adorable job of ring bearer. Meet the finalists from this year’s Welsh National Wedding Awards. Fall in love with some of our favourite fairytaleinspired venues. 23 6 ISSN 1756-6428 Your South Wales Wedding is solely owned, published and designed by KD Events & Publishing Ltd. Whilst every effort was made to ensure the information in this magazine was correct at the time of going to press, the publishers cannot accept legal responsibility for any errors or omissions, nor can they accept responsibility for advert content, or of the standing of advertisers or by the editorial contributions. The views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the publisher. Your South Wales Wedding is published six times a year. cwe COUNTY WEDDING EVENTS ADVERTISING Account Manager Julia Owen | 01376 538 556 @CountyWeddingMagazines @CountyWeddings @countyweddingmagazines Visit us online at and DESIGN 01376 535 616 ACCOUNTS 01376 535 616 MANAGING DIRECTOR Sarah Ellis | 01376 535 602 EDITORIAL Senior Editor Melissa Cullen | 01376 535 611

55Choosing your photographer is one of the most important decisions you will make when planning your wedding, so to help, we’ve put together a feature showcasing some of the region’s best images. Rachel and Ghandi met at a friend’s party and hit it off right away. Their relationship blossomed, and after more than 10 years together, they tied the knot at The Great House Hotel and Restaurant with a sunflower theme. Catherine and Steve met on a dating site in 2011, and years later they tied the knot at the Oxwich Bay Hotel. 41 Photographer Dan Houghton and florist Faith Ward worked together to create this modern, pastel-themed shoot at St Mellons Country Club. 63 93 Read about popular honeymoon destinations for couples post-vows. 86 29 Win a romantic break in Rhodes, Greece, worth £1,300. EDITOR’S LETTER 7 | 01656 729009 | facebook: Bryngarw House instagram: @BryngarwHouse Wedi’i leoli mewn 113 erw o dir parc gwledig, sy’n edrych yn ysblennydd trwy gydol y flwyddyn, mae Ty Bryngarw, sydd mor berffaith â darlun, yn un o leoliadau priodas mwyaf atyniadol De Cymru. Set in 113 acres of country parkland, which looks spectacular all-year-round, picture-perfect Bryngarw House is one of South Wales’ most sought-after wedding venues. Your dream wedding starts here Mae priodas eich breuddwydion yn cychwyn yma

NEW AND IMPROVED The Holiday Inn Cardiff City Centre has unveiled a £500,000 refurbishment that has transformed its public spaces. The stylish new open lobby, designed to provide guests with one multi-faceted public space to eat, meet, relax, socialise, and work as they choose, will revolutionise the way guests stay at the Cardiff hotel. The traditionally separate zones of a reception, lobby, bar, lounge, restaurant, and business centre have been merged into one cohesive space. Key new features include free high-speed Wi-Fi, an all day dining menu, a living-room-style media lounge with comfy seating, games, magazines, and TVs, and an E-Bar where guests can relax. Richard Platts, the general manager for the Holiday Inn Cardiff City Centre, commented: “I’m thrilled to welcome guests to our new open lobby space. Already, we can see how guests are ‘living’ differently at the hotel and making full use of every new zone, which is exactly what we wanted with this investment. There are so many options and areas to plug in or switch off that our business and travel guests will love what we’ve done. The new open lobby will also appeal to local Cardiff residents and networking groups, as well as families of Welsh rugby players and past rugby stars who often call in when Wales play at home. We are well equipped to host everybody on all occasions.” Check out for more information. AL FRESCO ROMANCE The King Arthur Hotel, nestled in the Gower Peninsula, will begin hosting outdoor wedding ceremonies in 2024. Al fresco celebrations will take place in the enchanting flower meadow between 1st April and 30th September. It offers an idyllic setting to say your vows, but if the Welsh weather isn’t ideal, Avalon, the indoor ceremony space, can be set up. Avalon boasts a high-pitched ceiling with exposed French oak beams, Welsh slate floors, and arched windows overlooking the surrounding landscaped gardens. To find out more about this family-run venue, visit DATE FOR THE DIARY Looking for the perfect suppliers for your big day? Look no further than the Vale Resort and Hensol Castle Wedding Fair. This is the perfect opportunity to see the 17th-century castle and 650 acres of beautiful Welsh countryside for yourself. There are several charming wedding spaces to choose from with something for everyone, from outdoor celebrations to intimate nuptials and grand receptions. Meet up to 100 exhibitors, get lots of inspiration, be in with a chance of winning some great prizes, and talk to the expert wedding team, who will answer any questions you may have. The fair will be taking place on Sunday 14th January, 2024, between 11am and 4pm. Entry and parking are free. To register and for more information about the venues, visit NEWS Nearlywed All the latest from around South Wales 9 LOCAL NEWS

A PERSONAL TOUCH Morgans Hotel in Swansea has launched its wedding packages for 2024. A short drive from the Mumbles and Gower coastline, this Grade II* listed boutique venue has 42 individual bedrooms, a restaurant situated on the first floor with access via a champagne bar, and several beautiful ceremony spaces to choose from. The Signature Wedding Package includes everything you need to create the perfect wedding, from room hire and wedding breakfast catering to décor options, a master of ceremonies, and overnight accommodation. Alternatively, the Luxury Signature Wedding Package includes everything that’s in the Signature Wedding Package plus a five-course meal and luxury decorations. Lastly, the Exclusively Yours Wedding Package includes the above plus an anniversary stay for the happy couple. Prices vary depending on guest numbers and the day of the week. For more information and a full price breakdown, visit FESTIVE CHEER Bryngarw House, a luxury wedding venue in Bridgend, is hosting a range of Christmas-themed events, perfect for pre-wedding celebrations. The Foraging Wreath Workshop is taking place on Sunday 3rd December at 2pm. Head out into the beautiful grounds of Bryngarw Country Park to forage for materials before heading back to make your Christmas wreath and enjoy a festive grazing platter and a glass of mulled wine. Indulge in a glass of fizz and a mince pie before enjoying a three-course Christmas meal at the Black Tie & Casino Christmas Party. Taking place on Friday 8th December, there will be a blackjack table and roulette table, as well as professional casino dealers to help you win some ‘fun’ money and prizes. What’s more, you can enjoy a festive Sunday lunch on the 10th December with Santa Clause or step back in time for the 80s, 90s and 00s Christmas Party taking place on Friday 15th and Saturday 16th December. For more information about any of the Christmas events, head over to SHINE BRIGHT LIKE A DIAMOND Fraser Hart has launched its new lab-grown diamond collection in its Cardiff Grand store. Optically, physically, and chemically identical to an earth-grown diamond, cutting-edge technology has been used to create timeless diamonds in a laboratory setting. Blending craftsmanship with innovation, the diamonds are breathtaking in their clarity, delivering the same sparkling wow factor as traditionally mined gems but with a more accessible price tag. The Born collection includes a stunning choice of ‘buy now, treasure forever’ heirloom jewellery pieces with a wide choice of cuts, carat sizes and settings. Discover more at LET’S GET PLANNING The Penarth Pier Pavilion, located on the beautiful esplanade in Penarth, will be hosting a wedding showcase early in the new year. The event will be full of must-see suppliers and is the ideal time to see the venue’s wedding spaces and meet the dedicated staff who will help make your dream wedding a reality. Looking out over the Bristol Channel, this romantic wedding venue first opened in 1929 and is an impressive example of Art Deco architecture, with a vaulted main gallery and several charming wedding spaces to choose from. The date is yet to be confirmed, so keep an eye on the venue’s website for details: 10

A vibrant venue in the heart of Penarth Penarth Pier Pavilion, the most romantic of venues with spectacular sea views for you and your guests to enjoy. Licensed for civil ceremonies; weddings and civil partnerships for 10 to 110 guests, the iconic Pavilion is the perfect location for your special day, with dedicated staff to ensure your wedding runs seamlessly. Our experienced team look forward to hearing from you – call today to arrange a viewing of this beautiful venue! For more information contact 01446 725236 @PenarthPavilion

Fall in Love with Caer Llan 01600 860 359 Photo courtesy of Caer Llan is a beautiful old family home set in the heart of Monmouthshire on a secluded hillside in 25 acres of garden, field and woodland. The house enjoys absolutely incredible views over the Vale of Usk towards the distant Welsh mountains. We offer you exclusive use of the house and grounds for an intimate celebration with friends and family. The stunning location provides indoor and outdoor options for your ceremony, all framed by a sensational backdrop for your wedding photographer to capture those special moments in all their glory. “If you want an intimate, classy and private wedding, we can’t recommend Caer Llan enough.” Five star reviews on Google and Trip Advisor. Ceremony and reception capacity 80 | Evening 120 | Accommodation for 50, across 16 rooms

Take advantage of these gorgeous giveaways and fab offers BRIDAL BEAUTY Makeup Locker in Caerphilly is run by make-up artist Emma Locke, who has more than 20 years of experience. Emma offers a range of services, including semi-permanent make-up, general make-up, private lessons, gel nails, hair styling, and wedding make-up for the bride and bridal party. Emma tells us: “I love to make a bride, her mum and her bridesmaids feel a million dollars on their special day. I trained straight after A-Levels to be a theatrical and media make-up artist, with the course also covering wig making, hairdressing and beauty qualifications. I have used these skills for theatrical shows, face painting, hair and wedding make-up, alongside a full-time job as a chartered accountant. I like to build relationships and educate my brides on skincare techniques, which will help them feel more confident in themselves and glow as they walk down the aisle.” Exclusively for Your South Wales Wedding, Emma is offering our readers a 10 per cent discount when you book a 2024 Wedding Day Package before 31st December 2023. To claim this fabulous discount, visit the website and use the code ‘Your South Wales Wedding’. WIN TWO STRIKING ACCURIST WATCHES WORTH UP TO £538! County Wedding Magazines has teamed up with British heritage watch brand Accurist to offer readers the chance to win this ultimate prize package for nearlyweds. Brides-to-be have the choice of a stunning set from Accurist and Sarah Alexander collaboration ( Priced from £209 to £289. This curation of nine unique giftsets, combines Sarah Alexander jewellery with Accurists best-selling, vintage-inspired Rectangle and Jewellery collections. All gift sets have been hand curated to showcase a coordinated look, featuring bangles, bracelets, earrings and necklaces with a wide variety of unique gemstones such as Rose Quartz, Mother of Pearl and Blue Kyanite − winners will be hard-pressed to choose! Grooms-to-be have the tough choice of selecting a dashing watch from one of Accurists men’s collection ( Priced from £119 to £249. Whether you go for a 1950s-inspired ‘Classic’ collection or the bold design of its ‘70s bestseller ‘Origin’ collection, all of Accurists’ collections have taken inspiration from 77 years of British watchmaking. Each watch comes with quick-release interchangeable straps, a five-year extended warranty and unique features in each collection. What’s more, whether you require the above two sets, or two brides or grooms, both come presented in Accurists watch roll gift packaging and can be personalised with engraving on the case back − perfect for the happy day. Check out Enter online via the website by 31st January, 2024. Terms and conditions apply. Freebies& OFFERS FREEBIES & OFFERS 13

You’ve found the one and now it’s time to say 'I do' to your dream venue.... Just a stones throw from the historic Penarth pier sits a magnificent cliff top hotel dating back to 1926. Without losing any of the character and charm of the original private residence, the current owners were able to take full advantage of the breathtaking channel views with the addition of an impressive extension flooded with natural light. Exclusively yours for 90 guests for ceremony and wedding breakfast and 120 guests for evening celebrations, whilst 12 luxury bedrooms and suites provide accommodation for your nearest and dearest. There's no Place like Holm

a Venue for all Seasons... Whether you are planning a summer soiree with an outdoor ceremony on the lawn and welcome drinks from the garden bar sat around the sunken firepits or a timeless winter wedding where the original log fires and lavish Christmas decorations take centre stage, Holm House will be sure to impress whatever the season. a Venue’s not Created by Stone, but by People What really sets Holm House apart as the perfect wedding venue is the dedicated warmth of service from our professional and personable team. From your first show around to the big day itself, your dedicated event manager will guide you every step of the way whilst our awardwinning team of Chef’s will dazzle your guests with a delicious menu using the finest locally sourced ingredients. Arrange your tour today at Images courtesy of Raymond Lin Photography and Kelsie Hale Photography

Llanhamlach, Brecon, Powys, Wales, LD3 7YB Tel: 01874 665 387 The renowned Country House located in the heart of the Brecon Beacons National Park, and The Welsh National ‘Best Wedding Venue in Wales’, 2022, is an elegant family-owned grade 11* manor house, enjoying a stunning location overlooking the River Usk, with views across the valley to South Wales’s highest peak Pen-y-Fan. From small & intimate, to a more elaborate celebration in our Georgian Suite, the house plays host to celebrations of all sizes, styles & dreams. Not forgetting our Brand-New House WedFest Tipi celebration. We would love to meet you and show Peterstone, and all it can offer, so, come and have a chat, drink, and wander. PETERSTONE COURT Where a laid-back experience m ts luxury standards

MONMOUTHSHIRE & BRECON Spotlight on... LLANTILIO HOUSE, NP7 8SS 07751 820 663 | Llantilio House is a listed 18th-century farmhouse in a picturesque 300acre farm in Monmouthshire. The venue has been refurbished in the most sustainable way possible, with ground-source heating throughout and great care taken to use traditional, environmentally friendly materials and wool insulation. Owners Lottie and George were keen to honour the venue’s original features in the re-development. Lottie’s background as a film draughtsman and the interconnectedness of the venue have resulted in a relaxed and contemporary feel throughout. Consisting of a courtyard with two interlinking barns, Llantilio House has a granary, a farmhouse with front and back gardens, an additional courtyard with a heated (natural) pool, and two outbuildings. There is a large courtyard and grounds overlooking the river Trothy valley, which is in the process of being restored to a wildflower meadow via a grant from Natural Resources Wales. There is also glamping, several castles in the area, and fantastic views of the Black Mountains and Brecon Beacons. The venue has a state-of-the-art natural mineral water pool that is heated all year round and is situated next to a warm sitting room with large door arches and Crittall windows, along with a hot tub, sauna, and plunge pool. Celebrate in style Ceremonies can take place anywhere on the premises but are mainly held in the Calfshed, Main Corn Barn, Courtyard, or Calfshed Terrace. Depending on the weather and time of year, receptions tend to take place around the courtyard and Calfshed. The catering kitchen is connected to the main corn barn and has capacity for around 120 loved ones. We love... Abergavenny is renowned as a national food hub with an array of fantastic restaurants and pubs in the area, and Llantilio House has a preferred list of local caterers who are able to showcase delicious, local ingredients. 17 LOCAL VENUES

THREE POOLS, NP7 8NL 01873 821 517​| Three Pools is a 141-acre farm located in the foothills of the Black Mountains. Made up of a mixture of pasture and woodland, the property provides a picturesque location for retreats and events. Inspired by permaculture design, the farming system used at Three Pools is being converted to balance high-quality food production with a beautiful landscape in harmony with nature. There’s a Georgian farmhouse on-site, Medieval stone barns, diverse woodland, pasture meadows, tranquil pools, and hilltop views, meaning there are plenty of places both inside and outside to explore and take those all-important photographs. Celebrate in style The venue can accommodate small to medium-scale events of 60 to 250 people, large enough to create a party atmosphere but still intimate enough to feel relaxed and cosy. Three Pools has a fully licensed bar, and the wedding team will assist with the planning, setting up, licensing and packing down of events, so you can relax knowing everything is taken care of. We love... There are 15 glamping tents nestled in a wooded corner of the farm, with bespoke compost toilets and hot showers. The bell tents can also be hired for individual guests. TALL JOHN’S HOUSE WEDDINGS, LD3 7PX 01239 821 143 | Set in the Brecon Beacons National Park, in acres of exquisite grounds with mature trees and breathtaking views across to the Black Mountains, Tall John’s House is a charming venue that’s perfect for couples who want tranquillity, exclusivity, and the freedom to make this venue their own. The gardens at Tall John’s House are something special with features for all-year attraction, such as the rill, rose arbour, silver birch circle, a splendid display of flowers, shrubs, fruits, and vegetables, and fabulous sweeping lawns perfect for strolling and photos. Celebrate in style The restored Welsh Barn is ideal for weddings. Its enchanting courtyard, with a wooden gazebo decorated with flowers and covered in Perspex if the weather is unkind, is a generous space both inside and out for up to 160 guests. The Barn has many electric points, underfloor heating, insulation, hard floors, integral toilets, and a catering area, but still retains the character of the original building. The split-level Granary, with its canopied beams and light-stone floor, can accommodate 85 loved ones, and there is space in the gallery above for extra friends and family if needed. This area is ideal for intimate ceremonies or an extra reception space. Couples wanting to enjoy the great outdoors can tie the knot anywhere in the gardens or in the wooden summerhouse. We love... There is lots of optional accommodation on-site, including two selfcatering cottages. The Honeysuckle Cottage, which sleeps eight people, and The Coachmans, which sleeps two, are ideal as a little getaway on your wedding night. The Manor House with the Stables and Saddlers can be made available for up to 27 guests on a staffed basis, with breakfast included. 18

GLEN-YR-AFON, NP15 1SY 01291 672 302 | Glen-Yr-Afon is an award-winning wedding venue surrounded by acres of countryside and picturesque gardens. First opening its doors in 1974, the hotel is home to 28 modern bedrooms and is just a short walk away from the town of Usk, which is full of boutique shops and restaurants. Celebrate in style The Library, with its conical ceiling and striking interior, can hold 30 of your nearest and dearest for the vows and 20 for the reception, and weather-depending, you can get married in the venue’s grounds. Alternatively, The Ballroom is an elegant space with large bay windows and room for 150 of your friends and family throughout the day. Smaller weddings are held in the Dining Room, which can be used for up to 45 of your loved ones for the vows and 35 for the meal. We love... This four-star Victorian villa has a neutral décor throughout, which can be personalised to suit any theme or colour scheme. CAER LLAN, NP25 4JS 01600 860 359 | Situated in more than 25 acres of glorious countryside, Caer Llan is an 18th-century country house wedding venue boasting far-reaching views of the distant Welsh mountains. Family-run by owners Vicky and Jake Carpenter, the property has idyllic grounds and gardens with a network of paths and an adjacent bluebell woodland to explore. Various features, such as an outdoor swimming pool and an original Victorian greenhouse, are also located within the grounds. The house itself has been lovingly refurbished by the owners and has 16 en-suite bedrooms available exclusively for your wedding guests. There are countless areas for amazing wedding photos both indoors and outdoors, and the venue is a favourite of many photographers who have visited. Celebrate in style For those of you looking for an outdoor ceremony and reception, you can say your vows in the wedding gazebo set in the open countryside. Your outdoor celebrations are protected from sun and rain in the stretch tent, which is fixed to the house during the peak season (May–September) and can accommodate 80 of your loved ones for the ceremony and reception and up to 120 for the evening celebration. If the weather is bad, the main function room is a gorgeous alternative and has large bi-folding doors that open to reveal the same stunning views of the surrounding area. Table plans between the two areas are similar, so couples can decide on the day whether to go indoors or out. We love... You will have exclusive use of the property, including the bedrooms. LOCAL VENUES 19

Get your Christmas shopping all wrapped up with a gift experience from the Vale Resort is the perfect present for A CHRISTMAS GI • Spa Treatments • Afternoon Tea • 3 Course Dinner • Golf Lessons • Short Breaks • Round of Golf • Monetary Vouchers • and much more... Treat your friends and loved ones to an experience to remember this Christmas. With a full range of experiences to choose from, there’s sure to be something for everyone on your list. 01443 667800 | Vale Resort, Hensol Park, Vale of Glamorgan, CF72 8JY

everyone on your list Let Christmas be‘gin’ with a gift experience from Hensol Castle Distillery FT EXPERIENCE • Guided Distillery Tour and Tasting • Distil School - Make Your Own Gin/Rum • Cocktail Masterclass Give a gift experience with a difference this Christmas. The combination of the historic Hensol Castle together with the modern vibes and fun nature of gin, creates a truly distinctive experience. 01443 667999 | Hensol Castle Cellars, Hensol, Vale of Glamorgan, CF72 8JX YSWM.09.23

As winners of the Best Boutique wedding venue in Wales at the Welsh National wedding award, the romantic charm of the award-winning family-run Hotel is just one of the many factors that have made us a leading Pembrokeshire wedding venue. You can be assured that your experience will be intimate and completely bespoke. Our venue is set in modern surroundings with breath-taking views across to Treffgarne Rocks, as well as impeccable food and service throughout. From the moment you arrive for your first visit, your team of dedicated wedding coordinators will be with you to ensure your wedding journey is both enchanting and unforgettable. We hold a civil ceremony licence in our Garden Room and can cater for both intimate and larger gatherings of up to 130 guests attending the ceremony and 180 for your wedding breakfast. The spacious suite can be dressed to any specification with lighting that can be adjusted to any colour scheme. Every bride wants to create the perfect look on their special day, our highly trained spa therapists offer tailer made bridal makeup and pamper packages in preparation for your wedding day. Our Exclusively Yours package allows you to hire the whole hotel for your special day or even the entire weekend. You and your guests can enjoy private use of all of the rooms, facilities and grounds ensuring that your day is full of unique touches. For information including pricing, menus and availability or to book an appointment with our wedding coordinators for a personal tour and informal discussion, please contact us 01437 741225 Wolfscastle Country Hotel & Spa, SA62 5LZ | WINNER OF ‘WELSH ROMANTIC HOTEL OF THE YEAR’ 2019 WINNER OF ‘WELSH ROMANTIC HOTEL OF THE YEAR’ Member’s Wedding Package - 125 Guests @ £50 pp Includes: Two course Wedding Breakfast and Welcome Drinks (Add £20pp LAsfor third course and evening buffet) 50 Guests Midweek £5925 60 Guests Friday £7210 70 Guests Saturday £8495 Wedding Packages for 2024 Requires: Minimum 50 guests staying overnight, only 25 midweek, on a B&B basis @ £75 per head. All include: ree Course Wedding Breakfast, Welcome Drinks, 2 glasses wine on table, Sparkling wine for toasts, Evening Finger Bu et, White chair covers & bows in either ceremony room or banqueting room, Cake stand, Napkins, Table cloths, Gold or silver candelabra, Banqueting room with ceiling fairy lights. Exclusive use of Castle Function rooms Opera house licensed for Wedding Ceremonies & Conservatory for your Wedding Banquet **LAST MINUTE WEDDING DATES AVAILABLE UP TO APRIL 2024** Ask about our Last Minute Weddings 50 Guests Just £2500 will get you: Exclusive Use of whole Castle, ree course Wedding Breakfast, Welcome Drinks, Ceremony Room er.html

Once upon a time Celebrate your big day in a fairytale-inspired wedding venue HENSOL CASTLE, CF72 8JX 01443 665 803 | If you’ve been dreaming of a fairytale wedding in a grand castle, look no further than Hensol Castle. This 17th-century property is nestled within 650 acres of Welsh countryside, creating plenty of places to take those all-important photographs. Sympathetically renovated to create a modern décor throughout, the castle has arched windows, oak panelling, and sweeping staircases that are perfect for making a grand entrance. Finish the day by retiring to one of the new luxury bedrooms, each with bespoke features such as roll-top baths and four-poster beds. Re-group the next morning over a delicious breakfast in the orangery and continue the celebrations. Celebrate in style The resplendent Oak Room, with its original wood panelling, period fireplaces, and elegant arched windows, is available for ceremonies. Alternatively, if you’re planning an outdoor celebration, the bandstand, which offers impressive views of the Welsh countryside, is available. Dance the night away with your friends and family in the purposebuilt Courtyard Hall. Boasting a luxurious décor throughout, it can accommodate up to 150 of your loved ones for the wedding breakfast and 200 for the evening reception. We love... Hensol Castle sells its award-winning gin in miniature form, which is perfect as wedding favours. It’s distilled in the cellars at Hensol Castle Distillery, and you can choose between having the miniatures personalised or sticking with Hensol Castle’s branded bottles. 23 FAIRYTALE VENUES

CRAIG Y NOS CASTLE, SA9 1GL 01639 731 167 | Located in the upper Swansea Valley on the edge of the Brecon Beacons, Craig Y Nos Castle is a romantic venue that would make a grand backdrop for any celebration. There are plenty of places to explore and take photographs both inside and out, such as the breathtaking grounds and stunning ceremony spaces. Those of you looking to stay the night will love the 36 en suite bedrooms; there’s also an on-site gym with high-quality apparatus and a private lounge with a hot tub. Celebrate in style If you’re looking for a grand setting for your big day, you’ll love The Theatre. It’s one of only eight Grade I-listed opera houses in the UK and boasts a 125-year-old curtain depicting Madame Patti on a chariot in Rossini’s last Italian opera. Able to hold 120 of your nearest and dearest, there are plenty of details to admire, including the walls, which are decorated with the names of Patti’s favourite composers. Once the ceremony has taken place, you can choose from several reception areas, including the Conservatory, which has room for 130 friends and family, and the Music and Billard Room, which can accommodate 120 of your loved ones. The Patti Bar and Nicolini Lounge are located in the centre of the castle and are also available for your guests to use throughout the night. We love... Craig Y Nos Castle was once home to Adelina Patti, the world-famous opera singer, and has a long and interesting history dating back to 1841. Your family and friends can organise a tour of the castle to find out more about its fascinating past. MORGANS HOTEL, SA1 1RR 01792 484 848 | Morgans Hotel is a Grade II-listed boutique venue that dates back to 1902. It was originally the Swansea Harbour Trust Building, but over time it was adapted until it became the wedding venue that we see today. Located just minutes from the Maritime Quarter and a short drive from the Mumbles and Gower coastlines, this boutique venue boasts 42 bedrooms, a restaurant on the first floor with access via a champagne bar, and a Greek statue-clad clock outside that is sure to wow your friends and family. Celebrate in style The impressive Banqueting Hall is licensed for ceremonies of up to 110 guests. Family and friends will love the decadent architecture and original mural which is used as a backdrop for your special vows. Licensed for intimate ceremonies of up to 40 guests, the Sir Galahad Suite allows you to celebrate with the most important people in your life. Natural daylight floods through the original sash windows, illuminating the most intricate details of your décor. Adjoined to the Banqueting Hall, the Atrium area offers a chance to dine beneath the stars under the glass roof. Up to 40 of your closest family and friends can enjoy your wedding breakfast in style next to the internal stained-glass window. Boasting a private bar, your guests can settle into the celebrations with the assurance of romantic seclusion away from the bustle of the city centre. We love... The four-star venue has plenty of places to explore and take pictures. 24

Exclusive . Romantic . Unique A wedding venue like no other THE ORANGERY . MARGAM COUNTRY PARK . PORT TALBOT . SA13 2TJ 01639 883553 : At Margam Country Park

Set in 600 acres of land in St Davids, it offers breath-taking views of unspoilt countryside and easy access to the area’s world-famous coast. This is Pembrokeshire accommodation at its finest. It’s where the warmth of home meets 5-star indulgence. C tact Us 01348 831 302 | Crug Glâs, Country House & Restaurant, Nr. St. Davids, Pembrokeshire, SA62 6XX Established in 2022 by two experienced senior Registered Nurses, at Opulent Aesthetics we undertsand the importance of placing the client at the centre of everything we to do ensure your experience is individually tailored to your needs and budget. TREATMENTS INCLUDE: · Facials · Dermaplaning · Peels · Anti-wrinkle · Dermal Fillers · Non-surgical Facelift · Vitamin Boosters · and more... Bookings taken via instagram & facebook _Opulent_Aesthetics_ Opulent Aesthetics The Health & Wellbeing Hub 172 Merthyr Road, Cardiff CF14 1DL To advertise here call Sales on 01376 514000 or visit Please mention “Your South West Wedding” when calling advertisers

KING ARTHUR HOTEL, SA3 1AD 01792 390 775 | A hidden gem nestled in the Gower Peninsula, the King Arthur Hotel is an award-winning wedding venue comprising of 18 en-suite bedrooms, an 18th-century cottage, and luxury self-catering apartments. Celebrate in style Rich in history, the King Arthur Hotel’s wedding venue, Avalon, boasts a high-pitched ceiling with exposed French oak beams, Welsh slate floors, and arched windows overlooking the surrounding landscaped gardens. The venue is licenced for civil ceremonies and can comfortably accommodate 140 seated guests for the wedding breakfast and 200 for the evening celebration. From April 2024, the venue will also be offering outdoor ceremonies in its beautiful meadow. We love... This family-run property offers exclusive use of all its hotel rooms and a complimentary bridal suite for the night of the wedding. WOLFSCASTLE COUNTRY HOTEL & SPA, SA62 5LZ 01437 741 225 | The award-winning Wolfscastle Country Hotel & Spa is a charming wedding venue nestled in the village of Wolfscastle. This family-run property is a Victorian vicarage with 20 en-suite bedrooms, a boutique spa, a contemporary brasserie, a two-AA rosette restaurant, and impressive views of the surrounding woodland landscape and the awe-inspiring Treffgarne rocks. Celebrate in style The Garden Room is a bright and airy space with high ceilings, impressive bi-folding doors that open up to the rear garden and room for 120 of your nearest and dearest. Slightly larger celebrations are held in the Sealyham Suite, a spacious area that can be dressed to fit any specification with colour-changing lighting. It has space for 180 of your friends and family for the wedding breakfast and 300 for the reception. We love... When three or more people book a spa package, the bride-to-be goes free. 27 FAIRYTALE VENUES

YOU ARE MYsunshine Rachel and Ghandi opted for a sunflower-themed wedding at The Great House Hotel and Restaurant Images courtesy of Daniel Brown Photography Rachel and Ghandi met at a friend’s party. “At the party, Ghandi asked how my son was doing (from a previous marriage), and the rest is history,” says Rachel. “There’s a 17year age gap between us, which on paper shouldn’t work, but as Ghandi says, he’s Peter Pan and has never grown up, so that helps! We spent two years living 230 miles apart and only seeing each other every other weekend until Ghandi made the commitment to close his business, sell his house, and move to Wales.” The happy couple had been together for more than 10 years when Ghandi popped the question. “It was my grandmother’s 92nd birthday, and all of the family were at her house,” shares the bride. “As we were about to leave, Ghandi asked to take a family photo, so we all huddled together when he paused and began showing us a magic trick. He pulled out a black cable tie and pliers and was messing around with it before getting down on one knee and asking me to marry him. It was an absolute surprise, and I didn’t believe him at first and didn’t stop crying. My mum had to prompt me to answer! The cable tie engagement ring lasted a week before it was replaced with a beautiful diamond ring.” The happy couple hosted their big day at The Great House Hotel and Restaurant. “We wanted a venue that had rooms as Ghandi’s friends and family were travelling from Bedford,” explains Rachel. “The hotel is actually less than half a mile from our house, but we’d never visited. From the moment we walked through the courtyard, we knew that it was the venue for us. It has so much character, was intimate yet roomy, and the fact that we had exclusive use on the day made it a winner in our eyes.” Read on to see some of Rachel’s favourite moments from their big day... 29 REAL WEDDINGS

Our favours were mini jars of honey and wildflower seeds. The centrepieces were wooden logs decorated with honey pots, glass candle holders, and honeycomb vases filled with sunflowers. The chefs at The Great House Hotel and Restaurant created amazing food for the evening before and breakfast for guests who stayed the night. The wedding breakfast meal was outstanding, and all of our guests commented on how good it was. The venue also organised for Bang-On Brewery to create personalised labels for the beer bottles, which was such a lovely touch. The staff at The Great House Hotel and Restaurant were amazing. A big shout out to Eleanor and the team; they went above and beyond to the point that we didn’t even notice them there! They did all the set-up and turn-around of the room without us having to do anything, and it was perfect every time. For the table plan, we created a handmade frame with hanging pieces of paper that were removed and a canvas added for the guests to sign instead of a guest book in the evening. Papillon Coffee House provided our three-tiered buttercream cake. It was made up of three different flavours: lemon drizzle, chocolate orange, and coconut. 30

The groomsmen wore three-piece navy suites and yellow ties from Suit Hire Bridgend. I thought Ghandi was wearing the same after being measured, but little did I know that he’d gotten permission to wear his regimental number one dress, which was a surprise to me on the day. I was so chilled out and relaxed on the morning of the wedding with no nerves whatsoever; I just knew it was right. Ghandi, on the other hand, was anxious as he wanted to make sure everything was perfect for me. During Ghandi’s speech, he welcomed the guests to Wales and informed them that Wales was for the Welsh Dragon. He then timely glanced at my mum which had the whole room in laughter. My dress was made-to-measure by Pink Butterfly Brides, who I’d seen on The Wedding Dress Shop on BBC One Wales. I said if I ever got married again, I’d go there, as it looked so much fun. I’m obsessed with shoes and knew I had to get married in Louboutin’s, so I needed a dress that would show off the shoes, which is why I went with a dipped hem ivory dress. I ended up with two pairs of Louboutin’s: heels for the day and trainers for the night. As part of the wedding package with The Great House Hotel and Restaurant, we had a DJ, but we also hired a singer called Blobbie Williams, which nobody knew about. We’d seen him a few years ago and thought he was amazing; he’s a Robbie Williams tribute but brings a comedy element to the act. Seeing Ghandi in his military uniform for the first time and the distance that guest had travelled to be with us on our day was so special. This was the first time in two years that we’d seen a lot of the guests due to the pandemic, so we tried to make sure that everyone had a day to remember. 31 REAL WEDDINGS

RACHEL AND GHANDI’S CONTACTS Venue, DJ and catering, The Great House Hotel and Restaurant, | Photographer, Daniel Brown Photography, | Bride’s dress and alterations, Pink Butterfly Brides, Bride’s shoes, Christian Louboutin, | Groomsmen’s suits, Suit Hire Bridgend, Hair stylist, Alex Hair Hine, | Make-up artist, Katiee Jones, 07541 708 046 Cake, Papillon Coffee House, | Personalised beer, Bang-On Brewery, Flowers, Flowers By Mags, | Stationery, Feel Good Invites, | Singer, Blobbie Williams, | Wedding invite drawing, Craig Pattrick Illustration, Dance lesson, Urban Tango Nights, 32

BRIDAL HAIR BY KATIE HELEN HAIR BY KATIE HELEN Email: or call: 07426 392119 SUPPLIERS OF • DJs • Photobooths • Starlight Dancefloors • • Indoor Cold Sparks • Shimmer Walls • LOVE Letters • WWW.JOIOENTS.CO.UK 07946 602 157 • • joioents

Enchanted ROMANCE Sam and Beth opted for a boho-themed celebration at Gileston Manor Images courtesy of Lewis Fackrell Photography 34

Sam and Beth met in 2013 while they were both working part-time at Homebase. “I worked on the customer service desk, and Beth was on the shop floor,” says Sam. “I was newly ‘out’ in the LBGT world and noticed Beth during one of our shifts. Beth was quiet and no one knew her name, so I plucked up the courage to go over and invite her on a night out with the girls. Afterwards, Beth asked me on a date to walk her dog, and the rest is history. I loved Beth’s confidence and thought she was really cool; we had fun together from the very beginning.” Beth proposed on a beach on the Isle of Barra in the Outer Hebrides in August 2020. “It was a complete surprise,” shares Sam. “We had just spent the first COVID lockdown converting our van into a DIY camper, so we booked to go away to the Outer Hebrides for two weeks for the van’s first major outing. Beth had been adamant up until this point that marriage wasn’t on the cards yet, but looking back, she had been acting quite strange and suspicious in the lead up to our trip. On the second day, Beth started asking me questions like, ‘What’s your favourite sunrise or sunset?’ and ‘What’s been your favourite beach so far?’ And lo and behold, the following morning, we got up at sunrise and made our way to a beach on Vatersay. It was the windiest day of the entire holiday, and our dog jumped through a barbed wire fence on the way to the beach, but it was still beautiful. Beth originally asked me to be her girlfriend in 2014 using a photo that she’d drawn, so while we were sitting on the sand watching the sunrise, Beth gave me a photo that she’d drawn of her proposing to me. She then pulled a ring out of her pocket and asked me to marry her!” SETTING THE SCENE “We knew we wanted an outdoor wedding but were struggling to find anywhere that felt right,” explains Sam. “We came across Gileston Manor by chance and instantly loved that we could get married outside but have the luxury of the manor house for accommodation. The accommodation was beautifully quirky and each room had a different design. It was also dog-friendly, which was a big must for us, as our golden retriever was our ring bearer! “Beth and I decorated the space with a wooden arch, which we used to hang a neon ‘The Woolleys’ sign,” continues Sam. “We used vintage-style rugs as decoration beneath the table, repurposing them as a dancefloor for the evening. We had one long table with seats on either side and we sat in the centre in peacock chairs from The Roaming Caravan Co surrounded by our family and closest friends. To decorate the table, we used a teal table runner covered in tall black candlesticks, vintage ale and glass beer bottles with dried flowers in them. Above the table, we opted for large macramé lanterns and dried flowers hanging from the ceiling. Jan Lima Flowers provided all the flowers for the day. They were a mixture of fresh and dried flowers with blues, greens, and white daisies; they were perfect and exactly what we wanted.” For their favours, the happy couple gave their guests small bottles of Kin Toffee Vodka, as it’s one of their favourites. Alongside the favours were place names that the couple made themselves. “We cross-stitched each guest name onto an oval frame,” recalls Sam. “Each was unique, and everyone was able to take them home with them. We also handmade napkin holders using a wooden ring and macramé decorations.” For their cake, Sam and Beth opted for a two-tiered, semi-naked drip design from The Vale Cake Boutique. “The top tier was white chocolate and raspberry, and the bottom tier was lemon and blueberry,” reveals Sam. “We had cake toppers of a lion and a giraffe wearing veils and eucalyptus decorating the cake and stand. We also had towers of glazed doughnuts surrounding the cake. Cleverchefs provided the sit-down meal, which was fantastic. We gave our guests the option of beef or chicken for the main course and sticky toffee pudding or lemon posset for dessert.” 35 REAL WEDDINGS