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Laura and Bart met at a party. "He doesn't remember meeting me," says Laura. "I was living in London at the time and had gone to visit a friend in Antwerp for the weekend. We went to an after-work party, and while I was there, I noticed this guy with the craziest dance moves. I thought he was quite funny and we started talking. When we left the bar I gave him my number, and he called me a few days later. I didn't answer because I thought it was too direct so I text him asking who it was, little did I know he took that to mean I'd given him a fake number! I messaged him again, and we hit it off. Two weeks later, he came to London to see me and there was an instant connection. By the end of the weekend, we agreed to try a long-distance relationship. One year later, I moved to Antwerp to start a new job and live with him." Bart popped the question in 2018. "I'd just returned from a work trip to Rome," shares the bride. "I went for dinner with some of my friends, and after the meal, we decided to go to a bar across the square. As we were crossing, I noticed Bart standing there. He walked towards me and asked me to turn around. As I did, I noticed under the arches of the building were 14 of our friends and family holding up a letter each that spelt out 'will you marry me?' It was a massive surprise, and I couldn't have asked for a better proposal."
"We wanted to get married in a church, so we thought what better place than where my parents got married?" explains Laura. "We even had the same priest! For the reception, we wanted a property near the water. We looked at a few venues, but nothing stood out like voco St David's Cardiff.
We loved the outdoor terrace, floor-to-ceiling windows and were blown away by the décor. That combined with the professionalism of the events team, it was the obvious choice. On the day we were incredibly lucky with the weather, and everything worked out wonderfully."
The happy couple decided to give their guests Welsh cakes as favours. "Fabulous Welshcakes made beautiful heart-shaped versions in almost every flavour imaginable," adds the bride. "We chose white chocolate, lemon and traditional fillings. They were definitely fabulous!"
"We thought we would stress about the seating plan, but it was actually an easy process thanks to an amazing planner I bought from Paperchase," says Laura. "We added personal touches to the décor, including disposable cameras and pictures of our guests."
For their flowers, the couple turned to Laura's mum and aunt. "I knew I wanted white peonies as they're my favourites," explains the bride. "I asked my mum and auntie to include roses and greenery to match our green theme, and they looked amazing.
The blooms were ordered individually from Tesco, but for the greenery, my auntie went foraging in forests and fields. For our centrepieces, I wanted to keep things quite simple, so we chose milk churns which made great gifts after the wedding. We also had love letters from Written in Lights that looked beautiful next to the dancefloor."
Laura and Bart opted for a rose gold cake. "My auntie made it for us," says Laura. "It included hand-made sugar peonies and the attention to detail was overwhelming. The lace even matched my dress perfectly. It was simple but fantastically elegant."
Laura chose a Stella York gown called 6701 from Laura May Bridal. "It was the first dress I tried on," shares Laura."I looked at eight others but kept coming back to it. It made me feel beautiful and was the exact material I wanted. I initially thought I wanted sleeves, but this style made me feel confident without them. The girls at Laura May Bridal were great at helping me choose something that perfect for me. I accessorised with a stone bracelet from Monica Vinader that was engraved with our wedding date on the back."
Bart wore a green suit from Suitsupply. "We wanted him to stand out, so he chose a different colour to the groomsmen," explains the bride. "He was very happy with it, and it made him feel comfortable and confident." The bridesmaids wore rose gold dresses from Monsoon."We wanted something that the girls would feel sexy in, and the plunging neckline definitely had that effect," Laura adds."The girls were happy with them and would wear them again for another occasion."
"In the church, some of friends and family sang as I walked down the aisle and during the service," says Laura. "At the reception we had a DJ perform. We asked everyone to rsvp with a song that they promised to dance to, we then gave these to our DJ who ensured people danced the night away. It worked quite well, even if mum did choose My Boy Lollipop! Our DJ also had some wonderful ideas, for example when we left the party he made everyone who was still there dance in a circle. It was an incredible way to end what was a really perfect day."
"I didn't feel anxious until I was at the church," shares the bride. "I started to panic that I'd slip over or my dad would step on my dress, but thankfully I made it safe and sound. The minute I was next to Bart, I felt secure and reassured."
The day was full of memorable moments. "The first dance was one of my favourite parts of the day," Laura explains. "We hired a dance teacher and choreographer to help us. I think there were a lot of wet eyes after we finished, we really enjoyed it, and it was nice to know we had such an impact on our guests. After our first weekend together, Bart told his sister that he'd fallen in love with me. He had always denied that it was true, but during his speech, he finally admitted it. Bart also did a dance battle with my 10-year-old cousin. The whole crowd got involved, and it was a special moment to watch."
The couple couldn't be more grateful to the suppliers involved. "Our photographer, Chris Francis Photography, went above and beyond on the day," says the bride. "We chose him as he had a documentary-style approach which was a little more informal and exactly what we wanted. When we spoke to other photographers and asked them when they leave, they said after the first dance, but Chris said when the story is over. We loved his approach so much and couldn't have been happier with his service. My auntie, Jan, also deserves a special mention. She put so much time, and effort into the cake and flowers, it just wouldn't have been the same without her special touch."