On Saturday 27th July 2019, I find myself in West Wales to photograph the wedding of Michael and Joeley. They decided to host the majority of their day at Tynrhyd Retreat. A collection of self accommodation cottages near Devil’s Bridge in Ceredigion. They had managed to book the whole complex to host all of the guests. It was here I met up with them in the morning whilst they were busy preparing for the marriage ceremony. Splitting my time between the two wedding parties. One of my favourite images from the day was taken, as Michael was demonstrating how to put on a tie to their sons. The actual ceremony took place at the sumptuously decorated Music Room at the Georgian country home that is Nanteos. This venue is near the coastal town of Aberystwyth, a short drive through the picturesque Welsh countryside from Tynrhyd. After the ceremony, confetti was thrown and drinks served to their wedding guests in the front of the mansion house, where they could enjoy splendid views of the valley. After a few family photographs, we all made our way back to Tynrhyd, where food was being prepared for the wedding breakfast. Desert was courtesy of an ice cream van, which was greeted by huge smiles as the child spied its arrival.
Dating back to the early 12th century Cardigan Castle sits in the middle of the town with majestic views of the River Teifi in West Wales. The castle was probably first occupied by Gilbert Fitz Richard de Clare, although his occupation was short lived after Rhys ap Gruffydd captures the Castle using scaling ladders and demolishes it. In 1171 Rhys ap Gruffydd (Lord Rhys) moves his chief court here and begins to rebuild the Castle in stone for the first time. This is believed to be the first stone castle ever built by a Welshman. The restaurant in the new visitor centre now bears the name, 1176 as a knowing nod to the year when Lord Rhys hosts a celebration after the completion of his new castle. This festival has now been acknowledged as the first ever Eisteddfod. However the following centuries see the outer walls as the only surviving parts of this ancient castle. In the 1800’s the Castle Green House was built, and which you can still see today, albeit an extended version. The previous modern day owner, Miss Barbara Wood was unable to keep up the maintenance and was forced to live a caravan within the grounds for the last 15 years of her time at the property. In 2003 Cardigan Castle was purchased by Ceredigion County Council and after a £12 million restoration, it reopened in 2015 as a heritage attraction, restaurant, accommodation and events venue. Today, 6th July 2019 it was to host the wedding of Lucy and Mark. I had photographs Lucy’s sisters wedding a couple of years earlier at the Celtic Manor, so I knew sort of what to expect. Though they really pulled off quite a unique wedding. Not only finding a such an unusual wedding venue, but also featuring a bouncy castle and falconry display. Combined with lots of children and fun loving friends and family, it was quite the spectacle and a pleasure to photograph.
“We would highly recommend Sacha! He captured every special moment of our wedding day and our photos are incredible.”
Here is a selection of photographs I created for Laura and Alex at their wedding ceremony in Mwnt Church and reception at the Pizza Tipi in Cardigan, Wales. I have worked with Laura before, as in the past she has been a wedding co-ordinator for some of Wales’ finest hotels, so I was very pleased that she chose me to record her special day. So on 9th September 2017 I found myself on the west coast of Wales in the county of Ceredigion. The morning started with the groom and his ushers meeting at the former granary loft on the banks of the River Teifi in the town of Cardigan. Across the river is the Pizza Tipi, also known as Fforest Quayside part of the Fforest Weddingsgroup and was the location for the reception later in the day. Once the boys were ready, I popped upstairs in the loft to see the bridal preparations before making my way to Mwnt Church or Church of the Holy Cross as it is formally known. I have been waiting to photograph here for a while as it is a very unique location to get married in. This Grade I listed, 13th century, white washed chapel, sits top of the cliffs over Mwnt Beach. The downside of course in the rather unpredictable Welsh weather, today we had high winds and heavy rain showers.
“They are perfect! As always, you captured everything!”
It took two attempts to safely leave the church after the ceremony, but when we did the sun made a rather unexpected yet welcome appearance. Making the most of this opportunity, the wedding party made the short yomp down the cliffside to the beach, passing some rather startled hill walkers cladded as they were in boots and waterproofs, being past by a flowing white dress. Meanwhile guests warmed themselves with freshly made coffee served from a vinatge VW camper van. Next it was back to Cardigan to the Pizza Tipi at Fforest Quayside, where the former coalyard had been transformed in a rustic country chic wonderland for the wedding breakfast.
A trilogy of occasions this year saw me make the picturesque journey across the principality to the west coast of Mid Wales, to photograph weddings at Nanteos. This final visit of 2017, was for the joyful union of Katie and David on the 2nd September. The whole day from the bridal preparations to dancing the night away was hosted at Nanteos, a splendid Georgian country house restored into a luxury hotel. The King’s Suite is one of my favourite places to photograph the bridal party getting ready, with its large Georgian windows flooding the sumptuously decorated room with the perfect amount of natural light. It is also quite handy for the marriage ceremony which takes place next door in the music room.
After the ceremony everyone made their way to the front garden, where drinks were served, congratulations given and confetti thrown. As per instructions there was time put aside for a few group shots of close family and the wedding party and a couple of portraits of just the bride and groom as they enjoyed the surrounding landscape. These were done by ten minutes or so, leaving the happy couple free to mingle with those that had joined them for the day. The after dinner speeches were enjoyable, though looking through the pictures to select for this blog, I cannot quite remember why the best man presented the groom with a shopping trolley, but perhaps that is for the good.
In this age of digital communication, where email has quickly become the norm, the act of giving a physical thank you cards seems to decline each year. Yet to to receive one even before I deliver the photographs has to be even more rare. I think that is testament to the decency of Katie and David, who perfectly the demonstrated that sometimes throwing a wedding, is not just about yourselves but making sure everyone is having an enjoyable time. This fun loving couple saturated the day with good times and laughter. Nanteos was filled with such a good atmosphere, close family and friends all wishing them well.
“We just wanted to contact you prior to seeing your photos and say a very big thank you for helping to make out wedding day so wonderful!”
“We both felt so comfortable in your company and we feel so lucky to have been recommended you.”
Charlotte and Adam were married in West Wales on Saturday 26th August 2017. Early in the morning I travelled to the town of Aberystwyth to Nanteos Hotel where they were both getting ready for the big day. So it was logistically possible for me to split the photography coverage between the bridal and groom preparations. I then made my way to the marriage ceremony which was held in Capel Y Morfa in the town. After which the happy couple asked for some portraits of themselves amongst the castle ruins and on the beachfront at this Mid Wales town. On our return to Nanteos the guests had gathered outside enjoying ice cream from the provided van, before greeting Adam and Charlotte with more confetti.
Thursday 3rd August 2017, I travelled to Mid Wales, just a few miles south of Aberystwyth in the county of Ceredigion. I had made the journey to photograph the wedding of Gillian and Neil. The bride and groom are both academics in the town’s university where they meet whilst studying and have since settled. The venue they choose to host their wedding was the Conrah Hotel.This original mansion house of the Ffosrhydgaled Estate was purchased by a local farming family a few years ago. They have have since painstakingly restored the building to its former glory, which now enjoys luxury furnishings. It is settled in its own grounds with a magnificent view of the Ystwith Valley, a perfect place to enjoy the Welsh countryside. The bride and groom both prepared for the day in the hotel, so I was able to split my time between their respective bedrooms, before the ceremony took place downstairs. After the nuptials were emotionally exchanged and celebrations were shared, we made out way into the gardens. Here we took a few family groups, threw the confetti and took a couple of portraits of the happy couple to utilise the surroundings. After which my favourite moment occurred when the usher came approaching with bakewell tarts in hand, apparently to fend off any hunger pains. Such dedication to a bride and groom I have seldom seen. The continued with the wedding breakfast, speeches and then dancing into the evening.
“Thank you so much for the wonderful photos, and the service on the day. In the loveliest way, we didn’t really notice you during the day, and had a laugh at some of the photos and scenes that you did shoot. A big thank you from both of us, we really appreciated it.”