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Rhiannon & Jonathan’s Welsh Christmas wedding

St Edmunds Church, Crickhowell

Rhiannon & Jonathan – The Proposal

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Photography: Jo Hansford

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The Couple

Solicitor Rhiannon and accountant Jonathan went to school together in Newport, South Wales until they were 14, when Rhiannon moved to Leeds. “We used to “date” on and off,” says Rhiannon, “and we stayed in touch every couple of months. We then lost touch for a while – and got back in touch through Friends Reunited – Jay likes to say I’m an internet bride! Brief chats once a week on the telephone turned into a few hours a night!

I spent five months travelling Australia, New Zealand and Thailand and Jay used to send flowers and presents to wherever I was staying. While I was still away, we decided to give it a go, so when I returned to the UK, I moved to Cardiff to move in with Jay – which surprised my parents to say the least!” Jay proposed in 2006 after they moved into a new house in Cardiff.

“We had a busy weekend with family helping us move, and on the Sunday, Jay proposed as soon as we were alone in our new house – after asking my dad first. It was a complete surprise – I felt excited, happy and amazed, and I said ‘yes’ immediately.”

Rhiannon & Jonathan – The Ceremony

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The Ceremony

The couple married in St Edmunds Church, Crickhowell, a beautiful little town in the middle of the Brecon Beacons where they spend a lot of time with Jay’s mum and step-dad.

“The church was filled with holly, candles and Christmas decorations too – a nativity scene and a tree with white lights. The church is quite big, with a vaulted ceiling and beautiful stained glass windows. Being a Welsh wedding, I wanted the singing to be good, so I chose hymns that everyone knows – Bread of Heaven, the Welsh rugby song; Love Divine and a Christmas carol, Oh come all ye faithful. We certainly raised the roof!”

Rhiannon & Jonathan – Before the Big Event…

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Before the big event…

“I felt strangely calm all morning,” says Rhiannon. “I was laughing and joking with the bridesmaids and my dad outside the church. But as soon as the ushers opened the doors, Alix, one of them, said “you alright Rhi?” and I lost it. I felt so overwhelmed and practically raced down the aisle to Jay!”

Rhiannon & Jonathan – The Dress

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And the Bride Wore…

Rhiannon wore Maggie Sottero’s Tabrett dress from Alison Jayne in Cardiff, and bought her floor length veil online. “Despite always wanting to walk down the aisle in Jimmy Choos, I found the perfect pale gold court shoes to match my dress in New Look!

I wore an “invisible wire” pearl necklace, pearl earrings that were like tiny bunches of grapes, and my grandmother’s bracelet. My something blue was a Cardiff City pin on my garter – at my husband’s request!”

Rhiannon & Jonathan – The Bridesmaids

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Her maids

Rhiannon’s three bridesmaids – her best friend Clare, sister Rachael and 14 year-old cousin Lucy – wore black pleated chiffon, knee-length strapless dresses from Monsoon. Rhiannon added ivory sashes, ivory pashminas, pearl necklaces, real pearl earrings –her gift to them – and pale gold shoes.

Rhiannon & Jonathan – The Flowers

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The Flowers

Although Rhiannon originally chose ivory roses in a simple arrangement, with a smaller version for the bridesmaids, when she spotted some red grand prix roses ‘that looked like velvet’, she changed my mind! “It was a bit of risk, as it was the only red we had, but I was so pleased I did!

Rhiannon & Jonathan – The Reception

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The Reception

The reception was held at Petersone Court. “Because it was Christmas we didn’t need to add very much decoration to anything – we had simple white roses with ivory ribbon as pew ends in church and Petersone Court had amazing Christmas decorations – the reception room looked like Narnia.

There were real Christmas trees around the outside of the room with white fairy lights, and the rest of the room was filled with candles – even the chairs were covered with white fitted covers and large black organza bows.”

Rhiannon & Jonathan – The Details

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The Details

Rhiannon made the place names – black baubles with black luggage tags attached, and guests names in silver and gold – and her mum baked heart shaped Welsh cakes wrapped in cellophane and finished with a black bow as favours.

Guests sat down to a meal of chicken liver parfait with pear chutney and toasted brioche confit of home-reared Welsh hill lamb with creamed mash and apple and cinnamon crumble with sauce anglaise for dessert. They were also treated to a hog roast with salads for the evening buffet.

Rhiannon & Jonathan – The Cake

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The Cake

Jay and I aren’t cake fans,” says Danielle, “so we chose a cheese cake – literally a cake made out of five wheels of cheese from House of Cheese and served with biscuits. We decorated it with holly and mistletoe.

Rhiannon & Jonathan – Favourite Moments

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“My favourite moment has to be my cheeky little peek at the bride as she came through the door,” laughs Jonathan. “This was for two reasons: One: to see how beautiful she looked  Two: The relief she showed up. Our friend Laura’s rendition of Ice Ice Baby during the reception was also knock out!”