An Alternative Cardiff Wedding at Portland House

Cardiff Wedding Photographers

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It's not very often we get to catch up with our lovely Bride and Groom's post wedding as schedules are busy and life keeps happening. But, this weekend Becky and I managed to meet with Toni and Becca, who were married at Portland House in May this year. I wanted to try out a new idea for the blog, that is to put together a few q & a's alongside the images. I've worked for magazines and in editorial places in the past and I thought that putting together a true love story illustrated with wedding pictures could be a cool idea. Luckily, Toni and Becca were up for it. 

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Their vision for their wedding was to have something different and include lots of things that others might not think of.  We had a chat with them to find out more about the lead up to their wedding day and see if they have any pearls of wisdom for you brides and grooms to be!  Here is the story of Toni and Becca.

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Where did you guys meet?

Becca-We met speaking online on plentyoffish.com and we added each other on Facebook and spoke through awkward small talk situations – we probably never would have met up. He had Emo hair at the time. Like over his face (she smiles and laughs with him)
It went on for a couple of months we were chatting online – flirting a bit.

Toni-One weekend I was like what you doing? And she said I’m going to a house party in a mansion and I was like ah ok. I was also going to a house party in a mansion it was Robert Earnshaw the Cardiff city footballer. Our friend Matt was renting it – like 10 of them were living in this crazy house.  When I saw her I went over and said “Do you know who I am?” and she was like “What do you mean? Who do you think you are?” And then she realised it was me, and was like oohhhh- the penny dropped.
 

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How did you propose once you had the ring?

Becca-  He was really late getting home on a Thursday, he knocked the door and ran away, he had a left red roses, two bottles of Cava and a little sign saying 'Will you Marry me?'.

Toni- She wouldn’t open the door at first because there was no one there! Then after all that, the ring was too big! Becca gave me the wrong measurement! But we had it sorted out that week, it was no big deal.

How long after you got engaged did you start planning?

Becca-Straight away because because my dad had saved.

Toni - When I explained to Stewart (Becca's Dad) that I wanted to propose to Becca he said when you do get married we’ve got the wedding covered. So because we could just plan it straight away we booked the venue and got started.

What made you choose your venue?

We got married at Portland House- (known historically as 'The Vaults' in Cardiff Bay) because. I just wanted something different you know, not just a country manor house, and because we live in the city and we're city people we wanted it at Portland House for sure, it was a no brainer! 
 

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Did you think you were going to be married in the beginning?

Becca (without skipping a beat) No. I think we realised quite quick though didn’t we?

Toni-Yeah we moved in together after about 6 months.  I think you just know don’t you.

When did you get engaged – tell me the story?

Toni-We got engaged last year about 3 and a half years after we met.  We sorted out our house first  it was our priority before we spent any money on weddings etc

I went to London to get Becca a ring, I’d heard about Hatton Garden. I knew if I went there there would be diamond dealers and I knew that I would be able to get something special for the money that I had.  it looks like something out of Snatch and they’re just going up and down the street making all these deliveries with boxes and boxes of diamonds. I choose this diamond and a setting for it. I was meant to have the ring ready in 2 weeks. So Becca knew we were meant to be getting engaged but I still wanted a little bit of a surprise. I was gutted when, on the Friday I got a call to say the ring isn’t happening, which through my plans out. On Monday it was announced; that Hatton Garden diamond heist had happened that weekend and Becca’s ring was actually in the vaults that were robbed. Luckily Becca's was safe, he apologised and said that he wasn’t able to tell me at the time because it hadn’t gone public.  I totally understood, and he was great, he gave us a discount and gave Becca a pair of diamond earrings as a token to say sorry, so that was cool.

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Who did you choose for hair and make up?

Becca- It was a friend Hannah who did my hair and she recommended Carrie from MAC for makeup. I let the bridesmaids choose anything they wanted for their hair and makeup because everyone’s different, and it's what suited them. 

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The Venue

Toni-A massive benefit to Portland house is that it's so easy to customize and really make it your own, something that we think it was better at than other cardiff wedding venues. I really think a lot of people don't know about it and those that do don't really get how awesome it is. You really need to go down and see it. Sue is amazing and was really helpful in showing us around, my parents even wandered past on a date night and someone let them in to have a look around. the're all so friendly and helpful

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We liked the idea that it had a reputation of being an alternative venue but it sill had the grandeur with the building. It's such an amazing space with amazing value as well.

We had creative license, we didn’t have to use their catering which is rarity these days,When you go to a standard venue – a stately home or a Golf club or whatever, it’s very much a wedding package and quite restrictive. You have to have the meal that they choose and the menu is set. It's nice that Portland House allows you choose whatever you want, but we still choose to have them cater because the options looked perfect and Sue was really helpful. 


Colours

Becca- My maiden was Green – that’s why we chose a mint green it was inspiration for the theme initially. We bought our own decorations and hired the big Love letters from – Written in Lights.  That was great it looked amazing!

Because it was such a big room we couldn’t really hang stuff like bunting – in smaller places you can hang that around the walls but we couldn’t do that, so we got the massive lights and the illuminated pillars – we could choose the colours of the lights. It was the lighting really that was the decorative thing in the venue. 

Did you have any help?

Becca-We did it all ourselves.

I kind of knew what I wanted because I had a pinterest board anyway – with vintage wedding themes. I would advise people to have a pinterest board, I did it for the food and ideas it definitely helps

Why did you choose Rachel?

Well she’s next door to my work in Penarth and she’s a really good florist, I wanted roses and she gave me advice on what sort of roses to get for the vintage look. Amnesia Roses.

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How did you decide on cars?

Becca - I wanted a vintage car and Toni wanted the Cadillac – I just let him choose it.

Toni - My dream car when I was a kid was a Cadillac 1959 Cadillac Coup DeVille.  It took ages to find it. I had a toy one when I was a kid and had seen them in American films, Snoop Dog had a Cadillac, Snoopdeville.

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Becca-It reminded me of the cars from Grease.  I don’t know anyone who’s had one of those at a wedding.

Toni-It was important for us to do things differently and for us, we didn’t want a Rolls Royce.  The Cadillac went with the vintage style of our wedding. It took me about 8 months to find it. It came from America our wedding was the first wedding it had . I highly recommend the company they’re called- Stretched Out Newport.  They gave us a bottle of Champagne when we got in the car after the service to. We put up photos of the car on Facebook and I was getting comments from people I’d never met before. People were sharing the photo and making comments on it, friends of friends were all commenting and saying; I saw this car earlier at Gabalfa roundabout. We were the talk of the town!

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The boy's clothes?

Toni - I’ve always liked tweed suits but I wanted to find one at a decent price and most were like £500 – £600. I didn’t really want to spend that much. So my suit actually came from Next, it was ideal for what I wanted.  If people are looking for that kind of look – there is that kind of thing on the high street. You can keep it forever then, rather than hiring it. The boys had different suits they weren’t all matching, but that's the way I wanted it.
 

The Girl's Dress's

Becca - The dress was from – Wedding Belles in Pyle, I had looked in Cardiff initially.  It was great value.  They got a selection out for me within my budget and I just tried them all on.  They all look different on the hanger so make sure you try all sorts on. I went with my mum.

When I’d chosen it, on one of the last fittings Toni’s mum and Laura (Toni's sister) came with me.

I put it on and I just knew that was the one I wanted.  When I tried it on they had it in ivory and I wanted white – so it was a bit of a gamble when I ordered it.


What was your favourite thing about the dress?

It was really traditional, a churchy wedding dress.  A long train and all the sparkly bits on it and the veil, I had to have a veil. I just wanted the traditional bride thing.

The ceremony?

Becca-We got married in St.Mary’s in Whitchurch.  The reason we got married in that Church was personal. Originally I wanted to get married in Plymouth where I’m from, my dad played the organ at the church in the centre of the village. We used to go with him and watch all the weddings as kids.  So when they moved to Whitchurch it was the next best thing, it was even called St Mary’s as well, it was perfect. It looks beautiful, it’s such a nice little church, I had my heart set on a church since I was a little, we had the bells and everything, it was lush!

 

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What about music how did you choose your band?

Toni- We had Back to November from Barry – they had performed at my  Mum’s birthday party. We’d seen them play and they fitted in with our theme.  They do covers but they have their own stuff, they have three different types of guitars and play harmonies, like Mumford and Sons kind of style like folk/pop.We knew they would sing the first dance song really well.We’d seen them before and they were very good at what they do. They play a wide range but put their own spin on well known classics and lots of current music.I was concerned about the sound because of the size of the space but the acoustics were really good! 

Evening food

We had a street food buffet in the evening – fish and chips and burgers and nachos served in little cardboard boxes with wooden forks. 

Advice for other couples getting married?

Do your research, look online for ideas. I googled alternative wedding venues and was lucky enough to find Portland house. One thing I would say as well is ebay is like amazing for all the quirky ideas and stuff. Another point for the vintage look, we collected tea cups and tea sets from charity shops.  For the shabby chic look. My advice would be to go to charity shops, you’re helping the charity out then as well. They’re by no means giving them away, they’re onto it, they know what people are buying them for now. If you tell them you’re getting married they’ll call you when things come in.

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