The great outdoors

Alexandra and Christopher celebrated their big day with a purple and gold colour palette at the gorgeous Llanerch Vineyard

Alexandra and Christopher both studied abroad at Arizona State University. It was in 2009 that Alex moved into the spare room in Chris' apartment and the two first met. It wasn't until they went on a trip to San Diego during spring break that their relationship began to blossom.

They dated for five years before Chris popped the question. “We'd just bought our first house together and I came home early from work one day. Chris suggested I go relax in the garden with a drink and when I came back inside he asked me to go upstairs. There were handwritten notes all the way up and when we got to the third floor I saw a red box. I opened it and saw a note that said 'turn around' and there was Chris on one knee with a ring, I immediately said 'yes',” explains Alex.

Here, she shares some of their favourite moments from their big day…

The great outdoors: Image 1aChris was keen to get married in a church and we knew there was a lovely one just five minutes away from my parent's house in Penarth. When we visited it looked even nicer than I remembered, then we met the reverend Peter Cox; he was so friendly and helpful that we decided to have him marry us.

The great outdoors: Image 1 Chris wore a grey morning suit from Debenhams, with a white shirt, lilac patterned waistcoat and purple ruche tie. His groomsmen wore the same suit but with a different shirt and tie that matched the bridesmaids dresses.

 

The great outdoors: Image 2
We liked the idea of having our reception somewhere a bit different, I found Llanerch Vineyard online, we visited the venue and as we're both wine fans, we agreed it was the perfect place. We loved it from our first visit and the staff could not have been more helpful.

 

The great outdoors: Image 3aI went to several boutiques and tried on 15 or so dresses but didn't find anything that felt perfect. My last appointment was at Y.A.P Bridal. The owner asked me what I wanted in a dress and suggested a few I could try. I found it difficult to decide but once I tried on Patience by Maggie Sottero I knew it was the one.

The great outdoors: Image 3 I had my hair done by Blu Hair in Penarth and my make-up by Something Blue Bridal Beauty. I decided to have my make-up slightly darker and more dramatic than my normal look. For my hair I had a waterfall braid with the rest of my hair down and curly, I also wore a beautiful silver headband and stunning cathedral-length light-gold veil.

 

The great outdoors: Image 4
The bridesmaids wore full-length, sleeveless purple gowns. As I had six bridesmaids who lived all over the country I knew I wouldn't be able to get everyone together to go shopping. I searched online for months and eventually found a dress that I thought would suit everyone. I mailed one to each of them and asked them to try them on – everyone sent me a photo and since they all liked them it made the final decision for me.

 

The great outdoors: Image 5aI didn't know much about flowers so I left the decisions to our talented florist, Rachael from Sweet Peony Floral. She suggested flowers that complement the bridesmaids' dresses, which looked lovely and even gave us advice on how to decorate the venue.

The great outdoors: Image 5 Our cake was amazing, it was white with hand-painted gold around the bottom of each tier with sequins. We had a plum sugar rose on the top tier to fit in with our colour scheme. We surrounded the cake with photos of our parents and grandparents on their wedding days in gold frames.

 

The great outdoors: Image 6
We tried to incorporate our colour scheme into the décor, with a gold welcome sign that my friend made and gold mason jars. As we met while studying abroad we had a signature cocktail and named our tables after towns or canyons in Arizona. We were keen to add a personal touch so my uncle who works in the fashion eyewear industry provided personalised sunglasses for each of our guests as wedding favours.

 

The great outdoors: Image 7aWe hired piano vocalist Luke Yates for the day. He played guitar and sang during the drinks reception and played the piano and sang for our first dance. He was amazing and very popular with all of our guests.

The great outdoors: Image 7 I'd seen some of Sian's work before and I knew I wanted her to photograph our big day. She was the first supplier I called, months before we'd even decided on a date, to make sure she was available. She fitted in seamlessly on the day and made sure we had amazing photos.

 

The great outdoors: Image 8
I travelled to the church in a white Rolls Royce Silver Cloud with my dad. Chris and I used the same car to travel to our reception venue. We took a longer route via the Penarth seafront and I was surprised to find a wedding salute done for us using oars from the local rowing club. It was a lovely surprise and it was nice being able to have some quiet time with Chris before the reception began.

 

Alexandra and Christopher's contact book


Bride's dress and accessories
Yap Bridal
www.yapbridal.co.uk

Bridesmaid's dresses
BHS
www.bhs.com

Cake
Wish Upon a Cupcake
www.wishuponacupcakeonline.co.uk

Ceremony venue
All Saints Penarth
www.allsaintspenarth.org.uk

Entertainment
Luke Yates Music
www.pianovocalist.com

Flowers
Sweet Peony Floral
www.sweetpeonyfloral.co.uk

Groom and groomsmen's suits
Debenhams
www.debenhams.com

Hair
Blu Hair Design
www.bluhairdesign.com

Light-up letters
Written in Lights
www.writteninlights.com

Make-up
Something Blue Bridal Beauty
www.facebook.com/SomethingBlueBridalBeauty/

Mother-of-the-bride outfit
Rowberry Bridal
www.rowberrybridal.info

Photographer
Sian Owen Photography
www.sian-owen.co.uk

Reception venue
Llanerch Vineyard
www.llanerch-vineyard.co.uk

Rings
Old Eldon Jewellers
www.old-eldon-jewellers.co.uk

Stationery
Minted
www.minted.com

Transport
Cars for Stars
www.carsforstars.co.uk

Videographer
Enso Wedding Photography
www.ensoweddingphotography.co.uk