Shabby Chic Park - March 2018 Wedding

After spending the last few months reading the planning threads on this forum, I am finally taking the plunge and writing my own. Please be gentle with me ladies, I am no Worsdworth, Austen or Shakespeare but I can promise what I write will be from my heart. Including the blood, sweat and tears,(quite literally all three at times), of planning my March 2018 wedding. So here goes....



  • Jenni8Jenni8 Posts: 3,202

    Ah MrsTHomas I've seen you around so much but never twigged you didnt have a planning thread! Looking forward to reading! 

  • Lexi90Lexi90 Posts: 971

    Glad to hear you are doing a thread - glad to see lots to read with all the new threads 

    Happy planning!! 

  • SammykateSammykate Posts: 3,298

    Glad to see you have started a thread! Look forward to reading :)

  • MrsLMTMrsLMT Posts: 3,830

    How we Met....

    I need to roll back a few years. 2013 was not a good year. I was in the middle of studying for my English literature degree, working, looking after my two daughters and my then partner wasn't very supportive shall we say. He left me in the August for someone else, left me completely broken. I'm not going to sugar coat the time, I had a breakdown. My ex wouldn't see the children for weeks and left me to pick up the pieces. It wasn't good. (I did warn there were tears).

    Fast forward to 2014. After spending my birthday alone, whilst writing an essay on Far From The Madding Crowd (very rock and roll life) I knew I didn't want to be alone forever. However I always have two children attached to me, the youngest at the time was very attached as I was still breastfeeding. So one day, while having a cry to my very good friend A  was suggested I tryTinder. Now being the type who openly declares her addiction to Darcy, (swoon), the very idea of putting myself on a dating site terrified me. Few more weeks of nagging and I gave in. 

    Well what can I say about Tinder....it's interesting. But somehow I swiped right on h2b and we matched. We spent a few weeks just talking before agreeing to our first date. By this point he knew my Darcy addiction and how I could read a book in four hours.But who knew how the date would go, FB messaging and telephone calls are one thing and I was terrified! 

  • MrsLMTMrsLMT Posts: 3,830

    The first date

    We had spent a few weeks talking. I was up front with h2b from the beginning and he wasn't scared away, brave boy. Lol. Now he has two children himself and was in the middle of getting divorced. So we both knew the other came with baggage.

    We agreed to meet in a pub local to me for a meal. I can honestly say I felt sick driving over to the pub. But I really didn't need to worry, he was lovely (still is), and was just as nervous as me. Lots of talking, holding my hand and making me feel special. At the end of the date he walked me back to the car and kissed me goodnight. I felt as though I had been struck by lightening. 

    I haven't stopped smiling since our first date. 

  • MrsLMTMrsLMT Posts: 3,830

    Thank you ladies. It is nice to know people are reading! 

  • MrsLMTMrsLMT Posts: 3,830

    And so our relationship began. Now we both have children so time together is limited but we knew very early in our relationship that it was forever. But we had to wait for his divorce to be finalised, his house to sell, I had to finish my degree. We have had a lot of obstacles to overcome but the beginning of this year saw a change. Divorce came through six months after started dating, I graduated in 2015 and his house finally sold in February 2016. Finally we could start thinking about us and our future plans. Now we don't live together, the plan is to change the layout of my house converting it from a three bedroom to a four bedroom but we knew this would be a horrible job and decided to do the work summer 2017. Plan set, another little thing we were working towards. 

    Unbeknown to me, my lovely boyfriend was planning a proposal, had been researching the best places to propose and had asked for my dads permission. My parents had no idea when, I had no idea what he was planning! Sneaky boy had asked my opinions on rings months before and ordered a ring based upon this. For weeks he kept my poor parents in suspense....until Bank Holiday Easter Monday, 28th March. 

  • lubeslubes Posts: 1,555

    Nice to see you hopping on the bandwagon MrsThomas - it's lovely to hear your story  x

  • MrsLMTMrsLMT Posts: 3,830

    The Proposal

    My ex partner has the children on a Monday and Tuesday. With this in mind myself and B (future hubby) decided on a trip to Dyffryn Gardens. It is a beautiful former stately home which has been left in ruins in places due to property developers leaving it mid renovation. Its owned by the National Trust and they are slowly bringing the house back to its former glory. Now ladies I'm not going to lie, my obsession doesn't end with Darcy, there is also Rochester. When I turned the corner to the house I gasped as I felt as though I had stumbled across Thornfield Hall. 

    I think I even squealed a little. 

    We walked around the gardens, the greenhouse and then it was time to go into the house. Wow, oh wow! Stained glass hallway with a galleried landing lit by chandeliers. Again I believe I squealed in excitement as I stood in the vast hall staring up at the windows. 


    Now in my excitement of the house I was not aware how nervous B was becoming. Oops! Through each room we strolled, reading about the family, the history of the house. Eventually we came of the gallery overlooking the hall where a handy bench was situated. B suggested we sit down, so we did.

    B decided it was now or never. No one was around. He turned to me, took hold of my hand and proceeded to tell me how much he loved me, how special I was too him. At the point I'm thinking what on earth is going on, a lump is beginning to form in my throat. Before I can say much he drops to one knee and produces the ring box from his coat pocket and asked me to marry him. 

    Thank you mother nature, as he opened the box the sun was beaming through the stained glass windows lighting up my beautiful engagement ring. I burst into tears and said yes as he put the ring on. 


  • MrsLMTMrsLMT Posts: 3,830
    lubes wrote (see post):

    Nice to see you hopping on the bandwagon MrsThomas - it's lovely to hear your story  x

    Thank you Lubes. I have loved reading your thread and can only hope my thread is as interesting.

  • Lexi90Lexi90 Posts: 971

    What a lovely proposal! Sounds just perfect.

    I am sure you will both be very busy with the wedding and house plans, but a lovely exciting time for you both. It's lovely that you both found each other! 


  • MrsLMTMrsLMT Posts: 3,830

    Few photos from the engagement 





    And of course my engagement ring


  • DrD-to-beDrD-to-be Posts: 195

    Awww yay FutureMrsThomas! So glad you decided to take the plunge! 

    Lovely proposal story, and I am looking forward to seeing your plans come together. If I remember rightly, we get married the same week! 

  • MsJPtoBeMsJPtoBe Posts: 29

    Your ring is stunning! And I love your getting together story so sweet 

  • MrsLMTMrsLMT Posts: 3,830
    Lexi90 wrote (see post):

    What a lovely proposal! Sounds just perfect.

    I am sure you will both be very busy with the wedding and house plans, but a lovely exciting time for you both. It's lovely that you both found each other! 


    It was the perfect proposal. Play fair the boy did well! 

    I feel very lucky to have found B. He tells me all the time how much loves me. Nothing unusual to have flowers when he visits on a Sunday. Although he has thoroughly spoilt me this year! Beyoncé tickets for my birthday, engagement ring for Easter and tickets to see Chicago! Eek, so excited to see Chicago in two weeks!

  • MrsLMTMrsLMT Posts: 3,830
    DrD-to-be wrote (see post):

    Awww yay FutureMrsThomas! So glad you decided to take the plunge! 

    Lovely proposal story, and I am looking forward to seeing your plans come together. If I remember rightly, we get married the same week! 

    Yes we are getting married the same week! Updates on venue search, final date decision coming up! 

  • MrsLMTMrsLMT Posts: 3,830

    Venue Search

    We had spoken about marriage but it was a one day in the future talk, dream venue etc. 

    Now with the sparkly ring which I never believed would happen, it dawned on me I would actually have to plan a wedding. πŸ˜•πŸ€—πŸ˜• 

    As it was the Easter holidays my now fiancé and I decided to start looking at all the venues within 30 minutes of my house. I am so lucky to still have all of my grandparents with me but the 30 minute radius is important for my one grandmother, Nanna A. My lovely grandmother had a stroke at the age of 58 which left her severely disabled. She can not walk or talk, nor can she write. Nanna A can make sounds and conversations with her can be heartbreaking at times. She has lived like this for 12 years. 😒😒😒 With my Nan in mind I knew 30 minutes was the maximum distance she could travel without becoming ill. It would also mean no church wedding as again getting my Nan from her car, into a church, back into the car and the same at the venue would be too much.

    With this in mind we started a list of things we needed:

    1) Ceremony and reception at the same place

    2) Disabled access

    3) Wide doorways

    4) 30 minutes maximum travelling time

    5) Disabled parking

    It doesn't appear demanding but it proved more difficult than we thought it would be. We looked at every venue, requested brochures, stalked Facebook pages of venues to see the pictures other brides had posted and chipped away at the list. 

    I really found searching for a venue hard. The disabled access issue was a major factor for us. Even paths leading into venues were a problem. Pebble stone paths would not be good for my grandmother's wheel chair. And if it wasn't the disables access it was the cost. We found a few venues which have been perfect but at 12k for the venue alone it wasn't going to happen. 

    Also the package each venue offered varied so much. One venue would include the chair covers while the next would charge £4.50 per chair. Or the cake stand included but another would charge £50. While I'm having a slight rant, the customer service in some venues left a lot to be desired. Poor customer service is my pet hate and it really annoys me if I have to chase someone. 

    Eventually we came to a final three and made appointments to view each one over a six week period when B would visit on a Saturday. 

  • Lexi90Lexi90 Posts: 971

    I can tell how much your Nanna means to you- that is heartbreaking about her stroke. She must love seeing you and will appreciate all the effort you've gone to so that she can be included in your big day.

    I know what you mean about service- for me that's very important. If the company doesn't come back to you, doesn't make an effort whilst your visiting etc. I don't bother with them. It would make me wonder what they would do on the wedding day.

    Looking forward to hearing more about your venue 

  • MrsLMTMrsLMT Posts: 3,830

    My grandparents are so important to me! I don't get to see Nanna A as much as I would like as if either of the children have a cold then we have to stay away. 

    My other set of grandparents are absolute legends. My Nan S is a pretty little old lady, (do not tell her I said she is old she will kill me, lol). I visit this set of grandparents every other week (unless the children are carrying some awful germ) and they have always said I am the daughter they never had. I do tease my grandad awful, mainly because I am the only one who can get away with it. 

    Deciding a date wasn't easy, none of my grandparents are particularly young, all over the age of 70. Nanna A has already been admitted to hospital on three occasions in the last 6 months. Needless to say I question if I have made the right decision on a daily basis. But I am way ahead of myself and need to get back to the venue hunt....

  • MrsLMTMrsLMT Posts: 3,830

    Venue Number One

    Our first venue was Bryn Meadows Golf Club. It was 25 minutes away and as it was pretty modern we hoped the disabled facilities would be top notch. It also had a pretty good package for the time of year we would like to have the wedding.This was early April so we hadn't really decided on a month, just knew late 2017 or early 2018.

    When we booked to make the appointment with the wedding co-ordinator we were told a wedding was being held that day which we ok with. It meant we could see the venue as a wedding venue and not just a golf club. 

    We were very excited on the day of the appointment. It is rare for us to get a Saturday afternoon to ourselves! I live in the South Wales Valleys so most routes at some point will lead to tiny road going up a mountain. Bryn Meadows was one such venue, luckily lots of places to pull in for other cars. 

    The first negative came with the car park. Oh my goodness, I am sure I have seen quieter car parks in Cardiff on a Saturday afternoon! We managed to find the tiniest space for B's massive Zafira. Negative point number two was getting out of the car and finding empty beer bottles in the flower pot behind the car. 

    We decided to shrug these off, reminding ourselves a wedding was taking place and maybe it was bigger than our planned guest list, the beer bottle being left by one of the guests before heading into the venue. Hand in hand we made our way through the car park, admiring the golf course which was very busy. 

    Before making the appointment we had read the disabled access about the venue, knowing there were steps leading into the venue but aware a ramp was available. No pictures had been available of the ramp when we did our research. Wish it had been, we would never had wasted our time had we known. As soon as we reached the steps leading the venue I started looking for the ramp, I couldn't see it. B also pointed the lack of the ramp, but we both decided to keep the benefit of the doubt, maybe it was a portable ramp. 

    We then came to abrupt stop, the wedding party were in the main foyer having their drinks and canapes reception. Right in front of the door. I have never felt so awkward apologising as I walked through that foyer to make my way to the reception desk. After giving our names we told to take a seat. In the foyer with the wedding party only a few feet away. 

    By this point the negatives were starting to add up. I was trying to keep positive but my customer service annoyance was beginning to rear its ugly head. Many years ago I used to work as a waitress and bar maid in a hotel pub. I spent many hours serving at weddings, my old manager drilled it into us to,circle the room check for empty glasses, discarded napkins etc. I counted 3 empty glasses while seated. I also noticed the drinks reception was in the main walk way for the whole complex which included a hotel, spa, gym, golf course, restaurant, bar. There was no private area for the wedding party. Huge negative for me. 

    B could see me getting annoyed after we had been waiting for 15 minutes. He knows of my pet hate. Bless him, he knew to keep quiet and let me carry on. The wedding co-ordinator eventually found us, and proceeded to give us a tour. She was more interested in the spa and gym facilities (perfect Hen Party where her words), than actually selling the venue for a wedding. After being shown the spa, gym, resturant, terraced area we had arrived back in the original waiting area. With the three dirty glasses still waiting to be collected.πŸ€” I decided to keep my cool and ask about the disabled access. We were cheerfully told that there were two disabled access points and once again we trekked through the foyer, interrupting the wedding party again. Outside went and were shown the di

  • MrsLMTMrsLMT Posts: 3,830

    Damn it ! It cut my post.....


    ....... Outside went and were shown the disabled access to the golf course side, leading to the restaurant entrance. It wasn't ideal, it felt as it was an after thought. So off we went to the other disabled entrance. This was even worse, down a steep incline and half way around the building, coming to a wide door with a large step. Now steps are ok but this was a huge step. 

    I asked how we get my nans wheelchair over the step. The wedding co-ordinator's answer? Oh we will get a few of the boys to lift the wheelchair. 😑😑😑😑😑 I felt like pushing the stupid woman into the pond. Lift my grandmothers wheelchair? Good luck, its huge electric monster and my Nanna A  is around 20 stone. 

    B took over from this point knowing there was a very good chance my head was going to start spinning around as if something from The Exorcist. We had a few queries on price. The final nail was being told we would have to pay £150 for a dance floor. A dance floor! 

    Bidding the woman goodbye we weren't even half way through the foyer before I turned to B and said no, no way, not happening. 

    Venue one relegated to the vetoed list. I did have great fun writing my rejection email with list of negatives, their appalling customer service and maybe they should reconsider the disabled access. Strangely they didn't reply. 


  • MrsLMTMrsLMT Posts: 3,830

    Venue Number Two

    Ladies venue number two was gorgeous. But there was only one issue I had, most people choose venue number including future sister in law who held her wedding there in 2013. I really didn't want anyone to compare our weddings, the venue is amazing though. 

    Ladies may I present the Maes Manor. 


    It is a beautiful building. Driving up the driveway to the vast house is spectacular. Very gothic, Thornfield Hall inspired (nineteenth century literature is a slight obsession). Again a wedding was being held at the venue on the day we visited. Bunting was hanging from the hedge along the driveway, it was so pretty on the spring day!

    So first up was the parking. Where the previous venue was terrible this time it was fab. Loads of space, flat, disabled spaces right outside the door. Tick, tick, tick! Yay! First impressions were good. B said I was beaming, he could tell I was happy. 

    We parked up and made our way in. No step, completely flat. Yay! Another tick.

    Around now I'm starting to think yay, this is it. Introduced ourselves to the lovely smiley receptionist who directs us to the bar area. I have visited the hotel previously for a family meal so had only ever seen the restaurant. B informed me the bar area was where his sister held the canape reception. This is where my heart broke a little, the entry to bar was too tight for  Nanna A wheelchair. It would mean her, grandad and mums family would be in the hallway. I wasn't happy with that, I wanted my Nan to see everything and feel part of the wedding. 

    Before I could really say anything the wedding co-ordinator arrived. She was lovely, while the previous had felt condescending, this lady was down to earth. Now after our previous experience of wedding venue viewing I had learnt from my mistakes. I had a list of questions which she answered without making me feel stupid. 

    We really wanted to know where the ceremony would be held. We were informed either the restaurant or main function suite. Off we went to view the restaurant. Another moment of heart break the door was too narrow and with 56 guests and my nans wheel chair the room felt too small. Ok, suite option. I'm not going to lie ladies, the room is gorgeous. 


    I was in love, especially when I found behind the fairy light curtain was a fountain. That's right ladies a Gothic fountain. I just stopped myself from squealing. Now this was a dilemma for me. The venue was amazing but could I really allow my Nanna to sit in the hallway away from the main event? Truthfully no, family means so much to me. The other downfall was the wedding would have to be on a Thursday to keep costs down. My lovely dad, my hero, wasn't keen on this and as he is paying for the venue I knew I had to take this into consideration. 

    So with much regret I had to say no, sending an email to the venue saying I loved everything it was just a few little things which didn't make it right for our wedding. I really didn't know if anything would live up to this venue and felt so sad. However, the search had to continue...onwards and upwards...

  • MrsLMTMrsLMT Posts: 3,830

    So after mourning the Maes Manor we were left with our final venue. Whereas the previous two venues had been nearer to B's family, the final venue was in Monmouthshire closer to me, still in our 30 minute radius. 

    The final venue offered a fantastic wedding package which was one of the major plus points. Venue one was modern golf course, venue two gothic dream, venue three was hello Darcy. It did not have the grandeur of the previous venue. It is very understated but I loved the lightness of the main room in pictures from stalking Facebook.

    On previous viewings it had been just B and I. For our final viewing we had arranged for my dad to take oldest daughter to ballet and my brother and sister in law to look after my youngest daughter. Now my dad may be my hero but he is also a pain and forgets things on a regular basis. He once argued with mum over my age, adamant I was born in 1982 and not 1983. Argument was only resolved when my dad rang me to ask my date of birth. πŸ˜‚πŸ€” So I really wasn't surprised when sister in law text me a few days before our appointment to say she had to work on the Saturday. My dad, my lovely forgetful dad, is the manger of the estate agents where sil works. Typical dad, but no problem my brother said youngest will be ok with him. But dad once again had forgotten he had to take oldest to ballet and was also working πŸ˜• So all change oldest goes with my brother and the youngest is coming to view the venue with us. (Mum did give dad an almighty telling off for forgetting again). 

    Our final day of viewing arrived and off we went to see our final venue....


  • MrsLMTMrsLMT Posts: 3,830

    The Park Hotel is in a little village called Pandy, just outside Abergavenny. Whereas the previous venues meant driving along tiny mountain roads The Park Hotel is down the other side of the valley and dual carriage pretty much all the way. Bonus, little chance of getting stuck on a mountain road in snow. 

    B pulled the car into a huge car park, massive bonus. It was a little gravely but I knew it would be ok for Nanna  wheelchair. Helped youngest out of the car walked along the path to the hotel. A huge wide front door stood in front of us with a small step. Massive tick, no problem getting Nan in. There was also a covered porch area so if it was taking a little longer to negotiate the wheel chair Nan would not get wet. Yay! So far very happy. 

    In we went to meet one of the owners. She was lovely, treated us like part of the family. Her little dog was with her and my youngest really took a shine to it. We where shown into the bar area while she want to fetch our wedding pack. Both B and I quickly noted the very wide doorways, the wooden flooring. The venue was beginning to look perfect for our wedding, however after being stung by the previous venues we were a little wary. We still needed to see where ceremony would be held. 

    The owner came back and we were given the full tour of the hotel, every bedroom, grounds, restaurant, bar. Now the ceremony room was a little small but we were still to see the reception room where we could also hold the ceremony for an extra charge. This room was beyond the double white doors. 

    The room was light and airy. Drapes hanging from the ceiling. we would have the use of the bar, the reception room would be used for the drinks reception and then the large room. Included in our package were the canapés, three course meal, drinks on arrival, wine with the meal, champagne for the toast, chairs covers and bows for forty guests, cake stand and knife, and buffet for hundred guests in the evening for a total of £2500. Once we added our extra days guests and children it was £2800. By far the cheapest of all the venues. 

    B was sold on the price. But it was when youngest daughter started to have a little whine that the venue was sold to me. The owner asked youngest if she would like a drink and came back with juice, mini cheddars and some chocolate refusing to take any money when I offered to pay. I was happy with the customer service, the venue and the price. 

    We left with huge smiles on our faces and a happy four year old. By the time we got back to the car we had decided this was our venue. 

    Within 48 hours we conifrmed the 24th March was available, signed the contract and paid the deposit. 



  • MrsLMTMrsLMT Posts: 3,830

    Introducing The Park Hotel






    Wedding venue search was over and our wedding was booked for Saturday 24th March 2018. Happy Bride to be β˜ΊοΈπŸ‘°πŸΌ

  • Lexi90Lexi90 Posts: 971

    Glad you managed to find a venue that is perfect for your needs. The price is amazing, wish we could get anything like that down here!! Looks like you will have a great time there, the lady sounds so nice. It's the little things that help! 

    Service goes a long way! It doesn't matter how nice a place looks. I would never book the best venue if service wasn't good. If they can't be bothered to be on time or be welcoming for only an hour or so, they aren't going to be great on the day.  Good for you for letting them know why you wouldn't book them re. The first option! 


  • MrsLMTMrsLMT Posts: 3,830

    Thank you Lexi. Quite a few colleagues have been to weddings at the venue since we booked and have all come back with good reports πŸ€—. 

    I did have a wobble about the date. I work in a school so are taking a gamble on school holidays, I'm hoping we finish up on the 23rd March but there is a chance we finish up on the 29th March.  I'm the attendance and admissions clerk and really do not want to miss a day, the attendance side is very demanding. Whatever happens we will get around it.

    The biggest date wobble was over my grandparents. Nanna A has been admitted into hospital on three occasions this year and Grandad T from the other side was admitted days after we booked the venue and we nearly lost him. I did wonder if 2018 was too far away, B and I had a long chat about it coming to the decision to get the house ready and plan the wedding in 2017 would be too much for us. Between working and the children we have very little time. Calmed down and got back to thinking about colour schemes.


  • Lexi90Lexi90 Posts: 971

    Hope the date works out okay for you.

    I know what you mean about grandparents, I worry about them too. My mum keeps saying I shouldn't worry about the finer details for my Grandma until closer to the day as we have no idea how capable she will be by 2018. At the moment she thinks by 2018 she will only want to attend the ceremony as the day will be too much for her with lots of people. I'm happy to just go with that and see closer to the time how she feels. 

  • MrsLMTMrsLMT Posts: 3,830

    I have the added streets of a long standing feud.....

    Back Ground Story

    I love my grand parents, they are all so important to me. Both grandmothers taught me how to sew and knit. Nanna and Grandad A took myself and younger brother on a camping holiday to Tenby when we were children. I spend hours with my Nan, shopping, having coffee. 

    However, my grandparents have not been in the same room since my parents wedding day. The argument has gone on for over 34 years.  I know parts of the argument but not the full story. I do know the bus transporting guests home after my parents wedding had to stop due to the fighting. Not good. My poor parents tried years ago to resolve the situation but both sets of grandparents are stubborn and neither would make peace. As a result we always knew if myself or younger brother decided to marry it would open old wounds.

    Dad, bless him, has already warned my grandad, his father, to basically keep his mouth shut. Grandad T is a law into his own and can offend very easily, (I gave him a shovel tied with a big red bow for his birthday a few years ago so he could dig himself out of the holes he gets into). 😀

    Mum has reassured Nanna A not to worry, they won't be sat next to each other. Grandad A is a gruff miserable old sod and has grunted to my mum, not really saying anything. (He knows he is a miserable sod, mum tells him on a regular basis). 

    I am trying to put it to the back of my mind until next year but I do get a little stressed and upset over the situation. 


  • MrsLMTMrsLMT Posts: 3,830

    I wrote a very long post last night but lost it. Take two...

    Colour scheme + theme = confused bride.com

    Once the venue was booked people started asking me about colours and themes. I had ideas about colours but a theme? 

    I thought we were getting married and not holding a children's party.

    However, B informed me a theme is a good idea, it would help structure a lot of our decisions. He promptly told me his previous wedding had been based around Halloween as he got married end of October first time around. 

    So like any new bride I hit Pinterest. One thing I did learn from Pinterest was weddings had no boundaries. 

    I am old fashioned traditional, anything too bling really isn't me. I soon learnt I wanted the shabby chic, Cath Kidston inspired look with lots of pink and lilac. While it may not be the most orginal idea, it is true to me. 



    B said it looks very pretty and will happily go along with whatever I want, (good answer fiancé). My mum isn't overly keen but has accepted it. She did try suggesting a few other colours but gave up when she realised it wasn't working. 

    So it appears we are having a shabby chic, Cath Kidston inspired wedding at The Park Hotel. ☺️


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