Hayley & Josh’s Wye Valley wedding at The Inn at Penallt was a beautiful small but fun filled wedding. I loved working with Hayley & Josh. They very much wanted natural and unique photographs of their day that captured all of the wonderful memories. I’ve only included the colour images here but all clients also receive a set of black & white and a few ‘creative’ edits as well at no extra cost.
Tell us your story
Josh and I met online (OK Cupid!) in 2014 when we were both living in London. We hit it off messaging back and forth and had our first date in a dive bar on Denmark Street which is sadly no longer there. It was early, and we were the only two in there for ages, drinking pints and chatting, before going for sushi and ending the evening drinking tequila, something that ended up featuring on the big day! When we decided to move in together we moved out of London for the bright lights of Cambridge, both craving a change after living in London for years. We rented a place just outside the city centre, got our dog Honey, frequented may brilliant pubs and changed jobs a couple of times. Josh proposed to me on Christmas day 2017, getting down on one knee while I was in my dressing gown and drinking bucks fizz! We had a lovely quiet Christmas celebrating together. We moved away from Cambridge in the spring of the following year, so put off the wedding planning while we got settled in the countryside, and properly started planning in January 2019, getting married 10 months later. Ever the ones with itchy feet, a week after the wedding we were already viewing houses so we can buy our first home!
What made you choose The Inn at Penallt?
We had our formal ceremony just with parents on the Thursday at a registry office just outside of Usk. It was very intimate and sweet, and after some champagne with parents at our hotel, the two of us went for a quiet dinner and pint together. It was really lovely ahead of the chaos of getting things ready for the Saturday! The venue for the do on Saturday was The Inn at Penallt, a country pub in Monmouthshire with stunning views of the Wye Valley. We loved it’s rustic charm, the good selection of beer, great food, and beautiful garden. We had visited it in Autumn on a visit to my parents who live nearby, on a gorgeous sunny day and the orange leaves were glowing – that’s when we decided an Autumn wedding would be perfect there. It helped as well that it was right for our budget and they’d do us a pizza buffet! We love pizza! We didn’t want anything formal, or a sit down meal, but just somewhere laid back where people could let their hair down, dance, eat some tasty grub – it was just right! Bronwyn and Chris who run it and their staff were so friendly too, and really flexible and accommodating. It also had a pergola in the garden which if we were lucky with the weather, we wanted to decorate and have the ceremony under. We did get (sort of) lucky on the day and the rain stayed away just long enough for us to have a ceremony in front of family and friends and throw some confetti.
Tell us about your outfits
I went round the houses with my outfit! I knew I didn’t want a traditional dress, or spend too much on it, and I wanted to be able to dance in it – I was determined to get a bargain but something that was still me. I ended up ordering a custom made blush skirt and white silk top from Etsy – I loved the skirt but sadly when I got the top through I didn’t like it on! That’s the risk I guess with made to order online. But, I found a couple of options on the high street and ended up going with a long sleeve lace top from Zara! I wore pearls my Grandma had given me and multi-coloured shiny glittery shoes from Irregular Choice that I got in the sale. I absolutely adored the shoes! But I don’t do heels and it wasn’t long before I had changed into sparkly socks and Converse! My friend styled my hair, and my mum handmade my hairpiece from dried flowers, which was gorgeous. Josh got his amazing suit in from Paul Smith – he’d tried on a few things, but when he saw that he thought YES this is the one. He wore it with a white shirt and pink tie from Six in Bury St Edmunds, which went perfectly. His favourite item though were his cufflinks which were Alexander McQueen and his awesome gift to himself! He just thought they were too cool to pass up, which I agreed with. His shoes were special too – Josh used to live in cherry red Doc Martens when we met, until they pretty much fell apart. On the wedding day, he was sporting a brand new pair, and these I think were a favourite part for both of us!
Tell us about your styling and decor
We didn’t need to do much to the pub, but we wanted to keep whatever decoration we did in keeping with the informality and cosiness of the place. We strung up loads of fairy lights, one side of the pub being quite natural, and colourful ones where the disco was going to be! My mum made 3 beautiful dried hop and flower wreaths – we still have one in the house going strong! We didn’t have a florist, but a family friend provided dried flowers and I bought lavender, then the day before the wedding my best person (Hannah) and I picked fern leaves and white flowers from the pub garden. Hannah then did an absolutely incredible job arranging these in bottles that I’d been collecting for the past year! The effect was just what Josh and I wanted – fitting with the surroundings, autumnal, and really pretty. Plus, it was very budget friendly, had a nice personal touch and we didn’t end up with fresh flowers going to waste! Apart from that, I made some paper hanging decorations after finding some inspiration on Pinterest – we didn’t want lots of plastic and tried to make everything sustainably or use what could be recycled or that we’d reuse. Our confetti was from Etsy and was made from dried petals, and we had colourful paper decorations and bunting in the ‘disco’ side!
Tell us about the ceremony
We’d had our legal ceremony so the one on the Saturday was to add a focus and something special for family and friends. My dad walked me to the pergola, and my uncle officiated. My uncle wrote most of the ceremony words, and included a ‘reading’ of ‘I Wanna Be Yours’ by John Cooper Clarke which was a last minute addition suggested by Hannah and it was spot on! Our friends Siriol and John also performed a traditional Welsh love song – Tra Bo Dau. This was a really beautiful moment, with many of the guests brought to tears (and me). We wrote simple vows, and Josh then forgot his on the spot so made it up! Which was very funny, and no doubt more memorable!
Tell us about the entertainment & music
My dad’s band played in the early evening, again having this personal touch was quite special. They played folk and Americana and had people up and dancing way before the sun set! Josh and I were quite excited about the disco, knowing our friends and family (and us) love a dance and a singalong to our favourite songs so this took up most of the evening! I walked down the ‘aisle’ to Harvest Moon by Neil Young, who is Josh’s favourite artist and someone who I didn’t know much of before we met but now love as well. We kept the toasts and speeches light, and finished by toasting with tequila before I surprised Josh with an a cappella version of Call Me Maybe – a song we bonded drunkenly over one evening after we moved in together – sang with 3 best friends who I met in a group when I lived in London. It was great fun, even if it didn’t go fully to plan! Nobody seemed to notice… We didn’t have an official first dance but swiftly strung up the disco ball and got on lots of tunes that we knew everyone would enjoy and dance to – the theme of the disco was simply ‘wall to wall bangers’ – seemed to work! There are some priceless shots of friends screaming along to all the old tunes.
What was your favourite part of the day?
It’s so hard to choose! And also quite a blur, but both of us have reflected on how happy we were that we did the ceremony even though it made us nervous. The song from our friends, the words, the personal and intimate nature of it surrounded by the Welsh countryside was quite magical. It meant so much to us to have so many personal touches throughout – my mum’s craftiness, my dad’s music, cakes and desserts made by friends and family, short but sweet and touching toasts from Josh’s mum, my dad and Josh’s best person, Ness. We’re so grateful for our wonderfully giving and generally lovely family and friends. Watching everyone do tequila shots was hilarious too! What’s so great to recall looking back at the photos is how happy everyone looked, and Larissa captured the joy of it so well. All we wanted was fun wedding where people felt relaxed, with delicious food (Bronwyn and the team did an INCREDIBLE job – everyone commented how good it all was), great beer (we chose what we liked), and lots of fizz and fairy lights. I think we pulled it off pretty well, even if we don’t remember huge amount between the ceremony and going to bed! We even had a great time before everyone arrived, decorating the venue with Hannah – she was an absolute rock, doing exactly what was needed and keeping spirits up when we flagged!
Do you have any words of wisdom for future couples?
Everyone said it to us but it really does go by in a flash, so try and take time to step out and take a moment with your partner. We just about managed it once! Other advice would be do what will be special for you, not what you think everyone ‘expects’ of a wedding. Ours wasn’t traditional, there was no fancy meal, it was just about being with all our favourite people. Also, don’t sweat the details! People will remember reminiscing and celebrating with friends and the joy of it all, not the favours they didn’t get, or the lack of professional flowers, or not having place setting. It is possible to have a really fabulous day on a budget.
Did you have a honeymoon?
We had a few days at The Fish hotel in the Cotswolds immediately after – https://www.thefishhotel.co.
Tell us about your experience with Larissa Joice Photography
We adore the photos! Larissa captured all the fun of the day, as well as the special, candid and intimate moments. We wanted natural wedding photography but with flexibility for a twist and Larissa did this marvellously! We really love all the uninhibited, joyous moments caught as well as the photos of just Josh and I. We were both a bit nervous and stressed on the day, and Larissa coped very well with this and was great at getting us to relax. We decided to book Larissa based on her portfolio, as well as how she came across on her website, which was as a fun and friendly person who we knew straight away would be right for us. Larissa was incredibly professional from beginning to end, and also a lovely part of the process is her finding out about her clients – what makes them tick and what they love! It made her service feel personal and special, not just ‘another wedding’. On our wedding day she captured all the joy and intimacy we wanted, and the result is a set of natural but alternative and unique photos that we’ll treasure. We can’t recommend her enough. Thank you Larissa!
Hayley’s skirt: Fanfaronada on Esty – https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/
Hayley’s top: Zara – https://www.zara.com/uk/
Jewellery: Already owned/gifted from Grandma
Hayley’s shoes: Irregular choice – https://www.irregularchoice.
Hairpiece: Made by mum
Makeup and hair: Done by me and friends, some makeup bought from Hourglass https://www.
Josh’s suit: Paul Smith – https://www.paulsmith.com/uk
Josh’s shoes: Doctor Martens – https://www.drmartens.com/uk/
Cufflinks: Alexander McQueen – https://www.alexandermcqueen.
Tie: Six – https://www.sixmenswear.com/
Confetti and lavender: Adamapple on Etsy – https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/
All other decoration homemade, as was the cake/desserts, with music by my dad!
We also designed the wedding invites which were then printed by Ganda Media, Brighton – https://www.linkedin.com/