After two and a half years of planning their wedding, Covid-19 threw everything into chaos just a week before the big day for Jody and Daniel. Despite Swansea going into a local lockdown, they were able to pull together a romantic, intimate day for 17 guests with the help of their venue and suppliers.
With a stunning Pronovias dress, a fairytale white rose flower arch, and a cosy private dining experience for the two of them, Jody and Dan's October wedding at Fairyhill is a perfect example of how special and beautiful a wedding during this time can be.
The couple met at a local café in the Mumbles in June 2015. Dan had broken his leg and was wandering around on crutches when he invited Jody to join him at his table. Fast-forward two years and Dan planned a romantic proposal during a winter holiday to Copenhagen with a puzzle in five envelopes, each containing a different stage of their relationship and life together.
They were engaged for three years before their big day on the 3rd October. Scroll down for some epic cliff shots taken with the couple at Rhossili Bay during Storm Alexander!
Photography by Marc Smith Photography
The Wedding Dress
"My dress was totally different to what I expected to wear, it was just perfect. I went for a Pronovias dress which was an ivory, classic, ballgown style with details on the side and back, and buttons all the way down the rear.
"I tried on quite a few dresses. I went to around three or four different bridal shops and in the third shop I tried on the Pronovias dress. It fitted so nicely. I couldn’t find anything else that I loved, I just couldn’t get the dress out of my head."
The Wedding Party
Jody and Dan had to reduce their guest list to just 19 including them. As loved ones from outside Swansea were only able to stay for the ceremony and receptions weren't allowed, they ended up being joined by their guests during the day and had a 'just-us-two' reception. Despite smaller numbers and a very different kind of reception, it didn't take away any of the joy, love and happiness!
Both chose lifelong friends as their wedding party. Jody had two bridesmaids - both were school friends she'd known since she was 11 and had been friends with for about 20 years! The bridesmaids wore frosted fig colour dresses from Maids to Measure, one sleeveless and one with little cap sleeves.
Dan and his groomsmen all wore sleek black tuxedos. His best man was his younger brother, while two former colleagues who he's known for 10 years were his ushers.
Other loved ones were able to watch the ceremony from their homes through a live stream of the ceremony and raise a glass with the couple.
The Wedding Ceremony
Jody walked down the aisle with her dad, Dennis, to the magical sound of musician Katie Bayliss on the harp. She carried an "absolutely beautiful" white rose and green foliage bouquet by Eve Francesca Designs to complement the aisle décor and stunning rose arch. "We weren’t expecting it to be that big, we were blown away, it was perfect," said Jody
"The day was so lovely and intimate. We got to share our special day with our closest family and friends. The ceremony was a little different as we had to wear masks, but it didn’t take away anything from the day.
"Our venue, Fairyhill by Oldwalls, also provided a live streaming service, so lots of our friends who weren’t able to make the day tuned in. It was so nice knowing they could be apart of the wedding - even though they weren’t physically there, we knew they were there virtually."
Although most brides don't plan to walk down the aisle with their face half-covered, Dan added, "She looked beautiful even with the mask on."
The Wedding Venue
The Grade II-listed Georgian house Fairyhill was chosen to host the day. The sleek, modern extension where the couple said 'I do' looks out over the glorious Gower landscape.
"We had looked at a few places. Fairyhill by Oldwalls was the first venue we visited. We ended up comparing everything else to it, so we knew straight away it was the one.
"The K Room, where you get married, is a panoramic circular array of windows and is surrounded by greenery. It’s just beautiful.
"The venue itself is tucked away from everything. It feels like you could be anywhere in the world even though you’re still in Swansea, Gower. It’s so secluded, plus the venue is exclusive, so it’s just you and your guests for the day.
"We had 19 guests on the day, and the venue didn’t feel empty at all. It was so intimate and romantic, everything about it was perfect."
The couple hopped in the car to Rhossili Bay after the ceremony for photos. "It was during storm Alex so it was very windy and very memorable. My dress needed a dry clean afterwards, but it was totally worth it for the epic cliff shots."
As the couple were unable to have a proper reception, they followed the ceremony with canapes and included a few speeches and a cake cutting.
The couple served "absolutely delicious" belly pork, Welsh rarebit and Moroccan chicken canapes, followed by their "nice and simple" one tier lemon sponge cake with plain buttercream.
They finished with a romantic first dance to XO by John Mayer, before heading off for a bespoke, private dinner for two at one of Fairyhill's rustic retreat cottages, cooked by Executive Head Chef Chris Keenan.
"For starters, we had smashed duck & parsnip soup; for mains we had chateaubriand steak with potatoes, green beans and asparagus; and for dessert we had a trio of desserts - I had creme brulee, profiterole and pear tart and ice cream, and Dan had the Gower berry Eton mess. It was so romantic."
How We Adapted for Covid-19
Jody and Dan praised their venue and supplier for adapting quickly to the new restrictions, including setting up a live stream of the wedding and putting on a romantic meal for two instead of their big reception.
"It was okay up until the week before when everything changed. Swansea went into a local lockdown which meant our guests travelling from outside of Swansea we only able to join us for the ceremony.
"Our suppliers were amazing and everyone was on board. We adapted to the situation and challenges. As long as you communicate with everyone, planning is fine. Inevitably things change but you have to adapt and be flexible with your plans. The most important thing for us was to get married. Even though it took us two and a half years of planning, we had the most perfect day.
"We haven’t planned anything yet but we are hoping to have a big celebration when things get back to normal. We feel a lot more relaxed now we’re married."
Our Advice for Other Couples
"My favourite moment of the day was just after we got married, walking back up the aisle. I felt a sense of relief, happiness and love. I remember smiling and waving as we walked past the livestream camera. All of my worries and stress just disappeared on the day.
"Remember why you’re getting married. Your love for each other will always win. Planning can be stressful but try to enjoy it, you’ll never do it again, so go for it!
"My worry was about not having the perfect day but it was perfect the way it was, in every sense of the word. It’s definitely a story to tell in days to come!"
Photographer: Marc Smith Photography
Videographer: John Mark Studios
Bridesmaid Dresses: Maids to Measure
Florist: Eve Francesca Designs
Hair: Amy Adamson Bridal Hair
Makeup: Jessie Dallimore Makeup Artist
Wedding Cake: Get Caked
Musician: Katie Bayliss