An emotional, dreamy wedding in South Wales
28 Jun 2022
After a two year engagement and a cancer diagnosis, Shân Rees and Adrian Owens finally tied the knot surrounded by friends and family in the beautiful Welsh countryside
How did you meet?
We met at Lorenzo’s, a bar in Carmarthen, when Adrain offered me a tequila shot.
Tell us about the proposal.
I proposed on a leap year (on 29th February) during a family trip to New York, at the top of the Rockefeller Center. My two children, Cesian and Osian, had t-shirts saying ‘Will you marry Mami?’ under their coats. I proposed to Adrian at the Top of The Rock because he is the rock to our family.
What was the theme for the day, and did you have a colour scheme?
We didn’t have a theme as such. We decided to just keep everything neutral with a romantic and dreamy feel.
What venue did you choose and why did you choose it?
We chose Fairyhill by Oldwalls, and had our wedding among the venue’s walled garden. We loved the exclusivity of the venue, the attentiveness of the staff and the beautiful accommodation that our guests stayed in. The food was delicious, the grounds were stunning and Fairyhill by Oldwalls is right by the beach.
We are a family of beach lovers, which is why we chose to have our wedding on the Gower Peninsula. We also had a family sand ceremony after our wedding to unite us as a family. The four of us collected sand from our favourite beaches and mixed them all together into one sand bottle guided by our Welsh-speaking celebrant, Catrin Rees.
How did you know you’d found ‘the dress’?
I wanted a relaxed, boho look with a nude underskirt. I didn’t want a fitted dress with too much detail. After looking in many different shops, I finally found the one with the lovely Laura of Laura May Bridal in Cardiff. It’s an amazing store and Laura couldn’t do enough for me.
My dress was by Essense of Australia and had a more traditional, structured look. The dress was very light, flowed beautifully and gave me a lot of confidence, as I’m not the most confident with my appearance.
I also had a long length veil that matched the material of my dress and gorgeous nude shoes.
Who were the bridesmaids and what did they wear?
My bridesmaids were my 14-year-old daughter Cesian, my best friends Yvonne and Zoe, and my future sister-in-law Ffion.
My daughter wore a slightly different dress design to the other bridesmaids. The dresses were by Motee Maids and were in a beautiful blush pink colour. We got the dresses from Me & Luce in Carmarthen.
What did the mother of the bride wear?
My mum wore a design by Veni Infantino.
Where did you find your suits?
Adrian wore a tuxedo, which was hired from Crush Mens Outfitters in Swansea. The owner Mark was a great help in finding the perfect suits for Adrian and his groomsmen.
Often the aspect that makes a wedding original to the couple is the detail – tell us about the details of the day.
The wedding stationery – the save-the-dates, invitations, table planner and welcome sign, all matched. We also had wooden place names, a flip flop box and sparklers for our guests.
We included a memory window with photos of our loved ones, who sadly could not be with us on the day. The flowers were based on our grandparents’ favourite flowers, which were alstroemerias and roses.
How did you feel as you walked down the aisle?
As I walked down the aisle, I took a quick glimpse and started tearing up with emotion and knew I had to think of something else before the waterworks started. My dad cracked a joke and told me to focus on the straight lines of the lawn either side of me as I walked down to meet Adrian.
I couldn’t believe I was about to marry my best friend and soul mate. He looked so handsome, just like the first day I met him. He was also very emotional, which set everyone else off – there wasn’t a dry eye at the ceremony.
We had never been so nervous, and the whole day was very emotional. The year before, Adrian had been diagnosed with sarcoma, a rare type of cancer, and he had a tumour removed. So, our wedding day really did feel like were in a dream. It was perfect.
What was your most memorable moment?
Walking down the aisle to the beautiful song, I Get To Love You by Ruelle, in the glorious sunshine to meet each other in the stunning gardens of Fairyhill by Oldwalls. The white ceremony runner was a special touch that was added before I arrived. The whole day was something I would do over and over again. It was as if we were in another country.
What was the most important investment for you?
For us, it was the fantastic photographer and videographer that perfectly captured our day.
What song did you choose for your first dance, and why?
We chose an acoustic version of Stand by Me by Thomas Law, as we’ve always stood by each other from day one.
Tell us about your wedding cake.
Our ivory wedding cake was made by my mum, and had four round tiers of sponge and fruit topped with flowers made with sugar icing. The bottom tier was encrusted with pearls, which faded up the cake.
The cake itself rested on a large tree trunk, which our son Osian found floating in the sea at Oxwich Bay while kayaking. We had models next to the cake of myself holding a barbell weight with Adrian resting on the top in his rubber duck budgie smugglers and bow tie. The barbell represented my job as a personal trainer, while Adrian’s budgie smugglers represented his love of open water swimming.
If you could go back and change anything, what would it be?
To make the wedding a weekend-long celebration. The day went by too quickly.
Do you have any advice for couples in the planning stages?
Do what you want as a couple and don’t feel pressured into doing things to please your guests. Enjoy every minute together. Take in every little detail and don’t let anyone rush you.
Steal their style:
Photographer: Rachel Lambert Photography
Venue: Fairyhill by Oldwalls
Dress: Essense of Australia from Laura May Bridal
Bridesmaids’ dresses: Motee Maids from Me & Luce
Accessories: Ivory & Co.
Hair: Wedding & Occasion Hair by Claire Louise
Make-up: Megan Langford MUA
Suits: Crush Mens Outfitters
Flowers: Eve Francesca Designs
Stationery: Created by Magic
Videographer: Steve Ratcliffe Films
Celebrant: Catrin Rees
Entertainment: The Rookz