Simon (36) and Nerys (30) met in Carmarthen on boxing night in The Spread n Eagle. They had their first date two days later in Aberystwyth, at Dominos. Very romantic!

Nerys says she can just remember it being incredibly windy. They got on as if they had known each other for years and years.

“Then Si came down to New Quay where I worked on NYE. A few dates then every week and been together ever since.

“The proposal wasn’t the most romantic but meant a lot to us, on top of Llanllwni mountain around 3-4 miles from where we now live, on Boxing day – seven years to the date we met, on the windiest afternoon possible, with our kids with us.

Nerys and Simon. Pic. Grace Elliot Photography
Pic. Grace Elliot Photography (Pic. Grace Elliot Photography)

Simon’s plans went out the window as their youngest son was poorly and wanted to go back to the van, so he proposed to Nerys in the front of the van with a ring that he his daughter Leah had picked a few weeks earlier. “The ring was beautiful, suited me perfectly but a little too big!”

Simon and Nerys were married at the Registry office in Carmarthen, followed by a ceremony at The Old Barns, Penygraig. “Perfect for what we wanted - rustic, it looked perfect with autumnal theme.”

For wedding music they chose Bronwen Lewis’ ‘Ti a Fi’ to walk down the aisle to, Callum Scott’s ‘I’m Yours’ to sign the register and James Blunt’s Bonfire Heart to walk out to.

“We didn’t write our own vows for the ceremony only as we were both so nervous as it was and would make us worse. We had the registrar read out to poems for us, one in English and one in Welsh. We did our vows in both English and Welsh as well.”

Bridesmaid was Leah, Simon’s daughter (16); Flower Girl was 10 month old niece Esyllt. Page boys Isaac, the couple’s youngest son (3) and Seb their nephew (3) stole the show! Best man was Simon’s brother, Dewi.

Nerys and Simon. Pic. Grace Elliot Photography
Pic. Grace Elliot Photography (Pic. Grace Elliot Photography)

Planning the wedding took around 10 months, from getting engaged on Boxing day 2022 and the wedding in October 2023. They had a unique insight as both Simon and Nerys had worked with an outside catering company in many weddings. “We had both said we wanted to be married within six months, so we did leave it a little longer than that!”

“I purchased my gown from La Mor Bridal, Llanrhystud. It’s a Milla Nova gown. I had seen it on Instagram before we even got engaged. Tried around eight gowns on in La Mor alone, loved two but my mum was adamant that the one I chose was best – elegant, plain and simple. Exactly what I wanted! Thick straps, square neck, low back, mesh sides, diamond and pearl belt added. Slight tail. Figure hugging but not tight.

“My usual hair dresser, Siobhan McGuiggan from Llandysul, did mine and my bridesmaid’s hair. Both of us had the same style – half up, half down with loose curls. Make up was by Lia Jones from Pinco, Ffos Y Ffin. Soft, simple and natural but with a pop of colour on the lips. Both did an amazing job and made us all feel so relaxed and calm. Loved every minute of it!

“Our florist was Catrin Price (Blodau’r Beidi, Stable Stems) from Talsarn, Llanddeusant who does flowers as a side job from her home farm. Both mine and Leah’s bouquets were full of nude, cream and orange roses, greenery, and canna lilies.“

They also had two churns that were on Nerys’ parents farm from years and years ago, painted dark blue and Catrin did beautiful flowers arrangements for them - and an a arrangement for the table where they would sign the register that was then used for the top table at Penygraig. The groomsmen all had beautiful rustic orange canna lilies as their pin holes. Catrin also did a few of the family’s corsages and pins holes too. “Great job!”

Nerys and Simon, flowers. Pic. Grace Elliot Photography
Pic. Grace Elliot Photography (Pic. Grace Elliot Photography)

The couple opted not to have favours. “As we wanted to keep the costs down, we preferred to have live music and some sparklers that would add to the day.

Bridesmaid Leah wore a burnt orange dress Nerys bought off online marketing community Vinted for £25! “ It fit her perfectly and was the exact colour I had hoped for! Our flower girls dresses were also brought off Vinted, never even been worn before!

“Si wore a Marc Darcy Suit that he purchased, he had always wanted one as he liked their fit and modern style. It was a brown with a navy blue and orange striped, 3 piece suit, and the young page boys had the same to match, one of which I managed to get on Vinted for £30! The boys had dicky bows to match their suits and our two other nephews had the same dicky bows. Si had a navy tie to match the father of the bride, father of the groom, best man and Ashton (Simon’s eldest son’s) suits. We hired the groomsmen’s suits from Dyfeds Menswear in Crosshands but bought the ‘Ted’ Marc Darcy ties to match Simon’s suit. They all looked incredibly smart and suited the theme perfectly! Beautiful navy orange.“

Sioned Jones, of Briwsion Melys, Drefach Felindre made the wedding cake. Sioned had been in college with Nerys. “We went for three-tier, naked cake. Plain Victoria sponge with jam and buttercream, chocolate sponge with Nutella buttercream and lemon sponge with lemon curd and buttercream, decorated with fresh fruit. It was delicious, and huge!

The reception was at The Old Barns, Penygraig in Abergwili. They had 150 guests in the evening, an extra 100 to what they had in the day. An evening hog roast was provided by Harvey’s Catering (Ian Harvey), a former colleague of Nerys’. Everyone helped themselves to Hog Roast, chips or boiled potatoes and homemade coleslaw!

Nerys and Simon - reception
Pic. Grace Elliot Photography (Pic. Grace Elliot Photography)

“We had a live singer Laurence Lewis from 6pm, who was fantastic! As soon as he started singing, the dance floor was full! We then had a DJ, Dave Nixon, again fantastic, playing all our favourite songs, from old to new! The atmosphere was amazing! We had sparklers for the evening. It was just amazing fun, getting some of the guests outside just as it was getting dark to join in and make a tunnel for us to go through! Our little boy Isaac joined in too and he loved it!

An arch of sparklers, Nerys and Simon
Pic. Grace Elliot Photography (Pic. Grace Elliot Photography)

“Grace Elliot, our photographer, had quite obviously done it before, giving us tips on how to get the best photos. Wow what an amazing job she did! She was so organised and listened to what we wanted. I had said that I wanted to have the most natural looking pictures possible and to capture the day and everyone there not just us the bride and groom. She got some amazing pictures of the two-page boys in the register office, some of the family sobbing during the ceremony and speeches and even Simon’s sister on a toy tractor! She also got the photos edited and back to us quickly, wrote a blog and did a little video with a sneak pic of the pictures. A USB stick in a little box with all our pictures on and a video of all the pictures with music on the background so we could enjoy sitting down watching them with family.”

Nerys and Simon - kids
Pic. Grace Elliot Photography (Pic. Grace Elliot Photography)

The couple’s first dance was Luke Combs’ ‘Forever After All’. Nerys had never heard of him before until they were all in the car one day to the shops. Leah put ‘her’ music on and Luke Combs’ ‘The Kind of Love We Make’ came on. Nerys thought it was the cheesiest thing she had ever heard, but she loved the style of music and then got obsessed with him!

“We had a father and daughter (bride and her father) first dance too! ACDC Thunderstruck. No point in us doing a soppy dance, would not suit us at all! Great fun! And lucky my dress was one I could easily dance in!

Simon and Nerys were lucky enough to have a family friend with an appropriately orange vintage car.

“Huw ‘Cilgwyn’ Thomas was the perfect chauffeur too! He made me and my dad so very relaxed on our way down to the register office, giving us some history about the car and making us laugh. He even held our beautiful niece during pictures too. Then, when we went to have our pictures at Llwynhelyg Manor, he had bought a little bottle of prosecco and some glasses for us to have our pictures taken with. As we were driving back to the reception, he pulled in to a lay-by and brought out two bottles of corona and two slices of lime in tin foil that he had prepared and made sure we could relax on our journey back. Honestly perfect. He made the day extra special!”

The couple were adamant that they did not want a mad hen or stag; they wanted to stay local to keep the costs down for friends and family. Nerys’ friends arrange her first hen to start from Llandysul and a pub crawl with games up to New Quay and back in July. As Simon works in traffic management, Nerys was dressed up as a traffic light, and everyone else had high vis jackets with ‘Hen Nerys’ on the back with a picture of a hen on. They all had party bags, with a few cans of alcohol, an animal each - which was to do with the games, sunglasses, some sweets and some very needed pain killers for the next day! They went to Ffostrasol pub to have food and some great party games.

The second hen was arranged by Nerys’ work colleagues from the doctors’ surgery. They started just after lunch in The Black Lion in Lampeter, where the girls had assembled some personalised party bags for everyone. The party then made its way to The Welsh Wind in Gogerddan – for some gin tasting. Nerys got to add her own botanics and name her own blend to bottle and take home. They then had a tour of the distillery before leaving for Llanina Arms for some games and then to The Moody Cow for some food to soak up all the alcohol.

Simon’s brother Dewi and his work friends arranged for them to go to Cardiff for the night. They had dressed him up in wedding dress and a wig - very fetching! They started off with a breakfast in Weatherspoon’s in Carmarthen, had a few drinks and then left for Cardiff. Not without Simon first thinking it was a good idea to try jump over a bollard - wearing a wedding dress - and pulling a hamstring and then hardly being able to walk for over a week!

For a honeymoon, as Simon and Nerys didn’t want to leave their children for too long, they went away to Alicante, Spain for three nights. Which Nerys says was just enough but not too much. They did a lot of walking and exploring of the beautiful city.

Nerys’ favourite time of the day was the speeches. First up was a very nervous groom, who did a lovely speech thanking everyone, a few jokes but also some heartfelt bits that made everyone tear up. Then bridesmaid Leah did a speech.

“No one would have thought she would have wanted to do one as she is quite shy,” said Nerys. “But she absolutely blew us all away, with a beautiful, emotional speech that made everyone sob! Next was Dewi, Simon’s brother and best man, also our neighbour. His speech was just hilarious. Taking the mick and making out the neighbourhood was a lot safer since we moved in as I was there to be a lookout - a very cheeky but brilliant ending to the speeches.”

Simon’s favourite time was getting the speeches out of the way!

We asked Nerys about her top tips for a bride-to-be:

“Enjoy the preparation! You will (hopefully) only get married once. Don’t worry about everyone else, its your big day! Make it as personal as you want it to be. We wanted a small, personal and as rustic as possible. We didn’t want to spend thousands of pounds on one day, we still spent more than anticipated but where we could, we bought second hand on Vinted or marketplace, borrowed from friends, did a little DIY etc. But just enjoy it, every second of it. It really does go by so so fast. And expect wedding blues, they are real!”

Nerys and Simon wedding
Pic. Grace Elliot Photography (Pic. Grace Elliot Photography)