Cardiff City Hall wedding with an elegant preloved gown


Happy Monday everyone! I am back from our incredible anniversary holiday week – more on that later – and it’s time to share more wedding inspiration pretty. Today we have Rebecca and Alastair’s elegant Cardiff City Hall wedding that took place on April 9th this year.

This couple met in Paris, one of my new favourite places (you can read about our trip here and here) and after making a life for themselves in Cardiff, decided it would be the perfect place for their spring wedding. Their Cardiff City Hall wedding ceremony is beautiful. The architecture, the light and those statues, captured by the wonderful Elaine Williams, would make you think you this ceremony had taken place in a manor house.

Rebecca and Alastair really thought about the aspects of their wedding which were important to them and those they were less concerned about. Rebecca wasn’t so fussed on her wedding dress, yet she found the perfect gown on Preloved, have any of you found your dress on there? Top of the list was a ceilidh band – the pictures look so much fun! I think my favourite detail has to be the pink and orange blush blooms. I love that they chose this colour combo after being inspired by their reception venues stained glass windows. So, without further ado it’s over to Rebecca…

Photos by Elaine Williams Photography

How we met

Rebecca, the bride: Alastair and I met in Paris, so it was a very romantic start! We were both studying at the same university and we had friends in common. Then a few years later we got together.

The dress

My dress was by Sincerity, but I actually bought it via Preloved. I had tried on a few dresses in bridal shops and high street shops, but none of them were quite right. I thought I’d look on the website out of interest and I spotted this dress. It looked stunning, so I went to Bristol with my mum to try it on. The bride who was selling it had changed her mind and bought a different dress. I didn’t think I would go for that sort of style, a classic wedding dress – I thought I’d go for something more fitted – but when I put it on it was just right. My mum felt the same and I bought it there and then! I visited the team at Rhiannon J to do the alternations needed. They did a brilliant job.

Because I’m tall so I went for flat shoes! I got some ivory-coloured ballet pumps from M&S, and my headpiece was from Debenhams. The beautiful bracelet watch I wore had belonged to my late grandmother.

Hair & makeup

My make-up artist and hair stylist, Charmaine Gorwill was great. She is really friendly and professional, and my hair and makeup looked lovely and lasted all day.

The Groom

Alastair bought his suit from Austin Reed. On the wedding day he wore with late grandfather’s cufflinks.

Wedding party attire

My bridesmaids wore pink, knee-length dresses from Hobbs. I wanted to find dresses they’d be able to wear again. Alastair’s two best men wore navy suits.

Cardiff City Hall wedding ceremony

We just wanted our wedding to reflect us as a couple. As we’re based in Cardiff now, and our life has really set off here in terms of work and studies and getting a house, we knew it would be a special place for us to get married. We walk past Cardiff City Hall all the time and it’s a beautiful building.

And we were happy to have our reception at an arts centre rather than a hotel. The Gate Art Centre is a converted church has beautiful windows and features. These inspired the decoration actually – we chose similar colours for our flowers and opted for simple fairy lights around the main room just to highlight what was already there. I also looked on blogs and flicked through a few magazines for inspiration. That’s where I got the idea for the leather suitcase for cards, and for some of the signs.

We didn’t start off with a theme but it came to have a vintage, literary feel! We thought it would be nice to incorporate our shared love of writing, especially as we often used to talk about stories we were working on when we were students, before we even got together.


I made some roses and hearts out of old books as table confetti decorations. If you’re looking for a tutorial I found one on Youtube! I also found an old leather suitcase in a charity shop and we used that for cards, plus we had a few signs and photo displays.

The ceremony

We had a civil ceremony at Cardiff City Hall, with readings from Alastair’s mum, Jo, and my dad, Simon. They read ‘Love’s Philosophy’ by Percy Shelley and ‘Sonnet 116’ by Shakespeare. I walked down the aisle to Cavalleria rusticana by Mascagni. It’s a very emotional and romantic piece.

The photographer

Our photographer was Elaine Williams. I found her blog online and liked the documentary style of her photography. She was really friendly when we met up and put us at ease during the engagement shoot. We have so many wonderful photos of the day. She captured really special moments for us.


All our flowers were created by Secret Garden Florists in Cardiff Market. They did an amazing job.


Our wedding cake was made Alastair’s mum, Jo. On the morning of the wedding, she worked with the florist to put flowers in-between the layers. It looked beautiful.


We had a ceilidh band, Pluck and Squeeze and then a DJ for our evening reception. They were both brilliant and it was such a fun atmosphere. We weren’t super keen on having a first dance so we were happy to lead the Ceilidh instead. And then we danced a lot together throughout the evening.


Our friend Jodie made heart-shaped Welshcakes dipped in edible glitter as favours. They were lovely.

The rings

We bought our rings from Christopher George in Cardiff. We both chose platinum bands.

Vintage bus

We hired a vintage bus from Newport Transport, to take our guests –and then later us after we’d had some photos taken – from the ceremony to the reception. It was a lot of fun and something a bit different.

Favourite part of the day

There are so many favourites! From saying our vows to dancing in the ceilidh! I also loved those moments when I realise I was actually married. The day is so surreal and such a whirlwind of activity, and then all of a sudden you remember (well I did) that I was married now, and that’s why everyone’s there to celebrate! I have to mention the best men and bridesmaids’ speeches, too – hilarious and moving in equal measure.

Where we splashed the cash

We really wanted to have a ceilidh band. We’d had a lot of fun at a ceilidh for a friend’s 30th birthday and also Alastair is from Scotland so we knew it would go down well. We also wanted to spend more to have a sit-down meal rather than a buffet.

Where we saved

I didn’t want to spend too much on my dress, and I was really lucky to find the one I did on Preloved. It’s beautifully made. We also saved on invitation cards by buying simple ones from a local card shop.

Words of wisdom

When choosing your suppliers, go with those who you feel really care about doing their very best for you on your wedding day. We were really lucky in who we chose – everyone cared and it showed. We also both got a good feeling the first time we walked into City Hall and The Gate.

On the day, just enjoy it and remember that a lot of things aren’t under your control so there’s no point in worrying about them. You just have to trust everything will go well, and the main thing is that you get married!

The honeymoon

We went to Cyprus for a week. We left the morning after the wedding! It was so lovely to relax by the beach after all the planning and the excitement of the day.

Rebecca & Alastair’s Little Black Book

PhotographerElaine Williams Photography
Ceremony venueCardiff City Hall 
Reception venueThe Gate Arts Centre, Cardiff
Brides dressSincerity via Preloved
Brides shoesMarks & Spencers
Hair & Make UpCharmaine Gorwill
Bridesmaid dressesHobbs
Grooms AttireAustin Reed
BandPluck and Squeeze Band
FlowersSecret Garden Cardiff
CateringMad Hatters Catering


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