The grandeur of Cardiff City Hall offered a perfect venue to host this event. The Wedding Show Wales 2014 offered an opportunity for many of Wales’ leading wedding vendors to come together under one roof and present their products and services to an enthusiastic audience. The numbers were encouraging: two floors bustled with visitors and getting to speak to some vendors often meant waiting patiently for others to have their queries answered first. Wales may still be coming out of a dark recession, but the romance of a beautiful wedding seems thankfully to remain as popular as ever.
With so many stalls and vendors filling both floors there was much to take in. My eye is always drawn to the decorative things – the dresses, the flowers and the other little details that can help define your wedding as unique. So, details matter, from choosing the style; to deciding on the dominant colours for your wedding, details make all the difference. Nifty table details and decorations, wedding favours; the dressing of your reception room: and of course… the flowers!
Vintage themes continue to be popular sources of inspiration and the show offered a whole section of the ground floor for stalls and vendors offering a vintage feel for your wedding details. Here are a few of the dress details that caught my eye. Dresses in this montage are by All About Eve of Chepstow, and designer Sophie of E&W Ethical Couture
Llechwen Hall hotel is well suited as a wedding venue. The hotel is set on a scenic hilltop above Pontypridd and overlooking the South Wales valleys where the views and backdrops are stunning. The drive up the access road is beautiful, a winding climb that has a magical quality to it (particularly if you do it in a classic car).
The wedding fair was held in late November when short daylight hours and rainy weather put a limit to our shoot. I was a bit pushed for time as we’d arranged the shoot at short notice so I got a couple of shots of the dress for Caru Brides of Caerphilly (who I was shooting for); and a couple of the car and flowers (kindly loaned by The Cottage Garden Florist, Nelson.
With light drizzle making things a bit damp outside (and being November it was cold and getting dark by 3pm) we moved inside the hotel to get these shots:
A roaring fire in the lounge gave the room a cosy feel so we took the opportunity to pose our model in the fireside chairs.
For more information about their facilities the link here will take you to their website:
Manor Parc Cardiff showcases their Wedding Venue facilities:
[January 4th 2014]: Had a delightful afternoon, meeting the team at Manor Parc Country Hotel on the outskirts of Cardiff and viewing their wedding venue facilities. Set back from the main A469 Caerphilly mountain road, the Manor Parc Hotel is nestled among tree lined gardens and neatly set back from the main road. There’s ample parking and a really nice spot right next to the front door for the bride and groom to make their entrance direct from the bridal car.
The gardens afford some useful chill-out space and photo opportunities (especially when its not raining which it sadly did for most of the afternoon which put my model off going outside)
*update: See footnote for details of 2014 “Pride Cymru”*
Cardiff Mardi Gras: Celebrating LGBT identities with pride!
Caridff Mardi Gras is Wales’ leading Gay Pride event. However, its much more than that – its not only “Wales’ biggest celebration of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities”, it’s a party in the park for all! With much of the entertainment specifically intended to be family friendly: it’s a very inclusive event. Adding to the true Mardi Gras spirit, in 2012 a parade through the streets of Cardiff was added to the schedule of events. In 2013, I was asked to photograph some of the event – immediately below is a selection of images from the parade and later in this article are images from inside the stadium to give you a flavour of the event.
The idea behind the Mardi Gras has always been to bring people together, to celebrate all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. As a visitor, one thing you’ll notice is there is such a diversity of identities that everyone fits in.
Cardiff Mardi Gras is a giant party in the park
(except for 2013 when it moved to the Millennium Stadium but we’ll come to that!)
My first visit was back in 2011: and for me it felt like a very scary thing to go to, as I’d only come out as trans* in 2010 and I’d never been to a Pride event before. I needn’t have felt worried – from the moment I went through the gates into the park, the upbeat, and joyous atmosphere just made for a really positive experience: people were nice, and the whole vibe was really welcoming: particularly for a newbie like me.
Food photography at Abergavenny Food Festival 2013
The Abergavenny food festival is a wonderous collection of artisan producers bringing a selection of often hand crafted produce to the market. Whilst some of the arenas are pay-to-view, there are numerous stalls in the main street and all manner of delights to sample.
As you’ll see in the short collection of photos here, the name doesn’t really do justice to the full range of stalls and fringe events you’ll find over the weekend -the Abergavenny Food Festival offers many other crafts besides cooking. Started in the late 90s by volunteers the Abergavenny Food Fayre went from having an estimated 3,500 visitors to over 35,000 estimated visitors in 2009 and has continued to grow each year since.
Known for its wide diversity of food, cooking techniques, masterclasses and entertainment the Abergavenny Food Festival provides an exciting day out for the whole family, from the youngest child who can do various crafts in the beautiful market town (not to mention find plenty of goodies to beg for) to the older person who can find interest, not only in the wonderful food and crafts, many of which they may recall from their youth, but also in the lovely old buildings of the town.
With over 200 stalls the town comes alive with colour, scents and sounds, everything from sweeties and cakes to beautifully cooked and presented meals prepared by top chefs, it’s the ideal place to learn knew techniques and get ideas for your own kitchen.
A slightly more out there part of the weekend is the opportunity to go on walks and forays to learn about the food that is readily available from the fields and hedgerows, ideal for those who are into survival or for anyone who likes the idea of using natural foods in their cooking.
In recent news, The Abergavenny Food Festival 2013 has was so successful it won the National Tourism Awards Best Event in Wales, which seems a well earned recognition for all the work that goes into the preparation and run up to the weekend.
Whilst some of the festival is open access, there is an entry charge for adults to many of the workshops and some of the display areas (albeit no charge for children under 16): tickets are best ordered in advance and at about £7 per person is not too unreasonable for the size of event. We’d only got a couple of hours on our visit this time – next year we’ll take the day and purchase the wristband. Tickets are available from the Abergavenny Food Festival website.
With a host of food, crafts, and otherwise beautiful or unusual items available it’s a good excuse for a day out.
It surprises many to hear that I get very little hassle being out as a transgender person. Being trans can lead us to fear transphobia but I’m increasingly learning that attitude and confidence is key to tackling transphobia – both internalised and external. Over time, I have become more confident being out and, most of the times I am in town say shopping, or travelling to and attending conferences the occasions are unremarkable because there is no hassle to overcome – in fact I get a lot of very positive reactions truth be told. And for my part I have a basic premise for personal safety which is that I assess the safety of a situation by working out if a young lone female would be out in the same context. And this seems to work just fine. Continue reading…
Afternoon Tea in Wales The Angel, Abergavenny finally has some competition!
For many people in South Wales, The Angel Hotel in Abergavenny has been the ‘go-to’ for Afternoon tea in Wales. However, recently opened within the Pontypool Museum in the heart of Torfaen is a little hidden gem: a vintage tea room serving a selection of hand made cakes and choice of teas and coffee. Ornate and authentic vintage china sets the right tone, and delicately made sandwiches and beautifully crafted cakes make for a real sense of occasion.
Each afternoon tea is hand-crafted to order and so advance booking is necessary. Open on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays the tea room offers a traditional afternoon tea served on vintage china with hand-crafted cakes and fancies.