Wales Wedding Show 2013

The Wedding Show Wales: Cardiff Jan 2014

Wales Wedding Show 2013

Wedding Show Wales 2014

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.

Wedding Show Wales: selection

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!

At the heart of most weddings are the floral bouquets and arrangements. Flowers presented in this selection are by Amanda French Flowers and Hilary’s Floral Design

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

The Wedding Show Wales 2014: Fashion Show

The highlight of this wedding show event was the catwalk show. Here we saw showcased collections of Bridal wear, bridesmaid dresses and mens wedding suits from UK and Wales based suppliers.

There are more pictures of the clothing from this show and some other recent events I’ve covered on the dedicated links below:

See more wedding couture on my Beautiful Wedding Dresses page

See more men’s wedding suits and formal menswear on my Men’s Wedding Suits page

This video is from the Wedding Show Wales facebook page: presents: The wedding show! from myweddingfayre on Vimeo.

The Wales Wedding Show 2014 was organised by JR Events who are based in Llanelli

llechwen hall wedding venue

Llechwen Hall: Wedding venue in South Wales

Hilltop wedding venue offers stunning scenery

Views from Llechwen hall
Back in November the wedding fair at Llechwen Hall Hotel gave me a chance to meet the team and see their wedding venue facilities, while scouting good locations for a shoot.

llechwen hall hotel wedding venue


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.
wedding dress

bridal bouquet
The Cottage Garden Florist (which is based nearby in Nelson) kindly loaned two bouquets for our shoot: here is the second of the two, an attractive arrangement of purple orchids:

orchid bridal bouquet

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:

bride at llechwen hall hotel

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.
lounge bar at llechwen hall hotel

For more information about their facilities the link here will take you to their website:

Llechwen Hall Hotel – a 3 star country house hotel and wedding venue set among stunning scenery in the South Wales valleys in Llanfabon, above Pontypridd

Manor Parc Bridal Suite

Manor Parc Wedding Venue in Cardiff

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.

Ebony & Ivory Wedding Cars
The orangerie room was set out with exhibitors with views out onto the lawns and garden.

For me, the real jewel in the crown was the sumptuous bridal suite on the first floor with a four poster bed and wonderful baroque-inspired feel.
Baroque inspired bridal suite at Manor Parc Hotel

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)
Manor Parc Hotel Gardens

I’ll look forward to shooting a wedding here in the near future – in the mean time Click here to find out more about the wedding Venue at Manor Parc Hotel website

Cardiff Mardi Gras pictures 2013

Cardiff Mardi Gras

*update: See footnote for details of 2014 “Pride Cymru”*
Pride Cymru: Cardiff Mardi Gras 2014

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.

Cardiff Mardi Gras Parade picture
In 2013 I was able to take part in the parade that processed through the streets of Cardiff – it was a truly awesome experience and there was a real sense of belonging and pride, as lesbian; gay; bisexual and transgender identified individuals came together as a group. Seeing the procession stretching through the city centre gave a real sense of just how common LGBT identities are, which felt important in tackling the sense of isolation so many within the community can feel, particularly before coming out.

Cardiff Mardi Gras has historically been held in Bute park, and whilst the park has been a popular location for those attending, in 2013 the Mardi Gras was forced to relocate to Cardiff Millennium Stadium: it proved a controversial move. The cost of hiring the park had become prohibitive, and the apparent advantage of the stadium was that it offered a guarantee against the vagaries of the British Summer: despite this visitors felt the venue lacked the atmosphere of the park and discussion with Cardiff City Council is now focused on making the park viable as a venue again.

Cardiff Mardi Gras: a celebration of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Communities

With the exception of 2008, the Cardiff Mardi Gras has been held every year since its inception in 1999, and is now considered to be one of the largest pride events in the UK. To find out more about both the history of Cardiff Mardi Gras and what’s happening at this year’s event, visit the Cardiff Mardi Gras Website. As you’ll see on their website, since that first event in 1999, the Cardiff Mardi Gras has grown in popularity and attendance figures continue to grow. Over the years Cardiff Mardi Gras has had input and support from many well known celebrities such as John Barrowman and Charlotte Church, and X factor contestants Rylan Clark and Marcus Collins.

At the 2013 event inside the stadium was a community market, various information and advice stalls, a funfair, bars and a youth zone, and a selection of well known performers on the stage, including Beverley Knight (leading UK soul singer). The parade through the town involved over 3000 people with a range of musicians playing, colourful floats and costumes and a general feeling of goodwill.

Cardiff Mardi Gras: political perspectives

The work of the Cardiff Mardi Gras team is ongoing throughout the year. Whilst the visible part of their work is the party in the park, the committee also works throughout the year to champion equality and diversity work and advance the human rights of people from the LGBT community: in 2010 the organisation became a registered charity to further this aim.

The Cardiff Mardi Gras charity is also supporting the LGBT History Cymru project – there’s a link here to an article about LGBT History in Wales

Further images from my shoot can be found on the Cardiff Mardi Gras 2013 pictures: facebook page

Footnote: 19/2/14 –

Date for “Pride Cymru 2014” announced

Lu Thomas
Chair of Cardiff Mardi Gras committee announces re=branding of Cardiff Mardi Gras to “Pride Cymru” and a return to the Coopers Field site for 2014 at LGBT History Month Cymru launch at the Senydd
Pride Cymru: Cardiff Mardi Gras 2014

Abergavenny Food Festival 2013: raspberry tarts

Abergavenny Food Festival 2013

Food photography at Abergavenny Food Festival 2013

image of abergavenny food festival street view
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.


Abergavenny Food Festival 2013: Supplier details:

Flowers by of abergavenny
Chocolate by of Crickhowel
Chilli Sauce by of Wiltshire
Cupcakes by of Monmouth
Ceramics by Rupert Blamire Ceramics of Bristol
Merangz & Tarts by Little Round Cake Company of Shrewsbury

Abergavenny Food Festival: A bit of history…

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.

Understanding Transgender: Familiarity breeds acceptance

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: cake selection

Afternoon Tea in Wales

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.

afternoon_tea_FB11  Continue reading…