The offbeat bride: Han, Safari Company
Her offbeat partner: Woody, Director of Safari Company
Location & date of wedding: Talyllyn Railway (for ceremony) and Abergynolwyn Station and Teepee Village (for reception) north of Machynlleth in mid Wales on January 24th, 2009
What made our wedding offbeat: My man loves his steam trains and the countryside, and I love anything not run-of-the-mill. We live in Africa and run a safari company, where it is hot and steamy all the time, so we really wanted a winter wedding in rainy wet Wales!
We found the Talyllyn railway which has cool mini steam trains and a station licensed for civil ceremonies, and nearby a village of tee pees to house our guests after the barn reception. All seemed perfect! All guests were ferried up and down the line on the steam train, and places in the ceremony room were allocated through a raffle type system where guests sitting on the train checked under their seat to find a small fluffy black sheep, which gave them places to watch the wedding deed!
The day was utterly magical – steam train puffing through the Welsh countryside, moments of panic as the engine struggled up the hill towards the station in the icy weather, everyone hanging out of the windows, and then of course the ceremony itself and the platform celebrations afterward complete with champagne.
All the ushers had matching woolly hats, and the bride and groom were in multi-coloured wool hats as well. The bridesmaids were in funky boas and woolly hats, and of course everyone wore wellies… even the bride!
Then we honeymooned on the Trans Siberian Express, from St Petersburg to Beijing in minus twenty. The whole thing was magic. Welsh Winter Woolly Wedding.. brilliant!
Our biggest challenge: Problems with the venue having no access to the loos, and then a last minute charge of £750 to use the other barn purely for toilet access. It was a nightmare! It was dealt with by Woody, my wonderful husband, and his two hugely supportive best men driving across the country a week before the wedding to achieve a conciliatory meeting with the venue owners in the pub, during which most things appeared to get sorted out … fortunately!
My favorite moment: Walking down the platform towards the ceremony room along the train, as over a hundred of my friends and family called out and cheered, and my dad held my arm and whispered “Don't worry, it's all going to be okay, look at the view!”.
My offbeat advice: Let your folks be involved but try not to be too conciliatory. I tried too hard to keep them happy and ended up stressing more than I needed. Also, stick to your guns. I was determined to wear my mulit-coloured woolly hats and wellies and my mother really hated the idea. But it was so us I had to stick to it!
Some of our vendors:
Enough talk — show me the wedding porn: Click on the photo for funky photos from Han & Woody's awesome tee pee, windy, wet Welsh wedding!