New Years Eve 2015, it’s Alex Jones Wedding to New Zealand born Charlie Thomson at Cardiff Castle and the final Wilde Bunch challenge of the year. And what a challenge…To create a magical design bringing together winter in the Welsh mountains for Alex, with the exotic humidity of a New Zealand Rain Forest, dripping with ferns for Charlie. Now that’s as far apart in terms of floral design as the locations are in distance!!
Staying true to our motto ‘Expect the Unexpected…Beyond Your Wildest Dreams’… here’s how we did it…
The Designs and Ingredients
The Wilde Bunch invasion of Cardiff Castle had begun and here’s the story with a few apt quotes from the great Cardiff born writer Roald Dahl
‘A little nonsense now and then is cherished by the wisest men’ Roald Dahl
Outside Cardiff Castle was at the mercy of Hurricane Frank as inside we gathered together the floral ingredients to turn up the heat with Hot House beauties imported from warmer climates. Plans were laid to deck the beams, balconies and tables with wild garlands of silver glistening, snow covered evergreens with uplifting scents. Added to this mint green eucalyptus, snowberries, cool blue spruce, pine cones and silver grey reindeer moss. Then masses of contorted willow and hanging mistletoe bunches bound with brown twine for first time Mr & Mrs Kisses…
The Ultimate Wilde Bunch ‘Bringing the Outside In’ Design.
Alex Jones : Bridal Flowers
Alex Jones wedding bouquet was simply Lily of the Valley. A very humble little flower that grows like a weed and smells like heaven. It oozes class and elegance. Former brides to carry this most sophisticated of weeds include Audrey Hepburn, Jackie Kennedy, Princess Grace Kelly of Monaco and most recently Kate Middleton.
We love it… and as Eeyore rightly stated, ‘Weeds are flowers too, once you get to know them’ AA Milne, Winnie The Pooh.
Cardiff Castle Entrance Designs : The Undercroft
As the guests entered the castle’s dark labyrinth of corridors they encountered a magical world of winter trees illuminated by sparkling lights against the bare rock face of the castle walls.
Hello magazine described it as ‘A magical winter wonderland’
Then out of the darkness emerged a whole new setting. The distant sounds of a rainforest filled the silent corridors as the landscape changed to dripping ferns and the rich fauna of a tropical forest.
‘Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it’ Roald Dahl, Matilda
What a transformation…from a Cardiff Castle corridor complete with practical, but rather stark chair-lift…
To a subterranean walk through a magical tropical cavern with full sound effects et al.
“Never do anything by halves if you want to get away with it. Be outrageous. Go the whole hog. Make sure everything you do is so completely crazy it’s unbelievable…” Roald Dahl
And finally…Just for Charlie… towering over the guests as they made the final ascent to the ceremony room, a 50 year old native Tree Fern we christened ‘Trevor’. Specially imported and given to the bride and groom as a wedding present from the The Wilde Bunch .
‘And Charlie don’t forget what happened to the man who suddenly got everything he ever wanted. He lived happily ever after’ . Willy Wonka from Roald Dahl’s, Charlie & the Chocolate Factory.
The Ceremony Chamber at Cardiff Castle
And so, onto the ceremony room and back to the traditional English winter wonderland.
Alex & Charlie said ‘I Do’ in the Undercroft of Cardiff Castle amid masses of mistletoe, contorted wood, giant cones, eucalyptus & the heady scent of Winter White Company Candles.
Alex Jones Wedding Breakfast
If ever you wanted a traditional Banqueting Hall then look no further than Cardiff Castle. What a stunning setting, with the former Royalty of Wales overseeing proceedings from paintings covering the walls.
In traditional Banqueting style the tables were arranged in two straight rows.
Floral table runners of heady scented eucalyptus, pine cones, Star of Bethlehem, seedpods and then rosemary to go with the Lamb! Birch log slices completed the decoration for candles, wine and vegetable platters.
Twinkling with masses of fairy lights to magically illuminate all…
‘I’ve heard tell that what you imagine sometimes comes true’ Roald Dahl
The After Party and NYE Firework Display
The theme for the after party at Alex Jones wedding was loosely based around the Great Gatsby. Our floral contribution were large statement pieces resplendent with white Ostrich feathers and moth orchids evoking the glamour of the era.
As the clocks struck midnight the guests were treated to the traditional Cardiff Castle New Years Eve fireworks display. Then it was back to the party till the early hours.
‘…A huge heartfelt thank you….the flowers completely exceeded my expectations! We both knew you would deliver what we wanted but it was truly spot on in every way, Stunning! I really hope that we get to work together again, Lots of love’ Alex and Charlie x
‘It was a pleasure to work with you and your team and the result was magnificent. We were all particularly impressed with the Undercroft – I don’t think that corridor has ever looked so good!’ John Furnham, Events Manager, Cardiff Castle
‘Thank you a thousand times for all your hard work, dedication and brilliance not to mention artistic flair that is both unique and captured the day in a way that was in keeping with the whole ethos of the wedding – a private affair from the heart’. Tanya Sheasby, Antica Events
The Wilde Bunch came to Cardiff Castle for the Alex Jones Wedding and in our own little way… ‘Conquered’ it.
Credits & Thanks on The Alex Jones Wedding go to:
- Alex & Charlie for entrusting us with their Big Day
- The rest of The Wilde Bunch team for giving up their New Years Eve (Boots, Lyndi, The Two Amy’s, Viv, Jane & our photographer)
- John Furnham & his Brilliant Team at Cardiff Castle who made things run so smoothly and were an absolute pleasure to work alongside
- Tony & Gemma Ward the ‘Hello’ photographers for permission to use some of their images
A Big Thanks to you all,
Claire ‘The Boss’ XX
All images copyright of The Wilde Bunch & ‘Hello’ Magazine