We were really excited as we approached this wedding, firstly because we already knew this amazing family from Tori’s sister Olivia’s wedding the year before, and secondly because the bride is none other than the inspiring adventurer Tori James; she is the first Welsh woman to climb Mount Everest, was part of the only all-female team ever to reach the North Pole, and has cycled the length of New Zealand unsupported. She was also part of Beeline Britain, travelling a straight line from Lands End to John O’Groats, which included the longest open sea kayak crossing – 34 hours of nonstop kayaking!! I can’t even think about that! What a woman!! And Rich is hardly less amazing in his innovative work with young people and life-changing organisations.
But besides all that, there are loads of unique details in this wedding that I’m excited to talk about. So we can all be inspired by Tori in ways that are a bit easier for us to imitate!
Tori and her family wanted photos at home on the farm before the wedding, but had a long, potentially dress-creasing drive to Manorbier Castle. So the girls got all dressed up for photos, and then drove to a gorgeous cottage near the castle where they got dressed all over again. 🙂
At the last moment Tori was confronted with some utterly unique wedding transport created by her parents to surprise her: a trailer rigged up with her mountaineering ladders and ropes, her bike and her kayak. So the girls arrived like proper superstars!
Rich was outside with the guests waiting for Tori to arrive and they walked into the castle together.
One of the nicest touches to the day was that Rich and Tori asked a couple of their ushers to lead the ceremony, rather than leaving it entirely to the registrars. So the welcoming and introducing of readings etc. was done by a familiar friend. Whilst the Pembrokeshire registers are very lovely, it just took away any feeling of officialness and brought a personal warm atmosphere instead.
Multiple overflow rooms in the castle had the ceremony transmitted onto a screen, including one which didn’t involve going up any steps, for the many guests with pushchairs. 🙂
The little ring-bearers presented the rings not on embroidered cushions but on something much more suitable – a lego warrior!
Tori and Rich moved into one of the overflow rooms for the signing of the register which was a nice touch to keep everyone feeling connected.
I don’t know a more beautiful setting for a marquee than Manorbier Castle. We really do love it there. It doesn’t feel like cold ruins as some castles can – it always feels cosy and homey within these walls! Tori’s parents arranged an aerial photo as a momento, and everyone waved very enthusiastically at the plane!
One of the funnest aspects of the day was the pianist. He was there for mellow background music but look at his audience creeping ever closer, even onto the piano stool! By the end big crowds were picking the songs, singing along with him, and didn’t want to go in to dinner!!
Tori and Rich also asked people to have their picture taken in a big frame which stood up on the lawn, and everyone was delighted to comply. 🙂 All the youngsters couldn’t stay away – I could make a collage just of them!
Now here come the lovely details, starting with two seating plans – table layout and also alphabetically listed. How thoughtful! The list was on the map Rich used to propose. 🙂 And you can see above that the table names hung from the ceiling where everyone could quickly see them, instead of having to get up close to each table to read them. Another little touch that makes things easier for your guests.
The table centres were growing herbs and the menus gave suggestions for which herbs you might add to each dish!
I’ve included a few pictures of these ‘conversation starters’ so that you can read how amazingly adventurous and well travelled all Tori and Rich’s friends also are! And maps as table runners…so perfectly personalised.
The wedding was shortly after the Nepal earthquake, and just days after the General Election. Tori combined both of those facts into effective fundraising for the friends she made on her Everest expedition.
I also really liked that their table layout gave them another aisle to walk down!!
Oh and who wants a bunch of flowers when you could have a signed photo of Ian Botham!!! Get personal with your thank you gifts. 🙂
What a fabulous day!! You can see and order all the photos or watch a slideshow on the Client Galleries page of our Wedding Photography web site.