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Chantele, a journalist, and Jonathan, a bar manager, both 24 from Neath, are childhood sweethearts who married on 8th May 2010 after being together for five years. They had a black and white wedding with an art deco theme. To save money and add a personal touch, they decided to DIY as much of the wedding as they could. Here’s their story.

I DO (IT YOURSELF) The Proposal Having known each other through comprehensive school at Dwr-Y-Felin, Chantele and Jonathan finally started dating when they were 17 and studying at Neath Port Talbot College. “I think we knew we were meant to be together very early on in our relationship, so getting engaged after only ten months together wasn’t a big surprise,” says Chantele. Jon proposed whilst the pair were in Kentucky, USA, for a family wedding. “It happened in the National Park in Florence, Cincinnati, in the snow, in front of a giant stone turtle!” laughs Chantele. “It was a surprise when it happened, even though I knew Jon intended to propose whilst we were in America as we had both discussed it with my parents before we left.” The couple used Chantele’s grandmother’s engagement ring, as Chantele had inherited it and had always wanted it to be her own engagement ring one day.

“I had always wanted a black and white wedding with a vintage feel and the art deco era lent itself very well to that.”

The Planning “We both wanted to wait until we had finished university before planning our wedding,” says Jon. “If I’m honest, I didn’t really plan much of our wedding, Chantele and her mum Julie organised 99% of it themselves with my occasional nod of approval.” Chantele, like most women, knew what she wanted her wedding day to be like. “I’m a little different, so my wedding day had to be a little bit different too, and I was very specific with what I wanted. Once mum and I started planning, we realised we could make a lot of things ourselves, and that way I could get exactly what I wanted while adding my own personal touch.”

I had always wanted a black and white wedding with a vintage feel and the art deco era lent itself very well to that. Luckily mum and I are both quite creative so we were able to make all the stationery, table centres and the bridesmaids’ jewellery and hair pieces using materials bought on eBay. I also designed all the dresses with the help of Julie Mayers, and mum and I designed the wedding cake which was made by Janet Saith.” Jon says the hardest thing to choose was the photographer. “We must have looked through 200 websites of local photographers before we finally made the decision to book Mark Button, and we are so glad that we did because the photos turned out really well. Just what we wanted.”

The Wedding They both say the day went perfectly. “Not one hitch really,” said Chantele. “I was told I was the calmest bride the photographer or vicar had ever seen. But I am generally a very laid-back person. Jon was a little nervous during the ceremony and before his speech but that was more to do with having to talk in front of everyone.”

Mid-day entertainment was provided by singer songwriter Rob Cross, while the evening guests were entertained by The Mojo’s soul and blues band. “We decided upon Tom Jones’ ‘We Got Love’ as our first dance,” explains Chantele. “The song didn’t have any significant meaning itself but I love his music and Jon likes a bit of Tom too, and we finally picked this song as the lyrics were perfect. It was a totally perfect day. Everyone we loved was there and it was exactly how I dreamed it would be.” The Honeymoon “We don’t really like the heat too much, or beaches, or clubbing, so that cancelled out a lot of places, and we really wanted to go somewhere different,” says Jon. “We wanted to experience a totally new culture and go somewhere you aren’t likely to go on a normal holiday so I suggested China,” says Chantele. “Luckily Jon agreed and we started looking for the best deal.” They eventually booked a tour with Wendy Wu Tours, and spent a month travelling central and northern China. “We waited until November to go away, as the weather would be cooler and it was out of peak season so we would avoid any crowds and queues,” says Jon. “Although we were on a group tour, we still got to spend plenty of time alone, and we had the most amazing trip. It has given us a bit of the travel bug and we already have a list of places in mind.”

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Valleys Life Autumn 2011  

Valleys Life Autumn 2011

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