Choosing a wedding venue is arguably, one of the biggest choices a couple can make when it comes to planning their big day, and the chance of finding one which meets every expectation is a tall order.
Karen James-Watkins of Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales, shares with us her observations over the last couple of years, reflecting on the notable rise in couples wanting the ability to “build their own” wedding, ensuring their day is unique and personal to them.
Karen comments: “We have had a huge number of weddings at our venues (including National Museum Cardiff, St Fagans National History Museum and National Waterfront Museum, Swansea) but the ones that really stand out in my mind are the ones which bring a unique element to them, that personal touch close to the couple. The rise of inspirational tools such as Pinterest and Instagram offer couples an abundance of wedding ideas and inspiration and with over 38 million boards dedicated to wedding planning on Pinterest, it’s becoming easier for couples to get creative and plan a day that really suits them.
“The recent Marmite wedding at St Fagans is a key example of that. We worked with a bride who is so obsessed with Marmite she wanted to ensure this played a part in their big day. Bride Kayleigh, a passionate member of the Marmarati (a Marmite super fan group) opted for yellow bridesmaids’ dresses and the groomsmen in marmite boxers underneath their kilts. Cheese and marmite sandwiches also featured in her evening buffet and the flower vases on the tables were Marmite Jars. It was a memorable wedding and a good example of how even the most unusual theme can transcend into a personal and beautiful wedding.”
The trend in more personal weddings has also filtered through to wedding catering. Gone are the days of rigid set price menus and three course wedding breakfasts. Venues have had to adapt to the changing catering desires of couples as they move away from traditional menus to more creative and alternative dishes.
Karen continues: “Chefs are increasingly lenient. What suits one couple will not necessarily suit everyone so we try to be as accommodating as possible to the wishes of each couple. Our in-house specialist caterers Elior UK, work with couples to put together bespoke menus, with locally sourced ingredients wherever possible.
“We’ve had fish and chips, Spanish paella and afternoon tea served as the traditional wedding breakfast and we’ve also created an American style takeaway for a couple recently as part of their evening buffet. Complete with white folded takeaway boxes we had Indian, Mexican and Chinese stations for guests to enjoy.
“New trends are emerging all the time and we are happy to work with couples to cost any request that they may have. A more unusual request from a bride came recently when we were asked to provide a mashed potato bar. This emerging craze, which originated in America, involves sweet or traditional mashed potato being served in martini glasses with a range of toppings available to sprinkle over the top. These included bacon, cheese, sour cream, spring onions and gravy to name a few. We predict a rise in the number of more bespoke requests in the future and we look forward to trying out new and unusual dishes.”
When asked what advice she would give to couples planning a more bespoke wedding, Karen responds: “Think about what you love to do together and build that into your day. It’s a great way to introduce your own personalities and memories and to ensure your wedding day is truly personal, down to the last detail.
“From cake and flower ideas through to dressing the venue in a style that represents you, the fundamental change we’ve noticed is that couples are keen to ensure their wedding reflects who they are – and what better way to start a life together than by celebrating with friends and family and enjoying a theme you love as much as each other.”
Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales offers three unique wedding venues; National Museum Cardiff, St Fagans National History Museum and the National Waterfront Museum, located across South wales.
To arrange a visit and to check availability please contact the venue hire team on 029 2057 3500/3416 or email firstname.lastname@example.org