There are 600 castles in Wales, that's more castles per square mile than any other country in the world. In South Wales we have some of the best. We have the biggest, the oldest, the youngest, the most picturesque and that’s why more and more couples are choosing castle locations for their special day!
1st Class Weddings were chosen to decorate the following castle weddings in Wales for our wonderful same sex couples.
St Donat's Castle - Piotr & Glen
Glen Dixon, 51, a consultant cytopathologist at HCA Laboratories, and Piotr Sadowski, 36, head of European Affairs at Volunteering Matters, were married on August 22, 2015, at St Donat’s Castle near Llantwit Major, South Wales.
It was Piotr’s younger brother, Pawel, who Glen initially approached in a bar in Soho. “He took a shine to my brother even though he was with his girlfriend,” Piotr says. The brothers were wearing T-shirts emblazoned with “SAINT” (Piotr) and “SINNER” (Pawel). “Glen went for the sinner.”
Pawel, who was visiting from Poland, introduced Glen to Piotr and they hit it off. They parted without exchanging contact details, but bumped into one another when they both returned to the same bar four nights later in 2001. Polish-born Piotr was in his final year at LSE. Glen, who grew up in Liverpool, was working as a cytopathologist, studying cells to diagnose diseases, in a private cellular pathology laboratory in London that he had set up with colleagues.
Piotr came to England in 1996 on a scholarship to Atlantic College, an independent sixth form college in south Wales, which follows the international baccalaureate curriculum. Being part of an international community which values equality and community service was a formative experience for Piotr. During his time there, he was a volunteer crew member with the Royal National Lifeboat Institution. It was one of the first places that he took Glen. Back at his alma mater, Piotr played a piano piece by Chopin for Glen. It was the moment they fell in love.
Piotr works for Volunteering Matters, a UK charity. He is also secretary-general of Volonteurope, an international network promoting volunteering and active citizenship. He appreciates Glen’s intelligence and “unique laugh that you can hear from a long distance”. Glen describes Piotr as thoughtful and kind. “We are both driven by a strong work ethic,” Piotr says.
In 2003, Piotr moved into Glen’s apartment in Bayswater. Neither of them had come out to their parents when they met. Piotr had told Pawel, and arranged for his brother to break the news to their father, before speaking to their parents over the telephone in 2004. “All these fears I might have had about not being accepted were completely pointless.” Glen made an announcement to his family at a meal to celebrate his 40th birthday. They quickly became close to each other’s families, who have spent time together in Merseyside and Poland. Glen supported Piotr when his mother died of cancer in 2012.
The couple have lived in different areas in London. In 2013, they spent seven months in southern Ireland for Glen’s work. They also have a house in Ibiza and in rural Norfolk. Piotr is the cook. He reached the first round of Masterchef in 2007, but was eliminated for using too much garlic. Glen is learning Polish. “I’m more of a European citizen,” he says.
They talked about entering into a civil partnership, but decided to wait until same-sex marriage was made legal. For Piotr, it reaffirmed “that need to be recognised as a human being”. It was Glen’s idea to get married in St Donat’s Castle, which is part of Atlantic College. It was the first gay wedding to take place at the venue. They invited 150 guests from around the world to the civil ceremony at the medieval castle overlooking the Bristol Channel, and bought their wedding suits together in Poland. The grooms walked down the aisle in Bradenstoke Hall to the Proclaimers’ I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles). Piotr’s friend, Rhian Grundy, whom he met at college, sang Eva Cassidy’s Songbird and the Beatles’ All You Need is Love. They had a joint best man and woman. No one gave them away.
“Less is more” was their guiding line when it came to decorations for the wedding breakfast. Flowers in red, white, blue and green, represented the colours of the Union Jack, and the Welsh and Polish flags.
Craig y Nos Castle - Demi & Trudi