A couple from Cardiff who worked tirelessly on the NHS frontline throughout the Covid-19 pandemic won their dream wedding at our stunning Monmouthshire venue.
A competition to recognise and reward the efforts of key workers on the frontline during the pandemic was launched in April 2020 by the team at St Tewdrics House. One lucky couple won the wedding of their dreams worth more than £35,000. As well as exclusive use of our beautiful house and grounds, all the other elements which make for a perfect wedding including photography, videography, cake, floral arrangements, venue styling, catering, hair, make-up, and music were gifted by a raft of generous suppliers.
The lucky couple who won this incredible prize were Matt and Evie from Cardiff who met in 2014 during their first week at university. On their first night out together, Matt even made a joke saying that he would one day marry Evie. Six years later, on a bright and sunny Autumn day in November 2021, surrounded by all their family and friends, Evie and Matt tied the knot in a beautiful wedding celebration.
After graduating in 2017 Matt and Evie decided to make a life together and applied for the same job at Cardiff and Vale University Health Board and were delighted to be offered positions.
Matt and Evie worked tirelessly on the frontline during the pandemic as physiotherapists and the couple saw their jobs change dramatically as the NHS in Cardiff responded. Evie was redeployed to the specialist Stroke rehabilitation team and Matt remained in his role, which became unrecognisable.
Evie and her colleagues worked with stroke patients who required a huge amount of specialist care. It was an incredibly difficult time for many of these patients, spending months in hospital with visiting of family and loved ones all but cancelled. Despite spending huge amounts of time in PPE in a physically demanding role, Evie and her incredible colleagues would help their patients set up video calls when visiting wasn’t allowed. They also ran a 7-day service to assist speeding up the recovery process to remove patients from hospital. Evie also supported emergency respiratory treatment to very poorly people which involved anything from helping with breathing exercises to more invasive, life-saving procedures.
Matt works in a 7-day rehabilitation service as part of a team which facilitates hospital discharges and helps people avoid hospital admission. Matt said about his role during the pandemic: “Working in the community, myself and my colleagues were often a patient’s single point of contact. A physio colleague of mine described us as ‘social therapists’ as our job would often involve spotting issues beyond the realms of physical therapy providing support, advice and signposting. This side of my job increased 10-fold during the pandemic as many people saw their appointments cancelled and struggled with both their physical and mental health.”
The couple’s wedding was picture perfect. Bride Evie, walked serenely down the aisle to the beautiful sound of a string quartet with her father, Jonathan, right beside her. Evie’s entrance was preceded by her four stunning bridesmaids all dressed in contrasting green velvet dresses.
Our couple were married in front of 100 guests in The Courtyard before retiring to the house and grounds for canapes and drinks, ahead of their wedding breakfast reception, a gorgeous three-course meal and speeches.
Speaking about what it felt like to win the competition, Matt said: “When we applied, we were given the date the winners would be announced. I was working that day and it got to about 5pm when I received a call from an unknown number. I was convinced it was St Tewdrics and got really excited but when I answered it was actually a district nurse. I just thought, oh well, not us this time. My phone rang 20 mins later and I heard the words, St Tewdrics House. The signal was so bad, I had to run downstairs and outside to hear anything. When I realised we’d won I just fell to the ground and was so excited I couldn’t speak!”
Evie said of winning: “This has been such a lovely and beautiful experience, all the suppliers have been amazing. Having our wedding to think about through the pandemic has been so positive for us and our colleagues – they are all so happy for us and they were as shocked as we were that we won!”
Geraint Thomas OBE, owner of St Tewdrics House, had this to say: “During the pandemic, the team at St Tewdrics, my wife, Sara, and I wanted to make some sort of gesture to recognise the efforts of our incredible key workers. We felt this competition might go some way to show our appreciation. Our brilliant suppliers stepped up to offer everything you could dream of for a wedding and we were so happy to be able to offer this prize to Evie and Matt and host them at St Tewdrics House. All the applications were very moving, but it was clear that Evie and Matt did everything they could to help people at a really difficult time. We wish them every happiness and hope their wedding day is everything they wish for and more.”
Caroline Sims, Operations & Marketing Director at St Tewdrics House said: “It was obvious from the competition entry that Matt and Evie had gone above and beyond during the pandemic to provide care and hope for their patients. We felt that their efforts deserved to be recognised with a dream wedding. Of course, none of this would be possible without the generosity and kindness of our wonderful suppliers from across South Wales – they have all been incredible. We hope Matt and Evie have the most wonderful day and we wish them a lifetime of happiness.”