Cwtch of the Week: A Winning Cwtch Girls Cwtch


A Winning Cwtch Girls Cwtch

So last Friday, Maria and I packed our little bag with our fancy clothes, donned the comfy leggings and climbed aboard our awaiting carriage (National Express Coach) to London for 2016 Wedding Blog Awards.

Three and a half hours of sitting next to people we don’t know and min who refused to speak to me (Maria bagged a lovely girl who chatted merrily! I had a stroppy teenager who refused to look us from his phone, even when I offered him a Malteaser! His loss), we finally got to Victoria and excitedly headed to Liverpool Street to the gorgeous ballroom of the Andaz Hotel.

After a quick change in the toilet (ok, it took a good 40 minutes) and G&T at the bar, the event opened and in we went. And wow! This room is something else! It’s Victorian splender is abundant, with pillars and a breathtaking glass domed ceiling, it is a special special room! Decked out with the most beautiful floral displays by the ever so talented and frankly, blinking lovely Simon Nickell Design, it was clear an amazing night was about to begin!

The stonking (yes that’s right, I used the word ‘stonking’ and I will again and again to describe….) Gethin Jones presented fabulously (obvs). We stood clapping and laughing and drinking and catching up with some wonderful people from some superb blogs, while the first lot of worthy winners collected their awards.

Then came ‘Best Regional Wedding Blog‘ Award. We were up for this and so very excited to be nominated. But we were up against some big names and blogs that we think are fantastic so didn’t hold out much hope. We stood tall and practiced our gracious losers face. Sponsors of the award, ‘The Woodland Trust‘ stood ready to announce the winner as Gethin went through the nominees (and as he is Welsh, he pronounced ‘cwtch’ correctly – hoorah!). And the winner is……

Cwtch The Bride!!!!

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All I can remember is turning to Maria, mouth open as wide as it could possibly go as we screamed at each other with complete overwhelmed joy!

We leapt for joy, received our award from that beautiful man, and proceeded to drink and dance the night away with friends old and new.

To top it off, at the end of the evening, the wonderful Simon Nickell began giving his beautiful displays to us all! Im not bitter that Maria had the bigger bunch (hmph), but as we travelled home, it became clear that travel with a bunch of flowers as big as her, all the way back to South Wales, was proving difficult.  So on the tube back to Victoria, we handed out flower by flower to some lovely people on the train, and shared the joy! As we left the tube we had lots of claps and happy faces!

Thank you so much for having us Wedding Magazine. We are honestly gobsmacked and completely over the moon.

So this is us, enjoying a winning Cwtch with our wonderful award, dedicating it to every single one of Maria’s team of #CwtchGirls who couldn’t come. Our hard work has paid off ladies!


Real Weddings: Natalie and Steve’s Vintage Zombie Wedding

Hello Friday! You are most welcome!  Well we have a treat for you today.  These two have just celebrated their first anniversary (hope you had a lovely one Natalie and Steve!) Shot by our very own Maria Farrelly, this wedding was full of personal touches that really made their big day, all about them! Shot by our very own and amazing Maria Farrelly, this wedding oozes coolness and individuality! 

Real Weddings Banner


Natalie and Steve’s Vintage Zombie Wedding

What was your budget? 


How would you describe your wedding theme?

Vintage with a hint of zombie!

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What was your favourite part of your wedding?

My favourite part of the wedding was the ceremony. I had had a nightmare whilst getting ready, and having my one contact break, leaving me to walk down the aisle with just one contact in! As the walking in music began, my hairs stood on end, I forgot everything that had happened, and I just couldn’t stop smiling! Seeing my Dad beaming with pride, and then seeing my future husband waiting at the end of the aisle filled me with pure joy. We also went a little ‘off-book’ with our wedding vows, and vowed to each other…to respect and cherish you throughout our life together, unless you become a zombie, then I promise to shoot you in the head!’ It certainly raised a laugh from the congregation! I also loved that we walked out as newly married couple to Less Than Jake’s “I Think I Love You”.

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Tell us about your Wedding Dress

I bought my wedding dress from the second shop I visited, All About Eve in Newport. I tried on 5 dresses that day and discounted my actual dress as being too expensive ( The sales assistant advised it was the second most expensive dress they had!). After trying all the other dresses, and feeling frumpy in them all, I decided to try the Ronald Joyce Erin, with her BEAUTIFUL beaded back…. As soon as it was on, and I showed my Mum and bridesmaid, we just knew this had to be it. I could just imagine saying ‘I do’ to my future husband in that dress.

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Who did you pick as your bridesmaids &/or best man and why?

My bridesmaids were both long time friends, Rachel, who I met at the age of 7, at primary school and Natalie, who I met age 11 at high school. They have always been there, though thick and thin. We literally couldn’t be more different, these girls are the cheese to my chalk!
Our groomsman was Natalie’s fiance, and our long time friend, Barney. The best man was my husband’s best friend of 18 years, Lee. They have been through many adventures together, and he had the best stories!

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Why did you choose your venue?

To be honest, the venue was a compromise as we had butted heads over this. I had very grand ideas, and the hubby didn’t want anything too grandiose. After many ideas, we came across Portland House. It suited us both, as it has an amazing glass ceiling, and marble pillars, but is in the middle of Cardiff Bay. We weren’t after your average wedding photos either, so didn’t mind that it doesn’t have grounds.

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Tell us about your photographer

Our photographer was the wonderful Maria! She was AMAZING. She calmed me down and guided us throughout the day. She knew exactly what we were looking for and even found a way to get us into the vaults for some spectacular photos!

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How did the proposal happen? 

The proposal was the sweetest! We were having an average Saturday at home and I went to the kitchen to start on dinner. Next thing I know, I hear “Go see your Mam'” from Steve in the living room, and then confronted with our mad little Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Bob. He bounded in and out of the kitchen several times, when I noticed he had something in his collar. I knelt down to try and grab it from him, when he knocked me down to the floor with excited licks! There, lying on our kitchen floor, I opened the note. It read “Marry my Daddy so we can be a proper family, because we all love you”… I looked up to see Steve on bended knee with the most beautiful ring. The rest, as they say, is history!

Any DIY stories/tutorials you’d like to share?

I made my own brooch bouquet. I absolutely blagged it from the start. I used around 60 brooches in total! I bought a teardrop Base metal structure, and literally hand tied with jewellery wire each and every one of the brooches on. No fabric, and no fillers! I then sealed the back with heavy satin ribbon, and used a fine lace to wrap the handle and sealed the end of the handle with a brooch. I finished it just 2 days before the wedding! We also made the buttonholes, which consisted of used shotgun shells, wrapped with twine with a black feather and faux purple lavender sprig. I wanted no flowers at the wedding, so I also decorated my center pieces (silver candelabras) myself with a lot of help from the hubby and my bridesmaid Rachel!

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What was your first dance & why?

Our first dance was the acoustic version of Papa Roach’s No Matter What. The song was absolutely perfect for us, and our wedding theme. I wanted something that reflected us, as we are both into metal music, but didn’t completely alienate the guests! The lyrics tell a love story, and includes the lines, “No matter what, I got your back, I’ll take a bullet for you if it comes to that”, which is pretty fitting, given our vows!
It was beautiful, and brought a tear to a few eyes!

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In hindsight, was there anything you would have done differently?

Yes. I definitely would have had back up contact lenses! I probably would have had a tea length dress to change in to for the evening too, as it was quite difficult to rock out without tripping over my dress!



Do you have any advice for future couples?

Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do something. Don’t compromise on your day, do it where, and however you want. You can’t please all of the people, all of the time, so do something that YOU will be pleased with.

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What was your favourite thing about planning a wedding?

I genuinely enjoyed all of it!

The Suppliers

Photographer: Maria Farrelly
Ceremony and Reception Venue: Portland House
Bride’s Dress: All About Eve
Bride’s Shoes: Lenihan’s Of London, custom commission.
Bride’s Headpiece: Custom commissioned
Bride’s Jewellery: Grandmothers pearls/ Bete Noire Jewellery
Groom’s Outfit: Waistcoat and tie from Anthony Formalwear, suit hire from Dyfed Menswear.
Bridesmaid’s Dresses: Lindy Bop
Cake: Vale Cakes
Hair: Owen Roberts
Make Up: Jody Amner
DJ: Rob Toogood from Fuel Rock Club
Stationery: Love Lee
Any Reception Decor/Props: MST Events
Transport: Rumney Wedding Cars

The Wedding Album

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Alphabet Dating Final Installment W, X, Y, Z

This is the final installment of our Alphabet Dating series. We wanted to give you all some ideas of different places to go and things to do with your other half. We are big believers in making sure you keep the spark alive and keep going out and experiencing adventures as a couple. Lets hope that these ones will inspire you to do something a little different. 

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W – White Water Rafting

When I was little I grew up in South Africa and we did a family trip white water rafting. It was one of the best and funniest holidays that we had. It is actually one of those memories that still comes up round the dinner table after a couple of glasses of wine. The fact my sister and my mum actually broke their canoe is one of the funniest parts!

So why not try something with a little bit of adrenaline! There is a brilliant course along the River Dee where you will exprience the thrills and spills of a Grade 2/3 course. Are you brave enough?

whitePhoto Courtesy of White Water Active

X – Xylography

The dictionary’s definition of Xylography is the art of engraving on wood or of printing from woodblocks. We Welsh have one of the most amazing and unique tokens of showing love, our beautiful love spoons. Have you ever thought about making one? I have a friend whose husband sent a present to her bride on the morning of their wedding. He had spent two months carving his own love spoon! I was so impressed! She was a lucky girl!

There is an amazing course that you can take a woodcarving and love spoon class that you can book into in Port Talbot. Why not spend an afternoon together making something that you can keep forever. Our very own Anna, got her husband, Richie one for their 5th Anniversary!

lovespoonPhoto Courtesy of Pinterest

Y – Ynys Llanddwyn

This is a magical place. We have all heard about Welsh Valentines Day and the stories come from here, the remains of St Dwynwens castle. She became known as the patron saint of lovers and pilgrimages were made to her holy well on the island. It was said that the faithfulness of a lover could be divined through the movements of some eels that lived in the well. This was done by the woman first scattering breadcrumbs on the surface, then laying her handkerchief on the surface. If the eel disturbed it then her lover would be faithful. It is a beautiful place to visit and they have an amazing variety of nesting sea birds.

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Z- Zip Wires!

A few years ago I decided to conqueror my fear of heights and go do an areal obstacle course. I’m not going to lie. It was scary! I honestly s**t myself most of the way through. I managed to complete it and the last thing is was a long zip wire to the ground. It was amazing and I thought that it would cure my fear. I can categorically say, it was a thrilling experience and I am so proud of myself doing it but there is no way that I am in any way cured of my fear! Are you and your other half brave? In Snowdonia there is the longest zip line in Europe. Ever wondered what it like to soar 500 feet in the air at 100mph? The speed will be incredible!

zipwirePhoto Courtesy of Zip World

I hope you have loved this series as much as we loved writing it. Now, go forth and date, and make sure you send us any photos if you try any of them! 

Lets Hear it for there Boys: The Heel Kicks

 Hello lovely people!
Its Let’s Hear It for the Boys again! Our little nod to the men of the big day! Today, the fabulous Steve Wheller of Art by Design is sharing an absolute peach!  I love a heel kick shot, especially when they don’t all actually nail it! Its brilliant! Over to Steve to tell us a bit about it………
Lets Hear it for the Boys

The Heel Kicks

This was taken at Llansantffraed Court. Luke is in the marines so was in full uniform but I wanted to have a bot more fun as  lot of the guys were wearing braces and the theme was vintage. So we took them for a walk around the grounds and typical groomsman just walk like bouncers so to fresher it up I always ask them to have little jump in the air and click their heals like Fred Astair. They all feel silly at the time but it breaks the ice and I get to capture some relaxed shots with the boys.
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And are you lot in for a treat! On the 28th of this month, we will be showing the whole of Luke and his gorgeous bride Kirsty’s entire wedding – and it is a stunner! Imagine, a vintage bride, a handsome in uniform…….aaaaaaahhhhhh dreamy!

T Festival supported by The iGency

Hello you lovely lot!
A little deviation from our usual weekly posts today, but its something you all need to be aware of! So, if you’ve got any plans for November, then this needs to be on the list!

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The wonderful #Cwtchfest live music suppliers, The iGency are once again being brilliant. They very rarely do public gigs, but are fabulously supplying this festival theme party in order to raise money for #curlycarsfund.

When Carolyn Gammon was pregnant with her second child, the beautiful baby girl Mira, she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Although she was treated with chemotherapy, once Mira was born via c-section, Carolyn was given the devastating news that the cancer has spread and it was now incurable.


Carolyn is now hoping to raise £150k in order to self fund special medication that will prolong her life, allowing her to bring up her gorgeous little boy and beautiful baby girl, in case the NHS cannot fund it.


T Festival is being organised in order to help towards this total! Held at Taibach RFC on Friday 18th November, dress up in your best festival outfit, get your rock socks on, purchase your £10 ticket and go and dance the night away!



Festival Theme Party @ Taibach RFC

A fun night of music, drinking and dancing, to raise money for #curlycarsfund. Please wear your finest festival attire!

4 of the UK’s top party bands delivering a rare public performance plus amazing live DJ.

Headline bands include:
iRock –
iPop –
Indienational –
Velvet Soul –

Contact us via FB The iGency, email or visit Tiabach RFC for tickets

Tickets are £10 – please donate more if you can.
Limited tickets availible book ASAP to avoid dissapointment.
Lets raise as much money as we can for this amazing family!!