Real Wedding: Lindsey & Mark’s St Fagans Wedding by Maria Farrelly

Lindsey and Mark got married on the 7th of June this year at the amazing St Fagans National History Museum and their beautiful day was captured by our very own Maria Farrelly Photography. We asked Lindsey some questions about her and Mark’s big day. St_Fagans_wedding522

How would you describe your wedding theme? Relaxed tea party St_Fagans_wedding372 St_Fagans_wedding579

LOVE Letters exclusively available to hire from Cwtch the Bride!

LOVE Letters exclusively available to hire from Cwtch the Bride!

What was your favourite part of your wedding? The vows and how much in that moment I felt how much I meant it and how much it meant to Mark. He’s only ever cried to the film Marley and me so to hear his voice trembling with emotion gave me goose pimples. I have felt in a little happy bubble ever since. Also, our band Raspberry Jam were sooo incredible, we love live music and they just blew everyone out the water. St_Fagans_wedding228 St_Fagans_wedding238 St_Fagans_wedding732

Tell us about your Wedding Dress This is the point where I learnt Pinterest can be dangerous. I fell in love with a dress which I soon came to realise was a couture dress from a boutique in San Francisco. Very within my means. I probably drove my bridesmaids mad searching for something similar and to limit my choices it had to have sleeves! I found that the only place that exceeded my expectations of wedding dress shopping was Rachel Burgess Bridal Boutique in Penarth, I believed she really cared about making me feel like I wanted to feel in that dress. However, the dress I fell in love with was an Augusta Jones Mai dress from the lovely Laura May in Roath who were brilliant. My belt is my keepsake from the day made by Ashley from With Love from Bobbin it’s the only thing I’ve allowed myself to keep. I love it. St_Fagans_wedding141 St_Fagans_wedding146St_Fagans_wedding029

Who did you pick as your bridesmaids &/or best man and why? Mark had 3 best men as there was no choosing between them. They have been through thick and thin together. However they each had their own roles. Matt planned the stag, Jamie was at the end of the aisle with Mark and poor James got the speech.
I originally decided I would have no bridesmaids as I have a lot of very close friends and just didn’t know what to do. However, I read an article called ‘bridesmates’ and how since the recession brides have cut back on bridesmaids yet their friends are still bearing the stress and responsibilities and of course cost of being one. It quickly became apparent my four Cardiff girls were these girls they became my go to for everything I love them to bits!! St_Fagans_wedding389 St_Fagans_wedding399 St_Fagans_wedding404

Why did you choose your venue? We debated for ages whether to have our wedding in St Fagans as it’s where I work but when viewing other venues I just found myself constantly comparing it to there. I also love the fact that we can take our kids there and can visit when we are older etc. St_Fagans_wedding334St_Fagans_wedding527Tell us about your wedding photographer: 

From the second I saw Maria’s photography and met her I knew she had to be part of our day.  Her love and enthusiasm shone through the way she spoke and her work.   It was all I talked about with Mark that evening- I actually got up and danced when she said she had our date free.

It was really important to us that we did not spend hours having staged photographs and the results are stunning!! I cannot believe how Maria has captured the important moments in such a way that didn’t impact on the day and yet are still so beautiful.

As someone who works in the wedding industry I respect Maria’s professionalism and how much she cares for each and every client. I could not recommend anyone else more highly.


How did the proposal happen?  Mark took me to Edinburgh for my 30th as a surprise. That in itself was a massive deal so I was blindsided when after climbing up to King Arthur’s seat on the morning of my 30th in the snow (after arguing all the way up as I kept falling as it was so slippery) with 2 plastic bottles of wine and strawberries he proposed. I made him call my dad straight away as he hadn’t asked permission and I know it would have meant a lot to my dad. St_Fagans_wedding149

Any DIY stories/tutorials you’d like to share? Everything I did was DIY. As I work in my venue I knew I could do everything myself. Invites were done by my fabulous bridesmaid Lisa. Flowers were delivered in massive buckets on Friday morning and we spent all day doing arrangements. Jars were collected and decorated by friends for their wedding and donated to us. Tables runners were cut the night before. Table plan was written on a mirror night before.
I wanted it to be DIY to feel relaxed. St_Fagans_wedding042 St_Fagans_wedding063 St_Fagans_wedding543

What was your first dance & why? We had no first dance. Music means a massive amount to both of us but neither of us wanted to do a first dance. So we didn’t.

St_Fagans_wedding737In hindsight, was there anything you would have done differently? No we loved our day. St_Fagans_wedding746

Do you have any advice for future couples? I meet so many brides who are stressed and do not enjoy the process of wedding planning. The only thing I can say is no one else knows what you have planned and what is supposed to happen when. Your friends and family will come have a great time and you will be in a big happiness bubble. The stuff people get stressed about does not matter. St_Fagans_wedding296 St_Fagans_wedding352 St_Fagans_wedding444 St_Fagans_wedding450

What’s the best piece of marriage advice you received? To never take the other person for granted and to end every day with ‘I love you’

What was your favourite thing about planning a wedding? Realising how much I personally knew about weddings and how to save money but still get the look and feel I wanted. I’m a geek sometimes and my inner arty self loved being crafty and also saving pennies. St_Fagans_wedding552 St_Fagans_wedding560 St_Fagans_wedding705 St_Fagans_wedding709

The Suppliers

Photographer: Maria Farrelly 

Ceremony Venue: St Fagans Castle

Reception Venue: St Fagans Oakdale Workman’s Institute
Bride’s Dress: Laura May Bridal
Bride’s Shoes: Jenny Packham from Debenhams
Bride’s Jewellery: Debenhams
Groom’s Outfit: His Own
Bridesmaid’s Dresses: Monsoon
Bridesmaid’s Accessories: With Love from Bobbin
Cake: Mark’s mum
Flowers: Bareblooms
Hair: Jackie at Yume Cardiff
Make Up: MAC
Band: The Raspberry Jam
Stationery: DIY
Caterers: elior@st fagans
Any Reception Decor/Props: DIY
Transport: Taxi
Other: LOVE letters from Cwtch the Bride

The Wedding Album St_Fagans_wedding006 St_Fagans_wedding007 St_Fagans_wedding012 St_Fagans_wedding017 St_Fagans_wedding022 St_Fagans_wedding025 St_Fagans_wedding027 St_Fagans_wedding029 St_Fagans_wedding035 St_Fagans_wedding041 St_Fagans_wedding042 St_Fagans_wedding048 St_Fagans_wedding050 St_Fagans_wedding062 St_Fagans_wedding063 St_Fagans_wedding066 St_Fagans_wedding071 St_Fagans_wedding077 St_Fagans_wedding080 St_Fagans_wedding083 St_Fagans_wedding086 St_Fagans_wedding087 St_Fagans_wedding089 St_Fagans_wedding094 St_Fagans_wedding095 St_Fagans_wedding096 St_Fagans_wedding098 St_Fagans_wedding102 St_Fagans_wedding103 St_Fagans_wedding106 St_Fagans_wedding108 St_Fagans_wedding118 St_Fagans_wedding123 St_Fagans_wedding127 St_Fagans_wedding133 St_Fagans_wedding136 St_Fagans_wedding141 St_Fagans_wedding143 St_Fagans_wedding146 St_Fagans_wedding149 St_Fagans_wedding153 St_Fagans_wedding154 St_Fagans_wedding156 St_Fagans_wedding161 St_Fagans_wedding164 St_Fagans_wedding168 St_Fagans_wedding172 St_Fagans_wedding183 St_Fagans_wedding185 St_Fagans_wedding187 St_Fagans_wedding188 St_Fagans_wedding189 St_Fagans_wedding192 St_Fagans_wedding193 St_Fagans_wedding196 St_Fagans_wedding199 St_Fagans_wedding201 St_Fagans_wedding207 St_Fagans_wedding209 St_Fagans_wedding221 St_Fagans_wedding228 St_Fagans_wedding234 St_Fagans_wedding238 St_Fagans_wedding244 St_Fagans_wedding246 St_Fagans_wedding268 St_Fagans_wedding271 St_Fagans_wedding274 St_Fagans_wedding286 St_Fagans_wedding291 St_Fagans_wedding296 St_Fagans_wedding299 St_Fagans_wedding301 St_Fagans_wedding302 St_Fagans_wedding312 St_Fagans_wedding334 St_Fagans_wedding340 St_Fagans_wedding350 St_Fagans_wedding352 St_Fagans_wedding359 St_Fagans_wedding365 St_Fagans_wedding372 St_Fagans_wedding377 St_Fagans_wedding378 St_Fagans_wedding389 St_Fagans_wedding399 St_Fagans_wedding400 St_Fagans_wedding404 St_Fagans_wedding419 St_Fagans_wedding441 St_Fagans_wedding442 St_Fagans_wedding444 St_Fagans_wedding449 St_Fagans_wedding450 St_Fagans_wedding466 St_Fagans_wedding470 St_Fagans_wedding472 St_Fagans_wedding474 St_Fagans_wedding477 St_Fagans_wedding481 St_Fagans_wedding483 St_Fagans_wedding486 St_Fagans_wedding490 St_Fagans_wedding492 St_Fagans_wedding494 St_Fagans_wedding496 St_Fagans_wedding499 St_Fagans_wedding501 St_Fagans_wedding511 St_Fagans_wedding516 St_Fagans_wedding518 St_Fagans_wedding522 St_Fagans_wedding526 St_Fagans_wedding527 St_Fagans_wedding529 St_Fagans_wedding535 St_Fagans_wedding536 St_Fagans_wedding538 St_Fagans_wedding541 St_Fagans_wedding543 St_Fagans_wedding546 St_Fagans_wedding548 St_Fagans_wedding551 St_Fagans_wedding552 St_Fagans_wedding556 St_Fagans_wedding560 St_Fagans_wedding568 St_Fagans_wedding573 St_Fagans_wedding579 St_Fagans_wedding595 St_Fagans_wedding606 St_Fagans_wedding623 St_Fagans_wedding625 St_Fagans_wedding638 St_Fagans_wedding643 St_Fagans_wedding646 St_Fagans_wedding652 St_Fagans_wedding657 St_Fagans_wedding705 St_Fagans_wedding709 St_Fagans_wedding712 St_Fagans_wedding713 St_Fagans_wedding714 St_Fagans_wedding716 St_Fagans_wedding720 St_Fagans_wedding732 St_Fagans_wedding737 St_Fagans_wedding742 St_Fagans_wedding746 St_Fagans_wedding747 St_Fagans_wedding758 St_Fagans_wedding762 St_Fagans_wedding773 St_Fagans_wedding774 St_Fagans_wedding779 St_Fagans_wedding784

Such a beautiful wedding! If you would like your wedding to feature on Cwtch the Bride you can get in touch here. And if you would like to hire our amazing LOVE Letters click here!

Bride to Be Competition: Introducing Victoria

This afternoon is our final shortlisted bride to be from our competition to find our next contributor. It is now the turn of the lovely Victoria, if you enjoy Victoria’s post and would like to see more of her planning on the blog you can vote for her by commenting on this post. We then recommend you share the post so that more people can see it and vote! Last but certainly not least, here is Victoria’s introduction. bride-to-be

I feel like I’m having a déjà vu…..telling you my name, (Victoria) information about myself (I’ve just turned the big 3-0- eek!)….it’s like I’m back in 2009 racking my brains typing an online dating profile; trying to find the right balance between too little/too much information whilst wanting to sound interesting, normal (because let’s face it, there’s an abundance of what appears to be the opposite out there!) and like I’d be a good catch rather than a desperado teacher trying to avoid marking books! Ironic really, as that’s actually how it all started- I was indeed ‘caught’ on plenty of fish by my fiancé, Dan who at the time was living in France for work. 7

He’s an aircraft engineer (logical, mathematic, practical) and I’m a Secondary school art teacher (minus the stereotypical blue hair, piercings and tie-dyed skirts- efficient, practical yet creative all the same!) Somehow it just works! He keeps me calm and has taught me many things, including how to ski, whilst he has had the privilege of being on the receiving end of my gastronomic concoctions as well as being ‘encouraged’ to go on as many holidays to experience the world as we can possibly afford!  3 4 (2)

It moved pretty fast and Dan relocated back to the UK 9 months after we met to live with me in the flat that I rented in Cardiff Bay. We haven’t looked back since!  Well, in actual fact we haven’t looked down since, seeing as we ended up buying the apartment directly above the one we previously rented- yep, the view is that good! 4

It’s quite fitting then that our first kiss was in the downstairs flat as well as being the first place we lived together, whilst our current pad is our first owned property and indeed where Dan proposed to me. Now I’m writing about it it seems like I’m more content with this than I was at the time…..! Long story…. but after 3 failed attempts involving a castle, aeroplane and banner, a parasailing experience and also a hired speedboat (apparently I ruined them with changing plans and then of course there was the sea sickness….!) you can imagine that having the love of your life propose to you (not on bended knee I may add!) in the dining room whilst you’re in your pjs with no makeup on and your hair scraped up like Vicky Pollard, doesn’t quite stack up to expectation! 1

But anyway- of course I said “Yes!” after staring at the haribo ring for a minute thinking that it was some sort of weird joke! (It’s ok- he made it up to me as he wanted me to design my own ring- cute- and then when we went to Paris in the summer- he quickly became aware that the cliché Eiffel Tower proposal was all I’d ever wanted, so he read me a poem when we were at the top and held my hand!) 6 8

Here we are now in September 2014, a year since the engagement and 10 months to the wedding itself! We decided on choosing a venue in France: Bellevue, Charente, (Near Bordeaux) which is sentimental to us- it was our first holiday and that’s where Dan was when he sent me that very first, clearly very gripping online message- plus of course the croissants are out of this world! Roll on August 2015 in Charente, France; although there’s plenty of bunting to sew, frames to paint and jam jars to decorate before then; but I genuinely can’t wait to marry my other half! 2

Thank you Victoria! If you would like to see more of Victoria’s planning and of course the wedding photos from that stunning location in France then make sure you comment on this post and share it so your friends can see it too!

If you missed them, you can see all five of the entries here.

We will be looking at all the comments, viewing figures and the amount of shares for each post over the next few weeks and will announce the winner as chosen by our readers on the blog and on our Facebook page very soon so watch this space!



Bride to Be Competition: Introducing Natasha

This week has been all about our Bride to Be competition. We have narrowed down the shortlist to 5 Brides to be and so far we have heard from Emily, Danielle and Claire. This morning we introduce Natasha, if Natasha is your favourite then make sure you vote for her by commenting on this post, you can then share the post for others to vote for her too! Here is the lovely Natasha with her introduction story. bride-to-be


My name’s Natasha O’Hara (31), and my fiancé’s name is David Harris (33). I work in a small community college called YMCA Wales Community College on the Community Learning team and Dave works for Co-operative Bank in the Cwmbran branch. We met in March 2012 via *drum roll*… internet dating!! That oh-so-stigmatised site – Plenty of Fish. We got chatting and realised we had friends in common, and perhaps had more than likely met many years ago, so before we even met there was a good connection/vibe! Within 3 months we moved in together and the rest, as the saying goes, is history! Dave & IWe got engaged in Sicily, 30th May 2013 – and yes, it was COMPLETELY out of the blue for me, I was not expecting it all! It had been a bit of a cloudy day, we spent the afternoon driving up Mount Etna then in the evening decided to have a night out in Taormina (google it, it’s stunning).Taormina beach

Before our meal, we caught the funicular down to the beach to dip our toes in the sea which we hadn’t done since arriving a few days previously. I can clearly remember that feeling of ‘ahhhh’ as my feet sank into the warm shingle in the shallows – it finally felt like holiday now I had been in the sea! Albeit just a paddle. We wandered back up the beach, which was empty bar the two of us, and I spied a lone plastic chair which I sat on to wipe the sand away from my feet. Dave got down and started helping me clean off my feet, and I was babbling away telling him how this was always my dad’s job when we were kids and how he used to get right between the toes to tickle us. I was completely oblivious to the fact that Dave had stopped and was fumbling about with something until there it was… Almost as if in slow motion, he pulls something from his pocket and still on bended knee at my feet produces a ring and says those words every girl dreams of hearing! Naturally, I burst into obligatory tears and at that second the clouds parted and the sun shone. I know that sounds unlikely but magically, it is the truth! It was a beautiful moment that is etched in my mind forever. Engaged! Obligatory ring shot!

We’re getting married 30th May 2015 (2 years to the day of the engagement!) at Pencoed House Estate. Our photographer is going to be a guy called Dave Smith. My best friend is a wedding photographer (Fran Croker) but seeing as she’s my maid of honour I thought for once she may like to attend a wedding without photographing! Though I know she will now have a camera far away, she just can’t resist it ha – she was born to be a photographer and she can’t turn down a photo opportunity!

The sun came out for us!

The sun came out for us!

The first thing we saw after getting engaged was a wedding!

The first thing we saw after getting engaged was a wedding!

Thank you so much Natasha, don’t forget to comment on this post if you would like Natasha to be our next bride to be contributor, you can also share the post so more people can vote!

Bride to Be Competition: Introducing Claire

Yesterday I announced that our shorlisted brides-to-be from our Bride to Be Competition would be featuring on the blog starting with Emily yesterday afternoon. This morning Danielle introduced herself to you, and this afternoon it’s the turn of the lovely Claire! If you like Claire’s introduction post then do vote for her by commenting on this post and you can even share it on your social media for others to vote!  bride-to-be

Hello! In true ‘write an essay at school’ style, my name is Claire Wilde and, on the 15th August 2015, I will become Mrs Christian Llewellyn – cue massive smiles, butterflies and a pounding heart!

So, a little bit about who we are… I’m a thirty four year old lawyer and Mr double L is a thirty six year old IT Manager (he’s going to kill me for putting his age in black and white – his friends think he’s been twenty seven since he was twenty seven!). We are both originally from the Rhymney Valley and, despite having spent the majority of our adult lives living in Cardiff, our ‘how we became a couple’ story confirms that we are true folk of the Valleys… In short, the brother of one of my best friends is one of his best friends, we’ve all known each other since we were geeky teens (note to said best friend who will most certainly be reading this at some point, we’ve been friends since nursery, I know!) but, following a few random meetings, from which he was most firmly stuck in my mind, we became a couple in June 2013. That was the start of C&C and the rest, as they say, is history. C&C

Christian proposed a day after my 34th birthday, which we were celebrating with a weekend away in Stockholm, Sweden – We both love to travel and Stockholm was on our list of ‘must do City breaks.’ We’d booked a table at Gondolen restaurant, which is perched 108 feet above the beautiful Slussen district of the City and has THE most amazing views of Stockholm. After our main course, we started talking about how we had randomly bumped into one another months before we got together and how this was, even though we didn’t realise it at the time, probably the beginning of the most special thing that had happened to either of us. I was sat, smiling away, happily recalling with Christian every little memory we both had of C&C and with that, Christian reached into his pocket and asked me to marry him… I think I’d said yes before he’d finished the sentence!  The proposal was completely unexpected and Christian had picked my beautiful engagement ring himself – he had also kept the ring hidden in one of his socks and checked it in to the hold for the flight to Sweden! As cheesy as this might sound, Christian could honestly have proposed to me with a Haribo ring (or no ring at all!) and I would have been equally as happy as I was at that moment when he popped the question… and have been since. We spent the rest of the weekend in Stockholm walking around in a fuzzy, happy, C&C love bubble… You know the emoticon with the little face with hearts for eyes and a Cheshire cat style grin? I swear that’s how I looked! IMG_1452

Fast forward six months, we still have the grins and hearts in place but we also have our wedding plans steadily coming together. We will become Mr and Mrs Llewellyn in the Council Chamber Room at City Hall, Cardiff and then spend a late afternoon and evening at the Norwegian Church in Cardiff Bay massively celebrating with family and close friends. We want our wedding to reflect us as a couple and our day to be filled with love and laughter with the people in the world we care most about – those who have always been there for us in the past and who will always be there for us in our future.

I would love to share my bride – to – be experience with all the Cwtch the Bride lovelies and I hope that this little taster has been enough to make you all want to hear more about our wedding planning!



Thank you so much Claire! If you would like to read more about Claire’s planing, and of course see her wedding photographs from these two gorgeous venues then please comment on this post, and do share this post for your friends!

Bride to Be Competition: Introducing Danielle

Yesterday I announced that our shorlisted brides-to-be from our Bride to Be Competition would be featuring on the blog starting with Emily yesterday afternoon. This morning the lovely Danielle introduces herself to you, if you would like Danielle to win and become our next Bride to be contributor all you need to do is comment on this post and share it for others to do the same! Here is Danielle with her introduction. bride-to-be

My name is Danielle and I am due to marry my gorgeous fiancé Huw next year.

I have known Huw for many years, we grew up together from the age of ten, our parents still live a few houses apart. image

Whilst going to secondary school we were very good friends, Huw would ask me out but I would reply we are too good friends for that, but deep down I wanted to say yes. Huw would call for me in the mornings and we would walk to school together, Huw would then wait for me to walk home and carry my bag- he was lush. image1

After finishing school we seemed to go our separate ways. We both got into relationships and I myself had two children and Huw has one. We eventually got together about five and a half years ago, both of our parents always thought we would and should have been together. image3

Huw popped the question last October when we were on hols and I was so shocked and surprised of course I said yes, we are due to marry on 31st August 2015 at Llechwen Hall, we are both excited and can’t wait. image2

Thank you Danielle! How sweet is it that they have known each other almost all of their lives! If you would like to hear more about Danielle’s planning then make sure you comment on this post and share it to your friends!