Real Wedding: Rhian & Andy’s Elegant Wedding by Hannah Miles

Rhian and Andy got married in Cardiff’s New House Country Hotel on the 11th of July 2014. Their elegant wedding was captured by Hannah Miles Photography, we asked Rhian a few questions about their beautiful big day. HannahMilesPhotography_84

What was your budget? Below £15000

How would you describe your wedding theme? We had a champagne themed wedding. We decided on this theme as I couldn’t think of what I wanted to have for centre pieces and I wanted our wedding to be completely different to anyone else’s. The day Andy and I were discussing this we were in the kitchen of our home and had just celebrated our engagement with a bottle of 1997 Grande Annee Bollinger. The bottle was so beautiful and it just suddenly came to me, we could have champagne bottles as our centre pieces! We always have a bottle of champagne on an occasion so it just seemed right for us. It was also a good excuse to enjoy more champagne together as we collected the bottles for each table, with the top table needing a few itself! The rest of the theme was to be elegant, bay leaf trees with white roses and white and red roses in the champagne bottles. HannahMilesPhotography_98HannahMilesPhotography_95

What was your favourite part of your wedding? Definitely walking down the aisle and seeing Andy there. The aisle was L shaped so I couldn’t see him straight away, I was so nervous and excited to see his face, especially because I was so unsure as to whether he would actually like my dress! My other favourite part was having Harley, my dog, there! He’s been such a massive part of my life and to have him walk down the aisle with my sister and then be in some of the photos was just fantastic. HannahMilesPhotography_62 HannahMilesPhotography_63HannahMilesPhotography_72 HannahMilesPhotography_80

Tell us about your Wedding Dress My wedding dress was the complete opposite to what I always thought I wanted! When I was 16 I worked in Allison Jayne Bridalwear in Cardiff as a weekend job. I loved the designer Maggie Sottero and always thought I would have one of her lovely fitted dresses with a lace up back, a little bit of detail and the lovely rouching across the middle. When I started looking at dresses on the internet I immediately looked for dresses by Maggie Sottero and looked to see if Allison Jayne had the dress I had seen on the internet in stock. They did, so I made an appointment and my mum, sister and I went along. I picked a couple of different style dresses just to see, fish tail really didn’t suit me and the lace was just ok, I felt like I wanted something more, so I then pulled out a very plain but very elegant dress that was a little bigger than I had original thought by Ian Stewart. As soon as I put it on I knew it was the one, only the fourth dress I had ever tried, but that was it, as soon as I came out of the changing room my mum was in tears, I just felt right in it and it suited the elegant theme that I wanted, I felt like a princess and didn’t want to take it off! Again it was different to what everyone else was wearing and that made it even better! I loved it, I looked forward to every fitting and even made excuses to go and try it on when I’d had a hair trial, just to make sure the hairstyle fitted the dress!  HannahMilesPhotography_46 HannahMilesPhotography_58

Who did you pick as your bridesmaids &/or best man and why? My sister was chief bridesmaid, there was never a question that she wouldn’t be. My two best friends from Australia, where I lived for just over four years, came over to be my bridesmaids. They’ve been there for me through so much, we’ve shared some really good times and I love them both very much so I was very grateful and excited that they said yes and made the big trip over, the day wouldn’t have been the same without them there. Andy’s sister Kate was my fourth bridesmaid. Kate made an effort straight away to get to know me, her and her husband Rob, who was a groomsmen for Andy, invited us up to their home in Wrexham often and always made me feel like part of the family, calling me ‘Auntie Rhi’ to their children even before Andy and I we’re engaged! I get on very well with Kate and it felt right to ask her to be a bridesmaid. Kate and Rob’s children, Nia and Iwan were our flower girl and page boy also. HannahMilesPhotography_77HannahMilesPhotography_50 HannahMilesPhotography_59

Why did you choose your venue? The view and the marquee. HannahMilesPhotography_ HannahMilesPhotography_3 HannahMilesPhotography_70

How did the proposal happen? We were on holiday in Geelong, Australia, I had taken Andy back there for a couple of weeks to show him where Harley and I used to live (Harley is an Aussie dog, I flew him over when I moved back to the uk) and to introduce him to all my friends. We were staying with Sandy, who I call my surrogate mother, and her family, so for the middle weekend we went and stayed in a hotel in Melbourne. I had previously been to a bar on the beach in St Kilda with my mother when she had been over to visit me, and I wanted to take Andy there, it’s a lovely spot to watch the sunset in the hanging basket chairs that they have on the beachfront. So we got the tram down to St Kilda and start walking towards the bar, Andy kept asking where the beach was, I pointed to the right and said its that way, we’re going this way, to the left! As we came to the waterfront I pointed out the pier, which Andy then wanted to walk down. I was reluctant as it was quite windy and I had just straightened my hair! The view looking back to Melbourne is quite something so we did go for a walk onto the pier. I stopped Andy to take some photos and then was ready to head to the bar, Andy wanted to go a little further, so on we went down the pier. Another good photo spot came and so I stopped Andy, I took a landscape photo on my phone, Andy then said to take a portrait, I was wondering why on earth he would want this when the background was of the city, but anyway i set about turning my phone around and when I looked back up to take the photo, there was Andy on one knee with the ring I had tried on 5 months earlier! I was completely shocked as Andy had always said that he wasn’t going to propose in Australia as it was too predictable! Anyway, he had a whole speech that he had thought of, but actually forgot the most important words ‘will you marry me!’ He realised after he had put the ring on and we had walked off! So when we got back to the hotel room, after lots of bubbles at the bar that we did eventually make our way to, Andy took the ring, I went into the bathroom, and when I came out he was on one knee, with the ring in the box and simply said, ‘will you marry me.’ HannahMilesPhotography_114

What was your first dance & why? Our first dance was ‘Beautiful War’ by Kings of Leon, it was the only song that we both liked!

In hindsight, was there anything you would have done differently? I do wish that we’d have had the wedding videoed, apart from that I don’t think there’s anything I would’ve done differently. HannahMilesPhotography_81

Do you have any advice for future couples? Take a moment to take everything in during the day, it goes so quickly! Just step back and look at everyone and everything. HannahMilesPhotography_5 HannahMilesPhotography_90 HannahMilesPhotography_93 HannahMilesPhotography_112

What’s the best piece of marriage advice you received? Don’t go to bed on an argument and save money every month! HannahMilesPhotography_88

What was your favourite thing about planning a wedding? Being a bride! And having free champagne when looking at venues/ dresses/ rings/ honeymoons!! HannahMilesPhotography_67 HannahMilesPhotography_83 HannahMilesPhotography_117

The Suppliers

Photographer: Hannah Miles
Ceremony Venue: New House Country Hotel
Reception Venue: New House Country Hotel
Bride’s Dress: Ian Stewart’s Blueberry Hill from Allison Jayne
Bride’s Shoes: Rainbow
Bride’s Headpiece: Allison Jayne
Bride’s Jewellery: John Lewis and Thomas Sabo
Groom’s Outfit: Dyfed Menswear
Bridesmaid’s Dresses: Timeless Elegance
Bridesmaid’s Accessories: Debenhams
Cake: Queen of Cakes
Flowers: Marks and Spencer
Hair: Ann McCormack
Make Up: Shevaun
Band: James Williams
DJ: Hotel resident DJ
Stationery: Home made
Caterers: Hotel caterers

The Wedding Album

HannahMilesPhotography_ HannahMilesPhotography_2 HannahMilesPhotography_3 HannahMilesPhotography_4 HannahMilesPhotography_5 HannahMilesPhotography_6 HannahMilesPhotography_7 HannahMilesPhotography_8 HannahMilesPhotography_9 HannahMilesPhotography_10 HannahMilesPhotography_11 HannahMilesPhotography_12 HannahMilesPhotography_13 HannahMilesPhotography_14 HannahMilesPhotography_15 HannahMilesPhotography_16 HannahMilesPhotography_17 HannahMilesPhotography_18 HannahMilesPhotography_19 HannahMilesPhotography_20 HannahMilesPhotography_23 HannahMilesPhotography_24 HannahMilesPhotography_25 HannahMilesPhotography_26 HannahMilesPhotography_27 HannahMilesPhotography_28 HannahMilesPhotography_29 HannahMilesPhotography_30 HannahMilesPhotography_31 HannahMilesPhotography_32 HannahMilesPhotography_34 HannahMilesPhotography_35 HannahMilesPhotography_36 HannahMilesPhotography_37 HannahMilesPhotography_38 HannahMilesPhotography_39 HannahMilesPhotography_40 HannahMilesPhotography_41 HannahMilesPhotography_42 HannahMilesPhotography_43 HannahMilesPhotography_44 HannahMilesPhotography_45 HannahMilesPhotography_46 HannahMilesPhotography_47 HannahMilesPhotography_48 HannahMilesPhotography_49 HannahMilesPhotography_50 HannahMilesPhotography_51 HannahMilesPhotography_52 HannahMilesPhotography_53 HannahMilesPhotography_54 HannahMilesPhotography_56 HannahMilesPhotography_57 HannahMilesPhotography_58 HannahMilesPhotography_59 HannahMilesPhotography_60 HannahMilesPhotography_61 HannahMilesPhotography_62 HannahMilesPhotography_63 HannahMilesPhotography_64 HannahMilesPhotography_65 HannahMilesPhotography_66 HannahMilesPhotography_67 HannahMilesPhotography_69 HannahMilesPhotography_70 HannahMilesPhotography_71 HannahMilesPhotography_72 HannahMilesPhotography_73 HannahMilesPhotography_74 HannahMilesPhotography_75 HannahMilesPhotography_76 HannahMilesPhotography_77 HannahMilesPhotography_78 HannahMilesPhotography_79 HannahMilesPhotography_80 HannahMilesPhotography_81 HannahMilesPhotography_82 HannahMilesPhotography_83 HannahMilesPhotography_84 HannahMilesPhotography_85 HannahMilesPhotography_87 HannahMilesPhotography_88 HannahMilesPhotography_89 HannahMilesPhotography_90 HannahMilesPhotography_91 HannahMilesPhotography_92 HannahMilesPhotography_93 HannahMilesPhotography_94 HannahMilesPhotography_95 HannahMilesPhotography_96 HannahMilesPhotography_97 HannahMilesPhotography_98 HannahMilesPhotography_100 HannahMilesPhotography_101 HannahMilesPhotography_102 HannahMilesPhotography_103 HannahMilesPhotography_105 HannahMilesPhotography_106 HannahMilesPhotography_107 HannahMilesPhotography_108 HannahMilesPhotography_109 HannahMilesPhotography_110 HannahMilesPhotography_111 HannahMilesPhotography_112 HannahMilesPhotography_113 HannahMilesPhotography_114 HannahMilesPhotography_115 HannahMilesPhotography_116 HannahMilesPhotography_117

Thank you so much to photographer Hannah for getting in touch, and thank you to Rhian & Andy for sharing your beautiful day with us. Who else has had their dog as part of the big day? Or other animal of course!

Styled Shoot: A Vanity Affair- Part 8 Hair & Make Up

We have already showcased a lot of the amazing hair by Yume and make up by e.l.f. cosmeticsSarah Jane Outten and Jessie Harries Make Up Artist, but today we have a whole post dedicated to these talented ladies. With photography by Catherine & Angharad, here are the beautiful (and possibly dreaded) before and after pictures from behind the scenes of our epic styled shoot at Hensol Castle.

All hair in this post is by the fabulous stylists at Yume. With head pieces by Kate Petersen.cwtch the bride

Make Up by Sarah Jane Outten

Make Up by Jessie Harries Make Up Artist

Make Up by e.l.f. cosmetics

HUGE thanks to the Jessie, Sarah Jane and the girls from Yume and e.l.f., all of the models looked amazing! Here is a gallery of the behind the scenes images from Catherine & Angharad

We will be back next week with the final posts from the shoot – the incredible (yep I’ve seen it, it really is amazing) video from Aurora Video, and the final words on the shoot will be from the brains behind this whole thing: Maria Farrelly. Don’t miss it!

To view all of the previous posts from our styled shoot, click on this link, we have featured beautiful bridal gowns and bridesmaid dresses, flowers, props, stationery and cake. All the inspiration you need to plan a wonderful Welsh wedding!

Styled Shoot: A Vanity Affair- Part 7 Delicious Cakes

We have nearly reached the end of our series featuring the amazing vendors who took part in our epic styled shoot in Hensol Castle. You can see the rest of the posts here, if you have missed them then make sure you so and have a look as they have been fabulous! Today’s post is all about one of Cwtch HQ’s favourite things- CAKE! 

We have a real treat for you today, if you are yet to pick a wedding cake these delicious cakes from Cwtch favourites Heavenly Exquisite Desserts and Love, Peace and Cupcake should help you choose!

All photographs in this post are by Catherine & Angharad Stylish Wedding Photography

Delicious Cupcakes from Love Peace & Cupcake

Whether for dessert or instead of a traditional wedding cake, everyone loves cupcakes don’t they?! These cupcakes from Love, Peace and Cupcake will make the perfect addition to your wedding tables.

cwtch the bride cwtch the bride cwtch the bride cwtch the bride cwtch the bride C&A_HENSOL142

Showstopping cakes from Heavenly Exquisite Desserts

These cakes from Heavenly Exquisite Desserts are truly magnificent, extremely eye catching and really make a statement. You can tie your wedding theme or your hobbies with your cake decoration- and they are yummy too! C&A_HENSOL138Hensol - cwtch the bride_0031 Hensol - cwtch the bride_0033 Hensol - cwtch the bride_0034 cwtch the bridecwtch the bride cwtch the brideHensol - cwtch the bride_0036 cwtch the bridecwtch the bride

And believe us they taste as good as they look!!

Thank you so much to our super talented suppliers for getting involved in our styled shoot. Come back tomorrow for our hair and make up showcase, our final post before the amazing video goes up next week!

Bride to Be Diary: Victoria Learns to Delegate!

I am so excited to share our new Bride-to-be Victoria‘s first proper post with you! Please give Victoria a warm welcome to Cwtch the Bride, lend an attentive ear (or should that be eye as it’s written?!) and do comment!   New Bride To Be Diary

I can’t quite believe it’s November…. similarly I can’t quite believe Dan and I have just celebrated our 5 year anniversary and actually eek it’s now approx 9 months until our wedding next August! So whilst Cardiff is looking all wintery and people are cosying up in coffee shops, wandering around the Christmas markets and drinking mulled wine, I’m generally finding myself unashamedly swept up in all things weddingy but as an organisation freak and creative type I’m loving it! 9 months is indeed a long time really, I mean that’s an entire pregnancy, you can learn to drive in that time, complete nearly a whole school year etc, but actually to me, my focus on the wedding has had to sharpen because of circumstances.

Dan has had to move away for work, until the end of March- not exactly ideal the year before our wedding but needs must; however the realisation that the production line for making personal touches has halted and has now been halved means that I’m having to be super- duper organised whilst I’m also aware that my ‘control freak’ tendencies could possibly start to escape and run wild….! I wouldn’t class myself as a ‘Bridezilla’- I would say I’m enthusiastic, passionate and that I have a clear vision……and at the moment I am calm. I have the opposite problem of being a Bridezilla I think- this is because I am totally internalising everything that I’m thinking/planning and any offerings of help from very kind, supportive friends are simply being batted away because I ‘have to do everything myself’ like I’m in quality control?!

Having a fiancé in Munich means that I’m taking over the reins … really has turned into one international affair- me in the UK, Dan in Germany and the venue in France- a complete test of my organisational skills but a challenge I’m willing to accept.

I read a magazine recently that posed the question of ‘just how much has the groom-to-be been involved with the planning of the BIG day?’  This gave me a real light bulb moment- it’s OUR wedding, therefore WE should ensure it’s all that WE want it to be….so cue excessive text messages about seating plans, Facetime conversations where I am showing him my drawings of things I’d like to make, as well as smiling proudly like a 5 year old who has managed to colour in the lines, holding up the outcomes themselves, so that he can really feel that he’s involved.

Facetime moment

Facetime moment

Honestly thank god for technology-  the situation I’m wanting to avoid is for the rare weekends we do see each other to be entirely monopolised by speaking to the jeweller/ researching honeymoons/ deciding on who sits next to whom at the wedding breakfast- so the idea of a continuous small stream of wedding related conversation suits better- that way, there’s more time for cuddles, cake and in the most recent case, fireworks and a christening when he comes home.

Bonfire Night Stroll

Bonfire Night Stroll

Dan's most recent visit home- all dressed up for his Godson's christening

Dan’s most recent visit home- all dressed up for his Godson’s christening

Dan always says “I trust you and your taste and what you want to do”, (a response which is resultant of him not having an ounce of creative vision combined with the fact he’s a lovely, supportive person who wants me to just have the day I’ve always wanted!) but at the same time I don’t want him rocking up to our wedding and to experience things like a guest! (This echoes childhood memories of Christmas day where I’d open up a present from my parents, love it, hug my mum and then go and show my Dad only for him to say “that’s nice, who’s that from?”…..”ERM….you?!” I definitely don’t want the essence of this scenario to be regurgitated… the moral of the story is that I definitely feel it imperative for Dan to be totally in the loop, and he wants to be.)

Despite this though sometimes I just don’t help myself- priding myself on my efficiency, it’s all too easy to just send emails to the venue about styling the place, confirm ring designs with the jeweller and make choices about how the name place settings will look and to then just tell him/show him after because I know he won’t mind/will be happy with the decisions. (Well all apart from one- there’s a complete embargo on any Celine Dion song for the entire duration of the stay…his only firm request?!)

I had a chat with my friend’s other half last week (who I was lucky enough to be Bridesmaid for in the summer!) and he mentioned that weddings are “the bride’s day”- which to an extent is true in the sense that we’re the ones that would have fantasised about the occasion from such a young age where we probably clip clopped around in our mum’s heels with a net curtain on our head (aka a veil)…..yet now I’m embarking on a wedding and marriage, it’s important that I feel that Dan is equally excited and for it to be “his day” too.

As a massive generalisation I know that the napkin rings don’t matter to the groom and that the colour of the bridesmaid’s shoes really don’t feature on their radar but for me now, it’s about differentiating between key things Dan NEEDS to be a part of, and things that he can simply be shown/told about after I’ve done/sorted it! Haha! So what does everyone think….? What KEY things do you feel should be organised/decided upon together and which other little bits and bobs can be made/organised singularly…..?

For me- the venue is way up there at the top of the ‘joint decision’ list! Dan and I had spoken about ‘getting married one day’ several years back and so after the proposal, we immediately just reverted back to those loose conversations we’d had about a wedding in France and we focussed on that- for us there were no other options to explore! The internet really is the most amazing tool! I googled various venues in different regions of France to my heart’s content, I created a short list which I then showed Dan and together we settled on two to go and view.

Fun at the Eurotunnel services

Fun at the Eurotunnel services

After one very interesting road trip which involved a dodgy sat nav, copious baguettes and one or two ‘heated debates’ about directions and French toll booth etiquette (don’t ask!), we visited a venue in the Charente region in the South West of France.

Road trip banter

Road trip banter

We were completely blown away as it really seemed to cement our joint vision- so we decided to choose our wedding date and committed to the venue there and then, making a bold decision to not even visit the second venue we had lined up! In retrospect Dan was the driving force behind this and was proactive in making us make a decision- I’m not entirely sure whether it’s because he wanted to be able to have more free time in which to browse the biggest French supermarket I’ve ever seen to stock up on local delicacies but he simply looked at me and stated, “what has this place not got that we want?”…..and for once, (rare occasion!) I was speechless because mentally I was thinking “excellent accommodation for everyone on one site, check. Glorious views complete with sunflower fields, check. Pool, check. Excellent reviews, check.” So that was that. We drove home feeling very happy and like the first piece of the puzzle had just been laid.

One of the gorgeous views from the venue- albeit in a stormy September

One of the gorgeous views from the venue- albeit in a stormy September

And so here we are, over a year since that very first decision had been cemented and things just snowballed after that…..! Who to invite, who to ask to be bridesmaids, how to choose a dress, which dresses and what colour to choose for bridesmaids, what cake and well, you all know the rest!

I digress…..essentially anyone planning a wedding knows that they face an intensive period where you’re going to have to make more decisions than you’ve probably ever made before….! I’ve been chilled about it all so far and a friend posed the question “how are you seeming to make this planning period painless, enjoyable and memorable rather than stressful!?.” A tough one to answer but if I have any advice based on my experiences so far I would say-

  1. Involve the groom and decide on things together- although as previously stated, this is something that as an independent visionary and control freak, I seem to be struggling with at times- especially as he’s in Germany now!
  2. Be organised! Get email files for venue, florist, jewellers, you name it- that way it’s easy to track communications (well certainly for a destination wedding).
  3. Use Pinterest (I dread to think how many hours I’ve spent ‘pinning’ images of fantastic ideas- very useful in fuelling creative ventures and sparking how to personalise the big day.
  4. Plan big! Not in a metaphorical sense but in a literal sense- don’t get me wrong, I love a list more than your average Joe, but having a note book where I was flicking back and forth was spinning me out! In order to get a clear vision of what needed to get done, I resorted to sticking a ridiculous amount of paper together (a la Don’t Tell the Bride style- although a LOT more structured I like to think!) and broke the wedding down into categories. What now resides on my dining room table is a plan complete with colour coded sections (eg Ceremony area, Gifts, Courtyard etc) complete with drawings, tick boxes (admittedly many of them being minus the ticks at the moment….!) as well as symbols to indicate whose responsibility it is to ensure these tasks are completed (Me or Dan, although the abundance of ‘stars’ which is my symbol is what has prompted me to reflect on how resourceful I am being (or not!), trusting Dan and those kind relatives and as I mentioned previously, friends, who are offering to help out.

    The ultimate plan!

    The ultimate plan!

Delegating has never been one of my strong points, but it’s definitely something I really need to focus on and try to embrace if I’m to retain my mental wellbeing- so actually those star symbols may  need revising and disseminating! On the upside- that means that I get to add another symbol to the plan and go colour crazy again, as well as write another list!

I have made some slight progress with accepting help in the last week though as my sister and Maid of Honour extraordinaire came to visit last weekend and we had a little wedding sess which involved us staying in our pjs  and painting a few bits and bobs! Admittedly she was being supervised and I was there the whole time, haha but it’s progress all the same?!

Supervised sisterly painting session!

Supervised sisterly painting session!

I hopefully repaid her in kind by having afternoon tea in Pettigrew tea rooms….(definitely a MUST for EVERYONE who loves tea and cake!) All I can say is watch this space…..can I be more relaxed at letting people be involved……. that is the question?!

Afternoon tea- payback for painting duties

Afternoon tea- payback for painting duties

Has anyone else been faced with the same challenges? Until next time.



Reading this is giving me such deja-vu! Are any readers also empathising strongly here? Leave a comment in the box! We will be back in a couple of weeks with the first post from our other super lovely Bride-to-be Claire, can’t wait!

Cwtch of the Week: Cerys & Steve by Whole Picture Weddings

Cerys & Steve got married on the 2nd of August this year at The Conrah in Aberystwyth. Cerys recently got in touch with this amazing cwtch which was captured by their photographer Vince from Whole Picture Weddings. It’s so happy, we love it! 451CSsmall

Congratulations to Cerys & Steve!

If you have a lovely cwtch you would like to submit please send it to