Bride To Be Diaries: Spring Bride Ali Does All Or Nothing

Our Spring Bride Ali tells us about all the life adventures she has planned as well as planning a wedding! There is nothing like doing all at everything at once.

B2B Spring BannerOur Spring Bride Ali

spring bride profile

All Or Nothing

Ladies, how are we?

Where do I begin?

Weddings, are, stressful. Fact.
Tell you what’s more stressful?
Thinking it’s a good idea to change jobs, plan a wedding and sell and buy a new house all in the same 6 months.
Yeah. So, our lives have become even crazier recently.
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We decided at the beginning of the month to look in to the Help To Buy Wales scheme and a New Build property near our current house. At first, it was purely out of interest. We wondered how much it would cost, and how far in the future a move could be realistic.
It turned out it was doable, well, now.
So of course, we decided to go for it.
So, our house sold for the full asking price after a week on the market, the mortgage for the new house is agreed, and the house will be ready in January… just under 3 months before I Do’s. As if moving house isn’t stressful enough.
But, it is ridiculously exciting. And I need to remind myself of that.
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Also, I decided a few months back to start focusing on looking for a new job, as the commute to my current base is slowly driving me insane. Anyone who’s ever done the West to East or vice versa will know how mind numbing and soul destroying that stretch of the M4 is.
I applied for the perfect role, much closer to home, and am overjoyed to have been offered the job. Super exciting. Of course that meant a hoohah with the new mortgage. It is all sorted now but it was a bit manic.
Again, changing jobs is quite stressful in its self….
Wedding things… I did have all in hand. And I felt much more on top of it all when it was the only thing I was dealing with.
Finding it a little more difficult now that the house and the job are factors too!
I managed to get a little crafting done!
I’ve made out guest book frame…
Had a play about with calligraphy for our place cards…
We’re booked in to register intent…
And today I’ve contacted the venue to try to work out timings for the day so I can send out invites and schedules.Photo 22-08-2016, 13 56 38
Has anyone moved house close to their wedding day before? (I mean of you ladies reading as oppose to ever in the history of mankind haha)When we change address, it will be after we’ve registered intent etc. We’ll be in the same county, but will we need to contact the Registrar to change address?
I really do need to keep remembering that this is all very exciting. And try not to label it as stressful/ scary etc… I’m prone to anxiety so keeping my head above the water with all this is going to be a challenge… any coping strategies welcome.
At least I’m getting it all out of the way in one go hey?Babies next… haha!
Wow I think you will agree that Our Spring Bride has taken quite a lot on. You can do it Ali! If you missed Ali’s last post click here

Featured Post: The Wedding Blog Awards 2016

Good morning everyone!
On Monday we shared just one of many photographs of our amazing evening at The Wedding Blog Awards 2016.  If you missed it, have a look here, or keep reading, as Im about to tell you all about it!


Friday morning arrived and Maria and I were very excited! We had been nominated for two awards at this years Wedding Blog Awards, Best Regional Wedding Blog and Best Wedding Blog Team.  Looking at the people we were nominated with, We Fell in Love, London Bride, The Nuptial and Brides up North for Best Regional Blog and The National Wedding Show, Festival Brides, So You’re Getting Married and Brides Up North for Best Wedding Blog Team, we weren’t going to hold out breath. We were over the moon to be nominated and looking forward to an awesome night with some fabulous people.

img_9506Stationary by Eagle Eyed Bride

After painstakingly curling my hair and discovering, with no time to amend the situation, that I had the same style as Liz McDonald, I headed to meet Maria and begin the journey to London.


Our excitement was annoyingly quashed as we didn’t take the opportunity to push in the queue to get on the coach, and so instead had to sit rows away from each other! Maria was sat next to someone lovely who chatted away to her as she straightened her hair.  I was sat next to the most miserable teenager in history. I even offered him a Malteaser and he just grunted at me! I was more annoyed that he had no idea what a big deal that was in itself – I don’t share food! Its just a good job i had my ‘water’ with me to drink.  It definitely wasn’t vodka and lemonade as you’re not allowed that.


So instead, I say rigidly in my seat so as not to mess up my ‘Liz Do’, texting a variety of ‘I’m Booooooooored’ texts to Maria.  Three and a half hours later, we arrived in Victoria Station.


A quick tube to Liverpool Street and we arrived, donned in the comfy leggings, to the beautiful Andaz Hotel.  Feeling spectacularly underdressed and inappropriate, we made a quick dash for the toilets (which were more like deluxe changing rooms) to sort ourselves our and get party ready! After giving new friends, Photo Buzz UK an unwanted and uncalled for flash of my Spanx (Im too tall to fit in the loos and change like Maria can!!), we enjoyed in a G&T at the bar, then headed into the event.

Holy Moly, that ballroom! You know when you’re little, and you imagine you’re a princess and you’re dancing with Prince Charming in the most beautiful ballroom you can imagine, with pillars and spectacular glass dome in the ceiling? Yeah, its like that. Its just stunning.  And to top it off, it was decked out in the  most glorious of floral decor by the fabulous and just lovely, Simon Nickell.

andaz-liverpool-street-london-p330-1901-dome-1280x427Image courtesy of Andaz 1901 Ballroom

After much mouth open appreciation at the room and the spectacular cake made by Elizabeth’s Cake Emporium, we settled in nicely and enjoyed our copious complimentary prosseco’s, selfies posing for the official photographers whether they wanted us or not (Sorry you lovely bunch at Priceless Memories Photography) and photo bombing (I am so sorry I do this everyone! Its like an addiction).

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Then came the time for the awards to be presented.  And who should be presenting?? Not Mark Wright as originally booked, but the Welsh gorgeousness that is Gethin Jones! As you can imagine, we were over the moon.  Ok ok ok, Maria was pleased, I was over the moon! I have got quite a crush on him.

We stood and cheered and clapped at the wonderful winners.  Then came the award for Best Regional Wedding Blog.  Standing next to Michelle from The Nuptial, we all pulled ‘oooooooo’ type faces and, Maria and I began planning our gracious losers faces/applause.  The Woodland trust, who sponsored the award began with, ‘and the winner is…..’

Cut to Maria and I, genuinely no reaction except hands poised ready to clap the winner…..

‘……..Cwtch The Bride!’

Cut back to Maria and I just screaming at each other.  We possibly would have just stayed there doing exactly that if I wasn’t also super excited about going up on stage to stand closer to Gethin and so shoved us in that direction!

So up we went, completely gobsmacked and over the moon.  I felt the need to tell Gethin about the crush I was harbouring on him (*slaps self on forehead*), and Maria felt is necessary to shout at Gethin, ‘she’s going to stand by you, she’s obsessed with you’, which is hugely untrue. Obsessed is quite extreme. Honest.


Well, ecstatic is an understatement.  And everyone was so so lovely, coming over to wish us well and congratulate us. What a moment. Us Cwtch Girls work very hard to keep Cwtch The Bride full of exciting and inspiring content, supporting the Welsh wedding industry wherever possible. To be recognised for this is a complete and utter joy and we are so grateful.


We partied the night away wth some fabulous new friends, drinking and laughing (a lot), having our pictures taken in the Photo Buzz UK Photo Booth, dancing to the brilliant band, ‘The In Crowd’ and generally having a wonderful time.

Right at the end of the night before we left, the gorgeous Simon Nickell decided to share the beauty, and began giving us bouquets of the display flowers. I was over joyed!


Maria was most put out when she saw my gorgeous little bunch, Simon heard, and produced the most enormous bouquet you’ve ever seen.  I wasn’t bitter (Hmph)


As well as our award and flowers, the wonderful people at Just Us Box handed out super big gift boxes of halloween goodies that we were to save and open with our partners! I haven’t had a really good rummage yet, but I am very excited to find out whats on there!


It was finally time to go home sadly and we were booked onto the 23:30 National Express back to South Wales.  So we popped our trainers back on, grabbed our goodie bags, waved bon voyage, and headed to the tube.

Whilst on there, looking down at my flowers, I realised that there was no way I was going to get them home without ruining them! And besides, tiny Maria was really struggling to carry her humungous bouquet around.  Looking around, there were lots of people looking a little glum. It was late, they were tired and just wanted t one home.  So we decided to share our joy after a fantastic evening, and handed out a flower each to everyone we could see.  There was suddenly an awful lot of happy faces, and we left the tube to a fabulous round of applause and lots of ‘thank you’.  That felt amazing, and was a superb end to the evening.

All in all, we had the most amazing night. Thank you so much to Wedding Magazine and Andaz for being such amazing hosts.  Thank you to you lovely readers, you make it all worth it! And thank you to our contributors and Lush Listers – we couldn’t do it without you!

We will continue to work hard, and hopefully be back again next year!

For a look at all of the winner of the awards, have a little look here!

The Album

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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!!!!

img_0093Maria Farrelly Selfie!

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. 

Alphabet Dating Banner W-Z

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.

stdwynwenPhoto Courtesy of Visit Wales

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!