Afternoon Tea

Vintage Bride Sophie is here this week to talk about Afternoon Tea, who doesn’t love it!

If you’re opting for a vintage-themed wedding you’ll be pleased to hear that food is the easy part :-)

There are ways to tie in your era of choice to your wedding menu; hot dogs for a 50s rock n roll theme, 1000 course taster menu for a 20s theme… but one way to keep costs down, offer variety and provide something for everyone while maintaining a vintage theme is through ~ perhaps the greatest invention of all time ~ afternoon (or high) tea!

I mean, really, what could possibly be better than having someone plonk a beautiful cake stand in front of you, filled to the brim with sandwiches containing the fanciest fancy things you would probably treat yourself to at Christmas, miniature pies, tarts, cakes, buns, quiches, scones… and on that note I’m off to the kitchen to raid the cupboards and I’ll be back to finish writing shortly…


Image Source

Image Source: Etsy

… Okay back to business. Let’s start with the cake stand. If you have a number of tables to serve you are going to need a fair few of these. There are plenty of local businesses in and around Wales with vintage cake stands and china available to hire at a fraction of the cost of having to buy them and this is definitely the route I would (and did) go down. If you want to pick up a few to use after the wedding, or for sentimental purposes, try charity shops, eBay, your local vintage market or even ask your family!

Cake stand full of delicious delights. Image Source.

Cake stand full of delicious delights. Image Source.

Fancy Vintage China based in Swansea provide vintage fine bone crockery
La de Da…Vintage China Hire in Porthcawl offer china along with other vintage props
The China Library in New Tredegar have been collecting vintage china, glassware and accessories for almost a decade
Vintage Green has a selection of English Bone China available to hire throughout South Wales
Sipping Pretty just on the edge of Hay-on-Wye have a collection of vintage crockery, glassware and other accessories including eiderdowns and candlesticks as well as picnic blankets!

The Caterer…

Filling the cake stand with delights is something you will need to discuss with your caterer. Most caterers are used to preparing food for buffets but you will need to express that you need some finesse. This is, after all, an alternative to a traditional wedding dinner and needs to be special. It needs to fill your guests up to guarantee smiling faces in your wedding photos. No one likes to party on an empty stomach! Caterers should be able to provide food to suit your budget so sit down beforehand and establish what you can afford.

Tea on the Titanic. The menu for the last Afternoon Tea the Titanic would have. Image Source.

Tea on the Titanic. The menu for the last Afternoon Tea the Titanic would have. Image Source.

When deciding on sandwich fillings, pastries and the like, try to offer as much variety as possible. You may need to cater for vegetarians, vegans and guests with allergies so don’t forget to take any dietary requirements into consideration. As long as you have enough food and offer choice you’re on to a winner, trust me. Although it’s breaking tradition, another way to bulk up your menu is by serving bowls of salad and potatoes. These will accompany the savoury elements of your afternoon tea beautifully and will help to fill those bellies :-)

Oh, to heck with tradition! Have a giant basket of fresh welsh cakes on each table too!

I’m always one for a bit of sentimentality so let’s make this meal personal. If you’re lucky enough to have some of grandma’s or your mother’s hand-written cake recipes you could frame and display these as alternatives to table numbers and if you really want to get nostalgic, why not treat your guests by adding the finished cakes to the cake stand. How proud would they be?

Alternative idea for table names. Image Source.

Alternative idea for table names. Image Source.

I’ve been a busy bee sourcing era-specific recipes, presentation ideas and menus to whet your appetites. Pop over to Pinterest and have a little gander to get inspiration on food, drink and all areas of your vintage wedding.

Are any of our readers planning a real vintage wedding? Who is going with afternoon tea in lieu of a traditional wedding breakfast? Drop us a comment below.

Why You Should Have an Engagement (or Proposal) Shoot

We’ve featured many gorgeous engagement shoots here on Cwtch The Bride and even an incredible proposal shoot, this week Charlie is giving her opinion on why these are such a good idea.

When I read about this gorgeous proposal shoot last week I was fairly blown away, knowing the amount of planning and effort it took and then seeing it unfold in front of our eyes was pretty magical.

Image by Claire at Loveseen Photography

Image by Claire at Loveseen Photography

Just think about it guys (or girls as the case may be), you have spent ages planning the perfect, romantic proposal but then it’s all over in a blur of emotion- how amazing would it be to have photos and/or a video of the whole thing to look back on?! These two went to the effort of planning to propose on the London Eye and just happened to be lucky enough to propose within eyeline of a talented photographer, our very own Maria Farrelly!

Images by Maria Farrelly

Images by Maria Farrelly

london eye proposal

I recently asked talented videographer Ben Walton if he had ever been asked to film a proposal and he said disappointingly he hadn’t been, it’s just not something people think of. But I have a feeling this kind of stealth shooting is going to really take off and I can’t wait to start seeing the results!

Image by Claire at Loveseen Photography

Image by Claire at Loveseen Photography

However if you are reading this post on Cwtch the Bride then chances are you have already had your proposal so instead of a proposal shoot it’s time to decide whether or not you want to have an engagement shoot.

When we first got engaged I really couldn’t see the point of an engagement shoot, it seemed to be just one more thing to spend money on unnecessarily. But once we met Maria (our photographer and creator of Cwtch the Bride!) I couldn’t wait to have one! For one thing, Mark and I didn’t have any really nice photos of the two of us and I couldn’t wait until the wedding photos for that! But more importantly we really couldn’t wait to have the opportunity to get to know our photographer and learn to relax in front of the camera.

I genuinely believe that a good rapport between photographer and client means that you get the best out of the photographs, being with a person you can relax and have a giggle with is such an important thing on your big day. As important as it is for you to get to know them, it is equally as important for them to get to know you. They will see how you interact with one another, how relaxed (or not) you are in front of the camera and what you do and don’t like.

I really recommend getting the engagement shoot done fairly early on, that way you get more time to enjoy your pictures and can think of ways that you want to incorporate them into the day if you want to. We had a guest book made out of our E shoot photos and now it sits proudly along with our wedding albums. We also used one on our wedding website and for our table numbers, and on our Facebook profile pictures too of course! Luxury bride Pippa had one of her photos blown up and turned into wallpaper for the bar area- it looked incredible!


Above images both by Maria Farelly

Above images both by Maria Farelly

I thoroughly enjoyed our engagement shoot and can’t recommend it highly enough. Aside from the practical reasons above, it’s good fun too! You get to choose a location that’s special to you, dress up in whatever clothes you like (not quite the same as the wedding day!) and you get to spend a day laughing and smiling with your other half and get some lovely pictures at the end of it. Still not convinced? Maybe some of these gorgeous images will help change your mind.

Making table numbers: Leah & Ollie by Marie Lloyd

Making table numbers: Leah & Ollie by Marie Lloyd

We love featuring pre-wedding shoots here at Cwtch the Bride, if you have had one and would like to see it featured here we would really love you to get in touch with us on

Cwtch of the Week: Sarah & Jamil

We’re pleased to have the lovely Sarah & Jamil as our Cwtch Of The Week. They got married two days ago! (Saturday 16th August) at Porthmawr Country House, Crickhowell.

Sarah is actually Maria’s sister in law. Not only did Maria photograph the wedding but she was also a bridesmaid! (not an easy task juggling both roles). She nailed it though!

We’ll be featuring Sarah & Jamil’s wedding soon but for now, enjoy this lovely cwtch!


Real Wedding: Chloe & James by David Holdsworth

This week Chloe and James share with us their gorgeous wedding photographs by David Holdsworth. Chloe and James got married in The Bear Hotel, Cowbridge on 22nd February 2014, Chloe tells us all about her day here…


What was your budget? 

The whole day came to just over £12k. We were lucky that my very generous parents paid for our reception, so we were able to pay for everything else between us. We spent money on the parts of the wedding that mattered to us such as the food, drink, photographer and band…and my dress of course!


How would you describe your wedding theme?

Our colour scheme was duck egg blue and silver, but we didn’t have a set theme otherwise – we wanted everything to be personal to us, so my mum and I made our centrepieces and favours, James’ auntie and nan made our cake, and we had framed pictures of family on the venue’s entrance table. We were relaxed about not having everything matching so we had different shades of light blue and silver throughout the day.

ChloeJamesWedding097 ChloeJamesWedding678

What was your favourite part of your wedding?

I’ve got three highlights: the ceremony (of course), the speeches, which all exceeded my expectations, and the band Perfect Day who played at the evening reception, who were fab and had everyone up dancing all night.

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

I had my best friend of over 20 years as my maid of honour, and my sister and two close friends from school as bridesmaids. They were my first choice of girls to have with me the night before and the morning of the wedding, and they were all great.

My husband’s closest friend was his best man, and he also had his brother and two other close friends as ushers. He would’ve liked to have had more than one best man, so it was important to him that his ushers were part of the day too.


Why did you choose your venue?

My parents moved to Cowbridge a couple of years ago so we’ve had many Christmas Eve drinks at the Bear! We’d both heard great things about it as a wedding venue, and the staff seemed so experienced in making sure everything ran smoothly.


How did the proposal happen? 

On a sunny Tuesday last April I came home from work as casual as ever, and walked into our flat to find our favourite song playing, champagne and flowers on the table and James dressed in a suit down on one knee holding an open ring box. He said after that he wishes he kept the ring box closed until after he proposed, as I was more interested in the ring than what he was saying (apparently)!

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

Don’t take on too much work by yourself! My lovely mum helped with our glitter jam jar centrepieces, and my maid of honour also helped with the favours so it was all manageable.


What was your first dance & why?

We had a song from the 50′s which I don’t think many of our guests knew – Wonderful, Wonderful by Johnny Mathis. We first heard it on a TV show a while ago, and it was the song James had playing when he proposed, so it holds special memories for us.


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

The only regret I have is that I didn’t even LOOK at the evening buffet food, as I was too busy having a good time! Other than that I wouldn’t change a thing, it was perfect.


Do you have any advice for future couples?

Don’t worry about post-wedding blues, you’ll still be on cloud 9 weeks after the big day!

What’s the best piece of marriage advice you received?

From my mother: life can be boring sometimes, so make sure you marry someone you still have fun with when things are boring!

What was your favourite thing about planning a wedding?

The whole thing, it was great watching the plans for our day come together.


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The Wedding Album

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Thank you Chloe and James for submitting your lovely wedding! All images are by David Holdsworth.

If you would like to see your wedding pictures up on these pages please get in touch!

Bride to Be Diaries: The Empowered Bride, Part 4

Our Empowered Bride is back with the fourth part of her Bride to Be Diary. Click for parts one, two and three. “To empower” is defined as “[To] make (someone) stronger and more confident, especially in controlling their life and claiming their rights” which is exactly why our our bride to be is called the Empowered Bride.

“When she is good, she is very, very good but when she is bad she is horrid!”

We all know the saying and I have to admit. I have had a month of being horrid. A couple of days away turns into, “I will start again Monday.” Which turns into “no point starting til we come back from holiday” and so on and so on.

So I needed to get my head back in the game. And I asked myself how do I start sorting my head out. Well I needed to do something I haven’t done for a long time! Something I hadn’t ever wanted to do. Something that for me was more torturous than seeing those shoes you have been eyeing up go on sale when you are skint! Something I hated! I decided to take a leaf out of Forrest Gump’s book and Ran!

According to the dictionary, running is a means of terrestrial locomotion allowing humans and other animals to move rapidly on foot. It is simply defined in athletics terms as a gait in which at regular points during the running cycle both feet are off the ground. I don’t normally move rapidly or try to lift both feet of the floor except in the recliner chair. But since losing some weight and needing something that scared me I thought why not.

We all know that everything diet or exercise related starts on a Monday. So true to form, early on a Monday morning, I put on some trainers and I braved the road . After 3/4 minutes the little voice in my head consciously said out load “Oh my God I’m actually running!” It might not be anything big for you but for me it was gigantic.

Now I’m not going to say I love it. And I’m not going to say I’m addicted to it. In actual fact, I hate it. It’s hard work and I can’t run for very long. You might say I do a lot of walking on my runs and I look like a sweaty tomato as I go round the roads. With all that aside the one fact that I am proud of is that I am trying!

I remember feeling exactly the same when I started running before the wedding! Do we have any more empowered brides who want to share their stories with us? Please leave a comment in the box below.