Colour Inspiration: A Modern Black & Gold Wedding

JZ0C7369Modern bride Hannah has put together a gorgeous colour palette mood board for us, proving that black doesn’t just have to be for funerals. We love how classy and elegant this look is!

black and gold

Hello Cwtchers! For anyone who hasn’t yet decided on a colour scheme then this post is for you. I’ve put together an inspiration board that is decadent, a little alternative and oh so fitting in these winter months; it’s my dream black and gold wedding! You can click on the images to see a larger version and, when available, where to buy the item :) Don’t forget to visit my pinterest board for even more inspiration…

Can’t see the gallery? If you’re reading via email then click on the title of the post to view on the web

Take a look at our other colour scheme inspiration posts here:

Sunny yellow colour scheme Gold colour scheme Dusky blue colour scheme

How to Choose Your Wedding Rings

JZ0C7369It’s time for another post from our lovely modern bride Hannah. She’s back to offer some advice on choosing your wedding rings – one of the only things you get to take away from your wedding day! (Apart from your other half of course ;) )

Hello Cwtch the Bride readers! :) Making decisions on which wedding ring to choose can be tough – after all it’s one of the only pieces of jewellery you’ll wear every day for the rest of your life! To help make the decision that much easier we’ve put together a guide for choosing your perfect wedding band (no, not some singers – the rings ;) )

hannah's rings© Maria Farrelly

How to Choose Your Wedding Rings

Match the metals

Choosing a ring can be daunting, there are so many different styles, it can be hard to narrow down the one that’s right for you. A good place to start is knowing which metal to pick.

Not many people realise that it’s best to match the metal of your future wedding band to your engagement ring. For example platinum is a lot harder wearing than white gold, so it’s not recommended to wear the two together.

If you’re not sure which metal your engagement ring is made from, have a look on the inside of the band where you’ll find it’s hallmark. (Don’t panic if you can’t see a marking, vintage rings and those brought abroad sometimes don’t have one – your local jeweller should be able to help identify the metal.)

If you see the numbers 375 that means that the ring is 9ct gold. 750 means the ring is 18ct gold, 575 is 14ct and 916 is 22ct gold. It doesn’t matter which colour gold your ring is, whether it’s yellow, white or rose they will all have these numbers stamped. If your ring is palladium or platinum they will be stamped 950 or very occasionally 900. An easy way to distinguish the two is that the 950 on a platinum ring would be shown in shape similar to the outline of a house, where palladium’s number appears in three interlocking circles.

Hallmark Chart

Setting a budget

Quite a few brides and grooms overlook setting a budget for their wedding rings and can be guilty of opting for the cheapest rings in order to save money for something else on the wedding wishlist. I strongly advise setting aside money for buying rings as (apart from photography) they’re the only things you get to physically take away from your wedding day. In years to come you’ll be thankful you did.

As a guide on how much to spend I would set aside up to £300 for 9ct rings, up to £1000 for 18ct, up to £800 for palladium and up to £2000 for platinum. These are all approximate prices taken from the main high street jewellers. The costs vary according to width, weights and if the rings are set with diamonds: for example a 3mm ladies platinum band may cost £595, but add in some diamonds the price could increase to £1995.

Finances may dictate whether you choose a plain traditional style ring or a fancy diamond encrusted version, but don’t be afraid to ask your jeweller if there are any special offers on. Also most stores offer interest free credit or an in store deposit system where you could spread the payment of your rings over a set amount of time.

Wedding BandRing by Patrick Irla jewellery

Think of the wear and tear

An important factor in picking wedding bands is considering how they will hold up to wear and tear a few years down the line. Whilst it would be lovely to think that spending a lot of money on a ring means that you will never have to have them repaired at any point, in reality it isn’t the case. Claws wear on all rings and eventually need re-tipping or replacing, whilst a 22ct wedding band may need reshaping. Here’s some tips on the metals to help you pick the right style from the start…

Platinum – Is the crème de la crème of wedding ring metals. Extremely hard wearing it’s a very rare metal that is nice and heavy. Naturally white it requires little maintenance. Platinum is the most recommended metal for diamond set rings.

Palladium – A relatively new metal, palladium is part of the platinum family and like platinum is very hard wearing and naturally white. However it tends to be a lot cheaper than platinum as it’s not as rare. It’s also less dense so is a very light metal to wear on the finger. Perfect for those not used to wearing rings!

22ct gold – This lovely gold is not normally sold in high street jewellers any more due to the high gold content. It’s identifiable by it’s lovely bright yellow hue and is normally reserved for plain wedding bands.

9 & 18ct gold- 18ct is the most popular metal used for wedding bands today. Coming in a range of colours such as yellow, white and gold. 18ct is stronger than 9ct, which is more brittle in comparison. 18ct gold is also a tougher metal against everyday chemicals, such as chlorine and dyes and is a good choice for wedding bands.

Think about the finish

White gold rings are very popular but not many people realise that they require regular maintenance as they are rhodium plated. Naturally white gold is a yellowy grey coloured metal which is dipped in rhodium (a precious metal which is part of the platinum family) to give it that real bright white finish. Unfortunately the rhodium over time does wear to reveal the original colour of white gold underneath. How quickly white gold wears depends on the individual, a hairdresser may need to recoat the rings every few months compared with someone else who may only do it every few years. Luckily recoating isn’t particularly expensive costing approximately £40.

Similarly it’s important to consider the maintenance when it comes to brushed, matte and pattern finished rings. Ask your jewellery how easy it is to mark off the pattern on a brushed ring and if the ring is able to be resized in years to come.

Wedding RingsRings by Karen Johnson Designs

Diamonds are a girl’s best friend

Personally I love the diamonds in my wedding band and have accepted that it may eventually require some tlc to guarantee the security of the stones. If you’re considering a diamond set band, certain styles are more suited to everyday wear than others, for example maybe avoid a full hoop style wedding ring, (where the diamonds spread all the way around the band) if you’re a bit heavy handed or do a lot of typing.

Knocks (even unknowingly) can easily dislodge a diamond. When choosing a diamond wedding band ask your jeweller to point out any wear and tear issues so you can make an informed decision on your purchase.

Ring by Shmooozin

Can’t find the style or shape you like?

Go bespoke! Almost all jewellers offer a bespoke or shaping wedding band service, even if it’s not clearly advertised, just ask! Most companies will have a portfolio of previous work they have done with other clients for you to view and could even have a wax or computer generated image made for you to see what your future wedding ring could look like.

If you decided to go bespoke, be prepared to part with your engagement ring for a few weeks, they’ll need to keep it to measure it against the wedding band at every stage of the casting process. It’s worth it when you have a ring which is a perfect fit!

How much time to leave before buying?

Jewellers don’t keep every size in stock and most rings are ordered in, this can take up to 12 weeks. Allow yourself plenty of time in case any adjustments are needed to the ring when it arrives in store. This is particularly important to brides (or grooms!) who are losing weight for their big day.

Our top tip! – Let the sales assistant bring you out a few different rings. Quite often something you wouldn’t have considered whilst looking in the window, is just what you were looking for once on your finger!

I hope this guide was helpful. Ring shopping is such an exciting experience and hopefully this post has given you a good place to start from. If you have any ring buying questions feel free to leave us a message in the comments and I’ll be happy to help. If you’ve already found your rings please Tweet/Facebook us a picture – We love being nosy!

Happy wedding planning,

Hannah x

Featured Vendor: Love Peace and Cupcake

Today we have a real treat on the blog, Debra, the very talented creator behind baking company Love Peace and Cupcake, (who you may remember from Hannah’s wedding report) is here for a little chat about all things bridal and our favourite topic – cake! Modern Bride Hannah asked Debra a few quetions about her business :) Enjoy…

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Hi Debra, we’re so excited to have you on Cwtch the Bride today; can you tell our readers a bit about yourself? :)

Well, I am Debra and I am the baker and designer behind Love Peace and Cupcake! We started off as a home based baking company, steadily rising to each and every challenge and design before we realised we were too big for our family kitchen! Fate played a hand and we recently found ourselves with an opportunity to couple delicious cakes with a coffee house and so the Cakery was born. We are now the proud owners of The Deck Coffee House and Cakery in Cardiff Bay where we grow daily with new cake flavours, classes, parties, and vintage hen packages.

How did you start Love, Peace and Cupcake?

Completely by accident! I was never the most confident person when it came to creating in the kitchen. I decided to create some cupcakes for the teachers at the end of term one summer. They were presentable and looked a bit like the picture in the recipe book so I proudly sent them off with the children. My future father in law had a big birthday shortly afterwards and I challenged myself to surprise him with 60 cupcakes. I remember losing sleep about such a large number of cakes which is mad considering the amount I cope with now! A random order came from one of his party guests and it took off from there.

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What’s the best bit about being a part of the wedding industry?

I met a lovely couple, freshly engaged, this week. They came to talk to me about their ideas for their wedding cakes next year and as I was talking with them I realised what I love the most.

I got them to tell me about how he proposed and listened whilst they told me their story. I adored watching the tender moments that passed between them as they recalled every detail and the way they held hands and kept glancing at the ring! I suppose when you work in this industry you get to be involved in the creation of precious memories and I believe that memories should be cherished. It is an absolute honour to be asked.

Have you had any hairy moments?

Apart from dropping a box of cupcakes whilst setting up a stand and once getting lost on the way to a venue, no! Never look at them as hairy moments, just accept them as learning curves ;) (This was ages ago and I have MUCH improved haha.)

Do you have any quirky wedding cake stories to share?

I have a zombie wedding cake coming up soon that I am very excited about; there’s a sugar paste bride and groom in hero mode on the top of the cake with zombies climbing up the sides! Also I am currently designing an Alice in Wonderland themed wedding, which is amazing fun!

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Do you have any advice for couples choosing their wedding cake (or cakes)?

Always do lots of research, perhaps gather pictures and ideas from magazines and put together a wedding inspiration book. Look at Pinterest or make a colour palette and take this with you to your cake consultation. I always like to get as much information as possible so that the final design is just what was imagined. Give your cake designer some colour swatches to keep showing the colour shades you are using on the big day. Above all ensure you get what you had planned, listen to advice but don’t be swayed to do something you don’t want…it is your big day and you should get to choose! Also, try to have a sample of the cakes to get an idea of the standard of the products.

Have you noticed any emerging cake trends for 2013/14?

Vintage is most definitely a popular choice at the moment. There’s lots of Victoria sponge towers with buttercream and fresh fruit, dustings of icing and huge rose designs. We are also seeing a lot of sugar veil lace effects. Also, I am finding that couples very much like their cakes to be personalised with sugar paste figures, such as, grooms with rugby balls and even the pet cat! It’s all about incorporating character and fun into their day.

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What’s your favourite cupcake flavour? If you can choose that is?

Hands down….coffee flavour, I make them with freshly ground beans and they are heaven on a plate.

We hear congratulations are in order as not only have you been busy setting up your own business, but you’re also planning your wedding! So for our last question, do you have a theme or style for your big day? If you haven’t already guessed we love wedding chat!

Aw thank you! Yes Mr Cupcake and I are due to get hitched in September in the beautiful Castell Coch. We have a relaxed vintage theme going on!

We will drive from the wedding in our VW camper (she is called Ruby Tuesday and is mega cute with a huge cupcake on her roof!) and we will be celebrating afterwards with friends and family over traditional vintage tea and buns. Do you know where I could find a good cake maker?

Debra did a fantastic job making my own wedding cakes and I can’t help but highly recommend her services to other South Wales brides. So if you’re looking for a cake maker she should be top of your list, plus those hen party/cupcake classes sound super fun!

Get in touch

To find out more about Debra and her fabulous cakes visit
If you’d like to have a taste of the fabulous cakes then pop by and visit her at her cakery;

The Deck, 20 Harrowby Street, Cardiff Bay, CF10 5GA :)

View Larger Map

Tel:02920 499 771


Hannah x 

We regularly work with brands we think you’ll love. Transparency about our advertising & sponsorship is a key part of our ethos, so we’d like to let you know that we received payment for this post.

Practical Tips for Your Wedding Day

JZ0C7369It’s time for another post from our lovely modern bride Hannah. She’s back to offer some practical tips for your wedding day, because let’s face it, we all want it to go perfectly but that rarely happens! Hopefully these tips will help you take a bit of the stress off! :) (All photos are from Hannah’s wedding shot by Maria Farrelly unless otherwise noted).


Hello lovely Cwtch the Bride readers! Hope the wedding planning is coming along nicely for you all. I can’t believe it’s been a year since my own big day! Lately I’ve been thinking back to when I was in the midst of wedding chaos myself and thought I would put together a little post of tips and advice to help your own days go as smooth as can be…

Plan your photos in advance

Everyone has an idea of the type of wedding photography they would like; this may be reportage (a style I chose for my day) or maybe something more traditional with plenty of portraits. Whichever type you decide to go with, you are still going to have a list of ‘shots’ you want your photographer to capture. For me the exchanging of the rings and the confetti shots were high on my wish list. I also knew that I didn’t want to spend a big bulk of our reception having lots of staged photographs taken, so Mat and I planned with Maria in advance the shots we wanted Maria to take.

From this meeting Maria had a clear idea on the day on who and what we wanted snaps of (my adorable baby brother in his converse and lots of detail shots) and who we didn’t want hogging our wedding album, (a distant cousin’s on/off boyfriend!) If you plan your photographs in advance not only will your photographer be better organised on the day, but it also avoids any disappointment that you didn’t get a picture of someone you definitely want in your album.

Break in your wedding shoes

Oh how I cannot stress this one enough! What may feel comfortable for a few minutes trying on your wedding shoes may feel like torture an hour or two into your ceremony. I wish I had spent more time wearing my shoes in at home; my feet were in such agony after the wedding that I wore flip flops for nearly a week! And that’s before we went on our honeymoon! One thing I did remember to take (and I am so glad I did) was a pair of ballet slippers… Oh the relief! Whilst we’re on the subject of wedding shoes make sure that you take the pair you’re going to be wearing with you to your dress fittings and actually practice striding around. There’s nothing worse than tripping up over the hem of your dress.

Practice sitting in your dress

It occurred to me the weekend before my wedding that I hadn’t actually practiced sitting down in my tightly fitted fishtail gown! Crazy I know. Cue much practice sitting down and getting back up gracefully, which sounds silly but I am so glad I didn’t attempt it for the first time during the actual wedding ceremony!

 Make sure you have time in the morning to yourself and eat breakfast

I envisioned a relaxing morning getting ready surrounded by my mum and bridesmaids in our hotel. What I didn’t bank on was seemingly my whole family descending on my room to help me get ready, or pop in to say good luck. This was lovely, but I surprised myself by needing some time alone to gather my thoughts (and nerves) about the day ahead. I ended up moving rooms twice before ‘hiding’ in my aunties room to get some quiet and have my makeup applied in peace! In hindsight I would have been much stricter on visitors and planned in advance where everyone else would be having their hair and makeup done too.

One thing I did do was eat a big breakfast. It really set me up for the day, especially as I was so pent up with excitement and nerves that I barely ate our wedding meal and dessert. I’m glad I managed to fuel up in the morning and highly recommend other brides try to do the same :)

Rachael & Sam

Image credit © John Hope

Plan for rain

Let’s face it, we live in the UK and sadly that means it’s raining more than the sun’s shining. If you plan for rain, then you can be pleasantly surprised when the sun comes out to play. Look at different places to have your photographs for different weather – we were all set to have our pictures taken inside a really cool bar and art museum close to our venue if the weather decided to play up. I also thought about giant heart shaped umbrellas in different colours. The weather is the one part of your day you can’t control, so get excited about your back up plans too!

And if it rains… well, just go with it! You can get some amazing shots in the rain… the stormier the better! :)

Fingers crossed you’re not too stressed about your wedding day – I hope this post has been helpful! If you’ve got any specific questions drop them in the comments and I and the other Cwtch brides will do our best to answer them for you :)

Lots of cwtches!

Hannah x

How to Choose A Wedding Date

Our lovely modern bride Hannah is here to give you lovely brides and grooms to be some advice on how to choose a wedding date. Take it away, Hannah! :)

When we first got engaged, one of the biggest decisions my groom Mat and I struggled to make was choosing a wedding date. How do you go about picking what will be the most important day of your life? Some people find choosing a wedding date easy, but I thought I would do a little post on how I narrowed down my own date, for anyone who is struggling like I did.

Think of your budget

This may not be the most obvious factor when choosing a wedding date, but for us it became quite important. Mat and I had a long and honest chat before we started wedding planning about what budget we should realistically set. Once we agreed on a figure, we stuck to it. It’s easy when planning a wedding to overspend, but we were determined not to start married life in debt, even if it meant compromising on other things. We decided to have a two year engagement and marry in 2012. We figured this gave us enough time to save and book our preferred vendors.

So we knew the year, it was then on to the more difficult task of choosing the month…

I loved the idea of a summer wedding, but apparently so did everyone else! All the venues we looked at had significantly more expensive, hire fees for June-August nuptials. As Mat and I were funding the majority of the wedding ourselves we decided that we didn’t want to ‘blow’ our budget on the venue alone; if we waited a few more weeks and booked out of the traditional wedding season, we could have had the same wedding but for considerably less money.

So we ruled out a summer wedding and looked to the other seasons. Winter weddings are beautiful, but I hate the cold and wanted to at least have a chance of some warm sunshine, so we ruled out November-March. That left April, May or September and October.

Hurray! We were getting somewhere….

Look at significant dates

We started thinking about dates in our lives which had meaning to us, such as our anniversary and our parents and grandparents wedding anniversaries. We also noted family birthdays and wrote a few down to see if any would be compatible wedding dates. We did consider the 16th September, which was a significant date to us, but also coincided with a good friend’s wedding date so we ruled this out. I really liked the idea of marrying on one of our late grandparents wedding anniversaries, as it felt we were involving them the planning of it all, but it wasn’t to be.

We did see a pattern of lots of lovely family events happening in April, so we quickly decided that April may be the month for us. I love Spring and how it represents new beginnings, it was perfect symbolism for a wedding.

Narrow down the choices

So once we had our mind set on April we started to view venues. This gave us a good idea of which days they were booked and what may work for us. We decided early on that we were interested in having a mid-week ceremony; weddings on Friday-Sundays were too expensive for our tight budget and the venue we wanted, and bank holiday Mondays were just as bad. So we made a decision to have the ceremony Tuesday – Thursday. (I was a little worried at first that nobody would be able to come, but Mat persuaded me that we were giving plenty of notice and all the people that really mattered would definitely be going – as it was no-one turned us down and we had a full house on the day!) A mid-week do also meant that every single one of our chosen suppliers were free, and some even offered discounts! We decided to get married during April half-term, this meant our friends and family with little ones were more than likely to book time off work anyway and that no-one would need to take the kids out of school to come.

So that left April 10th, 11th or 12th

Being as Monday 9th April was a bank holiday we decided to get married on the 10th, so everyone had an extra-long weekend! Once we had our date set, we sent out save the date cards, to give everyone plenty of notice. It was a really exciting time. Our wedding is being featured here on Friday so you’ll be able to see the fruits of our labour! :)

I hope this post has helped some of you today, if all else fails I’ve included some old school rhymes to help you pick!

Monday for health, Tuesday for wealth, Wednesday best of all
Thursday for losses, Friday for crosses and Saturday for no luck at all

Married when the year is new, he’ll be loving, kind & true
When February birds do mate, You wed nor dread your fate

If you wed when March winds blow, joy and sorrow both you’ll know
Marry in April when you can, Joy for Maiden & for Man

Marry in the month of May, and you’ll surely rue the day
Marry when June roses grow, over land and sea you’ll go

Those who in July do wed, must labour for their daily bred
Whoever wed in August be, many a change is sure to see

Marry in September’s shrine, your living will be rich and fine
If in October you do marry, love will come but riches tarry

If you wed in bleak November, only joys will come, remember
When December snows fall fast, marry and true love will last.

Happy wedding planning,

Hannah x