Bride To Be Diaries: Our Graceful Bride Might Have Taken On Too Much

When I got married I had these massive plans for a big family meal the day be for and this lovely breakfast with the people from both our sides enjoying every minute together and continuing the celebration.

I got to a point where a friend sat me down and told me that I should only put my energy into the wedding day since she had gotten overwhelmed. I actually, for once, listened to her and left it.

Today our Graceful Bride tells us all how she might have taken on too much with her “wedding weekend.” Take it away Vicky.  b2b-graceful-banner

Our Graceful Bride

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Maybe we took on a bit too much….

So the wedding has been and gone and all I’m left with now are hundreds of photos and a list a mile long on who needs to know that I’m changing my name!

As fabulous as it was, a few days beforehand I was beginning to wonder if we’d taken on a bit too much. I mean who plans a wedding 225 miles away from where they live with 2 days of activities beforehand and a honeymoon straight afterwards!

Couple that with the fact Rob also had tonsillitis in the days leading up to the wedding and I’m quite surprised I didn’t just keel over somewhere!

Packing turned into a military operation and on the Tuesday before. I think I only sat down when I was in the car driving what felt like the length and breadth of Essex, all whilst trying to remind Rob when he needed to take his antibiotics!

With the dog off on his holiday, a car packed to the roof and a tired, disgruntled fiancé, we took on the M4 on a Wednesday evening, my many paged itinerary in hand and trying and get to my parents house with enough time to have a half decent nights sleep!file-23-11-2016-14-05-59file-23-11-2016-14-06-12

Thursday was family day, golf and afternoon tea at the Celtic Manor, Rob wrapped up in a good 4 layers with instructions not to overdo it, advice we should have taken in regards to eating as well I think!

As if we’d not had enough to eat and drink then we had a large family meal at our favourite restaurant in Newport, complete with gifts from the staff as we’ve been going there for over 20 years.

It was lovely to share our place with family that haven’t been in a long time and for Robs side of the family to experience it.

After a rather giggly church rehearsal on Friday morning (slightly concerned the photographers wouldn’t come back at one point) we said goodbye to each other and went our separate ways for the day.

Rob headed back to Celtic Manor for more golf and a meal with his friends, I put my parents, cousins and aunt and uncle to work at Peterstone Court.file-23-11-2016-14-06-23file-23-11-2016-14-06-36

With the most glorious weather we spent most of the time sat outside, looking at the view whilst putting together confetti cones and favour bags, it really was one of the best afternoons!

My friends timed their arrival amazingly well, just after everything had been finished setting up, so we took over the local pub for the evening, adults in one room, kids in the other (I say kids, apart from Charlie who’s an actual child the rest of us were aged between 20 and 35!!)

Needless to say by that point I was pretty exhausted and didn’t get much past 10.30pm!

We did something on the Saturday but I’ll leave that for another post….

By the Sunday I’d also come down with a cold so had the fun task of trying to tidy up, check out and get into a highly decorated car to move everything back to Essex, as well and trying to squeeze my mum in the back somewhere as she was coming to dog sit.

By the time we picked up Bailey he had to sit on my lap as there was no ounce of space available, (highly uncomfortable given he’s a rather large labradoodle!)

We arrived back to a welcome from the neighbours and a house decorated with balloons and banners before having a grand total of about 12 hours there before we headed off to Gatwick for the honeymoon.file-23-11-2016-14-06-50file-23-11-2016-14-07-01

A week in the sun (and a few cheeky champagnes and whiskeys on the flight) were just what we needed though and both of us were soon feeling better!

Just about got us refreshed enough to come back home and head off to Wales again a few days later for another wedding, different outfits though this time!!file-23-11-2016-14-07-11file-23-11-2016-14-07-20

Hands up who is ever so slightly jealous of that honeymoon. I can’t wait to share with you Vicky’s wedding. make sure you keep your eyes peeled for it.

Featured Post: Wedding Traditions From Round The World

I love history. I love weddings. So for me finding out about wedding traditions from around the world makes me so intrigued and literally laugh out loud at the same time. It makes you think about how some of these came to be.

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Wedding Traditions From Round The World

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Moroccan brides purify themselves with water from their rivers before their wedding.riverImage from Pinterest

Jewish weddings are meant to be a mixture of joy and sadness. The groom stomps a glass cup held in a napkin as a reminder of the destruction of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem.jewishImage from Pinterest

Fairies seem to be a pest problem in Ireland: brides must keep both feet on the ground while dancing lest those spritely creatures whisk her away. Time to practice your moonwalk! irelandImage from Pinterest 

In certain parts of China, brides and their wedding parties practice a month-long crying ritual before the wedding. Each night, the bride sits with her mother, grandmothers, sisters, and aunts for an hour, all crying in unison to form a kind of celebratory “song” to mark the occasion.

chinaImage from Zhangjiajie Tour Guide

In Sweden, it’s a lighthearted tradition for guests to plant kisses on the bride or groom when either leaves the room. In 2016 it’s a gender-neutral game, so anyone can sneak a kiss to the couple!swedishImage from The Buzztube

I don’t know if my family would be up for a group sob session for a whole month before my wedding. Do any of you have any family wedding traditions that you think we our readers would like to hear about. If you do email us at info@cwtchthebride.com. 

Bride To Be Diaries: Our Graceful Bride’s Hen Don’t

My hen do was one of the best weekends of my life. My sister did an amazing job and when it came time for me to return the favour I found it so much pressure make it as special as my one was. Today Our Graceful Bride tells us all about her hen do. Take it away Vicky. 

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Our Graceful Bride

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Hen Don’t

Before anyone gets too concerned, this isn’t a post on what not to do at a hen party! I didn’t want a hen do, a lot of my friends are male.
I have friends spread all over Europe so organising something seemed impossible, the thought of dressing up in tacky outfits and going to get drunk at numerous clubs fills me with dread and don’t get me started on my feelings on male strippers!
I really wasn’t fussed on the whole thing. This all changed after a rather boozy meal in East London one night (burgers in donuts is a thing, who knew!) when my friends from uni decided, in their cocktail infused state, that we should do something.
Seen as most of them are guys we felt it couldn’t be named a hen do, hence the birth of the hen don’t! file-07-11-2016-10-39-36Given that I’d also participated in a cocktail or 2 I then did the unthinkable, I gave them full control to organise the whole thing, I’d have no involvement!
I assumed it would either be forgotten about when everyone sobered up or we’d just do a variation on our usual meal out in London. I was wrong, very very wrong!
Months of Facebook groups and WhatsApp conversations I wasn’t allowed to be part of ensued whilst they enjoyed my panic! I was allowed my cousins and friend Nikki to join me the night before to help me pack (needless to say the giant clock and snorkelling gear didn’t go in, I did have bug spray though!) but I was still completely in the dark.
So Saturday morning, I’m banished and locked in the kitchen having to listen to everyone giggling away and Rob just saying “I don’t get it” numerous times before the giggling turned to fits of laughter as the boys arrive, an arrival that brought out half our neighbours! Jones Jet had landed (otherwise known as a mini van hired from the airport) and with it a fully fancy dressed ‘crew’! file-07-11-2016-10-38-50file-07-11-2016-10-39-17They’d really gone for it, I was presented with a boarding card before being ushered into the van and away, marshalled out of the drive with some glow sticks whilst listening to fake safety announcements they’d created.We had a variety of comedy in flight magazines, airline blankets, pillows and vanity sets and a full tray of breakfast!file-07-11-2016-10-39-02 An ’emergency landing’ into Reading service station finally revealed that we were going to Bristol, where I was also presented with a t shirt and relatively tasteful bride to be banner I was forced to wear.file-07-11-2016-10-39-26 Many hours later we pulled up outside an actual hotel complete with swimming pool and spa (they’d had me convinced for a while that we were going camping) and promptly decided to make use of them! With a night that then continued on with a meal in a steak restaurant, an exclusive cocktail bar where we were joined by some of my other friends who live in Bristol, a bar and finally a crappy club they really did outdo themselves!file-07-11-2016-10-39-46file-07-11-2016-10-40-00 I spent most of the weekend in absolute amazement that a) they loved me enough to plan the weekend and b) that they actually had really good organisational skills when left to their own devices! Trouble is though I’m never going to plan anything ever again now I know they can do it! So I’m now a full advocate for the hen don’t (should probably copyright that!) everyone should have one and I have the numbers of a couple of good planners!!file-07-11-2016-10-40-11
Awww I love that they made such an effort. Who says that your hen do can’t be a hen don’t!

Bride To Be Diaries: Our Traditional Bride’s Pre-Honeymoon Dash

So our beautiful Traditional Bride is married! She looked amazing and we can’t wait to show you her big day. Today she talks about how she did a bit of crazy honeymoon planning. Grab a cuppa and pop your feet up as I hand you over to Kathryn.

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Our Traditional Bridetraditional bride

Pre-Honeymoon Dash

So the wedding is done and dusted. I’ve talked, laughed and cried about it so much and can’t wait for it to be published as one of Cwtch’s Real Weddings so I’m not going to go over it all again now, I’m going to tell you about the next amazing but stressful part of our wedding process. The Honeymoon.

Now I know a lot of you sensible people will have already budgeted for a honeymoon, perhaps you may have already booked it and started saving for it… if that’s you, well done, you’re doing the right thing!

I however, had a different approach. Every single last penny of our savings, wages, earnings and any cash we came across was ploughed directly into our big day. To us, we didn’t want to scrimp on a single detail on the day if we could help it, and our priority was the day itself. We had the bright idea of asking our beautiful family and friends to kindly gift us with some cash instead of traditional wedding presents, we live together and have all the toasters, plates and kettles we need in our life, and we just hoped that with these very kind donations, we would be able to snap up a “cheap late deal” on a honeymoon a day or 2 after the wedding and just jet off!photo-23-09-2016-12-01-41-pm

That did indeed happen… Eventually. Although it wasn’t particularly cheap. We couldn’t have been more grateful for the incredible generosity of our loved ones, and we had a fantastic honeymoon in beautiful sunny Cyprus but the fact of the matter was that we ended up paying for a holiday that we wouldn’t have chosen if we’d had more time! You see there doesn’t appear to be such a thing as a “cheap late deal” these days… unless you live near the London airports or want to go to Turkey, neither of which was a possibility for us!photo-26-09-2016-9-02-40-pm

Our wish-list went like this:

💎Cyprus/Canaries

💎Flying from Bristol/Cardiff

💎10 nights

💎On the beach

💎Nice resort, near a few pubs/restaurants but not too wild.

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I exhausted onthebeach.com within 24 hours of the wedding and quickly realised we needed some help so spent the next 3 days in Thomson, Thomas Cook and eventually Travel House to finally get anything anywhere near what we wanted.

Rich and I are not massive on luxury, we wanted some guaranteed sunshine, a relaxing holiday together just to chill out and reflect on the manic couple of years we’d had and the lovely future ahead of us. But the truth of it was we had very little choice!

The right destinations just didn’t have the right flights, the right flights didn’t fly on the right dates, the right dates didn’t match our budget and what matched our budget were to completely different places!

It was hell. I really hadn’t thought this through, and was in such a panic, if we hadn’t booked time off work, I’d have said sod it, let’s leave it a few weeks, but we couldn’t.

My job isn’t so bad, they’re pretty flexible but Rich had booked 3 weeks off and simply couldn’t change it so we admitted defeat and took a holiday which ticked 2 of our boxes (well, almost 2… We conceded to dropping one night!)photo-02-10-2016-3-40-51-pm

What we actually got:

✅Cyprus

✅Flying from Birmingham

✅9 nights

✅Nowhere near the bloody beach

✅Aiya Napa town centrephoto-02-10-2016-10-35-32-am

But before the holiday could begin, I had to get rid of the cats.

I love my weird, ungrateful pets a lot more than they even like me I think.

Being a responsible owner, I’d already pre-arranged their stay in a local cattery because I knew we would be going somewhere, but with everything going on, not to mention the last minute shopping trip where I spent a ridiculous amount of time searching the sale rails in New Look and Next for the last of the holiday gear the day before we departed, I’d simply forgotten I had to actually take them in.

The crazy little creatures won’t let Rich even touch them half the time, they don’t appear to like male humans (they are rescue cats and I have no idea of their background or previous treatment, only that they’re terrified of men. I could write blogs purely on the hell we endure with these psychotic animals on a daily basis but I’d be here all day.)photo-22-11-2016-5-02-01-pm

So I was happily cruising home from my shopping trip when I had a phone call from the hubby reminding me I had to take the fur-devils to the cattery by 5:00pm.

It was 4:35 and I was about 2 miles from home and a further 5 miles from the cattery. Cue the most horrific panic ever, you don’t know horror until your much-struggled-for honeymoon is under threat by 2 fluffy balls of indifference.

I booted it back to the house, grabbed the critters and rammed them in the cat cage, there was no time for tickles, treats and coaxing, I got clawed to bits in the process but with 10 minutes to spare, I was booting it back down the road, Lily and Lola yowling in the cage next to me as if it was their holiday at stake and I was literally, excuse the pun, having kittens!photo-22-11-2016-5-02-08-pm

The cattery opens 10am – 5pm, we were leaving at 6am the next day, too early to take them in in the morning and was stuck in rush hour traffic realising I was just not going to get them there in time.

Living in Swansea, I have no close friends and neighbours nearby to help me or take them in the next day for me, my family are all in Ammanford and I couldn’t believe that I’d left it so damn late!! I’d had all day!!

So a hysterically tearful phone call to said cattery resulted with a member of staff huffily agreeing to wait for our arrival (which was eventually 5:30pm!) and that was it, the kitties were safely deposited! Hating me, but safe and looked after.photo-23-09-2016-9-50-16-pmphoto-28-09-2016-12-32-50-am

And off we went, a whole week after the wedding!We had an amazing time. We drove the long trek to Birmingham and got tipsy in the airport, as you do, our flight was delayed and we arrived late in the night but the hotel was stunning, a massive refurbished 1-bed apartment overlooking the pool!

We ate out every day and night in gorgeous little Cypriot restaurants, walked miles and miles exploring bars and shops, we sipped cocktails and partied a bit too hard in the Ayia Napa strip a couple of nights, and spent a fortune on taxis to the next town to go to the actual beach, we met lovely friends, caught a fabulous tan, and enjoyed every second of our honeymoon BUT never would I ever leave it that late to book again!photo-28-09-2016-11-48-59-am

The cheap late deals are a thing of the past, unless you don’t mind where you go or your goal posts are totally moveable, book in advance!

And your pets. Don’t forget them either!photo-30-09-2016-9-32-41-pmI know how crazy it gets after the wedding. We had a 6 day gap between the wedding and the honeymoon so I can relate to the craziness, the total exhaustion and the need to just want to go x

Featured Post: Choosing Your Wedding Veil

Today we it is all about choosing your wedding veil. If you were anything like me, you dreamt about your big day from when you were about three years old.

I always had a picture in my mind of how I wanted to look on my wedding day. And I knew what my veil looked like. Once I had that bridal moment and I had my gown, the next thing was  the big veil debate!

I knew I wanted one and what it looked like. But I had no clue whatsoever what it was called.  

I quickly grew tired of saying ‘its like super long, but not too long, heavy lace boarder, sits low on the head…..’ then trying on a variety of veils that kind of looked like what I had described, but none of them were it.  

We know how hard it is to choose your wedding accessories, so we hope that this post will give you some insight into choosing your wedding veil. 

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Birdcage: A style that’s perfect for the bride looking for vintage appeal. This mini veil is worn to just cover your eyes and can extend a little past your chin. It’s very chic and tends to bring an old school Hollywood glamour feel. It is also perfect for brides who have short hair as they can come on a headband and rather than a comb that could slip out.

marc-smith-birdcage-veilImage by Marc Smith
ryan-welch-birdcage-veilImage by Ryan Welch

Blusher: This is a short veil that falls over your face and ends near your shoulders. This option is ideal for the bride looking for a traditional look without the hassle of a long veil.blusherImage from Pinterest

Flyaway: The flyaway also just brushes the shoulders, but with multiple layers of tulle to add volume and movement. This style is ideal for brides with oval or oblong face shapes. We think that they add a real element of fun and work perfectly with brides who have a short dress.maria-farrellyImage by Maria Farrelly

Elbow: Elbow-length veils are romantic and traditional but don’t give you the hassle of carrying a full-length veil. You could wear this all day without feeling like you are being weighed down. This style looks exquisite with a strapless sweetheart gown or simple satin wedding dress. art-by-design-blusher-veilImage by Steve Wheller of Art by Design

Fingertip: This is the most popular veil length, the fingertip-length veil flatters most brides and dresses, even those dresses with statement-making backs. Since the sheer fabric of the veil adds a touch of intrigue while still showcasingyour open back or illusion lace detailing. The length is as you would expect, traditionally ends at the brides fingertips. This is another one that you could wear all day and this way your evening guests can see you looking the same as you did at the start of the day.dan-morrisImage by Dan Morris

Ballet: Want to wear your veil for the after-party and reception? Choose a ballet-length veil or shorter. This style hits mid-calf, perfect for the bride looking to dance through the night. mark-smith Image By Marc Smith Photography

Chapel: This veil will create the illusion of a train with a chapel-length veil that extends just beyond your gown’s hemline. This style also adds drama to slim silhouettes, such as subtle fit-and-flares or sheath gowns. dan-morrisImage by Dan Morris Photography

Cathedral:  If you are looking for the long train, go for regal drama with a cathedral length veil. This style is traditionally linked to a formal wedding but the rule is not hard and fast. If you want it then it’s your big day. Have it! Keep in mind that an outdoor setting may ruin its delicate fabric. It also takes a lot of ‘preening’ by your bridesmaids to make sure its not getting out of controlandersonphotographyImagine By Anderson Photography

maria-farrelly-veilImage by Maria Farrelly Photography

I hope that this has given you a little insight to negotiating the wedding veil lingo x