Real Weddings: Francesca and Nathan’s Relaxed Day

Happy Friday Cwtchers!

Ah, we have such a pretty, relaxed, happy wedding for you to start your weekend off with a big smile.  Shot by the lovely Heledd Roberts, Francesca and Nathan share their big day details with us.  Over to you two….

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Francesca and Nathan’s Relaxed Day

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How would you describe your wedding theme?

To be honest we didn’t really have a theme. We wanted a relaxed feel to the day and wanted to have as much input into the whole day.

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What was your favourite part of your wedding?

EVERYTHING! From the 6am wake up call to the 3am hot tub party with friends! We has such a blast! We wanted the wedding weekend to be based on love, life, and laughter, and we certainly achieved this!

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Tell us about your Wedding Dress

The dress was from Karen Lesley Bridal Shop based in Northrop. It was the first and only bridal shop I went to! The staff were amazing and nothing was too much trouble. I had no idea what I wanted, and after trying on a fair few I went back to the first dress! It was a Mori Lee, and was simply stunning with the lace details. My Mum and sister came with me and were very helpful.

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

I had two bridesmaids, my younger sister Laura and Nathan’s sister Monique. They were amazing and so laid back about it all. from the bridesmaid dress fittings to the day itself they were so helpful and kept me calm.

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Nathan had his best friend since school Gaz as the best man. We couldn’t of had a better best man! He made us laugh and cry during the speeches and was such a great support for Nathan on the day! Nathan will be playing the part of best man for Gaz next year for his own wedding! We have to mention the ushers! Ben, Ronnie, Anton, Adam, and JV!

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They all have been such a big part of Nathan’s life and it meant so much they played a key part during the day! They were all amazing and looked very smart in their Ted Baker suits!

Why did you choose your venue?

We were married in the Marble Church in Bodelwyddan. Both our families had strong links to the couch and it meant a lot to be married there as my Mum and Dad were married there 33 years ago. It is a beautiful church.

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We choose Pentre Mawr Country House in Llandyrnong as our wedding reception. It was the first and only venue we visited! We fell in love with the place as soon as we arrived, and Bre and Graham (the owners) treated us like family! Nothing was too much trouble and they always were happy to help and get stuck in. It is a beautiful country house with cottages and even safari lodges (very posh glamping) for guest to stay in!

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It boosted large grounds with beautiful views and of course a marquee with a newly converted barn attached for the dance floor. Myself and Nathan come from large families, and with having 130 guests in the daytime itself we were looking for a venue that provided the space but also freedom to do what we wanted.

Tell us about your photographer

Where do I begin? Heledd Roberts is AMAZING! A very talented young lady who captured our day perfectly. We aren’t a posey couple, we wanted a very relaxed and natural photographer, Heledd was just perfect for this. The photographs are truly stunning and she has done such a perfect job on capturing very special moments.

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How did the proposal happen? 

Our proposal isn’t the most romantic, but it always makes me laugh looking back at it. I had just finished 3 night shifts in the hospital and Nathan had told me before I headed to bed that morning that he was off with Gaz to collect some new fence panels for our home. I thought nothing of it as Nathan was always doing DIY around the house. I woke up a few hours later and Nathan asked if I wanted to pop out for tea that night. We headed out and Nathan randomly stopped at local beach (Rhos On Sea). He asked if I would like to get out and go for a stroll along the promenade before our meal. However, being slightly post night grumpy and in need of food I declined and said no! Poor Nathan got out, opened the boot and came back to the car with a clogau gold box. His plan had back fired and couldn’t get down on one knee, so he opened the box and there was a beautiful welsh gold engagement ring! I was shocked, and felt awful that Nathan’s plan didn’t work. After a lot of tears and laughter I said YES!

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

I just love EBay and a good bargain! I did a lot of DIY things mysellf and with the help of lovely family and friends. I wanted a personal touch on the decor and enjoyed looking for ideas on Pinterest! On the Thursday night before the wedding myself and Nathan (with the help of our brilliant family) set up the wedding venue, it was so much fun!

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What was your first dance & why?

Our first dance was sung by an amazing singer called Samwise. He sang a cover of “Can’t help falling in love with you’ on the ukulele. Choosing a song was tricky but we finally found the one which had so much meaning and felt right. It was amazing, and everyone got involved and even sang along. The dance floor was packed!

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

Not at all! I just wish we had longer. The day really does go fast!

Do you have any advice for future couples?

Enjoy every moment, the day really does fly by! Try and find some time just for the two of you during the day!

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

Remember the day is about you two, and nobody else! It had rained all morning on the day but I was not going to let that spoil the day. I was marrying my best friend and love of my life, that was all that mattered.

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What was your favourite thing about planning a wedding?

We planned our wedding over a two year period, and a lot of things were booked very early, which helped! It was interesting learning new things about each other, although we have been together 6 years. Both me and Nathan have strengths and weakness, it tested the water for sure! Overall it made us stronger as a couple!

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The Suppliers

Photographer: Heledd Roberts Photography
Videographer: Theo Woodford-Dyer Videographer
Ceremony Venue: St Margarets Church, Bodelwyddan
Reception Venue: Pentre Mawr Country House, Llandyrnog
Bride’s Dress: Mori Lee
Bride’s Shoes: Not on the Highstreet
Bride’s Headpiece: Accessorize
Bride’s Jewellery: Not on the Highstreet
Groom’s Outfit: Ted Baker
Bridesmaid’s Dresses: Dorothy Rose Bridal Shop 
Bridesmaid’s Accessories: River Island
Cake: Sarah Radcliffe (friend)
Flowers: Haf’s Floral Design
Hair: Fabienne at Hush
Make Up: Anna Baxter Make Up
Band: Samwise
DJ: Red Rooster Disco
Stationery: Paperchase
Caterers: Brooke House Mill (Denbigh)
Any Reception Decor/Props: Haf’s Floral Design
Transport: Just Rolls

The Wedding Album

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Sponsored Post: Top Tips when Choosing Your Wedding Band

Morning Cwtchers!

So hows all that planning going? Reached the ‘what on earth are we going to do for music in the evening?!’ stage yet?

Well panic no further, as we have Adam from Bands for Hire, here to help!  Bands for Hire are a music agency providing live bands for every occasion. From function and wedding band hire to swing and jazz bands, they have picked the very best on offer.

As a one stop entertainment agency, they also provide String quartets, Wedding Musicians and DJs for hire. 

Clearly, Adam is qualified to offer you some awesome tips when choosing your wedding band! Over to you Adam…

Sponsored Post Banner Choosing a Band

Top Tips when Choosing Your Wedding Band


Like many soon-to-wed couples, one of the most important aspects of your wedding day may well be the music; the ceremony songs, background music and live band will become the sound track to your big day, and ultimately the soundtrack to your lives. With this in mind, along with the often large sums of money spent on entertainment, it’s vital to choose wisely.

A quick search on the internet for live wedding bands in your area and you will most certainly be presented with an overwhelming selection of bands, each one of various standards. Deciphering through the various websites will require some time, so grab a glass of red and get comfortable, you are about to hear more renditions of Uptown Funk and Mr Brightside than you ever thought possible.

So what steps can you take to ensure you’re making the right choice? These days it’s all too easy to throw up a website, bash out a few demos and call yourself a wedding band but as with every trade, there are various degrees of professionalism and there are a number of ways to root out the good from the bad.


First Impressions are important

As a general rule of thumb, I find that if a band has gone to great effort and expense to produce high quality demos, videos and photos, then that is usually a good start. Putting together promotional material is a significant investment which demonstrates a professional attitude and serious intentions.

Compare Quotes

Whilst price isn’t always an indicator of quality, many bands will eventually settle at a price point that reflects their popularity and quality. The most experienced bands will inevitably quote more for their services so decide on what you can afford and work around your budget.

Ask for reviews and testimonials

Experienced bands will usually have testimonials available from previous clients, the more reviews the better as this will provide you with a good insight into their live performance as well as their communication. Not all agencies publish testimonials so don’t be afraid to investigate further if you can’t find any online.


Are the band with an agency?

If a band is represented by a credible agency, then this is often a good sign, however, this then begs the question ‘how to spot a credible agency?’. Here are a few things to look out for:

  1. Is the agency a limited company and do they have a registered company number displayed on their website? If so, look them up on the Companies House website.

  2. Is the agency VAT registered? This can be a strong indication that the company has been around a while and will still be here on your wedding day.

  3. Does the company have reviews online that you can read from independent sources, i.e. Google and Facebook?

  4. How long has the company been operating for?

Quotes from agencies may occasionally be slightly higher than booking a band directly, but on the biggest day of your life, it’s comforting to know that a credible company is only a phone call away.

Check the Set List before booking

When researching bands, be sure to look into their repertoire and set lists to get a better idea about their performance. The majority of wedding bands cater for a mixed group of ages, so whilst you may want the majority of the music to be to your tastes, keep an open mind to ensure all guests will be kept entertained.

Watch the band live if possible

If a band is local and are putting on a showcase event then it’s a great idea to watch them live. However, the most popular bands in the industry don’t tend to perform any public gigs at all and so watching them live will unfortunately not be possible. Using promotional material and other aforementioned factors are usually the best way to judge a band’s professionalism.


Communication is important

Whether you choose to book directly with a band or through an agency, good communication is essential. If a band takes a week to reply to your emails you’re going to feel frustrated and planning could get stressful. Decide on a band that you feel confident is on your wavelength and will be easy to deal with.

Final checks before booking

Before confirming your chosen band, it’s worth going through the following points with your band and venue first:

Insurance: All wedding bands should come with full Public Liability Insurance (PLI) to protect them from potential injury claims.

PAT Certificate: Your venue may also require PAT certificates for the band’s gear so check that the band have this.

Sound Requirements: Ask your venue if they have any specific sound requirements, it’s very common for a venue to have a sound limiter installed and if so, you’ll need to check that your band are comfortable with this.

Space: Is there sufficient space at the venue? As a general rule I usually recommend approximately a meter width for each band member and three meters depth. So, a 5-piece band might need 5 x 3 meters in total.

Band Rider: Does your band have a rider? 99% of musicians will request a meal before they perform and this should be outlined in their contract.

It’s time to start your search!

With all of this in mind, don’t forget the most important tip at all – choose a band that you love and that you feel has the perfect vibe to suit your day.

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. Cwtch the Bride only accepts sponsored posts from companies we think will be useful to you :) 

Bride to be Diaries: Introducing The Sporty Bride

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Hello everybody!

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I waved wildly at my computer screen after writing that which pretty much sums me up…mental!

I was very lucky to be selected as a ‘Bride to Be’ Blogger by the Cwtch team. Having followed this blog for a long time (long before I was engaged…) I’m so excited to share my journey with you all now it’s finally my turn to plan a wedding. This is my introduction post so you can get to know me a little bit better!

I’ve been coined ‘The Sporty Bride’ which is pretty much perfect really seeing as I love my rugby and am a tad obsessed with fitness. I put on a lot of weight whilst I was in university studying to be a physiotherapist, and subsequently lost 5 stone in 2012 after graduating.

Ever since then I’ve loved trying new sports and entering events (from 5k runs to full IRONMAN triathlons) to see what wonderful things my body can do.

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My current obsession being Yoga! I’ve been on a very long journey about self-belief, learning to love myself and my body (most of the time).

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I’m 27 and live in Swansea with my partner, Matthew. I work as a physiotherapist in a spinal injury/neurological rehabilitation unit as well as the head physiotherapist for Welsh Premiership rugby union team, the Bridgend Ravens and Ospreys U18 age grade.

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Matthew is the Elite Rugby Coordinator for the Welsh Rugby Union, he’ll often tell you it’s a lot less glamourous than it sounds but I know he works very hard and I’m very proud of him. Our paths cross quite often professionally and it adds another dynamic to our relationship altogether at times but makes for an interesting life!

We are a very social couple and love our rugby and a drink (or seven…). Matthew proposed to me on March 12th 2016. It was a Saturday and I had been working in the early afternoon. I agreed to meet Matt in the pub after work to watch the rugby, Wales vs England. When I arrived, Matthew took my hand and led me to a quiet spot. I remember being stressed because I hadn’t had time to tidy myself up having come straight from work – I was just about ready to tell him to let me go put ‘my face’ on when I saw how nervous he looked and suddenly I had butterflies.
He handed me a wrapped present; a copy of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Price with a ribbon tied around it. When I opened the book, there was a square cut out and a ring was nestled in chapter 15 titled ’The Unbreakable Vow’ (Oh yeah…HUGE Harry Potter Fan).
I went into shock. He went down on one knee and asked the question. I couldn’t believe it, so much so my hands were shaking and I couldn’t speak but managed to say ‘of course’.

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Matt had arranged all our family and friends to be in the pub that day and so we got to go tell them all our good news at the same time! Wales lost the Rugby but, in all fairness, I can’t say I paid much attention to the game for the first time in my life!

Our Wedding is booked for the 4th of August 2018. 2016 was very eventful for us… we got engaged and became first-time buyers as well so we wanted to make sure we had plenty of time to plan and pay for (*groan*) the wedding of our dreams. We both wanted a big wedding full of family, friends and good times. Seeing as we are both fiercely proud welsh people there was no question about having our wedding in lovely little Wales.

As I spend most of my life in tracksuits and polo-shirts either in my rehab unit, working out or on the side of a muddy rugby pitch in pouring welsh rain looking like a reject from the ‘Gremlins’ movie; my wedding is the perfect chance to live out every feminine, girly fantasy I ever had. I’m sure that many people that know me might think they are at the wrong wedding when they rock up on the day. Many people are surprised to know that under my usually athletic, minimal make up, easy going self is a little girl that dreamed of a sparkly, glamourous and elegant wedding.

I’m also hoping to somehow incorporate our love of sport and wales into our plans…could be an interesting combination! I desperately want my wedding to look as good as my pinterest board does haha! (By the way…I wasn’t kidding about the gremlin look…)

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I hope that all you enjoy sharing our journey with us as much as we will enjoy sharing it with you- I’m going to be as honest as I can and hopefully not boring!

Hwyl for now- I’m off out for a run! N x

Cwtch of the Week: A Golden Hour Cwtch

Hello Cwtchers!

To get over all that chocolate we have managed to consume over the Easter holidays,  we have an absolutely stunning Cwtch of the Week to share with you all.  Shot by the very talented and lovely Sheetal Varsani, the shot is of Sarika and Dipesh, enjoying a lovely moment on the beach, as the sun goes down, during their engagement shoot. I will hand over to Sheetal to tell you more about the shoot. Enjoy!


A Beach Sunset Cwtch

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A week before their Civil Ceremony, I travelled down to Ogmore-By-Sea with Sarika & Dipesh to catch the sunset for their pre-wedding shoot. Despite the weather forecast being a bit iffy, these two were happy to embrace the cold wind and drizzle.

They were even brave enough to get into the ocean!

Having documented their Chandlo Engagement last year, it’s always a joy to have these two in front of my camera.

I’m really looking forward to capturing their official marriage at Cardiff City Hall and can’t wait to share more photos!

And as for us, we have the whole engagement shoot that we cannot wait to show off to you! I will be chasing Sheetal for those wedding images too! x

Bride to Be Diaries: Introducing The Unexpected Bride

Good morning everyone! 
We are very excited to introduce another of our wonderful Bride to Be Bloggers, The Unexpected Bride, Rachel!
Over to this little beauty to tell you all about her and her new fiancé!
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My name is Rachel, newly engaged, aged 32.
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I grew up in Cardiff and studied at Cardiff University. Following Graduation I still didn’t move away from Wales and started my first job also in Cardiff at an engineering consultancy which is where I first met my fiancé.
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I decided I needed to experience working outside of Wales so I ventured to Dubai for a few months and now I am working away during the week in Somerset so I think wedding planning may be limited to weekends which may prove challenging!
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After quite some time of secretly following wedding blogs such as Cwtch the Bride and loving all the stories, photos and  building up my version of a wedding from the fabulous ideas I saw, I honestly never thought it would be my turn to be “The Bride”!
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Instead, I passed on my thoughts, ideas I had spotted and advice to my many lovely friends who were becoming princesses for their big day. I took on duties of Bridesmaid (twice!) and enjoyed getting to put some of the hen party inspiration I picked up from Cwtch the Bride to use.
Despite all the wedding excitement over the years it was never my own and my boyfriend just didn’t seem keen on the idea of even talking about marriage.
Rewind to when we first met all those years ago at work, we become friends and I never imagined one day we would become a couple. One of my colleague’s joked to me afterwards that he knew we would be together before even I did! I was the young and naive twenty something year old with no idea.
He was quite open about not wanting to get married, while I was young and care free so that didn’t seem to concern me back then!
Then came the years of actually waiting. Waiting and waiting! When I did actually care! Now an early thirty year old.
Fast forward to December 2016 on a ski holiday to the snowy French alps.
unexpected bride 5At the top of a glacier with no skiers in sight, I got asked to be his wife! In total shock, it took a few minutes of confusion and questions around is he winding me up and why would he want to marry me to me saying yes.
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It took about 48 hours to sink in and then I realised it’s finally my turn to be the Bride and start my own wedding planning.
I am looking forward to sharing my adventure with you of finding “The One”…the venue, dress, flowers, decorations…and then the lead up, the hen party, the day, the honeymoon and life as a Mrs!
Rachel x
And we cannot wait to share the journey with you Rachel! Yippeeeeeee x