Real Weddings: Lauren and Paul by Jessica O’Shaughnessy

Happy Friday one and all!

We have such a pretty wedding for you today, and all done beautifully on a £10,000 budget! This in itself is a miracle, but its so gorgeous as well.

I will hand over to Lauren and Paul, to tell us all about their big day, which was captured beautiful by Jessica O’Shaughnessy

Real Weddings Banner

Lauren and Paul


What was your budget?

Our budget was £10,000.

How would you describe your wedding theme?

I would describe our wedding theme as vintage folk with just a hint of rock and roll.

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What was your favourite part of your wedding?

Lauren: My favourite part of the wedding was asking our guest to sing ‘Wouldn’t it be nice’ by the Beach Boys as part of the service. As we were having a civil ceremony we decided to incorporate an element of a traditional church wedding (singing the hymns) in a non-religious way. We wanted our guest to feel actively engaged with the ceremony and we also wanted them to stay on their toes.

Paul: My favourite part of the wedding was the speeches. We took a non-traditional approach and encourage the best men and the bridesmaids to get involved. Rachael (Lauren’s sister) a long with the other bridesmaids (Hollie, Sophie and Freya) sang an edited rendition of ‘Crashed the wedding’ by Busted (one if Lauren’s favourite bands). They edited the words, printed scrolls for all of the guests and invited everyone to sing-a-long) it was absolutely hilarious.

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They definitely set the tone for the speeches and all of the pressure was then on the ‘Adequate Men’. As I had 3 best men each of them took responsibility for telling different stories from different points in my life. The speeches included pictures (which all of the guests had a copy of) and a little toy pony called Jeff (who had been an integral part f the stag do). I must also mention Lauren’s Dad, Craig, who opened proceedings and did an amazing job of both embarrassing the bride with funny stories and expressing his pride about the lovely young woman she has become.Lauren&Paul81

Tell us about your Wedding Dress

The hunt for the perfect wedding dress began early in 2015. My Mum, Sister and I decided on one Saturday morning that we would go into Chester and try some dresses on in some of the Bridal shops. I was the first one of my close friends to get married and so had no idea about protocol.  As a result it some became apparent that just turning up and asking to try dresses on wasn’t the way things were done. One shop allowed me to try on a couple of dresses however I was advised that they only stocked sizes 8-10 and therefore none of the dresses were going to fit me properly. The whole experience was very unpleasant as I left feeling fat and uncomfortable. I already had a very clear picture in my mind of what sort of dress I wanted but this would prove very difficult to find. In wasn’t until the summer of 2015 that we tried again. I had discovered a discount Bridal store in Newcastle upon Tyne (which is where Paul and I live). My Mum, Sister and Nan came to stay for the weekend and we visited the store. The staff were amazing, they had hundreds of dresses in different styles and sizes. This experience I really enjoyed. On that day I tried on 4 dresses, I knew instantly that I had found ‘the one’. We bought it then and there. In the months that followed I tried on 3 other wedding dresses as I wanted to be sure that I had made the right decision. I had. No other dress even compared.

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

Lauren: My family are really close and I am lucky enough to have cousins who are like sisters to me. I choose my sister Rachael and my cousins Hollie, Sophie and Freya to be my bridesmaids. I also choose my younger cousin Isobel to be our flower girl. They looked beautiful and did an amazing job of keeping me calm and getting me drunk before the ceremony.


Paul: I decided not to have one best man and instead had ‘The three adequate men’. Matt, my brother and Will and Blandy two of my best friends were in charge of best men duties and they did an outstanding job-from planning and facilitating my two stag do’s to delivering their speeches. I couldn’t have asked for more.


Why did you choose your venue?

We wanted the wedding to be as informal as possible. We talked about the fact that we wanted the wedding to reflect the freedom that we felt at festivals or when we went away camping with our friends. Listening to music we loved, drinking and talking into the early hours. We didn’t want to be constrained by formalities. We also wanted the venue to be stunning and unforgettable.


Tower Hill Barns ticked all of these boxes. We booked our wedding when the refurbishment was still happening but we knew from the plans that it was exactly what we wanted. The setting, the buildings, the gardens and the staff were amazing. It really was the dream wedding.

Tell us about your photographer

I found Jessica by chance. I had been searching for photographers over Christmas and happened to come across her website. I had a very specific image in my head of what our wedding photographs should look like. I hated the idea of forced pictures with fake smiles and formal compositions. When I saw Jessica’s work I knew she was the one. Her images are so informal, they capture moments of reality. You can see from the images that when people are smiling it’s because they are happy and having a good time. She was outstanding. She added so much to our day and she has created images that truly depict our personalities and exemplify the emotions of the day. She was so professional but also a friend. When I was unsure about what was happening or where people should be, she took that pressure away from me, reassuring us that everything was as it should be. I can’t thank Jessica enough for the role she played that day or for the amazing moments she captured.

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How did the proposal happen? 

Originally Paul is from Cumbria and as a result we have spent a lot of time in the Lake District. We had planned to go back for the weekend with some of our friends for a get together. On the journey over I had asked to use Paul’s phone as my battery had died and he was very sketchy about handing it to me, this started alarm bells ringing and I honestly thought the worst ‘there is someone else’.

When we arrived at Paul’s Mum and Dad’s house all was calm. We spent the evening with our friends and usually this would result in a very late night and a horrible hangover the next morning. As 1am approached Paul suggested that we should get some sleep, this was very out of character. The next morning we woke up and got ready to go for a walk with our friends. They had gone home to get ready and this seemed to be taking them a very long time. They finally returned at about 12.30pm and we set off to Lake Ullswater for a walk.

We pottered around the Lake, threw some stones and dipped our feet into the water. As I was walking back the shore I turned to see my friends had formed a horse shoe around Paul who had got down on one knee. He pulled the ring from his pocket and asked ‘will you marry me?’. He may have also said something else before the words came out but I honestly can’t remember, it is all a blur. I covered my face and started to cry and asked ‘are you joking’? He laughed and replied no. I of course said yes. We popped a bottle of champagne and enjoyed ghe moment with our best friends. I began trying to call my Mum and my Sister. There was no answer. Paul pacified me and said we would go home, get changed and head into town for some celebration drinks, he also reassured me that I could keep trying to ring them for as long as it took.

As we pulled into the drive of Paul’s Mum and Dad’s all seemed calm as we had left it. Paul took my hand and walked me through the house out into the garden, I could smell smoke. As we turned the corner music began to play, I look down the garden and there was my entire family, who had driven up from the Chester in the morning, all of our friends, a BBQ and a gazebo set up in the garden. Paul had organised a surprise engagement party. I cried as my Dad hugged me. Paul hadn’t wanted me to use his phone as he had been texting my Mum and Sister organising the party.
The engagement party set the tone for the wedding. We knew that we wanted the wedding day to reflect the laid back and fun atmosphere he had created on that day. People still ask Paul ‘what would you have done if she had said no’ and his answer is always ‘I knew she would say yes’.

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

Buy a decent printer and make your own invitations-this saved us a fortune. Everything was done on publisher and all you have to do is download different font styles and images from the internet. I was really proud of our invitations.
We did the same with our seating plan, I mocked it up on publisher and then we sent it to be printed on canvass. I really liked having creative control and again it was so simple to do.

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My mum spent a year buying crystal vases from charity shops for our table decorations. we filled each of them with gypsophila. Each of the vases was slightly different and this added to there charm.

We bought all of the decorations ourselves and on the morning of the wedding my Mum conducted a team of happy helpers to decorate the venue. We couldn’t have done it without her.
My favourite decoration was a guitar which my Mum re-designed. She painted and added the lyrics to one of our favourite songs-this was a surprise for Paul on the day. All of these little touches really make the difference and made the day ours.

What was your first dance & why?

We spent months deciding on our first dance. Both Paul and I are really into music, it has been a very significant part of our relationship. We selected songs that had meant something to us throughout our relationship and rated them out of 10. Then one evening we discovered a cover of ‘Don’t let me down’ originally by the Beatles, but beautifully remastered by one of our favourite artists Paolo Nutini. We knew this was the one. It felt significant that this was a new song in our relationship and would forever only be associated with our first dance. We kept it a secret until the day and it was absolutely perfect.
As a homage to the other songs that we had wanted, we incorporated them into our vows, selecting specific parts and re-writing them into our own words.

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

The only thing we would have done differently is hiring a live band. This would have been more in-keeping with theme and would have added another element of fun. But this is a minor detail for us as the DJ was absolutely fantastic.


Do you have any advice for future couples?

Be really fussy about you DJ. I spent months searching for a DJ who would be willing to only play songs that we suggested. We asked our guests to choose 5 songs that they would like to hear and we also created our own wedding playlist. As I already mentioned music is a very big part of our relationship and we wanted the music played to reflect who we are as people and not be the standard wedding tunes. The DJ was amazing, they got just the right mix of soul, rock and roll and Indie tunes.

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

It will be exactly the same as it was before. It is. Nothing changes, you wake up in the morning and bask in the idea that you have engaged in a traditional rite of passage that means that you are now part of a club in society with millions of other people. But how you feel about each other and who you are doesn’t change. That’s the most amazing thing about it, you have this incredible day which celebrates your love for each other and everyone who is important in your life, but then you just go back to your normal life, with a ring on your finger and memories that you will cherish for a life time.


What was your favourite thing about planning a wedding?

I adored planning the wedding. There are so many parts of the planning process that I loved: finding the venue, thinking of the theme and seeing it all come to life, creating the invitations, planning the table dressings with my Mum, coming up with the playlist, designing my cake with Jan which was absolutely beautiful. All of those things add to the excitement and contribute to the build up. At no point did I feel pressured or stressed because we had so much support from everyone around us. I love the fact that everyone played a part in making our wedding perfect, it was a team effort and that truly reflects our relationship with our families and friends.


The Suppliers

Photographer: Jessica O’Shaughnessy
Ceremony Venue: Tower Hill Barns 
Reception Venue: Tower Hill Barns
Bride’s Dress: WED2B 
Bride’s Shoes: Aliexpress 
Bride’s Headpiece: A Day to Remember 
Groom’s Outfit: Slaters 
Bridesmaid’s Dresses: Debenhams 
Cake: Too Good To Eat Wedding Cakes 
Flowers: Flowers by Gaynor 
Hair: Laura O’Callaghan 
Make Up: Laura O’Callaghan 
DJ: Big Boss Man 

The Wedding Album

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#Cwtchfest Spotlight: Science Cream

Cwtchfest2017 Spotlight

Science Cream

Super premium handcrafted ice cream, frozen to order, right in front of you in seconds. IMG_1300 (1)The theatrical plumes of vapor erupting from out nitro canisters, instantly freeze the custard base, creating a smooth, intense scoop with almost no ice crystals.

Owen Mathias Photography

Owen Mathias Photography

The ice creams superbly smooth texture is unlike any other ice cream and everything we sell, from cookie sandwiches to milkshakes topped with peanut butter brownies and flame toasted veggie marshmallow, is handcrafted in our little ice cream parlour in Cardiff.Owen Mathias Photography

In 2016, we featured in both the UK and Cardiff editions of The Guardian’s Best Cheap Eats. Their resident food critic Tony Naylor placed our ice cream on par with Heston Blumenthal’s, writing: “Remarkable… Frankly, how can you pass up the chance to try some of the best ice cream this side of Heston Blumenthal’s Fat Duck?”. That same year we also featured in The Times’ Top Ten Ice Cream Parlours in the UK, Olive magazine’s Top Twelve Best Family Friendly Venues and BuzzFeed’s 17 Ice Creams To Try Before You Die.

Owen Mathias Photography

Images by Owen Mathias

#Cwtchfest2017: Cwtch Workshops

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We have five great workshops running this sunday at #Cwtchfest2017 Starting at 12 noon and each running on the hour for 30 minutes. Here, you will get to meet some of Wales’ finest and most experienced wedding professionals. Spaces are limited on some so we are advising you all arrive early. If you don’t manage to get a space then you are all still welcome to listen and take notes :)

12 noon- Maria Farrelly Photography

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Creator of Cwtch The Bride and professional wedding Photographer, Maria Farrelly is kicking off the first of our Cwtch Workshops.


Getting the most out of your big day

Having photographed hundreds of weddings over many years Maria has ALOT of experience of virtually every type of wedding in most locations. From Festival weddings in the middle of no where to traditional church weddings with 300+ guests, maria has found they all have one thing in common. The need to be well organised!

Planning your day properly and being aware of how long things REALLY take will give you a better understanding of how your day will go.


In this workshop, Maria will walk you through the typical time scales of a wedding day. This is a great opportunity to involve the bridal party (who normally don’t have a clue what is going on). So many brides want to plan their own wedding and think its easy. Its not, trust us. The more help you get, the better. Maria will show you how to delegate, who best to give roles to, how to avoid turning into a bridezilla and most importantly how to get the most out of your day.

She will also give you some great tips on how to look great in your wedding pictures!



1 pm – YumeYume Logo

Yume Hair and Beauty Salons Cardiff, presenting Bridal Hair trends.

You’re never fully dressed without Yume hair! Yume means dream and we LOVE to create dream hair for that dream wedding!wedding-collage-2
Hensol - cwtch the bride_0022Do you want your own personal wedding hair stylist that’s part of a professional team of wedding experts to create your bespoke wedding look? Then that’s another reason to say “..I DO” We will be showing three very different bridal looks, each being bespoke to the individual wedding style. …From Classic/Elegant to Rock-chic and Boho too…lots of fabulous ideas to share with you. The complete look – hair, make-up and wedding dress too! Your visit to the salon needn’t be daunting and worrying…but a happy, exciting experience knowing you will come away with lots of hair and make up ideas, hints and tips, including your own personalised Wedding hair and beauty plan!

* Veil or no veil…?

* How to prepare your hair for the big day…?

* Is your hair as glossy as it could be…?

* Does your hair colour suit your cool or warm skin tone…?

* Wedding hair trends 2017-2018…?

We take pride in sharing with you our advice and guidance on how to enhance your own wedding ideas…. focusing your vision of your dream wedding and turning into a reality!

2 pm- Do You Believe?

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We have Helen from Do You Believe running a fabulous workshop on Body Confidence.

Every bride is capable of looking and feeling fantastic on their wedding day, no matter what size, height or anything else that varies! But theres more to it than just trying to be on trend. You have to be smart. If you truly FEEL fantastic you will certainly LOOK fantastic too because confidence is more striking than any frock I can tell you to wear.304

If you are looking for some advice on how to work with your god given gifts then Helen has some pearls of wisdom which she has learnt over many years of dressing all different shapes and sizes.050

I have a top 5 tips on how to work with what you’ve got and some hints on how to make wedding dress shopping easier and more enjoyable: 1) the dos and donts for your shape and size 2) what to take with you- being prepared when shopping 3) be open minded 4) the finishing touches- the devil is in the detail 5) when/where and who PS- a touch on bridesmaids- the diplomatic approach


3pm – Make Up By Nicola

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Award winning professional make up artist, make-up by Nicola has over 10years of industry experience and will be answering all your make up questions at the workshop

Owen Mathias Photography

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4pm – The Flower Hive

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Come and talk to Eva at The Flower Hive about using locally grown flowers for your wedding, and creating naturalistic designs.
Join in a buttonhole workshop . Learn how to design and make your own unique buttonholes and be creative at your wedding.   Practice floristry skills using spring flowers and hedgerow foliage.

Owen Mathias Photography

Owen Mathias Photography

Owen Mathias Photography

#Cwtchfest2017 Spotlight: Vintage Cups and Cakes, Paper Date Stationary, Kate Richards Photography and Calon Lân Cakes

Cwtchfest2017 Spotlight

Vintage Cup and Cakes


Vintage Cup and Cakes hires beautiful mix and match china which captivates the essence of a quintessential afternoon tea.  Whatever the occasion, big or small, vintage china makes a unique statement, with teacups and saucers, plates and cake stands mismatched with pretty teapots and milk jugs.  We have china for afternoon tea and dinner services including a beautiful eclectic array of glasses.  All the china has been personally sourced and it really matters to Vintage Cup and Cakes that we work together to make a truly special event for all our customers. We also offer homemade afternoon tea, with sandwiches, cakes and bakes which can be chosen by the host to suit tastes and themes.VCC_logo

We do not have any minimum numbers and are happy to cater for small or large parties.  We have 150 place settings of china.  We also have homemade bunting and can make bunting to order to match colour schemes or use special fabric to tie in with the special day.  You can chose to only hire the china, to have a package of china and afternoon tea or simply for us to provide the cakes!  We are very flexible and want to meet your needs for your big occasion!
Whatever the event, whether it be a wedding, hen party, mother of the bride tea, birthday, christening or a ‘just because’ tea party, Vintage Cup and Cakes brings together a love of vintage, beautiful china and cakes…the perfect combination!

Facebook – Vintage Cup and Cakes

Twitter – @vintage_cac

Paper Date Wedding Stationary

At Paper Date Wedding Stationery, we design and produce luxury and bespoke stationery products for weddings. From the ‘save the dates’ to the ‘thank you’ cards – if you’re getting married, we can offer you the entire creative service needed to make your day unforgettable.


We offer a very personal service that is friendly but professional. You get to know us and more importantly we get to know you. Everything is designed and planned around you as a couple.


Wedding stationery doesn’t have to be formal and stuffy, it can be anything you want it to be. Your invites set the tone and the standard of your wedding. It’s the first thing your guests will see, so making the perfect first impression matters. We have a variety of collections to choose from, all of which will be altered to match your colour scheme and the wording changed to suit your style.

PDAdsHiRes9We also offer a bespoke service, where we start from scratch together, building upon your ideas until we’ve created your dream stationery. We only use the finest materials and are obsessed with paper, constantly sourcing new types to make your stationery a cut upon the rest. Our wedding stationery is for anyone who wants their special day to be truly special and unique to them.
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Kate Richards Photography


My style is warm, romantic and modern, using light and scenery to frame the moment.
I love to take relaxed portraits in natural surroundings, and capture genuine emotion and atmosphere of the day – to show the warmth, happiness and love, so when you look at your photos years later you remember the feeling of that day.

Calon Lân Cakes

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We at Calon Lân Cakes offer the most delicious Wedding Favours made with love to traditional recipes. All homemade with love, not mass produced.

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We began with scrummy Welshcakes as Wedding Favours but have since progressed to Bara Brith, Chocolate Brownies & Shortbread. We use only the best quality ingredients in everything that we bake & nothing is ever frozen. Our butter is Welsh & our eggs are free range to give you the best, most natural tasting favour around – each one sprinkled with a bit of Calon Lân love.

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We also love to experiment with Welshcake flavours, most of which are totally unique to us. Peanut Butter & White Chocolate, Pistachio & Lime, Chilli & Chocolate to name but a few! We also have the traditional currants of course!

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We also have beautiful packaging styles, many with a vintage & boho theme. These include paper packages tied with string, lovely hessian bags, vintage style boxes & our brand new favour jars. All of which can be tied with ribbon of your choice or twine, we can pop a tag on for you & even hand tie some beautiful fresh flowers – the choice is yours, we pride ourselves on our bespoke, personal service.

Cwtch of the Week: Georgia + Emily’s Beachy Cwtch by Jacob McCarthy

Happy Monday everyone!

I know, I know! Monday’s are not particularly happy occasions, so here we are again to start your week off on a great note! Cwtch of the Week this week is the stunning beauty cwtch of  Georgia + Emily at Oxwich Bay, shot by the fabulous Jacob McCarthy!
I will hand over to Jake to tell you more about the girls and their beautiful big day….


Georgia + Emily’s Beachy CwtchGeorgia and Emily by Jake at Ryan Welch Photography

After seven amazing years together, Georgia and Emily decided to tie the knot at the beautiful Oxwich Bay Hotel, situated along the Gower Peninsula South Wales.  With its breathtaking panoramic views of the coast, Georgia and Emily were blessed with beautiful blue skies and golden sands! (which certainly makes our job a little easier).

We first met Georgia and Emily when Georgia was a bridesmaid at Emily and Joe’s wedding at The Angel Hotel in Abergavenny last year.   After spending a great day with Emily’s awesome bridal party we couldn’t wait to photograph this big day.

These two lovelies planned the most special day with smiles and laughter all around from morning til’ night.  A superb setting with added vintage quirkiness thrown in from the pair, such as a Volkswagen camper van and Georgia rocking cowboy boots for the evening festivities!  They booked both our photography and videography service, which helped capture the most intimate and moving moments in a cinematic short film full of love, laughter and romantic goodness.  This was also a good chance to use our drone for those epic wedding shots and aerial views of the beautiful Oxwich Bay Hotel like you have never seen it before!