Please Help Our Boobless Bride Dawn And Her Family

If you followed Dawn’s Bride to Be ‘Boobless Bride’ Diary posts last year, you will know what an incredibly terrifying and heartbreaking journey she has been on.  You will have also read how her & Steve’s love story went viral and was seen online by millions.

Today, It is with a very heavy heart I write this post.

I’ve sat here for hours trying to find the right words but nothing seems to be working. The tears just roll.

My Cwtch Girls are like sisters to me, best friends, the bridesmaids I never had. The success of Cwtch The Bride has never been down to me. It’s these incredible women that work with me. We all ride this wave together. So when one of my Cwtch Girls are hurt, so am I.

Owen Mathias Photography

Owen Mathias Photography

Last week we were given some devastating news that left us all numb. We didn’t really know how to process it. We cried, we sat there speechless and felt utterly helpless. I wanted to scream and post angry statuses across the blog but I couldn’t find the words. We also needed to get Cwtchfest out of the way before we shared this.

Our brave and inspiring Boobless Bride Dawn had found a new lump. For anyone, finding a lump of any kind is scary. However, When you’ve already battled triple negative Breast Cancer, lost both breasts and survived… this lump brought with it a terrifying new fear.

Dawn let me feel the lump. It was small, about the size of a Cadbury mini egg (sorry… theres a bag of them on my desk and it’s the only thing I can see that’s similar in size). This lump isn’t going away either. It brought with it the devastating news that her cancer is back. Only this time, its worse….it’s incurable and doctors have told her she may only have two years left.

Please let that sink in for a moment. TWO YEARS!

Today, I’m asking for your help. I’m sharing Dawn & Steve’s beautiful wedding again which I had the honour of photographing. They haven’t even celebrated their first wedding anniversary yet.  I want you all to look at each and every photograph and think about how special every moment of this day is. The beauty of life is not seen in staged photographs, its in the everyday moments. The laughter, the tears, the things we don’t realise we take for granted. Our Time.

We all know a wedding day is special yet i’m now learning just how special EVERY day is. Every moment we get to share with loved ones is precious, we just don’t realise how much until we’re told our time is being taken away.

Dawn has two beautiful Daughters Imogen & Maddie whom I’ve gotten to know very well. What makes this all the more heartbreaking is that the girls father (Dawn’s ex), is in the advanced stages of Huntingtons Disease (a progressive brain disorder) and the children are facing the prospect of losing both parents before their teenage years. (This breaks my heart)

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Maria Farrelly Photography

How can we help?

Just Giving page has been set up for Dawn and her family. If there is one thing you could do for her right now, Its donate what you can to help fund some very special memories her children need to make with her right now. In the past week (thanks to donations),  Dawn has has already been able to start creating happy memories with her girls. The media are also following this story and helping to raise awareness. But we need to do more.

Dawn asked me to photograph her entire family together last saturday, it was something very important to her. She wanted me to create some fabulous images of her family together before her chemo starts and she loses her hair. (Damn that was so hard to write) I’ll be sharing the images very soon.

Helen from Do you Believe invited Dawn & Imogen into the boutique to try on some wedding dresses. A special moment every daughter cherishes with their mother.

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We are planning to organise something very special for Dawn and are asking all our readers and fabulous wedding businesses to come forward and work with us on this. If you’d like to get involved please email us directly here and don’t forget to donate

PLEASE HELP US TO HELP DAWN x

Many thanks,

Maria x 

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Real Weddings: Our Boobless Bride Dawn, and Steve’s Perfect Day

Maria Farrelly got to witness their day, and capture it, makes it even more wonderful.

What was your budget? 

We need to keep the costs as low as possible as I have been off work for over 18 months.  But realistically I think it came in at around £7,000.

How would you describe your wedding theme?

As you already know I have been battling breast cancer for almost 2 years now. In August 2015 I was awaiting very serious scan results to see if the cancer had spread.  A terminal diagnosis would have overshadowed any future plans, I had always wanted to take the children to Disney so thought – right now, I am not terminally ill so would embrace the opportunity to have a carefree time with my girls.  So, with one of my closest friends Marie and her daughter Isabella in tow, we headed off to Euro Disney. Although it should have been the most frightening time of my life, somehow I barely thought of the scan results.  The magic of Disney completely consumed us and we had the best time. One of the days we were there, the children were playing in the Alice and Wonderland Maze.  I can remember feeling so full of love, hope and determination – after all I have so much to live for.  So, when Steve proposed to me it just seemed absolutely right for the theme to be Alice in Wonderland. Not only was it such a positive memory for me with the children, it married well with my love of vintage clothes and big Petticoats!

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What was your favourite part of your wedding?

I know this is going to sound ridiculously cheesy but for me the best part of the wedding was having all of my loved ones and friends with us to celebrate not only the wedding but getting through the previous 18 months.  It felt like both families really united and all our friends came together to have one hell of a party.  The band were incredible… everyone danced the whole night long.

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However, there were two moments that were particularly special for me on the day…

I organised a balloon release in memory of my father.  All guests had a balloon with a label on saying a guests name, the details of the wedding and an email address to tell us how far the balloon had travelled. All of my friends and loved ones gathered on the golf course, each holding a different coloured balloon in memory of his name. Instead of crying I stood proud and watched every balloon slowly float to the clouds – hoping that my dad would see them pass by. Unknown to me at the time, the guests were eagerly trying to find out who had their balloon and it acted as an ice breaker and became their favourite part too.  I would never have dreamed when I planned this part of the wedding that it would become the most special part for me. Each balloon symbolised hope, love and freedom.  It was not sinister or morbid, it was a happy moment with my father close in my thoughts and resulted in one of my favourite photos of the day.

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The second moment that was particularly special to me was captured by Maria.  Steve was saving for a VW Camper before he met me, I kind of ruined his plans.  Instead of a vehicle symbolic of freedom and carefree life, he bought an engagement ring and wedding symbolic of restriction and responsibility.  So I decided, I wouldn’t have a stuffy wedding car.  I would hire a vintage VW camper.  So I started ringing around and all of the companies I spoke to quoted over £600 to simply pick me up and take me to the first venue.  So then I discovered ‘Split the Difference’.  A couple who manage a company that hire out VW Campervans.  For the same money I could hire the camper…for a week!!!!  Bosh!!!!  Wedding car and honeymoon sorted in one go.  So… mad you may think, the day before the wedding.  Beth and I (my Maid of Honour) set off from Newport to Wrexham to collect ‘Jessie’ our beautiful camper.  A very slow and long journey home was worth every second when I saw Steve’s face when we came out of the ceremony.  It was sheer delight.  A magical moment.

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Tell us about your Wedding Dress

Choosing a wedding dress was always going to be a difficult part of the wedding planning for me. When I met Steve I was a size 12, long legs, beautiful hair (extensions cough cough) and excuse me for being crude but as Steve said “a great rack”. But here I was newly engaged, a size 20, completely bald – not even an eyelash and no breasts. I thought it would be impossible to find anything that I would feel beautiful in. But my sister-in-law was fantastic she came to shop after shop in a bid to find this miraculous dress that in essence would replicate the powers of the Harry Potter invisibility cloak. You know… make me feel thin, attractive and sexy – all the things I did not. I came out of every bridal shop feeling exactly the same; deflated, insecure and reluctant to continue looking. Then Beth reminded me of how wonderful Helen at Do you believe? in Newport had been when she married my brother. So we headed to Helen in a bid to find a wedding dress like no other.

Immediately Helen made me believe that not only could we find a beautiful dress but one that would meet my very obscure specification. Tea length dress with a vintage feel that would nip in at the waist, have a high neck to hide my prosthetics and sleeves that would enable me to cover my arms as the Lymphedema swelling is very unpredictable…. oh and more importantly would go with my beautiful blue petticoat that I bought at the vintage Fair in Cardiff.  Helen didn’t feel that she had anything that match this criteria, however this was not going to stop Helen giving me that bridal moment. Together we designed my dress – a completely bespoke dress. We chose the style together, the lace, the embellishment and I simply knew that she would give me a beautiful dress.Dawn_Steve_Wedding (25 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (27 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (31 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (33 of 964)
Everything was going beautifully and as with all perfectly laid plans we hit a problem. Where I’ve had the mastectomy fat pockets collect in the most bizarre and unusual of places so imagine my surprise when I have my final fitting and discover my body has miraculously started to grow its own breasts!!!! On my bloody back!!! That’s right – my dress is done up and from the front I look beautiful… but…I turn around and there hanging over the back of my dress are what can only be described as two of the biggest boobs I have ever seen made from back fat. So as you can imagine the meltdown began. Helen with the help of Val at House of Couture in Maindee set about hiding my new assets.  They removed the cap sleeves, found a lace bolero and added embellishment to the edge of my dress to match.  Before I knew it I was feeling more confident again. I would be lying if I told you that I didn’t wish I was a size 10 with long flowing hair a beautiful waistline and an ample bosom, but with all things considered I felt as beautiful as I ever could have felt on the day and that was all thanks to Helen going above and beyond what was required of her. I was absolutely delighted when Helen agreed to be a guest at the wedding because truly I went into her bridal shop a customer and came out a dear friend.

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

Picking the bridesmaids was probably one of the most difficult tasks for me when it came to the wedding.  How could you choose a select few when so many had been wonderful to me over the years.  One thing that I did know, I wanted my sister-in-law Beth to be my Maid of Honour, she has become more like a sister to me over recent years and would keep me calm on the day.  But how do I chose the bridesmaids?  There’s Cath – the bestie that went all through school with me and shared many a night on MD 20/20 with me in Caerleon? Boon -who went all through college with me, can make me laugh in any situation and is yet to have a boyfriend with an actual name!?  Pirate!? ASDA!? Millionaire Guy?!  No idea what any of them were actually called… go figure. Jodie – who was there when I had a complete melt down and stayed sober enough to make sure my antics came back to bite me in the bum. Emma – my partner in crime on school trips who is my rock when it comes to the children or Lindsay who swam across the river Thames with me after a drunken night as it looks like a shortcut. I mean how can you choose from such a high calibre of Friends lol? Simple really…. I asked them all!!!  Now don’t get me wrong there could have been so many more as so many of my friends have been an incredible support over the years but most of them were married and it made sense that they could sit in the congregation with their husbands. So that what it… my 6 Single Sisters would be asked to be my bridesmaids.

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Now for the flower girls…well we’ve got three children between us Imogen, Madeleine and Yvie and I couldn’t leave out Ngaire and Isabella who are like daughters to me, so the bridal party doubled in size. I know what you’re thinking… more people are going to walk down the aisle than be seated but that’s a luxury of it being MY wedding… I can do just as I please – so I did.

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As for the best man it was a simple choice for Steve.  He asked his lifelong friend and advisor Mike.  Mike was given the job of embarrassing Steve and boy did he do a brilliant job of that. He provided one of the best speeches I’ve ever heard –  and he tucked me up beautifully by quoting some of my face book posts during our time together.  All based around food which poo poo’d my theory that the weight gain was solely down to steroids during treatment.  Damn him lol.

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Why did you choose your venue?

The Venue for us was very easy. When I was going through treatment we would go to Bellevue Park in Newport a couple of times a week to feed the squirrels. It was just about all I could manage but it was a beautiful location, the children absolutely loved finding squirrels and we enjoyed amazing food and drinks in the cafe. We became good friends with Matt and his team at Parc Pantry and new immediately this would be where the ceremony will be held.

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When we started to put invites together it was quite apparent that congregation was going to be too big to fit in this venue for the whole day so looked for an evening venue. We Struck Gold when we found Tredegar Park Golf Club.  Not only were the grounds absolutely breath-taking, but Neil and Kim were absolutely exceptional from start to finish. Although they had never done it before, they accommodated an afternoon tea as the wedding breakfast and purchased vintage crockery to make the tables look authentic.  The food was plentiful, cakes as fresh as if they had just come out of a bakery and the hog roast was a massive hit. The function room is beautiful, big windows overlooking the course and exposed beams giving a wonderful ambience and we even got to sit with Neil for an hour at the end of the night and share what a wonderful time we had. I cannot recommend both venues more highly – they truly made it a magical day.

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Tell us about your photographer

I’ve been very fortunate when planning my wedding, things just seemed to fall into place.  Not only was I able to enjoy all the girlie aspects of planning it, but I actually met a number people that have gone on to be really good friends. None more so than your very own Cwtch Queen, Maria Farrelly.  When a friend of mine Amy recommended I entered the competition to join Cwtch The Bride as a ‘Bride to Be’ contributor, I never dreamt that I would not only win, but meet an incredible group of women. I found in Maria a kindred spirit, we instantly hit it off and I found writing the blogs not only purposeful but therapeutic. When Maria when I started talking more we realised we had a lot in common and although women follow cwtch from all areas in Wales, we actually lived very close to each other… so we met up and have grown closer friends ever since.

At this point I did have a photographer booked but fate stepped in and my photographer called to explain they had been double booked. Immediately I got in touch with Maria in hope that she may be available. Maria had very few dates available so it was looking unlikely that this would be an option, however I truly believe it was just meant to be as she was indeed available on the 28th of May. Without even looking at any of her photographs of portfolio I booked her. I am a people person and knew instantly I wanted her involved in the day and trusted that she would give us the most beautiful photos.  More importantly she understood my body confidence issues and could help me work through that on the day – and I wasn’t disappointed. She made us feel relaxed and was the professional throughout.  At no point did it feel staged or uncomfortable – in fact at some point I don’t even remember her being there.  She disappeared into the shadows and captured every moment beautifully.  The only thing I regret is that because she was so busy working on the day she was unable to really celebrate with me.  She is a dear friend of mine now and I would have liked her to have been there as a guest.

How did the proposal happen? 

Well, unknown to me, Steve has tried on 4 different occasions to propose, but because I had just had the all clear and the kids were off school – I kept bringing the girls along to our ‘date day’ – oops.  So eventually Stephen put his foot down – “I haven’t had a day on my own with you since your ‘all clear’ so we need some ‘us’ time.  I agreed, and we decided to celebrate by climbing pen-y-fan, it would be symbolic of the journey we have climbed.  True Welsh style, it hammered down with rain. Someone got struck by lightning up there during the last storm so we both agreed that I have danced with the devil lately as it is so this would be stupid.  So instead we would head to Neath Waterfalls.  8 Miles we walked – 4 waterfalls later and a beautiful day had by all.  Soaked through we went back to the car, changed into dry clothes and went into a little hikers pub.  We had a beautiful meal and I said – as if setting the moment “this is a beautiful pub, warm, lovely and full of character – if I ever get married again I’m going to take up hiking to shift the weight” with that he said – best start walking then and put a little black box – not the type that find aeroplanes – this is the one that finds tears, immediately.  Tears rolling down my cheek he asked if I would marry him – of course I said yes.

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But this is not the real story of the proposal – the real story is how I ruined the intended proposal.  Picture this – beautiful waterfall, full as it was raining so heavily, no one around, beautiful sounds of wildlife active in the storm…I’m stood on a little bridge gazing into the waterfall.  Steve walks to me, puts his arm around me (in his head this is the moment) – “Dawn” Steve said… “Yes babes” I said…. then before he could say another word I interrupt him – I’m known for it, I’m an excitable person – to advise him that I would like to head back to the car soon as I’m that wet my pants are soaking and its chaffing my arse.  NOOOOOOO!!!!! Moment killed…so that was the end of the beautiful waterfall proposal.  Oops.  But to be honest, it makes the whole ordeal more ‘me-like’.

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

For me the little touches in a wedding are what makes it special. So I spent hours making little bits and pieces that would make the difference on the table. I ordered off eBay bags of little brass keys and painstakingly tied luggage labels to them for name cards that would complement the theme. I also wrapped all the cutlery in beautiful little Ribbons embroidered with mine and Steve’s name and the date of the wedding.

One of my bridesmaids Lindsay also made beautiful favours for me which really added to the impact of the Alice and Wonderland theme.  Little mini eggs in jars with ‘eat me’ labels and small shot bottles with ‘drink me’ – everyone commented on how beautiful they were.

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I designed vintage themed name labels and used Microsoft Excel to mail merge them so that they could be printed on mass in a few minutes.  Ladies – MAIL MERGE IS THE WAY FORWARD – it saved me hours, was the best thing I did. Finally, the centrepieces I made myself by simply collecting old vintage books from car boot sales and tying them in hessian and lace. I couldn’t have been happier with my tables and my boss was so impressed he tried to convince me that there was a career in wedding planning for me!!!

What was your first dance & why?

When Stephen I first started getting serious it was a standing joke that he wouldn’t say he loved me – just that he tolerated me more than anyone else he had ever met.  This went on to him saying he would write his own vows as he could not commit to ‘til death us do part’ as he had no way of knowing what the future held.  (Of course this is all bants)  But it seemed only fitting to have a song that was special for us bad had the underlying tone of sarcasm that Steve is renowned for. So there was only really one choice it had to be Beach Boys, God Only Knows – Steve was a keen Surfer in his youth and I genuinely would not have got through the relentless treatment and surgery without him, so I really don’t know what I would be without him. Plus the first line said ‘I may not always love you’ anyone that knows Stephen would find this funny. So we both started the first dance, awkwardly swaying back and forth singing to each other at top pelt ‘I MAY NOT ALWAYS LOVE YOU and sobbing by the ‘God only knows what I’d be without you’ line… but found the children surrounding us in a circle – never one to miss an opportunity I pulled the kids into our dance and our romantic moment became the ‘Okey Kokey’.  It was amazing.

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

In hindsight the only thing that I would have done differently was not wait so long to get married (although 9 months sounds a short engagement in our situation we should have seized the day). We waited until May hoping that my father would have overcome his treatment for leukaemia, little did we know that by waiting that few extra months, my father would not be there.  And that truly breaks my heart.

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Do you have any advice for future couples?

The best bit of advice I can give to future couples is…don’t get so pulled into the obsessive perfectionism of the day and lose the significance of why you are there in the first place.  Enjoy every second the day will be over in a flash.  Stephen and I had a good 90 minutes to leisurely have photos taken, but we were in our own golf buggy travelling across the golf course which gave us time to enjoy the moment together before the ‘mingling’ and ‘drinking’ began.   We were completely loved up in that moment. I think every bride and groom should time at least an hour alone – not surrounded by photographers and caterers and bridesmaids but the two of you alone in love – time to … just be.

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

I’m not sure this is a piece of marriage advice but it is my mantra – the way I keep positive and happy… with a little Dawnism thrown in for good measure.
Live every moment – Don’t waste time arguing, say your piece and move on.
Laugh everyday – Get pleasure in those little moments (I recommend Alphabet dating)
Love beyond words – Don’t assume they know, tell them every day.
And dance like nobody’s watching – Don’t worry what other people think… dance together in the rain!

What was your favourite thing about planning a wedding?

The best part for me about planning the wedding was meeting so many amazing people along the way. Although I went to them as a client I genuinely felt I met friends – I have already mentioned so many but there was Molly – the lead singer of The Supers.  They were an incredible band that got everyone dancing, completely adjusted their running order to fit around the beautiful weather and played like their life depended on it.  Lucy and the Girls that had 11x hair and makeup to do in one morning…what an accomplishment and great fun. Pat and Paul who let us use Jessie and made the most beautiful bouquet as decoration inside, Neil at AJC Cardiff who designed and created the most beautiful engagement and wedding ring, Elisa who designed the table plan, Hilary at Hilarys flowers who produced the most beautiful Top Table pieces using cake stands… too many to name everyone but thank you all the same.  I just seemed to experience such kindness and generosity – One lady on ebay for example… I sent her a picture from Pinterest of a setting I was trying to recreate…she went to the length of folding about 30 different napkins in the exact way I showed her, with cutlery, photographed them and sent the pics to me so I could see what went best with the crockery I had.  It must have taken her hours… all because she wanted to do her bit to make my day special.  It’s completely restored my faith in humanity because it’s easy to only remember the idiots that plague your day.

The Suppliers

Photographer:  Maria Farrelly
Ceremony Venue: Belle Vue Parc, Newport (Parc Pantry)
Reception Venue: Tredegar Park Golf Club
Bride’s Dress:  Helen’s own Label, Do You Believe?
Bride’s Shoes: Elegant Steps
Bride’s Headpiece:  Val, House of Couture
Bride’s Jewellery:  A locket my dad gave my mum
Groom’s Outfit: Slaters
Bridesmaid’s Dresses: True Bride
Bridesmaid’s Accessories: Etsy
Cake: Emma Baker, The Retro Cake Company
Flowers:  Hilary’s Flowers
Hair: Beautilicious – Lucy
Make Up: Beautilicious – Lucy
Band: The Supers, Bristol
Stationery: Elisa by Design
Any Reception Decor/Props: Forever Bows
Transport: Split the Difference
Other:  MASSIVE THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO MADE OUR DAY SO SPECIAL

The Wedding Album

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Cwtchfest- All you need to know

Eek… We are so excited to be bringing you yet another awesome Cwtchfest wedding festival and cannot wait to open the doors to you all tomorrow.  Set up is going really well and we’ve lots more to add to the field, it’s so exciting seeing everything come together.

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(just a few tables to set up!)

Todays post is all about what to expect at Cwtchfest and to help you make the most of your day!
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Tickets:

If you have already bought your tickets, HURRAY! Simply print them off or show the confirmation email on your phone when you arrive at the registration tent. There is a barcode we can scan.

If you haven’t bought your tickets yet we strongly advise you get them ASAP. You can purchase on the day at the gate but there may be a wait. The sun is on our side again and we’re expecting this years event to be VERY busy.

Directions:

By car: The Museum is signposted from junction 33 of the M4 motorway (follow road signs for the Museum of Welsh Life), with direct access from the A4232.

By bus: Buses operate between Cardiff City and St Fagans National History Museum throughout the year (number 32A, 320 and 321). The Easyway 32A bus stops in the main car park of the Museum, and the other two buses stop at St Fagans village. The bus ride between the Museum and Cardiff city centre is approximately 25 minutes.

You can plan your journey using the Traveline Cymru website or by calling their helpline on 0300 200 22 33.

The Museum’s website is full of lots more information regarding disabled access, families, dogs etc… take a look here

Parking:

When you arrive at St.Fagans, you’ll need to park in the main visitor carpark.

Please note, there is a charge of £5 per car.  Please bring change as machines cannot accept notes or card payments. FREE for disabled badge holders, motorbikes and coaches. £25 yearly ticket available from Reception.  Remember this money goes towards supporting this wonderful museum.

We recommend if a group of you are coming, car share! (its great for the environment too!)

Once you’ve parked your car, follow the signs through the museum to the main field where Cwtchfest is taking place. Its is based in the field next to the Tannery 

Whats on:

We have a jammed packed day organised with so much going on to keep you all busy.

Once you enter the field and receive your wristbands, you can gain access to the event throughout the day. So if you fancy taking a walk around the museum and want to pop back, you can.

Exhibitor Marquee: We have over 60 of Wales’ top wedding professionals all showcasing their products and services. Many will have great offers and discounts exclusively available on the day, make sure you take advantage!

Goody bags: we have 100 goody bags available to the first 100 B&G’s to arrive. these are filled with ACTUAL goodies and not flyers (we’re good like that).

Workshops: Starting at 12 noon we have a range of workshops running on the hour, each for 30 mins. You will be given a timetable of when each workshop is running so you can plan your day. Make sure you watch the first one…Its me :) and is my very first one…bucks fizz is being served too (nudge nudge).

Live music We are pleased to welcome Music HQ back to cwtchfest. They will be providing all the live music throughout the day and each band is available to be booked for your wedding!

Pop up tea room Head to the giant Tipi for afternoon tea and enjoy some acoustic music while you relax.

Demos situatied in the Marquee you will find hair and make up artists running demos throughout the day.

Food & drink We’re thrilled to have some DELICIOUS food & drink companies showcasing with us. You will find them dotted around the festival. Bring an empty tummy and some £’s and you’ll leave feeling very happy!

BRING CASH!

Make sure you stop off at a cash machine before you arrive!! (plenty at Culverhouse Cross!) There will be a lot of opportunity to purchase many things at the festival. There are no cash machines on site and no facility for paying by card. Please remember to bring £’S

A Big Cwtch

The festival will sadly draw to a close at 5pm. We will end the day with an epic BIG CWTCH that will be photographed for the blog.  Please join us and share the love

Owen Mathias Photography

Owen Mathias Photography

 

 

Friday Flashback Real Wedding: Rock & Roll Carnival Wedding – Tanya & Kev

Good morning Cwtchers!!!! We thought as we are celebrating our 4th birthday this week we would do a throwback Real Wedding post today to one of our first ever ones done all the way back in February 2013!!  Grab yourself a cuppa and enjoy this wonderful carnival wedding…

meAll photos in this post were taken by our very own, award winning Maria Farrelly :) (who did not write this bio herself!) Maria is located in Newport, but is always willing to travel. You can see all posts featuring her photography here.

Real Wedding: Carnival Themed Porthcawl Wedding - shot by Maria Farrelly

Tanya (a student teacher) and Kev ‘Paps’ Papworth-Morgan (a guitar tech with the Welsh rock band, Bullet for my Valentine) got married on the 1st of September 2012 at the Bridgend Registry Office, with their reception at Hi-Tide in Porthcawl. They decided on a carnival wedding theme, which featured a drinks reception from the boot of their cars, donkeys, candy floss, fairground rides, penny slots and hawaiian shirts! We asked Tanya a few questions and this is what she said:

What was your favourite part of your wedding? The fairground and amusements. Seeing all our friends get stuck in and laugh all day was just as I imagined.

Real Wedding: Carnival Themed Porthcawl Wedding - shot by Maria Farrelly

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Real Wedding: Carnival Themed Porthcawl Wedding - shot by Maria Farrelly

Why did you choose your venue? For the views over the beach and the fantastic food. Plus I didn’t want my guests to have to pay silly bar prices. Had they charged a ridiculous price for a glass of wine, we would NEVER have had the wedding there! I wanted all of our guests to feel comfortable, regardless of money, race, religion etc.

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Real Wedding: Carnival Themed Porthcawl Wedding - shot by Maria Farrelly

How did the proposal happen? (we love a good proposal story!) This is the most unromantic thing you would have ever heard. I basically got bored of waiting for Kev to propose so just told him it was time to get engaged. I picked the ring, took his bank card and paid for it. Then I gave him the ring when it arrived and asked him to give it back to me. He said ‘please put this ring on. Urm, I love you.’ That was it. He does tell me now that he regrets not giving me a proper proposal but it’s not a big deal to me!

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Any DIY stories/tutorials you’d like to share? Lots of it was DIY! My bouquet I made by using brooches from ebay and a tutorial from youtube, the name stones were pebbles that I wrote on, glittered and then varnished and I made the card box from images from Google! I wrote all the favour cards and used a heart hole punch to make them look prettier. I made the table plan too after seeing the prices people charged for something that was not going to fit my theme. Most of the signs were also made by me!!

Real Wedding: Carnival Themed Porthcawl Wedding - shot by Maria Farrelly

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What was your first dance & why? King of The Swingers from Jungle Book. Kev played this on the ukulele in a gig and then a friend remembered and it just fitted the people that we are. We don’t have a romantic song and are really not a soppy couple so something that would make people smile was totally fitting. Kev dancing like an ape was a surprise to me however!!

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In hindsight, was there anything you would have done differently? I would totally have a change of dress for the evening. I was so tired and the dress was heavy. Had I had some jammies, I would have lasted longer!

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What was your budget? Our total spend was £9000. This included £4000 on the wedding bands (I HAD to have those diamonds!), the photographer’s fee and my dress. £5,000 on everything else, Bargain wedding!!

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Do you have any advice for future brides? Don’t stress about the small things. If it’s not perfect, you will be the only person that notices. Your friends will just be delighted for you both. Try not to get too ‘weddingy’, having a simple wedding made it more fun and less stressful. 9 times out of 10, you don’t need half of the things you see online!! Enjoy your day, but don’t feel the pressure of having the best day of your life. Mine was incredible but the days afterwards were better than the wedding day, just looking at my new husband made me smile!

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Real Wedding: Carnival Themed Porthcawl Wedding - shot by Maria Farrelly

Vendors

Photography – Maria Farrelly (see all Cwtch the Bride shoots featuring Maria here)
Ceremony – Bridgend Registry Office
Reception – Hi-Tide Porthcawl
Dress – Ronald Joyce Dominique from Wedding Belles in Pyle
Shoes – River Island
Kev’s suit – Moss Bross and shoes from Camden Market
Cake – Friend’s mother in law baked the pies for us!
Flowers – Gutteridge in Bridgend and my bouquet was made from brooches
Hair and make up – Claire Davies
DJ/Band – Daz Cortina
Invites – Pretty Wild Designs

Thanks Tanya! We love how relaxed and fun your wedding feels! :) Now onto the full day’s photos…

Continue reading

Happy Birthday to Cwtch The Bride! 4 Today!

CTB is 4!

Oh my, aren’t we getting old… its our fourth birthday today! hip hip.. hurray!!

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I cannot believe its been four years since my lovely little welsh wedding blog published its first post!

My team and I are so proud to have brought you some incredible things in that time, to name a few:

  • Published over 1,000 awesome wedding posts highlighting some great welsh talent and inspiration.
  • Launched the Lush List which is proving an essential ‘go-to’ resource for many welsh brides
  • Organised three epic CWTCHFEST Wedding Festivals so far, with our fourth taking place on Sunday 9th April at St.Fagans
  • Won BEST REGIONAL WEDDING BLOG! at the 2016 UK Wedding blog Awards!! (a huge BIG DEAL)
  • Run a series of Cwtch Workshops to help & inspire DIY brides
  • Helped many independent welsh wedding businesses grow by showcasing their work and promoting their services
  • Created jobs for some very special Cwtchgirls
  • Shared hundreds of real welsh weddings from across this beautiful country
  • Given some of our readers the opportunity to share their bride/groom to be diaries with us all.

Personally, I am ridiculously proud of how well Cwtch The Bride is doing and I adore working alongside some truly amazing people.
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I have many more ideas still up my sleeve and cannot wait to see them come to light. All in good time.

A Personal Thank you

I know that to many of you reading this, it can appear that we always have great fun. Laughing, singing and dancing our way through the workday with a hilarious spotify playlist. And for the most part- its true. But occasionally, something happens that can totally throw you. I mean…really knock you for six. The kind of thing that turns your world upside down, makes you want to crawl under a duvet and never come out. A life changing experience that requires an incredible group of people to help get you through it.

Owen Mathias Photography

This photograph was taken a year after my own marriage had ended. I was devastated and had hit a real low point of my life. Being surrounded by all things ‘wedding’ was very painful for me. Everything hurt. I didn’t tell many people. When you work in the wedding industry and your own marriage fails you feel this enormous amount of grief and shame.  And yet, I pushed through quietly. I didn’t want to let anyone down. And its thanks to these girls I got through it. I’ll forever be greatful to them for their help and support.

My CWTCHGIRLS are (without a doubt) the coolest women I’ve met in my entire life! There are a few Cwtchgirls in particular I want to give a special Thank you to.

Anna, Donna, Lindsey, Dawn and my mum … you ladies, I don’t think you’ll ever know how grateful I am to have you in my life. You have helped me get through the hardest time where I honestly thought I couldn’t cope. I felt broken and so low. Any yet you ladies where always right there for me. You picked me up when I hit the floor. when I doubted everything, you ladies encouraged me to keep going. When I wondered why on earth I’m doing all this work… you ladies just smiled and said ‘lets do it’.

Thank you for being so damn amazing. You really are very special women and I love that we get to share this awesome roller coaster ride of work and life with each other.

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Donna, the most organised office manager & friend I’ve ever had and the rock I needed to kickstart my working week. I miss you but think my book keeper misses you more! Damn I need you back soon x Owen Mathias Photography14390907_10154517804521796_7193752556001646050_n

Lindsey (aka LINDA), I wouldn’t do Cwtchfest without you! simple as that. You are a dream to work with and I am so excited at what lies ahead!

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Anna, hahaha where do i start with you? You make my Mondays & Wednesdays rock. You have taken the reins of features editor and ran with it. I bloody love ya! Plus, anyone that shares the same love of the Carpenters as me is a friend for life!

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Dawn, Our Boobless bride. Your story touched me so much I knew as soon as I read your first email and the tears rolled- we were going to be friends for life! You are an inspiration.

432047_10150735477031796_367678448_nMum. I love you. And thank you for always believing in me, even when I doubt myself. xxx

Thank you to all the inspiring welsh wedding businesses that continue to invest in Cwtch The Bride. I love that you too believe in what we do and what we stand for. I love that you support us at a time when I know all too well how difficult running a small business can be. Together we grow and I adore seeing you all benefit for our hard work. Onwards and up!

And the final thank you goes out to you lovely Cwtchers for reading, thank you for commenting, sharing and getting involved in what was a crazy idea of mine that has now become a valuable resource for many welsh brides & grooms!

So, there you have it, was rather personal but needed to be said..

There is no hot date for me tonight, no plethora of valentines day cards flooding my letter box. But I do have two very special men in my life that I adore. Josh & Joe. My boys. What more could a girl want. Hmm… we’ll see what the future brings. xxx

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And if you have just got engaged on this very special day… Welcome to Cwtch The Bride! We are a fabulous bunch of honest, hardworking women that are hear for you. This is a safe place for you to begin planning your welsh wedding and we can’t wait to meet you!

Happy Valentines Day everyone. Lets crack open a bottle of fizz and have an awesome day.

Maria x

 

 

Choose Love

Hello you lovely Cwtchers!

We’re going a little off topic today and focusing on something that has really struck a cord with us here at Cwtch HQ. As we’re all busy gearing up for Christmas this Sunday we can’t help but think of all the people in this world less fortunate than ourselves.

We’ve teamed up with some of the UK’s top wedding bloggers today and collectively we’re all posting about the awesome CHOOSE LOVE campaign to support the incredible work of Help Refugees.
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Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better, it’s not.

– Dr. Seuss

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Choose Love

Could there be a more on point message this Christmas?

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All profits from the sale of these t-shirts – designed by @katharinehamnett – will go to keeping refugees warm this winter.
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You can buy yours HERE

Help Refugees

Help Refugees provide emergency aid and vital services to those affected by the global refugee crisis. They work where governmental and other non-governmental bodies cannot, filling the gaps in services to those displaced in Europe and beyond. They are currently the primary aid-provider in Calais whilst funding and supporting projects throughout Europe and the Middle East.
They have enabled a new movement in humanitarian response, having grown and developed in the face of today’s global refugee crisis and the ever-changing needs of those affected by it. They respond rapidly to get aid and services directly to the people who need it most.They also identify the most effective grassroots groups active in the crisis and provide them with funding, enabling them to focus their time and energy on the vital work they do every day rather than on raising funds.  Ensuring everyone has access to the basic necessities such as food, water and shelter. Prioritising the provision of sufficient adapted services for the most vulnerable people affected by the the crisis, funding safe spaces for women, sexual health clinics, nurseries, schools and youth centres.

 We are currently living in a refugee crisis unseen since the Second World War. The UN estimates that 65.3 million people are now refugees, seeking asylum, or internally displaced.

 Buying one of these T-Shirts help! Get yours today. Also, this kind of gift is better late than never.  

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So please #chooselove and head to www.helprefugees.org.uk  to order yours today.
choose_love_maria_farrelly-5Big waves to all the other UK wedding bloggers that are involved today! You can check out all the activity over on Instagram: #weddingbloggersunited
If you do buy a t-shirt, we’d love to share the love!  Take a photo/selfie wearing it, Instagram your pics using the following hashtag – #chooselove and tags us in along with Help Refugees – @helprefugeesuk
Thank you and a very happy Christmas!
Maria x