Colour Inspiration: A Modern Black & Gold Wedding

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

black and gold

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

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

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

Sunny yellow colour scheme Gold colour scheme Dusky blue colour scheme

How to Choose Your Wedding Rings

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

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

hannah's rings© Maria Farrelly

How to Choose Your Wedding Rings

Match the metals

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

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

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

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

Hallmark Chart

Setting a budget

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

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

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

Wedding BandRing by Patrick Irla jewellery

Think of the wear and tear

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

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

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

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

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

Think about the finish

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

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

Wedding RingsRings by Karen Johnson Designs

Diamonds are a girl’s best friend

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

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

Ring by Shmooozin

Can’t find the style or shape you like?

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

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

How much time to leave before buying?

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

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

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

Happy wedding planning,

Hannah x

Featured Vendor: Love Peace and Cupcake

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

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

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

How did you start Love, Peace and Cupcake?

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

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

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

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

Have you had any hairy moments?

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

Do you have any quirky wedding cake stories to share?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Get in touch

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

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

View Larger Map

Tel:02920 499 771


Hannah x 

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

Practical Tips for Your Wedding Day

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


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

Plan your photos in advance

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

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

Break in your wedding shoes

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

Practice sitting in your dress

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

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

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

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

Rachael & Sam

Image credit © John Hope

Plan for rain

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

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

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

Lots of cwtches!

Hannah x

Real Wedding: Contemporary Modern Wedding – Hannah & Mat

It’s the turn of our modern bride Hannah to tell her modern wedding story, yay! Cardiff residents Hannah and Mat got married on the 10th April 2012 (Happy almost one year wedding anniversary, guys!) at the Riverstation in Bristol. 


What was your budget? We were working with a really tight budget, approx £7k. We found that booking our dream wedding venue out of season and choosing to get married on a Tuesday rather than a weekend really helped keep costs down. (We also got a few discounts from suppliers for a mid-week wedding!)

We did have to make a few compromises to achieve our dream day without starting married life in debt. For example, I had my heart set on a Jenny Packham wedding dress, which if I bought new would have set me back £2500, I managed to track down a sample dress at £900 and had it professionally dry cleaned for £100, it was such a bargain and no-one knew the difference.


How would you describe your wedding theme? If I had to describe our wedding theme I would use the words, modern, contemporary and urban.

We married in a beautiful glass fronted restaurant over looking Bristol harbour. We liked it’s city location and effortlessly cool vibe, plus the views were awesome. The fact that it was in Bristol, (an hours drive from both our families) a city where I lived and loved as a student, meant the area already had a great deal of emotional significance to us as a couple.
Riverstation, (our wedding venue) was decked out in all the wedding paraphernalia I’d collected over the past few months, there were different sized wicker hearts hanging from the beams and hundreds of jars of candles dotted about. After seeing so much wedding pretty on other blogs, it was tempting to go all out on decor, but the venue was so lovely on its own with such a great setting I felt the simple approach would work best and on the day the space felt like ours.



What was your favourite part of your wedding? Slipping away with my new husband to take some personal shots. This was something very important to us, as not only would we get a chance to have a few minutes alone to relish being husband and wife, but we’d get some pretty great pictures to remember it all by – in the end we spent almost an hour away, as we were having so much fun!



Who did you pick as your bridesmaids &/or best man and why? I chose two close friends and my sister to be my bridesmaids and Mat picked his two brothers to act as joint best men. I also asked my brother to do a reading during the ceremony and he picked ‘The Art of Marriage.’ My youngest brother, who is only seven, was a very cute page boy. It was important to us that our siblings each had a role to play in our big day. My best friends were great at keeping me calm and rushing around doing odd jobs before the ceremony began.



Why did you choose your venue? The venue was one of the toughest decisions as it made such a huge impact on everything else. We initially played with the idea of going abroad and getting hitched with just our parents, but soon realised we’d have lots of disappointed friends and family. So instead we looked at places in the UK. We almost booked a farm in Wiltshire, but decided against it when we saw the enormous costs involved against our small budget, then we found Riverstation.


As I said earlier, I loved the charm and atmosphere of the restaurant. It felt like somewhere you could relax.The venue staff really sealed the deal though, Michele and Holly our wedding co-coordinators were really enthusiastic about our ideas and made the whole planning experience special and exciting. We felt we could trust them with our day!

One of the best parts of having a restaurant as a wedding venue was the freedom we had over the food! We had free reign to design our own menu and guests could choose what they wanted to eat on the day! We had choices of lamb, salmon and chicken and they were all incredible, even now guests tell us how much they enjoyed their meals! We only had a two-course meal as I’d planned a dessert table for the evening.


How did the proposal happen? Mat proposed to me in the summer of 2010. We’d been talking about getting married for a while, as at that point we had been together for five years and happily living together too, it seemed like the natural next step. Working as a jeweller I am in a lucky position of helping couples find their perfect engagement ring and I really enjoy that aspect of my work, it also means that I’ve seen hundreds of different styles and as a result am very particular to the type of ring I wanted.

Being an old fashioned girl, I really wanted Mat to pick the ring himself, but I knew I’d need to guide him in the right direction. So I not so subtly hinted that maybe he should pop by the store and have a look at some loose diamonds I conveniently just received in. Well needless to say he took the hint and picked a beautiful pear cut solitaire.

The actual proposal didn’t happen for several weeks later. I knew Mat had the ring and was expecting him to drop at bended knee many times. If he suggested a walk in the park I’d get all excited thinking ‘this was surely it.’ As it happened, I was completly caught off guard.

It was a lovely bright summer evening and I was lounging on the sofa deciding what to cook for tea when the next thing I know Mat is in front of me, telling me how much he loved me and would I do him the honour of marrying him? I could barely say yes through my tears. We went out to Cardiff Bay that night for a romantic meal and champagne cocktails and kept our engagement a secret until the next day just so we could savour the moment. We both agree it was one of the happiest nights of our lives.


What was your first dance & why? I couldn’t say that Mat and I had a ‘set’ song suitable for a first dance, so we were a little stuck when it came to choosing the music. We both liked Johnny Cash and one day we heard Memories are made of This. The lyrics (about a wedding) just made us smile and it was decided that was the song we would dance to.

The wedding music was a labor of love for a few months before. We initially wanted instrumental music, possibly live, but that idea fell through. In the end I walked down to Adele’s version of Bob Dylan’s Make You Feel My Love. It was perfect as it set just the right mood and tone. For signing the registry we played Oasis’ Songbird and In the Aeroplane Over the Sea by Neutral Milk Hotel. We also played Dog Days are over by our favourite band Florence and the Machine. We walked out of the ceremony to another Florence track, You’ve Got the Love. Our all time favourite song!


In hindsight, was there anything you would have done differently? I loved my day, I genuinely don’t think I would have done anything differently, except maybe have a longer honeymoon!

Do you have any advice for future couples? My brother said to me a few days before the wedding that ‘no matter what happens, if at the end of your wedding day you are married to the person you love, then it was a roaring success!’ Wise words indeed and the biggest advice I have for a couple is to just ‘roll with it.’

Things do and can go wrong on the day; I forgot the plug for my ipod docking station and a guest fell seriously ill during my reception (thankfully she is now ok) but we had to just deal with the hiccups and not let anything cloud our day. A wedding is just a small part of the lifetime commitment a couple makes to one another :)


What’s the best piece of marriage advice you received? The best piece of marriage advice we received (to Mathew, from his grandfather) was to listen and bite your tongue!

My best piece of marriage advice is that in the lead up to your big day, take time for little dates without any wedding talk. They help keep you sane when all that planning makes your head hurt! And if you can try and keep regular date nights after the wedding too it’ll give you each something to look forward to and you can take turns picking a date to surprise the other with.


What was your favourite thing about planning a wedding? My favourite part about planning a wedding, apart from meeting some lovely people, was really getting creative. I enjoyed making mood boards on pinterest and spending a day or two researching everything from wedding centre pieces to what flavour cakes we should pick.

I enjoyed immensly picking things which were a little quirky and different, such as our tea towel invites.


I also loved how planning a wedding really brought our two families together, my mum and Mat’s mum worked really hard on a beautifull photograph album, showing a matching picture every year from our births until our wedding day, It had taken them weeks to finish and was the best surprise to be given. It really showed how much our wedding day meant, not just to us, but to our loved ones as well.


All 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.

Ceremony Venue: Riverstation, Bristol
Bride’s Dress: Eloise, by Jenny Packham, bought from White Brides, Narbeth
Bride’s Jewellery: Bespoke
Groom’s Outfit: Moss Boss
Bridesmaid’s Dresses: Coast
Bridesmaid’s Accessories: Their own
Cake: Love, Peace and Cupcakes, Penarth
Flowers: The Ivy, Malpas Road, Newport
Hair: Hayley from Mack Daddy’s, Bristol
Make Up: Powder and Paint, Bristol
DJ: Speaker Box
Stationery: Original Wedding Tea Towel

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