Bride to be Diaries: Our Maid in Honour is helping to find The Dress!

Hello Cwtchers!

We have the beautiful Gwen back today, your very own ‘Maid In Wales’, with her second instalment on her Maid of Honour journey.

Alys the bride (and also Gwens twin sister) have been busy shopping for The Dress….

B2B Maid In Wales Banner

Maid In Wales My MOH proposal

The Dress

On the morning of my wedding, as a thank you for all the help and support she had given me as my Maid of Honour, I gave my sister Alys a present and card. In the card I wrote that I was ‘officially handing the Bride-to-be baton on to her’.

She has since taken that baton and run with it.

I have been seriously impressed with her efforts so far and she has been very proactive with setting a date, securing a venue, booking vendors and sending out save the dates (I would have expected nothing less!). In fact, she’s been so on the ball with everything that my involvement has been very limited up until now, when the wedding dress shopping (the fun bit) began.

MIW Save the date arrives!

Over the last couple of weekends I have made several journeys from Devon to Wales (including some seriously early starts for which I should definitely earn some bridesmaids points) to help Alys find ‘The Dress’.

We gathered the troops – the Wedding Team made up of our parents, Alys’ mother-in-law-to-be and me – and hit the shops.

MIW The Wedding Team

Following a wedding fair research trip a couple of weeks earlier we had booked in several appointments and scouted out some of the best wedding dress shops South Wales had to offer! We started off close to home in Usk with a visit to the very lovely Bridal Lane, followed by up a couple of trips up the valleys, and finally hitting a few shops in the Cardiff area, including Laura May and High Society.

MIW Me and Alys outside Laura May

I was really excited about this bit – getting to look at all the pretty dresses and sip the complementary prosecco whilst Alys catwalk modelled all sorts of different gowns –  although I think I underestimated how tricky it would be sitting on the other side of the table when wedding dress shopping. It became almost like a game of poker, trying to give an opinion on a dress without giving too much a way in case I didn’t like one that Alys thought was absolutely wonderful, or vice versa. (Thankfully there were only a couple of occasions where Alys and The Wedding Team disagreed on things and most of the time we were all on the same page.)

MIW Wedding dress shopping!

Having started out with an open mind, each shop helped Alys to firm up her ideas on what she did and didn’t want out of a wedding dress – what shapes flattered her figure most and what designers suited her best. And yet ‘The Dress’ remained elusive.

We found many dresses that had elements of what she was looking for. The dress with the beautiful train. The dress with the lovely neckline. The dress with the most gorgeous lace. But like Goldilocks and the three bears, Alys just couldn’t find a dress that was just perfect. The dress that gives you butterflies.

Then, one day, after many hours of internet research, Alys stumbled upon a shop in Bath called Perfect Princess which had just the kind of dresses she was looking for. So Alys and the Wedding Team headed to Bath during the Easter holidays to hunt down the perfect dress. Sadly I was unable to make the trip as I was stuck in work that day, however the team kept me in the loop with constant text and Whatsapp updates.

MIW Alys outside Perfect Princess

And there it was – the dress that gives you goosebumps. As sad as I am to have missed being there for that moment in person, I am reliably informed that this was the dress Alys fell in love with almost instantly, and I couldn’t be happier. She is going to look incredible. Phil really is a lucky guy.

In other news, I also got to take part in the envious task of a taster event with Alys’ chosen wedding caterer – Prickly Pear.

MIW Me and Alys at the catering event

This was a very hard task, which involved a family trip (both sets of parents and the groom-to-be) on a rainy Sunday afternoon to a local village hall to sample the delights of Prickly Pear’s North African inspired dishes and to test out their hosting skills.

MIW Prickly Pear food

Although this isn’t the exact menu Alys and Phil will be having served for their first meal as man and wife, I can confirm that the food was delicious and the catering staff were excellent. I am very much looking forward to eating their food again next April.

It’s a hard life being a bridesmaid.

Bride to be Diaries: Introducing Our First Bridesmaid, Maid In Wales

Good morning you lovely bunch!

We finally have the pleasure of introducing our very first bridesmaid! Have you been asked to step up? Are you going to be the Maid of Honor? Are you in need of some inspiration and help for this mahoosive role you’re about to fill?

Well, our gorgeous Maid In Wales, Gwen, is in the same boat, and here to share her journey with you……

B2B Maid In Wales Banner

Hello! Lovely to meet you all!

I’m Gwen and in just over a year’s time I am going to helping my twin sister Alys walk down the aisle as her Maid of Honour. We’re both 29 and grew up in the Brecon Beacons in a little village called Bwlch.

Maid In Wales Gwen 1

We went our separate ways for University – me to Exeter and Alys to Cardiff – where we both met local boys who have ended up as our future husbands. I now live in Exeter with my husband Mike and work in PR for a local hospital. When I’m not writing press releases or promoting the NHS to the local media, I spend my time crafting, taking photos, going to festivals, and travelling back and forth to Wales visiting family and friends (I spend A LOT of time on the M5…).

Alys and I have always been best friends, so when I married Mike last August, it was only natural that she should be my Maid of Honour.

Maid In Wales Alys and Gwen

I always knew that she would be up to the task and, during one crazy year of wedding planning, Alys turned out to be a ‘Maid of Honour Extraordinaire’! She threw herself in to organising my amazing hen weekend (which remained top secret until the moment my hens surprised me outside Bath train station).

Maid In Wales Me on my hen party

She was a constant support throughout the wedding planning process helping with everything from dress shopping to individually hand painting invitations. And on an emotional rollercoaster of a wedding day (when I was just about managing to hold it all together) she even managed to reduce me to tears by writing a cheesy song and getting my friends to perform it during the reception. All in all – BEST BRIDESMAID EVER.

Maid In Wales (Gwen)

The trouble is, now it’s my turn. When Alys’ boyfriend Phil popped the question last summer I excitedly (and a little apprehensively) assumed that the time had now come for me to return the favour. Her official MOH proposal came in the post with a card and a customised badge for each of her five chosen bridesmaids. As geographical distance is an issue for Alys’ newly formed ‘Bride Tribe’ (we’re spread out across South Wales, the Midlands and the South West), we all took to Whatsapp to share our reactions to the mail with bridesmaid badge selfies. Naturally we all accepted. So now the hard work begins.

Maid In Wales My MOH proposal

Whilst I am honoured and excited at the prospect of helping my twin sister walk down the aisle next year, she has left me with some rather big shoes to fill. I want to be able to give her exactly the same amazing experience she gave me (which will be quite a challenge!). I’ve already got the engagement party under my belt – I supplied the decorations, helped out with the catering and even made a small speech (public speaking is not my thing) – and attended the obligatory family wedding fair visit which has given us lots of ideas and inspiration for her big day.

Maid In Wales Alys and Gwen 2

As Brides go, she is very on the ball with planning her wedding and already has lots of elements booked in. I, on the other hand, am not quite so sorted with my MOH duties. The prospect of planning a hen party for up to 17 of Alys’ closest friends fills me with dread and I have yet to start any firm preparation. I have a few ideas though, and with the help of my wonderful fellow bridesmaids, I’m confident that we’ll be able to pull it off. Fingers crossed.

We cannot wait to hear more about what you have planned for Alys! x