Engagement Shoot: Annie & James by Gareth Scanlon Photography

On Monday we gave you a little taster of Annie & James’ wedding day with our Cwtch of the Week. Today we have their gorgeous Engagement Shoot to share with you ahead of featuring their wedding tomorrow- make sure you come back because it’s really gorgeous! Annie tells us how her and James met and how she got her perfect mountain top proposal, all images are by Gareth Scanlon Photography.Gower E Shoot Image

How we met

James and I met through our mutual friend Rachel, who I lived with whilst studying at Swansea University and James knows from growing up in Pembrokeshire.  Rachel and I had a somewhat wine-fuelled evening after graduation which resulted in me leaving a rather interesting answerphone message on James phone. Several phone calls and texts later we arranged to meet for the first time in Portsmouth, where James was living at the time. We clicked from the offset, both having a love of the sea and similar interests and outlook on life. Within 6 months we’d decided to move to Cornwall together, and have since travelled Australia before settling back in Swansea, where the fated phone call first brought us together.Gower E Shoot Image2

The Proposal

James and I had been together for over 9 years before we got engaged. We had discussed marriage and regularly browsed rings in shop windows, so I knew a proposal was on the cards at some point! We went on holiday to the Llŷn Peninsula in North Wales and speaking with James afterwards he had been trying to propose all week. However potential sunsets over the sea had clouded over, and a hike up Snowdon had been met by a mountain top full of tourists, so up another mountain he sent me!DSC_1409

We’re both keen walkers and James has done the Welsh 3 Peaks challenge a couple of times, which takes you up Cadair Idris as part of it. He was keen to take me up there as the views are meant to be spectacular. We camped at the bottom of the mountain through a rather large storm and set off the next morning.  Instead of taking the usual path James encouraged us to walk up the Gulley. It was a gruelling hike (rock climb!) to the top. Stood on a very foggy precipice James (as best he could) got down on one knee and asked me to marry him – the perfect mountain top proposal. As we descended the mountain the fog started to clear and the views were breath taking. All those years of window shopping paid off too, he picked me out a beautiful antique diamond ring. DSC_1907DSC_1970

The shoot

With the Gower on our doorsteps and James and I both loving the outdoors and sea, it made sense when Gareth suggested a shoot at Three Cliffs Bay. The scenery there is stunning and we already have lots of good memories there, including many walks, BBQ’s, rock climbing, surfing and our friends “first swim” (as opposed to first dance!) for their wedding there. Not being “natural posers” having an engagement shoot to get used to the way Gareth works was great for us.  It meant when it got to our wedding we felt comfortable in front of the camera and was one less thing to worry about on the day.

Gower E Shoot Gallery DSC_1331 DSC_1337 DSC_1367 DSC_1409 DSC_1482 DSC_1504 DSC_1533 DSC_1664 DSC_1690 DSC_1778 DSC_1784 DSC_1788 DSC_1799 DSC_1808 DSC_1830 DSC_1849 DSC_1873 DSC_1885 DSC_1907 DSC_1933 DSC_1941 DSC_1970 DSC_1976 DSC_1996 DSC_2050 DSC_2151 DSC_2160 DSC_2214 DSC_2246How gorgeous! Thank you for sharing these with us Annie & James, I can’t wait to feature your full wedding tomorrow,

Charlie x

Readers’ Proposal Stories

What feels like a long time ago now (it was only about a month!), around 18 readers and some amazing wedding professionals got together for an EPIC styled shoot. Fear not, those images are coming to the blog VERY SOON! In the meantime, to continue with what I am nicknaming “Proposal Tuesday” I am going to share with you some of our models’ very own proposal stories. Take it away ladies! You can check out our past proposal stories here.

London Eye Proposal

A real proposal captured by Maria Farrelly on the London Eye

How did your Husband to Be propose?

Natalie Wood 1Natalie W

He used the dog! The dog had a note in his collar and was going crazy. I knelt down to get the note, and the dog knocked me over, so I ended up being proposed to on the kitchen floor!

Nerys Clark 2Nerys

At home unexpectedly after going for a lovely meal, David got down on one knee and popped the question!

Nikki SimpsonNikki

Our story is very romantic, snow began to fall during our 1st kiss and everything! Chris proposed at a family BBQ, he got down on one knee in the middle of the street and a black cat came up to him and brushed against his leg, our boys made up a ring out of a hair band. Not bad for a 1st date!

Celyn Cooper 1Celyn

It was the day before my 25th birthday (22/12) on the highest turret in Castell Coch, complete surprise – he hadn’t told anyone!

Natalie Stewart 1Natalie S

He took me to the Ritz in London for a meal. He got down on one knee and produced a Tiffany. He had chosen the ring with his Mother the week before.


He took me glamping in Cornwall. Im afraid of heights and he made me climb to the top of Tintagel Castle! I nearly ruined it by getting someone to take a photo just before he asked, he was already on one knee!

Caitlin McBrideCaitlin

On holiday in Mexico on the last night of our two week holiday. Scott had planned lots of romantic day trips – however didn’t end up doing it until the last night walking back to our room, he plucked up the courage to get on one knee!

Gemma GittoesGemma

On a train by Newport! Very romantic. He’d planned to propose on the weekend away in Manchester but realized it would be happening in England so quickly proposed on the train whilst still in Wales.

Hayley MatthewsHayley

On valentines day this year he wrote in my sons sandpit and when I went outside, he asked me to have a look inside – massive surprise.

Jo Powell 2Jo

He gave me his bank card and told me to go buy a ring.

Stephanie Davies 2Stephanie

With my children at home on a lazy Sunday morning.

Sara ThomasSara

On a boat in front of the Ibiza sunset August 2013.

Cerian RowlandsCerian

He took me to Diamond Centre Wales on our 5 year anniversary to pick out my engagement ring and a couple of months later he took me for a walk on a drizzly Saturday afternoon to Roath Park and proposed in front of the clock tower which is one of our favorite places in Cardiff. Even though I knew it was coming, I was still shocked!


Now that’s quite a mix of different proposal styles there! Get involved and tell us your proposal story below!

A Romantic Proposal in Paris

A few weeks ago we featured this proposal shoot in Tintern Abbey and I loved it so much that I followed it up the week after with this post talking about why I love proposal and pre-wedding shoots. We also put a plea up on our Facebook page for brides with proposal photographs to get in touch. Reader Jess answered this plea and this week she is here telling us all about her romantic proposal in Paris with surprise photos by Lindsey of Pictours Paris, take it away Jess.


Phil and I went to secondary school together and were part of the same friendship group all the way through. We were the only two from the group to end up in Swansea University and I think the fact he was a familiar face and the fact all my housemates quite fancied him meant that we began spending more time together and eventually he asked me out on a date. The date was a bit of a disaster, we were both very awkward! Doors, escalators and ticket machines tried to scupper us, but at the end of the night when he nearly missed his bus because he ran back to give me a good night kiss I knew he was pretty special. We have been together for more than five years now, all through uni and graduating, getting our first jobs and finally moved in together last year. 


On our fifth anniversary of being together Phil surprised me with a trip to Paris, he is usually pretty useless at keeping secrets so when I accidentally found out about the trip a few weeks early I thought I had it all figured out. On Wednesday 8th of April, he told me he was taking me out for a special meal near the Pont des Arts and thought we could stop by there to place our padlock on the bridge. So we dressed up nicely and headed out, we picked the perfect place for our padlock to stay forever and I attached it, feeling all romantic and lovely!


Then I turned back to Phil and he was down on one knee saying something about being happy and being in love and spending our lives together (his exact wording has been completely lost on both of us since!) he then produced my gorgeous 1950s vintage diamond ring.

1 5Apparently I didn’t say yes I just grabbed it and cried and squealed and he had to ask if that was meant to be a yes! We were cuddling and I was all in a bit of a blur with the whole thing when out of the corner of my eye I spotted someone taking photos of us. Phil told me to ignore it but she started coming closer and congratulating us, she told me she had been asked by Phil weeks ago to capture the whole thing and wondered if I would be happy to have a few more photos taken, after Phil confirmed this was all really happening we set off to have some beautiful photos taken near the Louvre and catching the golden hour light. 
My lovely Phil who I didn’t think was capable of keeping secrets managed to organise the whole thing, searching for an English speaking photographer in Paris, sending her a photo of us so she knew who to look for, emailing and texting her all day to catch the right time for the photos. Secretly buying the ring I had fallen in love with weeks before and cheekily showed him and meeting my dad in Sainsbury’s cafe to ask his permission. 

We both told our families that night (although my dad couldn’t keep a secret like Phil so most of them already knew!) but kept the news to ourselves for a little while so we could tell as many people in person as possible. We left Paris the next day and Phil received an email from the lovely Lindsey from Pictours Paris with a link to all our photos, so as soon as we got home and had a decent internet connection again, we had a nose through them and relived it all again tears included! 

We have spent a little time enjoying being engaged, showing off our photos and sharing our lovely story since then and finally started planning this month. So far we have booked our venue the lovely Ty Mawr in Lisvane for August 2015, next on the list to find is a photographer that can ensure our wedding day photos live up to the incredible engagement photos! 

3Thank you so much for sharing your story with us Jess, I absolutely love your photos and can’t wait to drag Mark to the Pont des Arts to hang up a love lock now! I am still dying to see more proposal shoots – these are my new favourite thing. If you have one, or if you have a proposal story with a pre-wedding shoot to boot then contact me at charlie@cwtchthebride.com



Falling in Love: Part 2

A little while back we asked via our Facebook page for readers to get in touch telling us how they met their other halves. We had an amazing response and have some lovely stories to share with you all. Back in June we told you how Hannah met Dan and we are back this week with another amazing story.

In the second part of our series on falling in love we hear from reader Beth who met her husband to be through a wrong phone number – if you believe in fate I think you’ll agree this was it!

I hope you enjoy reading about it, if you have a story about how you jumped in with both feet and fell in love we would really like to hear it.

How Beth met Nathan

On January 5th 2010 I received a text from a random number out of the blue and I replied politely saying “Sorry you have the wrong number”, a message came back saying “Who’s this then?” and this was the start of a month of phone calls and text messages. We couldn’t believe it when we found out that we lived 15 minutes from each other!! It was my birthday on the 13th of February (the day before Valentine’s day) and I received a massive bunch of flowers and two cards from Nathan.

We decided to meet each other for the first time on the 15th of February as I wanted to thank him in person for the flowers. We arranged to meet outside Costa Coffee at the MacArthur Glen retail outlet in Bridgend, when I first saw him it hit me like a brick wall: I knew there and then that I was going to marry him! He’s told me the same since!

We got engaged on Christmas Eve 2011 in front of Winnie the Pooh at Disneyland Paris, it was the most amazing moment of my life! I had absolutely no idea he was going to do it! When we first got to Disneyland I wanted to go straight to see Winnie the Pooh but Nathan wouldn’t let me :( little did I know what he had planned! We waited in line for 20 minutes for Pooh bear on Christmas Eve, Nathan handed my camera to another person waiting in line and I had my photo taken with Pooh bear on my own then Nathan took off his coat and walked towards me, it was absolutely freezing!!! He grabbed my hands and I could feel he was shaking like a leaf, he told me that he wanted to spend the rest of our lives together and that I completed his life. The ring was absolutely gorgeous and he had designed it himself! Luckily the person with my camera had kept on snapping without me realising and I was amazed that I got this photograph of the moment.

We moved into a new house in March 2012 and have been saving for our wedding ever since.

The moment captured on my camera and the ring designed by Nathan

The moment captured on my camera and the ring designed by Nathan


Thank you Beth for getting in touch with your beautiful story, good luck with all of your wedding plans! 

We hope it all comes together for you soon,

Charlie x

Why You Should Have an Engagement (or Proposal) Shoot

We’ve featured many gorgeous engagement shoots here on Cwtch The Bride and even an incredible proposal shoot, this week Charlie is giving her opinion on why these are such a good idea.

When I read about this gorgeous proposal shoot last week I was fairly blown away, knowing the amount of planning and effort it took and then seeing it unfold in front of our eyes was pretty magical.

Image by Claire at Loveseen Photography

Image by Claire at Loveseen Photography

Just think about it guys (or girls as the case may be), you have spent ages planning the perfect, romantic proposal but then it’s all over in a blur of emotion- how amazing would it be to have photos and/or a video of the whole thing to look back on?! These two went to the effort of planning to propose on the London Eye and just happened to be lucky enough to propose within eyeline of a talented photographer, our very own Maria Farrelly!

Images by Maria Farrelly

Images by Maria Farrelly

london eye proposal

I recently asked talented videographer Ben Walton if he had ever been asked to film a proposal and he said disappointingly he hadn’t been, it’s just not something people think of. But I have a feeling this kind of stealth shooting is going to really take off and I can’t wait to start seeing the results!

Image by Claire at Loveseen Photography

Image by Claire at Loveseen Photography

However if you are reading this post on Cwtch the Bride then chances are you have already had your proposal so instead of a proposal shoot it’s time to decide whether or not you want to have an engagement shoot.

When we first got engaged I really couldn’t see the point of an engagement shoot, it seemed to be just one more thing to spend money on unnecessarily. But once we met Maria (our photographer and creator of Cwtch the Bride!) I couldn’t wait to have one! For one thing, Mark and I didn’t have any really nice photos of the two of us and I couldn’t wait until the wedding photos for that! But more importantly we really couldn’t wait to have the opportunity to get to know our photographer and learn to relax in front of the camera.

I genuinely believe that a good rapport between photographer and client means that you get the best out of the photographs, being with a person you can relax and have a giggle with is such an important thing on your big day. As important as it is for you to get to know them, it is equally as important for them to get to know you. They will see how you interact with one another, how relaxed (or not) you are in front of the camera and what you do and don’t like.

I really recommend getting the engagement shoot done fairly early on, that way you get more time to enjoy your pictures and can think of ways that you want to incorporate them into the day if you want to. We had a guest book made out of our E shoot photos and now it sits proudly along with our wedding albums. We also used one on our wedding website and for our table numbers, and on our Facebook profile pictures too of course! Luxury bride Pippa had one of her photos blown up and turned into wallpaper for the bar area- it looked incredible!


Above images both by Maria Farelly

Above images both by Maria Farelly

I thoroughly enjoyed our engagement shoot and can’t recommend it highly enough. Aside from the practical reasons above, it’s good fun too! You get to choose a location that’s special to you, dress up in whatever clothes you like (not quite the same as the wedding day!) and you get to spend a day laughing and smiling with your other half and get some lovely pictures at the end of it. Still not convinced? Maybe some of these gorgeous images will help change your mind.

Making table numbers: Leah & Ollie by Marie Lloyd

Making table numbers: Leah & Ollie by Marie Lloyd

We love featuring pre-wedding shoots here at Cwtch the Bride, if you have had one and would like to see it featured here we would really love you to get in touch with us on info@cwtchthebride.com