Real Weddings: The Beautiful Welsh in Breathtaking Italy

Good Friday to you all Cwtchers!

We have an absolutely stunning wedding for you which is about to inspire the socks off you!  Our gorgeous couple, Jenna and Gareth always wanted to get married abroad.  So after lots of researching, they, and the rest of the Welsh contingency, flew to the stunning Lake Garda.

You wait until you see the results! Over to Jenna to tell you more about their breathtaking big day…

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Jenna and Gareth

Jenna and Gareth (65 of 97)

What was your budget?

£15,000 (approximately)

How would you describe your wedding theme?

We didn’t really choose a theme per se, we wanted the whole day to be a reflection of us with I suppose a touch of boho in terms of the dresses and flowers.

Jenna and Gareth (34 of 97)

What was your favourite part of your wedding?

Definitely the ceremony! It was just magical!

On a terrace of a castle over looking Lake Garda surrounded by mountains. I walked down the aisle to ‘Everybody’s Free’ by Jennifer Ann, which was playing when Gareth proposed on the last stretch of the Ironman. I have very talented friends and family who arranged to sing it flash mob style. It was beautiful and caused a lot of tears. Gareth and I wrote our own vows, mine were a lot more elaborate than his, including the line; ‘I promise to always lock the doors before bed and love you forever’.

Jenna and Gareth (39 of 97) Jenna and Gareth (43 of 97) Jenna and Gareth (46 of 97) Jenna and Gareth (47 of 97)

My youngest sister, Sienna, wrote a love poem for us. It was both funny and emotional. That poem, by a 10 year old, had the biggest tears and cheers.

Jenna and Gareth (49 of 97) Jenna and Gareth (50 of 97)

After the ‘I do’s’ were exchanged, we danced down the aisle with tambourines to T Rex’s Ride a White Swan. It was just perfect.

Jenna and Gareth (57 of 97)

Tell us about your Wedding Dress

I was probably an exception when it comes to the wedding dress cliche of going for something completely different to what you’d imagine.

I imagined a dress and was determined to find it. I visited a wedding gown boutique, tried on some beautiful dresses but none of them fitted in with my vision.

I went on a Pinterest mission for a few months and eventually came across Rime Arodaky. I fell in love with all her dresses but there was one ‘Solane’ that had all the elements that I’d envisioned; a low back, the neckline, beautiful embroidery, light fabric and flowy yet sexy.

Jenna and Gareth (25 of 97) Jenna and Gareth (26 of 97) Jenna and Gareth (68 of 97)

I hunted down the only shop in the UK that stocks her, The Mews in Nottinghill, London, and made an appointment. It became clear that Rime Arodaky was the designer for me, my maid of honour and my mum were sold too. All her dresses just suited me perfectly even though they were all so different. As soon as I tried ‘Solane’ on I felt like it was me, of course my mums tears helped. The price tag was way over my budget, so I held off for a few months until I knew there would be a sample sale and luckily ‘Solane’ was part of it.

The lovely girls at The Mews put the dress to one side for me & sent it up to the Bristol shop for me. I cannot recommend The Mews enough!

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

I had some difficulty picking bridesmaids as I have an amazing group of friends and also two sisters and two sisters in law.

Getting married abroad and wanting a small intimate wedding, I didn’t want to have a huge bridal party. I decided to involve my sisters in law in other parts of the wedding and have my niece and nephews as part of the bridal party. They both sang phenomenally, and were witnesses for us too. I had both my sisters, one as my maid of ‘dishonour’, my longest best friend of 25 years as the other maid of ‘dishonour’, school best friend of 20 years and my best friend from University of 13 years.

Jenna and Gareth (79 of 97)

Gareth knew who he wanted as best men probably before he knew he wanted to marry me. Geryn and Gavin have been his longest most loyal friends. They are complete opposites. Geryn is the organised and sensible one while Gavin is the wild and mischievous one.

Jenna and Gareth (18 of 97)

Why did you choose your venue?

We always wanted to get married abroad. We originally France, as we love it there.

However after some research we realised that we couldn’t legally get married there and actually becoming man and wife there was important to us, I couldn’t have a blessing and pretend.

A friend of ours had been to a wedding in Malcesine Lake Garda and said it was immense. We booked our flights and made various appointments for different venues around the lake.

Jenna and Gareth (53 of 97) Jenna and Gareth (60 of 97) Jenna and Gareth (61 of 97) Jenna and Gareth (62 of 97)

We visited the castle in Malcesine and the restaurant Al Corsaro first and was sold straight away. It was exactly what we wanted, laid back, rustic, open and the views were incredible.

Tell us about your photographer

We did a lot of research for a good photographer. Photography is important in our family. My father loves a camera and it’s his hobby. Originally he would take the photos but I wanted him to relax on the day and enjoy it.

Nikola Smernic popped up on Facebook as there was a competition running to win him photographing your wedding. He had won a National Geographic award and several wedding ones. I entered but didn’t win.

However, due to entering he offered us a deal. His photography is random, relaxed and natural just how I like it. He and his wife are both so laid back to work with. We met them the morning of our wedding and said how we’d like a 10 minute photoshoot at the most as my husband hates it and that’s exactly what they did. To be honest I didn’t even really notice they were there. The end photos are amazing.

How did the proposal happen? 

I was very lucky to have the most incredible surprise proposal. Gareth competed in IronMan UK. The friday I arrived in Bolton he had already picked up all the merchandise and event booklet. I was sat there reading about the event when I came across a page containing messages from the competitors, I just scanned the page and saw Gareth’s name. I was about to read it out loud when Gareth snatched it from my hand and said I wasn’t allowed to read it. I should’ve clicked then, but I’m pretty gullible. Gareth said that he had arranged to do something stupid on the finish line and that I would spoil the surprise if I knew. He is pretty random so I believed him, I thought he’s not going to carry a ring around the course with him anyway and carried on eating Pizza.

The next day was brilliant. The pride I felt watching him complete the swim then the bike was immense. His parents arrived to watch his marathon as well as his best friend. We positioned ourselves along the finish line. I wanted to see him cross the line so made my way through the crowds a few meters before it. I saw him approaching and shouted out for him so that he knew I was there.

He to my annoyance turned around and came over, I waved him on as I knew that they timed the last 100meter split. He luckily ignored me. He gave me a sweaty hug, whispered in my ear that he had travelled 140 miles for me, that I was his first, his last & his everything and got down on one knee.

I still wonder how he got down on that one knee to this day. There was a huge crowd clapping us, Everybody’s Free was playing at the finish line and the presenter stopped the music to congratulate us on the big screen. I grabbed the ring before I even said yes, I was completely speechless.

All was captured on camera which I was so thankful for as it was a complete blur.

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

I made complete use of my friends and family’s talents.

From creating the chalk board signs, filming the wedding, musicians, to hair and make up. I am very fussy with hair & make up & getting married in Italy it was very difficult to shop around and have trials.

Jenna and Gareth (70 of 97)

Instead I had some trials with my bridesmaid Nicky, who, due to having a baby 6 weeks prior to the wedding, didn’t even know until 4 weeks prior that she’d make it. She also did some of the other bridesmaid’s hair too, whilst breastfeeding I might add. She’s brilliant at multi tasking. She did a beautiful job and it was exactly how I wanted.Jenna and Gareth (8 of 97)

My maid of honour Rhian did my make up. We had been to MAC and another make up artist for ideas and stocked up on the make up at the airport. It meant the getting ready was intimate and nobody knows me better than these girls so it made complete sense.

Jenna and Gareth (12 of 97)

All the name cards for the reception were polaroid photos of some of our favourite memories of our guests. I’ll be honest it took ages and the website crashed many times. But, the fact that most took them home with them showed how much they appreciated it. These doubled as a favour too as my husband has an unhealthy hate towards favours.

Jenna and Gareth (69 of 97)

We hired cameras from ‘Shoot it Yourself’ to film our wedding and chose responsible friends to film the day for us. Shoot it Yourself then does the editing for you. I was nervous, as were they, but it worked out amazing. I didn’t want the usual romantic montage as that’s not us at all. I wanted it to be funny and us. The final edit was exactly how I’d hoped and both of us were crying tears of laughter and happiness watching it.

What was your first dance & why?

First dance song obviously wasn’t the usual romantic ballad type, as that is just not our style. But, it wasn’t easy to choose a non-ballad that meant something to us.

We spent many wine fuelled nights playing different songs and trying to dance to them to see if they were right. We kept coming back to ‘our song’ which we had originally decided was too hard to dance to and a bit random.

I read somewhere to not choose a crowd pleaser song but choose one you’ll always remember as yours however random.
So we did.
We dance to Johnny Cash ‘Walk the Line’ with tambourines being played for added effect.

Jenna and Gareth (90 of 97) Jenna and Gareth (91 of 97)

After the first chorus we invited everyone in to join us for a boogie.

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

I’d have had a few Proseccos with everyone the day before to relax me as I was running around like a headless chicken trying to get everything ready and stressing. I’m guessing this is normal. I also found it tricky to recruit helpers as I was very aware that everyone had paid a lot of money to join us in Italy and were on holiday.

However my day before stress did mean that on the day of the wedding I was completely relaxed. I know also it’s a cliché but I would’ve got married a little earlier. The day flew by and by the time the 4 course meal and speeches were over we had little time for dancing.

Jenna and Gareth (92 of 97) Jenna and Gareth (95 of 97) Jenna and Gareth (96 of 97) Jenna and Gareth (97 of 97)

It really is true what they say, time does fly by.

Do you have any advice for future couples?

Don’t make decisions based on what’s trendy or what you think your guests will like. Choose what you both want as that’s what it’s about.

It’s good getting a man’s perspective as they don’t care about décor and details, a wedding day is a day to remember because of the atmosphere you create, good food, good wine, good people and good music.

Also if you’re planning a wedding abroad don’t feel as though you have to fork out those extra thousands for a wedding planner. We did it without and managed perfectly. It meant we got a few small trips to Italy in prior instead.

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

Always say I love you!

Jenna and Gareth (76 of 97)

What was your favourite thing about planning a wedding?

Our favourite thing was definitely the trips to Italy we made. We got to explore the Lake and visit nearby Verona and Venice, drank good wine and Limoncello, and ate a lot of Italian food.

The Suppliers

Photographer: Nikola Smernic 
Videographer: Shoot It Yourself 
Ceremony Venue: Castello Scaligero Malcesine
Reception Venue: Al Corsaro 
Bride’s Dress: Rime Arodaky ‘Solane’ 
Groom’s Outfit: French Connection
Bridesmaid’s Dresses: Jarlo at ASOS and Millie Mackintosh
Flowers: Tania Muser 
DJ: Roberto Palma
Stationery: Etsy
Any Reception Decor/Props: Etsy

The Wedding Album

Jenna and Gareth (1 of 97) Jenna and Gareth (2 of 97) Jenna and Gareth (3 of 97) Jenna and Gareth (4 of 97) Jenna and Gareth (5 of 97) Jenna and Gareth (6 of 97) Jenna and Gareth (7 of 97) Jenna and Gareth (8 of 97) Jenna and Gareth (9 of 97) Jenna and Gareth (10 of 97) Jenna and Gareth (11 of 97) Jenna and Gareth (12 of 97) Jenna and Gareth (13 of 97) Jenna and Gareth (14 of 97) Jenna and Gareth (15 of 97) Jenna and Gareth (16 of 97) Jenna and Gareth (17 of 97) Jenna and Gareth (18 of 97) Jenna and Gareth (19 of 97) Jenna and Gareth (20 of 97) Jenna and Gareth (21 of 97) Jenna and Gareth (22 of 97) Jenna and Gareth (23 of 97) Jenna and Gareth (24 of 97) Jenna and Gareth (25 of 97) Jenna and Gareth (26 of 97) Jenna and Gareth (27 of 97) Jenna and Gareth (28 of 97) Jenna and Gareth (29 of 97) Jenna and Gareth (30 of 97) Jenna and Gareth (31 of 97) Jenna and Gareth (32 of 97) Jenna and Gareth (33 of 97) Jenna and Gareth (34 of 97) Jenna and Gareth (35 of 97) Jenna and Gareth (36 of 97) Jenna and Gareth (37 of 97) Jenna and Gareth (38 of 97) Jenna and Gareth (39 of 97) Jenna and Gareth (40 of 97) Jenna and Gareth (41 of 97) Jenna and Gareth (42 of 97) Jenna and Gareth (43 of 97) Jenna and Gareth (44 of 97) Jenna and Gareth (45 of 97) Jenna and Gareth (46 of 97) Jenna and Gareth (47 of 97) Jenna and Gareth (48 of 97) Jenna and Gareth (49 of 97) Jenna and Gareth (50 of 97) Jenna and Gareth (51 of 97) Jenna and Gareth (52 of 97) Jenna and Gareth (53 of 97) Jenna and Gareth (54 of 97) Jenna and Gareth (55 of 97) Jenna and Gareth (56 of 97) Jenna and Gareth (57 of 97) Jenna and Gareth (58 of 97) Jenna and Gareth (59 of 97) Jenna and Gareth (60 of 97) Jenna and Gareth (61 of 97) Jenna and Gareth (62 of 97) Jenna and Gareth (63 of 97) Jenna and Gareth (64 of 97) Jenna and Gareth (65 of 97) Jenna and Gareth (66 of 97) Jenna and Gareth (67 of 97) Jenna and Gareth (68 of 97) Jenna and Gareth (69 of 97) Jenna and Gareth (70 of 97) Jenna and Gareth (71 of 97) Jenna and Gareth (72 of 97) Jenna and Gareth (73 of 97) Jenna and Gareth (74 of 97) Jenna and Gareth (75 of 97) Jenna and Gareth (76 of 97) Jenna and Gareth (77 of 97) Jenna and Gareth (78 of 97) Jenna and Gareth (79 of 97) Jenna and Gareth (80 of 97) Jenna and Gareth (81 of 97) Jenna and Gareth (82 of 97) Jenna and Gareth (83 of 97) Jenna and Gareth (84 of 97) Jenna and Gareth (85 of 97) Jenna and Gareth (86 of 97) Jenna and Gareth (87 of 97) Jenna and Gareth (88 of 97) Jenna and Gareth (89 of 97) Jenna and Gareth (90 of 97) Jenna and Gareth (91 of 97) Jenna and Gareth (92 of 97) Jenna and Gareth (93 of 97) Jenna and Gareth (94 of 97) Jenna and Gareth (95 of 97) Jenna and Gareth (96 of 97) Jenna and Gareth (97 of 97)

I think you will agree, this is a killer wedding! I wish so much I could go back in time, find Jenna, become her best friend, then be invited to the wedding!  But that sounds a bit creepy. So scrap that!

 

Real Wedding: Rachel and Richard by Sara Beaumont

Happy Friday Cwtchers!

Oh I have so been looking forward to showing off this gorgeous wedding of Rachel and Richard.  Richard got in touch with us because he was so overwhelmed with how all of the suppliers they had had the pleasure to use, had been.  We were so taken by his enthusiasm, we had to find out more.

When we discovered they had used the likes of Rachel Burgess Bridal Boutique, Sweet Peony, Laura May Bridal and Pencoed House (to name but a few), weren’t in the least bit surprised that they had had received such a wonderful service.

To top it off, their photographer, Sara Beaumont, took the most wonderful images of the couple and their friends and family, telling the story of the beautiful day.

So I will stop rambling on, and hand over to the couple to tell you all about it…..

Real Weddings Banner

Rachel and Richard

Sara Beaumont Rachel&Richard (90 of 90)

What was your budget?

We were really lucky as both sides of our family wanted to contribute financially to our wedding. With some of our own savings we were able to splash out on some luxuries that we wouldn’t have been able to afford otherwise.
As most of our guests were travelling we wanted to make sure that we made them feel welcome and showed them a good time so we decided early on that the food, drink and music would take priority.

Sara Beaumont Rachel&Richard (65 of 90)

Where something came in higher than expected or wasn’t part of our original budget we tried to make up the difference from our monthly income rather than take from “the pot”.

How would you describe your wedding theme?

Thanks to his Dad, Richard spent most of his childhood, teenage years….and adult life playing cricket so this featured quite heavily in our day.

Sara Beaumont Rachel&Richard (67 of 90) Sara Beaumont Rachel&Richard (64 of 90)

Otherwise, we wanted to keep the decor fairly simple. The hall at Pencoed House is beautiful so all we needed were some flowers to brighten the place up. Rachael at Sweet Peony was a godsend.

Sara Beaumont Rachel&Richard (4 of 90) Sara Beaumont Rachel&Richard (40 of 90) Sara Beaumont Rachel&Richard (55 of 90)

She understood the style we wanted straight away and gave practical advice of how to achieve it without spending a fortune. The night before the wedding I popped into the shop and was blown away by the gorgeous scent and all the lovely blooms. I couldn’t wait to get hold of my bouquet!

What was your favourite part of your wedding?

I wouldn’t say I’m a shy person but walking down the aisle in front of 100 family and friends was not my idea of a good time. The night before the wedding we had a quick rehearsal at the church with the bridesmaids and ushers. Even with just a few people there I hated it. But on the morning of the wedding something clicked and I couldn’t wait to get to the church (our guests will find this surprising given how late I was!) I loved every second of my entrance and was overwhelmed by all the lovely faces smiling back at me.

Sara Beaumont Rachel&Richard (88 of 90)
But the best moment for the both of us has to be the car journey between the church and the venue. This is the first (and only) moment we had alone on our wedding day, the first as husband and wife.

Sara Beaumont Rachel&Richard (46 of 90)

I know nothing about cars but have always had a soft spot for jaguars. The MKII we chose was so elegant and offered a little bit of isolation on a very busy day.

Sara Beaumont Rachel&Richard (50 of 90)

Tell us about your Wedding Dress

I’m an incredibly fussy shopper and after spending every spare moment googling wedding dresses I concluded that the magical “dress moment” was not for me. As soon as I walked into Rachel Burgess’ Bridal Boutique I knew that was not the case.
The boutique is like a little bit of heaven. Rachel only stocks dresses that she loves, designed and made in Wales by wonderful local designers. I left my first appointment with three dresses I would have been absolutely thrilled to wear.
After 3 appointments (Rachel was very patient) I had chosen The One: Mable by E&W Couture. Sophie at E&W creates such beautiful dresses with really luxurious fabrics. I loved the way the tulle moved when I turned and I couldn’t stop prancing around the boutique! Rachel suggested I try a champagne slip instead of ivory which gave the dress an elegant vintage feel which was just perfect.

Sara Beaumont Rachel&Richard (8 of 90) Sara Beaumont Rachel&Richard (11 of 90)
As each dress is made to order Sophie tailored the dress exactly as I wanted it. My wedding was in April so I added some sheer sleeves and I simplified the cowl neckline to make sure my Mum’s pearl necklace stood out. It was magical to see my dress evolve from a basic calico mock up to the beautiful gown I would wear down the aisle.
Sophie and Rachel went above and beyond for me arranging as many appointments as I needed to feel comfortable and advising on everything from underwear to how to hold my bouquet! Sophie gave me off-cuts from my dress to use elsewhere. I decided to wrap a little bit of the tulle around the button-holes for my groom and Father-of-the-Bride as a first insight to what they could expect (which was obviously lost on them!) Unknown to me my Mum also approached the girls for some extra silk to make a beautiful cushion to surprise me with on the morning of the wedding. It was so unexpected and incredibly thoughtful.

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

My sisters have always been my best friends so having them next to me on my wedding day was non-negotiable but when I started to think about who I wanted to have around me on the morning of the wedding I knew I couldn’t do it without my pals Kate and Laura.

Sara Beaumont Rachel&Richard (58 of 90) Sara Beaumont Rachel&Richard (60 of 90)
Just 6 weeks before the wedding, we found out that the girls’ dresses had never been ordered! Luckily they pulled through and thanks to the amazing girls at Laura May Bridal new dresses were lined up and ordered within 48 hours. I didn’t need to lift a finger. From that moment, I knew that no matter what went wrong on the day, as long as I had my friends around me, all would be well.
For Richard, there was only one choice for best man, his best friend Charles. He came up trumps on the day!

Sara Beaumont Rachel&Richard (62 of 90) Sara Beaumont Rachel&Richard (63 of 90)

Why did you choose your venue?

When we first arrived at Pencoed House we fell in love with the way the long driveway felt like we were travelling down to our own little intimate hideout in the woods.
We wanted somewhere which had somewhere for us to stay with our immediate family at the end of the night and the elegantly decorated cottages were just the perfect place to rest our heads after a good old party.

Sara Beaumont Rachel&Richard (52 of 90) Sara Beaumont Rachel&Richard (56 of 90) Sara Beaumont Rachel&Richard (55 of 90) Sara Beaumont Rachel&Richard (54 of 90)
But the venue itself had to be the main attraction. The tall trees and the stone walls were the perfect backdrop to our reception. The hall was full of character and didn’t need any further decoration to bring the place to life.

Tell us about your photographer

I first met Sara Beaumont when she photographed my sister’s wedding in 2013. Sara lives in Worcester but her passion for South Wales means that she is more than happy to make the trip for the wedding.
It was important to us to have a photographer who made us feel at ease. What we loved about Sara was her calming effect and her wicked sense of humour. She is able to boss around unruly family members when needed without causing a fuss and the results are incredible (which is lucky as she only had 5 minutes to capture our group shots before the wedding breakfast!)

Sara Beaumont Rachel&Richard (87 of 90)

How did the proposal happen? 

Poor Richard had to think up two proposals before he was able to pop the question. I am absolutely obsessed with decorating the house at Christmas so his original plan was to propose whilst helping me decorate the tree, substituting a bauble with the ring. Sadly for him, I was just too impatient and insisted on putting the decorations up before he had been able to collect the ring! He had to turn to plan B.
We were travelling home to Wales for Christmas when Richard took a detour to Stratford-upon-Avon where we had spent a lovely weekend at the beginning of our relationship. I had been moody all day and instantly felt guilty that he had arranged such a lovely surprise. He told me that he wanted a quiet night with just the two of us before we got home to a house full of family and friends. We walked through the town centre looking at the Christmas lights and ended up on a bridge over the river where we had taken a boat trip 5 years earlier. I first started to suspect something when he stopped to “take a photo” in the dark. As soon as the bridge was clear he dropped down on one knee and presented me with the most beautiful ring. I spent the rest of the night watching it twinkle in the Christmas lights completely gobsmacked that he would still propose after how miserable I had been all day!!!

Sara Beaumont Rachel&Richard (89 of 90)

What was your first dance & why?

We chose 80s classic, Hungry Eyes by Eric Carmen. It took me about 4 years to convince Richard to watch Dirty Dancing with me but in the end he loved it! We are not the best dancers so we wanted to pick something which would encourage others to join us on the dance floor.

Sara Beaumont Rachel&Richard (79 of 90) Sara Beaumont Rachel&Richard (80 of 90)

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

Even though we knew exactly who was coming to the wedding, seeing everyone together was completely overwhelming and I wanted to thank everybody individually for coming to celebrate with us. Getting around everyone is so hard, the day speeds by and there are always people you don’t get chance to speak to. I would have liked more time to speak to everyone but then I wouldn’t change a single second of the day.

Sara Beaumont Rachel&Richard (49 of 90)

Do you have any advice for future couples?

Make the most of your friends and family. We had amazing support from some really special people: my old school teacher and long-time family friend married us; Richard’s brother played the piano as I walked down the aisle and our friend Andy provided the musical entertainment whilst we signed the register. Uncle Robert was MC for the day, a family friend provided Yorkshire wool for Richard’s suit and my brother, Matthew designed the invitations and the order of service.

Sara Beaumont Rachel&Richard (62 of 90)
Utilising the talents and enthusiasm of those around us not only helped us save on the costs of a professional but also added an irreplaceable personal feel to our day.

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

When we first got engaged, my parents sent us a card with a quote from Audrey Hepburn: The best thing to hold on to in life is each other. We have both grown up surrounded by strong marriages and understand that it’s not all a bed of roses. This card was a reminder of what it’s all about and that as long as we are a team, we can get through anything.

What was your favourite thing about planning a wedding?

Spending time with family and friends was one of the best bits of planning the wedding. My dress appointments were the perfect opportunity to go home and spend time with my Mum and it was really nice to get together with my bridesmaids for dress shopping and the hen party.

Sara Beaumont Rachel&Richard (35 of 90)

The Suppliers

Photographer: Sara Beaumont Photography
Videographer: Silk Wedding Films 
Ceremony Venue: St Mary’s Catholic Church Bridgend 
Reception Venue: Pencoed House Estate 
Bride’s Dress: Rachel Burgess Bridal Boutique
Bride’s Shoes: Rachel Simpson but found on ebay!
Bride’s Headpiece: Britten Weddings 
Bride’s Jewellery: Mum
Groom’s Outfit: Carl Stuart Bespoke Tailor 
Bridesmaid’s Dresses: Laura May Bridal
Bridesmaid’s Accessories: Etsy
Cake: Marks and Spencer
Flowers: Sweet Peony Floral
Hair: Rachel Mann (friend)
Make Up: Louise McCarthy (friend)
Band: Classic Soul Dogs
Stationery: I Do Designs 
Caterers: E J Catering 
Transport: Nev and Stella Padfield (now retired)
Other: Wool for Richard’s suit was provided by family friends, W.T.Johnson & Sons Limited 

The Wedding Album

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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…

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Real Weddings: Abigail and Jonathan by Angharad Thomas

Good morning and happy Friday Cwtchers!

We have a blummin beautiful wedding for you today. Images by the gorgeous Angharad Thomas, Abigail and Jonathan had a gorgeous, blustery wedding – not one that was planned as the wind changed it, but what do you do in those situations, embrace it! And goodness the results are breathtaking. With so many personal touches and fantastic DIY items, you’re about to get hugely inspired……

Real Weddings Banner

Abigail and Jonathan

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What was your budget?

Anything in region of 10-15,000. 

How would you describe your wedding theme?

Fun, comfortable and homely. We got engaged in January 2016 so our timeframe was maybe a little shorter than most people. We both wanted people to feel relaxed and enjoy themselves and wanted them to experience the beauty of Pembrokeshire. Our service was in Emmanuel Christian Centre, we are both Christians and this part of the day was our focus.

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It was emotional and moving service, with abundance of prayers, songs and teaching from the Bible about marriage. Making the commitment in this way was the most important thing for us and was a ceremony that really touched a lot of our guests. There were lots of little things touches across the day which made it personal to us. Jonny had used a type writer as part of the big marriage proposal, via a poem, so the type writer and poetry made an important feature of the invites and day. The invites and orders of services were painted by myself, with some help of a graphic designer friend!

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We also brought an old Mini which we wanted to use as our wedding car, which we named “Gale”. I (Abi) didn’t fancy being driven by a hired driver but wanted my two favourite men, my Dad and new husband to drive around.

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Other touches included; our vegeterian menu and served on long tressle tables ‘family style’, we had pebbles from Druidstone beach for place names, our bridesmaids and groomsmen were mix and match and we had a “naked” wedding cake made by my Mum.

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What was your favourite part of your wedding?

I had many moments which really blew me away on the day and can cherish these. It am so thankful that I took on plenty of people’s advice to me to try and absorb the day as much as possible. Seeing it all come together so beautifully and to have all our loved ones in one place was so overwhelming. In addition – finally seeing Jonny as I entered the church was so much more hitting emotionally than I had envisaged, and the church service was so emotional and personal.

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It was so special to stop and pray with my bridemaids and parents before we went to church too. One particularly fun moment was when Jonny and I were waiting at Newgale beach on our own for the arrival of the bridal party – Seeing my bridesmaids stroll along the beach front in their wellies and dresses made me chuckle, whilst children on the beach shouted congratulations.

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The speeches, especially my Dads were amazing! Leaving the wedding venue with Jonny is a vivid memory too, our bridesmaids, groomsmen and parents gave us massive hugs and kisses as we were cheered away by all the guests in our Mini “Gale” – which had of course been hijacked with tincans!!

Tell us about your Wedding Dress

My wedding dress was bought from Brides of Winchester BOW and it was a Charlie Brear design. I went wedding dress shopping about a week after getting engaged and much to my surprise picked it out first dress shop. I must admit it was the last dress I wanted to try on out of the collection I tried.. It was very slim fit and simple dress, which could have easily been ignored alongside the big, beautiful sparkles which the shop had to offer. We added a lace overcoat, then lovely seamstress Emma Watling added sleeves, a modesty panel of lace and a belt. With the option to take off the overcoat – I was very in love with the fact I could go from pretty and lacey to tying up the bustle and showing off the low cut back.

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I also chose a long, simple veil which was wonderfully wild as we faced the gale force winds of the wedding day. I had visions of wearing it with my wellies and wild flowers and it worked beautifully.

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

Choosing bridesmaids was ever so easy, yet ever so difficult at the same time. I am blessed with many friends who mean to much to me so ummed and ahhed over the option of having nine (!!). In the end I chose those girls who really knew me at that time and could support me knowing the highs and lows of the last few years, with whom I could be completely human with. Grace and Emily I was at university with and Cat and Rachel I lived with for three years after this. They all feel like my sisters and was so honoured to have them alongside Jonny and I.

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Why did you choose your venue?

We decided straight away we wanted to get married in Pembrokeshire, where my (Abi’s) parents and brothers still live. We are both fans of being outdoors and being a bit childish – we heard of a friend who hired Southwood Farm at Newgale beach last year and we looked into Tipi companies. After choosing the Timber and Canvas company and chatting to Paul at Southwood Farm we were excited by the idea of everyone bringing their wellies and gathering around a fire pit late into the evening overlooking Newgale beach. We imagined hay bales, playing in the fields, tucking into homebaked cakes and ceilidhing the night away. We had a slight blip in the plan, two days before, gale force winds were issued across the county and our Tipi venue had to be taken down. After some quick thinking and a lot of family/friends and village camaraderie – we managed to hire and decorate a local village hall.

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Initially, when I was faced with an old hall, I was overwhelmed and disappointed. However, tables built, bunting up, an explosion of fairy lights and a delivery of hay bales equalled a gorgeously decorated hall and a wonderfully setting for a party. Noone minded the lack of sea views …and I still put on my wellies !

Tell us about your photographer

Angharad Thomas was our photographer – had met her in April for an engagement shoot too which was included in our wedding package. We absolutely adore our photos and she said what we said she would, she was discreet and captured Jonny and I and our day perfectly.

How did the proposal happen? 

Jonny took me to the Isle of White for the day. I knew proposal was in the pipeline as we had talked a lot about it and he had asked for ring ideas. Jonny had mentioned in passing a handmade jewellery shop on the Isle of White so I admittedly had an inkling it might happen when he planned this day out, and therefore had minimal sleep the night before (!!). We began on the ferry and Jonny’s car needed help starting as the battery died as we reached the island! It was a sunny January day, quite a classic date day for us – picnic in the car and a walk along the beach. I had then convinced myself he wasn’t proposing today as it all seemed so normal! Jonny took me up the coastal park and after a walk he stopped and pulled out a piece of paper – a poem that I had to read out loud. After a “yes” and chuckle that he was down on one knee next to a bin, we called our parents to let them know, and my parents then told me they had been asked by Jonny the previous week. We spent the rest of the day walking on the beach, picking up the ring from “Rust” jewellery and tucking into pizza and prosecco!

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

There were a number of things homemade – our invites, order of services, place names, the cake, flower crowns, flower arrangements, bunting.

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Advice would be to ask around – it was amazing at the amount of people out there who had already spent hours sewing bunting or collecting jam jars for their daughters wedding and were more than willing to share their collection ! Our flowers at the venue were wild flowers – which was so super easy to create. My Dad and I literally shoved lavender and gypsophila into jam jars with ribbons tied round and it looked great. Our place names were pebbles from a local beach which was again easy to do with a permanent pen and half decent hand writing!! My mum is a clever lady and made the cake and flower crowns with help from my bridemaid Cat and Jonny’s Mum.

What was your first dance & why?

We didn’t have one! We had a ceiledh band who called us up first to the dance floor, quickly followed by our closest friends we had kindly ordered to come up. We didn’t fancy the added attention and wanted to avoid that awkward shuffle.

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

We had an issue with our wedding venue a couple of days before. To see the family come together and demonstrate such team work and getting everything sorted – I should have utilised people around me more before!! I also forgot to make sure we got a picture of all the wedding guests together. Don’t plan an outdoorsy wedding without a back up plan…

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Do you have any advice for future couples?

Make sure you stop and just absorb whats going on at least once. I stood/ sat down for maximum a minute (not much alone time when you’re the bride!) and just looked around at all the fun going on and seeng all the people we loved in one place. Remember and remind yourselves why you are doing the wedding – you will be married – yay!! Practically – get wedding insurance!

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

Ephesians 5 v 2 “Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ”

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What was your favourite thing about planning a wedding?

I enjoyed having the excuse to channel my creativity into something, and also having families come together to organise the event.

The Suppliers

Photographer: Angharad Thomas Photography
Ceremony Venue: Emmanuel Christian Centre 
Reception Venue: Southwood Farm Bed and Breakfast
Bride’s Dress: Charlie Brear
Bride’s Headpiece: Home Made

The Wedding Album

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Real Wedding: Lindsey & Mark’s St Fagans Wedding by Maria Farrelly

Good morning one and all and happy Friday!

What a week at Cwtch HQ. Maria’s (Cwtch the ride realtor) birthday, which in turn lead to up climbing Pen Y Fan (we thought she did suggest cocktails when we said we’d do whatever she wanted for her birthday), National Cwtch Day, St Dwynwen’s Day and we announced the sale of #Cwtchfest2017 tickets! Wooooooo

As you know, the amazing wedding festival that is #Cwtchfest2017, will be held at the stunning St Fagans National History Museum. So how perfect is it that we get to have a little throwback to our very own #Cwtchfest Organiser, Lindsey’s big day to her Mark, where you can see how stunning St Fagans is as a wedding venue …

Lindsey and Mark got married on the 7th of June 2014 at the amazing St Fagans National History Museum and their beautiful day was captured by our very own Maria Farrelly Photography. We asked Lindsey some questions about her and Mark’s big day. 

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How would you describe your wedding theme? Relaxed tea party St_Fagans_wedding372 St_Fagans_wedding579

LOVE Letters exclusively available to hire from Cwtch the Bride!

What was your favourite part of your wedding? The vows and how much in that moment I felt how much I meant it and how much it meant to Mark. He’s only ever cried to the film Marley and me so to hear his voice trembling with emotion gave me goose pimples. I have felt in a little happy bubble ever since. Also, our band Raspberry Jam were sooo incredible, we love live music and they just blew everyone out the water.

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Tell us about your Wedding Dress This is the point where I learnt Pinterest can be dangerous. I fell in love with a dress which I soon came to realise was a couture dress from a boutique in San Francisco. Very within my means. I probably drove my bridesmaids mad searching for something similar and to limit my choices it had to have sleeves! I found that the only place that exceeded my expectations of wedding dress shopping was Rachel Burgess Bridal Boutique in Penarth, I believed she really cared about making me feel like I wanted to feel in that dress. However, the dress I fell in love with was an Augusta Jones Mai dress from the lovely Laura May in Roath who were brilliant. My belt is my keepsake from the day made by Ashley from With Love from Bobbin it’s the only thing I’ve allowed myself to keep. I love it. St_Fagans_wedding141 St_Fagans_wedding146St_Fagans_wedding029

Who did you pick as your bridesmaids &/or best man and why? Mark had 3 best men as there was no choosing between them. They have been through thick and thin together. However they each had their own roles. Matt planned the stag, Jamie was at the end of the aisle with Mark and poor James got the speech.
I originally decided I would have no bridesmaids as I have a lot of very close friends and just didn’t know what to do. However, I read an article called ‘bridesmates’ and how since the recession brides have cut back on bridesmaids yet their friends are still bearing the stress and responsibilities and of course cost of being one. It quickly became apparent my four Cardiff girls were these girls they became my go to for everything I love them to bits!! St_Fagans_wedding389 St_Fagans_wedding399 St_Fagans_wedding404

Why did you choose your venue? We debated for ages whether to have our wedding in St Fagans as it’s where I work but when viewing other venues I just found myself constantly comparing it to there. I also love the fact that we can take our kids there and can visit when we are older etc. St_Fagans_wedding334St_Fagans_wedding527Tell us about your wedding photographer: 

From the second I saw Maria’s photography and met her I knew she had to be part of our day.  Her love and enthusiasm shone through the way she spoke and her work.   It was all I talked about with Mark that evening- I actually got up and danced when she said she had our date free.

It was really important to us that we did not spend hours having staged photographs and the results are stunning!! I cannot believe how Maria has captured the important moments in such a way that didn’t impact on the day and yet are still so beautiful.

As someone who works in the wedding industry I respect Maria’s professionalism and how much she cares for each and every client. I could not recommend anyone else more highly.

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How did the proposal happen?  Mark took me to Edinburgh for my 30th as a surprise. That in itself was a massive deal so I was blindsided when after climbing up to King Arthur’s seat on the morning of my 30th in the snow (after arguing all the way up as I kept falling as it was so slippery) with 2 plastic bottles of wine and strawberries he proposed. I made him call my dad straight away as he hadn’t asked permission and I know it would have meant a lot to my dad. St_Fagans_wedding149

Any DIY stories/tutorials you’d like to share? Everything I did was DIY. As I work in my venue I knew I could do everything myself. Invites were done by my fabulous bridesmaid Lisa. Flowers were delivered in massive buckets on Friday morning and we spent all day doing arrangements. Jars were collected and decorated by friends for their wedding and donated to us. Tables runners were cut the night before. Table plan was written on a mirror night before.
I wanted it to be DIY to feel relaxed. St_Fagans_wedding042 St_Fagans_wedding063 St_Fagans_wedding543

What was your first dance & why? We had no first dance. Music means a massive amount to both of us but neither of us wanted to do a first dance. So we didn’t.

St_Fagans_wedding737In hindsight, was there anything you would have done differently? No we loved our day. St_Fagans_wedding746

Do you have any advice for future couples? I meet so many brides who are stressed and do not enjoy the process of wedding planning. The only thing I can say is no one else knows what you have planned and what is supposed to happen when. Your friends and family will come have a great time and you will be in a big happiness bubble. The stuff people get stressed about does not matter. St_Fagans_wedding296 St_Fagans_wedding352 St_Fagans_wedding444 St_Fagans_wedding450

What’s the best piece of marriage advice you received? To never take the other person for granted and to end every day with ‘I love you’

What was your favourite thing about planning a wedding? Realising how much I personally knew about weddings and how to save money but still get the look and feel I wanted. I’m a geek sometimes and my inner arty self loved being crafty and also saving pennies. St_Fagans_wedding552 St_Fagans_wedding560 St_Fagans_wedding705 St_Fagans_wedding709

The Suppliers

Photographer: Maria Farrelly 

Ceremony Venue: St Fagans Castle

Reception Venue: St Fagans Oakdale Workman’s Institute
Bride’s Dress: Laura May Bridal
Bride’s Shoes: Jenny Packham from Debenhams
Bride’s Jewellery: Debenhams
Groom’s Outfit: His Own
Bridesmaid’s Dresses: Monsoon
Bridesmaid’s Accessories: With Love from Bobbin
Cake: Mark’s mum
Flowers: Bareblooms
Hair: Jackie at Yume Cardiff
Make Up: MAC
Band: The Raspberry Jam
Stationery: DIY
Caterers: elior@st fagans
Any Reception Decor/Props: DIY
Transport: Taxi
Other: LOVE letters from Cwtch the Bride

The Wedding Album St_Fagans_wedding006 St_Fagans_wedding007 St_Fagans_wedding012 St_Fagans_wedding017 St_Fagans_wedding022 St_Fagans_wedding025 St_Fagans_wedding027 St_Fagans_wedding029 St_Fagans_wedding035 St_Fagans_wedding041 St_Fagans_wedding042 St_Fagans_wedding048 St_Fagans_wedding050 St_Fagans_wedding062 St_Fagans_wedding063 St_Fagans_wedding066 St_Fagans_wedding071 St_Fagans_wedding077 St_Fagans_wedding080 St_Fagans_wedding083 St_Fagans_wedding086 St_Fagans_wedding087 St_Fagans_wedding089 St_Fagans_wedding094 St_Fagans_wedding095 St_Fagans_wedding096 St_Fagans_wedding098 St_Fagans_wedding102 St_Fagans_wedding103 St_Fagans_wedding106 St_Fagans_wedding108 St_Fagans_wedding118 St_Fagans_wedding123 St_Fagans_wedding127 St_Fagans_wedding133 St_Fagans_wedding136 St_Fagans_wedding141 St_Fagans_wedding143 St_Fagans_wedding146 St_Fagans_wedding149 St_Fagans_wedding153 St_Fagans_wedding154 St_Fagans_wedding156 St_Fagans_wedding161 St_Fagans_wedding164 St_Fagans_wedding168 St_Fagans_wedding172 St_Fagans_wedding183 St_Fagans_wedding185 St_Fagans_wedding187 St_Fagans_wedding188 St_Fagans_wedding189 St_Fagans_wedding192 St_Fagans_wedding193 St_Fagans_wedding196 St_Fagans_wedding199 St_Fagans_wedding201 St_Fagans_wedding207 St_Fagans_wedding209 St_Fagans_wedding221 St_Fagans_wedding228 St_Fagans_wedding234 St_Fagans_wedding238 St_Fagans_wedding244 St_Fagans_wedding246 St_Fagans_wedding268 St_Fagans_wedding271 St_Fagans_wedding274 St_Fagans_wedding286 St_Fagans_wedding291 St_Fagans_wedding296 St_Fagans_wedding299 St_Fagans_wedding301 St_Fagans_wedding302 St_Fagans_wedding312 St_Fagans_wedding334 St_Fagans_wedding340 St_Fagans_wedding350 St_Fagans_wedding352 St_Fagans_wedding359 St_Fagans_wedding365 St_Fagans_wedding372 St_Fagans_wedding377 St_Fagans_wedding378 St_Fagans_wedding389 St_Fagans_wedding399 St_Fagans_wedding400 St_Fagans_wedding404 St_Fagans_wedding419 St_Fagans_wedding441 St_Fagans_wedding442 St_Fagans_wedding444 St_Fagans_wedding449 St_Fagans_wedding450 St_Fagans_wedding466 St_Fagans_wedding470 St_Fagans_wedding472 St_Fagans_wedding474 St_Fagans_wedding477 St_Fagans_wedding481 St_Fagans_wedding483 St_Fagans_wedding486 St_Fagans_wedding490 St_Fagans_wedding492 St_Fagans_wedding494 St_Fagans_wedding496 St_Fagans_wedding499 St_Fagans_wedding501 St_Fagans_wedding511 St_Fagans_wedding516 St_Fagans_wedding518 St_Fagans_wedding522 St_Fagans_wedding526 St_Fagans_wedding527 St_Fagans_wedding529 St_Fagans_wedding535 St_Fagans_wedding536 St_Fagans_wedding538 St_Fagans_wedding541 St_Fagans_wedding543 St_Fagans_wedding546 St_Fagans_wedding548 St_Fagans_wedding551 St_Fagans_wedding552 St_Fagans_wedding556 St_Fagans_wedding560 St_Fagans_wedding568 St_Fagans_wedding573 St_Fagans_wedding579 St_Fagans_wedding595 St_Fagans_wedding606 St_Fagans_wedding623 St_Fagans_wedding625 St_Fagans_wedding638 St_Fagans_wedding643 St_Fagans_wedding646 St_Fagans_wedding652 St_Fagans_wedding657 St_Fagans_wedding705 St_Fagans_wedding709 St_Fagans_wedding712 St_Fagans_wedding713 St_Fagans_wedding714 St_Fagans_wedding716 St_Fagans_wedding720 St_Fagans_wedding732 St_Fagans_wedding737 St_Fagans_wedding742 St_Fagans_wedding746 St_Fagans_wedding747 St_Fagans_wedding758 St_Fagans_wedding762 St_Fagans_wedding773 St_Fagans_wedding774 St_Fagans_wedding779 St_Fagans_wedding784

Such a beautiful wedding! If you would like your wedding to feature on Cwtch the Bride you can get in touch here. And if you would like to hire our amazing LOVE Letters click here!