Happy 3rd Birthday To Us!

YAY! Not only is it the most romantic day of the year today but we are also celebrating our 3rd Birthday!

Happy birthday to us, happy birthday to us….

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Cwtch The Bride has come a long way in three years. We’re now averaging over 20,000 views a month, we’ve introduced our super popular LUSH LIST and organised Wales’ first major Wedding Festival, CWTCHFEST. We’ve also been shortlisted for some very prestigious awards and rubbed shoulders with some of the worlds best wedding bloggers.

But shhh… none of us are professional writers. I for one take photographs for a living and find this writing malarky really hard at times. It really is a labour of love.

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This whole blog was a crazy idea I had that has somehow snowballed into this beautiful loveable monster which I wouldn’t change for the world.


Three is a good age to be. As a blog, we’ve found our feet, our voice and our curiosity is telling us to try even more new things. We now collaborate with more creatives businesses, explore more ideas and push all those buttons!

Lucky for us, Wales has a great wedding industry that supports our development. Without all these local welsh wedding businesses investing in us, we wouldn’t be able to grow. And all of my crazy ideas would simply remain ideas. So a huge thank you to everyone that has been involved in Cwtch The Bride, I love you all dearly.

THE A TEAM

I guess if we were to be called that, I’d take the role of Hannibal (not Lecter). I’m sure they’d be arguments over who’d be BA Baracas or Murdoch…  I’m not saying a word!

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My team is simply the best! The Cwtch Team has grown a lot over the years. These ladies above (besides me in the black) have been more than just work colleagues. They were initially my clients who had each booked me to photograph their weddings. They then each became voluntary writers for the blog and now… we’re all firm friends! I love them all to bits.

Some have now had babies and have reluctantly moved on (once you become a cwtch girl, its hard to leave) However, I now have some equally talented and inspiring ladies now working with me which I’m looking forward to introducing very soon.

What has now become very clear to me as the blog continues to grow is that Cwtch The Bride is more than just a resource for couples and the Welsh Wedding Industry. Its a community. A place for brides to not only seek inspiration but to share their own experiences and offer their own unique advice. I cannot wait to see where the next 12 months will take us.

So… today… lets eat cake, sip prosecco, party and make a toast to the best wedding blog in Wales!

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Cake by The Little Cake Cupboard. Image by Maria Farrelly Photography

A surprise….

Make sure you pop back to the blog this afternoon. We have a fabulous Valentines Day offer you are going to love!

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And finally… if you have woken up this morning to a beautiful wedding proposal and find yourself now engaged. A HUGE congratulations from all of us here at Cwtch The Bride! We are ridiculously happy for you!


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Cosmo Blog Awards: Last Chance to Vote!

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Hello lovely readers, a few weeks ago we shared the incredible news that we have been shortlisted for “Best Wedding Blog” at the Cosmopolitan blog awards. This is a HUGE deal! We are up against some of the biggest and most established blogs in the business as you can see here:

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We only have until the 29th of August to get as many votes as possible and we really hope that the whole of Wales will get behind us. We are so proud that our WELSH wedding blog has made it onto the radar of someone as HUGE as Cosmo and we really need you to vote for us to show them just how great the Welsh can be!

To vote for us please just click HERE we are in category 8.

A big cwtch to all of you who have voted so far, thank you xxx

One Year On (a bit of a ramble)

On our wedding day. Image by the amazing Maria Farrelly

On our wedding day. Image by the amazing Maria Farrelly

This week we booked a cottage in St David’s to celebrate our first wedding anniversary when it hit me – that is only 6 weeks away! I don’t quite know where that time has gone.

This time last year I was suffering from laryngitis and hoping my voice would come back in time to say my vows, it eventually came back during my amazing hen weekend (read about it here, and see our wedding here) where I discovered that laughter really is the best medicine, well, laughter and prosecco. Now I’m sitting here in our new house reflecting over the past year.

My amazing hen. Image by I Am VIP

My amazing hen. Image by iamvip.me 

When you get married there are three words you will hear A LOT and I don’t mean “I love you”, I’m talking about the question you will inevitably hear often: “how’s married life?” In reality on a day to day basis our married life isn’t much different to our pre-married life. We still live together, we went from saving for a wedding to saving for a house and now we are saving to do up that house, we still go to work every day and we still spend far too much time on facebook groups (ok maybe that’s just me). But there is something about being married that does feel different and it’s hard to put my finger on exactly what it is; it’s a sense of security and contentment that comes from being an official unit, we are family now, we have the same last name (although that bit did take a lot of getting used to!) and it’s a nice feeling.

If you google (other search engines are available) the first year of marriage you will see pages of articles on how hard the first year of marriage is, I won’t deny that over the last 11 months there have been times that I’ve wanted to kill him but then he does something like putting on our wedding video or pulling out colour charts for me to pour over and all is forgiven.

We have had a busy year, following our amazing honeymoon in Sorrento we started house hunting and we finally bought our first house together in June this year. It’s a real DIY project and we have a busy few years ahead of us making it beautiful, Mark has been slogging away to give me a gorgeous fireplace and magnificent restored parquet floor and I am so proud of him. I have been doing a photography course through Ffotogallery in Cardiff and am absolutely loving it, I’ve made some great new friends and find it very therapeutic.

Visiting Positano on Honeymoon

Visiting Positano on Honeymoon

The Great Big House Project

The Great Big House Project

Progress so far thanks to my amazing husband (I did help!)

Progress so far thanks to my amazing husband (I did help!)

I am lucky to have a great circle of family and friends, many of whom came to my incredible surprise birthday party that Mark arranged on Easter Sunday, I am still a bit in shock about that- biggest surprise ever! I also count myself lucky that I met three amazing ladies Sarah, Karen and Philippa who also got married last year and because we are all going through very similar things they have been an amazing support system. Thank you wives.

My amazing birthday cake made by my friend Bonnie and based on our E Shoot photos by Maria

My amazing birthday cake made by my friend Bonnie and based on our E Shoot photos by Maria

Most of you are still planning your weddings and I am mildly envious of that but am really enjoying my old married status. I’m not sure if this post is intended to give advice or if it’s more of a ramble but if I was going to give advice I would say: get yourself a support system, don’t take your new husband for granted, enjoy each other’s company and arrange treats or weekends away together when you can, get yourself a post wedding project to stave off the post wedding blues but keep reading Cwtch the Bride for that little wedding fix :)

If like me you are at or past the one year point and have any advice, comments or just general wisdom please get in touch through the comments below, and any brides to be if you have any questions then likewise please use the comments box and all of us here at Cwtch will do our best to help.

Lots of love

Charlie x

Sunday Ramblings: Father’s Day

Today I re-read a Father’s Day post I wrote a couple of years ago (on my personal blog). It made me cry. I drafted this post, deleted it, re-wrote it and then deleted it again. Third time round, I’ve decided to publish it with an extract from the original. I’m back again with Sunday ramblings…I hope this may be comforting for a few, knowing you’re not the only one feeling a bit wobbly today.

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When I was 15 he left us and I haven’t seen him since.  I’m now 36 and it still hurts. 

Fathers day is always painful for me, just like on my wedding day when my brother walked me down the aisle instead of him. My dad has never met my husband or my two children.

The truth is, We have no idea where he is, if he’s alive or not.

My sister, Angie hurts the most. She was his shadow, she loved to follow him everywhere when we were kids. I often think she has a big empty hole in her heart. I wish he’d come back, if only for a day, even if it was just to give her a cwtch and say he missed her.

I don’t have many photographs of him, i wish i did. It would help me remember all the good times.

To all those that still have their dad, tell him you love him. I wish I could mine.

dad2(left to right: me, my dad, my sister & my brother)

Today, is all about celebrating those amazing Dads that are there through thick and thin or remembering those who once were. My kids are currently on a bike ride with theirs, no doubt laughing their socks off too. For me, I’m celebrating a special kind of (wo)man. One that took on the role of Mum & Dad. Happy Fathers Day Mum! I know its been one hell of a bumpy ride over the years and things have been a lot harder than they should have. Your strength and love inspires me greatly. It gives me the courage to take my crazy ideas and run with them (including setting up my own Photography business & Cwtch the Bride) For that, I thank you. Love you so much xxx

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Having photographed many weddings over the years where many fathers weren’t present. I’ve come to the conclusion that there’s no such thing as a ‘normal family’. I love that mine is weird and wonderful. Its what makes it so special. And if you are worried about your dad not being there on your wedding day, I know how difficult it’s going to be. But just remember… You are marrying the man you fell in love with.

my wedding day(Me & My Husband on my wedding day. Photo credit: Neil Weekes).

Roll on seven years from my wedding day and i’m truly thankful for my amazing family, my in-laws and all the great friends I have in my life right now. my crazy familyEspecially these 3 men below :)

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I love them to the moon and back
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If you are feeling a bit wobbly today, feel free to share your story in the comments box. I was ridiculously nervous about posting this.

Sunday ramblings

Evening all,

Welcome to my Sunday ramblings :) I hope you’re all enjoying a chilled out day in the comfort of your home. Its far too cold to venture outside and in all honesty; its gone 5pm and I’m in my PJ’s, iPad in one hand, cwtching a cup of tea in the other and doing ‘research’ from my sofa (this girl can multitask!). If you’re doing the same…theres no shame in it…I’m sending you big waves! (not floods…more the friendly hand variety).

For those that have recently started following Cwtch the Bride, A big hello to you all and congratulations if you are recently engaged! I’m Maria. Its all my fault, this blog was my crazy idea :). I’m not a bride-to be that fell into blogging. I’m a professional photographer that spends most of my time at weddings (cue the obligatory picture of me, my camera, in a mirrorlol)

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For those that want to see my face, this is me & my husband Nad (He’s a ridiculously talented graphic designer, makes me the BEST birthday/anniversary cards and is VERY handsome) I’m a lucky girl.

Nad_MariaWe’ve been together for over 15 years (met at university back in 1999). I’m 35 (gulp…it pains me to write that) and we recently celebrated our seventh wedding anniversary, whoo hoo! Married life has its ups and downs but I couldn’t think of anyone else I would rather ride that wave with.

anniversary cardWe also have two AMAZING kids; Josh and Joe. These kids are my world. If you & I are friends on Facebook you’ll know what I mean about amazing…these kids have us all in stitches constantly, they ‘re super witty, play a mean game of hide n seek and keep us on our toes.

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Bucking the blogging trend, I’m afraid I don’t own a cat, I’m allergic to them :( BUT I do have a rabbit, meet Cheese. He’s the only kind of cheese I like…the edible variety makes me vomit (sorry cheese lovers but how you can put something like that in your mouth is beyond me)…Cheese & rabbit.

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I also LOVE NYC. I go every year for a week and pretend I live there. I hire an apartment and ‘live like a new yorker’ hahaha… I’ve always wanted to live there but it’s unlikely. This however is a great alternative :) and it never disappoints.

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So there you go, a little insight into my personal world.

Professionally, I am first and foremost a photographer NOT a full time blogger. I’m not a journalist either although I do tell stories through my pictures. Unlike many other wedding bloggers, I actually attend a lot of weddings, between 30-40 a year. And not just for an hour or so. I’m shooting every wedding for around 12+ hours and the only time I take a break is when everyone else is eating.

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Have you ever had a crazy idea and just ran with it? Well thats exactly what I did with this blog. Having had many of my weddings published in magazines such as Brides and national wedding blogs such as Rock n Roll Bride100 layer cake & most recently Whimsical Wonderland Weddings. I often wondered why there was never a really cool Welsh wedding blog.  A place for Welsh brides to go and find LOCAL inspiration and suppliers.  So… I thought sod it, if no one is going to do it, I will.

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I have a great team behind me all working on this amazing blog. Sarah, Sophie & Charlie have been with me since it launched and have been a dream to work with. I’m thrilled we have more contributors on board now, this will give you more variety of content. Made up of past/present & future B&G’s each planning (or planned) a different style wedding to the other. I also have some fabulous (and inspiring) wedding professionals contributing their knowledge and expertise. This all wouldn’t be possible without the support of our readers and the amazing Welsh wedding businesses that sponsor this blog, without you all, we wouldn’t be here, simple :)

Cwtch the Bride launched on February 14th 2013, since then we’ve created a huge following, featured over 40 real weddings & cwtches of the week, 19 e-shoots, introduced you to over 50 inspiring welsh wedding suppliers, won a ‘Best New Business’ award, held an incredible Christmas party at the amazing National Museum, Cardiff (full post coming soon) and here we are today :)

Cwtchmas Party 205748© Tim Bishop Photography

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Its hard to believe we’ve nearly reached a whole year of blogging. Crazy to think how successful Cwtch the Bride has become in such a short space of time. 

I do hope you are all enjoying each post we’ve created for you and that we’ve inspired you in some way. Knowing our readers are choosing to book the suppliers that are supporting us gives me such a warm feeling inside :) In particular, the news that one reader found Aurora Wedding Films on our blog and booked them for her wedding in JAMAICA!! well, I was gobsmacked.  I LOVE how this crazy idea of mine is helping not only brides but local wedding businesses too.

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Have you booked one of our featured suppliers? If so, do tell me :) I’m also keen to know what you love most about the blog? real weddings? DIY projects? etc…  I’m keen to help promote more inspiring wedding venues and suppliers. I want more couples to get involved and share their ideas, dilemmas etc… A problem shared and all that :) 

This blog can become as big as you want it to.

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So what are you waiting for, GET INVOLVED! We’ve love to hear from you. If you are a bride planning your wedding in Wales and would like to contribute to our blog, get in touch by emailing us at: info@cwtchthebride.com

If you are an inspiring welsh based wedding business and would like to support our blog, get in touch too- we have a great Media pack for you to look through :)

As we fly the flag for Wales, we’d love as many of you as possible to join us for the ride.

Have a fabulous sunday folks and don’t forget to leave me a little comment below :)

Maria x