The Search Continues

There are just under two weeks left to apply to be our next bride or groom to be contributor, here is what you need to do to enter!

bride-to-be

What will she/he do?

Our next Bride or Groom to Be will feature on the blog monthly. You won’t need to give away any big-day secrets, but we would love you to share aspects of your planning with us such as booking your venue, choosing your bridal party, DIY elements, planning your honeymoon and choosing your suppliers for example. You will submit a post each month and be willing to share your Real Wedding after the big event.

How do I apply?

Write an introduction post telling us a little bit about yourself and your intended, where you live, how you met, the date (and venue if you have chosen) of your big day and the details of your proposal. Send it in to charlie@cwtchthebride.com along with up to 10 images to accompany your story. As our blog is very visual please tell us who you have booked/plan to book as your wedding photographer (if you don’t know who yet that’s ok, we can always help you!). Please enter by the 30th of September, our shortlisted brides and grooms to be will then be published on Cwtch the Bride. The successful bride or groom will be the one(s) who engage the most with our readers.We will not only look at viewing figures and shares, but we will actively encourage commenting on the blog posts to see who our readers relate to the most.

Terms & Conditions

We don’t have many!

  • There has to be a Welsh connection, we are a Welsh blog after all! One or both of the to-be-weds must either be Welsh, live in Wales or the wedding must be in Wales.
  • In order to have time to really get to know you, the wedding must be taking place between March and September 2015 (If the wedding is later don’t worry, we will always be looking for contributors in the future)
  • Both parties and their photographer must be willing for the wedding images to be featured on Cwtch the Bride
  • We don’t mind whether your wedding is religious, civil, same sex, humanist, traditional or completely non-conformist – as long as you love each other and are happy to write about it then we want to hear from you!
  • All entries must be received by midnight on the 30th of September 2014

I really hope to hear from you soon :)

Charlie x

Calling all Brides and Grooms to Be!

Following the success and popularity of our Bride to Be Diaries which have featured myself, Cath and our anonymous Empowered Bride, and the popularity of our wonderful Groom to Be, Alistair, we have decided to begin a search for our next Bride or Groom to Be contributor!

bride-to-be

What will she/he do?

Our next Bride or Groom to Be will feature on the blog monthly. You won’t need to give away any big-day secrets, but we would love you to share aspects of your planning with us such as booking your venue, choosing your bridal party, DIY elements, planning your honeymoon and choosing your suppliers for example. You will submit a post each month and be willing to share your Real Wedding after the big event.

How do I apply?

Write an introduction post telling us a little bit about yourself and your intended, where you live, how you met, the date (and venue if you have chosen) of your big day and the details of your proposal. Send it in to charlie@cwtchthebride.com along with up to 10 images to accompany your story. As our blog is very visual please tell us who you have booked/plan to book as your wedding photographer (if you don’t know who yet that’s ok, we can always help you!). Please enter by the 30th of September, our shortlisted brides and grooms to be will then be published on Cwtch the Bride. The successful bride or groom will be the one(s) who engage the most with our readers.We will not only look at viewing figures and shares, but we will actively encourage commenting on the blog posts to see who our readers relate to the most.

Terms & Conditions

We don’t have many!

  • There has to be a Welsh connection, we are a Welsh blog after all! One or both of the to-be-weds must either be Welsh, live in Wales or the wedding must be in Wales.
  • In order to have time to really get to know you, the wedding must be taking place between March and September 2015 (If the wedding is later don’t worry, we will always be looking for contributors in the future)
  • Both parties and their photographer must be willing for the wedding images to be featured on Cwtch the Bride
  • We don’t mind whether your wedding is religious, civil, same sex, humanist, traditional or completely non-conformist – as long as you love each other and are happy to write about it then we want to hear from you!
  • All entries must be received by midnight on the 30th of September 2014

Get writing! Can’t wait to hear from you :)

Charlie x

From Groom-to-Be and Beyond…The Honeymoon Edition!

Our Groom-to-be is now a fully fledged married man (if you missed his gorgeous wedding then you can check it out here!). Today he he’s tell give us the low down on his beautiful Italian honeymoon :) Take it away, Al! 

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I have to admit, there is something flagrantly ironic about a newlywed gay couple spending their first few nights of honeymoon in the Roman Catholic Capital of the world. But after seeing ‘Roman Holiday’, it seemed a pretty romantic place to begin our life of wedded bliss. Plus, I gather the new Pope is pretty liberal.

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Being the clichéd homosexual men that we are, our main concern on arrival at the Star Metropole Hotel was locating an iron. We had brand spanking new chinos to don and who wants to walk around Rome with crumpled pleats? No one in their right mind, obviously.

Upon discovering a trouser press we could relax and get on with enjoying our trip.

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The first night was surreal to say the least. In a good way. It was hard to believe that a mere 48 hours previous we had been sat on a marquee dance floor gyrating to “oops upside your head”. Not wanting to venture far due to post-wedding fatigue we had dinner in a nearby Japanese/Italian fusion restaurant- very trendy, darling- and were accosted by a middle aged Belgian couple who were sat at an inappropriate proximity to us (Italian seating has no sympathy for personal space).

Amongst the chit chat about Italian food, culture and architecture Mr Belgian Man came up with a nugget of advice so awesome in its simplicity that I was slightly taken aback: “Buildings and food and art are all great, but it’s relationships that truly matter.” Not to sound like a soppy fool but that has really stuck with me and was a perfect launch pad for our honeymoon… Maybe you just had to be there?!

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I won’t bore you with the details of our extensive sight seeing- that’s akin to a barrage of holiday snaps- but I will say that neither of us burst into flames on entering the Vatican, so that’s a plus. Also, Rome is beautiful. Crazy, loud and commercial, but beautiful all the same.

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My fondest memory is of our last evening spent at a roof-top restaurant, the name of which escapes me. The waiter greeted us with a booming “Buona sera, Meester and Meester” and seated us next to what can only be described as the campest collage in human history; comprising of Madonna and Marilyn Monroe images, torn from magazines. Loved it.

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The meal was pretty rubbish but we got plastered on limoncello and gorged on ‘Fagola’ breadsticks, so what more could you want? Before leaving, and this is my favourite part, our vociferous waiter bounded over to tell Jonny that he looked like Andrew McCarthy: “You know, the guy from ‘Mannequin'”. My first thought was ‘how random’, closely followed by ‘does that make me Kim Cattrall in this scenario?’

Our next stop was the homoerotic hub that is Florence. Never have I seen so many statues of naked men with gloriously chiselled biceps, buns and pubic hair (oddly). I was surprised to learn, therefore, that Florence is actually quite conservative and has one of the smallest gay scenes in Italy. It seemed strange to me that a city famous for nurturing Renaissance art and culture could be quite so repressed. Not that you’d know it- the shopping alone was a gay man’s Mecca (Versace, Gucci, Dior. Oh my!) Correction, THIS gay man’s Mecca *no stereotyping*

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The hotel was a complete contrast to that of Rome’s. When arriving at the Alba Palace we instantly felt at ease. Granted, there were one too many replica busts in reception and our room was where yellow went to die, but there were sweet personal touches everywhere. For example, atop our mini bar were ‘his and hers’ teddy bears propped against a bottle of prosecco with a sign that read: “Happy Anniversary”… Awww, close but no cigar.

Florence was my favourite city of the tour. I’d like to say there were mostly cultural reasons behind this (of which there were a few) but mainly it was down to one thing: gelato.

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Somehow the stars aligned on our first evening stroll and we discovered what can only be described as the home of ice cream porn, in gelateria form. The Gelato Gods had smiled upon us and we did gorge. Sufficed to say this gelateria was frequented over the next few days and on each occasion the little plastic spoon had to be wrestled from my quivering hands. Unfortunately, I was so dazzled by the confections that I’ve forgotten the name of the place, but if we ever go back I know exactly where I’ll be heading.

Of course Florence houses several other impressive attractions. We were blown away by The Birth of Venus in the Uffizi Gallery, and the Ponte Vecchio has immense quirky charm (although best appreciated from the next bridge along), and if you’re not hampered by claustrophobia or vertigo the view from Giotto’s Campanile is pretty nifty. Okay, it’s stunning!

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But, oh! The gelato!

The next stop was Venice, and I am going to be stating the obvious here when I say it is an incredible place. For starters there are no deranged Italian drivers trying to run you over at every turn (always a plus). Of course we weren’t expecting any cars but it was bizarre nonetheless.

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Again, I won’t relate all details of our exploits but know this, dear readers: Venice is a labyrinth, and there’s no better place to get lost. For instance, it’s hard to stay angry with your husband during a row over directions when you really just want him to take a picture of you next to another beautiful bridge.

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I do have one anecdote that Cwtch readers will appreciate. While queuing for an evening concerto – as one does- a Japanese couple emerged from nowhere with an over zealous photographer in tow. That in itself was not weird, but the girl was dressed in a floor length red couture ball gown, diamanté tiara and crystal encrusted Louboutins (yes, I clocked those red soles immediately), while her beau was trussed up in a tux. They plunged into the queue for a series of awkward group shots with complete strangers, one of whom asked “Have you just got married?” The young lady replied “No, we just got engaged”, and off they scampered into the next gathering of unwitting tourists.

What the hell?! Firstly, had the photographer been present for the proposal? And secondly, if that was their engagement shoot what was the wedding going to be like?!

Our last three days in Italy were uber romantic. In fact with all the operatic gondolas, concertos and candlelit ‘meals for two’ it felt like a Rom Com on steroids. In retrospect this amorous haze had a slight opiate effect, resulting in temporary loss of reason and delusions of grandeur. Case in point; hiring a water-taxi to convey us 4 1/2 miles to the airport at an extortionate rate. At the time there seemed like no better way to end our adventure than waving arrivederci to Venice from the back of a speedboat at sunset, and thank goodness for such delusions, otherwise we’d have spent two hours on a water bus with 100 strangers.

Gay Honeymoon in Italy - Slightly Wobbly Designs_008I believe there is an expression which goes something like: “You will get lost in Rome, find yourself in Florence and fall in love in Venice”. For us it felt more like you will get lost in Rome, you will get lost in Florence and you will get lost in Venice. But that’s no big deal; we were pretty much in love at the start.

Thanks for reading Cwtchers! This is Mr Watkins-Stuart Esquire signing off

X

www.slightlywobbly.co.uk

Groom-to-be Diary: Stag Do Planning

Illustrator Alistair is in the midst of planning his civil partnership to business partner and fiancé Jonny at Cardiff City Hall in September. Last month he talked about planning a civil partnership, this month he’s enlightening us on his stag do. Be prepared to meet the most dapper grooms you ever did see…

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Alistair designed a print inspired by his ‘stag do’ – isn’t it gorgeous?

Like any other couple, Jonny and I have found the planning of our nuptials an eventful voyage of discovery, peppered with tough decisions. Where our experience may differ from the ‘norm’ is that, as a gay couple, we have no established traditions to follow. For example, who walks down the aisle first? Do both grooms make a speech? Do we take each other’s surname? So on and so forth. Whilst this has befuddled some, ourselves included, it was a definite advantage when it came to planning our stag parties.

For Jonny this was a no-brainer; he would, without question, have a bawdy weekend away with his male chums… in Brighton no less. The event has yet to take place but I imagine that booze, fast food and obligatory humiliation/torture will feature heavily. I, on the other hand, am no such creature (La-Di-Dah).

Firstly, I have a distinct lack of close male friends and as much as I love the ones I do have, their idea of an enjoyable stag weekend differs from mine quite markedly. Not to say that I don’t appreciate a good knees up, but public nudity and drinking to the point of gastro-intestinal pyrotechnics is not my cup of tea. Call me boring if you will.

Actually, before I go any further I must point out that, from its inception, my Stag do was affectionately referred to as my ‘Hag’ do. Pithy, no? This primarily acted as the perfect stag-hen hybrid but, incidentally, it also made reference to the six ladies who would be accompanying me; my Fag Hags. Granted, I don’t normally regard them as such, but for the purpose of comedic effect, it was ideal.

So… What to do? Where to go? The answer was obvious: Marrakesh! Enough said.

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Now, as some of you may be aware, homosexuality is illegal in Morocco and I was, therefore, slightly apprehensive about how I would be received… for approximately five minutes. There was no way I was going to miss out on the trip of a lifetime because of an archaic, outdated law (as if there are no gays in Marrakesh. Please!). That being said, I did consult Trip Advisor, discovering that the easiest way to avoid incarceration was to refrain from overtly molesting men in the street. I made a solemn vow to try my best.

Months of mounting excitement ensued, not to mention some spectacular organisation by my Chief Hag, and by the day of our journey we were travelling under the freshly assumed collective alias of “The House of Hag” (said in a Germanic accent, with a protracted ‘a’… I have no idea why). Anyway, after a hysterical 4 hour flight, and a 30 degree rise in temperature, we touched down in Morocco where two dilapidated taxis conveyed us from the airport to Riad Chi Chi, our home for the next 3 days. To call it palatial would be a slight exaggeration but it was certainly an opulent oasis amidst the dusty labyrinth of side streets and dubious plumbing of Old Marrakesh.

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The next three days can be summed up in five words: tagines, haggling, camels, budget-glamour (does that count as one word?!) and laughter. I was spoiled! And therein lies the difference between my Hag do and Jonny’s forthcoming Stag; I was indulged, he will be manhandled! The closest I came to feeling uncomfortable was being made to wear a cobalt feathered turban at the dinner table… In the privacy of our own Riad, I hasten to add.

There were many highlights but my personal favourite was drinking the night away in Churchills 1930s inspired jazz bar, followed by a perilous cab ride home, during which a Hag (who will not be named) bombarded our driver with GCSE conversational French, resulting in a minor road traffic collision. Note to self: always wear a seatbelt in Marrakesh.

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Any fears I may have had about homophobia were put to rest quite quickly. If anything, from my observations, the local men were far more comfortable holding one another’s hands in public than I would be holding my own fiancé’s hand in this country . Also, on more than one occasion while passing through the souks, we were met with envious cries of “One man, six women!How is this possible?!” In fact, for a whole weekend I wore the persona of harem-toting playboy and I loved it! If only they knew the truth.

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Alistair insists that this photo is tongue in cheek, but we’re not sure we believe him… ;)

Having said all that, in terms of prejudice towards gay couples in hotels and riads, I recommend more in depth research before visiting.

Our weekend flew by in a whirl of vivid colours, smells and sounds, and it felt like we were back in the hands of Easy Jet faster then we could say “cous cous”. Half way through the flight home an insanely camp Lithuanian steward named Gabor (as in ZsaZsa) announced over the tannoy, in a Baltic soprano: “Ladies and gentleman, we have a hen party on our flight this evening…” My face dropped. Fortunately it was for a group of girls in the front row so I could relax. Almost immediately, however, a fellow passenger turned to my Hags and asked “have you girls also been on a hen do?” to which they perplexedly replied “Yeah, sort of”. I suppose that was the most appropriate response and a very fitting end to our adventure; although my stag/hen weekend was not the most conventional or easily qualified, it was Morockin’, nevertheless!

We’d love to hear what our readers are planning for their hen & stag dos – let us know in the comments! :)