Bride to Be Diaries: Introducing The Unexpected Bride

Good morning everyone! 
We are very excited to introduce another of our wonderful Bride to Be Bloggers, The Unexpected Bride, Rachel!
Over to this little beauty to tell you all about her and her new fiancé!
B2B Unexpected Banner
My name is Rachel, newly engaged, aged 32.
unexpected bride 3
I grew up in Cardiff and studied at Cardiff University. Following Graduation I still didn’t move away from Wales and started my first job also in Cardiff at an engineering consultancy which is where I first met my fiancé.
Unexpected Bride 1
I decided I needed to experience working outside of Wales so I ventured to Dubai for a few months and now I am working away during the week in Somerset so I think wedding planning may be limited to weekends which may prove challenging!
unexpected bride 2
After quite some time of secretly following wedding blogs such as Cwtch the Bride and loving all the stories, photos and  building up my version of a wedding from the fabulous ideas I saw, I honestly never thought it would be my turn to be “The Bride”!
unexpected bride 4
Instead, I passed on my thoughts, ideas I had spotted and advice to my many lovely friends who were becoming princesses for their big day. I took on duties of Bridesmaid (twice!) and enjoyed getting to put some of the hen party inspiration I picked up from Cwtch the Bride to use.
Despite all the wedding excitement over the years it was never my own and my boyfriend just didn’t seem keen on the idea of even talking about marriage.
Rewind to when we first met all those years ago at work, we become friends and I never imagined one day we would become a couple. One of my colleague’s joked to me afterwards that he knew we would be together before even I did! I was the young and naive twenty something year old with no idea.
He was quite open about not wanting to get married, while I was young and care free so that didn’t seem to concern me back then!
Then came the years of actually waiting. Waiting and waiting! When I did actually care! Now an early thirty year old.
Fast forward to December 2016 on a ski holiday to the snowy French alps.
unexpected bride 5At the top of a glacier with no skiers in sight, I got asked to be his wife! In total shock, it took a few minutes of confusion and questions around is he winding me up and why would he want to marry me to me saying yes.
unexpected bride 6
It took about 48 hours to sink in and then I realised it’s finally my turn to be the Bride and start my own wedding planning.
I am looking forward to sharing my adventure with you of finding “The One”…the venue, dress, flowers, decorations…and then the lead up, the hen party, the day, the honeymoon and life as a Mrs!
Rachel x
And we cannot wait to share the journey with you Rachel! Yippeeeeeee x

Bride to Be Diaries: Introducing The Glitzy Bride!

Good morning one and all!

I hope you’re all recovered from the weekend, especially all of you Cwtchfest2017 attendees! We are not recovered  Everything aches and I want to fall asleep everywhere, but we are still so over the moon about how fantastic it was, it spurs us on!

So we are back to introduce you to another of our gorgeous new Bride and Grooms to be! Today we have the beautiful Sophie, aka, The Glitzy Bride.  No point in me rambling on, I will hand over to Sophie herself to tell you all about herself and her husband to be.  Over you to Glitzy…..

B2B Glitzy Banner


Hello you lovely lot of Cwtch readers!!

I’m over the moon to have won the competition to blog all things wedding, from menu tastings to finding THE dress, anyway before I get in to all that let me introduce myself and give you a little background on HTB (hubs to be) & I…

Lets start with the basics, I’m Sophie & I’m a 24 year old admin worker from Swansea (does this make me sound like I’m on a game show?!), I live in a small town just outside the city centre and work as a Receptionist for the same company as HTB!


Sean (a fitness instructor) & I met a little over 4 years ago and like every great love story it started at 3am in a less than classy night club when he ‘accidentally’ knocked my drink over (subtle!)

Two years later we took our first proper couples holiday to New York. On the final night of our trip we attended a Knicks Game at Madison Square Gardens, and just as the world famous ‘kiss cam’ appeared above us I turned to find Hubs to Be down on one knee with a small opened box in his hand revealing the most beautiful ‘Art Deco’ inspired ring, after a squeaked ‘yes’ from myself & some excited phone calls to family back home…the rest is history! 


We’re now T- 6 months until ‘I do’!!

Growing up I never really envisioned what my big day would look like, however with a little help from good old Pinterest & some inspo from the one & only Kimmie K we had our theme: Full Blown GLAM. We decided on White, Silver & Tiffany Blue with LOTS of flowers (I mean Kim and Kanye’s 6 ft flower walls didn’t cost that much right?).

I like to imagine it as a Champagne Wedding on a Lemonade Budget, we’re doing pretty much everything ourselves, right down to the last diamante. So expect a few stressed out posts, some honesty and hopefully a few laughs along our wedding journey, with a hint of sparkle for good measure!


From here on out I’ll be known (quite accurately) as The “Glitzy’ Bride… 

I’m so excited to share our Wedding Planning Adventures with all the Cwtch Bride to Be’s and can’t wait to walk down the aisle in August!

Yippeeeeee! Isn’t she lovely! We cannot wait to find out more about the engagement and shopping and planning! Said tuned for her next instalment! x

Cwtch of the Week: The Big Cwtchfest Cwtch

Well hello you lovely lot! And what a day we had yesterday!  As a result, do we have an awesome cwtch of the week for you!

We are over the moon once again with Cwtchfest 2017! We have so many thank you’d to give so we will save that for another post. 

For today, enjoy a fabulous tradition that’s started. At the end of a Cwtchfest day, all of the exhibitors and the Cwtch team come together for one giant cwtch! And to capture it all is our gorgeous official Cwtchfest photographer, the fabulous Owen Mathias. Thank you once again for being absolutely brilliant.

So to everyone who came today and those who exhibited. We couldn’t do it without you. You truly are part of the Cwtch family!



Cwtchfest- All you need to know

Eek… We are so excited to be bringing you yet another awesome Cwtchfest wedding festival and cannot wait to open the doors to you all tomorrow.  Set up is going really well and we’ve lots more to add to the field, it’s so exciting seeing everything come together.


(just a few tables to set up!)

Todays post is all about what to expect at Cwtchfest and to help you make the most of your day!


If you have already bought your tickets, HURRAY! Simply print them off or show the confirmation email on your phone when you arrive at the registration tent. There is a barcode we can scan.

If you haven’t bought your tickets yet we strongly advise you get them ASAP. You can purchase on the day at the gate but there may be a wait. The sun is on our side again and we’re expecting this years event to be VERY busy.


By car: The Museum is signposted from junction 33 of the M4 motorway (follow road signs for the Museum of Welsh Life), with direct access from the A4232.

By bus: Buses operate between Cardiff City and St Fagans National History Museum throughout the year (number 32A, 320 and 321). The Easyway 32A bus stops in the main car park of the Museum, and the other two buses stop at St Fagans village. The bus ride between the Museum and Cardiff city centre is approximately 25 minutes.

You can plan your journey using the Traveline Cymru website or by calling their helpline on 0300 200 22 33.

The Museum’s website is full of lots more information regarding disabled access, families, dogs etc… take a look here


When you arrive at St.Fagans, you’ll need to park in the main visitor carpark.

Please note, there is a charge of £5 per car.  Please bring change as machines cannot accept notes or card payments. FREE for disabled badge holders, motorbikes and coaches. £25 yearly ticket available from Reception.  Remember this money goes towards supporting this wonderful museum.

We recommend if a group of you are coming, car share! (its great for the environment too!)

Once you’ve parked your car, follow the signs through the museum to the main field where Cwtchfest is taking place. Its is based in the field next to the Tannery 

Whats on:

We have a jammed packed day organised with so much going on to keep you all busy.

Once you enter the field and receive your wristbands, you can gain access to the event throughout the day. So if you fancy taking a walk around the museum and want to pop back, you can.

Exhibitor Marquee: We have over 60 of Wales’ top wedding professionals all showcasing their products and services. Many will have great offers and discounts exclusively available on the day, make sure you take advantage!

Goody bags: we have 100 goody bags available to the first 100 B&G’s to arrive. these are filled with ACTUAL goodies and not flyers (we’re good like that).

Workshops: Starting at 12 noon we have a range of workshops running on the hour, each for 30 mins. You will be given a timetable of when each workshop is running so you can plan your day. Make sure you watch the first one…Its me :) and is my very first one…bucks fizz is being served too (nudge nudge).

Live music We are pleased to welcome Music HQ back to cwtchfest. They will be providing all the live music throughout the day and each band is available to be booked for your wedding!

Pop up tea room Head to the giant Tipi for afternoon tea and enjoy some acoustic music while you relax.

Demos situatied in the Marquee you will find hair and make up artists running demos throughout the day.

Food & drink We’re thrilled to have some DELICIOUS food & drink companies showcasing with us. You will find them dotted around the festival. Bring an empty tummy and some £’s and you’ll leave feeling very happy!


Make sure you stop off at a cash machine before you arrive!! (plenty at Culverhouse Cross!) There will be a lot of opportunity to purchase many things at the festival. There are no cash machines on site and no facility for paying by card. Please remember to bring £’S

A Big Cwtch

The festival will sadly draw to a close at 5pm. We will end the day with an epic BIG CWTCH that will be photographed for the blog.  Please join us and share the love

Owen Mathias Photography

Owen Mathias Photography



Real Weddings: Lauren and Paul by Jessica O’Shaughnessy

Happy Friday one and all!

We have such a pretty wedding for you today, and all done beautifully on a £10,000 budget! This in itself is a miracle, but its so gorgeous as well.

I will hand over to Lauren and Paul, to tell us all about their big day, which was captured beautiful by Jessica O’Shaughnessy

Real Weddings Banner

Lauren and Paul


What was your budget?

Our budget was £10,000.

How would you describe your wedding theme?

I would describe our wedding theme as vintage folk with just a hint of rock and roll.

Lauren&Paul22 Lauren&Paul63 Lauren&Paul51

What was your favourite part of your wedding?

Lauren: My favourite part of the wedding was asking our guest to sing ‘Wouldn’t it be nice’ by the Beach Boys as part of the service. As we were having a civil ceremony we decided to incorporate an element of a traditional church wedding (singing the hymns) in a non-religious way. We wanted our guest to feel actively engaged with the ceremony and we also wanted them to stay on their toes.

Paul: My favourite part of the wedding was the speeches. We took a non-traditional approach and encourage the best men and the bridesmaids to get involved. Rachael (Lauren’s sister) a long with the other bridesmaids (Hollie, Sophie and Freya) sang an edited rendition of ‘Crashed the wedding’ by Busted (one if Lauren’s favourite bands). They edited the words, printed scrolls for all of the guests and invited everyone to sing-a-long) it was absolutely hilarious.

Lauren&Paul73 Lauren&Paul75 Lauren&Paul79 Lauren&Paul80 Lauren&Paul74 Lauren&Paul76 Lauren&Paul81

They definitely set the tone for the speeches and all of the pressure was then on the ‘Adequate Men’. As I had 3 best men each of them took responsibility for telling different stories from different points in my life. The speeches included pictures (which all of the guests had a copy of) and a little toy pony called Jeff (who had been an integral part f the stag do). I must also mention Lauren’s Dad, Craig, who opened proceedings and did an amazing job of both embarrassing the bride with funny stories and expressing his pride about the lovely young woman she has become.Lauren&Paul81

Tell us about your Wedding Dress

The hunt for the perfect wedding dress began early in 2015. My Mum, Sister and I decided on one Saturday morning that we would go into Chester and try some dresses on in some of the Bridal shops. I was the first one of my close friends to get married and so had no idea about protocol.  As a result it some became apparent that just turning up and asking to try dresses on wasn’t the way things were done. One shop allowed me to try on a couple of dresses however I was advised that they only stocked sizes 8-10 and therefore none of the dresses were going to fit me properly. The whole experience was very unpleasant as I left feeling fat and uncomfortable. I already had a very clear picture in my mind of what sort of dress I wanted but this would prove very difficult to find. In wasn’t until the summer of 2015 that we tried again. I had discovered a discount Bridal store in Newcastle upon Tyne (which is where Paul and I live). My Mum, Sister and Nan came to stay for the weekend and we visited the store. The staff were amazing, they had hundreds of dresses in different styles and sizes. This experience I really enjoyed. On that day I tried on 4 dresses, I knew instantly that I had found ‘the one’. We bought it then and there. In the months that followed I tried on 3 other wedding dresses as I wanted to be sure that I had made the right decision. I had. No other dress even compared.

Lauren&Paul4 Lauren&Paul5 Lauren&Paul18 Lauren&Paul16

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

Lauren: My family are really close and I am lucky enough to have cousins who are like sisters to me. I choose my sister Rachael and my cousins Hollie, Sophie and Freya to be my bridesmaids. I also choose my younger cousin Isobel to be our flower girl. They looked beautiful and did an amazing job of keeping me calm and getting me drunk before the ceremony.


Paul: I decided not to have one best man and instead had ‘The three adequate men’. Matt, my brother and Will and Blandy two of my best friends were in charge of best men duties and they did an outstanding job-from planning and facilitating my two stag do’s to delivering their speeches. I couldn’t have asked for more.


Why did you choose your venue?

We wanted the wedding to be as informal as possible. We talked about the fact that we wanted the wedding to reflect the freedom that we felt at festivals or when we went away camping with our friends. Listening to music we loved, drinking and talking into the early hours. We didn’t want to be constrained by formalities. We also wanted the venue to be stunning and unforgettable.


Tower Hill Barns ticked all of these boxes. We booked our wedding when the refurbishment was still happening but we knew from the plans that it was exactly what we wanted. The setting, the buildings, the gardens and the staff were amazing. It really was the dream wedding.

Tell us about your photographer

I found Jessica by chance. I had been searching for photographers over Christmas and happened to come across her website. I had a very specific image in my head of what our wedding photographs should look like. I hated the idea of forced pictures with fake smiles and formal compositions. When I saw Jessica’s work I knew she was the one. Her images are so informal, they capture moments of reality. You can see from the images that when people are smiling it’s because they are happy and having a good time. She was outstanding. She added so much to our day and she has created images that truly depict our personalities and exemplify the emotions of the day. She was so professional but also a friend. When I was unsure about what was happening or where people should be, she took that pressure away from me, reassuring us that everything was as it should be. I can’t thank Jessica enough for the role she played that day or for the amazing moments she captured.

Lauren&Paul43 Lauren&Paul46 Lauren&Paul36

How did the proposal happen? 

Originally Paul is from Cumbria and as a result we have spent a lot of time in the Lake District. We had planned to go back for the weekend with some of our friends for a get together. On the journey over I had asked to use Paul’s phone as my battery had died and he was very sketchy about handing it to me, this started alarm bells ringing and I honestly thought the worst ‘there is someone else’.

When we arrived at Paul’s Mum and Dad’s house all was calm. We spent the evening with our friends and usually this would result in a very late night and a horrible hangover the next morning. As 1am approached Paul suggested that we should get some sleep, this was very out of character. The next morning we woke up and got ready to go for a walk with our friends. They had gone home to get ready and this seemed to be taking them a very long time. They finally returned at about 12.30pm and we set off to Lake Ullswater for a walk.

We pottered around the Lake, threw some stones and dipped our feet into the water. As I was walking back the shore I turned to see my friends had formed a horse shoe around Paul who had got down on one knee. He pulled the ring from his pocket and asked ‘will you marry me?’. He may have also said something else before the words came out but I honestly can’t remember, it is all a blur. I covered my face and started to cry and asked ‘are you joking’? He laughed and replied no. I of course said yes. We popped a bottle of champagne and enjoyed ghe moment with our best friends. I began trying to call my Mum and my Sister. There was no answer. Paul pacified me and said we would go home, get changed and head into town for some celebration drinks, he also reassured me that I could keep trying to ring them for as long as it took.

As we pulled into the drive of Paul’s Mum and Dad’s all seemed calm as we had left it. Paul took my hand and walked me through the house out into the garden, I could smell smoke. As we turned the corner music began to play, I look down the garden and there was my entire family, who had driven up from the Chester in the morning, all of our friends, a BBQ and a gazebo set up in the garden. Paul had organised a surprise engagement party. I cried as my Dad hugged me. Paul hadn’t wanted me to use his phone as he had been texting my Mum and Sister organising the party.
The engagement party set the tone for the wedding. We knew that we wanted the wedding day to reflect the laid back and fun atmosphere he had created on that day. People still ask Paul ‘what would you have done if she had said no’ and his answer is always ‘I knew she would say yes’.

Lauren&Paul92 Lauren&Paul95 Lauren&Paul94

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

Buy a decent printer and make your own invitations-this saved us a fortune. Everything was done on publisher and all you have to do is download different font styles and images from the internet. I was really proud of our invitations.
We did the same with our seating plan, I mocked it up on publisher and then we sent it to be printed on canvass. I really liked having creative control and again it was so simple to do.

Lauren&Paul61 Lauren&Paul69
My mum spent a year buying crystal vases from charity shops for our table decorations. we filled each of them with gypsophila. Each of the vases was slightly different and this added to there charm.

We bought all of the decorations ourselves and on the morning of the wedding my Mum conducted a team of happy helpers to decorate the venue. We couldn’t have done it without her.
My favourite decoration was a guitar which my Mum re-designed. She painted and added the lyrics to one of our favourite songs-this was a surprise for Paul on the day. All of these little touches really make the difference and made the day ours.

What was your first dance & why?

We spent months deciding on our first dance. Both Paul and I are really into music, it has been a very significant part of our relationship. We selected songs that had meant something to us throughout our relationship and rated them out of 10. Then one evening we discovered a cover of ‘Don’t let me down’ originally by the Beatles, but beautifully remastered by one of our favourite artists Paolo Nutini. We knew this was the one. It felt significant that this was a new song in our relationship and would forever only be associated with our first dance. We kept it a secret until the day and it was absolutely perfect.
As a homage to the other songs that we had wanted, we incorporated them into our vows, selecting specific parts and re-writing them into our own words.

Lauren&Paul84 Lauren&Paul85

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

The only thing we would have done differently is hiring a live band. This would have been more in-keeping with theme and would have added another element of fun. But this is a minor detail for us as the DJ was absolutely fantastic.


Do you have any advice for future couples?

Be really fussy about you DJ. I spent months searching for a DJ who would be willing to only play songs that we suggested. We asked our guests to choose 5 songs that they would like to hear and we also created our own wedding playlist. As I already mentioned music is a very big part of our relationship and we wanted the music played to reflect who we are as people and not be the standard wedding tunes. The DJ was amazing, they got just the right mix of soul, rock and roll and Indie tunes.

Lauren&Paul88 Lauren&Paul90 Lauren&Paul91

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

It will be exactly the same as it was before. It is. Nothing changes, you wake up in the morning and bask in the idea that you have engaged in a traditional rite of passage that means that you are now part of a club in society with millions of other people. But how you feel about each other and who you are doesn’t change. That’s the most amazing thing about it, you have this incredible day which celebrates your love for each other and everyone who is important in your life, but then you just go back to your normal life, with a ring on your finger and memories that you will cherish for a life time.


What was your favourite thing about planning a wedding?

I adored planning the wedding. There are so many parts of the planning process that I loved: finding the venue, thinking of the theme and seeing it all come to life, creating the invitations, planning the table dressings with my Mum, coming up with the playlist, designing my cake with Jan which was absolutely beautiful. All of those things add to the excitement and contribute to the build up. At no point did I feel pressured or stressed because we had so much support from everyone around us. I love the fact that everyone played a part in making our wedding perfect, it was a team effort and that truly reflects our relationship with our families and friends.


The Suppliers

Photographer: Jessica O’Shaughnessy
Ceremony Venue: Tower Hill Barns 
Reception Venue: Tower Hill Barns
Bride’s Dress: WED2B 
Bride’s Shoes: Aliexpress 
Bride’s Headpiece: A Day to Remember 
Groom’s Outfit: Slaters 
Bridesmaid’s Dresses: Debenhams 
Cake: Too Good To Eat Wedding Cakes 
Flowers: Flowers by Gaynor 
Hair: Laura O’Callaghan 
Make Up: Laura O’Callaghan 
DJ: Big Boss Man 

The Wedding Album

Lauren&Paul1 Lauren&Paul2 Lauren&Paul3 Lauren&Paul4 Lauren&Paul5 Lauren&Paul6 Lauren&Paul7 Lauren&Paul8 Lauren&Paul9 Lauren&Paul10 Lauren&Paul11 Lauren&Paul12 Lauren&Paul13 Lauren&Paul14 Lauren&Paul15 Lauren&Paul16 Lauren&Paul17 Lauren&Paul18 Lauren&Paul19 Lauren&Paul20 Lauren&Paul21 Lauren&Paul22 Lauren&Paul23 Lauren&Paul24 Lauren&Paul25 Lauren&Paul26 Lauren&Paul27 Lauren&Paul28 Lauren&Paul29 Lauren&Paul30 Lauren&Paul31 Lauren&Paul32 Lauren&Paul33 Lauren&Paul34 Lauren&Paul35 Lauren&Paul36 Lauren&Paul37 Lauren&Paul38 Lauren&Paul39 Lauren&Paul40 Lauren&Paul41 Lauren&Paul42 Lauren&Paul43 Lauren&Paul44 Lauren&Paul45 Lauren&Paul46 Lauren&Paul47 Lauren&Paul48 Lauren&Paul49 Lauren&Paul50 Lauren&Paul51 Lauren&Paul52 Lauren&Paul53 Lauren&Paul54 Lauren&Paul55 Lauren&Paul56 Lauren&Paul57 Lauren&Paul58 Lauren&Paul59 Lauren&Paul60 Lauren&Paul61 Lauren&Paul62 Lauren&Paul63 Lauren&Paul64 Lauren&Paul65 Lauren&Paul66 Lauren&Paul67 Lauren&Paul68 Lauren&Paul69 Lauren&Paul70 Lauren&Paul71 Lauren&Paul72 Lauren&Paul73 Lauren&Paul74 Lauren&Paul75 Lauren&Paul76 Lauren&Paul77 Lauren&Paul78 Lauren&Paul79 Lauren&Paul80 Lauren&Paul81 Lauren&Paul82 Lauren&Paul83 Lauren&Paul84 Lauren&Paul85 Lauren&Paul86 Lauren&Paul87 Lauren&Paul88 Lauren&Paul89 Lauren&Paul90 Lauren&Paul91 Lauren&Paul92 Lauren&Paul93 Lauren&Paul94 Lauren&Paul95