Review: The Angel Hotel, Abergavenny

Today we have a wonderful review of the beautiful Angel Hotel, Abergavenny.

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Awarded AA Hotel of the Year in Wales, The Angel Hotel is something very special. I was invited to come along to view their wedding showcase a while ago and experience an overnight stay. Our boobless Bride Dawn also joined me for the evening. And what a great night we had too!

There is literally something for everyone to enjoy here. Their award winning Afternoon teas for one are legendary (great for treating mum or your bridesmaids!). But today, we’re focusing on weddings and what they can provide for you on your big day!

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If you’ve yet to book your wedding venue, then I honestly think you should take a closer look at The Angel. They have a variety of packages to suit all budgets and if you are looking to get married this year… they have a great offer running too!

When I arrived at the hotel, I was greeted by friendly staff, all very warm and welcoming. I was then shown around the different locations they offer for weddings.

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The Hotel

Inside the hotel itself, you have the Ballroom or Brecon Suite to choose from for the ceremony. Two very different and unique spaces.8788a62158f657378425a5c0a9d74941

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Private Dining
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I felt they have all the bases covered. Even with being situated on the high street, once inside, you felt like you were miles away. And if you were worried about where you can have your wedding photographs taken…don’t.  The beautiful Abergavenny Castle is a two minute walk away!

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So, if you are thinking of taking a closer look, do it… we did and loved our stay!

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Introducing Alphabet Dating: A,B,C,D

Today is all about dating. You know, that thing many of us did BEFORE getting engaged, married and having kids? That distant memory of spending quality time with your other half, making an effort to dress up, shaving your legs and rooting in the drawer for those sexy pants haha. Ok… maybe it hasn’t got to that stage…YET! Good job we’re here to save you!

Us Cwtch Girls were recently talking about dating and as a newly single lady (yes… moi) I find the whole idea of dating again quite nerve-wracking. I’m 38 now and times have changed from when I was a single 21 year old! I mean… what is online dating all about?

Anyway…What I did find fascinating when chatting with my happily married Cwtchgirls was the importance of still making that effort to date your partner.  I’m not talking about winning and dining each other. I’m talking about spending quality time together, enjoying each others company and exploring the world around you.

Do you and your other half make the effort to date each other still? Do you have a regular date day/night? Or do you just slump on the sofa every evening and cwtch up?

Processed with VSCO with f2 presetI was recently bought this book, gosh it made me giggle. But it did also make me think a lot about how dating has changed…

” Bernard and Gail are online friends who have finally met. They know they have a lot in common and are going for a walk.

All Bernard can think about is checking his telephone. All Gail can think about is how she is going to describe this date in 140 characters later when she goes to the toilet.

Bernard and Gail suspect that in real life they are simply awful people”.   Extract from The Ladybird book of Dating

Alphabet Dating

Cwtch Girl Kate told me all about this really cool thing her and her hubby do called ‘Alphabet dating’

The idea is actually pretty simple. They have a date each month and take turns to plan a day or date inspired around a letter of the alphabet.

I LOVED this idea and suggested we run a series of features on it but focusing on places around Wales. So, here we are… Each week, one of us Cwtch girls will take 4 letters from the alphabet and give you all some great ideas on where to go for a date. remember to turn that mobile phone off when you go!

Enjoy…

A- Abergavenny

Referred to as ‘The Gateway to Wales’ it seems only fitting that Abergavenny is my chosen ‘A’ date.

Interestingly, Abergavenny means Mouth of the River Gavenny (learn something new everyday hey!). It’s a market town in Monmouthshire and super easy to find. Only 15 miles west of Monmouth on the A40 and A465 roads and 6 miles from the English border.

There is so much to do here. If you get the chance, I recommend taking afternoon tea at The Angel Hotel and also popping into the Abergavenny Indoor Market (on your wedding day too if you really like it… everyone loves a pick n mix right?). Abergavenny_indoor_market Abergavenny_indoor_market2

All images by: Maria Farrelly Photography

Our fabulous Lush Lister Hilary’s Floral Design is also based nearby, why not pop in and treat yourself to some seasonal flowers to pretty your home.

If you are wanting to explore a little outside Abergavenny, I’d highly recommend Sugarloaf Vineyard and not forgetting the breathtaking Black Mountains & The Brecon Beacons. You can easily spend a whole day around Abergavenny discovering some really special places.

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All images by: Maria Farrelly Photography

B- Barry Island

My ‘B’ date was always going to be Barry Island. Full of nostalgia and a bit cheese. So much to keep you both entertained. The Beach, The fairground, Crazy Golf, The arcades, Fish and Chips and fresh Donuts (if you can make room for them) plus lots more.

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Its great for dogs too! 063093107mg_8190 mg_8222-2 mg_8345-2 mg_8502-2

All images by: Maria Farrelly Photography

 

C- Carreg Cennen Castle, Llandeilo

carreg-cennen-castle089004There is something rediculously romantic about taking a walk hand in hand up Carreg Cennen Castle.

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The views are spectacular and what better way to enjoy them, than with that special person you are madly in love with. 049If all that hiking gets a little too much for your feet, theres always piggy backs! 
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All images by: Maria Farrelly Photography

D- Dan Yr Ogof Caves

Now this place is great fun … if you like caves and Dinosaurs! Dan Yr Ogof Caves is situated just of J45 of the M4.

004 010Did you know its one of the worlds largest dinosaur parks? they have over 220 life sized dinosaur models to get up close and personal with too!

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And then there is the caves. This place simply blows my mind. Its incredible. completely fascinating and full of history.030 049

I’d then suggest you take a walk along the river and finish off with an awesome picnic. What a cool date hey!

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All images by: Maria Farrelly Photography

I do hope this has inspired you to Date your other half more. Time flies too quickly and its very easy to stop making the effort for each other, especially once that ring is on your finger and you have agreed to a life-long commitment.  Its these little things, the little gestures, the little dates that collectively over time become the big things. The memories! and if there is one more bit of advice i can give. It’s to take lots of pictures of them! 

All the images used in this post were taken by me. The couple’s featured were my clients that had booked me for a pre-wedding photoshoot. I’m lucky enough to have photographed some incredible weddings over the years in some of Wales’ most beautiful places. I cannot recommend enough the idea of getting out there and exploring this beautiful country for yourself. 

Have fun Dating each other and if you have any alternative A,B,C,D ideas, feel free to post a comment below. We’d love you to hear from you.

Maria x 

Next week we have E,F,G, & H 

The Glanusk Estate: The Location For Cwtchfest 2016

I’m thrilled to be collaborating with the amazing Glanusk Estate on this years Cwtchfest. I’m still pinching myself that this crazy idea I had of organising a large wedding festival in Wales is not only happening again, but that it’s growing… on an epic scale!

Today I wanted to share with you the reasons why I chose The Glanusk Estate and why I think it should be on your list of ‘must-see’ venues for your wedding.~ Maria.glanusk

The Glanusk Estate is one of the largest privately owned Estates in Wales and is situated in the beautiful countryside of the Usk Valley, Crickhowell, South Wales in the Brecon Beacons National Park.

Cornwall and shop 127Why did I choose The Glanusk Estate for Cwtchfest?

Thats easy. I only work with companies that I would use myself if planning a wedding. Having photographed hundreds of weddings over the years, I’ve worked alongside MANY venues and suppliers. Some are incredible and some should not be working in this industry (don’t worry, they won’t ever appear on this blog). For me, professionalism and personal recommendations are everything.

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The Glanusk Estate approached me last year when I was in the midst of organising last years festival. I honestly nearly fell of my chair when I read their email.

If you don’t know much about the Estate. Let me share a few things. The Glanusk Estate hosts the world famous Greenman Festival, Spartan Race UK 2015, as well as numerous TV programs and commercials. It is quite simply one of the best locations to host a wedding in Wales and they love Cwtch The Bride.

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So why chose The Glanusk Estate for your wedding?

Like me, the team at Glanusk really do love a good wedding! You are not part of a production line either. They really do go that extra mile which means so much when planning a wedding.

They are super friendly, personal and offer a really bespoke service.  The Glanusk Estate team pull out all the stops to make your wedding day memorable and a wonderful experience not just for yourselves but also your guests.

Whether you are having an intimate celebration for 20 or 30 guests, or a larger party, they really do have the perfect backdrop for your special day.Claire_Ian0206

Pricing

Having photographed in many of the wedding venues across Wales, what struck me as a massive selling point here (besides the epic views) is their pricing. The Glanusk Estate does not charge corkage!  Most venues do which is where the pricing can start to rocket. There is nothing worse than falling in love with a venue and then sitting down with the price list and finding out all the ‘extras’ you HAVE to pay to personalise your day exceeds your budget.

At Glanusk, the bride and groom can not only make their own choice of alcohol but can also select their own choice of caterer and marquee company rather than being restricted to a small selection offered by many venues. That alone is worth calling the team to arrange a site visit!


Do I have to hire the entire Estate for my wedding?

no, no, no :)

The beauty of this location is that you have a choice of four areas on the estate. Each has a totally different feel and charm of its own.

We’ll be going into more detail about each area over the coming weeks but to give you a brief outline. There are four main areas to consider.

 The Glasshouse & Old Walled Garden

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Penmyarth House

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River View

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Penmyarth Church is also on the estate. It’s a private chapel for blessings and can seat up to 100 guests.  Its also walking distance from River View and is ridiculously pretty.glanusk - hi-res (34x23cm 300dpi jpegs) - 195

There is so much more about The Glanusk Estate that I want to share with you but I’m going to have to do that over a series of posts.

Also, don’t just take my word for it, come along on Sunday 17th April to Cwtchfest. Our tickets are selling like hot welshcakes and we’d love to see you there. It really is going to be the wedding event of the year!

buy-tickets-here-12I cannot wait to descend on this idyllic venue with my team and fill it with inspiring ideas for your wedding along with the best selection of wedding professionals in Wales.   Only 93 days to go!

Maria x 

 

Falling in Love: Part one

If you are a follower of our Facebook page, you’ll know we ask lots of questions. We love getting to know you all.

Recently I asked, how did you meet you’re other half? Very quickly I started getting snippets of some fabulous Welsh love stories! After emailing some of our readers and hearing how wonderful these stories are, they’ve agreed to let me share them with you all.

I personally love reading about those that took risks, trusted that gut instinct and followed their heart. Life is way too short to spend it waiting for mr or mrs right to come knocking on your door.

Here is the first in a series of posts as told by our readers. I hope you’ll enjoy reading them. Maria

How Hannah Met Dan (as told by Hannah)

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So I popped into the bank in Abergavenny as I did on a weekly basis. And there was a new boy behind the counter.  I fleetingly noticed he was quite cute, dark cheeky smile, but that was it.  I went to the counter and he said “what kind of name is that – you’re not from around here” and I thought he was so cheeky! So having heard his strong Tredegar accent I told him the same!

My colleague was waiting for me outside and I said “that boy in there was so cheeky” and told her the story.  “Hannah, that’s flirting.”  Hahahaha I had no idea! Having gone through a break up I was “off men” for a while. Or so I thought! That was that and it wasn’t until a week later, I popped into the bank and the cheeky smile was there again. He waved over for me to go to his counter. Then the butterflies started and I found myself looking forward to my weekly bank visits ;-)

I was at home one evening and had a message on Facebook.  It was addressed to girl with the funny name and from bank boy. We’d had one mutual friend in common and apparently I popped up on his newsfeed. We went for a few dates in our lunch breaks over the next week or two then I had a phone call Xmas 2009 – did I want to spend new year in Paris?

My mam was a bit wary because we’d only just met but I followed my gut feeling and thought “why not” travelling on trains and staying in hostels is a good way to get to know someone.We both talked about backpacking but never had the chance to do it so I spent two amazing weeks on an adventure backpacking around Europe. We fell in love. It was the time of my life.

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We’ve kept travelling the globe and road tripped all around the west coast, New York Vegas.
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He told me in our road trip that everyone thought he’d propose to me but he wanted me to remember it as my 30th trip not the holiday we got engaged.

It was on a weekend in London two weeks after our road trip that Dan proposed. He booked us in a suite at the park plaza – I assumed that we’d just had an upgrade.

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My best friend Rebecca lives in London so whenever we’re there I always meet up with her. I didn’t realise that this spoiled his plans to take me to Primrose Hill and propose as the sun set!
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We ended up in a secret cocktail place in London where we had to walk through a smeg fridge! Had brunch, cocktails and then dan kept nervously checking his watch and panicking about time.

We got back to the hotel. I had my orders to shower. (So he could order some wine ready to pop the question) and I came out of the shower (with a very fetching shower cap on) and watch Murray win on the TV. Someone knocked the door and as I skipped over Dan says “you’re in your dressing gown I’ll get it” panicking that I’d spoil the surprise (again) and I turned around, he was on one knee holding a box.

I had no clue! I just burst into tears and jumped around the room (forgetting to say yes)

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It was amazing. He asked my mam’s permission the week before. I may have been naked with just a dressing gown and shower cap on and not on primrose hill but it was us. Every crazy minute. After a few phone calls and crying we had the most amazing night listening to Buble at the O2 :-) and of course there’ll be plenty of buble at our wedding next summer.

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Thanks for sharing Hannah! We think Bank Boy rocks!

I’m sure there are lots more welsh modern love stories amongst us all! come on…lets start sharing them, this series of posts may give someone the courage to follow their heart!  How did you and your other half meet? We’d love to know. Email your story to us at info@cwtchthebride.co.uk and if chosen, you too will feature on our blog :) If you’d prefer to remain anonymous, thats fine with us too xxx