T Festival supported by The iGency

Hello you lovely lot!
A little deviation from our usual weekly posts today, but its something you all need to be aware of! So, if you’ve got any plans for November, then this needs to be on the list!

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The wonderful #Cwtchfest live music suppliers, The iGency are once again being brilliant. They very rarely do public gigs, but are fabulously supplying this festival theme party in order to raise money for #curlycarsfund.

When Carolyn Gammon was pregnant with her second child, the beautiful baby girl Mira, she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Although she was treated with chemotherapy, once Mira was born via c-section, Carolyn was given the devastating news that the cancer has spread and it was now incurable.

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Carolyn is now hoping to raise £150k in order to self fund special medication that will prolong her life, allowing her to bring up her gorgeous little boy and beautiful baby girl, in case the NHS cannot fund it.

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T Festival is being organised in order to help towards this total! Held at Taibach RFC on Friday 18th November, dress up in your best festival outfit, get your rock socks on, purchase your £10 ticket and go and dance the night away!

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INFO

Festival Theme Party @ Taibach RFC

A fun night of music, drinking and dancing, to raise money for #curlycarsfund. Please wear your finest festival attire!

4 of the UK’s top party bands delivering a rare public performance plus amazing live DJ.

Headline bands include:
iRock – www.irockband.co.uk
iPop – www.ipopband.co.uk
Indienational – www.indienational.co.uk
Velvet Soul – www.velvetsoul.co.uk

Contact us via FB The iGency, email suzanne@theigency.com or visit Tiabach RFC for tickets

Tickets are £10 – please donate more if you can.
Limited tickets availible book ASAP to avoid dissapointment.
Lets raise as much money as we can for this amazing family!!

 

Real Weddings: Our Boobless Bride Dawn, and Steve’s Perfect Day

Good morning you lovely lot!
Well, its a bit of a special one for us today here at Cwtch HQ.  Our remarkably brave, loyal, hilarious, 
strong Dawn got married to the blinking awesome bloke that is Steve.  If you have been following Dawn’s Bride to Be ‘Boobless Bride’ Diary posts, you will know what an incredibly terrifying and heartbreaking journey these two have been on.
What has led Dawn and Steve to their wedding day is nothing short of true, unbreakable love.  We are absolutely over the moon for them both, and the fact that our Maria Farrelly got to witness their day, and capture it, makes it even more wonderful.
We love you Dawn.  We think the word of you and we could not be happier for you both.
Over to you to tell us all about it………..

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Real Weddings: Our Boobless Bride Dawn, and Steve’s Perfect Day

What was your budget? 

We need to keep the costs as low as possible as I have been off work for over 18 months.  But realistically I think it came in at around £7,000.

How would you describe your wedding theme?

As you already know I have been battling breast cancer for almost 2 years now. In August 2015 I was awaiting very serious scan results to see if the cancer had spread.  A terminal diagnosis would have overshadowed any future plans, I had always wanted to take the children to Disney so thought – right now, I am not terminally ill so would embrace the opportunity to have a carefree time with my girls.  So, with one of my closest friends Marie and her daughter Isabella in tow, we headed off to Euro Disney. Although it should have been the most frightening time of my life, somehow I barely thought of the scan results.  The magic of Disney completely consumed us and we had the best time. One of the days we were there, the children were playing in the Alice and Wonderland Maze.  I can remember feeling so full of love, hope and determination – after all I have so much to live for.  So, when Steve proposed to me it just seemed absolutely right for the theme to be Alice in Wonderland. Not only was it such a positive memory for me with the children, it married well with my love of vintage clothes and big Petticoats!

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What was your favourite part of your wedding?

I know this is going to sound ridiculously cheesy but for me the best part of the wedding was having all of my loved ones and friends with us to celebrate not only the wedding but getting through the previous 18 months.  It felt like both families really united and all our friends came together to have one hell of a party.  The band were incredible… everyone danced the whole night long.

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However, there were two moments that were particularly special for me on the day…

I organised a balloon release in memory of my father.  All guests had a balloon with a label on saying a guests name, the details of the wedding and an email address to tell us how far the balloon had travelled. All of my friends and loved ones gathered on the golf course, each holding a different coloured balloon in memory of his name. Instead of crying I stood proud and watched every balloon slowly float to the clouds – hoping that my dad would see them pass by. Unknown to me at the time, the guests were eagerly trying to find out who had their balloon and it acted as an ice breaker and became their favourite part too.  I would never have dreamed when I planned this part of the wedding that it would become the most special part for me. Each balloon symbolised hope, love and freedom.  It was not sinister or morbid, it was a happy moment with my father close in my thoughts and resulted in one of my favourite photos of the day.

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The second moment that was particularly special to me was captured by Maria.  Steve was saving for a VW Camper before he met me, I kind of ruined his plans.  Instead of a vehicle symbolic of freedom and carefree life, he bought an engagement ring and wedding symbolic of restriction and responsibility.  So I decided, I wouldn’t have a stuffy wedding car.  I would hire a vintage VW camper.  So I started ringing around and all of the companies I spoke to quoted over £600 to simply pick me up and take me to the first venue.  So then I discovered ‘Split the Difference’.  A couple who manage a company that hire out VW Campervans.  For the same money I could hire the camper…for a week!!!!  Bosh!!!!  Wedding car and honeymoon sorted in one go.  So… mad you may think, the day before the wedding.  Beth and I (my Maid of Honour) set off from Newport to Wrexham to collect ‘Jessie’ our beautiful camper.  A very slow and long journey home was worth every second when I saw Steve’s face when we came out of the ceremony.  It was sheer delight.  A magical moment.

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Tell us about your Wedding Dress

Choosing a wedding dress was always going to be a difficult part of the wedding planning for me. When I met Steve I was a size 12, long legs, beautiful hair (extensions cough cough) and excuse me for being crude but as Steve said “a great rack”. But here I was newly engaged, a size 20, completely bald – not even an eyelash and no breasts. I thought it would be impossible to find anything that I would feel beautiful in. But my sister-in-law was fantastic she came to shop after shop in a bid to find this miraculous dress that in essence would replicate the powers of the Harry Potter invisibility cloak. You know… make me feel thin, attractive and sexy – all the things I did not. I came out of every bridal shop feeling exactly the same; deflated, insecure and reluctant to continue looking. Then Beth reminded me of how wonderful Helen at Do you believe? in Newport had been when she married my brother. So we headed to Helen in a bid to find a wedding dress like no other.

Immediately Helen made me believe that not only could we find a beautiful dress but one that would meet my very obscure specification. Tea length dress with a vintage feel that would nip in at the waist, have a high neck to hide my prosthetics and sleeves that would enable me to cover my arms as the Lymphedema swelling is very unpredictable…. oh and more importantly would go with my beautiful blue petticoat that I bought at the vintage Fair in Cardiff.  Helen didn’t feel that she had anything that match this criteria, however this was not going to stop Helen giving me that bridal moment. Together we designed my dress – a completely bespoke dress. We chose the style together, the lace, the embellishment and I simply knew that she would give me a beautiful dress.Dawn_Steve_Wedding (25 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (27 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (31 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (33 of 964)
Everything was going beautifully and as with all perfectly laid plans we hit a problem. Where I’ve had the mastectomy fat pockets collect in the most bizarre and unusual of places so imagine my surprise when I have my final fitting and discover my body has miraculously started to grow its own breasts!!!! On my bloody back!!! That’s right – my dress is done up and from the front I look beautiful… but…I turn around and there hanging over the back of my dress are what can only be described as two of the biggest boobs I have ever seen made from back fat. So as you can imagine the meltdown began. Helen with the help of Val at House of Couture in Maindee set about hiding my new assets.  They removed the cap sleeves, found a lace bolero and added embellishment to the edge of my dress to match.  Before I knew it I was feeling more confident again. I would be lying if I told you that I didn’t wish I was a size 10 with long flowing hair a beautiful waistline and an ample bosom, but with all things considered I felt as beautiful as I ever could have felt on the day and that was all thanks to Helen going above and beyond what was required of her. I was absolutely delighted when Helen agreed to be a guest at the wedding because truly I went into her bridal shop a customer and came out a dear friend.

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

Picking the bridesmaids was probably one of the most difficult tasks for me when it came to the wedding.  How could you choose a select few when so many had been wonderful to me over the years.  One thing that I did know, I wanted my sister-in-law Beth to be my Maid of Honour, she has become more like a sister to me over recent years and would keep me calm on the day.  But how do I chose the bridesmaids?  There’s Cath – the bestie that went all through school with me and shared many a night on MD 20/20 with me in Caerleon? Boon -who went all through college with me, can make me laugh in any situation and is yet to have a boyfriend with an actual name!?  Pirate!? ASDA!? Millionaire Guy?!  No idea what any of them were actually called… go figure. Jodie – who was there when I had a complete melt down and stayed sober enough to make sure my antics came back to bite me in the bum. Emma – my partner in crime on school trips who is my rock when it comes to the children or Lindsay who swam across the river Thames with me after a drunken night as it looks like a shortcut. I mean how can you choose from such a high calibre of Friends lol? Simple really…. I asked them all!!!  Now don’t get me wrong there could have been so many more as so many of my friends have been an incredible support over the years but most of them were married and it made sense that they could sit in the congregation with their husbands. So that what it… my 6 Single Sisters would be asked to be my bridesmaids.

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Now for the flower girls…well we’ve got three children between us Imogen, Madeleine and Yvie and I couldn’t leave out Ngaire and Isabella who are like daughters to me, so the bridal party doubled in size. I know what you’re thinking… more people are going to walk down the aisle than be seated but that’s a luxury of it being MY wedding… I can do just as I please – so I did.

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As for the best man it was a simple choice for Steve.  He asked his lifelong friend and advisor Mike.  Mike was given the job of embarrassing Steve and boy did he do a brilliant job of that. He provided one of the best speeches I’ve ever heard –  and he tucked me up beautifully by quoting some of my face book posts during our time together.  All based around food which poo poo’d my theory that the weight gain was solely down to steroids during treatment.  Damn him lol.

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Why did you choose your venue?

The Venue for us was very easy. When I was going through treatment we would go to Bellevue Park in Newport a couple of times a week to feed the squirrels. It was just about all I could manage but it was a beautiful location, the children absolutely loved finding squirrels and we enjoyed amazing food and drinks in the cafe. We became good friends with Matt and his team at Parc Pantry and new immediately this would be where the ceremony will be held.

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When we started to put invites together it was quite apparent that congregation was going to be too big to fit in this venue for the whole day so looked for an evening venue. We Struck Gold when we found Tredegar Park Golf Club.  Not only were the grounds absolutely breath-taking, but Neil and Kim were absolutely exceptional from start to finish. Although they had never done it before, they accommodated an afternoon tea as the wedding breakfast and purchased vintage crockery to make the tables look authentic.  The food was plentiful, cakes as fresh as if they had just come out of a bakery and the hog roast was a massive hit. The function room is beautiful, big windows overlooking the course and exposed beams giving a wonderful ambience and we even got to sit with Neil for an hour at the end of the night and share what a wonderful time we had. I cannot recommend both venues more highly – they truly made it a magical day.

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Tell us about your photographer

I’ve been very fortunate when planning my wedding, things just seemed to fall into place.  Not only was I able to enjoy all the girlie aspects of planning it, but I actually met a number people that have gone on to be really good friends. None more so than your very own Cwtch Queen, Maria Farrelly.  When a friend of mine Amy recommended I entered the competition to join Cwtch The Bride as a ‘Bride to Be’ contributor, I never dreamt that I would not only win, but meet an incredible group of women. I found in Maria a kindred spirit, we instantly hit it off and I found writing the blogs not only purposeful but therapeutic. When Maria when I started talking more we realised we had a lot in common and although women follow cwtch from all areas in Wales, we actually lived very close to each other… so we met up and have grown closer friends ever since.

At this point I did have a photographer booked but fate stepped in and my photographer called to explain they had been double booked. Immediately I got in touch with Maria in hope that she may be available. Maria had very few dates available so it was looking unlikely that this would be an option, however I truly believe it was just meant to be as she was indeed available on the 28th of May. Without even looking at any of her photographs of portfolio I booked her. I am a people person and knew instantly I wanted her involved in the day and trusted that she would give us the most beautiful photos.  More importantly she understood my body confidence issues and could help me work through that on the day – and I wasn’t disappointed. She made us feel relaxed and was the professional throughout.  At no point did it feel staged or uncomfortable – in fact at some point I don’t even remember her being there.  She disappeared into the shadows and captured every moment beautifully.  The only thing I regret is that because she was so busy working on the day she was unable to really celebrate with me.  She is a dear friend of mine now and I would have liked her to have been there as a guest.

How did the proposal happen? 

Well, unknown to me, Steve has tried on 4 different occasions to propose, but because I had just had the all clear and the kids were off school – I kept bringing the girls along to our ‘date day’ – oops.  So eventually Stephen put his foot down – “I haven’t had a day on my own with you since your ‘all clear’ so we need some ‘us’ time.  I agreed, and we decided to celebrate by climbing pen-y-fan, it would be symbolic of the journey we have climbed.  True Welsh style, it hammered down with rain. Someone got struck by lightning up there during the last storm so we both agreed that I have danced with the devil lately as it is so this would be stupid.  So instead we would head to Neath Waterfalls.  8 Miles we walked – 4 waterfalls later and a beautiful day had by all.  Soaked through we went back to the car, changed into dry clothes and went into a little hikers pub.  We had a beautiful meal and I said – as if setting the moment “this is a beautiful pub, warm, lovely and full of character – if I ever get married again I’m going to take up hiking to shift the weight” with that he said – best start walking then and put a little black box – not the type that find aeroplanes – this is the one that finds tears, immediately.  Tears rolling down my cheek he asked if I would marry him – of course I said yes.

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But this is not the real story of the proposal – the real story is how I ruined the intended proposal.  Picture this – beautiful waterfall, full as it was raining so heavily, no one around, beautiful sounds of wildlife active in the storm…I’m stood on a little bridge gazing into the waterfall.  Steve walks to me, puts his arm around me (in his head this is the moment) – “Dawn” Steve said… “Yes babes” I said…. then before he could say another word I interrupt him – I’m known for it, I’m an excitable person – to advise him that I would like to head back to the car soon as I’m that wet my pants are soaking and its chaffing my arse.  NOOOOOOO!!!!! Moment killed…so that was the end of the beautiful waterfall proposal.  Oops.  But to be honest, it makes the whole ordeal more ‘me-like’.

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

For me the little touches in a wedding are what makes it special. So I spent hours making little bits and pieces that would make the difference on the table. I ordered off eBay bags of little brass keys and painstakingly tied luggage labels to them for name cards that would complement the theme. I also wrapped all the cutlery in beautiful little Ribbons embroidered with mine and Steve’s name and the date of the wedding.

One of my bridesmaids Lindsay also made beautiful favours for me which really added to the impact of the Alice and Wonderland theme.  Little mini eggs in jars with ‘eat me’ labels and small shot bottles with ‘drink me’ – everyone commented on how beautiful they were.

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I designed vintage themed name labels and used Microsoft Excel to mail merge them so that they could be printed on mass in a few minutes.  Ladies – MAIL MERGE IS THE WAY FORWARD – it saved me hours, was the best thing I did. Finally, the centrepieces I made myself by simply collecting old vintage books from car boot sales and tying them in hessian and lace. I couldn’t have been happier with my tables and my boss was so impressed he tried to convince me that there was a career in wedding planning for me!!!

What was your first dance & why?

When Stephen I first started getting serious it was a standing joke that he wouldn’t say he loved me – just that he tolerated me more than anyone else he had ever met.  This went on to him saying he would write his own vows as he could not commit to ‘til death us do part’ as he had no way of knowing what the future held.  (Of course this is all bants)  But it seemed only fitting to have a song that was special for us bad had the underlying tone of sarcasm that Steve is renowned for. So there was only really one choice it had to be Beach Boys, God Only Knows – Steve was a keen Surfer in his youth and I genuinely would not have got through the relentless treatment and surgery without him, so I really don’t know what I would be without him. Plus the first line said ‘I may not always love you’ anyone that knows Stephen would find this funny. So we both started the first dance, awkwardly swaying back and forth singing to each other at top pelt ‘I MAY NOT ALWAYS LOVE YOU and sobbing by the ‘God only knows what I’d be without you’ line… but found the children surrounding us in a circle – never one to miss an opportunity I pulled the kids into our dance and our romantic moment became the ‘Okey Kokey’.  It was amazing.

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

In hindsight the only thing that I would have done differently was not wait so long to get married (although 9 months sounds a short engagement in our situation we should have seized the day). We waited until May hoping that my father would have overcome his treatment for leukaemia, little did we know that by waiting that few extra months, my father would not be there.  And that truly breaks my heart.

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Do you have any advice for future couples?

The best bit of advice I can give to future couples is…don’t get so pulled into the obsessive perfectionism of the day and lose the significance of why you are there in the first place.  Enjoy every second the day will be over in a flash.  Stephen and I had a good 90 minutes to leisurely have photos taken, but we were in our own golf buggy travelling across the golf course which gave us time to enjoy the moment together before the ‘mingling’ and ‘drinking’ began.   We were completely loved up in that moment. I think every bride and groom should time at least an hour alone – not surrounded by photographers and caterers and bridesmaids but the two of you alone in love – time to … just be.

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

I’m not sure this is a piece of marriage advice but it is my mantra – the way I keep positive and happy… with a little Dawnism thrown in for good measure.
Live every moment – Don’t waste time arguing, say your piece and move on.
Laugh everyday – Get pleasure in those little moments (I recommend Alphabet dating)
Love beyond words – Don’t assume they know, tell them every day.
And dance like nobody’s watching – Don’t worry what other people think… dance together in the rain!

What was your favourite thing about planning a wedding?

The best part for me about planning the wedding was meeting so many amazing people along the way. Although I went to them as a client I genuinely felt I met friends – I have already mentioned so many but there was Molly – the lead singer of The Supers.  They were an incredible band that got everyone dancing, completely adjusted their running order to fit around the beautiful weather and played like their life depended on it.  Lucy and the Girls that had 11x hair and makeup to do in one morning…what an accomplishment and great fun. Pat and Paul who let us use Jessie and made the most beautiful bouquet as decoration inside, Neil at AJC Cardiff who designed and created the most beautiful engagement and wedding ring, Elisa who designed the table plan, Hilary at Hilarys flowers who produced the most beautiful Top Table pieces using cake stands… too many to name everyone but thank you all the same.  I just seemed to experience such kindness and generosity – One lady on ebay for example… I sent her a picture from Pinterest of a setting I was trying to recreate…she went to the length of folding about 30 different napkins in the exact way I showed her, with cutlery, photographed them and sent the pics to me so I could see what went best with the crockery I had.  It must have taken her hours… all because she wanted to do her bit to make my day special.  It’s completely restored my faith in humanity because it’s easy to only remember the idiots that plague your day.

The Suppliers

Photographer:  Maria Farrelly
Ceremony Venue: Belle Vue Parc, Newport (Parc Pantry)
Reception Venue: Tredegar Park Golf Club
Bride’s Dress:  Helen’s own Label, Do You Believe?
Bride’s Shoes: Elegant Steps
Bride’s Headpiece:  Val, House of Couture
Bride’s Jewellery:  A locket my dad gave my mum
Groom’s Outfit: Slaters
Bridesmaid’s Dresses: True Bride
Bridesmaid’s Accessories: Etsy
Cake: Emma Baker, The Retro Cake Company
Flowers:  Hilary’s Flowers
Hair: Beautilicious – Lucy
Make Up: Beautilicious – Lucy
Band: The Supers, Bristol
Stationery: Elisa by Design
Any Reception Decor/Props: Forever Bows
Transport: Split the Difference
Other:  MASSIVE THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO MADE OUR DAY SO SPECIAL

The Wedding Album

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Bride to be Diaries: Our Boobless Bride finds THE dress.

Our Boobless bride to be Dawn is back on the blog today with the second insight into her journey of wedding planning.  Dawn won a place in our recent competition to find our new Bride-to-be writers and wow did we have response from you all on her amazing story.  Here she tells us about her first venture into wedding fairs and how a boobless bride finds THE dress…

Last-date-before-chemo
Bridesmaids chosen… so it must be time for the obligatory wedding fair.  Although as you know I was married before, we got married in Cuba so none of the traditional planning was required. We simply went into first choice, picked the cheapest long distance venue and bosh…wedding done.  This time it is a completely different experience – which is wonderful!!!
I managed to arrange a weekend where the bridesmaids could get together – all 5 of them – and booked us in to a couple of wedding dress shops on the Saturday and two wedding fairs on the Sunday. (Beth – Sister-in-law and Maid of Honour, Lindsay, Jodie, Emma and Boon –
My besties and my mum Sue)  A pre hen gathering.
But that was weeks away…and I’m a little impatient so decided to start getting ideas. This is when operation ‘secret affair’commenced. Beth lured me into cheating on my bridesmaids, it is all her fault, she took advantage of my fragile newly engaged state. (Thrown under the bus Beth – sorry!)  We only ventured into Cardiff to visit the vintage fair for some inspiration, had no intention of looking at dresses – Eek. But having found the most amazing vintage petticoat it was only right we had a little look to see what vintage dresses may suit the petticoat…I won’t try anything on without my mum and other bridesmaids present….will I?! Well, one won’t hurt… Oops. Before I know it I’m knee deep in dresses and a fabric connoisseur able to differentiate tulle and organza.
The-ring
It has started…but I’m really doing the bridesmaids a favour – as now I know what style I want now so can concentrate on that on our bridesmaid weekend. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.  So I now know the style I want, just finding it is the difficult bit.
Now you may think I’m digressing a little now – as I’m supposed to be talking about a wedding fair, but all will become clear…
I suspect I am not the typical bride. I find the whole finding ‘the dress’ thing tedious and frustrating for two reasons; firstly the women in the bridal shops want to put me in size 20 dresses and I’m sure I am a 12 (damn you steroids) and secondly I have no bloody boobs!!!
How do I drop that into convo when describing the dress I want… “Good afternoon, I’m looking for an ivory dress with a drop waist, lace and a design that cleverly masks the fact I have no breasts”. Beth suggested going to the place she had her dress, but I was a little reluctant as I didn’t want to rain on her parade – but Beth was adamant. So off I trot to ‘Do you Believe?’ in Newport, South Wales and my goodness am I glad I did!!!
I embraced the situation and told Helen I needed a dress that would hide my ‘knitted knockers’ (an amazing alternative to prosthetics – please pass that on if you know anyone who has had a mastectomy) and suck in my fat. In true Welsh Bird style, I tell Helen it all…what happened
to my ex-husband, my struggle after, my diagnosis and meeting my amazing man. Instantly we connected, Helen has always had a passion for designing dresses that have a functional aspect for women with problem areas or disabilities…but more than that…she wanted so badly to not only make me a beautiful dress, but make me happy after such a testing few years!!!  So, Helen is making me a dress…Yes, that’s right, my own dress!!! I choose EVERYTHING!!!! It is so exciting. My luck is changing…and as luck would have it, she isat the wedding fair on the bridesmaid weekends so my bridesmaid can pick dresses with her,and I can show the girls what we are thinking of doing. (See it makes sense now.)
So…back to the weekend!!!
     Do you believe
Friday night, the girls arrive and we do as any bridal group would that are consciously trying to lose weight for the big day… we have a monster take away and start watching ‘Yes to the Dress’ and ‘Don’t tell the bride’ to get us in the mood and start planning the weekend.
So on the Saturday we head to Cardiff, to be honest I knew at this point that I was only really trying on dresses to have that experience with the girls and get ideas for Helen. It was a surreal day really – didn’t feel like a bride at all, in fact just found myself dismissing everything I tried on almost immediately. All I could see was short hair – the aftermath of chemo, fat – the aftermath of steroids and comfort food and no chest – the aftermath of cancer. And of course all the young girls working in the shop are beautiful size 6 and about 19 years old. My poor bridesmaids having to put up with me grumpy and struggling with body image issues and not feeling too great on my medication. Not really the ‘moment’ I was hoping for. But we left the bridal shop and had a lovely day shopping.
Garter
Sunday has now arrived and I’m looking forward to a lovely day with my bridesmaids but still not feeling very bridal. The first fair we attended was the ‘Chosen Vintage & Bespoke Wedding Fair’ in the Paintworks, Bristol. It was a lovely event, smaller than I expected but I suppose it was quite a specific bridal genre so makes sense.
Wedding Cake
First thing – a goodie bag – that lifted my mood immediately, it had a jaffa cake in it…my favourite lol. There were some amazing stalls there…genuine 1920-1950’s dresses, a little too authentic for me but beautiful none the less, incredible wedding cake designs and stationary sets, great ideas for centrepieces and lighting solutions…one of my favourite ideas was a traditional ice-cream cart being pulled by an authentic 1930’s push bike.
Icecream Bike
Lots of photos taken and now I’m really feeling the buzz of being a bride. Off we go now to the ‘West of England Wedding Show’at UWE, Bristol….Wow!!! What an event!!! Professional stalls offering everything you can think of and a real life catwalk!!! I’ve never seen a fashion show so was looking forward to that! First find was a Bailey’s fountain!!! I know!!! Love at first sight and my bestie Lindsay decided to treat me to it for my wedding gift…she’s a treasure.
Baileys Fountain
One by one my bridesmaid took ideas and have taken on a little project of their own. (For now a secret) Then we found Helen at Do you Believe’s stand. She showed the girls a bridesmaid dress she thought would suit my dress and one by one the girls tried them on with me holding my breath…they loved it and all looked amazing!!! So…bridesmaid dresses…CHECK!!!
Bridesmaid
All bridesmaids are now beaming and we are all in full blown wedding mode. So Helen puts me in a dress that is close to what we are thinking to show the girls…a lot of changes to be made but the general idea could be seen.
There it was, that bridal moment. This is THE DRESS (kind of) – without a doubt. My mum is in tears, I’m in tears the girls are in tears and you can’t even get the full effect yet. Helen is truly making the dream dress for a boobless bride. I’m ecstatic… just the fashion show to go.
One by one the bridal shops show off their best selection of dresses, it was amazing. Such a diverse range of dresses…vintage, lace, sexy, daring, sparkly, short, long, full, fitting, you name it, it was there. Then unexpectedly the compere introduces the collection from ‘Do you
Believe, Newport’ with no thought at all, we all start cheering and whooping at the excitement that this was Helen’s collection!!! It never dawned on use for a second that this was not the kind of response given at bridal shows…the compere was stopped dead in his tracks, everyone staring at us in complete disbelief. Oops…we literally brought the show to a halt whilst he composed himself and ridiculed the fact we clearly did not know the etiquette at these events. Well… you can take the girls out of Newport….
The-proposed-proposal-oops

Bride to be Diaries: Introducing The Boobless Bride.

Oh my, I cannot tell you how much I’ve been looking forward to introducing this special lady to you all. She had me in tears when I read her entry into our recent competition to find our new Bride-to-be writers. Not only did I want her to write for the blog but I needed to meet her… straight away! We did, hit it off and here we are…

Dawn is an extraordinary woman and she has one hell of a story to tell you. 

Enjoy!

Maria x

New Bride To Be Diary

Introducing The Boobless Bride


Last date before chemo

I’m delighted that you will be joining me on my journey from engagement ring to reception. Sharing my laughter, stress and tears – being an eccentric control freak with a creative flair, often with ideas too big for my bank balance – what could possibly go wrong? Eek.

I vowed to myself if I had such an amazing opportunity come my way I would write my blog honestly, from the heart and bare all. The past 5 years have been horrendous and I’m living proof that laughter, positivity and great friends and family can not only get you through – but enable you to have a fairy tale ending (well not ending really, it’s just the start of my new life). So, let’s hope you are not easily offended and enjoy this adventure with me.

It would make sense at this point to tell you a little about me I guess…I’m Dawn, 33, Design Technology teacher in a secondary school in South Wales and am planning my wedding to Stephen, 33 who does something in IT – he has tried to explain it several times but by the time he’s about ten words in I yawn and stop listening – thinking about what I could cook for tea or another idea for the wedding. We got engaged in August, and are planning a wedding in May. But before I tell you our love story I need to give you some background info that makes this, my second marriage equally as important as anyone getting married for the first time.

3 girls

I married my childhood sweetheart at 21 and thought we would be together forever.  Two beautiful girlies later and our family was complete – chaotic, but definitely complete.  Never a dull moment, a house full of laughter.  Then my bubble was well and truly popped!!! BANG!!! When I was 26 he got diagnosed with Huntington’s Disease and fell into a deep depression – after 2 years trying to save my marriage it broke down to a point where we were all suffering – particularly the girls – and reluctantly we decided it was best if he moved out.  The sense of guilt was truly incredible – I broke my vows (in sickness and in health), I’d abandoned him in his hour of need.  I knew I had no choice as his behaviour was affecting the children, but it was so hard.  Only someone who has been in this situation could understand the emotions racing through you at every point; guilt, anger, anxiety, disappointment, love, hate, frustration…the list goes on. I went through so many stages of grief – it was like being bereaved but being haunted by his presence.  NEVER, EVER, EVER will I marry again!

I became very lonely and eventually started the singles scene, partying when I didn’t have the girls and dating again.  I hate to be a stereotype but you know what is coming…. yep, I did the cliché rebound much to my own annoyance and had a truly destructive relationship and I sank into depression too.  After counselling and support from my incredible family I picked myself up and after a while decided I was strong enough to rebuild my life.

How I looked when we met

 How we met

Then came the next stage of my cliché…I became desperate, registered with online sites and set out on my mission to find a fella (cringe) – I was worse than good old Bridget Jones, I became the queen of first dates – must have had 20+.  I just genuinely believed that when I met the right guy.. I would just know!!!  My friends teased that I watched too many Disney films but I believed it so badly!!! Sooooo many dates later; I liked them, they didn’t like me or they liked me and I didn’t them – the whole dating thing just becoming so frustrating.  Then I took the decision to delete my online profile and leave it to fate.  As I was logging on to delete it, a guy I had spoken to a while back was online again – I remembered we had chatted but for some reason never met (probably around the time I did my epic rebound boyfriend – fail) so I thought I’d see how he was.  We hit it off straight away – we cross examined each other to see why we never did meet – put it down to wrong timing – just one of those things.  I decided to seize the moment – I’m deleting my profile, if you want to chat you’d best text and handed out my number.  I was introduced to the world of What’s App (life changing moment) and we messaged constantly for a few days.

So… 7th November 2014 there was a knock at the door – and in the doorway a tall, handsome guy with the most beautiful blue eyes.  In true bunny boiler style, I thought… I’ll take him please.  Yep, he’s gorgeous and has old school manners.  Yummy!!!  Our date was incredible; easy, fun, full of laughter and this spark thing people talked about… EXPLOSIVE!!!  This is what I was waiting for.  Date 3 came and went and I knew this was something special.

For our fourth date, he accompanied me to a routine hospital appointment as we’s arranged to go for food after.  Little did I know that the routine examination of a cyst would change our lives forever. I was being rushed for a mammogram, biopsy and I started to get an incredible sense of fear.  What a 4th date… me inconsolable, frightened to death and time just standing still.  A few days later my fears became reality – grade 3, stage 3 breast cancer with significant spreading to lymph nodes… Double mastectomy, chemo and radiotherapy to follow with a survival rate of under 10%.  Steve drove to see me, held me so tight and said he knew we were meant to be together and would be by my side through it all.  (I’m not sure if you are crying yet – but I am).

 The Big C

Bad days made great

Where did this angel come from, he came from nowhere and was by my side every single step.  He was there to shave my head before I lost my hair, he put cream on my bed sores during chemo, he led in bed with me the days I was too ill to move, he got me fruit pastilles (my favourite) when I had no taste buds left, he drove me to hospital for every appointment and made me laugh every day, looked after my kids when I was in hospital for 2 weeks, he bathed my wounds when I was weeping, he told me I was beautiful when I stood in front of my mirror with no hair, no eyelashes, no eyebrows and no boobs and 4 stone heavier from steroids.Kids adding my eyebrowsHe drove my children so see their dad every week as he knew how important that was to me and the girls.  Meaning I still have a great friendship with my girls daddy and can support him as he deteriorates.  This man is just so selfless – he would do anything for me.

My rock when I was bald

In my darkest days he picked me up by talking about the wonderful future we were yet to have together.  He came with me for my scans to see if it had spread during treatment – it all boiled down to this one day.  Against the odds – the big C had disappeared.  Still high risk – but I’ve won this battle with Steve by my side!!!

So…How did we meet?  He is an angel sent from above – he saved my life.

 The Proposal

Well, unknown to me, Steve has tried on 4 different occasions to propose, but because I had just had the all clear and the kids were off school – I kept bringing the girls along to our ‘date day’ – oops.  So eventually Stephen put his foot down – “I haven’t had a day on my own with you since your ‘all clear’ so we need some ‘us’ time.  I agreed, and we decided to celebrate by climbing pen-y-fan, it would be symbolic of the journey we have climbed.  True Welsh style, it hammered down with rain. Someone got struck by lightning up there during the last storm so we both agreed that I have danced with the devil lately as it is so this would be stupid.  So instead we would head to Neath Waterfalls.  8 Miles we walked – 4 waterfalls later and a beautiful day had by all.  The proposed proposal - oopsSoaked through we went back to the car, changed into dry clothes and went into a little hikers pub.  We had a beautiful meal and I said – as if setting the moment “this is a beautiful pub, warm, lovely and full of character – if I ever get married again I’m going to take up hiking to shift the weight” with that he said – best start walking then and put a little black box – not the type that find aeroplanes – this is the one that finds tears, immediately.  Tears rolling down my cheek he asked if I would marry him – of course I said yes.The ring

But this is not the real story of the proposal – the real story is how I ruined the intended proposal.  Picture this – beautiful waterfall, full as it was raining so heavily, no one around, beautiful sounds of wildlife active in the storm…I’m stood on a little bridge gazing into the waterfall.  Steve walks to me, puts his arm around me (in his head this is the moment) – “Dawn” Steve said… “Yes babes” I said…. then before he could say another word I interrupt him – I’m known for it, I’m an excitable person – to advise him that I would like to head back to the car soon as I’m that wet my pants are soaking and its chaffing my arse.  NOOOOOOO!!!!! Moment killed…so that was the end of the beautiful waterfall proposal.  Oops.  But to be honest, it makes the whole ordeal more ‘me-like’.

So, that’s the story to date – time to start planning. God help us!

 Huge thanks Dawn. I for one cannot wait to read your next post! This going to be an emotional one for me and i’m so pleased and proud of you for sharing this journey with us all.