Bride to Be Diaries: Our Procrastinating Bride is feeling on top of things!

Good morning one and all!

Sweating enough!? Sheesh its a hot one this week, not that we are complaining particularly, just wishing the UK was a little more equipped with air con and ceiling fans!

So its time for our gorgeous Natasha, aka The Procrastinating Bride, to let us know how her planning is going in her second instalment.  And considering her moniker, she appears to feel on top of things…

B2B Procrastinating Banner

Our Procrastinating Bride is feeling on top of things!

Tash1Hey, Cwtchers!

Hope you’ve been enjoying the glorious sunshine we’ve been having. I can’t believe that this time last year, Steve proposed! He came home with a bunch of beautiful lilies last week for our engage-iversary (we didn’t actually celebrate this by the way) and it suddenly dawned on me that there are less than 6 months until our wedding, eeek!

PB lillies

Now, considering I’m the Procrastinating Bride, a lot of things seem to be sorted. I say a lot of things, we’re talking on Tash terms here. By a lot of things, I mean the venue, the dress, and we’ve almost come to a decision on food. (We’re both foodies so narrowing our choices down needed a lot of thought.)

If you’re an organised bride, you’re probably thinking that I’ve only scratched the surface with planning but, in my head, we’re on top of things.

PB wedding planner

So, what did we do first?

We booked our venue pretty quickly. My mum and I were browsing at venues online a few weeks after Steve and I got engaged; admittedly, I wasn’t really looking properly because it seemed like early days, but there was one venue that stood out from all the others. It happened to be holding a showcase event the following week so Steve, my parents and I decided go along. We loved it and so it was decided that we’d get married at Oldwalls: the first and only venue we went to see.

As I said earlier, Steve and I are foodies so it only made sense for us to go to a cake tasting session. I was in my element. Not that I ever need an excuse to eat cake but, when it’s part of the planning process, wedding planning instantly becomes more appealing when cake is involved. Particularly when you’re not a planner anyway.

We stuffed our faces with a range of delicious favours, including chocolate and salted caramel Italian buttercream, and around two hours later, we rolled away with full stomachs and happy hearts. To all couples getting married: cake tasting is an experience not to be missed, even if you just come away from it with ideas.

PB cake tasting

I came across Cakes by Katy at Cwtchfest. Go along to the next one if you can; it’s worth it and I’m not just saying that because I’m a Cwtch Girl!

Next: the dress. I won’t share details of my dress on here for obvious reasons but, Laura May Bridal on Cardiff’s Crwys Road and Allison Jayne in Swansea are two shops that I’d recommended to any bride who hasn’t yet found ‘the dress’.

Not only were the dresses beautiful, the overall experience at both stores couldn’t have gone any better. When you’re trying on a dress, the last thing you want is to feel rushed or under pressure to make a decision and I can honestly say that Laura May and Allison Jayne did not even come to close to making me feel this way. I tried on my first ever wedding dress in Laura May, an Enzoani number, and remember feeling how surreal it was to be trying on wedding dresses!

That’s all from me for now. We’ve got our 6-month meeting with Oldwalls next week, so I’m sure I’ll have plenty more to update you on next time!

Happy planning to all brides and all grooms! If all else fails, eat cake.

The Procrastinating Bride xxx

Bride to Be Diaries: The Tinder Brides Wedding Party!

Good morning everyone!

Time for your second instalment from the gorgeous Tinder Bride, and its time to be introduced to the girlie contingency of her wedding party!

B2B Tinder Banner

Hello Cwtchers!

I hope that you have all been keeping well since I did my last Tinder Bride post!

The Tinder Bride (Jenine)

I think most girls in their lives have been asked or have thought to themselves ‘If I ever get married, I would ask so and so to be my bridesmaid or part of my wedding’.  I can actually remember having hypothetical questions growing up with my girlfriends. Although for me it was simple when the hypothetical became reality it was also a very hard as I didn’t want to leave anyone out.

I do not want to come across bigheaded or arrogant but I genuinely feel that I am a very lucky lady and I thank God every day for blessing me with not only an incredible family but also an amazing group of friends. Coming from a Welsh/Arab background, I have a large and very close family filled with two fab sisters, three gorgeous nieces and two lovely sisters-in-laws who are all involved and so supportive along with my mother and mother in law to be. My friends derive from various walks of life and I genuinely didn’t want to let anyone down. However I had to draw the line somewhere and decided on having 2 maids of honour, 6 bridesmaids and 2 flower girls. I’m sure there has and will be some negative mutters or expressed views away from our ear shots about how our wedding is big and/or too expensive but it is our beautiful big day and Tom and I wouldn’t have it any other way!

From my perspective I couldn’t envisage my wedding day without my two sisters and three nieces by my side; it was not even something I would even contemplate. I am the middle of two sisters (5 siblings in total!) and we have an incredible bond. It was therefore an easy decision to ask each sister to be my maids of honour. Rema is my big sis and the rock of the family. She is the sibling who everyone goes to and I always turn to her as I trust her opinion as being on the same par as that of my Mother’s. Rema is the type of sister who doesn’t like a great fuss or the limelight but I’m making sure she encompasses her main role on my big day and she feels like the special sister she is to me.  Rema says ‘To be asked to be my sister’s maid of honour is a huge privilege. I was so emotional when I was asked as the gift they gave me to ask was so personal and thoughtful. In Tom she has found the perfect person who is loved by the whole family – they are perfect together. I am so looking forward to seeing my beautiful sister marry her prince charming’. Sariyia is little sis and the youngest sibling; she is also the most famous non-famous person I know! She loves being the centre of attention and we love her for being like that.  She truly is unique and I love her and all of her ideas to date! Both sisters have an amazing bond with my fiancée Tom. In fact when they are all together it’s like they are the three sisters! ‘When I was called by JOM to tell me they were engaged, I sobbed uncontrollably; together with the rest of the family we are ecstatic. I cannot wait for the wedding of the decade and I am so honoured to be their MOH. Jenine will look beautiful but I will definitely be better looking still!haha!’. 

image1

Aleah is the eldest of the grandchildren and I became an aunty when I was 14; we have always had a special relationship as I do with each of my five nieces and nephews especially as I have been such a big part of their lives as they have been in mine. Tom is adored by them and they adore him too.  Aleah is going to be a bridesmaid along with her sister Farah who will be 14 when we wed. To think of these two in their bridesmaid dresses makes me feel very emotional. Aleah says ‘I was so grateful to be asked to be a Bridesmaid on my Aunty’s special day; it is a day we are all waiting and looking forward to. Jenine has always been there for me and she could not have found a better husband and Uncle in Tom’. Farah’s thoughts are: ‘When Jenine asked me to be her Bridesmaid, I wanted to cry with happiness as I always wanted to be a Bridesmaid and I keep counting down to the big day; it is even more of a dream come true as my Aunty is so special to me. I especially loved the bridesmaid gift they gave me which I will treasure forever’. 

image2

Gabriella is who we refer to in the Abdo Family as Princess Abdo – she is the little apple of everyone’s eye. Although she is 5, she constantly looks online for flower girl dresses and matching shoes which is so very cute. She once told Uncle Tom that she found a dress which ‘only cost 50pence and that she and Holly-Mae would love to wear it’ it was in reality £500! Gabby ironically was the main reason I chose my wedding dress but I’ll talk about that more another time. Holly-Mae is 2 years old and is also our flower girl. Being the eldest and currently only grandchild on the Sulley side it will be lovely for my fiancé’s family as she is understandably adored by them all.

image4

I know that Tom is so happy to have his niece involved and for me having Gabby and Holly-Mae holding hands together walking down the aisle will not only epitimise ultimate cuteness but also will personify and will symbolise our families coming together. I just pray they don’t get stage fright!

image3

Although I could have kept my bridal party at just family, I couldn’t not have my best friends by my side either. Kate is a friend who I first met playing netball at the age of 10 years old. We were marking each other on the netball pitch. This game should have been the battle of the best- the battle of rival Primary Schools – instead we bonded sisters from other misters growing up together and even our sisters are the best of friends.  Kate is currently a teacher at an international school and I can’t wait to have her back home this summer!

‘Over the years Jenine has definitely earned the title of my sister from another mister. We have been there for each other through the best and worst times and I am so excited to be a part of what will be one of the most important days in her life. Being Jenine’s bridesmaid is a massive privilege and I can’t wait to see her looking amazingly beautiful walking down the aisle to marry the man she loves and luckily for him we approve. Jenine and Tom deserve to have the best day and I look forward to having a role in making that happen. I promise to be caring, attentive and I will NOT turn up hung over to anymore official bridesmaid duties unlike when I had my bridesmaid dress fitting!

Rachael – I first met Rachael when we sat at our High school induction day. We both turned around to each other and acknowledged our checked trousers which were both wearing! Our friendship began in the Howell’s School sports hall and has seen us through to living together in London and back home again. Rachael is such a thoughtful and kind person who shares my love of RnB music, comedy, pizza and nacho Saturday loving winter nights in watching Strictly and the Xfactor like no other!

‘Jenine is probably the most organized bride I have come across and I love hearing all the plans she has got for the wedding! We have been friends for over 20 years so I am excited and honoured to be part of the big day and I cannot wait to see everything come together’. 

Claire – my real life Barbie doll! I not only went to high school with Clairey but also ended up very randomly at the same university. We have shared so much together whilst sharing two sets of different friendship groups due to school and uni which in turn means we are part of a ridiculous amount of WhatsApp groups. My fiancé is basically the male version of Claire – always happy, positive, fun and annoying early morning people. 

I’ll never forget the overwhelming feeling of happiness when reading a poem written to me about our blossoming friendship over the years and asking me to be her bridesmaid. It is safe to say that I welled up. To be part of your friend’s big day is so special and I am so privileged to be by her side when she says I do’. 

Helen – I have known Hel since my high school days too right through to living in Wimbledon together with Rach. Helen is my straight talking, quirky and inspirational friend of mine. Hel is not only an amazing science teacher, cook and baker, but such a fab mother to Harrison and wife to be this August! I am so proud to be in turn Helen’s bridesmaid this year and having shared the experience of being engaged and organising a wedding with her.

‘Every girl has a different idea of how her wedding day should be, but what unites every woman is the desire to be surrounded by their best girlfriends leading up to and on that day. He role of a bridesmaid is truly an honour and I am so excited to have Jenine by my side at my wedding this August and to be able to reverse that next September when I am one of her bridesmaids. Our friendship has always been extremely strong and full of love; to be able to support each other and share the fun and laughter throughout the intimate stages of planning a wedding takes that bond to the next level – bring it on!!’  

Then we have three amazing ladies giving readings. Bonnie is one of my best friends who I met when in high school and I was Bonnie’s bridesmaid in 2014; Bonnie is one of the kindest and funniest people I know, as well as being the most caring and best Dr ever!

image5

Caitlin is my Twinny – fellow Solicitor who I met before we qualified at work. We soon realized we shared a love for football and also our Birthdays hence the nickname! We also have Tom’s girl best friend Kelly. Kelly has been so warm and welcoming since Tom and I met and it was fab knowing Tom had such a close girl-friend as it resonated with myself having close boy-friends too!

image6

That’s my female entourage..keep watch for the introduction to the male party in due course..!

Disclaimer: Please note I did not bribe the above mentioned people for their overwhelmingly kind comments – thank you xxx

Bride to be Diaries: Introducing Our First Bridesmaid, Maid In Wales

Good morning you lovely bunch!

We finally have the pleasure of introducing our very first bridesmaid! Have you been asked to step up? Are you going to be the Maid of Honor? Are you in need of some inspiration and help for this mahoosive role you’re about to fill?

Well, our gorgeous Maid In Wales, Gwen, is in the same boat, and here to share her journey with you……

B2B Maid In Wales Banner

Hello! Lovely to meet you all!

I’m Gwen and in just over a year’s time I am going to helping my twin sister Alys walk down the aisle as her Maid of Honour. We’re both 29 and grew up in the Brecon Beacons in a little village called Bwlch.

Maid In Wales Gwen 1

We went our separate ways for University – me to Exeter and Alys to Cardiff – where we both met local boys who have ended up as our future husbands. I now live in Exeter with my husband Mike and work in PR for a local hospital. When I’m not writing press releases or promoting the NHS to the local media, I spend my time crafting, taking photos, going to festivals, and travelling back and forth to Wales visiting family and friends (I spend A LOT of time on the M5…).

Alys and I have always been best friends, so when I married Mike last August, it was only natural that she should be my Maid of Honour.

Maid In Wales Alys and Gwen

I always knew that she would be up to the task and, during one crazy year of wedding planning, Alys turned out to be a ‘Maid of Honour Extraordinaire’! She threw herself in to organising my amazing hen weekend (which remained top secret until the moment my hens surprised me outside Bath train station).

Maid In Wales Me on my hen party

She was a constant support throughout the wedding planning process helping with everything from dress shopping to individually hand painting invitations. And on an emotional rollercoaster of a wedding day (when I was just about managing to hold it all together) she even managed to reduce me to tears by writing a cheesy song and getting my friends to perform it during the reception. All in all – BEST BRIDESMAID EVER.

Maid In Wales (Gwen)

The trouble is, now it’s my turn. When Alys’ boyfriend Phil popped the question last summer I excitedly (and a little apprehensively) assumed that the time had now come for me to return the favour. Her official MOH proposal came in the post with a card and a customised badge for each of her five chosen bridesmaids. As geographical distance is an issue for Alys’ newly formed ‘Bride Tribe’ (we’re spread out across South Wales, the Midlands and the South West), we all took to Whatsapp to share our reactions to the mail with bridesmaid badge selfies. Naturally we all accepted. So now the hard work begins.

Maid In Wales My MOH proposal

Whilst I am honoured and excited at the prospect of helping my twin sister walk down the aisle next year, she has left me with some rather big shoes to fill. I want to be able to give her exactly the same amazing experience she gave me (which will be quite a challenge!). I’ve already got the engagement party under my belt – I supplied the decorations, helped out with the catering and even made a small speech (public speaking is not my thing) – and attended the obligatory family wedding fair visit which has given us lots of ideas and inspiration for her big day.

Maid In Wales Alys and Gwen 2

As Brides go, she is very on the ball with planning her wedding and already has lots of elements booked in. I, on the other hand, am not quite so sorted with my MOH duties. The prospect of planning a hen party for up to 17 of Alys’ closest friends fills me with dread and I have yet to start any firm preparation. I have a few ideas though, and with the help of my wonderful fellow bridesmaids, I’m confident that we’ll be able to pull it off. Fingers crossed.

We cannot wait to hear more about what you have planned for Alys! x

Bride to be Diaries: Introducing The Sporty Bride

B2B Sporty Banner

Hello everybody!

Sporty Bride 7

I waved wildly at my computer screen after writing that which pretty much sums me up…mental!

I was very lucky to be selected as a ‘Bride to Be’ Blogger by the Cwtch team. Having followed this blog for a long time (long before I was engaged…) I’m so excited to share my journey with you all now it’s finally my turn to plan a wedding. This is my introduction post so you can get to know me a little bit better!

I’ve been coined ‘The Sporty Bride’ which is pretty much perfect really seeing as I love my rugby and am a tad obsessed with fitness. I put on a lot of weight whilst I was in university studying to be a physiotherapist, and subsequently lost 5 stone in 2012 after graduating.

Ever since then I’ve loved trying new sports and entering events (from 5k runs to full IRONMAN triathlons) to see what wonderful things my body can do.

sporty bride 5

My current obsession being Yoga! I’ve been on a very long journey about self-belief, learning to love myself and my body (most of the time).

sport bride 4

I’m 27 and live in Swansea with my partner, Matthew. I work as a physiotherapist in a spinal injury/neurological rehabilitation unit as well as the head physiotherapist for Welsh Premiership rugby union team, the Bridgend Ravens and Ospreys U18 age grade.

sporty bride 3

Matthew is the Elite Rugby Coordinator for the Welsh Rugby Union, he’ll often tell you it’s a lot less glamourous than it sounds but I know he works very hard and I’m very proud of him. Our paths cross quite often professionally and it adds another dynamic to our relationship altogether at times but makes for an interesting life!

We are a very social couple and love our rugby and a drink (or seven…). Matthew proposed to me on March 12th 2016. It was a Saturday and I had been working in the early afternoon. I agreed to meet Matt in the pub after work to watch the rugby, Wales vs England. When I arrived, Matthew took my hand and led me to a quiet spot. I remember being stressed because I hadn’t had time to tidy myself up having come straight from work – I was just about ready to tell him to let me go put ‘my face’ on when I saw how nervous he looked and suddenly I had butterflies.
He handed me a wrapped present; a copy of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Price with a ribbon tied around it. When I opened the book, there was a square cut out and a ring was nestled in chapter 15 titled ’The Unbreakable Vow’ (Oh yeah…HUGE Harry Potter Fan).
I went into shock. He went down on one knee and asked the question. I couldn’t believe it, so much so my hands were shaking and I couldn’t speak but managed to say ‘of course’.

sporty bride 1

Matt had arranged all our family and friends to be in the pub that day and so we got to go tell them all our good news at the same time! Wales lost the Rugby but, in all fairness, I can’t say I paid much attention to the game for the first time in my life!

Our Wedding is booked for the 4th of August 2018. 2016 was very eventful for us… we got engaged and became first-time buyers as well so we wanted to make sure we had plenty of time to plan and pay for (*groan*) the wedding of our dreams. We both wanted a big wedding full of family, friends and good times. Seeing as we are both fiercely proud welsh people there was no question about having our wedding in lovely little Wales.

As I spend most of my life in tracksuits and polo-shirts either in my rehab unit, working out or on the side of a muddy rugby pitch in pouring welsh rain looking like a reject from the ‘Gremlins’ movie; my wedding is the perfect chance to live out every feminine, girly fantasy I ever had. I’m sure that many people that know me might think they are at the wrong wedding when they rock up on the day. Many people are surprised to know that under my usually athletic, minimal make up, easy going self is a little girl that dreamed of a sparkly, glamourous and elegant wedding.

I’m also hoping to somehow incorporate our love of sport and wales into our plans…could be an interesting combination! I desperately want my wedding to look as good as my pinterest board does haha! (By the way…I wasn’t kidding about the gremlin look…)

sporty bride 2Image by Dan Minto

I hope that all you enjoy sharing our journey with us as much as we will enjoy sharing it with you- I’m going to be as honest as I can and hopefully not boring!

Hwyl for now- I’m off out for a run! N x

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