Bride to Be Diaries: The Carnival Couple have their Hag and Sten!

Good morning!

Lowri and Simon, our gorgeous Carnival Couple, are back to tell us all about their Hag and Sten – and if yu don’t know what they are, read on!
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The Hag and Sten

In the midst of all the planning and the exam marking we had been told to keep a weekend free for our stag and hen. However, we are older now and we are marrying our best friend so why have a weekend away from each other? We didn’t want a weekend of penis straws and strippers so our bridesmaids and best men planned together, which was probably a better idea anyway! So, the first weekend in June our friend Rich picked us up in his van and and drove us to the mystery destination so that we had no chance of knowing what they’d planned!

After a couple of hours we pulled into Bluestone. We were a bit aprehensive at first as it hadn’t been somewhere we had thought of visiting ourselves, but as we pulled up to our 14 person lodge in glorious sunshine to be greeted by a lot of alcohol and our closest friends our opinions were soon changed.

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Our friends clearly know us very well. We had a fantastic weekend involving human body pictionary, time on the beach in Tenby flying powerkites, spa treatments (for the ladies), raft building (for the gents), time at the mini waterpark, lots of BBQ food and alcohol.

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And some dressing up! Oh, and penis straws…

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It was great having everyone together and also getting to spend some time with each other, which we hadn’t really had the chance to do with everything being so hectic!

We had a great weekend and would definitely recommend Bluestone for joint stag and hens! And we are already considering another weekend there. Back to reality with a bump and another 1000 exam papers between us, getting to the end of term and trying to squeeze in some carnival wedding creations we now have a week to go until the big day and are so excited!

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Although, we are currently sailing in Greece for a week so there really is nothing we can do, apart from answer a few emails and phonecalls so it’ll be all hands on deck the second we return!
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It really isn’t long until our carnival wedding and we can’t wait! We will share all with you in our next blog!

Bride to be Diaries: Our Maid in Honour is helping to find The Dress!

Hello Cwtchers!

We have the beautiful Gwen back today, your very own ‘Maid In Wales’, with her second instalment on her Maid of Honour journey.

Alys the bride (and also Gwens twin sister) have been busy shopping for The Dress….

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Maid In Wales My MOH proposal

The Dress

On the morning of my wedding, as a thank you for all the help and support she had given me as my Maid of Honour, I gave my sister Alys a present and card. In the card I wrote that I was ‘officially handing the Bride-to-be baton on to her’.

She has since taken that baton and run with it.

I have been seriously impressed with her efforts so far and she has been very proactive with setting a date, securing a venue, booking vendors and sending out save the dates (I would have expected nothing less!). In fact, she’s been so on the ball with everything that my involvement has been very limited up until now, when the wedding dress shopping (the fun bit) began.

MIW Save the date arrives!

Over the last couple of weekends I have made several journeys from Devon to Wales (including some seriously early starts for which I should definitely earn some bridesmaids points) to help Alys find ‘The Dress’.

We gathered the troops – the Wedding Team made up of our parents, Alys’ mother-in-law-to-be and me – and hit the shops.

MIW The Wedding Team

Following a wedding fair research trip a couple of weeks earlier we had booked in several appointments and scouted out some of the best wedding dress shops South Wales had to offer! We started off close to home in Usk with a visit to the very lovely Bridal Lane, followed by up a couple of trips up the valleys, and finally hitting a few shops in the Cardiff area, including Laura May and High Society.

MIW Me and Alys outside Laura May

I was really excited about this bit – getting to look at all the pretty dresses and sip the complementary prosecco whilst Alys catwalk modelled all sorts of different gowns –  although I think I underestimated how tricky it would be sitting on the other side of the table when wedding dress shopping. It became almost like a game of poker, trying to give an opinion on a dress without giving too much a way in case I didn’t like one that Alys thought was absolutely wonderful, or vice versa. (Thankfully there were only a couple of occasions where Alys and The Wedding Team disagreed on things and most of the time we were all on the same page.)

MIW Wedding dress shopping!

Having started out with an open mind, each shop helped Alys to firm up her ideas on what she did and didn’t want out of a wedding dress – what shapes flattered her figure most and what designers suited her best. And yet ‘The Dress’ remained elusive.

We found many dresses that had elements of what she was looking for. The dress with the beautiful train. The dress with the lovely neckline. The dress with the most gorgeous lace. But like Goldilocks and the three bears, Alys just couldn’t find a dress that was just perfect. The dress that gives you butterflies.

Then, one day, after many hours of internet research, Alys stumbled upon a shop in Bath called Perfect Princess which had just the kind of dresses she was looking for. So Alys and the Wedding Team headed to Bath during the Easter holidays to hunt down the perfect dress. Sadly I was unable to make the trip as I was stuck in work that day, however the team kept me in the loop with constant text and Whatsapp updates.

MIW Alys outside Perfect Princess

And there it was – the dress that gives you goosebumps. As sad as I am to have missed being there for that moment in person, I am reliably informed that this was the dress Alys fell in love with almost instantly, and I couldn’t be happier. She is going to look incredible. Phil really is a lucky guy.

In other news, I also got to take part in the envious task of a taster event with Alys’ chosen wedding caterer – Prickly Pear.

MIW Me and Alys at the catering event

This was a very hard task, which involved a family trip (both sets of parents and the groom-to-be) on a rainy Sunday afternoon to a local village hall to sample the delights of Prickly Pear’s North African inspired dishes and to test out their hosting skills.

MIW Prickly Pear food

Although this isn’t the exact menu Alys and Phil will be having served for their first meal as man and wife, I can confirm that the food was delicious and the catering staff were excellent. I am very much looking forward to eating their food again next April.

It’s a hard life being a bridesmaid.

Bride to Be Diaries: Our Unexpected Bride is Making Decisions

Morning everyone!
The gorgeous Rachel aka The Unexpected Bride is back, and this time, she’s making decisions!
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Wedding Planning – The Indecisive Parts

During our wedding planning there were a few things which we have been indecisive on. I knew that if I got married that I really wanted to get married in a church, had an idea of my dress and bridesmaid dresses but I was indecisive and debated with myself and fiancé on a few things. Make Up Artist, Wedding Videographer, Wedding DJ/band, wedding breakfast menu, honeymoon destination… lots of decisions to make!
Make Up Artist
I do enjoy playing with make up both on myself and anyone else who may let me! Having said that, I never end up adventurous and rarely move away from light pinks, brown and smokey eyes.
I thought it would be exciting to treat myself to some new make up and maybe a lesson on creating a wedding look. Both MAC and Charlotte Tilbury offer this but seemed to be booked up for Saturday’s during the Summer. I kept changing my mind on what to do, do I attempt it myself or book a Make Up Artist for the day.
Last year, my sister had Carrie from Beauty at Carrie M as her Make Up Artist for her Bridal make up. I was lucky as Bridesmaid that Carrie also did my make up.
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I asked if Carrie could keep to similar colours that I already used and I didn’t expect the result to look so different to my attempt at make up using the same colours. Sophie’s make up looked perfect and I was so happy with mine and realised that I definitely needed to improve my make up skills to attempt to recreate the look for another special occasion (or book Carrie again!).
So I have decided for my wedding day, rather than doing my normal make up, that I will book Carrie for my special day too.
Carrie is such a lovely, friendly and professional Make Up Artist that I know that she will also help me feel relaxed in the morning in addition to looking my best! She is open to talking about my ideas and happy to incorporate my favourite make up (currently my NARS Multi Purpose stick and Charlotte Tilbury lipstick!).
Conveniently, Carrie also does manicures and pedicures so I am booked in for those too which will last for our honeymoon!
To help me decide the colours,  I recently tried out pink for my holiday to Croatia and will try another colour before I decide for the wedding day!
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I have been following Carrie on Instagram for some inspiration, along with lots of other wedding related follows.
Make Up Artist – ticked and booked
The Unexpected Bride xxx

Bride to Be Diaries: The Sporty Bride is having Wedding Dress Isues

Hello you lovely lot

We are very happy to have our gorgeous Sporty Bride back for her second instalment, and this time, she is having wedding dress issues!

Find out why, over to you Natalie….

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Sporty Couple July

 

The athletic figure vs the wedding dress!

Hello all!

So…with 397 days to go it’s getting closer to the 12 months-to-go mark. Having booked my wedding two years before the date to give myself time to pay for it there have been times it has certainly seemed impossibly far away. I can’t wait to get to that ‘Year to go!’ milestone. It’ll certainly help H2B get more excited as it’s just to far in the future for his attention span! I’ve also booked a lot of my vendors and small details well in advance. Too organised one might say!

Sporty 397 Days

At least I’ve had the rugby, a holiday and a trip to California to keep me occupied…

Sporty Holiday July

Buying the dress was one of the activities I was most excited about. Being sporty and a bit tomboy-ish means that I don’t always feel all that feminine. I was looking forward to sharing the experience with my mam and closest family in the ultimate girly experience (up to this point in my life at least)- buying my wedding dress!

In my head I imagined walking into a dress shop, being treated like a princess and leaving with the perfect dress. As usual though… it wasn’t all plain sailing!

The first dress shop we popped into was more of a exploratory mission- it was off the cuff on a Sunday afternoon in Cardiff…no appointment. It was lovely to try on some beautiful dresses and I found that what I thought I wanted was really nothing like I expected!

Being tall and slim; I had an image in my mind of a slim fit dress. Most of friends and family would say that’s what they saw me in. However, when trying on these dresses I found they didn’t suit my ‘pear’ shape created by my small waist and broad hips (If I hear the term ‘child-baring hips’ one more time….). I was convinced by my mother to try on a ‘princess style dress’ and funnily enough the way the dress style sat on my hips really emphasized my waist and made me feel less self-conscious about my wide hips. It was a revelation! Still nothing I tried on there really made me feel like it was the dress. The dress assistant was really friendly and even though we had made it clear we didn’t want to buy anything that day she was really helpful and patient.

A few weeks later, I saw an advert on facebook for a dress shop near to where I live in Swansea. I booked an evening appointment and went with my Mam and Auntie. Cue the beginning of a painful experience. The shop assistant asked me to go around and pick out the dresses I liked. I didn’t really know what I was looking for and found this really difficult. I asked for some help and was told that she wouldn’t know what I liked so ‘how could she possibly pick anything for me?’. Luckily my mam is quite good at diffusing awkward silences and jumped in to help me choose some pretty dresses. Everything I tried on was a disaster. Whilst everything looked beautiful on the hanger it really didn’t suit me at all. The shop assistant tutted (yes she did!) at everything I wore and even commented on my ‘boxy’ figure and how not many dresses would suit me. In fact, the only dress she went into raptures over was one of her own design- funnily enough- until I asked if I could have a different lace…she wasn’t impressed.

I left feeling pretty unconfident about ever finding a dress that gave me that feeling and made me feel less ‘boxy’. I had no idea what would suit me. It put me off looking and I took a break for a couple of months.

Cue Sharon and Tracey at Wedding Belles in Pyle, Bridgend. My auntie recommended I go because that was where she had got her wedding dress.

Sporty Wedding Belles

My mam, auntie and mother in law to be came along for moral support. The ladies there instantly put me at ease by suggesting dress styles they thought would suit my figure and pulling out some dresses for me to look at. Nothing was too much trouble. The best piece of advice they gave me was to throw away all my pre-conceptions and just try things on. So I did! Though I had begun nervously, by fifteen minutes in I was starting to feel excited and special- like a bride! My mam carefully combed the rails and picked out her favourites and I was happy to let her do so. Mother’s know best they say…

Sporty July And she certainly did. It was about the 18th dress I had tried on that day but as soon as I put it on I loved everything about it. The neckline, the skirt, the back. It made me feel beautiful and all the things I thought I wouldn’t feel. It was the one! I’ve recently been back to see it when my order came in and I’m so pleased with it still.

The biggest things I have learned so far;

  1. Picking out my groom’s suit was easy because he was so sure of what he wanted (For once).
  2. I have absolutely no clue what 90% of fashion terms mean. I always thought ‘boning’ meant something completely different…
  3. Having an athletic figure does not mean you won’t look absolutely beautiful in the right dress. Sporty girls can be girly too!
  4. Customer service isn’t always the priority in some wedding shops but is key to the experience.

In summary, to those of you about to buy your big day dresses. I do recommend going to multiple shops but thoroughly researching what others have said to avoid bad experiences. Don’t go too late just in case you don’t find your dream dress right away. Most of all, leave all your preconceptions at the door and be open minded!

To those about to shop, I salute you!

Speak Soon,

Natalie x

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…

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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.

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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