High Street Wedding Dresses


You are getting married!!! Yay! Wedding dress shopping! This can be the most exciting time out of the whole planning process. It can also be very daunting. The thought of spending loads of money on a dress for one day … Continue reading

How to chose your guest list

Hi Cwtchers, Today we are broaching the sensitive subject of the guest list.  Unless you  have a secret money tree growing in your back garden we would place bets that the guest list is proving to be one of the biggest challenges of your big day.Its the delicate balance between budget and friends and family’s emotions and feelings. 

Over on our Facebook page we asked our readers (most of which are either planning or have planned their own wedding) to share any tips on how to keep control of numbers and stay on budget?rosedew-71

Photography by Victoria Tyrrell

 ‘Invite who you want to be there and people who you keep in touch with! If you haven’t seen/spoken to them in a year, don’t invite them. It’s your wedding day, invite who YOU want, not who others want! Xxx’ Katie Russell

 ‘We picked a number and have stuck to it 90 is our magic number!!’ Portia Sheppard

AndreaEllisonSarah&MattHewittManorbier (73 of 100)
Photography by Andrea Ellison

 ‘We fixed the guest list first then worked out our venue and everything else from that. The perfect venue for us is wherever our friends and family are.’  Nicola Tudor

‘We had a lot as there were lots of current and past friends we wanted to invite and many of them have kids too. we still forgot some! the main cost with larger numbers is food, & our budget was low, so we went for a brilliant suggestion we were given of asking for buffet dishes instead of presents (didn’t want any more stuff!) and everyone bought quiches & salads etc and it was yummy xx’ Vashti Zarach

Photography by Martin Phillips

‘ We were the same as Katie. If we hadn’t seen them in a year then they weren’t invited. A bit ruthless but instead of extended family we didn’t really care for being there we had 44 of our closest family and friends. To save politics we did invite other family and friends to the evening and it didn’t cause any fights’  Charlene McNabb

I’m on this task now! The venue can help set a ‘target’ number but I think its important to have people there who you both know and who mean something to you as individuals. People who are your past, present and future ‘partners in crime!’. Having room for more guests in the evening helps to include all the people who you would like to share the day with and say thank you to for being there along the way (my fiancé and I have been together quite a while!)‘ Sally Hart

‘ I invited 30/30/30 split of my immediate family, hubbie to be & close family friends, the rest came to the party in the evening it kept costs down & many understood it’s down to money’ Sarah Brennan

 Photography by Maria Farrelly

‘Ask family early on for who they think should be included and clear up issues with them early – we’re currently fielding questions about why so and so is only invited for the evening and why can this cousin only bring their girlfriend in the evening. (It’s cos we’re not close to so and so and have never met this cousins girlfriend!). Give people the opportunity to raise their thoughts early on – because even if it’s never invited, the comments will come!

Generally, set rules and stick to them – e.g. only people we’ve actually met!

If you can strike them off the list and not feel regret, they probably don’t need to be there!’ Sarah Coxhead 

Marc Smith Fairytale Swansea Gower Wedding _081
Photography by Marc Smith

‘If numbers are tight then adults only, also don’t be under pressure to invite everyone just because you ‘should’ There’s always the evening party instead to catch up with distant relatives and friends.’ The Bloom Studio

‘We had a rule that both of us had to have met everyone who was coming’ Lindsey Harrison

Wedding Planning: Top Tips for a Budget Friendly Wedding from Sylvie & Joan

Here at Cwtch the Bride we are super busy preparing for CWTCHFEST – our massive wedding festival that’s being held on the 19th of April (you can buy tickets here!). On the day we will be holding DIY workshops managed by Sylvie & Joan which we’re sure will prove massively valuable to all you DIY brides to be, until then the lovely Emma from Sylvie & Joan will be sharing budget advice, styling inspiration and tips for planning a festival themed wedding on the blog. This week Emma is sharing her top tips for a budget friendly wedding – take note! Sylvie-and-Joan-logo

Top Tips for Budget-friendly Wedding Planning

Last time we looked at Wedding Planning – Where to Start? This week the lovely team at Cwtch has asked me for my top money-saving tips. When looking at the all-important question of budget, a key way to keep costs down is to prioritise, to chose your wedding team wisely and to modify (or do away with) some long standing wedding conventions.

The Venue

I’m sure you will have heard it many times but do look at the discounts offered by venues for mid-week or out of season weddings. You can save quite a bit! Or look for a non-traditional venue where you’ll be free from expensive packages and corkage fees.

The Dress

If budget is tight then consider shopping vintage. Take your bridesmaids for a day out and hit up your favourite vintage shops.Try on as many styles on as you can. Take photos and make notes  – what suits you and what doesn’t. If you don’t find the one, check out Oxfam Bridal and online vintage stores and sellers on Etsy and Ebay. 2

Don’t forget to take a good look at what the high street has to offer. There are some beautiful dresses out there to suit most wedding styles. With a few clever customising stitches, they could fit like couture!

ASOS £150

ASOS £150

ASOS £82

ASOS £82

You don’t even have to give up your dreams of wearing a sought after bridal designer on your big day! Check out designer collaborations for Debenhams and you could be a Jenny Packham bride for less than £200! And at sale times you can expect further discounts.

Or consider hiring your gown. The brilliant To Have and to Hire in Cardiff could have the dress of your dreams. They hire out gowns from Claire Pettibone, Suzanne Neville, Stephanie Allin, Jenny Packham, Ian Stuart and House of Mooshki. Kinder to your pocket and to the environment!

Jenny Packham Eden

Jenny Packham Eden


Great news for the wedding planning pocket – the days of copy and paste dress rules are over! Mix and match bridesmaid dresses look wonderful and embrace your bridesmaids’ individuality. Send them some pretty colour palette inspiration, invite them over for a styling party and create your look for the day together. We all have dresses we’ve bought and worn once (or not at all!) Ask your maids to bring along dresses they already own, crack open the bubbly, dress up, mix, match and swap!   

Image Source: Magnolia Rouge

Image Source: Magnolia Rouge

Image Source: Bridal Musings

Image Source: Bridal Musings

The Food

Think carefully about timings. A twilight ceremony followed by cocktails, dinner and dancing could drastically reduce your catering budget, doing away with the need for the traditional wedding breakfast followed by more food in the evening.


Image Source: Pinterest

If you do decide to feed your guests twice then make your wedding cake work for you. Go for a cheese tower that can be served as an evening ploughman’s supper combined with a sweet and simple dessert table.


Above two images from Style Me Pretty

Above two images from Style Me Pretty

Assemble a Wonderful Team

Decide which aspects of your day you want to DIY and which you want to source to trusted professionals. Having something created especially for you by someone who has perfected their craft is a great joy.

Take time to look through their portfolio of work and testimonials. Make sure you’re handing over your hard-saved wedding cash to someone who shares your vision and will work hard for you.

I know what you may be thinking but professional services can save you money. For example, a great stationery designer will ensure you get the best quality print for the most reasonable cost. Hiring a professional stylist can save you £££s compared with buying and handcrafting all your decor. Hiring a wedding planner can secure you big savings. They have a wealth of money saving advice, they can secure supplier discounts and a good planner will tell you what you need and what you don’t need!

An experience and talented photographer is invaluable. It may seem like a big expense but you are paying for a wealth of skill. If your budget won’t stretch to the photographer of your dreams talk to them about mid-week or off season discounts. Or set up a ‘photography fund’. Instead of wedding gifts, ask guests for a little something towards ensuring you have lasting memories of the day.

If you do decide that you’d rather have your wedding shot by a friend, don’t leave it to chance. Make a photo checklist and share it with them before the day. Photographers less experienced in weddings may not spot the details you have lovingly sourced and crafted – make sure they know!

The Honeymoon

Minimoon in Wales! Here are some of my favourite welsh getaways. Save a more lavish honeymoon trip for your anniversary – it will give you something to look forward to when the wedding planning withdrawal sets in! Plus you’ll have a whole year to save!

Happy Planning!

Emma x

For daily doses of planning inspiration ‘like’ Sylvie and Joan on Facebook or follow on Instagram and PinterestPoster-Web

Wow thank you Emma! What do you think cwtchers? There was some excellent advice there, have you any more tips that have helped you in planning a budget-friendly wedding?

Real Wedding: Catrin & Ade’s DIY Vintage Wedding by Heledd Roberts

 Catrin & Ade got married in June this year, and chose Heledd Roberts to document their day. Fun fact: their wedding cake only cost them £15! Amazing :D

catrin & ade

We asked them some questions about their big day…

How would you describe your wedding theme? The wedding was a fusion of several themes: Vintage, country, DIY.

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What was your favourite part of your wedding? We loved every minute of the day. A particular highlight were the speeches. We had these outside, in the glorious sunshine, surrounded by beautiful bright yellow rapeseed fields. We couldn’t have imagined a more perfect way to start married life. Our guests were sat on picnic blankets drinking prosecco. Some of the wedding party sat on space-hoppers!



Another highlight was having out ceremony after the “wedding breakfast” (in this case an afternoon tea). It felt so relaxed to meet and greet our guests, and to start the day with welcome drinks. We then sat down to eat together before the formality of the wedding ceremony itself. For us, this was perfect. Very relaxed. It felt like an adventure. Our guests really enjoyed the twist. It was very different.

Who did you pick as your bridesmaids &/or best man and why? I picked my bridesmaids for various reasons. My sister Beth is a primary school teacher and a crafting wizard! A lot of the beautiful DIY touches were her doing. Ella has supreme organizational skills and is practiced in the art of keeping me calm. Becky and Caoilfhionn are a lot of fun. I knew they’d help get the party started!


The best man, Rob, is a good friend to us both. He moved to China a month after the wedding, to start a new life as a teacher. It was also an emotional goodbye for us.

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Why did you choose your venue? We got married in the Barn at Rosedew Farm, Llantwit Major.

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We chose the venue because it was a blank canvas. We could do whatever we wanted with the barn and it was ours for the whole weekend. It was wonderful to have all of our friends and family staying in the cottages and lodges on the farm. On the wedding night, the dancing continued until 6am! The setting was perfect- rural and by the sea. It was a great backdrop for photos :)

How did the proposal happen? We were in beautiful Majorca for my birthday, on a windswept cliff-top.


Any DIY stories/tutorials you’d like to share? The wedding was packed full of DIY decorations and details. We can provide tutorials on any of these, including:

  • Doily bunting
  • Regular bunting
  • Doily pom poms
  • Lavender hearts (these were displayed on trees in the reception room, to find their table, guests found their personalised heart, which indicated their table on the back of a name tag)
  • Guestbook hearts (these were left on tables for guests to write on and put on the trees to replace the lavender hearts)
  • Lilac chocolate covered pretzels
  • Hessian table signage (they were a work of art!)
  • Luggage tag and doily place-cards
  • Jam jar candle holders
  • Outdoor paper bag candle lanterns
  • DIY floristry with flowers sourced from the Bessemer Road flower wholesalers in Cardiff – this included buttonholes and bouquets
  • The £15 wedding cake (yes… £15!… and no baking!)
  • All vintage china was sourced from charity shops, car-boot sales and eBay

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What was your first dance & why? The Smiths – There is a Light. We both love this song and we wanted to move away from cliché first dance songs.

In hindsight, was there anything you would have done differently? There is nothing we would have done differently. We had the perfect weekend with our favourite people!

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Do you have any advice for future couples? My advice to other couples is to make the day your own. Don’t be bound by conventions or expectations.


What’s the best piece of marriage advice you received? Take each day as it comes.


What was your favourite thing about planning a wedding? My favourite aspect of wedding planning was the opportunity to get creative and to get others involved in making the decorations. It was also great to indulge my love of things vintage by collecting lots of gorgeous china and other accessories. I am hoping to hire these items out so that others can enjoy them.


I’m Heledd Roberts, a 22 year old wedding and portrait photographer from Bala, North Wales. I offer a bespoke photographic experience, creating beautiful images through the fusion of portraiture, landscape and candid photography.


Ceremony & Reception Venue: The Barn at Rosedew Farm, Llantwit Major
Bride’s Headpiece: The veil my mum wore on her wedding day
Bride’s Shoes: Debenhams
Bride’s Jewellery: A gift from my grandmother
Groom’s Outfit: Hugo Boss
Bridesmaid Dresses: They wore their own
Cake: £15! Two Costco victoria sponges, accessorised.
Flowers: Bessemer Road Flower Wholesalers
Hair: Fich and Ramous, Cowbridge
Band: The Velveteens
Caterers: Five Star Chef, Penarth
Any Reception Decor/Props: All vintage or homemade

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