Introducing Alphabet Dating: A,B,C,D

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Alphabet Dating

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

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

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


A- Abergavenny

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

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

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

All images by: Maria Farrelly Photography

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

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


All images by: Maria Farrelly Photography

B- Barry Island

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


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

All images by: Maria Farrelly Photography


C- Carreg Cennen Castle, Llandeilo

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



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

All images by: Maria Farrelly Photography

D- Dan Yr Ogof Caves

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

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


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

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


All images by: Maria Farrelly Photography

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

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

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

Maria x 

Next week we have E,F,G, & H 

Steff & Gina’s Welsh Wedding at the breathtaking Carreg Cennen Castle

I’m so excited to share Steff & Gina’s wedding with you all today! This lovely couple chose the spectacular Carreg Cennen Castle for their big day last May and I had the pleasure of photographing the whole event!  I’ve been dying to share this wedding with you all for ages! 

Lets hand you over to the beautiful Gina with all the details. Enjoy x 

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What was your budget? 

As many people, we didn’t have much of a budget! We decided to book the wedding two years from our engagement to give us more time to accumulate funds! We just made sure that we prioritised the things that mattered the most. Our main priorities were the venue and photographer, which coincidentally cost the most! They were non-negotiable to us. Everything else we were willing to bend slightly if they were a little out of out price range.

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How would you describe your wedding theme?

I can’t say that there was a theme as such. We were very keen that it reflected us and what we were about. We tried to have a wedding that was laid back, relaxed and fun which we feel was pulled off. We’re not really into formality, and tried to ensure our guests enjoyed as much as we did.

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What was your favourite part of your wedding?

Would it be too cheesy to say that we enjoyed every minute? From getting ready in my old bedroom, having a surprise camper van as transport (I was determined I was going in a pick up!), seeing Steff’s face as I walked in, having pictures taken in the castle grounds, having amazing food, hilarious and heart wrenching speeches, the sun making an appearance and dancing to a live band it truly was a perfect day and couldn’t have asked for any more.Carreg Cennen Castle008Carreg Cennen Castle017 Carreg Cennen Castle018 Carreg Cennen Castle023Carreg Cennen Castle050 Carreg Cennen Castle053 Carreg Cennen Castle091Carreg Cennen Castle099 Carreg Cennen Castle095

Tell us about your Wedding Dress

 I’m notoriously laid back and one of my favourite phrases is “I’ll get on it tomorrow”. My sister (and luckily for me super organised maid of honour) was not taking this attitude! We had an impromptu visit to Swansea, shopping and she insisted on looking in a shop at some dresses. Luckily for me I knew what I wanted (and what I didn’t!) so easily narrowed the what seemed like thousands of dresses into a collection of four. The first one I tried on was the one I wanted. I know it’s a cliche but I knew as soon as it was on that it was the one for me. It was stunning. Beautifully covered in intricate lace and just how I pictured it. Sensibly my sister encouraged me to look at others, just incase but nothing else compared. I just had to have it and eight months later, it was all mine. Carreg Cennen Castle082


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

This was easy for us really. We are very close to our families and knew one hundred percent that we wanted them involved in every part. Steff couldn’t choose between his cousins so had the both as they’re all so close, it would be impossible to decide! I always knew that I didn’t want a lot of bridesmaids, trying to keep with the low key intimate wedding we were aiming for. It was so easy to decide, I had my sister as maid of honour (dishonour really!) and Steff’s as bridesmaid. Our niece and nephew were flower girl and page boy. They were all the perfect choices-we couldn’t have asked for better. Carreg Cennen Castle071Carreg Cennen Castle020

Why did you choose your venue?

The venue was a must for us. It was there or nowhere! It has a lot of meaning to us and has been a part of us for years, and will be for many years to come. Carreg Cennen castle is voted Wales’ most romantic location and its easy to see why. It’s breathtakingly beautiful and it never looks the same twice. The castle can be seen for miles around and we’ve spent many afternoons admiring its beauty, sketching (Steff not me!) and walking around. Also, the food there is stunning and as a couple of ‘foodies’ it was a no-brainer!

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

In trying to keep the budget as low as we could and trying to capture ‘us’ in our wedding there was a lot that we did ourselves or capitalised others’ skills. Steff’s band member and friend Matthew played the guitar whilst we were signing the register, I made the bunting hung in the barn, Steff did a lot (he’s an art teacher) so he did the invites and table plan, my mother and sister made heart shaped welsh cakes as favours (I did the tags), my auntie made our wedding cake (she’s the most incredible baker so couldn’t imagine anyone else doing it), the table decorations were a group effort! My dad supplied the wood (also the cake stand) Steff did the number tags and I got the candles, vases and flowers together, we printed off a load of pictures of us old and new and put them up with string and pegs. Pinterest was a good resource and we used this a couple of times as reference and ideas. Carreg Cennen Castle090 Carreg Cennen Castle037 Carreg Cennen Castle040 Carreg Cennen Castle077 Carreg Cennen Castle076 Carreg Cennen Castle079

What was your first dance & why?

We didn’t have a first dance, no particular reason just that we felt that we just wanted to relax and have no pressures at that time of the night. The live band kicked off the dancing and everyone joined us in filling the dance floor.

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

Absolutely not, no. We stuck to what we wanted and ensured that we talked to each other making sure that neither of us went ahead with something the other wasn’t happy with.

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Do you have any advice for future couples?

I think it’s way too easy to get wrapped up in wedding mania! There’s so many beautiful things out there that its hard to choose. I think that sticking to what you want and not letting others influence you too much is important. I found attending wedding fayres a great source of inspiration. You can clearly see what’s on offer and this makes it easier to choose. Also-there’s always cake samples!!

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What was your favourite thing about planning a wedding?

I think that planning a wedding can be challenging and it can be hard to see the woods for the trees at times. We tried to make it as fun as possible, from having wine evenings with my bridesmaids to choose head-gear to seeing everything come together. We tried to see the fun in everything and not make it a chore. What I think we enjoyed the most is a feeling of closeness, with each other and with all our friends and family.

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