Groom To Be Diaries: The Civil Partnership Ceremony Before Their Big Day!

Morning everyone!

Our boys are back! and today they are telling us all about their civil partnership ceremony.  James and Mike are planning their big wedding day for 2017, but in advance of this, they wanted to become official.

Over to the handsome James to tell you all about it….

G2B RAF Grooms


Hey hey,


We had our civil partnership on the 5th August 2016 at Salisbury Registry office.  Even though we didn’t want it to be a huge event and just to make it all official, due to our “grand wedding” next year, I was nervous as hell.

The stress of making sure everyone was going be on time, that we had everything we needed, rings, ourselves, made me really jumpy!

By some stroke of luck, we managed to get ourselves there bang on time!  However one of Mikes witnesses hadn’t arrived….we starting to get panicky….only to find that he was at Salisbury….but just not where he was supposed to be!

So no matter how simple you try and make an occasion, something always ends up going wrong haha.

Including while the registrar was doing her bit! She completely got our names wrong. I was Mike Yilmaz Davies and Mike was James Lewis Young.  Our faces must have looked so confused!


We eventually tied the knot. My emotions were all over the place.  I didn’t know what to do, whether to burst out laughing or burt out crying with joy and happiness.


To celebrate all went for a lovely meal and a few drinks with all our closest friends.

And now, we are well into the big wedding day planning!


We are so excited to hear about your wedding plans boys! 

Real Wedding: Alistair & Jonny’s Vintage Glamour Affair by Anderson Photography

Horray, our wonderful groom-to-be writer Alistair is no longer a groom-to-be, he’s a fully fledged Mr! He tied the knot with husband Jonny in Cardiff, with David from Anderson Photography there to capture all the best bits :)

Alistair & Jonny

We asked him to answer a few questions about their big day…

How would you describe your wedding theme? The best way to describe it would a be an autumnal, rustic and vintage mash-up with a hint of glamour. Neither of us are fans of matchy matchy so although the elements complimented each other there was no specific theme. Our colours were mainly deep reds, purples, gold, orange, green and navy. The wedding party were pretty much left to their own devices when picking their outfits *within reason* but we provided the accessories (ties, hankies, buttonholes and corsages).


We filled the reception venue with old fashioned pieces such as vintage suitcases and a dressing screen – both provided by the lovely Hubbard’s Cupboard. The Siren Sisters also performed two fabulous sets which really enhanced the old school feel we were aiming for.


We both felt that the flowers really pulled the decor together. The table centre pieces were hessian covered pots, filled with mulberry chrysanthemums, roses, veronica, thistles and hedgerow greenery.

What was your favourite part of your wedding? There were several but I have to say all four of the speeches were great. My dad embarrassed me with recollections of a certain “My Little Pony” childhood obsession, Jonny’s best man regaled us with tales of their misspent youth, my best man reduced me to tears with truly kind words, and Jonny revelled in wielding a microphone; thanking everyone under the marquee for something or other, except our mothers… oops!


Another favourite moment of mine was drinking champagne through a straw in the back of a 1920’s Charabanc with our friends. The lack of suspension combined with a succession of potholes made the journey to Dyffryn Springs all the more exciting.


Who did you pick as your bridesmaids &/or best man and why? Jonny had his best friends from school, Blake and Jamie. He knew from the get-go that these were the perfect lads to offer help, support and comic relief… not to mention a killer stag do… or so I’ve been told.


I had a best man and woman, Jon and Laura. We’ve been friends for a very long time and they’ve helped me through a string of bad break-ups and questionable fashion choices, not to mention we’ve shared a few laughs.


Why did you choose your venue? The Council Chambers at City Hall are absolutely stunning. I am a sucker for antique furniture, and who doesn’t love a crystal chandelier?! People with no soul, that’s who.


The evening venue had been recommended to us by another couple and it did not disappoint. The marquee stands in a beautiful lakeside setting, surrounded by fields. The contrast of urban and country backdrops were also fantastic for the photographs, although that was a bonus rather than a deal breaker.


How did the proposal happen? I’ve left this blank as it was mentioned in my first post for Cwtch


Any DIY stories/tutorials you’d like to share? Most of the finishing touches were DIY as we had a very limited budget.

We decorated the marquee with paper lanterns of various sizes and colours, suspending them with fishing wire and bog standard wooden clothes pegs. I have a new found respect for the humble clothes peg as a result.


Our tables were named after some of our favourite songs so we printed the song titles, plus a lyric, in an ” Old Typewriter” font which we mounted in distressed gold photo frames. The name cards were made from individually hand-stamped vintage luggage tags and attached to the cutlery which was wrapped in twine.


We framed the remaining luggage tags on paisley mounting with captions such as “Let them eat cake”. This was uber cheap and fun to do…. although perhaps not after the 10th table!!


The table plan was constructed the night before the wedding, much to my shame! We bought a large white frame from IKEA, removed the glass and tied 3 lengths of twine vertically around the backboard. The table names and guests were listed on 10 separate 6″ x 4″ pieces of card which we clipped to the twine with miniature wooden pegs. Just to add a splash of colour I cut out several A’s, J’s and heart shapes from paisley patterned card and attached them randomly to the twine/frame.


What was your first dance & why? There were a couple of contenders but we settled on “We are Stars” by The Pierces. We chanced upon this song a few years ago and loved it for being heartfelt but not cheesy. Also, we believed it would be very easy to dance to… however, we still managed to stumble our way through it like awkward teenagers at a school disco.


In hindsight, was there anything you would have done differently? There’s nothing I would change as such. However, when Jonny was hunting for a DJ I had two specifications:

1. No talking.
2. No fake flames.

Alas, the DJ failed on both counts but I can look back on that with a fond smile, and he did get everyone dancing all night. He also refused to play “Come on Eileen” which made me love him even more!


Do you have any advice for future couples? I’m not going to say “relax” and “chill out” as you will inevitably feel nervous, which is only natural. I will say that Jonny and I took 10 minutes in the evening to go for a walk and a sneaky al fresco cwtch which allowed us to reflect on the day and just absorb the atmosphere.


What’s the best piece of marriage advice you received? I can’t speak for Jonny, but the best piece of advice I received was from a married friend of a friend who said “don’t make promises you can’t keep”. I think that applies to most relationships though, not just marriages.


What was your favourite thing about planning a wedding? The shopping! Being a self-confessed retail junky meant that I was well suited to hunting for wedding ensembles as well as vintage/one-off pieces.

Photography: Anderson Photography
Ceremony Venue: Council Chambers, Cardiff City Hall
Reception Venue: Dyffryn Springs
Alistair’s Outfit:
Day – Suit from Next, tie and hanky from Reiss, shoes from Topman, cufflinks from Eclectica @ John Lewis, vintage pearl tie pin from Happy Days, Cowbridge.
Evening – Blazer from H&M, trousers from Topman, shoes from Dune, sequinned bow tie from Topman, hanky from The Tie Rack and vintage gold & onyx lapel pin from Jacob’s Antiques.
Jonny’s Outfit: Suit & tie from Reiss, hanky from Topman, vintage gold & diamonte tie pin from a thrift shop.
Cake: Cupcakes by The Cake House, sponge/fruit cakes by my aunties and a cheese “celebration tower” from M&S
Flowers: Serene Weddings
Band:The Siren Sisters
Stationery:Slightly Wobbly Designs* | *Featured Vendor
Caterers:The HogFather
Any Reception Decor/Props: Hubbard’s Cupboard* | *Blog Sponsor
Transport:Prices Wedding Cars
Other: Mother of the groom’s headpiece by With Love from Bobbin* | *Featured Vendor

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Cwtch of the Week: Alistair & Jonny


We absolutely love this first dance cwtch of our very own Groom-to-be diary writer Alistair and his new husband Jonny! Don’t they book look so dashing? :) We’ve got another couple of posts coming up from Alistair and then we’ll be featuring their wedding in all it’s glory (trust us, it’s not one to miss!) Congratulations you guys! :)

Big thanks to David at Anderson Photography for capturing this cwtch :)

Want some more cwtch love? You can view the full gallery of Cwtches here. If you’ve got a lovely photo you’d like us to feature you can email it to :) The cwtchier the better!

Groom-To-Be Diary: Planning A Civil Partnership

Illustrator Alistair is in the midst of planning his civil partnership to business partner and fiancé Jonny at Cardiff City Hall in September. Be prepared to meet the most dapper grooms you ever did see…

jo and ali cwtch

The Beginning Of It All

I pretty much knew that Jonny was a keeper when he turned down my offer of popcorn at the cinema, exclaiming “No! It gives me gas!” (or words to that effect). When a potential lover informs you of their propensity to popcorn-induced flatulence on the first date, you can’t help but be slightly enamoured… or is that just me?

Of course it wasn’t just this quirk that drew me to him. Oh no! There was also the allure of his dancing, which I had witnessed the previous evening at Pulse nightclub in Cardiff. Resistance was futile once I had clapped eyes on his hypnotically rhythmic elbow movements and I simply said to myself: “that’s my kinda freak.” Sidling over to him, I whispered sweet nothings in his ear; actually I was far too coy for that, instead using his unwitting friend as a vessel for my attraction.

gay l'amour cwtch

Me: “Tell your friend I think he’s cute”

Friend obliges. Nice friend.

Jonny: “Tell him I think he’s cute too” (bless)

Friend obliges. Good friend.

And the rest is history. I’m skimming over the part where he spilt his drink all over me, but why ruin such a romantic picture? Too late!

The Proposal

wedding montage cwtch

Quickly moving on, we are now five years down the line and living in sin… but not for much longer. 18 months ago I got trussed up in a tuxedo, filled the flat to the brim with flowers and candles, and waited anxiously for my beloved to return home from work. Unfortunately, I had forgotten that he was working late and was discovered rocking back and forth in a sweaty state after 3 hours of listening to Adele on a loop. I digress. The question was popped, he answered with a teary “yes” (phew!) and within ten minutes it was business as usual as we devoured pasta straight from the pan in our PJs.

The Planning

Since then, if truth be told, I have done very little of the organisation. This will not shock my friends and acquaintances. Yes, I have been heavily involved in the decision-making and, yes, I have been unyielding in my aesthetic demands, but Jonny has done the majority of the planning. This is partially due to the fact that I am a lazy so-and-so and partially due to the fact that he is a self confessed control freak. The man has a “Wedding box” which only he has access to… and everyone thought I would be Groomzilla!

honeymooners vespa blog

I have, however, taken control of the fun, and some may say easy, stuff. Pour example, I secured the fabulously talented Siren Sisters as our entertainment, liaised with The Cakehouse girls regarding our confections and scored a deal with the printers for our invitations. Incidentally, and this is going to be a SHAMELESS plug, Jonny and I run an illustration business called Slightly Wobbly Designs so the wedding stationery has very much been a joint creative effort.

To say we had a theme would be going too far but “autumnal”, “rich” and “vintage” are words I would use to describe the intended feel. Not being fans of “matchy-matchy”, the wedding party (including ourselves) will be wearing different outfits, intended to compliment rather than match. Luckily our best men and women have oodles of panache so we’re confident the pictures will look great.

The ceremony is being held at Cardiff City Hall in front of 90 people * gulp! *. I’m hoping the exquisite woodwork and gilding of the council chambers will distract from the anxiety of saying those vows in front of so many people. Not being one for PDAs (that’s a public display of affection to anyone not in the know!) this could be tricky, but at the same time I can’t wait to say them. Love has a lot to answer for!

je t'aime cwtch

After the serious part we’re heading to Dyffryn Springs in the Vale of Glamorgan for drinks, food, speeches, dancing and more drinks. A hog roast is being provided by The Hogfather (what a cool name) and, as we are incapable of selecting one wedding cake, there will be a dedicated ‘Cake Table’ laden with many a homemade sponge. The decorations remain a slight quandary, logistically speaking, but that’s nothing that a bit of Sticky Back Plastic won’t solve! All will be revealed…

Thus far, the preparations have been relatively stress free but there’s still time for one or both of us to develop alopecia and possibly a peptic ulcer! Fingers crossed that doesn’t happen. Watch this space for another update on the planning of our rapidly approaching nuptials.

bespoke examples cwtch

How wonderful are these bespoke wedding illustrations? :) We love them!

Thanks, Alistair! We can’t wait to hear more about your plans! If you liked the illustrations in today’s post then do check our the boys’ website – they really are fab :)