Bride to Be Diaries: The Family Bride Finds Their Perfect Venue

 Hello lovely people
We are very excited to being to you the second instalment from our beautiful Family Bride, Abby. After her initial Engagement Story, we were over the moon when she agreed to become another on of our Brides to Be!
This week, her and Kyle have been on the hunt for their perfect venue, and as they have settled on the same one as Richie and I got married at, I could not approve more!
Over to you Abby……
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The Family Bride Finds Their Perfect Venue

Family Sept Abby and Kyle

Hello cwtchers!
How exciting- my 2nd blog already!
Being a mum of 2, running our home and being self employed life can be a little crazy at times- throwing ‘wedding planning’ into the mix has made it a whole lot crazier but you know what I am absolutely loving every second!!
After the engagement, my best friend (and maid of honour to be) bought me the most gorgeous wedding planning book and its all snow balled from there.
Family Sept Venue Booked!
1st thing on the list was a Venue… and there were so many things to think of! Did we want it close to home or further away, a church wedding or civil ceremony, old, new, modern, classic, hotel, manor house – the list goes on! We made some choices and I started phoning around to make appointments- i didnt want to leave anywhere unseen!
10 appointments made for the next few weekends, babysitters organised – Myself and Kyle were on the hunt!
After the 1st few we felt like we had learnt ALOT- different times of the year meant different prices, different days of the week, info about chair covers/dj’s/top tables – it was wedding overload!
Really pleased we did look around and take the time to see each one as 2 venue’s we almost didnt make (and about to cancel) turned into our favourite 2!
We live in Cardiff but decided a wedding in a Manor house/hotel a little further away meant our guests could enjoy a little night away if they wanted to.
After each appointment (before we picked the kids up) we went to visit a different coffee shop to talk prices/availability/what we liked and what we didnt- so that before we got back to being mum and dad, we could make some decisions.
It was between Miskin Manor and the Coed-y-Mwstwr hotel in Bridgend.
Both very classic looking with beautiful grounds. We loved Miskin manor as it had a very traditional feel to it, and a sort of enchanted look.
And We loved the Coed as it was full of character and tradition but with a real modern twist.
A family holiday at the end of August was our time to make a final decision to setting the date and choosing our perfect venue.
The Coed-y-Mwstwr won our hearts and it was all down to the wedding co-ordinating team that work there.
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From the moment we walked in to view it, we were made to feel welcome and they couldn’t do enough for us. We knew that this is what we wanted on our big day- someone to make it run as smooth as possible with that special touch. The venue itself like i mentioned is very traditional looking, but inside the Hendre suit is a fresh, modern light room with high wooden beams and by folding doors.
Family Sept CyM
We chose to be married in March 2019 as the grounds will be in full bloom of gorgeous daffodils and hopefully a crisp sunny day to make use of the beautiful surroundings!
Family Sept Save the Date
Super excited as the next part of Wedding planning is already happening 😊
So until next time…. happy wedding planning guys!

Real Weddings: CTB’s Anna & Richie Celebrate Five Years

Hello lovelies! So today is Richie and my 5th wedding anniversary so I am hijacking the blog in order to say Happy Anniversary to this brilliant man of mine. I cannot believe that it was five years ago that the wonderful Maria Farrelly shot our wedding!  In the 5 years we have been married, we have moved to a new country (and back again), moved house 4 times and had 2 beautiful baby boys,  Harry and Albie who are now 3  and a half and one. I can honestly say (and I don’t do sloppy lightly) that these last 5 year have been easy and hard, rough and smooth. happy and sad.  But I absolutely could and would not have been able to do it without you Richie.  I love you a million and you’re the most fabulous human.  Here is to many more happy years………

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Real Weddings: CTB’s Anna & Richie Celebrate Five Years


What was your budget? 

Anna: To be honest, I can’t really remember! I could hazard a guess (seen as I am now married to an accountant) and say ‘as small as possible, but I am sure we had one! Rich?

Richie: Well, I had a budget yes! No idea what it was though.  I did to start with but it got blown out of the water by you.

Anna: Brilliant.

How would you describe your wedding theme?

Anna: Well I knew I wanted a vintage theme but back then, (all of 5 years ago?!?!), there was very little on the market and very few suppliers (if any) that I could buy what I had in my head from.  Which is why in the end I had to compromise, remove a lot of the vision I had, and make a lot of it.  I do love a bit of DIY and back then, we were childless so I had endless time to do these things!

Richie: Floral.

Anna:  Brilliant.

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What was your favourite part of your wedding?

Anna: I had a couple of ‘moments’.  The first was the one  I had been imagining since we started planning the big day and that was,being lucky enough to still ave my Dad to walk me down the aisle. Knowing a couple of friends who were not so blessed, this was not something I took lightly and knew how amazing it was to have him there. But it wasn’t just that, due to a wedding car malfunction on the M4, I ended up being stuffed into the back seat of my Dads Mazda and driven to the church, with my Dad driving, and my sister next to me.  One of those things I didnt even realise I would want until it happened!


My second was the first dance. I didn’t really think much about it until it happened.  Now, you need to know that Rich and I are not slow dancers.  We love holding hands, dancing like idiots etc,but slow dancing? With lots of people watching? No no no. But it was amazing! It felt like we were the only two people in the room. A very lovely moment that I will never forget.


Richie: Dunno Babe.

Anna: Brilliant.

Tell us about your Wedding Dress

Anna: Oooooo this is a sore point. You know those girls? Those idiots that order their dress 12 months before their wedding in the size they are ‘definitely’ going to be by the time the day comes. Then they come for the final fitting 4 weeks before the wedding and they’ve actually put on weight and the dress no longer fits? You know those tw*ts???
Yeah. That was me.
I was fortified and distraught that my beautiful dream Sottero and Midgley dress no longer fitted me. I was quite literally bursting out of it!  But the girls at All About Eve in Newport were absolutely incredible.  They did not once look at me like I was a complete imbecile (which lets face it, I was), they just made me and my Mum calm and worked their little bottoms off,and found me a dress that I actually ended up loving even more.  My Madeline Gardner dress was my dream dress.  So if you think about it, its a good job I put on a bit on timber!

Richie: Which one?

Anna: Brilliant

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

Anna: It was a no brainer really.  I had my big(tiny) sister Ceri, my niece Emily, and my best friends Sarah, Jo and Emma.  For flower girls, we had a firends little girls who looked gorgeous.  I also had two bridesmen (well, what else were my boy best friends going to be!?!) Simon and Anthony. I have known my best friends since we were all small and there was no question who would be standing (getting drunk and dancing lots) with me on the big day.

Richie:  I had two as I  am not very good at making decisions. Two good blokes who I knew I could trust, Matthew and Gareth.

Anna:  Brilliant. That was like getting blood out of a stone.



Why did you choose your venue?

Anna:  The ceremony was at our local church, St Basils.  It was where I was christened and where many of our best friends have also got married.  Also, my brother is a vicar and so was able to marry us which was just massively special!  For the venue, we wanted somewhere that was beautiful inside and out and somewhere we could all stay.  We looked at so many places, but as soon as we got out of the car, I completely fell in love with the Coed-Y-Mwstwr in Coychurch, Bridgend.  Its so beautiful and then you walk inside and its stunning! The rooms are amazing, so we  booked it there and then.

Richie:  Um. Just felt really nice when we went there didn’t it?

Anna:  Brilliant.


Tell us about your photographer

Anna: I had seen Maria‘s work on my friends Facebook page.  She is a make up artist and had posted some of Maria’s work taken at a wedding, and I completely loved them! I loved her style, the casual real way of capturing people.  Then we met and it was meant to be.  We also had out engagement shoot with her, and it was brilliant. Completely relaxed us,especially Rich who is not really down with the whole ‘don’t  pull a face and try and be serious’ photographs. Then on the day she was incredible. So happy even though she must have been shattered, managed to get everyone to listen to her for the group shots, and created the most wonderful story of our day.  We love her.

Richie:  She took lots of photographs and was really good at it and I really like her.

Anna: *massive sigh* Brilliant

How did the proposal happen? 

Anna: Well, considering I had been nagging him with ‘So, Baby……..?’, he would answer with, ‘Yes?’ and I would ask, ‘when are we going to get married’ for at least 3 times a week for a good 12 months, I did not think in a million years that he would chose something as cliche as Valentines Day 2010 to ask.  Anyhoo, we woke up on the day and Rich got up and let Cleo out dog upstairs as per usual for a weekend.  He then brought me some beautiful roses (as per his tradition) and asked me not to move and he had to pop out for a bit.  Under no circumstance was I to get out of bed.  Like he needed to ask twice.  With much reluctance, I picked up the remote, snuggled up to the pooch and watched some TV.
About 40 minutes late, Richie returned and came upstairs.  He then produced a Curry’s carrier bad and announced ‘Happy Valentines Day’.
Let me just highlight that.  A CURRY’S CARRIER BAG.
I thought, ‘he’s got me bloody electrical goods for valentines day!!!! What.  The.  Actual!?’
So I opened said bloody bag and he had bought me a digital photo frame and produced a memory stick to go in it.  I went with it at this point.  On the memory stick, and now the photo frame were images of ‘Anna and Rich’ from our first date to present day. I cried.  It was really lovely.  I watch the memories until the screen went blank. He did well.
Then some writing came up on the screen:  ‘So, Baby……..?’
With a gaping and most unladylike opened mouth, I turned to my left and there, whilst in my pyjamas, Richie went down on one knee and asked me to marry him with the most beautiful big, blue plastic ring you have ever seen.  Once I stopped gasping in complete ‘this is just not your style’ disbelief, I of course said yes!

Richie: You just described that didn’t you?

Anna:  Brilliant.

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

Anna:  I collected jam jars for 18 damn months and plied my friends with wine and pizza so they would help  me decorate them with a variety of lace and pretty doo dars. They were our vases for the  tables.  I designed our own invitations as I worked in Graphic Design and Marketing at the time. You couldn’t buy bunting anywhere at the time, but Breast Cancer Research were giving some to people in  order to help you raise money for their charity.  We therefore used it for the wedding and donated part of our budget to the charity.  Made us feel warm and fuzzy inside. I also bought a load of black lanterns that were massively reduced and we (I say we, but I think Richie  may actually have something to say on this bit) painted them cream.  Our gorgeous wedding cake was also home made by my beautiful friend Angelina and her Mum, Olivia.  We also bought some vintage suitcases which we hung photographs of all of our loved ones in, just because.

Richie: I painted all the lanterns.  I did at least the majority.  I decorated jars too.

Anna: Yes love, yes you did.

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What was your first dance & why?

Anna:  Our first dates were predominantly gigs.  One of our favorites was ‘Noise and Confusion’ where we saw our favourites, Foo Fighters.  One of our most meaningful songs was ‘Times Like These’ and the Foos (its what their bezzies call them) did the most amazing acoustic slowed down version on MTV.  So it went without saying that we would have that.  I also love that we asked the DJ to immediately play the original rock version straight after.  It had the desired effect and everyone joined us on the dance floor.  Apart from a small collection who just tutted at me, smiled, and went and sat down again.

Richie: It was ‘Times Like These’ by the Foo Fighters because its a song we both like.

Anna:  Meaningful baby.  Really meaningful.

Richie: Well we do though!?!

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

Anna:  I would say that if I did it again, I would like to stop worrying if everyone was ok and having a nice time, and just relax and enjoy it myself.  However I imagine I would just behave in the exact same way.  Do though brides and grooms.  Youve done all you can, this is it now.  Have fun, its your day!

Richie: Not got hammered.

Anna: I thought you might say that.  I wish I had been as relaxed as you! Maybe we should’ve met somewhere in the middle!

Do you have any advice for future couples?

Anna: Nope.  No point.  You wont listen to anyone, and that’s the way it should be. Do it your way!

Richie: I genuinely don’t!

Anna: Shocker!

What’s the best piece of marriage advice you received?

Anna: You’re now a little team.  Always be there for each other.  Always.

Richie: All you need is love.

Anna:  Good one Lenn0n.

The Suppliers

Photographer: My gorgeous friend, Maria Farrelly
Ceremony Venue: St Basils Church, Newport.
Reception Venue: Coed-Y-Mwstwr
Bride’s Dress: Madeline Gardner from All  About Eve
Bride’s Shoes: Utter garbage off Ebay
Bride’s Headpiece: Jo Barnes ‘Gracie’
Bride’s Jewellery: Thomas Sabo
Groom’s Outfit: Ted Baker from Slaters, Cardiff
Bridesmaid’s Dresses: Isme (now Very)
Bridesmaid’s Accessories: Accessorize
Cake: Best Firend Angelina and her Mum, Olivia
Flowers: Thornes
Hair: The Hair Junction
Make Up: Rhianne Holvey
DJ: Ten Feet Tall
Stationery: Me! (Anna Lock)
Transport: Henrietta Hire

The Wedding Album

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