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! 

Adam and Greg’s Engagement Shoot by Photography First


On Monday we gave you a sneaky peek from this lovely post. This cute couple are getting married later on in the year. During Adam and Greg’s engagement shoot Ed had  a mini camera emergency…Lucky it wasn’t on the wedding day! Thank you Photography First for these beautiful images. ~ Kate
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It’s always a pleasure and an honour when I am referred for wedding photography in South Wales, and it’s even more so when it’s a referral from someone who’s wedding I have shot in the past.  Adam and Greg enquired about their wedding photography after I photographed his mum’s wedding – Diplomat Hotel Wedding South Wales – it’s nice to have some confirmation that I’m doing something right.South Wales Wedding PhotographerSouth Wales Wedding Photographer

So we met up for their pre-wedding shoot at Parc Howard in Llanelli in the summer, yes, we did have a summer in Sunny South Wales!  I love engagement shoots or pre-wedding shoots, as there’s so much time for creativity and as photographers know it, Off Camera Flash.  This is a technique used to manipulate light and is often used my professional photographers.  Anyway, half-way through our shoot, my lens decided to jam into position, and I couldn’t take my Canon 70-200mm 2.8 IS II off my camera body (it’s fixed now)!!  So I was stuck with this lens for the rest of the shoot, it was a great opportunity to get the most out of my lens, and to get a variety of shots with it too.   Having years of experience, if this happened at a wedding, I know I would have coped absolutely fine, should this have happened during a wedding, not to mention I have a backup camera body with me at every wedding anyway!South Wales Wedding PhotographerSouth Wales Wedding PhotographerSouth Wales Wedding PhotographerSouth Wales Wedding PhotographerSouth Wales Wedding PhotographerSouth Wales Wedding PhotographerSouth Wales Wedding PhotographerSouth Wales Wedding PhotographerSouth Wales Wedding PhotographerSouth Wales Wedding PhotographerSouth Wales Wedding PhotographerSouth Wales Wedding PhotographerI would love to share some more of your engagement shoots. Drop me an email at If you are still looking for some inspiration for your wedding then you would be silly to miss out on CwtchFest. Get your tickets here.


From Groom-to-Be and Beyond…The Honeymoon Edition!

Our Groom-to-be is now a fully fledged married man (if you missed his gorgeous wedding then you can check it out here!). Today he he’s tell give us the low down on his beautiful Italian honeymoon :) Take it away, Al! 

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I have to admit, there is something flagrantly ironic about a newlywed gay couple spending their first few nights of honeymoon in the Roman Catholic Capital of the world. But after seeing ‘Roman Holiday’, it seemed a pretty romantic place to begin our life of wedded bliss. Plus, I gather the new Pope is pretty liberal.

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Being the clichéd homosexual men that we are, our main concern on arrival at the Star Metropole Hotel was locating an iron. We had brand spanking new chinos to don and who wants to walk around Rome with crumpled pleats? No one in their right mind, obviously.

Upon discovering a trouser press we could relax and get on with enjoying our trip.

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The first night was surreal to say the least. In a good way. It was hard to believe that a mere 48 hours previous we had been sat on a marquee dance floor gyrating to “oops upside your head”. Not wanting to venture far due to post-wedding fatigue we had dinner in a nearby Japanese/Italian fusion restaurant- very trendy, darling- and were accosted by a middle aged Belgian couple who were sat at an inappropriate proximity to us (Italian seating has no sympathy for personal space).

Amongst the chit chat about Italian food, culture and architecture Mr Belgian Man came up with a nugget of advice so awesome in its simplicity that I was slightly taken aback: “Buildings and food and art are all great, but it’s relationships that truly matter.” Not to sound like a soppy fool but that has really stuck with me and was a perfect launch pad for our honeymoon… Maybe you just had to be there?!

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I won’t bore you with the details of our extensive sight seeing- that’s akin to a barrage of holiday snaps- but I will say that neither of us burst into flames on entering the Vatican, so that’s a plus. Also, Rome is beautiful. Crazy, loud and commercial, but beautiful all the same.

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My fondest memory is of our last evening spent at a roof-top restaurant, the name of which escapes me. The waiter greeted us with a booming “Buona sera, Meester and Meester” and seated us next to what can only be described as the campest collage in human history; comprising of Madonna and Marilyn Monroe images, torn from magazines. Loved it.

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The meal was pretty rubbish but we got plastered on limoncello and gorged on ‘Fagola’ breadsticks, so what more could you want? Before leaving, and this is my favourite part, our vociferous waiter bounded over to tell Jonny that he looked like Andrew McCarthy: “You know, the guy from ‘Mannequin'”. My first thought was ‘how random’, closely followed by ‘does that make me Kim Cattrall in this scenario?’

Our next stop was the homoerotic hub that is Florence. Never have I seen so many statues of naked men with gloriously chiselled biceps, buns and pubic hair (oddly). I was surprised to learn, therefore, that Florence is actually quite conservative and has one of the smallest gay scenes in Italy. It seemed strange to me that a city famous for nurturing Renaissance art and culture could be quite so repressed. Not that you’d know it- the shopping alone was a gay man’s Mecca (Versace, Gucci, Dior. Oh my!) Correction, THIS gay man’s Mecca *no stereotyping*

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The hotel was a complete contrast to that of Rome’s. When arriving at the Alba Palace we instantly felt at ease. Granted, there were one too many replica busts in reception and our room was where yellow went to die, but there were sweet personal touches everywhere. For example, atop our mini bar were ‘his and hers’ teddy bears propped against a bottle of prosecco with a sign that read: “Happy Anniversary”… Awww, close but no cigar.

Florence was my favourite city of the tour. I’d like to say there were mostly cultural reasons behind this (of which there were a few) but mainly it was down to one thing: gelato.

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Somehow the stars aligned on our first evening stroll and we discovered what can only be described as the home of ice cream porn, in gelateria form. The Gelato Gods had smiled upon us and we did gorge. Sufficed to say this gelateria was frequented over the next few days and on each occasion the little plastic spoon had to be wrestled from my quivering hands. Unfortunately, I was so dazzled by the confections that I’ve forgotten the name of the place, but if we ever go back I know exactly where I’ll be heading.

Of course Florence houses several other impressive attractions. We were blown away by The Birth of Venus in the Uffizi Gallery, and the Ponte Vecchio has immense quirky charm (although best appreciated from the next bridge along), and if you’re not hampered by claustrophobia or vertigo the view from Giotto’s Campanile is pretty nifty. Okay, it’s stunning!

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But, oh! The gelato!

The next stop was Venice, and I am going to be stating the obvious here when I say it is an incredible place. For starters there are no deranged Italian drivers trying to run you over at every turn (always a plus). Of course we weren’t expecting any cars but it was bizarre nonetheless.

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Again, I won’t relate all details of our exploits but know this, dear readers: Venice is a labyrinth, and there’s no better place to get lost. For instance, it’s hard to stay angry with your husband during a row over directions when you really just want him to take a picture of you next to another beautiful bridge.

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I do have one anecdote that Cwtch readers will appreciate. While queuing for an evening concerto – as one does- a Japanese couple emerged from nowhere with an over zealous photographer in tow. That in itself was not weird, but the girl was dressed in a floor length red couture ball gown, diamanté tiara and crystal encrusted Louboutins (yes, I clocked those red soles immediately), while her beau was trussed up in a tux. They plunged into the queue for a series of awkward group shots with complete strangers, one of whom asked “Have you just got married?” The young lady replied “No, we just got engaged”, and off they scampered into the next gathering of unwitting tourists.

What the hell?! Firstly, had the photographer been present for the proposal? And secondly, if that was their engagement shoot what was the wedding going to be like?!

Our last three days in Italy were uber romantic. In fact with all the operatic gondolas, concertos and candlelit ‘meals for two’ it felt like a Rom Com on steroids. In retrospect this amorous haze had a slight opiate effect, resulting in temporary loss of reason and delusions of grandeur. Case in point; hiring a water-taxi to convey us 4 1/2 miles to the airport at an extortionate rate. At the time there seemed like no better way to end our adventure than waving arrivederci to Venice from the back of a speedboat at sunset, and thank goodness for such delusions, otherwise we’d have spent two hours on a water bus with 100 strangers.

Gay Honeymoon in Italy - Slightly Wobbly Designs_008I believe there is an expression which goes something like: “You will get lost in Rome, find yourself in Florence and fall in love in Venice”. For us it felt more like you will get lost in Rome, you will get lost in Florence and you will get lost in Venice. But that’s no big deal; we were pretty much in love at the start.

Thanks for reading Cwtchers! This is Mr Watkins-Stuart Esquire signing off


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!