Lets Hear it for the Boys – The Carried Groom!

Traditionally, you see the bride being hoisted up by the groomsmen, in a slightly awkward but always funny, pose.  Carly Turner however, decided it would be better if the Groom got lifted this time, by his mates, and it is fab! Here is Chris the groom with his boys….

Lets Hear it for the Boys – The Carried Groom!

Carly Turner LHIFTB R&CImage by Carly Turner Photography

Fabulous dapper looking boys! Congratulations Chris! You make a fabulously elegant groom and the others don’t look like they’re struggling to hold you at all! :-)


Bride To Be Diaries: Our Valley Bride Vicci Introduces The Men

Today we are handing you over to our lovely Valley Bride to be, Vicci. We’re going to find out all about THE MEN :)  

New Bride To Be Diary

Our Valley Bride

So last time we met, I took the opportunity to introduce you to my lovely bridal party. So I thought this would be a fantastic opportunity to introduce you to the other side of things in the form of the Groomsmen!

The 3 Best Men

Deciding on a Best Man was a difficult one for J as he has a very close and large circle of friends. He contemplated for a while on what to do before concluding that 3 heads are better than 1.  And here goes the introduction to the 3 best men…boys 1

Mr Loyal

Let’s start with Jack! When I met J, Jack had begun his travelling adventure in Australia. Despite meeting him on a couple of occasions when he would briefly return to the UK or hearing him speak to J at an unfriendly time of the morning (usually a drunken Jack who had forgotten the time difference), I didn’t really get to know Jack until he moved home, and then into our street when he became a welcome regular on our sofa. Jack is very laid back but very loyal to his mates so I can totally understand J’s decision to have him as a Best Man… Mr Loyal!jack 2

Mr Reliable

Next we have Ginge or Mathew. Ginge is always there when you need him and he is very true to his word. I say this because he helped us move out of our previous home, and because we had a stop gap before moving into our new home, helped us move back in 6 weeks later. We did try to do it without his assistance as we didn’t want to ‘take the mick’ but he found out and was there straight away. Mr Reliable!

Matthew 1

Mr Protector

Last, and by no means least, we have Barnesy or Leigh. J and Barnesy have grown up together and are more like brothers than friends. Barnesy and I have a fun friendship full of banter. Barnesy takes it upon himself to protect J at all costs, even when he isn’t there??!!  You see, there was one night very early into mine & J’s relationship where we all met in Cardiff at the end of a night out to share a lift home (by which time Barnesy was quite tipsy), he had clearly had a little scuffle, so when I asked him how, he proceeded to explain how he had been protecting J, even though J wasn’t with him but with me! Mr Protector.leigh 1

Asking the 3 Best Men…

(Giggle to myself as each time I see that I cannot help but think see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil. Note to self – I have to ask them which they would like to be. Oh, and with a bit of wedding excitement in me, OK a lot, I can see the best men gifts…haha)

Warning to the future Brides to Be, this is where you quickly come to realise that men have a totally different outlook on Weddings to women.

I was filled with so much excitement and so many ideas of how I was going to ask my lovely ladies and J opted for the simple route… Just ask! However one thing J did want to do was ask all 3 in the same weekend, something which proved difficult given the hectic lifestyles we all lead! Even this very basic plan didn’t actually go to plan…

We had Jack and his then girlfriend now wife, Bryoni pop over for a catch up and mid way through the evening, whilst the boys were nattering, Bryoni asked if I had decided on my bridal party. I very excitedly confirmed and also shared that I had also asked them and proceeded to give full chapter and verse on how (I do love to talk). When I finally finished my very exhaustive version of events, Bryoni asked if J had decided on a Best Man. It was at that very moment that the boys conversation went quiet, and I awkwardly (knowing Jack was one but that J hadn’t planned on asking that night) grabbed for my drink (you see, I have a poor poker face when caught off guard – picture a child whose mouth is covered in chocolate trying to deny eating the very last bar in the fridge that they blatantly know isn’t theirs…that’s me). J just casually turned to Jack and in the most calm and relaxed tone of voice said, “do you fancy it?” Jack got all excited and instantly responded. J then explained the plan of 3 best men and shared who else was and that he would be asking them soon.jack 1

Next came asking Ginge. We popped in to see Ginge & Jodie’s new home, and caught Jodie heading off to a children’s party with their little ones Lacey and Olivia. As Ginge finished the tour of his new pad by showing us the garage, J just casually asked Ginge to be best man and was met with a very different response to Jack’s, a nervous “you sure, me?” and didn’t actually give an answer. J had to ask again (funny, he had to ask me twice too, but you already know that story). J reassured Ginge that he wasn’t on his own, which saw a nervous Ginge turn into a pleased Ginge.mathew 2

Finally came asking Barnesy. J and I called in for a casual catch up with him (should have come across as odd as nothing is ever unplanned or casual with us, furthermore we only ever do things as couples and Kirstie was at work). J asked an expectant Barnesy who was clearly really very pleased and very excited to get onto planning the stag! This is the point at which my secret hen became a secret no more. After J had explained that there were 3 best men, literally 5 minutes after being asked to be Best Man, Barnesy said, “so where are we going on the stag if the girls are going on a cruise?”. As I laughed hysterically, a very bemused and confused looking Barnesy was brought up to speed on the secret hen by J. Once Barnesy was up to speed he looked his confused look turned to one of devastation, it probably didn’t help that I called him the Best Best Man ever (that’s the banter I mentioned earlier). He looked awful and panic stricken bless him! It was all cool though as I had kind of worked it out from some of the conversations that had gone on around me.

leigh 2

Fabulous Vicci! Thanks for this great insight into these top guys! 

A Gentleman’s Tea

Ladies. Think we are the only ones that care about our appearance on the big day? Think again.

Today we are heading west from Cwtch HQ to Llanelli where on the back of the success of afternoon teas and hen parties The Stradey Park Hotel have spotted a gap in the market for our grooms to be and introduced a Gentleman’s Tea and grooming package.

Gentlemans tea

Daniel Bayliss, Design and Marketing manager told us how they are finding men are more prepared to try something new and are definitely looking after themselves more.  A third of all spa goers are now men.

With this in mind, they have started putting together Bachelor parties to match up with the bridal showers they currently offer. They have teamed up with local business, 6 Men’s Hub Grooming and offer a package including a hot towel shave/beard trim, haircut and nasal wax with complimentary drinks.  “These are proving really popular as a gift from the groom to his best man, ushers and fathers of the bride and groom” Damian Hart, Managing Director told us.


IMG_05186 HUB44 Now let’s get to the most important bit, the food. Gentleman’s tea has shaken up the traditional dainty sandwiches and cakes to a heartier focused menu sending their chefs out to the wilds of Carmarthenshire to assemble the finest ingredients in selection of manly treats, both savoury and sweet served on a slate board – all  washed down with a cup of tea or coffee in a moustachio’d cup and saucers.

The savoury heartiness includes

~ Chargrilled beef burger topped with Welsh cheese, rocket and apple chutney served in a crusty roll

~ Corned beef rissole served on sweet red onion marmalade

~ Coronation scotch egg with mango salsa

~ Cumberland sausage roll

Gentlemans Tea Close

And Sweet treats

~ Warm caramelised apple tart

~ Lemon sponge cake


Gentlemans Tea 2Moustache Cup

For more information please email marketing@stradeyparkhotel.com and Daniel will be more than happy to help

The Role of the Usher

Baz the Best Man has returned this week with some great advice on how to handle the responsibility of being an usher. Ladies pass your laptop, phone or other device to the men in your life (or the men in your wedding!) and just put your feet up.

Groomsmen - Image by Maria Farrelly Photography

Groomsmen – Image by Maria Farrelly Photography


The Usher’s Parable

I am going to share my adventures and the experiences that friends have had down the route of being an Usher/Groomsman. A ‘Parable’ is defined as – A story that is used to illustrate a moral or spiritual lesson. I can’t fathom a more appropriate explanation of the Usher’s role. Arguably, bar the speech, this is a tougher job than being a Best man. As the Best man chills at the alter grinning like a Cheshire Cat with the Groom on the Wedding day cwtched up on their cotton wool wrapped pedestal, the Ushers are getting their hands dirty on the front line. The Ushers are doing anything from Car Parking duties; showing the guests to their pews; acting as the last line of defence by the church door in case a volatile ex attempts to rock up; to shepherding the guests for photos; to acting as a peacemaker should any evening guests get a little fighty; to even cleaning up the potty should an excitable, petite guest try to chug two bottles of vino on an empty stomach in an hour and leave ‘Exorcist’ style projectile carnage in her wake. It was like a scene out of ‘Nam’ and not Chelte’nham’.

Last line of defence

The entire wedding expedition can be as unpredictable as a drunk Elk in an orchard long after apple picking season is over. If un-planned expect more cock-ups than in a Red Light District. If you are clued up on what is expected of you and are alert in case of any outlandish surprises then that will stand you in good stead. (See 7Ps blog) If the Best man is the Striker and in pole-position to score then the Ushers are the defenders at the back preventing any slippery attackers from hitting the back of their net. Initially you have the Stag Do juggernaut to contend with. The Stag Do (previous blog) can get unruly faster than you can say “Ow, that nipple tassel just hit me right in the eye.” Unless you’ve got a Best man who’s a total legend then be prepared to step up to the mark and help out when required. I’m not suggesting you do a ‘Donnie Brasco’ and snitch on all of the reveller’s shenanigans. I would suggest that if any ‘Loose Cannons’ (See blog) go Bat Turd loco then help the Best man out and reign them in a touch. On the Wedding week the best approach is to communicate clearly with the rest of the team so that everyone knows their roles. Whether that be directing traffic or ferrying around for last minute pick-ups at the Florists, Tailors and so on and so forth. If you avoid stepping up and taking on responsibilities expect to be as successful as the chat-up line “I like your eyes. Can I keep them?”

Too many bowls of ‘loud mouth soup’

On the Wedding day people are in the unusual scenario of being seated for an extended period of time, they’re dolled up in their best bib and tucker, have access to ‘free alcohol’ (to an extent) and are often seated with friends who they haven’t seen for ages. Inevitably some people will get excited. Enter Giggly Drunk, Tipsy Wipsy, Emotional Drunk, the Hulk Smash, Look at Me!! and the Projectile Canon. If you can go above and beyond and keep an eye out for the last three drunkard styles then you can avoid either separating fisticuffs, awkward moments or cleaning up the aftermath of projectile fine dining and ‘Time Travel Juice’. The most appreciated Usher involvement in my opinion is definitely if a guest plays the ‘Look At Me’ card. The Best man has a tough enough job with the speech so if someone heckles him in a menacing way it can be as awkward as Rain Man on a Speed Dating night. Be a metaphorical “excellent driver” and discuss with the other Ushers and Bridesmaids on a tactical pre-emptive strike.

In a nut-shell

Communicate with the Best man and Groom to make yourself aware of your expectations. Don’t get yourself stuck in a hole and try to dig yourself out. Get your ‘dancing daps’ on and live the Ushering dream.

Gift Ideas for Your Ushers, Groomsmen & Best Man


Struggling with what to buy the men in your wedding? Don’t worry, we’re here to help. Budget DIY bride Sarah has put together a few ideas for gifts for your ushers, groomsmen and best man (or men!).

Let’s preface this with the admission that you absolutely don’t have to buy gifts for anyone in your wedding party if you don’t want to – there are very few hard and fast rules when it comes to weddings, so if this is something you want to skip then that’s perfectly okay! However, it is traditional to give the people involved in your big day a token gift to say thank you, and many people still do that.

When we got married we knew we wanted to give slightly more personal gifts to our ushers and bridesmaids, so Tzevai had some trophies engraved with his usher’s names and job role in the wedding – they seemed to go down well! It probably doesn’t hurt that most of them are sports mad ;)

What you buy, of course, is completely up to you. You might already have a firm idea of what you want to get – and that’s great! One less thing to stress about, right? But if you’re completely stuck (and trust me, you won’t be the only ones) then here’s a few ideas to help you out :) If you want to know more about a product just click on the photo for an enlarged view and a link to where it’s sold :)

A Nip & A Dram

First up, some gifts for the alcohol appreciators among us. One of the traditional gifts to buy your usher or best man is a hip flask – but that doesn’t mean it has to be boring.

I’ve put together some of my favourite options, along with some local whiskey from Penderyn to put in them. If you’re going for a Welsh theme (and as a Welsh wedding blog we wholeheartedly suggest that you do ;) ) then the Cymru flask could be right up your street. Hip flasks can also be personalised with your wedding date or a thank you message, which is always a nice touch :)

A Bit of Maintenance

Next up, for the, perhaps, more discerning gentlemen in your life – how about some nice grooming or maintenance kits? If you know one of your ushers loves to get a wet shave or that your best man has been hankering for a swiss army knife for a while then maybe consider those as your thank you gifts.

Nobody ever said you had to buy the same thing for every person or that you gift had to have your name emblazoned across it – sometimes it’s nice just to get a gift that you know they’ll like :) I personally love these personalised hankies, but then, I am a touch old fashioned when it comes to these things. (Of course I picked C for Cwtch but you can get any letter :) )

Something to Keep

Last but not least, we have the ‘something to keep’ contenders. It’s always nice to have a keepsake from a wedding, but that doesn’t mean you have to buy something that fits with your theme, colour scheme or personalities. Sometimes a keepsake can be the thought behind the item, rather than the gift itself.

I love this Beatles lyric print from Etsy – something to remind you of your friends, or these great personalised cufflinks (you can use any map so you can really get creative! Birth place, wedding venue, place you met them for the first time, the cufflink world is your proverbial oyster). I have a massive soft spot for personalised stationery sets (I bought one for myself for my 30th birthday and love it!) so I had to include one here. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box with your gift choices!

If you’re Welsh and Proud and are including some Welsh language in your day, then a set of usher or best man cufflinks in Welsh might be just the thing :) I also really like the dragon pocket watch – another super traditional gift with a nice twist :)

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I hope that’s given you a bit of an idea of what to buy for your ushers and best man – especially if you’ve been panicking a bit about it! :) As long as you buy with love then I’m sure they’ll appreciate whatever you get them – after all, that’s what friends are for, right? Undying love no matter what ;)


Sarah x