Bride to be Diaries: Introducing Our First Bridesmaid, Maid In Wales

Good morning you lovely bunch!

We finally have the pleasure of introducing our very first bridesmaid! Have you been asked to step up? Are you going to be the Maid of Honor? Are you in need of some inspiration and help for this mahoosive role you’re about to fill?

Well, our gorgeous Maid In Wales, Gwen, is in the same boat, and here to share her journey with you……

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Hello! Lovely to meet you all!

I’m Gwen and in just over a year’s time I am going to helping my twin sister Alys walk down the aisle as her Maid of Honour. We’re both 29 and grew up in the Brecon Beacons in a little village called Bwlch.

Maid In Wales Gwen 1

We went our separate ways for University – me to Exeter and Alys to Cardiff – where we both met local boys who have ended up as our future husbands. I now live in Exeter with my husband Mike and work in PR for a local hospital. When I’m not writing press releases or promoting the NHS to the local media, I spend my time crafting, taking photos, going to festivals, and travelling back and forth to Wales visiting family and friends (I spend A LOT of time on the M5…).

Alys and I have always been best friends, so when I married Mike last August, it was only natural that she should be my Maid of Honour.

Maid In Wales Alys and Gwen

I always knew that she would be up to the task and, during one crazy year of wedding planning, Alys turned out to be a ‘Maid of Honour Extraordinaire’! She threw herself in to organising my amazing hen weekend (which remained top secret until the moment my hens surprised me outside Bath train station).

Maid In Wales Me on my hen party

She was a constant support throughout the wedding planning process helping with everything from dress shopping to individually hand painting invitations. And on an emotional rollercoaster of a wedding day (when I was just about managing to hold it all together) she even managed to reduce me to tears by writing a cheesy song and getting my friends to perform it during the reception. All in all – BEST BRIDESMAID EVER.

Maid In Wales (Gwen)

The trouble is, now it’s my turn. When Alys’ boyfriend Phil popped the question last summer I excitedly (and a little apprehensively) assumed that the time had now come for me to return the favour. Her official MOH proposal came in the post with a card and a customised badge for each of her five chosen bridesmaids. As geographical distance is an issue for Alys’ newly formed ‘Bride Tribe’ (we’re spread out across South Wales, the Midlands and the South West), we all took to Whatsapp to share our reactions to the mail with bridesmaid badge selfies. Naturally we all accepted. So now the hard work begins.

Maid In Wales My MOH proposal

Whilst I am honoured and excited at the prospect of helping my twin sister walk down the aisle next year, she has left me with some rather big shoes to fill. I want to be able to give her exactly the same amazing experience she gave me (which will be quite a challenge!). I’ve already got the engagement party under my belt – I supplied the decorations, helped out with the catering and even made a small speech (public speaking is not my thing) – and attended the obligatory family wedding fair visit which has given us lots of ideas and inspiration for her big day.

Maid In Wales Alys and Gwen 2

As Brides go, she is very on the ball with planning her wedding and already has lots of elements booked in. I, on the other hand, am not quite so sorted with my MOH duties. The prospect of planning a hen party for up to 17 of Alys’ closest friends fills me with dread and I have yet to start any firm preparation. I have a few ideas though, and with the help of my wonderful fellow bridesmaids, I’m confident that we’ll be able to pull it off. Fingers crossed.

We cannot wait to hear more about what you have planned for Alys! x

Featured Post: Ladies Who Lodge at The Celtic Manor

Hello you lovely lot!

Well, not so long ago, Maria and I had the pleasure of being invited to sample some of the loveliness that is the Hunter Lodges for an event; #ladieswholodge. We went along to see how they could fit into a perfect girlie getaway, namely, your luxurious hen party! And boy it did not disappoint!


We arrived and were whisked away to the beautiful lodges, nestled amongst the trees of the stunning landscape that surrounds the 2010 Ryder Cup Course of the Celtic Manor in the Usk Valley.

Entering the room felt like we were entering the home of Father Christmas himself. It was decked out absolutely beautifully, showcasing the lodge in all its ‘Classy, Comfortable and Cwtchy‘ wonder.


The living area of the lodge itself is open plan with vaulted ceilings, and high end kitchen and is the perfect space for entertaining, but with a gorgeously cosy feel to it around a burning fire and cwtchy sofas.


With four double en suite bedrooms, an indoor sauna and a hot tub with incredible views, you and your girls could live in complete lavishness .

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After a lovely introduction from Marketing and Glenn Lewis who designed the interiors, we had a fabulous welcome in the form of the most delectable cocktails, made in front of us by the very talented Mixologist, Jan Kosler. A little taster of what we were going to be treated to later in the evening.

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In the kitchen, casual as you like, was the amazing Executive Head Chef Michael Bates, surrounded by canapés and prepping for Christmas puddings!


I was roped in to help (ok ok, I volunteered!) and loved it.  The smell of the orange, lemon, cinnamon, dark rum and treacle (to name but a few ingredients) was just Christmas personified!

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It was thirsty work, but we got through it and thankfully Maria was on hand behind the camera with one of Jan’s “Vanilla Snowball’ cocktails.

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We were all treated to our own little pudding to take home!

Following the pudding fun, we continued to drink and moved into the living room area to cosy up for a moment with our own fondue.  Who doesn’t love fondue!?


And then onto the fabulous cocktail class with Jan! So brilliant, and so much fun to do with your girls! Admittedly, when making your own, you always tend to be slightly more generous with the portion control!ladies_lodge-15-of-38 ladies_lodge-16-of-38 ladies_lodge-17-of-38

I want Jan to me my new best friend.  I think he was a little alarmed by me.ladies_lodge-30-of-38

In the morning we all headed to The Forum, The Celtic Manor’s in house Health Club and Spa, for a massage, a swim and generally feel awfully special! Then to top it off, we were sent home with a gorgeous goody bag!

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All in all, it is just a fabulous place. For a group of girls, celebrating in a luxurious manner for a hen party, you just cannot beat this place! I want to go over and over and over!

Thank you so much for having us! x

Images by Maria Farrelly Photography


FEATURED POST- St Fagan’s Hen Afternoons

Hi Cwtchers!

Today on the blog we wanted to draw your attention to our fabulous Lush Listers St Fagan’s National History Museum who do something a bit different when it comes to hen party’s.  

We love the idea of having a hen afternoon with your ladies before the hen night allowing young and old to join in your pre-nuptial celebrations.

St Fagan’s Hen afternoons offer the chance for your Hens to choose from a range of activities from their chosen era, including learning how to do the Charleston dance or getting creative with classic crafts and making pom poms, bunting and garlands, and ceramic workshops.

With food and drinks being an important part of any hen party, the afternoon tea dining experience has been carefully prepared by St Fagans’ award winning catering team, Elior. It includes finger sandwiches and a variety of miniature homemade cakes and scones, served with brewed coffee and Welsh brew tea followed by a celebratory glassof fizz.

Great idea and we love to see our Welsh businesses doing something so well!!

Look below and should you wish to find out more click here

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Emma’s Hen Party!

On the blog today we have the gorgeous Emma from Emma Philips Bridal Studio. Yes…Bridal boutique owners get married too! and they have rather awesome hen parties hahaha 

Wedding-66All images in the post by: Maria Farrelly Photography

I’ve known Emma for a number of years and was thrilled when she asked if I could come along and photograph part of her Hen do.

In all honesty, It was the first hen do i’ve ever photographed. Amongst the numerous weddings, pre-wedding shoots and family portraits I am commissioned for, this was a refreshing change and one I knew would be hilarious. I’ll hand you over to Emma and she can tell you all about it. But before I do… Ladies, if you’d like your hen party photographed, give me a shout, I had great fun with this one and would love to do more :) ~ Maria x 

Hello Cwtchers!


To be fair, my Hendo was kept pretty much like a secret military operation by my sister Lucy!

Wedding-64I was only allowed to know that it was Cardiff, and that was it! Even the other girls didn’t know (Apart from the bridesmaids – and some of my friends hate surprises!) so it was great fun just jumping in the car & heading off….once we had met at my house, dressed head to toe in “Geek Chic”!

We actually started the day off in my favourite way – EATING! We were booked into the brilliantly fun, Mexican street -food restaurant Wahaca’s, where we munched on crickets (yes crickets!), taco’s, churros & lots of Mexican beers & cocktails (mocktails for my two, yes TWO pregnant bridesmaids!).

Wedding-63After plenty of amusement there, we then headed to the utterly fabulous Lab 22 on Mill Lane for a superb cocktail masterclass!

Now, I spent years working for Revolution cocktail bars, so I knew a thing or two myself but this blew us away….smoke filled teapots, trickery & tom foolery, and heavenly cocktails made by us! And to top it all off….the beautiful (& talented!) Maria Farrelly was there to catch us in the action, right in the thick of it! For me, having these pictures from my Hen Party was invaluable. You always get the beautiful wedding day pictures, but its rare to have a fab photographer to capture all the giggles and mishaps of a fun girls night out!

After consuming all the cocktails…I’m struggling to remember where we went next! I do know it involved pretending to watch the rugby whilst drinking more beers & then checking into the gorgeous Park Plaza for the evening, getting dolled up & out once again. Sunday was a fabulous wind down, with Gentlemans Afternoon Tea in the Park Plaza hotel which (as a complete foodie!) was EPIC!

Thank you so much to all my beautiful bridesmaids, and friends who made it a brilliant weekend…and of course to Maria for capturing us in such hilarious style, Emma xx

Lab 22

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If you would like Maria Farrelly to photograph your Hen Party, you can contact her here

Planning a Hen Do by Homemade Bride Kate

The beautiful Christy featured as our Cwtch of the Week yesterday and we will be showcasing the full wedding this Friday. In the meantime here is big sister, our Homemade Bride Kate, to tell you all about planning the hen do!

When my little sister managed to organise a perfect hen party, she set the bar extremely high. Not only had she managed to make sure all of my favourite people were there, she had thought of all my favourite things to do, eat, drink and some how all of these were included in my amazing weekend. The thing is, I had an ace up my sleeve that she didn’t realise. I had been listening to all the little ideas from all of my brides over the years and cherry picking the ones that I thought that she would love. For anyone who has ever organised a hen you will quickly work out that not only is it a whole heap of work but you want to make it one of the most memorable experiences of the hen’s life.

The beautiful bride

The beautiful bride

I was very lucky that I was able to have a partner in crime, Rhian. She has been Christy’s best friend since school and she knows her better than anyone. Now for anyone who knows the pair of us we are both very organised in our professional lives. Personal life, not so much. We both had to look at this as a job. We couldn’t let her down. So we had many hen organising meetings. I will admit a couple of them were more coffee and a catch up but we did eventually get the job done!

Since we had decided we wanted a girly soirée rather than a chavtastic night out… we booked Ascot! It was a great excuse to put on a posh frock. Not to mention wear a fancy hat! And our ladies did us proud. They really pulled out all the stops when it came time to choosing their hats and everyone looked stunning.

As I said it was the little things, from my brides, that I had remembered to make it memorable for her. We needed an ice breaker. This is where Rhian did an amazing job and organised a leaflet with a picture of everyone attending the hen on it and how they knew the bride. Perfect! The other thing that she had got printed was a little business card of the hotels name and some contact numbers, just in case anyone got lost.

The next thing I did was ask each hen for a song that reminded them of the bride. With a 2 hour bus ride I wanted to make sure we had some good tunes. Basically each time a new song came on she had to work out who had chosen it and then tell everyone the memory or the reason it was chosen. Once again helping to break the ice between people as we heard some brilliant stories of nights out, singing in school or epic gym sessions. This also triggered spontaneous dancing in the aisles and at times everyone singing at the top of their lungs! The numerous bottles of champagne donated by the groom may have helped with this.

Now a hen is not a hen without her paraphernalia. As her fiancés nickname is Horse we bought her an inflatable stallion. My mum made her the most amazing sash out of burlap, lace and bling and the fanciest “L” plate you have ever seen. Definitely a labour of love and definitely worth each and every minute.

Christy and Mum

Christy and Mum

The other thing I did as a surprise for her was instead of taking photos of the hen, I took little video clips. Then using a movie making app, I put it all together and gave it to her the night before the wedding. Why not on the morning of her wedding? As a make up artist I knew it might make her cry so I didn’t want to ruin any make up on the day. You will be surprised how many times I have to touch up make up after reading cards and receiving gifts! It was definitely not something she was expecting from me as I am the least technical person that I know and I shocked myself at how easy it was to do, but it was worth every minute seeing how much she loved it.  Now for any of you who know my sister you will know she doesn’t cry easily. I was very happy I managed to break the ice queen as she squeezed out a couple of tears.

Sister love! Kate and Christy.

Sister love! Kate and Christy.

Now where would a hen party be without some toilet roll wedding dresses, some pin the tail on the donkey and one hunky butler in the buff. It was honestly on of the best shopping experiences ever, as Rhian wrote down all the things we wanted in a man. Clean cut, good body…if only it was as easy as that in real life!  I will never forget her face as he walked through the door. This handsome semi naked man bringing her dinner as she starts choking on her bread roll. The best part of it is none of the other hens knew either so their were a few of them who choked on their wine before it erupted into applause.

I can only hope that I did her half as proud as she did me. Even with all the stress of organising 25 people for the weekend the money hassles, the bookings, the phone calls, the logistics, the food orders, I would do it all over again to just see her having the time of her life. 4dd12e298a04df13810f1361e884b235

This all sounds amazing, we would love to hear from you if you have planned a hen, have amazing hen party ideas or if you just want to say thanks for your amazing hen do, leave a comment in the box! Now we can’t wait to see the full wedding on Friday!