Bride To Be Diaries: Our Graceful Bride Might Have Taken On Too Much

When I got married I had these massive plans for a big family meal the day be for and this lovely breakfast with the people from both our sides enjoying every minute together and continuing the celebration.

I got to a point where a friend sat me down and told me that I should only put my energy into the wedding day since she had gotten overwhelmed. I actually, for once, listened to her and left it.

Today our Graceful Bride tells us all how she might have taken on too much with her “wedding weekend.” Take it away Vicky.  b2b-graceful-banner

Our Graceful Bride

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Maybe we took on a bit too much….

So the wedding has been and gone and all I’m left with now are hundreds of photos and a list a mile long on who needs to know that I’m changing my name!

As fabulous as it was, a few days beforehand I was beginning to wonder if we’d taken on a bit too much. I mean who plans a wedding 225 miles away from where they live with 2 days of activities beforehand and a honeymoon straight afterwards!

Couple that with the fact Rob also had tonsillitis in the days leading up to the wedding and I’m quite surprised I didn’t just keel over somewhere!

Packing turned into a military operation and on the Tuesday before. I think I only sat down when I was in the car driving what felt like the length and breadth of Essex, all whilst trying to remind Rob when he needed to take his antibiotics!

With the dog off on his holiday, a car packed to the roof and a tired, disgruntled fiancé, we took on the M4 on a Wednesday evening, my many paged itinerary in hand and trying and get to my parents house with enough time to have a half decent nights sleep!file-23-11-2016-14-05-59file-23-11-2016-14-06-12

Thursday was family day, golf and afternoon tea at the Celtic Manor, Rob wrapped up in a good 4 layers with instructions not to overdo it, advice we should have taken in regards to eating as well I think!

As if we’d not had enough to eat and drink then we had a large family meal at our favourite restaurant in Newport, complete with gifts from the staff as we’ve been going there for over 20 years.

It was lovely to share our place with family that haven’t been in a long time and for Robs side of the family to experience it.

After a rather giggly church rehearsal on Friday morning (slightly concerned the photographers wouldn’t come back at one point) we said goodbye to each other and went our separate ways for the day.

Rob headed back to Celtic Manor for more golf and a meal with his friends, I put my parents, cousins and aunt and uncle to work at Peterstone Court.file-23-11-2016-14-06-23file-23-11-2016-14-06-36

With the most glorious weather we spent most of the time sat outside, looking at the view whilst putting together confetti cones and favour bags, it really was one of the best afternoons!

My friends timed their arrival amazingly well, just after everything had been finished setting up, so we took over the local pub for the evening, adults in one room, kids in the other (I say kids, apart from Charlie who’s an actual child the rest of us were aged between 20 and 35!!)

Needless to say by that point I was pretty exhausted and didn’t get much past 10.30pm!

We did something on the Saturday but I’ll leave that for another post….

By the Sunday I’d also come down with a cold so had the fun task of trying to tidy up, check out and get into a highly decorated car to move everything back to Essex, as well and trying to squeeze my mum in the back somewhere as she was coming to dog sit.

By the time we picked up Bailey he had to sit on my lap as there was no ounce of space available, (highly uncomfortable given he’s a rather large labradoodle!)

We arrived back to a welcome from the neighbours and a house decorated with balloons and banners before having a grand total of about 12 hours there before we headed off to Gatwick for the honeymoon.file-23-11-2016-14-06-50file-23-11-2016-14-07-01

A week in the sun (and a few cheeky champagnes and whiskeys on the flight) were just what we needed though and both of us were soon feeling better!

Just about got us refreshed enough to come back home and head off to Wales again a few days later for another wedding, different outfits though this time!!file-23-11-2016-14-07-11file-23-11-2016-14-07-20

Hands up who is ever so slightly jealous of that honeymoon. I can’t wait to share with you Vicky’s wedding. make sure you keep your eyes peeled for it.

Bride To Be Diaries: Our Traditional Bride’s Pre-Honeymoon Dash

So our beautiful Traditional Bride is married! She looked amazing and we can’t wait to show you her big day. Today she talks about how she did a bit of crazy honeymoon planning. Grab a cuppa and pop your feet up as I hand you over to Kathryn.

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Our Traditional Bridetraditional bride

Pre-Honeymoon Dash

So the wedding is done and dusted. I’ve talked, laughed and cried about it so much and can’t wait for it to be published as one of Cwtch’s Real Weddings so I’m not going to go over it all again now, I’m going to tell you about the next amazing but stressful part of our wedding process. The Honeymoon.

Now I know a lot of you sensible people will have already budgeted for a honeymoon, perhaps you may have already booked it and started saving for it… if that’s you, well done, you’re doing the right thing!

I however, had a different approach. Every single last penny of our savings, wages, earnings and any cash we came across was ploughed directly into our big day. To us, we didn’t want to scrimp on a single detail on the day if we could help it, and our priority was the day itself. We had the bright idea of asking our beautiful family and friends to kindly gift us with some cash instead of traditional wedding presents, we live together and have all the toasters, plates and kettles we need in our life, and we just hoped that with these very kind donations, we would be able to snap up a “cheap late deal” on a honeymoon a day or 2 after the wedding and just jet off!photo-23-09-2016-12-01-41-pm

That did indeed happen… Eventually. Although it wasn’t particularly cheap. We couldn’t have been more grateful for the incredible generosity of our loved ones, and we had a fantastic honeymoon in beautiful sunny Cyprus but the fact of the matter was that we ended up paying for a holiday that we wouldn’t have chosen if we’d had more time! You see there doesn’t appear to be such a thing as a “cheap late deal” these days… unless you live near the London airports or want to go to Turkey, neither of which was a possibility for us!photo-26-09-2016-9-02-40-pm

Our wish-list went like this:

💎Cyprus/Canaries

💎Flying from Bristol/Cardiff

💎10 nights

💎On the beach

💎Nice resort, near a few pubs/restaurants but not too wild.

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I exhausted onthebeach.com within 24 hours of the wedding and quickly realised we needed some help so spent the next 3 days in Thomson, Thomas Cook and eventually Travel House to finally get anything anywhere near what we wanted.

Rich and I are not massive on luxury, we wanted some guaranteed sunshine, a relaxing holiday together just to chill out and reflect on the manic couple of years we’d had and the lovely future ahead of us. But the truth of it was we had very little choice!

The right destinations just didn’t have the right flights, the right flights didn’t fly on the right dates, the right dates didn’t match our budget and what matched our budget were to completely different places!

It was hell. I really hadn’t thought this through, and was in such a panic, if we hadn’t booked time off work, I’d have said sod it, let’s leave it a few weeks, but we couldn’t.

My job isn’t so bad, they’re pretty flexible but Rich had booked 3 weeks off and simply couldn’t change it so we admitted defeat and took a holiday which ticked 2 of our boxes (well, almost 2… We conceded to dropping one night!)photo-02-10-2016-3-40-51-pm

What we actually got:

✅Cyprus

✅Flying from Birmingham

✅9 nights

✅Nowhere near the bloody beach

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But before the holiday could begin, I had to get rid of the cats.

I love my weird, ungrateful pets a lot more than they even like me I think.

Being a responsible owner, I’d already pre-arranged their stay in a local cattery because I knew we would be going somewhere, but with everything going on, not to mention the last minute shopping trip where I spent a ridiculous amount of time searching the sale rails in New Look and Next for the last of the holiday gear the day before we departed, I’d simply forgotten I had to actually take them in.

The crazy little creatures won’t let Rich even touch them half the time, they don’t appear to like male humans (they are rescue cats and I have no idea of their background or previous treatment, only that they’re terrified of men. I could write blogs purely on the hell we endure with these psychotic animals on a daily basis but I’d be here all day.)photo-22-11-2016-5-02-01-pm

So I was happily cruising home from my shopping trip when I had a phone call from the hubby reminding me I had to take the fur-devils to the cattery by 5:00pm.

It was 4:35 and I was about 2 miles from home and a further 5 miles from the cattery. Cue the most horrific panic ever, you don’t know horror until your much-struggled-for honeymoon is under threat by 2 fluffy balls of indifference.

I booted it back to the house, grabbed the critters and rammed them in the cat cage, there was no time for tickles, treats and coaxing, I got clawed to bits in the process but with 10 minutes to spare, I was booting it back down the road, Lily and Lola yowling in the cage next to me as if it was their holiday at stake and I was literally, excuse the pun, having kittens!photo-22-11-2016-5-02-08-pm

The cattery opens 10am – 5pm, we were leaving at 6am the next day, too early to take them in in the morning and was stuck in rush hour traffic realising I was just not going to get them there in time.

Living in Swansea, I have no close friends and neighbours nearby to help me or take them in the next day for me, my family are all in Ammanford and I couldn’t believe that I’d left it so damn late!! I’d had all day!!

So a hysterically tearful phone call to said cattery resulted with a member of staff huffily agreeing to wait for our arrival (which was eventually 5:30pm!) and that was it, the kitties were safely deposited! Hating me, but safe and looked after.photo-23-09-2016-9-50-16-pmphoto-28-09-2016-12-32-50-am

And off we went, a whole week after the wedding!We had an amazing time. We drove the long trek to Birmingham and got tipsy in the airport, as you do, our flight was delayed and we arrived late in the night but the hotel was stunning, a massive refurbished 1-bed apartment overlooking the pool!

We ate out every day and night in gorgeous little Cypriot restaurants, walked miles and miles exploring bars and shops, we sipped cocktails and partied a bit too hard in the Ayia Napa strip a couple of nights, and spent a fortune on taxis to the next town to go to the actual beach, we met lovely friends, caught a fabulous tan, and enjoyed every second of our honeymoon BUT never would I ever leave it that late to book again!photo-28-09-2016-11-48-59-am

The cheap late deals are a thing of the past, unless you don’t mind where you go or your goal posts are totally moveable, book in advance!

And your pets. Don’t forget them either!photo-30-09-2016-9-32-41-pmI know how crazy it gets after the wedding. We had a 6 day gap between the wedding and the honeymoon so I can relate to the craziness, the total exhaustion and the need to just want to go x

Bride To Be Diaries: Our Graceful Bride Plans Her Honeymoon

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I always thought that the honeymoon was just a holiday but after getting married I realised how important it was. With all the planning, the emotions and the big day itself I was shattered. You need a holiday! Today Our … Continue reading

Our Rustic Bride Kristy

I am a massive believer in fate and Our Rustic Bride Kristy is the perfect example of this. How many of us can say we are marrying our university sweetheart. This beautiful lady is going to have a wedding with lots of handmade items but the thing that is going to play a big part of the day is music…cuddle up on the sofa with a cup of hot chocolate and fall in love with Kristy the way we have…..!!! 

IMAG0976Hi there, my name is Kristy and I have been given the wonderful opportunity to share my experiences over the next 9 months heading towards our wedding!! I am now 30 years old and have been waiting for the day that my perfect man would ask me to marry him since I was a teenager. I was lucky enough  to find my English man Kieron when I was 18. It was the day I left home for Cardiff university. Not originally the university I wanted to get into I must admit, but a last minute effort to apply through clearing secured me a place. Unfortunately due to it being a bit rushed I didn’t get into student residences and had to find my own accommodation. The day I arrived (18.09.04) I knocked on the door and this tall, blonde haired, blue eyed boy answered and introduced himself as Kieron. We both went about the business of moving in. When our families left I found myself nervously standing in the kitchen alone, I decided I didn’t want to be alone so I spent the afternoon in Kierons room chatting away. I knew instantly that I really liked him. It was later that night while watching Shrek we had our first kiss. We have never lived apart since. We are best friends and soul mates and I can’t wait to become his wife a day before our 12th anniversary together. As you can see, I have waited a long time for this!

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I was born and have always lived in Wales. I was brought up in a small town outside Carmarthen before moving to Cardiff for university (where Kieron and I met). Since then we have been living in an even smaller town outside of Swansea.IMAG1231

I qualified as a midwife just over two years ago. I think it is definately a calling and I love it. I work both day and night shifts, and going for bridal appointments following night shifts has led to some very entertaining conversations and I think some unusual decisions!more recent 2015

I am an active girl –  I enjoy yoga and pilates. I love to dance, and don my ballet shoes often. I like to get out and about with Kieron and our fur baby Indi. She’s a relatively new addition to the unit, she is the most ridiculous little thing but definitely keeps us on our toes!indi pup

This year, I just cant wait to finally become a Mrs. To have both of our families in one place at the same time. Our families being seperated by the river Severn has not allowed this before. And of course the HONEYMOON!P1020959

Bride to Be Diaries: Victoria books The Honeymoon!

Bride to Be Victoria is back to talk about that thing every couple looks forward to – The Honeymoon!

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‘Honeymoon.’ The dictionary definition of this noun (and I opted for the Oxford version rather than the one given in the urban dictionary in light of the fact my mum will be reading this……!) is three fold-

1. A vacation or trip taken by a newly married couple.

2. The month or so following a marriage.

3. Any period of blissful harmony (which I massively like the sound of!

So the time came for Dan and I to make a decision about where we wanted to take a trip to as an aforementioned newly married couple to bask in our post French getaway ‘blissful harmony’. Bask is contextually appropriate too given that after a two year engagement involving an inordinate amount of emails, lists, DIY projects and event coordinating, this is the extent of what I want to be doing for the main of our getaway- preferably in the sort of sunshine that we are only lucky enough to get about 4 days of the year in lovely Wales

Obviously there’s not just me to consider here- whilst I would be happy laying on a sunbed, affording myself the luxury of actually having time to read a book, Dan isn’t one for sitting or lying still. Our previous summer holidays have left me pondering whether he is in fact the only adult ever to be accused of having ‘ants in his pants’?! For a start he doesn’t read books(this is the man who wrote a book review on the children’s novel ‘Pongwiffy’ for his GCSE English assignment!) and his attention span is so short that remaining horizontal and listening to a couple of songs soon bores him (we couldn’t be more different!). He wants to be snorkelling, diving, swimming, kayaking, jet-skiing, water-skiing- you name it, he wants to be involved– and for me to be tooI am a self-confessed sun worshipper.  I love the sun, love feeling carefree and knowing that the biggest decision that  I will need to make that day is “ooh do I wear the navy bikini or the floral one?” and adore the feeling of being ‘off timetable/schedule’- literally. That said we both love exploring new places and experiencing the culture of a destination, hence why we often go on city breaks (in Belgium’s case it’s essentially all about the beer and waffles though!). 

Roped into kayaking.....this is me joining in!

Roped into kayaking…..this is me joining in!

So firstly we put together a list of ‘musts’- specifications if you like. What did we want out of our honeymoon….? This is something to be really certain of as a couple- I mean if you don’t establish your criteria then the travel agent has an impossible task ahead of them- as well as potentially becoming a mediator as you two bicker about budgets, not wanting a long flight to avoid those constricting stockings and whether it’s absolutely necessary to have a rose petal filled bath. We didn’t have any heated debates over it. I have always wanted to go to Asia- India, Nepal, Cambodia-they fascinate me. August is not a good time for this part of the world in relation to weather (year 8 Geography, courtesy of Mr Ash, thank you!) – and so Dan threw the idea of a ‘mini moon’ into the pot to get us started – e.g. we go away for a few days following the wedding but have our longer trip to somewhere in Asia next Easter.  

After pondering it for all of two minutes I said No as I am anticipating that our (fingers crossed) amazing wedding weekend would have been so busy with all of our fab guests that having the opportunity to simply just ‘be’ with my husband (eeek!) for a couple of weeks afterwards (especially as we would have been living apart for most of the year!) seems just as important to me as the wedding itself. Case closed- we moved on. Though in retrospect I think I may have inadvertently done myself out of an additional trip away?!  Damn it!

So we were getting somewhere– we wanted a two week trip, somewhere we hadn’t been, preferably long haul and exotic yet with things to see/do as well as it having sun, lavish food, cocktails and activities to keep Dan occupied. Too much to ask?Nope….especially if you go to KuoniThis is a company that I have never had anything to do with. My friend, Laura booked her honeymoon to Mauritius with them two years ago and raved about their service (or was it the glasses of champagne they got when booking in store?!) as well as the quality of their resorts. They are specialists in luxurious accommodation and premium offers for honeymooners (and Destination Bride Jemma works for them!)The friendly advisor went through some options with us. 

Some places were ruled out as I had been lucky enough to visit them already. Others (Peru) because neither of us fancied sweating it up hiking along the Inca trail, camping and enduring each other’s’ constant whiff of b.o. (we definitely wouldn’t be doing a lot of the urban dictionary’s definition of a honeymoon!) 

Hiking along the Inca Trail... just isn't for us

Hiking along the Inca Trail… just isn’t for us

I felt quite bad actually just making split decisions about countries/destinations as she listed some more options….. Hong Kong, California, Santorini, Sardinia….all were declined. To me this isn’t any ordinary summer holiday. We would be ‘honeymooners’ not just ‘holiday makers’. I guess I just had a picture in my mind- you hear the word ‘honeymoon’ and visualise crisp, clear waters and idyllic scenes of waiters bringing you pina coladas in coconuts as you hold hands with your partner. Romance romance romance. Or maybe that’s just me?! Paradise.  

The 'paradise' vision

The ‘paradise’ vision

A bit like the bounty advert from the 90’s which I remember like it was yesterday rather than (gulp!) 20 years ago! It turns out Dan had been harbouring the same sort of visualisation in his mind. He even went as far to say “I’d like to stay in one of those little huts, you know like ones out on the ocean, something like you’d get in the Maldives.”  Bingo. And there began our more specific search. 

The Maldives it was. I didn’t need my arm twisting…….water villa, Indian Ocean, peace and quiet….why would I?! Oh and yes…….we were able to find a resort within our budget (decided upon before going to Kuoni) which seems to have every water sport under the sun included (that’s Dan happy), as well as a free laundry service (therefore I may have a small chance of being able to stick within baggage allowance for once- for all those that know me, this is an ongoing problem of mine!).  It seemed to tick all the boxes. Well, apart from the ‘lots of things to see and do if we want’ part. 

This is the sort of activity I am happy to get off the sunbed for! Bring on the Maldives!

This is the sort of activity I am happy to get off the sunbed for! Bring on the Maldives!

Don’t get me wrong-the Maldives is a once in a lifetime experience, a real kick back, watching sunsets while embracing and getting a couples massage on the stunning white beach kind of break- but- we love meandering about, finding our way around cities, going to bars, dancing, haggling and visiting landmarks too. Our travel advisor suggested we twin our Maldives honeymoon with a short break in Dubai before coming home. Perfect! 

Glitzy Dubai- it's like the Emerald City and will be the complete antithesis of our kicked back Maldivian break!

Glitzy Dubai- it’s like the Emerald City and will be the complete antithesis of our kicked back Maldivian break!

With this playground of old and new sights, shops and sizzling sunshine (not sure how poor Dan will fair in these sorts of temperatures!) what’s not to love?   So after some research into various hotels (aka scrupulously trawling through trip advisor!) our honeymoon was booked! All parts of our specifications seemed to be catered for! 

Dubai- not everyone drives around in a porsche. We are looking forward to going on a few day trips.

Dubai- not everyone drives around in a porsche. We are looking forward to going on a few day trips.

I know that my predisposition to write lists in order to establish focus is met with eye rolling and giggles from family and friends but honestly, in this case, fellow cwtchers, it’s a must. Sitting down and having a chat about how you picture that special time- be it leopard spotting on a safari, huffing and puffing your way up Mount Fuji, or twirling around the strip in Vegas highly intoxicated, it’s paramount to get your couple criteria together so that a travel advisor can do their best for you. A honeymoon or mini-moon, whatever sort of moon you’re looking to have, it’s special and so you need to make sure it’s perfect for the both of youAfter all- you only get one

I may even go on the jetskis again.....if he lets me drive of course!

I may even go on the jetskis again…..if he lets me drive of course!