Alphabet Dating N, O, P, Q, R

When we got married, my husband and I knew we didn’t want to stop dating and after I heard about Alphabet Dating, I knew that this was for us. I suggest that you get creative. Not every date that you go on needs to cost the earth. Some of my favourite ones that I have done have actually been free. Remember this is a way to step out of your comfort zone, do things that you might not normally do. But most of all enjoy spending time together. 0540

Photo Credit: Maria Farrelly


Alphabet Dating N, O, P, Q, R


N

National Botanic Gardens of Wales

My husband loves our little garden. most of the plants that we have in it are edible. He has a total love for all the gardening shows and he can lose a whole weekend weeding, digging and watering our plants.

The beautiful National Botanic Garden of Wales, near Llanarthne in Camarthenshire, is a 568-acre parkland. It is a perfect place for us. When we got engaged we were in Cornwall and we had gone to the Eden Project. Its historic and futuristic buildings are breathtaking, The horticultural displays, flower meadows, the lakes and walks are out of this world and you can just get lost there.national botanicalPhoto Credit: National Botanic Garden

The Garden’s centrepiece is the Great Glasshouse designed by world-famous architects Norman Foster and Partners Inside the amazing tilted glass dome is a Mediterranean landscape dominated by a six-metre deep ravine. Rock terraces and sheer faces are cut by streams and waterfalls. A lake provides a humid habitat at the foot of the chasm. Visitors are able to experience the aftermath of an Australian bush fire, pause in a Spanish olive grove or wander through collections of fuschias from Chile.

There’s something for everyone at the Garden of Wales, from the peaceful surroundings of the Japanese Garden, its stream, tea house and cherry trees to the surround-sound experience of Theatre Botanica with its specially commissioned film celebrating the world of plants. There are lakeside walks and prairie walks, an opportunity to see the development of the unique Double Walled Garden and be some of the first to see the shoots that will become the Woods of the World in years to come. I think you will agree with me that it is a beautiful place to spend the day. med gardenPhoto Credit: National Botanic Garden


 O

Ogmore By Sea

Ogmore-by-Sea is one of the prettiest beaches that I have ever set foot on. It stretches for what seems like forever. It is part of the Glamorgan Coastal Path so it is a great spot for walkers. Starting at Merthyr Mawr, you’re also just a small bridge and short walk away from the stunning ruins of the Norman Ogmore Castle and its 52 stepping-stones across the Ogmore river.  Locals believe that the stones were laid for a girl who lived in the castle and used the stones to meet her lover across the river.  Continue walking along the river making sure you keep away from the sheep. (They scare me.) One you make it to the beach time to start the fun part. The rocks exposed along the stretch of coast near Ogmore-by-Sea were laid down between 340 and 195 million years ago. The oldest rocks are hard, grey limestones that make up the Carboniferous Limestone.These were laid down in a warm, shallow, subtropical sea and are rich in fossils, especially corals, crinoids and brachiopods. So why not take some time to do a fossil hunt. Southern Down beach also has a wealth of fossils so if you want to extend the walk you can continue on to there. My favourite part of this date is after the long walk you can unpack a yummy picnic, settle down with a glass of bubbly watch the sun set.Ogmore_on_sea_maria_farrelly_05Ogmore_on_sea_Maria_Farrelly_03

Images Courtesy of Maria Farrelly 


 P

Penderyn Whisky Tour

This tour was not up my street but my husband on the other hand really wanted to go. It has a brilliant history about a group of friends who back in the early 1990’s drank in a small pub and chatted about establishing the first whisky distillery in Wales in over a century. They dreamt of creating a whisky as pure and precious as Welsh gold, represented today by Penderyn’s ‘gold seam’.barman-pouring-happy (1)Photo Credit: Welsh Whisky

The friends chose the historic village of Penderyn on the southern tip of the Brecon Beacons, because of the site’s own supply of fresh natural spring water. They also had a unique copper single-pot still designed by Dr David Faraday, a relative of the great 19th century scientist Michael Faraday.

Penderyn Distillery opened its doors to visitors in June 2008 with the launch of its new purpose designed and built Visitor Centre. The distillery is the only one in Wales and the first to legally distil whisky spirit in the country for more than 100 years.  Take a journey through the history of single malt whisky making in Wales, and understand the distilling process at first hand.visitor-centre-barrel-endsPhoto Credit: Welsh Whisky


 Q

Quad Biking in Glasfyrn Parc

Though I myself have never actually been quad biking our lovely creator Maria has. While four months pregnant she decided to go with her work on a team building exercise. She hadn’t yet informed anyone at her job that she was pregnant and being the determined soul that she is, she set out to win! She was doing really well overtaking left, right and centre. Everyone started waving at her and trying to call her over. She thought it was because they were sore losers. That was until she got flagged down by the owner to inform her she was dragging half a tree underneath her quad bike!

quadPhoto Credit: Glasfryn Parc


 R

Roman Legion Museum

My husband and I love history. Being South African I am still learning about British history and my husband is a complete history buff. He has a way to help me understand which I thank him for.  I didn’t realise that Wales was the furthest outpost of the Roman Empire. In AD 75, the Romans built a fortress at Caerleon that would guard the region for over 200 years. Caerleon was one of only three permanent fortresses in Roman Britain. The museum lies inside what remains of the fortress. The ruins include the most complete amphitheater in Britain and the only remains of a Roman Legionary barracks on view anywhere in Europe.roman-gardenPhoto Credit: Museum Wales

There is also the most beautiful Roman Gardens. The Romans were one of the first people to use gardens for decorative purposes, they were considered outdoor rooms – an extension of the house – just like many of our gardens today. The perfect place to entertain guests, relax and unwind. Today, the museum still use gardening and horticultural techniques which the Romans established 2,000 years ago, from turning soil in the autumn and mixing compost, to hoeing beds and sowing seeds in spring. My husband will love this. We aren’t at the letter R yet so this is in the bank for when we do.

This is also a perfect place to go on a family date as at weekends and school holidays, children can step back in time in a full-sized barrack room, try on replica armour and experience the life of a Roman soldier.

Did I mention that this is free entry.WNS_Caerleon_Re-enactment_06Photo Credit: Museum Wales


 

Rhian and Lloyd’s Quirky 1920’s Wedding By Enfys Photography

Cwatch The Bride - Feature Submission - Enfys Photography - Resized - Final (6 of 99)

There are times that the wedding that comes across your desk just makes you stop and take some time to enjoy the submission. Before you know it a hald hour has gone past. You can just feel the love between … Continue reading

Lisa And Steve’s DIY Welsh Barn Wedding By Maria Farrelly Photography

We love, love, LOVE a DIY Welsh Barn Wedding here at Cwtch HQ!

Today we are sharing a wedding that I photographed last year. Lisa & Steve, along with all their friends and family rolled their sleeves up and completely DIY’d this working barn for their wedding day. Every bit of detail you see in these pictures was put together by them all. If that wasn’t great enough, every single one of their guests were simply fabulous individuals and I’m a huge believer that your guests can make or break your wedding day. The Ceremony was full of laughter and tears by all, the dance floor was never empty and the photo booth at the end… well, you can see for yourself :) 

It was an absolute pleasure to have photographed this wedding and to also work alongside some great wedding suppliers such as Kate Petersen & Holdens Catering.

I’m so thrilled with all the images, especially as I know Lisa & Steve adore them. So… without further a do, lets hand you over to Lisa to tell you all about her wedding. ~ Maria 

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All images in this post are by Maria Farrelly Photography 

welsh_barn_cwtch_wedding.084How would you describe your wedding theme?

Handmade, everyone pitched in barn wedding.welsh_barn_cwtch_wedding.079

What were your favourite parts of your wedding?

The emotional roller coaster that was the service.welsh_barn_cwtch_wedding.044 We had a wonderful few days with everyone chipping in to help. welsh_barn_cwtch_wedding.074Walking down the aisle with my dad surrounded by everyone we loved, just floored me.welsh_barn_cwtch_wedding.040

My step dad officiated, our wonderful Usher, John prepared the most wonderful personal reading and I wouldn’t have made it through the vows with out sobbing, had our badly planned ceremony back drop not provided some light relief & broken the ice. The photos of Steve and I laughing surrounded by streamers are some of my favourite of the day.welsh_barn_cwtch_wedding.043

welsh_barn_cwtch_wedding.047Tell us about your Wedding Dress

I love a beautiful gown but the idea of spending more on one dress that my entire wardrobe didn’t sit too well with my bargain hunting nature…so it was with a little trepidation that I ventured out dress shopping one spring day with my wonderful bridesmaids in tow.

The dress was by Lusan Mandongus/Anna Sully & was the second one I tried on. I loved it. But in all honesty the trip solidified that spending that much on a dress wasn’t a priority for me…So a few more trips later & a lot of wonderful options explored, I was about to hire a gorgeous alternative when this one appeared on Preloved.welsh_barn_cwtch_wedding.003

Picking it up coincided with a work trip up North, a random rondevous in a car park & breaking down in the middle of no where with my sister! There were a few tears when after trying it on I realised I’d been a tad optimistic in the sizing & it wasn’t in perfect condition, but with the help of my mum and a big dollop of patience we cleaned, adjusted and tweaked it back to life!welsh_barn_cwtch_wedding.004welsh_barn_cwtch_wedding.009

In the end I felt brilliant wearing it & the saving paid for a band..and LOTS of bubbles, totally worth the effort. welsh_barn_cwtch_wedding.114

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

Our wedding party was made up of live long friends and people we both love to bits. They were all wonderful, chipping in, making the build up and the whole day so wonderful.welsh_barn_cwtch_wedding.077

Surround yourselves with people you love & make you laugh & you cant really go wrong can you!

Why did you choose your venue?

We wanted somewhere we could decorate how we wanted, bring in our own caterers and allowed us to provide our own alcohol…That ruled out a lot. When we meet Mirander & her husband at the farm we knew it was a good match. Over looking the fact it was a working barn in the middle of winter they were so accommodating and nice. We knew it was a winner! welsh_barn_cwtch_wedding.033welsh_barn_cwtch_wedding.026welsh_barn_cwtch_wedding.093

Tell us about your photographer

The AMAZING & super creative genius that is Maria Farrelly. We had met the year before at a Cwtch The Bride event and after spending the day with her at a friends wedding and seeing her wonderful work, no one else could come close!

Maria simply becomes one of the family for the day…The beautiful and natural images she creates is testament to how at ease she makes everyone! I will cherish her pictures for ever!

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How did the proposal happen? 

We were at a BBQ and incredibly drunk sat chatting on a friends sofa! Not a modern day fairy tale exactly, but very heartfelt & looking back very us. Ring shopping the next day was interesting way of warding off a hangover!welsh_barn_cwtch_wedding.053

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

A lot was do it yourself with a big helping hand from family and friends. From the cake to the decor, lighting & stationary. I enjoy making things and work in a design industry so this was pretty enjoyable!

The biggest thing we pulled off was probably the flowers, with the exception of my bouquet, my green fingered mum grew & arranged all the flowers! Seeing her garden transform in the months building up to the wedding was exciting! She put so much love & hard work into planning & growing them all…welsh_barn_cwtch_wedding.025You need to be the sort of person who can go with the flow a little, as you can’t really be sure what you’ll have to work with till the week of the wedding, but it was a personal touch that really transformed our venue.Its worth mentioning that the peonies came from Aldi…Who are great and if you call in a few days before hand will order in extras for you!

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

Picked a closer hotel. We had visions of staying up all night at a hotel bar chatting over late night drinks..In reality we were exhausted! A comfy bed, minus the hour long coach drive would have been a better idea.welsh_barn_cwtch_wedding.129Also don’t stress the small stuff..Not everything will go to plan, but in all honesty you will be in to much of a happy bubble to care…and going off plan might even lead to some wonderful memories (Like our poor wind battered back drop photos!)welsh_barn_cwtch_wedding.050

Do you have any advice for future couples?

Prioritise your budget right from the start…and stick to it. Some things really mattered to us & made the decision process a lot easier when we came across a few budget dilemmas…Like falling in love with a venue that was realistically more than we had planned. Some traditional things simply dropped off our list, like cars for example..Meaning we could splash out on a safari honeymoon in Africa!welsh_barn_cwtch_wedding.036

What was your favourite thing about planning a wedding?

Seeing the months of work and planning all come together on the day. Take a moment and soak it all in when everyone’s eating or dancing or just chatting…it goes by so fast, but seeing everyone happy and there to celebrate with you is great!welsh_barn_cwtch_wedding.056

The Suppliers

Photographer: Maria Farrelly
Ceremony and Reception Venue: Red Barn, Hedrehedog Farm (Brides Friends)
Bride’s Dress: Lusan Mandongus/Anna Sully
Bride’s Shoes: Accessories/Converse
Bride’s Headpiece: Fresh Flowers
Bride’s Jewellery: Something borrowed
Groom’s Outfit: Dyfed Mens Wear
Bridesmaid’s Dresses: BHS
Cake: Home Made
Flowers: Rachel at Sweet Peony
Hair and Make Up: Kate Petersen
Band: Oktoberfest
Stationery: Alice Eades via Etsy
Caterers: Holdens Catering
Any Reception Decor/Props: Furniture came from Blue Sky Marquees. Candles holders/Lanterns Belle Journee
Transport: A Friends Husband

The Wedding Album

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Real Wedding: Catrin & Ian’s Rosedew Farm Wedding by Victoria Tyrrell Photography

Catrin & Ian’s gorgeous beach themed wedding at Rosedew Farm was submitted by the fabulous Victoria Tyrrell Photography. It is such a beautiful and happy day so stick the kettle on, settle in and have a good read!

On a personal note… This is the last wedding I will have the pleasure of uploading on to Cwtch the Bride so I’m glad it’s such a beauty! I have decided after a year as Features Editor to hand over the reins, but I can’t tear myself away completely so I’m sure you will see me around! Thank you to everyone who has chatted with me via email over the past year, I have loved all of your amazing weddings.

Love Charlie x
rosedew-83How would you describe your wedding theme? The overall theme of the day was the beach. We both love being at the beach and don’t live very far from some beautiful South Wales coastline. Ian proposed at the beach so it seemed to make perfect sense to continue the theme through the wedding… rosedew-92 rosedew-84

What was your favourite part of your wedding? It is very hard to choose as we honestly loved the entire day and have so many happy memories. Ian’s response – “Seeing you walk down aisle”. The ceremony was lovely. I imagined feeling nervous but in the happiness of the moment we felt it was a pleasure to say our vows to each other in the company of family and friends. Our speeches were excellent and we were thrilled to fit in a trip to Llantwit Beach after the wedding breakfast. Too many favourite parts!! rosedew-38 rosedew-41 rosedew-83

Tell us about your Wedding Dress I absolutely loved my dress but I certainly tried on a fair number in the process of choosing it! I say now that my dress search reflected my personality – I don’t make rash decisions and like to know I’ve covered all the ground before making a choice! I think me and the mums went to nearly every shop in South Wales. I finally bought the dress in Laura May Bridal. The first time I went to Laura May I felt like a child in a sweet shop – surrounded by a number of beautiful dresses that I was dying to try on. May was fantastic; she was very patient with me but also very constructive in helping me work through their beautiful dresses. I tried a number of dresses on after ‘the one’ but I didn’t like a single other A-line dress that I tried on so I knew that it was special! rosedew-4 rosedew-21 rosedew-31

Who did you pick as your bridesmaids &/or best man and why? My bridesmaid were very close friends of mine. It was an absolute joy spending time with them during the morning and the day, they are all beautiful ladies and great fun to be around.
rosedew-28Ian chose his brother as his best man. The choice was obvious, they are very close and as expected Mark did a fantastic job – his speech went down a storm! rosedew-32 rosedew-33

Why did you choose your venue? We looked at a number of venues in South Wales but Rosedew had everything we wanted and we both loved the feel of the place. We both love our food so it was important to us that we could pick our own caterers, something you can do at Rosedew. We loved the cottages and log cabins Gaynor had available and the fact that it meant lots of people could stay. Being able to put your own stamp on things is also a big bonus – it is such a blank canvas! rosedew-19 rosedew-71 rosedew-74

Tell us about your photographer We love Vikki and it was wonderful having Abi as a second shooter. Vikki did our engagement shoots and we absolutely loved them so we were very excited about our wedding photos and she certainly didn’t let us down! We felt so comfortable in Vikki and Abi’s presence which is so important when you’re spending such precious time with them on your wedding day. rosedew-65 rosedew-80 rosedew-85

How did the proposal happen? Our favourite spot is a low strip of wall which overlooks the sea at Dunraven Bay. It is a spot we have gone to for years to escape and relax. I had always had it in my head that I wanted it to happen there – I couldn’t imagine us getting engaged anywhere else so I was glad Ian had the same thought! One Friday evening, Ian suggested we took a trip up to Dunraven Bay. On our way up to ‘our spot’ I thought Ian was acting strange but he brushed it off, saying it had been a hard day at work. As we sat on the wall, Ian gave a beautiful speech and got down on one knee. I was in total shock! We spent a bit of time at the beach before heading back to a house full of balloons! rosedew-81

Any DIY stories/tutorials you’d like to share? I had lots of ideas from Pinterest but was also very fortunate to have some very creative friends and family who helped me to develop my ideas. The favourite thing I made was the driftwood boats – I adapted a guide I found on Pinterest. I used some of Ian’s old shirts and we collected a lot of driftwood from Rest Bay. They’re not only perfect for a coastal theme but lovely decorations for the home! Most importantly, it’s great to make a social occasion out of DIY projects and get friends and family involved! rosedew-95

What was your first dance & why? Everthere by Elbow. Elbow are a band that have been with us since the beginning of our relationship and their music reminds us of many a happy time. The lyrics of this song seemed perfect to us. rosedew-97

In hindsight, was there anything you would have done differently? In terms of our wedding day, we wouldn’t change a thing. We were incredibly lucky and loved every minute of it. In terms of wedding planning, I would definitely have factored more time in for DIY projects and put less pressure on myself. rosedew-92 rosedew-93rosedew-2

Do you have any advice for future couples? One guest gave the wise words ‘Nobody will notice it is missing if they didn’t know it should have been there’. With apps such as pinterest and so many good ideas from wedding blogs and friends it is easy to get over-loaded and try to do everything. I would definitely suggest keeping it realistic! We hired lots of things from Dear Florence and it really took some of the pressure off – her items are beautiful and really create an impact. We put a lot of time into researching our suppliers and it really paid off – they were all amazing. rosedew-5 rosedew-7 rosedew-8

What’s the best piece of marriage advice you received? Interestingly we didn’t get many pieces of marriage advice around the time of the wedding! In the past I have been told to expect the good times and the bad times and I think that is important. I have also been told to make time for each other, maybe even have a regular date night! rosedew-98

What was your favourite thing about planning a wedding? We were very lucky with how much friends and family helped us in the run up to our big day and the sheer amount of time and effort they put in. A number of family and friends spent many an hour and weekend at our house and the time spent with them was a real pleasure – we were both overwhelmed by their kindness. rosedew-15 rosedew-25 rosedew-70 rosedew-79 rosedew-87

The Suppliers

Photographer: Victoria Tyrrell Photography
Ceremony Venue: Rosedew Farm
Reception Venue: Rosedew Farm
Bride’s Dress: Stella York from Laura May Bridal
Bride’s Shoes: Freya Rose – I won them in a competition!
Bride’s Headpiece: Kate Petersen
Bride’s Jewellery: Liberty in Love
Groom’s Outfit: Oxford House, Pontycymmer
Bridesmaid’s Dresses: House of Fraser
Bridesmaid’s Accessories: Accessorize/Not on the highstreet
Cake: Wish Upon a Cupcake
Flowers: Bee Orchid
Hair: Kate Petersen
Make Up: Kate Petersen
Band: Will Blake Band
Caterers: Five Star Chef
Any Reception Decor/Props: Dear Florence/Plan It
Other: Plan It did on the day coordination and it was a huge help. They also do an overnight take down/clean up service which is fab.

The Wedding Album

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Cwtchfest! DIY Workshops

At Cwtchfest! THIS SUNDAY we will be holding a series of DIY workshops that you,our lovely readers, can get involved in. Emma from Sylvie & Joan has organised these for us, with workshops from our Homemade Bride Kate, Best Man Baz and  some other lovely friends of Cwtch the Bride.
Here are all the times and details – many of the workshops have a limited number of participants so if you are keen to get involved make sure you are there early!
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When

11.30 – 12pm – Naturally Crafty: Jam Jar Favours
12.30 – 1pm – Baz Price: Best Man Speech Writing Workshop
1.30 – 2.10 pm – The Flower Hive: Buttonholes
2.30 – 3pm – Kate Petersen: Photobooth Props
3.30 – 4pm – All Sewn Up: Festival bunting

The Details

Naturally Crafty – Jam Jar Crafting
Upcycling Jam Jars is a stylish and cost effective way to add that personal touch to your wedding day. At Cwtchfest, Sam from Naturally Crafty will be demonstrating how to make a variety of venue decorations and favours from simple jam jars. You will leave the workshop full of ideas and inspiration to match your wedding theme. You will learn tried and tested techniques and have the chance to have a go there and then.
Sam Littlefair got married in 2014 and her DIY wedding featured on Cwtch the Bride. She now runs a handcrafted gift and wedding hire company, Naturally Crafty.
(Max 12 participants)
The Flower Hive – Seasonal Buttonholes
Would you like to learn how to learn how to design and make your own unique buttonholes for your festival wedding? Come and try your floristry skills using spring flowers and hedgerow foliage.
Eva is owner of The Flower Hive, based in Pencoed, close to Cardiff where she grows a wonderful selection of traditional cottage garden flowers  grown in accordance with organic and bio dynamic principles.
(Max 10 participants)
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Kate Petersen – Photobooth Props
Kate our very own Homemade bride will be helping you create your own selection of photo booth props for your wedding. This will help create some fun, different and relaxed photos that will help break the ice. From moustaches and lips to tiaras and bow ties, these props are sure to help guests smile and get silly for the camera.
Kate Petersen has worked in the wedding industry for many years as a hair and make up artist and maker of exquisite headpieces and beautiful bouquets.
(Max 12 participants)
All Sewn Up – Festival Bunting
Making your own bunting for your wedding day is a fantastic way of adding your own personality to the venue.  You could even arrange a hen party to get your best friends involved in making it with you?
At Cwtchfest, Helen from All Sewn Up will be demonstrating how to make simple bunting and will give you ideas and allow you to have a go there and then, by hand or by machine.  The All Sewn Up Workshops are based in Swansea, on the edge of Gower and run by award winning designer Helen Rhiannon.
(Max 8 participants)

If you still haven’t bought your tickets – hurry! There isn’t much time left!

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