Today we get to share Charlie’s, our former lovely Cwtch Girl, favourite memory of her and Marks big day.
Happy Anniversary guys!
When we decided our new midweek feature was going to be all about wedding memories I got a bit panicked because I knew it would soon be my turn to share mine. The problem with that is that my memories from my wedding day are all a bit hazy, and for once not through drink!
You know those cheesy TV programmes that use the wavy clouds around the edges just before going in to a dream sequence? That’s kind of how my wedding looks when I try and remember it, I know everyone says it but the day really does go by so quickly. The part of the day that I remember best was getting ready with my girls in the morning, I was very relaxed and had a brilliant morning (unlike poor Mark who got stuck in the barbers and ended up having to rush around!).
But when I think of my favourite part of the day it’s not so much one specific moment it’s more a series of moments all linked by a warm fuzzy feeling. The best parts of the day were all the cwtches, all the love, all the smiles on people’s faces and most of all taking a few moments alone with my new husband and saying “we did it”. It’s hard to put this into words without being ridiculously mushy so I will share with you some of my favourite photos by our amazing photographer Maria Farrelly, honestly I look at our photos all the time even nearly two years later. I can’t recommend her highly enough.
Today, its our Boobless Bride Dawn‘s first wedding anniversary with Steve and she has written a very special post telling us all about their first year of Marriage. NB: brace yourselves for a hell of a read. It breaks my heart to see a very dear friend of mine have to go through this. But its so important we all talk about it and help in any way we can. ~ Maria
It’s hard to believe that it was a year ago that my sister-in-law Beth and I embarked on the first part of the marriage adventure. We headed to Wrexham to collect Jessie, the VW Split Camper. Wedding car, Honeymoon, Taxi and Camping adventure. I still remember the fear of the ‘slow brakes’ as we started rolling down the side of a mountain. And to be honest, that was the scariest part of the whole wedding. I found myself the day of the wedding – composed, excited and just so so happy. I know that your wedding day is supposed to be the best day of your life, for a lot of brides it is the total opposite. But for me it was. It was bursting with laughter, love, fun and a massive party with all those around me that I love. Everybody had an absolute blast and it made Steve and I very aware of how fortunate we are to have such loving friends and family around us.So, we toured Wales in ‘Jessie’ and loved our family camping trip. We were a proper family – not conventional but still a happy little family; Me, Steve, Imogen, Madeleine and Yvie. Made up of step parents, parents, step kids and daughters but so unbelievably happy.
It reminded me that the happiest times are being together, not spending money and paying for theme parks; but playing rounders, surfing and playing games together. Although it was not an ‘easy holiday’ it was perfect. At the time, this was THE honeymoon. However, thanks to the wedding party’s generosity, we were able to have a beautiful honeymoon in Mauritius – just the two of us! (Admit it, you just sang that in your head). We met some fantastic friends and enjoyed some ‘us time’. However, as in life nothing is perfect – while we were away Steve was head hunted for a dream job (so negotiations were rife throughout the trip) and the sale of our house fell through. It was a very harsh reminder that even in paradise, life has a funny way of throwing things your way. Little did we know how much could change in a year! And this crap was nothing to worry about.
When we got back to ‘real life’ we worked hard to re-sell the house and finally found the house of our dreams. I had lost my father in the April, so when we found this house – I felt like my dad had somehow played a part in it. My dad’s Chinese sign – a dragon, everything at his funeral was blue as he was a MASSIVE Blue Bird supporter. This was a blue house, on Dragon Way; it was destined to be. While Steve worked like a dog, I was able to co-ordinate the house being turned into ‘ours’. Every single part of it was chosen together; the decorating, light fittings, furniture, colour scheme, bedding… you name it, we chose it together. (Like most couples I showed Steve what I liked, we ‘discussed’ it until he realised I was right and then he agreed. Like I said, we chose it ‘together’ lol.) For the first time in a long time I felt Steve and I were truly together; married, living together and settled. Don’t get me wrong, I paint this as a blissful event – but it was far from it; chasing workmen, tidying dust and constant tip runs made married life stressful in the beginning. Poor Steve coming off nights to a constant sound of workmen and machinery. But we got there – because we ALWAYS made time for each other. By Christmas our happy ever after was here. My follow up scans were clear, my check-ups good and I had just started applying for new jobs to start in Easter/Summer.
Steve and I know how important time is. Time together. Proper dates. So every Friday we did something even if only a film. Then once a fortnight we embarked on alphabet dating and had some incredible fun doing them; Arcades, Boat trips, Clay Pigeon Shooting, Devon, Egg Hunt, Forests, Glamping, H…..
Then BAM… it’s all totally f*@cked up! A lump. A BLOODY LUMP! The C word didn’t even give me chance to enjoy my happy ever after. Didn’t even get half way through the bloody alphabet. How can I have had a check-up less than a month ago and now the dreaded lump – the lump that tells me I’ve definitely lost my battle with C. She’s won. I know now the hope of a long happy ever after was gone… as if it returned in less than 2 years it would be incurable. Through my tears and shaking body I held on to the hope that I had caught it early enough to remove it and start again with treatment – but I knew that was a long shot. Scans, scans and more scans, and I’m given my prognosis. Terminal. That bloody word. The word you only want to see at an airport. Ok, so 10 years…. 5 years…. Nope – the average is 11 months. How? I feel so well?! This was not supposed to happen. Not so soon after having my happy ever after. FFS. What have I done to deserve this hand? I ask myself this question daily. It’s part of my mantra these days.
I’d be lying if I said I’m not terrified of death, what happens when I die… the horrible thoughts that we all push to the back of our minds as they make our tummy’s flip and mouth dry out. But through my own anguish and heartache the real pain I feel every day is for my girls. My poor girls. 12 and 8 years old. How can life be so cruel. Then I think of my poor Steve. How selfish it was of me to pull him into this nightmare… thinking love would get us through. Then my poor mum, brother John and his wife Beth. They haven’t fully grieved over the loss of my dad and here they are again – living this nightmare with me every day in true ‘Abram’ style. Solid. Brave. Defiant. We close ranks and rally around and we are a force to be reckoned with.
Life will never EVER be the same again. It is so unfair. Two perfectly healthy people have 2 beautiful girls. Who would believe 7 years on our girls would have both parents terminally ill. It is unbelievable! So as he has every other time before, my Angel is there… by my side, never faltering. Putting up with my mood swings, my utter despair and yet still looking at me as if I am the most beautiful person in the world. I thought he was my angel. Maybe I was wrong. Maybe he is my children’s angel. The person who can help raise them as a team effort with my wonderful family.
My friends have all been incredible too, all helping in their own little ways. One came around to make random cocktails (and have a looooong lie in the next day) – Sorry A! Others have sat drinking tea and watching films. Some have helped financially while others have entertained the girls. Some have even enabled me to do special days with the girls like trying on wedding dresses (Staff at Do You Believe are legends) while others have organised fund raisers that proved to be a legendary after school party. Some have organised photo sessions, others have sent me photos from times gone by. Some people I have never even met have donated – it’s incredible, others have reached out on social media. Every single one playing their part in the drama that is my life. From school, college, uni, work, ponty, holidays – you name it, they’ve been there. One has touched base with her god daughter all the way from Tel Aviv and one has even gone as far as to get married – just for me! (lol… okay – it may be because she’s in love with her soldier, but we both know really, she’s getting married this year so that I can be there and enjoy her special day with her). All in all… I have simply amazing friends. This kindness gives me strength every day. I love you all and can never tell you how grateful I am and do it justice.
So now it’s time to stop crying and FIGHT. FIGHT HARDER THAN I HAVE EVER FOUGHT. So here I am on a clinical trial… praying for my miracle. I am reminded daily that a long life is unachievable. I keep telling my clinical team that I WILL be that miracle that sits there in a few months and is told that I am NED. The most amazing letters in the alphabet. No Evidence of Disease. (This would mean I am still incurable – but am keeping the cancer under control). With Triple Negative Cancer, it tends not to be receptive to treatment – but, for some it does and no one knows why they are the lucky ones. So I remind my nurses and Doctors that I am indeed the chosen one. I see their looks sometimes; a mix of fear that I do not understand the severity of my situation and sadness that I am deluding myself as experience says I am wrong. But I don’t buy it. No-one will tell me when I am going to die. I will decide… and it will be when there are ZERO options left as I will try everything! I will NOT go down without a fight.
So screw you Cancer. This is only the FIRST of MANY anniversary’s with my man. I mean the present I got him is legendary – I have to be able to buy more. Where there is life there is hope. Where there is love there is hope and where there is hope there are miracles. And if my fight is not as long as I hope it will be – I have had the privilege of knowing my fate. I have been able to do memory days with the girls, talk through memories and photographs and simply be together. Not stuck is school, marking every night, working 70 hours a week. Good. Quality. Family Time. So, you see, I am not the cursed one I thought I was – I am blessed. Not many mums are lucky enough to have this special time. So, as I go off to my romantic weekend in Cornwall with tranquillity and a hot tub, I thank you… all of those that have helped and continue to do so. You know who you are – too many to mention. But I beg you – every single bride… follow my very simple rules in life and you will be happy;
Live every moment
Laugh every day
Love beyond words
Dance like no one is watching.
Wow, Dawn my lovely… you know how much I value our friendship. You are one very special woman! Myself and all the other Cwtch girls are right here for you and will do everything we can to help! (even if that means making more cocktails ;) ~ Maria x
We have five great workshops running this sunday at #Cwtchfest2017 Starting at 12 noon and each running on the hour for 30 minutes. Here, you will get to meet some of Wales’ finest and most experienced wedding professionals. Spaces are limited on some so we are advising you all arrive early. If you don’t manage to get a space then you are all still welcome to listen and take notes :)
12 noon- Maria Farrelly Photography
Creator of Cwtch The Bride and professional wedding Photographer, Maria Farrelly is kicking off the first of our Cwtch Workshops.
Getting the most out of your big day
Having photographed hundreds of weddings over many years Maria has ALOT of experience of virtually every type of wedding in most locations. From Festival weddings in the middle of no where to traditional church weddings with 300+ guests, maria has found they all have one thing in common. The need to be well organised!
Planning your day properly and being aware of how long things REALLY take will give you a better understanding of how your day will go.
In this workshop, Maria will walk you through the typical time scales of a wedding day. This is a great opportunity to involve the bridal party (who normally don’t have a clue what is going on). So many brides want to plan their own wedding and think its easy. Its not, trust us. The more help you get, the better. Maria will show you how to delegate, who best to give roles to, how to avoid turning into a bridezilla and most importantly how to get the most out of your day.
She will also give you some great tips on how to look great in your wedding pictures!
You’re never fully dressed without Yume hair! Yume means dream and we LOVE to create dream hair for that dream wedding!
Do you want your own personal wedding hair stylist that’s part of a professional team of wedding experts to create your bespoke wedding look? Then that’s another reason to say “..I DO” We will be showing three very different bridal looks, each being bespoke to the individual wedding style. …From Classic/Elegant to Rock-chic and Boho too…lots of fabulous ideas to share with you. The complete look – hair, make-up and wedding dress too! Your visit to the salon needn’t be daunting and worrying…but a happy, exciting experience knowing you will come away with lots of hair and make up ideas, hints and tips, including your own personalised Wedding hair and beauty plan!
* Veil or no veil…?
* How to prepare your hair for the big day…?
* Is your hair as glossy as it could be…?
* Does your hair colour suit your cool or warm skin tone…?
* Wedding hair trends 2017-2018…?
We take pride in sharing with you our advice and guidance on how to enhance your own wedding ideas…. focusing your vision of your dream wedding and turning into a reality!
2 pm- Do You Believe?
We have Helen from Do You Believe running a fabulous workshop on Body Confidence.
Every bride is capable of looking and feeling fantastic on their wedding day, no matter what size, height or anything else that varies! But theres more to it than just trying to be on trend. You have to be smart. If you truly FEEL fantastic you will certainly LOOK fantastic too because confidence is more striking than any frock I can tell you to wear.
If you are looking for some advice on how to work with your god given gifts then Helen has some pearls of wisdom which she has learnt over many years of dressing all different shapes and sizes.
I have a top 5 tips on how to work with what you’ve got and some hints on how to make wedding dress shopping easier and more enjoyable: 1) the dos and donts for your shape and size 2) what to take with you- being prepared when shopping 3) be open minded 4) the finishing touches- the devil is in the detail 5) when/where and who PS- a touch on bridesmaids- the diplomatic approach
3pm – Make Up By Nicola
Award winning professional make up artist, make-up by Nicola has over 10years of industry experience and will be answering all your make up questions at the workshop
4pm – The Flower Hive
Come and talk to Eva at The Flower Hive about using locally grown flowers for your wedding, and creating naturalistic designs.
Join in a buttonhole workshop . Learn how to design and make your own unique buttonholes and be creative at your wedding. Practice floristry skills using spring flowers and hedgerow foliage.
Its competition time again! This time, you have the chance to win tickets for not just yourself, but your partner and your bridal party.
Owen Mathias Photography
Thats a possible 10 tickets!*
*We have to put a cap on it or we’d have an army of you turn up!
To enter, all we need you to do is fill in the form below, telling us your name, email and the date of your wedding. Do this by Sunday 12th March at midnight, and you could be in with a chance of winning!
So, are you ready????
Its such a great day out for anyone planning a wedding. We look forward to welcoming you all x
What a week at Cwtch HQ. Maria’s (Cwtch the ride realtor) birthday, which in turn lead to up climbing Pen Y Fan (we thought she did suggest cocktails when we said we’d do whatever she wanted for her birthday), National Cwtch Day, St Dwynwen’s Day and we announced the sale of #Cwtchfest2017 tickets! Wooooooo
As you know, the amazing wedding festival that is #Cwtchfest2017, will be held at the stunning St Fagans National History Museum. So how perfect is it that we get to have a little throwback to our very own #Cwtchfest Organiser, Lindsey’s big day to her Mark, where you can see how stunning St Fagans is as a wedding venue …
How would you describe your wedding theme? Relaxed tea party
What was your favourite part of your wedding? The vows and how much in that moment I felt how much I meant it and how much it meant to Mark. He’s only ever cried to the film Marley and me so to hear his voice trembling with emotion gave me goose pimples. I have felt in a little happy bubble ever since. Also, our band Raspberry Jam were sooo incredible, we love live music and they just blew everyone out the water.
Tell us about your Wedding Dress This is the point where I learnt Pinterest can be dangerous. I fell in love with a dress which I soon came to realise was a couture dress from a boutique in San Francisco. Very within my means. I probably drove my bridesmaids mad searching for something similar and to limit my choices it had to have sleeves! I found that the only place that exceeded my expectations of wedding dress shopping was Rachel Burgess Bridal Boutique in Penarth, I believed she really cared about making me feel like I wanted to feel in that dress. However, the dress I fell in love with was an Augusta Jones Mai dress from the lovely Laura May in Roath who were brilliant. My belt is my keepsake from the day made by Ashley from With Love from Bobbin it’s the only thing I’ve allowed myself to keep. I love it.
Who did you pick as your bridesmaids &/or best man and why? Mark had 3 best men as there was no choosing between them. They have been through thick and thin together. However they each had their own roles. Matt planned the stag, Jamie was at the end of the aisle with Mark and poor James got the speech.
I originally decided I would have no bridesmaids as I have a lot of very close friends and just didn’t know what to do. However, I read an article called ‘bridesmates’ and how since the recession brides have cut back on bridesmaids yet their friends are still bearing the stress and responsibilities and of course cost of being one. It quickly became apparent my four Cardiff girls were these girls they became my go to for everything I love them to bits!!
Why did you choose your venue? We debated for ages whether to have our wedding in St Fagans as it’s where I work but when viewing other venues I just found myself constantly comparing it to there. I also love the fact that we can take our kids there and can visit when we are older etc. Tell us about your wedding photographer:
From the second I saw Maria’s photography and met her I knew she had to be part of our day. Her love and enthusiasm shone through the way she spoke and her work. It was all I talked about with Mark that evening- I actually got up and danced when she said she had our date free.
It was really important to us that we did not spend hours having staged photographs and the results are stunning!! I cannot believe how Maria has captured the important moments in such a way that didn’t impact on the day and yet are still so beautiful.
As someone who works in the wedding industry I respect Maria’s professionalism and how much she cares for each and every client. I could not recommend anyone else more highly.
How did the proposal happen? Mark took me to Edinburgh for my 30th as a surprise. That in itself was a massive deal so I was blindsided when after climbing up to King Arthur’s seat on the morning of my 30th in the snow (after arguing all the way up as I kept falling as it was so slippery) with 2 plastic bottles of wine and strawberries he proposed. I made him call my dad straight away as he hadn’t asked permission and I know it would have meant a lot to my dad.
Any DIY stories/tutorials you’d like to share? Everything I did was DIY. As I work in my venue I knew I could do everything myself. Invites were done by my fabulous bridesmaid Lisa. Flowers were delivered in massive buckets on Friday morning and we spent all day doing arrangements. Jars were collected and decorated by friends for their wedding and donated to us. Tables runners were cut the night before. Table plan was written on a mirror night before.
I wanted it to be DIY to feel relaxed.
What was your first dance & why? We had no first dance. Music means a massive amount to both of us but neither of us wanted to do a first dance. So we didn’t.
In hindsight, was there anything you would have done differently? No we loved our day.
Do you have any advice for future couples? I meet so many brides who are stressed and do not enjoy the process of wedding planning. The only thing I can say is no one else knows what you have planned and what is supposed to happen when. Your friends and family will come have a great time and you will be in a big happiness bubble. The stuff people get stressed about does not matter.
What’s the best piece of marriage advice you received? To never take the other person for granted and to end every day with ‘I love you’
What was your favourite thing about planning a wedding? Realising how much I personally knew about weddings and how to save money but still get the look and feel I wanted. I’m a geek sometimes and my inner arty self loved being crafty and also saving pennies.