Cwtch Of The Week: Penarth Pier Cwtch by Maria Farrelly

Good morning!

We’re back once again with the renegade master, nope, no we’re not. Cwtch of the Week! Thats what we have here. And its a lovely one.  From our fabulous creator, Maria Farrelly, not only is this a delicious cwtch, but its at one of our favourite spots; Penarth Pier.  
Over to Maria to tell us all about it.



Its been a while but i’m back… sharing more of my work with all you lovely Cwtchers.

Cwtches can mean so many things to so many people. Here we have one that I adore. I photographed Cary & Ross’s wedding on Penarth Pier back in October. It was a beautiful intimate ceremony followed with fish n Chips and a visit to that fabulous traditional sweet shop.

Penarth Pier Cwtch by Maria Farrelly


I took this shot just after finishing some lovely images of them walking along the Pier.  Its was starting to get very cold and I suggested they grab a seat on the bench. Carys instantly began to cwtch into Ross and he naturally opened his arms to warm her up. They didn’t know I took this one. Expressions like this can’t be staged, they just happen. It’s his expression on his face I love the most. She’s so happy and he looks just so damn content. Perfect.

Nina & Alun’s pre-wedding photoshoot at Cosmeston Lakes, Penarth by Elaine Williams Photography

We love a good pre-wedding/engagement shoot on Cwtch The Bride. And today, we’re pleased to be sharing this super lovely one taken at Cosmeston Lakes, Penarth courtesy of Elaine Williams Photography.

Lets hand you other to the couple, Nina & Alun as they tell us a bit more about how they met  

“You two should get together”… we had heard this a hundred times!

How we met

Alun and I met 8 years ago in the bustling restaurant of Ikea. He was an ambitious young boy with dreadlocks and I was a very skint girl working two jobs. We got on straight away but a year and a half later I left Ikea. Alun and I didn’t really keep in touch when I left and to be honest I don’t think either of us gave each other a second thought.


2 years later and I was back at Ikea and who was still there… Alun! The dreadlocks had gone and he was now a senior co-worker. Our friendship hit it off again and we spent lots of time talking and realising we actually had a lot in common. Then came the summer party where Al and I first kissed, naturally we were the talk of the restaurant the next day but in my head that’s all it was, a drunken kiss. Fast forward to the Christmas party a year later and we were sat talking at a table where all our co-workers kept telling us we should “get together”. I remember Al looking at me and saying “why not?” I had my hesitations as we worked together but thought what have I got to lose?


We kept our relationship quiet for the first three months to see how it went but 3 years later and here we are!

The Proposal

In March 2015 Al and I took our first holiday on our own to Tenerife. Whilst we were there Al suggested we book a trip to Teide by night. They take you to the top of Teide Volcano at night and it is one of the only places in the world you can see all the star constellations. We stopped half way up to watch the sun set then carried on up the volcano. I remember stepping off the bus when we reached the top and looking up… it was absolutely breath taking, I had never seen so many stars. We spent an hour at the top with a guide pointing out all the constellations, it was pitch black and by the end I could not feel my toes from the cold. Afterwards they took us to a little Spanish restaurant for a meal. When we arrived back at the hotel I was still buzzing from the experience. I sat on the balcony trying to see if I could see any of the constellations and the next thing I know Al is on one knee in front of me. At first I thought he was joking and my response was “what are you doing you idiot” but I knew he was serious when he pulled out the most beautiful ring… of course I said YES! I couldn’t believe he had managed to keep it a secret and the ring had been in the safe the whole time… I had been in the safe a hundred times!

The Wedding

We are getting married in Greece in September 2016 and I am running round at the moment trying to organise everything. I didn’t realise how stressful planning a wedding can be, but I know it will all be worth it in the end.

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Introducing Janet White Ashby & Co: Hair & Beauty

Introducing Janet White-Ashby, founder of award-winning hair and beauty business, Janet White-Ashby & Co. Today Janet gives us an insight into her business and the personal service she offers brides on the lead up to their wedding day. All images in this post by Maria Farrelly Photography


One of the first to start up a mobile hair and make-up service for brides in Wales, Janet White-Ashby spent her early career working in television, film, fashion and theatre. She has won international awards for her work and has most recently won Best regional Bridal Hair at The Welsh National Wedding Awards.


Based in Penarth (just 10 minutes outside of Cardiff), Janet travels across Wales and the South West to offer a convenient, flexible, mobile service, “I love travelling through Wales to meet my brides and to be a part of such a special day brings me joy”, Janet says.

In an effort to promote the ‘natural’ or ‘timeless’ bride, Janet works tirelessly to create tailored and lasting looks for her brides, “I work with each bride to create a look that enhances an individual’s features and I advise personalised skin care as preparation in the lead up to the wedding day.”

Janet_White_Ashby016Janet advises that this includes drinking lots of water and avoiding any facial treatments in the week prior as this can draw out impurities and results in having to deal with spots, but to start this months ahead of the wedding day. She continues, “I do recommend one or two short sun bed sessions to give a natural glow, rather than a spray tan– the last thing you want is to have to deal with the result of a bad application.”

To Janet, it is key to take the time to enhance each bride’s natural beauty and reflect her personality. She does this by regularly communicating with each bride throughout the preparation stages – discussing lifestyle, wedding plans and looking at picture ideas. With an understanding of the bride and her needs, Janet always recommends a trial in order to demonstrate how they will look on the day.Janet_White_Ashby019Lydia (the bride pictured) contacted Janet a year in advance of her wedding day and booked a trial for the spring. In the time leading up to the trial, Lydia sent Janet pictures of herself and images she had collected of what she had in mind for her wedding hair and make-up.

When Lydia arrived at Janet’s designated trial room at her home in Penarth, they drew inspiration from Lydia’s pictures and discussed what Lydia preferred and how Janet could apply that to her look. Throughout the trial Janet and Lydia got to know one another better, chatting about wedding plans, her fiancée, lifestyle and personal interests, so as Lydia would feel comfortable with Janet her wedding day preparations.Janet_White_Ashby005Adjusting the look from Lydia’s pictures for factors like face shape and hair type, Lydia was also able to voice her thoughts and feelings about the look and once they had agreed on what worked best, Janet photographed the result and emailed the images to Lydia for her to advise any changes she might want made in the time leading up to the wedding day.

Janet_White_Ashby026After the trial, Janet reminded Lydia that she is always on hand to answer any questions or queries and that she may want to consider other ‘preparation’ treatments such as brows, a manicure or pedicure for the wedding day or honeymoon. During this time, Lydia also sent through images for the rest of the bridal party so that Janet was prepared on the day.

Janet_White_Ashby028Janet_White_Ashby030With all of the details confirmed, Janet arrived at Lydia’s home on the wedding day with an assistant to work on the bridal party whilst Janet focused her attention on the bride, “It was a very happy and relaxed morning”.

Janet_White_Ashby022Last year, after fifteen years leading her business, Janet updated her website and re-branded under Janet White-Ashby & Co. With growing demand, Janet was previously finding herself double, even triple booked and having to turn away brides-to-be. To meet the demand, Janet took on a group of hair and make-up artists that uphold the ‘natural and timeless bride’ ethos. Now, the Janet White-Ashby & Co. associates work under Janet’s guidance, ensuring that every bride is provided with a timeless look. Janet concludes; “I am so thrilled to not turn away brides anymore – my team do a fantastic job and enable me to spread the ‘naturally beautiful’ way of thinking even further.”


To view Janet’s gallery and price list, please visit:


More images of Janet’s work by Maria Farrelly Photography

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Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. Cwtch the Bride only accepts sponsored posts from companies we think will be useful to you :) 



Penarth Pier Engagement Shoot – Rhianne & Huw

me-150x150 Rhianne & Huw had their engagement shoot at Penarth Pier. All images in this post were taken by our very own (award winning!) wedding photographer Maria Farrelly.  Maria is based in Newport, but photographs all over the UK and abroad :) You can see all posts featuring her photography here.


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Rhianne & Huw were such a lovely couple to work with. I’ve photographed many engagement shoots on Penarth Pier and this has been one of my favourites so far. Rhianne was one of the most organised brides I have ever worked with and arrived to the shoot with a suitcase of props! We had so much fun and bravo to Huw for going along with it all in good humour.

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Penarth_Pier_engagment_shoot 04  Penarth_Pier_engagment_shoot 05  Penarth_Pier_engagment_shoot 06  Penarth_Pier_engagment_shoot 07  Penarth_Pier_engagment_shoot 08  Penarth_Pier_engagment_shoot 09  Penarth_Pier_engagment_shoot 10 Penarth_Pier_engagment_shoot 12  Penarth_Pier_engagment_shoot 13

Penarth_Pier_engagment_shoot 14  Penarth_Pier_engagment_shoot 16 Penarth_Pier_engagment_shoot 15 Penarth_Pier_engagment_shoot 17 Penarth_Pier_engagment_shoot 19  Penarth_Pier_engagment_shoot 20Don’t worry, we used stones to draw hearts on the moss wall :) …

Penarth_Pier_engagment_shoot 21… and lollypop sticks to make letters.

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This is their official wedding invitation designed by Queen Lizzy PrintsPenarth_Pier_engagment_shoot 36

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If you enjoyed this, you will LOVE their wedding (coming to the blog soon) details galore!

Did you have an engagement shoot? Are you planning to have one? if so, we’d love to know which location you chose.  Do tell us in the comments box below :)

Cwtch of the Week: Nerys & Damian

Richard Howman Welsh Wedding Photography - Cwtch of the Week

Isn’t this a glorious cwtch? Wedding photographer Richard from Elan Images snapped this one during Nerys and Damian’s engagement shoot on Penarth Pier :) You can see the full shoot on Richard’s blog, here.

Roll up, roll up – there are lots more lovely cwtches for you to see in the the full gallery of Cwtches here. If you’ve got a lovely photo you’d like us to feature you can email it to :) The cwtchier the better!