Groom To Be Diaries: Introducing James & Mike, Our RAF Grooms

Good morning Cwtchers!
We have a wonderful new blogger to introduce to you! We have the pleasure of introducing James and Mike, our RAF grooms and our new Groom Diary piece!

James and Mike, both in the RAF met online, and haven’t stopped the love since!  

We have so much about these two to tell you already, but for now, over to James to tell us all about how they met, and that proposal….

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Introducing James & Mike, Our RAF Grooms

How it all began!

On a cold crisp day, whilst down in Cornwall for my friends sister’s wedding, I had friend request off this guy (Mike).

We started chatting and getting to know each other and I fell for him instantly.

He was kind and charming and just made me laugh all the time.

I wanted to meet Mike but he was based out in RAF Akrotiri, Cyprus. Not somewhere I could just pop in my car and go to.

So after more weeks chatting getting to know each other, Mike invited me out to Cyprus, and I thought, ‘yeah why not let’s do it!’ haha.

So, we booked my flight from RAF Brize Norton and it was to land at RAF Akrotiri at 1630 hrs on the 16th May 2015.

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I was so nervous. As I waited patiently for my bags I was thinking, this could either be the best thing I have ever done or the worst, but either way, I was determined to go for it.

And then there he was, waiting outside the terminal for me, and my smile just grew with his beauty.

We did so many things while out in Cyprus; scuba diving, snorkelling, hired a buggy for a few days, and explored pretty much the whole island of Cyprus.

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It was by far the best first date ever.

A few months later Mike was posted back to the UK and our relationship grew.

It was amazing.

We saw a show in London, went for amazing food at one of Gordon Ramsey’s restaurants and many other wonderful dates.

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We have been back to Cyprus three times and to Venice……where he almost proposed :P

However, in April, Mike had to go away with work. He needs to travel constantly for his new job, and I miss him like mad when he is gone.

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Two days after he had left, I had a parcel through the post.  It was from Mike.

I opened it to find there were hundreds of M&Ms.

On them were pictures of Mike and I etched on, with the words, ‘Will You Marry Me?’

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Of course I said yes…..and before you knew it we were engaged.

Ooooooooooohhhh we are so excited for you all to find out more about these two! Its such a wonderful story! And we get to hear all about in on the run up to their 2017 wedding! Cannot wait!

Real Wedding: Jess & Ella’s Glittery Brecon Beacon Wedding

We have been soooooo looking forward to sharing this absolutely stunning wedding by the ever so talented Abigail Apollonio. Meet the beautiful Jess and Ella (and their gorgeous bundle of fur, Cooper) their glittery brecon beacon wedding has had all of us at Cwtch HQ giddy with excitement. Their eye for detail and the the creative little touches will hopefully be a massive inspiration to you lovely lot. Without further ado I will hand it over to Jess and Ella! 

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How would you describe your wedding theme?

Our wedding theme was a glittery combination of autumnal pine cones and handmade bunting with a moody Brecon Beacons backdrop.Jess-and-Ella-Wedding-Oct-10th-2015-188

What was your favourite part of your wedding?

Hands down our favourite part of the wedding was our vows and the readings. We had chosen our vows to be simple and meaningful, and it was wonderful having our family and friends there for our ‘I do’s’. My sisters read the lyrics to ‘And I love her’ by ‘The Beatles’….. yep that pretty much had me in tears from the first word. The Beatles have been a big part of both of our childhoods, with both our Dad’s being huge fans. Davy, one of our closest friends, read a beautiful poem with so much heartfelt emotion, I don’t think there was a dry eye in the house!Jess-and-Ella-Wedding-Oct-10th-2015-316

Tell us about your Wedding Dresses

Ella’s wedding dress story –
So I went to a Wedding Fair with my Mum, and two sisters, the first one of the season in Cardiff City Hall. We had a mooch around all of the stalls, and we actually went to get ideas for venues, but Laura May had a stall with a very attractive sale rail! My dress was actually the first one that I tried on, and I remember saying to Mum, ‘But surely you’re not suppose to buy the first one you try?’. My sister Elise welled up and all three of them said they loved it. I tried on a couple of others, just to satisfy myself that this was ‘the one’ and after looking like a fluffy jacket potato in one, and a hobbit in another, I decided on mine. As there were a few repairs required, and my Mum is a VERY good seamstress, we had it for a steal. Jess-and-Ella-Wedding-Oct-10th-2015-152Jess’s wedding dress story –
Jess went dress shopping with her Mum and one of her best friends, Charmaine, to Rowberrys‘ in Swansea. She was really open minded, and thoroughly enjoyed trying on lots of different dresses before she picked her stunning dress. I remember picking Jess and her Nannie up after her fitting, her Nannie came out of the shop, flushed with happy tears and said ‘She looks like a film star’. We didn’t let each other see each others dresses before hand, but our Mum’s knew what each others looked like, just to make sure we hadn’t bought the same one! We couldn’t have picked more different styles; Jess went for a very Art Deco, ‘The Great Gatsby’ inspired dress, and I indulged my old Ballerina days and went for something with a strapless corset.Jess-and-Ella-Wedding-Oct-10th-2015-107Jess-and-Ella-Wedding-Oct-10th-2015-638

Why did you choose your venue?

We chose Peterstone Court in Brecon because we loved the beautiful house and stunning surroundings without there being a feeling of awkward pretentiousness. Brecon is also equal distance from Swansea (where Jess is from), Cardiff (where we live) and Cwmbran (where I am from) so it felt like a perfect location. Plus who wouldn’t want to get married in one of the most beautiful places in Wales!? The cherry on the cake was also the fact that our beloved dog, Cooper, was allowed to stay at Peterstone Court. We had so much fun having him in some of our wedding photos, and he always loves being the centre of attention.Jess-and-Ella-Wedding-Oct-10th-2015-458Jess-and-Ella-Wedding-Oct-10th-2015-330

Tell us about your photographer

Our wonderful photographer is our good friend Abigail Apollonio and she was assisted by her equally talented husband, Matthew Williams, who was our videographer. As soon as we got engaged, we asked Abigail and Matthew when they were free as we were so keen to have them capture our big day. We had seen Abigail’s work and were blown away by the way she is able to grab those really intimate, and natural moments rather than the more traditional, structured pictures. Matthew has a wicked sense of humour and they made a fab team. They helped us both feel really comfortable and also managed to shoot the pair of us getting ready. This wasn’t easy when we were both in different buildings!Jess-and-Ella-Wedding-Oct-10th-2015-534

How did the proposal happen? 

Our proposal story goes like this…. It was our second day on our holiday to The Big Apple and we had a typical American brekkie in a really lush diner up on the Upper East Side. Then we went for a walk across to Central Park and I had been thinking about where I would propose… I had a few ideas in mind but in the end thought that I would see which place felt right. There was a heat wave in New York that summer and it was scorching hot so having walked around for a bit, we sat down on a cute little bench opposite the Belvedere castle, near the Turtle pond. We were talking about how romantic the park was and how lovely and quiet it was and it dawned on me, ‘This is it, this is absolutely the right place and time’. So I took a (very) deep breath….. and I’m not quite sure how I worded it but asked her if she would marry me, and she said ‘of course!’

We decided to go engagement ring shopping there and then, so we hopped in a yellow cab and whizzed off to the Diamond District. Neither of us knew what type of ring we wanted, and we both went for completely different styles – like my wedding dress, I spotted mine straight away, I just knew it as soon as I saw it. We actually designed Jess’s while we were there and collected if three days later. The ring shopping was so much fun and for us New York was the perfect city to become engaged. Jess-and-Ella-Wedding-Oct-10th-2015-239

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

We had so many people help us with lots of aspects of the wedding; Jess’s Dad is a very talented artist and made our easel board table seating plan, amongst other things. Jess’s Mum made our delicious chocolate wedding cake & bara brith favours, my Mum made our top table bunting. Our friend, Angharad added marmalade to our guests favours and in addition to this, Starbucks in Cardiff Bay had graciously gifted us small bags of coffee beans for our guests, as a remedy for the morning after the wedding. We were so grateful for all of the help and support we had, and we really enjoyed flicking through Pinterest for ideas. Our table settings all had pine cones included in them, and its incredible what a couple of cans of gold spray paint can do! Jess-and-Ella-Wedding-Oct-10th-2015-522

What was your first dance & why?

Our first dance was to ‘Never can tell’ by Chuck Berry as featured in Quentin Tarantino’s film, Pulp Fiction. We both love films, and movie soundtracks, and the scene where John Travolta and Uma Thurman dance is one of our favourites. We didn’t want a classic, slow dance as our first dance, and we knew we’d enjoy this, plus it comes with its own dance moves so it was easy to get everyone else to join in!Jess-and-Ella-Wedding-Oct-10th-2015-791

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

Nope.

Do you have any advice for future couples?

Hmm, so our advice would be to stay true to what you want as a couple. It’s very easy to fall into the trap of others do/want, but I’m so glad we didn’t do that. We have wondered whether it was easier for us because gay wedding’s don’t come with the traditions that straight wedding’s do, but either way, we think this is really important when planning.
We also planned our wedding in a really short space of time, and in lots of ways this was great because we didn’t have time to agonise over small details; we made considered decisions quickly and stuck to them.Jess-and-Ella-Wedding-Oct-10th-2015-344

What’s the best piece of marriage advice you received?

Always make each other laugh and keep having date nights.

What was your favourite thing about planning a wedding?

Probably the fact that we were both really interested in creating and designing a day that reflected us both – Jess is a softball player, and I am a hockey player, so we created some great photos to reflect this, and also had a softball bat/hockey stick arch that we walked under after our vows. We are also both fanatical cyclists, and love riding our Brompton bikes everyday – we had a real hoot cycling along in front of our venue in our wedding dresses, and have some amazing pictures that Abigail caught so brilliantly.Jess-and-Ella-Wedding-Oct-10th-2015-422Jess-and-Ella-Wedding-Oct-10th-2015-443

The Suppliers

Photographer: Abigail Apollonio
Wedding and Ceremony Venue: Peterstone Court
Bride’s Dress: Jess – Enzoani Ella –Lillian West  (customised by Linda Rafferty)
Bride’s Shoes: Jess –Kurt Geiger  Ella – Manolo Blahnik 
Bride’s Headpiece: Jess – Gill Clement
Bride’s Jewellery: Jess – Gill Clement  Ella – John Lewis & Vintage (from my Mum)
Cake: Mandy Westermark
Hair: Ella – Amy’s Hair Boutique, Tongwynlais, Jess – Friend, Annika Brindley
Make Up: Jess – JM Make-UpElla – Amy’s Hair Boutique, Tongwynlais.
Band: Bayside Boogiemen 
Stationery: Made by Ella & Jess
Caterers: Peterstone Court
Any Reception Decor/Props: Chris Westermark & Linda Rafferty

The Wedding Album

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Engagement Shoot: Becky and Lyndsey Seaside Shoot by Rocksalt

Morning everyone!
So last Monday, you will remember the gorgeous Cwtch of the Week of Becky and Lyndsey on Sully Beach, including their bundle of beautiful fluff, King Charles Spaniel, Toby.  Well we have another treat for you, Hannah from Rocksalt has fabulously sent over the entire E-shoot for you to enjoy and to brighten up your Thursday.  Over to the girls to tell you all about their story…..

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Engagement Shoot Slim

Engagement Shoot: Becky and Lyndsey Seaside Shoot by Rocksalt

Lyndsey and I met on a dating website during January 2014 and after a lot of messaging and talking on the phone we arranged to go on our first date.

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Our first date was at a local coffee shop on Barry Island and we instantly got a long. We walked along the sea front and around the point and for me, wearing of my hangover and nerves. After a long walk and talking to many strangers on the way, we then went for a drink where Lyndsey completely kicked my butt at pool. I knew we were going to get on.

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We got engaged when we went away camping in May 2015. It was a gorgeous sunny day and Lyndsey took Toby (our dog) for a walk across the field and sat down on the side of the bank.  As I watched her I thought this was the perfect time. I grabbed a bottle of preseco and the ring and went to join her on the bank and after a few glasses of bubbles I asked her to marry me. She cried a lot (I hoped with joy), so i said is that a yes then? Of course it’s a big fat yes, was Lyndsey’s reply.

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Even though we were already engaged Lyndsey waited for the right time to ask me and give me my engagement ring. It was perfect. We went away, around about a year after our engagement, stayed in a really nice hotel just outside Bath. We were sitting on the band stand having a glass or two of bubbles when Lyndsey showed me the ring and asked if I would be her wife? Without hesitation of course I said yes.

We haven’t started planning a wedding yet but plans will start next year ready for 2018.  Becky_Lyndsey-12 Becky_Lyndsey-13 Becky_Lyndsey-15 Becky_Lyndsey-17 Becky_Lyndsey-20 Becky_Lyndsey-22 Becky_Lyndsey-23 Becky_Lyndsey-25 Becky_Lyndsey-27 Becky_Lyndsey-30 Becky_Lyndsey-31 Becky_Lyndsey-34 Becky_Lyndsey-35 Becky_Lyndsey-37

Thank you so much for sharing this with us girls, its a truly loving shoot, beautifully captured by Rocksalt Photography.  And that dog!!! We love Toby.  A lot xx