Sophie and Simon’s beautiful St.Fagans engagement shoot by Lewis Fackrell

Today we are sharing Sophie and Simons’s beautiful engagement shoot at The National Museum of Wales, St.Fagans. Photographed by Lewis Fackrell Photography. 


The weekend we choose for our pre-wedding photoshoot with Lewis was significant for us.  We had celebrated 18 years together just two days beforehand!

Simon and I met at school in 1999. I had developed a huge crush on this handsome sixth-former who I used to walk past on my way to my GCSE Physics lessons. After pointing him out to a friend, it turned out that she knew him! A cinema date was arranged, to watch the (hugely romantic!) American Pie and the rest is history!Sophie-Simon-St-Fagans-pre-wedding-photographer-Lewis-Fackrell-Photography-©-4

Fast forward to Christmas Eve 2016, when tradition dictates that we each unwrap a present from the other. Simon said he had to go to his ‘Man Shed’ to find mine as he had been hiding my gift in there and then asked me to close my eyes.Sophie-Simon-St-Fagans-pre-wedding-photographer-Lewis-Fackrell-Photography-©-2

He seemed to be taking a long time to hand me the present and I could hear him breathing quite heavily! At this point I started to suspect something, and sure enough once I opened my eyes there he was on one knee holding out a ring box.

Having been together for so long and knowing marriage was on the cards for us, we have talked a lot about wedding plans and I have always said that I would be happy with a Haribo ring and to choose my own ring if Simon was unsure what to go for.

When opening my eyes the first thing I saw was a Haribo, but then I spotted the sparkle underneath. Knowing I adore all things vintage, Simon had picked a beautiful antique ring for me. We then dashed over to tell our parents and the prosecco was swiftly opened, getting our Christmas off to a very merry start!Sophie-Simon-St-Fagans-pre-wedding-photographer-Lewis-Fackrell-Photography-©-1
We are very excited about our wedding in May 2018, and so happy that Lewis is photographing our big day! We literally didn’t stop laughing on our pre-wedding shoot, and know that our wedding day will be just as much fun!

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Happy Birthday to Cwtch The Bride! 4 Today!

CTB is 4!

Oh my, aren’t we getting old… its our fourth birthday today! hip hip.. hurray!!


I cannot believe its been four years since my lovely little welsh wedding blog published its first post!

My team and I are so proud to have brought you some incredible things in that time, to name a few:

  • Published over 1,000 awesome wedding posts highlighting some great welsh talent and inspiration.
  • Launched the Lush List which is proving an essential ‘go-to’ resource for many welsh brides
  • Organised three epic CWTCHFEST Wedding Festivals so far, with our fourth taking place on Sunday 9th April at St.Fagans
  • Won BEST REGIONAL WEDDING BLOG! at the 2016 UK Wedding blog Awards!! (a huge BIG DEAL)
  • Run a series of Cwtch Workshops to help & inspire DIY brides
  • Helped many independent welsh wedding businesses grow by showcasing their work and promoting their services
  • Created jobs for some very special Cwtchgirls
  • Shared hundreds of real welsh weddings from across this beautiful country
  • Given some of our readers the opportunity to share their bride/groom to be diaries with us all.

Personally, I am ridiculously proud of how well Cwtch The Bride is doing and I adore working alongside some truly amazing people.
Cwtchmas Party 194406wristband-cwtchfestcwtch the brideCwtchFest 2015-67Owen Mathias PhotographyOwen Mathias Photography


I have many more ideas still up my sleeve and cannot wait to see them come to light. All in good time.

A Personal Thank you

I know that to many of you reading this, it can appear that we always have great fun. Laughing, singing and dancing our way through the workday with a hilarious spotify playlist. And for the most part- its true. But occasionally, something happens that can totally throw you. I mean…really knock you for six. The kind of thing that turns your world upside down, makes you want to crawl under a duvet and never come out. A life changing experience that requires an incredible group of people to help get you through it.

Owen Mathias Photography

This photograph was taken a year after my own marriage had ended. I was devastated and had hit a real low point of my life. Being surrounded by all things ‘wedding’ was very painful for me. Everything hurt. I didn’t tell many people. When you work in the wedding industry and your own marriage fails you feel this enormous amount of grief and shame.  And yet, I pushed through quietly. I didn’t want to let anyone down. And its thanks to these girls I got through it. I’ll forever be greatful to them for their help and support.

My CWTCHGIRLS are (without a doubt) the coolest women I’ve met in my entire life! There are a few Cwtchgirls in particular I want to give a special Thank you to.

Anna, Donna, Lindsey, Dawn and my mum … you ladies, I don’t think you’ll ever know how grateful I am to have you in my life. You have helped me get through the hardest time where I honestly thought I couldn’t cope. I felt broken and so low. Any yet you ladies where always right there for me. You picked me up when I hit the floor. when I doubted everything, you ladies encouraged me to keep going. When I wondered why on earth I’m doing all this work… you ladies just smiled and said ‘lets do it’.

Thank you for being so damn amazing. You really are very special women and I love that we get to share this awesome roller coaster ride of work and life with each other.

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Donna, the most organised office manager & friend I’ve ever had and the rock I needed to kickstart my working week. I miss you but think my book keeper misses you more! Damn I need you back soon x Owen Mathias Photography14390907_10154517804521796_7193752556001646050_n

Lindsey (aka LINDA), I wouldn’t do Cwtchfest without you! simple as that. You are a dream to work with and I am so excited at what lies ahead!


Anna, hahaha where do i start with you? You make my Mondays & Wednesdays rock. You have taken the reins of features editor and ran with it. I bloody love ya! Plus, anyone that shares the same love of the Carpenters as me is a friend for life!


Dawn, Our Boobless bride. Your story touched me so much I knew as soon as I read your first email and the tears rolled- we were going to be friends for life! You are an inspiration.

432047_10150735477031796_367678448_nMum. I love you. And thank you for always believing in me, even when I doubt myself. xxx

Thank you to all the inspiring welsh wedding businesses that continue to invest in Cwtch The Bride. I love that you too believe in what we do and what we stand for. I love that you support us at a time when I know all too well how difficult running a small business can be. Together we grow and I adore seeing you all benefit for our hard work. Onwards and up!

And the final thank you goes out to you lovely Cwtchers for reading, thank you for commenting, sharing and getting involved in what was a crazy idea of mine that has now become a valuable resource for many welsh brides & grooms!

So, there you have it, was rather personal but needed to be said..

There is no hot date for me tonight, no plethora of valentines day cards flooding my letter box. But I do have two very special men in my life that I adore. Josh & Joe. My boys. What more could a girl want. Hmm… we’ll see what the future brings. xxx


And if you have just got engaged on this very special day… Welcome to Cwtch The Bride! We are a fabulous bunch of honest, hardworking women that are hear for you. This is a safe place for you to begin planning your welsh wedding and we can’t wait to meet you!

Happy Valentines Day everyone. Lets crack open a bottle of fizz and have an awesome day.

Maria x



Cwtchfest Spotlight: St Fagans Gardens

Well Cwtchers we are just 10 days away from #Cwtchfest2016 at St Fagans National History Museum and boy are we excited- so excited in fact that we will be launching a final Flash sale this weekend from midnight Friday!  Yipppeee!!!
 Cwtchfest St Fagans with SF ONLY logo A4 FINAL
When we started Cwtchfest we wanted to do something a little different to what is on offer in the Welsh wedding market.  As professionals we have visited hundreds of wedding fayres between us and we wanted to offer you our brides to be the opportunity to do your planning a little differently.
We have the element of a wedding fayre with some of the best in the welsh wedding market exhibiting but with a twist we invite you to spend the day with us to relax and be inspired.  Workshops, demos, live music, food, cocktails and lots and lots of fun!
Owen Mathias Photography
When choosing our venues to work with for Cwtchfest we look for those that inspire us and when we were approached by St Fagans we were ecstatic.   St Fagans holds a strong nostalgic spot in many of our hearts after spending many days of our youth here.  It holds a special place in my own heart having got married here two years ago myself.
The great outdoors provides a glorious backdrop for any wedding and St Fagans is no exception.
With an air of tranquillity, abundant space and picture-postcard views, the open-air elegance of St Fagans is one of its most exquisite offerings. The charming formal gardens, woodland walks and spectacular historic buildings paint the perfect canvas for wedding photography and create a real talking point for loved ones who attend the happy day.
Being able to stroll hand in band around the grounds is something that couples find enchanting about St Fagans and the scenery is ideal for wedding photos that will be cherished forever.
Unique Welsh Wedding Venue - St Fagans Castle

Danielle Angell

The Castle’s elegant landscaped gardens include the Italian Garden, the Thyme Garden, fountains, a mulberry grove and an exquisite Rose Garden which all offer ideal photograph opportunities and the stone bridge leading to St Fagans Castle proves a popular spot for pictures, regardless of the weather.
The 40 historic buildings around the site provide a nostalgic feel to the venue and the Elizabethan castle provides an exquisite backdrop for guests.  It’s no wonder that St Fagans is Wales’s most popular heritage attraction, with over 600,000 visitors every year.
Epitomising both historic grandeur and a rustic, authentic feel, St Fagans offers couples breath-taking photographic opportunities from every angle.
To arrange a visit and to check availability please contact the venue hire team on 029 2057 3322 or email

Cwtch Of The Week: Bethan & Austin’s Monet Cwtch by Maria Farrelly

Todays Cwtch of The Week: Bethan & Austin’s Monet Cwtch, is called exactly that as it is taken from the beautiful wedding that I had the pleasure of photographing in April. Just take a look, it was like we stepped into a Monet painting.

Monet Cwtch Banner

Cwtch of the Week: Bethan & Austin’s Monet Cwtch

Bethan&Austin_Maria Farrelly Photography-6278Image by Maria Farrelly Photography

Welsh Bride Bethan & her groom Austin tied the knot in a beautiful venue called Priors Tithe Barn in Brockworth (just outside Wales).

AS an added bonus, we asked the beautiful Bethan to tell us all about their proposal story because, well, who dissent love a proposal story!? Over to you Bethan……

I always felt bad for Austin whenever he asked me what kind of engagement ring I wanted (for some point way in the future of course!). I never really had an answer, as I had never seen one that I had really, really loved. Well apart from the huge, can’t lift your hand off the table, so sparkly it blinds you, diamonds in the expensive shops no one can afford!

One day we were walking past an antique shop in Cheltenham when I saw the most beautiful ring in the window and commented on how pretty it was. That was all the encouragement Austin needed and he rang up about it the very next day! Austin planned on proposing on our first family holiday together in Dorset with our little boy Dylan. However, when he went to pay for the ring the card was declined as they suspected fraudulent activity! After much begging and pleading with the shop to hold the ring for another week whilst we were away, Austin had to work on plan B.

Austin decided to propose at a meal he had booked for our anniversary at the Hand & Flowers restaurant in Marlow; a Michelin starred restaurant owned by one of my favourite chefs Tom Kerridge. Due to the huge waiting list Austin had booked this surprise a year in advance and thought this would be somewhere really special to propose. It had always been somewhere I had wanted to visit since seeing it on an old episode of Masterchef – which is very ironic given my lack of cooking skills!

After lots of calls and emails to the restaurant, everything was in place for the proposal. We had the most incredible meal I have ever had and when dessert came out, there was a very small box next to mine. Austin then went into his prepared (and very beautiful!) speech before ending by asking me to marry him. Apparently I made lots of random noises for a very long time, but didn’t actually say yes until prompted for an answer! When I finally did, all the staff offered their congratulations and we had a champagne toast before I made several tearful phone calls to family and friends. Although I do still tease Austin that he didn’t actually go down on one knee in the packed restaurant! It was so thoughtful and very special. We even went back there for a celebratory meal one year later, and plan on visiting again after the wedding when we have some more news to celebrate!

Nothing says ‘yes I will marry you’ like a lot of random noises.  We love this!  And you are in for a treat, as I have ready, their whole special day and cannot wait to share the whole wedding with you all very soon.

Enjoy~ Maria xxx