We finally have the pleasure of introducing our very first bridesmaid! Have you been asked to step up? Are you going to be the Maid of Honor? Are you in need of some inspiration and help for this mahoosive role you’re about to fill?
Well, our gorgeous Maid In Wales, Gwen, is in the same boat, and here to share her journey with you……
Hello! Lovely to meet you all!
I’m Gwen and in just over a year’s time I am going to helping my twin sister Alys walk down the aisle as her Maid of Honour. We’re both 29 and grew up in the Brecon Beacons in a little village called Bwlch.
We went our separate ways for University – me to Exeter and Alys to Cardiff – where we both met local boys who have ended up as our future husbands. I now live in Exeter with my husband Mike and work in PR for a local hospital. When I’m not writing press releases or promoting the NHS to the local media, I spend my time crafting, taking photos, going to festivals, and travelling back and forth to Wales visiting family and friends (I spend A LOT of time on the M5…).
Alys and I have always been best friends, so when I married Mike last August, it was only natural that she should be my Maid of Honour.
I always knew that she would be up to the task and, during one crazy year of wedding planning, Alys turned out to be a ‘Maid of Honour Extraordinaire’! She threw herself in to organising my amazing hen weekend (which remained top secret until the moment my hens surprised me outside Bath train station).
She was a constant support throughout the wedding planning process helping with everything from dress shopping to individually hand painting invitations. And on an emotional rollercoaster of a wedding day (when I was just about managing to hold it all together) she even managed to reduce me to tears by writing a cheesy song and getting my friends to perform it during the reception. All in all – BEST BRIDESMAID EVER.
The trouble is, now it’s my turn. When Alys’ boyfriend Phil popped the question last summer I excitedly (and a little apprehensively) assumed that the time had now come for me to return the favour. Her official MOH proposal came in the post with a card and a customised badge for each of her five chosen bridesmaids. As geographical distance is an issue for Alys’ newly formed ‘Bride Tribe’ (we’re spread out across South Wales, the Midlands and the South West), we all took to Whatsapp to share our reactions to the mail with bridesmaid badge selfies. Naturally we all accepted. So now the hard work begins.
Whilst I am honoured and excited at the prospect of helping my twin sister walk down the aisle next year, she has left me with some rather big shoes to fill. I want to be able to give her exactly the same amazing experience she gave me (which will be quite a challenge!). I’ve already got the engagement party under my belt – I supplied the decorations, helped out with the catering and even made a small speech (public speaking is not my thing) – and attended the obligatory family wedding fair visit which has given us lots of ideas and inspiration for her big day.
As Brides go, she is very on the ball with planning her wedding and already has lots of elements booked in. I, on the other hand, am not quite so sorted with my MOH duties. The prospect of planning a hen party for up to 17 of Alys’ closest friends fills me with dread and I have yet to start any firm preparation. I have a few ideas though, and with the help of my wonderful fellow bridesmaids, I’m confident that we’ll be able to pull it off. Fingers crossed.
We cannot wait to hear more about what you have planned for Alys! x
And we have a gorgeous wedding to share. At one of my favourite venues, Christian Michaels shares his images of Carianne and Joe, having the most wonderful day! And to top it off, Grandad sings, under a floral arch.
You’re going enjoy this…..
Joe and Carrianne’s Full of Love, Big Day
What was your budget?
Our budget was around £15,000, however it did end up more around £17,000!
We tried to keep the costs down by making our own stationary and decorating the barn ourselves but we were unwilling to compromise on things important to us, such as the videographer – so the budget crept up gradually over the 2 years of planning!
How would you describe your wedding theme?
I would describe the theme as lace, flowers and love! We had lace table runners, and made lace covered tealight holders, and obviously my dress was lace. We had flowers everywhere! Right from the table plan to flowers hanging from the ceiling! We had a beautiful flower arch which we married under and flowers hanging over the LOVE lights at the back.
We had flowers on tables, on the welsh dresser and even on the bar! And love ultimately ran through the room and the whole day!
We married under a driftwood heart and even had LOVE spelt out in lights at the back of the room.
What was your favourite part of your wedding?
My favourite part of the day was the signing of the register. During this time my Grandad sang a song by the Everly brothers called ‘Let it be me’.
I adore my Grandad and he had contributed a lot to our day. He even created our table plan! We spent a long time trying to get a backing recording for him, but the song was so old it was impossible to get a version without the Everly brothers singing on it! In the end he was determined he would sing it acapella and it was so beautiful. So special. My sister burst into tears as soon as he started, which got me going! He has a beautiful voice and I will always treasure my wedding video and him singing that beautiful song.
“I bless the day I found you
I want to stay around you
And so I beg you, let it be me
Don’t take this heaven from one
If you must cling to someone
Now and forever, let it be me
Each time we meet love
I find complete love
Without your sweet love what would life be
So never leave me lonely
Tell me you love me only
And that you’ll always let it be me
Each time we meet love
I find complete love
Without your sweet love what would life be
So never leave me lonely
Tell me you love me only
And that you’ll always let it be me”
Tell us about your Wedding Dress
I found my dress in Wimbledon in London. We are currently living in London despite both being from Wales. I had booked an appointment with Teokath bridal, a small boutique recomended to me by a friend. On our way to Teokath, we passed another bridal shop called Paverly Bridal. As we had an appointment in Teokath we popped into Paverlybridal and also made an appointment for later in the afternoon. When we arrived at Teokath, I was very clear on the type of dress I wanted. I knew it would be a tulle skirt, very floaty with a fit and flare shape. But everything I tried on in was nice but didn’t really blow me away. By the time I got to Paverly all the dresses I had tried on were all merging together in my head and I was finding it difficult to remember the details. Feeling slighty discouraged we decided to chose 5 dresses I would not ever want to try! And then I found the one! Dress number 4 was a fitted lace gown with a fishtail bottom! I would have never picked it!
As soon as I put it on I could see Joe, and when I pictured our wedding day, for the first time I could picture myself there. I could see myself, in my fitted lace gown marrying my Joe. It was a very special moment and I knew I couldn’t look at another dress.
Who did you pick as your bridesmaids &/or best man and why?
For my bridesmaids I had my two best friends and my sister and Joe’s sister. I met my best friends in secondary school, we went to Cardiff University together, lived together and now live close to each other in London. They were in the room when I told my girlfriends I had met a new boy (Joe) at just 17! They gave their approval of Joe and have been with us throughout our entire relationship so I had to choose them. And it felt right that they should make a speech at the wedding breakfast as they probably know me and Joe as a couple the most out of everyone!
Similarly, Joe picked his best friend from school and his brothers as his ushers. Joe and his best man Rhys have been inseparable forever, their families and really close and Joe couldn’t have picked anyone else.
Why did you choose your venue?
I loved Rosedew Farm as soon as I saw it. I loved the DIY aspect of it! We could personalise it as we wanted… which is exactly what we did! We had pictures of me and Joe everywhere, we even had our own cocktail on sale…”Perks Passion Punch!”. The toilets were also covered in photos! We transformed the venue to be all about us for the day, which we loved.
Tell us about your photographer
Christian, Sam and Sean were great, he was very relaxed and we hardly noticed him all day. His style is documentary style and that’s what we wanted. We did the posed group shots for family but we didn’t want to stand around all day taking photos. He had some great ideas and even found the cornfield, although he didn’t find the entrance to the corn field!
Despite the fact, Joe had to physically push my behind over the steep hill so we could get in the field, we managed to get some great shots!
How did the proposal happen?
Joe proposed to me on an amazing holiday in Egypt. Joe had asked a man who worked on the beach selling snad art in bottles to create a heart shaped bottle with will you marry me on it! I obviously had no idea. One evening we were heading to one of the hotel’s bars to watch a comedy show and Joe said he would pop back to the room to get some playing cards so we could play whilst we waiting for the show to start. Unknown to me, Joe had spotted the sand art man from the beach had the will you marry me bottle at the front of his stall, completely on show! Joe had panicked and run over the the man to tell him off and just took the bottle there and then. In a panic he ran back to the room with it and decided he would just have to propose that night as he worried he wouldn’t be able to hide it in the room! He then proceeded to run the men’s toilets (where he had seen rose petals in a bowl) so he could grab some last minute room decorations!
Meanwhile I was fuming, sat in a bar, watching a comedy show on my own instead of with my boyfriend and also panicking that he was okay because we couldn’t get signal on our phones that day! When Joe returned flustered and sweaty, he had some story about how he got locked out of the room but I was already fuming with him for leaving me so long! (great start to the proposal!).
After the show we had some drinks and headed back to the room. When we got in the room, Joe started playing our song ‘When I fall in Love’ by Nat King Cole which made me laugh but I didn’t think much of it because Joe is often romantic like that. He then started to dance with me and then I saw this heart shaped bottle on the bed. I asked what it was as I saw my name on the front. After the song he let me go so I could pick it up and when I turned it around it said ‘Will you marry me?’ on the back, and when I looked up Joe was on his knee with the ring! I would love to say it was a beautiful proposal from that point but the reality was, I stood frozen on the spot balling my eyes out and wailing like a baby for a good 2 minutes (I blame the wine!). Poor Joe did eventually get his yes though, and we took some champagne down the the beach to continue our celebrations and even danced to our song again under the stars! It was perfect! <3
Any DIY stories/tutorials you’d like to share?
We did lots of DIY bits for the day, my favourite was the table plan which I saw on Notonthehighstreet and had my grandad make for me.
What was your first dance & why?
Our first dance was always going to be ‘When I fall in Love’ by Nat King Cole. It has been our song for our entire 10 year relationship. We I hear the song I think of me and Joe led in bed in our Cardiff university flat singing it to each other!
After our song I arranged for the band to play another favourite of ours, “I want to grow old with you” from the film the Wedding Singer. Everyone joined us on the dance floor and me and joe belted out all the words to each other! It was amazing!
In hindsight, was there anything you would have done differently?
I can’t say I would have done it a lot different. When you day is such a perfect memory, you wouldn’t want it to be any other way.
If I had to something though, I would say make sure you have your own sewing kit in the bride’s room! We had a bridesmaid dress split in the morning and were late because we couldn’t find a needle anywhere!
Do you have any advice for future couples?
I would say, accept that you will pay more than you want to. It is very likely you will go over budget but don’t stress about it! When we are 50 I don’t think we’ll be upset about that money we spent over budget! We have memories we will treasure forever, you can’t put a price on that.
What’s the best piece of marriage advice you received?
We’ve been together so long, we didn’t get given a lot of advice! I guess we’ve made it work for 10 years so we just need to keep doing what we’re doing!
What was your favourite thing about planning a wedding?
I’ll be honest, I loved everything! But the bit I loved the most was the internet searching! I loved my Pinterest board and I loved my Sunday nights just chilling with a galss of wine and searching for colours, flowers and dresses! However, I’m sure Joe doesn’t miss that bit!
More introductions! This week its our fabulous new Bride to be, Natasha, aka; The Procrastinating Bride!
Over to this little beaut to tell you more about her and her husband to be……..
Hello, beautiful brides-to-be! My name is Natasha. Most people call me Tash or Natash (which I find quite endearing) and my mum often refers to me as Last Minute Lucy…which is why I am The Procrastinating Bride!
I’m an SEO Copywriter, or Creative Content Executive when I want to sound fancy, but basically, I write for a digital marketing agency. When recently asked to describe my role in seven words for the company’s website, I said: writing, tea-drinking, more writing and eating cake. It’s pretty accurate.
I first met Steve on Bonfire Night back in 2004. My fifteen-year-old self didn’t particularly want to go out that night but, after a little persuasion from my parents, I went along. Someone introduced himself to me as “my paper boy” which I found charmingly strange and, somehow, he wangled my MSN ‘addy’.
Nearly twelve and a half years on, that paper boy is my best friend and fiancé: Steve.
Steve and I both grew up in Cardiff. In fact, our family homes are pretty much around the corner from each other. I fled the nest to study Fashion Journalism at university in Surrey’s lovely little Epsom, then returned to my roots after graduating.
Although practically all the jobs in my field are in the London area, my twenty-one-year-old self couldn’t wait to move back to home sweet home. Distance really does make the heart grow fonder! Cheesy, but true. Steve and I went on our first date to the cinema when we were 15 and 16 (Steve was in the year above in school; yes, I still think in academic years).
We’ll be 28 and 29 when we get married at Oldwalls in December this year and it’ll mark, almost to the day, 13 years of Team Stash; a nickname we acquired by friends while holidaying in America. We loved the idea of a winter wedding and, of course, December is particularly precious to us!
While many would assume that I was expecting Steve to propose, I couldn’t have been more surprised. In fact, I forgot to answer when he was down on one knee. My heart was saying a million times yes but my head couldn’t quite believe it.
We were on holiday in France last year with my grandparents when Steve asked me to marry him. They’ve been caravanning for years and asked us if we wanted to take the trailer tent; a cheap holiday (we’d recently bought a house) in the sun. We were sold.
Steve hadn’t been to France before and I had holidayed there a few times as a child. I vividly remember going to the beautiful Le Mont-Saint-Michel and told Steve all about it. We decided to stop there on our journey down to the Vendée.
24 hours later, we arrived at the iconic landmark. Steve insisted on taking his rucksack; he wanted to carry our jackets in it in case it was windy at the top. I told him we’d be fine so, he ditched the rucksack, and we made our way up to the castle.
Little did I know, Steve had a reason for wanting to take his rucksack. That reason being a ring!
Anyway, that didn’t happen. About a week later, after a bit more travelling, the two of us went for a meal at a restaurant in Jard-sur-Mer.
Steve had been acting a bit strange in the run up to the meal.
En route to the restaurant, Steve suggested a selfie with the harbour in the background. It was windy and I just wanted to get inside the restaurant but, agreed to have a quick photo.
Steve set his phone up on a bollard for a timed selfie. I went over to check the photo and was told not to press anything, that the phone would automatically take another one. I somehow came out of this setting and, as I turned around to explain this, Steve was down on one knee.
The soppy sneak had tried to capture the moment on camera!
Once I’d found my voice and, of course, said yes, we went inside the restaurant. Reality suddenly sank in and I became a blubbering mess! We enjoyed a delicious meal, went back to our campsite bar for more celebratory drinks and later, cracked open a bottle of bubbly back in our tent.
I’m extremely excited be a Cwtch girl and I’m very much looking forward to sharing my wedding plans with you. Hopefully my laidback ways will instil a sense of calm in those who feel like they’ve left things too late! Trust me, if you haven’t done your seating plan, The Procrastinating Bride hasn’t either.
Which reminds me: I still don’t have a colour scheme! Not that I’m remotely worried…
Admittedly, it all feels rather narcissistic writing about me, me, me but, hopefully, my wedding journey will help you on yours! Until next time, Cwtchers. Big, bridal love x
When I got married I had these massive plans for a big family meal the day be for and this lovely breakfast with the people from both our sides enjoying every minute together and continuing the celebration.
I got to a point where a friend sat me down and told me that I should only put my energy into the wedding day since she had gotten overwhelmed. I actually, for once, listened to her and left it.
Today our Graceful Bride tells us all how she might have taken on too much with her “wedding weekend.” Take it away Vicky.
Our Graceful Bride
Maybe we took on a bit too much….
So the wedding has been and gone and all I’m left with now are hundreds of photos and a list a mile long on who needs to know that I’m changing my name!
As fabulous as it was, a few days beforehand I was beginning to wonder if we’d taken on a bit too much. I mean who plans a wedding 225 miles away from where they live with 2 days of activities beforehand and a honeymoon straight afterwards!
Couple that with the fact Rob also had tonsillitis in the days leading up to the wedding and I’m quite surprised I didn’t just keel over somewhere!
Packing turned into a military operation and on the Tuesday before. I think I only sat down when I was in the car driving what felt like the length and breadth of Essex, all whilst trying to remind Rob when he needed to take his antibiotics!
With the dog off on his holiday, a car packed to the roof and a tired, disgruntled fiancé, we took on the M4 on a Wednesday evening, my many paged itinerary in hand and trying and get to my parents house with enough time to have a half decent nights sleep!
Thursday was family day, golf and afternoon tea at the Celtic Manor, Rob wrapped up in a good 4 layers with instructions not to overdo it, advice we should have taken in regards to eating as well I think!
As if we’d not had enough to eat and drink then we had a large family meal at our favourite restaurant in Newport, complete with gifts from the staff as we’ve been going there for over 20 years.
It was lovely to share our place with family that haven’t been in a long time and for Robs side of the family to experience it.
After a rather giggly church rehearsal on Friday morning (slightly concerned the photographers wouldn’t come back at one point) we said goodbye to each other and went our separate ways for the day.
Rob headed back to Celtic Manor for more golf and a meal with his friends, I put my parents, cousins and aunt and uncle to work at Peterstone Court.
With the most glorious weather we spent most of the time sat outside, looking at the view whilst putting together confetti cones and favour bags, it really was one of the best afternoons!
My friends timed their arrival amazingly well, just after everything had been finished setting up, so we took over the local pub for the evening, adults in one room, kids in the other (I say kids, apart from Charlie who’s an actual child the rest of us were aged between 20 and 35!!)
Needless to say by that point I was pretty exhausted and didn’t get much past 10.30pm!
We did something on the Saturday but I’ll leave that for another post….
By the Sunday I’d also come down with a cold so had the fun task of trying to tidy up, check out and get into a highly decorated car to move everything back to Essex, as well and trying to squeeze my mum in the back somewhere as she was coming to dog sit.
By the time we picked up Bailey he had to sit on my lap as there was no ounce of space available, (highly uncomfortable given he’s a rather large labradoodle!)
We arrived back to a welcome from the neighbours and a house decorated with balloons and banners before having a grand total of about 12 hours there before we headed off to Gatwick for the honeymoon.
A week in the sun (and a few cheeky champagnes and whiskeys on the flight) were just what we needed though and both of us were soon feeling better!
Just about got us refreshed enough to come back home and head off to Wales again a few days later for another wedding, different outfits though this time!!
Hands up who is ever so slightly jealous of that honeymoon. I can’t wait to share with you Vicky’s wedding. make sure you keep your eyes peeled for it.