Review: The Angel Hotel, Abergavenny

Today we have a wonderful review of the beautiful Angel Hotel, Abergavenny.

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Awarded AA Hotel of the Year in Wales, The Angel Hotel is something very special. I was invited to come along to view their wedding showcase a while ago and experience an overnight stay. Our boobless Bride Dawn also joined me for the evening. And what a great night we had too!

There is literally something for everyone to enjoy here. Their award winning Afternoon teas for one are legendary (great for treating mum or your bridesmaids!). But today, we’re focusing on weddings and what they can provide for you on your big day!

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If you’ve yet to book your wedding venue, then I honestly think you should take a closer look at The Angel. They have a variety of packages to suit all budgets and if you are looking to get married this year… they have a great offer running too!

When I arrived at the hotel, I was greeted by friendly staff, all very warm and welcoming. I was then shown around the different locations they offer for weddings.

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The Hotel

Inside the hotel itself, you have the Ballroom or Brecon Suite to choose from for the ceremony. Two very different and unique spaces.8788a62158f657378425a5c0a9d74941

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Private Dining
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I felt they have all the bases covered. Even with being situated on the high street, once inside, you felt like you were miles away. And if you were worried about where you can have your wedding photographs taken…don’t.  The beautiful Abergavenny Castle is a two minute walk away!

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So, if you are thinking of taking a closer look, do it… we did and loved our stay!

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Cwtch of the Week: A Sunset on Southerndown Cwtch

Hello again Monday!

But its just glorious out there today, doesn’t make a Monday quite so bad then does it!

And speaking of glorious, we have a truly stunning sunset cwtch of the week of you all today. Shot by the lovely Darren Thomas, and taken on the beautiful Dunraven Bay at Southerndown.  

I will hand over to Darren now to tell you more about it…..

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A Sunset on Southerndown Cwtch

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Wow, what can I say other than what a superb day to have shot this pre wedding shoot with Susie and Rob.

In August I will be heading to Clearwell Castle where I will have the pleasure of shooting their wedding.

So, having meet Susie and Rob last year to discuss their wedding, I was over the moon that they decided to book me for their big day and recently when Susie got in touch to arrange a pre wedding shoot at Southerndown beach I had all fingers and toes crossed that the sun would come out to play. Well, it worked. The weather man or woman, I’m not sure which :) said it would be cloudy and overcast all day. I should have known, as we all do, they are never right and I am so glad this was true.  The brightest and clearest blue skies that I have seen this year, not a cloud in the sky and the location Dunraven Bay, renowned by landscape photographers and many others as an amazing sunset location.

Susie told me that she and Rob were not lovers of the camera so I had to make sure that by the end of the shoot they were. Rob, well Rob clearly knew how to work that camera and even impressed Susie, well done Rob, obviously been practicing :)  It was a great day, plenty of laughs and what really made the day for me was when they both said how much of a great time they both had. Thank you both, looking forward to the wedding now.

Bride to be Diaries: Introducing Our First Bridesmaid, Maid In Wales

Good morning you lovely bunch!

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……

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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.

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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.

Maid In Wales Alys and Gwen

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).

Maid In Wales Me on my hen party

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.

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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.

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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.

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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

Grooms to Be Diaries: The RAF Grooms are on Planning Overload!

Happy Thursday everyone!

Our boys are back, and they’re feeling a little over whelmed! With ten months to go, they’re feeling a little up to their eyes with it all. Over to Mike to full you in…..

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The RAF Grooms are on Planning Overload!

When we first started planning the wedding it started really well, we knew what we wanted and what we didn’t want in our wedding.

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Since then as time continues to dwindle we seem to be behind the drag curve in respects to our timeline. Mostly because I’m away with work;image4and James is currently working six days a week. (The sixth day is his training day in preparation for becoming a Special Constable with Wiltshire Police, as he leaves the RAF in May)

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Our biggest controversy has been the guest list which has been critiqued, shall we say, for the lack of family we invited, as it became clear some family members felt put out by being left out, despite not seeing them for years.

We both have large families, a large circle of friends together and also separate so it was always going to be difficult. We think and hope it is resolved now.

In terms of actual wedding plans we managed to get the majority of it sorted immediately, but being typically gay and influenced by fashion (James mostly!) and very picky (Me!) we would change our minds a lot and still do.

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We were good in booking a band, a florist and the venue with ease. Actually James booked the venue before I even saw it! (Berkeley Castle, Gloucestershire) However this guy knows me well and he chose perfectly. It was a castle built to keep the Welsh out for Henry VIII, trouble is it hasn’t worked as James’ family are all Welsh!

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The Florist was a lovely lady who runs the flower shop in town and very competitive prices, so with a massive thanks to my mum and her husband Shaun who have agreed to pay for the flowers, we have lovely array of red and white with touches of blue.

So really it’s the finer details that has been left to be organised which are the finalising the catering for the evening food, the decorations, the wines and the table linen. So if any of your readers have any good knowledge on table linen then let us know please! (We are just wary we don’t want to hire the cloths when they cost the same as buying one (this is the picky side in me!)

Oh and the wedding cake – how can I forget that part?! We aren’t sure yet how we are going to tackle this. Whether it is an actual cake made for us costing hundreds of pounds designed to our every needs, or it is a few M&S fruit and sponge cakes decorated to perfection. But with a 100 invited to the day with further 80 in the evening, we know it has got to be good.

We still have ten months to go, so we are confident we will get the smaller but trickier items squared away in good time. It would be great to see what your other readers and couples have done in terms of wedding cakes and table linen etc.

Don’t worry boys! You will get it sorted! Its can get pretty overwhelming.  Looking forward to hearing more x

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!!

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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.
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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.

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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!

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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!

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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

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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