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…..

G2B RAF Grooms

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.


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)


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.


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!


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!!


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!


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



Real Weddings: Allie & Rafe’s Day, Their Way





So its nearly the weekend so we thought we would treat you, as usual, to another beautiful Real Wedding.  This week we give you Allie and Rafe, shot by the wonderful Andrew at Silverbirch Photography. Oooooh its so so lovely! The attention to detail, the venue, her coy smile, those shoes, his tweed, their little boy! I shall stop banging on about it and leave it to you to discover instead.  Over to Allie and Rafe to tell us all about their day……
Real Weddings Banner

Real Weddings: Allie & Rafe’s Day, Their Way

What was your budget? 

We didn’t really have a set budget in mind. We knew we could only spend what we had so worked with that. We decided what was a need and what was a want then priced everything up. That sounds really boring I know but it really worked for us. Our rule of thumb was ‘does it sound reasonable’, if it did then we went for it. We had all the needs then had a few nice splurges too!

All together I’d say just under £7000 in total.

How would you describe your wedding theme?

The whole thing was perfect from start to end. My favourite part was how relaxed everyone felt. It was a casual laid back day with our closest family and friends. We were able to be ourselves and so were our guests. No pretending and no drama. Rafe was able to perform wuthering heights with the boys, the dance as well as the singing, I over indulged in Jagerbombs and no body batted an eyelid. Our families and friends mingled like they had all known each other for years.


I also loved seeing Rafe and our little boy Dylan dressed in the same outfit. It made my heart melt seeing him in his miniature tweed coat and brogues.


Tell us about your Wedding Dress

I didn’t step foot in a wedding dress shop. It just didn’t appeal to me at all. I knew I didn’t want a traditional dress and I knew trying on dresses in a shop just wasn’t for me. I initially chose a vintage Ivory embroidered full length gown but I just didn’t feel comfortable and didn’t feel like myself. In the end I went for a Chi Chi London lace baroque tea dress from ASOS. It was a bargain but I felt really special in it and more importantly felt like me.

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I was actually more bothered about my shoes! I didn’t like traditional wedding shoes and knew I wanted something colourful. I found the most amazing burgundy shoes on Mod Cloth and instantly ordered them, they were perfect.

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Who did you pick as your bridesmaids &/or best man and why?

I chose my two best friends, Bobbie and Becci and my Cousin, Jess. Even though we have spent long periods of time miles apart and sometimes go weeks without talking and months without seeing each other they are three of the most important people to me in the world. It was definitely an easy decision. There’s never any expectations and when we do see each other it’s like no time has passed at all.

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Rafe chose his two closest friends from when he was a teenager, Brad and Drinkel (Tom). Both live overseas now so it was amazing that they were able to join us for our day.


Why did you choose your venue?

As soon as we walked into Rosedew Farm we knew we wanted to get married there. It was the only venue we actually looked at. A big old empty barn by the sea. It was just perfect for us.

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Tell us about your photographer

Our photographer was one of our splurges. I saw his photography on a wedding blog and I fell in love. I love Andrew’s style of photography and photos are really important to me so we contacted him. It was important to us that moments were caught on camera rather than just a posed image. I love our photos so much.

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How did the proposal happen? 

We were chatting one day about our next travels. We love to travel and usually have our next two trips planned. I was saying to Rafe that I really wanted to go to Japan next year and he said “well can’t we get married instead?”. So that was that and we started planning.

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

The whole day was more or less DIY. From the invitations to the centrepieces to the cheesecake. Even the flowers were DIY. My mother in law and I spent many an hour digging in charity shops and antique shops for dream bottles and teapots, and evenings spent tying wooden cutlery and napkins. Rafe and I particularly enjoyed sampling the cheese in the shops before deciding which ones to have. My bridesmaid Becci was chief ‘florist’ and handtied all the bouquets and button holes. I think doing things DIY is more stressful and time consuming however you get to have things exactly as you want (whilst being a lot more cost effective too!). It just made the planning more exciting too as we could see everything coming together.

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What was your first dance & why?

We didn’t want an announced first dance so we asked the DJ to play our first dance song later in the evening unannounced. We didn’t fancy the awkward sway with everyone watching. We danced to Bob Marley, Could You be Loved at a random point of the evening. It brings back happy memories of traveling around Central America and the Caribbean (then after returning home finding out we were going to have a baby!)

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

I don’t think so. It was perfect.

Do you have any advice for future couples?

Relax and enjoy yourself. You only do it once and it goes so fast. Stop worrying and just enjoy your day. There’s not enough time to sweat the small stuff.

What was your favourite thing about planning a wedding?

CHEESE! I’m not kidding. Cheese shopping was so good. Getting to go around all the cheese shops and deli’s and taste loads of different cheeses before making our selections for our cheese cake.

The Suppliers

Photographer: Silverbirch Photography
Ceremony Venue: Rosedew Farm 
Reception Venue: Rosedew Farm 
Bride’s Dress: Chi Chi London
Bride’s Shoes: ModCloth 
Bride’s Headpiece: Asos
Bride’s Jewellery: Brides own
Groom’s Outfit: BHS and Gap
Bridesmaid’s Dresses: H and M, ASOS
Bridesmaid’s Accessories: Their Own
Cake: Various cheese shops
Flowers: The Flower Monger
Make Up: MAC 
Caterers: Garth Fish and Chips, Mr Creemy LTD, Alan John Butchers
Any Reception Decor/Props: Dear Florence, Bella Rose Wedding Planners

The Wedding Album

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Emily and Morgan’s Homemade Farm Wedding By Clixx Photography

Hello you beautiful bunch!

What have you got planned to tick off your wedding “to do” list this weekend? We thought we could be of assistance and show you an amazing homemade farm wedding by Clixx Photography to get the creative juices flowing. I hope that it can help with a little bit of inspiration.
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What was your budget? 

We were on a limited budget as we had/have been busy saving for a deposit for a house. Fortunately the mother of the bride was very artistic and managed to create some beautiful bunting, arranged all the flowers for us among many more things. This allowed us to save vastly on some areas! We pulled in a lot of favours from our neighbours- we were lucky enough that one happened to have a vintage cream tractor….perfect for our vintage farm theme wedding! Let’s just say we spent under 10k in total!clixxphotography(c)-0097

How would you describe your wedding theme?

So my (now) husband is a farmer and we currently live in the idyllic location of Ystradfellte right in the heart of waterfall country…. so what better place to get married! We were fortunate enough to get married in the village church ‘St Marys’ one of the oldest churches in Wales-which had only recently been saved from going into ruin by a fantastic effort by the local community and contributing tourists. It was also the same church as Morgans mother and late father got married.
After the ceremony and exiting the church under a traditional ‘pitchfork’ arch by the young farmers we departed on our very own vintage cream Dan Brown tractor driven by one of the groomsmen, only a short stones throw away from Morgans farm where our marquee was waiting!
The exterior was surrounded by our mismatch outdoor seating- including some old church pews I managed to get my hands on from a reclamation centre! And of course no farm wedding would be complete without hay bales!
Interior was decorated with pretty bunting surrounding the marquee, tables laid with vintage embroidered table cloths (charity shop raid!!) and pretty vintage china (hired and bought). Morgans brother in law kindly used his sawing skills and created some wooden discs for our enamel jugs (Range job!) to sit on. We had our cake table all laid out with large pieces of wood. One of our friends kindly made our wedding cake which compromised of Morgan holding a sheep, then me with a orange glove on (just to explain I am a vet) ‘lambing’ the sheep- needles to say it looked epic. As I am not a so sweet person…..I couldn’t have a wedding without some cheese so I had a ‘cheese cake’ as well which my mum managed to assemble and decorate on the morning of!
To top it off we had pictures against the farm as a backdrop then we took our photographer up to the top of the farm with Pen-Y-Fan in the distance ….and the cows decided to join us! So there are some lovely pics with his cows coming and having a picture with us!clixxphotography(c)-0054clixxphotography(c)-0002

What was your favourite part of your wedding?

I’m not quite sure which was my favourite part, it all went by in a bit of a blur! It was a very relaxed day that seemed to flow effortlessly . None of it seemed real to be honest it still doesn’t! I think my favourite bit was perhaps chatting to all the guests and having a good laugh, (swift) catch ups and just seeing they were enjoying the day as much as we were. There were moments where I was truly touched and got a bit emosh-I am not a very emotional person! But yes an all round great day!clixxphotography(c)-0066

Tell us about your Wedding Dress

I am a Cardiff girl at heart so still go to town to do most of my shopping. I had popped in one Saturday to get some other bits and bobs. Wedding dress shopping wasn’t even on my mind! But as I passed Alison Jayne I noticed there were huge ‘SALE’ signs up. So, me not being able to refuse a sale, I popped in to have a look. I knew you had to make appointments sometimes weeks before fittings-but I thought I’d just have a browse. Low and behold they had a spare hour so I went about trying on different dresses, I had decided what sort of style I liked and had picked out a dress that I thought was ‘The One’. I wanted to go to other stores and try on the other gowns. My day out turned into mass wedding dress shopping. None of the other dresses compared to that one and I was sure that was it. So a week later I made another appointment at the dress shop and tried on the dress… didn’t look the same…so I started trying on more with the help of my mum and now an extra bridesmaid. All the dresses were blurring into one and I started getting overwhelmed. Then my mum picked up a dress from the sample sale (see…sample sale amazing bargains!) my 1st reaction was ‘I hate that belt’ but when I tried it on I loved it! The only thing was it was 2 sizes too big and the under slip was in ivory…I wanted a champagne colour. My mum then pipes up she thinks she can dye the slip so I take the dress a 1/3 of the original price (I could of had if I wanted at a mere snippet at 1400. I suppose is not too bad for a dress but I wasn’t prepared to pay that much for it).
So a heads up- you can’t dye polyester….unless you want it in a primary colour…let’s just say I didn’t fancy a brick red dress! My colleague had recommended a seemstress so I got in contact with her to see if she could help. Pam, what a lovely lady based in Gross Faen she created a bespoke underslip for me in my chosen fabric did a fantastic job of altering the dress- including lifting all the lace patterns up when shortening it. My belt- which I hated she used some of the champagne underskirt material to make the loops of the belt (may I say totally my idea!) Which gave a lovely tone to the dress. So I had my ‘Sottero and Midgley’ wedding dress for half the cost of a brand new one and it looked beautiful!clixxphotography(c)-0013clixxphotography(c)-0032

Who did you pick as your bridesmaids &/or best man and why?

I had my two friends from school as the ‘adults’ Rachel I have known since I was 3, we were in the same school throughout primary school and remained good friends throughout high school and thereafter! We decided in year 4 we should be marriage councillors when we were older! As for Laura we first started to ‘hang’ out in year 9 and our friendship really grew later in 6th form and post A levels and as a 3 have always kept in close contact.clixxphotography(c)-0091

Morgan chose Eiffion – a good neighbour and close friend who was there for him during some difficult times, he helped to guide him when sad circumstances ment Morgan had to take over the running of the farm when he was just 21. And has been a great support since. Plus he makes good speeches.clixxphotography(c)-0008

Why did you choose your venue?

As I mentioned before we live in the heart of waterfalls country in the Beacons national parks with views of Pen Y Fan – whole wouldn’t want to get married here!! There were also sentimental links and reasoning behind our choice.

Tell us about your photographer

Les Davies of Clixx Photography Aberdare did our photographs. We met him at a wedding fayre in Penderyn after haggling with him (sorry Les!) We arranged for him to come and shoot the wedding. We both had to say how relaxed we were around him both of us hate having our photos taken and he made us feel relaxed through out the whole day. It was like he wasn’t there at times! So a massive thanks for getting some amazing shots…..and sorry you got licked by a cow!!clixxphotography(c)-0071

How did the proposal happen? 

So I had gone to the farmhouse to visit our neighbours to give them a late Christmas present- it was the 1st time they had met my newly removed dog as well so what started as a 5 min pop in turned into a 3hour chat and coffee….you know how it goes! So Morgan came knocking at 1pm to come and fetch me for dinner. He turned round and said for me to chuck my wellies on and to put the dog in the car he needed to go up the top to check the sheep before we went for dinner. So we hopped on the quad and went to the top of the farm. It was absolutely freezing (31st December 2015) he stopped the quad and he got off all I could think of was ‘I can’t see any blinking sheep up here what’s going on’ we then started talking about random rubbish and I could tell something was off (actually though he may have been breaking up with me!) Then he went to the front of the quad and went rummaging and shaking …he turned round then got down on his knee producing a very pretty ring (he apparently knew Mr better than I did!!) I of course said yes (still sat straddling the quad-not very lady like at all….Hood up and all!)clixxphotography(c)-0088

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

Just fair warning that doing it yourself is not easy! Its fun but stressful!! In fact because we (and by we I mean my mum) made most of the stuff/bought it we are now going into a small venture of hiring out vintage wedding items!
Another heads up….painting wooden furniture Ron seal is really watery and needs a million coats!!clixxphotography(c)-0043clixxphotography(c)-0050

What was your first dance & why?

Our 1st dance was Counting crows ‘big yellow taxi’ when I was a lambing student this was the song he played over and over and over again in the tractor and it kind of became our song from there.
The story behind how we met reminds me there is such thing as fate.
I was a 2nd year vet student and my friend in the year below needed a lambing placement- so through a mutual friend a farm in Ystradfellte was arranged. I had already done lambing but loved it so much I thought I’d do it again after speaking with the farmer he advised me his neighbour would be in more need as his father just passed away. So I decided to go and help out.From the minute we met we got on like a house on fire and sparks flew. We were on and off for a couple of years as I was studying in London and it was too far to travel, but a few years ago ….at a ram sale! We decided to make a proper go of it…and here we are now!clixxphotography(c)-0105

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

I would have taken some more time off before work to prep!!! But to be honest I think that was the only thing I would have done. The day couldn’t have been more perfect for us and we couldn’t have ordered better weather!!!clixxphotography(c)-0089

Do you have any advice for future couples?

Ladies just accept the men are probably going to say…’you decide’ so just decide- that is what I did in the end! Just remember to enjoy yourselves and that you’ve decided to make that big commitment to one another!

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

I don’t think we really had any to be honest! …..not sure if that’s a good or bad thing!!!

What was your favourite thing about planning a wedding?

It was going to different fayres and getting ideas together it was only until the last couple of weeks that everything started to fall into place. I understand why people buy packages in hotels etc it takes away a lot of stress- an we both had strains both working full time jobs- Morg 7days a week right in the middle of lambing the month previous!! But we wouldn’t have enjoyed it as much as we did…we got to appreciate the fruits of our (and others!!) Labour!clixxphotography(c)-0079clixxphotography(c)-0068

The Suppliers

Photographer: Clixx Photography
Ceremony Venue: St Marys Church Ystradfellte
Reception Venue: Plas y Darren Farm
Bride’s Dress: Sottero and Midgley ‘Lara’
Bride’s Shoes: Benjamin Adams
Bride’s Headpiece: Flowers
Bride’s Jewellery: Goldsmiths-pearl and diamond pendant, and my great aunts pearl earrings
Groom’s Outfit: Moss Bros
Bridesmaid’s Dresses: Hobbs
Bridesmaid’s Accessories: Pia
Cake: Elaine Llewellyn
Flowers: Mum-Sian Mohamad, bouquets -‘Karen the florist’
Hair and Make Up: My bridesmaid/makeup artist! Laura Beard
DJ: Chris Lauriello
Stationery: Myself and my mother Sian
Caterers: Waterfalls ‘Glynneath golf club’
Transport: Sumo taxi and Gareth on Dai Brown

The Wedding Album

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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! 

Jess-and-Ella-Wedding-Oct-10th-2015-457Real Weddings Banner

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?


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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