I hope you had a great weekend? To start your week off in style, we have a gorgeously romantic image for Cwtch of the Week, taken by Steve from Art by Design Photography.
The blustery weather added to this gorgeously dramatic cwtch from this weeks newlyweds. Over to Steve to tell us more about it….
A Italian-Welsh Cwtch
This gorgeous couple in the field is Michela and Dave.
They both live in Munich in Germany and Michela is Italian and Dave, Welsh. They both have a love for the beach, coastlines and Lighthouses so that’s why they decided to get married at Nash Point Lighthouse, in Llantwit Major, South Wales.
The shot was taken at the top of the cliff to the left of the lighthouse. It had just stopped raining and the blue sky started to appear.
Michela was wearing a simple vintage dress so it was great she was willing to climb over a wall, dodge the stingy nettles to get in the field.
I think it was worth it in the end for this dramatic, romantic shot.
We couldn’t agree more Steve! The windswept, Bronte novel look about it all! We completely adore it. Thank you for sharing everyone x
A question we ask our Brides and Grooms for our ‘Real Weddings’ feature is ‘Is there anything you would change about your big day?’
Often the answer is ‘No, we wouldn’t change a thing’, but more and more, we are getting the answer, ‘We wish we had booked a videographer.’
25 years ago or so, a wedding video was often quite cheesy, with a mixture of still images and video, showcasing the day to the sound of the Peter Cetera’s ‘Glory of Love’ (actually, that song is epic!)
But lately, wedding films are incredible. With new awesome technology that I don’t even begin to try and understand, what you are left with is a beautiful cinema look, with emotive music and the most breathtaking result.
Aurora Wedding Films creates the most stunning films you will ever see. Richard Shelton of Aurora has shot well over 300 films, throughout Wales and the rest of the UK, as well as destination weddings, and with 12 years experience, you’re guaranteed a wonderful result.
We have the pleasure of sharing one of Richard’s latest films, of Victoria and Olivers wedding, shot earlier this year. So I will hand over to Richard himself to tell you all about it, before you feast your eyes on this delight – you’re going to need a tissue.
Victoria & Olivers Wedding Film by Aurora
After meeting whilst studying at Millfield School, Victoria and Oliver were married at Hensol Castle in June this year. What promised to be a warm summers day changed dramatically when the skies opened and we had some of the most torrential rain I’ve seen in years, just as Victoria arrived at the church in Cowbridge!
Luckily, it was just a short shower and the guests were treated to warm sunshine for the rest of the day at Hensol. They booked us after seeing one of their friends wedding films, which we shot in 2014. They were so pleased that they’d got one too and had a special ‘screening night’ at Victoria’s parents for all their family and friends.
I will be honest, I do cry at the drop of a hat, adverts, cardigan inside out, but I defy anyone to not shed a romantic slow tear down the cheek at this film! Beautiful Richard. Just beautiful x
I can’t believe that it has already been a fortnight since Cwtchfest! For those of you who couldn’t make it you missed and amazing day. The sun was shining and the brides were out in force in the most beautiful setting in Wales, Glanusk Estate.
The wonderful Owen Mathias captured this Cwtch Girls cwtch at the very end of an epic day. Trust me this is a rare photo. Getting us all in one place at at one time is hard let alone in a photograph. You would be happy to know that these are all the lovely ladies who make up Cwtch The Bride HQ.
I cant wait for you to see the rest of the photographs. I am always on the lookout for a good old fashioned cwtch. If you have a photo that you would like us to share send it in to firstname.lastname@example.org. Have a happy week! ~ Kate
“Does everyone remember last year we ran our first bride to be competition. Today’s real wedding is of Emily and Martin Vintage Welsh Inspired Wedding . Emily was one of our finalists and you can read her entry here. You can only imagine my eagerness to feature her wedding photographed by Sarah Elvin. Grab a cuppa and a mince pie and enjoy.” ~ Kate
What was your budget?
We originally planned it to be £10k – we had decided that we wanted to pay for everything upfront and not put anything on a credit card. We wanted to start married life on a positive note and not have any debt if we could help it! As the wedding drew closer the budget increased slightly. We didn’t want to go over £12k – Martin had always liked the idea of going on ‘Don’t Tell The Bride’ and we thought we would like the challenge of sticking to this budget just like the grooms on the show have to! In the end I think we had an amazing day – it just shows that you don’t have to spend lots and lots of money to get the perfect day. It is the personal touches that make the day special not flashing lots of cash.
How would you describe your wedding theme?
Our wedding theme was a bit of a mix up of Vintage and Welshness! We didn’t set out with a theme at the beginning, it just developed naturally. I have always loved the vintage era of 1950’s – we had an afternoon tea party style drinks reception and booked a vintage taxi as our wedding car with a vintage bus to take the guest to/from the church.
Being born and bred in Wales I really wanted to get married back home in my local church in St Fagans but it wasn’t that practical – so I brought Wales to the wedding. I made pew ends with Welsh words on them – with maps of where I grew up, where Martin grew up and where we were getting married. We had a male voice choir (not from Wales) but the next best thing – they were incredible and everyone loved them. We even had ‘Bread of Heaven’ as one of our hymns. My sister arranged for my dad to give us a love spoon during his speech and I was also given a t-shirt which summed up the day perfectly – ‘You can take the girl out of Wales, but you can’t take Wales out of the girl!’ To finish the theme off – there was a hint of travel (which is the industry I work in) and a hint of golf (which is the industry Martin works in).
What was your favourite part of your wedding?
My favourite part of the wedding (apart from feeling like a princess for the day) was seeing so many friends and family look so happy! It was incredible to share our happy day with so many people that are important in both our lives. Martin also arranged the best surprise ever – one of his ushers came to our room while we were getting ready to deliver a message written on cards (a bit like in Love Actually) which were shown to us with the song Memories are Made of This – by Dean Martin. Luckily my sister caught all of it on video!
Tell us about your Wedding Dress
I bought my wedding dress in Cardiff Bridal Centre – the staff were amazing in there! My dad unfortunately had a nasty road bike accident so I was back home in Cardiff so I could visit him in hospital. My mum and I headed into Cardiff to do something cheerful before visiting hours at the hospital and we went for a look at wedding dresses. I had an idea of what I wanted to wear, which I explained to the staff at the shop and she said ‘ I have the perfect dress for you’ and came back with my dress! What made it even more perfect was that it had £600.00 off it!
I absolutely loved the dress and the seamstress in the shop added some finishing touches to make it fit the theme perfectly – I wanted a splash of colour so she added a fuchsia pink net petticoat! The shop did such a great job that my sister has since bought her wedding dress there!
Who did you pick as your bridesmaids &/or best man and why?
I picked my sister Laura to be my bridesmaid (I am returning the favour this August) and two of my great friends – Jo who I worked with when I lived in Cheltenham and Kirsten who I currently work with. They were all amazing bridesmaids. I had the best hen party back in Cardiff and they really helped support me in the lead up to the wedding. All their partners we also roped in the helping with the final preparations of the venue on the morning of the wedding so we could have plenty of time to get ready. Martin picked his good friend Huw, who he knows through golf, as his best man. He did a superb job! People have asked if they can hire him out for their wedding! Ha Ha!
Why did you choose your venue?
Old Thorns Manor Hotel was recommended to us by a work colleague. I went to visit it with one of my bridesmaids and I knew straight away it was perfect. Many venues along the South Coast are very expensive – we were not prepared to pay £5k for an empty barn! Old Thorns was very affordable and accommodating – we were allowed to bring in home made cakes for our drinks reception, have a BBQ for our wedding breakfast and bring in an external supplier for our dessert!
They had plenty of accommodation for all our guests plus great facilities including a golf course and leisure facilities. Whilst Martin was playing golf the day after our wedding with 20 guests I was in the spa having a hot stone body massage – just what I needed after dancing the night away on the dance floor. Another plus point was the amazing views for the wedding photos – we have some great shots from the 5th hole on the golf course.
How did the proposal happen?
Martin and I were in Rome to watch Wales v Italy play rugby and we took a visit to some of the sights. Whilst we were at Trevi Fountain Martin proposed – very romantic! To celebrate this proposal at the wedding we had a vintage ice cream bike serving Italian Ice Cream (if anyone is ever in Brighton you need to visit Boho Gelato – their ice cream is yummy!)
Any DIY stories/tutorials you’d like to share?
I think it is important not to be afraid of doing things differently – adding some personality into the day will definitely make it more special. We had a cider station and a raffle – which added some extra fun to the day! I love a good DIY project so I made most things, which definitely helps save money. I made everything from invitations, order of service, table decorations, wedding favours, name tags, table plan, backdrop for the dance floor. If you have time to spare, we were luckily in that we had two years to plan our wedding, hunt around for the bargains. My bridesmaid dresses were £27.00 each! Now that is a bargain!
What was your first dance & why?
Our first dance was Amazed by Lonestar. From very early on Martin had picked our first dance song. I really liked it as was a typical wedding dance song and summed up our relationship perfectly.
In hindsight, was there anything you would have done differently?
I can honestly say that our wedding day was perfect to us! It took a lot of planning and lots of hours making everything, I did wonder at times when my fingers were stuck together with super glue if it was all worth it – but it definitely was!
Do you have any advice for future couples?
Try not to stress over the little things, they’ll seem so trivial on the day. Relax and enjoy your day, take it all in! Lastly, remember it’s you two getting married, don’t worry about what other think or want – it’s your day so enjoy it! I loved watching all our guests enjoying the day chatting and laughing whilst we were all seated having our wedding breakfast.
What’s the best piece of marriage advice you received?
It is very easy to get tied up with work and chores, and it is quite easy to neglect the relationship by accident. I think a great piece of advice is to make sure you make ‘quality’ time for each other – we are going to have a date day/night at least once a week!
What was your favourite thing about planning a wedding?
My favourite thing was planning all the personal touches. I didn’t want a standard wedding – I wanted things to be a bit different and quirky to reflect our personalities. I also loved how excited my mum and dad were – they helped so much with all the projects and it made everything extra special and brought people together with the added excitement! My mum was an absolute star – she made the wedding cake, some bunting, flower girl dress and even her outfit! My dad helped with painting the wooden name tag hearts and the MDF letters. Martin’s mum and auntie also got involved – everyone’s help was invaluable!
Annie & James have had almost a whole week dedicated to them on Cwtch the Bride! On Monday we featured James and his best man Gareth in a big bromantic Cwtch of the Week, yesterday Annie told us how her & James got together and we shared their gorgeous E-shoot, today we finish the hat trick with their gorgeous wedding which was captured by Gareth Scanlon Photography.
What was your budget? We didn’t set out with a budget but paying for the majority of the wedding ourselves (with a bit of gratefully received help from parents) we knew we didn’t want to get into debt. By giving ourselves over a year to prepare we were able to save and pay for things along the way and saved a lot of money by making things ourselves. Overall we spent roughly £8000.
How would you describe your wedding theme? The wedding took place in a village close to where I grew up in Berkshire. Getting married in England, we wanted to bring a bit of our life by the coast in Wales to the wedding. Having a fifties style dress also naturally gave the wedding a vintage feel. So I guess you could call it ‘Welsh seaside with a vintage twist’!
Most of the decorations were handmade in sea blues and greens and we found some fantastic sea themed table clothes and napkins. We used photos I’d taken of local beaches as our table names and for the invitations. Other details ranged from wearing a stunning silver and sea glass bracelet, to having a welsh love spoon attached to my bouquet, to serving heart shaped welsh cakes to guests on arrival, baked fresh that morning in Swansea Market!
What was your favourite part of your wedding? The whole day was incredible from start to finish. It was such a happy day. Obviously marrying James was a highlight! Walking down the aisle to see all our family and friends and James waiting for me at the front was an amazing feeling. It was so great to celebrate our relationship in front of all the people who have been with us along our journey so far.
Our friends and family helped a lot with making the day run smoothly. I loved all the personal touches they’d created; from a table worth of delicious cakes, to making decorations, to my brother singing as I walked down the aisle and reforming his old school band The Playthings for a short set at the reception! One of my favourite moments was in the evening. We hired an amazing funk band The Snitch to play and I stopped to look across the room and the whole place was full of people smiling and dancing, it was great to see everyone else enjoying the day as much as we were.
Tell us about your Wedding Dress My dress was Josie by Lizzie Jayne Designs. I always thought I wanted a shorter style fifties dress but did the dutiful bridal shop visit first and tried on everything from a sleek Grecian style gown to a giant puffball, much to my bridesmaid Meg’s amusement! Within 5 minutes of being in a full length gown my suspicions were confirmed, I felt far too constricted for a bride that planned to spend A LOT of the night on the dance floor! I was recommended to check out Lizzie’s dresses by my sister who lives in the same village as her. I instantly loved her designs and the way she uses a bit of colour to help make the dresses stand out. I was extra lucky that Lizzie had a sample sale on at the time. I tried on a range of dresses and Josie was “just right” from the outset – a perfect fit that required no alterations! The lace and darker ivory colour also went perfectly with the 150 year old family veil I wore. The blue silk bow completed the dress for me. I absolutely loved wearing the dress it was comfy, beautiful and perfect for dancing :)
Who did you pick as your bridesmaids &/or best man and why? My older sister Evie was my maid of honour and my two nieces were my flower girls. I’m lucky to still have a close group of school friends. I chose one of my oldest school friends Alison, who I was paired with by the head teacher aged 5 when Ali joined the school, and we have been firm friends ever since! My other bridesmaid Megan is a friend from Swansea. I found a kindred spirit in Meg almost a decade ago working in a pub together. Meg was an absolute trooper in the lead up to the wedding and coaxed me along to BMF (British Military Fitness) three times a week to get me in tiptop shape for the day. Between them they threw me the most amazing hen do and I could have asked for lovelier ladies to be by my side on the day. James chose one of his oldest friends, Gareth, to be his best man.
Why did you choose your venue? There were a few factors that came into consideration when choosing our venue, including cost, location and size. My mum was the one who originally suggested considering Hampstead Norreys, a small village near where I grew up in Newbury. The setting was perfect. It’s such a picturesque village. The church is beautiful and the congregation in the lead up to the wedding were so helpful and welcoming. Having a village hall for our reception was great, as it was a blank canvas so we could really make the venue our own. Not to mention it was big enough for all our guests! I also loved being able to spend the night before the wedding at my parents. I felt so relaxed on the day and think that was helped by being in such a familiar place. For James I think a venue which had a cricket pitch outside sold it for him! How did the proposal happen? Click here for Annie & James’ proposal story
Any DIY stories/tutorials you’d like to share? To keep costs down and make the day more personal a lot of things were handmade. Pinterest became my saviour during the preparation stages and I created a board ‘Operation Wedding’ to save any good ideas I came across. Family and friends then helped to make paper hearts, giant pompoms, and other paper decorations from the tutorials I found.
Our seaside theme also meant James and I beach combed for pretty shells for the tables. We also collected over 120 pebbles from our local beach which I then decorated to double up as place names and favours. We created table names using photos I’d taken from local beaches and creating stands for the pictures out of rocks and copper wire. I also used photos to create invites making them into postcards using an online site. Keeping in theme I wrote the table plan onto an old surfboard of James, a simple idea but it looked really effective.
What was your first dance & why? James and I have never had a song as such. However, the song that always gets the two of us on the dance floor is Stevie Wonder Superstition but the lyrics are not very appropriate for a first dance. So we chose to have Moondance by Van Morrison. It’s a song I remember hearing live years ago and saying to a friend at the time that I wanted it to be my first dance at my wedding. Not been keen to be on our the dance floor alone for long we ensured we had some key friends to start dancing halfway through the song, then got the band to break into Superstition straight after and got funky!
In hindsight, was there anything you would have done differently? No, other than get someone to put us aside a spot of the evening buffet. We were too busy dancing and having fun, and it had been well and truly demolished by our guests leaving us none left for a midnight feast!
Do you have any advice for future couples? The best advice we received was not to worry about what anyone else wants you to do but do what you like. It can be too easy to get bogged down trying to please others and lose sight of what you’d like and what the day means to you.
What’s the best piece of marriage advice you received? We didn’t receive much advice as such, having been together 11 years already I guess we’re already doing something right!
What was your favourite thing about planning a wedding? All of it! There is nothing better than planning the best party ever with someone you love, which involves inviting all your favourite people, where you can pick exactly what you want, including amazing food (tapas and paella, yum!) and have your favourite type of music playing all night long :)
Bridesmaid’s Dresses: The Pretty Dress Company – Seville Hourglass Swing & Pencil styles Bridesmaid’s Accessories: Bridesmaids own Cakes: Made by family and friends Flowers: Bouquets & Buttonholes – Willow & Blooms, Newbury; Church flowers by church florist; Table centrepieces by mother of the bride. Hair: Annika Brindley Make Up: Done by bride and bridesmaids themselves Bands: The Playthings and The Snitch Stationery: Designed by the bride Caterers: Facing Heaven Food Company Any Reception Decor/Props: Most décor collected/made by bride & groom, family and friends Transport: Courtesy of Voodoo VW
The Wedding Gallery
I’m so glad we got to share this super laid-back, fun-filled wedding with you, huge thanks to Annie & James for getting in touch. Please show them some love in the comments below :) Charlie x