My Riverstation Wedding, Part 2

Thank you for your sweet emails and tweets regarding Part 1 of my wedding report. Here’s the second (and my favourite) part, happy Sunday! xx

We didn’t want a reception that was too formal, we thought about having champagne and canapes, but to be honest we found that it just wasn’t us! Instead we had bottles of beer in ice, glasses of fruit filled Pimms, and cosmopolitan cocktails. (My poison of choice!) We loved seeing all our friends and family under one roof and it was great to catch up with people we hadn’t seen for a while, like my uncle and his family who flew over from Sweden.

Riverstation was decked out in all the wedding paraphernalia I’d collected over the past few months, there were different sized wicker hearts hanging from the beams and hundreds of jars of candles dotted about. After seeing so much wedding pretty on other blogs, it was tempting to go all out on decor, but the venue was so lovely on its own with such a great setting I felt the simple approach would work best and on the day the space felt like ours.

Our  guests seemed to like a book that my mum and Mat’s parents had painstakingly put together, containing pictures of Mat and I from every year of our birth up until the wedding, it must have taken them weeks to do and was so sweet. It is without a doubt my favourite wedding present.

 Mat and I decided to leave the reception to sneak off for some one-on-one shots. This was something very important to us, as not only would we get a chance to take a few minutes alone to relish being husband and wife, but we’d get some pretty awesome pictures to remember it all by! In the end we spent almost an hour away, as we were having so much fun!

A girl named Maria…

The wedding photography was a big consideration for us, as after all once the wedding’s over you’re left with two things; the rings and the Pictures! I met Maria at a wedding fayre a good year or so before the wedding. I loved her work, it was modern yet vintage inspired at the same time and she was seriously nice!

We met a lot of photographers to be sure, but they all seemed to be the typical cheesy types and Maria was the only one I felt comfortable with and could imagine being with us on the day. As it was, it was like having an extra bridesmaid in the room! We’ve been really happy with our pictures- she just got what we were looking for.

Mat and I had our photographs taken in and around Bristol city centre, we liked the urban feel of the city mixed with the industrial harbor background. We laughed our way through the shoot, both a little giddy from the excitement of the day. I’d never felt so much love for him and we were both thrilled to finally ‘be married!’

I especially like our shots at the train tracks, as my late grandfather loved trains! It felt like a fitting tribute to him to have our pictures taken there, I know he would have appreciated it! We also raised a toast during our speeches to both mat and my Grandmothers. Our hearts ached not to have them there with us, but I like to think they were looking down on us!

There’s a picture that Maria took of our wedding rings which I love, I may have it made into a canvas. As a jeweller it was pretty easy to source our wedding bands. I had a slim diamond claw set ring to sit under my pear cut solitaire and created a modern looking flat, matte finished band for Mathew. He trusted me with the designs and didn’t actually see the finished products until a week or so before, trusting or what?

Before we knew it, the evening reception had started…

One of the best parts of having a restaurant as a wedding venue was the freedom we had over the food! We had free reign to design our own menu and guests could choose what they wanted to eat on the day! We had choices of lamb, salmon and chicken and they were all incredible, even now guests tell us how much they enjoyed their meals! We only had a two-course meal as I’d planned a dessert table for the evening.

A highlight of the day was the best-man’s speech. Greg, one of Mat’s brother’s had been planning it for months and I was looking forward to hearing it, if a little nervous in case he’d dug up some dirt on us! But it was hilarious and sweet! He used cards signalling the audience to cheer, laugh and clap on que! Genius!

Let’s talk about cake…

Anyone who knows me knows I have the sweetest tooth! So when it came to a wedding cake we really couldn’t decide what to have. In the end we decided to have them all and go for a dessert table. Our friend Deb has a business called Love, Peace and Cupcake and she created giant chocolate and victoria sponge cakes and a selection of cake pops! To say they were amazing is an understatement, they were the best cakes I’ve ever tasted!

One bit of advice I can give to others is plan your group photographs in advance. We sat down with Maria before the wedding and gave her a list of ‘must have’ shots,’ she then managed which people we needed in each frame, it was so much easier that way and less stressful!

Another bit of advice is that no matter how much you plan, things can still go wrong. Just roll with it, as my brother said, ‘at the end of the day as long as you’re married to the one you love, then it was a success.’ Wise words.

We hired a DJ for the evening reception and danced our first dance to Johnny Cash, Memories are made of these. It was this part of the day I was least looking forward to, as I have two left feet and Mat had ignored my pleas to practice at home beforehand. But he held on to me tightly and gracefully swung me around like a pro.

And before I knew it Mat and I were making our way back to our hotel as Mr and Mrs Richards. I loved our day, I’m sad I don’t get to plan it all again, except when we do our crazy Vegas vow renewals.  But I’m so glad I get to re-live the day through our photo album.

So that’s it my lovelies, my Riverstation wedding report! Hope you enjoyed, xo

p.s how cute does my baby bro look in his suit and converse?


My Riverstation Wedding, Part 1

I’ve finally got round to typing my wedding report! So please excuse the bridal related posts that will dominate the blog for the next  few days, but hopefully you’ll enjoy what you see…  (All photographs have been taken by Maria Farrelly Photography.)

Mathew and I married on Tuesday 10th April 2012 at the Riverstation restaurant in Bristol, England. It was a glorious day and we were really lucky with the weather, considering the day before (bank holiday Monday and the day we almost booked,) had torrential rain. Obviously someone was looking down on us!

So I guess a good place to start is with the dress.  I wore Eloise by Jenny Packham. Looking for a dress was the first thing I did once we got engaged, as I thought it would take me ages to find ‘the one,’ but it just so happened that this was the very first dress I tried. I liked everything about it, the fishtail element, the detail in the bead-work, the lace up back, the straps. I could go on. I tried on a few more in the shop to be sure, but no this was it. So deal done, dress paid and we hadn’t even booked a venue or date! I should mention that I bought my dress from White Bride in Narbeth, West Wales, the service was phenomenal and their dress selection was to die for!

Finishing off the look…

As my dress was so detailed I wanted to keep my accessories simple. I opted for a cathedral length veil to go in my naturally curly hair and decided on a crystal bracelet and vintage style drop earrings, which I found from a seller at The National Bridal fayre in London. I originally wanted blue shoes for my something blue, but couldn’t find the right style so I decided to stick to ivory, which in hindsight I’m pleased with. I had my wedding gown as my something new, a pendant that Mat had bought for me many years ago as my something old, a garter as my something borrowed and had a pale blue ribbon sown on the inside of my dress as my something blue. And my mum gave me a lucky sixpence to go in my shoe!

I had fun picking the flowers, we chose peonies for myself and Mat and bright pink tulips for the bridesmaids. For our table centre-pieces we also had displays of tulips in glass jars which we bought from Ikea at the bargain price of £1.99! We wanted flowers which were in season and these seemed like great spring options, they also smelt lovely!

I decided to have my hair and make-up professionally done. I was thinking about doing it myself, but I think I underestimated how nervous I was on the day, so it was nice not to worry about it. I used Hayley from Mack Daddy’s for my hair and Kathryn from Powder and Paint for my make-up. Kathryn did an amazing job of covering up my stress-related acne which had broken out just in time for the wedding. If your a South West bride, I’d highly recommend having a trial with both these ladies, super nice and talented!

My beautiful bridesmaids…

I chose two close friends and my sister to be my bridesmaids. Originally I was going to ask them to wear different shades of the same style dress or different dresses in the same colour, but in the end I found a gorgeous navy Coast gown which they all loved and tied in with my dress. We went for navy, as blue is one of both Mat and mine favourite colours and it suited all of the girls perfectly. Looking back I’m pleased with our colour scheme as I feel it was sophisticated and allowed for brighter colours elsewhere.

Meanwhile Mathew wore a gorgeous light grey suit from Moss. He looked so handsome standing there at the end of the altar, everyone commented on how chic he looked!

The venue…

The venue was one of the toughest decisions as it made such a huge impact on everything else. We initially played with the idea of going abroad and getting hitched with just our parents, but soon realised we’d have lots of disappointed friends and family. So instead we looked at places in the UK. We almost booked a farm in Wiltshire, but decided against it when we saw the enormous costs involved against our small budget, then we found Riverstation.

It was a gorgeous glass fronted restaurant overlooking Bristol harbor. We liked its city location and effortlessly cool vibe, plus the views were awesome. The fact that it was in Bristol, (an hours drive from both our families) a city where I lived and loved as a student, meant the area already had a great deal of emotional significance to us as a couple.

The venue staff really sealed the deal though, Michele and Holly our wedding co-coordinators were really enthusiastic about our ideas and made the whole planning experience special and exciting. We felt we could trust them with our day!

Saying I do was surreal. Mat and I held hands throughout the whole ceremony, which helped keep our nerves in check!When it came to our vows I was surprised by how teary-eyed we both were, it was a lovely moment. We wanted to incorporate our family into the wedding as much as possible, so we had my brother Alex, do a reading of The Art of  Marriage and Mat’s grandad read On Your Wedding Day. We also had our mums act as witnesses. Everyone played their parts beautifully! (Including my dad who I gripped tightly onto walking down the aisle for fear of falling.)

We got married at 4pm on a Tuesday, which some may see as a risky move, but for us it paid off. We had no cancellations from guests who couldn’t make it and we had enough time to get ready in the day. It also meant a smooth transition for our guests from the day to evening, as there was no waiting around for more guests to arrive. I didn’t feel I missed out by having a ‘shorter’ wedding, if anything I’d recommend it to other couples, we felt the day was more relaxed and fun!

Soundtrack to our day…

The wedding music was a labor of love for a few months before. We initially wanted instrumental music, possibly live, but that idea fell through. In the end I walked down to Adele’s version of Bob Dylan’s Make You Feel My Love. It was perfect as it set just the right mood and tone. For signing the registry we played Oasis’ Songbird and In the Aeroplane Over the Sea by Neutral Milk Hotel. We also played Dog Days are over by our favourite band Florence and the Machine. We walked out of the ceremony to another Florence track, You’ve Got the Love. Our all time favourite song!

So that’s part one of my wedding report done, the next installment will be coming soon! XO, Hannah

Sneak peek: Wedding Pictures

Sorry about the lack of posting, my laptop has all but died and posting on my phone is a pain! (Deleted posts galore!)

Mat and I got our wedding pictures back this week and I thought I’d post a few for you today, hope you enjoy them! I’ll be doing a very very long wedding report soon! 😉










Pictures taken by Maria Farrelly Photography xx

The next chapter

So, almost two years after he proposed, I got to marry my best friend. I’m still walking on air five weeks on.

Everyone tells you that your wedding day is the best day of your life and that it goes by in a blur. They’re right, it is and it does! I’m glad Mat and I took some time after the ceremony to slink off and have some one-on-one time. Those moments between us, to share the excitement and awe at becoming husband and wife will stay with me forever. I’m so pleased our photographer was there to capture our joy.

We recently got asked if it feels different being married? And we both responded, yes and no. No, in that it feels the same as it always has for the last few years, (in our minds we were practically hitched anyway by living together!) But yes, in that  everything is now nicely official. We are officially a family, related, bound together. It’s the best feeling and one I’m probably not describing very well.

I revel in the calmness of our relationship. The unity in knowing that no matter what happens, I am his and he is mine. We’re team us, team Richards, as we say.

I feel lucky to have met someone like Mat at such a young age, we get to grow up together and experience life together. We have so many shared hopes and dreams for our future and now they seem like just a step away.

It’s funny that when you’ve been in a relationship a while, people start asking when will there be a proposal and then when’s the wedding? At our reception we were asked when’s the baby? I guess it’s the natural progression of things and who knows what the future will bring, but the possibilities make my heart soar.

XO, Hannah

(Ps. The pic above, isn’t our wedding day, but was taken at my mum’s wedding a couple of years ago; we may look older now and the hairstyles might have changed, but we’re still just as crazy in love… our wedding pictures are coming soon!! x)

Two Birds One Very Pretty Stone

Design by Two Birds Bridesmaid

I’m thinking of investing in a dress by the company called Two Birds Bridesmaids. I came across them at a wedding fayre in London last year and have been lusting after one ever since.

The very clever designers have come up with a dress which can be worn in fifteen different ways! Basically, there are three different dress styes to choose from; classic, rosette and two toned. Then four different lengths and fifteen different ways of tying each dress! The hardest part is picking a colour as currently there are twenty on offer. (I quite like this plum shade shown below.) The dresses are just over the £200 mark but I think one would be a worthwile investment especially as I have lots of events coming up over the next couple of months and can’t really afford to buy different dresses for each.

What do you think? Good investment? xx

Lauren + JP from Matt Odom on Vimeo.

One of the best, and most unexpected, parts of wedding research is finding out about super cool people. Matt Odom and his photography/videography company are certainly one the best discoveries I’ve made so far. Watch the video and see for yourself how talented he is!

Sadly for me he lives in America and my miniscule budget won’t allow me to fly him over to document our day the Rock & Roll Hearts way, but maybe it just the excuse I need for a visit across the pond next year? It could be an anniversary special? x

All coming together… Part 2

Jenny Packham Dress

So I fell in love again, with a designer who makes the most sophisticated, yet sexiest, frocks I’ve ever laid eyes on! Seriously every single dress I saw was nothing short of gorgeous. The designer in question? Jenny Packham.

I’d already heard of Ms. Packham from her collection of evening wear, adorned by A-listers such as Angelina Jolie and Kate Middleton. I’ve always admired her work, her choices of silhouettes and fabrics lead to an end result which is nothing short of breathtaking.

I’d started researching the designers of my local bridal shops, as I found this to be the easiest way of w-dress research, there was no point falling in love with a designer if the nearest stockist was hundreds of miles away. There is a lovely bridal boutique called High Society, based in Cowbridge, just outside Cardiff, who stock higher end bridal gowns from so many designers, a few being; Alan HannahSuzanne Neville and of course Jenny Packham. I was thrilled to see JP listed on their site and even more excited once I clicked onto the bridal section of the JP website.

its all in the detail…

Designs by Jenny Packham

Her wedding gowns were everything I ever wanted! Lots of slinky silhouettes and cute capped sleeves. The gowns oozed luxury and many had a twenties, art deco feel.  I honestly knew there and then that I was going to be a Jenny Packham bride. But there was a snag, the prices. Most JP gowns start from £1800 and the beautifully embellished ones (like in the picture above) start even higher. It’s understandable as they are made to measure, using 100% silk and with each bead or rhinestone painstakingly sewn on by hand. Typically the dresses I loved the most were also heavily embellished, (I’m such a magpie!) and were way out of my price range.

So I started scouting around the Internet on places such as Ebay and bridal forums, to see if anyone had a dress for sale. There were a few designs in particular that I kept an eye out for, but to be honest there was hardly any JP gowns that I didn’t like! As these dresses had normally been worn for just a few hours and often lovingly cherished and well cared for by their owners I didn’t mind buying second-hand. Also, I’d heard that lots of boutiques often held a sample sale or had discount days where you could get up to 20% off a dress for purchasing on the day. At this point, we still hadn’t booked a venue and I figured I’d have plenty of time to save some pennies and keep an eye out for a bargain.

Another Jenny Packham creation- Lovely no?

Well, that time came a little quicker than expected. In early February,  M and I had been looking at a few venues and had one in particular shortlisted with the idea that we would marry the following Spring, our favourite time of year. I planned to go dress shopping in the late Summer or Autumn, giving me an eight month wait until the big day. However, I was browsing Preloved when I saw it. The dream dress and the one at the top of my shortlist!

Without giving too much away, (as I want to keep the exact dress details back until after the wedding, in case a) my groom who knows this blog exists gets a bit bored one day and has a nose around, YES YOU! and b) so that I will have something to look forward to posting wise in case of the after wedding blues.) The dress captured everything I loved about Jenny Packham designs, plus it was reduced from £2500 to £900 as the style was being discontinued that March.

It was being sold in a sample sale in a bridal boutique, two hours away in the Pembrokeshire town of Narbeth. I was ecstatic, I knew Narbeth really well, as my family were originally from the area and only a few weeks before I had my nose pressed up against the window of this very bridal store; White Brides. It was a Sunday at Xmas and they were closed at the time, but their window display was so beautiful I remember thinking I would definitely make an appointment.

Winter window display at White Brides, Narbeth. Picture from boutique owner Sally White's blog

I mentioned the dress to my mum, who offered to go with me and have a look. She was so excited, it was lovely to see her like that! So I made the appointment. (I usually work weekends and that particular month I had one Saturday off, VERY unusual for me, it turns out the only appointment White Brides had left that week was on that day too! Fate?) So, off we set and the experience we had there was amazing from the word go. We had a two-hour appointment where the store closed just for my mum and I, which I was not expecting. I was encouraged to try on as many dresses and styles as I wanted and was given honest advice from  the lovely assistant Ali. We were made to feel really welcome, and I am so pleased that they made the experience a special one, which neither my mum nor I will forget. Needless to say I bought the dress, there and then, it was even the first one I tried on! Even if I didn’t buy that particular dress I would have still bought from White Bride and I strongly urge fellow brides in the vicinity to make an appointment, as they truly were outstanding. (Not often we hear that about shops these days!)

For me the only sad part of actually picking a wedding dress, is the realisation that I’ll probably never get a chance to wear any of the other styles. Unless we make like Heidi and Seal (pre-separation) and renew our vows every year?! Well, a girl can dream right?




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