Mathew and I married on Tuesday 10th April 2012 at the Riverstation restaurant in Bristol, England. It was a glorious day and we were 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 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!
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?