Real Wedding: Contemporary Modern Wedding – Hannah & Mat

It’s the turn of our modern bride Hannah to tell her modern wedding story, yay! Cardiff residents Hannah and Mat got married on the 10th April 2012 (Happy almost one year wedding anniversary, guys!) at the Riverstation in Bristol. 


What was your budget? We were working with a really tight budget, approx £7k. We found that booking our dream wedding venue out of season and choosing to get married on a Tuesday rather than a weekend really helped keep costs down. (We also got a few discounts from suppliers for a mid-week wedding!)

We did have to make a few compromises to achieve our dream day without starting married life in debt. For example, I had my heart set on a Jenny Packham wedding dress, which if I bought new would have set me back £2500, I managed to track down a sample dress at £900 and had it professionally dry cleaned for £100, it was such a bargain and no-one knew the difference.


How would you describe your wedding theme? If I had to describe our wedding theme I would use the words, modern, contemporary and urban.

We married in a beautiful glass fronted restaurant over looking Bristol harbour. We liked it’s 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.
Riverstation, (our wedding venue) 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.



What was your favourite part of your wedding? Slipping away with my new husband to take some personal shots. This was something very important to us, as not only would we get a chance to have a few minutes alone to relish being husband and wife, but we’d get some pretty great pictures to remember it all by – in the end we spent almost an hour away, as we were having so much fun!



Who did you pick as your bridesmaids &/or best man and why? I chose two close friends and my sister to be my bridesmaids and Mat picked his two brothers to act as joint best men. I also asked my brother to do a reading during the ceremony and he picked ‘The Art of Marriage.’ My youngest brother, who is only seven, was a very cute page boy. It was important to us that our siblings each had a role to play in our big day. My best friends were great at keeping me calm and rushing around doing odd jobs before the ceremony began.



Why did you choose your 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.


As I said earlier, I loved the charm and atmosphere of the restaurant. It felt like somewhere you could relax.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!

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.


How did the proposal happen? Mat proposed to me in the summer of 2010. We’d been talking about getting married for a while, as at that point we had been together for five years and happily living together too, it seemed like the natural next step. Working as a jeweller I am in a lucky position of helping couples find their perfect engagement ring and I really enjoy that aspect of my work, it also means that I’ve seen hundreds of different styles and as a result am very particular to the type of ring I wanted.

Being an old fashioned girl, I really wanted Mat to pick the ring himself, but I knew I’d need to guide him in the right direction. So I not so subtly hinted that maybe he should pop by the store and have a look at some loose diamonds I conveniently just received in. Well needless to say he took the hint and picked a beautiful pear cut solitaire.

The actual proposal didn’t happen for several weeks later. I knew Mat had the ring and was expecting him to drop at bended knee many times. If he suggested a walk in the park I’d get all excited thinking ‘this was surely it.’ As it happened, I was completly caught off guard.

It was a lovely bright summer evening and I was lounging on the sofa deciding what to cook for tea when the next thing I know Mat is in front of me, telling me how much he loved me and would I do him the honour of marrying him? I could barely say yes through my tears. We went out to Cardiff Bay that night for a romantic meal and champagne cocktails and kept our engagement a secret until the next day just so we could savour the moment. We both agree it was one of the happiest nights of our lives.


What was your first dance & why? I couldn’t say that Mat and I had a ‘set’ song suitable for a first dance, so we were a little stuck when it came to choosing the music. We both liked Johnny Cash and one day we heard Memories are made of This. The lyrics (about a wedding) just made us smile and it was decided that was the song we would dance to.

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!


In hindsight, was there anything you would have done differently? I loved my day, I genuinely don’t think I would have done anything differently, except maybe have a longer honeymoon!

Do you have any advice for future couples? My brother said to me a few days before the wedding that ‘no matter what happens, if at the end of your wedding day you are married to the person you love, then it was a roaring success!’ Wise words indeed and the biggest advice I have for a couple is to just ‘roll with it.’

Things do and can go wrong on the day; I forgot the plug for my ipod docking station and a guest fell seriously ill during my reception (thankfully she is now ok) but we had to just deal with the hiccups and not let anything cloud our day. A wedding is just a small part of the lifetime commitment a couple makes to one another :)


What’s the best piece of marriage advice you received? The best piece of marriage advice we received (to Mathew, from his grandfather) was to listen and bite your tongue!

My best piece of marriage advice is that in the lead up to your big day, take time for little dates without any wedding talk. They help keep you sane when all that planning makes your head hurt! And if you can try and keep regular date nights after the wedding too it’ll give you each something to look forward to and you can take turns picking a date to surprise the other with.


What was your favourite thing about planning a wedding? My favourite part about planning a wedding, apart from meeting some lovely people, was really getting creative. I enjoyed making mood boards on pinterest and spending a day or two researching everything from wedding centre pieces to what flavour cakes we should pick.

I enjoyed immensly picking things which were a little quirky and different, such as our tea towel invites.


I also loved how planning a wedding really brought our two families together, my mum and Mat’s mum worked really hard on a beautifull photograph album, showing a matching picture every year from our births until our wedding day, It had taken them weeks to finish and was the best surprise to be given. It really showed how much our wedding day meant, not just to us, but to our loved ones as well.


All photos in this post were taken by our very own, award winning Maria Farrelly :) (who did not write this bio herself!) Maria is located in Newport, but is always willing to travel. You can see all posts featuring her photography here.

Ceremony Venue: Riverstation, Bristol
Bride’s Dress: Eloise, by Jenny Packham, bought from White Brides, Narbeth
Bride’s Jewellery: Bespoke
Groom’s Outfit: Moss Boss
Bridesmaid’s Dresses: Coast
Bridesmaid’s Accessories: Their own
Cake: Love, Peace and Cupcakes, Penarth
Flowers: The Ivy, Malpas Road, Newport
Hair: Hayley from Mack Daddy’s, Bristol
Make Up: Powder and Paint, Bristol
DJ: Speaker Box
Stationery: Original Wedding Tea Towel

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10 thoughts on “Real Wedding: Contemporary Modern Wedding – Hannah & Mat

  1. Hi Hannah,
    I love your wedding ideas! I was wondering where you had the Parisian suitcase from that you used for the cards? I’m looking for the same one! :) Thanks x

    • Hi Ruthie, I borrowed it, but have you tried ebay, and wedding prop hire companies such as My Little Wedding Helper, if they don’t have one I’m sure they could find you one? Happy wedding planning, x

  2. Hannah! I’m so happy to see this! I LOVE your wedding, it looks like it was so happy and fun. The pictures are amazing as always but yours stood out to me because I loved all the natural unposed guest shots, the ones where the guests are taking pictures and the guys chatting over the glasses of Pimms and that gorgeous little girl in the spotty dress are my faves. You looked beautiful and that veil- wow! Xx

    • Thanks Charlie, it’s been great looking back over the pictures, can’t quite believe it’s been and gone. I’m now thinking about doing another shoot to celebrate our anniversary albeit later this year! :-) xx

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