Josh told me we were going podding in Pooley Bridge in the Lake District. We packed up the car with all of the usual camping gear and as we drove over the bridge he told me we would actually be staying at 1863, a boutique hotel and restaurant in the same village. That evening I had a feeling he was up to something with all of the surprises but he managed to explain it away pretty well. The next day, we went for a long walk around Ullswater and we came to a lovely spot on the shore. He knelt on one knee and presented me with a gorgeous diamond ring with a traditional gold band. I cried when the realisation of all the planning he’d put into the proposal hit me and said yes of course!
Our wedding was at Ashfield House, a gorgeous country house in Standish. We absolutely fell in love with the venue on our first tour, for its lovely gardens and bright rooms that had the right balance between elegant and intimate we were looking for.
My first bridal appointment was at Emma Louise. I loved the boutique from the minute we stepped inside, it’s so stunning and the team are really friendly. They put me at ease straight away. I was confident I’d find the one here and didn’t book an appointment anywhere else!
I tried on a couple of Stella York dresses as I’d been drawn to that designer through my Instagram scrolling. The dresses I tried were on sale but naturally, none of them were quite right. After listening closely to my feedback and thoughts Emma presented me with a dress from the latest Stella York collection and it just felt like me. Not on sale though, my mum was joking how it was typical of me to go for the more expensive option! Once I had the dress on, I could picture myself on my wedding day and I could see from the emotion in my mum’s and friends’ faces that this was the one.
The whole team are really welcoming and helpful. Their appointment booking system ensures you know exactly what to expect and when, they send you reminders so you know where things are up to and give you that reassurance you need as a bride that everything is being taken care of for you. The boutique itself is so beautiful and gives you that fairytale Say Yes to the Dress moment every bride dreams of.
Our wedding fell during coranavirus, so it was a miracle the day actually went ahead at all! We’d been planning it for almost 2 years and everything was booked and ready to go when the news about the virus started to ramp up. This was with 6 months left until our day. For some reason, we both had a strong sense the wedding was meant to happen and we held out all the way through lockdown without postponing. While plans had to change slightly, such as cutting the guest list down from 80 to 30, we can’t imagine it any other way now. Everyone commented on how intimate and relaxed it felt to just have close family and friends who already knew each other really well. We had all of the lovely traditional aspects of a wedding you’d expect, like the cake cutting, first dance, dance with my dad and speeches but for me the best moment was seeing Josh at the end of the aisle. My dad was walking me down and we could all finally breathe and knew we were going to end the day Mr and Mrs Riley which was all we ever wanted.
We went to the Lake District and stayed in a gorgeous glass-fronted boat house on Derwent Water. It came with its own little rowing boat we could explore the lake on and try to re-enact The Notebook!
Not to get too hung up on other people’s opinions or the finer details. Your wedding is about you two and it should reflect you as individuals and as a couple, not necessarily what your family and friends would want or what’s on trend. Be true to yourselves and remember why you’re doing it, to be married, and you can’t go far wrong! If we could still have our perfect day during a pandemic it just goes to show that anything is possible.