Boat wedding - Hannah and Stephen share their wedding story

Boat wedding on the river with bridesmaids wearing pink bridesmaid dresses

When real Wedding Shop couple, Hannah and Stephen's wedding plans had to change they decided to have a boat wedding, a little wedding day flotilla with six to a boat. They danced to their wedding playlist as we sailed along the river. They had the most memorable day. Let their wedding planning words of wisdom inspire you, along with their wedding gift list experience. 

What made your wedding day unique?

We had to cut 160 people from our guest list and couldn’t go to our venue for a reception due to covid restrictions. How do you celebrate when you can’t go to a reception venue? We hired boats and had a boat wedding! We had a little wedding day flotilla with six to a boat and danced to our wedding playlist as we sailed along the river.

bride and groom kissing on boat wedding

Inspiration & Styling

I am a sucker for a theme, whether it’s for a date night, tablespace, a boat wedding, or home design. Having a theme for your wedding helps to set the tone. How do you want your guests to feel? Due to the pandemic, our wedding was already intimate - thank you Covid- but on the plus side this intimacy felt very romantic. I love modern lace dresses and nude roses – quicksand roses are gorgeous - and so the romantic floral theme was born. 

bride and groom outside church on their wedding day

Wedding Planning Advice

Choose your suppliers well, make sure they are people who you could happily call up and talk to and understand you as a couple. We had planned our wedding in 2019 when we thought the biggest disaster could be a rainy day, 2020 had other plans! If we didn’t have such good relationships with our suppliers what was already stressful could well have been disastrous. 

Bride walking into church with bridesmaids and father of the bride

Favourite wedding day memory  

My favourite wedding day memory has to be saying our vows to each other. We had an unbelievably surreal run-up to our wedding. We changed dates and season, we were gutted to have our honeymoon cancelled and it was and still is sad that we didn’t have all our loved ones with us as we got married. However, there was a romantic simplicity to saying our vows in a church with just a handful of family members. It was a good reminder that our love for each other was the reason we wanted to get married. I just about managed to hold back the tears when my husband said his vows to me. It was beautiful. 

Bride and groom holding hands in church

What does love mean to you?  

We had a verse read at our wedding from 1 Corinthians 13:7 which says love “always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” That is what love means for us and it’s what we are hoping to aim towards with a healthy pinch of forgiveness for the (many) times we fall short. 

Bride and groom kissing in church

How did you get engaged?  

I was going away with my family to Cornwall and was very annoyed that Stephen hadn’t booked the week off work to come with us. Early in the morning, he turned up and I thought he was feeling guilty and coming to say goodbye to make me feel better. Then I saw he had bags in his car and realised he was coming with us and had tried to keep it a secret! He drove me to his favourite childhood beach where it started to rain, so we drove to my favourite beach and it was awash with sun. He proposed at a quiet end of the beach and we popped champagne in the sunshine. 

Black and white wedding day photography - bride wears long sweeping vile and lace embellished back wedding dress

What was your Wedding Shop experience like?

I love that The Wedding Shop has all my favourite places to shop in one place. Rather than having a gift list at one shop and being constrained by that season’s designs, I could choose from any I wanted. Even if they didn’t have something which I really wanted from another shop I could just copy-paste the link and it would be sourced for you. They also have lots of cool brands that I would never have discovered otherwise. 

open me envelope in wedding shop box
Gift List Tips

Why did you have a wedding gift list?

There are a few reasons why we had a wedding gift list, the main reason being that our friends and family were expecting us to have one! It’s quite traditional to have one and as we were moving into our newlywed home there were lots of things we needed. It was the easiest way to coordinate those people who want to buy a gift for us that they knew we would love. 

Rhubarb pie and cake server
Why have a list

What was your favourite wedding gift and why?

It is hard to choose which is my favourite gift! Probably the hardest question so far. I love our Neptune wine glasses and cake stand, our The White Company bed linen and frames and, of course, the Magimix makes meal prep so easy. I am going to cheat and say I don’t have a favourite. 

wedding gifts - the wedding shop
Popular Gifts

How did having a gift list help you to create or upgrade your newlywed home?

Having a gift list meant that we could choose the exact items that we needed as we moved in together. We were able to have all our practical needs met while also curating a beautiful space for us to start our newlywed lives together. 

cake stand wedding gift
Home upgrades

Were your guests pleased you had a gift list and why?

Our guests were very pleased we had a gift list. No one wants a gift to go to waste and they were happy to be able to choose items they knew we would love. 

Kitchen shelving with white classic teapot - wedding gifts
Guests love us

Why is building a gift list a key part of wedding planning?  

Building a gift list is a key part of wedding planning as it is part of preparing for married life. We didn’t live together before we were married, and my fiancée was typically unbothered by home comforts. I on the other hand love feeling comfortable and take joy in everyday items. Making sure our home felt special and homely was really important to me. 

chocolate nut and raisin cake

Why did you choose The Wedding Shop?  

We chose The Wedding Shop because it is the best gift list available. I am a very thorough investigator and like to get the best value possible. You get all a traditional gift list can offer you and more. Every interaction I have had with The Wedding Shop team has been excellent, they are quick to respond and personable. There is an exceptional breadth of brands to choose from including some really cool designers who I have never come across before.

pie dish for home made pie - wedding gift
How it works

Has Hannah & Stephen’s boat wedding inspired you? We have more real couple inspiration that we think you might like. From Mahrya and Shahnaan's Aynhoe Park wedding through to Yaël and Michael's backyard wedding, find more inspiration from real Wedding Shop couples.

Photography: Benjamin Stuart Photography