Keith and Abi Riley

Written By

Rob Welman


Katie Wears ‘Astrid’


For the perfect example of making a long distance relationship work, we introduce Katie and Tom who married at Pynes House in Exeter in October 2018. The two met whilst Katie was on her first visit to the UK and soon enough, she was back permanently!



How did you and your partner meet?


Tom and I met on my very first night in London (this was also our first night of mine and my friends summer trip abroad- I am originally from California) We were in a bar in Covent Garden and I walked up to him and we started chatting. My friend and I ended up spending the rest of the weekend with Tom and his friend as they showed us around the whole city! (as well as a lot of pubs)


My friend and I were about to embark on a two and a half month trip around North Africa and Europe. During my travels, Tom and I stayed in touch over email and when I went back to California we began Skyping every day, twice a day.


Before we knew it, he came to California to visit me, his first trip to America! And from there we pretty much just fell into a long distance relationship. After one year of Skype movie and dinner dates, I found myself making the big move to London!



Tell us all about your proposal – where, when and how?


Tom and I go on a week long anniversary trip every year and travel to a different country. It was our 4-year anniversary and we decided to go to Bruges and Brussels.


When we were in Brussels Tom was adamant that we go to this museum called the Van Buuren Museum which was formerly the house of a couple who had a beautiful love story, had amazing mid century style and were also art collectors. A museum made for me.


However, the best part of the museum was the gardens in the back. They built a hedge maze that leads to a beautiful surround of hedges shaped like hearts. (Look it up it is beautiful!)


Now the reason why this was such a perfect place for Tom to propose was because 4 years ago, when he was first visiting me in America, I took Tom to a corn maze. Running through the maze together, having the best time, we both could sense how strong our feelings were for each other and later that day he told me he loved me (sitting on the hood of my mustang overlooking the town whilst watching the sun set – sorry I had to mention it –  it was such a perfect of a moment!). So the hedge maze seemed fitting.



When and where did you get married?


We got married at Pynes House in Exeter on October 20th 2018



Did you have a specific theme or colour scheme?


I wouldn’t say we had a specific theme but I formulated our own “wedding brand” having consistent colours, and textures that ran throughout all of the decorations as well as what the bridal party wore. I also branded our invitation stationery and had that match all of the on-the day stationery by using specific fonts and colours.


The colours were blush, dusty rose, maroon, gold and a greyish blue


Designing wedding stationery and creating decorations is something I do on the side now! I loved doing our wedding and I’ve helped multiple friends with their weddings previously so I thought I would start my own business! It’s called Ivory & Craft @IvoryandCraft on Instagram.



How did you feel when you said yes to the dress?


I was shaking! I honestly didn’t think I would get emotional when I found the dress but I definitely did. It was the first dress I ever pinned on Pinterest after getting engaged and it was the last of about 50 dresses I tried on!





How did you choose your shoes?


I don’t wear heels often and if I do, they are normally off half way through the event and I switch to flats. But for our wedding, I really wanted to last the whole day in my wedding shoes! So I didn’t want a heel that was too high and they also had to be extremely comfortable.


Also my dress is quite different to any other wedding dress so accessorising it was going to be challenging. I wanted shoes with a bit of flair but I didn’t want them to detract from the dress.


The ones I ended up choosing were absolutely perfect.


Also how exciting… I get to dye them and re-wear my wedding shoes! Not many people get a chance to wear their wedding shoes again.


Where did you buy your Rainbow Club shoes from?


John Lewis



What was your most favourite and memorable part of the day?


I mean, I love dancing and believe me, I was out on the dance floor the entire night! (Still in my shoes!) And that was such an amazing part of the day but the most memorable was definitely our ceremony. We customised our ceremony and had the registrar only preform the legal parts of the marriage ceremony, so that my brother could officiate our vows and the exchange of our rings. We kind of created our own vow ceremony in which we tied a knot around our hands, but each string represented a pillar of our marriage: Respect, Support, Humour, Adventure and Love. And with each string that was placed over our hands, we said our vows for each pillar.


Oh and one other thing that will always be one of the most memorable parts of the wedding was all of the lady birds EVERYTHWERE! Most people in the UK experienced the swarms of lady birds on that late October weekend, and Pynes House saw millions of them! They were absolutely everywhere. At one point I probably had about 5 or 6 in my veil. But in America


lady birds (lady bugs) are seen to be good luck so we were perfectly happy to have them at our wedding! Just the universe’s way of sending us a lot of good luck on our special day.



Do you have any advice for brides to be?




I have a very keen eye for detail. So when it came to wedding planning, I was planning everything down to the minute detail. And while I truly believe that the look of the wedding was achieved by that, there are so many small things that didn’t get done in the days leading up to the wedding which I just had to let go. And to be honest I didn’t even notice them on the day. You will be surrounded by so many people you love, all of whom want to talk with you and spend time with you. You will be so caught up in the whirlwind of the day that you or any of your guests will not notice that those little details may be missing.




This is something everyone says but I didn’t truly understand it until I was the one standing in the white dress surrounded by our friends and family… Take time to stop and soak it all in! Appreciate the day and try to make as many memories as possible! You’ll wake up the next morning and it will all be a blur so just pause throughout the day, appreciate all of the effort that went into creating the day, appreciate the people who are all there for you and your new husband or wife and appreciate the importance and significance of the day. 




Tom and I got so caught up chatting with other people in the evening that we had to actively try and find each other to spend the evening together! So my last piece of advice sounds kind of silly…But make sure you spend time with you new hubby or wifey!


Blog Credits


Photographer //  Keith and Abi Riley
Wedding Dress Designer // Lazaro
Wedding Shoes // Astrid by Rainbow Club
Hair Artist // The Up Do Girl
Make-Up Artist // The Pop Up Salon
Wedding Venue // Pynes House
Florist // Flowers by Sophie Millington
Cake // Edible Essence Cake Art


Anyone else or thing you’d like to mention?


Jo Royal from Grace and Honour and Tracy Edwards from Blue Fizz Events were our on-the-day coordinators and they were PHENOMINAL!

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