The wedding secret !

When it comes to wedding planning, it can often be slightly daunting thinking of all the suppliers you’ll have to hire and how many options there are. Hampshire especially has a wealth of wedding suppliers covering every category, which is both a blessing and a curse as it means you’re practically spoilt for choice!

Luckily, directories such as The Wedding Secret  are here to help you find your dream venue and suppliers, and to offer some tips on how to make sure you find the best fit for your unique perfect wedding.

Stunning venues such as Riverside Lifestyle in Hampshire can be the ultimate setting for a Wedding where you’d like a little more control over the proceedings with exclusivity, flexibility and the chance to really make the wedding your own.

Of course there are many other Hampshire wedding venues such as the Clock Tower, Houghton Lodge Gardens, Oakley Hall, even HMS Warrior but these are more prescriptive packaged weddings which may suit you better.

Make sure your venue truly has everything you’re looking for

It’s your big day, so it’s not the time to compromise, especially on an aspect that is as important as your wedding venue. Venues, such as Riverside, allow you to make the place your own, within reason,  accommodating for things like marquees or tipi or even additional yurts to the one they have as standard. They offer accommodation and space and will discuss with a blank page your ideal setting, offering their caterers The Little Kitchen Co and florists like Judith Searle, and even wedding games with the opportunity to create a themed wedding.  This is completely ideal for couples looking to create their perfect day from scratch.  Personal and flexible are important to Riverside.

Riverside is a hidden gem giving you exclusivity.  It’s the ultimate venue to get creative, imaginative and put your style into the day. The gorgeous surrounding gardens and fields are the ultimate setting to erect a marquee, tipi, yurt or structure (whichever takes your fancy). Three nights stay in the cottage is included in the cost so you have plenty of time to set up your wedding while having your loved ones sharing the process.

It needn’t be a big event – Riverside is set for small intimate wedding as well as bigger grander ones – there are so many areas of the property to use collectively or separately to make your day special.

Again, it’s your wedding day. Make sure your venue is just as special and wonderful as you are.

Don’t underestimate the importance of the wedding breakfast

Not only will your wedding breakfast be your first meal together as a married couple, it’s also often the element of a wedding that guests remember most. This is partially because the breakfast includes the speeches, but also because great wedding food is always bound to impress.

While you may have choices of your own, there are many Hampshire caterers who come highly recommended such as the not so little, Little Kitchen Company, McCrimmon & Reid, WILDS of Stockbridge or Bay Leaves Larder – it is best to arrange consultations and to make sure what they offer is right for you.

Make your day picture perfect

In the age of the smartphone everyone and their mum claims to be a great photographer, but it takes real talent and personality to be a truly special wedding photographer.  It’s vital you don’t underestimate the importance of hiring a photographer whose work you love. You want a wedding venue as perfectly picturesque as Riverside, and a photographer who can really capture the beauty of it. (And, of course, you!)

Riverside offers the ultimate picturesque backdrop to your day. The cottage itself is thatched bringing added beauty to an already stunning building. The surrounding fields are full of flowers and Riverside has its very own field of lavender. There is of course also the river ( River Dever, a tributary to the River Test) where the wonderful light provides a great backdrop.

Your photographer will play a big part in your day and will be with you from the preparations in the morning right through the day. With so many talented suppliers in the Hampshire area, such as Martin Bell, ASRPhoto, Shootinghip, and Real Simple, it won’t be an easy choice. But having a look through their galleries will help you to get a feel for what styles you like and what type of shots appeal to you.


As most couples who have already been married will likely tell you, finding suppliers who provide exactly what you’re looking for, who you get on with, and who fit within your budget is no small feat. That said, putting in the time and effort to ensure that your suppliers are absolutely right for you is key to making your wedding day as enjoyable for you both as possible.

Having a beautiful and flexible venue is a great starting point, then a  good wedding coordinator will  help you find suppliers and to aid you in the planning process. For a bit of extra guidance, have a look at The Wedding Secret ’s full directory of Hampshire wedding suppliers.

Trust in the journey – a yoga retreat


‘One of the BEST weekends of my life’

Beautiful location and great house to stay in.

The yoga was great. I was really looking to improve my practice so 10 plus hours was great – I think your yoga teaching approach is exceptional.

It was my first retreat and it was a wonderful experience

The yurts only adds to its beautiful peaceful surroundings; the silence and meditation worked really well out in the stunning Hampshire countryside.

Lovely! Superb atmosphere in the yurt, good classes that were a great mix of being relaxing yet encouraging you to advance your yoga

Love the flame session. Learned loads of different postures, and about deleting!!

Loved your energy Shelley!

Shelley organised the first Yoga Retreat at Riverside Cottage this July for 14 keen yogis. Only a few knew each other and the order of the weekend was to give something back to yourself. The weekend was structured but the idea was to get to know yourself ! to chill, to exercise & to have fun!

Reasons to treat yourself to a retreat:

Time out for yourself,         Deepen your own practice,

Meet like minded people,         Learn something new,

Detox your life,       You will gain a sense of mindfulness,

Feel energised and invigorated,       And .. Because you are worth it!

Everyone deserves to take time to improve their physical, mental, and emotional health. While some may fly out to exotic destinations around the world, a growing number of holidaymakers are opting to stay in the UK for a much-needed break. According to a study, there was a 23.8% rise in British holidaymakers planning UK stays this year, and over half of staycationers are planning a break of  approx. three days. Perfect for Shelley’s Retreat and If you’re looking for an idyllic place to go on a weekend retreat this year, then look no further than Riverside!

What you need to know about Riverside

Located in Hampshire, Riverside features a cottage, a lodge, and a contemporary yurt where you participate in your Yoga classes. Riverside is also a place where you can meditate and connect with nature during your stay. It sits in the countryside close to (so you don’t feel isolated) but far away from the ‘maddening crowd’

Looking over the field

What you need to know about Shelley’s Retreat

Whether you are a beginner or already practicing, Shelley’s classes adapt to all levels and abilities.

There are so many benefits to practicing Yoga on a physical and mental level.  Yoga enhances core strength, tones muscles, aids weight loss and increases flexibility.  Yoga does wonders for your circulation and nervous system, revitalizing and relaxing you!

The weekend has 10 hours of Yoga, Relaxation and Meditation as well as being fully catered with delightful healthy local foods. There will be time to relax in the beautiful Riverside surroundings including a heated swimming pool and scenic walks.  The weekend includes a Coaching workshop which gives you quality time to work on a personal goal, aim or aspiration.

You can get fit while away

Yoga, in particular, has long been a favourite workout for those who go on retreats as it not only enhances the body’s strength and flexibility, but it also quiets the mind. Shelley’s Yoga Retreats offer a mix of yoga practise, meditation, fun games, some outside exercise, Yoga in the Yurt and there is even a swimming pool at Riverside.

Research shows that there are between 300,000 and 460,000 people currently practicing yoga every day in the UK.

Being away gives you a chance to relax and attain inner peace

The pressures of work and home can pull you in so many different directions. The good thing about going on a retreat is that you get to have time to reflect and restore your energy as you connect with nature and your inner self. You can do this at Riverside by going for country walks, sitting by the river, or just curling up on a comfy chair with a good book and a nice cup of tea.

Being at a retreat encourages creativity

Shelley has all sorts of creative ways to get your creative juices flowing from deep discussions to early morning rounders’ ! Sometimes Shelley organises a visiting expert who provides a relaxation massage and other therapies, including sound healing.

Shelley will create plenty of activities that will make your stay an experience to be remembered in many ways. Be sure to check out the workshop and class dates so you can reserve your spot, and don’t forget to have fun while you’re on your retreat.


The Retreat

14 spaces available and accommodation is based on 2 people sharing 1 room (2 single beds and options for double beds).

Price – £400 (non refundable deposit of £180)

Prices may vary depending on the itinerary of the retreat.

The retreat requires a minimum 10 people to be able to run it.

To register your interest and obtain available dates please email Shelley on

It will be lovely to share a retreat with you!




Here are some very practical reasons to make the commitment to yourself, mind, body, and soul.

  1. You Can Do It All by Yourself

We all wish to be those adventurous types, travelling to Thailand alone or backpacking through Europe, but some of us are just not equipped for that kind of independence — yet. By going on a retreat, you are guaranteed a safe environment and great accommodations and amenities. Even better, you will be accompanied by like-minded people, potentially making friends that will last you a lifetime.

  1. By Experiencing New Things, You Change!

When you are put into an unfamiliar environment, you are given the opportunity for a new perspective.

  1. You Can Learn Something New

So much value in that, we are always learning and we can never know it all!

  1. You Can Never Have Too Many Friends!

It can be a little intimidating to meet new people, especially when you might be going to a retreat for healing or grief, but the fact that there are other people around you with similar fears can really serve you. Having your own time is fantastic and necessary, but secluding yourself from society may be limiting your potential to see things differently, leaving you feeling ‘stuck.

  1. Experience Real ‘Me Time’

So important, so much value and everyone around you benefits when you have some “me time” as it impacts in a very positive way.

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  1. Look Around You

By going to a retreat, you are most likely going to be travelling far from home (or experiencing another awesome part of your country), so you’re giving yourself the opportunity to explore this world.  By putting yourself in a new place you are totally taking yourself out of anything negative you might be feeling, giving your eyes something new to look at.

  1. Ditch The Phone

So liberating! A Digital Detox is not that difficult either!

  1. You Can Allow Yourself to Be FREE

By making the choice to go on a retreat you have to learn to cede control to other people and to the moment. Drop your expectations and let yourself be totally immersed in your present! A retreat acts as an escape to some degree, so allow yourself to escape. The only schedule is the one you have signed up for.

  1. Do It for Yourself, And No One Else

Be selfish, or whatever you want to call it. If you feel a certain retreat resonates with you and you can’t get it off your mind, that’s a sure sign that the universe is telling you to do it, and do what you want

I have been on some lovely retreats and come back so renewed and energised.

  1. Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself

Most importantly, this is a time for you to explore yourself so you can grow; there is no sense in setting up expectations and pressure for sudden change to happen. In order to change, you have to be open to any possibility. Even if the changes don’t happen in one day, or five days, or two weeks, know that you have planted the seeds of change simply through your willingness to take a leap of faith into unknown territory. Take what you learn and bring it home by incorporating any new practice that you felt benefitted you the most. This is how change can continue to manifest.

What do you really have to lose? Through a retreat, you have the chance to devote yourself to yourself and your growth, trusting that your needs will be met. A retreat gives you the opportunity to trust your intuition, your teacher, your guide, and your fellow travellers.

Trust in the process of the journey.

Email Shelley now on

Just like some of the best retreat and spiritualist hotspots around the world, Riverside is also a place where you can meditate and connect with nature during your stay.

Yoga at Riverside Yurt