The Rabbit Hotel || Colleen & Chris

October 20, 2022
On Friday 9th September 2022, Colleen & Chris finally celebrated their wedding surrounded by friends and family at The Rabbit Hotel & Retreat. The couple were originally meant to get married in Portugal two years ago and of course, covid but it on hold.

Getting Ready

The day started in Belfast with Colleen getting ready at her home with the help of her bridesmaids. The amazing hair and make up team were well underway when I arrived.
The biggest surprise Colleen had that morning was a beautiful gift from her bridesmaid. An incredible pair of Jimmy Choos!! These shoes were just stunning and I think Colleen loved them more than anything. Well, apart from Chris & her boys, of course.
While I was with the girls, my fabulous second shooter, Tara, was over with the boys. Tara had some fun with these guys getting ready that morning. The craic was mighty from early doors and these boys were definitely full of fun ( also a little mischievous).

I left Colleen, just after she got into her stunning dress from Forever Bridal. Colleen had kept the dress a surprise from her bridesmaids and Dad. I was so delighted to have captured that moment when they first saw her that morning. Colleen looked like a model.
Having a second shooter on the day enable me to stay longer with the girls. This meant I didn’t have to rush off to the venue to get photographs of the boys. Tara had that covered. You should definitely consider having a second shooter on your day, if you would like the ultimate coverage.

Time To Get Married

The couple decided to host their full day at The Rabbit Hotel. The ceremony room at the venue is so pretty and it was the perfect choice for their laid back wedding style. In a beautiful humanist ceremony they became husband and wife. While family and friends got to listen more about their love story. This type of ceremony is so personal to the couple and I just loved hearing more about how they met.

Time To Mingle

When you have your wedding day all under one roof, the timeline runs a lot smoother. There is no travelling which really can eat into your time. After the ceremony the couple got some time to mingle and chat with their guests. A few selfies and photographs with friends was possible as travelling wasn’t an issue.

The Bridal Party

This was a fun bridal party. We went into the gardens and within fifteen minutes the bridal party shots were complete. Having fun on your wedding day is super important. You want those gorgeous images but not with fake smiles. I work fast so people (usually guys, sorry, guys) don’t get bored. You end up with happy, natural images of your best friends who have supported you on the day and beyond.


The Couple

Colleen & Chris were just brilliant. Unfortunately, they could not make their pre shoot but that had no effect on their photographs at all.

“I can’t recommend Melissa enough as a wedding photographer. Myself and Chris couldn’t make our engagement session so didn’t really know what to expect or how we would be in our pictures together, but Melissa made us feel so at ease and made us laugh from start to finish, she is so down to earth and captures the best moments. We wanted natural images and nothing to posey so we knew we picked the right photographer when we received our lovely wedding photos we couldn’t be more happier with them” ~ Colleen


Now on a wedding day, the most time consuming portraits are usually the family ones. It is hard to get people together when they want to socialise and enjoy the day. I always recommend nominating one person from each side of the family to get the groups together. I also believe it is good to limit the family group shots. I suggest immediate family, then add partners and then kids. Of course, if there are grandparents they are super important to be in your photographs.

Colleen & Chris’s families were great and we got through the family images quickly. This meant the couple could go and enjoy the rest of the celebrations with their guests.

As the couple had two boys, one of the most important images I wanted to get was one of their own little family. I’m a mum and I know how special it was for me on my own wedding day.

The Venue

I have been a wedding photographer now for over 10 years and I had been to the venue before being bought over by the Galgorm group. This was my first time shooting a wedding here since and they have done an incredible job. The Rabbit is full of all the character and charm of a luxurious wedding setting, whilst giving a heartfelt personal service paired with a relaxed, easy-going atmosphere. The perfect venue for Colleen and Chris.


The Loft is an incredible room for your reception. It features vaulted ceilings and twinkling fairy lights, accentuated with chandeliers adorned with foliage, statement marble feasting tables, candelabras and candles entwined with greenery. A feature fireplace draws attention to the top table making for the perfect backdrop. Guests were amazed with romance and opulence in this whimsical setting.
Team Behind The Day
Special thanks to TJ Torrens Photography, for 2nd shooting
Colleen’s Fabulous Dress forever bridal
Bridesmaids – ASOS
Hair & Make Up Dawn Rose Makeup
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