I won’t lie. I have a small case of the green eyed monster going on with this wedding, the bride Elizabeth is an actual genuine english rose, all flawless complexion and pretty pink cheeks.
A shining example of how to look super polished but also a super polished version of you come W-day.
And who could resist a reception with a Love booth?
Yup a LOVE Booth. Elizabeth and Zee had their very own.
You’re My English Rose
Zee calls me his English rose so there was really only one choice of flower for our wedding. I love how traditional and classic roses are. My bridesmaids had small bouquets of ivory roses, which looked stunning against their blush pink dresses. The groomsmen had simple ivory rose buttonholes. We decided against foliage and requested small roses (but in hindsight, I would’ve liked bigger, more open roses with a leaf or two).
The centerpieces were vintage-looking glass vases filled with a simple arrangement of mixed roses.
I had a posy of mixed peaches, pinks and cream roses for my bouquet, with a couple of fluffy white peonies thrown in for added gorgeousness. I adored my bouquet but in all the excitement managed to misplace it after dinner and subsequently forgot about the whole throwing of the bouquet ritual oops! (I’d like to apologise to all the female guests hoping for a proposal in the near future!)
Jane Austen Inspired
The venue was Grove House, part of Roehampton University in South West London. We wanted a country manor type feel without our families having to travel miles out of London. I did my teacher training at Roehampton Uni and fell in love with Grove House and the surrounding grounds.
Everyday I passed it or had lectures there was like stepping into a Jane Austen novel. Zee, however, took a bit of persuading…he felt that the building looked like it had ‘been on fire’. (That would be the vintage charm then!)
I LOVED planning our wedding but it was rather stressful at times due to the fact that I am so indecisive!
I had a wobble about the venue, the cake and many wobbles about my dress! I’m sure I’m not the only bride to feel overwhelmed by all the decisions that have to be made throughout the wedding planning process and the feeling that each decision plays an important part of the ‘big day’ ‘your special day’ ‘best day of your life’ etc. Talk about pressure! Not to mention, my fiance’s mantra was ‘I just want you to be happy’, which is ever so sweet but not very helpful. He had little to no interest in colour schemes, flowers, centerpieces etc. So I did most of the planning myself!
I got a bit carried away in Ikea one day and bought loads of ‘GLIMMA’ tealights and tea light holders as they were such a bargin (£1.99 for 12 tealight holders!) So they were scattered all around the tables/grounds. I then became officially obsessed with lighting and purchased a set of 4 gorgeous aged-looking tealight holders from one of my favourite online stores NotOnTheHighStreet to go on the top table. I also I bought fairy lights to hang from a doorway leading out onto the grounds! They looked really pretty as day turned to dusk.
I had originally bought an off white ornate framed chalkboard from NotOnTheHighstreet to use as a menu board but decided to use it in a more creative way and asked one of our friends to draw/write something pretty on it. It now has pride of place in our hallway!
The Portrait room where we had our ceremony was missing a portrait in the centre of the room (We were rather pleased about this as it was a dark, ugly eyesore!) but it did leave a blank wall to be adorned. I was actually inspired by a RMW bride who had letters spelling ‘LOVE’ as a focal point during their ceremony and bought some off white, wooden ‘LOVE’ letters from, yep you guessed it NotOnTheHighStreet.
An Absolute Gem
Our wedding day photos were taken by Hannah MacGregor and her assistant, Abbie, of Funky Photographers. Not only is Hannah super talented and creative, she has been an absolute gem from our first meeting to our pre-wedding shoot, where she helped us to feel at ease in front of the camera (usually by making us laugh!).
On the day itself, Hannah was absolutely wonderful with our bridal party and guests. Zee and I wanted to spend as much time as possible with our guests during the reception so she suggested we sneak out during dinner, before the speeches, to take some couples shots. This worked really well because it meant the exterior of Grove House and the grounds were not full of people, just us newlyweds. She even interrupted her own dinner to do the shots which is a testament to just how professional she is-she’ll go to any lengths to get ‘the shot’! We are absolutely thrilled with our photos and have been recommending her to all our friends and family.
The cake went from being a 4 tier square based royal iced cake with roses between each tier (too expensive), to a 3 tier round cake with ornate piped icing to look like lace edging (too fussy) to a 3 tier round cake with messy buttercream icing and scattered blush pink roses on each tier with a posy on-top (just right)!
Joanna, our cake maker, did an amazing job with the messy icing, and the sponge was delicious! However, I wouldn’t recommend Bride’s go down the buttercream route-it looks pretty BUT it only lasted 2 days so we threw out practically the whole cake!
I saw a feature on RMW about a singing male group called ‘The Testostatones” so we had a look at their website, listened to their audio tracks and loved their quirky acapella versions of doo-wop songs such as ‘Earth Angel’ and modern classics like ‘Don’t Stop Believing’ (I’m a big Glee fan so that sold it!) but the icing on the cake was that they offered a package where they dressed up as waiters and surprised guests by bursting into song unexpectedly!
On the day itself, Zee and I were giddy with anticipation when we spotted them serving drinks and canapés at our reception…It was great to see all our guests’ faces looking perplexed, then smiling and laughing. They were superb!
Zee and I always thought our first dance was going to be Al Green’s ‘Let’s Stay Together’. It felt like his greatest hits album was on repeat during those first few months when we were falling for each other, back in our uni days. However, two days before our wedding, we decided to have a practise run in our bedroom…and thank goodness we did! We just looked and felt SO awkward because it’s such a jaunty song-it calls out for cheesy clapping and finger clicking…not very romantic!
So we opted for Otis Redding (another soulful singer we both adore) and his exquisite song, ‘These Arms of Mine’. As a result, we both felt much more comfortable slow dancing while all eyes were on us. We cunningly requested ‘You’ve Got the Love’ by Florence and the Machine as the next track so we’d entice lots of guests onto the dancefloor for a boogie and take the spotlight off us ASAP!
We hired a DJ for the evening and provided him with a Spotify playlist of all our favourite ever tunes which we enjoyed adding to in the months leading up to the big day. Our eclectic wedding playlist was full of Otis Redding, Prince, Kings of Leon, Micheal Jackson, Lady GaGa and Bon Jovi! It Rocked!
The Love Booth
I simply loved the idea of having a photobooth with loads of fun props at our wedding to keep our guests entertained and give us (and them) a fabulous keepsake of the night. We paid extra for the photobooth to take double prints, one for our guestbook and one as a favour for our guests. Zee wasn’t as keen, he felt it was too expensive and an unnecessary expense because we had a professional photographer but he agreed it was well worth it when it went down an absolute storm!
Zee and I laughed our way through the photo guestbook the day after. The photos were in chronological order so they got sillier and sillier as the night went on! We looked into a few photobooth companies but the quality of the Boothnation photos was truly amazing, as was their whole service from designing our poster, to manning the booth/guest book on the night to the beautiful leather album.
Zee designed our beautiful wedding website (www.alovestory.co.uk) for guests to find out more about how we got together and info about the day itself. Since the wedding, we’ve used this same site to post our photos and wedding film.
He also suggested we send email invitations via Paperless Post . This was an eco friendly and time saving option-as we had a list of those attending/not attending/yet to reply all in one place and we could write messages to all our guests to keep them updated. It was a stroke of wedding planning genius on Zee’s part!
To save paper (and money) we made an ‘Order of the Day’ for each guest with a run down of the day’s proceedings, info about the photobooth and a menu on the back.
As Zee is half Iraqi, we wanted to include some Arabic touches on our big day. We bought large white Morrocan Lanterns and filled them with candles and placed them on the terrace tables. As a further nod to Zee’s Arabic roots we provided Baklava (Arabic pastries) and mint leaf tea on the coffee table.
During the speeches, Zee’s brother and our MC for the day, suddenly veered off schedule by asking us to take our shoes off and give one of our shoes to each other…we thought he was joking! But he insisted, and surprised us all with a game of Mr and Mrs. We had to stand back to back and hold up the bride or groom’s shoe to represent our answer and were then asked a serious of questions such as ‘Who is the most romantic?’ ‘Who made the first move?’ etc. needless to say we had quite a few different answers!
MY ADVICE: Enjoy every moment (including the planning) and don’t forget your overnight bag!!!
I am a big fan of the luggage tags to display everything, cheap and effective.
Loving the Mr and Mrs game too, sounds like a lot of fun and a great way to engage guests and get everyone talking.
Big Get In And Get Gorgeous Love