Chloe The Bride:
The day Zubin asked me to marry him was the most overwhelmingly happy moment of my life, not only did it mean becoming his wife but also official step mum to his 3 beautiful girls. We were going to be a family.
Choosing where to get married was simple. The spring before Zubin had taken me to see the rhododendron gardens at Lydney Park
. They only bloom for a month and walking through the gates I was transported to the most magical place I’d ever seen, it absolutely took my breath away. I cried. Of course I wanted to get married in the middle of that magic. Luckily for us the gardens are owned by Zubin’s cousin and even more luckily they offered it to us, I cried again! (Even better news for future brides, they are going to offer a few weddings a year at Lydney.) I had always said that if and when I got married I would go for a venue where the weather didn't matter, now we had the opposite; a completely outdoor, element tempting wedding...I made a deal with the weather gods fast!
The other super simple decision was the photographer. I’ve known Sam
for over 10 years. Not only are his photos beautiful but it was lovely to have a friend there. In fact having the photos taken were some of our favourite moments of the day.
My dress came from The Mews Clifton
in Bristol. They couldn't have been more lovely. It’s surprisingly daunting trying to find ‘the one’ but they made it a pleasure. I did exactly what you’re not supposed to do and fell in love with a dress I couldn't afford, but they tipped me off about a sample sale and I became the proud owner of my beautiful French, Rime Arodaky
gown. Demure from the front, rock and roll from the back. I know some ladies want a pristine dress but I loved the way my dress looked like it had been discovered in an old trunk in a dusty attic (in a good way!) It’s amazing the money you can save by going sample and given the punishment my dress took on the day, I’m glad I did!!
Zubin found a sharp blue Paul Smith
suit and had a waistcoat made. I'm biased but he looked super hot. He found liberty print ties and pocket squares for the groomsmen on Etsy
and my bridesmaids dresses came from Etsy
too. I wanted my grown up ‘flower girls’ (my step daughters wanted to be the bridesmaids!) to have a style they liked and suited and Renz Rags
allowed them to have dresses that suited them all in the same palette. They looked so beautiful walking hand and hand down our make shift aisle.
Although Zubin and I don't have a faith, his family and mine do and they’re very different! So we were over the moon to find humanist celebrant Zena Birch
. She met us several times in the lead up to the wedding and wrote us such a beautiful, personal ceremony; she’s become a friend for life. We stood at the edge of the lake, surrounded by our family and friends in a riot of colour, in the SUNSHINE (my deal paid off!) and became an official family - it was perfect.
We were incredibly lucky to have met chef Freddy Bird
who we took to Lydney on a very wet day and who embraced the crazy distance between the drinks in the garden and his catering tent, the lack of electricity or running water. He brought bubbles to the rhododendrons, served on my Mum’s Morris Minor, then magic’d scallops outside the marquee before a sit down meal of cured salmon and a BBQ’d lamb mezze. We’re still not sure how he did it all! The budget didn't stretch to pudding so my lovely friends made cakes and we bulk bought cheese for late night scoffing. My stepdaughter Sofia made our wedding cake, a beautiful tiered rainbow sponge. At 12 I think she gave any professional a run for their money!
The marquee was a gorgeous old vintage canvas tent with clear sides to bring the outside in. My Mum is a secret flower genius. She’d say she’s an amateur but quite how she created the enormous flower balls and letters of my Pinterest dreams I just don't know...more magic perhaps. We used lots of moss and ferns to recreate the feel of the garden and I sourced lots and lots of brass tat on eBay that we filled with flowers for the tables.
But over and above everything were the girls, my stepdaughters. They steadied my nerves getting ready, owned the aisle and even wrote their own speeches. My eldest stepdaughter Maya has Down Syndrome and sometimes new things can be scary for her – we needn’t have worried, she stole the show; curtsied in the aisle and brought everyone to tears with her speech. She had to be carried to bed at 1am when her legs literally gave way from dancing.
It was really important to us that we have a proper party, we had brilliant face painters come and glitter up our guests, a fab photo booth and everyone was still dancing in the small hours.
We woke up the next day married, ludicrously happy, and covered in glitter.