Louisa The Bride:
I had never really thought about what I wanted for a wedding dress until a few months before getting engaged - I must have sensed it was close! I was drawn to dresses with beautiful backs and lace and think I always wanted something revealing my back a bit. I went to a boutique in Hong Kong and tried my first dresses on with a couple of friends and that’s when I worked out which shape I wanted for the skirt: very straight/column - almost a bit slinky. I tried a few designer dresses but it was when I went to Shanna Melville
, where my sister had her dress made, that I found a lot of options I loved. Some were definitely more on the slinky side and I could have chosen so many that I loved, but in the end it was the beautiful lace top and back combined with the soft floaty layer over the skirt that got me. It was a sample of Shanna’s and we worked on it a bit taking out the corset in the top and also bringing the skirt in to make it less a-line and more straight.
My cousin lives at Bonhams Barn
, which has always been in my family and my grandmother lived down the road in Hampshire so I visited nearly every weekend as a child. So I had a very special connection to the barn and the area. The barn was first converted purely for family gatherings but a few years ago my cousin converted it into a venue for weddings, and it is very popular. While it’s quite a blank canvas, the features are stunning and provide lots to play with.
Initially when we set the date in September we were thinking a lot about the flowers and plants in season and planned to use hops. The scheme developed from there when my mother found a beautiful table setting on a website with a rustic Italian look. We also wanted to make it feel a bit like an indoor garden. For the food we decided to have sharing platters of meat set down on each table, so that really helped to cement the slightly relaxed and fun style we were after. So working off that look, we bought lots of terracotta pots to fill with herbs. My wonderful sister-in-law Maryam painstakingly worked with the pots to age them and make them look rustic. She’s a genius!
I love pink roses and we found a wonderful local florist
who finds the most amazing roses. Our favourite was this vintage pink rose with several inside layers. But in many ways the piece-de-resistance was the fabulous hops garland that my wonderful godmother Angela made and decorated with hydrangeas and more roses. Initially the terracotta pots were going to be placed on the tables but when we came to do that we had placed them along the edges of the wall of the barn, so as not to ruin the table cloth the day before, and they looked so amazing there that we left them there! So the tables ended up just having the roses in bottles, the bird cage candle holders, and foliage running down the middle.
My godmother and cousin read a passage from Pride and Prejudice during the first ceremony, which was fitting considering we got married in Jane Austen’s brother’s house! And for the later Iranian ceremony in the marquee, we had a reading from Rumi, one of Iran’s great poets, read beautifully my another cousin.
We had an acoustic duo playing for when everyone first arrived at the evening part. The girl had a beautiful voice. Elton John was a silly surprise we did for everyone. I love Elton as does most of my family and we’ve had a few jokes with friends about him in the past so it was just a bit of fun really, and we think it went down well with most people! We heard the band at another friend’s wedding and really loved the girl’s voice, as she was able to sing anything from Elvis Presley to Beyonce!
Delicious food was an absolute priority for us, and delicious meat especially. I really love sausages too so the sharing meat boards of fillet steaks and sausages were a real hit! The croque-en-bouche cake idea we copied a close friend of ours as it looks really dramatic and who doesn’t love profiteroles!
The same friend found our photographer Jacques
. We absolutely loved him and his wife - they were so amazing as you will see from our photos here. They were great fun to have around on the day too and indulged some of our sillier moments (see Mahdi singing the register or having a pillow fight beforehand with the best man!) We couldn’t recommend them enough.
Our dear friend Katie, who is a documentary film producer offered to film the day for us which was so special. We also asked a few friends to help and film the odd part of the day on their phones for Katie to edit in.