3 tier wedding cake Patisserie Valerie

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The Ultimate Discovery.

The vast majority of weddings we feature on RMW come via a submission – usually from the photographer or the bride. Occasionally we will find something via blog stalking and very very occasionally we will discover something absolutely out-of-this-world by complete random accident.

The W-day of Annie and Navid was the result of one of those (particularly beautiful) random accidents. I was having me a mooch on my Instagram feed and someone who I was following had “liked” an image of a stunning blonde bride trying on the most ridiculously gorgeous Vera Wang gown. At the time I didn’t even know if the affair would be based in the UK but luckily for us it was and photographer Xanthe Berkeley agreed to have the whole fashion and floral extravaganza grace these polka dot pages after I got in contact.

There are some really lovely decor and entertaining-children ideas amongst the pretty and Annie (who works for Anya Hindmarch so is clearly stylish with a capital S….) made lots of the details herself, including the flower girl dresses and embroidered napkin favours.

And I swear – I have never seen a Groom look as ruddy happy as Navid does, his continuous beam could light up the world.

Oh and did I mention this was only Xanthe’s fourth wedding?!

I know.

I die.

All That Glitters

My shoes were Jimmy Choo and a very welcome birthday gift from the groom! I kept them on all day as I adored the way they sparkled and all the adrenaline meant that I never felt any pain!


My hair was by James at the Daniel Hersheson Salon (in Harvey Nichols), he was so good that my bridesmaid booked him on the spot at my hair trial for her own wedding a few months later. I made sure the hair trial coincided with my hen party so that I would have fabulous hair for the party!

For the Make-up I just googled “Mac make up artist in Suffolk area” as I have always loved and trusted anyone that uses Mac make up as it’s my favorite make. Luckily my search picked up Sophia Spalding who I used and loved and who calmed my nerves on the big day!

The Perfect (Swiss) Fit

I went for fittings in about 4 different wedding shops and completely fell in love with a Vera Wang Diana, but the price was way out of budget.  So I spent 4 hours on the internet searching for anyone that was selling theirs as I always thought it was pointless to buy something you only wear for a day.  I found a girl in Switzerland who was desperate to sell hers to pay for her honeymoon so I jumped on an easy jet plane and went to meet her and try on the dress.  It was a perfect fit, so we negotiated a deal that worked out perfectly for both of us.  I am planning on selling it on again so another bride can enjoy it as much as I did without the guilt! 

As we had a Civil ceremony in the morning I wanted to wear a more simple dress so I sourced some lace in Hong Kong and had it made by a very clever seamstress in London.  With the extra fabric we had left over I tried my hand and making the 4 flower girl dresses as I was having trouble finding any in an ivory colour to match my dress.  These turned out better than expected and I even got some people asking me if I would make theirs!

Designer For Less

My veil was also Vera Wang and was purchased with the dress as part of the price. The sash worn with the Vera Wang dress was from a haberdashery just off Oxford Street called macculloch and wallis a lot cheaper than buying it from the designer!

The Name’s Ford, Tom Ford

Navid wore a suit by Spencer Hart, which was modern and simple, exactly what we were after. His Tie and shirt were by Tom Ford as his mens collection was so amazing we had to have some element of his clothing in the outfit. I matched the tie tonally with my sash for the Vera Wang dress.

Lovely In Lace

The flower girl dresses were made by me using the left over lace from my first wedding dress, they were a lot of fun to make and saved a lot of money on these. I also cross-stitched each girls initials on the underskirt so that they could easily identify them and have something to treasure forever.

They kept them on all day and I have since been told that they play make believe weddings with them when their friends come over!

White On White

The flowers were installed by a local florist that the venue had recommended that I always think is wise as it will mean that they will know the venue well and how best to dress it. I was anally specific about what I wanted and what I didn’t want. I just wanted all white with hints of gyp so we went with white roses and hydrangeas.

Practicing On Primrose

Our lovely photographer was Xanthe Berkeley her sister is my friend from university and she just told me that Xanthe was keen to shoot our wedding so we met up to discuss. Xanthe was so excited and enthusiastic about it that I knew she was the one straight away! She kindly did a practice engagement shoot with us on Primrose Hill and both my camera shy groom and I were so relaxed that we knew we had made the right choice. The photos came out amazingly for that shoot and I turned them into a little book on trueprint.co.uk that I will now treasure forever.

I have done the same with the wedding photos, and all my guests kept saying how lovely she was which I think is also a very important factor. She is amazingly talented and every photo she took was absolutely stunning, we talked about the fact we preferred reportage which is what she specializes in so we were definitely a good match. We did a few formals just to keep the families happy but it’s the casual unposed photos that I am putting up in the house.

For my thank you cards I enclosed photos of each guest together with a photo of me and the groom so they will always have a picture from our wedding as I know not everyone will actually print out the photos.

Style Icon

Working for Anya Hindmarch, she was my main inspiration especially the Bespoke Shop in Pont street, this is what inspired me to embroider each guests initials on their napkins to take home as their wedding favour. I started making items for the wedding a year before hand so that they were all done well in advance.  This included the embroidered napkins which got very complicated when I got the unable to attend but at least I have something to give them the next time I see them! 

I also knitted up some little pouches that I placed chocolate Easter eggs in as I didn’t want to ignore the fact I got married at Easter but I didn’t want to use it as a main theme.  I also wanted to make sure that everyone felt welcome and in the mood to celebrate for the day so I made some “Welcome Packs” that were placed in everyone’s hotel rooms.  These consisted of a little Jute Sack I made (that was supposed to look a bit like a barrel of hay to bring in the country feel) filled with my mothers home made Bullace jam (a favourite of my late fathers) and a vintage handkerchief for the weepy moments!

Also Anya does great press events and really knows how to entertain in a fun youthful way.  This prompted the DIY photo booth that I knew would keep the kids quiet and amuse the adults and would result in something a lot more interesting then a few signatures in a guest book.

Three Fruity Tiers

Our Cake was from Patisserie Valerie as this has always been the vendor of choice for every birthday we have ever had together. We love their recipe for light sponge with seasonal fruits and cream so we wanted to share this with our guests. We needed a show stopper as it’s an Iranian tradition for female guests to dance around the cake with a knife whilst the groom offers the money for it so it needed to look and taste good! We went with a 3 tiered Square Cake with White Chocolate sides, it was yummy but I only had a small bite of it in the end!

Pop Culture

For evening entertainment we went with a DJ as Navid and I aren’t really concerned by live music, as we never go to concerts so it seemed silly to spend a big chunk of the budget on a live band so we just had cheesy pop and a few Iranian songs to keep it lively!. The DJ was from Dreamwave events.

Wrapped Up In Love

Our First dance was “Wrapped up in Love” by Jennifer Hudson, we wanted something upbeat and not soppy or mushy as we are not those kind of people so something lively and fun reflected our personalities better. We never rehearsed so it was very natural and after a few bars we just invited everyone else to join in on the fun on the dance floor!

Four Ceremonies

As my groom is Iranian and Baha’i I wanted to incorporate this into the wedding so that his family and friends felt as comfortable and welcome and enjoyed it us much as my English side.  The first half of the day was typically British with a church wedding and afternoon tea, which included the use of my mothers beloved tea set collection, which she had spent the last year trawling through charity shops and jumble sales to find. 

Then at 4pm we celebrated with a Persian Ceremony which included a Sofreh, this is a spread that contains food and traditional items to share in the new life and each item has a symbolic significance eg, the eggs for fertility.  Ladies from the congregation are also asked to come up and “sweeten” the marriage by rubbing large sugar cones over the married couple’s head that is protected by a cloth. 

It is a really beautiful ceremony and has audience participation that I think always makes it more interesting for the guests.  One of the comments from our guests was that they “really felt part of the wedding, rather than just being a witness”.  After this we began the Baha’i ceremony that included religious prayers and readings and the signing of the Baha’i wedding certificates.  All in all we had about 4 ceremonies in the day so we really felt married by the end of it but they were all very different, so we didn’t’ bore our guests! We even started the day with a civil ceremony at 12pm for close friends and family as this was our only legal ceremony and meant that I had an excuse for another dress!

Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff

Don’t sweat the small stuff and a month before the wedding, close the book on new ideas/projects as you will run out of time and just work on what you do have already planned.  Oh and take at least a week off work, you will need it!  Also start with the planning as early as possible, also delegate jobs to friends and family for the actual wedding day eg. Give a list of the formal photographs you want to an usher and bridesmaids so they can help rally the guests for these as the photographer won’t know who’s who.

Brides Gowns – First Dress (final images) – Made to measure by Jane Cameron janecameron19@googlemail.com, Second Dress – Vera Wang (Pre-owned)

Brides Shoes – Jimmy Choo

Make-Up – Sophia Spalding

Cake – Patisserie Valerie

Grooms Suit – Spencer Hart

Venue – Hengrave Hall

Photographer – Xanthe Berkeley

I am going to have to write quite a lot at this end bit too because I could have waffled on forever and a day during the intro.

Um…how cool are those twine wool table numbers doo-dahs? and how about the photo booth/guest book? kind of incorporating Adam’s DIY from Friday but with a fancier frame. I also have a lot of love for Annie’s best girls in alternative shades of blue and I think she needs some kind of award for making all of those flower girls dresses and favours all by herself.

And four ceremonies? four? And still looking fresh as a daisy at the end?…. Also any wedding that has a press on tattoo gets my vote – hours of entertainment.

And the dress. Good Lord the dress.

I think I might need a lie down.

Big Discovering Awesomeness Love

Charlotte xxx

P.S You can follow me on Instagram @rockmywedding, be warned though – I don’t just post W-day stuff, sometimes it’s just a picture of my Mum’s cakes or my most recent on-line purchases…