Sabina and Saleem June 1999 - How did you meet? We met in the Summer of 1996, when she was over here on a holiday, she came back and we…
Written by Paula Jones Last updated: August 9, 2006
Jonathan and I met in Paris. I had been living there for 10 years, and he came out on a diplomatic mission. We met at a friend’s party – I was flying to Argentina the next day and someone introduced us as he had been living in South America. We both lived on the same Metro line, so we travelled home together, although he got off a couple of stops before me. It took him over a month to pluck up the courage to ask me out to lunch!
I am 32, he is 38.
We were on a 3 week holiday in the USA in August 2004, and unknown to me, he had bought the ring from Tiffany’s in NYC, on an excuse that he wanted to look at a digital camera for my birthday, so I waited in Starbucks (in Trump Towers!) while he went to Tiffany’s! He then carried the ring around with him for the rest of the holiday, trying to find the right moment! We stayed in a fabulous ranch in Colorado, and had our own private patio overlooking the mountains and Colorado River. He proposed to me at sunset. It was amazing! He had wanted to propose the previous night. but when he came out onto the patio I was jumping up and down because there was a deer right outside our room. Then the deer got scared off by my camera flash, and as I was looking for it, I saw a skunk! More excitement! He decided that he should put off the proposal until the next night. I only found this out during his speech on the wedding day!
Jonathan had his stag do in London. He and 3 friends all went to Trumpers (an old fashioned gentlemen’s barber shop) and had a “cut throat” proper shave and manicure etc. I went back to Paris for a weekend to meet up with my old friends; we had a day of shopping and walking round the Tulieries gardens in the sunshine, and forfeits and silliness in my friend’s back garden in the evening, followed by a meal in a typical Parisian restaurant in the Marias.
Jonathan had one job to take care of; he was in charge of organising the music and musicians, although I did the leg work of finding people to contact! I’m an events organiser so he preferred to leave it to me!
I used the forum all the time, it was excellent for advice and I loved reading everyone’s wedding reports and looking at the photos. Great for inspiration! We also printed off the budget planner and filled it in to give us an idea of costings.
I ordered the white ribbed favour boxes from Confetti when they were on special offer. I went 3 times to the London store, the first time for ideas – the tables set up in store are fabulous, and twice to pick up bits and bobs that I’d seen online.
My dress is by Demetrios, from the 2004 collection. It is in white satin. I went to an amazing boutique in Paris, tried on 5 or 6 dresses, but kept coming back to this one. I’m only a size 8-10, and the full skirted dresses did nothing for me so I went for tight, sparkly and slinky! The dress also came with a matching satin pashmina. The dresses I saw in Paris were of a different style to what is available in the UK, so I knew that I had to get one before we moved back to the UK.
I had 2 adult bridesmaids and 2 little ones. My twin sister and my best friend Lena wore a dusky pink 2-piece outfit from Coast, and shoes from Next (bought in the sale). Jonathan’s nieces (6 and 11) wore dresses from John Lewis, with little fur capes.
Jonathan chose his old school friend Darren, my brother Chris and a close friend from Paris as Ushers. They all wore pink ties from Thomas Pink and dark suits.
We had a civil ceremony followed by a Blessing in the Church in the grounds of the venue.
The ceremony was held in the Library at Ettington Park in Stratford upon Avon.
Ettington Park, Stratford upon Avon.
We had 50 guests, and it was a whole day/evening event with no separate evening guest list.
We decided upon a France theme as we had met in Paris. The wedding invitations were plain white with a French street sign on the front, saying “invitation au mariage”.
I had hole-punched frogs and snails as table confetti, and each table was named after a famous Parisian landmark. Each alternate name plate was stamped with the Eiffel Tower of the Sacre Coeur church.
Each guest received a Ferrero Rocher inside a white favour box; each box was tied with white ribbon with a luggage tag, stamped with ‘Je t’aime.’
The florist was the in-house florist; I was a little disappointed with them. My white rose bouquet was actually green, and all the bouquets looked as though they had been prepared several days prior. The tables each had candelabra with three 40 cm tall candles, and a wreath of white and pink roses around the bottom.
Our venue handled the catering, and the food was excellent. We had a choice of the complete a la carte menu, and Jonathan and I mix and matched to come up with a wonderful 3 course meal.
We had a 2-tier square cake, the top tier was sponge, the bottom, fruit. It was made locally to my parents by Cake Magic in Bromsgrove.
A sting trio (Con Spirito) played classical music during the ceremony, and we had the Louise Mayer band in the evening. She played and sung oldies and goodies, and split the set with some good old cheesy disco tunes!
The Gift List was with John Lewis, and Jonathan loved using the hand held scanner to scan in all the gifts!
We spent our first night at the venue, which was wonderful not to have to pile into a car and organise getting our stuff delivered to another hotel. We were also able to spend time the next morning with the family and friends who had also stayed at the venue.
The best part of the day was entering the ceremony and seeing Jonathan waiting for me at the other end; pure magic.
Only one big nightmare moment – the mother-in-law had ordered helium balloons for the reception and ivy headdresses for all my bridesmaids! I found out by accident – and had to cancel the lot!
Remember that most people don’t read bridal magazines, so any type of favour will surprise them. And no-one really noticed my frog and snail shaped confetti, so it’s not worth paying lots and lots for table decorations.
Don’t worry about things on the day you can’t change – my roses were green and my hair flopped in the damp, but there was nothing I could do about it, so I didn’t let it spoil my day. It also threw it down with rain after a glorious day before!
And most important – wear practical and comfortable underwear – forget the sexy stuff. I was so hot and sweaty after the day all I wanted to do was take my dress off and have a good shower. Save the good undies/night wear stuff until then!
Enjoy! It’s all worth it in the end!