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
photos by Ashley Prytherch photography
We met five years ago through mutual friends. We were both in relationships at the time and were very good friends. When both our relationships ended with our ex’s, we realised that there was something strong between us and we got together in August 2001.
Steve surprised me with a two week holiday in Antigua in May 2004. We had a totally amazing time and on the last day he proposed to me on the terrace of the villa we were staying at… it was really romantic and I was very emotional.
Steve had a stag weekend in Amsterdam with 12 of his mates a month before the wedding. I had to have a few all over the place as I had friends scattered around so the main one was in Paris with 12 of the girls. We had a fabulous weekend and such a great laugh. The girls had organized loads of things for me to wear and do. We stayed in a great hotel on the Friday night and then on Saturday evening, we all went to my home town (I am French and my mum and sister still live in Paris) where my mum had organised a fabulous buffet and loads of drinks! We totally relaxed. It was so great to stop and look around me to see how much everybody was enjoying it! I then had another hen night in Brighton with Steve’s mum, sister and niece as well as a few friends I have there. The third one was in Alton, where I live and 17 of us went for a meal first and then ended up in one the cheesy nightclub which turned out to be a great laugh.
As we moved in January, Steve was really busy organizing the move which we had agreed on as I am a bit of a control freak and had everything planned. He helped me to choose certain things and was a great support.
Oh yes. I spent many hours in the cafe and spoke with other brides. They are great on there as everybody likes to help and give your advice and opinions. I also shopped on confetti for some things and read almost everything there was to read about weddings. Reading about real life stories was very inspiring too!
Yes, I have. We also have a huge website where we have all our wedding and honeymoon photos so that it’s easier for people to check them out.
I visited the London store last year when there was a sample sale. I loved it as I spent just under £100 but had bags full of great things. I bought all my cufflinks, including some groovy ones for Steve in a shape of a clock. I got my wedding ring cushion, my bridesmaid’s key rings (their gifts), the gents money clips, some stationery bits and all my favour boxes etc. I also used the website to buy my sugared almonds and some earrings for one of the bridesmaids.
Tell us about your outfit, and where you bought it.
My dress is by Mori Lee. I had tried about 40 dresses before I found the one. None of the shops I went understood what I wanted but when I went to Confetti & Lace in Farnham, they were great. I loved the dress straight away and made the decision to order it in a smaller size as I was determined to loose weight before the big day which I did as I lost two stone! I also got my veil from the same shop. My tiara is by Amanda Wyatt and was absolutely stunning and matched perfectly my dress with all the crystals & pearls but also my theme of roses. My shoes were so comfortable and pretty. I ordered them online.
Did you have bridesmaids? If so, who did you choose and what did they wear?
I had four bridesmaids and a flower girl. I had my best friend, Alex as chief bridesmaid. She did an excellent job of her speech which left everybody crying! I also had my little sister Audrey who did a reading at the church, Steve’s niece who looked after our guest book in the evening and another close friend of mine, Emily who sang a great song for us with our band. They all looked really amazing and were great throughout the day. They all wore a lilac/dusky pink dress from the Debut range in Debenhams. They all looked great and matched my flowers so well. I had asked them to pick their shoes themselves as I wanted to make sure they would all be comfortable. Steve and I bought them a necklace and earring jewellery set to wear on the day and it looked amazing with the rest of their outfit. Molly, our little flower girl, wore a dress from Debenhams too. Her shoes were from Bhs and he head band from Claire accessories. I had made her flower basket. She looked so cute.
Who did your groom choose for his best man and ushers, and what did they wear?
Steve chose his best friend Jeff as his best man and he made the best speech ever. We had our best friend James and brother in law Peter as our ushers. All the lads wore a suit from Youngs Hire and looked very good if I may say so myself!
Did you have a civil or religious ceremony?
We had a beautiful religious ceremony.
Where did you hold your ceremony?
It took place at All Saints Parish Church in Alton. Our vicar, Paul Barlow did a lovely service and we were both very emotional.
Where did you hold your reception?
Our reception took place at the Alton Grange Hotel which has a beautiful back garden where we had loads of fantastic pictures taken. The staff were great!
Did you have any special wedding transport?
Steve’s sister and husband have a VW convertible Beetle which they had decorated and lent it to us. His sister drove me to the church and Peter drove us to the Grange. It looked really cute and everybody enjoyed it! I had also hired a Rover 75 for the bridesmaids from my local taxi firm and only paid ú30 for it.
How many guests did you invite to your wedding, and did you have a separate evening guest list?
We had 92 guests for the day time wedding breakfast and celebrations. We had a further 50 guests in the evening which made a huge party of all our best friends and family! It was truly an amazing feeling to have them all with us.
Did your reception have a particular theme in terms of colour or style?
My favourite colour is lilac/purple so the theme colour was based around that. My flowers, the bridesmaids, all the stationery which I designed all myself, the name cards, table plans and wedding cakes were all purple/lilac. Our other theme was roses which were scattered all over the tables and my cake. I had them in my bouquet, on my tiara and on all the stationery.
How did you incorporate this in to your table settings?
All the table names were on lilac cards with roses, the name cards were too. I had rose petals scatted around our vases which were also roses. We had lilac confetti with our initials also scatted on the tables. We had some purple candles in clear tea light holders and all my favours were with roses and lilac ribbon.
Did you give your guests favours?
Yes, we had sugared almonds for everybody and I had bought some lovely candles in a shape of a rose ball (loads of roses gathered together) for the ladies. I had wrapped them in a cellophane film and tied them with lilac ribbon.
Describe your flowers (bouquets and table decorations). Who was your florist?
My florist was amazing. She listened to my ideas from the start and incorporated all the details I wanted like crystals and butterflies. My bouquet was made of ‘Blue Curiosa’ roses and had seven crystals entwined throughout the bouquet. She had matched the fabric of the bridesmaids and wrapped it around the stems by attaching it with yet more crystals. The girls had ivory roses and lysianthus for their bouquets. We also had some rose confetti cones for the guests to throw on us. The table decorations were square clear vases filled with flower gel and ‘Blue Curiosa’ roses with a lilac butterfly on them as if it had just landed!
What did you choose to have on your menu? Did you have an outside caterer or did your venue handle the catering?
To start had ham hock with parsley, grain mustard and a potato dressing. We had Pressed Ham Hock with Parsley, Grain Mustard & Potato Dressing, and for main we had chicken breast in honey and sesame breadcrumbs, bean sprouts and Chinese lef, ginger scented jus served with new potatoes and vegetables. For pudding we had a sable with fresh strawberry and chantilly cream with minted syrup. The wedding organiser who works there is a lucky lady as her husband works as the chef there and he cooked me a beautiful organic mushroom risotto as it’s my favourite food and I knew it would probably be the only thing I had all day. It was truly delicious and kept me going all day and night!
What did you choose for your wedding cake?
We had two wedding cakes. For the wedding breakfast we had a traditional wedding cake with a fruit top tier, a lemon sponge cake as the second tier and the bottom was chocolate ganache which quickly disappeared! We also had a cutting fruit cake. It had some beautiful sugared crafted roses and petals on each tier. Our evening wedding cake was a traditional Fraiser which is with strawberries and tastes like heaven! It all went and neither Steve or I got to test it! Thankfully, we know where we can get some more… hahaha.
Did you have any entertainment during the day or evening?
Yes, we had a band. We knew them already as they had played at a work party and we had seen them a local pub too. They were fantastic and they kept everybody dancing all night long!
Did you have a gift list? If so, who did you have your list with?
We had a gift list with John Lewis which was so easy to work with. Our guests found it really easy to use. They have also been great with us returning things that we wanted to exchange. We also had asked for Debenhams vouchers for people who couldn’t access a John Lewis.
Where did you spend your first night and honeymoon? Who did you book your honeymoon with?
Our first night was spent at the Grange Hotel in the Honeymoon suite with a four poster bed. It was gorgeous. We flew off to the Maldives on the Sunday to the lovely resort of The Laguna Beach. It’s 30 minutes away from Male and was truly a paradise on earth. We had the best time of our life and spent a really relaxing two weeks which we so needed after a year of planning and moving home! The Island is small and not too many guests so you get a lot of places where you may think you are on a deserted Island.
What was your most memorable moment of the day?
Everything was totally amazing but seeing Steve at the altar waiting for me was truly the most emotional time. All your guests turn around to look at you and the feeling that goes through your veins is something I had never experienced. Having all our families and friends to share our unbelievable day was amazing and we will never forget it.
Did you experience any ‘nightmare’ moments in the run up to your wedding or on the day?
Nothing springs to mind that was major. I think everything seems to be a total disaster when it happens when I try to think of them, I can’t remember so they mustn’t have been so bad. I think that booking everything in the first few weeks was the thing to do as it left me plenty of time to do the rest in my own time.
Is there anything you would do differently, or any advice you would give to other brides?
Nothing at all as it was the perfect day that we were both hoping for. It was magical! I would just say that the morning of the wedding is vital to the whole day. My hairdresser and make up artists arrived early so we had plenty of time to do things, relax, drink champagne, chat and giggle. There was no rush and it made me very calm. I took the advice of all the previous brides and took some time to stop and look around me which was lovely as all I could see was people laughing, smiling and being happy! Enjoy your day…
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