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 docuwedding.co.uk
We met through James’s housemate who I knew from university (and briefly went out with).
James arranged a surprise weekend to Ireland last May for my birthday but said he didn’t find the right time to propose. One afternoon the week after, it was a lovely day and we went to Greenwich Park. James proposed on the grass at the top of the hill with the view over London. We had arranged a joint birthday celebration that weekend but I didn’t realise that he had wanted it that weekend so we could have it as an engagement party and announce our engagement to our friends. I was impressed at how he’d got me to invite my friends without me realising what it would actually be!
We arranged it on the same weekend – James went to Amsterdam and I went to Barcelona. We got some interesting photos from the club we went to in the evening!
James was as involved in planning the wedding as I was (though maybe not as obsessed!). We chose everything except my outfit together.
I really just used the cafe to talk to other brides and ask questions. It was a good distraction (and very addictive!)
My dress was Olympia by Maggie Sottero in ivory with matching bag and wrap. I had Gabriella and Lucido’s Paolo shoes hand-embroidered to match the beading which I bought from a boutique in Henley together with my fingertip veil scattered with diamontes I also had a tiara and zig-zag necklace that my mum bought for me. I bought an ivory faux fur jacket from the internet in case I was cold but only wore it when I left since I was actually warm all day! I also wore James’s grandmother’s diamond watch and brooch that he had inherited which was my ‘something old’!
I had two bridesmaids – my now sister-in-law, Clare, and a mutual friend of ours, Jen. They wore Dessy dresses in ‘hunter green’ with matching wraps and silver shoes. I also had a flower girl who wore a white dress and I made a matching green wrap to match the adult bridesmaids.
James had two best men – my brother, Spencer, and one of his school friends, Nick. His other group of school friends, Andrew, Graeme and Alan, were his ushers. The best men wore matching morning suits with grey waistcoats and sage green rouche and handkerchief to match James and the bridesmaids. They were given cufflinks as a present on the day to match James’s. We also had a page boy in a morning suit and silver waistcoat and I made him a matching rouche. The ushers wore normal suits but had buttonholes to match.
We had a civil ceremony.
The ceremony was in the Grandstand at Phyllis Court Club overlooking the Thames in Henley-on-Thames.
The reception was in the Finlay Suite and Ballroom of Phyllis Court Club.
We had a Rolls Royce to take us to our hotel for the first night. Other than that it wasn’t needed since family all stayed in Henley the night before and me and my family were staying at the venue.
We invited about 140 to the wedding and another 25 to the evening. In the end we had about 105 to the wedding and another 20 in the evening.
Since it was a winter wedding we had a lot of colour in the flowers that we used but as well as candles and fairy lights. We used a lot of foliage to wrap around pillars and arches.
The table centres were very bright and each had a candle.
Only the children who had a pack that we made up to keep them busy. The parents really seemed to appreciate this! We also gave away all the table centres and floral decorations as thanks to certain people.
Our florist was linked to the venue although we could have gone to someone else. My bouquet was mango calla lillies with some black calla lillies and also some dark roses and folliage. The men had mango calla lillies in the button holes as did the bridemaids’ corsages. All the flowers used for other decorations followed the colour theme with some added flowers. We had a large table centre on the top table that was also used during the ceremony. In the reception area there was a large display of flowers.
The venue handled the catering. We had leek and potato soup to start since it was a winter wedding and we thought the warmth would be appreciated! The main course was baked supreme of chicken with a pesto crust and red pepper coulis with seasonal vegetables and there was a vegetarian alternative (spinach and gruyere cheese tart with dijon mustard cream). Pudding was amaretti and chocolate pudding with a dark chocolate sauce.
We had a three-tier white chocolate cake, with sponge for the top and bottom tiers and chocolate for the middle tier. Different icing was used on each tier, and it was decorated with calla lilies to match the theme of our wedding.
We had a harpist during the wedding and drinks reception and a six-piece band in the evening.
Yes, with John Lewis.
We spent our first night in a suite at Dansfield House which was amazing. For our honeymoon, we went to the Jalouise Hilton in St Lucia for two weeks which was fantastic. We were supposed to be going to the Maldives and Singapore but were relocated as our resort was affected by the tsunami.
It all went in such a blur but probably walking into the ceremony with my dad and seeing James at the end!
I would have started to get dressed earlier since – there was a real last minute panic which meant we were about 15 minutes late. Guests were late too so it didn’t really matter too much. Also I would have got a formal photo with my mum – one thing I forgot. I would have also had my bouquet preserved.
Enjoy the day and don’t worry about the little things. They really don’t matter!