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: December 8, 2008
6th December 2008
Chris and I met a long time ago, through a mutual love of drama. It was three years before he finally asked me to go out on a date and I never would have guessed we’d one day be married!
I’m 23 and Chris is 32.
It was Christmas Eve, 2006. We both love Christmas so Chris said I could open one present that night. It was a beautiful wooden box and inside was my engagement ring. Chris got down on one knee and proposed to me – it was perfect!
Chris had his stag weekend at a lovely cottage in Derbyshire. He took 4 friends and the spent the weekend relaxing, drinking and singing karaoke. I was really lucky and had two hen days. The first was with my work friends – we went to a burlesque dancing class (in full fancy dress) and then out in Nottingham for more dancing. The second was with my close family and friends at the Nottingham Belfry hotel day spa, followed by dinner and dancing. They were both fantastic and I had a great time.
Chris said he would leave the planning to me, as he knew how much I would enjoy it. But he did end up helping with the flowers, the invitations and I even had him filling favour boxes at one point. He did have to put up with me constantly talking about the wedding though – I really appreciated his support.
I found the website really helpful with ideas for table decorations, and I loved flicking through the forums, seeing what other brides were doing.
I bought all of my favour boxes and bubbles from Confetti, as well as lots of presents for people. I bought everything online, which was really simple and quick. I love it!
I wore a Mori Lee dress in Platinum/Silver from a small shop in my home town. I didn’t think much of it when I saw the picture, but the second I put it on I fell in love. It suited my winter wedding perfectly and I got my wedding wish – I felt like a princess!
Originally I had 4 bridesmaids, but unfortunately my maid of honour was unable to attend due to work commitments. The other three bridesmaids were my two sisters and my cousin. They wore burgundy dresses from Debenhams. We actually bought them 18 months before the wedding – but I loved them and had to have them. I thought the girls looked beautiful.
Chris’s best man was his long-term best friend James. He didn’t have any ushers. We chose suits from Slaters for the men (including my dad) with cream and gold waistcoats and burgundy cravat and handkerchief to fit in with our Christmas theme.
We chose to have a civil ceremony.
Both our ceremony and reception took place in the Trent Building at Nottingham University. It’s great because you never have to go outside if you don’t want to and there are separate spaces for each part of the day, so you don’t have to wait while the staff set up the next set of tables.
My mum really wanted me to arrive in style, so we had a green Rolls Royce to collect us from the hotel and take us to the venue. I’m glad we did in the end, as it made the journey feel really special.
We had 81 people invited to the wedding, with an additional 50 coming to the evening reception.
Taking into consideration the fact that both Chris and I love this time of year, and the engagement there really was only one theme we could choose – Christmas!
We had Christmas crackers for each person and I bought Confetti favour boxes with gold ribbon to look like mini Christmas presents. The table centres were glass vases filled with red and gold baubles. Even the table names were based on The 12 days of Christmas. Upstairs in the great hall were four Christmas trees and plenty of garlands etc. Everyone said how lovely the theme was – it was great to see guests with Christmas hats on their heads during dinner.
The guests had Confetti favour boxes filled with gold chocolate coins as well as a Christmas cracker each and a little bottle of bubbles – which all went down very well.
We chose a shop called Bees Flowers in Kimberley as our florist. My bouquet was a trailing hand tied bouquet of passion roses, berries, holly and ivy with gold bear grass and diamante pins. The bridesmaids had ivory roses with diamante pins and the men had button holes of passion roses, with berries and ivy. My mum really wanted an orchid, so the florist adapted her corsage to include a cream orchid with burgundy centre. The flowers were absolutely beautiful and I got a little emotional the day after the wedding as I wanted to keep them forever!
We tried to have a simple menu that everyone would like while maintaining our Christmas theme. We had tomato soup with pancetta for starters, a traditional chicken dinner for main and a treacle sponge for dessert. It was all catered by the venue and the food was delicious.
We chose a simple fruit cake for our wedding cake, made by the chef at the pub where my sister works. We had the florist make a cake topper to match my bouquet and everyone said how beautiful (and tasty) the cake was.
We were very lucky to have a couple of guests who were handy with musical instruments. A friend’s husband played the piano for us during the drinks reception and a family friend on Chris’s side played the guitar and sang for us at the evening reception. They were both fantastic!
We chose to have a gift list with John Lewis. I can’t wait as all the gifts are being delivered on Christmas Eve!
We stayed in The Village Hotel on the wedding night with lots of friends and family – it was lovely to have breakfast with everybody in the morning. We’re heading off today on our honeymoon to Chatsworth House – we’re staying in the Hunting Tower – a childhood dream of Chris’s. We’re being picked up in another Rolls Royce so Chris can enjoy it and I’m travelling in my wedding dress – may as well get some use out of it!
I think it would have to be when Chris got up on stage in the evening reception and sang Johnny B Goode! He was amazing and I was so proud. I felt really lucky at that point to say he was my husband! We had also paid a company called Presentation Designs quite a lot of money to hang fairylights from the ceiling – but it was completely worth it when I walked down the aisle under a ceiling of stars! Truly right out of a fairytale.
Chris had been having nightmares for weeks before the wedding that I wouldn’t have my music to walk down the aisle to. Scarily, on the day the CD player wouldn’t work! Fortunately, one of the musicians for the evening stepped in with his audio equipment and saved the day, so Chris’s nightmare didn’t come true!
If you are given a business sheet from the venue detailing what will happen – ask the father of the bride or best man to take it with them. We had a couple of issues with miscommunication between staff (to begin with they catered for the wrong number of guests in the evening) and it would have been nice to have the sheet there as evidence to back us up. Apart from that, enjoy yourselves and remember, no matter what may go wrong, as long as you get married it’s still a perfect day – I know mine was!