05/11/2005 – Villa Fondi, Sorrento, Italy Hilton Sorrento Palace, Sorrento
How and when did you meet?
February 2001, we met through work and mutual friends. It wasn’t very glam as it was a pub in the city of London, where we both worked, Brian was working at an investment bank and I was at their head office. I knew of him but the opportunity did not arise for months, before we could meet. When we did meet, it was pretty clear we were very special to each other, but the sad news was that he was moving back to his native country of Denmark, as he just purchased a property in Copenhagen and was due to be starting at a new bank. All was good in the end as we were able to continue the relationship for 3 months before Brian could arrange the sale of his property and move back to the UK, and we moved in together 3 weeks later! He is really a true romantic and I am the lucky one.
How old are you both?
I am 28 and my husband in 35.
Where, when and how did he (or you!) propose?
Brian’s original plan was to propose at home with candle lights, roses and Champagne and lots of bubble bath, the plan was somewhat disturbed by our new maid, whom, took it upon herself that her first day would be better spent spring cleaning (great for us, for future reference!) and that is how I found the cleaner not speaking great English and refusing to leave, and my partner waving the cheque book saying I will pay you triple if you go home now! I was ushered out very fast, out of the flat to a local restaurant, called the Lonsdale in Notting Hill, where I had the most delicious meal and Champagne! I just thought the cleaner was working so we were going out for a meal, I didn’t expect the nice meal and wine and that was when my suspicions arose! He proposed on his knees, he said some very beautiful things and I just remember the look Brian had in his eyes and I knew it is meant to be for life. I cried and so did Brian and my ring had the most beautiful sparkle I have ever seen, it was designed by Brian and has a 1 1/2 carat solitaire set in 6 forks with the diamond visible at 360degrees.
Did you have hen and stag celebrations?
My hen night started at the place I currently work (I know – why?) It is an exclusive health and fitness club and I was offered a fab day by my employees! It started with some 20 of us having a message, facial, spa treatments and swimming followed by lunch and wine courtesy of the club, then we went on to an Indian dance lesson provided by the Bollywood Dance Groves (who also came out to perform for our wedding celebrations.) This all took place in our studios at work and they dressed us all in Bollywood costumes and we managed to learn a whole dance routine by the end of the 2 hour lesson, which we all used at the wedding. I am Asian and felt it would be great to add some of my culture into the day. It was a blast, the costumes were very jewelled and colourful and we felt like princesses and the pictures were fun too, though I’m not so sure about the skimpy tops! We headed of to the west end to finish off the perfect day! I was lucky to have some friends who worked for the entertainment industry, as they managed to bag a free London Eye Pod with ‘Champers’ and waiters all to ourselves. I watched the lights of London come alive with my closest friends around me. We then followed this by dinner at the Marriott County Hall, in their dining room served by waiters in white gloves from a menu selected by me and the bridesmaids. We were in heaven with all the hand-made chocolates, after the desserts and according to friends it was the best evening they’ve ever had. The night was fun and we all had stories around the table on how we met and why we are all linked and the funniest things we have ever done. That evening will always stay in our memories and it became more hysterical as the night went on. My partner was kidnapped from London to Denmark by his friends. He was very happy as all his Danish and English friends came together! They started their day off with brunch, then some paintball followed by Sumo wrestling and Axe throwing? Most of that day I am told Brian was in a pink bunny costume changing for the Sumo wrestling, although he chose to withhold that information so I only just discovered my very Danish Viking WAS IN FACT A BUNNY for his stag night! Other then that I am told they all had a fab evening out with dinner and then on to a club with live bands. I am sure it was fun and I have the pictures to prove it!
Did your groom help you with the wedding planning?
Brian was excellent, he left me to arrange all the girly things such as the flowers and cakes and the general run of the day. We were extremely fortunate to have an events coordinator from the Hotel and a Wedding Planner as it took place in Italy. We were extremely happy with the organisation and the day was pretty much organised by them. We asked and they ensured we had the choices to make the right decision. Brian and I spent a weekend in Italy choosing the menu and drinking copious amount of wine. I seriously damaged all the effort I was making at losing some weight and took up cigarettes after that trip. I am happy to say that I have now given up again. It is stressful, but right from the beginning we knew what type of wedding we wanted and that really helped in terms of making other decisions, for example what time to hold the ceremony, the reception or what time to serve the food etc…
Did you use confetti to plan your wedding? If so, how did the website help you?
I wasn’t too sure about the ceremonial procedures and order of music, and it helped to read other people’s queries. In the end we kept it all very simple and it worked perfectly!
Do you have a confetti web page?
No, I had one from an American site, before I was aware of Confetti.
Did you buy any confetti products for your wedding? If so, did you visit a store, buy online or by mail order?
Confetti was great in terms of ideas and things we may have overlooked. I visited the store in Tottenham Court Road and found some great sparklers and little confetti cones. The confetti from the store, I am pleased to say, stayed fresh right up to the wedding. I had purchased it 10 days before and it survived all the travelling.
Tell us about your outfit, and where you bought it.
My outfit was made by Jenny Packham, it was the Aurora design and can be viewed at their site: www.jennypackhambride.com. It is made with layering of very soft Italian silk and the top of the layers were silk chiffon; it was hand beaded with silver and Swarovski – simply stunning.
Did you have bridesmaids? If so, who did you choose and what did they wear?
My bridesmaids were my two sisters and best friend. The outfit was chosen by me and my chief bridesmaid. My sisters are 19 and 13 and they had black chiffon dresses from Debenhams with big silver flowers and black sparkly sandals and my chief bridesmaid was in a similar dress but more elegant, again by Debenhams. It had silver beading on the neck lines and a silver belt and was very glamorous. All the bridesmaids had individual bouquets, made like my bouquet of hand-tied vintage roses, but instead of all the different colours I had they had picked out an individual colour for themselves from the bouquet and had them hand-tied. The colours were lavender, illusions, metillica, Champagne and white roses. We also had a little fairy who accompanied us down the aisle, scattering rose petals with her little basket bought from Cornish farm. She was so into her role that she didn’t stop at the end of the aisle, she was off under the arches and around the garden and we had to go and find her; she was the true magic of the day really.
Who did your groom choose for his best man and ushers, and what did they wear?
– Brian had his brother as the best man, they are very close in age. We had a Master of Ceremony, for the speeches only, and my brother and 2 male friends were the ushers. Brian’s close friends are based in Denmark and as most of them did not know many of the friends and family, we therefore felt it would be better to have someone from the UK and on my side. Brian wore a black tailored suit by Alexander McQueen and white shirt and ivory tie with gold cufflinks. The boys all complemented the girls, by wearing a black Hugo Boss Suit with white shirts and black and silver ties. The whole wedding party wore white rose and leaf corsages.
Did you have a civil or religious ceremony?
We had a Civil Ceremony. Both Brian and I were brought up with different religions. We were married on the mountain overlooking Mount Vesuvius, was a breath-taking view, under a rose arch in a garden…
Where did you hold your ceremony?
Villa Fondi, in Sorrento, on the Amalfi Coast. It was a 15th Century villa and is now a town hall. The officiate was the Mayor which was nice. We were presented with the flag of Italy from their president of the country with our names engraved in a plaque and we felt very much apart of the town! It was the most beautiful day with a light breeze. I could not have wished for anything more to make this a memorable day. Just walking sown the aisle we were left speechless to see so many faces of friends and family really taking in everything around them and celebrating our day with us.
Where did you hold your reception?
We held our reception a 10 minute drive from the ceremony. The reception took place at the Hilton Sorrento Palace, where we had welcome canapés and Champagne, whilst Brian and I were busy taking picture on the streets of Sorrento. We then entered for the final drink and chat before heading for their outside Pagoda bar to the Ginstre pool, which is a room that has cascading waterfall from a mountain that was never built on when the original construction took place. I wasn’t there when our guests entered, as we made an entrance for the dinner, but I was told there was a very big “Wow!” I had never seen anything like it, it was like being in an enchanted garden…
Did you have any special wedding transport?
We provided coaches for our guests, so that we were able to manage the times everything took place. The coaches were leased from a private company our sourced by our wedding planner. We felt it was reasonable and they provided some nice cool beers to make the journey an enjoyable one. Those mountainous roads and crazy Italian drivers! We had Chauffeured transport in a traditional Mercedes, not many choices when it comes to cars in the southern part of Italy, very difficult to source anything vintage and lots of hard work and cost.
How many guests did you invite to your wedding, and did you have a separate evening guest list?
We invited 120 guests and there were 100 who made the wedding, many travelling from all over Europe! We were very touched that so many were able to come and celebrate our day with us. We were exceptionally lucky to have a week’s holiday with so many of our friends and family. On the Friday, the night before the wedding, we had a mini celebration with around 70 of our guests, where we were joined by all for dinner and cocktails at a local restaurant in Sorrento called Photo. I have had so many highlights but this was again one of the best nights too. A little bit more relaxed than on the day as I was able to drink a few more (mummy was there) still have to pretend to be a good Muslim girl, no smoking or drinking!
Did your reception have a particular theme in terms of colour or style?
We worked very closely with the natural themes that the room for the dinner provided – they were greens, taupe, champagne, gold’s (reflected in the lighting and the floating candles in the pool) and I chose to specially have all the unusual colours of roses thrown in to the base colours mentioned above. It worked a treat and I was really surprised at the impact of it all, it was very understated but extremely elegant and unusual. I used green in my invitations with orchid ties and vine leaves with a rope in a box with tissues, and that kind of set the mood of all the unusual vintage themes, reflected in my bouquet and arches and the display of my table. The plates were green layered and the tablecloth white with taupe!
How did you incorporate this in to your table settings?
We had big candelabra and used all the colours of the room by draping the roses, vine leaves, and candles, keeping the tables clear for all the cutlery for the 6 courses.
Did you give your guests favours?
We gave traditional Italian chocolate truffles in a taupe bag, hand-tied with a rope and flower.
What did you choose to have on your menu? Did you have an outside caterer or did your venue handle the catering?
The Hotel dealt with all the catering; we had canapés for reception and we had a duck with Mascarpone cheese on salad for starter, spicy pasta with tomatoes and king prawns, followed by pasta with lobster and asparagus in butter sauce, followed by fish baked in salt crust with stuffed mushroom and fruit platter, chocolate strawberries, coffee and further sweets.
What did you choose for your wedding cake?
The cake was a three-tier chocolate cake in taupe/champagne; it was Belgian chocolate with brandy (divine) and it was adorned in fresh Champagne roses.
Did you have any entertainment during the day or evening?
We had a Jazz band that played at the ceremony, reception and dinner, this was followed by Bollywood dancers and then a DJ for the after dinner party on the Hotel terrace.
Did you have a gift list? If so, who did you have your list with?
Our gift list was with www.wrapit.com, a very accessible site with many feature, such as a programme to manage your thank you cards and it can go directly to the sources to get what you need. It has great graphics, which also makes it interesting for friends and family to shop with.
Where did you spend your first night and honeymoon? Who did you book your honeymoon with?
We spent our first night in Italy at the wedding hotel in our suite, but after that we went to Africa, Tanzania for a Safari in the southern part, an area called Solous. Check out our wedding website www.sylvia-brian.com. We stayed at www.behobeho.com for 7 nights for the safari; it is very exclusive and the animals, along with the service, blew us away from anything we have ever expected and exceeded all our expectations. Then we went to the private Island of Menba, just off the Zanzibar coast, for complete relaxation – the whole experience combined was purely magical. We also completed a tour of Stone town in Zanzibar with a spice tour to complete the trip and flew back after 16 days of unforgettable memories. We booked the safari through SUNVIL and the Menba Island Lodge through CC AFRICA.
What was your most memorable moment of the day?
Walking down the aisle and seeing my husband-to-be looking at me wearing all his emotions on his face. I was blown away. I loved him and he loved me simple and our families wanted to share it with us. On the fun side, a friend sang, thinking everyone would follow, but she was tone deaf!
Is there anything you would do differently, or any advice you would give to other brides?
Enjoy your day; open your eyes and see everything and take it in. There is so much happening, but have a glass of wine before you walk down that aisle; take water with you on the journey (I was very dehydrated from nervousness;) don’t spend too long thinking about favours as it all falls into place and make sure if you are working, then take a look at hiring a wedding planner, it saves all the hassles and leaves all the fun for you and your partner to enjoy arranging the wedding without quarrels. If you can, ask all your bridesmaids to take on tasks during the day or from the start of the planning so you are not pressured. I bought the shoes of my dreams and will never regret it. They are going out with me this weekend for lots of trashing on the dance floor. You don’t have to be traditional in your shoes no one will see if your dress is long, I wore open-toed Gina sandals and loved the feeling of comfort on 4 inches of height!