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: February 23, 2007
We both are huge music fans and met in a nightclub specialising in Indie and 60s music- right at the heart of Britpop! Richard’s resemblance to Damon Albarn and Talia’s to Pricilla Presley is what first made them notice each other across the dance floor.
28 and 35.
Richard’s proposal came as a complete surprise! After 9 years together we were happy playing house and although we knew it would happen “one day”, it was Richard who took the initiative. Whilst I was away on a conference he did the traditional thing and went to see my parents to ask for my hand in marriage. It wasn’t a traditional proposal- but so personal and special as a week later, after a trip to the Fulham Road to see our beloved Chelsea FC parade their premiership win he proposed in our favourite booth in our favourite pub in Paddington which we always visited on our way to and from (a win permitting) Chelsea matches. He said “I’ve got something for you” and produced a token ring (a Chelsea club ring of course) and asked me to be his wife. After crying and hugging and saying yes, my next words were “Can I ring my mum?”!
I had the most fabulous girlie karaoke night in a private room in Soho in a gorgeous restaurant called Imperial China. I had about 30 ladies- from my Nana Eagle to work colleagues to pals from school. It was a great laugh as we took a box of dressing up clothes and everyone also got to mix in together- which meant that everyone knew each other at the wedding as well.
Richard is a designer- so he designed all the wedding invites and all the table decorations. He also produced a picture slide show of us growing up, our families and all the fun times we had had together. He set this to the music which was played in the ceremony- it was really special and very unique.
Logging into confetti was the first thing I did when I got engaged! It was so helpful with tips, hints and ideas.
I work near the London store and popped in a few times to get ideas for my difficult colour scheme of blue and white. I ordered so much from the website for decorations and the all important hen night!
My dress was something I already owned in black- which I had bought a few years before for an Awards ceremony. I fell in love with its classic shape and style and it even fitted my awkward shape! When planning the wedding, trying to find it in ivory was the first port of call. Plus it was a fantastic bargain- only £100 from Debut at Debenhams. My entire wedding outfit was High street Chic! My veil was also from Debenhams, offset by a beautiful tiara bought as a present from my parents from Beales in Ealing and ivory satin heeled ballet pumps from Dune. My diamante earrings were my something borrowed (from my sister) and my diamante bracelet were my something new (a present from my godmother). My greatest accessory was my hair piece. I have very straight hair and wanted to add height and 60s glam and so I had a hairpiece added to build a beehive hairdo under the veil.
My sister Alina was my bridesmaid. The inspiration for the colour scheme was Chelsea’s Blue and White and so the hunt was on for a blue bridesmaid dress (which was a lot harder than you’d think). As with everything in life, you find something when you are not looking for it and after a visit to the venue found it when we popped into a Kitsch shop called Joy in Fulham Broadway. It was a bright blue beaded drop waited 30s inspired dress which looked divine on her. Her hairpiece was from H&M and her silver shoes were from Russell and Bromley.
Richard had two best men! Mark and Tuft. Following on from our fear of Morning dress and love of Rat Pack style, the suits were model’s own.
We had a civil ceremony as neither of us is very religious. Although some would say Chelsea is a religion to us!
Our ceremony was incredibly special as it was held in the Hotel at Chelsea- in the grounds of Chelsea Football Club. Most people erroneously thought we were getting married on the pitch wearing wellies but the room was so gorgeous. A few weeks beforehand we gathered a group of close friends and family and made decorations and favours over several glasses of wine. The room was very intimate and set out like a small chapel with blue and white ribbon decorations. I walked down the aisle to Elvis’s “Can’t help falling in love with you”. This was the one and only time I was nervous- my bouquet was shaking. The aisle was teeny- so by the time I took a deep breath…I was already standing next to Richard. I remember my dad telling me to slow down- but I couldn’t! My Nana gave a beautiful reading; The Walled Garden. Her and my Granddad celebrated their 55th wedding anniversary that year- so it made sense for her to give long lasting marriage advice to us! The service was short and simple- yet incredibly happy and full of love- and yes we both cried though Richard did the most!
Our reception was held in the Drake Suite at Chelsea Football Club- which opened out into the West Stand of the Stadium.
The car was so special. As we were getting married and having the reception in the same venue we hadn’t really thought of organising cars when my childhood friend’s dad offered to be my chauffeur. He decorated his fabulous car with blue and white bows and, best of all, had filled the CD player with Beatles, Frank Sinatra and Elvis- my favourites!
We had 50 at the ceremony and 150 at our reception. It was very inclusive as I wanted everyone to share the food and the speeches and feel part of the whole day.
Our reception was held in the Drake Suite at Chelsea Football Club- which opened out into the West Stand of the Stadium. In the dark winter night the floodlit Stadium looked awesome and for many of our friends (fans or foes of football) this was the first time many had been to a football ground. We married at 4pm and the reception began at 6.30pm. Luckily for us Chelsea were playing a 5.15pm kick off in Portsmouth (we won 2-0!) and our guests drank champagne and watched the match in the Executive Lounge in the hotel whilst we were given the backstage tour of a lifetime whilst we had our photographs taken. We had unlimited access to the dressing rooms, pitch, press rooms, Jose Mourinho’s dug out seat and there can’t be many Brides who have had their photo taken against the BBC Match of the day backdrop!!
Our tables were named after Chelsea Legends- past and present. Richard designed table cards to look like Top Trump cards on each player. As our reception was in the evening in winter- we chose vases filled with blue and white glass pebbles and fairy lights. The vases were surrounded strings coated in silver crystals and by silver heart confetti. The idea was to create a winter mood and lots of sparkles from the reflection of the fairy lights.
My mum is Armenian and it is traditional to give sugared almonds at weddings. We had a hilarious night making the favours- about 9 women, 2 needles, 3 sugared almond “packers” and a million bottles of Pino Grigio. I’m surprised how well they turned out and that people wanted to take them home!
Kim Lesley Flowers in Ealing Broadway. It has been a family favourite for years and was just the most divine place. They created beautiful white rose bouquets with dark foliage and winter berries and best of all they made us all feel so special- more so than any of the other wedding shops we visited for dresses, veils, shoes etc…
Chelsea Football Club have a fantastic chef who provided the food. As it was a dark winter night we chose to start with soup or mozzarella salad, followed by a carver of beef or lamb with all the trimmings and for those with any room left there was a lemon torte or cheese and biscuits. On entrance, we also had a huge chocolate fountain- which was so popular with guests but alas the bride and her white dress were forbidden to go near it!
Our cake was a beautiful three tiered fruitcake iced with blue bows. It was our wedding present from Richard’s sister Sally who made it herself!
Our two passions are music and football and so music was a really important part of our day. During the meal we had a big surprise for our guests- as they were serenaded by our very own Elvis! He did two sets- with the second starting with our first dance. By this point our guests were filled with champagne and all got up on the dance floor serving as his stage and danced with and around him.
We had a few lists- one with Debenhams and one with amazon.co.uk (as we had lived together for four years we already had a lot of house stuff and this enabled us to get gifts of books and music)
Our first night was spent in The Hotel at Chelsea in a fabulous room which had been decorated by Richard’s nephews and some champagne from the team at Chelsea. What was wonderful was that lots of people had stayed over and it was brilliant seeing them all at breakfast and going over all the fun we had! For our honeymoon we spent three days in San Francisco and then flew down for a week in Las Vegas- lots of fun, luxury and shopping.
I can’t think of just one. Everything was stunning, from the morning’s anticipation in my family home, to being married, to getting a tour of the stadium to dancing the night away with our family and friends. I think the best thing was that it was such a happy day.
Nope, no, never. My biggest piece of advice is to “Do what makes you both happy- not what should be done.”