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: October 12, 2006
We met at work but didn’t get together as a couple until a few years later. Simon was seconded to our Cairo office for six months in 2004 and I was also sent out there for a little while. Simon asked me out after we got home.
I’m 28 and Simon is 38.
He proposed February 2005 in a restaurant in Brussels airport (we were on our way to stay with friends for the weekend).
Simon didn’t want to do anything, but I had a hen night. It was the night of Eurovision so we took over my mum’s house and had a big Eurovision-themed party.
It wasn’t a case of him helping – we planned and arranged everything together. He took most of the responsibility for the reception, he decided on his outfit and also helped me choose mine, he helped decide on the invitations and the idea for the cake design was his. It was important that our wedding reflected both our personalities and that we both had an equal say in everything.
I used the forum a lot to get hints and tips from other brides and newlyweds – it was really useful to have the benefit of their experiences.
Visiting a store wasn’t really an option as we were living abroad until a month and a half before the wedding.
My dress was called Capri Marie and it’s by Maggie Sottero. It’s very different to a lot of dress designs and it’s totally not what I thought I wanted – I usually go for simple designs but my dress was very OTT! I bought it on a business trip to the USA and took hubby with me when I went shopping!
I had one bridesmaid – my younger sister. She wore a lovely pink two piece outfit that she bought from a concession in John Lewis (not sure who the designer is). I wasn’t able to go shopping with her because we lived abroad so I asked her to get something in pink but told her she could choose the style – she looked gorgeous!
Simon chose his best friend to be best man and he wore his own kilt. Simon chose a dark purple silk suit with a long jacket and a pink cravat.
The London Eye. We had two pods – one for the ceremony and a second one for extra guests.
The Marriott hotel in County Hall (next door to the Eye). We used the Library Lounge – it used to be the Members Library when County Hall was the home of the GLC. It’s such an unusual room and it has fantastic views out over the river towards Big Ben.
We walked along the river front with our guests from the hotel to the Eye so we didn’t need any transport.
We had 38 guests during the day and an extra 10 or so for the evening. We wanted something small and intimate and it was lovely because we were able to talk to everyone.
We didn’t go for a theme as such, but we coordinated the flowers to the bridesmaid’s dress and Simon’s suit. We also brought in little Egyptian touches because Egypt has played such a large part in our lives.
Our table settings were very simple – we didn’t try to incorporate a theme into them. We just had silver candlesticks and the favours.
We gave each of our guests Egyptian papyrus pictures that we brought back with us from Egypt.
The only flowers we had were buttonholes and corsages for close family and our witnesses and bouquets for my bridesmaid and me. They were made of roses in cream and shades of pink with some foliage and sparkly bits.
Our venue handled the catering and they were fantastic. We gave our guests two choices for each course – everyone commented on how nice the food was.
Our cake had three tiers and was in the shape of a pyramid (again, the Egypt theme). It was made by Kevin of Designer Cakes in Nottingham and we told him what we had in mind and then let him put his creative talents to use. We weren’t disappointed! It was fantastic.
We had a disco in the evening. The dance floor was full all night.
We had a small gift list with John Lewis but mainly asked for contributions towards our honeymoon.
We spent the night in the honeymoon suite at the Marriott hotel and then left the next day on a cruise around the Baltic.
What I remember most is as we walked to and from the London Eye all the tourists who called out “Congratulations” to us as we went by – it was so lovely!
No, none at all! To say we planned the whole thing from over a thousand miles away, mostly by email and telephone, everything went so smoothly I could hardly believe it.
I wouldn’t change a thing – the day was perfect. The only advice I have to give to other brides is not to stress about the little things, just sit back and enjoy it.