What could be lovelier on a chilly Wednesday in February than a colourful, characterful and exciting real wedding on your favourite blog? I know… unless Santa comes early, nothing can beat this.
Beautiful bride Caroline and new hubby Moussa have shared their wedding with us all this morning and I guarantee they’ll brighten your day. Their celebration fuses English and Iranian culture with fabulous flowers, gorgeous design and more.
Caroline wears a divine wedding dress by designer Naomi Neoh. She told me, “Naomi and her team were wonderful – the perfect combination of excitement and calm, which made the whole experience great fun.”
Capturing the day was lovely wedding photographer Sophie Duckworth. Sophie gets a glowing review as well – and so she should. Sophie’s featured on the English Wedding Blog many times, and you can find out all about her via the following links:
Our wedding story: Caroline + Moussa
Wedding photographer’s website:
Were you pleased with your wedding photographer?
Absolutely delighted. Sophie was so friendly – someone you’d love as a wedding guest, not just photographer. And she was really thoughtful, like sending us previews of her 5 or 6 favourite shots that night, so we could see them before honeymoon.
St. Michael’s Church, Highgate & Fenton House, Hampstead
30 August 2014
Can you describe your wedding in a single sentence?
A blend of pretty English village tradition (in the city) and Iranian richness and generosity.
What was your reaction to seeing your wedding photos for the first time?
SO excited. It gave us the ability to relive the wedding, and to see details that had escaped us on the day. We felt they brilliantly captured our day.
Your wedding style and theme:
My husband is Iranian and I’m English, so we really wanted a mixture of the two cultures. To incorporate both, we got married in church and then had a second Iranian ceremony (sofreh aghd) immediately on arrival at the reception.
The sofreh was designed and provided by Bita at Lilies Wedding (http://www.lilieswedding.co.uk/). Bita has an amazing eye for detail and everything she produced was beautifully done.
We also had both western and Iranian music after dinner, and lots of other Iranian features, like the favours.
The wedding didn’t really have a theme as such, other than the cultural influences themselves. If there was any over-arching thought it was ‘colour ‘ – it was all about the flowers and fruit!
How long did you spend planning your wedding?
Well, it was 8 months from proposal to wedding, but due to nasty work commitments in reality it was done in 4 – 5.
Best bit of budget advice?
Have a spreadsheet.
Wedding invitations and on the day stationery:
The invitations and orders of service were done by Barnard & Westwood (http://www.barnardandwestwood.com/), a London based printers who did traditional English wedding stationery for us. The invitations were double sided – in English on one side and in Farsi on the reverse.
Little service notes were also provided for the sofreh (the Iranian ceremony), but these were done by Bita so they were in keeping with the sofreh design.
Did you fall in love with your wedding dress?
I did fall in love with my dress (along with a couple of others!) at Naomi Neoh’s studio in Dulwich. Her designs are gorgeous. After only a very little pondering, I knew that mine (Audrey, with jacket) was perfect for me, and would also suit our venue, which was important.
Wedding dress designer and bridal boutique:
Naomi Neoh (http://www.naomineoh.com/). I visited Naomi at her studio in Dulwich, but she has several stockists as well. Naomi and her team were wonderful – the perfect combination of excitement and calm, which made the whole experience great fun.
Glitz and sparkle – the bride’s accessories:
My jewellery was mainly family jewellery. My hair combs, though, were made by Donna Crain (http://donnacrain.com/). Donna was a superstar, not only for making such beautiful combs in the first place, but for taking kindness and personal service to the next level when my combs were lost 2 days before the wedding and Donna made replacement combs and shipped them to me within 24 hours to avert my meltdown!
Suited and booted – the groom wore:
Navy blue three-piece Aquascutum suit.
Beautiful bridesmaids: what did your best girls wear?
No bridesmaids – A beautiful flower girl who wore Monsoon.
Hair and make-up – did you DIY or hire a professional?
My hair was done by Brooks & Brooks (http://www.brooksandbrooks.co.uk/) and my make-up by Jenni Defalco (http://www.jennidefalco.com/). Jenni was simply brilliant. So calm, professional and reliable. And she tailored my make-up perfectly for me – very natural (I usually don’t wear make-up) but still a very polished finish. Her use of airbrush make-up is great. I highly recommend her.
These were done by a combination of Mary Jane Vaughan (http://www.maryjanevaughan.co.uk/) (for the bouquets and marquee) and Lilies Wedding (for the sofreh). Both were absolutely superb. As it was all about the colour, the flowers were essential to making the day truly vibrant. They set the (very colourful) tone.
General styling – did your venue need much decoration?
Again, this was a real mixture of people in different areas, from the church to the sofreh to the marquee.
DIY – tell us about any handcrafted elements of your wedding…
The favours – never underestimate how long it takes to build and fill boxes and cut and tie ribbon! The little boxes were filled with Noghl, a traditional Iranian sweet.
The wedding cake: traditional or quirky?
This was done by Jordana Rickson (http://www.weddingcakesberkshire.com/). It was beautifully done and was truly delicious. We had a traditional fruit top tier, but 4 different other flavours for the tiers below. Her flavour combinations are amazing. I loved so many of her different design options (sugar flowers, hand painted icing and gold leaf) that I combined them all!
This was a mixture of western and Iranian music. The live Iranian band (http://www.jirarmusic.com/) knew how to keep the dance floor full and get people involved in some traditional dancing.
On the day tips and advice:
– Give yourself even more time to get ready than you think. I consider myself to be low maintenance and organised and I still ran out of time.
– Give a bridesmaid or usher the special duty of delivering you a plate of canapés during your couple wedding shoot. These photos usually take place during the pre-dinner reception and otherwise you miss out entirely on those delicious things you’ve spent months choosing.
– You will almost inevitably get to the end of the night and feel like you’ve eaten nothing and spoken to no-one. This is normal. Do not feel bad!
What’s the best thing about being married?
Lots of things, but Moussa will be unbearable if I lavish too much praise.
Quick supplier list for other brides and grooms:
See above. We also had the wedding videoed by a super talented videographer (Emmelie Eriksson – http://emmelieeriksson.com/).
AquascutumBarnard & WestwoodBrooks & BrooksDonna CrainEmmelie ErikssonFenton HouseIranian weddingJenni DefalcoJirar MusicLilies WeddingMary Jane VaughanNaomi NeohSophie Duckworth PhotographyWedding Cakes Berkshire