When I first started out as a wedding calligrapher I illustrated Hampden House by hand for a bride and groom’s wedding table plan! When I saw it in Omair and Sarah’s wedding pictures today I knew it instantly: a glorious venue, unique and instantly recognisable… and perfect for this loveliest of couples! I love everything about their day (I’d love to see pics from their Asian wedding on the Sunday too, but today we’re focusing on the traditional English celebration) – the elegant styling, vibrant florals and oodles of romance from beginning to end. It’s all just so magical! Images are by fabulous Warwickshire wedding photographers and English Wedding Directory members S2 Images.
We have different religions, backgrounds, heritages and we wanted to represent all of that. But most importantly represent our relationship so celebrating bringing all these elements together which we decided to do over a weekend rather than in one day. We had two main events so most things were duplicated; two venues, two sets of outfits, two cakes, two caterers. But we didn’t want to simply repeat one day so we had different traditions incorporated over the weekend so there was always something new.
Try as much as possible to make decisions together. Our family were an invaluable help, but sometimes extra people involved means extra opinions. Decide what you want as a couple and stick to it. Make sure you have time for just the two of you on your day. On the Saturday we took a ride in the car after the ceremony to celebrate together. On the Sunday we had a sweetheart table for food to sit apart. It was probably the only 30 mins where we got to sit and chat about how the wedding had come together so it was so special having that moment to ourselves.
Wedding photographer’s website:
We knew that we wanted to have a documentary style photographer – someone who could capture the essence of the day, without there being too many posed shots. We also knew we wanted lots of bright colourful shots, full of energy. From there it was just a case of trawling through hitched.com. As soon as we saw Sonia and Simon’s website we knew they were exactly what we were looking for in terms of style. They also had experience shooting both English and Asian weddings which was an added bonus for us as they knew the types of traditions to expect. A skype call confirmed that they were the team for us.
We couldn’t have been happier with S2 Images. On the run up to the wedding they were fab, checking in on plans so they knew exactly what was going to be happening over the three days of wedding celebrations that we had booked them for. They were the most wonderful people to work with. They were by our side for so much of the time, capturing all the key shots, but we never felt cameras intruding into the day. That was so important to us, we didn’t want to feel overwhelmed by being told where to go or what to pose like. They just let us be completely natural and the photographs they captured completely reflect that.
We hired them as a supplier but definitely went away as friends. It’s been lovely to keep in touch since.
There were lots of happy tears! We waited until we could sit down and watch them together. Sonia and Simon had put together a slideshow of the main shots and I think by the time we were about three photos in I (Sarah) was in floods of tears because they were everything we wanted and more. It was like re-living the wedding, it brought every emotion and feeling back.
There were two! On the Saturday we had a traditional English style white wedding at Hampden House: http://www.hampdenweddings.com
Then on the Sunday we had an Asian wedding at The Pavilion, Stockley Park: http://www.pavilionatstockleypark.co.uk/
Can you describe your wedding in fewer than 10 words?
The happiest weekend of our lives.
Emotional. Celebratory. Vibrant. Fun.
Where did you find your suppliers? (Blogs, magazines, recommendations?)
Pinterest was often the first port of call for ideas, then google searches to find what we were looking for. The wedding team at Hampden House were incredible too, they gave us so many ideas and so much support to plan the perfect weekend.
What’s your top tip for saving money?
Work out a budget at the beginning and agree what your priority things are. Then spend accordingly. We had a string quartet on the Saturday which was really important to us so we didn’t compromise on them, but we made things like table plans and placenames ourselves to save money.
Some family friends also offered to make our wedding cake for our wedding present which was fantastic. Three tiers, it tasted delicious, but meant we didn’t have to spend a fortune in a cake shop.
… and which elements of your wedding are you glad you spent more on?
Some of the added extras that could easily have been cut to save money- we hired a photo booth on the Sunday which everyone loved and actually the photos taken in it with everyone in fancy dress are the perfect momento from the day. Those are the things that you remember, not whether you had enough candles to decorate the tables!
As well as a photographer we also hired a videographer. This was definitely Omair’s priority and I (Sarah) took some persuading on it, but so happy now that we did book both. They compliment each other, and whilst the weekend went by so quickly, the photographs and videos are the lasting memories that you have.
Where did you buy or source your wedding stationery – or was making it a labour of love?
One of my friends has just set up a wedding stationery business, so she created the invitations and menus for us: https://www.roseandbeau.co.uk/
Table plans, place names and order of services were all made at home.
Did you fall in love with your wedding dress?
Both of them!
I went round so many shops but eventually found the perfect dresses. They were the dresses I didn’t want to take off!
I didn’t get an instant this is it feeling though which you so often see on TV. I tried on so many beautiful dresses I could probably have picked several. I found that the ones I chose were just the ones I went back to and wanted to try on again.
Wedding dress designer and bridal boutique:
Justin Alexander dress from Daisy’s Bridal Couture: http://www.daisysbridalcouture.co.uk/ I wanted a classic princess dress with “no bling”, so chose a satin top dress with a full lace skirt.
Traditional wedding lehenga from Monga’s: http://mongas.co.uk/. This was the “full on bling” day, with a red velvet dress and gold embellishments.
Tell us about your accessories: jewellery, shoes and anything else!
Saturday – Kept it classic: Diamond stud earrings, pearl and diamond necklace
Sunday – Gold jewellery that was much heavier to go with my dress.
And what did the groom wear?
Saturday – Blue suit with waistcoat
Sunday – Sherwani
Beautiful bridesmaids: what did your best girls wear?
Saturday – Mint full length bridesmaids dresses from David’s Bridal: http://www.davidsbridal.co.uk/ This was perfect because they could choose different styles of dresses to suit them individually, which were then made in the same colour and material to match.
Sunday – Asian suit/lehenga
Hair and make-up – did you DIY or hire a professional?
Hired a professional and so pleased that I did, this was something I really debated but lots of people told me not to cut corners here and they were right. My hair and makeup lasted all day, even through happy tears!
Describe your wedding flowers. Who arranged them for you? (florist details would be lovely please)
Saturday – Bright spring colours. The bouquet was a mixture of pink peonies, peach roses, and pink and peach lisianthus (my favourite flowers)
We also had fresh flowers to decorate the cake. The table centres were bright pink lillies.
All designed by Sue Barton Flowers who has since retired, we were one of the last weddings she did.
General styling – did your venue need much decoration?
Hampden House was such a beautiful venue less was definitely more, simple table centres was all it needed.
The Pavillion at Stockley Park had great dimensions but needed more styling. We used Showcase weddings for the stage and table centres: http://showcaseweddings.co.uk/
For the stage we chose a flower arch backdrop with chandeliers. For the table centres we had a combination of floating candles in tiered holders and gold candelabras.
Crafts and makes – tell us about any homemade elements of your wedding… did you enjoy them?
It was fun coming up with ideas, but not the actual making because we had so many to do! The best thing we made was the place settings for the Saturday- using a napkin to hold the menu and placename which was a name tag held on via a peg. It was intricate but looked pretty!
The wedding cake: what kind of cake did you choose and why?
Saturday – Three tiers of sponge with icing: vanilla, chocolate and lemon which were our favourite flavours. We didn’t want a traditional fruit cake.
Sunday – we had Barfi which is an Asian sweet, a bit like fudge. It comes in different flavours so we layered them up on a cake stand to showcase the different colours. We then bought a top cake from Hummingbird Bakery to cut.
Entertainment: any musical recommendations, surprises or treats?
Saturday – The string quartet during the ceremony and playing during our afternoon tea was fantastic. They played traditional music in the ceremony but movie theme tunes afterwards which everyone loved as a surprise twist.
Sunday – A golf cart to the best photograph spot on the course was a fun escapade in the afternoon
What’s the best thing about being married?
Spending every day with my best friend.