Today is just the most amazing treat for me. Not only am I setting off on a Big Adventure later on (it’ll be on my insta in a few days I’m sure!) but I have this STUNNING wedding to share with you before I go. It’s everything: it’s pure love, it’s magical photography, it’s beautiful, dazzling and different. And I’ve been SO excited to share Lizzie and Faz’s Fennes wedding with you lovely lot!
If you don’t already follow Grace Elizabeth on instagram, please do. She’s one of my favourite UK wedding photographers and happens to be an English Wedding member as well (‘scuse me while I break off for a little happy dance in the corner! Woohoo!) – and her words are inspiring, heartfelt and as wonderful as her images… which brings me to today’s amazing couple Lizzie and Faz, and their brilliant wedding planning story and supplier reviews and recommendations.
“Our wedding was relaxed and inclusive: a fusion with Pakistani and English elements. Our colour palette was green and gold; we wanted a natural greenery feel and something that would blend with the Asian wedding vibe for the second ceremony too.
We went with ‘Dress it Yourself‘ for almost all of our decor and they were incredible for helping us to plan out our vision for the wedding! They do a diy service or they will also do set up which is what we went for. We went to their workshop and met with them to design the plans, they helped us so much to clarify everything and to make sure we were really focused on what we wanted. They used our pinterest pictures to help us to design and calculate the cost item by item. They have really high standards and will tell you if an idea just isn’t going to look good or work. They also helped us to cut costs by ensuring we didn’t spend on things we just didn’t need. Lizzie isn’t too keen on chair covers so they advised us on hiring chivari chairs and provided us with the wonderful vintage games for the gardens. They were great at laying out the tables and were happy to set up bits we provided (such as the wooden names for the top table, table talker menus and bags of sweeties for favours) We deliberately chose a venue that needed personalisation so that it felt more unique to us and could be tailored to meet our needs.”
Wedding photographer’s website:
“Lizzie was super fussy when choosing a photographer(!) She hated all the over edited shots with really cliché poses and didn’t want the guests to be hanging around for hours watching group shot after group shot. We spent a long time scrolling through instagram using hashtags. We think the hashtag the we found Grace from was #essexweddingphotographer! We stalked her insta and she ticked all Lizzie’s boxes with her beautiful shots and so we submitted her enquiries form… (Including a question about unicorns!!) The rest is history!
Grace was amazing, she captured all the big moments as well as so many of the small, (unseen by us) moments! We met her before the wedding for a pre-wedding shoot and we just sat and chatted after our pictures were done. When we saw her again on the morning of the wedding it was so reassuring to see a familiar face. We honestly felt like she was the most trusted and reliable part of the day, we just knew she’d do an amazing job! She was so calm when things got crazy (think delayed second ceremony – Imam on the m25!) and she made sure we got the beautiful sunset shots we wanted when we had literally minutes of sunshine left!
The next morning after the wedding we were on our ‘minimoon’ staying in a country barn close to our wedding venue. We were with Lizzie’s family and we had just finished opening our wedding cards and reading all our lovely messages from our family and friends. Grace texted us saying that the previews were coming through and we were so excited. It was the most amazing thing to see shots straight after the wedding and relive the moments again, knowing that there were more to come! The rest of them were finished a few weeks later and sent through to us in a beautiful box on the cutest rose bud USB and we snuggled in bed to scroll through! We also have a video of the day from our videographer Sian from Truly Madly Films!!
Where did you find your suppliers? (Blogs, magazines, recommendations?)
Many of them were found on instagram using hashtags. We didn’t just go with our venues automatically recommended suppliers as we didn’t just want the typical stuff that many of them had on offer. We also used a family friend recommendation for our caterer. Our advice would be to use pinterest and instagram to figure out exactly what you want and then find who can provide that for you rather than the other way around. Otherwise it can just get overwhelming!
What’s your top tip for saving money?
Think about the day of your wedding. We saved the most by choosing a Monday instead of a Saturday. It also meant we had significantly higher chances of our suppliers being able to fit us in! We also planned carefully for things that would be easy for us to achieve or create ourselves on a budget such as invites, signs and favours. We spent money on things that we knew would likely have a big impact on the room or the wedding itself and cut costs of things that would be less important in the long term (Lizzie had one set of shoes that she bought in a sale for both dresses as you couldn’t even see them under the layers, and do you really need 5 hours for a photobooth?)
… and which elements of your wedding are you glad you spent more on?
We are glad we invested our money in a few big areas. One of those was the bridesmaids dresses, these were handmade for them by The Dressmaker in Leigh on Sea. They were tailored to each girl and if you look closely in the pictures are slightly different to suit their different shapes and sizes. Faz was pretty thrilled with his suit made by Harris and Zei, it was a long term investment. We also spent a little extra on our personalised decor touches as we wanted the wedding to feel truly ours. The photobooks we made of old photos from both sides of the family were a costly addition to the table but were absolutely worth it for the laughter and excitement of the guests!
Where did you buy or source your wedding stationery – or was making it a labour of love?
Our wedding stationery was sourced from a variety of places but all elements involved us printing and assembling. Our beautiful wedding invitations featured hand drawn pictures of both of us as well as a hand drawing of our wedding venue. They were made for us by a close friend Joe Stevens. https://www.etsy.com/shop/joestevensdesign We then printed those and put them inside gold and white envelopes ordered from eBay with pre-addressed return envelopes using stickers ordered from etsy. Thank goodness for bridesmaid and sibling packing skills! We then used downloads from etsy and Adobe to adapt our wedding signs and leaflets and we got those all printed ourselves prior to the wedding day.
Did you fall in love with your wedding dress?
Lizzie: I was lucky enough to have two beautiful wedding dresses. People always ask me which I prefer but I find it so hard to choose! My Asian dress was much heavier than the white dress but also more comfortable! My white dress was nothing like I had planned in my head, I was thinking totally plain and simple, no lace or beads so I was a bit shocked when I really loved the one I chose. My mum cried like you see on TV so it had to be the one. It needed some adaptations (as I was adamant to not have a strapless dress) so Kimmy at The Dressmaker added a slight lace sleeve for modesty. When I chose my Asian dress I wanted something that wasn’t too bright or too heavily beaded, I didn’t really want a typical red dress. My mother in law and sister in law came with my mum and I to Green Street to try dresses and we all agreed pretty quickly when I found this one. My measurements were taken and sent to Pakistan so we had to wait 5 months to see the finished dress. When it arrived it fitted like a glove which was incredible! I had many wobbles over whether I had chosen the right dresses after we had bought them, but I knew 100% I had when everything all came together on the day.
Wedding dress designer and bridal boutique:
White dress: Wed2b, the best value but the experience was a bit crazy! There was a huge queue for the changing room so it wasn’t the individual experience some might desire.
Asian dress: Zarkan of London, Green Street
Tell us about your accessories: jewellery, shoes and anything else!
Lizzie: I had two lots of accessories. For my white dress I had simple jewellery. My mum used to make jewellery for a hobby so together we designed a pearl and swarovski crystal necklace with pearl earrings. She also made jewellery for the bridesmaids. I wore my engagement ring on my right hand until after the civil wedding where I switched it over, but I made sure to get it cleaned before the big day. For the Asian outfit I wore a necklace, earrings and tikka set as well as bridal bangles from Bees in Green Street. They were amazing as I took the dupatta from my dress with me to get the perfect match and if you look closely you can see all the tiny hanging pearls. Mum and I were obsessed. My shoes were from monsoon bridal and bought in the sale, the colour matched both dresses perfectly. The day before the wedding I had my hands painted with white and glitter mehndi by Nabilah. She did the most intricate work and it looked like lace with my first dress. I didn’t want the traditional brown stain with my white dress so this was a great way to suit both cultures and dresses. The only problem was it was impossible to do anything with the paint on my hands so my mum had to wash my hair for me!!! https://instagram.com/hennabynabilah_?igshid=1dukybyffwxo3
And what did the groom wear?
Faz: Let’s be frank gentlemen, despite all the lies you are told this day isn’t about you, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t something in it for you (apart from getting married of course, so my wife tells me). For my first outfit, my suit, I wanted something that I could use more than once but still looked special. I originally wanted a double breasted suit, however I decided against this as I felt it might limit its use after the wedding. I decided instead to get a three piece suit with a double breasted waistcoat. I went for a horseshoe waistcoat because it looked classical and formal but I wanted it all in blue as it would be more likely to get more use at a later date. I visited Harris and Zei firstly for measuring and design, then for fittings and finally for collection. I have always wanted a perfectly fitting suit and this was the perfect excuse. My second outfit, my sherwani was from Junaid Jamshaid in Ilford. We managed to get this cheaper in the sale with all the matching accessories and in a gold and green colour which would match the wedding theme! These can be custom made but we were just so fortunate to get what we wanted ready made! I wore a mondaine watch and adjusted the strap to a light brown to match both outfits. My first set of shoes were a pair of Churches loafers in burgundy, gifted by my dad before he passed, and these were perfect with my outfit, but also as a way to keep him close to me on the big day. I couldn’t resist adding a bit of fun to the outfit with a pair of Paul Smith dinosaur socks. I love fun socks and so I wanted to break formal tradition slightly to add a bit more of my own personality.
Beautiful bridesmaids: what did your best girls wear?
The girls wore forest green dresses designed and custom made for us by The Dressmaker in Leigh on Sea. They had multiple fittings and the girls collectively came up with designs for the finished product! Lizzie’s good friend Steph needs to be credited for the bow on the back as we loved that addition! We wanted them to be a little more modest than the typical bridesmaid dress with an added sleeve and it meant they could wear whatever bra they liked which was great for those who aren’t too keen on a strapless/braless dress!! Lizzie’s mum designed and made their earrings and necklaces. They had their hair and make up done professionally on the day so they all looked similarly styled to one another. Our little flower girl was in classic white with green ribbon to match the adults! We also bought the girls matching pyjamas for the morning of the wedding to get ready in, these were personalised from the little lovebird.
Hair and make-up – did you DIY or hire a professional?
Lizzie was absolutely adamant that she wanted to get her make up done by asian bridal make up instagram sensation Tanjia Syed. After we booked the venue, the second thing booked was Tanji. Originally Lizzie intended to only have make up done once to suit both outfits but after the trial decided that she’d prefer two looks as the styles of make up required were really different. Tanji advised on the types of lashes as well as listening carefully to requests so that Lizzie would feel comfortable. She did an absolutely incredible job and the make up didn’t even need a single touch up all night. It was just flawless. Lizzie’s hair was done by the incredible Elena Hair. She advised and guided in the trial as well as on the day. She was so supportive and helpful on the morning of the wedding, not just doing two hair styles but also changing Lizzie’s outfit and lacing up her dress!
Describe your wedding flowers. Who arranged them for you? (florist details would be lovely please)
Our flowers were provided by our decor team, ‘dress it yourself‘. They were a mixture of greenery, white spray roses and baby’s breath. We had faux greenery wreaths and table runners, as well as the faux trees on the tables and at the ceremony, but we blended those in with fresh roses for the pew ends and fresh roses in vintage style vases on every table. We ensured that all 310 place settings had fresh sprigs of foliage. Lizzie wanted a messy but still quite neat bouquet as this would fit both dresses and styles of ceremony. We used dried petal confetti for the first ceremony.
Crafts and makes – tell us about any homemade elements of your wedding… did you enjoy them?
We didn’t do a huge amount of homemade elements. Lizzie would have loved to have done so, but the scale of the wedding (300+ guests), the combination of an English civil wedding with an Islamic Nikkah and traditional Pakistani reception in a 10 month planning timeline meant it just wasn’t really possible for us.
The wedding cake: what kind of cake did you choose and why?
We chose Blossom and Crumb to make our wedding cake. We saw Megan’s cakes on instagram and they were just so stunning as well as looking like they would taste amazing! The flavour list is just insane. We went for a tasting in South London (possibly our favourite wedding planning day!!) and we narrowed down to 4 flavours for the different tiers. Chocolate orange, Persian love cake (our absolute favourite), lime and coconut and London Fog. It was buttercream on the outside as we aren’t so keen on thick fondant icing. We wanted it to taste as good as it looked! Due to the delays on the day we actually didn’t cut the cake until far later than planned so the caterers never actually served it to the guests! They only got a tiny amount from the pre-cut cake that was out the back!! The next morning we ended up with the entire 4 tier cake in our minimoon accommodation! Lizzie’s mum sliced it up before the family left and took huge amounts around on a cake delivery service to family, friends and wedding suppliers (like Warburtons our jewellers, and to The Dressmaker!) We ate cake about 4 times a day for the next week, including for breakfast, but we didn’t grow tired of it!!
Entertainment: any musical recommendations, surprises or treats?
Our wedding was less typical than many as we did not have dancing in the evening, we had a DJ for the second event, but they primarily just played background music, mainly asian music with a few ‘western’ bits mixed in. We were originally unsure on the idea of having some live music between the first ceremony and the second but when attending a friends wedding two weeks before our own, we heard Sian Eden play acoustic guitar and sing. She was just so good with her smooth voice and great selection of songs and we felt so relaxed listening to her on a summer’s afternoon that we were desperate for her to play at our wedding too! We spoke to her on the day and followed up with some emails to get her all booked in for our day. She played and sung as our first set of guests arrived, then again between the two ceremonies and for the arrival of the second set of guests. This tied in so well with our garden entertainment as people were drinking mocktails, playing hook a duck and on the coconut shy and listening to beautiful acoustic music across the gardens. It felt like we were at a fete or a festival and it was so relaxed.
Words of wisdom: share your best piece of advice for other couples:
Plan for the ‘waiting’ period. Your guests won’t want to just sit around and sometimes things don’t go to plan and so they will be waiting for longer than you may have anticipated. You will probably be busy, but think of ways to keep them entertained or sufficiently relaxed, not clock watching.
What’s the best thing about being married?
For us, living together and becoming each others family. We lived separately up until the wedding so it was a really big thing to move in together and start our new life. It is also wonderful knowing that your partner and best friend is now legally your family, I am not quite sure why, but it just is!!
Favourite supplier web links for other brides and grooms:
Photographer: Grace Elizabeth
Stationery: Joe Stevens Design
Asian dress: Zarkan
First dress: Wed2B
Dress alterations: The Dressmaker
White and glitter mehndi: Henna by Nabilah
Suit: Harris and Zei
Makeup: Tanjia Syed
Flowers: Dress it Yourself
Acoustic guitarist: Sian Eden