I never really got the time to blog in huge detail about getting married last year. We got engaged in June and married in October and inbetween there was an awful lot of running around to get things organised – which meant I didn’t have the luxury of daydreaming online and idly bookmarking wedding-related ideas. As we approach our one year anniversary, I thought it might be nice to share some of the details (finally!).
We had a huge wedding, because I have a massive family with tons of relatives. Although it came with its own stresses at times, I’m so very glad we had the chaos of (hundreds) of family and friends – it’s what a big, fat Asian wedding is all about. And even though R’s family don’t share my cultural background, they were totally up for it too.
Because we only had just under four months to organise the wedding, we had to go with our instinct on a lot of things. We booked the first and only place we had time to go and visit. Our venue was a farm (fitting, because R grew up on a big farm) in Cheshire, half way between his family and mine. Although admittedly we didn’t have much to compare it to, other than other weddings we’ve both been to, Heaton House Farm simply felt right. It was pretty but not showy, with beautiful views across the countryside, and had a really cosy, homely feel to it – just perfect for an autumnal wedding day.
While my mum flew to Pakistan to sort out details of my wedding dress (Asian brides don’t have that much choice in the UK – everything is ostentatious with a hideous price tag to match) and R’s traditional shirwani (groom’s outfit), R & I and our siblings sorted the rest of it all out. Ages ago, when I used to sell bits and pieces through my blog, I stocked some cards by a designer called Nicola, who ran a small stationery shop called Gooseberry Moon. I’d always loved her designs – she did the whole-sleepy-owl thing very early on – and I asked her if she had time to design our invites, given the incredibly short turnaround. She certainly didn’t disappoint.
I asked for this sprig design. I loved her simple typographic font, which she customised for me in burnt orange (my mehndi – that’s my henna night – invites were in a lovely, muted deep pink). The card was heavy, the corners curved – little simple details which, being a stationery geek, are the sort of details I marvel over. A lot of Asian-related wedding things, invites included, are all about bling, so I was thrilled to have an alternative when Nicola said she could do them (and all in time too!). The pictures above and below are the photos Nicola took of our invites for her NotOnTheHighStreet shop.
We sealed all the envelopes with these Kraft hearts off Etsy.
Two nights before my wedding day was my mehndi, henna night. My cousins and siblings made platters of henna, covered in glitter and candles, and draped the venue with flower garlands and strings of tiny diamond shaped mirrors, which was just magical. On henna nights, the bride is meant to be all natural-looking, so instead of wearing too much jewellery I wore handmade earrings and bracelets made from fresh rosebuds, and little rosebuds in my hair which my best friends determinedly carried in an ice box on a train from London to the Midlands on the day itself.
Autumn has always been my favourite season, and I loved the fact that my Pakistani wedding dress, which my rather brilliant sister-in-law helped design, meant I could play about with my favourite colour – that deep, autumnal burnt orange shade the colour of turning leaves, livened up with drops of shocking pink. It followed that the flowers followed suit. For the wedding day, a friend recommended Libby, a Birmingham-based florist, who made pretty little posies for the tables, and a flower chain we draped over the entrance of the barn instead of bunting.
My bouquet (which I actually forgot when I walked in for the ceremony!) was stuffed with hot pink and burnt orange roses, while the same flowers followed on the tables. I’d toyed with the idea of placing them in terracotta pots, to fit in with the whole barn-farm theme, but it was way simpler to use glass vases. Here’s a bit of unsolicited bridal advice – source your own vases off eBay and floral suppliers site; florists typically charge over the odds for them.
Choosing the cake was by far my favourite bit of wedding planning. I’ve never liked those white-iced layers (who even eats that icing?). Victoria sponge has always been my favourite cake to bake and, let’s face it, scoff too – and luckily R’s quite keen on it too – so we went with that. I definitely knew what I wanted when it came to cake!
Another Nicola, a friend of a friend made it, and she did a brilliant job. I gasped when I first saw it. It was a little wonky, and the cream was oozing a bit messily, but that made it all the more lovelier – that touch of being homemade rather than absolutely picture perfect. Nicola and I never met; we discussed everything about the cake over the phone and via email and she got it so right. She also made mini fairycake canapes in bright orange and pink cases into which we stuck little toppers with our initials on. I made the toppers by ordering stickers off Moo (great place to get your ‘order of the day’ cards too incidentally) and attaching them to cocktail sticks. Sadly the canape cakes got eaten before anyone could take photos!
Everyone says this about their own wedding day, but it really did feel so perfect. More so, it was very “us” – not too fussy, not too formal and (hopefully) not too contrived. In the limited time I had, there was still a chance to be creative, making cake toppers and confetti cones from pretty embossed papers from Paperchase, which we filled with these paper hearts cut out of an old copy of Pride & Prejudice.
Despite having so many guests around, there was still a really relaxed atmosphere. R put the playlists together and we had time to sit around with our friends, laugh, take photos and have time out for just the two of us too, mostly cracking up while having our photos taken by our photographers Anna and Si and video clips filmed by the very talented videographer, Rebecca Reville.
The day was that perfect blend of autumn – chilly but bright – and as the sun went down, fairy lights lit the place up. We drove off in a cute little Fiat 500, to our flat in London and the next day, we flew off to Italy for our honeymoon. That deserves its whole own blog post but in short, we had a brilliant stay, first in Rome, then driving across the country to one of the prettiest places I’ve ever stayed, Le Alcove, gorgeously designed trullos in Puglia (more later on this beautiful place).
(This was a random window display we came across in Puglia)
And that, blog readers, was all last year. Next week is our first anniversary and we’ve got a week in Devon and Cornwall planned, staying in ‘The Apple Store‘, a cosy looking bolthole we found on Unique Homestays, and I’ll be blogging about that (and first anniversary presents!) soon – plenty of autumnal treats in store!
All wedding photos by our wedding photographer, Anna Clarke Photography