The happy couple: Nadia al-Sharif, 35, an event organiser originally from Bahrain and Colin Monton, 35, a wealth manager from Stamford, who live in Bermondsey, London.
Wedding date: Friday 20 June 2014
Ceremony venue: The Hall at Elmore Court
Reception venue: The Gillyflower at Elmore Court
Wedding theme: English and Arab mix
Photographer: Lionel Taplin, Steal the Day Photography
Flowers: Lesley Davies, TheVintageHire.com and Jo Balme, Fabulous Flowers
Bridesmaid dresses: Adrianna Papell
Groom’s outfit: Spencer Hart
Cake: Rose water infused naked Victoria sponge made by the groom’s brother
Catering: Elmore Court
Stationery: Handmade by the bride and groom
Entertainment: The Rhythm Syndicate swing band
Hair and beauty: Jodi Croft, Face Perfect by Jodi
Rings including engagement ring: Hirsch Jewellers, Bond Street and Cara, Dubai
We met on Match and exchanged three messages and a few texts. We arranged a first date in May 2012 at Wilton’s Music Hall in London.
Nadia explains: ‘We were in Snowdonia for a long weekend. We decided to take a hike, not something I would usually do, to a beautiful waterfall called Pistyll Cain. I think I complained most of the way there, wondering why we had to get to this specific location. Once we arrived Colin proceeded to open his backpack and pull out a thermos of mulled wine and plastic wine glasses. I didn’t catch on at first, as Colin is quite thoughtful and romantic, but then he started telling me how happy he’d been over the short amount of time we’d known each other… And then asked me the big question. I, of course, said yes immediately!’
It took a year.
It was beautiful, it was a wonderful mix of old and new, it gave us the space we needed for the number of guests we wanted to invite and the owner, Anselm, impressed us with his vision as The Gillyflower was still a construction site!
It was a mix of English and Arab. English afternoon tea with finger sandwiches, cakes and coupe champagne glasses, followed by an Arab-style reception from the food selection of mezze starters to jewelled rice with saffron chicken and the Gillyflower decorated with Arabian rugs, lanterns and candles.
We did all of the work ourselves sourcing all of the suppliers directly.
We designed and made the website, invites, order of service, table numbers and thank you cards.
It was an ivory lace over silk satin organza Lazaro gown with a scalloped v-neckline and cap sleeve, tiered pleated tulle sweep train and a handmade satin jewelled belt.
A blue Spencer Hart suit and white shirt, Etro pocket square with charcoal grey tie.
Colin wore his grandfather’s watch.
Nadia said: ‘Old and borrowed was my garter belt from my bridesmaid and my earrings were borrowed from Hirsch Jewellers’.
‘Salut d’Amour’ by Edward Elgar.
One of Nadia’s best friends from Dubai read ‘The Apache Wedding Blessing’.
All of the food was served family-style along the tables. We had a selection of starters including flat breads, falafel with lemon and coriander houmous, cheese burek, marinated olives with rosemary and garlic.
The main course included chicken marinated in yoghurt, chilli and saffron roasted aubergine filled with baba ganosh and Jasmine rice with mint, coriander, pistachio, pomegranate and apricot.
For dessert we had platters with fresh fruits with a pistachio, yoghurt and honey and rose water and pistachio macaroons.
We asked Colin’s brother to make our wedding cake. I love Victoria Sponge but wanted a special Arabian touch to it, so he did a few trials using orange zest, pistachio and rose water. We decided on the rose water infused cake and the design was naked with rose decoration. He did an amazing job!
‘Earth Angel’ by the Penguins, which was played by our band. We both love Back to the Future, and this song is used the film’s dance scene.
Colin’s favourite part was the 10 minutes we had together in the bridal suite right after the ceremony. Leesa our planner from Elmore Court insisted that we have this time to sit together and have a glass of Champagne. She was so right!
Nadia said it was hard to choose her favourite: ‘I loved the ceremony, once I got through the awful butterflies before the ceremony and the tears walking down the aisle. It felt like it was just Colin and I up there with the registrar and was just magical. Following that it would be my mum and Colin’s speeches which were both wonderful.’
We enjoyed a beautiful Italian honeymoon, including Venice, Tuscany and Sardinia. Eating and drinking our way through the country!
Remember what the big day is all about and every time you have a little argument take a breather and open a bottle of wine!
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