“I was never the typical girl who dreamt of a big white wedding as a child so, when David proposed and we started talking about the kind of wedding we would like, it became clear very quickly that we had two totally different ideas in our minds! Whilst I wanted a very small affair, perhaps at a National Trust property and a small dinner after the ceremony, David wanted to do it on a larger scale. It took some getting used to the idea, as I’m not really someone who likes to be in the centre of everything, but once I’d thought about how I could put my personality stamp on the day, I could already see how the day might look”.
My theme, regardless of how big or small the venue may have been, would always have been the same – vintage, 1920s/30s with a dose of Agatha Christie! I’ve been such a fan of her books since I was 13 years old and anyone who knows me knows this (David even proposed at her house, Greenway, in Devon!). I knew the wedding favours would be paperbacks of her titles – they gave the ultimate impact, looked great but were far cheaper than the usual wedding favour. When I looked to compare, a normal wedding favour cost between £1-3. I knew I would have around 95 guests during the day so this was worrying! I found someone selling a job lot of paperbacks on eBay for £60. Amazing. I also got a stamp made for £5 and stamped “David & Alia, 19th October 2013” inside the front cover of each book, resembling a library book. Then, me and the future in-laws sat and tied twine round the books and attached name tags that me and my chief bridesmaid had made. It was one of the cheapest aspects of the whole day but, really, one of my favourites. They looked fabulous, and guests loved taking away a real keepsake of the day. They looked incredible alongside the china from Vintage Flair! We hired starter, main and dessert plates from Vintage Flair, so the food came out on this marvellous mismatched crockery. The tea cups and saucer, teaspoons and side plates we hired from Vintage Flair were already on the tables so, when guests walked in, they saw the wonderful dinnerware they would be using.
I also hired champagne saucer top glasses for the toasts, which added such a vintage touch, and my mother-in-law made lace table runners from some material we found in Hobbycraft for £12. We all listened to a playlist I’d put on my iPod of 1920s and 1930s songs as we ate our dinner. The menus I made myself, as I did the table planner (I bought a framed mirror from eBay for £40, which I’ll use in our new house, and took the pane of mirror out and made the name cards and stapled into the frame). As a surprise, my father-in-law also made by hand (incredible!) a green Georgian post box for our wedding cards, with a little picture of Hercule Poirot! This sat on a trestle table with old framed photographs of both families, with a box of cigars and some blank postcards for guests to write their wedding wishes.
As my dad is Jordanian, I also wanted to inject some Arabian influence into the day (bit of a strange combination but, it’s YOUR day so do whatever you want!). One of my best friends read a beautiful poem by the Lebanese poet Khalil Gibrani and it was her idea to read the last two lines in Arabic herself. We also flew a Jordanian flag alongside the St George’s flag from the top of the venue. The thing that really got guests excited (and that took the most organisation) was having a shisha tent in the courtyard for the evening! To hire someone to set up a shisha tent, complete with shisha, was extortionate, so I set about doing it myself.
We bought a 3x3m gazebo from Amazon for £70 and hired Moroccan Magic to come and dress the gazebo as an Arabian Bedouin tent. My uncle Omar brought four of his shisha pipes (all different flavours) with him to the wedding and pretty much stayed in the tent the entire evening to smoke and keep an eye on them (I know this sounds cruel, but he was happier in there!). Guests loved going in there, having a smoke, eating baklava and having a chat with uncle Omar – every time I looked outside, there was an actual queue to get in there!! We also had Arabic music playing in there to set the mood.
The band were also something that I’m so pleased I found. We really struggled with choosing the evening entertainment, as I’ve been to weddings where that part can be quite bland. These girls were phenomenal, and it made such a change to be dancing along to real wartime songs, like “Boogiewoogiebugleboy”. Again, guests loved the uniqueness of it.
I couldn’t recommend using Vintage Flair enough. On my first meeting with Elizabeth, she just ‘got’ what it was I was looking for. And I’m so pleased she recommended the florist Lily and May to me, as they worked alongside each other just perfectly. They were both two elements of the day that guests asked how on earth I found such professional and beautiful crockery/flowers.
Although everything took a lot of organisation, it was all so worth it. I felt really pleased that we had such a unique and individual day, which is what most couples want I guess. But it was so nice to be able to see my personality on the day, and Vintage Flair absolutely played a massive part in that.”
- Venue. Leez Priory, Hartford End, Chelmsford, Essex
- Vintage china hire – Vintage Flair www.vintageflairchinahire.co.uk
- Dress. ‘Nerine’, Jenny Packham. Bought from Bridal Path in Sawbridgeworth, Hertfordshire
- Hair piece. ‘Acacia’, Jenny Packham. Bought from Bridal Path in Sawbridgeworth, Hertfordshire
- Hair and make-up. Georgie Harris www.georgiebridal.co.uk
- Bridesmaid dresses. Coast
- Groom’s suit. The Kooples
- Photographer. Repartagé Photography (www.repartage.co.uk)
- Florist. Lily and May (www.lilyandmay.co.uk)
- Cake. ‘Vintage Brooch Cake’, Emily Jane Cakes, Knebworth, Hertfordshire
- Band. The Three Belles (www.thethreebelles.com)
- Shisha tent. Moroccan Magic, Swanley Village, Kent (www.moroccanmagic.biz)