The Grand Sapphire wedding of Alice and Oomar

The Grand Sapphire wedding of Alice and Oomar

The Grand Sapphire, Croydon
I Knew from the moment I first spoke to Alice and Oomar about their wedding at the Grand Sapphire in Croydon that we would get along famously. They are so ridiculously in love, and so cute together. Alice and Oomar bounce off each other in a way that reminds me of me and my husband and I was warmed to receive this note from Alice & Oomar before they left for their Honeymoon.

“Alice and I wished to express how brilliant it was to have you, Tom and Bori at our wedding and what lovely people you are. You made us and our respective family, friends and associated guests feel at ease yet marshaled some rather chaotic situations with consummate professionalism. We had many comments from people about how well organised you were and were always patient with the proceedings, thank you. As an aside, we hope our marriage will be as fun as yours and Tom’s clearly is

So over to Alice for our meet the bride feature for their wonderful wedding at the Grand Sapphire in Croyden.

How did you choose your wedding photographer?

We found Amanda on hitched.co.uk and emailed her along with several others, but after talking with Amanda on skype it became very clear that she would be the perfect person to do our photography. Very professional and we liked her straight away, and we are so glad we chose her!

Tell us about the moment you saw your wedding photos for the first time

We were at home but just about to go out, and much too overexcited. We were exclaiming and squealing the whole way through and wanting to favourite everything. We actually made ourselves late because we couldn’t tear ourselves away from the computer.

Where did you get married and why did you choose the location?

We got married at The Grand Sapphire in Croydon. It was perfect for us, large enough to hold us and all our guests whilst also being able to provide everything we needed, like a stage for the Nikkah ceremony.

Can you describe your wedding in fewer than 10 words?

“All the right notes just not in the right order” – this is what my dad says anytime he’s asked
Joyful, madness, bright, shiny, wonderful, improvised, planned, much too quick

The Grand Sapphire, Croydon

Tell us about your accessories, jewelry, shoes and anything else

The jewelry was a gift from Oomar’s family, and I couldn’t believe how intricate it was, it was gorgeous! The Tikka had trouble staying centered on my head so at the last minute Amanda’s husband Tom procured some blu-tac which did the trick and kept us all giggling through the wedding.

Where did you buy your dress? Was it love at first sight?

The lehnga was bought from an incredible shop called Sequinze in Southall.  I went on a scouting trip with a cousin of Oomar’s first and we fell in love with the shop but didn’t find anything that first trip. I came back with my mother later and we both fell in love with the second one I tried on.

The Grand Sapphire, Croydon

And what did the groom wear?

Oh he looked like a prince! He wore a gorgeous Sherwani, and family members and the best man all wore ones that matched with it. It was from a shop called Superwear in Green Street. They all looked fabulous. Oomar also had the most magnificent hat which drove him crazy but I think it perfected the entire outfit.

The Grand Sapphire, Croydon

Who did your hair and make-up?

My make up was done by a really talented woman called Kavita, who was a recommendation from Oomar’s cousin. I went to her house for a trial which I really do recommend because it gives you a great idea about what you’re going to look like and you can work together to get a look that you’re happy with before the big day.

The hair was a bit of a nightmare as my hairdresser actually pulled out one month before the wedding, but my wonderful friend Kaja who just got married recommended Lipstick and Curls to me  who I got in touch with and had a trial with the wonderful Sophia.
I was so happy with both my hair and make-up at the wedding as there was such a specific “look” that we were going for, and they really made all the difference, as well as keeping me calm the day of! My Dupatta was so heavy that Sophia ended up putting a hair piece in my hair and safety pinning the dupatta to my head!

The Grand Sapphire, Croydon
The Grand Sapphire, Croydon

What was your wedding style or theme?

My husband’s family hailing from Mumbai we had a big Indian wedding, with the odd English twist!

Where did you find your suppliers?

All over! Oomar’s cousin is in the restaurant trade and did so much to help with finding a venue and catering etc, he was even up for 4am trips to the flower market! We found our wonderful photographer through hitched.co.uk which was one of our best finds! But most of our wedding was put together through word of mouth

What kind of wedding cake did you choose and who made it?

We loved our cake! Again we’re kind of nuts about food so we were both obsessed with finding the right cake. We lucked out as Oomar grew up near to a wonderful little patisserie in Ladywell called Le Delice who were able to make our spectacular cake. It was a chocolate sponge with a chocolate cream icing and decorated with edible flowers. The best thing about it was that it was nut, dairy, and gluten free so everyone could enjoy it with us.

What is your best piece of advice for others planning their wedding?

Everything is going to cost three times more than you expect it too; so figure out your top three priorities and concentrate on them. Oh and don’t be afraid to draft your friends in to help with all the little odd jobs that crop up. Weddings are super stressful, give yourself a few days to decompress and recover before going on honeymoon.

What is the best thing about being married?

Not having to plan a wedding anymore! All the stress has fallen away!
But seriously, everything fits now, that sounds strange but there is a huge comfort in being married. Nothing has really changed in our day to day lives but it feels more like we’re a unit, a family now.

Where did you go on honeymoon?

We went to St Lucia! We missed the hurricane by about a day! It was wonderful because we were at a hotel we could just relax in and not have to worry about anything, so it was a brilliant place to just unwind and be looked after for a while. But it was also wonderful to get out and explore, it’s such a beautiful island, we fell completely in love with it and want to go back again at some point.

The Grand Sapphire, Croydon
The Grand Sapphire, Croydon
The Grand Sapphire, Croydon
The Grand Sapphire, Croydon

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From La Plagne to Chidham Church

From La Plagne to Chidham Church

The second instalment of my ‘Meet the Bride’ posts comes from Tessa and Robin who became happily wed in June 2017!

Where did you both meet?

On our ski season in La Plagne, a resort in France. We were both working in a hotel kitchen, so were working and skiing together most days and got to know each other really well

How long were you engaged for before the big day?

Only five and a half months! It was quite a fast turnaround by most people’s standards, but it all worked out really well in the end, and I’m so glad we went for June in the middle of a little heatwave. It was a little bit stressful at times to get everything set so quickly though.

Tell us about the proposal

We were down in Devon for a New Year’s Eve party, and went to the beach beforehand. I thought we were going for a sunset surf, but Robin wanted to go for a walk along the coast, which I thought was a bit strange.

There was a beautiful sunset, and we walked down into a little cove and were watching the waves, when he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. I couldn’t have been more surprised, and forgot to say yes – I just kissed him instead

What made you choose the wedding location?

I wanted a church ceremony as I’ve grown up going to church, and ideally, I’d have liked to have it in my family church but it was too far from where we wanted to have the reception.

Robin’s family have a connection to Chidham church [Chichester] and he was baptised there, so we met the vicar there instead. It’s a very cute little building and it was a beautiful ceremony.

Where was your reception held?

Cut Mill – Robin’s grandparent’s house. It used to be a working mill hundreds of years ago, so there’s a lot of water around, and enough space for a lovely marquee.

Tel everyone a little about the venue decorations

Hours of bunting making! I have to give my mum a huge amount of credit here! We bought rolls of wallpaper, cut them into triangles and stuck them together, before threading them onto ribbon. We bought paper chains and wound them round the poles in the marquee to hide them a little bit.

I didn’t have a huge budget for flowers, so we bought maiden hair ferns for the centre-pieces and borrowed white pots from everyone we knew. I also had some leftover flowers from my florist, so I did a tiny arrangement for each table, and some larger ones for the desert/cake table. The table names were hand-written on slates that I bought from a charity shop.

Your wedding breakfast looks amazing what went in to this?

Again, huge amounts of effort! We did picnic baskets, and nearly everything in them was home-made. Between our families and friends, there were handmade quiches, pates, pickles and salads, with sliced ham from local butchers and bread roles. The puddings were amazing –  lots of lovely people did baking for us, including my mum who coordinated them all.

The cake – you had two!?

I did! One cheese tower from West Country Cheese (highly recommend them) and one naked cake which one of my best friends made for me. She did a wonderful job – I think she was pretty stressed about it but it was perfect.

I think part of what made the day so brilliant was all of the effort that went into it from so many people

Where did you get your dress from?

I found it in a little shop in Brighton, but ended up buying it in London from London Bride because I was in a bit of a rush to get it sorted… Again I was on a bit of a budget for the dress, so it took a lot of hunting to find the right thing. It was a sample and needed a lot of alteration, but I really enjoyed wearing it.

Tell us about the wedding bands

We both went for platinum bands to match my engagement ring. Robin’s is size Z, and still feels a bit small for him!

Any glitches in the run up to the wedding?

I can’t think of any particular glitches. My dad did spill bucks fizz on my wedding dress when we were about to leave for the church though… That inspired some momentary panic, but it came out with some dabbing (I think)

How did you choose your photographer?

Lucky for me, I happen to work with an amazing photographer, so it couldn’t have been easier! I did speak to a few others as well, but there was no contest!

Amanda did a brilliant job and completely understood what I was looking to achieve. We didn’t want to spend the entire day posing, so most of the pictures are quite natural, but she got excellent posed shots as well, despite keeping that part to a minimum. Couldn’t have been better!

Any advice for future brides?

I think we should give ourselves a break, and not worry too much about every detail being total perfection as it causes too much stress! If your guests are having a great time then it will be a wonderful day, so make sure that you are considering what they will enjoy and factoring that into your budget, whether it’s splashing out on a band, or a bit more wine for example.

For me, the atmosphere was more important than the appearance of the wedding – and I had so much fun.

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An Irish Wedding [ Westport Ireland ]

An Irish Wedding [ Westport Ireland ]

If you are anything like me when I was ‘ahem’ planning my wedding (In truth my husband planned it all but that is a different blog all together) you buy the wedding magazines religiously and then jump straight to the ‘real weddings section’.

Of course all of my wedding posts are real weddings but I thought it would be even better to add in a few words from the bride herself, so here is the first of many in my ‘meet the bride’ series.

Amanda Forman Photography | Westport Ireland | Irish Wedding | St Mary's Church | The Castlecourt Hotel

Where did you and Adrian meet?

Our first encounter was in the Punch & Judy pub in Covent Garden on a beautiful, sunny evening in June.  We caught a glimpse of each other as I was coming down the steps into the pub and later, after we got chatting, Adrian introduced me to Hendricks Gin – I think I knew I’d be seeing him again!

How long were you engaged for before the big day?

We were engaged for almost a year and a half before the big day – enough time to get everything sorted without having to stress too much.

Tell us about the proposal

Our friends in Paris asked if we’d like to do a last minute flat-swap in the February half-term – we jumped at the chance as neither of us had ever been to Paris and having free accommodation for a week in one of the most expensive cities was a no brainer!

The first full day there happened to be Valentine’s Day so we figured we probably should go and see the Eiffel Tower to see what all the fuss was about. Neither of us had any interest in queuing for hours to get to the top – it’s not like we were going to get engaged or anything!!  And Ireland were playing France in the Six Nations Rugby Tournament so my priorities after taking a few quick selfies were to find somewhere showing the game.

\We walked away from the Tower to get a better picture of the two of us with the Tower behind us.  Adrian asked some other tourists to take our picture as the selfies just weren’t getting the best shot.  We had a quick look and though the pictures were lovely, Adrian gave the camera back to the guy and asked him to take a few more.

As I was perfecting my pose once again I noticed Adrian had dropped to the ground so, without spoiling my pose, I gestured at him to get up and stop messing around.  When he didn’t respond, I looked and saw he was on one knee holding a ring box and looking very vulnerable.

In complete disbelief, I pulled him up and told him to stop playing such a sick joke!! Then I realised it wasn’t a joke and the tears flowed and I could hardly stand.  The poor guy taking the pictures was almost as shocked as I was!  It was the most overwhelming feeling.  We strolled to the closest Brasserie so we could sit down and take it all in…and the rest is history.

Amanda Forman Photography | Westport Ireland | Irish Wedding | St Mary's Church

Tell us about your ceremony – why did you choose the location 

During one of Adrian’s first visits to Ireland with me, we went to Westport, a small but vibrant little town on the West Coast of Ireland.  We had such an amazing time there and it became somewhere we both wanted to return to over and over again.  We wanted to choose somewhere that we thought our friends and family would enjoy.

Our ceremony was held at St. Mary’s Church which is right in the heart of the town and just a 2 minute walk from the hotel where we had our reception.

Amanda Forman Photography | Westport Ireland | Irish Wedding | St Mary's Church

So…….. You went for a pint after the wedding ?

One of the best memories we have of the day was just after the ceremony when we sneaked away to the pub for a quick pint.  The sun shone as we walked up the main street of the town to Matt Molloy’s pub and the whole town stopped and congratulated us and took pictures with us – we felt like celebrities!

It’s a little bit of a tradition in Ireland for the Bride & Groom to pull their first pint of Guinness together after the ceremony so we did just that in one of the most famous and most traditional pubs in Ireland.  It also happened to be where we spent our first evening in Westport together a few years before, listening to Irish music and introducing Adrian to the Irish ‘session’!

Amanda Forman Photography | Westport Ireland | Irish Wedding | St Mary's Church | The Castlecourt Hotel

Where was your reception held?

We had our reception in The Castlecourt Hotel in Westport.  We were mindful that all of our guests had travelled long distances to be with us on our special day so we wanted to ensure everything was accessible for them and the location of the Castlecourt was perfect.  It was just 40 minutes from Knock Airport and situated right in the town of Westport.

From our first enquiry to our departure after the weekend of our wedding and even still as we approach our anniversary, the proprietors and staff at the Castlecourt couldn’t have been nicer or more accommodating.

The cake – or lack thereof

Having been guests at quite a number of our friends’ weddings over the years, one of the things we agreed on was that a wedding cake, though a massive tradition, just wasn’t for us.  Firstly, we couldn’t agree on one (he wanted sweet, I wanted savoury), and secondly, by the time the cake is cut and given to guests, they will already have had a 4 course meal and a buffet.

We decided a vodka luge would be much more fun!  In keeping with our Paris engagement, we commissioned Northern Ireland Ice Sculptures to create an Eiffel Tower shaped drinks luge for us.  It was a stunning centre piece and talking point, and it definitely got the party started!

Amanda Forman Photography | Westport Ireland | Irish Wedding | St Mary's Church | The Castlecourt Hotel

Where did you get your dress from?

My dress was designed by Katya Shehurina, a Latvian designer whose flagship Bridal Boutique is in the heart of London’s West End.  Having trawled through endless rails of dresses both in the UK and Ireland, I had almost settled on a very simple, highly structured dress in a boutique in Ireland.

My aunt then treated me to tickets to Brides the Show where I entered a competition and won a £1500 voucher for a Katya Katya wedding dress.  I couldn’t believe it!  When we met the Shehurina girls at the show, I admitted that though I didn’t really know what I wanted in a dress, I knew that I definitely didn’t want lace and I definitely did need the dress to be boned & structured.

My heart sank when I saw that the Shehurina gowns were mainly delicate French lace and with absolutely no boning.  I honestly only went to the Boutique to be polite, having won such an amazing prize, but never imagined I would find my dress.

The Violetta dress was just perfect for me!  The intricate French lace design was stunning and I decided to choose two slips – the white for the ceremony and then the nude shade to really highlight the lace pattern for the evening reception.  My whole experience was absolutely amazing – I got to meet Katya herself and every time I went for a fitting, I was made to feel like absolute royalty.

Tell us about the wedding rings

We met a jeweller who lived locally to us at a wedding fair and thought it would be nice to support someone local when buying our rings.  I had a rose gold engagement ring so chose the same colour wedding band, with tiny diamonds for mine.

Adrian had never worn jewellery, not even a watch, so choosing his was a little more time consuming. In the end he chose a brushed yellow gold band with the wedding date hand engraved in roman numerals.

Amanda Forman Photography | Westport Ireland | Irish Wedding | St Mary's Church

Any glitches in the run up to the wedding?

Planning a wedding from a different country can be tricky and there were a few minor hiccups along the way, but I made a decision not to worry about things I wasn’t in control of.

How did you choose your photographer?

There was a vintage wedding fair in Bethnal Green’s York Hall one Sunday which I dragged Adrian along to.  One photographer’s display caught our attention so we went over for a chat – we assumed we would probably get a photographer in Ireland as it would be easier, but wanted to get some inspiration.

We chatted to Amanda and her husband, Tom, and while I got carried away looking at the beautifully put together albums and stunning framed shots, and chatting all things photography with Amanda, Adrian got carried away chatting about absolutely everything with Tom.

We stayed for ages and just before we left we entered yet another competition – this one was for an engagement shoot.  That evening, we looked at Amanda’s website and were really impressed with her work, and thought about how well we all got along and how we would just love to have a photographer like that, someone who we would feel completely at ease with.

It turns out that we won the engagement shoot and Amanda was happy to come all the way to the West of Ireland to shoot our wedding!

Finally do you have any advice for future brides?

Enjoy every second of the planning.  Stop and breathe on the day and take it all in.  Sneak away for a quick pint with your new hubby at some point.

Have fun. Plan something for after the wedding/honeymoon – you’ll be surprised at how time you will reclaim after the big day.

Amanda Forman Photography | Westport Ireland | Irish Wedding | St Mary's Church | The Castlecourt Hotel

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