With statement floral décor and a bridal outfit change, Farhana and Sebastian made their big-day celebrations entirely their own at Chiswick house…
Japanese cherry blossom petals were falling to the ground when Sebastian got down on one knee to propose. The couple had travelled to Tokyo and Farhana – a flower fanatic – was particularly excited about the blossom season for which the city is famous.
“It was magical,” she says. “Seb managed to find a secluded spot. When I turned around he was holding out a ring, but I was too busy chatting away to notice. He had to interrupt my monologue to propose!”
Farhana opted for a red lehenga from Bangladesh for the couple’s ceremony
Farhana opted for a red lehenga from Bangladesh for the couple’s ceremony in West London, adorned with exquisite patterns and beading. She accessorised with Monica Vinader diamond hoop earrings and a chunky gold necklace from Dainty Co, worn with Gianvito Rossi sandals. “I wanted to keep my accessories simple but invest in things that I could wear again,” she says.
Unsure whether to do her own make-up or hire a professional, Farhana eventually decided to call in an expert. “In the end I went for an artist who had done my friend’s bridal make-up. She mainly used MAC products – she was really great and took all the stress out of getting ready.”
“I was so nervous walking down the aisle with my father, but as soon as I saw Seb I just felt a sense of calm”
The couple tied the knot at Chiswick House in a civil ceremony, with three bridesmaids and two flowergirls accompanying Farhana down the aisle. Like the bride, they also wore dresses made from Bangladeshi materials.
“I was so nervous walking down the aisle with my father, but as soon as I saw Seb I just felt a sense of calm. He looked so handsome and I felt like the luckiest woman in the world.”
The bride’s friend Laura gave a reading of I Carry Your Heart With Me by E.E. Cummings during the ceremony, which Farhana says moved her to tears. “I knew before I met Seb that if I married I would have this reading,” she says. “I love this poem so much. I cried!”
This was then followed with a reading by Seb’s sister Olivia from Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney, which the couple chose because it “mirrored so much” of what they say to each other.
The floral arrangements were a big deal for Seb and Farhana, especially as the bride and her mother-in-law are both keen gardeners
But the showstopper of the big day was undoubtedly the flowers. Arranged by florist All For Love London, the arrangements were a big deal for Seb and Farhana, especially as the bride and her mother-in-law are both keen gardeners. “It was really important that our wedding be as green as possible!” Farhana said. “If people said anything about our wedding it was how amazing the flowers were.
“My bouquet was beautiful – a perfect, relaxed, garden-style bridal posy in white and green using roses, peonies and dahlias and tied with a double satin ivory ribbon. We also had three bridesmaid bouquets – similar in style but smaller than mine – and our flowergirls had crowns featuring ivy, ferns, cream spray roses and lemon balm. They looked so cute!” The couple later donated all their wedding flowers to Great Ormond Street Hospital.
READ MORE: Seven keys areas of your venue to feature flowers
After the ceremony, the bride changed into a stunning white dress from ASOS. “The dress had been tailored to fit perfectly. I remember feeling so excited when I tried it on,” she says. White, however, was a risky move considering the couple had arranged for a wedding breakfast banquet that included curries. “Thankfully I managed not to spill anything on myself!” laughs Farhana.
The food was served family-style so guests could easily share dishes around. It also created a more relaxing atmosphere, as everyone on the tables could get to know each other easily. A friend from Sugarlily Cake Boutique made the wedding cake – three tiers of chocolate and Victoria sponge, decorated with handmade flowers.
“Making a speech was the best thing I did. I think it’s important that women have a voice on their wedding day!”
As for the first dance, “we chose You Send Me by Sam Cooke,” the bride says. “It was played at Seb’s aunt’s 70th birthday party and we just knew this was the song.” The couple also booked a band – Motown Sensation – as their entertainment, which proved to be a massive hit. “They were absolutely amazing and lots of friends have requested their details since.”
Farhana also decided to make a speech on the day. “I think it’s important that women have a voice on their wedding day!” she said. “It was the best thing I did, even though I hadn’t prepared for it.”
When the wedding was over, the newlyweds jetted off to Tanzania for 12 days and embarked on a safari. They then travelled to Zanzibar to stay in the Zawadi Hotel, and they both reveal it was the best holiday they’ve ever had.
CEREMONY VENUE Wedding Ideas Facebook page, and ‘Follow’ on our @wimagazine Twitter account to join in the conversation.