June 10th, 2016 | Rachel Parry
Dreaming of a blissful summer holiday, complete with sunshine, culture and cocktails? Us too! Well today we’re getting a little closer to the heat of some overseas sun as we relive the gorgeous wedding day of Ala and Anisa.
Picking Antalya in Turkey, as the ideal destination for their big day, Ala and Anisa did the majority of the wedding planning and decision making from their home in Sheffield.
Deciding to keep things simple, yet beautiful, Ala and Anisa didn’t go all out on details and décor, instead letting the setting speak for itself and capturing its beauty with a pre-ceremony shoot around the streets of Antalya, resulting in some fabulous photography. In particular we love the image of Anisa sitting on the colourful steps – talk about pretty!
With images by Amy & Omid Photography.
anisa says: We decided we wanted to get married not long after we got to know each other. After meeting we continued our friendship over a distance for more than a year. As we are both so close to our families we spent a few months getting to know each other’s families first, then once we received the blessing from our parents, Ala proposed and we were married three months later! The proposal wasn’t a surprise but the ring certainly was!
The date of the wedding was 28th December 2015. As we were having an overseas wedding we thought it would be better to plan it for in the winter holidays. The timing of the wedding was perfect – it wasn’t too hot or too cold. Actually the weather was like a British summer and everyone really appreciated the vitamin D!
We got married in Antalya, Turkey. We chose to get married in Turkey as we wanted both sets of families and friends to be able to get to the wedding easily. It is also a beautiful country and Antalya, in particular, has stunning coastline. Ala has spent many holidays in Turkey with amazing memories so we knew we would have a great time there. Most of our friends and family came a few days earlier and stayed a few days after the wedding so combined the wedding with a mini-holiday for themselves. Turkey is also cheap enough to have a really good time without worrying about expenses!
The hotel we got married in, Akra Barut, was really stunning and accommodated all our needs. This was really important as we mostly organised the wedding from our home in Sheffield!
We had a Baha’i wedding. Baha’i weddings have no set formula and are so flexible that they can accommodate any cultural preferences while holding a sacred religious element too. The only stipulation is for husband and wife to recite “We will all verily, abide by the Will of God” in the presence of two witnesses. Then the marriage certificate in signed and the marriage is official!
We wanted a classy look for our wedding. We chose a lot of white and pink and had candles on the tables. We wanted it to be simple but beautiful.
I bought my dress from Wed2B in Rotherham. I was originally daunted with the prospect of having to choose a dress, having grown up around three brothers and not being particularly ‘girly’. I went with a friend and Ala and they helped me pick a few things out. Ala picked up a dress and me and my friend both said “no way!” As soon as I put it on in the changing room I loved it and my friend could tell by my reaction that it was the one! I only went into one shop and came out two hours later with the perfect dress!
Ala found a suit for the wedding from Burton that he absolutely loved – and fit perfectly! It was a navy three-piece suit with a maroon bow tie and pocket square. It was really fun shopping for his suit!
I didn’t have official bridesmaids but my girlfriends coordinated among themselves to all wear navy, which was such a nice surprise on the day!
Our wedding photographers, Amy and Omid, were recommended to us and they were absolutely amazing! They had already done our engagement shoot, which was a wonderful preparation as it meant we were really comfortable in front of the camera on our wedding day. The shoot we had before the ceremony on the wedding day was so much fun – the streets were so busy and bustling and I felt like a real celebrity walking through the market stalls in Antalya, passers-by cheering and clapping for us!
Looking back that time we spent having photos of just the two of us, prior to the ceremony, was definitely a highlight. Although it wasn’t traditional in that we had already seen each other before the ceremony, it meant we could have 45 minutes of relaxed time to be together and chill before the craziness kicked in!
Throughout the wedding day Amy and Omid were so diligent with all our wishes and managed to capture all the moments we wanted without us even noticing that they were taking them. We cannot recommend them highly enough.
I had a bouquet of white and pink roses and carnations. It was a simple bouquet but really light and fresh. Because we had been planning the wedding from Sheffield, we only actually organised the flowers a few days beforehand. Ala had found some local vendors on a trip in November and we visited one of them a week before the wedding and (through the help of Google translate) managed to negotiate with an amazing local florist.
The hotel recommended a wedding planner so having communicated with her from England a few weeks beforehand, we met with her a few days before the wedding in her workshop and were able to pick out some beautiful candle and vase sets as décor for the venue.
We didn’t have any official entertainment for the reception but really wanted to choose all our favourite tracks ourselves and play them. My brothers also organised a hilarious game which came as a total surprise and had the whole room in fits of laughter! A few of the male members of family and friends came in dressed as women (mostly in their wives’, mothers’, or daughters’ clothes!) and had to line up while Ala was blindfolded. I was also put in the line and Ala had to guess, by touching, which one was me!
The Akra Barut hotel was an absolutely amazing venue for a wedding and we would certainly recommend it to other couples looking to have an overseas wedding. Aside from the spectacular location, the management were so diligent in helping us plan the wedding according to our precise wishes.
When asked what our favourite part of the wedding day was Ala would say Baha’i ceremony as it was such a special start to our marriage, surrounded by our family and friends in a really uplifting and spiritual environment. I’d agree that the ceremony was a highlight, but so too was the five hours of non-stop dancing that followed!
One of the sadder things about the wedding day was that neither of my grandmothers could be there due to poor health. My dad had his smartphone on him at all times though and had my grandma and auntie (who also couldn’t make it) on Skype in England. It was as close to having them there that we could get! It was really special that I could have a video call with my grandma once I’d got ready for the wedding and that she could feel as close to the event as possible.
We couldn’t get enough time off work for a honeymoon following our wedding unfortunately, so we are planning one for this summer instead.
As a wedding day passes by so quickly, my top tip for other Brides Up North would be – just relax and enjoy it! Also, we didn’t get a professional video of our wedding day and we wished we had done, so definitely take this into consideration when planning your day.
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Rachel joined the Brides Up North editorial team as Features Editor in February 2015. Rachel draws on her news reporting background, experience in features, bridal & lifestyle editing for previous regional titles and time spent working for Yorkshire’s most successful PR agencies. Yet to tie the knot herself, Rachel's own wedding looks set to be very, very pretty...
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