Charlotte Balbier
Brides Up North Wedding Fairs

going the distance. a diy wedding at as you like it, newcastle – amy & mostafa

February 14th, 2018 | Alexis Forsyth

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We love a good love story here at Brides Up North and today’s couple, Amy and Mostafa, prove that a long-distance relationship can indeed lead to that happily ever after moment down the aisle.

After five years together doing the long-distance thing, Amy had finally joined Mostafa over in Dubai. But when it came to tying the knot, Amy yearned to return to her native North East for their special day. And we’re glad they did! The couple got married last autumn at As You Like It, a quirky urban venue in Newcastle.

Trying to plan the wedding while overseas was a tricky process for the couple (cue lots of conversations with their suppliers via Skype!) but like any good story, it all came together seamlessly in the end.

A literary theme snuck in, as well as a nod to Mostafa’s Egyptian heritage. There are lots of other beautiful and personal touches to look out for too (just wait until you see those flowers!) but we’ll let Amy talk us through all the finer details…

With images by JPR Shah Photography.

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amy says: Mostafa proposed during the sunset one evening while we were in Abu Dhabi. I was hurrying to get a good view of the presidential palace to take some pictures, and when I turned around he was on one knee with the most beautiful ring in his hand. It was a total surprise!

We got married on 8th September 2017. Mostafa is from Egypt and we both live together in Dubai, so we have friends and family all over the world. September seemed like a perfect month for as many of our guests as possible to attend and we hoped the summer would hang on enough for us to get a nice day for them – which it did!

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Living abroad, it was really important for me to come back to the North East to get married. We got married at As You Like It in Jesmond. I chose the venue without Mostafa as he was in Dubai and I was in UK at the time. I called, begging him to let me book it after going to a wedding fair with my mum and absolutely falling in love with it. Thankfully he trusted me and when he saw it a year later, he loved it just as much as I did.

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We didn’t have a theme as such, but I’m a bit of a book nerd so we had a literary theme with the table names and centerpieces, which went down really well with the guests. Since Mostafa is Egyptian, we decided to play some Arabic music during the ceremony and chose one of our favourite romantic ballads by Amr Diab.

Our colour scheme was a gorgeous blue as it has always been my favourite colour and seemed to match so well with the venue. I also wanted to honour my granddad who had the most bright blue eyes, so the colour scheme was special in that way too. I kept a small picture of him tied around my flowers to feel like he was with me on such a big day.

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My dress was by Art Couture bridal and I bought it at Bridal Factory Outlet in Northallerton. I had pointed it out to my mum as we entered the shop, but she said she didn’t like it, so I tried on other dresses without any success. Tired and hungry, we were about to leave but I decided to try on the first dress I’d seen, to satisfy my curiosity. As soon as I put it on – I knew it was the one, and my mum agreed!

Mostafa wore a grey suit and waistcoat from Debenhams, and the groomsmen wore the same. The ties were handmade using one of the bridesmaid dresses by Ohh Sew Beautiful and Make N Mend as I wanted the colour to match perfectly.

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My beautiful bridesmaids wore blue multi-way dresses from Debenhams, which matched the colour scheme and suited all of them perfectly.

Deborah Donnelly styled my hair on the day, with the lovely Alice from Makeup Wonderland applying my bridal makeup.

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John from JPR Shah, and his assistant Caitlin, took the best pictures we have ever seen. We couldn’t have hoped for anything more and they seemed to capture the emotion of the day so perfectly. We would recommend them to anyone who wants beautiful and natural pictures to treasure forever.

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The flower bouquets and table flowers were arranged by Lucy from The Little Flower, and they were a dreamy mix of seasonal flowers with a blue theme running throughout. We used the bridesmaid bouquets as centrepieces for the top table after the ceremony, so they could be displayed and not go to waste.

Living in Dubai, it was really difficult for me and Mostafa to plan the smaller details, like decorations and favours and this is where my fabulous mum stepped in and arranged almost everything. We basically planned the whole thing over numerous Skype calls after deciding to DIY as much as possible. The quotes from classic novels for inclusion on the centrepieces were my baby though, and it took me weeks to choose my favourite ones!

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As favours, we gave a scratch card to all of our guests on the premise that if anyone won big they would split the winnings with us – nobody did though (or at least they didn’t admit to it!)

We chose a three-tier naked wedding cake from Sara’s Kitchen – white chocolate and raspberry, Oreo and lemon drizzle. It looked amazing and tasted even better!

With regards to the food, we wanted to give our guests a choice, so we offered a menu of two starters, two mains and two desserts, as well as children’s and vegetarian options. All our choices looked and tasted amazing, but the beef roast was the talking point of the day, with Yorkshire puddings the size of our heads! We served fish and chips in the evening as it’s my favourite and something I always miss about home when living abroad. After the ceremony we had a sloe gin cocktail reception, which meant everyone was a bit tipsy by the time we got to the speeches!

Our sweet buffet and giant cheeseboard went down well with guest too!

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As entertainment, we had a DJ in the evening who was great at getting everyone up and dancing.

Our venue was ultimately the thing that made our day so successful and I couldn’t recommend it more. The staff couldn’t do enough to help us, especially Nicole, the fabulous wedding coordinator.

We tried to do as much of the wedding as possible ourselves, only using suppliers for the cake, flowers, photography, hair and makeup as well as dress alterations. All were amazing and took all our requests in their stride, often dealing with us over email from thousands of miles away!

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Looking back, it’s so hard to choose a favourite part of the day because everything was so special, especially the fact that we had family and friends from all over the world there to celebrate with us. Taking photos in amazing locations across the city was definitely a highlight, as well as the speeches and first dance!

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Being in UK was already a bit of a honeymoon for us but we jetted off to travel around Bali for a couple of weeks after the wedding, which was amazing and so relaxing. After a month off work we were so refreshed and rejuvenated!

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My top tip for other Brides Up North is, enjoy every moment of your wedding during the day itself and the planning process because it goes so quickly. Budget well and don’t forget to account for last minute unexpected costs. Relax and have fun!

We used the Brides Up North real wedding page as inspiration throughout almost the entire planning stage of the wedding – now we hope that others can take inspiration from our wedding!

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The day was so special to us as we had been in a long-distance relationship for five years prior to me moving out to Dubai a year before our wedding. The wedding was a long time coming and it was amazing to finally unite two families and cultures together after a difficult time apart. We couldn’t be happier now!

the big picture

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about the author

Alexis Forsyth
Originally from north of the border, Alexis has lived in the North East for the past 15 years and considers herself officially an adopted Geordie. A qualified journalist - Alexis took up the position of editor at the region’s longest running business publication in 2015 before moving into a marketing role for one of the UK’s largest independent arts and craft galleries. Alexis currently edits her own lifestyle blog, where you can find her latest musings on all things Newcastle-related, together with a smattering of her Instagram-worthy cocktail and foodie pics. Yet to find Mr Right herself, Alexis sees this as a mere formality when it comes to tying the knot, as she’s already picked out her dream wedding dress, theme and venue...

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