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Love Birds! A Real Wedding In The North East – Sameera & Harry

November 30th, 2012 | Julia Braime

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Northumberland Wedding by GS Studio

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Ok, so it’s Friday afternoon, and we are just about to tick over into Advent. The season of mince pies, late night shopping, day time sequins (ok, they are always in season at Brides Up North HQ), mulled wine, twinkling light, log fires, Quality Street, Christmas parties, winter weddings, acceptable two day hangovers and Santa Claus is almost upon us. And that’s a very good reason to be cheerful.

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As is a last bit of Real Wedding eye candy to complete a week of loveliness here on Brides Up North!  This afternoon’s celebration was sent to me by Gemma of GS Studio, and takes place at a Brides Up North Featured Supplier venue – and one that I had the chance to visit recently to give my personal seal of approval – the gorgeous and perfectly formed Woodhill Hall.  Let’s hear from Hong Kong based real bride Sammy about the inspirations behind her big day. 

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Woodhill Hall Wedding by GS Studio

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Sameera says: We got engaged in a little French private kitchen in Hong Kong, where we live, on September 12th 2010. Harry took me out for a birthday meal: it’s one of our favourite, special occasion places to go. The tables are all partitioned with beautiful hanging fabrics, so you’re unaware of any other diners. It’s definitely the best birthday present I’ve ever received!

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North East Wedding by GS Studio   Wedding in the North East by GS Studio

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GS Studio   GS Studio

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We were married on August 15th 2012 (I’m a teacher so it had to be in the school holidays) It was either that or summer 2013, and well, we just really didn’t want to have a long engagement, and 11 months was plenty of time to plan. Harry works in events and as an art teacher, with a design background the task of planning a wedding was more exciting than daunting.

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We got married at Woodhill Hall in Otterburn, Northumberland. It had to be Northumberland, growing up in Newcastle, I couldn’t have imagined getting married in any other part of the world.

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As we were planning our Wedding from Hong Kong we had to base out decision on internet searches, and the rest was on price and instinct, and the vibe we got from the venue in their response to us. We thought Woodhill Hall looked like the perfect home away from home venue, and Corinne who owns Woodhill, came across as warm and accommodating, and reassured us that she had worked with overseas couples and it would pose no problem at all. The price was unbeatable and we were able to bring in our own caterers, and a very reasonable corkage. We didn’t visit the venue till a month before the wedding, but when we walked in it was like Christmas Eve… we were so excited, it was perfect!

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GS Studio

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A ‘Love birds’ theme ran throughout the styling of the wedding and the saying ‘happily ever after begins here’ was a huge part of creating the magic of our wedding. I’ve always had a thing for birdcages, they had to be part of my wedding!  We chose a colour scheme of gold, white and wood, with a touch of dusky pink and blue. 

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I found my dress in a little boutique in Hong Kong. Finding a dress in Hong Kong was not a nice process. Boutiques were rude and unfriendly with either a huge deposit to put down to to try on, or a fee for trying on each dress – once place was nearly 30 pounds per dress! But I stumbled across a boutique called Hitched, the owner was amazing, and I found the dress! Beautiful full length, fully beaded and embroidered, with a key hole back. The cut wasn’t quite what I wanted but she sent me to a wonderful tailor who customised the dress to suit my needs.

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I also had a diva like dress change! During the Wedding Breakfast I wore a fully beaded and sequined Wedding Saree. It was so heavy! Harry changed at this point too, his outfit was almost as bling as mine!

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Three out of four of my bridesmaids live in the UK (two in Newcastle and one in London, with the fourth living in Hong Kong as well) so this posed quite an issue initially, as we were not going to be in England until the run up to the wedding. So I decided on sarees: one piece of fabric fits all and the perfect way to tie in my Pakistani culture. I couldn’t find anything suitable in Hong Kong, so sent my mum images of what I liked, and she found the perfect match in London– using whatsapp to keep checking with me! The girls then went to my mum to get their blouses fitted, and on the day, Mum and my Aunt dressed the girls. They looked stunning!

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I had a beaded bouquet of white hydrangeas and the bridesmaids’ bouquets were small versions of mine. 

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We used Katherine’s florists. I used silk flowers for the table centrepieces, which we chose in Hong Kong from what can only be described as a department store full of silk flowers. I then made an appointment with Katherine’s Florists for as soon as we arrived in Newcastle to match the bouquets to the silk arrangements. Katherine’s was the first florist I contacted, and they were fantastic!

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Our photographer was Gem Smith from GS Studio.  Despite having recently been hit by a car, Gem brought such a fantastic energy to our day. If you meet her you’d find it impossible NOT to smile when she points her camera at you.

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GS Studio

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Straight after the ceremony we had an Indian Dhol band, Bombay Baja during the champagne reception. They came on again in the evening as evening guests were arriving, and as our band for the evening were setting up. We hired Funk Conspiracy. As You Like it is my go to bar when I’m back in the North East so I googled their regular acts!

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GS Studio   GS Studio

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I pretty much hand made everything:  invitations, order of service, menus, table plan and decorations. The favours were hand made tea bags, combining both our favourite teas, with our ‘love bird tea’ labels. A basket full of tea bags was left out for evening guests as well. Working in a school, I made use of the DT department, with laser cut wooden hearts for the name cards that I used a wood burner to hand write/ burn names into, the centre pieces were hand made and we bought the bird cages from Hong Kong’s famous bird market.

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GS Studio   GS Studio

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We wanted to add as much fun to the day as we could, so I designed chalk board speech bubbles to amuse guests at their tables (two of my art students were desperate to be involved in my wedding so they helped paint them!)

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To keep with my background, and also Harry’s Dad was born in India, we used Asian caterers Saffron, from Glasgow, and everyone was well fed! Can’t beat a curry!  For the evening meal we hired a pizza oven, The Woodfire Wagon, a new company in the North East. Freshly made stone baked pizza, and they even did gluten free bases (for me and some G/F guests). We really wanted to keep the day fresh and different, but without being to ‘fussy’.

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My friend Laura made absolutely beautiful cup cakes, with a small cake top. She did the most amazing job. She’s so creative, I simply sent her the colour scheme and pictures of the flowers. She had the invitation too of course. What she came up with could not have been more perfect!

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It may sound clichéd but I really loved every second from waking up, with my bridesmaids, till going to bed with my husband… I didn’t want the day to end. The most special moment was a moment after the ceremony when I looked at Harry and thought, wow, you’re my husband, and I looked around the room and it was full of all the special people in our lives. It was magic.

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There was a surreal moment on the dance floor when suddenly Harry was crowd surfing, and every man in the room had their tie around their head! The day was the most fun I have ever had! I’m still buzzing.

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We had Snaparazzi Photobooth, which brought such a buzz to the evening, with a trunk load of fancy dress, and bizarre props, we’re still getting comments about how much fun people had in the booth!

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As we spent a month in England for the run up to the wedding, we were out of holiday time, so we’ll go on our honeymoon, to Sri Lanka, at Christmas, something to look forward to!

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My top tip for other Brides Up North would be take the time to share a moment with your new husband, leaving our guests to have our photos taken was a great way to do this. Make the most of that time, and keep stealing moments together, in between being a good host.

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I guess the other thing is follow your instinct, if having to hand tie 200 favour bags is what you want to do to add that special touch, don’t let anyone talk you out of it. I don’t regret a second of the time I spent on what people might say are ‘unnecessary details’ Do the things that you think are important because it is your day, and if it’s important to you then it IS important! And after all that planning is done, on the day hand it all over to someone else and let them deal with the logistics so you can enjoy being a bride!

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GS Studio

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Congratulations Sameera & Harry!

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Get in touch to see your own Real Wedding featured on the blog. Here’s how

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  – Images © 2012

GS Studio is a Brides Up North Featured Supplier, but this is not a sponsored post

Contact Brides Up North to submit your business as a Featured Supplier

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Posted in Featured Supplier, North East Wedding, Wedding Photography, Wedding Venues | Filed Under | 2 Comments

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