Sparkling with winter sun and heartfelt details, this beautiful North East wedding day was filled with love and creativity.
Taking place at Christmastime, Iraa and Adam’s whole day offered a nod to the couple’s mutual adoration of the most wonderful time of the year. Swapping their vows in both Western and Indian ceremonies, the bride and groom’s cultures were beautifully included in the proceedings.
With endless handmade details – Iraa’s brother made her incredible wedding dress, whilst the crafty bride created all the stationery – it was a truly unique celebration that perfectly represented the newlyweds. Read on to find out more about their perfect day!
With images by JPR Shah Photography
Iraa says: We got engaged at about 2am on 1st December 2015. We have a little tradition that the Christmas decorations go up as soon as it hits the first day of December, while watching Home Alone. Adam surprised me with an early Christmas present – he proposed by the tree once all the decorations were up.
Our wedding date was 10th December 2018. We both love Christmas so it felt right to have a winter wedding. We chose Le Petit Château for our venue and had our whole celebration there, with friends and family coming to Otterburn the night before so we could have three whole days with everyone.
It was one of the only venues that could accommodate both the ceremonies we wanted. We held the Western ceremony in the Belle Époque and had a symbolic mini Indian ceremony on the Terrace. We had a symbolic Hindu ceremony as I am Indian – it wasn’t the full ceremony and therefore doesn’t prescribe to the true Hindu marriage ceremony and isn’t truly accurate with regards to religious ceremonies. I worked with my brother to capture the core symbols of being an Indian bride/married woman, as well as what the essence of the Indian wedding meant for me.
Indian vows take place around a fire as the couple circle it as they make each vow; this was narrated by the Master of Ceremonies to explain what each vow and ceremony meant. We opted for the garden fountain with the fire inside as the feature for the Indian ceremony as it was so unique.
We didn’t have a theme as such we both loved the features within the venue so wanted to bring in our elements that highlighted these further. We had little nods to Christmas by opting for wreath centrepieces for the tables as we both wanted something different and not distracting for the guests when they ate and chatted.
The colour palette was really pulled from the wedding invitations – I fell in love with the watercolour flowers. Both Adam and I are professional designers and have our own wedding stationery business Paper Moments, and so I had a clear idea of what I wanted the invites to look like; in Indian weddings, the invites are a big focus, so I wanted to bring some opulence and texture into them. I designed all the wedding stationery myself and we opted for square invites that were custom-printed on clear acrylic by a company in Italy, with all the other elements printed locally in Sunderland and put together by my brother. The idea was to use natural tones for backdrop with pops of colour.
My wedding dress was designed and made by my brother!
I wanted to wear an Indian outfit but my style is modern and minimal, and generally Indian bridal wear is bright and heavily embellished. Its very much a more-is-more attitude! I wanted to combine my Indian roots with the western idea of the ‘big white dress’. So I settled on an Indian outfit with a traditional western white colour palette
My brother sourced all the fabrics and designed the outfit, as well as creating a veil that incorporated Indian draping at the front but could be worn and shaped like a Western veil in its overall silhouette. The majority of fabrics were bought in London, with some sourced in India.
Adam wore a three-piece suit from Master Debonair in Boldon, Tyne and Wear. He matched it with shoes and accessories from ASOS, as well as a pocket square, which was made by my brother using Italian lace. He had four ushers, with two wearing suits from Master Debonair and the other two bought from Amazon. They wore shoes from ASOS and their ties were from Marks & Spencer.
My hair was styled by Beverly Barrow-Smith and my makeup was done by Lauren Walker Makeup Artist – they’re both based in Sunderland.
Our pictures were taken by JPR Shah Photography and I’ve already recommended them to two friends who are getting married soon. John and Caitlin were just brilliant – our guests were commenting on how amazing and friendly they were.
Our flowers were overseen by Deanna Watson: we actually opted for faux flowers as it was more budget-friendly. Guests didn’t even realise they were fake! My bouquet featured white roses, thistles, feathers and foliage. Deanna also made the centrepieces, which we used for both the wedding breakfast and the evening reception; the venue provided some blush-coloured runners
We gave everyone shawls bought from India, which we wrapped with tags that read: ‘To Have & To Hold, Love Adam & Iraa’. Everyone wore them for the outdoor part of the celebration.
The cake was vegan: Adam is dairy intolerant and we had some vegan guests. The bottom two tiers were chocolate cake with oreo frosting and a vegan ganache finish. The top tier was everything I love; chocolate cake alternated with peanut butter and Nutella frosting! Susan Azim made the cake – she’s a family friend and private cake-maker.
We served rich hot chocolates whilst our guests watched the outdoor ceremony; we served guests warm winter Pimms for the drinks reception. We gave our guests options for the wedding breakfast. For the starter course, they could choose between Moroccan tomato and red lentil soup; feta with Greek-style salad, hummus and honey dressing; or duck pate with local piccalilli and rustic baguette.
Mains included individual Wellington with spinach, butternut squash, wild mushrooms and ricotta, plus fondant potatoes and wilted greens; Moroccan vegetable tagine with couscous and grilled pitta bread; 12-hour slow-cooked pork shoulder with mustard mash, green beans and cider gravy; or sirloin of beef with seasonal veg, roast potatoes, Yorkshire pudding and proper gravy.
Dessert was a trio of dark chocolate and Bailey’s cheesecake, warm ginger sponge cake with rum cream and vanilla ice cream and classic crème bruleé with a shortbread finger, or a large cookie dough skillet and brownie.
At the evening reception, we served a variety of Indian street food options, including charred sweetcorn, paneer lollipops, samosas, poppadoms and dips, Chilli Mogo (a family recipe) and Indian spice chicken burgers.
Icon Entertainments provided the entertainment – we hired them after seeing them perform at a friend’s wedding!
It’s a cliché but the whole day was amazing! Though if I had to choose, it would be bursting out laughing during the Western ceremony and the signing. It just sums up us! Also: Adam made all the playlists for the day, and the waiting playlist was film and TV soundtracks. Just before my Western aisle music was played, the last track was the Home Alone theme tune. I was so surprised to hear it I actually screamed. It was such an amazing moment – I was happy, excited and relaxed all in one.
Adam’s favourite moment was waiting for me and my bridesmaids to walk down the aisle during the Western ceremony, as well as when we were announced as Mrs and Mrs Wimpenny for the first time for the wedding breakfast and we came out to the John Cena entry music! The response was brilliant and made us both laugh so much.
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be – if you can, hand-make some of the elements yourself as this can have a big impact. For example, we used green suede and wax seals to close our invites. We did it ourselves in one evening and it was the perfect luxe finishing touch to the invite for a fraction of the cost we’d have paid otherwise.
Also, plan your themes, outfits and so on well in advance so you can keep an eye out for things that could work and grab some bargains. The little costs really do add up fast!