Saudi-Arabian Style in the Centre of Docklands
A year ago this coming weekend, on a gloriously sunny Saturday afternoon, we had the pleasure of being part of Nadia and Jonathan’s colourful wedding day. Nadia got in touch with us just a couple of months previously to say that she needed some help planning the final touches of her London wedding day taking place at the Marriott Hotel, West India Quay in the heart of London’s Docklands.
When Nadia and her mother met with me to go through their plans I knew it was going to be a really beautiful day full of personal cultural touches, lots of vibrant colours and also a real family celebration. The couple were living apart in different areas of the world and had been for some time as Nadia was living in Saudi Arabia due to her work and Jonathan was on a Navy ship on the east coast of Scotland, so they had spent very little time with each other and their families in the run up to the wedding day.
Preparations started the day before the wedding when Nadia and her friends and family had their Mehndi party. This is a very traditional part of Muslim culture before a wedding and Nadia’s henna was very detailed and intricate and looked beautiful against the bright colours of her sari.
The wedding day itself began at the reception which is where Nadia, her mother and her bridesmaids had all decided to get ready before heading off to the Mosque for their traditional Muslim ceremony. Nadia wanted to fuse her Muslim culture with an English edge and so had chosen to wear a traditional Sari for the ceremony before changing into a white wedding dress for the reception. The two outfits could not have been more contrasting from the bright and bold colours and jewels on one, to the simple and elegant white of the other, but it was a great way to combine both cultures together.
After not having spent much time together in the lead up to their wedding, Nadia and Jonathan decided that they wanted to do a ‘First Look’ before making the journey across London. This proved to be a good opportunity for the couple to spend some rare alone time together before heading to the ceremony, all captured expertly by photographer Sean Gannon.
Guests travelled from far and wide to attend the wedding and enjoyed a journey on a traditional Routemaster bus to the ceremony and back again, providing a little glimpse into London life.
The Suleymaniye Mosque in East London was the ceremony venue and upon entering traditional customs were observed with the men and women separating and taking their places on the floor to witness the marriage take place. It was a real festival of colour with everyone embracing traditional Muslim dress.
Following the ceremony, everyone returned to the hotel for the wedding breakfast. The room was styled simply but there were a few small touches to incorporate elements of both Nadia and Jon, with arabic lanterns adorning the tables and a colour scheme of yellow and blue to reflect Jonathan’s naval background.
Guests enjoyed traditional Lebanese food during the wedding breakfast which was prepared by Noura in London’s Mayfair and washed it down with refreshing Mint Tea.
The three-tiered cake proved to be very popular with guests. Designed by leading cake maker, Maisie Fantaisie, the cake incorporated the couple’s colour scheme with blue ribbon around each tier and yellow sugar flowers.
Once the band started playing, everyone got up on the dance floor to watch the first dance…
Nadia and Jonathan, thank you for allowing us to be a part of your wonderful wedding day. Hope you have enjoyed a fantastic first year together as husband and wife and we wish you many many more!
Photography | Sean Gannon
Ceremony Venue | Suleymaniye Mosque
Reception Venue | Marriott West India Quay
Cake | Maisie Fantaisie
Flowers | Designer Flowers by Stacey Stevens
Mehndi | Nisha
Band | Freestyle Funk Collective
Catering | Noura
Transport | This Bus