If you’re dreaming of the weekend that’s just passed and wishing you were right back amongst it, then I have the loveliest bright and colourful wedding that’s certain to lift your spirits. Bride Ange works in government communications, whilst groom Michael works for a technology public relations agency. The gorgeous pair married on the 21st of October 2016 at Mile End Ecology Pavilion in London, with their big day filled to the brim with the colours of the tropics and loads of glitz and glamour. You will instantly feel like you were one of the lucky guests as you view these joy-filled images by My Beautiful Bride Photography.
“Both Michael and my family come from very tropical and exotic locations, so that was the inspiration. We wanted to bring some of that colour and heat to London on an October day. The venue is a little leafy oasis in the city, by the canals and the aptly named Palm Tree Pub. Michael used to run by the canals there and I have spent many a happy, balmy summer’s night in the park. In October, the colours of autumn were incredible and really added to the feel, plus the space itself was a blank canvas that we could turn into our own. In my head I had a vision for a tropical art deco vibe – Great Gatsby gone to the tropics – lots of bright flowers, leafy foliage, and glitz!”
Images by My Beautiful Bride Photography
Ange decided to go back to her south Asian roots and had her beautiful two-piece ensemble made in India. She firstly went to Rangoli designers in Ealing Road, Wembley (the home of all Indian dress wear) and designed her dress from scratch.
“With the art deco Gatsby vibe, I really wanted a beaded dress. I used Love My Dress to try to find dress designers who may fit the bill – and there were some – but at a hefty price, so I had the top and skirt designed and handmade. I also thought it may be cool to go for a golden colour which would suit my skin tone better. It was a fitted fishtail skirt (which I didn’t initially think I would go for – just goes to show how that changes when you try things on!) and a fitted top with a scooped low back. The beadwork was exquisite. It was, however, extremely heavy to wear; not that it stopped me on the dance floor and the skirt did a great swish when I twirled. I really did feel very special in it.”
“Michael and I met in October 2014 through our mutual friend Christina. I currently work with Christina and she had previously worked with Michael and when he described his ideal woman to Christina, I think there was a light bulb moment where she thought this woman exists, and what’s more, I know her. For a couple of days I was subjected to her Cilla Black skills over texts.
I was hesitant, thinking how awkward set ups would be, but before I knew it Christina had told Michael I was super keen and to add me on Facebook (ahhh the romance of social media). I couldn’t be rude so I accepted the request and we got chatting and I thought I may as well go for a drink at the very least. Despite turning up half an hour late, I didn’t roll home until 3am and the rest, as they say, is history.”
“Just over a year later, in December 2015, Michael – who is Zimbabwean by birth – invited me back home for Christmas and to his best friend Nathan’s wedding. I didn’t think a wedding of our own would come of it. We spent Christmas with his family at a safari lodge outside of Harare. It was Christmas Eve and Michael had just returned from Nathan’s stag and was his useful slightly jittery hungover self – a great guise for the proposal he was about to make.”
“We had a beautiful safari ride that afternoon watching all the amazing wildlife. On return to our lovely thatched lodge, we watch the sunset on the African bush and in the most perfect setting he got down on one knee and surprised me! I love that our wedding story began in Zim; we got married in East London which we hold dear in our hearts and we are honeymooning in Sri Lanka, where my family are from.”
Ange had five bridesmaids and a ‘bridesman’, whilst Michael had a ‘groomswoman’ as part of his party. I love this! The entire wedding party was so stylish in their metallic, complimentary attire.
“I really wanted a metallic palette for the bridesmaids and went for gold/rose gold and copper tones that would then be offset by the bright coloured flowers. I also like the idea of tailoring the dress to each girl’s style – so we adapted the necklines accordingly – and visited Ealing Road in Wembley for their glitzy earrings and stacks of coloured Indian bangles. For my bridesman Gavin, we flipped the colours of what the groom was wearing (navy suit and golden tie), so Gavin had a golden tan suit with a blue tropical print shirt and blue bow tie.”
Michael wore a Jeff Banks suit from Debenhams and a gold spotty tie and his five groomsmen matched with their attire. And Michael’s ‘groomswoman’ donned a long navy dress with a beautiful gold neckline.
One of the things I adore most about Ange and Michael’s delightful day is the stunning mix of tropical flowers, inspired by the couple’s cultures.
“Michael and the groomsmen’s buttonholes were flame lillies – the national flower of Zimbabwe. Niranjani, a family friend, did our flowers – she does them for weddings and events and is amazingly creative. She brought my vision for the ‘Glamorous, Glistening Tropics’ (the dress code for our wedding) to life. We went with her to a flower market in West London and just picked all the flowers we love; proteas from South Africa, peonies, birds of paradise, ferns and palm leaves – lots of tropical, colourful flowers. These decorated the tables, the pillars in the pavilion and created the most wonderful, messy bouquets.”
Ange was accompanied by her dad down the aisle to an old Bollywood song from the film ‘Taal’ and the ceremony incorporated three readings the couple loved the words and feel of: ‘Having a Coke with you’ by Frank O Hara, ‘Favourites’ by Shane Koyczan and the marriage extract from ‘The Prophet’ by Kahlil Gibran. The ceremony and moments afterwards were other favourite times of Ange and Michael’s most beautiful day.
“Seeing Michael’s face as I walked down the aisle; I’ll never forget that. We also both loved the ceremony. Saying our vows in front of a room full of people we adore – that’s the bit that I think will stay with me forever. We walked out into the park down this little wooden walkway bridge after the ceremony surrounded by all our guests and a shower of rose petals and that was another exhilarating moment. I don’t think I’ve ever smiled so much!”
“My necklace and earrings were from Rangoli too – and really helped bump up the glitz! I initially didn’t think I would wear anything around the neck, given how detailed the dress was. But once I had my last fitting, and given the neckline of the dress, it did look a bit bare to have nothing around my neck. So I went for the jewelled choker, which allowed the neckline to still standout and little drop earrings to complement.”
“Charlotte mainly works in film and occasionally does bridal make-up. My bridesmaid Cat used to work with her in film publicity and used Charlotte for her wedding. She was great and just put me at ease. I barely wear a lot of make-up, so wanted someone who would keep me looking at my natural best which she did.”
“Michael got my engagement ring (he picked it himself and it’s a perfect emerald cut surrounded by tinier stones and on a very thin band with more stones) from Cara Jewellers in Dubai (Nicola his groomswoman lives out there). Our wedding rings were from the same place. We both really liked rose gold – Michael’s is brushed and I loved the contrast with my white gold ring.”
Michael from My Beautiful Bride Photography was a real find and the couple was very impressed with the resulting images.
“One of my best friends (and also bridesmaid) Cat got married in June 2016. In September 2015, before a wedding of my own was on my mind, I went with her to Islington Town Hall wedding fair to help with her planning and we met Michael there. I instantly loved his pictures and made a note that if I should get married, I would look him up.”
“Michael was brilliant – he made us feel totally at ease from the moment of our venue visit to the day itself. In fact, the photos he took of just Michael and I on the day around Mile End Park and the canal was one of my most favourite moments of our day.”
“I added strappy metallic shoes from House of Fraser and my scent was ‘Fleur’ by Floris. I love floral scents and this one really helped that tropical vibe. I also wanted to go with something I had never worn before.”
The pavilion was decorated with an eclectic mix of both South African and Sri Lankan items, as well as loads of foliage, colourful tropical flowers, fairy lights and lanterns.
“The table plan was pinned to some beautiful hand printed African cloth that Michael’s mum brought over from Zimbabwe. Our table names were written on photos of us and named after places special to us.”
“We had an open bar (a key requirement of any Sri Lankan/Zimbabwean wedding), which is another reason the venue worked (it was a dry hire). We sourced the booze ourselves from Majestic and supermarkets. I think it’s safe to say everyone had a good time with that!”
“There were flowers everywhere! The pillars had tumbling greenery around them, fairy lights strung from the ceiling and moroccan style lanterns hanging from them, with cascading beads and flower balls.”
“We had two tall golden lamps which are traditional in Sri Lankan culture at weddings, peacock feathers, a mini banana leaf plant and a big world map with pins in all the countries we had friends and family come from for the wedding (there were a lot). A world map treasure chest was our gift box. One wall had a string of photos from our lives hanging across it and I made a handmade art deco style sign for the bar and a running order/bridal and groom party photo list.”
“The tasty cuisine was provided by Saffron Culture. They have a restaurant in Bromley and we went for a tasting and they hands down beat all other potential options for a curry. The food was delicious, not greasy and plentiful (just how it should be at a Zim-Lankan wedding). Canapés (which doubled as starters) were mini samosa, chicken tikka, onion bhajis and lots of prosecco. We had a variety of curries that were placed on each table – lamb, prawn, chicken, veggie options. I only wish I could have been able to eat more! Manpreet at Saffron Culture was brilliant and acted as our wedding co-ordinator on the day.”
Creative Cakes by Thushy crafted Michael and Ange’s divine cake and these enticing images are tantalising my tastebuds!
“Sri Lankan butter cake is my favourite cake – it tastes as good as it sounds – really buttery and delicious! And covered in buttercream icing too. The ombre effect also fit in with the tropical theme. We also had slices of Love Cake (made with dates and cashews – another Sri Lankan speciality) served up.”
The couple danced their first dance to ‘Head Over Feet’ by Alanis Morrisette – a throwback to their 90’s childhoods and a song they both love the lyrics to. This was swiftly followed by a ‘Dhandiya’ dance – traditionally south Asian – where you dance in a circle hitting sticks. The newlyweds hired a DJ, a magician and a photobooth to keep the guests well entertained throughout their celebration.
“The DJ was from Stylish Entertainment and played a whole range of things we love and kept the dance floor going, and was really easy to book and correspond with. We also had an amazing magician – Nick Reade – for after dinner entertainment who I can’t recommend enough, and a fun photobooth via Photobooths London.”
Words of Wedded Wisdom
“It doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to be fun and make you happy. That was the key when we were wedding planning. Admin can get the better of you, but try not to let it become a chore and have fun with it. There’s a fine balance between thinking ‘we’re only doing this once, every single thing has got to be just right’ to just focusing on the things you will really remember for years. We tried to do a little bit of planning regularly and early on to not let it build up and so we could enjoy time with friends and family from overseas nearer to the day.
Friends and family are so helpful, so definitely embrace that. Things may go a bit wrong but that’s ok, it will all work out and most of all if you find a way of bottling the buzz and joy from the best day of your life, then let me know – I want in on that.
I found the wealth of wedding advice and tips a bit overwhelming. The choice and ideas are endless and I don’t think I could have faced endless wedding fairs and magazines. I found Love My Dress accessible and enjoyed the variety of different weddings. It gave me some ideas for decor and also wedding dress designers for inspiration.”
Thank you Ange and Michael for such wise words and for allowing us to feel part of your special celebration positively blooming with loads of colour and glamorous touches. A very big thank you also to Michael from My Beautiful Bride Photography for perfectly capturing all of the happy moments.
Have you discovered the brilliant search function of our newly designed blog? It’s very handy if you’re looking for a particular dress designer or a certain wedding style. Simply click on the search button at the right hand top of the page to discover loads of lovely weddings from the archives that are bound to inspire your current planning – see here for more multicultural weddings – happy browsing lovelies!
Love Jo -xo-
- Photographer – My Beautiful Bride Photography
- Ceremony + Venue – Mile End Ecology Pavilion, London
- Wedding Dress + Jewellery – Via Rangoli and dress made in India
- Shoes – Via House of Fraser
- Perfume – 'Fleur' by Floris
- Bridesmaid's Dresses – Via Rangoli
- Bridesmaid's Jewellery – Via Ealing Road, Wembley
- Groom – Jeff Banks suit via Debenhams
- Florist – Niranjani (family friend)
- Catering – Saffron Culture
- Cake – Creative Cakes by Thushy
- Rings – Cara Jewellers
- Entertainment – DJ via Stylish Entertainment + Nick Reade (magician) + photobooth via Photobooths London
- Hair Stylist – Prue at Beaucatcher
- Make-up Artist – Charlotte Yeomans