This afternoon I have a very special post to share with you and something slightly unusual for Florence Finds, a wedding. It’s not just any wedding though, it’s the wedding of Mahj and Martin, Mahj being one of the Rock My Wedding Real Brides. The Real Brides over at RMW were one of my favourite parts of it and one of the things I was most proud of. Getting to know them and helping them out where I could was fun, but the best part was seeing the final result. Completing the cycle with the final wedding posts was one of the things that I missed the most when my time there came to an end. Mahj became a good friend of mine during her time writing for RMW and her unwavering support of me and of Florence Finds has been phenomenal. I’m incredibly grateful for her loyalty and that she wanted to see her wedding report finished by me, and shared on Florence Finds.
Thank you so much Mahj and Martin, I hope I’ve done you both justice…:)
As I sit here to write this, I keep drifting off. Smiling slightly (and at times a little crazily) when remembering parts of the day. As I write this, I have been married for 6 months and 2 days. But in the words of Bo Selecta (!) maybe we need a little rewind?!
I was never just having a wedding day. Oh no. Not for Mr and Mrs Ansari’s youngest daughter. I had what affectionately came to be known as ‘Wedding Week’. Yeah, a whole week of celebrations. But in my defence, Mrs A was behind a lot of it and I wasn’t about to mess with her. Not on this.
My family started to arrive around a week before the wedding from all corners of the globe. It was really bloody lovely as I hadn’t seen some of them for years. I was so touched that they had made the effort to travel so far.
Wednesday 20th July saw the dawn of my Mehndi (henna party). The day started early for my bridesmaids and I, as my henna artist, an unbelievably talented lady called Sabha, had me having henna put on at 9am. 9am people. And it took 5 hours in total to do my hands and feet. My lesson learnt is to not drink tea whilst having said henna put on as that could lead to awkwardness when needing to pee later on…oh gosh, have I just said pee on Florence Finds?!
My Mehndi was as I expected it to be as I hadn’t had a hand in it. Complete bedlam, disorganised and everyone yelling and bossing each other around. Sigh. Welcome to an Asian Wedding. But all that drama-rama aside, this was probably the point when everything started to feel very very real.
I’ve been to plenty of other bride-to-be’s Mehndis and enjoyed them. But to be having my own was 2 parts surreal,1 part nerve-wracking! I knew this day would come but was not prepared for everyone looking at me and asking lots of questions and being so genuinely interested and curious in how it all unfolds.
Really the hardest thing was walking into the room. I could feel everyone’s eyes on me and my face got hot and my skin started prickling and all I could think was “Jesus Mahj, there will be more people at the wedding!”
So at the Mehndi, everyone gets to together to wish the bride well for her married life. They tied flowers around my wrists and fed me sweets and dabbed henna onto my palms. You know, the usual!
Mine was a pretty informal do. After all the Mahj-blessing there was some time to have some photos taken and catch up with everyone. Then there was food and lots of it (seriously, my parents fed people for weeks on the leftovers!) and there may have been some dancing. Ok, there definitely was some dancing. I was supposed to be having a professional dancer coming but unfortunately got let down at the last minute.
Luckily I have some very hyperactive aunts who jammed their Bhangra CD’s in and away we went. Most surprisingly, I loved it! Jigging away to fast-paced Bhangra music isn’t normally how I get down (haha, i can’t believe I just said “how I get down”) but I really enjoyed myself!
And so it dawned. I had managed to sleep the night before, though I’m guessing the few glasses of champagne had helped with that. I felt good. Excited, rested, nervous, giddy and a little sick that the day had finally arrived. And I was calm. Or so I’d thought. I’d done all I could in terms of planning and so now had come the time to enjoy the fruits of my labour…except I still tried to continue controlling the day later on and got the stern face from our wedding co-ordinator and my new husband and was told to relax and leave the staff to it. Oops.
My sharpest memories of the day come from the morning. The getting-ready-with-my-ladies part. It was a pretty relaxed affair (probably because Mrs A hadn’t turned up yet!) and it was whilst I was jumping up and down on the bed (as you do) that the hair and make-up dream team arrived, Michelle and Hayley. Shortly followed by our completely fantastic, we-love-him-so-much-we-could-squish-him photographer Andy Wardle.
I am so grateful for the time I got to spend with my bridesmaids that morning. As soon as I hit that aisle I barely saw them for the rest of the day.
I think I remember putting on my outfit quite early, like around 12pm (we were getting married at 2pm), Mrs A was dead against this but I ignored her. I was determined to spend as much time as humanly possible in that outfit. By this point my hair and make-up were done and I’d stopped panicking about my eyes “being too smokey” and me having too much make up on as Michelle had patiently explained to me that I would need it to last the day and also so I didn’t look washed out on the photos. She was right of course.
And sweet Jesus, dressed in my outfit, hair and make-up done, I felt beautiful. Like really really gorgeous. Knock your socks off schmoking. And so excited. I couldn’t wait for Martin to see me and for me to see him.
And I’ll bet you guys can’t wait to see her walking down the aisle either!
Come back tomorrow to see the second part in all its detailed glory – the paper pretty, the florals, the magnificent cake, but most of all the joy.