The Marriage of Mahj and Martin, Part 2

If you didn’t see part 1 yesterday, detailing Mahj’s Mehndi (henna party) and some of the best getting ready shots I have ever seen, then go back now and read her beautiful account of the first part of her self-proclaimed ‘wedding week’. Today you get to see the details, but more importantly the best part of any wedding, the part that makes it all worthwhile, the moments when you realise you’re married, the quiet of the portrait shots, the buzz of the reception, the joy and emotion of the speeches and the love, from having everyone that is most important to you in one place. And the love is written all over Mahj’s face…

I really at this juncture should tell you about my flowers. I got them from a fab little vintage style florist near me in Stockport called Zuzu’s, which is run by the ever-so-lovely Kerry. She’s so good at what she does and really knows what works together and how to make the most out of flowers, especially if you have a budget set for your blooms. And I LOVED my bouquet. Heck, I loved all the flowers she did, not just mine! They looked amazing and smelt yummy. I think my only regret would be not tossing my bouquet in the evening, though Mrs A was pleased as she ended up having it! For those of you interested, in my bouquet was: sweet pea, flowering mint, hydrangea, larkspur, faith, melano and deepwater roses, lisianthus, alcamila, red roses and coolwater lilies. Hope I got that all right! I had really wanted peonies but when it came time for my bouquet to be put together, the peonies were so expensive that Kerry substituted hydrangeas instead which looked just as lovely.

As detailed on the very lovely AOW blog, my nerves didn’t really kick in till we were walking down to the ceremony room. And I’m quite proud of myself for not having that pesky out-of-body experience and keeping in the ‘now’ for the whole thing. But gosh, nothing beats that moment when they announce you and your man as husband and wife. Nothing.

I had been totally obsessed with the weather for our day. My obsession had transferred to other people in the wedding party: mothers, bridesmaids, groomsmen. And though the day started beautifully sunny, by the time we were having canapés and drinks, it was looking a wee bit cloudy. And by the time we were having the obligatory whole group shot, the heavens had started to open. But you know what? I absolutely didn’t give a monkey’s. Who cares? We were indoors, my glass of plonk was really quite nice and I WAS MARRIED!

I think the speeches were my second favourite part of the day after the ceremony. Various people who had heard the various speeches had all said they had cried after hearing them read to them. My anticipation was high. Firstly my darling Pops. Possibly the most private and quiet man I know, I honestly had no idea what he would say and how he would say it. But he did so beautifully, it was a revelation. He made everyone laugh, then cry then laugh again. But his voice cracked after saying how radiant I looked. Sniff, I’d never been called radiant before.

Martin doesn’t like public speaking. But he honestly blew everyone away with his speech. He had worked so hard and practised a lot. His speech isn’t great sometimes but he kicked the arse of that and made more than a few people weep into their napkins!

And then there was the best man Andy…who was utterly brilliant and hilarious. No crude jokes or jibes. Some well placed anecdotes (he’s known the both of us for years) and the most lovely acknowledgement of what Martin and I had gone through 3 years previously and how we’d gotten through it.

Aaahh and this is where I have some holes in my memory. When I try and think back, everything feels a bit fragmented. What I do remember is having the group shots done and then going off for Martin and my shots. I actually don’t remember what we talked about, or if we even talked at all. But I do remember looking at him and giggling quite a lot to myself because he was my husband. I had a husband. Hee.

By the time we had made our way back inside, my gorgeous green shoes had been kicked off as they were evil. Evil I tell you. They may look pretty but they will make you almost cry with pain. And also our evening guests had arrived. The DJ was set up and when did it become 7.30pm?? I thought we had hours left. Noooooo, I don’t want this day to ever end.

We said a few hellos and then had our first dance to U2’s “The Ground Beneath Her Feet”. The song isn’t especially significant to us, we just both quite like it.

The rest of the evening was a blur. There were so many people and well-wishers. But we danced till our feet nearly fell off! We had planned the playlist for months and were determined to spend some time on that dance floor.

And really, all I can remember from the evening is dancing, glowsticks, the guys all wearing the flipflops meant for the ladies (!), a boys v girls dance-off, Martin and I randomly stuffing a bit of wedding cake in our mouths (it was delicious) and love. So much love.

We finally got to bed at around 2.30am. It took 20 minutes for my hair to be taken out with an assist from 2 of my bridesmaids. We managed to give the gifts we’d gotten for each other to each other and then we were done.

The next morning it all felt a bit surreal. Did all that really happen yesterday? Are we actually married now? Examining the henna on my hands with my new wedding ring on and then stepping on a glowstick as I got out of bed gave me my answer. It really did all happen.

Mahj xoxo

It’s been almost 8 months since I last put a wedding post together and whilst they were often selected for their style rather than story, knowing Mahj’s has really altered my perception of each and every image, particularly the hard times she has come through with Martin and his incredible strength. It meant that I looked at these images and instead of scouring for the details, I enjoyed every expression of joy or emotion in them. My favourite? I have 2: Eighth from the top, Mahj and Martin hugging for the camera and her arms looking like she’s never letting go – you got a good one Mahj! And the last, with Martin holding her head in his hands, we know Mahj has found someone to love and cherish her as much as she will him. Now that’s a love story.


The Marriage of Mahj and Martin, Part 1

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.

The Mehndi
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.


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