Miriam and William met by accident in a tiny pub in Camden. They were both there alone (Miriam was studying at the time – struggling through an essay) and Will was on a day off. He put Oasis on the jukebox, which annoyed her so she let him know. By the end of the evening, they’d exchanged email addresses (he was between phones) and then carried on meeting up!
They were married on 08/11/14 at Islington Town Hall + Shillibeer’s Bar and Grill, N7 in London.
Our engagement came as a bit of surprise – we’d been together about 3-4 months when Will popped the question on the train back to Croydon after our Valentine’s getaway to Bruges. He then proposed properly, with a ring, a couple of weeks later at Westgate Gardens in Canterbury. I remember it very clearly, I was starving so decided to get a pasty beforehand, so he was waiting around watching me eat, getting more and more nervous!
There were quite a few obstacles to overcome in planning the wedding. We lived in London, so money was definitely tight. My in-laws and Will’s Grandad very kindly contributed a large sum to the wedding, which helped us keep the costs low. We went DIY for a lot of it, doing our own invites, decor, flowers. I did my own make-up, and we got Will’s tux from Asos and had it tailored to fit him perfectly.
Multicultural Wedding Planning
It wasn’t easy planning a cross-cultural wedding, but that was down more to family expectations. My parents are of a very strong Muslim faith; I’m not, and neither is Will. There was a fair amount of disagreements and heating conversations. I’d say stick to your guns, and be prepared to make sacrifices. I found it was vital that I had a strong support network in my friends, fiancé and in-laws, as it meant that I was able to go through the wedding planning process and day without my immediate family there. I also gave myself away in the ceremony – I was thinking about having a close friend do it, but then I decided that I was my own person, and didn’t belong to anyone to give away!
Our plan for the wedding was just a big party, much like our engagement do. We weren’t a fan of the traditional format, and needed to keep the costs low so cut out the traditional wedding breakfast and just had dinner on at 6pm. Dinner was a buffet of Asian-fusion style food, which Shillibeers, our venue, did admirably. Everyone was responsible for their own drinks as we just provided the welcome drink (mulled wine or bubbly!) Halfway through the afternoon there was a pub quiz around our interests, which kept the excitement and momentum of the day flowing.
Multicultural Wedding Advice
I’d advise all multi-cultural couples to have that discussion about what is important to them. We were really keen to keep that Bangladeshi-style decor going through the day, particularly as my family weren’t going to be there. The bridesmaids wore art-silk sarees, and I had my henna done, as per custom for brides. On the other hand, it’s important to not forget that this is a fusion of two cultures, and to not leave the other one out. I was born and brought up in England so we kept a strong western theme in the wedding, from the stationery through to the day itself.
We did our own flowers, waking up at 4am to get them from New Covent Garden Market and then putting them together in our flat. Will was responsible for pretty much all the flowers, except my bouquet which I put together following some youtube tutorials. We decided on the roses and thistles to reflect Will’s heritage (Scottish, Irish and English – we couldn’t find any clovers!) and the yellow flowers were because we couldn’t get cut Indian Marigold’s.
Wedding Rings: I found Mark on Facebook, and after spending a whole day going through Hatton Garden, he really understood our frustration with overpriced wedding rings on the high street and the inferior quality. Mark was absolutely fantastic, taking us through the process step by step, and allowing for alterations and changes of heart. He was brilliant, and I wouldn’t hesitate in recommending him to anyone!
Dress: Teokath Wimbledon, (Sample boutique in Ely’s department store)
Earrings: H Samuels, a 1-year anniversary present
Necklace: Borrowed from my mother-in-law
Henna: Fatheha from Chadni Arts – she was the most reasonably priced and incredibly friendly and talented
Initialled Cufflinks: Handmade by Miriam
Unique Wedding Rings: Mark Waterton
Cake: The cake was actually made by my mother-in-law – it’s the same recipe as the family Christmas cake, with less spices. The cake was iced and decorated by Kate Poulter at Patacake Patacake, who I found on a community notice board. She also managed to source the cake stand for us, burning on the date and our wedding monogram.
Photography: Barbara K Photography
As an alternative wedding photographer, Barbara gets to shoot multicultural/fusion weddings quite often. What she loves the most about her job is photographing unique weddings so it is really great when both partners come from a different culture. It is always very exciting to her not to know exactly what to expect from such a wedding. However shooting a multicultural wedding comes naturally to Barbara as she has always been interested in other cultures – after all she is a French woman living in London and married to a Japanese man!5