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Makesha and John’s funky red and white wedding

Addington Palace, Surrey

Makesha and John – Photo booth

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Photographer: Chris Edwards @ CME Images

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Makesha and John met at design college, and their love of photography was to become a feature of their wedding in the future. “Although we were young when we met, we knew what we had was forever,” says Makesha. “We loved taking silly photos in photo booths, so we hired one when we married!” The couple got engaged in India. “We visited the Taj Mahal at dawn, and as the sun rose over India, John asked me to marry him,” says Makesha.

Makesha and John – The Venue

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The couple married at the grand Addington Palace in Surrey. “We wanted a one-stop venue, so our guests could relax all day,” says Makesha. “The grounds at Addington were once home to Henry VIII and the current house was built in the 1770s, so we loved the history of the place.

It had stunning grounds and architectural features that we knew would be the perfect backdrop to our magical day, plus the head chef there is fantastic, and could serve a fab Caribbean Fusion menu including rice and peas and jerk chicken,” added Makesha.

Makesha and John – The Ceremony

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The ceremony took place in the Winter Garden – a stunning room with stained glass windows. “We had large white floral arrangements beside the altar, and a red aisle runner from Original Runners monogrammed with ‘M&J’, our bespoke wedding monogram designed by John.” The groomsmen handed baskets of M&J tissues (“For their tears of joy!”), bubbles and confetti to each guest,” she added.

Makesha and John – Post-Ceremony

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Makesha walked down the aisle to At Your Best – You Are Love by Aaliyah, while her flowergirl threw red feathers instead of petals. The readings were Beloved by Maya Angelou, Friendship by Judy Bielicki and I Give You Me, written and read by bridesmaid Najia. “We wrote our own vows for that extra personal touch – it was so special,” says Makesha.

Makesha and John – The bride

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Makesha’s dream dress by Allure Couture had a sweetheart neckline and bodice embellished with hundreds of pearls, silver embroidery and Swarovski crystals. “I know it’s a cliché to say ‘When I saw my dress I knew it was the one…’ but I really did!” says Makesha. “Finding my dress was a daunting task, but I fell in love with the roses and crystals on the full skirt.”
Her pearl and crystal jewellery was all handcrafted by her friend and jewellery designer Sheena Bulsara.

Makesha and John – Bridal shoes

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“I loved my red satin peep-toe shoes by Steve Madden so much that I wore them all night, despite the four-inch heel!” says Makesha. “They were the icing on the cake!”

Makesha and John – Bridal bouquet

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The red and white colour scheme of the reception was set off by Makesha’s tightly-packed Grand Prix rose bouquet. “The crystal centres added a bit of sparkle, and my bridesmaids carried smaller versions in ivory, all by florist Denise at Maurice Hyde,” says Makesha.

Makesha and John – Bride and bridesmaids

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The six bridesmaids wore red dresses, which they has each chosen individually from shops in the US, where Makesha and John live. “I gave them a swatch of the right colour and they went out and chose their own style, because I wanted them all to be comfortable in what they were wearing. They looked fantastic,” says Makesha.

Makesha and John – Groom, best mans and ushers

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John wore a Bond-style suit from Ted Baker with a white bow tie and a single red rose buttonhole. “He looked fab – like someone out of Ocean’s Eleven,” says Makesha.

Makesha and John – The Reception (Venue)

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The couple’s reception was held in the Great Hall at the Palace. “Its floor-length windows, overlooking the grounds, and its antique features were a perfect setting,” says Makesha.

They injected their personal style into every aspect of the reception, from the personalised cookie and CD favours, to the monogrammed heart-shaped lollies and M&J tattoo transfers that the children received.

Makesha and John – The Speeches

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“We named each table after one of our black heroes,” says Makesha. “Our top table was Oprah Winfrey. We also had Muhammad Ali, Maya Angelou and Nelson Mandela. It went down well and was really individual.”

Each table had a black and white photo of its namesake with red petals scattered around it.

Makesha and John – Table Displays

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The table centrepieces were modern square vases filled with short-stemmed Grand Prix roses. Each rose was studded with a diamante centre and each vase was accessorised with a tiny handmade red butterfly. Find similar at 3D’s.

Makesha and John – Wedding Cake

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The cake was an elegant three-tier chocolate and vanilla sponge by Caffé Concerto. “It was decorated with even more red roses, which looked amazing next to the white icing, and topped with a monogrammed M&J to continue the theme,” says Makesha.

Makesha and John – Wedding Stationery

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The personalised red and white stationery with it’s M&J monogram, used throughout the day, was designed by the groom and his company Vault 49. “He’s a successful graphic designer and he did such a good job,” says Makesha. “It was our most budget-friendly purchase.”

Makesha and John – Chocolate Fountain

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The couple kicked off their evening reception with a huge chocolate fountain from with strawberries, fudge, brownies, profiteroles and doughnuts for dipping. Hire a similar fountain from Chocolate Heaven. They had a Willy Wonka-style candy bar with rhubarb and custards, bon bons and cola bottles! “It was a huge hits with all the kids – young and young at heart!” says Makesha. “We also had our crowning glory – our full size glitter photo booth from Booth Nation where guests could take a picture and leave a message in our ‘Photo guest book.’ It was so much fun and made it really personal,” added Makesha.

Makesha and John – First Dance

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“Our first dance was to soul classic A Little Bit Of Love by Brenda Russell,” says Makesha. “Confetti launchers covered us with shimmering confetti – it was really great!”

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The couple then danced all night with their guests, who had fun putting on red or white leis and dancing with glow sticks or streamers. “We ended the night with each guest holding a sparkler above us to make a tunnel, as John and I rushed to our awaiting car. It was a stunning end to the perfect day,” added Makesha.