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Real wedding: A countryside wedding with a Justin Alexander dress

This couple created a relaxed celebration full of the things they love, from fabulous feasting to an unusual first dance

For Sonali and Daniel, there was never going to be any question of where they would become wife and husband: the chapel at the school where they met.


“We personalised the ceremony by choosing hymns from our old school hymn book that brought back happy memories,” says Sonali.

The reception venue was equally meaningful to the couple: “The Foundation was somewhere Daniel introduced me to during the early days of our relationship, as he had grown up in the area – we used to visit it during our long country walks together.”

Their celebration style was all about creating a laid-back mood. “We are a relaxed couple and wanted the focus of our wedding day to be on our friends and family,” says Sonali. “With that in mind, everything was geared towards being rustic, natural and personal.”

The emphasis was on excellent edibles. At the wedding breakfast, the couple deliberately kept table decorations to a minimum, to leave as much space as possible for the feast: sharing platters of Middle East-inspired dishes that were mainly vegetarian.

They named the tables after their favourite spices, and the favours were mason jars filled with the corresponding spice.

In keeping with the informal vibe, the couple decided that the traditional slow first dance wasn’t for them. Instead, they chose Bamboleo by the Gipsy Kings, and Daniel’s sister-in-law choreographed an original dance for them.

“That was a truly special moment for us, and the fact we remembered the steps was quite surprising!” he recalls.

Staying true to their vision of a relaxed, personalised celebration really paid off. “The day was memorable and wonderful,” says Sonali. “And it was also just so much fun!”

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Photography: dominiquebader.com
Ceremony venue: haileybury.com
Reception venue: henry-moore.org
Tipi: tipis4hire.com
Bride’s dress: Justin Alexander at bromley-brides.co.uk
Bridesmaid dresses: davidsbridal.co.uk
Groom’s suit tedbaker.com
Flowers: bloomingayles.co.uk
Invites: papier.com
Cake beesbakery.co.uk
DJ: weddingsmashers.com