Tell us a little about yourselves, what you do, what you love, what is unique about you and your relationship…
I am a Speech and Language Therapist for the NHS in London, I work with children and babies with complex medical conditions and support families in their home environments. Calum is the Executive chef of a large British restaurant called Holborn Dining Room, he is passionate about savoury pastry and is well known for his pies.
Exploring the food of other cultures is a major passion of ours and we have travelled all over the world to find new things from central Mexico to Denmark. We even named our wedding tables after our favourite restaurants around the world. Our next trips are going to be Japan, Australia and the Amalfi coast of Italy. Calum’s work means that he often finishes quite late at night but we are both night owls so we make time for each other even after midnight and we still eat cooked meals together every day, even in the little hours. We are spontaneous with going out as we have very different working weeks but that is great in big city and exciting to know there may be fun surprises every few days.
Tell us about your special day, was there a specific theme or style? Tell us a little about the setting, the styling and some of your favourite details…
Two main factors influenced the wedding theme, the first being that our marriage was the joining of two quite different cultures, Sri Lankan and British and the second being that it was going to be a lot of guests. We wanted the wedding to honour both of our cultures and to also still feel intimate despite the size. We held a party at Mantells Mount Eden a few days before the wedding for all of the international guests and my Auckland friends. This was to let them get to know each other before the big day and also for us to catch up properly with them all without all the pressures of the wedding day schedule.
When we were deciding on a style, we tried a to keep a few key words in mind, organic, simple, intimate and natural and for that reason we chose to hold it at Kumeu Valley Estate. We changed out the normal round tables and instead had two long communal tables so everyone was together. We wanted flowers and candles everywhere and worked with Naomi from Leaf and Honey on transforming the space. I actually chose the timing of the wedding specifically to coincide with the Peony season so they could be a main focus, the highlight of which was a breath taking feature hanging above the bridal table. I would highly recommend working with a floral stylist to interpret your thoughts into something unique. La Lumiere installed festoon lighting to match our theme and to work with the wood and stone of the building. Having sharing food down the table created a feast like atmosphere and a natural engagement with each other as at a family meal and the tables were decorated with beautiful olive foliage and wild blooms. Our wedding favours were personalised pouches made in Sri Lanka holding traditional love cake made by my mum and tea from my godfather’s tea company. My husband made the wedding cake to fit our theme, organic and natural in style and inside a madeira sponge with a white chocolate and raspberry ganache.
Tell us about your main outfits:
I knew that I was going to wear a traditional Kandyan sari but I wanted it to be a little different and contemporary to match the style of our wedding. I bought the fabric from Berwick Street in Soho, London and I then met up with my mother in Sri Lanka where we had the sari made by a Sri Lankan designer, Shyalanie Tillekeratne and sourced traditional jewellery to match it. Although I had design drawings and had early fittings I still didn’t see the finished article until ten days before the wedding which was more than nerve-wracking but was so pleased with how it turned out. Calum had a navy blue tailored suit made for him at Hackett in London’s Jermyn Street. We spent a long time looking for a suitable tie and found a classic understated Tom Ford design that complemented the cut of the suit. He wore his late father’s gold cufflinks on the day so he was there with him.
What were some of the most memorable/unique moments from the day?
One of our favourite examples of the mix of cultures at the wedding was our arrival at the reception, where we were greeted by our guests throwing confetti as we were led to the traditional lighting of the lamp ceremony. The lighting of the oil lamp signifies two families becoming one. Something we were really looking forward to was our first dance; Calum and I are both not confident dancers so we had secret lessons in the months before to a simple routine to Sister Sledge’s Thinking of You. It was a bit of fun for the guests as we knew no one would expect it and even kept it hidden from our mothers. Looking back at the photos the expression on everyone’s faces made it all worthwhile and it was a lovely way for us to both conquer that fear!
Any advice for other couples planning to spend the rest of their lives together?
Focus on your own future together and try not to compare yourself to others, it allows you to concentrate on the things that are important to each other and to achieve things at a pace that is right for your lives. Be prepared for plans to change and to follow the natural path of them, things don’t always work out the way we have mapped them out in our heads and that’s ok.
Photography: Chasewild | Videography: Shaun Paul Creative | Ceremony location: St Patricks Cathedral | Reception location: Kumeu Valley Estate | Celebrant: Monsignor David Tonks | Bridal Sari: Shyalanie Tillekeratne | Groom’s suit: Hackett | Rings: Bullion Exchange Jeweller | Shoes: Bride- LK Bennett, Groom- Crockett & Jones | Groom’s tie: Tom Ford | Bridal Jewellery: Ceylon Gallery | Makeup and Hair: Kaitlin Chapman Beauty | Bridal dressing gown: Sandro | Groomsmen’s suits: John Lewis | Entertainment: DJ Murray Sweetpants | Styling: Leaf and Honey | Hire: The Pretty Prop Shop | Catering & Beverages: Kumeu Valley Estate | Cake: Calum Franklin | Car: First Classic Cars | Photo booth: Snap Click | Lighting: La Lumiere