An intimate wedding in Somerset: Stephen Poole and Ahmad Mahfouz

18 Jul 2016

Inviting only close friends and family, this intimate wedding in Yeovil, Somerset, showcases how special a small wedding can be

How did you meet?

I met Ahmad whilst on a two-week holiday in Hurghada, Egypt, in October 2014. We initially made contact over the internet via a chat room; from the moment we started chatting we just hit it off and as a result he joined me for a couple days at the end of my stay and we knew from then that there was something special. Following on from that our lives consisted of daily Skype chats, constant emails and text messages along with many further holidays over to Egypt to catch up with each other.

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Tell us about the proposal.

The proposal was some nine months into the relationship. We’d booked to go on holiday together in Sharm El Sheik. With both the time and setting feeling 'right', we both stumbled over the words at the same time wanting to cement our relationship by taking it a step further and getting married

What was the theme for the day, and did you have a colour scheme?

The theme of the day was small and intimate. Only close friends and family members were invited to make the day extra special. The colour scheme was burgundy and cream.

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Where did you find your suits?

We’d looked around all of the high street stores as well as looking online, but in the end we purchased our suits from Burton Menswear. They were navy blue three-piece suits with single breast jackets, matching waistcoats and straight legged trousers, finished off with tan brown shoes also from Burton.

Often the aspect that makes a wedding original to the couple is the detail – tell us about the details of the day.

The favours and the cake were all made by my sister, Nicola Haskins. Finishing touches such as embossed napkins with our names and date of the ceremony also added that little extra special touch. A tree of life was also presented to all guests that attended the wedding, requesting that they make an imprint of their finger print to adorn the tree's branches, thereby filling it with leaves.

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How did you feel as you walked down the aisle?

Both Ahmad and myself were nervous at the thought of sharing our most inner thoughts amongst so many friends and family. We are both very private people, but on this occasion it did feel right that everyone present was happy for us both and so it did ease the nerves a little.

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What was your most memorable moment?

The most memorable moment of the wedding must have been the fact that on the day of the wedding the weather was definitely in our favour. The sun was shining brightly and with the backdrop of the venue and the small party of guests,       it all simply fell into place and was perfect.

What was the most challenging aspect of planning this wedding?

Time and choosing the right venue. We set ourselves a deadline of only two months from start to finish. Finding a suitable venue was in itself difficult, having to choose somewhere between Weston Super Mare (where we live) and Yeovil (where all of my family live). On top of this, finding a venue that could cater for my disabled father was also quite difficult. This was one of the deciding factors of the venue being in Yeovil, to minimise transportation for my mum and him.

What was the most important investment for you?

The most important investment for us had nothing to do with monetary value… it was simply the fact that our family and friends - both old and new - could attend the day and make it as special as it was. It doesn’t really matter if your day is funded either by a shoe string budget or with an open cheque, if the atmosphere and blend between the bridal party and the guests isn’t there, then the day itself wont flow.

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What song did you choose for your first dance, and why?

There was no first dance at the wedding reception, but three choices of song were played at the ceremony itself. We chose three different songs for different aspects of the ceremony though which were as follows:

  • We walked into the venue to the tune of Ellie Goulding, 'Love Me Like You Do'. This was chosen for two reasons: both Ahmad and I have loved the tune ever since it was released to accompany the film Fifty Shades of Grey, and the words seemed to fit the moment just perfectly
  • We signed the register to: Rhianna, 'Diamonds', this was our bit of 'bling' for the day, tongue in cheek humour to all of those guests that know me so well.
  • At the end of the ceremony, we walked out to: Pink, 'Raise Your Glass', and finally time to relax and let our hair down so we chose a more upbeat tune to set the mood for the remainder of the day, with time to let our hair down, relax and party the rest of the day away.

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Tell us about your wedding cake.

The wedding cake was a three tier ensemble. The bottom tier was traditional fruit cake, the middle tier victoria sponge and the top tier chocolate sponge. The tiers themselves were made by M&S and then decorated by my sister, Nicola, with the addition of fresh flowers that matched the button holes which were cream and burgundy roses.

We chose three different flavoured tiers to accommodate both our tastebuds and those of our guests; Ahmad preferring chocolate, myself a lover of the traditional fruit cake and the victoria sponge to offer a third choice. The design of the cake was chosen through hours of trawling the internet. Some designs were simply too big, too fancy or didn’t suit the occasion, but the end result was perfect in every way, so many thanks needs to go to my sister and the florist for executing our dream cake.

If you could go back and change anything, what would it be?

Looking back at the day it all went as smoothly as we could have wished for. Maybe, having a more formal sit down meal rather than the buffet that we chose would have been better. But only because neither Ahmad or myself actually ate a great deal, what with mingling with all our guests during the reception.

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Where did you go on honeymoon?

No honeymoon as yet has been organised, but later in the year we’ll make a trip back to Egypt for Ahmad to catch up with his friends and family and this will be treated like our honeymoon.

Do you have any advice for couples in the planning stages?

  1. Never lose sight of what the real reason for the day is. It is simply about you and your partner sharing your love for one another surrounded by the people that mean the most to you. So many of these occasions can get out of hand by inviting people that you feel you should invite, rather than having those people around you that you actually want to be there.
  2. Photography; with all that goes on throughout the day, this is actually one of the most important things to get right. Choosing a photographer that’s on the same wavelength as you, is a must! They will be your eyes and ears for the day, as well as catching the moments that you will inevitably miss what with having to speak with aunts, uncles, friends and family and anyone else that wants a piece of you. A good mixture of both formal and informal, colour and black and white shots are great; the professionalism and experience of your photographer will help in choosing what pictures, colours and settings are more suitable to each venue and couple.

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Steal their style:

Photography: Nicky Hill, http://nickyhillphotography.com
Ceremony Venue: Abbey Manor Business Centre, http://yeovilbusinesscentre.co.uk
Reception Venue: The Great Lyde
Flowers: Just Maria, http://justmaria.co.uk

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