Mathew and Azize
In the beginning.
Our story began in the middle of 2007. We first made contact through social media, just chatting in the early days. We had mutual friends and seen each other out a few times. It wasn't until towards the end of the year that we finally met in person and we hit it off straight away.
Mat was renting with friends at the time so we spent a lot of time together in the first few months. When the tenancy was coming to the end, we knew that we wanted to continue to have our own space so discussed living together. Even though we had only been together 6 months we went ahead and reserved a new build. Our family and friends were shocked but we both knew that it felt right for us and we never do things by halves.
Fast forward 5 years, for our anniversary I brought myself and mat commitment rings. Same sex marriage had still not passed by this point so we decided to wait.
A further 7 years passed before we finally said to each other let's do this. Not very romantic I know but we aren't very traditional and mat hates being the centre of attention.
A major factor in the time frame was also that we wanted our family and friends around us that were getting married to have their time. We both come from big families and some years we were attending 4 to 5 weddings.
We always knew that we didn't want to do the big engagement and wait a long time to get married. When we get an idea in our heads, we go for it.
Initially we were going to go away, just us two, get married then have a big reception when we got back. Unfortunately, the global pandemic had other plans for us. Along with this major crisis we realised that we would be excluding some important people in our lives so decided to get married in the UK.
It was a very strange time to start planning a wedding with many issues to overcome. Some venues and suppliers were going out of business and we didn't know how many people would be able to attend to name a few.
The first step we took was to list everybody we wanted there for both the day and evening reception.
We soon realised that we needed to come up with multiple plans to incorporate the ever-changing restrictions.
We decided to find a venue that would be able to accommodate the highest number possible. My friend had done some electrical work at The Bentley Brook Inn and suggested that we visited. From the moment we arrived we knew that we would get married there. Wendy, Joe and their team are absolutely fantastic, their warm welcome and experience made us pay the deposit on our first meeting.
With the date set we had to work with current guidelines which meant that we could only have a total of 95 guests for both the day and evening. This was the maximum the venue could accommodate with everyone seated.
The theme we wanted was to be very stripped back and rustic to complement the countryside venue.
We had to find a lot of people through Internet searches because of lockdown, here are our team of heroes that brought our vision to life.
Wendy, Joe and the team @thebentleybrookinn were very helpful taking us through the plans for the entire day explaining each step, making suggestions and ensuring the day went incredibly smoothly.
Frankie @pinkphotographics came through a recommendation from a friend’s wedding photographer, and thank God. She made us feel at ease and we had the most hilarious first meeting with her. She captured our day perfectly and we are forever grateful.
Jane @rosedalefloraldesign was really open and excited to work with our theme, she helped create an amazing atmosphere with the greenery and flowers used.
Tina @celebritycakesuk created nothing short of a masterpiece. Even though we had to do our consultation via zoom Tina went above and beyond to create our stunning cake and dessert table. Through sampling, design to the final creation every little detail was extraordinary.
My mum took charge with styling our wedding and she did a phenomenal job. Me and Mat were working 50-60 hour weeks so she helped put everything together and sourced all decorations we used. She literally thought of everything including putting together garden games for the children attending along with personalised gift bags for each of them.
For our wedding favours we decided that we wanted to make a donation to charity in everyone's name. We ordered a pin badge for each guest’s place setting from @cancerresearchuk, a rainbow to show support for this important charity and the LGBTQI+ community.
Heather @heatherfosterdesign, mats cousin, did all our invites and wedding stationery. She did a fantastic job matching up with the greenery used in the venue and very patient when we had to keep changing item's due to restrictions.
Paul @thesecretbarber (Heather's husband) for making sure that me and mat looked sharp on the day.
We decided to book two activities for the evening so that guests could carry on the celebrations with us. We were a week behind restrictions being lifted entirely so had to plan a reception that would be a little different. We were able to have music outside in the wedding garden with playlists mixed by Miles, the DJ for the venue.
Chloe @snapcandyphotobooths and her husband provided a stunning photo booth along with props for guests to use. Before the day we were able to design a personalised boarder for the prints, a great touch. The booth printed a copy for the guests to take away and one for a photo guest book, which they then left us a message.
Clare @wishuponasparkle provided the glitter bar which was a great hit and lots of fun. Adults and children alike were queuing for their chance to add a bit of sparkle for the evening.
Myself and Mathew had the best day and so grateful that we could celebrate with our family and friends. It was the first big event many of us attended since restrictions started to ease. Everyone was respectful of the rules and each other.
We now step forward into a new chapter in our lives and we are excited for what the future holds for us.