We absolutely love Naeem’s thoughtful proposal. Rahima says, “Given how much we enjoyed our first date there, and it was inside the Earth Hall where we shared our first kiss, Naeem thought the Natural History Museum would be the perfect place to pop the question.” By speaking to staff in advance, he was able to secure a 15-minute window when traffic in and out of the room would be diverted so it was almost empty. “He wanted as much privacy as possible,” Rahima says. “I think he was worried I’d say no!” Naeem got down on one knee with a bespoke ring that he had painstakingly designed. So romantic!
The loved-up pair soon set the date for 24th August, 2019, at the spectacular Syon House, with a ceremony in The Great Hall and reception in The Great Conservatory. We caught up with Rahima to find out more…
DJ and entertainment
The wonderfully helpful staff who showed us around assured us they would be present on the day, as well as every day leading up to the event. We were sold!" They were so set on tying the knot there that they waited in a queue for 10 hours prior to the August wedding dates being released to ensure that not only did they have the perfect venue, but the perfect date too.
Rahima and Naeem's design concept was to keep things simple and elegant, ensuring the beauty of the surroundings were not masked by over-the-top decorations. "We explored this brief with our florist, Mary Jane Vaughan Designs," Rahima explains. "She was patient and understanding and her vision was second to none. We met her at a wedding show at Syon Park as she is an approved supplier at the venue. Once we saw examples of her work, she was top of our list. She even managed to deliver to me a hand-written note from Naeem on the wedding morning along with my favourite flower: a white orchid."
After extensive research, the bride narrowed down cake suppliers to three contenders and ordered samples from each. "Some were too dry, some were too moist and some were too bland," she tells us. "Jen's Cakery seemed to have found the Goldilocks formula for cake as the flavours were spot on and the sponge was the perfect texture."
The couple opted for a three-tiered creation with two tiers of lemon and one of vanilla and raspberry. It was finished with white buttercream and dressed with florals in keeping with the day. "The cake tasted so good that the guests left us with nothing to take home," Rahima says. "Well, other than the slices we hid around the back for a midnight snack!"
The pair spent hours researching table plans that were not only good quality but followed a subtle garden theme to coordinate with the setting. "We found a small company on Etsy that provided not only the table plan, but also our welcome sign for guests to see as they entered," Rahima says.
Having both been raised in Asian households, the nearlyweds knew they wanted the cuisine at their wedding to be Indian, to both satisfy their own taste buds and those of their guests! "The Clay Oven was an approved supplier to the venue as well as being well-known in the Indian catering world," Rahima says. "They were accommodating from the start and catered to our vision perfectly.
The food itself was everything you would want from a good Indian banquet: beautifully presented, packed full of flavour and lots to go around! The servers were courteous and helpful, therefore providing a wonderful atmosphere filled with delicious aromas and exquisite food."
The couple enlisted the help of a close family friend who is a DJ and runs an events company. "He has performed at events worldwide and was a DJ for BBC Radio," Rahima explains. "He knows how to get a crowd going and belt out all the best songs to get guests on the dancefloor." For a personal touch, he also provided TV screens that played a slideshow of carefully selected photos of the newlyweds' journey together.
So looking back, how did the new Mr and Mrs feel about their big day? "While any couple reminiscing about their wedding is going to be biased, we can honestly say it was perfect," Rahima smiles. "The weather gods heard our prayers and glorious sunshine illuminated the wonderful Syon House, allowing it to be marvelled at as a hidden gem in West London.
Whether it was dad dances from both sides during their respective speeches or embarrassing tales from the groom's youth courtesy of the best man, the day was filled with love, laughs and a few tears of joy."
Of course, we had to ask Rahima what her most memorable moment was. She told us, "The part that will stand out the most for both of us is the first dance. Standing under the starry night, with the disco ball creating a breath-taking silhouette of us taking our first steps as man and wife is something we won't forget in a hurry – especially as the song was by my beloved Westlife!"
In agreement that they wanted a summer wedding, the couple were on the hunt for a venue that was beautiful inside and out. "When we saw pictures of Syon House we fell in love immediately," Rahima says. "The visit we made there solidified our adoration of the estate, from the magnificence of the house to the Great Conservatory and surrounding gardens.