Real Bride: Sammy

Jan 26, 2017

After catching each other’s eye at a ballroom in London in

December, this is truly a love story for the ages.

When and where did you meet your husband?

We met in a very old fashioned way… in a ballroom. It was the beginning of December and the event was a 1920’s prohibition party in the Bloomsbury Ballroom, London. He was dressed in a black evening suit whilst I was wearing a black beaded flapper dress with metallic Church’s brogues.

How did you know he was the ones? 

When he asked me to dance and swept me off my feet. The little romantic in me knew it was love at first sight… and he turned out to be a generous, loving and caring man.

How did he propose?

We went to visit his family in France and he suggested we go to the Spa, which had recently opened, and grab something quick to eat in the bistro before. It turned out the bistro was family run 3 Michelin stars awarded restaurant Régis et Jacques Marcon. I slightly regretted wearing my swimming costume underneath!

When and where did the big day take place? 

We had three wedding celebrations, a Ghanaian traditional wedding ceremony, Civil and then the Church wedding, which took place in a beautiful chapel in Ardeche France with the reception in his family home and hotel  La Gentilhommiere.

When did you start planning?

We started planning in December as we knew we wanted to get married the following August bank holiday before we moved to New York. So I had 9 months to plan 3 weddings with around 500 people in attendance.

Where did you get your dress? 

I was privileged to wear a beautiful Ellis bridals gown from the collection, which is only now being released.

Is that the sort of dress you thought you would go for or was it a surprise? 

Originally I had pictured myself in a low back number but soon realised this was the style I always wear and it didn’t feel special. When it comes to clothing I do have a split personality and I think my dress selection fully demonstrated this.

As my business is to design beautiful suits and outfits for men getting married, my husband and I really wanted to have two looks on that day to complement the setting and us, so if he was wearing two suits it was natural I would also have two dresses.  I wanted the first dress to work with the countryside setting, drawing on nature, and the grand floral lace was perfect it was ethereal yet had an impact. Then in the evening, I wore a 1920’s inspired beaded number which went beautifully with my husbands midnight blue velvet dinner jacket.

Who came dress shopping with you? 

My mother came shopping with me as a value her opinion (even if I may not say it). We are both very direct and she wasn’t keen on my first selection of dress for the church, I took this onboard and she was completely right there was a time and place for each dress. When I tried on the Ellis dress it all came together.

What style of maids and groomsmen did you go for? 

I decided to have my sister and husband’s sister as my bridesmaids. They wore a tailored figure-hugging dress from Victoria Beckham in hot pink. The flower girls wore dresses I designed using blue silks and indigo hand-dyed floral fabric sourced from Nigeria to reflect my heritage. This was accessorised with hot pink silk flowers I bought on a trip to Colombia straight after we got engaged.

The groomsmen wore bowties, which I made in collaboration with Amwa designs. The fabric is a screen-printed linen with a Ghanaian adinkra symbol that signifies “Good bed, Good Marriage”. For me, it was important to bring both our cultures together in a way that was true to us. The subtleties are what I love.

How did you arrive at the ceremony? 

The arrival was not really of great importance to me, my brother rented a beautiful car for me but last minute I decided I wanted my husband’s cousin to drive us so I could practice my French vows. However, I did have the shock of my life when my in-laws arranged for us to go up in a hot air balloon during the reception.

Did you have anything unusual during the ceremony?

I would say the hot air balloon was a real treat for everyone. A truly romantic spectacle it really slowed down the whirlwind I had originally been in, it was great.

How did you accessorise to make your wedding day look unique?

I worked with Tilly Thomas lux to create a bespoke headpiece. I wanted to incorporate the colours of the wedding whilst reflecting the countryside. The piece we created worked Swarovski crystals and gold into flowers and insects. My auntie honoured me with an heirloom to wear which is a gold bangle over three centuries old. Hidden under my dress for me was my Miu Miu heels as they are my favourite and ultimate indulgence.

What was the inspiration or colour theme for your wedding?

Our family and heritage inspired us. The wedding took place in the hotel where my husband grew up and I wanted to work with our surrounds as well as bring in my British and Ghanaian upbringing.

One way I achieved this is by designing and having made woven baskets to sit under Conran store hot air balloons as well as woven hot balloons as decoration by internationally acclaimed company AAKS. The Montgolfier brothers in Annonay invented the hot air balloon, which is where the wedding took place.

Colour is important to me especially with what I do. Our main colours were hot pink and three different tones of blue. This was then complemented with copper and gold tones.

We also drew from how we met with table names as cocktails, stating their country of origin, history and went we visited each place.

What kind of food did you have? Cake?

We had a fantastic spread of food, which I unfortunately missed out on with the excitement. The part I loved creating the most was the French dessert table, which we had outside under the stairs and sparkles.

We also had bespoke macaroons created for us by my husbands cousin Monsieur Armand. Incorporating two of our themes we had rose and mojito flavours on hot pink and yellow macaroons with flamingo and pineapple motifs

What tips do you have for new brides picking their wedding dress?

Don’t overwhelm yourself by trying on too many dresses with so many people around you. Try on two that you always thought you would wear, two you are drawn to and then two wild cards. Really keep in mind where you are getting married, as that will really affect how you will feel on the day, you want to feel like your best self and enjoy yourself.

Where were your photos taken? 

We had an open air photobooth and I made the backdrop from vintage fabric I found in Los Angeles. We decided to hide all of the props so that people would take “nice” photos and then at night we brought the booth closer to the dancefloor and out came the wild wigs and feather bowers. I love these images as they instantly made an album for us of all our nearest and dearest.

What was your favourite moment from the day?

Our wedding dance. We had spent a month having private lessons in the parks of London with dancer and choreographer Ama Rouge She fused together, tango, jive and disco to create a fun and romantic dance. It was great dancing together again.

Where did you honeymoon? 

We just returned from our honeymoon in East Africa. We took 3 weeks to go Gorilla tracking in Uganda, Safari and flower farm visitng in Kenya and then the mind-blowingly beautiful beaches of Zanizbar. The most wonderful experience we have now shared together and will always remember fondly.

Dress: STYLE 12253


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