Some couples fall in love on their first day at school. Others have an office romance. And some... bond over bar snacks. "We met in a pub in Reading, through friends," says Simi. "Dunc won me over by buying me some honey-roasted peanuts. Big spender!" Still, it must have worked, because they'd been together a decade, bought a house and had two children by the time Duncan proposed on their anniversary weekend in Oxford. "It was meant to be a surprise, but I had a hopeful inkling!" says Simi. Here the bride tells us more about their big day...
We fell in love with the Anglo-Indian style of the Elephant Hotel, which was perfect for our blended family. We wanted an intimate venue that we could hire out for the whole day and evening and have guests stay overnight.
My dress was from a boutique called Raishma. I wanted a mixture between Indian and Western styles and fell in love with the off-the-shoulder cut, while the pale blush with silver sequins set the whole colour scheme for the day. When we saw the venue, I was amazed at how well everything would go together.
Duncan wore a three-piece pale blue/grey suit from Slaters with a blush tie. Our nine-year-old son, Malaki, wore a waistcoat and trousers in the same colour as Duncan's with the same tie, tailored by Slaters.
We sourced a mixture of wooden and metal elephants to match the bigger ones already in the hotel and placed plants at the centre of the tables with fairy lights all over and the elephants around.
Our four-year-old daughter, Melody, wore a grey lace dress with a sparkly hair accessory.
We had individual bags to serve as place names, with names printed in an Indian-style font, containing little trinkets.Children had larger paper bags with elephants and goodies to keep them entertained.
Our top table was just us two and the kids, which made it really special. Lots of people commented on this being a sweet touch.
My brother gave me away and did a speech in place of the father-of-the-bride speech. He was hilarious and laid in tome, and people are still talking about it!
We gave out drinks tokens to evening guests as well as day time ones, so they felt welcomed and special. We also had glowsticks in jars and vases around the venue, and to mimic the tradition of having someone come in to do henna mendhi, we had mendhi-style temporary tattoos for guests to use.
Because of the heavy rain, we had to change our plans, but the hotel team and our photographer, Sapna, worked really hard to prepare an indoor room using some of our table décor, and it looked amazing, as if it were planned all along. Lots of people commented that it made the whole day more intimate and cosy by having everyone indoors.
Venue and catering