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A ray of sunshine

Sharika and Leslie had a Sicily-themed celebration at Warren House

Sharika and Leslie met through work. "Leslie was designing books, and I was the project manager," says Sharika. "We always had a great time talking to each other, and the time would fly by. When one of our mutual friends didn't turn up for an evening get-together, and it was too late for either of us to cancel, we met up and gradually became closer. It surprised us both when we are realised we might be becoming something more. During one of our meetings, we kissed, and things went from there."
Leslie popped the question during a holiday to Sicily in 2017. "We had talked about getting married and had even spent one afternoon looking at rings, but I still didn't expect the proposal," shares the bride. "We were visiting Punta Secca where Inspector Montalbano was filmed when he asked me. The ring came in a giant box, so Leslie had wrapped it in foam and lots of sellotape. He was struggling to get the tape off and had to use his teeth. I still didn't believe he was being serious until I saw the ring gleam in the sun. He'd designed it himself and had it made by a man called Vincent Loveland. Now every time we watch Inspector Montalbano, we point to the place where he proposed."

A ray of sunshine: Image 1

"We wanted a venue that was within easy each reach of our friends and family," explains Sharika. "With the number of people who stayed the night, we almost had Warren House exclusively. The staff did a great job of separating the wedding party and the other guests. We also loved that the venue had separate areas for the ceremony and reception."

A ray of sunshine: Image 1

The lovebirds decided to make their invitations, place names and table plan. "Samuel, who is Leslie's youngest son, did a few drawing sof us getting married when he was five or six years old," shares the bride. "We used these on our invitations and table plan." The couple's big-day bake was made by Designer Cakes by Elle. "We chose a three-tier design," shares Sharika. "Two of the layers were lemon sponge, and the other was Victoria sponge."

A ray of sunshine: Image 2 Sharika and Leslie decided to have a yellow and white colour scheme. "We chose beautiful flowers and incorporated lemons into the arrangements to represent Sicily," says the bride. "We hired Flowers by Brian Kirkby, and the results looked amazing."

A ray of sunshine: Image 3 "We would definitely recommend our photographer, band, floristand the cake designer," reveals Sharika. "We visited the home of oneof the band members and sat around having tea for an hour. It wasimportant for us to have suppliers who we bonded with and woulduse again. Now I just need an excuse to throw a giant party!"

A ray of sunshine: Image 4

Sharika purchased her big-day gown from Sanyukta Shrestha. "Itried on several dresses with varying price ranges," says Sharika. "I spent three hours in her boutique and was surprised athow versatile the designs were. Sanyukta had a brilliant way of altering dresses by adding lace, a train, changing the shoulders or moving the material to make it hang differently. My dress had an incredibly comfortable bamboo lining and a train that rippled across the floorwhen I moved. I accessorised with a pair of pearl earrings that Leslie had bought me for my birthday and a small hair-clip that I borrowed from my mum."

A ray of sunshine: Image 4

Leslie opted for a bright blue suit from Reiss. "When we first visited Italy we went to the Amalfi Coast where I purchased a silk pock square that I was keen for him to wear at the wedding," explains the bride. "The bright blues and yellows worked perfectly with our overall theme."

A ray of sunshine: Image 5 "I chose to have my sister as my bridesmaid," shares Sharika. "She wore a bottle green A-line gown. I wanted something she would like and would tie in with our colour scheme. She looked amazing. We had Leslie's children, Jack and Samuel, carry the rings. They carried a box each down the aisle, walking in front of me."

A ray of sunshine: Image 6 "We had a string quartet for the ceremony called Titanium String Quartet London," says Sharika. "They were fantastic and played before the service and during the wedding breakfast." In the evening, the couple hired a band called Articulate Music to keep the guests entertained. "We chose to have a six-piece band, and they were excellent," shares the bride. "They came and joined in with the crowd and played tunes that we requested. We loved that Warren House had a separate area for the band to get set up in. Our nearest and dearest didn't know they were there, which meant there was no disruption to our day. We did consider hiring entertainers for the children, but they had a great time exploring the grounds and playing with the on-site Jenga." The lovebirds organised a separate area for the children to play in. "The kids loved the room," explains Sharika. "I prepared lots of puzzles and quizzes for them, and it was nice having them only an arm's length away."

A ray of sunshine: Image 7 "On the morning of our nuptials, I felt extremely happy and couldn't wait to see Leslie," Sharika shares. "I loved Jack and Samuel's reading, it made everyone laugh, and they did a great job. Jack also did a short, impromptu speech which was wonderful. It brought tears to people's eyes, and it was so special having both the children there to celebrate with us." There were lots of funny memories from the day. "Leslie and the best man had a disaster when ironing his shirt," says the bride. "The iron poured water everywhere! My brother-in-law also hurt his ankle doing some crazy dance moves. I think he's realised he can't compete with a 12-year-old anymore."

A ray of sunshine: Image 8 "We went to Sicily again for a few weeks" reveals Sharika. "The wine was fabulous, and our favourite part was visiting Masseria Susafa. We spent most of our time there. It has an amazing history, and the food was superb."

Sharika and Leslie's contact book

Alterations

Gina Bridal Services
www.ginabridalservices.co.uk

Bride's dress

Sanyukta Shestha
www.sanyuktashrestha.com

Bridesmaid's dress

John Lewis
www.johnlewis.com

Cake

Designer Cakes by Elle
www.designercakesbyelle.co.uk

Entertainment

Articulate Music
www.articulatemusic.co.uk

Entertainment

Titanium String Quartet London
www.titaniumstrings.com

Flowers

Flowers by Brian Kirkby
www.briankirkbyflowers.co.uk

Groom's suit

Hair stylist

Unparalleled Hair
www.uhsalons.co.uk

Make-up artist

Photographer

Especially Amy
www.especiallyamy.co.uk

Venue and catering

Warren House
www.warrenhouse.com

Venue styling

Host With Style
www.hostwithstyle.co.uk