Zaheera Hassanali and James Kraftman met while they were both at Cardiff University, it must have been fate that brought them together as they were doing very different courses and had very different friendship circles that would never have integrated. But alas, their paths crossed and four years after finding romance James proposed in Prague on November 17th 2016. “It was a surprise trip which I thought was an early Christmas present,” says the unsuspecting Zaheera!
The happy couple set the big date for 29th June, 2018, and De Vere Wotton House, Dorking provided the perfect backdrop to their day.
Here, Your Surrey Wedding finds out more...
When you drive in you feel like you're far away from the world. There is a serene feel to it. And then the grounds, they open up in the most spectacular way to the centre where there's an Italian garden/temple which stands out. Its grandeur and rustic feel, it's just magical.
The staff from the word go, were simply brilliant. Listening to everything attentively, from planning the wedding, right to the end of the night, they were there ensuring that nothing was missing.
Our table plan was a large mirror decorated with the same flowers used in the centrepieces to tie it all together.
I wanted to reflect the rustic ceremony area throughout the styling. The flowers were unstructured yet elegant over flowing with greenery and foliage. We had two types displays, tiered fishbowls of succulents, hydrangeas and roses, and large Martini glasses of eucalyptus, roses of three shades of pink, ferns, eucalyptus, thistle (to bring in the blues), hydrangeas and gypsophila.
We had wooden laser cut place names laid on top of either a rose or thistle alternating which lay on a navy napkin.
Our table names were based on places we had visited together/our home/and where we had lived.
We had a flower wall which was the backdrop for the live band which set up by the dancefloor inside the reception suite. The suite opened up on to the terrace and on to the grounds, giving us sight of the ceremony location at all times.
Our cake was a five-tier design of different flavours ranging from salted caramel to lemon to Victoria sponge. One of the tiers also had the print of the lace that was on my wedding dress.
My bridesmaids wore pale pink, long dresses with a crossover neckline. It was a difficult choice because although they were almost the same build they were all different heights skin tones and hair colours.
The groomsmen wore three-piece navy suits with white shirts and rose-pink ties and matching pocket squares.
The groom wore a three-piece navy suit with a subtle print, complemented with a chequered tie and waistcoat which he chose himself. He also had a tie pin, and pocket watch which is a family heirloom.
I went for an A-line drop-waist dress with a lovely train; the lace was soft and the dress felt light and comfortable compared to all the others I had tried. I knew this was the one when I put it on. I accessorised with a belt, a plain veil, a necklace and earring set and two bracelets, the diamond one (borrowed from my mum). I coupled it with shoes that matched the diamond-look from the accessories, similarliy, I had the same style hairpins.
Prior to, and for the nuptials, we had a harp and flute playing. During our humanist ceremony in a nod to the groom's family beliefs we had breaking of the glass (Jewish tradition). There were games on the grounds like croquet and giant Jenga if anyone felt like indulging.
The bride walked down to Ellie Goulding, How Long Will I Love You played on the harp and flute, and the exit song for post-ceremony was Despacito.
We had a live band called Seven. They were fabulous, fun and lively with amazing voices they really pulled everyone on to the dancefloor.
We both unknowingly had written cards for each other and sent each other gifts, it felt special receiving something, and knowing that the other person had also been thinking about you in the same way, on the day where we will be waking up separately.
On the day I was excited and nervous! Waking up to a sunny morning was the best thing, as we had hoped to have an outdoor wedding ceremony.
Seeing each other at the altar, the speeches from our fathers and our first dance will always be standout moments.
Hair and make-up
Table cloths, napkins and champagne glasses