Real Weddings

Enzoani for a Persian Wedding at Thornton Manor – Rachel & Faromarz

Julia Smith

This is not your average wedding – it’s a Persian-Springsteen MashUp! Nope, we didn’t know what that might look like until today either. It turns out there are heaps of personal touches in today’s Real Wedding, as we celebrate the coming together of two beautiful cultures…

Our groom Faromarz wanted to incorporate his vibrant heritage into an otherwise classically autumnal English wedding, and we’re living for the amazing Persian touches and traditions these two have managed to squeeze in!

From a Catholic church and manor house venue to the Nikah ceremony, Henna Bandhani and Sofreh Aghd, we love how these two have seamlessly switched from one culture to the other, creating a bespoke day that is uniquely theirs and introducing their friends and family to new magical moments. If you’re looking for ways to involve everyone’s ideas in your own wedding, you won’t want to miss this one!

With photography by UNVEILED Network Member Edward Ashley Photography


Faromarz proposed in May 2019, during a holiday in Milan. We took a day trip to Lake Como and stopped for a photograph at a beautiful spot where he went down on one knee.


Our wedding day was 21st October 2021. We had initially planned for March, but it was postponed due to Covid. In the end we were glad to have an autumn wedding. The weather was still lovely, and it was great to come back from our honeymoon straight into the Christmas build-up.

Our ceremony was at our local catholic church, St John Henry Newman, in Latchford – just down the road from our home. We’d previously had a Nikah ceremony in Birmingham to honour Faromarz’s muslim heritage too.

From there, we travelled to Thornton Manor on the Wirral for our reception. It was quite a long drive, but so worth it for the spectacular venue (sadly now damaged due to fire).


We’d describe our theme as a Persian-Springsteen MashUp! We wanted to include as much of Faromarz’s Iranian and Afghani heritage as possible; for example, we served Persian food for our evening buffet, recreated the Sofreh Aghd from our earlier Nikah ceremony, and our bridesmaids performed a traditional Iranian knife dance ahead of the cake-cutting.

One of our favourite moments was hearing our friend Christopher sing a section of ‘Love Changes Everything’ in Farsi, translated by our friend Nima as a surprise. There were also many tributes to my hero, Bruce Springsteen, sprinkled throughout the day; for example in our first dance song (‘If I Should Fall Behind’), our speeches, our background music, and our choice of table names, which were all places from Bruce songs!

Our colour scheme was blush and burgundy. I think the colours look so romantic and elegant together.


My dress was by Enzoani and purchased from Emma Louise Bridal in Bolton. I knew I wanted a dress with a big skirt and lots of beading and embellishment. I had low expectations when I tried my dress on; I didn’t think I would suit the sheer bodice or plunging neckline. But once I tried it on, I felt amazing. The team at Emma Louise were really lovely and helpful, and their seamstress Estelle did a brilliant job of altering and tweaking my dress to suit my style.

I bought my veil from David’s Bridal. It was cathedral length with a beaded edge. I planned to take it off after the wedding breakfast, but ended up keeping it on for the whole day as I couldn’t say goodbye! My wedding and engagement rings were both from 77 Diamonds.


Faromarz, his groomsmen and our dads all wore matching blue tweed suits from Gibson London, with different waistcoats to differentiate their roles, and blush or burgundy ties to match the colour scheme.


The bridesmaid dresses were the biggest struggle of all, but I was so happy with the final outcome. I ordered beautiful cowl neck dresses that looked amazing in the shop, but when they arrived, they were so badly stitched that the girls literally couldn’t get inside them. Thankfully we found an amazing seamstress, Alex from Dress Mea in Frodsham, and she worked an absolute miracle to restitch all the dresses just in time for the wedding. The bridesmaids looked so beautiful that it was worth all the stress in the end.


UNVEILED Network Member Cathryn Kerwin-Rawlinson was our fabulous make-up artist and the lovely Charlotte from Hair Fantasy styled our hair.


We travelled in a gorgeous 1970 Rolls Royce Silver Shadow from D A Owen Wedding Cars.


Edward Ashley Photography did a brilliant job of capturing all the special moments from our day. He also provided a second photographer, Max. Having two photographers was great, as they were able to capture more perspectives – plus it was really nice for us both to see what had been happening for the other before the ceremony. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Ed. He did a brilliant job.

We had Ben Davies as our videographer.


I had a cascading bouquet of blush, burgundy and ivory flowers and lots of greenery to match our colour scheme. They were beautifully put together by my florist, Gillian from Lilies of the Field in St Helens. I loved them so much, I had them preserved in resin after the wedding.

Our venue dresser, Uplit Events, provided the décor for the wedding reception. We had centrepieces of loose greenery and ivory flowers on tall stands and hoops, huge canopy trees to frame the top table, and a neon sign flower wall, which made a great backdrop for both the cake in the day and the dancefloor in the evening.

My super-helpful mum made a gorgeous table plan to match our theme and also put together a table display of framed sentimental photos from the weddings of our parents and grandparents, which meant such a lot to us both. We used Cartalia for lovely foil printed invitations and our photo booth was provided by SBDJ Services.


My mum made really pretty chocolate geo hearts filled with lotus biscoff (we live for biscoff!), which we put in little boxes as favours.


Our four-tier fondant covered sponge cake was designed and made by Joanna of Pretty Sweet Cakes. We had three flavours; vanilla, caramel and orange. The rose gold tier had a beautiful monogram stencil of our initials, and we couldn’t get over how intricate the decorative sugar flowers were – they looked so real!


For our wedding breakfast, we had risotto cake, chicken breast and warm banana loaf – some of our favourite comfort foods – and for the evening buffet, our caterers, Barretts, put together a Persian themed buffet of koobideh, jujeh kebab, aubergine stew, rice and flatbreads. We wanted to give our guests a chance to experience Faromarz’s homeland cuisine and see how delicious Persian food is!


Each table had a quiz sheet to complete during the wedding breakfast with questions about the wedding party and a prize for the winning table. It was a great way to get guests chatting and working together.

In the evening, our fantastic DJ Shaun Brady (SBDJ Services) performed a saxophone set whilst guests were arriving, and then kept the dancefloor filled all night by playing a mix of music to suit both cultures. The atmosphere was brilliant and it was great to see everyone have a go at persian dance moves. We also had the photo booth, outdoor fire pits for toasting marshmallows, and a games table for guests who needed a break from dancing!

Special touches

We kicked off our evening celebration with the Sofreh Aghd ceremony, the central component of a traditional Iranian wedding. We sat before a big spread of symbolic items to represent different elements of a happy marriage. As we exchanged vows again, our bridesmaids held a white cloth above our heads whilst grinding sugar cones over the cloth, showering our marriage with sweetness!

Later on, the bridesmaids (bravely!) took part in another Persian wedding tradition, the ‘knife dance’. They took turns dancing whilst holding a sharp knife until Faromarz gave them enough money to persuade them to hand it over for the cake-cutting!

Some female relatives and friends on Faromarz’s side performed a beautiful Henna Bandhani routine, dancing with baskets of Henna, which Faromarz’s mother then applied to our hands for good luck.

Thanks to

We both agreed that the best decision we made was choosing Ed as our photographer. Neither of us are very outgoing so the prospect of being photographed all day was pretty daunting for us, but Ed was so kind and calm that the whole experience was really enjoyable!

Best bit

One of our favourite moments from the whole day was entering the music room at Thornton Manor and seeing our vision for the space finally come to life, thanks to the amazing work by our venue dressers! It was a moment of huge relief. We also loved how energetic the dancefloor was all evening; lots of our guests took us by surprise and proved themselves as excellent persian dancers!


We had a two-week honeymoon in Mauritius. Trailfinders helped us to create a fantastic package, starting with three nights in a boutique mountain chalet and moving onto a luxury seafront beach resort. We had the best two weeks relaxing and recovering from the excitement of the wedding.


Our advice would actually be to order way more confetti than you think you’ll need – a little does not go a long way!

I also read through loads of the Brides Up North Real Wedding stories for inspiration on the finer details and finishing touches. They are really helpful resources, especially when you haven’t been to many weddings as a guest.

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