I don’t have any tattoos. It’s not that I don’t like them – I actually think they can be fascinating and beguiling. My sister has the most wonderful tattoos on her arms, and I love that she lets her children help her choose the designs! If I did have any tattoos, I genuinely couldn’t imagine wanting or feeling that I’d have to cover them up for my wedding day. It always surprises me that this is still so expected of brides today or that onlookers are so easy to judge or comment on a bride with tattoos, a little like they did when I posted this image on Facebook of Fearne Cotton on her wedding day last Friday (the image by the way went viral, reaching over 2 million people in less than 12 hours). As one reader said in response to some of the somewhat more critical comments of Fearne’s tattoos, ‘A tattoo is a personal thing, meant for the wearer and not the viewer, therefore her skin art spoils nothing, it’s who she is and she looks beautiful regardless.’
This sentiment is echoed by bride Lineka, who didn’t want to conceal her own tattoos on her wedding day last year, “My tattoos are a part of me and I didn’t feel I should have to cover them up. My ‘Laurel’ by Jenny Packham dress framed my tattoos perfectly, it complemented them and therefore I was sold!’
Be prepared to feel uplifted watching this utterly glorious wedding film produced by the immensely talented Jon Aleksander of Happy Wedding Films - it is right up there with the most beautiful and expertly crafted wedding films I have ever seen (if like me you love the soundtrack, details can be found at the end of this feature).
Film Production Copyright (c) 2014, Happy Wedding Films
South African born Lineka married James, from England on 27 September last year with the spectacular Lake Garda in Italy as their backdrop. The couple had guests attend from all over the world, including France, Poland, Scotland, Australia and Wales – so were wanting to create a sense of ‘home away from home’ on their wedding day.
“My extremely talented sister did my hair and she surpassed all expectation! She did a better job than anyone else could’ve done! It was very special to have my little sister do my hair.
I did my own make-up with some help from my friend Vanessa.”
“My Jenny Packham dress was from Louella Bridal boutique in Yorkshire. I had initially wanted something very simple – no beads, sequins or other bling – but I’m so glad I tried this dress on despite the decorated straps because as soon as I saw my back in the mirror, I gasped. I guess you have to get it if it makes you gasp. ☺ And because of the exquisite detailing, I didn’t have to wear jewellery!”
“James and I met in 2006 through work. We became engaged in August 2012 in Bali (he made me wait very long!), so we had been engaged just over a year when we got married.
We both wanted a small and intimate wedding. We had a slightly natural and rustic ‘handmade’ theme because we wanted everything to have a personal touch. We really wanted to make our guests feel as special as they make us feel.”
“We don’t have to say much about Jon because his work just says it all! We feel so privileged to have had the best videographer for our wedding – I think some of Jon’s videos have moved me to the brink of tears even though they are about people I’ve never met. He has such a talent for storytelling and his videos are tender and just downright beautiful.”
“My father walked me down the aisle to the sound of ‘La Valse D’Amelie’ by Yann Tiersen. We had two readings, Sonnet 17 by Pablo Neruda and an excerpt from ‘A Farewell to Arms’ by Ernst Hemingway.”
Sonnet 17 by Pablo Neruda
‘I do not love you as if you were salt-rose, or topaz,
or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.
I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,
in secret, between the shadow and the soul.
I love you as the plant that never blooms
but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers;
thanks to your love a certain solid fragrance,
risen from the earth, lives darkly in my body.
I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;
so I love you because I know no other way
in which there is no I or you
so close that your hand upon my chest is my hand
so close that when you fall asleep it is my eyes that close.’
An excerpt from ‘A Farewell to Arms’, by Ernest Hemingway
‘At night, there was the feeling that we had come home, feeling no longer alone, walking in the night to find the other one there, and not gone away; all other things were unreal. We slept when we were tired and if we woke the other one woke too so one was not alone. Often a man wishes to be alone and a woman wishes to be alone too and if they love each other they are jealous of that in each other, but I can truly say we never felt that. We could feel alone when we were together, alone against the others. We were never lonely and never afraid when we were together.’
“All flowers were gypsophila because of its beautiful simplicity.”
“Craven Jewellers in Yeadon, Yorkshire, created our simple yet elegant 18ct gold wedding bands with engravings on the inside.
Amongst the flowers and paper garlands we had photo garlands of our parents and grandparents on their wedding days as well as photo garlands of all our friends.”
“Our hotel was on the opposite side of the town plaza that the registry office was on, so no transport was needed. Although we did go on a boat cruise on Lake Garda, which everyone enjoyed very much!”
“One of the highlights of the day was the band, Men on the Moon! They play covers of popular music (like Michael Jackson) but in a traditional Italian folk style – complete with accordion and banjo! They even had James and I take the stage and sing ‘Stand By Me’ and there was an acoustic rendition of ‘Hit Me Baby One More Time’ which was belted out by young and old at the top of their voices. These guys were so friendly and generous with their time and simply wonderful to work with. We’re so thankful for the joy and fun and laughter they contributed to the evening.”
“I made all the stationery myself. The ‘place cards’ were made of wire which my mother had made in South Africa.”
“Some of our very favourite moments of the day included cold drinks in the sunshine whilst enjoying the view from the boat and chatting with our friends and family. I remember the reflection of the sun on the water – it was so calming and we had everyone we loved right there with us. It felt like the world was as it should be at just that moment in time.
It seems quite surreal now. And of course the dancing in the evening – I remember lots of spinning around and singing aloud. It was a very joyous celebration. Our first dance was to ‘Dance me to the End of Love’, by The Civil Wars. We’re both big Leonard Cohen fans, but we liked the duet format of this cover version and it also lent itself more to dancing.”
Words of Wedded Wisdom…
“My tactic was to plan everything very well beforehand and then let go on the day. What will happen will happen. Some might say I went a bit OTT, but I got a lot of comfort knowing that I’d done everything that could be done to make the day a success by my standards.
I captured ALL details – from playlists to vendor details to guest allergies in a booklet and then handed a booklet to the best man and a few other reliable individuals that could step up if anything went wrong for whatever reason. That left me with nothing else to do than to enjoy the day. And since I don’t remember being stressed, my strategy must’ve worked!”
The word ‘breathtaking’ has been on my mind ever since I saw this film and these photographs. I am so thankful That Jon Aleksander of Happy Wedding Films got in touch to ask if we would like to feature his work- what a fantastic testament to the wonderful resource this blog has become, that such a talented creative would seek to have his work featured here. It still blows my mind that this happens – heartfelt thanks Jon.
And many, many congratulations to you both, Lineka and James – sending you love and best wishes for your first wedding anniversary in September – the day before my birthday
Those of you having doubts about showing your tattoos on your wedding day, do you feel the same having seen this beautiful wedding?
Photography – stills from a film created by Happy Wedding Films
Venue - Sirmione, Lake Garda, Italy
Wedding Dress - ‘Laurel’ by Jenny Packham via Louella Bridal, Yorkshire
Veil - Caroline Castigliano
Bridesmaids – handmade by a friend
Flowergirl Dresses Mothercare
Entertainment - Men on the Moon
Rings - Craven Jewellers in Yeadon, Yorkshire
Catering Company - Signori Ristorante
Stationery – the bride
Film sound track – ‘Dirty Paws’ by Monsters & Men
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