“When we viewed Hylands House, near Chelmsford, Essex with friends, everyone’s expression was the same, we were all smiling from ear to ear”, said Ceylan. “Typically, as girls do, I wanted to see other venues but everyone including me really knew I would decide on Hylands House.”
Ceylan and Ozan, 29 & 28 years old, lived minutes away from each other in North London and initially met through mutual friends on a magical Christmas Eve ten years ago. They were in New York for a family wedding, where Ceylan was a bridesmaid, when Ozan went down on one knee. He chose a striking setting for the proposal following a romantic meal in Little Italy in New York.
“After dinner we hopped into a cab and went for a walk along the Hudson River Front,” said Ceylan. “We found a high point where you can see the skyline and get a great photo of the view. Then he called my name, I turned and there was Ozan asking me to marry him. It was such a beautiful night; I just hoped that the wedding would be as dreamy as it had all panned out so far.”
“For the wedding, we wanted somewhere that was a blank canvas so we could project all our ideas onto it but also one that was stunning in its own right. Hylands House is a Grade II* Georgian mansion with meticulously restored period rooms and also has a modern Grand Pavilion so it was perfect for us”,
A Stylish Ceremony
The marriage took place in the Drawing Room at Hylands House attended by 70 guests. This room has a dual aspect overlooking exquisite parkland towards a lake and a wonderful view of a rose terrace, bringing the garden outside into the ceremony. The interior has a fabulously ornate and gilded ceiling, an elegant Victorian chandelier and exquisite hand-painted wall motifs plus a Cottage Broadwood piano and a stunning marble fireplace. “My favourite room by far is the Drawing Room, said Ceylan, “the piano makes is look so grand and delicate all at the same time. The ceiling, walls and even the colour is just gorgeous. I couldn’t imagine walking into any other room to be married”. Ceylan was walked up the aisle by her Mum, Semra Altinsoy, and they are very close.
The rest of the rooms in the House and the Garden were used for the drinks reception, whilst the wedding breakfast and evening party were held in the Grand Pavilion.
Whimsical Woodland Theme
“The Grand Pavilion was exactly what we needed for our 160 reception guests. I wanted to decorate it to have a rustic, woodland whimsical feel” said Ceylan. To do this, the couple bought 25 Manzanita trees, sourced directly from North America. They then searched for planters for the trees and finally found a square one with tree bark around it and then had 24 specially made. Florists, Bourgeon in Cockfosters produced three sample matching centrepieces for the couple to select and a magnificent flower wall was assembled in collaboration with The Wedding Lounge.
A wooden apple crate with the couple’s name on it was placed on the head table and there was a big rustic ‘thank-you’ box for all the cards, which added to the whimsical theme.
Ingenuously made wine corks, imprinted with Ceylan and Ozan’s names, the wedding date and with a tag attached stating the couples’ motto of ‘to infinity and beyond’ were used as place card holders on the tables, found and ordered by one of the bride’s best friends and Groomsmen.
The colour theme throughout was navy, blush and dusk (almost a greyish blue). Blush colour chair drapes were provided by The Wedding Lounge, dusk tablecloths were used and there were navy blue napkin bows, 90 of which were handmade by Ceylan’s talented Mum.
“Together we all created an amazing décor. The Pavilion looked stunning and it was very emotional for me to walk into it on the day” said Ceylan.
Russian and Turkish Elements
The couple’s wedding was multi-national including English, Turkish, Cypriot, and with elements of Abkhazia, which is situated on the Black Sea, south of Russia and northwest of Georgia and is where Ozan’s parents are from originally.
Music included Turkish and Russian instruments alongside English ones. In the traditional Turkish way, the couple were led into the Grand Pavilion by a drummer and violin player. There was lots of uplifting Turkish and Russian dancing. This included an Abkhazian dance in which a woman and man playfully dance around each other using synchronized fast leg movements and a lot of spinning/whirling. The girl is always supposed to be in the lead as the guy ‘chases’ her around.
Men and women also danced the traditional ‘Pot Dance’, whereby the band call out names of those who dance with the pot and the last are always the bride and groom who then go on to smash the pot on the floor. Inside the pot is usually filled with sweets and money to which all the kids at the wedding run towards. As Ceylan says “the money and sweets symbolise wealth and sweetness for your life together”.
The bride wore a light cream mermaid dress with a sweetheart neckline from Pronovias, covered in lace with a long veil with matching lace on the edges. The Groom wore a slim fit navy suit with a tailcoat and so did all his Groomsmen, along with ties to match the colour of the five bridesmaids’ dresses. The maid of honour wore navy, while two others wore blush and two wore dusk. All dresses were from the designer Vera Wang collection, and the girls selected their own styles.
A Family Affair
Ceylan and Ozan’s family and friends helped to make the wedding a real success in many ways. The transport was provided by cousin Kenan and Ozan’s brother and Best Man, Ozkan. Ceylan’s hair was arranged by Halil, her best friend and Man of Honour, who also designed the wedding stationery alongside Ceylan’s cousin Seniz, who was the Maid of Honour. They designed the invites, table plan, social media icon and the favours, which were photo holders for pictures taken in the photo booth at the wedding.
The wedding cake was designed and made by Ebru Cemal at Sugar Ice and Cakes.
Alongside the creative photography by Phil Bourne of E-Motion Images, the couple also hired the videographers. White Balloon Films.
Time to Relax
“After we had our photos taken we had a quiet moment to ourselves” said Ceylan. “We strolled through the magnificent parkland at Hylands, and at one point, we looked round and the noise of the people had quietened. We could see lots of family and friends mingling and enjoying themselves. This was a very special moment for us because we felt relieved that after so many months of planning, we had managed to achieve our dream wedding”
As you would expect from such a romantic couple, they went to the tea planters’ paradise of Sri Lanka, followed by a trip to the Maldives, which was an unforgettable adventure for both of them
Photography Credit: PHIL BOURNE e-motionimages – www.e-motionimages.co.uk
Videography : www.whiteballoonfilms.co.uk