Eastern promise

Tahira and Barrie's literary-themed wedding was a colourful celebration of their cultural roots

Tahira and Barrie got together after a mutual friend set them up on a blind date. They met for drinks and hit it off immediately. “Drinks swiftly turned into dinner and then a movie, so I guess we had our first couple of dates in one day,” laughs Barrie. “I arrived a little late after getting lost and I remember Barrie's smile and the warm hug he gave me,” Tahira adds.

More than two years later, Barrie popped the question at Southampton General Hospital, where Tahira's a doctor. “The only way I knew I could surprise her was in the one place she wouldn't think of – her work,” explains Barrie. With the help of friends, he hatched a plan to get Tahira into a colleague's office, where he was secretly waiting. “I did the whole down-on-one-knee thing,” he recalls. The rest of the day had been planned out meticulously, including lunch at their favourite restaurant in the New Forest. “I'd even arranged a viewing of Avington Park, a venue Tahira had casually mentioned before as a lovely place to get married.”

One of the greatest surprises of the day was the bespoke ring Barrie had made for her. “Tahira had seen a Tiffany design, which she really liked but it wasn't really suitable as an engagement ring. Knowing she loved it, I got Parchment Jewellers in Winchester to create one based on the same style. Needless to say, she was extremely happy,” adds Barrie. Read on for the couple's account of their stylish big day...

We chose to marry at Avington Park because it's grand without being opulent, and the grounds are beautiful. – Barrie


I had my hands painted with henna a couple of days before the wedding. – Tahira

“I wore two different outfi ts by Pakistani designer Tazeen Hasan, one for the religious and civil ceremonies, and another for the wedding breakfast and evening reception.” – Tahira


I spent the night before the wedding at Avington Park, and was awake quite early. It was very quiet and I could hear the peacocks in the grounds. – Tahira


I accessorised my look with my mother's wedding jewellery. – Tahira

We chose different authors for our table names including Roald Dahl, Oscar Wilde and Douglas Adams. – Barrie


In Pakistani culture, during the wedding breakfast the bride's sister gives the groom a glass of milk and he has to negotiate a price for it. It was presented to me in a school milk bottle and, as they hadn't stipulated the currency, I offered a 1,000 Pakistani rupee note, worth about £16. Needless to say, I was asked to renegotiate in sterling! – Barrie


The venue has a lovely library, and since we both love to read, we knew we wanted to have our wedding breakfast there. – Barrie

Our caterers provided mocktails and snacks between the Muslim ceremony and the civil one. – Barrie


“Our photographers, Irvin and Charisse, were wonderful and our families loved them. We barely noticed them taking the photos.” – Tahira


Tahira Akram and Barrie Jarman's contact book

Solent Hotel & Spa, Fareham

Bride's attire
Tazeen Hasan

Bride's hair and make-up
Fiona Tanner Makeup


Engagement ring
Parchment Jewellers

Evening Reception
Flowers Little Lillies

Bloomers Flowers of Botley

Groom's suit
Moss Bros.

Wistful Two Photography

Pre-wedding family dinner
Chef Gary

Avington Park