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  • Writer's pictureLisa Flahant

Real life wedding: Mouna and Paul

Updated: Oct 12, 2022

Paul and Mouna’s celebrations took place at The Britannia on Saturday 2 October 2021…

…. And their celebrant ceremony was just one of several exciting events to celebrate their completely awesome marriage!

Paul and Mouna: just thinking about them brings such a big smile to my face! One of those truly happy-go-lucky, chilled-out, laid-back and ridiculously blissful couples who I’d be delighted to meet for a drink on a Friday night – it was rather fitting that their celebrant ceremony was held at their local pub!

The Britannia Inn is the perfect place for parties and celebrations, as they have the most amazing luxury marquee on site – complete with a permanent bar, seating for 100 guests and plenty of space for dancing! So when Paul and Mouna were unable to find a more traditional wedding venue to host their ceremony and festivities, they turned to their local. And while The Britannia was quite used to hosting receptions, parties and other celebratory gatherings, they’d never before hosted a wedding ceremony. Until Paul and Mouna came along - and then they hosted two on one day!

So as you might have guessed, our couple approached me for just part of their celebrations: they were planning a small Muslim wedding with just close family in attendance, and the following day would be their celebrant ceremony with 80 guests, followed by a traditional Sudanese ceremony – and then at a later date, the completion of the legal paperwork. Four ceremonies (and as many dresses!) – that has to be a record!

And what a pleasure it was to work with these two – there were plenty of laughs along the way, some great stories to share - including a proposal which didn’t go quite to plan (do they ever?) - and a joyful insight into the lives of these happy soulmates and their love of food, outdoor adventures and laughing together.

The big day arrived and I met Paul and his best man Richard on what was possibly the wettest Saturday we had seen in 2021. But the weather was quickly forgotten, eclipsed by the magnificent looking marquee. Paul and Mouna had organised some of the décor, including a stunning moongate and a pretty wedding cake arch, and these had been decorated beautifully by Emily Rose Events, a wonderful local specialist in dressing venues with artificial flowers. The dusky pink theme was spectacular.

On a more melancholy note, Mouna’s Mum and her sister were unable to travel from Sudan – and Mouna knew she (and many of their guests) would miss their presence greatly. So apart from livestreaming all the preparations and the ceremony to them, she and Paul arranged for two life size cut outs to be at the entrance to the marquee, so Mum and sister could welcome the guests, just as they would have done if they’d been there in person. A genius solution!

One of the most striking parts of the ceremony (for me) was the traditional greeting the guests gave Mouna and her entourage of sisters-in-law and flower girls as they arrived – if you’ve never heard this, it’s really quite something. Called the ululation – it’s a loud, long, high-pitched trilling sound (that you could say also resembles a howl), and it’s an expression of strong emotion (in this case, joy!) used at a communal ritual or event like a wedding. Truly, a welcome I’d never heard, and just out of this world to be a part of.

And so our ceremony commenced, with proud brothers Mohammed and Adil representing Mouna’s family in the ‘giving-away’, and then the most enthusiastic group vow, with participation by Mouna’s family via Zoom! We revisited Paul and Mouna’s story, hearing how romantic Paul has even learnt various Arabic phrases to impress his fiancée, and how Mouna has taught Paul that Tottenham was no longer the most important thing in his life. Their beautiful vows to one another and the exchanging of rings brought about more cheering, and before we knew it, this deal was sealed with a kiss and Paul and Mouna were whisked away for photos, before they moved on to their Sudanese ceremony later in the day.

This was such a special ceremony – sentimental, thoughtful and full of heart – and I take my hat off to Paul and Mouna for organising it in a very short space of time! The Britannia team were excellent hosts, it was so lovely (and easy) working with photographer Hannah Timm and I was a little sad to leave the continuing celebrations which I knew would continue to be lively and great fun.

Paul and Mouna were quick off the mark with posting a review for us, which included one of our favourite comments of the season:

If you are looking at these reviews to help you decide on your celebrant – you can stop looking.

How very kind! :-) And if you’d like to read Paul and Mouna’s full review – you can here.

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