I was a Gate Street Barn Wedding Photographer for this stunning African-inspired luxury Surrey wedding. I cannot lie – this wedding was very close to my heart. Africa (particularly Zambia) is my spiritual home having grown up there, and sweet Marisa and Edward had a beautiful African-inspired wedding which had me at the word go. The couple celebrated their nuptials on a stunning July day at Gate Street Barn in Bromley, Surrey. With Marisa’s family in Zambia and Edward’s family in the Caribbean and Germany, they felt the UK would be a central place for their wedding blessing where they could bring a little bit of all of those elements together and have a lovely mix of cultures for their big day.

Surrey romantic wedding photographer Claire Pettibone dress

The wedding day itself was a relaxed affair for 130 of their friends and relatives. Marisa and her flowergirls including their daughter Yara. They got dressed at the nearby The Crown Inn in Chiddingfold. Marisa wore a fitting lace and applique Claire Pettibone dress purchased from Leonie Claire Brighton. She wore ‘Carmen’ Rachel Simpson shoes. Her flowergirls wore dresses made from a bright blue and teal African print textile by Kutowa Designs and simple flower crowns by Love From Katie.

Katie also created a gorgeous African-inspired bouquet for Maris. They included dramatic Proteas and succulents native to Southern Africa mixed with English roses. This floral theme continued in a stunning floral arch over the barn doorway and large bunches in pails dotted around the venue. The African floral theme also extended to the cake by Chocadyllic who created a chocolate ‘wood’ and floral 4-tiered cake.

The barn was decorated with endless yards of bright blue ‘Chitenge’ bunting created by Marisa’s mother instantly recognizable by their Zambian guests. The Chitenge is a traditional Zambian fabric worn as a wrap skirt by women. Food was relaxed with mini pizzas and fish and chips hors d’oeuvres followed by a hog roast catered by Just Jane. The barn reception tables were given a rustic feel still echoing an African vibe decorated with burlap table runners, mini potted succulents, jam jars with flowers tied with raffia ribbon and large glass hurricane lamps.

Marisa and Edward met Salsa dancing together, plus Edward is a musician, hence music played an important part in their day. Tanzanian percussionist Saidi Kanda (with whom Edward produced an album the previous year) played a hand-held ‘Mbira’ to greet the guests as they arrived followed by an accoustic guitarist/singer Rafael Berrio during the ceremony and ending with a lively Congolese/Latin fusion band Grupo Lokito for the evening party. The couple’s first dance was naturally a salsa number that surprised and entranced their guests and kicked of the evening party proceedings with bang.

This wedding was featured on Rock My Wedding: Marisa & Edward

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