The gorgeous Zenna and Jason, tied the knot in a stylish ceremony and reception at beautiful Georgian mansion; Eaves Hall, Lancashire on the 12th July 2015.
Zenna and Jason, both of British-Jamaican heritage wanted a fun, relaxed but stylish wedding tha represented who they are and also honoured their Caribbean culture. Their wedding was full of delicious ideas. The finishing touches, such as the table numbers which Zenna and Jason cleverly used to identify significant to moments in their life: including table no.7… the amount of years together and how long it took Dear Jason to propose. It’s these brilliant little personal touches that make your wedding, yours.
We wanted our wedding day to be a stylish and classy affair but we still wanted it to be fun and relaxed to reflect us as a couple. The most important thing for us was to ensure both ourselves and our friends and families felt comfortable on the day, we wanted it to feel like one huge dinner party come house party and that is exactly how it was. Zenna and Jason
Finding inspiration wasn’t as straight forward as they had first hoped, from the enormous task of narrowing down the overwhelming multitude of options, to struggling to find visual inspiration of couples who they could identify with.
There were lots of great wedding inspiration sources out there, from magazines, to websites, blogs and Pinterest which I really enjoyed looking through. So whilst I didn’t find obtaining ideas difficult, the main difficulty was in narrowing down the hundreds of options I had laid out in front of me and coming to the realisation that it wasn’t possible to do everything. It was also during my inspiration searching that I realised how difficult it was to find images and blogs from other black weddings.
Capturing their day, Zenna and Jason chose the brilliant Paul Joseph Photography. What a privilege to be debuting photographers Paul and Kelly’s work on Nu Bride today. The joy that radiates from Zenna and Jason’s images were such a pleasure to edit.
We got to know Paul and Kelly at the wedding of a close friend who they were shooting at the time and before I even knew we were soon to be engaged, the one thing we knew was that no matter where we got married, we had to have Paul and Kelly shoot our special day.
We wanted a photographer who could not only capture the emotion of the day but who also had a creative eye to produce shots that were not just your ‘standard’ style of wedding photography.
We wanted shots that were editorial and timeless, the type of shots you would want to blow up on huge canvases and look at time and time again, and oh boy did Kelly and Paul deliver on every aspect. It was also important to us that we could be 100% comfortable with our photographers which was a breeze because Paul and Kelly were so easy to get along with and were really helpful on the day, they even partied the night away with us, so by the end of the wedding it felt like we had gained two new friends. Zenna and Jason
After many wonderful years together, it was clear we had found soul mates in each other and it would just be a matter of time!
But in true Jason style he took his time (Nu Bride: Sounds familiar! LOL!) and 7 years later he popped the question with the perfect ring on NYE 2013 at a champagne roof top party in Amsterdam overlooking the most amazing fireworks lighting up the skyline.
It really was worth the wait.
I was totally surprised, we drank lots of champagne and the next day was celebrated with some famous Winkles Dutch apple pie before catching the plane home. That’s where my wedding planning and list making started as Jason realised quiet nights in were a thing of the past! (Nu Bride: LOL!)
Finding my wedding dress was a huge triumph, I was really excited to go wedding dress shopping and being very fussy I had done lots of online research and scrap booking so I had a clear vision of the ideal style I wanted. Luckily the styles I had in mind were flattering to my figure;
but several boutiques and hundreds of dresses later I started to wonder if I would ever have that overwhelming feeling of finding ‘the one’ that I heard brides talk about. Zenna
That was until I came across Ava Rose Hamilton in Silsden, I completely fell in love with the gorgeous boutique, the decor was very opulent and the assistant ‘Bernie’ was absolutely fantastic.
They sat us down with teas and champagne and spent some time going through my scrapbook, I explained I was really struggling to find a dress that had all the features I was looking for and 30 minutes later they had completely customised a beautiful dress to exactly what i had envisioned, nipping, tucking and putting elements together from different designers to create my perfect dress. As soon as I walked out of the changing room and caught myself in the mirror i was consumed with emotion, my mum burst into tears and from the look on my sister-in-laws face, I knew I had found ‘the one’.
Our flowers were by Debra at Passion. Debra is a small independent florist who was brilliant to work with, she got our vision from the start and we completely trusted her to create the simple, modern and fresh floral theme we had envisioned. She worked with us to ensure we stayed on budget and was great at making suggestions.
The flowers were all perfect on the day.
Finding a UK wedding venue that was classical yet modern and culturally neutral was a challenge, as many venues we visited such as castles and stately buildings were all adorned by old fashioned carpets, (Nu Bride: Don’t get me started on hideous carpets!) furnishings and paintings of bourgeoisie. We wanted a venue where everyone would feel comfortable in the surroundings.
After many hours searching for wedding venues and a full weekend visiting our shortlist, we still hadn’t found the venue of our dreams and had starting to wonder if such a venue existed for us. That was until divine intervention stepped in and we stumbled across Eaves Hall, as soon as we drove up the discrete driveway the grandeur of it had taken our breaths away and it wasn’t long before we completely fell in love and knew it was the place where we would get married.
It was perfect in every sense and ticked all the boxes, it was classical, modern with amazing décor and features, and best of all it would be exclusively ours for 24hours, including the 30 bedrooms onsite and the added bonus was the amazing food.
The staff were equally amazing, they had to be to put up with the dozens of emails, queries and planning documents I bombarded them with, but throughout the whole process they were very accommodating, helpful and friendly and everything on the day went smoothly. We couldn’t recommend Eaves Hall highly enough.
One of my favourite moments was when I saw Jason standing at the bottom of the aisle;
I just remember getting butterflies in my stomach as the realisation hit me that this was it, I was walking towards the person I had dream of marrying one day was about to vow to spend the rest of my life with.
I was very lucky that one of my friends is a very talented designer who also creates beautiful wedding stationery, so there was no doubt in my mind that she would be the one to design all our wedding stationery. She made our vision come to life and created a theme that was just perfect, everything worked really well together and I would highly recommend her design and printing services. In order to keep the costs down I hand finished all the pieces myself, it was really relaxing and rewarding to be able to add my own personal finishing touches to everything.
We didn’t take ourselves too seriously on the day and I think that also helped all our guests feel at ease too. Throughout the day and night we choose music from a variety of genres we loved, from the relaxing soulful vibes during the ceremony and wedding breakfast to the reggae, bashment and garage tunes we partied the night away to.
One of our main concerns with the style of wedding we wanted, was how we were going to incorporate some of our Caribbean culture which was also very important to us. We always knew that we didn’t want to go for the typical Caribbean style buffet for our wedding breakfast as we wanted a more fine dining experience. However, although the venue had never cooked Caribbean food before, the chef happily took on the challenge and learned how to cook some of the signature dishes we wanted to incorporate into the evening buffet, such as jerk chicken, curried goat and rice and peas.
At first we were quite skeptical about their ability to pull this off for us, but at the tasting session they proved us wrong, the chef did a fantastic job and even recommended we have mini curried patties as one of our canapés which was delicious and an excellent idea. (Nu Bride: Fantastic to hear!)
We decided that we wanted to use our favours to remember those who were there with us in spirit but would have been with us to celebrate if heaven wasn’t so far away, so we made a donation two charities that were close to our hearts, Crompton Hospice & Diabetes UK and provided our guests with pins to wear in their memory. (Nu Bride: so poignant)
Our gorgeous wedding cake was made by my mum’s cousin Marlene who is amazing at designing cakes. It was even more special because she had made my 1st birthday cake 30 years ago. She spent hours getting all the finer details just right and it saved us hundreds of pounds and meant we could have exactly what we wanted. Each tier consisted of our favourite flavors – carrot, lemon, chocolate and rum.
The evening reception cake and sweet table was put together by myself with the help of our friends and family. We absolutely love cake and with so many great bakers in our family we just couldn’t resist creating cake fest. Inviting all our friends and family to showcase their signature cakes went down a treat with all our guests.
The whole day was so much fun, though the Best Mans speech was hilarious.
For our first dance we chose Everybody, by Anthony Hamilton (Nu Bride: Great choice!)
My other favourite moment was when the fireworks display we had secretly organised went off, I absolutely love fireworks so we always knew it had to be included as part of our day, but it was even more spectacular than we had expected, all we could hear were the ooos and ahhs from our surprised guests. We were stood right at the front so it felt like it was just the two of us with our own private display and it also gave us a bit of time together to reflect on some of the amazing events of the day.
Challenges and Triumphs
Our biggest challenge was the guest list. As we both come from really big families we always knew it was going to be a big challenge keeping our guest list relatively small.
It’s especially difficult within Caribbean families where there’s added pressure and expectation to invite extended families and long lost cousins. So whilst we were very adamant that we wanted a relatively intimate affair for the ceremony and wedding breakfast, we decided it would be nice for our parents to invite some of the friends and family members they wanted to include to the evening celebrations. Given the large number of guests we had invited, managing the RSVP responses and communicating with all our guests was also a challenge. One of our groomsmen who is a web designer, created a bespoke wedding website for us; www.jason-and-zenna.co.uk, which was a simple and cost effective way to communicate all the details of our wedding day, guests could RSVP and choose their menus online and it gave us a chance to showcase some of our engagement love shoot pictures. We also took the opportunity to provide information on our wedding party.
The second challenge was my wedding hair style. I always knew I was going to have difficulty finding a wedding hairstyle, as 2 years prior I had made the decision to go natural.
Whilst my hair had grown to a decent length, I had no idea how I would style it for the wedding and I couldn’t see myself walking down the aisle with a big afro as I had envisaged a sleeker and neater look.
The difficulty I had was the majority of wedding hair styles I found and liked of black women were with straight/ relaxed hair. I felt like there was limited options for my natural hair but I really didn’t want to go back to the relaxer after all the hard work I had put into becoming natural.
So as a last resort I decided to book an appointment with the hairdresser to get my natural hair straightened, with heat. I was hesitant about how it would look and what damage it may do to my hair but it turned out great, I couldn’t believe how versatile, long and straight my hair was and how quickly it reverted back without damaging my curls. So after a few trials I had found the technique and the style I was happy and it lasted throughout the whole day.
Along with finding my wedding dress it had to be our wedding venue. Whilst exciting and enjoyable at first, finding the perfect venue which ticked all the boxes, was within budget and could accommodate all 120 day guests soon became a difficult, time consuming and frustrating process.
Initially we were undecided if we wanted to get married in the UK or abroad (Italy or the Caribbean) so started to research all the options, making lists of pros and cons. In the end we decided on a UK wedding as not only was it important to us that we celebrate our special day with all our close friends and family present, I wanted to be really hands on in the planning and organization of the day and wanted to do lots of DIY finishing touches to add a personal touch and help keep our costs down.
The issue was whilst a lot of the UK venues looked great online, in person they were a huge let down, but through sheer perseverance and determination we found our dream venue. It felt like we had discovered a hidden gem which reignited our excitement and meant we could start thinking about all the finer details.
One Tip for Other Couples
Amongst all the planning, budgeting and never ending to do lists, it is really easy to lose sight of the reason why you’re getting married.
Schedule time out away from all the spreadsheets, emailing and pinterest-ing to enjoy the moment and each other, go for a meal, take a trip to the cinema or go for a walk around the countryside, anything to take your mind off the logistics.
The best advice yet. Zenna and Jason, what an absolute pleasure, thanking you for sharing a snippet of your gorgeous day and your gorgeous world with Nu Bride. Beautiful. Many congratulations.
Venue: Eaves Hall, Lancashire
Photography: Paul Joseph
Dress: Enzoani and Veil Justin Alexander via Ava Rose Hamilton | Shoes: Jenny Packham | Accessories: Earrings – Mikey | Bracelet – Swarovski |Bouquet Photo Charm – Etsy | Hair: Chauntelle | Make-Up: Stacey Crossley
Grooms & Groomsmen Fashion
Cake: Family friend, Marlene | Flowers: Passion | Decor: Creative Cover Hire | Stationery: Vanilla Inspirations | Favours: Crompton Hospice & Diabetes UK Charity Pins | Food: Eaves Hall | Entertainment: Pianist: Ken Robson, Phenomenal Fireworks , DJ 3style