As promised the second and final instalment of Nu Bride’s Wedding Report – if you haven’t read the first report, you can read it HERE: so get snuggled up again!
After the triumphant exit of our wedding ceremony – here’s where the whirlwind really began, what a surreal feeling!
We were directed throughout the day with covert precision by our brilliant toastmaster; Pat, best man and wedding co-ordinator to ensure the flow and timing of the day went like clockwork. Covert. Precision. Now I understand why celebrities have such an entourage around them, to help them keep to time!
I remember one of our best men (the organised one) emailing me and not the groom, (good decision), about a month before the wedding asking for a detailed breakdown of the timings and detail of the day including every suppliers contact details. Now that is a class above the rest! Covert. Precision! Take note future best men, the forward planning works ;o)
After the ceremony, guests were throwing their arms around us with such joy and delight. Camera’s continuously flashing, I am pretty sure I once again discovered lock-jaw from grinning all day long. I remember starting a drink, putting it down to pose for a photograph and then having no memory of where I put it or what I was drinking – I was one dehydrated bride! LOL!
Let me take a moment to reflect a little – During our Blessing our very lovely Reverend; Pippa made us turn around and face all of our guests. She then made them stand up at intervals of when they first came into our lives. It was so lovely to see a tower of support growing right in front of us. By doing this she highlighted that some of our guests were in-fact strangers, meeting for the first time that day – either someone on hubby’s side that I had not managed to meet or vice versa. But somehow that didn’t matter. Their joy and delight at being part of our day has already moulded new and meaningful relationships and surprisingly some people we thought would be there to support us, were not and people we hadn’t seen for years are now in our lives again and it felt like we picked up right where we left off!
We had a handful of guests just not turn up without contacting us and although in retrospect it is disappointing, it truly didn’t matter on the day. The people who were meant to celebrate with us were there. I have learnt that you can plan a wedding down to the VERY last detail and through no fault of your own, sometimes things just don’t go to plan and my wedding day was no exception. I can honestly say that none of it mattered on the day, they were such small details the guests didn’t notice, only I did because I planned it! ;o)
During our drinks reception the music from LCGC weddings (London Community Gospel Choir) continued (alas, we missed most of it as we were busy taking pictures – nevertheless our guests got to enjoy it!) Our photographers, toastmaster and groomsmen were excellent for getting guests in and out for photographs quickly, which was ESPECIALLY appreciated because it was so cold! Gorgeous autumn colour, but C.O.L.D! (It was at that moment I wondered why I did not purchase a shrug and desperately tried to wrap my veil around me to keep me warm. To no avail. Obviously. I’m not sure what heat I thought I would get from a veil!)
All Photography by JK Photography (unless otherwise stated)
Our photographers and videographers were like silent ninja’s. I remember one of the photographers, Kath, at one point running around like Jessica Ennis with her gilet on trying to get a shot; it made me chuckle, plus I had gilet envy at that precise moment because I was cold. LOL! Apart from the rare moment we had to pose for pictures, (we purposefully chose a reportage style photographer), we barely noticed they were even there. Completely unobtrusive and we’ve had wonderful comments from guests and the venue at how brilliant they were too. We made sure they were fed with a hot two course meal and a chance to breathe while we were all eating our wedding breakfast. They work SO HARD – they need to eat too.
After a quick spin in the car (a lovely moment to ourselves) and a photo-shoot along the beautiful grounds of The Grove, it was time to have a short moment with guests, before being ushered into our room before the wedding breakfast (din dins) was served.
Now this was the moment of truth….
For anyone who plans a wedding, this and the ceremony are the moments you get to truly appreciate ALL of your hard work. All the late nights fighting with printers and ink smudging, stapling fingers together, dealing with glue guns sticking everything but your invitations together. All the nights of writing, reading researching, emailing, meetings, mood-boards, Pinterest, eBay hunting, wedding fairs, DIY making, ALL paying off! I remember for a moment I held my breath and got totally overcome how my little ideas in my little head all came to life and were executed just as I had hoped. My black,white and red theme that I was going to ditch because people said it was too bold, worked. (I hope you like it!)
Mr Nu Bride and I love quotes and picked some of our favourite quotes and used the authors surnames to identify tables with the quote on the back. (Except for the top table – we had Oprah. :o) )
Guest picture above of one of our chosen quotes, detailed on the other side of the table names. Our guests seated on this table were all actors, singers or dancers. Quite fitting! ;o)
Dual place names and lottery ticket favours!
Chocolate shoes and musical notes for the ladies and chocolate footballs for the gents, all made by my clever mum! Organza bags from eBay!
The single red rose as centrepieces on each table in a black lily flute surrounded by tea lights that I hoped would not look sparse, looked simple and elegant. Proving you don’t need to spend a fortune on centrepieces.
I remember giving a round of applause when I saw our wedding cake for the first time. My incredibly talented mum made it for us with such pride! It looked absolutely STUNNING! She decided to use these spectacular diamante cake toppers instead of the traditional figurines to match our modern theme.
When it came to the speech, we eventually decided to do a joint speech. In-fact we didn’t refer to it as a speech, but as our “thank you’s” because that is essentially what it is. For Mr Nu Bride, who has a phobia of public speaking, somehow focusing on “thank you’s” was signficantly less daunting than a “speech”. (Post on public speaking worries coming soon!) On the day I did most of the speaking….now this is when a partnership really comes into fruition as Mr Nu Bride has a disdain for speaking in public, I however do not. ;o) After the thank you’s, much of the “speech” just came from the heart on the day, ‘or from the hip’ as my dad says. I remember promising not to talk for too long because I was starving and wanted to eat. LOL! Referring to ‘my husband’ and being referred to as ‘my wife’ for the first time was rather warm and fuzzy! ;o)
I talked about Nu Bride and how it was founded and how it has grown. I talked about the lack of representation I discovered in the mainstream wedding industry for black brides in particular and for brides who want something different. I talked about how the journey took me back to being a child, growing up and watching Disney films; Cinderella – Snow White, Rapunzel – gorgeous white soft skin, pink lips; long,long silky hair. My hair was tough and required a hot comb to get through it (!) and my skin certainly wasn’t white. I talked about how I couldn’t relate to those stereotypes and how I indirectly grew up believing I could never be a princess….until my wedding day…. and then of course I cried. ;o)
It’s amazing how truly beautiful a bride can feel on their wedding day. For me there is no other dress that will ever make me feel the way I did on my wedding day (Thank you Natalie Gladman of Madeline Issaac James, you are a genius!). Although there were ‘all eyes on me’, it didn’t feel that way. Well, certainly not in judgement. I have never in my life felt as comfortable in who I am as I did on my wedding day.
I remember my dad’s speech being much like mine; un-rehearsed, off the cusp and ‘from the hip’. I also remember gibing him about why he hadn’t taken more time to prepare his speech for his daughter’s wedding. (He responded telling me I wasn’t too old for a smack. LOL!) He talked about ensuring we are rich in life – the richness not from money or success, but from the decent people you surround your lives with, your friends and family. How eloquent. I will always hold onto that sentiment.
We had two best men and their double act was excellent and thank the lord tasteful too! They were brilliant, it helped that one of them is a born entertainer and musician and loves centre stage! Our ushers and bridesmaids were also sublimely superb. And can I just say, aren’t they the best looking wedding party you have ever seen?!? ;o)
During and after dinner, (ooh I forgot to tell you one of the head chefs were from the Caribbean and designed a delicious Caribbean twist main meal for us!) I remember trying to go round to all of the tables to speak to every single guest, which felt like an impossible feat! Where does the time go. No, seriously?
There are so many moments of the day that were and still are vague or a complete blur, (no cheeky people, I was not drunkety drunk), with just so much going on, it is impossible to process it all. I tried to take other brides advice and have a moment to take it all in…IMPOSSIBLE. That’s why I think photo’s are so sacred when you get them back from the photographer and why you should invest in a quality photographer. The two and-a-bit weeks wait to get my pictures back felt like agony, but our photographer said it would be worth the wait and boy was it! We absolutely adore them and they bring back such wonderful moments. (I can’t wait to see the video now!)
A really fond and simple memory was hubby and I going up to our hotel room after dessert and just both lying down face up on the bed looking at the chandelier on the ceiling and just having a moment to ourselves, a chance to process, a chance to breathe. I don’t remember us saying much, it was just a lovely, still moment. Then hubby asked if we could practice our first dance and I changed into shoes number 2! (Yes I had 2 shoes – you know my love for shoes my beauties!) But a 10 minute lie down felt like 10 seconds!
Shoes number 2 for dancing! My something new from hubby. ;o)
We had a few more guests join us for the evening and it was important for us that there was no lull in the timings, so the evening flowed without any breaks and with the dance floor already set, we went straight into cutting our cake and posing for one last time formal shot and then it was dancing time! Weeee!
Originally we had planned to just go with the flow on the day rather than choreograph any steps. (Are you seeing a theme here?! lol) But as the wedding drew nearer, Mr Nu Bride felt that he would feel more comfortable actually having some steps to focus on rather than being exposed and feeling vulnerable just improvising. Funnily enough a few men said the same thing. So with that in mind, my multi-talented maid of honour left her 3 kiddies for the day one saturday to come and teach Mr Nu Bride some steps (did I mention she is an excellent ballroom dancer) nothing fancy, a few simple steps for comfort. And it worked. It was another fond memory for us. We adored dancing together and it may well become a new-found hobby to do as a couple.
For our first dance we chose “I Love You I Do” – By Jennifer Hudson from the Dreamgirls soundtrack. We originally chose a beautiful song called “Marry Me” by Train, but once we decided on choreographing a few steps found the Jennifer Hudson song a better fit and easier rhythmically to dance to.
Ha – during this picture above, a rather comical moment – hubby’s button got caught in my dress and we got stuck together, literally! – But with any professional performers we recovered well! lol! I remember the crowd giving whoops and cheers every time Mr Nu Bride spun me round. It was such a delightful moment !
When we finished our dance, John Legends, “Refuge When Its Cold Outside” started playing and I wanted to grab my dad and have a moment to dance with him. Scouring the room desperate to find him and share a moment, alas, I couldn’t see him among the sea of guests and flashing lights and I got nabbed by more evening guests arriving to say hello and danced pretty much non-stop there onwards.
Our DJ Len (The Feel Good Factor) was absolutely awesome. I have such fond memories of the dance floor being full to the brim with guests doing the electric slide to “Candy” and sharing moments with life long friends from professional dance school dancing to “The Time of Our Lives” to busting out some reggae moves to ‘Beris Hammond’ and seeing the joy on my mum’s face and dancing with her once the Choo’s were off! (Those shoes are NOT made for dancing! lol)
Guest photograph – guests dancing to ‘Candy’
Dancing to New Jack Swing and watching one of our ushers bust some serious moves! Splits and everything! If I figure out how to upload the video on here, I will!
As the night drew closer to an end I remember my dad grabbing me on the dance floor and spinning me around and I was elated at FINALLY getting a moment with my dad and dancing with him for the first time, it was just as hubby and I were about to leave our guests for the evening and retire for the night. (The venue had turned down the sheets and set a scented candlelit bath for us – with petals how cute is that!)
Guest photograph – Dad and I
If I could describe the day it was…euphoric. An overwhelming ball, of sheer joy, tears, nerves, excitement, laughter and last but by no means least, LOVE. I have never experienced anything like it and the genuine joy and excitement friends and family have for you is magical. All that energy in the room was utterly infectious. I am so fond and so grateful for the memories I have gained throughout this entire journey and I am so very excited for our future together.
LOVE THIS SHOT ABOVE! ;o)
Our dear friend who has just nabbed herself a broadway show in New York sent us this wedding gift framed newspaper cutting! We decided to display it on our guest book table so she could be with us in spirit!
Ask me how my back was the day after! lol!
So there you have it. My Wedding Report. I hope you enjoyed it. Thank you so very much for sharing my journey with me!
I’ll be back with lots more posts in the new year to celebrate Nu Brides 1st Birthday! Can you believe it – a year old!
For now, I shall leave you with a copy of the reading that I wrote for our ceremony. The last paragraph is written by Bertrand Russell. Enjoy! ;o)One Moment, by Nova
It is so easy to dwell on the past or focus on the future.
Some of you will already be thinking about what you will be having for dinner in a few hours time!
Thoughts of what is left to organise for Christmas and counting down the never-ending days till pay-day!
I ask you all to take a moment to appreciate the moment. THIS moment. Pause. Stop. And breathe it in, for we don’t know which moment will be our last.
Be really happy in the here and now, hold onto fond memories of so many yesterdays, and have excitement for all the tomorrows to come.
Today we celebrate one of the greatest love stories, two people somehow finding each other out of all the other billions of people in the world and devoting their lives together in front of friends and family.