What comes to mind when you hear the word tradition? Boring? Uncreative? Obligatory? It doesn’t have to be any of that. When planning a wedding, […]
I could do this forever… I realised that true love isn’t finding someone you can do everything with, it’s finding someone you can do nothing with…. I can do nothing with Africa and still be the happiest man in the world.
I cannot tell you how excited I am to share this wedding with you.
Meet stunning bride; Africa of Grenadian & English heritage, and handsome gent Jermel of Jamaican heritage.
You may recognise Africa and Jermel as one of Nu Bride couples and it gives me great pleasure to be able to share their epic wedding with you today.
Africa and Jermel married on the 25th July 2015 at the totally unique and atmospheric Asylum Chapel in Peckham, with its stunning textured, crumbling interior walls and stained glass windows, followed by a reception to dance the night away at the stunning Paradise at Kensal Green, London.
This beautiful pair are a breath of fresh air. They knew from the beginning they wanted to celebrate their day in their own style, going against tradition and making their wedding day absolutely their own. The bride did her own make up, the groom ended up with three suits and the day itself incorporated over 500 candles. Yes. You read right. (Nu Bride: Where the health and safety at? LOL!)
With a dream team of stylists, this couple executed their wedding vision to perfection, taking inspiration from cult movies and gorgeously romantic Baz Luhrmann-style direction, to recreate a scene from the 1996 version of Romeo and Juliet. Epic.
Captured by the incredible Caught The Light Photography, prepare to swoon!
Over to the gorgeous Africa for the details! Oh and you wait till you see the video by Clark and Palmer Films at the end! Tissues at the ready!
Whilst on holiday in Thailand, Jermel arranged for us to commemorate our trip by planting trees, inscribing a rock and taking a photo so that we could revisit… Jermel went first and wrote his proposal on the rock! (Nu Bride: So smooth!) It was completely unexpected! You can read more details about the proposal here!
We first saw our wedding venue on TV show Don’t Tell The Bride and did our homework to track it down. Jermel’s a die hard Luhrmann fan and I instantly pictured a scene from Romeo and Juliet when we first spotted the venue.
On any given day, our house is always full of various burning candles so it was inevitable they would play an integral role in our wedding decor.
We went against the grain, scrapped most traditions and had a day that we and only we would not regret!
I decided to do my own make up on the day, the same as I always wear it. Whilst I undoubtedly noticed a lack of representation of black brides in the UK wedding industry, I personally didn’t need to see other black brides when searching for wedding inspiration, because I literally only wanted to look at decor and settings for ideas.
We had a dream team of suppliers. Chloe Brown of Caught The Light was our photographer who we cannot recommend highly enough! Clark and Palmer Films captured our wedding film and we would also definitely recommend them and our wedding coordinaor Anna Spitalny.
I had my dress custom made by an up and coming designer based in Washington who has since gone on to win a host of awards for her designs. Phuong was so patient with me as I constantly changed my mind over the course of a year! She was adaptable (I was almost 4 months pregnant by the time we walked down the aisle), realistic and in the end, her dress exceeded expectations! As incredible as my dress was, my absolute favourite piece of the outfit was my stunning Spanish Cathedral veil with a beautiful 6ft train.
We bought 3 suits for Jermel in total, (Nu Bride: Jermel LOL!) the first from Jack Spade –beautiful suit but a rushed decision, secondly a sleek Reiss suit that was a little too similar to the groomsmen and finally a double breasted combo from Suitsupply that we both fell in love with! (Nu Bride: Good choice. Completely and utterly dapper!)
I think most brides have a surreal day with all the months, sometimes years, of planning and prep finally coming to a halt.
But, with our setting being so spectacular and ethereal, it really was magical.
We had a four strong creative team that transformed our venue; Anna Spitalny, Shereena Aitken-Grey, Zoe Weir and Toby Davies. I had seen many transformations of our venue in the run up to our day, but our team surpassed all expectations. We had a brief of Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo & Juliet’s death scene, in excess of 500 candles, eucalyptus, moss and ivy as the only decorations and they did an exceptional job. (Nu Bride: could not agree more!)
The setting was made complete by live serenades by Graeme Airth on saxophone and Karim Kamar on the piano as I walked down the aisle.
Jumping the broom! (An important and heartwarming tradition in African and Caribbean communities that routes right back to slavery)
I had no idea how emotional that moment would make me and although symbolical, it felt more official than reading my vows! Chudi, a lifelong friend of Jermel’s read a heartwarming speech about our reasons for jumping the broom, as we had friends and family of all cultures in attendance. It really was special.
My best friend Kristian referencing my first wedding to “an 8 year old Italian genius named Emilio” in our school playground 18 years prior in his speech was so funny!
For our first dance, we danced to Beyonce 1+1 –We are not the world’s greatest Beyonce fans but it was the perfect song for us.
Challenges and Triumphs
Family opposition regarding some of our decisions in the run up to the wedding was a real challenge.
It can be really tough and I completely understand why many couples choose to buckle under the pressure. We came under fire for choosing Kurdish cuisine, sticking to a small guest list, having an adult only day (with the exception of siblings) to name just a few hurdles. In the end, at the very last moment, my father decided not to attend my wedding at all. There is so much pressure to please, but we don’t regret a single decision we made.
We found out I was pregnant during our wedding planning and actually it gave me a new perspective, allowed us to remain grounded, particularly in terms of budget, and also there was a magical element to keeping this teeny tiny secret on such a special day. Jermel would like to add that the hormonal kick meant I was a force to be reckoned with when it came to dealing with vendors etc. which probably helped in some way!
Top Tip for Other Couples
Stick to your budget. £4k, £40k or £400k. Account for every last detail and still add a 20% buffer. When you step off that plane on your honeymoon, you will feel 3 stone lighter knowing everything has been taken care of.
Nu Bride: Brilliant advice!
Africa and Jermel. A heartfelt thank you for sharing such your beautifully romantic, original wonderfully executed wedding day with us. Joy!
Tissues at the ready!
Photographer: Chloe Browne of Caught the Light
Cinematographer: Clark and Palmer Films
Wedding Co-ordinator: Anna Spitalny
Bride’s Fashion: Dress / outfit: Dream Dresses by P.M.N
Accessories / Jewellery: Effrat Cassouto
The Girls Bridesmaid Outfits: TheDaintyard | Bridesmaid Shoes: Bridesmaids own
The Guys Groomsmen Suits: ASOS
Pageboy outfit: ASOS
Personal Touches: Cake: Made by a close friend
Flowers and Décor: Purchased wholesale arranged by Anna Spitalny and Team
Food: Close friends catered
Stationery: Created our own