Postponed, But Worth The Wait
A Day to Remember
What an experience! Our ceremony day was all that we wanted and more. We planned a ceremony that was non-traditional, but true to us and our heritage. We incorporated our ancestry, our history, and a mix of traditions that honored our Gullah Geechee and West African heritage. Our wedding was postponed due to the COVID-19 shutdown. We didn’t think that two years later, we would have our ceremony. We planned to have a destination wedding in Negril, Jamaica after the first plans were cancelled. A short time before the scheduled date, we learned that our grandparents were unable to travel. I couldn’t have this ceremony without my grandfather present, and we didn’t want my husband’s grandmother to miss it either. So, we canceled our trip, sent out emails to our close family and friends, and started making plans to bring the ceremony to them. We were able to secure our initial venue, the Coastal Georgia Botanical Garden in Savannah, GA. Once we secured the venue, we reached out to our initial vendors to let them know we’ve settled on a date and location. This was all done in less than 90 days! I’m exhausted just thinking about it, but it was all worth it.
I was away from my family and friends the entire planning process, so I didn’t have much help with things like finding a dress (that was an emotional experience. I may write about it in another post), choosing colors, and picking a seamstress. My mom, sisters, and I hopped on a video call during my visit at Aisle and Veil in Roswell, GA. I saw some of their dresses on Instagram while out with the hubby on a Saturday. We weren’t far from their location, so I asked him to drive me over there to check out their dresses. I’m so glad that he did. After trying on about four dresses, I found THE DRESS. Of course, I tried on another just to me sure :-), but this was the one. Their process was unfamiliar and unusual to me, but I took a chance and I’m glad I did.
Fast forward to our ceremony day, my morning started out interesting, but calm. The day before we gathered for massages with Dawn Johnson and meditation with Najah Abdullah. Listen, I highly recommend skipping the late night out for a day of relaxation before your big day. The after-effect of that spilled over into the ceremony day. My tribe was scheduled to start getting dolled up by Shaniqua with Kay Cantrell Studio at 8AM. Individual appointments were set, then we all gathered to get ready with breakfast hosted by Ms. Polly Beckett and catered by Brittany and Najah. There was a huge spread of waffles, grits, pancakes, fruit, smothered shrimp, bacon, and vegan dishes.
Shaniqua made sure that we all looked fabulous. She even gave the ladies a lesson on what products to apply to get the look she achieved on us. Now, the hubby doesn't like a WHOLE lot of makeup and he does have to look at me when I get in front of him, so we kept it light.
Our videographer, Calvin Jenkins of BUS41 Films, captured our moments like a movie…literally. Like the filmmaker that he is, he used drones to get a full view of our ceremony space and venue. It was amazing. It really shed light on the venue. I admire it more, seeing it from that viewpoint. I don't know the specs of the equipment he used, but it was pretty high tech. Our photographer, Somi Benson-Jaja with Calvin Wayne Weddings arrived to capture moments of us getting ready. He was phenomenal. His positive energy and enthusiasm to get the best shots kept us all going. Vibes are real. And the vibes that filled our space on this day, were comforting. My tribe was amazing! 15 women in a room with a few small children and it was nothing but love and support.
The ceremony and cocktail hour were held outdoors in the garden and the patio, respectively. The reception was held indoors. The ceremony was opened, and atmosphere was set, with live West African rhythms from drummer Abu Mejeiid. He truly set the tone. Darrell Davis and dancers moved to the rhythm in a choreographed selection, followed by the entrance of the families. The decor and design were executed by K & J Event Designers. We were in awe during the room reveal. They truly brought my vision to life and added spice! Our cake was done by the wedding cake extraordinaire, Ms. Polly of Ms. Polly's Cake Giants. She specializes in specialty cakes for weddings and more. If you think the picture shows its true beauty, imagine seeing it in person. We wanted to incorporate the history and taste of our Gullah Geechee roots, so we sought out a caterer that specializes in such. Chef Thomas Baker of Gullah Geechee Cuisine came highly recommended. The food was delicious! He did not disappoint. In fact, none of our vendors did. They were All amazing. We danced through the night with DJ Jerry Battle and sipped on an endless bar, with our own signature drink, served by Elite Bartending Services.
The day was amazing! Our vendors left us speechless. EVERYONE over delivered. They came through and showed out in record time. We were able to successfully have a full day and evening of culture, support, love, and fun! The way we felt, it won't ever be forgotten. The memories will last a lifetime.
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