Certified Coordinated Bride Sisi
Journal Entry #5
After The Aisle
So, I’m married. We did it!!!!!!! It’s been 4 months of marriage and I literally look back and say, I wish I could do my entire wedding weekend all over again because it was the BEST WEEKEND OF MY ENTIRE LIFE. I had a ridiculous amount of fun. I mean, I knew my wedding would be lit, but I literally slipped out of one of my dresses from turning up so hard! I thoroughly enjoyed my wedding day and I didn’t feel like it just “flew by” like everyone says. I took every last moment in every time I could. Here’s why my wedding day went so amazingly – well even though a few things went wrong, which I’ll save till the end.
- The Pre-Wedding Party Bus – I was soooooo absolutely nervous to have a party bus the day before my Traditional Nigerian Wedding, but we had so much family flying in from out of town that we wanted to make sure they were entertained. It was my sister’s idea and she insisted, so I finally went along with it. WE TURNED UP! Omg, it was like the club knew we were coming. We had the entire place LIT. I swore to only sip on champagne the entire night because I didn’t want to be drunk and puffy eyed the next day. The party bus sure took the edge off the entire weekend and I kicked off my two day wedding weekend relaxed and ready for a good time instead of still worrying about who’s sitting where and centerpieces.
- A Timely Nigerian Ceremony – Sounds like an oxymoron if you know anything about Nigerian weddings. We put 6 pm on the invitation and the ceremony really started at 7 pm. Some people were there on time but most arrived around 6:30 pm. By 7 pm, about 70% of our wedding guests were there and we started ON TIME (the real time). I know this is so tricky for brides of color to worry about what time to put on the invitation. Here’s the final thing that helped: I designated a family friend to make an announcement towards the end of the Nigerian Ceremony to let guests know that the next day will be different. She informed everyone that guests are to arrive at 6:00 pm to be seated and the ceremony would start promptly at 6:30 pm at which time the doors will be closed and they will not be able to enter afterwards. My guests must have known we meant business because guests started crawling in around 5:45 the next day for my White Wedding. I was shocked, but it worked! Set the tone with a nice but stern message in person or on your invitations to ensure guests arrive on time.
- My Day of Coordinator Ninja – All my vendors were solid, SOLID. They were professional, reliable and did an awesome job serving me. My day of coordinator and her assistant were so important because she showed up BIG for me. The smallest details she helped with. My coordinator picked my niece up and bounced her around without hesitation when my sister was busy with me or my nephew. I also remember it was a Supermoon on the day I got married and I wanted a photo of it but I forgot to get a newspaper. My photographer took a picture of his phone with the article but she went out of her way to find the newspaper- CLUTCH. She also kept trying to get ahead of schedule. She helped me communicate with others in other rooms to let them know what needed to be done for me. She had the password to my phone to respond to the multiple texts that were coming through and the Uber to pick up and drop off my makeup artist. She kept everything in order. My bridal attendant and Maitre D’ provided by the venue were great as well but I couldn’t imagine how the day would have been without her. Ladies, get a day of coordinator!
- Our Ten Minutes Alone – One of my greatest ideas. I told my day of coordinator, photographer and videographer that I wanted 5 – 10 minutes alone with my now HUSBAND (oooow!) right after the ceremony. No cameras, no vendors, no family, just him and I. We kicked off our shoes, sat down, prayed, drank champagne and ate our cocktail hour food while we just processed what just finally happened. It was incredibly necessary to slow down the pace for a moment. I needed to release the adrenaline and take it all in for a moment. I will forever be grateful for this moment. It felt like our own little intimate date on our wedding night. After that, we were restored and re-energized to return to our 317 guest wedding to smile and take every picture!
- Execute the Timeline and Turn Up – The venue manager and I set out a plan of how everything was going to roll out for the reception. My entire reception was from 8 pm – 12 midnight. One key factor was that my videography package was for 8 hours, so we only had our videographers from 2 – 10 pm. The tricky part was my husband and I both had a wardrobe change to switch in to our Ghanian kente outfits. We wanted to make sure our re-entrance with our Kente was all caught by our videographers. With the help of our venue team and day of coordinator, we did our entrance in to the reception, first dance, father daughter dance, mother son dance, cutting of the cake and bridal bouquet toss all in 2 hours! Not to mention our 3 course meal was also served within those 2 hours so the remaining two hours was turn up, turn UP, TURN UP! I partied like I wasn’t even the bride. My bridal attendant kept my champagne flowing, put an ice cold towel on my back to cool me off and at the last ten minutes of the night, I had a nice glass of Henny (Hennessy) and Cran because you know…what’s a turn up at a Nigerian-Ghanian wedding without Henny?!
What Went Wrong?
The answer is very little but here’s a quick summary. Kids are very unpredictable and managing them on a hectic day when you’re in the wedding can also lead to some mistakes. My sister (Matron of Honor) who’s son was my ringer bearer (2 years old) and who’s daughter was an honorary flower girl (9 months and not yet walking) had her hands full on my wedding day. Long story short, she forgot my nephew’s agbada (Nigerian native attire worn over the long sleeve top and bottom) at home so he had to walk down the aisle without it. She withheld the news from me for very long that morning fearing I’d be pissed but when we were finally at the venue she told me, I just shrugged my shoulder and said, “it’s ok, I knew something might happen with him. Kids are a lot –don’t worry about it, I’m not pissed.” Shortly after she told me that and literally 15 minutes before the ceremony was going to start, my nephew pulls the fire alarm. Yikes. That alarm was so loud and scared everybody. No worries, the bridal attendant ran to the alarm system and shut it off before any fire departments were called (it seemed like she’d seen this happen before). It startled everyone and I just had flashes of the sprinkler system going off and ruining everyone’s clothes but luckily it did not and the show continued on! Lastly, my DJ messed up the song my parents were supposed to enter in to the reception with. I was shocked that he did because we went over the wedding playlist numerous times but evidently he downloaded a very long version of that song that wasn’t correct. Long story short, my parents had no music walking in and were ushered in by the singing of all my aunts and uncles which was not what I planned and I was very pissed but in hindsight seeing the videos, there was something powerful about it being acapella and them surrounded with love.
There you have it folks! That’s my wedding recap! If you have any debate about doing the first look and seeing your husband before you walk down the aisle – DO IT! Men don’t also react how you think they’ll react. It’s better to create a private moment alone and have more time for your photos (you paid thousands of dollars for). My last tip, if it’s down to the two week mark and if you still have to get all your details (table cloths, signage, champagne flutes, gift card basket etc.) together, create a list and pass it off to your bridal party! My girls came through for me so clutch to get those last minute details from Amazon (Amazon Prime saves lives). I literally made a list, showed them inspiration and the caveat to not question me further about what I wanted to mitigate going back and forth and it still feeling like work. I simply said, yall know my taste, I trust you to get what I would like, buy it, send it to my address, screenshot me the receipt and I’ll reimburse you via Venmo, – DONE. They literally knocked out my list in like a day. Teamwork makes the dream work!
If you’re getting married, make sure you have a solid team of support and ENJOY IT. Don’t be a stiff bride that can’t cut loose. Party your ass off when all the formal stuff is done and you’ll smile every time you think back to your wedding day!
It was great sharing this experience with you all, check out the amazing images captured by the talented Arista Imagery below!