Certified Coordinated Bride Oniki
Journal Entry #4
They say “luck” is when preparation meets opportunity….and I believe them! In these final days leading up to our wedding, as everyone we run into is wishing us “luck”, there is so much to reflect on during our journey to prepare ourselves to marry since we first became engaged 11 months ago, but here we are now, #septembertilforever.
It was also the month of September back in 2011 when I worked my first wedding as a coordinator with another planner who I met at an industry conference the month prior. Stephanie and I connected instantly over lunch after talking about what else but SHOES!?! After all, every woman loves a great pair and the footwear industry was the one thing that I had clung to since I worked for shoe companies my entire career in fashion. As I always loved weddings and throwing events, I was naturally drawn to making shoes for brides and special occasions, almost as a way to serve both industries that I loved! But let me tell ya, when I worked that first wedding for over 200 guests at a gorgeous South Jersey estate and saw all the beautiful details come together seamlessly thanks to the clear vision of the bride & groom working with us as a team to translate their love story into an all-encompassing experience for one night, I knew that planning, designing and executing events which were intimate in nature was for me!
Now that I am planning my own wedding, everyone considers me lucky since I am very well organized and know the ins and outs of all that is involved – which is true – however, with this being my own wedding there have been so many more emotions involved, beyond the happiness, joy and hopefulness that we feel with each of the couples we work with. When you first receive that ring on your finger and say the most powerful and meaningful “YES” of your life, SO much comes along with that!! It’s not just about planning your wedding, but about planning your LIFE!
Let’s start with this: Marriage is the combining of two lives and two families, plus when you are looking at a couple like Jamel and I, two or more cultures as well. He is Bermudian, 100%, and still a citizen there. I, on the other hand, have been a Jersey Girl all my life but I have Liberian and Chinese – Jamaican roots. You talk about America being a melting pot, our marriage certainly is, too! (If you are wondering, then YES, you will absolutely see our Wedding become a reflection of ALL of these cultures!) So yes, back to marriage – this is HUGE!! Cultures, finances, responsibilities, personal time & space, views on religion and child rearing, emotions and feelings and everything else that became very REAL once you commit your life to another person – it’s all very important to discuss and prepare for life together now that God has given you the opportunity to do so.
We are really thankful that pre-marital counseling helped us open up the conversation about some very important topics as well as how to resolve conflict which is very important. But even as recently as the day we applied for our marriage license, we were required to read a handbook on family law which seemingly talked only about divorce and the way out of marriage! We are not ignorant to the statistics, but we are fully aware of the strength in our bond and the decisions we are making with not just the “best of intentions” but our ONLY intention to uphold our vows to one another. In anything you do in life, it is sometimes difficult to navigate unchartered territory and lots of people seem to have advice for us, whether they are currently married, recently divorced, single and afraid of commitment or married multiple times. So what Jamel & I conclude is that while many others have ventured down the road before and gotten married, no two people were Oniki & Jamel and so our marriage will be what WE make it, together.
So today is the day, September 4th. The day when preparation meets the opportunity to marry and amazing man, enjoy a beautiful celebration with our family and friends, live happily ever after, and be the luckiest girl in the world. Preparation has met the greatest opportunity I have known so far and I cannot wait to see what is next for us! You finally get to #meetthehardtmans!
PS: Regarding our wedding, I am EXTREMELY lucky that I met several of my “friendors” years ago at another wedding industry conference here in Palm Beach so I already have a great comfort level and personal relationship with many of them (thanks be to Facebook!) and seriously cannot wait to see my curated vision come together with this talented collection of individuals who are equally passionate about their craft as they are to executing a wonderful and very personal vision come to life for couples on their wedding day! Stay tuned for my final blog entry telling you all about the design & details of our wedding weekend!!!
Engagement photos by @twoandquarter