Certified Coordinated Bride Sashonna

Journal Entry #2

My Girls

Once my fiancé Derrick popped the questions in Antigua, millions of questions ran through my head like: where are we going to live, who do I need to tell this wonderful news to ASAP, fearing I would leave someone out. The rest of the trip was a wonderful get away. Once we got back to the states, I continued to share my good news with everyone. They asked me the same thing: “when is your wedding date”? Thinking to myself when was our date? What were our colors going to be? Where were we going to get married? And who were going to be my bridesmaids?

Unlike most brides, I didn’t put pen to paper and create a checklist. I created a mental checklist of what I needed to do. Don’t get me wrong, I do write to do lists at work and I am an organized person when it comes to projects and tasks, but for some reason I refused to write a checklist and decided to tackle one task at a time. After Derrick and I had finalized our date, colors and venue, selecting bridesmaids was the next step. I was very excited about this part of wedding planning because I could be extra creative. I had done my research of all the different variations of performing a bridesmaid proposal, mailing boxes filled with girly things, or writing heartfelt notes and sharing funny stories, or asking a group of friends and announcing it over a meal. I decided I was going to replicate a Tiffany’s box, but with an obscene amount of glitter and a helium filled surprise!

First came selecting my maids. When you decide to select your maids people will give you advice to choose wisely and pick people that will be responsible, take it seriously, and be very helpful. I listened to my cousin Camille when she told me this and I thought of the closest people to me who I have shared memories with over the years and always have had my back. The second thought that came to mind was, who will I have the most fun with going through this process of planning a wedding.

My I Do Crew

I have only one sister who is younger than me and she has been married not once, but twice! I was her bridesmaid for one and a half of her weddings. First wedding I was all in as her maid of honor and then the second, she decided she didn’t need me only a few months prior to her wedding (brushing that off and moving forward). Despite the past I decided to make her my Matron of Honor, given she had the knowledge of planning not one, but two weddings.  (And, yes there is a lot of sarcasm in my last statement).

Haaveshe–My friend, Haaveshe and I hit it off as friends back in the halls of University Terrace on the campus of University of Maryland Eastern Shore, through my first roommate and friend Cianna, who was Haaveshes cousin. Side note:  I found out like 4 years ago they weren’t real cousins and it devastated me. I feel like I’ve been living a sham.  Haaveshe and I were the athletic tomboys of our group of girlfriends. We also shared the same hunger for new music and had to have newest music before it dropped.  Or listening to Lil Wayne’s mix tapes as soon as they dropped and rapping them on the tennis courts in college.  We attended endless parties, concerts, and music festivals over the years. I always remember going to her house and celebrating someone’s birthday, graduation, or just a family function. Her entire family and mother were very inviting and welcoming anytime I came over. Haaveshe and Cianna are both African and introduced me to Liberian food in college. I love jollof rice but to this day still turn my nose up to casava leaf. There’s just something about the texture of the dish that just turns me off.

Cianna–I remember in college when Cianna was my roommate sophomore year. Haavehse and I were playing Grand Theft Auto San Andres non-stop. We had to beat the game. It was the first main black character for a Grand Theft Auto game and we were determined. There was only one TV in our room. We played every free moment we got in between classes. Cianna had become accustomed to watching Passions the soap opera after class and unfortunately was unable to tune in due to this game.  One day Cianna had just got out of class and had, had enough of our game. She expressed to us that she was “tired of waking up to gun shots and going to bed to gun shots”. Unfortunately, her comment did not convince us enough to stop obsessively playing the game. Cianna was a very studious student and a goody two shoes. She was our voice of reason and the adult of the group. She is often outspoken, but her honesty and blunt opinions are said with love. Cianna is also the fashionista of the group, always up on the latest fashion trends, one could say she is the Carrie Bradshaw of our group. I can say that Cianna’s work ethic in college to be the best in class influenced me to be the best in my career. Cianna is the one who introduced me to The Coordinated Bride. She is living her best life not being afraid to be different and doing what she wants to do. Check her blog out on IG @nwafrogirl.

Hurricane Katrina–I met in college through Haaveshe. All four of us became close in college. Katrina and I would always gang up on Cianna and Haaveshe as “the Americans” vs. “the Africans”. Naturally the Americans won. Katrina and I became close friends and online shopping addicts. I can remember weekly going to the Student Service Center to pick up our purchases. You could catch us blasting T.I and Backyard Band in the green Camry on our way to class. Katrina and Haaveshe would force us to do vision boards, which later lead to our yearly tradition called “DRUNKATION”. This festivity was a sisterhood of bonding and sharing updates on our lives and speaking our goals into existence. These ladies are my core group of friends that I can tell anything to and know that they will have my back in most situations.

Jada– I often call Jada my twin and her mom always says she talks like me…whatever that is supposed to mean. Jada is one of my second cousins, who I didn’t always get along with. She often reminds me that when she was younger, she used to always stick her tongue out at us and ask if we wanted to see her yellow dinosaur. Her yellow dinosaur was her making a dinosaur out of her hand and forcing you to play with her. One day I just didn’t want to play and I decided to play fight her. I was probably twelve at the time. After we “fake” fought and hashed it out she became one of my favorite little cousins. I would take Jada to movies all the time to see new movies. As she got older we would talk about her future: what she wanted to do when she grew up, which school she wanted to attend, what her plan was to get to the end goal. I am so proud of my little cousin. She got accepted to nine schools, all with scholarships. As she continues to grow she is proving to be a very intelligent, focused young woman and I look forward to congratulating her on every accomplishment along the way.

Jamaka–I also selected Jamaka as one of my bridesmaids. She is a new friend to me and I have known her for two years. We met shortly after I moved to Virginia from New Jersey. We both worked at the same company. One day, a few months after I started, I was walking back to my desk and I heard a voice. It was Jamaka. She was talking to me and asking me how I was doing and noticed that I was new. She had offered to go to lunch that week so we could get to know each other. I went home and told my fiancé that I had be-friended another black girl after months of not seeing many like me. Jamaka and I quickly became friends. She helped me to adapt to the corporate culture and to get to know the local area around Virginia. Jamaka likes to rep Virginia hard, with her southern twang. I remember her introducing me to “crab eggrolls”. We went to this authentic Virginia carryout and ordered Crab eggrolls, fried fish, and hush puppies. The crab eggrolls were amazing, but you have to dip them in hot sauce and vinegar. When she told me that the dipping sauce was hot sauce and vinegar, my face cringed and I thought that must taste weird. To my surprise it tastes amazing and the combination is beyond addicting.

Proposal Gift

Now that I have selected my girls it was time for me to select the perfect box. I literally searched high and low from Amazon to Container Store looking for a turquoise box. The color had to be right. I was at every retailer trying to find the right size and color. Finally, I found a glitter turquoise box in JoAnn’s on sale.  I lined the box with white velvet, then filled it with mini bottles of blanc de bleu champagne bottles, paper straws, OPI nail polish, personalized stemless champagne flutes, chocolates and/or macaroons, bath bombs, a Zen Candle, a mini mason jar filled with matches with Tiffany blue tips, Esos lip-balm, and an inspirational note pad. I tied a white ribbon on top to emulate a Tiffany’s box. Tied to the white ribbon was an oversized purple balloon filled with confetti and glitter, with a card asking to be my bridesmaid. Attached to the balloon was a safety pin with a note that said pop me.

Delivering the Goods

The first stop on my box delivery route was to my sister. I called her and let her knew I was in town and that I would be stopping by. I came to her door with the package in hand. I had her come outside on the front porch. I handed her the box and asked her to set it down on the ground. Her immediate reaction was happiness and excitement. Her first instinct was to open the box, but I told her she had to pop it. She immediately told me no and asked if she really had too. I think she had an idea of what was inside the balloon. She grabbed the safety pin that was attached to the balloon, closed her eyes tight and popped the balloon. Confetti and glitter went everywhere. She was initially scared and screamed. I recorded her reaction and couldn’t stop laughing at her jumping from the balloon explosion. After she calmed down she opened the box to all her goodies. I could tell she was really happy and excited to be a part of my wedding.

Haaveshe was next on my hit list. I told her I was in DC and close to her house and wanted to come by. I rang her doorbell and she opened it up very surprised and confused to why I had such a large purple balloon tied to a box in my hand.  She laughed it off and followed my instructions. She took the balloon to a clear room and proceeded to pop the balloon unknowing what was inside. Yet again I got to watch the fear on another one of my friends faces as they popped the balloon and glitter, confetti and a note came out. The note read “Will you be my maid of honor?”  Haaveshe initially said no and that she wanted to be just a regular bridesmaid, but I told her that she was the right woman for the job.

Jada was my third glitter bomb victim. I met up with her as soon as she got off of work in a parking garage. I surprised her because I came out the car with a giant balloon. She looked terrified to even go near the balloon. She went back and forth with me for a bit about popping the balloon. She finally agreed and tried to shield her face from the explosion, but unfortunately she got glitter bombed the worst. The glitter got all over her face, in her mouth, and in her eyes. She was in complete shock from the glitter bomb. She was very happy to be selected to be a maid for my special day.

Cinco de mayo 2017 Katrina, Cianna, Haaveshe, and I were getting together. I had arrived at Haaveshe’s house a little to assemble 2 boxes. We originally were suppose to meet at Lauriol Plaza, but it was insanely crowded so we met at a restaurant across the street. Once everyone was there, Haaveshe and I walked to my car to grab the boxes and balloons to surprise Katrina and Cianna. I gave them their boxes and they both popped their balloons at the same time with the restaurant as their audience. They both read their messages hidden inside their balloons and graciously accepted to be bridesmaids in my wedding.

Lastly was Jamaka, I initially asked her in person to ensure she wanted to accept, given we were new friends and being a bridesmaid is a huge responsibility. She said yes. Later that week after we went to the gym I surprised her at my car her giant purple balloon and glittery box wrapped with a white ribbon and bow. I gave her the instructions and she too was afraid to pop the balloon, but did as she shielded her eyes and mouth because I told her what happened to Jada. She opened the box and was in complete surprise.

I love all these ladies and have been influenced and have learned from each one of these ladies. I interact with each one differently, but they all have had a great impact on me. I am blessed to have friends young, new, and old like these strong, supportive, determined, intelligent, funny women. I pray that our bonds continue for many years to come and I count down the days until my special day with them by my side.

As the great Beyoncé said in Destiny Child’s song “Girl”… “You’re my girl, we’re your girls, don’t you know that we love you” 😉