Certified Coordinated Bride Amanda
Journal Entry #5
Finally Islam: A NY Modern Romantic Interfaith & Intercultural Wedding

I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity of sharing my bridal and wedding experiences with you all thus far!  But as the saying goes…all good things must come to an end. Let’s take it a few months back to Labor Day Weekend 2017. On 09.01.17, the dawn of Labor Day weekend. Many things were being celebrated in the New York tri-state area, like West Indian/Caribbean Culture, Brazilian Independence and MY WEDDING day!

My husband and I are both half Guyanese. I am half Brasilian and he is half Bengali. I am Christian and he is Muslim. What a combination huh?  Piggy backing from my last entry, compromise was a common thread for my wedding day.  Our wedding colors were navy and gold (New York Colors) and we tried to incorporate little parts of our cultures into the wedding.

Interfaith Ceremony:

Moe and I initially planned to elope in hope to avoid any conflicts of our religions and cultures. We are both American and knew our perception of the wedding day would be slightly different than some families.  However, we opened our big mouths and casually pitched the idea of eloping to some of our family members and that idea turned into having a destination wedding and then over time we were convinced into having a wedding close to where we lived.

Moe and I knew that we wanted our wedding to be personal and unique. I thought having an interfaith wedding would be one way of accomplishing that.  Once we decided to have a wedding here in NY, the vision of having an interfaith wedding wouldn’t go away. I was determined to have one. In all honestly, I have to admit, there wasn’t a lot of Christian/Muslim interfaith same day ceremonies that I could reference so it wasn’t the easiest to  achieve initially.  It took researching all ends of Google and Pinterest, time, patience, and persuading but I eventually convinced my husband, friends, and family that we were going to have an interfaith ceremony. It seemed to be the best compromise to both of our families.

Luckily, I had a lot of support from some of my bridal party, friends and family members as well as my amazing wedding planner!  We were blessed to find two very open minded religious leaders to perform our interfaith ceremony. Ironically, the Christian Officiant actually grew up with my mother’s family in Guyana and the Islamic Solemnizer was of Bengali descent which made them all the more relatable.

Our ceremony and reception were both done at our venue, Russo’s On The Bay in Howard Beach, NY. We had an evening Outdoor Ceremony in Russo’s waterfront garden. The ceremony began with the pastor walking down the aisle entering to the Procession Entrance Song: 1000 Years by Christina Perri (Played by the DJ) sweetly accompanied by a live solo saxophonist. Followed by Moe being escorted by both his parents, then the bridal party, ring boy, and then the flower girls. Next, I walked into the traditional wedding march song escorted by my mother.

The ceremony included readings from the Bible by my pastor and readings from Quran cited by the Imam as well as prayers and blessings from both officiants. The ceremony also included marriage vows, blessings of the rings, lighting of the Unity Candle, and a recessional March.

Funny story: During the ceremony, after the pastor announced for the groom to kiss the bride… I reached in for a pucker on the lips but Moe reached in for a pucker on the cheek. Apparently, that was Religious conflict that I wasn’t aware of. Either way, I still got a kiss!

Sprinkles of Culture

Some West Indian/Caribbean elements of the wedding included having a steel pan band during the cocktail hour and a variety of cultural food options (that included a “no pork“ menu).  For our wedding favors, we gave black cake wedding cake favors placed in a groom tuxedo box and Bem Casados placed in a bride dress box.  Black Cake is almost always served at a Guyanese wedding. It’s a dense cake that’s made of dried fruits, nuts and rum.  Bem Casados are traditionally given as wedding favors in Brazil and are said to give the newlyweds luck. These wedding favors are made of sponge cake filled with dulce de leche, sugar coated and individually wrapped.

We had three signature drinks, two of which was: “Something Blue” – to tie in with our color theme and a “Blushing Bride” caipiroska. A caipiroska is a form of caipirinha prepared with vodka instead of the usual cachaça. It is a popular cocktail in Brazil. Caipirinhas is actually my favorite cocktail. FYI, Sometimes combining cultural traditions can cost a pretty penny!

Our first dance song was fusion mix of three songs: “This I Promise You” by *NSYNC, “Ai Se EU Te pego” by Michel Teló (Brazilian song), and a remix of “Oh Vicky I Love You” mix by Suresh Wadkar (Guyanese song). We actually ended the night dancing to a few very popular West Indian soca songs such as “Palance” and “Soca Train”.  Having a “Soca Train” or a Conga line is a must have at Guyanese weddings! I really wanted to have samba dancers and/or capoeira dancing which is generally included in Brazilian weddings, however there were cultural and timing conflicts.

Favorite Wedding Highlights

-Moe and I had an epic wedding reception enterance that entailed entering through an Elevator in the center of the reception room in the Tivolli Room!

-Moe and I are self proclaimed foodies so it took us a lot of time to find the perfect venue. We actually visited over 20 Wedding venues in New York. Our venue has remarkable service and an impeccable culinary reputation. Our entree menu had a whopping choice of 11 food options that were displayed on a personalized menu.  We also had a super cool Lemon Ice Cart plus dessert during the intermezzo followed by an additional dessert assortments during the Venetian hour. As well as a to go station and a Roasted Nut Station served in the valet!

-We had a Bride side versus Groom side “Scream off” – I won…. I’m just saying!

-One of the bridesmaids and groomsmen surprised Moe and I with a heart shaped pizza in the limo right after we took some bridal party pictures. It was a really sweet and thoughtful gesture because pizza is one of my favorite foods!

-We had a Bucket list in place of a traditional guest book. We requested that our guests leave us a note with an idea, plan or an adventure (I love adventures!) that would be completed in a lifetime. However, our photo booth vendor was thoughtful and created a scrapbook for Moe and I. The scrapbook included all the pictures that were taken in the photo booth and wishes/messages written by our wedding guest for us!

After the Wedding

….all I could think about was getting my thank you cards out. I’m only joking. Okay only partially joking.

On a serious note, Moe and I have known each other for over 15 Years. We thought we knew each other very well. Regardless of how much you think you know someone wait until you have to share a bed and chores! Oh yeah and finances too! Either way, I quickly learned that compromise was not only a common thread for our dating relationship and wedding but also in our marriage. Marriage life for us involves making efforts to maintain a healthy balance of work, family, personal and mutual goals as well as time for leisure. Whenever we have a tough time, I try to remember the wise words of my brother in law, “Marriage is like a walk in the park… Jurassic Park!”  Marriage not only takes compromise, but it takes patience, understanding, communication and dedication. Oh yeah and lots of adventures, tummy dates, and maybe a couple honeymoons.

Well folks, thanks for reading and following me on this bridal blogging journey! Tchau Tchau (Bye, Bye!) Com muitos beijos e abraços!! (With lots of kisses and hugs)

Mrs. Amanda Da’Annunciacao- Islam

Vendor Collaboration

// Venue (Outdoor Ceremony & Indoor Reception): Russo’s on the Bay // Hotel: Hilton- JFK //  Wedding Planner: Platinum Celebrations // Photographer: Level 101 Studios //  Make up Artist & Hair Stylist: Beauty by Tamanna  / Yvelisse Salon, NYCLotus Beauty Salon Floral Park // Floral & Decor: Elegant Floral Design //  Videography: Bowie Alexander //  Dress: Madison James, Blossom Brides //  Shoes: Badgley Mischka //  DJ: Waistline Entertainment //  Live Music- Steel Band: Evans Charles //  Saxophonist: Anthony Ware //  Photo Booth: Eventertainment, Inc. //  Officiants/Celebrants: The Reverend- Dr. Raymond G. Wilson / Imam- Quzi Quyyuam  // Car Service: Reliance Limo // Bem Casados: Telma Bom Tempo //