Certified Coordinated Bride Sashonna

Journal Entry #5  Everything Is Love

The morning of Friday June 8, 2018 I woke up early in my room at the Hilton Baltimore Harbor, with a few last minute tasks on my mind. I needed to prepare my vendors’ thank you cards, grab champagne for my room, order lunch for the bridal suite, and print out the “Day of“ schedule from my coordinator. I allocated the task to get champagne bottles to my maid of honor and bridesmaid, walked up the block from the hotel to the ATM to grab cash, printed a few copies of the “Day of” and ordered lunch.  My fiancé went to pick up my order of balloons to decorate my bridal suite. Once all was complete it was almost 11am, which was the time I had asked for my Bride Hive to be at my room.   My hive arrived and I was very happy to see them and instructed everyone to please put on their robes and slippers. The night before at my rehearsal dinner I handed out thank you gifts to my bridal hive, which included: a Tiffany Blue gift bag stuffed with a Kate Spade bracelet, earrings, perfume, a Kate Spade thank you card, slippers with their wedding title in gold glitter, a hangover survival kit, a Tiffany Blue satin robe, and the wedding program with tissues.  My Makeup artist Letitia Thornhill  and hairstylist Charlene Brown  arrived and they started rolling getting people ready. Champagne and lunch had arrived and the dining and living rooms of my suite had been transformed into a full beauty salon.

My Aunt Peaches is so sweet ever since she found out I was getting married she has been full of advice and extremely helpful. She asked me if she could be my “lady in waiting” on the day of.     My Mom, Aunt Peaches, and Derrick’s mom all came to my my bedroom, which was sectioned off from the rest of the suite, the morning of the wedding. Aunt Peaches brought me gummy bears, my favorite stress relief candle from Bath and Body works, and came to assist with anything. She really wanted me to relax and be away from everyone.  Derrick’s mom helped me decorate my suite with balloons, while my mother and Aunt Peaches steamed my skirt to my dress and veil. I also had a last minute request to swap the buttons on my robe for my bridal suite pictures (I hate pearls), which my mom and Aunt Ingrid helped take care of. After the room was fully decorated I sat in my room relaxed to the stress relief candle and the SZA album, not sure why I find that album calming, but it works!

From the moment I woke up reality still had not set in that I was getting married, I guess because I was so busy.  Running out of time I took a quick bath and jumped into the makeup chair around 2 pm to have my face beat by the talented Letitia Thornhill. While she was doing my makeup our videographer Mek  arrived to grab some snippets for our wedding video and meet Iris.  Shortly after makeup, I switched chairs to Charlene Brown who wand curled my hair.

All I could think now was where had the time gone? I was suddenly rushing because I had fallen behind schedule. After my hair was finished I wanted to take bridal suite pics with my bride hive. Iris captured the two mothers first in my bedroom.  I also took pics with my flower girls they seemed to really enjoy the day and the mini photo-shoot with the balloons.  It was 5 pm and we had to get to the venue. Although the venue was down the elevator across the sky bridge, it was Friday night in downtown Baltimore and the hotel was a popular place for happy hour so there was heavy elevator traffic.  All the girls quickly got dressed and it was literally a mad dash to get to the venue at The Grand.

Fighting our way to the venue using back doors and stairways, I arrived at the holding room praying I had everything. It was now 6 pm, the time my ceremony was supposed to start.   I got my finishing touches on hair and makeup and prepared to jump into my dress.  My mom was adamant about dressing me, which was needed, but because there was a corset back I called in my Aunt Peaches, because I knew it was going to be a two person job especially since we were now behind. I am a stickler for time so I was kind of mad that we got behind. After several rounds of me calling out to them to make it tighter I was finally in and we could start the service.

It was time. I was lined up behind the entryway as my song, Beyoncé’s “Die with you” played by my DJ Marcus Turner. I chose to walk down the aisle by myself rather than escorted by a parent because being able to walk after my surgery and was huge deal to me.

At the end of her song Beyoncé screams out and I really wanted that part to play. The music continued and my nerves set in. The whole day I had been cool, calm, and collected.  I was just standing behind the door full of nerves praying I didn’t fall when I walked out. Tami looked at me and I nodded my head, I heard what I thought was my entrance from the song. The doors opened and the room was packed!!! (Later on I found out from several guests traffic was crazy, so starting 45 mins late actually helped people to arrive on time). Back to the walk… I was trying to walk in my heels how I had been taught with both feet facing forward and not like a horse with my feet turned to the side. Alas my knee was screaming at me for wearing heels and I had to walk like a horse, but no one could see it just me (rolls eyes).

I walked barefoot arm and arm with my husband down the aisle to Beyoncé and Jay-z “On the Run.” Because we had started 45 minutes late we were now crunched for time and had to catch up with a shortened cocktail hour. We took family and bridal party shots inside due to limited time and then quickly Derrick and I whisked away outside to a nearby park to take shots as husband and wife. We hustled to get the pictures, which turned out great and then returned to the party for our entrance to, you guessed it we entered to “Crazy in Love” by Beyoncé and then quickly slowed it down with Allen Stone’s version of “Is this Love”.  Derrick and I took dance lessons so we weren’t just another couple rocking back and forth during their first dance. We learned the Rumba and had a few missteps, but all in all my goal was to not rock back in forth. We had our first dance on a dry ice cloud from Baltimore Premier Events, got the parents dances out of the way and took our seat. Derrick went to the restroom and disappeared for what felt like an hour. I was left at the table eating dinner with everyone coming up to me to congratulate me after the DJ and Pastor specifically said to leave us alone and let us eat.

Finally it was time to party!!!! DJ DCInfamous started to crank the tunes and the party started!!!! More Beyoncé to kick us off and your usual line dances: the wobble, electric slide, cha cha slide and then into today’s music, followed by some “GOGO” and college throwbacks. We had a ball! Trying to walk around and greet people and thank them for coming in between! Our guests were gifted with a handmade candle from Derrick and I. The candle was in a stemless wine glass with an agate label with gold foil printing on it to commemorate our holy union. It took us 15 hours to make 200 candles by hand, something I will never do again.  The night came to an end and I was exhausted. All the emotions that run through you for that very long day had worn me out. My brother apparently was throwing a party in his room, where a few guest ended up going. I went to my room!

Check out some of the beautiful images by Iris Mannings and my picture by picture commentary.  Afterwards, please read on as I share info about our day after activities and our honeymoon to Fiji!!  You can read my prior entries as I journaled to the altar {Here}.

Tami Brown, my Day of coordinator arrived at my room around 11am to check in with her team to ensure all was taken care of with the vendors and day of duties. My photographer Iris Mannings had requested I save her a window with natural light for day of special pictures of rings, jewelry, wedding stationery, perfume, shoes, veil, flowers, etc.  Her second shooter was with the groomsman shooting pre-ceremony pictures.  All that was left to do for me know was relax and reflect.

I had a “Twigs and Honey” inspired veil custom made by Under Her Veil.  It came out beautifully and was the perfect accent to dress. I had with me my something old, Derrick’s great grandmother’s handkerchief,  my something new was my dress,  my something borrowed, was all my aunt Linda’s diamond jewelry, and lastly my something blue-  my shoes.  My dress was a Dennis Basso Dress from Kleinfield’s.  It was a classic mermaid style gown made of Satin Mikado with beaded detail and a lace up corset.   I had a full tulle skirt custom made for me by Etsy Shop, MakeMyDresses and my mermaid gown was transferred into a full ball gown for my first look of the evening.

I had decorated the room with gold foil Mylar letter balloons that spelled out the word B-R-I-D-E and accented the rest of the space with pearl latex balloons in robin’s egg blue and white with heart shaped white and robin’s egg blue Mylar balloons. It was the perfect backdrop.   I took photos in my bridal suite attire a robe made by Mondenoble – a luxurious robe made in France in silk and chiffon and special real fox fur shoes from Hauteacorn.

Last group pics were with my bridesmaids and hostess. I asked all my girls to grab a glass filled with Blanc De Blue Champagne and to make sure they had their Tiffany Blue satin robes, Kate Spade earrings, and bracelets on for pictures. I had purchased oversized metallic gold/silver confetti for the pictures so they wouldn’t get stuck in everyone’s hair. We took several pictures and they turned out great.

The aisle runner was a 70 foot white sequin runner framed by tall candelabra’s with real flower arrangements cascading down the candelabra’s and at the floor were geometric gold and glass lanterns with candles nestled in eucalyptus garland all the way down the aisle.

As I took that long walk with a million things running through my head, all I could see was Derrick and it hit me that I was actually getting married ahhhhh! I was finally in the moment all those months of planning and trying to get everything right and it was finally here! I got to the end of the aisle a little earlier then the ending of my song to meet both of my parents. Our ceremony was officiated by both our reverends, Rev. Frances Stewart & Rev. Barry Moultrie. I grew up in the Methodist church and Derrick in a Baptists church it was very important to us that we had both religions represented at our ceremony.  The reverends had begun the service but my knee was killing me. I had to kick off my shoes while everyone was distracted by my cousin reading the scripture!  Shortly after, Derrick and I lit the unity candle and had our first kiss as Mr. & Mrs. Perry!!!!!

I looked all the way down to the end at Derrick he looked so handsome in his purple Kenneth Cole suit and he began to cry once he saw me. It had started a domino effect, his best man and brother, Brian started to cry, and then my maid of honor Haaveshe started to cry too. All of a sudden I also started to feel my eyes welling up and then I thought to myself, “Self you’re a G, you’re not crying and you’re not messing up this make up” and Beyoncé started playing in my head “Suicide before you see this tear fall down my eyes”  and I held it together.

The dinner menu for our guests was a choice of Braised Beef with vegetables and a red wine reduction sauce; Baked stuffed chicken with vegetables and rice, and or pumpkin ravioli. Derrick and I had different meals. He had New York strip with mash potatoes and veggies and I had Crab Cakes, French fries and spring medley of vegetables.

Next was cutting of the cake made by Charm City Cakes.  I grew up watching Chef Duff on food Network and loved that they were fellow Marylanders so I had to have our cake made there. It was a Geode layered cake with rock candy faux amethyst crystals bursting out of the center with two real amethyst agate slices with gold boarders as toppers on top. The cake was Dulce de leche and café flavored alternating each tier.

Fast forward to the next morning Derrick and several friends helped us clean up our room and his mother drove us to the airport. We were off to Fiji! For our honeymoon I was looking forward to laying back in the sun and just doing nothing. I had earned this!

We flew from Dulles to LAX a 5 hour flight and LAX to Fiji an 11 hour Flight, to land in Fiji early Monday morning. The first day in Fiji at our resort we just lounged and slept trying to catch up with the time zone.  We enjoyed the next 6 days Island hopping, we visited Malamala island, went ATV riding around the countryside, visited the Garden of the Sleepy Giant, Natural springs and mud pool, Natadola beach, explored beach caves, went on an indigenous river boat tour to the Magic Waterfall, then took a bamboo raft to a traditional Fijian village and lastly visited Castaway Island. Fiji is a beautiful group of over 300 Islands and just a 3 hour plane ride from Australia. It is a relaxing place that balances all your relaxation needs and excursions. If you do decide to visit Fiji definitely visit as many islands as you can and you must be a beach lover to visit there.

Returning to the states we had a few post wedding things to wrap it all up. I categorized my wedding inventory and prepped it for sale on the Facebook Group Maryland Wedding Consignment. We received our wedding pictures back from Iris and they were all put into folders which was extremely helpful by bridal suite, ceremony, reception, etc. We selected a thank you card after 3 rounds of me trying to find the right one and sent them out to our guest 4 months later. Derrick and I still live in separate states, but make time to see each other almost every weekend. Our goal is to live in the same state jobs permitting. We are very happy together and 4 months after were are still in love.

This wedding process has definitely taught me who I am and helped me to grow a person. Along the entire process it was mostly drama free and shown me who I really am as a person. I’ve learned what I truly like, what I can and can’t handle, and who people truly are. My one regret from the wedding was starting on time. My advice to future brides is select reliable people, stay deep rooted in your decisions, when people show you who they are believe them, don’t feed into other people’s negative energy and know that this is YOUR day and be glad in it. I am thankful for time with the Coordinated Bride and all my vendors. With this being my last entry it is only right to finish off with a final Beyoncé quote.

 “We came and we saw and we conquered it all, now we happy in love” & “Money don’t make me happy and a fella can’t make me fancy. We smiling for a whole ‘nother reason it’s all smiles through all four seasons”.

Vendor Collaboration

//  Venue: The Grand Baltimore  //  Dress: Dennis Basso //  Dress: Kleinfeld Bridal //  Detachable Skirt: Make My Dresses //  Veil: Under her veil //  Shoes: Badgley Mischka Bride //  Robe: Mondenoble //  Slippers: Hauteacorn //  Hair: Shiree //  Hair: Charlene Brown //  Make up: Letita Thornhill //  Day of Coordinator: Tami Brown //  Photographer: Iris Mannings  //  Flowers: My Flower Box //  Cake: Charm City Cakes //  Grooms Suit: Kenneth Cole //