Usually the beginning of the year for me, like for most, is a time of reflection and goal setting. The start to this year was very different.
On the first of Jan there were just 22 days left till I’d be married and my life was consumed with planning and worrying about a million different things to do with the wedding. Not a lot of time for reflection and I told myself that was okay, just get past the wedding!
It’s been just over two weeks since the big day and I’m still terribly excited that we got married! I’m sure I’ve said “we did it” more than a
100 few times the first few days. We’ve been in something a bubble and while I’m not quite ready for it to burst, real life intrudes and it’s back to work.
As they do, people have asked the where’s, when, how (and why) etc. and we’ve both got slightly different takes (mine is more right of course). The journey started 20 years ago when we were in secondary school and when we reconnected about 4 years ago, I was just emerging from a 7 year relationship that ended rather dramatically and I was ecstatic to have one of my best friends back in my life. Fast forward to 2016 and, cliche to end all cliches, I married my first love and best friend!
Now a marriage and a wedding are two hugely different things and I had promised myself that no matter what I wouldn’t throw my hands in the air and say f*ck it just because the planning was driving me crazy. It did drive me crazy and as I read posts on wedding sites about dress shopping, color schemes, engagement shoots and all the the excitement of planning a wedding I couldn’t help but wonder how many people felt more like me – not enamoured with the wedding planning process but thrilled to be getting married.
I contemplated keeping a diary on SV but to be honest I was so caught up in it all and found that there just wasn’t time to take it all in or take pictures to share and sometimes, well, it wasn’t all rainbows and butterflies! Case in point – our engagement shoot. I had been in two minds about doing one as I’m still working on not being totally awkward in photos but we decided we should – for posterity, save the dates (which went out incredibly late in the end but that’s another story) and hopefully for fun. I’m glad we did but it definitely wasn’t one of the best days on this journey. I had booked hair and makeup trials for the morning so I could finalise on those as well as be all done up for the photos.
I had chosen to try Tasala HQ as I wanted to style my natural hair on the day and when I’d asked around for the place to go I’d been pointed in their direction. It was a bit of a disaster. I’m not quite sure where things went wrong but after explaining when I called to make the appointment that I would like my natural hair style and again in the salon when I arrived I was rather alarmed when; 1. the natural hair stylist wasn’t there but was “on her way” (tis later changed to noon). 2. they didn’t have coconut or a suitable oil (I usually always carry mine but forgot in the chaos). 3. the stylist attempting to work on my hair told me he was told I wanted a bridal up do. I left soon after, fuming and with my hair not styled.
My next appointment was at Lewa Studio where I had my makeup done by Debola Falana. Running late from the disastrous hair appointment and feeling a bit frazzled, Lewa Studio was a welcome change. I liked the feel of the space and Debola was easy to talk to and made me look fantastic. Despite phone calls that had me worrying that the SO and my sister, who would be playing assistant, were running late I was feeling a bit more hopeful and looking forward to the shoot at Sakura which we picked as it is where he popped the question we didn’t want anything too themed.
Hopes were dashed when they did in fact show up late and now my mood was pretty grim. I do not do well with plans going awry when I’ve done everything I could to avoid them. Between my hair situation, tiredness from an already long week, and a headache brewing I wasn’t really in the mood.
Thankfully with a few cocktails, the energy of our photog Nnamdi of Alistair Englebert Photography and a few jokes we ended up with some great pictures (we’ll just ignore the ones where I was obviously not happy and you could see the tension).
There were more than a few highs but definitely a few lows, the occasional hurt feelings and argument and lots of jokes about how we could elope and it probably wouldn’t have made for interesting reading especially with all the
complaining venting I did. Thanks to all my friends who lent an ear when things weren’t going the way I wanted!
As with all things, different people have different experiences and mine was definitely emotional, stressful, exciting, and more. With my parents and younger siblings living in Accra there were feeling of homesickness and wanting my mother in the thick of things to contend with and it resulted in failed attempts to Skype her into a fitting and lots of repeating myself as I tried to keep everyone in the loop. Thankfully I had the support of my sister as bestie and MOH, my godmother taking the wedding on like I’m her daughter, my mother- and sister-in-law’s excitement and get stuff done approach and lots of love, support, advice and more excitement from friends and family.
We got engaged in May but we didn’t settle on a date till October and then it was a mad rush to make decisions and figure out details and I have to admit it was all kind of surreal. I felt like I was planning a big party for someone else and sometimes I really just wanted for it to come and go. Other times, like when I went home for Christmas it felt more real as we figured out the logistics for their coming to Lagos and talking about fittings and the rehearsal and the traditional wedding which we hadn’t been able to make happen just yet.
In the end the date for the traditional was set for Saturday January 8th. We got organised, barely, and arrived the day before. Unfortunately it was too short notice for most people I wanted there to attend but there really was no time for regrets. I enjoyed showing my in-laws some one the things I love most about Jos – the epic scenery and they got to experience just how cold it gets.
Later in the day the young people got together for beer and sue at the guest house my sister, his sister and I were staying and then knocked out by the travelling and chilly night air it was off to bed.
We were up and going pretty early, tracking a few more relatives as they came in by road and then it was time to get ready. I was starting to feel nervous at the though of a room full of people but I was soon distracted by a shall we say a wardrobe malfunction – I burnt a huge hole in my skirt. Thank God for double wrappers as I was able to conceal it but I won’t soon forget the moment I turned back to the ironing board and realised that when I’d answered my phone for the hundreth time that morning I had left the iron hot side down on the skirt!
Thankfully the rest of the morning was far less dramatic and by 1pm we were traditionally married! Now the feelings of excitement and nervousness were coming more frequently. I was going to have to stand up in front of a church full of people and that was just for starters!
Back in Lagos, it was back to counting the days and awaiting the arrival of my dress. I’d finally found shoes – with UK size 8 feet and not wanting to go too high it had been a bit of an ordeal!, and now we just needed to see how it would all go together.
I have to say a big thank you to Timi of LoveTims who went all out on my dress. I started looking pretty late (with less than 3 months to go. Do not do this!) and after striking out online and at boutiques I was led to Timi. She was professional, caring and very understanding and made sure we went over detail. She put my dress on rush and we got it about a week to the day. At my fitting she revealed all the extra details she had included to make it extra special – more lace, ore embellishments, a longer train and to top it all of a 5 metre veil! I put it all on and she had me close my eyes and handed me bouquet. when she had the veil in place I was allowed to open my eyes. It all hit me and yes there were tears! It was really happening!
Next post, it’s all about The Big Day!