Goodbye…

Well, it’s been a fair while since my last post – 39 days to be exact – and I think it’s time to call this whole wedding blog thing a day now.

More than 10 months, 37 blog posts and 5,801 views later the wedding planning is over, the thank you cards have been sent, videos watched, photos arranged in albums and frames, and memories relived over and again. Oh, and two months and seven days of marriage have passed *ahem* blissfully.

But, as yet, I’ve failed to share any real photos of the day. To let you lovely lot see what we wore, where we wed, and where we danced (which was followed with a crap wedding night experience courtesy of The Townhouse – avoid, avoid!).

So, here are a few photos by Alison Field (photography lecturer and wedding photographer – get in touch if you want her details). Oh, and scroll to the end and you’ll get a wonderful little video made by our friend Peter (aka Truphtooph), which really captures the essence of our day.

If you’d care to read more on the engagement, the ‘theme’, Danish wedding traditions, Ghanaian wedding traditions, how we made our wedding homemade, or a whole host more wedding related stuff, feel free by following the links. In the meantime – good bye, nante yie, and

groomsister, bride, fatherringskissOur wedding guests
introducing...cake cutting Marquee

 

But for those of you who just need more of Sophie Kingo, feel free to check out what I’m making and the family I’m researching. I may be done with this wedding malarkey, but I’m not just sitting doing nothing. Like Jay Z, I’m on to the next one

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Akwaaba

I acquired a couple of strips of Kente from Jeffrey’s Mum (Ma Mary to me, Auntie Mary to you) to make a strap for a second hand watch for Jeffrey for Christmas. This small project meant I had rather a large amount of kente left over.

But what is Kente? I hear you say.

Kente plays a big part in Ghanaian life, having been made for years by the Akan and notably the Ashanti people of Ghana. It is made from wovan cotton or silk and was the cloth of kings, but has become more popular and Ma Mary and various Aunties will often be seen sporting a strip of Kente in church, and brides and grooms tend to wear clothing made from Kente for their traditional wedding.

However, Jeffrey and I weren’t having a traditional wedding and we weren’t planning on wearing any Kente so I thought I would incorporate two strips of Kente into a welcome sign, in Twi of course. So I set my husband-to-be the task of cutting out some letters for me to use as stencils for cutting out Broderie Anglaise (for an English touch). I then sewed these letters on to the Kente.

Et voilà. A lovely Ghanaian welcome sign for the marquee, which will also be used as a welcome sign to important events in the Hostick-Boakye household for years to come.

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Victorian Lace Shawl

When I was initially starting to think about the wedding, I imagined I would make my own dress. However, at that point I was also thinking the wedding would be in March 2012. But by early March 2011 – three months after we got engaged – we had set the date for 20th August, this year. That gave us little over five months to plan our wedding – and this meant that making a wedding dress seemed like just too big a task. So, instead I chose a lovely ivory silk satin and silk chiffon one shouldered number from Anoushka G at House of Fraser in Westfield’s, London. It was simple – no train and certainly no bodice. Just what a wedding in the City Hall and the garden calls for, I think. And one which, according to many guests, turned me in to “a Greek Goddess”. I kid you not. (And apologies for the dodgy picture – I will have a nicer one soon hopefully).

But there was one issue. With the dress being so light and the reception being held in a marquee in Yorkshire in August – those British readers out there will agree this is no guarantee for good weather – I thought it best I have a shawl in case it gets chilly.

So, my sister and I took a trip to Loop, a lovely knitting shop in Angel, where I bought Victorian Lace Today. I chose my pattern – Myrtle Leaf Shawl, perfect for the intermediate knitter – and my yarn – a beautiful green 2 ply lace weight baby alpaca, silk and cashmere mix from Juno Fibre Arts.

So, come April I made a start. And crikey, was it difficult! After starting, and having completed 10 rows, I dropped a stitch, lost my place and couldn’t bring it back. So, I lost my patience, threw it on the floor and stormed out of the room. Luckily that happened only on a few occasions (the others being twice with the border). But after weeks and weeks of perseverance, and having lost weekend after weekend to knitting a fiddly pattern with fine and fiddly 2 ply yarn, I completed the shawl, two days before the wedding. And I LOVE it.

Unfortunately I didn’t get any decent photos of me in my shawl at the wedding. But the first photo below, courtesy of Marie-Claire, shows I did wear it! The rest were taken today by my lovely husband Jeffrey in the communal garden.

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Wedding Crafts 4: Hearts

Time for another installment of things we made for the wedding. This time, hearts (or, as the Danes call them, hjerter).

The Danes love a good heart (as in a love heart, not an actual living pumping anatomical heart, though I’m sure they’re grateful for them too). At Christmas you will see many a red and white woven paper heart (matching the colours of the Danish flag the Dannebrog) hanging from your average Danish Christmas tree (along with, of course, a garland or four of Danish flags).

One of the many Danish wedding traditions is the creation of the Æresport/Gate of Honour, a garland of pine branches and flowers made by the main people involved in the wedding (but not the bride and groom) put up around the doorway of the lucky couple’s home. And of course, what better to put in the centre of the garland but a large red painted heart with the couple’s name and date of the wedding? This tradition is repeated when the couple celebrate their silver wedding, and which my sister and I had the pleasure of taking part in for our parents’ sølvbryllup/silver wedding in Denmark in 2005.

Sadly, Jeffrey and I didn’t have a Gate of Honour at our wedding (crikey, there was enough to do anyway!), but unbeknownst to us min Mor og Far (my Mum and Dad) had been busy making plenty of wooden painted Danish hearts – 50 to be precise. Two large ones – one for the entrance to the marquee and one for the gift/kransekage/guestbook area – and about 48 smaller ones for most of the guests to take away with them. My Dad cut the hearts out of MDF, my Mum painted them red and stenciled S J on the smaller ones, while my Dad added the finishing touch of the hand painted wedding date (and names on the larger hearts). Ribbon was added to the small hearts and Jeffrey was tasked with hanging one small heart off each chair back – a task that quite frustrated him I believe, especially when I had to pull him up on his hanging technique.

But what a lovely little Danish touch. And a really lovely addition from my parents who had already done so much to make our wedding day and the marquee so special.

Pat, my now brother-in-law, summed up the heart addition nicely when he said to Jeffrey:

“I’d give all my limbs to have a Dad that would do that for me”.


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Wedding Crafts 3: flags

There’s possibly nothing a Dane loves more than flags (and hearts, but more on that later). More notably, the Dannebrog – the flag of Denmark.

A short history lesson for you – the Dannebrog is the oldest state flag in the world still in use by an independent nation. Legend has it that the flag fell from heaven during the Battle of Lyndanisse during the Northern Crusades in 1219, giving the flailing Danish army (who caught it before it touched the ground) hope and leading them to victory. The Dannebrog was – obviously – a gift from God and has been the flag of Denmark ever since, having never touched the floor or been hoisted at night.

Ever since, the Danes have used the Dannebrog for everything – birthdays, deaths, weddings, Christenings, etc. – with many Danes having flag poles in their gardens. This has always been a tradition of my nuclear family’s too, with my Mum bringing out the miniature flag to sit proudly on our table on birthdays (since we never had a full size flag pole here in the UK). Here’s a picture of me and my Mum in 2006 celebrating her birthday with the Dannebrog taking pride of place in front of the birthday girl:

So, of course, the Dannebrog had to feature in our wedding day, and with that we couldn’t miss out the Union Flag or the Flag of Ghana in our celebrations.

As I may have said previously, we chose to have a Danish wedding cake (kransekage) instead of a traditional English fruit cake. I’m not a fan of fruitcake and think kransekage is so much nicer – made of almonds, sugar, egg whites and marzipan displayed in rings and decorated with flags. So for this we needed small flags of the three nations that play a part in our lives. A difficult task – especially for Ghana which, it seems, doesn’t feel the need to use cocktail stick flags (heaven knows why not!). The only thing for it was to make some flags – a job I happily passed on to Jeffrey. So, here are two photos – one of Jeffrey making the flags and one of the two kransekager and a traditional Ghanaian Nkate Cake made of peanuts and sugar, made kindly by one of Jeffrey’s Aunties.

 

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Wedding crafts 2: place cards

Next up in the things we made for our wedding list is placecards.

Now I’ve been to a few weddings where table plans have been set but individual places haven’t leaving no need for place cards. And this as an option didn’t actually occur to me until we were at the Howards’ wedding 4 weeks before our own. By this time I had already done half of the work on our place cards, and thinking about it a little more we felt that for some of our tables it would be best to have set places – so I carried on with the task in hand.

In making our wedding invitations I used pre-made windowed A6 cards and filled the window with a square of Ghanaian or Danish/English fabric and a paper heart with the dictionary definitions of love and marriage.

For our place cards I thought I would slightly adapt this idea. First I cut out 114 rectangles out of scraps of Ghanaian and Danish/English fabrics. Then, using the wedding font, I printed each guest’s name on to paper and cut them out onto heart shapes. I also printed a thank you note for the back. I sewed each heart and thank you note on to separate rectangles of fabric then sewed both pieces of fabric (one Ghanaian, the other Danish/English) together before trimming the edges with pinking shears.

Et voila – 57 name places, each different and each completely homemade.

   

Photos 4, 5 and 6 courtesy of Lisa Kingo

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Wedding crafts 1: bunting and birds

As you probably would have read some time ago, I was having some problems with the dreaded wedding ‘theme’. There was just one thing Jeffrey and I were sure of – we didn’t want a theme to dictate the look and feel of our wedding – whether it be something bearable like a specific colour, or something slightly more tacky such as James Bond. Our ‘theme’, if you want to call it that, turned out to be a mish mash of things that equal ‘us’ – creative/British/Ghanaian/Danish/colourful/homemade.

And boy, was there some homemade stuff at our wedding?! First up, as you’ll have seen before, were the Save the Date cards for which we used the font my sister had a hankering to design. Next to make an appearance were the invitations – using Ghanaian and Danish/English style fabric (I like to sew), paper hearts featuring definitions of love and marriage (bringing in Jeffrey’s teacher element) and inserts using the wedding font.

So here’s the first of a few posts to share what else we (Jeffrey, my Mum, Dad, sister  and I) made.

Birds and bunting

Carrying on from the invitations and the use of fabric, and previous items I’ve made for our flat and as Christmas presents, Jeffrey and I thought it’d be a lovely idea to make some birds out of Ghanaian and Danish/English fabrics. But why? Well, you may remember my post a few months ago about favours and how hideous and massively pointless they can be – Eiffel Tower candle and high heel bottle opener spring to mind. But if we made some birds they could double up as decorations for what could otherwise be quite a bland, bare and beige marquee. So, my Mum and I stepped to it – me making the Ghanaian ones, and us both splitting the Danish/English ones.

In addition, I decided that it’d be great to use bunting in the marquee, and as I have previously made some bunting out of Ghanaian cloth I thought I would add more flags to that and make some more out of the English/Danish fabric used for the birds. At the same time, my Mum was busy making bunting of her own for our big day.

I can honestly say I am so glad we decided to make birds and bunting – they brought some much needed fun and colour to the marquee and looked beautiful. Even if I do say so myself:

photos 1, 2, 3, 4 and 7 courtesy of Lisa Kingo and photos 5 and 6 courtesy of Lizzi Ann via Facebook. Thanks lovelies! x

 

 

 

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