Tag Archives: wedding

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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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 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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No more wedding planning

Well folks. That’s it. My wedding planning days are behind me. Jeffrey and I got married on 20th August this year. That’s an amazing 11 days ago. Crikey. I can’t believe it was quite so long ago, yet strangely it also seems ages ago.

Jeffrey and I traveled up to East Yorkshire in Jeffrey’s Mum’s car on the Sunday, me having taken a week off for the run up to the wedding. And it’s a good job too, the amount of stuff we had to take up with us and the amount left to do.

Here’s a run down of our week:

Monday 

We had hoped we could take a ride out to the coast  to enjoy some good August sunshine, but alas my shawl wasn’t yet complete, the weather wasn’t great, Jeffrey wasn’t feeling it and there was still so much to do, so a day at home knitting and writing was necessary. This was broken up with a trip to choose the marquee carpet – second hand I might add to save money (we went for honey beige) – and a visit to the Registrar to deliver our certificate for marriage so that all could go ahead on Saturday. A lovely trip to the local with friends Lizzi, Dave, Nat and Katie followed this and was a great distraction from wedding stuff, apart from for Jeff and Dave who were caught talking wedding more than the rest of us.

Tuesday

A major day – the marquee arrival and assembly. It was a snug fit and we started to realise just how big it was. Finally everything was starting to feel a little bit more real. But, we couldn’t sit and watch it go up, nor make tea for the workmen all day, we had to pay a visit to Hull City Hall where we were having our ceremony to deliver the music  for my entrance and our exit and make sure that everything was in order. Jeffrey and I realised that not having a church wedding can leave you feeling a little unprepared. No rehearsal for us. We simply received a transcript of the ceremony from the Registrar a few weeks before the wedding and had to rock up on the day to go through the wedding once and once only. Luckily this trip to Hull City Hall allowed me a lonely trial walk down the aisle (no Father on the arm this time) and clarification that the number of chairs in the room was greater than the number we were expecting – much to my relief.

We followed this up with a visit to everyone’s favourite Hobbycraft for last minute wedding supplies and to deliberate over what colour card and glue to go for. Oh weddings do force you in to some tough decisions.

Wednesday

Hair trial and another try of my dress one last time to finally be happy with it. You’ll probably know I was swaying back and forth on whether I liked my dress or not for some weeks before the wedding at one point even half expected to want to buy a new one when I got to Hull. But while my Mum, Lizzi and I were deciding that my dress was right, the boys (that’s my Dad, Jeffrey and nextdoor neighbour Brian) were becoming carpet fitters extraordinaire – fitting our honey beige carpet and vacuuming and sweeping like professionals. Watching all this activity brought on a migraine for me, so I quietly took a tablet and very steadily continued with my (still unfinished) shawl while the whole horde (Mum included) went off to the Danish Church to pick up (just a large van full of) essentials – tables, chairs, table cloths, cutlery and crockery, without which the reception wouldn’t have happened, or would have but at a cost of thousands (see here for a moan on wedding costs).

Thursday

Thursday brought the task of marquee decorating – hanging stuff, positioning all the stuff we’d made (more on that in another post), moving tables and realising how much extra space we had than originally expected, setting up  the sound system, deciding on the seating plan and table setting – for which my very good friend and previous partner in waitressing crime Lizzi came to help with. Then my Aunt from Denmark arrived, we ate Chinese and it was back out to the marquee for me and Jeff where I folded napkins, put out place cards and made sure the marquee was watertight – and worried only slightly about the weather ahead of us – as the August rain lashed down.

Friday

Then came Friday, the day before the wedding, and more arrivals – first my Uncle and Aunt from Denmark who arrived into Hull from Rotterdam at 7am, then Jeff’s Mum and two aunties (who were swiftly collected from Hull Paragon Station and delivered to Village Hotel), followed by Lisa and Leo who had landed only the day before after 3 weeks in the US, Jeffrey’s cousin Nana and her family, his sister Marcia and BK and OKBK, and finally the Simpe-Asante horde.

My friends Lizzi and Hannah came around for some cutting and sticking and cutlery and glass polishing to make sure the marquee was ship shape, while my Mum was busy baking in the kitchen. The day was rounded off with a pedicure courtesy of Lizzi and then a family meal at Crofters restaurant in Anlaby with the Danes.  My plans for an early night in my big lonely bed (Jeff was staying all alone in the Holiday Inn Express in Hull) were quashed when Jeff rang at 10.30 reminding me of the Ghanaian Nkate Cake that had made it’s way up from London with Marcia. His 11.15 delivery meant a later night than needed, but hey ho.

Saturday

Then it was Saturday. The big day. And boy, had Jeffrey made the right decision going to a hotel?! We still had lots to do – a final sweeping, flowers for the marquee, getting our hair done, stocking the bar, making sure everything necessary was done, and finally getting dressed before making our way to Hull City Hall.

But more on the actual wedding day can come in another post. In the meantime here are a few marquee prep photos for you to enjoy.

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Wedding learning and butterflies

Well, it’s been quite some time since I last blogged. Over a month, to be precise. So I must apologise for my tardiness in getting a new blog post out to you, before I write a brief update of where we’re at in wedding planning and how I’m feeling about the big day that is fast approaching.

Because we’re now in to single figure countdown. That’s nine days, people. NINE. One week and two days. Or less than 216 hours if that’s how you like to look at things. This makes me feel somewhat apprehensive, slightly nervous and very excited.

Now I’ve learnt a fair bit about weddings over our 8-month engagement, so I thought it apt to share my learning so far – my three point analysis of wedding planning, preparing for marriage, etc.

  1. Weddings take up far too much head space. As much as you can try to keep the wedding small, and try not to think about it too often, it’s inevitable that you can very easily end up feeling like all you’re doing is wedding. We’ve been living wedding for the past few weeks now, and it’s getting incredibly tiring. And even more boring – for me, and I’m almost certain those around me.
  2. Keeping the engagement short is best. I’ve never really understood long engagements where couples get engaged just to be engaged. That seems to feel like a half-hearted commitment to marry to me. So when Jeffrey and I got engaged we didn’t even consider not starting to plan our wedding straight away. Maybe it would have been nice just to enjoy being engaged, but it felt like once we’d taken the plunge, deciding to get married, it was right to get on with it.  And am I glad?! 8 months of wedding planning has been quite enough, thank you. Had we had the 15 months we’d originally anticipated it would have been filled with pointless wedding crap and we’d no doubt have ended up spending more than we wanted.
  3. The wedding doesn’t really matter. It’s about the commitment. About coming together to start married life. It’s about the marriage. Not the dress, the colour of napkins or the ribbons on the chairs. And, while we’re planning the wedding and I may have got somewhat caught up in it, my reasoning for number 3 is this. Whatever happens, and unless someone doesn’t show up or someone declares an impediment, the outcome is the same. You end up married, which was the goal in the first place. My evidence? The very popular BBC3 programme Don’t Tell The Bride. Besides the key shared experiences of all couples taking part in the programme – where the bride does nothing while the groom experiences fun and stress with his Best Man as they try to organise the wedding of the bride’s dreams and end up inevitably messing up along the way – there’s one other common thread. Whatever wedding the Groom pulls together, even if he ends up choosing the wrong venue, the wrong style dress and doesn’t book the all important make-up artist, the bride loves it all. You know why? Because at the end of the 2 weeks of stress and anguish for both, the couple get  hitched. And who can’t be happy at that?

Point 3 is my most recent discovery. Ok, so I have known this all along, but as I said earlier it’s incredibly easy to get caught up in wedding planning and making sure everything’s just right. But with just nine (eeeeeek) days left till our wedding I’m starting to realise this more and more. Some ideas I had of decorations and things to make went out of the window weeks ago. As the weather is in it’s hit and miss stage, I’m semi-laughing at the face that if it rains and I get wet my dress may well turn incredibly see-through. And if it’s chucking it down? Well, I’m just going to insist people go and buy colourful umbrellas for photos – no black please folks.

So what’s making me slightly nervous and apprehensive? It’s two things mainly. And these feeling first reared their head 3 weeks ago at our friends Ben and Karen’s wedding in Market Bosworth, Leicestershire. Waiting in the church for Karen to arrive, my senses were on high-alert. I was incredibly nervous, a feeling I’ve never experienced at a wedding before. When they said their vows I was pretty emotional (ok, I admit I am often an emotional wreck at lovey dovey stuff, but this felt different).

But I don’t feel nervous about getting married, more having to do it in front of 57 people. I know many women look forward to their wedding day, the day when they can be a princess and the centre of attention. But this I’m dreading. The idea of 114 eyes on me trying to hold myself together on the biggest day of my life is giving me butterflies.

The second thing making me slightly apprehensive is the name change. I’ve commented on my decision to double-barrell my name with Jeffrey’s for reasons you can read here. But today, when I said goodbye to a colleague before I’m off on leave, she asked what my new name will be. And all I’ll say is that I felt so glad to not be letting go of my name completely. Adding Jeffrey’s surname on to the end of mine feels strange enough (though I am glad to be doing so), without me having to abandon mine completely.

The wedding of Simon and Kaleigh (above) on Don’t Tell The Bride almost never happened as Simon chose to hold the wedding in Las Vegas and failed to fly out some of Kaleigh’s closest family. After many tears and promises from Kaleigh that the wedding was off, they ended up marring and Kaleigh loved the day.

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Oh yes, a second wedding related infographic

I gave you a treat with the last infographic on the cost of weddings and other related stats. Well, here’s another.

The Royal Wedding cost the British tax payer a huge £52.5million, while the average UK wedding costs a staggering 17,880 quid. I guess then, according to the below infographic, if we spent the money from the average wedding on things to directly benefit others instead of one big day, 2503 people could benefit.  That’s some food for thought…

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