Fun & Colourful British & Nigerian Fusion Wedding in the City

British Nigerian Wedding Andrew Brannan Photography Bride Bridal Dress Gown Halterneck Halfpenny London Veil

I am over the moon to be sharing Miles and Beccy’s absolutely gorgeous British and Nigerian fusion wedding today. They were married on the 6th October 2019 at Trinity Buoy Wharf in London following a legal ceremony the month previously. This enabled them to have a really personalised ceremony on their big wedding day, in which they also incorporated a Nikkah along with really meaningful music and reading choices. For the party that followed they went all out with an outfit change come evening to wear Aso Ebi, delicious cuisine and a lot of dancing.

Miles and Beccy both looked absolutely amazing in their day time outfits too, Beccy chose a halterneck flowing blush gown, with hair pins, veil and gold shoes. Miles meanwhile opted for a forest green suit with his groomsmen contrasting in burgundy suits. Then there were the bridesmaid dresses in deep red teamed with super pretty bouquets all round. Everyone looked totally incredible!

Andrew Brannan Photography thank you so very much for sharing with us these simply outstanding images of such a fun and vibrant wedding day.

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The Proposal

Miles had planned for a week away in Bordeaux to do the deed after sitting on the engagement ring for 10 months. Alas, work got in the way, the nature of being self employed. What should have been a week of enjoying our newly engaged life became a 2.5 day trip! Flew in on the Saturday, just excited to be there. We are massively into experiencing different cultures through their food… which was basically canned vegetables with a side of disappointment but to Beccy’s delight the wine was ‘Incroyable’. Holiday cut short and terrible food had not filled Miles with confidence but tomorrow would be a new day. Under the guise of window shopping and taking pictures of historical fountains, Miles had booked a clandestine trip to some local vineyards for some wine tasting and cheese (even though he doesn’t drink, so wine smelling for him). We packed our polaroid camera and set off to enjoy our Sunday. Beccy was pleasantly surprised to be going on a wine tasting tour. We agreed to snap pictures and look at the developed polaroids when we got back to our airbnb. The day was going so well but ‘Jamais deux sans trois’, the next and biggest hiccup, our tour guide ask us if we were looking for potential wedding locations for the future. Simultaneously, Beccy said “yes, we were thinking about it” and Miles said “NO”. An awkward silence followed. Miles had spent the last ten months throwing Beccy off the scent after a family member leaked to her that he had bought a ring, he couldn’t let the tour guide ruin his… their big moment. The rest of the day went as planned, although he couldn’t possibly imagine what was now going through Beccy’s head about where they saw their relationship going. Finally back in their airbnb, sitting on their balcony Beccy and Miles sifted through all the polaroids they had taken that day. The last Polaroid was a picture of their fridge with alphabet magnets organised to say “Will you marry me?”.

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The Vision

A colourful British/Nigerian mash up. Relaxed, fun and elegant with amazing food and dancing.

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The Planning Process

We had a two year engagement. There were times when it felt too long or too short and we had vivid conversations about wanting to elope, which we knew we would never get away with. Rebecca had her eye on Trinity Buoy Wharf from the jump… and she got it. It was only later we realised that shopping around is part of the magical experience of getting married, everyone treats you like royalty. Within two months of being engaged we had our date and venue. We were winning! Finding a caterer was where we stalled, we wanted sharing plates to create that communal vibe and we loved the idea of a North African or Middle Eastern vibe, especially because we ate Middle Eastern food on our first date. After a few months of wading through our choices we managed to lock down a caterer with a truly delicious menu, a year and a half early. Shortly after, we locked down all the moving pieces we knew we had to move on early (Photographer, Florist, Cake and the groom’s suit) giving us ample time to relax and enjoy being engaged.

Cut to six moths before the wedding, our caterer drops out due to compatibility issues with our venue. So we were scrambling around and the panic began to set in, our saving grace was our wedding planner Georgie Chenery, who took the reins and fixed everything so all we had to do was show up to the tastings and eat.

We always knew we’d need help in the four weeks leading up to the day and on the day itself, TBW being a dry hire venue that we had to bring everything in and get everything out again on the same day, but figured we could pull together all our vendors ourselves. This actually ended up being a bit haphazard – we definitely didn’t have a spreadsheet, we probably should have! Georgie really put our minds at ease, co-ordinated all of our vendors perfectly, advised us on furniture hire etc, we honestly couldn’t have pulled it all off without her, and she’s an absolute dream to work with.

We went over to the Calais Wine Stores with Miles’ sister, brother in law and mum to get our wedding wine, and would definitely recommend it! We bought far more than we needed in the end but better to have too much than not enough. We looked out for deals in supermarkets for our spirits and softs, and had a lot left over from that too, in fact we still have A LOT.

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The Venue

Trinity Buoy Wharf was high on my list from the start, and we didn’t look at many others. We probably should have, even if it was just for the experience! We were keen to have a space we could make our own, with lots of natural light, and that had enough space to set up different areas. We needed space to set up a prayer area – as Miles and his family are Muslim it was important to us that everyone who wished to pray had a private space where they could. We also needed a venue that would allow us to have our own caterers on site. We found that many venues in London wouldn’t allow you to choose your own caterers – you either had to use their in house team, or choose from their list. Of course, all those caterers are wonderful, however they don’t specialise in or have experience of Nigerian cuisine, and it was incredibly important to us that Nigerian food was included, so TBW was a no brainer. TBW also have an extensive list of props, lighting, furniture etc you can hire from them in house which simplified things, even if we did go over board at one point! After dialling it back we hired their bar, festoon lights, pea light drape for behind the stage and the olive trees (which were super versatile as they could be moved after the ceremony to decorate other parts of the space, and enhanced the magic vibe of the florals). Sarah, our designated Event Manager was wonderful on the day working with our planner Georgie to make sure everything went smoothly.

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Your Outfits & Accessories

Being a mixed heritage wedding we knew we wanted to show off all the vibrant colours the Nigerian culture had to offer and still enjoy traditional elements of a western wedding.

It is also Nigerian tradition to have more than one outfit change as well as having family members and close friends wear “Aso Ebi” (traditional colours/fabric) showing that they are part of the family.

Sourcing 200+ yards of native fabric in London, at the price we wanted was IMPOSSIBLE… we really did try, spent hours with Miles’s mum and sisters exploring Liverpool Street and other popular hotspots. Luckily, my cousin was getting married in Nigeria, giving me the perfect excuse to fly out and source the fabric locally and fly it back to the UK to get it sewn.

Nigel Ruwende (Saint & Birchley) was the grooms stylist and picked out a Forest green made to measure at Suit Supply and a pair of Barker Shoes.

Finding a dress wasn’t quite as simple as I thought it’d be. At the beginning I thought I wanted something quite ethereal, tulle, some sparkle. I enjoyed the experience of trying on with my Mum and Aunty, but when I was in those dresses, although they were beautiful, I just didn’t feel like myself, I felt like I was wearing a costume. When I started to think about my personal style things got a bit easier. I’m tall (5ft 11) and because my hair is very red and curly I don’t usually wear flounce or lace and sparkles because I feel like they clash – I’m more of a simple with a twist person. So when I started looking at Halfpenny London I knew that was more my vibe. I actually went to my first appointment at their beautiful shop in Woburn walk on my own. That sounds a bit sad but it was actually really helpful to just go and pick out what I liked and just my own opinion. There were so many of Kate’s designs I could’ve gone for but I ended up going for the Cheryl dress in blush, a 30s Hollywood style column with a small pooling train and halter neck. It had serious Greek Goddess/Hedy Lamarr in Ziegfeld Girl vibes. The fabric was gorgeous, like liquid gold (and it got the rare Dad seal of approval when he came to the second appointment with my Mum). I hope I’ll actually get a chance to wear it again sometime soon as its not what I’d call typically “bridal”. It was also a narrow enough silhouette for me to be able to add my Aso Ebi over the top of it which was perfect.

Accessories wise, I bought my Rachel Simpson Bonita shoes (so gold and sparkly!) in the sale on the off chance, they were super comfortable and I stayed in them right til the end of the night. I had moon and star pins from Crown and Glory which were so pretty dotted through my hair. I had initially wanted some kind of crown but decided against it as I was wearing a Gele (a traditional Nigerian head dress) in the evening and wanted the least fuss getting it on and off, so hair pins it was. I went with my sister in law to have my Gele pre tied, on the day I hadn’t factored in that when it was tied originally my hair had been scraped back, and now it was way more voluminous – queue my sisters having to squeeze it on to my head and try not to get stabbed with the pins securing it in the process! We made it work though.

My earrings were from Kate Spade, I wanted to keep my jewellery relatively minimal and classic during the day, so they were small smoky quartz drops on little jewelled hoops. I also bought some more statement earrings from Ottoman Hands to wear with my evening attire but I managed to leave them in the bathroom at the hotel in the rush to get in the taxi sort of on time!

My veil was from Blossom and Bluebird and was so beautiful. Siân was so lovely and patient while I faffed around trying to decide what weight of tulle what colour etc, and was totally open to creating a bespoke length which was ideal.

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Beauty

The incredibly talented Shaz Roye (who was also a guest) did Beccy and her Mates of Honour’s hair and make-up and did a fabulous job. We knew we wanted natural glamour, and each hairstyle differed depending on the neckline of our outfits. Shaz is a wonderful person and artist, took everyones skin tones and hair types into account and made everyone feel truly special on the day, even giving Beccy a facial in the morning. Shaz also specialises in make up for people of colour and is highly skilled at make up that stays looking like skin, instead of caking on. Shaz also continued to help throughout the day during photos and the costume change to make sure everyone was looking their best, even though she was supposed to be kicking back and enjoying the day!

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The Readings & Music

Processional – One Day Like This – Elbow, sung by our talented friend Sabrina, who is also part of Brand New Groove, our band for the evening.

He’s not perfect – Bob Marley, read by our friend Lauren, we changed He to “they” so that the reading encompassed both of us.

An excerpt from Visions of Love – Bell Hooks, read by our friend Cherrelle.

Our friend Katy sang The Way I Am – Ingrid Michaelson.

We incorporated the Nikkah into our ceremony which was conducted by Miles’ childhood Imam, Alhaji Bashir Zubair. It was wonderful to be able to share this with all our family and friends, many of whom hadn’t experienced a Nikkah before. It also made the ceremony more “real” as we had legally married at Stockport Town Hall the month before.

Our friend Sarah officiated our London ceremony, and our friend Niccy MC’d the day for us.

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The Flowers

Hazel Gardiner Design was one of the first vendors Beccy got in touch with after coming across her beautiful work on Instagram – I was very previous with my enquiries, so got back in touch around six months later. Hazel had so many wonderful ideas and really did the most to create the look we wanted. Miles’ only preference was for dark green glossy leaves, and then we added deeper Summer turning to Autumn colours – oranges, dark pinks, reds and blues. Because our venue had such high ceilings and the walls felt like a huge expanse of white, we wanted to break that up a bit, so we had six hanging arrangements, one above the ceremony area, one in the alcove at one end of the space and four in the centre. We alternated the table arrangements between bud vases and bowl arrangements which looked beautiful, and meant there was plenty of space for the food! Hazel really went above and beyond for us, setting up and de-rigging all in the same day. Her work is so stunning and made the feel of the space really magical.

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Mates of Honour

My stunning Mates of Honour wore Rewritten on the day. We loved the idea of a deep red as its universally flattering so their Chianti shade was perfect. Each of them chose the style they wanted. It was important that they all felt comfortable and beautiful on the day so the fact there were so many different styles to choose from too was a win, and all three of them looked incredible. We bought them their dresses and then they accessorised with gold accessories and jewellery of their choice. We also added an over skirt in our Aso Ebi fabric (made by our lovely seamstress) for the evening, which looked fabulous and the colours tied perfectly together.

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Groomsmen

I originally wanted to have the guys in Tartan suits to really blend the cultures but Nigel saved us from that bomb shell of colours. With his eye we managed to find some Burgundy suits from Moss Bros to compliment my suit and blend with the bridesmaids.

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Your Photographer

Andrew Brannan Photography. We spent a long time looking for a photographer as we had very specific criteria. As a couple with very different skin tones it was important to us that we could be confident that the photographer we chose had experience in/was good at capturing darker skin tones well, and capturing very different skin tones well in the same picture. The majority of imagery we saw on blogs and on photographers sites were of white couples, so we invested a lot of time trying the find the right person. As with pretty much everything in planning our wedding we felt we were making the right decision if the thought of spending the money on that person or vendor didn’t fill us with dread! We had a few photographers on our list but the dread was definitely there. Then one day on the train Beccy came across a beautiful image (again Instagram) of a couple with very similar skin tones to Miles and herself. She sent Miles Andrew’s website and we got in touch with him straight away. Andrew is an awesome guy, so lovely to be around and his work is incredible. He captured the atmosphere of the whole day beautifully and we can’t recommend him highly enough.

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The Details & Décor

Along with the fabric we sourced for our Aso Ebi, we also sourced a fabric to create napkins to add some extra colour to our tables, especially as we had white tablecloths. We stuck to the colours we had in our florals – dark green, orange, light blue, and Beccy, Beccy’s Mum and Grandad made them (a bigger task than anticipated!). And was a lovely personalised touch. We also used the fabric pattern to create our invitations which were designed by Beccy’s Dad.

We sourced tea light holders for the tables from all over the place, and used LED tea lights as open flames are not allowed in TBW (it’s a listed building). Along with the warm up-lighters in each alcove, this lent a really intimate atmosphere to what could be a cavernous/cold space. We also had the colour of the uplighter intensified for the evening.

For our table names/table plan, we named the tables after memorable places we’ve been together and sourced vintage travel postcards for each table name, and wrote a little story for each one on the back. For the table plan we bought boards, painted them with chalkboard paint and wrote the table plan out with a chalk pen. These were really useful because they could be reversible, so we had our “order of service” on the opposite side and just turned it round after. We did the same for our menu – a chalkboard next to the table plan for everyone to read, which had the bar menu on the reverse.

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The Cake

Our cake was from French Made and was delicious! It was semi naked and decorated with fresh flowers, Lauren was really helpful during the process answering all our questions about allergens etc. Beccy didn’t realise until after the wedding that she’d actually ordered the wrong flavour for one of the tiers. French Made have a really helpful service where you can order a tasting box of the flavours you want to try. Our box arrived while we were away seeing Beccy’s parents and our neighbour took the package in, not knowing the contents was perishable, and left the box on the radiator over the weekend. When we got back fortunately the tasters hadn’t spoilt, bar one (Joliette – Strawberry and Basil flavour). We decided on Sollies – Vanilla and Fig, Allauch – Orange and Black Nougat and Beausset – Lavender and Apricot.

On the day we didn’t actually see the cake after it was cut and just assumed everyone had had a piece, which is what we wanted as we provided the cake, Turkish delight and Baklava for dessert. But when we got everything back the next day we had over half a whole cake left and when we opened one of the tiers, it actually turned out Beccy had ordered the flavour we couldn’t eat because it’d spoilt (it must’ve stuck in my head!).

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The Honeymoon

We didn’t know where we wanted to go at first but we knew it had to be special and FAR. Somewhere we could only imaging going once. Rebecca and I are very different people when it comes to our ideal trip. Rebecca wanted to explore and after a two year engagement I wanted to sit on a beach with a coconut and not move my butt for two weeks. After looking at a few options we settled on Sri Lanka, it was the best of both worlds, exploration and relaxation. We landed in Colombo and stayed at the Heritance, Negombo, overlooking the beach that seemed to go on forever. The mosquitos showed Miles all the love. We then traveled up to the cultural Triangle for three nights at what had to be our favourite hotel, Jetwing Lake Dambulla. Such a calming atmosphere, secluded and green, exactly what we needed to come back to after an adventurous and HOT day of climbing Sigiriya, exploring the world heritage site of Polonnaruwa and roam Minnerya National Park in search of elephants.

We visited the stunning Dambulla cave temples then spent the next couple of days in Kandy, visiting the temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic and spending some quality couples time at the Peradeniya Botanic Gardens. Only regret is that we didn’t organise a picnic basket and cold drinks so we could spend the entire day there!

After Kandy we took the train to Ella, which is a wonderful way to see Sri Lanka’s beautiful Tea Country. We stayed at The Secret, Ella, an old the planters house up in the hills with lovely gardens. We hiked up Little Adam’s Peak and visited the Nine Arch Bridge.

After Ella, our final stop was Thalpe on the south coast for some chill time. We stayed at the lovely and quirky Owl and the Pussycat hotel.

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Advice For Other Couples

Do your research when it comes to vendors, ask all your questions so that you’re confident in your decisions, you’ll know when things are right for you or not.

Always count for VAT, on everything.

Enjoy being engaged, a lot of people glaze over it but it’s part of this amazing journey.

Get the full experience, go and see all the venues and suppliers, enjoy it.

You’ll still be met with surprise if as a Groom, you’re particularly involved or opinionated. The idea that its women who make all the decisions when it comes to weddings is STRONG. Make sure you both have a voice when you’re discussing with vendors.

HAVE A SPREADSHEET. And its a good idea to get some ballpark figures so you get an idea of what your potential spend will be.

A lot of this advice feels outdated because of the pandemic, and a lot of couples will be dialling back their celebrations. While this might feel sad and difficult, as a couple who had a much smaller registry office do the month before with 15 people and a meal at a restaurant after, we can confirm that this day was so special for us and incredibly emotional. Its one of our favourite parts of the whole wedding experience. It will still be everything you hoped for your larger celebration.

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Credit Where Credit Is Due

Photographer
Andrew Brannan Photography

Venue
Trinity Buoy Wharf

Wedding Planner
Georgie Chenery

Caterer
Caper & Berry

Evening Catering
Jays Cuisine

Florist
Hazel Gardiner Design

Furniture Hire
Yahire

Band
Brand New Groove

DJ
Conrad Kira

Cake
French Made

Groom’s Suit
Suit Supply Custom

Groom’s Shoes
Barker

Groom’s Stylist
Nigel Ruwende – Saint & Birchley

Groomsmen’s Suits
Moss Bros

Bride’s Dress
Halfpenny London

Bride’s Shoes
Rachel Simpson

Bride’s Hair Accessories
Crown & Glory

Veil
Blossom & Bluebird

Bride’s Earrings
Kate Spade

Mates of Honour’s Clothing
Rewritten

HMUA
Shaz Roye @beautifiedbyshaz @life0fshaz

Just glorious! I really love Miles and Beccy’s advice throughout their report too, sage words indeed. If you are looking for free wedding spreadsheets, you can check out our ones here to download or print.

Miles and Beccy thank you ever so much for sharing your truly memorable and special wedding day with us xo Lou

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