"" From Now Till 'I Do'...: October 2010

20 Things I Learnt Planning My Wedding

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 20 Things I learnt planning my wedding

I hope you enjoyed Reflections.

It's been a pleasure to take you on the journey that was our wedding.

Planning our wedding was one of the most challenging but growing experiences I have ever been through. I quickly learned that whilst your wedding is about you, the day is not. It is shared by so many people who have their own expectations of how they think things should be and while it can be incredibly frustrating, you just learn to accept it. Despite the frustrations, I learnt a lot and would like to share 20 of those things with you.

In no particular order...

1. It's all about the baby family. This is your first project together, working as a team. You will have to make decisions that are a reflection of you and are based on your values and opinions. Not your mother's or your fathers. You have to be courageous and make choices for your family, your new family. It’s not about taking sides but understanding the importance of your upcoming union together.

2. Delegate, Delegate, Delegate. Don’t be a control freak {like moi} and let people help you!

3. Don't break the bank. Negotiate, call in favours. Forgo certain things that you don't deem necessary.

4. Trust your instincts. You know yourselves better than anyone. Not Cosmo Bride or Martha Stewart Weddings. If it don't feel right, leave it out.

5. Communicate. With yourselves, with your parents, with your vendors. So important.

6. Make sure you have a honeymoon. Even if it is a few days locked up in a hotel away from it all, you will need that time together. You deserve that time together. {More on that in a future post!}

7. Organise your thank you cards before hand. We still have not sent ours and I feel B-A-D! {Edit – Following this post on APW, they have now been ordered and will be sent out very soon!}

8. Don't kill yourself trying to be something your not. Don't like flowers? Don't have them. Don't want your bridesmaids in matching outfits, let them reflect their own style. You make the rules.

9 Stay off the biscuits. You want your dress to fit, right? {I'm really talking to myself there}. 20 mins on a cross trainer is the equivalent of one kit-kat stick. So. Not. Worth. It.

10. Don't forget your other family. Embrace your in-laws. Make efforts to build a relationship with them, especially your mother in law.

11. Put things in writing. Having evidence is always good {especially when dealing with vendors}.

12. Surround yourself with the right people. Positive, prayerful and kind people. Stay away from the haters. In fact don't even listen to them or let them into your space.

13. When you've had your 25th argument over seating arrangements or what things to keep/scrap remember it will be over soon. This is the road to marriage, people. Once you say 'I do', you are also saying 'bye, bye' to all the craziness.

14. Order your rings in advance. We did not realise that jewellers do not stock every ring size and had a mad dash the week before the wedding trying to sort out our rings. Funny thinking about it now. Not funny then.

15. Get yourself some counselling. Pre-marital counselling is ace. Not only is it good to talk about things together, but it is necessary in ensuring that you're both on the same page. Your church might do it. An older, wiser couple might do it. But definitely get yourself some because beneath all the glitz and glamour of the wedding, the marriage comes first.

16. Get stuff done when you can. Have a free afternoon one Wednesday, crack open one of your DIY projects. Otherwise you will end up 3 days to your wedding, with a million and one things not started, which you were certain you would have time for, but then life got in the way!

17. Realise that weddings do things to people. Even people you think should care about you and be on your side can let you down in a BIG way. Try not to let it take over your life. Remember the end game. Forgive and move on with your life.

18. People don't and won't notice the detail you do.

19. Remember your spouse. It's their wedding too! Take time out together throughout the craziness to remind each other why you’re doing this!

20. Finally and most importantly, commit everything to God in prayer. That fact that you made it to the altar in one piece is no mean feat. Marriage is God's creation and the devil hates it. He will try and do whatever in his power to stop it happening. Need examples...Mr E and I can give you plenty!!!

When all is said and done, marriage is a gift from God and it is wonderful. While for us, the wedding day is a distant memory, married life gets better every day!

Have a great weekend!

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Friendships and Marriage...A Follow Up

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One of my readers, Ebony left an interesting comment last week in response to my post on 'Friendship and Marriage' and rather than respond back in comments, I thought it would be good to share my response with you all.


Firstly Ebony thank you for your comment and for referring me back to an excellent Boundless article. I completely agree with Suzanne and Melissa's points and believe that married and single women should interact.

The angle of my post, {which may not have come across as effectively as I would have liked}, is that I have realised that relationship dynamics have changed since entering this new chapter of life. I love my friends, all of whom are at different life stages to me and it is those differences which should be celebrated.

Since getting married many things have changed for me and with wisdom, I am learning how to juggle them all. What it definitely doesn't mean is that my friendships are no longer important or valid, rather that I need to discern how best to 'manage' them going forward. I too want to know how best to relate and encourage my single friends as Suzanne also states.

I firmly believe that people do not become friends due to status but more for the fact that they click, share similar interests/values and get along. This should not change after marriage, if it is a true friendship and the Bible actively encourages the younger women to learn from the older ones {Titus 2}. This can be taken literally but also figuratively.

We should share experiences and share perspectives, as this not only enriches our lives but provides depth to our relationships.

I hope this response gives you better insight into my heart and where I was coming from.

Every blessing.

The Importance of the Honeymoon

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So I'll let you in on a little secret...we haven't had our honeymoon yet.

Yes we went to Nigeria after the wedding but it wasn't really a honeymoon in the true sense of the word. We had a fantastic trip visiting family and friends and it was a wonderful experience for me to go back to the Homeland after such a long time but it was HECTIC! We didn't really get any alone time together and when we got back to the UK we felt even more exhausted than when we left!

After our wedding we barely had three days together before my husband had to return to work and those three days were spent running around sorting out post wedding tasks. We also still had family and guests from out of town still about and we both felt that we needed to make the effort to see and spend time with them. So this little wedding perk had to be postponed. I won't lie, it was disappointing and very frustrating.

I wanted to be with my new husband, spend time with him. I missed him. I wanted to wind down from the wedding madness...together. I wanted to catch my thoughts and reminisce...together. Alas it wasn't meant to be but hey, such is life and I've gotten over it now.

Recently we have been talking about how when life gets busy you need to take that time out to re-focus on the relationship, to re-connect. Life has been really busy as of late and the thought of taking some sort of honeymoon really appeals.

We have been talking about getting away, trying to figure out where to go and for how long because on reflection we realise that quality time together is so important to your marriage. Whether you start to take it just after the wedding or in the months ahead, your marriage will always see the benefits.

Honeymoons {or mini-moons as my friend Mel calls hers} can be taken any time and are vital because...

1. You get some quality time together, away from family, friends, work, internet, phones and life.

2. You have an opportunity to recharge your batteries physically, emotionally and spiritually.

3. You get a chance to reflect on the amazing thing that happened. You. Got. Married !!!

4. You can put your feet up and literally not have to worry about the routines of life {can anyone say 'room service'!}.

If you're like us and haven't had your honeymoon yet, please try and make the effort to have that time away. {We're certainly making steps to do so}. It's not about having a flash, expensive holiday but about committing to spending some quality alone time together. If you have children, I believe this applies even more so and would definitely be the time to call in those babysitting favours!

What other benefits are there of taking a honeymoon?

Reflections…Daytime weddings rock!

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So you all remember the Great Venue Hunt of 2010. Well we found our venue and I promised to reveal all after the wedding.

So here it is…Usmania Banqueting Hall in Manchester. It was a race against the clock to get the place ready in time as they were still renovating when we booked them. However the owners came through and were a delight to work with. We had all day access to the venue, which gave us enough time to set up etc.

In terms of decor we kept it very simple as the hall had a lot of character on its own. Our main colour was purple, which was highlighted in the table runners, centre pieces and napkins. Originally I decided against chair covers as the cost wasn’t worth it, but at the 11th hour we struck a deal with the owner and were able to get the chair covers included at a very reduced price…score!!!

As we were the first event at the venue, everything we were using was brand new, so basically the owners said you can have everything but you will need to iron anything you’re not happy with. We didn’t think anything of this until we arrived at the venue three days before and realised that all 50 table clothes needed to be ironed.  Cue our wonderful family and friends who went to the venue every evening to iron the table clothes for us. Indebted…yes we were! Thank you guys from the bottom of our hearts!

Reflections...Daytime weddings rock!

Reflections...Daytime weddings rock!

The High Table…

Reflections...Daytime weddings rock!

Dancing in…

Reflections...Daytime weddings rock!  

Food time…

Reflections...Daytime weddings rock!

The food was so tasty. {I had been off carbs the four weeks prior, so eating rice for the first time in ages was heaven!}Reflections...Daytime weddings rock!

We had a ‘double’ bouquet toss! i.e. I threw it twice, so the Videographer could capture it as he missed it the first time. 

 Reflections...Daytime weddings rock! 

Lucky catcher and now ‘bride to be' Dele who is getting married very soon!

Reflections...Daytime weddings rock! 

End of the ‘night’ group shot with the younger guests who stayed long after we had gone!Reflections...Daytime weddings rock! 

Tip: If you’ve never considered a daytime wedding, definitely give it some thought. You get to leave your wedding around 6pm/7pm and still have the evening ahead of you to spend and chill with your new husband!

Happy Monday!

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So its been four months of marriage and here is what have I learnt so far...

1. Appreciation. I love my husband dearly and need to ensure I appreciate him for who is and what he does. Not all men are the same. The fact he takes care of me, is kind and loving and most of all loves and respects the Lord, taking his responsibilities as a husband very seriously is not something to be taken lightly.

2. Housework does not have to be done on a Saturday. Whereas cooking on a Saturday really helps me out in the week.

3. Priorities. My husband and my home are more important than my career. I enjoy doing what I do, but I get more joy from taking care of my husband and making sure he is content and fulfilled. I am his ‘helper’ and daily ask God for grace to help me fulfil this role and be a good wife to him.

4. Sometimes it is just better to walk away (from conflict that it, not the marriage!)

5. Every relationship needs boundaries. Lines you agree that you will never cross in order to protect your marriage and relationship with one another.

6. Sometimes you don't need loads of marriage books and websites to guide you in marriage. Just by turning to God's word, you can gather such wisdom. Proverbs is an especially good book to read.

7. It's good to be thankful for marriage. He who finds a wife, finds a good thing. Likewise I believe she who finds a husband finds an equally good thing AND obtains favour from the Lord.

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Reflections…The little things

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Aaah (sigh)… the little things we do to make our weddings our own. Before I talk about the reception, I thought I would share about the things that made our wedding ‘ours’.

Some things were ideas I had seen when wedding researching and decided to incorporate into our day. Others were a little more unique. We also wanted to ensure that we didn’t break the bank, so Lexie and I had to be smart when it came to reception decor. Fortunately as the hall was grand enough, we kept the decor very minimal but used purple runners and napkins to bring some colour into the room, as well as tall centre pieces.

Here are some other things we did to make our day our own…

We hired a classic Rolls Royce to drive us in style. Unfortunately it only managed to take me to the church and then the first ten minutes of the journey to the church, before the engine started smoking and we had to get out! Fortunately one of our guests happened to be behind us and took us the rest of the way to the reception! {Definitely a story for the kids one day!}

Reflections...The little things

The only real flowers used were for my bouquet and the bridesmaid flowers. Everything else was a mixture of real and artificial, making some of the items reusable, if we so wish.

Reflections...The little things  

We opened our Reception with a traditional Igbo Kola Nut Ceremony

Reflections...The little things

Our parents ‘passed the baton’, praying over us as the ‘next generation’…

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We got serenaded by our friends…

Reflections...The little things

Our candy buffet was a big hit with our guests… 

Reflections...The little things

As well as our personalised labels from Nigeria… 

Reflections...The little things

Our wedding cake was a gift from a family friend, designed to our spec…

Reflections...The little things 

And was housed on our personalised cake table, with our hand painted ‘WE DO’ letters…

Reflections...The little things  

We had our first dance to Etta James’ ‘At Last’…

Reflections...The little things

And when we finished my parents decided to join in on the fun and have their own dance…

Reflections...The little things

We got our friends to DJ…

Reflections...The little things

and then everybody DANCED!

Reflections...The little things   Reflections...The little things     

What things did you have in your wedding that made it ‘yours’?

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Friendships and Marriage

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Marriage changes a lot of things.

Your priorities.

Your choices.

Your decisions.

Your life.

It also changes your friendships.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not one of these girls who has millions of girlfriends. I have a select group of women who I would call my friends. Women that I can talk to openly and honestly and who I can rely on. Women where if there has been a long period of silence, I can pick up the phone and catch up without any problem.

Since getting married, I have seen my friendships change. Unless I make a conscious effort to speak to someone, weeks can go by without any contact. Life is so busy that if I'm honest any time I have, I want to invest in my husband and my marriage. That's not to say that once you're married you no longer have friends, it just means that your priorities change.

In the same vein, you start to find yourself relating more with other married people, not because they are better in any way but because you find yourself with common ground. You feel you can relate.

It's a balance I guess.

Single people, how have your relationships changed with your married friends? Is it better or worse?

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Reflections...The Ceremony

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So our laptop has officially died. We're not sure what's wrong with it, but it keeps freezing and even after reinstalling Windows, no joy. So not only have we lost everything on the hard drive {thank goodness for Dropbox which will recover the majority of stuff}, I lost all my draft posts in Windows Live Writer :(

So I'm writing this from another computer, but the good news is I can continue recaps and today we're picking up at the Ceremony.

For Mr E and I, the Ceremony was the most important aspect of the day for us. I know a lot of people focus on the reception and food etc, but for us we really wanted people to be blessed by our service.

We met with our Reverend to go through the ceremony a weeks prior and he was super flexible with what we wanted to do and how many songs we wanted to include! Whilst we didn't organise ourselves to write own vows, we were able to shape the ceremony how we wanted it.

Reflections...The Ceremony

Our readings came from:

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their work:

10 If one falls down,
his friend can help him up.
But pity the man who falls
and has no one to help him up!

11 Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
But how can one keep warm alone?

12 Though one may be overpowered,
two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

1 Cor 13 and Songs of Solomon 8:6-7 and they were read by Mr E's Aunt and my good friend, Buki.

Worship and songs were really important to us and we had my best friend SB leading worship, which was amazing. She had a team of backing vocalists and band who were so good and the worship was beautiful.

Reflections...The Ceremony

We said our vows and exchanged our rings…    

Then had our first communion together…

Reflections...The Ceremony Reflections...The Ceremony

We were then prayed for by the Elders…

Reflections...The Ceremony

We sang some more and then we danced our way out…

Reflections...The Ceremony

My only regret about the Ceremony was that due to my lateness, we didn't get to sing all the songs we had planned and the address had to be done at the reception.

Apart from that we really, really enjoyed the service and I think our parents did too!

Mr E’s parents…  Reflections...The Ceremony

My parents…Reflections...The Ceremony    

Our Programs…
Reflections...The Ceremony

I created the programs for our Ceremony myself using a mixture of Photoshop and Publisher, with an inclusion of our monogram. I literally pulled an all-nighter the week of the wedding to get them completed. Mr E couldn't understand why I wanted to do them so badly and why I didn't delegate the task, but I wanted the Programs* to be a reflection of us and personalised, so I HAD to do them! My dad printed them and they turned out great!

TIP: Let your Ceremony be a reflection of you. If you want songs, have songs. If you don't want readings, don't have readings. Just do what you feel is right.

Next up...Reception!

{*I will do another post showing the inside of them, once I can find the file in Dropbox!}


Ten Secrets to a Successful Marriage!

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{Image Source}

Happy Monday!

Hope you all had a good weekend! Mine was very restful, which was just what the doctor ordered!

Coming up to 4 months of marriage, I am learning a lot about what makes a marriage successful. Kinda do's and don'ts to make our marriage the best it can be.

Here are ten principles of success that I found over the weekend.
  1. Happiness is not the most important thing. Everyone wants to be happy, but happiness will come and go. Successful couples learn to intentionally do things that will bring happiness back when life pulls it away.
  2. Couples discover the value in just showing up. When things get tough and couples don't know what to do, they need to hang in there and be there for their spouse. Time has a way of helping couples work things out by providing opportunities to reduce stress and overcome challenges.
  3. If you do what you always do, you will get same result. Wise couples have learned that you have to approach problems differently to get different results. Often, minor changes in approach, attitude and actions make the biggest difference in marriage.
  4. Your attitude does matter. Changing behavior is important, but so is changing attitudes. Bad attitudes often drive bad feelings and actions.
  5. Change your mind, change your marriage. How couples think and what they believe about their spouse affects how they perceive the other. What they expect and how they treat their spouse matters greatly.
  6. The grass is greenest where you water it. Successful couples have learned to resist the grass is greener myth – i.e. someone else will make me happy. They have learned to put their energy into making themselves and their marriage better.
  7. You can change your marriage by changing yourself. Veteran couples have learned that trying to change their spouse is like trying to push a rope – almost impossible. Often, the only person we can change in our marriage is ourselves.
  8. Love is a verb, not just a feeling. Everyday life wears away the "feel good side of marriage." Feelings, like happiness, will fluctuate. But, real love is based on a couple's vows of commitment: "For better or for worse" – when it feels good and when it doesn't.
  9. Marriage is often about fighting the battle between your ears. Successful couples have learned to resist holding grudges, bringing up the past and remembering that they married an imperfect person – and so did their spouse.
  10. A crisis doesn't mean the marriage is over. Crises are like storms: loud, scary and dangerous. But to get through a storm you have to keep driving. A crisis can be a new beginning. It's out of pain that great people and marriages are produced.
Kindly reproduced from Focus on the Family

Do you have any more to add?


Checking In...

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It's been a bit quiet on the blog front this week.

Normally I try and attempt to post at least twice a week, but then sometimes you have a week like last week and life takes over.

I find it difficult to formulate my thoughts when things in my personal life are not settled. So this week has mainly been spent in a lot of reflection and prayer.

Wedding recaps are still coming but we're having problems with the laptop that we downloaded all the pictures on, so hopefully if we sort it this weekend, I can pick the recaps up again next week. We do have them backed up on a CD somewhere, but with moving house and all - it will be a challenge to find where they're hidden!

One of the good things about this week is that we finally settled on a new church. Whilst it is not as big as our old church we definitely feel at home and believe this is where we're meant to be. The teaching is fantastic and I always feel totally re-energised after listening to the Word. The Pastor is super nice too.

Mr E and I finally finished our first piece of DIY - our new ELGA wardrobe. We did it over a few days and put the finishes pieces to it on Thursday night. So nice to finally have a wardrobe and some organisation in the flat.

I had my first post on Blissfully Domestic go live on Monday. I'm writing in the blogging section, so if you're new to Blogland and are looking for some tips to get you started you might find the post helpful.

X-Factor is back on TV here in the UK. Love, love the show. Mr E and I had a great time this evening watching all the great and not so great acts. My favourite act is One Direction. They have such a great energy about them, considering that they were only formed on the show. If you're watching it - who's your favourite?

Before I go, I thought I would share some of my favourite blog posts from this week. Feel free to hop over to their sites and check them out.
How's your week been?

Patience and Tolerance

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A few months ago my husband and I were visiting a family friend whose parents had just celebrated 60 years of marriage. 60 years!

In the local newspaper the reporter asked the happy couple, what it was that had helped their marriage last this long. Their answer…patience and tolerance.

As part of our couple's devotion we are currently studying 1 Corinthians 13 to help us understand more about what true love is. This week we have been focusing on patience and how we can be more tolerant of each other.

It has definitely been interesting as often we think we are patient people, until it is tested! I am learning to allow my husband to do things at his pace and not when I think he should do them {typically tasks around the home}.

In marriage I have learnt that you definitely require a certain degree of tolerance and patience in order to survive. You go from living a life where you call the shots and you do things at your own pace, to a situation where it's no longer about you and sometimes the other person does things you don’t like or are not used to and you NEED to adjust.

It’s not always easy, but it is definitely needed in order to help your marriage grow.

How are you showing patience and tolerance in your relationships {romantic or otherwise}?

p.s. speaking of patience, you might have noticed I have installed a new commenting system on the blog. Please bare with me as it beds in and let me know your thoughts, via comments of course!

Image {Alakija & Co}

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