What could be more fun than a backyard BBQ, a ceremony in Central Park and a pizza party?! Well that’s exactly what Jared & Nakia chose to do for their New York wedding. Unusually though, this couple opted for their casual BBQ reception to take place the night before their ceremony, in the groom’s brother’s back garden. Then the following day, after the ceremony, they went off – just the two of them – for portraits and pizza!
The bride explains, “We decided to have a big family grill out for our reception for two reasons. First of all, we were very concerned with the traffic and parking issues with getting everyone to Central Park for the wedding, let alone then asking everyone to drive and try to park again at an NYC restaurant for a formal reception. Secondly, after looking into renting out a whole restaurant, or even just a large room at a restaurant, in the city on a Saturday, we realised the prices were astronomical. After talking it over, we instead decided that having a big family grill out as it was more reasonable in price and much more relaxed for our family and friends.”
“Then the next day, after the ceremony, we did a photo shoot in Central Park. It was amazing! After the photo shoot I was really hungry, so we got in the limo and found a pizzeria. And no I didn’t go back to the hotel to change beforehand. I went in my beautiful wedding dress and Jared went in his tuxedo. We sat down at a pizza shop on a corner and we enjoyed pizza while talking about how beautiful the wedding was. A couple in wedding attire sitting in a pizzeria draws a lot of attention but we didn’t mind because as New Yorkers not much surprises you!”
“We didn’t really have a traditional ‘theme’ as you can probably tell”, Nakia chuckled. “I guess if anything we had a family reunion sort of theme. Jared and I grew up together so both our families know each other already.”
Words can’t express how my heart ached for New York and the East Coast of America when I heard about all the tragedies surrounding one of the worst storms in 100 years. I read eye witness accounts from my friends and saw terrifying images of the flood waters rising in the streets that I had walked down just a few days before… And I know it sounds strange, weird even, but being a wedding blogger I also wondered what might have happened to any weddings that we’re planned around this time.
Is that an odd thing to think about? Maybe… But needless to say, I was overjoyed to read Laura & Rich’s story and to see how they still managed have the happiest day of their lives, despite the destruction and chaos around them.
“We were married at The Inn at Millrace Pond in New Jersey on 2nd November,” wrote the bride, “and it almost didn’t happen… We were very close to postponing the wedding because it was all so crazy after the hurricane. We were without electricity and running water at home and the Inn’s power was only restored two nights before the wedding date. I got a frantic phone call from Peggy, our florist, the day before to tell us that she had received a call from the Mayor telling her that he could see that the Inn was illuminated from his house and that our wedding could go ahead after all! I really loved how everyone pitched in to make the wedding happen, we felt very lucky. From friends and family carpooling and getting gas in the middle of the night, to Rich having to pick up the tuxedos on the morning of the wedding from another town, to all the girls getting ready by generator power.”
“I know this sounds crazy, but I really feel like The Blogcademy is going to be a massive game-changer for all three of us”, Gala said to Shauna & me the morning after the workshop, “and I really hate that phrase…”
But you know what, I think the girl might be onto something.
A heady mix of nerves, anticipation and excitement seeped through my trip to New York this month. Lisa & I had a few other things planned, but we knew our visit was concluding with the biggie. Organising this event was a labour of love and a project of passion – squillions of emails flew back and forth over the course of just a couple of short months while Gala, Shauna & I planned every last detail thousands of miles apart from each other.
A intensive weekend-long and strategy-based blogging workshop was something all three of us had dreamt about doing individually, but it was only when we realised we could do it together that the pieces of the puzzle started falling into place. We all have very different areas of interest and expertise surrounding the subject, and when we sat down and assessed what each of us could bring to an event like this it all just seemed to make sense.
“It was hands down one of the best things I’ve done to move my ideas forward in a really long time. The BEST. I think I may have a choir of mojo about to sing hallelujah. It got me thinking about how we get our mojos to sing…” Maree Forbes
I’m currently lying in bed in my East Village apartment (well, I wish it was mine!) with Nubby the day after the first ever Blogcademy. It’s 7am and we’re both bolt upright excitedly gabbing about the events of the past 48 hours. It was a weekend of magical, unexpected, positivity and excitable exhilaration. Loving, learning and inspiring each other – all in our own imitable fashion. I feel mentally exhausted and my feet hurt like hell but it’s oh such a good feeling. Our 30 attendees were just what we hoped & prayed for and more, and I honestly feel we’ve all made some new BFFs for life.
Gala, Naomi & me with Eleanor the photo bomber!
It’s been five months since I was here last but as soon as we landed in JFK I felt like it was only yesterday. Everything was so familiar, so comfortable but also so exciting! I’ve fallen head over heels pretty quickly again and I’m so thrilled to be back here.
So happy to be reunited with Gala… as are our ridiculous blogger phone cases!
After a flight that dreams are made of with Virgin Atlantic -including an upgrade (I thought this only happened in the movies!) and an almost out-of body experience in the Upper Class Lounge at Heathrow Terminal 3 (“Manicure? Spa treatment? Hair cut? A dip in the pool or a trip to the sauna?!”) we hopped in a yellow cab and were whisked towards the bright lights of Manhattan.
Credit: Moey Hoque
I’m currently 35,000 feet in the air making my way across the Atlantic Ocean to New York City. I may already be a broken record about the fact that I’m going back but I don’t care, I’m so excited I could burst!
I’ll report back with many many photos of my excited face as well as, of course, a full and epic report of The Blogcademy. If you just can’t wait then be sure to follow me on Instagram for instant and regular updates. I CAN’T BELIEVE IT’S FINALLY HERE!