As you now know, Wei and I tied the knot on December 12th with a ceremony and reception port-side on the Explorer of Seas (see our wedding “album” here). To be honest, I always imagined that I’d elope. I never dreamed of my wedding day nor had I any desire or interest in planning a big, elaborate wedding. Add to that the facts that I’m the consummate procrastinator who hates planning anything and am also super
cheap frugal, and you might understand my lack of motivation in setting a wedding date despite being engaged for almost a year and a half. But, with 42 knocking on the door, 2 years since our engagement fast-approaching, and a desire to have children, we knew it was time to get this thing done.
So, about 3 months ago, we decided on a wedding date and honeymoon trip. Then, the planning commenced. Fortunately for me, I have a best friend sent from heaven who did most of the initial heavy lifting. When I tell you that this might not have happened without her, I’m not kidding you. I was so anti-wedding planning. Not anti wedding, anti planning. But, she basically put things in front of me, gave me options, let me decide, and then made things happen. So, a huge shout-out and thank you to my bestie of 22 years, Yutonya (Yooty)! You know you are my ace for LIFE!
Anywho, in about 70 days, we decided on doing the ceremony and reception onboard the Explorer of the Seas port-side prior to embarkation, then kicking all our guests off (sorry guys! LOL!!), and sailing away on a 10 day honeymoon to the Caribbean. Royal Romance took care of a lot of stuff like the venue (obviously ;)), the officiant, the photographer, the reception menu, the cake, the flowers, and the coordination of events. Then, with a lot of help and far too many purchases on Amazon and Etsy *lol*, Wei and I took care of the rest with LOTS of assistance from my sisters, Sheri and Shana, and Yooty. We selected the invitations, which my sisters took care of ordering, addressing, and mailing. Yooty took on the “guest book,” which will be a peacock quilt with “feathers” signed by the guests! And Wei and I got our marriage license (of course) and selected the “wedding party” and colors, favors, cake topper, the jumping broom (well, I selected and he approved;)), and the ceremony and reception “play list.”
Of course, I decided on everything related to my personal appearance. Because, I will say this. There are four things that I cared about in regard to my special day. My dress, my bouquet, the locale, and great pics. I always imagined a flowy, romantic dress a la a Greek goddess or woodland fairy/nymph. I always wanted calla lilies. I always wanted to get married on a beach. And I always wanted beautiful pictures to capture it all! Three (and a half given that it wasn’t a beach, but a boat on the water;)?) out of four ain’t bad, right? LOL!!
So first, my dress was a custom ivory and sand silk wedding gown designed by Arlinda McIntosh for
Sofistafunk the Skirt Company. I had no desire to spend hours in stores trying on tons of dresses. So, I figured, why not contact my designer friend Arlinda?!? I went online and started googling “Greek goddess” wedding gowns and came across this gorgeous Gladiator dress by Australian designer Anna Campell. I showed Arlinda some pics and we set about designing my look with some definitive Sofistafunk flavor thrown into the mix.
With this whole natural hair blogging thing, how I was going to wear my tresses had also become a priority! So, of course I had to reach out to my stylist Tameeka McNeil-Johnson aka Jaded Tresses. Initially, I had settled on a winding braid style on straightened hair that I had been eye-balling for a year. But, when the trial of that hairstyle produced less than stellar results due to my fine, layered strands, I went back to the drawing board. I quickly identified a goddess-like curly updo as my hairstyle of choice and fell in love with it. The big bonus was that I was going to wear my hair in a natural style, not straightened, for my wedding day! My newly coined “Braid n’ Twist n’ Curl” was the perfect foundation for the style. Tameeka made a few custom, henna red colored clip-in extensions to add some dimension and contrast to the updo. Then, we used an old piece of trim that I had picked up a couple of years ago as a double headband to complete the look. The final look was totally me (and I knew Wei would approve as he likes when my hair is up and off of my face :)).
My glowy, goddessy make-up was done by Mac artist AdjoaFierce (Instagram), who I found at the Mac in Macy’s at Rockaway Mall.
My beauty team, who got up SUPER early to get to my hotel by 6:30 am!!
(Right: Adjoa [Stephanie]; Left: Tameeka)
Accessories are next. The shoes were probably the most time-consuming and difficult task!! So, let’s acknowledge the elephant in the room. Wei isn’t very tall. Okay. Let’s just say it. He’s vertically challenged. And, so am I. But I usually wear sky high heels to conceal the fact that I’m only 5’1″. And, generally speaking, I could care less that I stand an inch or two taller than him while wearing my 4-5″ heels. But, I had no desire to do so in my wedding day pics :P. So, finding a pair of strappy, teal blue, 3″ or less, pretty heels was a FEAT!!! I found a shoe that I loved, but it was an old style and couldn’t find it anywhere, plus … it had a 4″ heel. So, after weeks of searching daily for hours online, hitting every store with shoes in Short Hills Mall, and contemplating the purchase of custom dyeable shoes and learning that they aren’t water-proof (running shoes on wedding day? That’s a NO!), I finally settled on finding a pair of strappy heels and using a flower shoe clip to spice them up. So, I purchased a pair of $30 teal blue, strappy Antonio Melani sandals from eBay and adorned them with gorgeous peacock colored flower shoe clips from HansHolskopf on Etsy (and she threw in a matching flower hair pin that my niece Reghan wore as my junior bridesmaid!). I completed the look with a personalized, embroidered, peacock feather, silk ivory clutch by EllenVintage on Etsy (I also got the clutches as gifts for my sisters and bestie with special messages) and “Peacock feather” earrings from La Contessa on Amazon.
She implored me to let her be in my wedding as she has never gotten to be a flower girl.
Of course I had to oblige my baby girl ;).
Now … you know … no Shelli wedding would be complete without a little Batman thrown into the mix ;). So, I special ordered a Batman keepsake and toss garter from Mary and Mary’s on Etsy.
Ivory rose toss bouquet made by my other bestie, Rebecca!
Royal Romance provided a standard ivory rose bouquet with the wedding package. However, as I said above, I always wanted calla lilies. So, for an extra fee, I got what I wanted. But, I supplied the peacock feathers that I acquired from a friend at work! The wedding coordinator/officiant did a wonderful job of adding them to the calla lily and eucalyptus bouquet.
My wedding favors were cute, heart-shaped measuring spoons called “Love Beyond Measure.” Each spoon is engraved with a “loving” notation: “A pinch of joy,” “A dash of tenderness,” “A spoonful of affection,” “A heap of love.” And we “customized them with a peacock emblazoned sticker with our names and the wedding date.
Our peacock and eucalyptus adorned jumping broom was purchased from Weddings of Design on Etsy.
And our “Vintage” engraved monogram cake topper was a custom order from IrishEve on Etsy.
Whew!! Wedding planning … even small wedding planning … is a lot of work!! And they weren’t kidding when they said you’ll probably spend 2x your intended budget! DANG!! LOL! Did everything go perfectly? No. There was some confusion with the check-in process, it was freezing, my nose started to run on my make-up and I had no tissues. There was no iron in the stateroom, so my sister had to use a hair dryer to try to get the wrinkles out of the bottom of my gown the best she could, but there were still some left. We couldn’t find the cake topper, but discovered it in the room with me when my sister was looking for her cell phone. I forgot to put on my Batman garter belt! There was a looongggg intercom announcement over part of the ceremony, and our officiant was stumbling over her words and at one point said “Partners in
crime … uh life.” :/ LOL!!! But, at the end of the day, we didn’t break the bank, I felt like a princess, we got to celebrate this important day with our close family and friends, and we got great pics to capture it all (and as long as the pics look like everything was fabulous, that’s all that really matters, right ;)? LOL!!). So, yeah. It was worth it and I’d do it all again!!
Join us next time for 365 Days of Fitness on a wedding day and through a 10 day honeymoon!!
(p.s. If you check out/purchase from any of the linked sites, please let them know Hairscapades sent you!! xoxo)