The Ceremony

The Ceremony

Before I left for the venue, my sister’s best friend who wasn’t able to come to the wedding (but helped us get ready) hugged me and said, “Remember this day. Pretend your mind is a camera, and capture the special moments in your memory.” While I won’t share all the special moments, I’m going to share a few with you today. :)

No Sleep

The morning of my wedding I slept maybe a total of 4 hours, but in 2 hour increments. The first two hours I was too cold in my bedroom because I went to bed with my hair wet and I couldn’t stop coughing. I woke up and sat on the vent in the kitchen eating crackers and reading a book. An hour later, I tried to sleep. I slept fitfully for two hours until I woke up, still freezing and now nauseous, and sat on the vent in the bathroom and journaled before I decided to take a bath. And I’m glad I took a bath, because even though the night before I double and triple checked to make sure I shaved my underarms, I forgot to shave my legs. So I drank ginger ale, ate crackers, and shaved my legs. By the time I got out of the tub, a few other bridesmaids had stirred so we gathered in the kitchen and one gave me peppermint essential oil and a half of zofran. I felt a little less nauseous after that.

We started getting ready in at my house – several friends donated their time to doing hair, and a few of my bridesmaids were well versed in makeup. I ran up and down the stairs saying “I’M GETTING MARRIED TODAY!” between sips of coffee and one bite of 1/4 of a bagel.

My Big Fat Zim Ceremony

Forgetting Lunch

While I arranged someone to bring us a veggie tray, I forgot to arrange someone to bring us sandwiches. Luckily, we were above a pizza joint, so pizza for lunch was perfectly fine with us.

My Big Fat Zim Ceremony

The Amazing Hands 

I went between the bridal suite to our venue (the floor above) and was overwhelmed with delight. So many of my mom’s friends and Aunties from Pai’s side were helping set the tables and tie bouquets at the end of the aisles.

My Big Fat Zim Ceremony

The First Look

I’m so glad Pai and I decided to do a first look. It gave us a few moments to steal away to process the day and pray together. I couldn’t stop looking at my man. He was so handsome. I was so nervous before I saw him, but after seeing him, the stress melted away. I felt so much peace in our decision to merge our lives together.

My Big Fat Zim Wedding

Cinderella’s Shoe

When I was 4 years old, I would dress up in my Cinderella costume, run down the hall, and kick my shoe off. Dad would run down the aisle and bring my shoe to me. So my evil plan my whole life was on my wedding day, to kick my shoe off for my Prince Charming to bring me one last time.

My Big Fat Zim Wedding

Captuerd: The Line Up

Before I knew it, we lined up in the stairwell and the music started. My bridesmaids walked down the aisle to “We Dance” by Steffany Gretzinger. I watched my brother and cousins carry a Bible my dad gave me and the vow booklets down the aisle; and started to get emotional as my little brother pulled my baby cousin in a wagon, realizing my dad and I were about to be next.

My Big Fat Zim Ceremony

Walking Down the Aisle

As my dad escorted me down the aisle, I scanned the faces of people who came to support our marriage. I couldn’t believe so many people loved us so much. It was the longest walk of my life, but also the fastest. I purposefully didn’t look at my mom because I knew I would lose it. So when I got close enough to see the love of my life, I locked eyes with him.

My Big Fat Zim Ceremony

The Ceremony

There were so many favorite moments of the ceremony. We started the ceremony with the worship song, Holy Spirit. Pai and I prayed for months that the Lord would be present in our marriage and our ceremony. We covered the day with prayer, and wanted to cover the start of the ceremony by inviting The Lord’s presence. Before my dad could give me away, he stood up with us and worshipped. My dad recently texted me the other day saying “Core memory every time I hear this song.” and it made my heart sing.

The pastor preached a fantastic sermon that intertwined our personalities, our cultures, and our faith. Pai and I took communion together, so we had our friend who actually played matchmaker between us give the communion meditation. He surprised both of us by sharing in both Shona and English.

My Big Fat Zim Ceremony

The Kiss

Oh. Boy. For months and months I taunted Pai. Pai has always been Mr. No PDA. He wouldn’t be mildly cuddly with me in front of our families, let alone kiss me. To which I kept saying, “Are you even going to kiss me on our wedding day?” Well. . . I certainly got what I deserved. When the pastor said, “You may now kiss the bride” Pai did not just kiss  me. He KISSED me. And there was lipstick all over our faces, just like the Mickey Mouse/Minnie Mouse cartoons. And when he broke away, one of Pai’s uncles from one of the front rows said, “I didn’t capture that on camera, do it again!” And he did it. Again.

My Big Fat Zim Ceremony

An Adventure of a Lifetime

For the first time, presenting Mr. & Mrs. Mush. . . 😉 I pumped my fist and we danced/ran down the aisle, my broach falling off my shoe and flying under someone’s chair while Coldplay’s “Adventure of a Lifetime” played.

My Big Fat Zim Ceremony

Chaos ensued as the room was flipped into reception mode and we took family pictures.

But the after party was hoppin’. . . so we’ll get to that next week. 😉

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Celebrate your Inner Child

Celebrate Your Inner Child

If you know anything about Pai or myself, you know that we love to laugh and we love to have fun together. When it is just the two of us we are possibly the silliest people I have ever known.

Recently I was at a wedding where they served cake pops. I. LOVE. CAKE POPS. A lollipop made of cake and icing? It’s my dream come true, basically. Pai and I were getting ready to leave, so I grabbed another cake pop before I left. OK, cake pops. One for each hand. Right as I turned around to leave, the music started and so did the dancing. And by dancing, I mean my dancing. My friend caught my drift and we both started the dance party with our ridiculous horrible white girl dancing selves.

Obviously my dance has now been named the Cake Pop and there is a video somewhere and I’m praying it doesn’t go viral.

For a slight moment, I felt self-conscious about my dancing, but I was seriously just so dang excited about the cake pops and the music happened to start at the same time. So I continued to dance.

As we get older, we assimilate to our surroundings. Some of it is maturity, and some of it is shedding our authentic selves to fit in. When we are teenagers, we find ourselves conforming to the expectations of those around us. Adulthood then wraps itself around us with its responsibilities. But while wading through those responsibilities, we can find a freedom to let our true selves emerge again.

I used to be pretty exuberant as a child. During my teenage years, I exchange that exuberance for an attitude that covered up my insecurities. I didn’t laugh at things that were funny ecauseI was too cool. I was too concerned with being myself because i was worried about what other people thought. And my tue self was very, very silly.

As an adult, I’ve found that I have a safe place to release my inner child and celebrate her. I’ve shed the ‘tude and allowed myself to be exuberantly express myself when I’m excited. If the situation calls for silliness, I’m silly. If the situation calls for embarrassing my teenage sister, then I embarrass my teenage (and sometimes adult) sister. I want to find that little 5 year old who loved to sing on her front porch, let her out, and let her dance.

A child isn’t going to worry what others think about their dancing at a wedding until it’s taught to hide.

If you could do anything, be anything without worrying about what others think – what would you be? What would you do?

We have a lot to learn from our fellow kid friends. They are brave, they are confident, and many a times, they are full of joy.

So embrace your inner child today – do a cake pop dance, laugh too hard at something funny, smile easily, and have confidence in who God made you. <3

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My Big Fat Zimbabwean Rehearsal Dinner

my big fat zimbabwean rehearsal dinner

Friday Morning

The best part about coming from a big American family and marrying into a big African family is the people. There are people everywhere! The number of people at our rehearsal dinner was paramount to a small wedding. We had between 75-100 people at our rehearsal dinner alone.

Friday morning, I woke up early and met my soon-to-be husband at Panera bread for breakfast. Somehow we managed to see each other throughout the week in snippets, but we had hardly been alone the week leading up to the wedding, and I needed some one on one time to process the weekend. We sipped our coffee, gazed in each other’s eyes adoringly, and prayed together. To top the morning off, we had the first snow flurry of the season and I was ecstatic.

We separated before the rehearsal, me running last minute errands.

Always have your rehearsal lunch at Chickfila

Someone had rented our venue the night before our wedding for a rehearsal dinner, so we had to have our rehearsal at 3 in the afternoon. Before we went to the rehearsal, several of us met up at Chickfila for lunch. I kid you not, almost the entire dining room of Chickfila was practically filled with our bridal party and my family. The rehearsal went as smoothly as you could expect when there’s 36 people in the wedding party, and I only had a secret freak out in the bathroom once.

We had some time to kill before the rehearsal dinner, so a few bridesmaids, one husband of a bridesmaid and I went to one of my favorite coffee shops. Because what cures the wedding jitters more than extra adrenaline and caffeine?

Before the rehearsal dinner started, the rest of the bridal party met up at the church and Pai and I taught the bridal party a traditional Zimbabwean entrance dance, coreographed by his sister and his mom. At the reception, when we were introduced, we came out dancing to a Zimbabwean song. It was hilarious to see all these white guys trying to keep up with these white girls who knew how to dance. I’m sure it was mortifying for some, but every one was a good sport and it was a huge hit at the reception.

Rehearsal Dinner – Zim Style

The rehearsal dinner had a few more Zim traditions that we couldn’t squeeze into the wedding day itself. Pai’s mother gifted us with a traditional matching outfit which was adorable. Several of my bridesmaids had been to different parts of Africa, so they wore dresses they had bought in Africa. My mother in law also lent a few of my other bridesmaids some dresses she had.

my big fat zimbabwean rehearsal dinner

The night consisted of Zimbabwean food and speeches upon speeches upon speeches. Friends and family stood up to share their well-wishes. One of my favorite moments was when an uncle on Pai’s side gave us wedding advice and ended with a song. We originally wanted him to sing at our wedding, but due to health complications he wasn’t able. So when he surprised us with a song at the rehearsal dinner, I was so touched.

my big fat zimbabwean rehearsal dinner

I looked over at my dad throughout the night, who had been as any typical dad giving away his first daughter would be, and could see the glee on his face that I was marrying into a family whose values and relationships were steadfast.

In Zimbabwe, when the woman marries the husband, she marries into his family. As a thank you for a new daughter in law, it is typical custom for the husband’s family to give the brides parents a gift. Rather than the parents hand the gift off to the parents, though, they have intercessors. The uncles on the husband’s side give the gift to the bride’s father’s sister on the bride’s side and the aunt then presents the gift to the parents. It is a way to thank the parents for trusting the family with their daughter, and it brings the families together. Pai’s parents and family are so intentional and mindful of establishing a relationship with my family.  Both sets of my grandparents are best friends with each other, and I always wanted that for my parents and in-laws as well.

my big fat zimbabwean rehearsal dinner

 

After the rehearsal dinner, Pai and I gave each other one last kiss before the big day. My dad loves to take us kids out one on one to get hot chocolate from McDonalds, so I asked him if we could go for a hot chocolate with my mom before they took me home.

When mom and I got home to a house full of bridesmaids, it was like Slumber Party 2.0. We played more games that Abigail hadn’t had time to play during the bachelorette party. We stayed up till midnight giggling and then I tried to go to sleep. Try being the operative word here. . .

Until next week, when we finally talk about the wedding day!

my big fat zimbabwean rehearsal dinner

OK but before you go, look at how cute our little flower girl was <3  She is always mesmerized by Pai . . .must be the dark chocolate skin. 😉

 

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Celebrate Your Worth

What started off as a post on celebrating who you are has slowly but surely morphed into a mini-series about self-confidence and identity. Today I’m excited to bring my good blogging (and real life friend!) to Hugs and Lattes to talk about celebrating your self-worth. Tiffany is no stranger to Hugs and Lattes; she’s posted here several times before and even collaborated with me on one of my favorite posts to date. She blogs at Endless Bliss and she just got back from traveling the Caribbean as a Carnival cruise employee!

Celebrate your Worth

Hi friends! I’m Tiffany, a chaser of happiness and a lover of wine with a thirst for adventure. When I’m not tucked away in a tiny cabin working at sea, I’m sharing my life experiences on my little corner of the internet, Endless Bliss.

Endless Bliss

Christina is not only one of my favorite bloggers, she’s also one of my longest running blog friends. She’s constantly inspiring me, so any blog venture or project she begins or gets behind, I’m always onboard, and this one is one of my favorites. I’m a big believer in celebrating all moments of your life, but I’m an even bigger believer in celebrating who you are. You became the person you are today because of everything you’ve been through – the good, the bad and the ugly – and you need to celebrate every part of you and your life because all of the places you’ve been, the people you’ve met, the experiences you’ve had, those are what brought you to where you are, right here in this moment, reading this blog post.

Something I’ve always struggled with is my identity. I’m constantly trying to figure out new ways to learn things about myself and my behaviors and why I think or act a certain way in different situations. I never stop questioning myself, which has been both a blessing and a burden.

Awhile back, my friends and I were talking about this guy who had a crush on me. I said something about how I was surprised about it because we are both so different in almost every aspect. One of my friends said she believed that one of the reasons he was attracted to me was because I already know who I am. This immediately gave me pause. I thought it was ironic because I feel like my 20’s have been a never-ending journey to try to figure myself out. Here I am thinking that I need to find myself when the people around me believe that my self-discovery journey is one that has already been complete. It was interesting to me that my inner battle and struggle with finding myself didn’t resonate with the people around me.

I think one thing that coincides with knowing yourself is knowing your worth, and this has probably been the biggest struggle for me throughout my entire life. In the past, I’ve been described as a doormat. People think I’m too nice. I rarely ever say ‘no.’ I suck at confrontation, and I’d rather avoid conflict than risk angering someone. Since I’ve been in my 20’s I’ve been able to better find my voice, and if something makes me extremely uncomfortable, I won’t hesitate to say so, but at the same time, I’m a people-pleaser, and I’ll be the first to admit that about myself. I want everyone to like me, and I hate leaving arguments or small tiffs open-ended.

I’m the kind of person that will give people compliments all day, but when someone says something nice about me, I deny it before thanking them.

I’m the kind of person that will give a friend advice, and if they were to repeat the same advice back to me, I wouldn’t be able to follow it.

I’m the kind of person who has an argument with someone and will almost immediately take fault in fear of them hating me if I continue to argue.

I’m the kind of person who will exhaust myself trying to meet the needs of others while forgetting my own needs in the process.

I’m beginning to realize how toxic these behaviors are. I’ve noticed that I let others dictate the way I feel about myself. I listen and watch for reactions to the things I do or say. I’m constantly seeking approval. I’ve allowed people to treat me poorly, resulting in a loss of confidence and the constant questioning of ‘What can I do to make them like me?’ I let my self-esteem and self-worth deteriorate because of my hunger for the attention of people who couldn’t see my worth. It would be so easy to blame others, but the only person at fault is myself. As the saying goes, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent,” and truth be told, I allowed people to invade my brain and ultimately make me forget what I deserve and what I’m worth.

When it comes to love, whether it’s romantic, friendly or self-love, you should never settle:
Find a partner who shows that they love you through both their words and actions. Think of this quote: “We accept the love we think deserve.” Never settle for anything less than butterflies, stolen kisses, sweet surprises, inside jokes and true love.

Spend time with friends who make you smile so much that your cheeks hurt. Identify the friends who add more good things to your life than bad. Be friends with the people who will answer your call at 2 in the morning because someone broke your heart. Be friends with the people who will drive hours to come get you when your tire blew out. Be friends with the people who are happy for you when you get good news rather than being jealous or hateful. Be friends with the people who expect nothing from you apart from good conversation, a listening ear, a shoulder to cry on and maybe a little wine. Surround yourself with people who will remind you of your worth when you’ve temporarily forgotten.

Be able to look at yourself in the mirror and truly love the person staring back at you. Remember: you decide your own happiness. Waiting for other people to make you happy is the easiest way to be unhappy.

Rid yourself of the people who cause you distress and bring you down. Life is way too short to spend your time being anything less than happy. Never forget that you are the determinant of your worth, and in the slightly altered words of Fifth Harmony, “Baby [you’re] worth it.”

Endless Bliss

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a Literary Bachelorette Party

A Literary Bachelorette Party

OK so this is the post I have BY FAR been the most excited to write about – the bachelorette party. My sister, Abigail, who was also my maid of honor made sure she quite outdid herself by throwing the most fun, exciting, and (mostly) clean bachelorette party there ever was. It was the perfect way to start off wedding week, so I can’t wait to relive it with you here today!

Anyone who knows me I love three things: books, coffee, and music my mother never let me listen to in high school.

Abigail kicked me out of my own house the evening of the bachelorette party so she could decorate. Although we were hitting the town of Asheville for the main portion of our evening, she wanted to make sure the final portion of the night was still cute and fabulous. I got ready for the evening while she decorated the house with some of my friends. She had printed out several engagement photos of Pai and myself and pasted them onto the walls of our living room. Being the sentimental sap I am, I kept them up for so long that Pai finally said, “People think we have a shrine to ourselves. It’s time to take them down.” #truth

To begin the night, Abigail booked us a reservation at Zombra’s in Asheville, NC. Zombras is a tapas and wine bar. We each could pick out about two appetizers each and shared among each other and oh. my. goodness. The food was amazing. Abigail, being the cute and crafty thinker she is, made place cards for everyone to sit at. I loved Zombras because we were seated in a corner booth and there were pillows everywhere. It definitely had a Spanish but hipster vibe going on, and the mood lighting and our corner made it the perfect little dinner getaway.

a literary bachelorette party

After dinner, a couple of the girls distracted me while Abigail went to set up the next part of the evening. We walked around Asheville until we found The Chocolate Fetish, my favorite chocolate store in the city. The Chocolate Fetish serves truffles, so went in to peruse the offers and I found a truffle called “The African Queen,” so of course a couple of my friends surprised me with one.

a literary bachelorette party

We finally caught up with Abigail at my favorite place in the world – The Battery Parks Book Exchange. This is a fun bookstore in Asheville that I’m obsessed with. They have a bar that serves wine, beer, literary cocktails, and coffee. The carpet is a fun bright red color (think Edgar Allen Poe red) and the bookcases are dark black. It’s a two story bookstore, but with a split level as well, with lots of seating areas. You can bring your dogs and just sit and read and sip on whatever beverage you like for the afternoon. So Abigail had coordinated with the bookstore to host a lounge party in a cornered off section of the bookstore.

But someone else was hosting their own party – the Santas. At the bookstore on this particular night there was a Santa Con festival. There were drunk Santas, drunk reindeers, drunk elves, drunk Christmas fairies EVERYWHERE. When we got into the bookstore and ordered our drinks, the server said, “Are you the bachelorette party? I’ve never been so happy to see a bachelorette party in my life.” We were very tame.

3

Abigail set the mood for the lounge party with cute decor and fun games. We played a game where I had to guess what answers Pai wrote down for certain questions and if I lost, then I had to eat a jelly bean. But it wasn’t any old jelly bean, it was Bertie Bots Every Flavor Beans. Y’all HP fans raise your hands if you know what I’m talking about. I ate dirty gym sock, dog food, and spoiled milk. BLEGH.

She had also compiled everyone’s favorite quotes from their favorite books and had each of them read their quotes and why they chose it. As an avid lover of books and all things inspirational, I was definitely a fan. Abigail even made gift bags for all the bridesmaids and she was so thoughtful with each thing she put in the bag – a note book for memories, a paperweight with our initial & wedding date so they could remember to pray for us whenever they saw it, tissues for crying, a face mask, and more!

The bookstore closed at 11, so we had to leave but the party wasn’t over. We drove the whole way home with 2000s hip hop blasting and me rapping along to every word.

When we got back to my house, Abigail poured out more food. There was chocolate covered strawberries and assortments of fruit, and chocolate candy which they had to put into certain molds that I never approved of. . . But it was all in good fun.

a literary bachelorette party

We ate more, giggled more, and I opened a few gifts they gave me for after the wedding. Abigail’s intent was for us to watch a girly bridesmaid movie, but by the time we were done with everything it was 3, almost 4am and I had fallen asleep on the couch.

I woke up the next morning feeling groggy for all the best reasons. It was officially wedding week, so Abigail, my friend who stayed with me to help me out with last minute wedding chores, and I christened the week by drinking coffee all day and watching The Notebook.

a literary bachelorette party

Advice for future brides: don’t watch The Notebook the week of your wedding when you’ve only had 4 hours of sleep because you will sob uncontrollably. Part of it is because the movie is sad. Part of it is because your motions are whacko.

All in all, it was the most fun I think I’ve ever had, and it was the best day of my life up until December 10th. :)

a literary bachelorette party

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