Anything super unique about the big day?
It was important that our day be filled with what is most important to us – Faith, Family, and Friends, so we relied on the best wedding planner we know, who happens to be my new sister, Ada.
Ada and her @Cherish_August team planned the most amazing week for us, our family, and our friends in an 1800 year-old villa called Villa Le Due Torrette in Lake Como, Italy.
The title of our wedding week was,”Colui Che La Mia Anima Ama,” which is Songs of Solomon 3:4, “the one whom my soul loves.
The wedding week was from August 25-August 30, 2019, and was a fusion of our three cultures (Liberian, Lebanese, and Nigerian). Our wedding was full of personal touches that was rich in heritage and legacy. The week began with a Lebanese brunch, which we called, “Benvenuta, Famiglia” to honor my side of the family.
My big sister, Veronica Kazouh-Garley, best friend, Amal Adnan, and wedding planner worked with Laura and her team from @lakecomofoodtours to plan an awesome evening, which included a breathtaking boat ride on the lake and an excellently prepared four-course dinner at the famed Al Terrazzo Di Villa Giulia. After dinner, we put on our dancing shoes and danced the night away.
The next day was the traditional wedding called the “Igba Nkwu Nwanyi + Ìgbéyàwó” Ceremony, which means, respectively, the wine carrying and wife carrying a traditional wedding. This was the melting of my husband’s Igbo and Yoruba traditions and was so memorable for us and our guests. It was also exciting to participate and share in the “aso-ebi”(clothing of the family) experience. My family colors were red and silver, as was my husband’s family colors. After all, we are all one family and it was beautiful to see us representing our beautiful African culture.
There were so many more memorable moments throughout the wedding week. While my parents were not physically with us, they were in attendance via FaceTime from Liberia during the entire ceremony. And while it was a bittersweet balancing my disappointment that my parents were not with me physically, while experiencing the happiest moment of my life, it was a blessing to feel their presence.
The following day, we spent time with our guests on a guided tour of Lake Como and Bellagio. It gave us an opportunity to connect more intimately with our family and friends, while shopping, eating, and enjoying all that Italy had to offer.
The week ended with the religious wedding led by my new father-in-law and accompanied with music by the ethereal Mr. Music Italy music ensemble @mr.music.italy. We exchanged Todd Ingwer wedding bands @todd_ingwer, @leoingwer under a floral arch of roses, orchids, and peonies by @fioriinrigafloraldesigner,
Any tips you would share with other couples getting married? Get a planner, be present, and enjoy the moment.
What was your planning experience like?
It was informative because there is so much that goes into planning and even more so when its a destination wedding. The @cherish_august team, led by Ada Ojeh-Teme, took care of every detail. From the color scheme to hand-selecting every creative partner, to the cultural aspect, she was a life-saver for us and we are forever grateful to her. One of the perks of having a planner as a sister, :).
Where did you wed and why did you pick the venue/site?
We wanted a beautiful destination that would also serve as an experience. We chose Italy because it was timeless and we knew it would deliver lifelong memories that we and our family would cherish. We also wanted a villa, where we could feel at home and have some control over our menu, celebration, and gathering, as well as be close to close friends. The villa was large enough to accommodate us and our entire wedding party.
Tell us about the wedding dress!
My wedding dress was an Allure Bridal–Madison James statement piece ballgown in a beautiful almond/nude color with a deep sweetheart neckline with pleats and tucks at the waist.
My bridesmaids wore romantic red hues from David’s Bridal. My matron-of-honor, my big sister, Veronica Kazouh-Garley and my maid of honor and best friend, Amal Adnan, wore different red dresses, while my other bridesmaids wore the same red dress.
My something borrowed was sister, Ada’s, 25 ft veil; our beautiful nieces held my veil — It was a vision I will never forget. Something new, my wedding ring, and something blue was my blue lace garter. My wedding bouquet by @fioriinrigafloraldesigner, was one I had always dreamed of-full of orchids and blush roses held by a rhinestone ribbon. It looked and smelt AMAZING!
Describe the Groom’s and Groomsmen look
My husband’s look was sooooo handsome. Hakeem Balogun @kimonokollection created a three-piece bespoke treasure with personal touches including, our wedding date embroidered on the inside pocket of his suit. The groomsmen all wore bespoke @kimonokollection pieces in black.
Your Wedding Style
What inspired your theme/style? What was your color palette? Why was it important to you?
Because we were having a small wedding, we really wanted a luxury garden dinner party. Lots of candle light, greenery, cream and blush roses, peonies, and orchids.
The wedding ceremony was chic, classy, with a bit of whimsical, and took place in the Villa courtyard. In the center of the courtyard was a beautiful fountain with blush roses in it. The sound of the water was equally soothing as it was aesthetically pleasing. We said our vows under a beautiful flowered arch.
The reception included five ceiling chandeliers and centerpieces full of greenery, roses, peonies, and orchids. Our sweetheart table was a cream rose floor floral runner. It was dreamy!
During the ceremony did you use and religious or cultural elements or traditions?
We had a full Anglican ceremony with communion. Our faith is very important to us and we wanted an opportunity to reflect that as we entered into the journey of marriage.
We had bible readings by my sisters and brother-in-law, while the Mr.Music.Italy ensemble led us in hymns and other beautiful selections. During the signing of the marriage registry, my niece, Neena Kazouh @neenakaz, sang one of my favorites songs, I Choose You, by Sara Bareilles.
Describe your cake.
Because we had two different ceremonies, we had two wedding cakes. The traditional wedding cake was by Chiara @qualcosa_didolce, and was a lemon and pistachio cake with fresh raspberry and it swung on a custom swing that extended down below from the top of the villa’s balcony.
The religious wedding cake by Chef Stefano Rusconi was a three-tier traditional Italian wedding naked cake with crema chantilly and fresh strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries.
We gifted each guest Italian Olive Oil in beautiful bottles from Lamaconte @lamaconte_olio. Lamaconte was nice enough to include our personalized logo on each bottle and package it beautifully.