Our Wedding: The Personal Touches

I’m loving ‘Wedding Week’ so far. Getting to relive each part of our wedding day is so special to me and your comments have been so lovely! So far I’ve given you look into our very personal wedding ceremony, revealed all the details of what we wore and how we decided on the decor. Today I want to share the little things we did to make our wedding day feel personal to us.

One of the things that drew me to our wedding venue was that every photo I’d seen of weddings held there looked different. Trinity Buoy Wharf is a dry-hire venue which means you just get the empty room. This is daunting, but it allows you to truly put your stamp on your wedding day and make it personal to you. As well as the venue, I loved thinking of small ways we could incorporate Michael and I’s personality, tastes and loves into the day so that it felt like us. I wanted our friends and family to leave feeling like they’d been to our wedding, not just a wedding.

Photos by Captured By Katrina

Cantara & Michael's personal wedding touches. A modern, industrial wedding at Trinity Buoy Wharf warehouse in East London. Photos by Captured by Katrina | Simply Cantara, a UK healthy lifestyle blog
Cantara & Michael's personal wedding touches. A modern, industrial wedding at Trinity Buoy Wharf warehouse in East London. Photos by Captured by Katrina | Simply Cantara, a UK healthy lifestyle blog
Cantara & Michael's personal wedding touches. A modern, industrial wedding at Trinity Buoy Wharf warehouse in East London. Photos by Captured by Katrina | Simply Cantara, a UK healthy lifestyle blog
Cantara & Michael's personal wedding touches. A modern, industrial wedding at Trinity Buoy Wharf warehouse in East London. Photos by Captured by Katrina | Simply Cantara, a UK healthy lifestyle blog
Cantara & Michael's personal wedding touches. A modern, industrial wedding at Trinity Buoy Wharf warehouse in East London. Photos by Captured by Katrina | Simply Cantara, a UK healthy lifestyle blog
Cantara & Michael's personal wedding touches. A modern, industrial wedding at Trinity Buoy Wharf warehouse in East London. Photos by Captured by Katrina | Simply Cantara, a UK healthy lifestyle blog

Tables

I knew I didn’t want our tables names to just be numbers. For starters, we only had 3 tables! So instead we named them after places that mean something to us and shared a little story on each table name that I designed. One was the place we met, one was where we’d had our first date and many dates since and the other was where we went to Uni together.

Michael and I had a sweetheart table with just the two of us instead of a top table. The idea started because my parents aren’t together, our grandparents are no longer with us and we didn’t want to separate the bridesmaids and groomsmen from everyone else. I was a little worried it would look like we were trying to be high and mighty on our own table but actually, I’m so glad we did that. We hadn’t really been able to talk just the two of us before that as we’d had our ceremony, caught up with our guests then ran off for group photos. It gave us a moment, just the two of us. We were able to look around the room, at our friends and friends all passing food to each other like a big dinner party and take it all in. Michael told me how proud he was of me for planning it all and how my vision had come together so well. I’ll remember that moment and the look of pride and happiness on his face for a long time!

Stationery

As I work as a Digital Designer, I knew I wanted to create our own wedding website. It felt so personal doing something that I love especially for our day. It just made sense as I could make use of my skills and avoid the hassle of posting invitations. Anyone who knows me knows that I’m useless at posting anything – cards, important letters, returning my ASOS parcels *hangs head in shame*. Instead, we emailed out digital invitations which clicked through to our website and I created an RSVP form that automatically populated a spreadsheet with everyone’s responses. It was the easiest, most stress-free way of collecting RSVPs!

I also designed our digital invites and all the stationery and signage on the day, including our welcome sign, seating chart and order of service booklets. My Maid of Honour helped me to copper foil the titles on the signage which we had displayed around the venue. She has her own business offering foiling called Izzy Bee Designs and it really brought the stationery to life, especially when the sunlight hit.

I really wanted the signs to be informal and fun, just how we wanted our day to be, so I tried to be fun with the copy. Instead of saying something like “If you use Instagram”, I put “Do it for the ‘gram”. On our seating chart, I put “We’ve saved you a seat” to make it feel more welcoming than “Find your seat”. Underneath that I put “but your place is on the dancefloor” so that everyone knew they wouldn’t be sitting down for long! I also made mini frames with song lyrics to highlight our love for music even more. It felt so good on the day looking around at all the signs and stationery and thinking “I made that!”.

Music

Music is something that’s incredibly important to us both. It’s a love we share and a big part of who we are individually and as a couple. We listen to music together when we cleaning our home or cooking. We constantly send songs we like to each other. Whenever we’re out and about we both get excited when we hear a great song we haven’t heard before and rush to Shazam it. Music had to be a big part of our day, so I wanted music playing in the background for most of the day. I didn’t want to have the type of music you’d usually expect to hear at weddings, I wanted it to be the music we both listen to and love. I carefully curated playlists that would create a different vibe for different parts of our day.

All of these playlists are available on my Spotify if you want to have a listen yourself. For before the ceremony I wanted to create an acoustic R&B/Soul vibe that would give everyone all the feels. During the drinks reception, we both wanted a chilled house Ibiza vibe as we all drank prosecco on the riverside in the sunshine. Then during dinner, we had R&B love songs playing in the background which perfectly matched the love that filled the room. For the evening, we had our DJ from Uni, DJ Chrisessence do his thing. We specifically asked our Uni DJ as we wanted one night to feel like we were teenagers again and I think it worked as the dance floor was filled with everyone dancing to funky house!

We carefully selected songs for key moments throughout the day to make it personal to us too. I walked down the aisle to Kissing You by Des’ree, a song I said I would get married too when I first watched Romeo + Juliet at 15. We both walked out to Justin Timberlake’s Can’t Stop The Feeling which perfectly matched the high we felt when we were pronounced Husband and Wife. We walked into dinner to Soulmate, a new song by Justin Timberlake (I’m a huge JT fan, if you couldn’t tell haha). To cut the cake we had Al Green’s Let’s Stay Together, a beautiful classic.

Our first dance wasn’t your typical first dance song. We had Love of my Life (An Ode to Hip Hop) by Erykah Badu & Common, the Shelltoes remix. The song combines our love for R&B & hip hop music with our story. The lyrics of this song tell Michael & I’s story so accurately it’s surreal. We got together as teenagers, broke up in Uni then got back together and the song says all this. Beyonce & Jay-Z recently sampled lyrics from this song on LOVEHAPPY from their album, The Carters.

Cantara & Michael's personal wedding touches. A modern, industrial wedding at Trinity Buoy Wharf warehouse in East London. Photos by Captured by Katrina | Simply Cantara, a UK healthy lifestyle blog

Cantara & Michael's personal wedding touches. A modern, industrial wedding at Trinity Buoy Wharf warehouse in East London. Photos by Captured by Katrina | Simply Cantara, a UK healthy lifestyle blog

Food

If there’s one thing we love equally if not more than music, it’s food. The beauty of Trinity Buoy Wharf is that you’re able to choose your own caterers which was important to us as we wanted Afro-Caribbean food for our day. Both Michael & I are half African, he’s Nigerian and I’m Ghanaian, so we’ve grown up eating that goooooood food! Even though we weren’t having an African wedding, having the food from our culture was our way of representing it on our day. I spent the longest time looking for the right caterer. For months whenever someone would ask me how wedding planning is going, I’d say it’s all fine, we just need to find a caterer. Then we found Peppercorn and everything came together. Not only did they cook amazing food, but they helped set up and clear the venue too. We opted to have canap├ęs during our drinks reception and then a seated buffet style service for dinner where the food was brought to the tables in large serving bowls for guests to help themselves. This worked so well as people could pile up on their favourites and try a little of something new. We had jollof rice, jerk chicken, red stew, plantain, macaroni cheese, grilled sea bass, roasted rosemary potatoes and an avocado salad. For dessert, we had a chocolate brownie with berries and cream. Our guests all told us they loved the food which made us so happy.

Our wedding cake was made by our college friend Amber, who has her own cake-making business called For Goodness Cake. It’s so lovely that she’s seen our whole journey from fancying each other in college to now, and that she played a big part in our day. She understood my vision when I told her I wanted something simple and understated and boy, did she deliver. I think our cake looked beautiful and it tasted incredible!! We had salted caramel on the bottom tier and white chocolate on the top and the whole thing was covered in a delicious white chocolate ganache. Both Michael and I hate the typical icing, so Amber suggested ganache which was perfect.

In the evening we had Franco Manca pizzas, which is one of our favourite pizzas. We didn’t tell our guests we were having food in the evening so this was a nice surprise and went down well! We definitely didn’t need to order as many as we did, but I’d rather have too much food than not enough. Those who stayed ’til the end took boxes home and had them the next day, as did Michael & I!

I’m so happy we got to have complete control over what food we had, as we were able to have the food we love eating together and share it with our friends and family.

Cantara & Michael's personal wedding touches. A modern, industrial wedding at Trinity Buoy Wharf warehouse in East London. Photos by Captured by Katrina | Simply Cantara, a UK healthy lifestyle blog
Cantara & Michael's personal wedding touches. A modern, industrial wedding at Trinity Buoy Wharf warehouse in East London. Photos by Captured by Katrina | Simply Cantara, a UK healthy lifestyle blog
Cantara & Michael's personal wedding touches. A modern, industrial wedding at Trinity Buoy Wharf warehouse in East London. Photos by Captured by Katrina | Simply Cantara, a UK healthy lifestyle blog
Cantara & Michael's personal wedding touches. A modern, industrial wedding at Trinity Buoy Wharf warehouse in East London. Photos by Captured by Katrina | Simply Cantara, a UK healthy lifestyle blog
Cantara & Michael's personal wedding touches. A modern, industrial wedding at Trinity Buoy Wharf warehouse in East London. Photos by Captured by Katrina | Simply Cantara, a UK healthy lifestyle blog
Cantara & Michael's personal wedding touches. A modern, industrial wedding at Trinity Buoy Wharf warehouse in East London. Photos by Captured by Katrina | Simply Cantara, a UK healthy lifestyle blog

Speeches

We had speeches from my Dad, the best man and Michael, who were all amazing! My Dad especially, he’s not a big talker but he gave such a beautiful and funny speech and looked so good standing up there in his Ghana cloth. I also decided to give a speech, mainly to thank everyone. I also wanted to give bouquets and a toast to two couples who also happen to be some of our closest friends and also got married on the 8th of August. So our wedding day was their 2nd and 3rd wedding anniversaries! Later I had friends come up to me and say they loved that I gave a speech too. I don’t know why it’s not the done thing for women to speak at weddings – we’re usually the ones who plan most of it so why shouldn’t we get to speak too?!

Talented friends

Speaking of thanking everyone, we had so many talented friends help us to make our day truly personal. We’re so lucky to have so many friends with skills, talents and hobbies that could help us. Our incredible friend Bakita took on the huge task of marrying us and writing our ceremony. Natalie did my makeup and worked her magic – I felt so beautiful on the day! Amber made our incredible wedding cake, I wish you could all taste it! Lydika drew us a beautiful tree for our fingerprint tree guestbook which we can treasure forever. Jenny made mini models of Michael and me in our wedding outfits which looked great beside our cake and helped me with the stationery. Sam helped me write a schedule for the day to give to all our suppliers. Josh co-ordinated the whole day and took care of everything so that Michael & I had no worries. My brother Alex videoed our ceremony for us as we didn’t have a videographer. I bought decorations from our college friend Hope’s business, Made With LoveM. My brother Kwesi let us use his sound system and sorted out getting it to and from the venue. And so many others helped us in the run-up to the day as well, especially my Mum who did so much for us both.

I’m honestly so grateful to everyone who gave up their time to make our day that extra personal. We could’ve gone to strangers, but having things made and done by your friends and family is incredibly special.

Home Comforts

Whenever I go on a night out, I always pack flip-flops or flat shoes as I just can’t handle heels for hours and hours like I used to. Even though I’d chosen wedding heels that I knew I could stay in the whole day and night, I wanted to ensure none of our guests had sore feet. We wanted everyone on the dance floor! So I prepared a basket of flip flops for guests to help themselves to. The girls loved me for it and it was so cheap to do as I bought the flip-flops from Primark at 90p each. We also prepared mini bathroom kits with some essentials like deodorant, mints, hair grips, plasters etc because we just wanted everyone to be careful and have no excuse not to party all night.

Photos & Memories

I wanted a way to make all our friends and family feel like they were a part of the day, rather than just spectators. So I decided to create a photo display filled with memories with everyone that was there. It was so much fun scrolling through Facebook and looking back at all the photos throughout the years! The photo display showed Michael and I’s story over the past decade and how everyone there had played a huge part in our story. We also displayed our engagement shoot photos, taken by Lolography, on shelves that were en route to the bathrooms.

I loved thinking of all the ways we could make our wedding day personal to us. That’s the beauty of weddings, even though they all follow a pretty similar structure, you can add small touches to make yours feel a little different.


What do you think of the personal touches we added to our wedding day? If you’ve had ideas for personal touches I’d love to hear them. Share them in the comments below and help inspire any brides-to-be.


Photos by Captured By Katrina