Jada the Bride: I'm was a 36 year old London bride (shh) and I never thought this day would come about. Chino is an amazing rock/metal loving long haired bearded 29 year old (still not joined me in my 30s sob) man from Devon. On our second date he came with a list of reasons our age gap was no Great Barrier Reef. While I'm a jumble of cultures, I was raised by my white British grandmother, my mother however is my best friend and looks more like an older sister (I would kill for her huge wild curls of Afro). She is half Nigeria half British and I was born in American and raised in the UK with frequent trips to Nigeria. My family look like the United Nations when we go out, a sister with a blond afro and blue eyes, a brother my complexion, a mixed race mum, a white grandmother, cousins all shades.
Chino and I met at Santacon of all places...not sure if you have heard of it but basically it's every December when 1000s of Santas and those dressed up as all things Xmas meet in London via different routes on a massive sprout throwing, carol singing pub crawl. He was an elf and I was a Santa dressed in a light up Santa tutu. All I saw was this elf with long hair who had been helped while being stuck in his elf suit to take the hat off his head - we ended up talking, he asked - "will you take me home" in this pathetic voice lol and we were inseparable since. He travelled down from Hemmel, where he lived with his parents, weekly to see me, then twice a week until 6months later he moved in and 1 year and a half later we were engaged! The only time we spent apart was when he went to climb a mountain in Equador!
Chino renewed my faith in not just men but mankind as he is just such a good person and sees me, gets me and having had some frogs in the past I lost faith that this type of love would happen to me. But there he was a tangle of hair and stuck in an elf costume before me at the end of a long day of drink is and mayhem and amidst the sea of red and green we found each other and everything changed! The other part of our family is our dog Monkey- half pug / half boxer - yes they managed somehow. He is walked down the aisle in a top hat and tux!
He proposed last year the day after my birthday and following having been taken to Africa for the first time to meet some of my family in Nigeria - he just got stuck in and was loved and embraced the culture and food. Our life became a whirlwind of activity (cue pictures that were scattered on the card table of festivals, mad cap adventures in Tanzania, Zanzibar, Nigeria, turkey, boutique hotels, camping, climbing, random nights out, fancy dress and more fancy dress (I can't get enough of it), gastro booking, jazz bars and clubs, gigs and secret bars and nights out.
We both share a lust and passion for life and experiences. We wanted to reflect this and us in our wedding. He is a commercial gas engineer by day but by every other second a man who builds and makes from wood and metal and has a workshop at his parents. So his influence was in the wedding - from the sledge coffee table we took to the dry hire venue to the bowler hat lamp and the wrought iron candelabra and the copper flowers (he makes me flowers made from copper, roses to lilies, a new one each valentines) - all 37 of them he made for the table place name/favours for the guests at the lunch. However he made an extra large and special lily pad for our place name. I hated that people keep asking what the colour scheme was and what exactly the format was - no colour scheme - just what we love/like/found/made. My little big brother as I call him (he is 21 and 6 foot 4) walked me down the aisle (my father died 7 years ago)
My Mother in Law made the bridesmaids dresses and the flower girls fairy top. She also made the petals for the names to be written on out of felt to sit under chinos copper flowers and the outfit for the santa and elf, the wooden bride and groom. Why wooden - well Chino's Granddad whom he got his skill and passion for woodwork from hand carved for us a man in a light pale wood and a woman in a brown toned wood for me :-) we tried to get the entire family involved in some way.
His sister also made the bridesmaids bouquet of felt flowers. Chinos sister and mother made our second wedding cake for the evening guests. But no ordinary wedding cake I asked for a steam punk one. She is pretty amazing at all the things she can do. So we had a gorgeous croque en bouche cake. Chino's friend Max played fun tunes such as the Jungle Book's Bear Necessities on his guitar in the bus on the way to the reception, I walked down the aisle to Major Tom by David Bowie - Chino and I just had to, we love him. I had been wrapping jam jars with lace for months for the handpicked from Chino's mums garden flowers at the service! While we had a great florist doing the reception venue with hanging flowers from the beams.
While the lunch was only 37 guests the ceremony and evening drinks is 60 in total. I wanted a smaller intimate feel to our wedding, one where we actually knew everybody's name. The food was feast style and all set out on a long wooden huge tables with Antler candelabras and wood blocks that Chino cut down as table risers from his parents garden himself. The food was Italian in style as we originally had toyed with the idea of marrying in Tuscany as I wanted the godfather style wedding with sharing food and large table (minus the guns and mafia) it was about family and friends and all sharing and passing and breaking bread together as it were - no formality and if you didn't grab that food it goes and you have a hungry Johnson family and a hungry Dutfield family as we are All big eaters! Food was served on a mix of different platters and bowls.
Chino, myself and our mums and brothers decorated the room and table the night before. Chino made a fake wall which we bought kitsch wallpaper to cover it with and hung some of our photos of us and family from the flat while in the centre there was a hole and a ornate picture frame over it and people took Polaroids pics from our mini instax camera peeking out from it. These pics were then went into a guest book made for instant pics and guests had to write their thoughts and words in a silver or gold liquid pen.There was a photo booth too for all chinos and mine drunken lot of friends to dress up in. I have personal pictures of my mother in law making the garments and chino making the props and decorations if you would like to see how it actually started.
Food – Sharing Menu
Sharing Italian Cured Meats, Cornichons, Grana Padano with Balsamic Syrup, Char Grilled Vegetables & Mini Wild Mushroom Lasagne
Homemade Grisini, Fresh Figs Stuffed with Devon Blue Cheese, Spinach & Ricotta
Flatbread with Rosemary & Rock Salt Calamari, Black Pepper & Lemon,
Char Grilled Halloumi & Roasted Vegetable Skewers (v)
Rump of lamb slow roast with spices
Slow Roasted Pork belly, Butternut Squash Purée, Baby Yellow Courgette
Pan Fried Sea Bass on bed of samphire, Braised Baby Fennel & Asparagus & Mint
Citrus Scented Rice
We read wrote our own vows. When Chino read his there were laughs and smiles and his father looked so proud and his brother smiled, shaking his head as was so Chino! As I read mine I never
thought I would cry but I felt the tears welling and the lump in my throat was audible, I had to stop several times as here was the day I never thought would come and these words I realised I meant every one of them so strongly. Having seen my mother break down as she heard the sounds of Bowies Major Tom and my little big brother walked me down the aisle I felt the flood gates trying to open as my mother NEVER cries, I knew my aunt would and my nan but not my mother.
Of all the random particles in the universe ours collided together, the simple probability in a complex web of interactions that led us to meet and fall in love.
Our particles are the ones who lie on the outside of the maxwell Boltzan distribution curve.
Travelling at the most statistically unlikely speeds yet still in a thermodynamic equilibrium.
Our differences similar to 2 electrons with opposite spin coming together to hold atoms in a perfect lattice of infinite proportion.
If you were a machine you would be my boiler. Pumping the warmth around me.
Your strength of character far exceeds the theoretical tensile strength of a multi walled carbon nanotubed filament.
The definition of the Higgs field used to mean an energy field that is thought to exist everywhere in the universe and now that definition is you.
You cannot be explained by diagrams, hypothesis or equations.
If we are all just electrochemical impulses being perceived by neurones then how could love truly exist?
But since I met you, how could it not exist?
If perception is all we have then the simple fact that I perceive you right here and now makes me feel like the luckiest man alive.
I love new ideas.
But I am IN love with the Jada and Chino idea
An idea with an Eternal hypothesis.
I think put simply is what I am blabbering on about is that I vow to love you with more gravity then a super massive black hole.
There are some things I know. I know that I am in love with you. I know that love is just a shout into the void and that oblivion is inevitable and we are all doomed and one day all of our labours will be returned to dust and that one day the sun will swallow the only earth we shall ever have AND that I am IN LOVE with you. And so I promise, I swear that with every beat of my heart, intake of breath, struggle in this hard world we live in that I shall never give up, never bow out, never take these words for granted. This bond even on dark days when you give up on us I will not allow to be broken, this circle, our little infinity. I am no mathematician as anyone here will tell you but infinity is just that - infinite. Our love is reflected in it. So when you feel you are weak, when you feel you can't go on, when you feel lost in life and ready to give up - I will carry us forward, I will tend to your wounds, I will give you the courage and I will hold us together until you are back on track and we walk as we will forever more,
together, side by side, partners in crime, friends to the end, lovers with the greatest story ever told. A love story built not between to opposing families, not star crossed, I am no Montague and you no Capulet - but you were an elf and I was a Santa and if that's not a love story ending in a derelict chapel, in Peckham, with a monkey in a top hat and continents colliding, colours mixing, age nothing but a number...I don't know what is. So I believe in our great love story, I believe in you, in us and in Forever.
The beauty about this Wedding for me was the families colliding and meeting, Nigeria and the UK, young and old. People travelling from abroad, to share in our love as it said on our invites. I arrived at the ceremony at the Asylum in Peckham in a red bus and we we then took all those going to the lunch bit in it to the Crypt on the Green in Clerkenwell a dry hire venue in Clerkenwell. Since I am a freelance event manager I am a tad like Monica from friends - I need to organise and be in control and so everything was organised by us and brought in by us. Our chef Mark Peters I've worked with on events in the past and our supervisor for the event was a friend and had worked for me on my own clients events.