February 28, 2009


I thought this, and the comments were interesting.

I'm sad but not surprised. I've been mulling about whether to apply to do this or not. I had a post planned today, but I am just too conflicted (well not conflicted...upset). If people don't care whether or not you're represented, maybe you shouldn't bother? 

I've felt for all of my life that I've had to struggle for people just to notice that my voice and experience are interesting too. Yes, we may not be the same but I have something to offer that is just as valuable and that you may be able to glean something from it. Fundamentally, we all can offer something. There are ways to connect while appreciating another's culture or perspective. 

Yes, not everyone is going to have an Afrocentric wedding with some of the traditions I've outlined this month, but there are people out there who will. There are people out there who don't have certain hair textures or skin tones. Have you ever skipped an entire hair and beauty section of a women's magazine? I usually have to because most of the makeup wouldn't look right on me even if I wanted it to. The hair tips...um, no. 

Anyway, I'm tired....I'm still mulling what to do (I feel the need to do something whether to stop reading the blog altogether or to apply to blog)...but I'm just tired. 

Thanks, Mr. CPF for being supportive this morning as I yelled out my frustrations. Even with our differences, you still make an attempt to understand who am I and what my experiences have been. For that I love and appreciate you. 

February 21, 2009

Afrocentric Weddings - Attire

In addition to wonderful ceremony traditions, some who want to bring African traditions into their wedding opt to wear ethnic inspired attire. While I tend not to be too traditional in my view of what one should do for weddings, I do love the look of a traditional wedding dress. At the same time, I think it would be cool to rock an untradtional dress/outfit like these below all while expressing your culture.

Who says grooms can't get involved too? I love gold and white especially in the summer.

I'm loving the soft yet regal head wrap.

This dress is a design from Therez Fleetwood who specializes in Afrocentric/ethnic bridal wear. I love the chic simplicity of this dress.

This dress highlights West African African Andinkra symbols from Ghana each with its own meaning.

I love cowrie shells!

February 20, 2009

Afrocentric Weddings -Tasting of the Four Elements

Why not incorporate culture and food right into the ceremony? Here's a description of the tasting of the four elements:

In a ritual adapted from a Yoruba tradition, the bride and groom taste four flavors that represent different emotions within a relationship. The four flavors typically used are sour (lemon), bitter (vinegar), hot (cayenne), and sweet (honey). By tasting each of the flavors, the couple symbolically demonstrates that they will be able to get through the hard times in life, and, in the end, enjoy the sweetness of marriage. (source)

I love that this ritual gives us a physical reminder of the various aspects of married life. I can imagine that it must be quite a shock to the palate to taste these elements in succession. I guess that's how relationships are in a way: The hot will follow the sweet, which can turn sour at any given moment. When you're sharing forever together as a couple, I guess it's good to expect the unexpected.

Will food or any uncommon object or practice be incorporated into your ceremony?

February 17, 2009

Afrocentric Weddings - Libation Ceremony

In my research I came across the African libation ceremony, which honors ancestors. I love the idea of honoring the past while looking forward to the future. Here is a brief description of the premise of the libation ceremony:

Many African-American couples incorporate a libation ceremony into their weddings as a way to honor their African ancestors. Holy water, or alcohol, is poured onto the ground in each of the cardinal directions as prayers are recited to the ancestral spirits, and names of those that have recently passed are called out. The libation ceremony can also be used as an opportunity to honor the elders in a family, asking them to pass on their wisdom and guidance. (source)

The libation ceremony incorporates the past and family history into a wedding ceremony. In many ways, we are who we are because of our family histories. Our marriages represent a continuation of that legacy.

I'll leave you with a sample libation ceremony text:

An African proverb tells us that people who lack the knowledge of their past are like a tree without roots. So, in the spirit of remembrance, we pour this libation. We pour to honor the past, so that we may learn from it. We pour to honor the importance of family. We raise our cup to God to show our reverence for the original source of our lives. We use cool water to freshen the road our ancestors travel to be here with us today. We use cool water as a symbol of the continuity of life, to purify and to nourish our souls. We pour to celebrate the coming together of the families of these two people.

It is said that through others, we are somebody. Through this marriage, we broaden our family circle, remember our heritage and recall those who gave us life. We call upon our ancestors -- our mothers, grandmothers and great grandmothers, our fathers, grandfathers and our great grandfathers, uncles, aunts and cousins -- the foundations of our families, immortalized in our thoughts.

We call upon our elders, whose wisdom we seek in all endeavors. Our friends whom we are blessed to have in our lives, our parents who guided us along the road to adulthood. We call upon family who have passed over and could not be here today. We ask that they be with us in our thoughts. We call upon the bride and groom, that they may always find prosperity in love and devotion. We ask that this couple be blessed by children, because children give glory to a home.

Therefore we cast our libations to the North, to the South, to the East and to the West. [Libation toast giver turns in the indicated directions while reading.] We wish everyone to leave more blessed than when they came. Amen. (source)

Did you or anyone you know find ways to honor your family legacies in your wedding ceremony?

February 16, 2009

Afrocentric Weddings - Jumping the Broom

On my personal blog, I did a series during Black History Month on Afro-centric wedding elements, and I thought I would share some of them here on Wedding Bee. While many people of African descent may not incorporate African/African-American elements into every aspect of their weddings, there are many small things that brides can do to add a little cultural flair. I hope t0 highlight a few in this series.

Since Mr. Swan and I are an interracial couple, I am not sure whether we'll incorporate many of these traditions into our wedding. While I doubt we'll be having many of these elements, don't get it twisted. I will be incorporating my Afro-Caribbean culture in some way. I'm still doing some fine tuning. Also while many of these traditions come from African/African-American culture, I think there is a beautiful universal meaning that anyone from any culture can take away from these celebrations.

The first and most common cultural element that I have seen at weddings is the act of jumping the broom. Here is some information that I uncovered:

This tradition most likely originated with an African ritual in which a broom is used to demonstrate that all past problems have been swept away. During slave days, African-Americans were forbidden to marry and live together, so jumping over a broom was a formal and public declaration of the couple's commitment. Today, it has become very popular for African-American couples to follow suit at the conclusion of their wedding ceremony. The broom, often handmade and beautifully decorated, can be displayed in the couple's home after the wedding. (source)

Apparently, some authors claim that jumping the room is not specifically African/African-American in origin, but it has been most connected to Black slaves in the United States.

I have to admit that I like the idea behind broom jumping. I love the notion of crossing a line into a new life together in both a metaphorical and physical way during the ceremony. Ultimately, this is what our weddings are about: A new beginning.

Are you incorporating a specific cultural element into your weddings? Does it have a specific significance to you and your future partner?

February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day, everyone! Although we should tell our significant others and family  how much we love them everyday, I hope you and yours have a great day. I hope we'll all show someone special how much we care today!

(photo source)

February 10, 2009

Fun With a Scanner Gun

In two separate trips, Mr. CPF and I set up our registry at Crate and Barrel and Macy's. Yes, I know..big box chain stores, but with guests coming from all over the country (and the world for that matter), it made the best sense. By the way, if you want to see your fiancee get excited about household products, give him/her the scanner gun. Mr. CPF liked that part...A LOT. I was actually pretty surprised how much he got into choosing things likes towel and knives. It's nice when your significant other surprises you. 

I know that Mr. CPF hates shopping, so I made sure that this process would be as painless as possible. Since I aim to research the heck out of everything I made sure to: (1) think about our household lacks, (2) read and cross-reference many of the "suggested" checklists from a variety of sources, and (3) do a major reality check while I stared at our very small NYC apartment kitchen. 

I would also add that Mr. CPF is a pretty good check on me. While I am waiting for the day that I will get my huge hard-core stand mixer (that may still be a possibility), I will be appreciative of all of the extra space we'll have now. Mr. CPF shot me the "Are you out of your %#$# mind?"  look when I began whining about not having that amazingly huge mega-juicer. Ya gotta love it when your significant other can call you back from the edge of the household appliance abyss. 

In the end, we have a pretty full registry, but again the guilt is/was still there. Should we really be asking for anything right now? I will be happy if people even show up. If they decide that they would like to give us a present that would be lovely, but our guests remaining financially solvent is a nicer situation. Even with many of our registry items coming under$50 and given the collecive belt tightening that is going in our country, I can't say that registry process was all that easy in my mind. 

Was anyone else as strangely meticulous with their registry as me (or am I just a weirdo)? For those currently engaged are you even having a registry? Are you feeling the need to downsize or be more careful with your registry given the economy? 

February 9, 2009

Where Would I Find This?

I love this:

This lovely cupcake tower. Did the couple in Martha Stewart Weddings make this? It's so modern, simple, streamlined and perfectly uncutesy. The thought of a DIY makes me cry after another long day of work, but perhaps I should get over myself and do it anyway? Sigh...props and kudos to anyone who can: 1) tell me how to make this, or 2) tell me where I can buy something just like it. I will be forever grateful. 

February 7, 2009


One of the first major decisions we made that really changed the course of planning our wedding was our decision to have a daytime wedding. Back in the day, I guess it was pretty common to have a morning wedding and proceed to a simple lunch or other type of reception. Of course everything about weddings seemed simpler then, didn't it?

The daytime option became pretty clear after Mr. Swan and I ran some numbers on one of his very nifty spreadsheets. At the same time, I thought "A DAYTIME WEDDING!" It's not the lovely (and common) Saturday night chic event that I originally envisioned. Yet it seemed to be a really economical way to keep our wedding reception costs in check. Mr. Swan and I made the decision, but I am still sweating it a bit.

My fears for having a daytime wedding were/are:

1. How the heck am I going to get ready in the morning particularly when dealing with my hair? - I am still working this one out in my head. At least with an evening wedding you have the luxury of having a full day to lounge and leisurely get ready. I think I see a 5am wake up call in my future.

2. It will be boring. - I know me and many of my friends will find a way to have fun on the dance floor, but I have to admit that apparently some people don't like to dance when it's light out. I'm just going to put this out of my mind and make sure that at least Mr. Swan and I have fun. I used to dance when I was younger, so even if it is just me on the dance floor at least I'll give everyone a good show. I've heard some people have daytime weddings simply to avoid dancing. I love dancing too much to do that.

3. What are people going to do later? - Since our wedding will be over by 4pm at the very latest, folks will have time to explore NY for the rest of the day. Many of Mr. Swan's family and friends are from out of town and do not have family and friends in NY, so we're in the process of figuring out a place for people to hang out that evening.

While having a daytime wedding definitely has it cons, I think our foresight to be budget conscious for the wedding from the beginning is allowing us to go to sleep peacefully each night.
Any other daytime brides worried about having a daytime wedding? Has anyone planned or been to a wedding that was not the usual night affair ? How was it?

February 4, 2009


Not grooming for me, but for Mr. Swan. I have always been an advocate of a groom in a nice suit. Rented tuxedos with cumberbunds or vests have just never looked too right to me. On the other hand, in his last job, Mr. Swan had to wear a suit almost every single day. While I think my boo looks pretty sharp when going to work in a Brooks Brothers' business suit, I'm not sure if it's the same style we are aiming for for our daytime summer wedding. I took the liberty of collecting some pictures of snazzy looking grooms, and here they are. Any favorites?

I thought Mr. Swan would like something like this. Minus the bowtie. To my surprise he totally didn't. You feel like you know someone and Bam!

This guy looks pretty snappy, but I told Mr. Swan not worry about wearing any feathers on our wedding day.

Will anyone else break the tuxedo mold for their wedding?

February 2, 2009

The "W" Word

One of my long time friends, Special K, and I hung out one weekend a few months ago in the hopes of finding some makeup for the wedding. Well, actually, it was more like let's try to break me from my fear that makeup makes me look like a clown. I'll save that for a separate post...

Anyway, I let Special K take the lead in speaking with the cosmetic counter ladies. The problem is that Special K let it slip that we were hoping to find make-up for me for my wedding. WRONG MOVE!! We were summarily dismissed and asked to make an appointment for a "wedding trial" that would require a $50 minimum purchase. Um...WHAT?!! Isn't this a recession? We're hoping to possibly spend money on something that is, under these economic conditions, not a necessity but we must come back later because it's for a wedding? I totally don't get that.

I feel like the "W" word (WEDDING) can be the kiss of death, when trying to plan. Apparently some people have done experiments with pricing and found when they contact companies and or service providers that they will increase the price when told their services will be for a wedding. Granted, I don't know if this is happening now in this economic climate, but do weddings have some sort of mystique about them that tells vendors engaged couples and their families want to spend MORE than other people having another type of event? Have weddings grown in size and price so much that we engaged folks have subconsciously let vendors think that we will always take the more expensive route?

Anyway, while I can't answer all of those questions myself, I was very weary about using the "W" word again too loosely.

Anyone have this happen to them?

By the way, I ended up going to the same company's counter on another floor, talking to some nice helpful sales ladies and buying more than the minimum...perhaps someone needs some sales lessons? Hmm....