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Manya & Brian


Manya & Brian | A Practical Wedding

For those of you that read Manya’s post about the wedding she should have called off (pro-tip: if you haven’t read it, you must), you won’t be surprised that her wedding graduate post is well written, and so emotional it will make you cry. But what will surprise you are the hilarious mishaps: American Doll Passport Mix-Ups and Fingers Bitten By Baby Elephants. Things that could ruin a wedding, if you let them, but instead infused Manya’s wedding with richness and wisdom. So without further ado, an absolute must read about how weddings form brand-new families (kids included).

Manya & Brian | A Practical Wedding

I was in love with our wedding long before it started to take physical form. I am a closet artist and had months of fun curating, designing, crafting, writing and organizing a visual and emotional vintage travel dream (think Out of Africa meets The English Patient). Good thing, because since we live in Nairobi, Kenya, we had to be resourceful and do most everything ourselves. I did well remembering during The Event the details would blur into impressionistic irrelevance, so I made sure to enjoy the heck out of the Safari of pulling it all together.

Manya & Brian | A Practical Wedding

But what I worried a lot about was letting go. Every wedding grad post tells you to Let Go. They say it as if it is as simple as taking a breath. But there’s a difference between knowing something in your brain and knowing how to do it (hint: breathing is a good start, and having a great wedding coordinator/stage manager is a good finish).

Manya & Brian | A Practical Wedding

The week before the wedding, a few things happened that gave me a crash course on letting go.

First, the dry cleaner lost my wedding dress. After I finally convinced them that I truly had not already picked it up, that I would remember doing that, we spent a frantic hour calling the plant and all other outlets, and then searching every single bundle of laundry. We finally found it tucked inside of some CEO’s parcel that was ready to be collected that night. Up until that moment, I had been obsessing about whether my dress was perfect/beautiful/ slimming/(insert your own adjective) enough. I was stressed that I wasn’t completely in love with it. But after this, I was just damn grateful it was there, it fit, and it was mine. (And I fell in love with it too, by the way).

Manya & Brian | A Practical Wedding

Second, my parents brought doll passports to the airport instead of their own and missed their flight. I wish that were a joke. I have a little adopted sister who is really into the American Girls dolls, and those things are pimped out with crazy-ass accessories. My sis had carefully packed them for the long trip from Maine to Kenya, and they even have realistic-looking passports that are so cute… right up until you present them at the check-in counter and they don’t let you on the flight, and there are no more seats on any flight to Kenya until after the wedding.

Miraculously, a Virgin Atlantic supervisor saw my mom crying at the counter in London and produced three boarding passes (wedding magic alert!). I had been anxious about my folks’ visit being perfect, whether we would get my dad a Panama hat on time, etc., etc., etc. In that 24 hours when they were in limbo, I had to get square with possibly walking my own self down the aisle. When they finally did arrive, I was no longer worried about them approving of my life, or their political leanings stressing me out. I was just damn grateful that they were there. And that attitude made their visit one of the best we’ve ever had.

Manya & Brian | A Practical Wedding

Third, I was bitten by a baby elephant and thought for a couple hours that I might lose my pinky finger. No sh*t. When they finally arrived, I took my folks to visit one of my favorite places on earth: the David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage. During the visit, a sweet little 1200 pound baby named Tano caressed my hand with her trunk, drew it into her mouth and gave me a little love bite, crushing my pinky in her (huge) molars. Needless to say: I stopped worrying about my manicure color and started being deeply thankful for having all my body parts. Unexpected bonus: something blue!

Manya & Brian | A Practical Wedding

Our wedding had a two-pronged focus. Prong one was about bringing together our new family. Brian and I are both divorced, and there are a lot of people in this marriage. We have four children between us—he has two boys, Jared and Chad, and I have two girls, Melissa and Ciella. The boys were the best men, and my girls plus my Chinese little sister and teenaged niece were my maids. Step-motherhood is kind of archetypically evil, but somehow we seem to be escaping that drama (knock on wood)—probably because we cuss a lot, are really honest about everything, and hug them even when they are being pills. We wanted our wedding to enhance and strengthen our relationships with each other and our collective family vibe.

Manya & Brian | A Practical Wedding Prong two was about having a sophisticated, relaxed and fun party. I needed it to be beautiful. Brian needed not to make a speech. We both got excited about a vintage travel poster called Africa by Air and the beach, and that was that.

Manya & Brian | A Practical Wedding

Our wedding was an intimate destination wedding with 40 people total, held at a little boutique hotel on the south coast of Kenya called Kinondo-Kwetu. Our life and work is in Africa, and it is a great passion Brian and I share. We just had to get married here, even though some of our most important people couldn’t make it. Our plan was to drive down a couple of days early to chillax/set up and then have the wedding on Saturday night. Well, prepare we did. Chillax? The only cloud looming was that for a couple of days my youngest daughter, Ciella, was suffering with a bad vomiting and diarrhea flu. Every time we thought it was time to go to the hospital, she would rally and eat a plate of French fries.

Manya & Brian | A Practical Wedding

The Big Day we awoke to a cobalt-blue sky and a cool breeze. I turned off my phone and mentally handed the day off to our wonderful coordinator, Rosemary, and the incredible Kinondo-Kwetu staff, basically by very deliberately doing nothing. I sat on the beach and meditated while Brian flew a kite, and I visited with the kids while I had a manicure and pedicure (careful with that pinky!). Ciella, still punky, took a nap. I breathed deeply and reminded myself to be grateful for the incredible abundance in my life, so salient on this continent where so many people have so little and choose joy anyway.

Manya & Brian | A Practical Wedding

I had pictured getting ready being gauzy and peaceful. But for all my prep, I had forgotten to set up the dressing area and it was complete pandemonium. Then my daughter’s flu took a sharp turn for the worse and just as I had finished my hair and makeup she vomited all over both of us. I couldn’t find my new wedding makeup and even forgot to put on my spanx! There was a moment I cringe to remember where I attempted to shake my thonged/non-spanx-covered ass past the criss-cross ribboned corset backing of my dress just as my older daughter told a man with a plate of snacks to come on in. I remember screaming “STOP! NOT SEXY!”  Our Kenyan photographer was scandalized more than once.

Manya & Brian | A Practical Wedding

We had family vows where we made promises to the kids and thanked them for allowing us to be a new family and for accepting each other and us. We gave the boys Leatherman multi-tools with their names engraved on them, and the girls got rings that belonged to Brian’s late grandmother. I remember Jared’s eyes glassy with tears, and Chad’s wide-open, earnest smile, their posture jaunty as they rocked their linen suits. We had a huge family hug and we all wept in the huddle.  Some of my tears were for my floppy little girl waiting back in the room—a crumpled pile of raw silk, missing it all.

Manya & Brian | A Practical Wedding

Then, through the trees, we saw a courageous little brown girl in apple green shantung searching for us. She was alone, had her little basket gripped in her hand, and was weaving through the trees.  She was thin, huge-eyed, a little disoriented, and very determined. When she saw us she ran right to us. Brian swept her up in his arms and hugged her while I openly wept. While our rings finished the rounds, we got ourselves together, gave Ciella her special ring and she took her place with the rest of the family for the last few minutes of the ceremony. When I asked her later what made her come down, she said: “I heard the music and I just couldn’t miss my mama’s wedding.” Somehow, magically, we were all there. We were all so there. I have never been more grateful.

Manya & Brian | A Practical Wedding

After that, we just floated on waves and waves of joy. Our portraits were quick and giddy (we were losing the light fast) and when we ducked out of the grove to the dinner area I literally gasped out loud in delight. Dinner was served in a little garden of trees overlooking the beach, illuminated by of garlands of hurricane lanterns hung on twine.

Manya & Brian | A Practical Wedding

There were layers and layers of sumptuous details (handmade by us and dragged from Nairobi), brushstrokes in an impressionistic scene of overwhelming beauty.  Little handmade dhows floated down the spines of the long tables on a river of saffron rose petals.  Brass compass place markers perched on hand-hewed wooden plates doubled as favors. A simple photo booth made of an antique suitcase, cheap wigs, adhesive mustaches and a Polaroid camera was causing a riot of hilarity on the porch. The dance floor in the great room of the big house, framed with carved wooden pillars and lined with pillows, twinkled invitingly.

Manya & Brian | A Practical Wedding

After dinner, as we laughed and joked with friends, I noticed Filip and Ida’s little blonde daughter followed me. Finally she screwed up her courage and tugged on my dress. When I kneeled down she whispered conspiratorially: “I have a lot of princess clothes too… But you are a real princess. So far, I’m just pretending.” The sand was cool on my feet, the little girl sun-warm in my arms. A few minutes later Brian pointed out that she had been adopted into our family kid posse, a little beach nymph surrounded by my own shining stars.

Manya & Brian | A Practical Wedding

How to let go? Breath in. Breath out. Simply notice. Look. Listen. Feel the air on your skin, believe in the magic in that air. Find silence. Be grateful. Give thanks, over and over, for all that is there, for all that is yours.

Manya & Brian | A Practical Wedding

The Info— Photographer: Mark Kathurima / VenueKinondo-KwetuDress: Wtoo DesdemonaFlowers: CultivarCoordinator: Rosemary Teka, Splendid WeddingsCustom Bridesmaid Dresses: Ligaki ApparelsLinen Custom Suits: Katchins Mens’ Tailor, Diamond Plaza Basement / Panama Hat: Kenya ConciergeVintage suitcase/objects: The Amazing Bazaar, Mombasa Road

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  • http://poppiesandicecream.blogspot.com/ Amanda

    Oh Manya, congratulations. You’ve come so far. I wish you and your lovely family all the happiness in the world. Little Ciella is so cute, hope she fully recovered. And you are so wise.
    Thanks for this :”How to let go? Breath in. Breath out. Simply notice. Look. Listen. Feel the air on your skin, believe in the magic in that air. Find silence. Be grateful. Give thanks, over and over, for all that is there, for all that is yours.”
    It is quite applicable far and beyond wedding planning. Hugs to you all.

    • http://www.linseykitchens.com Linsey

      This week I’m going to be making all kinds of APW posters to hang around me for the next handful of days. And the quote Amanda copied is one of them!

      Manya, thanks for sharing your humor and strength. You have, quite possibly, the most hysterical (like you said, ele bites and wrong passports would be funny if they weren’t true) and such a sage-like wisdom about how to navigate through the hiccups. Your family is lucky to have a matriarch like you.

      (Oh, and Out of Africa–one of my favorites of ALL TIME!! And I agree, the Sheldrick ele oprhanage kicks some serious booty. Oh, I’m squeeing just thinking of those little guys with their blankets on!)

      • Manya

        Yay! I’m so glad somebody knows about those awesome baby elephants at the Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage! They are beyond Squee…

        We actually registered there, and at an orphanage for human HIV Orphans called the New Life Trust since we didn’t need any household goods at all and wanted our wedding to find some little way to give back.

        It really was a sweet moment… she was just being a baby and had no idea of her own strength. But seriously, WHAT WAS I THINKING?!? (other than that her trunk was DAMN STRONG!)

  • http://Www.laughterinthelou.com Emma

    Yes! I love your focus shift from elements be perfect to being present (dress, parents, pinky). No doubt it shifted your focus on yourself from being perfect to present as well! Plus, I personally would pay money to get bitten by a baby elephant, WHAT a story!

    • http://www.laughterinthelou.com Emma

      *being perfect, not be perfect. Oops!

      • Manya

        I love it so much that you just corrected a typo that I didn’t even realize you had made to correct the word “perfect” to make your post perfect! The awesome irony!

        You know, you’re right… those events were great metaphors that ultimately helped me to release my belief that I had to be perfect to deserve such happiness.

        I think some of our wedding angst about the stuff isn’t really about the stuff. It’s about our own doubts that we are not good enough and that the wedding is going to be the event that finally reveals us for the frauds we really are.

        We are not frauds, ladies! We are beautiful because we are, and who we are is ENOUGH!

  • http://www.lovelyatyourside.com LovelyOlivia

    I love that last photo! And, bless you for realizing that step mothers can be so horrid, and choosing to NOT be that way. What a strong, beautiful family you have created. Your dress was gorgeous, too!

    Beautiful post. Thank you for sharing.

    • Manya

      That photo cracks all of us up. How in the heck did I get so far off the ground in a big-ass wedding dress? And little Ciella looks like she’s levitating using the power of her mind while the rest of us mere mortals hurl ourselves into the air. So funny!

      • Laurel

        I don’t always love the jumping photos, but this one made me tear up a little. I love this post and you have a beautiful family!

      • Jacqueline

        Hi Manya- your story was really wonderful. I appreciate those moments when you are freaking out about some little thing and then suddenly actually have something to be worried about and how everything snaps back into perspective.
        I’m curious as to how you are living and working in Kenya. I’ve always wanted to live and work there but have run into many obstacles.
        My friend is getting married soon and suggested this website to read with her. Thanks for posting your story for everyone to read and congratulations!!

  • http://www.etsy.com/shop/sparrowgrey?ref=si_shop sparrowgrey

    Hands down, one of the best wedding graduate posts of all time. I say that partly based on how much it made me cry but also how clear of a perspective you have. It’s such a good reminder to brides who are months, weeks, or days away from their wedding that although they may love the details and be thrilled to pay attention to them, in the end, the details aren’t what matters. What matters is having the people you love with on the most special of days.

    Congratulations Manya and Brian and kids! Congratulations on becoming a family and congratulations on having been “so there”.

    • Manya

      Thank you so much, ya’ll are making me feel so great today… one more example of wedding abundance, and the magical expressions of love that the wedding has brought into my life.

      A word on details:
      I loved the details of our wedding so much, and they did matter to me, but not in the way I thought they would.

      For example,I was so excited when Brian decided he wanted to make a CD for the welcome bags then carefully chose all of these amazing songs! I got far more joy out that music as we cuddled and cried while we listened to them than I did the day of. We had a family blast assembling those welcome bags and sharing our favorite Kenyan treats and treasures. Then, Chad got a driving lesson when he and his dad went to drop them off at our guests’ hotels, which brought him back beaming! I had so much fun shopping with my dad for a great pair of sandals that made him feel like an old Hollywood star, and became friends with the woman who made the girls’ dresses. The journey of finding everything we needed took us to the far edges of Nairobi, and we discovered some real treasures! The details and prep can be awesome–They are The Wedding too–even if you forget to load every last one of them into the car!

      Because, the day of, all of those details become individual brushstrokes in a gorgeous, impressionist painting. They might add up to a magical experience, but you don’t really even see all of them yourself. So if doing the details is a source of stress and not joy, then f the f-ing details… they aren’t worth it. But if you’re into them, dude.. SAVOR!

  • Cass

    This was very touching: “I have a lot of princess clothes too… But you are a real princess. So far, I’m just pretending.”

    I remember during my engagement this is how my wedding dress felt. At the time I was very distressed by this feeling. Then by the time the wedding came around, I was finally able to own it, and I was no longer pretending.

    • FawMo

      This was the point where I just totally lost it.

      Every wedding I went to as a kid I thought the bride was the prettiest person in the entire world. Ok, I still think that but it has a different aura as a child.

      • Manya

        Ida and Filip are the impossibly chic Swedish owners of Kinondo-Kwetu, and that little girl is to-die-for cute. I love how you have extended this to really owning your day, (and your life, for that matter). Thank you.

  • Kathryn in VT

    “I breathed deeply and reminded myself to be grateful for the incredible abundance in my life, so salient on this continent where so many people have so little and choose joy anyway.”

    This. I’m not in Africa, not even close, but I too was so bowled over on my wedding day by the sense of abundance all around me: an abundance of joy, of work, of love, of excitement, of possibility. Abundance! What a beautiful, beautiful wedding day. Best wishes to you and your new family.

  • http://www.thefamiliarwilderness.com Erin

    I love how Manya took every disaster and near-disaster as a chance to reexamine why certain things are important, worth worrying about, or worth gratitude. Also, as far as wedding disasters go, I think she takes the prize for most original with the baby elephant bite. Congrats!

    • http://bunniesnbeagles.blogspot.com Ms. Bunny

      Agreed. My mishaps prior to the wedding were rough, but no where near as good of a story as a baby elephant bite or doll passport mixup.

    • Class of 1980

      That’s what I was thinking. The only thing missing was a hurricane. ;)

      This was epic and intimate all at once.

      • Manya

        I did think about that hurricane and found comfort in the fact that the weather was good! We did prepare contingency plans though, in case of gale-force winds!

  • http://www.moodeous.com moodeous

    My face is completely streaming with tears. What an immense amount of joy and so many beautiful reminders about what’s truly important. Thank you Manya!

  • Abby C.

    Manya, you have no idea how much I needed this today – to remember the good parts of being engaged and prepping for my amazing wedding, not just the bad parts. Thank you so much for sharing with us!

    Also, you have an incredibly beautiful family!

  • http://www.thehandmadeevent.com kari

    Love this writer, love this family, love this wedding, don’t love the baby elephant (though that was funny as hell) and glad that Manya found happiness!

    I read Manya’s earlier post and just remembered so strongly her thinking “I’m am someone’s daughter too” and now what an example she has set for her girls – that even if life isn’t a fairy tale, we choose our own destiny and find happiness if we want it (and get to have the wedding we want, too!) Congrats to the couple/family.

  • holly

    That was so beautiful. I’m so happy for your happy ending.

  • ElfPuddle

    Thank you.
    *sniffle* *wipe tears*

    I’m speechless at the moment, so…
    thank you.

    *gets a kleenex*

  • http://www.twitter.com/leahruthie Leah

    So, so amazing. Tears and goosebumps. I don’t even have words to say except YES. Congratulations, Manya, and to the whole crew as well!!

  • http://onegirloneguytwocats.wordpress.com/ Heather

    Beautiful, amazing post, what more can I say? Congratulations, you have a beautiful family!

  • http://bettencourtchase.blogspot.com Helen

    Ack. Crying at work. Not so great for me! But Manya- wow. This post blew me away. When I started reading it, I got to the part where you talked about how all of us wedding grads say, over and over and over, “just let go” as if it were an easy thing. I actually laughed out loud. We DO all say that, but I can guarantee you that 99% of us didn’t have an easy time of doing it during the planning process. It’s NOT an easy thing. Mostly, (for me at least), on the actual day it is something that sort of magically happens if you let it. I was lucky enough that it did.

    I also agree with Emma: the shift from perfection to presentness… what an amazing way to put it. Congratulations to you and your new family. You are all beautiful, and I wish you a thousand happy things.

  • http://bluesuedeidos.com Beth

    I went back and re-read your reclaiming wife post. I’m struck by how you can really feel the difference in your attitude about your first marriage and this one. Congratulations on your new family. You all are so beautiful and lovely — your photos make me grin!

  • http://eclpse.livejournal.com Kimberly

    Fucking amazing, Manya. So . . . just . . . LOVE.

    Like Beth, I also went back and read your Reclaiming Wife post, and to read this immediately after? I’ve got a warm fuzzy spot inside for you. Heartfelt congratulations to you and your gorgeous family.

  • Vmed

    Aaww… this is so touching. So happy for you.

  • http://blametheweatherman.wordpress.com Melissa

    I have been dying to see this grad post! Total glee to see it today.

    Everything is just gorgeous… and your daughter making her way to the ceremony was what got me in the end. Marriage and weddings are about family – no matter how you slice it or dice it. She was an amazing representative.

    • Manya

      Thank you so much Melissa–

      You are so so right about it all being about family… every single one of my favorite moments was a family thing: My 16-year old niece helping 15-year old Chad write a sweet and sincere best man speech… then proudly listening to him deliver it so confidently; Dancing with my daddy and looking over his shoulder to see that Brian had led my Melissa onto the floor for the Father-daughter dance; my mom reassuring me that I was not a bad mom for leaving my sick baby to go and get married to the man of my dreams; my sister (who couldn’t make it) surprising us with a beautiful toast read by my mom.

      I am also surprised by how much the wedding mattered to all of our kids. We did a little run-through the night before, and my younger step son, Jared, sneaked up, gave me a stealth hug, and said, “I just told my dad that he got a real catch.” They all loved it, and I think the ceremony and ritual of it all made our commitment very explicit and comforting for them. Marriages really do make families–more than I ever imagined.

  • Nina B.

    SO GOOD.

  • http://arduousblog.com ruchi

    Manya, you just bowl me over with your utter incredibleness.

    I wish you had a blog.

  • Hypothetical Sarah

    “I heard the music and I just couldn’t miss my mama’s wedding.” Awwwww.

    What a beautiful family you have! Thanks for continuing to share your story — and your writing — with us.

  • Mayo

    What a beautiful way to combine families and have the kids as a part of your ceremony. Congratulations. As a side note, no one ever understands when I say I feel punky – was glad to see you use it here. It’s the right word for that sick feeling.

    • Laurel

      I get filled with happy every time I see a Mayo comment on here!

  • http://jolynn.wordpress.com Jo

    1. This is STUNNINGLY BEAUTIFUL.
    2. Such good, good lessons. Don’t worry about if it’s perfect, be glad it’s THERE.
    3. The dresses on your maids? I want.
    4. Your daughter finally making it? Tears.

  • http://misallocationofresources.blogspot.com Jenn

    just the way to start my day with a more positive outlook, through my pile of tissues and cold medicine. beautiful.

  • april

    Sobbing onto my keyboard….

    So much beauty in this wedding ~ I want to write more but must compose myself first!

  • Cristina

    Congratulations! A beautiful post and a beautiful family.

  • http://theatreprojects.blogspot.com Jessamarie

    Lesson on letting go- If Manya can relax and let go after a missing dress, a passport near disaster, a crushed pinky and a sick daughter (who is absolutely adorable by the way), nothing that goes wrong on my day will be so bad that letting go is impossible.

    Thanks :)

  • Kate

    What a beautiful post and wedding (both visually and emotionally). All the kids are so cute and I love the name Ciella!

    • Manya

      Thank you so much, all of you. I’m sitting here crying all over my keyboard too!

      Ciella is a name that is based on the French word for “sky” or “heavens” le Ciel.

      • http://justneedthisspace.wordpress.com ddayporter

        well now I love her name even more.

  • http://www.3upadventures.com Beth

    Congratulations. This is a simply beautiful wedding graduate post. I am so happy that your lovely, lovely family was all able to be so “there” during the start of your marriage.

  • http://www.aweightymix.com Danielle

    Wow. Seriously, this is hands down one of my favorite posts on here, ever. And I don’t say that pretty much um, ever. I remember wondering after reading your first post how things were, and to see this wedding now it’s just.. beautiful! Despite everything that went wrong (yeah, this post had me laughing and tearing up), it looks like the perfect ceremony..

    Oh, and that part when your youngest daughter showed up? Tears in the middle of my office. Congratulations times a million, and thank you for sharing these posts with us.

  • SpaceElephant

    Beautiful. Thank you so much. After reading all of the craziness of the days leading up to your wedding, the little bit of drama mine had pales in comparison. Now when I look back I can say, “at least I wasn’t bitten by a baby elephant!”

    So much of what you say is helpful, but I think the way you described all your wedding details and planning as being brushstrokes of an impressionist painting is SO SO right. And something I wish I’d understood before my own wedding. The details all blend together. Each brushstroke does not have to be perfect, it’s the way they all work together that creates the feeling and beauty of the day. So wise.

  • annearky

    Love, love, love the last photo. Absolutely beautiful post. :D Cheers!

  • http://discerningdilettante.blogspot.com ka

    I wish you had a blog. I soo selfishly want more—more stories of Africa, and your amazing family, and your overall wisdom.

    Gorgeous wedding and wise words.

    And American Girl passports? Elephant bites? Omfg, toooo much. Thank goodness for all the little miracles that won out in the end.

    Congratulations!!!

  • Emmy

    Thanks alot for making my cry. Simply beautiful and I love, love love that last picture.

  • http://mutualmenu.blogspot.com Joselle

    This may just be one of my all-time favorite APW posts and that is saying something! Congratulations, Manya, to you and Brian and your beautiful, new, bursting family. And that last paragraph is a great way to sum up how to LIVE.

  • Tamara

    Ciella is my heroine. No, really. She is.

    Manya, all the happiness in the world! Thank you so much for this wedding graduate post. I got married on Friday, and I needed something-this- to remind me that our wedding was not the flop of a fraud, but the beautiful coming together of a group of people that no lost detail, or lost smartphone, could erase or diminish.

    • Manya

      Yeah, she’s basically my hero too.

      God, leaving her in the room while I went down to get married to the love of my life, and forcing myself to be completely present with him while I was incredibly worried about my baby was wrenching. So often, parenthood demands impossible choices, and we just have to make them. Selfishly, I was also heartbroken because I wanted the entire family to be stitched together in the ceremony, and I was afraid if she missed it, she would always feel outside of the promises. But I knew Brian needed me, and I needed to be completely and fully with him for this ritual. It was deliberate surrender, and it was HARD and intense.

      We had just started passing the rings around for the ring-warming ceremony and the Train song, “Marry Me” was playing. I had just whispered to Brian that I thought we were going to have to send her to the hospital when we saw her. I think my heart exploded with the joy of that moment.

  • http://onwardfulltilt.blogspot.com/ Caitlin

    I can’t believe the mishaps (seriously? Doll passports and Elephant bites? I see the makings of a larger piece here) but I started crying when I got to your words describing Ciella’s entrance. So beautiful and brave of her to make it down to you! This might be my favorite post (ok, I’ve said that before, but I think I mean it this time). I loved your original post and knew this one would be no different. Amazing. Congratulations.

  • http://www.missgiggles.com/blog Giggles

    “How to let go? Breath in. Breath out. Simply notice. Look. Listen. Feel the air on your skin, believe in the magic in that air. Find silence. Be grateful. Give thanks, over and over, for all that is there, for all that is yours.”

    This appears to be the message the universe has for me right now because I’ve run into it several times just today. Let go. Breath. Be quiet. Thank you for helping the universe pound it into my brain a little more. :)

  • Robin

    ~weep~

    Then, through the trees, we saw a courageous little brown girl in apple green shantung searching for us.

    This totally did.me.in.

  • http://www.suncentered.com Jen @sunCentered

    I just have to know: How did your parents get through Kenyan customs without passports? And how did they get home??!

    • http://www.safarimama.blog.com Manya

      They drove 4 hours back to the house, picked up their passports, drove another 4 hours back to the airport in Boston, missed their flights and connecting flights, and finally got here.

      So they didn’t travel without passports, they just had to go get them, but it looked like there might not be another flight for them to take before the wedding. Confusing and boring!

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  • Randal

    “Unexpected bonus: something blue!”… I couldn’t stop laughing! Also, excellent height on the jumping picture, Manya. APW should have a bridal jumping contest. You’d be a contender, I’m sure.

  • Libby

    Manya, I love the way you write. I just read three of your posts in a row! Thank you for sharing all of your experiences – good, bad, mortifying – with such utter honesty.

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