Jenay + Kuthula
One sentence sum up of the wedding vibe: The wedding was an organic, perfect expression of love rooted in family, simplicity and culture.
Planned Budget: We did not plan a budget. We leaped for a backyard wedding two weeks prior and felt “this should be pretty inexpensive, right?!” The plans also evolved up until the day-of, making it nearly impossible to “pre-plan” much. We did not expect to spend as much as our actual budget, however.
Actual Budget: $11,697 including the several outfit tries, wedding bands and (after) photography souvenir book. This does not include the cost of the gifted gold headpiece.
Number of Guests: 27
Location: Tallahassee, Florida
Where we allocated the most funds: Florals ($1700) and event design – arbor, benches, balloons ($1235). Our venue was donated (parent’s home); DJ services were provided by my brother, Jamaal, however we paid for rented sound equipment. Our phenomenal design consultation and services were donated by The Designery Event.
Where we allocated the least funds: Wedding Bands ($575 total cost), Live streaming $50: “covid-19 special”.
What was totally worth it: The florals and design features, and catering elements, we feel, truly facilitated a heightened experience for us and our guests on the day-of. Nata, our photographer, was superb. Her style blended with ours’ and her demeanor fit perfect for a family centered event. The photos are so amazing and allow us to re-witness our day weeks, even years later.
The Event Live Pro app was used for live streaming the day-of; it was easy to use, inexpensive and super clutch. We were able to include family and friends who otherwise could not attend. We received remarks from family as far as South Africa, witnessing the beauty and heightened spirit of our day. The other thing totally worth it was the manicured backyard. I can finally give my dad his due props for the obsessive upkeep of his yard; it came in handy big time for us!
Limiting to family and friends, a small invite list with wider streaming was also a good choice. Not only because of the pandemic, but it allowed our day to be very intimate and relaxed. There was no performance or pretense; we truly enjoyed our day and did what we wanted without having to be “on” for others. We did practice the wedding ceremony, however we flowed with the reception and did the things that felt right, leaving behind other typical stuff.
We were minimal in our approach. We felt each element was essential and worth it, even custom designed face masks (@keysh_theteach) for our guests as well as an Etsy program template that doubled as a fan. The temperature neared 90 degrees at 11am that Monday morning in North Florida.A few things that helped us along the way: Each helpful element was relational in nature, rooted in love and the magic of serendipity, God and the universe coming together on our behalf.
The wedding day we experienced would not have been possible sans our beautiful design and consultation services. Latarsha Bradwell of @thedesigneryevent is a childhood friend of mine, now over 30 years. I shared with her my mother’s sole wish for us to marry in her backyard. We spoke on 7/6/20. Within an hour of our conversation, Latarsha texted me a wedding style mood board, perfectly encapsulating and reflecting our eclectic, bohemian, airy style and feel.
In the following 2 weeks, Latarsha and I spoke multiple times daily; she found vendors and replacement vendors, kept my mother in the loop, advised us on last-minute engagement photos, traveled to town the weekend prior and facilitating ceremony rehearsal, and so much more. Our wedding would not have been as much of a “thing”, aesthetically, without Latarsha’s professional services and innate gifts. I was anxiety-free in planning, despite the close calls, last minute changes and fast pace. I am pretty laid back generally, however weddings can be stressful. I remained with little stress in this process and refuse to plan an event (big or small) without the support of a quality event planner.
My parent’s readiness and willingness to hop in, trust and sponsor our vision was invaluable. Us witnessing family and friends step-in and be present for the moment as well, and even last minute. We informed guests in attendance approximately two weeks prior and live stream guests days prior to the wedding, yet they graciously showed up.
Jen “caught the vision” early, and gifted me the gold flower crown, which set the tone. Thula’s brother, Khanya, is a college student in Singapore, and just happened to be in the States due to COVID-19. We had no idea he would physically participate in and witness our marriage ceremony, but destiny knew better…. so many serendipitous confirmations while planning and moving in fast motion.
My best practical advice for my planning self: Hire a planner who knows you well, can execute in a pinch and wants to work with you. If you don’t know them personally, make sure he/she understands/matches your personal style and/or aesthetic. You don’t have to break the bank for it to be beautiful and meaningful.
Favorite thing about the wedding: The organic, relaxed nature of the day and the people present (near and far).