Real Weddings

Friday, August 26, 2011

Un-Traditional Cakes

Today, we are bringing you a collection of wedding cakes that are as beautiful and creative as they are humorous. These are not just ordinary wedding cakes with delicate features and designs used for white weddings.  No, these cakes are special because they are used in the traditional African wedding ceremony (a.k.a. Traditional Engagement). The purpose of these cakes are similar to that of the Traditional wedding cake but they are also a canvas in which the couple can display their personalities, creativity and most importantly...Their Culture.  
This is by far the cutest :-)

Cake Notes:
  1. Most Traditional cakes either have figurines of the couple, fruit (representing a fruitful union) or paraphernalia specific to that culture/region (eg Calabash or Cowries).
  2. It is best to find someone who is specialized in African cake decorating.
  3. In an event where that is not possible be sure to sit with your baker well in advanced and provide pictures/models that can aid with design.
  4. The cake taste just as good as western cakes (If you were wondering).

I like the Fila and Gele ;-)
An elegant figurine

Representing a Fruitful Marriage

Classically simple

My's gorgeous!
Close up of the couple Cake!

Lagos Riviera
Cakes by Andy Clark
Flourish Cakes and Occasions
NC & N.Thumberland DailyPhoto

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Gele: The Other Crown

When a West African Bride dons her traditional wear, it would not be complete without her Gele. It is the equivalent of a wedding cake without a topper (or some other ornate piece) and just seems…Incomplete. On the Bride, the Gele is worn during her engagement ceremony/ Traditional wedding and during the second introduction of the Bride and Groom (In traditional attire) at the reception. The New couple are royalty of the day and the Gele is her crown.
So What Is A Gele?
Gele is the Yoruba word for (A woman’s) Head wrap.  In the Igbo culture it is called Ichafu.
It is a large rectangular cloth tied on a woman’s head in a variety of fashions.  The material used to make the gele is usually of a stiff, but flexible, nature e.g. Aso-oke (thickly woven silk), Brocade (cotton) and Damask. These materials come in a wide array of colors, patterns and textures.  The bigger the cloth (and the greater the skill) the more elaborate the look.
Gele tying is an Art form that takes practice, patience and often times a well-toned arm, but once tied, a Gele can make any woman look regal. Every Gele is unique and there is no true formula to achieve the exact look twice. If you take a closer look, you will see that no two Geles (once tied) are alike.
We absolutely love Gele’s because not only are they tied in various styles but they are an aspect of culture that make women feel beautiful no matter the occasion. The style and color of the Gele can be a reflection of your mood, style or personality. Creativity is key ;-)

1. Since Geles are such glamorous statement pieces, the should be complemented (not over shadowed) with the right amount of jewelry and make up. TOO much of either can be overwhelming.
2. Gele tend to draw attention to the face, expecially the eyes, so having well groomed/shaped eyebrows, and flawless makeup are a huge plus.
3. If you cannot tie the piece yourself, ask a friend to help. 
4. Make use of Bobby and Safety pins to achieve a desired style. 

Here are a few breath taking Gele looks…

 Photos Courtesy of 
Ade Adetayo Photography 
Pink Diamonds

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Drape It Beautiful

You have hired the planner, booked the caterer and florists and rented all your tables and chairs. but what about the Reception Hall? What happens when, due to a tight budget, a large number of guests or "No availability" the hall you booked has more "Lack" than "Lustre"?  We are talking about orange walls, green carpets and exposed brick in the wrong places. Ok, maybe it's not that bad but it's NOT the venue of your dreams.

The reception hall is very vital to any wedding. After all, this is where you will entertain guests with food, music and dancing, and the ever present high table speeches (lol). Apart from the ceremony snapshots, most of your wedding day memories will be captured during the reception and who wants those gorgeous photos marred by an unflattering backdrop. I can tell you...There is hope.

With the right lighting and wall coverings, even the darkest room can rival the lounges in a five-star hotel.
That last line was kind of cheesy but its true. Look at these Before and After Photos of a Real Reception held in a church hall courtesy of (Blog)
Ordinary Church Hall...

Ordinary Church Hall Transformed  

Here are a few more draping inspirations...
PhotoCredit:  Midway Party Rental

PhotoCredit:  Midway Party Rental

Can you tell that this is an indoor basketball court? I couldn't either ;-)

PhotoCredit: Royal Receptions UTAH

PhotoCredit: NES Weddings

Obviously, this is not a drape but it's a beautiful decor idea to cover an unsightly wall ;-)


Quick Tip: Cut the cost of having a florist in half by using drapes and lighting to make a statement in your decor

Have you considered (or used) draping for your Special day?! 
Leave a comment below. We would love to hear your experiences!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Vendor Highlight: Paosin Photography

This week we had the opportunity to interview the fresh and gifted photographer Femi Osinowo. Femi is the man behind the Nikon camera of Paosin Photography.  It is late evening, but the mood for the interview is still live and chipper. We go through casual pleasantries and settle into the flow of our interview.

What is your Company name?
Paosin Photography

That’s an interesting name. Where did it come from?
Well, Paosin was a nickname I received while I was in the university. When deciding on a name for my business, I needed something short and memorable and Paosin fit perfectly.

That is awesome. Now let’s get to know the person behind the camera. Tell us a little about yourself?
My name is Femi Osinowo and I am from Ogun State, Nigeria. I spent my growing years in Nigeria and obtained by BSc (Computer Engineering) at Lagos State University before moving to the U.S. at the age of 29.

So what do you do in your freetime?
At one point in time, I was really into soccer games on the computer/Playstation. I also like movies and playing my guitar.  Now, I spend more of my leisure time honing my skill as a photographer.

Where are you located?
I live and cover events throughout Maryland, the U.S. and Internationally.

Please give us a description on your company
The purpose of my company is to help couples immortalize the love, friendship and emotional moments of their special day. I take photos that will tell the story of  their union even without needing words.

Getting back to the business side of things, we want to know, Why this profession? What is the story behind Paosin Photography?
Everything started a little over two years ago while experimenting with my cousin’s digital camera. I took the camera to a friend’s graduation party and after the first shot I could not stop snapping. The crowd was having such a great time and being able to capture those candid moments was such an indescribable thrill. A month later, I received my first DSLR, continued shooting and upgrading my equipment from there.

What are your creative influences?
My creative influence comes from the work of other seasoned photographers. I really admire their work and use it as fuel to continue developing my craft. My long-term goal is to shoot Weddings/engagements exclusively.

What is the most interesting event you have covered this year?
I recently covered an Asian engagement ceremony/party. It was quite interesting and unlike any event I had previously covered.

We ended the interview on a much lighter and random note with this question: What is your Favorite anything?
With a laugh he answers, “Taking pictures and currently, Pina Colada Slurpees”

Writer’s Comments:
Femi Osinowo is a photographer dedicated to his art (and his camera).  One of the traits that make his work so unique is his use of angles and lighting to produce pictures that are not only beautiful and fun but allow the viewer to see a single event from multiple perspectives. He is also a proven perfectionist who does not stop until he has THE EXACT image/moment he set out to capture. 

For more information or to book  Paosin Photography for your next event contact Femi at:

Phone: 410-504-3311

All Images courtesy of Paosin Photography

Friday, July 1, 2011

Music: Live Band vs Disc Jockey

Battle of the Bands and DJ’s

It’s finally the end of the week and like most of you out there, we’re counting the hours until we can trade our overloaded desks for a night (or weekend) on the town. Yes, the weekend has plenty of social events to attend; weddings, engagements, baby showers, cookouts, etc. Whatever you decide to do this weekend, be sure that one thing these events will have in

common is… Music! In one form, or another, music will be in the air and this definitely ha

s us thinking about weddings.

OK, this is a wedding blog so we are ALWAYS thinking about weddings *insert laugh*. Today, we are looking at music in respect to the reception. At a wedding music is provided either Live (A band) or recorded (Disc Jockey). While both methods can be entertaining there are also a number of things t

o consider when deciding whether to go with a band or DJ (in no particular order):


Music has a large influence on the ambience of a room, s

o think about your theme for the reception. What vibe do you want to have in the room, relaxed and easygoing or energetic and upbeat? Most African bands are high energy and guest engaging so that is a sure fire way to get your guests excited. If your looking for a classic and relaxed atmosphere, a DJ who can play slower more contemporary songs to keep the mood light and airy is best suited for the occasion.


The two go hand in hand. Why? Because the music is not j

ust there to fill silence, its there to entertain YOU & YOUR GUESTS. If you and your spouse-to-be love music from across the genres, a DJ would have the array of songs needed to incorporate these genres into the reception. When considering the guests, it’s often safe to cater towards the majority. Younger guests are generally more receptive of what’s current (AND wedding appropriate) i.e. Top 40, R&B, Rock, Hip-Hop etc. Which would of course be better provided by a DJ. Older guests are more appreciative of traditional

African music and the custom of “spraying” which a live band would be more suited for the job.


Sometimes, this is not as simple as we think but you must consider the size of the venue. Will the hall comfortably hold your guests, decor, d

ance floor AND a band? If Size is not on your side, the beautiful thing about a DJ is that (s)he will not require the amount of room needed by a band and If you were hoping to dance the night away in your Traditional wear to the beat of your cultural drum, look for a DJ who will have such songs in his collection.


Usually, having a DJ costs less than a Live Band. This is because the larger the band the more people to pay. For the Bride on a Budget, this does not mean that you cannot have that band.

A few pointers:

1. Look for a band with fewer members (But DO NOT sacrifice quality).

2. Ask friends and family if they know anyone willing to work with their budget.

3. Instead of hiring a band for the whole day, hire them for a later time e.g. in the second half of the wedding i.e. the time couple change into their Traditional. With the right sound system, and lengthy preselected play-list, a close friend can easily stand-in, as DJ ‘til the band is ready to play.

Remember, whatever your decision, be sure to check references and ask unbiased family and friends for an opinion. There is nothing worse than hiring a terrible DJ or Band for a time you will remember for the rest of your life.

Ultimately the goal is to have fun dancing with your New Husband surrounded by loved ones.

Photos Courtesy of:

Cunningham Photography


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Bridesmaids Dress Revamped

A few years ago, if you were asked to be a bridesmaid, a few things you would expect are:

1. To wear an unflattering dress.

2. To wear an unflattering dress, in an unflattering color.

3. To wear that unflattering dress, in that unflattering color, at an UNFLATTERING PRICE and

4.To do all these afore mentioned things with 3-10 other ladies.

Thankfully, times have changed. Now bridesmaids’ dresses come in an array of colors, designs AND price ranges. These dresses are ordered off-the-rack in department stores, boutiques and bridal shops. We love the fact that brides and bridesmaids are daring to say NO to these traditions and letting their creative side see some sunshine.

Bridesmaids are trading in their usual satin ball-gown dresses for lace and traditional (African) materials (e.g. Ankara, Brocade, aso-oke). It’s the BM dress revamped.

Another trend making waves, customized dresses. This is where the bride picks/approves the basic dress design and her BM’s are allowed to make certain alterations to make each dress unique to each person. This idea works well because now BMs can alter their dresses to a more flattering fit or style.

Here are a few tips to make it work:

1. Pick a basic length, fit and style of the top or skirt. This is what cannot be changed e.g. bubble skirt, a-line, mini etc.

2. Allow BMs to add elements that are unique to their style and personality e.g. a bow, puffy sleeves, extra fabric, buttons etc. Use pictures from magazines or online for inspiration.

3. Make sure that the additions are not overwhelming and match the theme and/or season of the wedding.

4. Once you have decided on your styles find a seamstress that will be able to bring the designs to life. This should be done months in advanced so that the seamstress has enough time to work.Don’t forget your example photos.

5. As a bride, be open minded to whatever styles your BMs pick. Remember happy BMs make your day even more special. Who wants to see a frown in their wedding album and

6. Just have fun with it.

ALTERNATIVE: If you don't have adequate time for custom sewn dresses, BMs can wear off-the-rack dresses that are in the same material and color group. The Twist is that Bridesmaids choose their different styles. This trend works best if the differences in the dresses are more subtle i.e length, sleeves bows etc.

Photos Courtesy of

& Rebecca Davidson

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Classic Cake Spins

When you think of a wedding reception what’s the next thing that comes to your mind? After the glow of the newly wed couple, the fashion and the dancing I think about the cake. YES the CAKE, crown of all things sweet. The wedding cake is one of the most crucial décor pieces of any reception and one of the theme and style of the Wedding cake.

Traditionally, wedding cakes were tiered, white or cream colored and personalized with a bride and groom cake topper.

Over the years wedding cakes have evolved from just desserts to awe-inspiring works of art. A lot of effort goes into making sure everything from the taste to the design are perfect for the Big Day. Apart from décor, couples are now using the cake to share, their memories, hobbies and hope for things to come.

Here are cakes that present a new take on the older model:

This damask inspired tiered cake matches the room’s décor without blending in. I love how the design pops out of the cake.

This tier wedding cake is so pretty with it’s delicate sugar/ fondant flowers. Bye bye cream color cakes!

Another springtime, nature inspiration. The chocolate branching and realistic sugar flowers give the cake an earthy feel. The couples are most definitely nature lovers.

I loved this cake with its gold and pearls... Everything but the dragonflies are edible... I almost would not want to eat it.

This cake is a far cry from Traditional. In fact its indescribable.

Pictures courtesy of