Having initially met through an online dating website it wouldn’t be too long after their first date together that Darlene and Charles would be deleting their online profiles. An afternoon of coffee led to an evening of dinner and hours of conversation. “An instant connection” was immediately apparent, flourishing into a loving relationship that would lead them down the aisle as husband and wife.
Bride & Groom: Darlene Weekes & Charles Ashikwe
Occupations: Anesthesiologist / Accountant
Wedding date: July 2, 2016
Wedding location: Fairmont Chateau Laurier, Ottawa, Canada
Tell us how you met and all about the proposal: We met through and online dating website in March 2015. After a couple weeks of exchanging emails we met at coffee shop. There was an instant connection and we talked for hours. Coffee turned into dinner. Soon after we deleted our online profiles and our relationship continued to flourish. We got in engaged on New Year's Day 2016, while on a trip to New York City. We had spent the day site-seeing. Unbeknownst to me, Charles had been carrying the ring around all day with us looking for the perfect location to propose. In the end, he proposed later in the evening at dinner in a cozy french restaurant we found. It was very sweet and romantic, later on we took a nice walk through Central Park.
What was wedding shopping like for you? My dress, is a classic A-shape with a modern style. I loved the layers of fabric and the asymmetrical draping. I have more of an athletic build so it created a nice shape and showed off my shoulders. Finding the dress, turned out easier than expected. I found it in the 2nd bridal store I went to, on the 2nd day of shopping. I took a cousin, a high school friend, and my aunt. (Unfortunately, my mother was out of country). Despite different generations and tastes the decision was unanimous.
Did you incorporate any culture into your wedding? At the wedding reception, the DJ played a combination of pop/R&B but also included some caribbean tunes as well as africam (Naija) beats. At the rehearsal dinner Charles and I wore tradition Nigerian outfits that his mother had brought with her from Lagos. We also catered the rehearsal dinner with Afro-Caribbean foods including plantain, roti, jerk chicken, rice & peas, nigerian seasoned fish and stewed chicken.
Bridesmaids/Groomsmen gifts: Bridesmaids - Mystic topaz necklace/earring set, and batik beach bag (bought in St. Kitts, brides ancestoral island) Groomsmen - Hand-drawn portraits of each of them done by the groom.
Favorite item on the menu: Honey & Herb crusted chicken with red pepper relish and port sauce.
First dance song: Combination of "She's Royal" - Tarrus Riley and "International Baby" - Bracket.
What is your best memory from your wedding? The day was such a blur, Darlene - walking back down the aisle hand in hand with my new husband! Knowing that what once seemed like a surreal fantasy was actually real and I had a permanent smile on my face. It was amazing to be surrounded by all of our loved ones cheering us on, and also knowing that all our hard work and planning had paid off and it was party time. Charles - Watching Darlene and her dad walking down the aisle, and dancing together at the reception.
What is the best wedding advice you can give to engaged couples? Don't sweat the small stuff, when it comes to wedding planning. Make a budget and stick to it, there will be a lot of other opinions, but ultimately it's your day. Do premarital councilling it was so helpful in improving our communication and ensuring that we discussed important issues. It even made of think of things we were not aware of. I found it to be a wonderful experience and I would even suggest that it could help in any type of interpersonal relationship.
Bridal shop - Sposaitalia
Bridesmaid Dresses - non-matching/various stores
Bridal Jewellery - Swarovski
Shoes - Badgley Mischka at Nordstroms
Hair - Ann-Mary
Makeup - Anthonia Bejide
Ceremony location - Fairmont Chateau Laurier (Canadian Room)
Reception location - Fairmont Chateau Laurier (Adam Room)
Photography - Samantha Clarke
DJ - Paul Hill at Primetime Entertainment
Florist - Pauline Vermeer
Cake - Yvette Belfonte
Stationery - Vistaprint