Tamika and Bernard’s wedding, held at the unique and exquisite The Birmingham Museum of Art, took guests on a culinary trip around the world. With an eclectic menu with foods ranging from sushi to bruschetta to jambalaya it was definitely a trip worth taking. Hop on board and enjoy the trip with photos by Alisha Crossley Photography.
Tell us how you met…
Well, Bernard and I were set up on a blind date. My cousin/daughter thought that I should meet him because she said he was a nice guy. And of course this would keep me from calling her everyday while she was away in college. He lived about 45 minutes away from Birmingham. So we agreed to meet for dinner. My favorite food is Italian. So, we met at The Olive Garden. We talked all evening and really enjoyed getting to know each other. I have this phobia about eating in front of people. So, I didn’t eat a thing. I just played around with the fork. After dinner, he went back home and we have been inseparable ever since.
Now for the proposal… details!
Because Bernard works different shifts, whenever he would be available during the day, we would go to lunch. One day he asked me to meet him for lunch. We ended up at The Olive Garden at Table “24″ (the first table we sat on our first date). We had a great lunch and I ate for the first time every single thing on my plate. I was so embarrassed that I used my napkin to cover my plate. I said to Bernard “I must really like you because I ate everything on my plate”. So he responded with “I don’t want you to just like me, I want you to really love me”. I responded telling him that I loved him. The next thing I knew he was on one knee in the middle of The Olive Garden with a ring asking me to be his wife.
We want to know about all the wedding details, was it small and intimate or big and traditional?
The wedding was big and included a lot of traditional elements. We had some non-traditional things like the unity sand ceremony. Instead of the traditional unity candle we chose to do the sand ceremony which included not only Bernard and I, but our children as well. It symbolized the blending of our families and the different colors of sand that could never be separated again. There were no shoes for the flower girls. They had ankle flower rings. Also, the venue had a winding stairwell and I made my entrance coming down these stairs. It was amazing!
Tell us about your wedding gown and what your bridal party wore.
I had two dresses both were Vera Wang. My ceremony gown was long and fitted to my waist and it flared out at the bottom. The bottom half had the appearance of roses and I used a jeweled belt around the waist. My reception dress was short and one shouldered. It had the same rose-like bottom as my ceremony dress. My shoes were Jimmy Choo with a golden sparkle. The bridesmaids were Pumpkin colored Jim Hjelm dresses that included a small fishtail train in the back. The flowergirls wore Ivory colored dresses with ankle flower rings. The groomsmen and ringbearer wore Calvin Klein tuxes in Platinum.
Can you give us an overview of the event?
Our wedding and reception were both held at The Birmingham Museum of Art. We also had a cocktail hour between the ceremony and the reception. The ceremony space was flipped to serve also as the reception space. The event included dancing, the bride’s sorority hymn, food and fun.
Was there a specific theme or style?
The theme was elegant but not stuffy. We wanted a lot of the traditional elements of weddings as well as a lot of non-traditional elements.
What inspired the theme or style?
The theme was inspired by our love of the venue. It was nontraditional and it allowed our guests an added bonus of enjoying the museum’s beautiful gallery! The artwork itself served as great décor.
What were your playful twists that made the event unique?
The playful twists that made our event unique were the different elements that represented the both of us. The favors for our guests included CDs with our favorite songs, chocolate credit cards that indicated my love of shopping (Tamika), white chocolate golf balls that indicated Bernard’s love of golf and caricature artists that drew pictures of our guests for them to take home. We wanted to also have a very special memory of our wedding. So, we had a live artist painting a scene of the entire wedding party as Bernard and I took our vows. We also wanted a band that would play a variety of music and that could get everyone on their feet. Just a Few Cats (Bandmates of American Idol winner Ruben Studdard) definitely did just that. Logan, the lead singer really got involved. Of course our photographer captured all of the non-traditional moments of the evening. We wanted everyone to be involved in our departure. So, they all waved flutterfetti as we left for the evening. The guests also were able to make videos to the bride and groom on tape.
Did you DIY any of the details?
Yes, I coin myself as a very creative person. So, I handmade survival kits for the bridesmaids and I also made their flipflops to match their robes. I put together an envelope full of details that I gave to the bridesmaids at the bridesmaids’ luncheon. It was all decked out in Pumpkin and Platinum paper and ribbon.
What was the most memorable moment?
The most memorable moment was when our 5 year-old daughter at the time sung Beyoncé’s “Love On Top” as we made our entrance and had our first dance. We wanted an upbeat tune and of course non-traditional. It was amazing because it really got our guests involved and I enjoyed seeing the smiles on their faces. Our baby girl will be a future star someday showcasing her amazing talent!
Tell us about the food and desserts.
We wanted foods that represented various regions of the United States and the World. It was pretty much like the artwork in the gallery. Our cocktail hour included the following foods: Yummy Yummy Sushi Rolls, Bruschetta with roma tomatoes, capers, fresh basil, & crumbled feta, southern pecan & lemon tarragon chicken salad served in bite-size phyllo cups, bite-size crab cakes served with creole remoulade, skewered southwestern chicken served with chipotle aioli. The reception included the following food: fruit salad station (presented in cosmo glasses), chef attended Asian wok station (served in Pagoda Boxes with Chop Sticks & Forks), carving station (carved on site), pasta bar, bayou buffet station, bourbon street shrimp creole, sausage & chicken jambalaya served with dirty rice, bite-size French market muffalettas, cajun style BBQ gulf shrimp and a kid’s menu. The desserts included a bride’s and groom’s cake. The bride’s cake was a great-tasting white multi-tiered cake with matching flowers from the wedding. The groom’s cake was chocolate and symbolized the groom’s love of golf with golf balls and a golf bag. It also was covered with fresh fruit and displayed our Initial.
What kind of energy did your entertainment give the guests?
Our entertainment was very entertaining and energetic! Just A Few Cats included a couple of the original members that was with Reuben Studdard when he got his start. Logan, the lead singer came into the crowd and got people on the feet. It was a night full of fun and excitement. There was music for all ages. We wanted a very classy and elegant event. But, we also wanted everyone to be able to let their hair down and really enjoy themselves.
If there was one thing you could change, what would it be?
As far as the planning and execution of the wedding, I wouldn’t change a thing! I had a great team of people that stood right by my side the entire way. My wedding planner Meghan with M. Elizabeth events did an amazing job! I received so many compliments about all of them. The flowers were simply beautiful. Andy with KG Designs transformed our venue into something right out of Hollywood. And our photographer, Alisha was the best. We found people that are resources and friends forever and our course I would refer them to anyone! One little ding on our day was the misfortune of money being taken from my purse. But, we didn’t let that stop us from enjoying the night. We were just thankful that my ID was still intact. Otherwise, our honeymoon would have been ruined!
What was the best wedding advice you received?
The best advice was to keep God first and to always remember what it was that attracted us to each other in the first place.
Venue: The Birmingham Museum of Art | Caterer: A Social Affair | Event Planner: M. Elizabeth Events | Photographer: Alisha Crossley Photography | Floral/Décor: KG Designs | Cakes: Sweet Magnolia | Stationery: Amberly Shelton Design & Couture Paperie | Videographer: Carr Video | Favors: The Chocolate Vault | Band: Just A Few Cats | Monogram: Allison R Banks Design | Caricature Artists: About Faces Entertainment | Live Artist: Joy Varnell