The Wedding and the Hurricane :: When the Storm Hit

If you're just catching up on our wedding story, you can start from the beginning here.

So by this point you will know that we had to move our wedding on the day to a different location because tropical storm Fay was heading our way. In the morning, before wedding party preparations got underway, our bridesmaids and groomsmen packed all the decorations into garbage bags and took them on the back of scooters to the Four Ways Inn, our new venue. When Adam and I arrived and walked into the reception, it was the first time that we had seen the tables and the venue decorated, and it looked so amazing! Everyone did such a wonderful job. No one told our wedding party what to do or where things should go, they just improvised and the result was a dream. My godmother had brought lots of decorations over from the US, our paper tassels were lovingly hand-made, my mum gold-leafed hundreds of shells, and our florist showed her amazing talent for making what I dreamed up, a reality.

Looking back, moving the venue was such a blessing. I mean, aside from the fact that we didn't have tents and tables blow through the windows of the house, it took a lot of pressure off Adam and I, as well as our family. It took the stress of hosting off our shoulders, we didn't have to worry about anything like cleaning up or the safety of our guests because it was all taken care of by our venue!

And how amazing is that wedding cake?!? My wonderfully talented brother made it himself. It took two days and several hours during the reception to pull it off. While everyone else was eating, he was in the kitchen slaving away with sponge and flowers and blueberry jam. You can't even imagine what a catastrophe the venue change could have been for the cake, but Dominic pulled it out of the bag by putting the cake and everything he needed to assemble it into a taxi and rushing it to the venue almost as soon as the ceremony was finished. And also, it was absolutely delicious. We served it for dessert after dinner and it was a hit! 

We had speeches during dinner, which was a random assortment of sushi, oysters, BBQ, pasta, and all sorts of things. The idea was that people would be able to eat what they wanted, whenever they wanted. A sit down dinner with table service is lovely, but we wanted something very informal and that's just the way it turned out. Speeches from family made us tear up with their kind words, while speeches from friends had us laughing from start to finish. If you haven't read Morgan's maid of honour speech you can see it here, and the groomsmen sang a wonderfully hilarious and humiliating song about Adam that had everyone in stitches. I think that's a groomsmen/best man speech that will be very hard to top.

That handsome photo of Scroggi up there serves to highlight our wedding favours! Adam dedicated about six weekends before our wedding to hand-making and painting sugar bowls for our guests. My uncle Julian designs ceramics for all sorts of fancy brands, but he has a small studio in south London where he and Adam slaved for weeks on end to make 70 miniature bowls. We put them in little hand-made cloth bags my mum designed herself and had made in India. Everyone put so much work into making this day special, I think we could have had to relocate to the moon and it wouldn't have mattered - it would have been just perfect either way because of all the effort that so may people put into it. 

Our first dance was to Everywhere I Go by Caitlin Rose. It's always been one of our favourite songs, and considering how much we jet around the world (together and apart), it seemed the perfect fit for our first dance. Also, you can see on the windows in the background that the rain was just beginning....

^^^^ That up there, is what I like to think of as Taylor Swift face - when people are mingling around and suddenly 'Shake it Off' comes on everyone loses their sh*t on the dance floor. We danced for hours as the rain came down and because we just had an ipod and speakers, people could play DJ and put on whatever they wanted. 

The only downside to having a wedding at a hired venue however, is the closing time. By 12:30 they were switching on the lights and we had to head home. But at that point, I don't know who made the decision, but somehow the pool party was back on! When we were planning on having the wedding at the house we asked guests to bring their swimming costumes and a towel so that we could all jump in the pool at the end of the night. Because the venue change was a day-of decision, many guests were still carrying their swimming stuff - so off we went back to the house to continue the party! By this point, the rain had stopped, and everyone was ready for a change of location...

When we got home people were more interested in swimming in the ocean than the pool because it was so much warmer. We swam, drank some more, ate leftover potato salad from the rehearsal dinner the night before, and kept the party going until the wee hours when the rain picked up again. We ordered another fleet of taxis and everyone headed home - by the time the last couple left it was absolutely chucking it down.

Adam and I fell into bed, absolutely exhausted but so happy with the way everything had turned out, but only a couple hours later we woke up to this and a waterfall running through the house.

As it happens, when tropical storm Fay hit Bermuda, it turned into a category two hurricane. The rain that caused everyone to get out of the water was the beginning of the storm hitting the island and escalating into a full blown hurricane. And as you can see from the photos below, it caused some pretty serious damage. 

When Adam and I went back to our venue the next day, roof was completely gone. All of our decorations had blown away and where we had been dancing only a few hours before was flooded. The fans had snapped off and flown away, and miraculously the only thing to survive were our mason jars!

The photo on the left is the areal view of the hurricane over Bermuda, the one on the top right and bottom left is our venue the day after. It's now being torn down and rebuilt!

The funny thing about the hurricane is that it kind of made our wedding more special. The night before we had arranged to meet everyone for brunch, and miraculously it was the only place open and able to serve food the day after the storm - until the roof caved in and flooded the place. But when Adam and I first arrived expecting the restaurant to be empty, everyone was already there, chatting away about how amazing the storm was. Despite the fact that most people were without power, mobile reception and any news on their canceled flights (there was a hole in the roof of the airport) - the storm had brought people together in a way that nothing else could. None of us could believe that, only a few hours before, we had been swimming in the ocean as a hurricane was moving in! Some peoples doors blew off, others had trees in their swimming pool, but everyone had a story to tell.

Adam and I spent the rest of the day driving around the island checking on people and trying to locate others, which was made all the more difficult because all the traffic lights were down and many of the roads were blocked. It all felt a bit post-apocalyptic. That night we met up at The Pickled Onion on Front Street for one last drink with friends and family. It was the only place we could find wifi and it was so wonderful to see all of our friends form different countries adding each other on facebook, promising to keep in touch and swapping hurricane stories.

Hurricane Fay made our wedding special in a way that nothing else could, it changed our plans and made the whole day so much better than it would have been if we'd planned it ourselves. I think Adam and I are living proof that it really doesn't matter how much you stress over the planning and the little things, what will happen is going to happen and on the day you just have to let it all go and lean into all the fun that's happening around you. 

 

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The Wedding and the Hurricane :: Portraits and Cocktails

Have you read part two of our wedding story? Now let's get on with part three.

After the ceremony was complete, we invited guests out onto the balcony for some cocktails and a chance to mingle. The sky was getting darker and we knew we wouldn't have much time, but thankfully luck was on our side in so many ways. Especially when I had the foresight to make a bestie out of someone who has built a career around the theater - so when I said to Morgan the day before the wedding, "hey, would you mind being MC? I don't really know what to tell you to say. You don't mind, do you?". Whether she minded or not, she totally nailed it! She's such a pro.

I feel like we only chatted to guests for about three minutes before I felt a little drop of rain. We had such grand plans for our reception, there was even a snowcone machine where people could make their own boozy snowcones! But I knew that if we didn't get our pictures done and capture the memories around my grandparents property, I would never forgive myself. 

I asked Olivia what she thought and she reckoned it was a good idea to get going, so though I never got to finish my bubbly I think the pictures we got were totally worth it. And really, stormy skies are way better for photos than brilliant sunshine any day - yet another reason that the approaching storm was actually a blessing. 

Let's face it, taking our wedding photos was always going to be a bit of a silly affair, wasn't it?

See that photo up there, the one of Adam and I dancing on the lawn? Only a few hours before that lawn was set up for a dinner for 68 people. Tents, lights, a dance floor, the tables and chairs were up... everything was ready. But tropical storm Fay had other ideas. 

Ok, I know this is super embarrassing, but I used to sit on this dock when I was little, blasting Backstreet Boys "The One" and dreaming of the man I would one day marry. I think I'm a lot more sentimental than I would like to admit sometimes.

By the time we got back up to the house, most of our guests were gone. Many of them said if they hadn't known we had planned on a different sort of wedding day, they would have assumed it was always meant to be like this - but many of them were still carrying bathing suits, as we were meant to have a post-wedding midnight pool party. But instead of ushering guests down to the lawn, they all had to hop into taxis and drive across the island to a new venue. 

Tomorrow is the final part of the story. There's lots of dancing to Taylor Swift, midnight adventures and all the destruction that occurs when an island prepares for a tropical storm when what is actually heading their way is a hurricane. 

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The Wedding and the Hurricane :: the Ceremony

Did you read part one of this story? You did? Ok good. On to the rest...

By the time the actual ceremony came around, Adam and I had already been through the most stressful part of the day. With a last minute venue change and all the organisation that required, getting married seemed like kind of no big deal. 

We were so lucky in that the storm stayed off the island long enough for Adam and I to actually get married at my grandfathers house - the whole reason why we wanted to get married in Bermuda in the first place! The area we had chosen for our ceremony is a little outdoor courtyard, and if it had started raining we all would have been soaked. I didn't think about the fact that it could start pouring at any minute, I just kind of went with it.

I was pretty nervous walking down the aisle. Months of work and preparation, the events of the day, everyone's hard work - all of it was going into this one moment and while I wasn't freaking out, my mind was buzzing.

But I had to concentrate on not falling down the stairs, and by the time I got to Adam and saw how nervous he was, I calmed down. I made sure I took time to look at everyone who was there, and really remember the moment. Sylvia, a family friend from when we lived in Bermuda all those years ago, married Adam and I and it was such a comfort to have someone there who we were comfortable with and who knew us. 

I love that last photo of Eve, Sara Jane and Katie looking all emotional! The skies continued to darken all day, but I'm happy to say that our ceremony and cocktails afterwards weren't rained out. And we managed to have our wedding photos taken before the storm came through! They're the best part too, and I can't wait to share them tomorrow!

Oh and also, my mum did this reading, and Sara Jane read a passage from Lemony Snicket :)

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The Wedding and the Hurricane :: Before the Ceremony

The day of the wedding I was too nervous to stomach anything but a mint chocolate chip milkshake. Probably because I hadn't yet finished writing our table settings!!

I am beyond excited to start sharing the photos from our wedding!! I hope you don't mind photo overload because I find it impossible to commit to being subtle and selecting just a few. And also, our wedding day comes with a long story, so I feel like I need to paint you a full picture. 

When Adam and I started organising our wedding, the one and only decision I made with absolute certainty throughout the entire process was who I wanted to be our photographer. Olivia Rae James is pretty much my dream photographer! She's always been such an inspiration to me and she shoots weddings so beautifully - it had to be her. If only I could have been so decisive with everything else... 

The entire week and a half that I had been in Bermuda before the wedding, the weather had been so beautiful. Bright and breezy days, clear nights with a full moon, stars as far as the eye could see, exactly the kind of weather you would want for your wedding. My mum and I kept on saying, "if the wedding was tonight, this weather would be perfect" - who knows, maybe we jinxed it. 

A few days before the wedding, our caterers came over for a last minute look around and planning session. They said they had been tracking the weather and there was a 90% chance of rain the evening of our wedding, we should probably go ahead and put up tents. I was sad because I had pictured a beautiful, open-air dinner with lights strung between the palm trees and the tree frogs peeping away in the background. I find it funny now to look back and think about how I was a little sad about the tents, because in the end we didn't actually need them!

The morning of the wedding I woke up, saw how grey the sky was, and declared I wasn't getting out of bed until the weather had improved it's attitude. Adam went off to have coffee with his parents and came back at around 8:30 and sat on the bed next to me. I rolled over and honestly by the look on his face I thought someone had died - it was one of those "just tell me!!!" moments because he couldn't get the words out. As it happens, we didn't need the tents because our caterers had to take them down. There was a tropical storm heading for Bermuda and they weren't insured to have tents up in such high winds. Because of the placement of the tents, there was a good chance that the wind could pick them up and blow them straight through the windows of my grandfathers house. The location we had been planning and decorating for months was just not an option anymore. We needed to change venue...

Suddenly everything went crazy. Our caterer was on his way to pick us up and take us to a venue he could offer us on short notice. My mum was on the phone to Morgan, my maid of honor, and Eve, Sara Jane and Kate, my other bridesmaids, to come over as quickly as possible. Groomsmen arrived on an army of scooters and started to stuff decorations into plastic bags to move them. The alcohol that was taking up most of the garage had to be sent back. The tents were being taken down along with the lights and speakers. It was all organised chaos and I was just in shock, I didn't know what to make of it!

When we saw our new venue, I didn't really take any of it in. Thank goodness we had hired a wedding planner to help with coordination on the day because she was already at the venue when we arrived and immediately jumped in and started negotiating for all the extra benefits she could get from the manager. 

Looking at these photos, you would never be able to tell, would you? We all look so happy and stress free, like we had planned on the tropical storm all along! As I was getting ready and putting my dress on, I completely let go of everything. I wasn't in control of anything anymore and there wasn't anything I could do. Every time I thought of something and said, "MUM!!! WHAT ABOUT THE....", she just said "it's already done". What a superwoman. 

Adam and I decided to have a "first look" before the ceremony. Neither of us could take any more emotion than we had already had to deal with that day. If we had to see each other for the first time walking down the aisle I don't think either of us could have held it together. As it is, I think we did pretty well! I'll carry on with the story tomorrow...

Wedding Dress and Bridesmaid Dresses :: BHLDN, Gold Orchid Hair Ornaments :: Twigs & Honey, My Shoes :: Kurt Geiger, Wedding Rings :: WeAreArrow, Adams Suit :: Suit Supply, Adams Tie :: The Bay

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Four :: Maison Premiere, Brooklyn

I wanted to blog about Maison Premiere separately from the other New York posts because it was simply too delicious not to stand on its own.

Adam and I first heard about this restaurant when we were standing in a pub in East London waiting for some friends who were running late. We headed to the bar and I ordered some drinks and started chatting to the girl behind me - she heard my accent and thought I was American. It turns out she lives in Brooklyn and when I mentioned we would be there in a few weeks for our honeymoon, she said we absolutely had to try Maison Premiere.

Now, I come from a family of seafood lovers, and I do love it too, but I've never been able to manage raw fish. Adam loves oysters though and I'm always up for giving them a go and seeing if I've changed my mind, so we headed out into the rain to see if we could get a table.

When we walked in the first thing we noticed was the gorgeous decor and the buzzing atmosphere. Most people were seated at the bar but we opted to sit in the back where it was a little quieter and it felt like we were seated outdoors in a beautiful garden. The rain was pounding on the roof, there were lights and vines dangling everywhere and it was all just a little bit magical. 

The oyster menu starts from east coast and travels to the west with its different varieties, and you just check off the ones you prefer - I don't think I've ever mentioned before but I do love a do-it-yourself check off menu. Anyway, similar to my previously mentioned vodka situation, I don't know enough about oysters to have an opinion. So we opted for the selection of the freshest oysters they had and let the kitchen choose for us. 

I can now say for certainty that I do like oysters, but only certain kinds. I'm definitely more of an east coast girl when it comes to US oysters, I prefer them to be small and sweet with just a squeeze of lemon instead of big, meaty and very salty. We also had some scallops and a few other warm dishes, and finished off with some cocktails - I had a dark and stormy to remind me of Bermuda and Adam had something called an Obituary, I don't know what was in it but it was aptly named and more than a little bit lethal.

If you ever find yourself between South 1st and Grand Street in Brooklyn, give yourself a treat and visit Maison Premiere!

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Three :: Don't You Love New York in the Fall? It Makes me Want to Buy School Supplies

I nearly came home with a puppy, I really did. 

On our last day in New York we packed a lot in. We strolled around a few neighborhoods including Greenwich Village, Chelsea, the Upper West Side and Tribeca, did some shopping at Madewell (ok did some shopping at Madewell), had a very fancy lunch at Bouley, wandered around Central Park, and met a friend for dinner. 

I'm sorry to say I don't remember where we had dinner, even though it was lovely. But I DO remember where we went for dessert! We had a change of location because Adam's friend Jonathan said we needed to try his favourite dessert, ice cream sandwiches!! And they were delicious. We went to The Meatball Factory where you get to choose your own combination of cookie and ice cream - I went for snickerdoodle and brown sugar, but I kind of wish I had gone for the fresh mint because that was Adam's choice and I got some serious food envy.

We finished off the evening and our honeymoon with a trip to The Ides, a wonderful bar in The Wythe hotel in Brooklyn that offers some spectacular views of Manhattan.

And my last memory of New York and Brooklyn will always be the moment I ordered a vodka martini and the waitress asked me what kind of vodka I wanted - at which point she proceeded to list off about eight different varieties. I hadn't heard of any of them, and when I looked puzzled and said "I have no idea, which one would you recommend?", she looked equally puzzled and surprised that I didn't have an obscure vodka preference. We've had a good laugh about that one several times since. It seemed.... very Brooklyn.

Have a lovely weekend everyone!

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Two :: There is Something in the New York Air that Makes Sleep Useless

That's a Simone de Beauvoir quote.

Here's the second in a series of four posts about our honeymoon in New York. Enjoy!

On day two of our honeymoon we headed into Manhattan to have a good look around. I really like Brooklyn, but some parts of it kind of remind me of Toronto a bit and I wanted to see the parts of New York that would give me that You've Got Mail kind of feeling - you know?

We ended up in the Meatpacking District, which is a bit more Sex in the City but whatever, because Adam and I both wanted to walk The Highline. It was really lovely and something I wouldn't hesitate to do again when we go back, it shows some spectacular views!

Afterwards we headed to the Flatiron Building and to Madison Square Park because, you know, Shake Shack!!!! But unfortunately it was closed because they're remodeling. So we had a peek at the sign, figured out where the closest one was, and decided to walk it. It was a pretty long walk, but we took in Time Square on the way and got a feel for just walking the streets of New York, as you know we love to do. 

When we finally arrived at Shake Shack, it was everything we hoped it would be. Super delicious burgers and fries, but I did find something dodgy in my burger which was a little bit grim. I don't mind because I've worked in enough kitchens to know this kind of thing happens, and I'm not easily put off my food, but the point of this little side story is that it was the first time that Adam made a complaint and got to say "my wife found something dodgy in her burger", not "my girlfriend". It was a fun moment and he said it felt very natural :)

I'm saving our dinner from this evening for a separate post because it was one of my favourite parts of our honeymoon and I think it deserves it's own spotlight.

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One :: New York is Always a Good Idea

The very first in a series of four posts about our honeymoon in New York. Enjoy!

When Adam and I arrived in New York after our wedding in Bermuda, I think we were still in a state of shock. I know I haven't told the full story yet, and I'm waiting on our official wedding photos to do that, but I have mentioned that there was a hurricane so I'm sure you can imagine where that state of shock came from. And also, getting married is quite a big deal, so we were still adjusting to the idea that now we are husband and wife, not boyfriend and girlfriend anymore. 

So thank goodness we treated ourselves to a fancy airbnb in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Even on honeymoon I would still rather stay in a fancy airbnb over a fancy hotel. The minute we arrived we felt both at home and captivated by the place - there was something new and interesting on every surface, and there was even a roof we could sit on to have our coffee in the mornings. It was utter perfection. 

We arrived in the evening and settled in before heading out to dinner at a restaurant very close to the flat called Five Leaves. I don't know whether it was because we were feeling extra loved up, or because we were revealed that the stress of the wedding was behind us, but our dinner at Five Leaves was possibly one of the best dinners we've ever had. If you're ever in Brooklyn, this is a must!

The next day we were still pretty tired, and even though New York is not the place to be a tired tourist, we still had a pretty good day - even if we were a bit slow. We walked around our neighborhood, fueled up with north-american coffee (and that means cream instead of milk - YUM!), and made our away across the Brooklyn Bridge. We also did Little Italy and China Town which was fun to see.

That evening we ate at Paulie Gee's pizza which was also delicious - though I still love my Franco Manca and Pizza Pilgrims. I never thought the day would come when I would prefer a British pizzeria over an American one, but there you go, miracles can happen. We had a chat with Paulie himself and when he asked where we were from, he said "have you eaten at Franco Manca? I hear they're a popular place in London!". Also, I love the way that Americans call pizzas, pie. A pizza pie. I love pizza and I love pie so why not combine the two? Genius. 

After dinner we grabbed a cab and headed into Manhattan to see a band play at The Bowery Ballroom because Adam always loves to go and see a gig in whatever country and city we visit. The band was called Ought and they were pretty fun, the front man was really good at putting on a show and that's something we appreciate - too often they just stand there looking artsy and nervous, which is understandable because I'm sure I would be nervous too.

So that was our first day in New York. As distracted and disoriented as we were, we did have a wonderful time. Day two is coming tomorrow!

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Bermuda and the First Few Days

Bermuda is such a peaceful place, there's green everywhere and a constant breeze blowing across the island. At night there's a chorus of tree frogs that never stops and the humidity wraps itself around you like a thick blanket - some people hate that but I absolutely love it. When we first arrived on the island on a Friday night there wasn't much that we could do, things get pretty quiet on the Island over the Easter weekend. We mostly went to the beach, ate amazing fresh fish dinners and stuffed ourselves with easter eggs.

Adam had heard so much about my Grandparent's house over the years that he couldn't wait to see it. My Grandfather was an engineer and the house was a real project for him, it's a bit of a labyrinth of cupboards and strategically placed corridors. When I was younger I only saw the house as something to climb and be explored, it was my favourite place to be because I loved it, but walking around with Adam and seeing his amazement at the thought that went into building it really opened my eyes to what a brilliant man my Grandfather was. I mean, I always knew he was brilliant but I never really saw it from an outsider's perspective.

I made Adam promise that he wouldn't go exploring without me so on our first morning there he waited impatiently for me to wake up. While he was making me a coffee I hauled myself out of bed and we went down to the dock in our pyjamas. We watched some fish jumping in the creek and explored the different levels of the gardens that in themselves are a bit of a labyrinth too.

Being back was both really amazing and really difficult. Holding a wedding there is going to be the start of a new chapter and I am so excited for that, but I'm a creature of habit and part of me wants to stubbornly preserve the past. But no one can really do that, not unless they want to become a crazed Mrs Havisham kind of character, roaming the rooms at midnight in a tattered wedding dress.

So, if one day I change the name of my blog from Nishaantishu to The Mrs Havisham Diaries, please somebody, stage an intervention? Thanks. 

Bermuda in Numbers

adamandfreyaonthebeach

2 :: the amount of times I watched Frozen on the flight over.

2 :: the amount of times I watched Frozen on the flight home... I know, I know...

1 :: the amount of times I cried while eating a cheese sandwich and watching Saving Mr Banks. I'm all about the inflight entertainment.

4 :: caterers interviewed + 15 :: (roughly) heart palpitations when we received a quote from our favorite caterers. We have most definitely been naive about how much weddings cost. 

3 :: the amount of times we went swimming in the ocean. Which is pretty good for Bermuda in April, it can be chilly! 

47 :: sunset photos taken on my iPhone.  

9 :: different kinds of wines tasted for the wedding. For the recourd, an affordable American wine does not taste the same as an affordable European wine.  

16 :: (roughly) the amount of ice creams tasted to go with our wedding cake. Give me an ice cream tasting over a wine tasting any day of the week!

4 :: the amount of times my mum and I went into town to do chores and ended up stress eating frozen yoghurt or sushi.

1 :: evening spent in fits of laughter over dinner.  

110 :: new freckles gained in the Bermuda sunshine.