Real Wedding: A Romeo and Juliet Inspired Celebration in Peckham
The couple held their ceremony and reception at the ethereal Asylum in Peckham, and selected the bridesmaids' dresses to complement the dramatic venue.
Africa took matters into her own hands when it came to her wedding dress, designing a bespoke gown that flattered her perfectly - complete with a dramatic 7.5 ft veil.
Photographer | Caught the Light
Africa and Jermel first met at work, but only got to know each other a few years later, while on a night out in London. Jeremy got Africa's details through a mutual friends, and their relationship went on from there.<br /><br />Jermel popped the question while they were on holiday in Thailand, taking Africa completely by surprise. <br /><br />"I cried so much that photos from that day aren't worth sharing!" admits Africa.
The wedding venue
Africa and Jermel held their July wedding at <a href="http://maverickprojects.co.uk" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">The Asylum in Peckham</a>, London.<br /><br />"We found the venue after seeing it on a episode of the TV show Don't Tell The Bride," shares Africa.<br /><br />"As soon as we got back from Thailand we booked a trip to view it, and took the first available Saturday in summer, which turned out to be 18 months later."<br /><br />With the venue being so breathtaking in itself, Africa and Jermel tried to steer clear of having a specific colour scheme, and instead based the theme for the day around the death scene in Baz Luhrmann's Romeo and Juliet.<br /><br />"As gory as it sounds, we both think the death scene is spectacular," says Africa.<br /><br /><a href="http://www.youandyourwedding.co.uk/planning/venues/43-of-the-best-london-wedding-venues-for-city-couples/19904.html" target="_self">READ MORE: 43 of the best London wedding venues</a>
"We wanted our day to be extremely personal and took great care to ensure all of our guests were totally cared for and wouldn’t need to do anything that detracted from the experience," says Africa.<br /><br />"This included taking photos, which we politely asked our guests to refrain from doing on our invites. All of the drinks were taken care of for our guests in a serve yourself style to encourage a more social aspect."<br /><br /><a href="http://www.youandyourwedding.co.uk/planning/essentials/creative-drink-station-ideas-for-your-wedding/22394.html" target="_self">READ MORE: Creative Drink Station Ideas for Your Wedding<br /><br /></a>"Jermel and I have never been ones to conform and coming from a Caribbean heritage with very few wedding traditions we were really lucky in that none of our guests had preconceptions of our day. We skirted tradition on many aspects and included a few historical traditions from our ancestors that made the day very unique to us as a couple."
The table plan
"We chose not to name or number our tables as there is often a lot of stigma attached to which number you're seated at," explains Jermel.<br /><br />"Instead we had old photographs of iconic black couples on their wedding days including Dr Martin Luther King."<br /><br /><a href="http://www.youandyourwedding.co.uk/planning/essentials/how-to-create-a-table-plan-that-keeps-everyone-happy/19358.html" target="_self">READ MORE: How to create a table plan that keeps everyone happy<br /><br /></a>"We refrained from having a head table and instead opted for a sweetheart table with “Hosts” at the remaining long tables including our parents, Grandparents, Bridal party etc so that every table was as special as the next."<a href="http://www.youandyourwedding.co.uk/planning/essentials/how-to-create-a-table-plan-that-keeps-everyone-happy/19358.html" target="_self"></a>
"We chose long vintage wooden tables and used them as a feature, opting against table cloths," says Africa.<br /><br />"Our mismatched gold edged crockery and cutlery was so beautiful and also added to the feel of the venue."<br /><br /><a href="http://www.youandyourwedding.co.uk/planning/essentials/wedding-table-decorations-and-centre-pieces-25-interesting-ways-to-dress-up-your-tables/22128.html" target="_self">READ MORE: Wedding table decorations and centre pieces: 25 interesting ways to dress up your tables</a>
Africa and Jermel decorated their venue with 500 assorted candles, creating an elegant and ethereal atmosphere, perfectly complemented by the foliage floral decorations.<br /><br />The foliage was purchased wholesale from a local nursery, and their wedding director draped it around the venue.<br /><br />"Choosing foliage was a great option for us; not only did it look and smell incredible, we were able to keep much of it at home afterwards, and our guests did too," says Africa.
Little details of the day
"We opted for Kurdish cuisine, because it's great sociable food, and we really wanted to encourage building relationships in our seating plan," explains Jermel.<br /><br />"Africa was four months pregnant at the time of our wedding, so we partied until Midnight, though she was probably ready for bed at midday!"<br /><br />"Our first dance was 1+1 by Beyonce, it says it all."<br /><br /><a href="http://www.youandyourwedding.co.uk/planning/entertainment/100-first-dance-wedding-songs-for-every-kind-of-couple/21997.html" target="_self">READ MORE: 100 first dance wedding songs for every kind of couple</a>
The wedding cakes
"A friend of Africa's basked two incredible cakes," reveals Jermel.<br /><br />"One was an ombre vanilla cake, and the other a red velvet cake. Both were styled with vintage props, moss and ivy."
The bespoke wedding dress
Africa designed her own wedding dress, to make sure it was absolutely perfect.<br /><br />"I wanted to dress for my body, rather than embracing specific fashions. This way I was able to choose a look that I felt would be most flattering."<br /><br />"It was made by <a href="https://www.dreamdressesbypmn.com" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Dream Dresses by P.M.N</a>, a dress-maker who creates one of a kind dresses to your taste in her studio in Washington," explains Africa.<br /><br />"It had a scalloped bust, a very fitted fishtail, and a six foot train. There was lace and Swarovski embroidery over the bodice, and i had a seven and a half foot veil too."<br /><br /><a href="http://www.youandyourwedding.co.uk/dresses-and-style/wedding-dresses/21-beautiful-wedding-dresses-with-statement-trains/22200.html" target="_self">READ MORE: 21 Beautiful wedding dresses with statement trains<br /><br /></a>Africa's dusty pink bridesmaids' dresses were from Singapore based brand <a href="https://thedaintyard.wordpress.com/about/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">TheDaintyArd</a>.
The most memorable moment
"Walking into that incredibly dressed venue and seeing every single individual we loved mingling together," says Africa.<br /><br />As for advice for future brides-to-be? <br /><br />"Really, and truly, this is your day. Don’t be afraid to upset a few people –stick to your guns. Those who love you will love your special day no matter what."