Many couples plan a special “first look” right before the ceremony, so the groom gets a chance to see his beautiful bride for the first time that day before they meet at the altar. Ayanna met Nick on the stairs at the InterContinental San Francisco.
For her “something old,” Nick gave Ayanna a bonnet that was given to him at birth. The bonnet included a poem that instructed him to snip away a few threads so that the bonnet could become a handkerchief to be used by his bride on their wedding day. Such a precious idea — we fell even more in love with these two after learning this.
Nick took care of Ayanna’s something old, and to complement it, she wore a necklace from her mother as her something new, a Carolina blue garter represented her alma mater, and she borrowed a pair of pearl earrings.
Knowing they’d found “The One” was the easy part, Ayanna tells us, but dealing with the distance was much harder. “I think we both knew about the same time,” she says. “When we were still living in separate states we spent so much time on the phone laughing, discussing politics, sharing our dreams of the future, which were so similar. When we traveled to see each other I hated when we’d separate.”
“It was important to us to be near the water and enjoy the majesty of God’s creation,” says Ayanna. “We kept our guest list to less than 110, as we wanted to be surrounded by our family and very close friends.”
On their wedding broom the couple included two pictures; one from the groom’s parents wedding which has all of his grandparents pictured, and one from the bride’s parents’ wedding which includes her grandparents as well.
“We chose The Cliff House because of the beautiful view and wonderful staff,” says the bride, who remembers dining there as a young girl with her family. She didn’t know until after they selected the spot that it was also her parent’s favorite place to dine back when they first moved to the city.
During the couple’s ceremony they included a very sentimental sand ceremony. The bride’s Godfather brought sand from Africa for the base of the vase. Nick’s mother carried a small vase of sand captured from a beach in North Carolina, where he was born and raised. Ayanna’s mother carried sand from a beach in California, her home state. The mothers presented the sand to the couple, who then added it to the larger vase. What a sentimental way to symbolically blend two families.
For their first dance as husband and wife Ayanna and Nick kicked things off grooving to Kenny Lattimore and Chante Moore’s version of “You’re All I Need to Get By,” then had the DJ switch it up and play Method Man and Mary J. Blige’s version of the song midway through.
Prior to getting engaged, Ayanna decided to make the transition from wearing her hair naturally curly instead of straight. It became important that she wear her hair curly on her wedding day, because it was a special request from the groom.
“In keeping with our non-traditional wedding theme, we opted not to have a cake,” says Ayanna. “The Cliff House served our guests Chocolate Marquise. We chose to feed each other ’It’s It,’ a San Francisco tradition we enjoy each time we travel to the Bay Area.”
Ayanna and Nick’s number one goal was to ensure that their wedding day reflected their unique personalities and personal history and to share the joy in their hearts with the guests. Both Mr. and Mrs. Harris will tell you, they succeeded all around.
Ayanna and Nick steal a kiss on the patio with a breathtaking view of the Pacific ocean behind them. Join us in congratulating the happy couple on their wedded bliss. To see more lovely shots from the couple’s beach wedding visit The Bride’s Cafe now.