Hello beautiful readers, it’s Elizabeth here.

This post is particularly special to me as I get to share the wedding of some very good friends of Zee & I.

We were lucky enough to visit Ethiopia earlier this year to celebrate Gideon and Selome’s elegant garden nuptials and were blown away by the warm welcome we received from their families as well as the non-stop clapping, laughing, eating, drinking and dancing throughout the week-long festivities.

Ethiopian dancing involves a lot of shoulder shimmying and shaking and one of my favourite memories from the day (apart from witnessing our two incredibly loved up friends say ‘I do’, of course!) was when the groom and his groomsmen rocked up to the bride’s family home to ‘fetch’ the bride from her family and bridesmaids (as per Ethiopian tradition) and they had this incredibly energetic dance/sing/shout/shoulder off!

Prepare to fall hard for the serene garden location (a rare find in dusty, bustling Addis Ababa), the fresh, crisp colour palette of white, green, gold and glacier. The stunning bride’s light, airy strapless gown complete with beaded bodice and thigh high split. As well as her ‘something blue’ Badgley Mischka heels and pearl adorned updo. And not forgetting the dapper groom in a classic black suit accessorized with a proud and happy megawatt smile.

All captured to perfection by Toronto based Nabil Shash Photography.

The Inspiration

Our overall plan was to make our wedding simple yet elegant and chic. We were able to accomplish this by having a tent wedding in the compound of an old villa. Our wedding colors were Glacier and gold.

(By the way, Selome is the founder of the awesome Pinata Party Shop in Addis Ababa so she knows a thing or two about creating stylish and fun events!)

The Flowers

We chose to use only one type of flowers for both my bouquet, buttonholes and our centerpieces – Carnations in two different colors (green and light green) we differentiated the bouquet by using the darker green carnations.

The Photography & Videography

Our photographer, Nabil Shash, who also is a friend from Toronto, is very talented and understood our needs and wants for our day. He captured the special moments beautifully without being intrusive. Our videographer, Yonas, is not a wedding videographer but rather a professional videographer for commercials and feature films. We chose him as we wanted a feature film like video as opposed to your cookie cutter wedding video.

The Ceremony

We didn’t have special readings but our ceremony was officiated by the Groom’s uncle who stepped up when the priest was a no-show. We had five minutes to write our vows and discuss it with the grooms uncle. This made the ceremony more special and personal.

The Décor & Details

The décor comprised of paper lanterns, off white canvas cloth that was used for draping as well as very simple table settings which was all put together by us, our wonderful friends and close family members. Although tiresome it made it all the more special that we were personally involved. Our main DIY project was our gold napkin rings and table number holders.

For favors we gave the ladies heel stoppers (as the tent was pitched on a field) and small, heart shaped mint candies for the men. For the kids we had goodie bags filled with coloring books, bubbles, stamps, rings with lights as well as paper place mats with wedding themes they could color on. Inspiration from this post on having children at your wedding from Bridal Musings.

The Attire

I wore a custom made dress by YeFikir Design which I helped to design. I used Ethiopian fabric for my dress and embellished the top with crystal beads. The groom wore a custom tailored Indochino Suit.

Our bridesmaids wore a Glacier color long sleeveless Bill Levkoff dress, nude color shoes and peach and gold earrings. Our groomsmen wore a timeless black suit, white shirt and skinny black ties.

The Refreshments

The groom came up with our signature cocktail drink which included dry vermouth, gin, O.J, fresh Basil and tonic, aside from the signature drink champagne was the drink of choice during cocktail hour. We had a formal 3 course sit-dinner that had a melange of different dishes and an open bar all night. Our wedding cake and dessert buffet was a work of art by our caterer, Belgian chef, Ken Willockx of Le Grand Reve.

The Music

We had a jazz quartet during the ceremony and cocktail hour followed by a secondary full band for the reception. Our first dance music was ‘All of me’ by John Legend chosen by the groom.

Unique Details

In comparison to traditional Ethiopian weddings where the formality is stifling, our wedding was more relaxed, less protocol and more engaging.

Favourite Moments

Our ring exchange, first dance and the after party that went on until we told the DJ to stop playing music at 4 am.

Advice For Other Couples

For online inspiration, we used The Knot, Pinterest and, of course, Bridal Musings. It’s inevitable you will go over budget just trying to stay as close to the original budget as much as possible.

Utterly beautiful and so much fun too!

Congratulations again to Selome and Gideon, thanks so much for sharing your special day on Bridal Musings. (I’ll pay you for the sweet compliments later! Wink wink, nudge nudge.)

Are you planning a garden wedding? How about a traditional (or, as in the case of Selome and Gideon, a not so traditional) Ethiopian wedding?

As always, we’d love to hear from you in the comments!

Discover more multicultural wedding inspiration

Photographer: Nabil Shash Photography / Videographer: Yonas / Bride’s Dress: YeFikir Design / Bride’s Jewelry: Yves Saint Laurent / Bride’s Shoes: Badgley Mischka / Groom's Suit: Indochino / Groom's Shoes: Kenneth Cole / Bridesmaid Dresses: Bill Levkoff / Venue: Ababa’s Villa, Addis Ababa, Eithiopia / Catering and Cake: Le Grand Reve Restaurant, Addis Ababa, Eithiopia / Invitations: Naz Tana / Flowers: Commodore Flower Shop / Stationery: Paper Presentation