My Big Fat Jamaican Wedding

Counting down to the big day

Stag and Doe: Wedding Customs Old and New

on June 9, 2012

Weddings not only consist of the big day and all of the preparations but also a host of pre- and post-events.  Before we had the date finalized, there were a few important milestone events that took place before our wedding date was finalized.

My wedding journey began with none other than the engagement.

I had a feeling that the proposal was going to take place so I got my nails done and bought a new dress.

Adam proposed to me at Southern Accent restaurant in Toronto on June 30, 2010 in the middle of an eventful week. It was the last day of teaching a very busy exciting and intense first school year at a brand new, high profile school and my doctor found a lump in my neck which ended up being thyroid cancer.

A slightly more flattering photo of us. Dude, where is my nose ring?

We began to plan our wedding for 2012.  At the time, I was not really wanting to do a whole lot of planning for a wedding so Adam and I decided that a destination wedding would be our best bet.  We began to consult with a destination wedding company to get price quotes.

Then, I discovered this very lovely book called The Wedding Goddess.

The Wedding Goddess… helped me get my wedding planning groove back. In 2010, I found this book at the library. This year, I decided to purchase it on amazon.

This book helped me to slow down and appreciate the process of wedding planning.  Laurie Sue Brockway is a spiritual minister and she helped me to see the engagement period as a spiritual journey.  Thanks to this book, I was  looking forward to the planning of important details for this wedding and introduced me to the tradition of the ring blessing.  So for me, this was an excuse to throw a party.

My guests wrote very encouraging statements on strips of ribbon which we wove into this mat.

This party was kind of like a pre-shower. No boys allowed. My girl friends, mom, and mother-in-law as well as a friend who is a pastor shared blessings, best wishes, and food. Here I am with my friend Marla.

Me, my friend Denise, and my sister Tierra. Our place looks so clean and shiny in these photos. I wish it would stay that way.

Also during the summer of 2010, there was also a meeting of the in-laws.  My mother-in-law Mel invited my parents, Adam, and I for a first official meeting and celebration of our engagement in her apartment.  We shared wine and desserts and toasts.  Unfortunately, I have no photos of this event.  I remember being a little nervous beforehand but it all went over well.

Unfortunately after my diagnosis in the fall of 2010, all of our wedding plans went on hold.  My focus was on my healing journey and it became a bit all-encompassing.  Although we had not planned a wedding date, I still had a feeling that the wedding may still take place in 2012.  So in the summer of 2011, I gathered my girl friends and mother-in-law for two bridal gown shopping trips.

My first stop to bridal gown shopping. The Brides’ Project sells gently used and donated gowns which are sold. The 100% profits made from sales go directly to cancer organizations including Wellspring which has been and continues to be a part of my healing journey.

A hunting we will go… The bride gown hunting crew- mother-in-law Mel, me, Denise, and Marla.

Unlike other bridal salons, The Bridal Project actually allows you to take photos of the gowns. The Bridal Project is also different since there is no seamstress or attendant during your fitting so your experience is pretty self-directed. Also, there are no gowns above $ 1, 000 so you could get a designer gown for a pretty sweet deal. The nicest thing is that a lot of the dresses come with a note from the bride who previously owned it.

The almost wedding dress… this cocktail style dress was $ 300 and so cute. It was almost the dress but did not quite make the cut. Too ruffly…

Side-profile of the almost wedding dress…

Back of the almost-wedding dress

Too shiny and stiff… wardrobe mishap

This gown was a three person job…

Too traditional and common… but sooo nice in this photo.

Getting in touch with my inner Parisian showgirl…

In the end, I did not select any gowns from The Bridal Project.  Since this blog is read by wedding guests, relatives, and friends alike (as well as my fiance), I will not elaborate any further about the gown I did end up choosing.  But trust me, it is well worth the wait.

The next official event, Adam and I decided on would be our Stag and Doe.  We very much decided we wanted it to have a Brazilian/Jamaican theme and feature my fiance, Adam’s Brazilian bands and our favourite roots reggae deejays.  We decided all of this in 2011 mind you and we still had not booked a wedding date yet.

Fast forward to 2012, we booked our wedding date for August 3, 2012 and it was Adam’s best man Justin who offered to throw our Stag and Doe.  A Stag and Doe is a southern Ontario tradition which is a party for the engaged couple and fundraiser for the wedding.  (Ontario is one of Canada’s ten provinces.)  A Stag and Doe is called a Wedding Social in Manitoba (another Canadian province) and a Buck and Doe in parts of Britain and the US.  A Stag and Doe is not Jamaican.  Yet, we really wanted to make sure our Stag and Doe would be Jamaican.  We did this by hosting this event by the water, serving Jamaican foods like stew chicken, jerk chicken, and corn soup, and hiring deejays who play roots reggae music.  Mel and my mom got lots and lots of food for this event.  Mel organized the raffle.  The Stag and Doe was held at the Queen of Rifles branch of the Royal Canadian Legion.  Justin found this awesome location for this event and organized the games.

Justin cleaning up after the Stag and Doe. Here’s what you missed…

Rain rain go away… please don’t scare our guests today.

Beautiful view? Yah, imagine if it was 27 degrees Celsius and the sun was setting instead of chilly, windy, and rainy.

Will we raise money for our wedding? Actually we didn’t but…

we had fun with Mel and Inge,

Balloons in our wedding colours,

Great raffle prizes,

One love corn soup,

Vegan and non-vegan Cesar salads,

Jerk chicken and rice & peas,

Rasta-coloured cupcakes,

My dad and mom,

A Samba/Bossa Nova band called Ginga Do Gringo featuring Adam,

A Forro band called Xe Fua also featuring Adam,

Lotoya winning 3 prizes,

Friends from high school,

My honourary bridesmaid Njeri,

Rasta-coloured cake,


Wedding colour auras,

And lots

Sonia and Flavia,

And lots

And lots

And lots

Of dancing

Thanks to husband and wife roots reggae spinning team DJ Patrick Roots and DJ Chocolate. This actual photo was taken about five years ago but I don’t have a photo of them from our Stag and Doe.

But most of all, you got to hang out with us and…

Our family… Sherry…

Bev and Uncle Jimmy,…

And friends. Suzanne and Umesh.

Jocelyn, Nick, David

Alejandra, Michelle, Anjelica, and Arthur

Lalo and Alvaro.

Derek and Trista.

Members of my choir the Heritage Singers.





Katie, Rabbit, and Christina.

Kyle Crisp.

Justin’s family members,

Monique, Barb, and me.

Friends and family

Adam and mama Mel

My dad seems to be really enjoying himself

My Mummy on the right and her friend Gladys on the left


A guest with cousin Michelle

Mel, Inge, and Joey

Me and my dad

Lesley keeping the tables running

As I was doubling as photographer and host, there were a few people that I missed.  (Very unfortuante.)  So if you are reading this right now and were there that night and you have photos of the night, please send them my way.

Otherwise, we had an amazing night!

We made it!!! I was so sad at the end that it was over so quickly.  I had an amazing time at the Stag and Doe.  It was fun and the energy was warm, inviting, and positive from all of our guests.  Sigh!  I wondered if the wedding would be go by just as quickly.  Well,  I’m going to savour every minute.  Two more months to go.


4 responses to “Stag and Doe: Wedding Customs Old and New

  1. Angela Hohn says:

    So sorry I could not be there.
    This is a great way to make us stay involved.
    Thank you

  2. Everton Hohn says:

    Hi Nadia and Adam, I am very elated by your very impressive layout of your future together. My family and I are very supportive of where you go from here. Stay focused on what you both desire and keep the Master as your guide. Go forward into the future with a zest to succeed.
    Uncle Everton

  3. Sharon says:

    Great commentary and photo layout of the night! it was fun and despite the rainy weather, everyone enjoyed themselves

  4. Joey Schooley says:

    It was a really great party. Amazing music both live and deejayed. The vibe was ONE LOVE from the moment I arrived to the time i had to leave….the rain dampened nothing! Your wedding will be even more fun! and the weather will be mo’ better! Wishing you blessed health, peace and always Love, Joey

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