Meet The Wedding Party

6 11 2018

I have always known who I would want to stand with me as I made the biggest commitment of my life.

Amanda and Jeanette were no-brainers. They are essentially my sisters and we have become bound to each other, just as family are. Twenty years of friendship means I have known more years with them than without them.

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I also decided to ask Vicky. Vicky is a newer friend (about 6 years) and we get on very well, but more importantly she played a large role in my life during all the cancer stuff. She was with me when I got the phone call telling me that I had cancer. She came with me to my chemotherapy appointments. She included me in social gatherings but made arrangements for me to be able to easily duck out if I felt tired and the need to rest. She brought Halloween to me because that year I couldn’t attend (due to recovering from my hysterectomy) Sean’s annual Halloween Party. She lent me a wig when I lost my hair. She made me feel like I was invincible at a time when I was at my weakest. She was also the first friend to meet RJ and welcome him to the group. Obviously, she had to stand with me at my wedding.

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RJ had asked 2 old work colleagues who shall remain nameless – mainly because they are no longer in his life… and to be honest they were not really friends. This is of course, very sad. I didn’t think it was a good idea to ask them, but truthfully, RJ doesn’t have that many friends. Don’t get me wrong, he has had many mates over his lifetime, but as the circumstances in which he met them changed or ended – so did the relationships.

Luckily, my friends are amazing and have adopted RJ – and he, them. So much so that his two groomsmen are my very good friends of 7 years.

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Li and Sean have been great friends to me, and for better or for worse they are like my brothers. They embraced RJ and us as a couple and their support has been immeasurable. RJ felt that on such a nerve wrecking (but magical) day, he would do well to have people who support him and us as a couple. It was also important for him to have groomsmen who can keep him calm and light on the day. Enter Li and Sean.

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I’m thrilled with my band of Merry Men/Women and I think the wedding party has been chosen with care and consideration. I know they will only add to an already life-changing day!

Tara xoxo

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My Proposal

6 11 2018

In recent years a trend of asking your Bridesmaids and Groomsmen to be a part of your wedding has become a bit of a production. I’m not a huge fan of the overly dramatic proposals, but I do like the idea of asking with a series of small gifts and knick-knacks in order to get everyone excited and set-up a pace for the wedding preparation and the day itself.

With that in mind I made up Bridesmaid Boxes for my ladies (as pictured below):

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Included in the boxes:

  • Cadbury’s Chocolate
  • Peach Bath Bomb
  • The Knot: Bridesmaid Handbook
  • Bridesmaid Planner
  • Bridesmaids (Extended Addition DVD)
  • Mini Print of Colour Scheme
  • Gold Foil Tattoo/Nail Transfers
  • Gold, Orange & Blue Nail Polish
  • Diamond Pen
  • Mini Prosecco
  • Personalised Box

I was quite proud of my little box of goodies!

RJ’s Groomsmen Bags:

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Included in the bags:

  • The Hangover (DVD)
  • Mini Jack Daniel’s & Coke
  • Cigar
  • Yorkie Chocolate Bar
  • Card

We both presented our proposal gifts to our maids and men during the Engagement dinner (to those whom attended – Vicky & Li couldn’t make it).

It was a nice way to kick off the celebrations and the beginning of planning although it felt very anti-climactic, and like it meant more to me than it did to them… which it probably did. Oh well, I still enjoyed it…

Tara xoxo





The Venue

6 11 2018

We chose a date – which I will not be sharing until after the wedding. All I can say is it will be June 2019 (I’d like to keep some details to myself!)

The next step was to pick our venue.

Over the course of about a month we viewed 3 venues which we had short-listed after copious online research and prospectus reading.

We had really liked venue 2 and all but decided on it but decided to check out venue 3 anyway… and it completely blew us away!

We were in awe of how beautiful, classic and old world-y it looked. Very elegant and timeless. RJ loved it so much he had the idea that we should celebrate our anniversaries there every year… clearly we had a winner.

Bloggers – Welcome to Our Venue: Down Hall (front)

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Down Hall (back)

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Down Hall (main reception)

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Down Hall (main reception, from sofas & fireplace)

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Down Hall (ceremony room – our set up will be bespoke according to our chosen theme/colours)

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Down Hall (gallery – where my Bridesmaids and I will get ready)

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Down Hall (gallery bedroom)

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To be fair, I don’t really have to say much else… the pictures (which do no justice to real thing) speak for themselves.

Tara xoxo





Engagement Dinner

22 10 2018

Traditionally, as far as I have understood, when two people get serious, they meet each other’s families and are brought into the ‘fold’ of each family respectively. Then, when the time comes, the man asks for the blessing of his partner’s parents before proposing.

This isn’t quite how things happened for us. We did it all a bit backwards. RJ was brought into the fold of my family, he proposed – I accepted, and then he asked for my parents blessing.

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Late Summer 2017 we had a small engagement dinner at a lovely steak house in Barking called Cristina’s – in an effort to catch up with some of the steps we’d jumped ahead of.

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We invited our immediate families and the people whom we were going to ask to be a part of the wedding party.

It was a bit of an excuse to celebrate but mainly for our families (in this country) to meet each other.

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We had this gorgeous eggless cream topped cake as dessert (pictured above).

We gave favours of mini mason jars filled with orange, brown and blue M&M’s tied with twine and a thank you tag. We had heart shaped confetti which was cut out of romantic literature.

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My parents got these beautiful flowers delivered to the restaurant in time for our arrival and my aunt in Trinidad bought us a bottle of champagne through the restaurant website to be served for the toast.

It was honestly lovely.

Of course, not everything went to plan…

One groomsman and one bridesmaid couldn’t come. The waitresses at the restaurant were rude, unaccommodating and disorganised.

Otherwise, it was really nice to have (nearly) everyone in one place and getting the opportunity to meet each other. It was nice that my family got to meet his and for everyone to meet (most of) the wedding party and get familiar with faces that they would be seeing over the lead up to the wedding.

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My sister-in-law-to-be made me this lovely memory keepsake of all the engagement dinner bits and I love it! I’ve put it up in the hallway and every time I see it, I am reminded of all the best parts of that night and the excitement I felt at RJ and I celebrating our engagement with our nearest and dearest.

Tara xoxo

 





Wedding Stuff

18 10 2018

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2014 was possibly my worst year (closely followed by the horror that was 2003 – but that’s for another post).

In 2014 I began my fight with cancer and had my world thrown into chaos when I had to re-imagine what my future would look like as a 27 year old losing the ability to have children, (losing my hormone making organs – like most things in life, you really take them for granted until you lose them) or even function as a 27 year old woman.

Fast forward to 2018, and here I am – planning my wedding. My life couldn’t look more different if I’d imagined it! I met a wonderful man, fell in love, got engaged, started working again – found a job that I actually enjoy and all of a sudden I have a future. My despair has turned to fierce protection of a future which I appreciate all the more because back in 2014, I thought I didn’t have one.

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I have chosen three wonderful women in my life to be my involved in the wedding planning, however, my joy is mere noise in the busy confusion of everyone’s life… which I completely understand. We are older and packed down with responsibilities, bills and the struggle of trying to maintain a social life. As such, my girls haven’t had much time for me in getting excited about the whole wedding thing. Of course, they are happy for me, but it’s not quite as I imagined it would be.

Vicky – I don’t see her as much as I used to because I now work… but she is thrilled for me and enjoys hearing about the wedding stuff, although she has been unable attend a few events (engagement dinner & dress shopping).

Jeanette – Has been present at all events so far and is very supportive, but I feel like she almost doesn’t believe it’s happening… I sort of expected more of an emotional involvement from her. We really are like sisters, and I have always felt very emotional at the idea of one of us getting married – just never thought it’d be me first.

Amanda – Very excited and invested as much as her nursing schedule will allow her to be. She is only a phone call away but with her weird hours she proves difficult to get a hold of to really relish in it all.

My sister-in-law-to-be would be very involved if she were situated closer to us, but she works and has four children and lives about 2 hours away.

RJ – is as excited as groom should be. He wants to give his input and be consulted on choices but he doesn’t really know what he wants or have any strong feelings one way or the other. I have given him 4 main tasks:

1. Sort the wedding registrar

2. Sort his & the groomsmen’s suits

3. Sort his room for the night before the wedding

4. Sort some music choices that he wants/doesn’t want played at the reception

RJ’s parents are not involved at all. Sure his mother is happy for us, but otherwise she hasn’t asked about any of the plans. We arranged for her to come with us to see the venue and she cancelled… I can only rational that her daughter got married some years ago and all her excitement was spent during that wedding(?)

My mother has been amazing. I’m sure this is as much a dream for her as it is for me. She has enjoyed hearing the plans, sharing my excitement and giving her input. Sometimes she’ll just let me talk things though with her as a sounding board, and I know she enjoys this as much as I do, if not more.

My father is sort of doing the traditional thing of listening, trying to understand all the details and fuss, but mainly concerning himself with the bottom line. Having that “how much?!” look of horror across his face, before asking if it’s really necessary and then, as a good father would, going along with it anyway. I know that he is very happy for me to have such a bright future to look forward to!

This whole post is not just a moan or update but rather a request…

I am very present on social media but so are more than half my guests, so I can’t really post information or details regarding the big day on there.

So, I’ve decided I’m going to do little posts on here to keep a record of the process and to let my excitement rein!

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I hope you don’t get bored of all the details 🙂

Tara xoxo





Chivalry Never Died. I Just Settled For Less.

24 11 2016

About 6 months ago I met a wonderful man.

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We met at an unlikely place and at an unlikely time. As I had stated in my previous post(s), I had made peace with the fact that my future seemed relatively romantic-less. This was not a woe-is-me sentiment, but rather an understanding that what I had to offer was less than ideal.

Any single 20-30-something can rattle off the inst-clichés which we numbingly double-tap, half hoping that they’re true/false. Here are a few of my favourites:

Well, I am able to confirm that, for the most part, these are true. You only come to understand these statements when you’ve been disappointed by broken promises. You really come to understand them when you have seen words put into action. Little nuggets like “if he wants to see you, he’ll make time” are true! No matter how busy, tired, or far – when he’s in like with you, nothing will prevent him from making the effort and finding the energy to make time for you.

Enter RJ*

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RJ has been a breath of fresh air for me. He is kind, smart, funny, caring, sweet, attentive, considerate, responsible, hard-working, humble, determined and has a wonderfully weird knack for knowing unusual trivia and tid-bits of information.

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He’s a ferocious reader and a pretty talented writer (I’m trying to persuade him to let me post one of his many short stories on here). He’s easy going and I feel relaxed around him. He says what he means and means what he says. No game playing, no reading between the lines, no childish ploys. It’s not stressful and I haven’t spent hours agonizing, wondering how he feels or how I feel. It’s effortless, easy. Peaceful. It really is rather amazing.

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We are still very new and I’m being careful to keep my wits about me, but I am very much in love.

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I hesitated to write this piece in case it doesn’t last, but then I thought – all the more reason! If it doesn’t last, this post will serve as a reminder to me that good men exist and that they are out there. And if it does last, well – it’s a pleasure to share my happiness with you!

If mushy, isn’t your thing, then I’m betting you’re already reaching for a bucket – and I’m about to do you a solid by saying, you may want to stop reading here. It’s about to get names-in-hearts-all-over-my-notebook mushy.

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I thought I would share with you all (in no particular order) some big and small moments/things that made me fall in love with him:

– He has a good relationship with his parents and siblings.

– He is a cool, loving and fun uncle to his 3 nieces and nephew.

– He handled my skeleton closet with empathy and attentiveness (including my cancer stuff).

– He supports me at my follow up oncologist appointments and takes an interest in my health and wellbeing.

– He has a good group of friends who are committed to his success.

– He opens doors, offers his jacket to me when it’s chilly and he walks on the outside of the sidewalk in order to keep me safe.

– He suffers through my girly movies and listens to me lust after Michael Fassbender and Ryan Reynolds.

– He invites me to spend time with him and his family.

– He accommodates my keto-dieting ways (even though he doesn’t approve).

– He gets on really well with my friends and understands the importance of forging good relationships with them.

– He is well mannered and respectful to my family.

– He supports me in my pursuit of my career (even though he knows it means that for now, he is the main earner).

– He encourages and applauds my feminism.

– He is racially aware and sensitive, and has even applauded me for standing up for myself in situations where others may have told me to just be quiet.

– He is able to be confident in his own views without tearing others down.

– He listens to my outpourings of emotions or gripes – and somehow he seems to know when to just listen and offer a hug or a hand to hold or when to join me in a rant, or when to completely break the tension by mocking my unreasonable-ness.

– He gives the best hugs.

– Every time he looks at me, it’s like it’s the first time.

– He really sees me.

– He really hears me.

– He lets me know how he feels.

I could go on, but we’d be here all day and I want to keep some things for myself  🙂 – and if you’ve made it this far you’re probably getting nauseous now!

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On a final note I will say this: I am happier now than I have been for a long time and I can only hope and strive to bring as much joy to RJ’s life as he has brought into mine.

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Tara xoxo





Featured Piece: My Father – By Shekhar Mahabir

4 01 2016

Another feature piece by my father, Shekhar Mahabir. Enjoy

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One of my earliest memories of my father is when I was in my final year at Avocat Vedic School. I was required to choose which secondary school I wished to be considered for in order of preference. I chose Iere High School as my first option since all my friends is class were doing so. When I showed the form to my Dad, without hesitation, he promptly rearranged my options and entered Naparima College as my first choice. My next clear memory is on the morning of the common entrance results when he woke me up early around 6 am to go to the my grandfather’s parlour to check the newspaper for the publication of the successful students and their chosen schools. When we saw that I had passed for Naparima College, he did not say anything to me but I knew he was happy with the result and I was hugely relieved that I had made it.

The pungent whiff of tobacco smoke curling from a cigarette is one of the earliest memories I have of my father. I started secondary school in the same month that we moved into our newly built house down from the junction. Before that we used to rent an old wooden house in Siparia old road from my uncle Keese, my father’s cousin. Every morning as we got in the small Austin A40, the wafting smoke became an integral part of the start of the drive to secondary school in San Fernando, some twelve miles away. Then he would proceed to Penal Vedic School in Penal some fifteen miles away to his work as a primary school headteacher. He used to leave home promptly at 7 am and proceed at a steady, comfortable pace. He did not drive fast nor was he slow. On evenings on the way back home he would pass to pick me up from the bench on Broadway exactly at 3.30 every day after school. He was never late. On most evenings I would stretch out across the entire back seat of the car and fall gently asleep to the slow rhythm of his sure and steady hand at the wheel.

Half an hour later he would turn into the driveway of our home and I would wake on the sound of the hand brake being pulled out. Emerging from the car I would walk into the warm smell of curry as I approach my mother rocking on her hammock and address her with the same combined greeting, “Namaste, ah want meh food please”.

I don’t remember if I used to change from my school clothes first or after, but I really appreciated that hot cooked meal. My father was partial to curry so it would be some variation of one curry dish or another.

We didn’t talk much to each other, not because of any antagonism or argument. It’s just that we did not have anything to discuss. Most of the interaction between us was understood. When we returned home I went about my pursuits and he his. I never thought about or observed what he did. Most times in the early evening as the dusk was settling he would take a walk a few hundred yards up the road towards Avocat junction where the Fyzabad road forked into the Siparia old road. There on the pavement I would see him standing with Azam (Tembo) or another of his friends chatting and enjoying a relaxing evening watching the traffic go by. We barely ever encountered each other on the road and by the time it grew dark he would be home in front the television watching the 7 o’clock news. Perhaps he would catch another show until around 9 or 10 and go off to sleep.

While I was on the block liming I learnt a little about my father from some of the older fellas who were hanging out there. Once I was told of how he was a legend at draughts at an early age and that when he was eleven or twelve years old he was such a prodigy that there was no player, young or old, for miles around who could beat him at the board game. Tales were told of how he used to be proudly hoisted on the shoulder of the men from the village and taken to other communities east, west, north and south and used to demolish the opposition players with consummate ease. How much of this was true and how much exaggerated I will never know. But his reputation was widely acknowledged and confirmed by all who were in a position to be consulted in conversation.

Another story I was told about my father was about his struggles as a student at Naparima College during secondary school. I heard that he used climb coconut trees, pick and sell fresh coconuts early on mornings and late on evenings when he was a young man in order to make enough money to look after his needs. At that time he used ride a bicycle the twelve miles to and from San Fernando. At that time I suppose he lived at Avocat junction where my grandfather had his little parlour, where one of the unique specialities was freshly made nuts and channa in wrapped up packets which his sister Didia used to make. I can still smell the aroma emanating from those packets.

Yet another anecdote that I recall is how he came to wear spectacles. It was said that my father was a keen cricketer in his youth and his special fielding place was as a wicket keeper. One day while behind the wicket a ball passed the batsman and struck him in the face. As a consequence his vision was affected and he was forced to have his eyesight tested and was persuaded to wear spectacles.

Another aspect of my father was the times he was at his desk studying. I know for sure he used to study hindi and Sanskrit and when my sisters used to go to hindi classes in San Fernando he was also studying preparing for a qualification in Sanskrit. In fact I learnt later on that he was the first student in Trinidad and Tobago who ever passed the Advanced Levels Sanskrit examinations.

But his aptitude for study did not end there. My father was an avid racing fan and he used to play the racing pools regularly. In fact every Saturday he would head for the Betting shops by the market in San Fernando and spend most of the day there. Whether he won or lost I never knew but this was an integral part of his weekly custom. And this is what he studied at his desk as well. There would be a pile of different racing books with detailed information about the horses and the conditions and the jockeys and he would spend long hours poring over these study materials in preparation for his Saturday morning pastime.