We’re kicking off the week with Tiana and Bora’s Oakland wedding inspired by the style of the 1940s Cotton Club. If you’re looking for a touch of retro inspiration, you’ve come to the right place!
Tiana’s accessories fit perfectly the 1940’s Cotton Club theme that she and Bora followed for their wedding – they even asked guests to dress in 1940’s attire to get everyone to feel part of the day.
What was the best advice you received as a bride? The best advice I received was to continuously show appreciation for my bridal party and during the wedding steal 15 minutes of private time with my new husband.
What advice do you have for other couples in the midst of planning a wedding? My advice to couples is to not let planning interfere with the beauty of being engaged. Also make sure your wedding is a reflection of you both and not someone else.
Do you have any budget tips for other brides? From a budget standpoint I would suggest tapping into creative people within your network of friends and family. Is someone you know a florist or a baker? Use them! It will help you save in the end.
If you had it to do over again, is there anything you would do differently? Nothing! I really loved it.
Why did you choose this location for your wedding? Choosing The Terrace Room in Oakland for our wedding was a no brainer. It tied in with our 1940s Cotton Club theme and looked out on Oakland’s most cherished site, Lake Merritt. We wanted to limit commute time for our guest so we decided to have the ceremony and the reception in the same location. Keeping everything at The Terrace Room maximized time and saved on cost.
“We both agreed that our ceremony needed to be quick but meaningful. We created our own template and made our own rules. It was important that our wedding be custom and a reflection of us as a couple”
Your ceremony in three words. Short, sentimental, non-traditional.
Who officiated your ceremony? Our officiant was my aunt. Family participation was key for us and my aunt was a crucial part of my upbringing. We couldn’t think of anyone more suitable.
What was your ceremony music?
Processional (groom and parents): “Night & Day” by Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald.
Processional (bride and bridal party): “Dream A Little Dream” by Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald.
Recessional: “LOVE” by Nat King Cole
What were your ceremony readings? We asked Bora’s sister Seda to give a reading and she surprised us by reading a quote from Bob Marley. It was flawless.
What were your vows like? Our vows were so incredibly different and in my opinion equally powerful. We both wrote them ourselves. I started writing mine a year before the ceremony while riding the New York metro one day; Bora wrote his while out on a terrace staring at the Oakland skyline, the night before the wedding.
What was your favorite thing about your ceremony? The best part of the ceremony to me were Bora’s vows. He got about 15 seconds into them and began to cry uncontrollably, but through the tears he sang Bill Wither’s “Lovely Day” to me. It moved me beyond deeply. I felt so enveloped in love – everyone else disappeared at that moment.
“Our reception was a beautiful blur and an absolute blast! Lots of laughs, tears, and smiles all around. Everyone’s energy was palpable and we both felt immense joy. We wanted our guests to engage and feel part of our important day, so we created a 1940’s themed wedding and asked our guests to dress up. We offered inspiration from musicians like Jospehine Baker and Duke Ellington and it worked!”
What was your first dance song? We danced to “So Amazing” by Luther Vandross.
What was your favorite moment or part of the reception? My favorite moment was dancing with my father. We’ve never danced together before. I will treasure that moment forever.
What type of cake or dessert did you serve? We’re not big on cake so we enjoyed personal banana caramel cheesecakes and eclairs. I’m obsessed with cheesecakes from Divine Slice and Bora can never pass up an éclair. EVER!
Please tell us about any other special details or moments from your reception. Another incredibly moment was when our fathers gave speeches. My father told a story from my childhood when I ran around the house with a roll of toilet paper. Bora’s father doesn’t speak English so as he delivered his speech in Turkish one of Bora’s cousins translated for him. I loved the dynamic.