Friday, March 22, 2013

Angola Wedding - Diamond (White and Silver) Theme

Angola is home to some of the most gracious people in Africa and has many secrets to share. Like the Tazua Falls, in Rio Cuango; it is one of Angola's richest sources of gem diamonds. Diamond mines are a big part of Angola's appeal and has also been the cause of some wars over who controls them. For a wedding, the sparkling gems make a perfect theme to work with and the Tazua Falls is a beautiful scene to set a wedding around.

Any bouquet with diamonds in it would work beautifully. Usually, the most common flower to get decorated with diamonds is the rose. With the theme being diamonds, and diamonds rarely having colour to them a obvious choice would be white roses, however red roses would be a great choice as well because of high much the diamonds are highlighted against the brightness of the red. 

The Dress:
Wedding dresses have grown far past the traditional wedding chapel dress. A great dress for this wedding would be a strapless one (especially if the wedding is closer to the equator and in the summer time) with beautiful sparkling gems all over. Like the Night Moves 6439 Prom Dress, even though it say for Prom, it is available in white and would make an amazing and cheap wedding dress. (It's also available in blue and pink which could be a great option for bride's maids or maid of honors.)

The Shoes:
A great shoe for a diamond wedding would be Lava Lollipop. These shoes are "Blinged" out and would also be a great option if the couples chooses to incorporated silver into their wedding. If the couple is already married and just having a ceremony in Angola, getting bride's maids and grooms man may be too much of a problem and the couple may choose not to ask anyone. In this case, matching wouldn't be as big of a deal and it would be perfectly fine to ask the mothers to dress in a colour matching the wedding theme (in this case silver or white, however white is often reserved for the bride alone, red may also be a colour the couple chooses because of the beauty in the roses coupled with the diamond accents.)

Make up, hair, nails and accessories:
Make up for a diamond wedding should be kept simple so it doesn't take away everything else going on with the bride. Natural and clear make up would work best possibly with a little glitter for a nice twinkle.With a strapless dress, it is always best to have a necklace of some sort so the chest isn't left completely bare. A beautiful necklace would be the Diamond Journey Pendent. Not only is it breathtaking but it is in the shape of a ring and has diamond to the left completing the circle. 

Hairstyles are always easy to fine, every magazine has its opinion. For a strapless dress, long hair being down and flowing past the shoulders is always a good look to go with. In this case a perfect accessory would be a diamond tiara. The bride can have her hair down, have the tiara in and even add a veil if she so chooses. And it would all work well together, and complete the look. 

Tiara's now are often something a bride chooses to go for, and on her special day why not. But some tiara's stand out from all the rest. Instead of the tiara in the photo, a great option for a diamond wedding would hands down be the Antique Silver Tiara from Wedding Mountain. It is breathtakingly gorgeous and is not as expensive as one would think. 

The Groom:
For this wedding, the groom would look spectacular in a white suit, coupled with a silver (or gray) vest and tie. It all tied into the diamond, sparkling theme and would complement the business of the bride's dress well and it would match perfectly with mother of the bride/groom dresses or wedding party dresses. Diamond cufflinks can get very expensive very quickly and are surprisingly hard to find sometimes. The best option in cases like this is to go with something more personal and slightly simpler. A nice, clean cut square silver (or white gold) cufflink with the groom's initial engraved on it would be perfectly fine and would accent well with a white suit. 

The Invitations:
Any out of town/state/country guests would really appreciated a Save the Date card, especially if the couple really wants certain people there, it gives the guests time to make arrangements like flight plans, house sitters, booking days of work, etc so that they can make it to the wedding. After the Save the Date cards, a formal invitation should be sent to all the guests (even the ones that already got the Save the Date card). The Silver White Diamond Hearts Invitations from Zazzle is a great option for a diamond wedding and it is absolutely gorgeous. Buying everything individual is often hard to match things completely, however Zazzle does a great job with creating similar items and matching them up as best they can, the RSVP card matches and anything else the bride and groom chooses to send out can easily be sent out on a stationary sets. 

Photographer and Videographer:
If Angola is not the home country of the bride or groom or anyone they know, finding a photographer and videographer will be a tricky task. Asking a local company really isn't the best way to go because a couple that isn't local has no idea who to get and who has a track record of taking great pictures. Asking a person to travel around the world just to shoot pictures and/or video would cost a small fortune. The best thing to do is to ask friends and family if they have any experience with taking pictures (beyond the point and shoot that everyone can master), it would be a lot cheaper if an already invited guest could take pictures for the big day. But just because they are there anyways, offering to pay them a small fee, or asking them do to it as a wedding present could go along way to getting someone to agree to do it. However if that is not an option or the bride and groom would rather try and find a professional there is always listings on the internet. The best way to find a photographer on the internet is to see a portfolio of the photographers work.

In Angola, there is a strong cultural tradition of the asking of the hand of the bride in marriage called Alambamento or bride price. Considered by some more important that the civil or religious marriage, the Alambamento consists of a series of rituals, like the delivery of a letter with the request for the hand of the bride, which sometimes comes with money. 
When the young couple decides to marry, it is necessary to have the approval of the bride's family and this is only possible if, during the request, everybody is in agreement that the marriage should happen. The young couple sets the date of the request. This date is agreed upon by the aunt and uncle of the bride, as it is necessary to bring together the whole family, and a list is delivered to the groom of all the things he must get before the day of the request. It is a list drawn up by the uncles as a report of the things the groom needs to "buy" to offer the family of the bride as compensation for all that has been spent on her since her birth up to her wedding day. Basically, it is a dowry that represents a valuable asset because the greater the payment, the higher the prestige of the bride.
The day of the request is set and the groom goes out in search of all the materials so that nothing is lacking on the day. Usually on the list is an envelope of money (300-500 USD/CAD), depending on what amount the uncle stipulates, the height of the bride in cases of beer, the height of the bride in cases of soft drinks or juice, a goat, a suit for the uncle and some shoes for the mother. The requests can be even greater in value if the groom has "jumped through the window", meaning that the bride is pregnant before the wedding. 
When the day comes, the family of the groom (father, mother, uncles, aunts, brothers, and sisters) go to the house of the bride, and her uncle, as if he were a judge. Once all the introductions are made, the bride's uncle informs them that they will begin the request for marriage. The parents of the bride invite the parents of the groom to enter and the uncle begins the reading of the request presented by the groom. If the father of the bride agrees with this request, the groom will need to go get the Alambamento, the list of things that he got together. The Alambamento is presented and if everything is completed a meeting is held to pick the date of the marriage and other logistical details. Once everything is settled, there is singing and dancing and celebrating, usually this is when the beer and soft drinks the groom collected would come in handy (Alambamento).

From that day on, if everything goes well, the couple becomes man and wife. Arriving at the wedding, some couples tie the knot wearing traditional clothes and some prefer to use the famous suit and tie with bride's wearing the traditional white dress. As an alternative to a veil, the bride will appear under a piece of cloth, to test if her husband really recognizes her (Angola). A veil could be an alternative to a piece of cloth also, as long as it is long enough to cover the bride's face.
A beautiful, and somewhat well known church in Angola would be the Church of St. Joaquim, in the Praia do Bispo (Bishop Beach). It is a beautiful church and a sight to see even if the couples chooses not to get married in a church (Angola Wedding). 

Exchanging rings may or may not be a part of Angola's tradition (depending on what part of Angola), but if the couple wants to incorporated it into their day than it is always a nice tradition to follow. With the theme being diamond, naturally the rings should be filled with diamonds (or Cubic Zirconium) .

A beautiful place for the reception would be Espaco, Che, in the Miramar neighborhood, where all the embassies in Luanda are. It is a beautiful place, safe because of it's closeness to the embassies and an idea place for a wedding reception. 

Angolan receptions aren't usually similar to an American or Canadian wedding, but certainly other aspects of one culture can be incorporated into the wedding. A guest book for example, a money box, and table numbers with place cards.


Food: (Angolan Cuisine) 
Food in Angola often varies based on what part of the country a person is in, so certain dishes may be more likely served at a northern wedding than a southern one (the venue may also have it's own specialties as well.) Some common dishes include Moamba de Galinha (or chicken moamba) it is chicken with palm paste, okra, garlic and red palm oil sauce, often served with rice and funge. Both funge and moamba de galinha have been considered the national dish of Angola. Other dishes common in Angolan cuisine include: Arroz (rice) dishes, including Arroz da Llha (rice with chicken or fish), Arroz de Garoupa da Llha (rice with grouper), and Arroz de Marisco (white rice with seafood, typically prawns, squid, white fish or lobster). Cabidela (a dish cooked in blood, served with rice and funge; frequently chicken - Galinha de Cabidela, Galinha a Cabidela - served with vinegar, tomatoes, onion and garlic. Caldeirada de Peixe, fish stews (made with ''whatever is available'' and served with rice, and muzongue, made from whole dried and fresh fish cooked with palm oil, sweet potato, onion, tomato, spinach, and spices.) 

Calulu, dried fish with vegetables (often onions, tomatoes, okra, sweet potatoes, garlic, palm oil, and gimboa leaves) served with rice, funge, palm oil beans and farofa. Caruru, a shrimp and okra stew. Catatos, caterpillar fried with garlic (served with rice). Chikuanga, bread (made from manioc flour) served in a wrap of banana leaves (a specialty of the north). Cocada amarela, yellow coconut pudding (made with sugar, grated coconut, egg yolks, and ground cinnamon. Farofa, rice and beans w3ith toasted manioc flour on top. Feijao de Oleo de Palma or Dendem (beans, onions, and garlic cooked in palm oil) often served with fish, banana and farofa. Frango, grilled chicken in a very hot marinade of piri piri hot pepper and sometimes also minced chili peppers, salt and lemon or lime juice. Gafanhotos de Palmeira, toasted grasshopper from a palm tree, served with funge. Jinguinga, goat tripe and blood, served with rice and funge. Kifula, game meat (served with boiled and toasted palm tree grasshoppers) served with funge.   


Kissuto Rombo, roasted goat (with garlic and lemon juice) served with rice and chips. Kitetas, clams (cooked in a white wine sauce) served with bread. Kizaka, the leaves of the manioc plant (prepared with ginguba - peanuts - and finely chopped and seasoned Kizaka com Peixe with fish, onion and tomato) served with rice and funge. Leite Aaedo com Pirao de Milho, a Huila specialty, sour milk with maize  porridge. Mafuma, frog meat. Mariscos Cozidos com Gindungo, a seafood dish (lobsters, prawns, and clams cooked in seawater) served with rice and hot sauce. Mufete de Kacusso (or Cacusso) is grilled fish, often river tilapia, (in a rich sauce of onion, vinegar, and spices) served with palm oil beans and cooked manioc, rice, sweet potato, or farofa. Quiabos com Comarao, (prawns with okra, garlic, onion, and tomato) served with rice. Tarco, radishes w3ith peanuts, palm oil, tomatoes and onions served alongside meat or fish.

The Cake:
With silver being part of the theme, a great idea for the cake would be to make it completely silver. Though not traditional, the string of pearls around each layer and the diamond decorations show up better on a coloured back ground. The cake below, is beautiful and still sparkles without taking away from the diamonds around the cake. 

Great flavours to match the theme would be White Chocolate Coconut Rum Cake with a Vanilla Bean Frosting. And both are simple to make. (Cake: 1 cup of Sugar, 1/3 cup of Butter/Margarine, 2 Eggs, 2 table spoons of Malibu Coconut Rum, 1 1/2 cup of Flour, 2 tea spoon of Baking Powder, 1 cup of Milk, 1 table spoon Vanilla Extract. Cook at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out relatively clean.)  The couple may not want double layered cake levels, which is fine, the cake would be all in one and more of a Coconut Rum cake (still delicious). To make the white chocolate part of the cake it would consist of layering each level, e.i cake, white chocolate filling, cake, new tear (smaller cake on top/new level). (White Chocolate filling: 3.5 ounces of   White Chocolate, 1 table spoon of Malibu Coconut Rum, fill sauce pan with water and let boil on medium high heat add chocolate and rum to a mixing bowl on to of the boiling water until melted (add teaspoons of water if the mixture becomes too thick), add the chocolate and rum mixture to 1 1/2 sticks of Soften Butter, 4 tablespoons of Milk, 1 1/2 cups Confectioner Sugar. *One third of the icing should be enough for each layer, depending on size*)  Since there is so much going on with the cake, a simple vanilla bean frosting or buttercream would work well with this cake. (Buttercream: 1/2 cup Unsalted Butter, 4 cups Powdered Sugar, 1/2 tea spoon of Salt, 1/3 cup of Whole Milk, 1 tea spoon of Vanilla Extract or one Vanilla Bean.)

The Completely Covered Heart cake topper is sterling silver and covered in clear crystals, they are not diamonds but they look like diamonds and sparkle like them too at a cheaper cost. The topper is absolutely stunning and would match well with the Diamond Knife and Server Set, and the Diamond Ring Toasting Flouts.

Guest Favours:
The perfect guest favour for this wedding naturally would be diamond. However the cost of real diamond for each guest would get a little insane. A great alternative would be a Crystal Heart Paperweight. It is beautiful, handy and looks like a diamond, it would match the theme well and isn't a traditional thank you gift so guests will be talking about them and how creative they are.

A wonderful box for the Crystal Heart would be a Frosted Box. It is just frosted enough so the guests can see through, but still gives the light, diamond feeling and will leave a little to the guests imagination as appose to a see through box. Another great details would be Rhinestone monogram stickers, they carry the diamond them and would be the main attention grabber on the frosted boxes. 

The Personalized Diamond Paperweights would be a great gifts for the wedding party and the parents of the bride and groom. They can be personalized to say almost anything and it would be beautiful to write the wedding date on it with the couples name. It's a great gift and it's beautiful to display and would go well as a decoration or as an office accessory. Also another great gift would be to pay for the mother-of-the-bride/groom's dress. A great dress that would match the diamond theme (and the silver theme) would be the Silver Evening Dress P1439.

Candles always give off a glow in the centerpieces and for a wedding that highlights diamonds and sparkle a candle centerpiece is almost a must (using white roses in this case). And to add a little piece of the theme, why not add assorted crystal diamonds to the bottom of the centerpiece bowl. But, in this case, the centerpiece won't be the thing that seals the show. Having tealight candles around the table in diamond tealight candle holders would be a perfect accent to the centerpieces and the frosting on the cake has to be randomly scattered diamond confetti and table diamonds

(Table Diamonds and Diamond Confetti)

Thank You Cards:
Every couple should sent out (or call depending on their traditions) a Thank You card to there guests. It's a nice way to tell family and friends that their gift and just all around presence at the wedding was very much appreciated. Thank You cards don't have to always match the invitation set and they don't even really have to match the theme. Some couples choose to send a picture from their wedding with a personalized note or a post card showing where they honeymooned. Anything is fine, its the juster that people care about. 

Things to do:
Angola's capital city Luanda is one of the most expensive cities to live in worldwide. However, it offers a great nightlife for its residents and guests through its beautiful night clubs and hotels which are close to the coast and the beaches as well. During the day there is a lot of activity on the beaches while the night is significant with the music playing in the night clubs. Lona National Park is Angola's largest national park and it borders the Atlantic Ocean which means it provides enough water for its animals that inhabit the park. The park also features very beautiful desert sand dunes and a wide variety of species of birds. Poaching during the world war reduced the number of large mammals but the park has been recovering from this over the years. There is a bungalow that is built in the middle of the Kissama National Park where guests can stay and enjoy the wilderness while getting pampered on the balconies of the bungalow. The Kissama National Park is located about 70km south of the capital city, Luanda and it is home to a very wide variety of animals including the rare black palanca antelope. The entire Angolan landscape is magnificent because it feature unusual rock patterns that are a huge attraction, waterfalls that are magnificent, very steep gorges and the magnificent Namib Desert itself. 

The next country alphabetically would be Antarctica. However because of the fact that it's average tempurature is always close to -65 degrees Fahrenheit it is not a good idea to do much of anything there let alone get married (Antarctica). 

Moving on, the next country alphabetically would be Antigua and Barbuda, in the Carribeans!