Howie and Hakeem are one of those romantic stories of a serendipitous meetings. Their romance was forged from random circumstance (or fate) of sitting next to each other in a crowded bar on a Friday night. Five years later, Hakeem surprised Howie on their “meetiversary” with an engagement ring tucked inside a picnic basket. (She always wanted to have a picnic date.) They wanted an intimate wedding of close friends and family, and found the second floor of Haven’s Kitchen the best and only setting for the occasion.
How did Hakeem propose to you (assuming he was the one that proposed)?
Since we’d been together, I would always mention how much I wanted a picnic date and he’d always say, “Okay babe,” but our picnic date never happened. Every year, we celebrate the day we met and have coined that day as our “,eetiversary.” On our fifth “meetiversary,” Hakeem totally forgot about this significant date. Or, that is what genuinely thought. During conversations throughout the day, he was so nonchalant and never acknowledged the date. Of course, I’m annoyed, until, he surprised me with sushi from my favorite restaurant. After dinner, he presented me with a beautiful picnic basket set and tucked inside this beautiful picnic basket: an engagement ring! One of the best nights of my life.
What was the most important part of the wedding planning process for you?
When we began the wedding planning process, the most important thing was making sure we found the perfect venue that would be able to accommodate our small number of guests and provide on-site catering. It was also important for us to choose a venue that required little decoration. Because Haven’s Kitchen has so much character with a vintage feel, we didn’t have to worry about decorating the ceremony or reception space.
We wanted to make sure that everything from the music, food, décor and all around vibe, mirrored our personalities both as individuals and as a couple. We wanted everything to look effortless and Haven’s Kitchen did an amazing job of capturing that.
Finding out that Haven’s Kitchen was also a cooking school was the icing on the cake.
Hakeem loves bourbon, especially Woodford, so the Old Fashioned was an important cocktail on their menu.
How did you plan the menu?
Menu planning was one of our favorite things throughout the whole planning process. Because one of us is the clear foodie and one of us is a bit more sensible when it comes to food choices, we wanted to make sure that our menu reflected that as well.
We decided to honeymoon in Italy so naturally we wanted our guests to experience cuisine from that region, but also able to create a menu option for our guests that had dietary restrictions. During the menu planning process, David (Haven’s Kitchen Culinary Director) was genuinely interested in hearing our suggestions and thoughts on the menu and we really felt included during the process.
We wanted our family and close friends to feel like they were attending an amazing intimate and romantic dinner party and Haven’s Kitchen put a menu together that reflected who we are as a couple.
What were some of the details you were excited to see come to life as part of your wedding?
While we couldn’t wait to see everything pulled together, I was mostly excited to see the space and breathtaking flower arrangements that were personally created by the owner, Alison Cayne. The ambiance was one of romance and enchantment. It really was everything that we wanted and could not imagine at the same time. It was such a special night for us.
Haven’s Kitchen owner Alison Cayne did the florals for the wedding including this opulent garland above the marble mantle.
What have you learned about yourselves and each other in the last year as you’ve put together your wedding?
I think we’ve both learned to trust each other’s instincts more. There were times when we were indecisive about aspects during the planning process; but in the end we relied on one another to make the tough decisions.
Venue / Food / Event Management: Haven’s Kitchen
Photographer: A Guy + A Girl Photography
Her Dress: Christina Rossi
Her Shoes: Badgley Mischka
His Tux/Suit: Hugo Boss
His Shoes: Johnston Murphy
Flowers: Haven’s Kitchen
Her Hair: Shaniqua Jenkins
Her Make-Up: Janice Lindo
Cake: Empire Cake
For more photos from Howie and Hakeem’s wedding visit our new Instagram @weddingsathavenskitchen.