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A Wedding Co-ordinator’s Gift Registry

by Rosie Hurwitz
Bride Zeleka and Groom Ashley during their wedding reception at the RSA. Zeleka looks towards the guests seated on her left and smiles happily. Ashley sits to her right and wears black tie, Zeleka wears a strapless, fitted ivory lace dress.

Today on the blog we chat to the wonderful Zeleka Nadine, Co founder of The Wedding Day Coordinators and now a newly wed herself! Zeleka is originally from Birmingham and met her London-born-and-bred husband Ashley at university 18 years ago. They’ve been living in London for 14 years now and have two young daughters. Ashley is a property developer and Zeleka runs The Wedding Day Coordinators, specialising exclusively in wedding day management to take the stress out of on-the-day wedding co-ordination. Zeleka shares her tips for asking for cash instead of traditional gifts and why using a digital gift registry like Patchwork helps couples get what they really want!

Groom Ashley, a young black man with short hair and a beard is flanked by two groomsmen, also young black men, all wear black tie and smile at camera
Beautiful bride Zeleka stands holding a bouquet of flowers, wearing a strapless, fitted, ivory lace wedding dress, on both sides stand her bridesmaids, three young black women with long hair, wearing simple black dresses, also holding bouquets of cream flowers. They lean in towards each other, smiling.

What kind of wedding did you plan?

Our plans changed a lot from the beginning to what we actually ended up with. But it was an organic process which led us to a day which was perfect for us. We initially planned to get married at The Asylum and have the evening reception in the vaults at RSA House which I knew of through referring past couples to the space and our connection to Coco wedding venues. We went for a site visit at The Asylum and Ashley was laughing all the way through – he was like “my dad will think we’re pulling his leg if he walks into this derelict building”. As much as I loved it, it was a bit far to push our guests who aren’t exposed to the more quirky and unique venues that I work with!

So in the end we decided to do the ceremony and the reception at the RSA House. We planned a formal black tie chic city wedding where guests were encouraged to wear white and all decor was planned to enhance rather than transform the beauty of the space. The key focus was on family and all the details pointed to this.

Bride Zeleka and Groom Ashley during their wedding ceremony at the RSA. They hold hands and smile, Ashley wears black tie, Zeleka wears a strapless, fitted ivory lace dress
Bride Zeleka and Groom Ashley are showered with confetti as they leave the RSA after their wedding ceremony. They hold hands and are laughing happily. Ashley wears black tie and is holding a glass of champagne, Zeleka wears a strapless, fitted ivory lace dress.

What was your favourite part of the day?

Our wedding ceremony was my favourite part of the day – 100%. We decided to go with a celebrant, and booked Bex the Celebrant. She was amazing. Before the wedding we had to answer loads of questions – independently and together – giving loads of information about our journey, our stories, how we met. At the time it seemed like some of the information was meaningless, but she incorporated it all in to a really nice story about us that she shared with our guests.

Our daughters did a tying the knot ceremony with black and white satin ribbon. We had a reading from my mum which included an insert from Bob Marley, a self-made prayer from Ashley’s mum. My mum walked me down the aisle as well, so yes our ceremony was really beautiful.

We live streamed our ceremony as well, for those who couldn’t be there. We used a company who let you livestream it yourself which is a really cost effective way to do it.

Close up of table settings at Zeleka and Ashley's wedding at the RSA House, showing cream flowers and folioage and simple white tablecloth and glassware.
Bride Zeleka and Groom Ashley cut their wedding cake, a two tiered white iced cake with white floral design, at their wedding at the RSA. Ashley wears black tie, Zeleka wears a strapless, fitted ivory lace dress.

Why did you choose Patchwork for your wedding gift registry?

I’ve followed Patchwork as it’s evolved and I just love the freedom it gives you to practically build your own wedding gift list, honeymoon fund or whatever you want guests to contribute to. It could even be a loft extension or a rabbit hutch. I know from couples we’ve worked with previously, there’s always a kind of stigma around asking for money and there’s a struggle around getting the things you actually want. So I think it’s perfect for established couples who have been together for a long time. They probably already have a home and a family, and don’t necessarily need a toaster or a cooker or a John Lewis gift list with silver cutlery (do people even still do that?) I think it’s really important to be able to meaningfully ask for what you want. 

For us it was definitely more “we prefer your presence over presents”. But for those who wanted to gift something it was perfect.

A Patchwork Honeymoon Registry in an ipad, showing black and white graphic images of honeymoon experiences that can be funded by guests

What did you ask guests to contribute towards?

We didn’t want to have loads of physical gifts and cards to pack up on the day. We’re planning a honeymoon at some point so we invited guests to contribute towards some activities and treats while we are away. Our invitations were digital, so we were able to add the link from Patchwork to our Paperless Post invites which linked in beautifully. People were able to click and go straight to our Patchwork, and we could be really personal and quirky with it. So for example we had £20 towards ice-creams on the beach, £50 towards a massage by the pool, £500 towards the flights, and people donated what they wanted.
It felt a bit icky putting our bank details on the invite. Patchwork was a nice way of softening it.

Groom Ashley, a young black man with short hair and a beard is flanked by groomsmen and male guests, all wear black tie. They walk down a London street towards the camera, smiling.

What was the reaction to your Patchwork?

People loved the design of it and I’ve used our Patchwork now as a guide for other couples. I showed one of the brides I’m working with on wedding day management how she can use Paperless Post and Patchwork together and she was like “oh my God that’s brilliant; that’s exactly how I want mine done”. So we’ve now used our honeymoon fund Patchwork as a template. It something additional we can add to our service, and at the same time we’re working with a platform which we have tried and tested. It’s nice to be able to say to our couples that from first hand experience we know, love and trust Patchwork. We’re including Patchwork gift registry in an introductory document we’re designing for couples to help them see how they can plan and organise their wedding with ease.

Zeleka, a beautiful young black woman and her fiancé Ashley, a young black man sit outside in the sunshine. Both wear blue and white and are looking towards their left, away from camera. Zeleka sits on a hip-height stone wall and Ashley leans against it.

And what are the plans for your Patchwork gift money?

Hopefully next year, depending on how everything goes with travel and the pandemic we’re looking at Mauritius or Trinidad & Tobago. We’ve got some family and friends in Trinidad & Tobago. It’s going to be a honeymoon with our girls… and maybe a few days on one of the islands for just me and Ash 🙂

Thanks so much Zeleka and Ashley for sharing your story with us. If you’d like to create a honeymoon fund or gift registry you can sign up to Patchwork today and ask for what you REALLY want. Plus, we donate 50% of our sign up fee to your choice of one of three environmental charities. If you need someone to take all the stress out of wedding day logistics, check out Zeleka’s co-ordination services so you can just relax and enjoy your day!

Here are some of the amazing suppliers that made Zeleka and Ashley’s day extra special:

On the day coordinators: The Wedding Coordinators
Decor: The Wedding Coordinators
Celebrant: Bex the celebrant
Photography: Zaki Charles
Hair: Deborah Lola
MC: Travis Jay
Flowers: Ramels florist
Cake: Charlene at Cherry Tree Cakery
Zeleka’s Dress: Love Bridal, Crystal Palace
Venue: RSA House
Caterers: CH & Co
Groomsmens’ suits and Ashley’s tuxedo: TuxLux

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