Meet the lovely American Brooke and the delightfully Canadian Nigel.
They are a wonderful, educated, worldly couple whose Hilton Head beach wedding blended the best of both worlds.
The couple met at Oxford University, where Brooke was working at the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship. Nigel was a Skoll Scholar; “one of 5 MBAs to receive this prestigious award, and in fact the youngest person ever accepted into the Oxford MBA,” his proud wife said.
Nigel certainly proposed with panache. He took Brooke to her very favorite restaurant in New York City, Babbo, run by famed chef Mario Batali. Nigel ordered Brooke’s favorite Babbo meal: the 8-course pasta-tasting menu. How delicious was it?
“It is one of two meals responsible for turning me back to meat after 15 years of vegetarianism!” Brooke said.
Between the seventh and eighth courses, a waiter mysteriously appeared with a bottle of champagne and two glasses.
“Nigel got down on one knee in the middle of a crowded restaurant, much to my embarrassment,” Brooke said. “Word were exchanged, promises were made. We were so excited to tell our friends and family that we immediately called our parents from the restaurant. As soon as dinner was over, we stopped by a friends house to wake them up and tell them!”
The wedding and celebrations — a lavish, 10-day affair — was a triumph of logistics and labor of love for both families. Nigel, an entrepreneur, heads marketing and technology operations for a financial consultancy. Brooke is working for Oxford through November, then looking for work in San Francisco, where they are settling after the wedding. So planning a wedding — plus a move across continents — was nothing short of daunting.
“We did so many things ourselves,” Brooke said, noting that the wedding party worked insane hours the week before the wedding to pull it all together.
“Nigel did the wedding website. His mom, grandmother and aunt did the flowers. Nigel’s parents hosted the rehearsal barbecue at our house, and my parents hosted the morning-after brunch at the house. My brother was master of ceremonies for the event.
“We had friends and family fly in from all over the world. Our wedding was the culmination of 10 days of events, including a group golf lesson, a sail on an America’s Cup sailboat, a trip to Savannah including a pedal-powered pub crawl and a ghost tour, a grilled-cheese tournament, and beach yoga, among other things,” Brooke said.
The couple moved to the United States just before the wedding. Their wedding day, Sept. 22, had special meaning for both of them.
“We chose Sept. 22 as our wedding date because it is the autumnal equinox,” Nigel said. “This has metaphorical significance for us because it is the date on which day and night are equal length — a meeting of opposites as equals. The equinox is also the time of year when the length of the days are changing most rapidly, which mirrors the rapid change in our lives.”
Having just moved from England to the United States, their honeymoon consisted of packing all of their worldly belongings into their car and moving across the country.
“We started in New Orleans, where we had so much fun that we made ourselves sick. A cooking tour and cocktail tour were highlights. Then we were off to Ada, Oklahoma, to visit the Chickasaw Nation.” (Brooke is a Native American.)
Next up: Albuquerque, New Mexico, with a one-week rest in Scottsdale, Arizona. Then off to California, finally settling in San Francisco.
“I’ve never been more exhausted, or more happy,” Brooke said.
The couple said the honeymoon is especially fitting as Nigel is Canadian, and moving to the United States for the first time. Seeing the whole country on their honeymoon is a wonderful introduction to the people and landscape that make up this country.
“I can’t think of a more perfect way to spend two weeks, especially after two years away from the United States,” said Brooke “I’ve really enjoyed revisiting some of my favorite cities, as well as exploring new areas of the country with Nigel. It has been an amazing experience so far.”
What was the best thing about their wedding day? They both wanted to answer this one:
1. The fact that it ended with me as Nigel’s wife, of course.
2. Being able to see Nigel before the ceremony, which calmed me down and allowed me to enjoy the ceremony.
3. The cake!
4. Spending a quiet moment with Nigel during the boat exit and just holding him tight after a completely chaotic ten days.
5. The fact that I got to spend so much quality time with people whom I adore. The wedding itself was a blur, so I was so glad to have the time before the wedding, and the time getting ready on Saturday, to catch up with friends and family that I hadn’t seen in a while.
“When I got to kiss Brooke after we were pronounced man and wife.”