They say that your wedding day is the most important day of your life. I can’t say that’s particularly the case but I can say that it’s one of the most anticipated. My husband and I were engaged on March 12 and married just five months later in August of this year. Since my husband is from Nigeria, we quickly began segmenting ways to have an intercultural wedding that both sides of our family would enjoy.
My family, also a happy accumulation of backgrounds with German roots, was beginning to send texts full of excitement and encouragement a week before the big day. Seemingly every hour I received another tear filled note from a loved one telling me how important it was to marry a man who loved God more than he loved me. They were right. Additionally, I received messages from my bridesmaids and mother asking about hairstyles and dress alterations, to which I had few answers. It’s amazing how the details of an event can fade away in light of marrying the man of your dreams. “How are the wedding plans coming,” everyone would ask. “As long as the building doesn’t burn down, everything is looking up. It’s not that details don’t matter, but rather they fade away when you’re considering lifelong commitment to another soul.
Day of, my hunger got a hold of me. Note for future brides: eat before you arrive. My maid of honor, a jewel of woman, drove me around town in search of food that I didn’t even know I wanted. I kept saying, “I just need coffee. I’m dwindling.” All of this, of course, in a joking way. My lady of honor smuggled me some McDonald’s french fries and suddenly I felt like me again. I didn’t feel an ounce of nerves until an hour before the ceremony. Where I had been boasting calm composure suddenly turned into shaking hands while curling my hair. I was beginning to get butterflies.
The moment that I stepped into the ceremony aisle for my entrance, I could hear a small hush among my loved ones and for a brief moment caught a tear from the eye of the man I was going to marry. Gripping into my father’s arm, I knew it was finally time to become Janiece Okpobiri. My ankles shook a little walking toward the aisle knowing that my vows would have to be read allowed for all to hear and my husband and I were joint in a commitment before God that we would love one another as true Christians after His own heart.
“YOU’RE THE MAN THAT I WANT TO BE LED BY,” I TOLD HIM.
A traditional Nigerian wedding involves hours of dancing. It honestly involves far more hours of dancing than my vintage heels would allow. Our reception outfits were custom made and were coordinated by my mother-in-law. The beautiful materials draped layer up on layer for decadent folds of color. We invited friends and family to dance with us. It’s customary for guests to spray money on the newly weds as a sign of love, celebration, and blessing. My family, many of which have never seen a Nigerian celebration, embraced the event with wide eyes and warm hugs.
NOTHING TOPS TWO FAMILIES OF DIFFERENT ORIGINS COME TOGETHER TO SHARE A MOMENT OF WEDDED LOVE.
Venue: The Orion Ballroom
Photographer: Destinyrose Photography
Wedding Coordinator: Gynger Dorsey