We are only a few months shy from our Traditional being one year ago! One thing that I love about y’all, is that you all don’t let me forget about things I said I was going to do. I promised to share photos from our traditional that took place in December, but unfortunately didn’t have the time to do it before now. Shortly after the traditional, the holidays rolled around, then my birthday and bachelorette trips, then my bridal shower, and finally our wedding. Because we have so many beautiful memories from our traditional I’m going to separate them into two posts: Getting Ready, and then The Ceremony + Celebration.
Growing up I had many Nigerian friends, so I’m familiar with the culture, but planning a Nigerian traditional was truly a learning curve for me. Marrying into a Nigerian family can be viewed as a lot of things and it was a lot for me to adjust to. It’s a strong community and can be slightly overwhelming if you’re not familiar with it. My advice to women of other nationalities doing the same – be open minded EMBRACE IT! It’s such a beautiful and timeless culture worth learning from and experiencing. My in-laws were amazing in welcoming me and over time, it became more and more natural. I was eager to introduce this tradition to my American, Black and Mexican family and was prayerful that they’d see the beauty in it as well.
Makeup By: toniaoartistry
Separating the Two
Many couples combine their traditional and American weddings into a weekend, or even into one event on Saturday. For the most part, the traditional will be on a Thursday or Friday, and the American wedding will follow that Saturday. The thought of that that alone gives me anxiety. Nate and I agreed early on that we wanted each wedding to hold it’s own individuality. So our traditional would be just that, and our American wedding would be what we wanted it to be with no motivation. Nate’s birthday is December 1st, so we decided to have the traditional then – 4 months before our American wedding. In hindsight, I am so glad we did it this way. It allowed us to enjoy the celebrations entirely without having to switch our focus. It also allowed us to control guest count, since we opened up the traditional to everyone, we knew we’d have a concrete 150 guest count for our American wedding. Had we combined both into one weekend, we would’ve had so many guest carry over from our traditional, to our white wedding that we did not want to budget for.
Colors + Clothing
We got to choose the colors for our wedding attire. We did warm and rich tones of cream, red, golds, olives and chocolate. The wedding was in the winter, so we didn’t want any bright colors, but we also wanted it to feel regal and have a flow with everyone dressed in the room. I got both the olive fabric for the public, and the gold fabric for my bridal party from World Lace. The lace for my red dress was brought back from Dubai and my mother in law brought back the fabric from fabric from Nigeria. I had no experience with Nigerian celebrations or weddings as far as attire went, so I really had to rely on my mother and sister in law to communicate what I was wanting with whoever they were working with in Nigeria. Outside of the colors, I let go of trying to control every detail and let my in laws run with the show. Since we wanted to give a wedding ceremony vibe, I knew that my first outfit would be white like a typical bride. For our outfit change, we agreed on red because it’s such a standout and luxurious color when done right. The rich and elaborate colors of Nigerian weddings are hands down my favorite detail.
The Day Of
Traditionals usually say they’ll start at 5 or 6 pm, and end up beginning at midnight – so I knew I had all day to take my sweet time. I rented out a suite at the Omni hotel for all of my bridal party to meet before, have makeup done and get their gele’s tied. The videographers, photographers, make up artists and all of the girls began arriving one by one. The men met us at the hotel around six for group photos and the room was like a club! People making drinks, laughing, dancing, loud music playing; so I knew it’d be a good night just based off of the vibe. Unfortunately my head tie took longer than expected, so I didn’t get the chance to take any group photos. I ran down to the lobby for a minute before the boys left for the party hall to take some pictures with Nate. The buildup and anticipation was overwhelming! It was such an amazing start to one of the most beautiful nights Nate and I have shared together.
I’ll be posting a part II of our traditional that will take you guys through the ceremony and party. If you have any particular questions about the traditional, please do leave them below so I can make sure I answer them in detail.
Gorgeous photos provided by Jessica Dao Photography