It was during a graduate program at the University of Maryland that Bethel and Chinedum's paths first crossed. Throughout their studies a friendship was forged, forming a strong foundation of trust and support, that within time was also fortified with love. As their friendship evolved into love and romance their connection seemed destiny in action. It wouldn't be long before Chinedum was planning their perfect candle-lit proposal in South Africa...
Read all about Bethel & Chinedum's love story, proposal, and experiences in their elegant country club wedding in Dubai.
Bride & Groom: Bethel & Chinedum
Occupations: Human Resource Director & Managing Director
Wedding Date: December 21, 2016
Wedding Location: Al Badia Golf Club by Intercontinental, Festival City, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
How did you meet? We met in January 2010 during our MBA program at the Robert H. Smith School of Business, University of Maryland, College Park. As members of the same cohort, we were enrolled in the same course. This was the origin of our initial 3-year friendship that genuinely evolved to an exclusive relationship upon completion of the program. We also did a study abroad course in Dubai, through the same program, and shared a mutual connection to the destination.
Tell us about the proposal. We got engaged in February 2016. Chinedum lived in Lagos, Nigeria at the time while Bethel was in Ethiopia on an 8-month, work assignment. Bethel had a work trip planned to Johannesburg, South Africa and proposed that we make a vacation out of it in Capetown, South Africa. Chinedum figured it will be a perfect time and place. So he sourced an engagement ring through a good friend based in Dubai and had it sent to him in Nigeria prior to departing for Capetown. After contemplating several locations, including the top of Table Mountain, Chinedum chose an intimate, candle-lite dinner at a rooftop restaurant with an amazing view of Capetown. After the entrée, Bethel opened up her dessert and was surprised by the dazzling ring on top. Chinedum got down on one knee and the rest was history.
Describe your wedding attire. What was the wedding shopping experience like for you? We chose to have a multifaceted celebration that drew on our cultural heritage. However, Chinedum had 3 outfits for the day… a suit complete with a waistcoat and a embroidered jacket, a traditional outfit that drew inspiration from different Igbo groom attires and another traditional wear fit for grooms’ in the customary Ethiopian traditional wedding, the Melse. I had 3 outfits…a stunning white wedding gown, a custom-designed sleeveless dress for the Igbo traditional ceremony (Igba Nkwu Nwanyi) and a traditional attire for the bride during the Melse.
Did you incorporate any culture into your wedding? Our wedding was truly a celebration and tribute to our cultural heritage. I stems from an Eritrean and Ethiopian background while Chinedum hails from Nigeria, specifically the Igbo tribe. Our wedding reception was produced as an interactive musical with our bridal party as the cast and our guests as the audience. There were 3 segments of the wedding reception; the white wedding, Igba Nkwu Nwanyi (Igbo traditional marriage) and Melse (Ethiopian Traditional Marriage). Some dubbed it the East meets the West; referring to Eastern Africa (i.e. Ethiopia & Eritrea) meets Western Africa (i.e. Nigeria).
Wedding party gifts: Hosted our bridal party to a dinner on the eve of the wedding day. The bridesmaids also received customized silk bath robes with their names embroidered on it while the groomsmen got authentic Cuban cigars and high-grade cigar cutters.
Ceremony entrance song: “Diana” by Tekno, “Mama” by Kiss Daniel
First dance song: “The Color of Love” by Boyz II Men, “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” by Whitney Houston
What is your best memory from your wedding? The overwhelming joy that exuded from our guests as they laughed, sang, cheered, and danced as well as the genuine happiness displayed by the couple in an intimate setting with the sunset and Dubai skyline as our backdrop.
What is the best wedding advice you can give to engaged couples? Your wedding should be once in a lifetime so make the day a celebration for the both of
you, not about your guests. If you do so, you’ll share and cherish many memories.
Wedding dress designer: Brides & Babies
Ceremony location: St. Mary's Catholic Church
Reception location: Al Badia Golf Club
Photography: Anee Antelier
Videography: Violet Studios
Wedding Planner - The Couple
Cake: Al Badia Golf Club
Lighting: Iluma Lamps
Sound: ACD Events & Entertainment
Stationery: Janelle Tracy
Event Designer: The Couple
Groom & Groomsmen’s attire: Connossiour Paris
Couple’s Transportation: Imperial Car Rental
Guest Transportation: Lama Tours