Tradition is a bridge, connecting the past to the future. By its path the lives of our ancestors remain present and forever unforgotten. To honor tradition within the most important moments of our lives is to give thanks to all those before us whose actions helped shape the world in which we live.
Read all about the beauty of Nigerian tradition in Chisom & Izu’s idyllic chapel wedding in Nashville, Tennessee – beautifully captured by MunaLuchi Coterie photographer Fotos by Fola.
Bride & Groom: Chisom & Izu
Wedding Date: 07/23/2016
Wedding Location: Nashville, TN
Occupations: Izu – Physician, Chisom – Physician
Tell us how you met and all about the proposal. Proposal story: Izu and I both belong to the Igbo tribe, a major cultural group from Nigeria. Our proposal paid honor to our culture’s tradition of honoring our parents’ wishes with every step of marriage. Our proposal had multiple steps, but began in May 2015 when Izu brought his father, along with the male elders of his family to meet my father, as well as male elders from my own family. Izu’s father made the desire of his son to marry me known to my father, after which they discussed traditional marriage rites for hours on end. Ultimately, our traditional bride price was agreed upon, and Izu and I were actually married in a traditional Igbo sense by the agreement of our families.
Fast forward to June 21, 2015. At the time, our relationship was still long distance, and I traveled to spend a week of vacation with him in Memphis. In hindsight, he was anxious all week! One would think he would be calm knowing that I already wanted to marry him- our traditional marital rites had already been done. Nonetheless, he was so giddy and clearly had something else on his mind all week. He took me to visit his family halfway through that vacation, and I had such a great time I delayed our trip back to Memphis by an additional day. Little did I know, I ruined plans that he made of proposing that evening when we returned to Memphis. The next day when we returned to Memphis, he whispered softly to me, “Will you marry me?” I replied yes in a joking, very matter of fact way. Of course, I wanted to marry him! He then gave me a black jewelry box and asked me to marry him again. At this point, I was laughing hysterically- still thinking that we were playing around. He then asked again- and presented me the most beautiful ring I’ve ever seen. On that day, in a room with just the two of us, I said yes to my future husband.
What was wedding shopping like for you? Wedding dress shopping for me was initially overwhelming! I had watched so many episodes of a popular show where brides try on wedding gowns prior to selecting “the one”, and I just expected the experience to be different than it ultimately was. My first time looking for a dress was in Nashville- and I fell in love with the most beautiful dress on a mannequin. But, after it didn’t look as perfect on me as I thought it would, I realized that finding the right dress is much like many other things when it comes to planning a wedding- it’s very much a process.
Little did I know, the very next time I went looking for my dress would be the last time. The first dress I tried on- a beaded mermaid dress by Lazaro- was everything I had ever wanted in my dress. I wore that dress to say “I do” to my groom one year later.
Did you incorporate any culture into your wedding? Of course! After all, no Nigerian wedding is complete without the bride/groom changing outfits halfway through the reception. Ours was no exception. Halfway through the reception, I changed out of my wedding dress and Izu changed out of his tuxedo, and we donned our new attire (and honestly, my favorite of the night)- a glittery, royal blue ensemble with shades of silver and light blue. Our entire wedding party changed as well into ankara fabric with shades of dark pinks, purples, and reds. Our second entrance was just as regal as the first. Love reliving it in pictures!
Bridesmaids/Groomsmen gifts: Bridesmaids: ankara fabric, jewelry; Groomsmen: native Igbo attire
Favorite item on the menu: Nigerian jollof rice, of course!
First dance song: Maxwell- “Stop the World”
What is your best memory from your wedding? My favorite memory from the wedding was the three hours of nonstop dancing at the end of the reception. At a point in the night, I was dancing around barefoot in a circle with my bridesmaids without a care in the world. I turned around to see that a swarm of my husband’s friends had hoisted my groom into the air. They carried him in the air as they danced for much of one of our favorite songs. Truth be told, our reception was the party of our lives, and we still reminisce over moments from that party today.
What is the best wedding advice you can give to engaged couples? Enjoy the process, and don’t rush it!! At a point, wedding planning can truly become such a task. It starts out exciting, but as the planning becomes more detailed and the stress starts to build, you begin to forget what it’s all about. The truth is- your wedding isn’t special because of the hours you spend obsessing over your colors, or time you spend designing and redesigning your cake. It’s special because you finally found the right one, and never will there ever be a love story like yours.
Wedding dress designer: Lazaro
Wedding dress salon: Bridals by Lori
Bridesmaids dresses: David’s Bridal
African fabrics: Eleganza fashions
Tailor: Sarah Odingo
Hair: Selacia Martin Makeup: Emeka Willis
Shoes: Christian Louboutin
Ceremony location: Wightman Chapel, Nashville, TN
Reception location: Cool Springs Convention Center of Franklin Marriott
Photography: Fotos by Fola
Videography: Genetix Digitial Films
DJ: DJ Jay Oh
Wedding planner/event designer: Lindsy Read, Music City Events
Florist: Knestrick by Design
Cake: Dorea Johnston
Stationery: Bibi Invitations