While visiting Johannesburg in 2017, Rahiel spotted an African print boutique in the Braamfontein area. Briefly stopping in she perused the shelves before continuing on her way – a seemingly trivial moment that would come to shape the rest of her life. When a few months later, Rahiel was in need of tailoring services she remembered the boutique shop. After returning, the owner began making custom clothing for her, and it was during her third visit to the shop when she noticed a “tall, dark and handsome Zambian man” who took her breath away. Gideon, a fashion designer himself, was the youngest brother of the shop owner. The connection between Rahiel and Gideon was immediate, and within a few weeks they were going on their first date. In Rahiel’s words, “it was definitely love at first sight…”
Continue reading all about Rahiel and Gideon, featured in the Fall 2018 issue of MunaLuchi Bride magazine.
Bride & Groom: Rahiel & Gideon
Occupations: Media Strategist, Founder/Publisher: Urban Cusp & Founder/Head Designer: I am Deovolente
Wedding Location: Johannesburg, South Africa
Wedding Date: September 3rd 2018
Photographer: Xavier Saer
For Gideon, he knew he wanted to marry Rahiel from the first date, asking her that evening if her mother would consent to her “marrying someone who was not Eritrean.” It wasn’t long before they were discussing engagement ring choices and attending pre-engagement counseling, so Rahiel was well aware of a proposal on the horizon – but when it would occur she had no idea. After Christmas and New Years passed without a proposal she was even more caught off guard when it finally took place. On the fourth of January, while having dinner with a friend at an outdoor restaurant in Johannesburg, Rahiel noticed her friend starring over her shoulder. When Rahiel turned to see what was capturing their attention she saw Gideon, kneeling down with a ring in hand. Gideon’s best friend was also present recording the moment as Gideon asked Rahiel for her hand in marriage. In Rahiel’s words, “I immediately started crying and screaming at the top of my lungs out of shock…no matter how ready I thought I was – nothing prepared me for that breathtaking moment.”
Like Gideon, Rahiel knew he was “the one” from the beginning. Being a Christian Minister and seminary graduate, it was important to Rahiel that her husband share her passion for faith, and Gideon’s biblical knowledge was impressive. Gideon possessed all the qualities Rahiel desired in a partner, and even some she hadn’t realized she wanted until meeting him. In her words, “as I learned more about him and his life story, I came to believe that God had been preparing us for one another our entire lives.”
Their beautiful Pan-African wedding in Johannesburg honored all sides of their cultural histories while directly incorporating their Eritrean, Zambian, Black American and South African heritages – all expressed through music, attire and overall wedding day aesthetics. The wedding weekend began with Rahiel’s Zambian initiation into marriage; an all-women gathering led by the Zambian elder women of Gideon’s family. During the wedding ceremony Rahiel was gorgeous in an off-the-shoulder, rose-gold couture wedding dress with a deep v-neckline and mermaid silhouette, incorporating her Eritrean culture in a traditional “Albaso” hairstyle, as well as jewelry and henna art. Being a fashion designer, Gideon designed his own suite; a soft tweed black and gold-infused suit trimmed with brocade silk. He also designed the bridesmaids’ South African Xhosa inspired dresses with Cleopatra inspired beaded accessories, and the groomsmen’s African print accessories.
Wedding Flowers: King protea, Casablanca lilies, roses, snow dawns and snapdragons
Favorite Item on Menu: Mint chocolate and granadilla ice cream
Wedding Party Gifts: African print bow ties, pocket squares and stoles (for groomsmen); Cleopatra-inspired beaded necklaces and bracelets, Africa-shaped earrings, gold-plated studs and South African beauty products (for bridesmaids)
First Dance Song: “Victory Belongs to Jesus” by Todd Delaney
Best Memories: My favorite memory from the wedding was when I sat in the horse drawn carriage awaiting my bridal entrance. The energy coming from the all white chapel nestled in a forest was pulsating with the sound of djembe drumming and celebratory ululations. Then I watched from afar as my bridal party marched towards the chapel as Selah’s “Draw Me Lord” played. Tears flooded my eyes once I realized that the day I had waited for my entire life was now upon me. The a cappella opening to Nina Simone’s “Feeling Good” was the que that started the carriage ride off. Once “In a Sentimental Mood” by Duke Ellington and John Coltrane started, my brother was escorting me into the chapel. Waiting at the altar with tear-filled eyes and shaking hands was the man of my dreams. I had envisioned these details for so long but living through every minute of them will always be one of the best experiences of my life.
Advice for Engaged Couples: Don’t forget to prepare for the sustainability of your marriage as you prepare for your big day. I would encourage all engaged couples to have some form of long-term counseling. We did pre-engagement and premarital counseling that spanned months. These sessions fostered important dialogue and led to lots of homework that helped us learn a lot about one another. About a month prior to our wedding day, we wrote down our shared vision for marriage and discussed our expectations. We went into our marriage with a biblical understanding of the lifelong commitment ahead of us.
Advice for Brides: Be a gracious, joy-filled bride from beginning to end. Cherish every second of this season of your life and of your wedding day because it will go by so fast and you can never get it back again. Make sure that you and your groom have a clear, shared vision of your wedding day, as that will determine everything. Focus on the big picture items first then gradually make your way to the details. Download helpful wedding planning apps. Secure a resourceful planning binder.
Bride’s Wedding Dress: Lorenzo Rossi
Bride’s “Zuria”: Worksheet Abera
Bridesmaids, Groom’s & Groomsmen Attire: I Am Deovolente
Cake: Sugar ’n Ice
Catering and Venue: Oakfield Farm
Coordinator: Weddings by Tasha
Decor and Florals: Magnifique Floral Art
DJ and Sound: Prince Kramer; RMS Audio and Visual
Entertainment: Femi Koya Afrobeat Band; Drummer Hastings Nyirenda; Saxophonist Casper Esau II
Hair: Senait Gebregzabher and Generale Hair Zone
Makeup: Tsholo R. of Make-Up Couture
Photography: Xavier Saer
Photo booth: ML Photography
Stylists: Morgan Wider and Vinniece Williams
Stationery and Digital Media: The Bride and Armadillo Media
Videography: Daniel McGeer of Fascination Pictures