This wedding originally appeared in the Spring/Summer 2011 Edition.
In ancient China, it was believed that an invisible red string of love connected those who are destined to be together. For power couple, Kiki Kamanu and Noble Ekajeh, this romantic folklore held true to its word. Ironically, having both lived in Paris, went to school in the Massachusetts area and have residences in the same neighborhood in Lagos, Nigeria, their strand of enchantment always held them nearby. It was until a fateful introduction from a mutual friend at the Bogobiri House Hotel lounge in West Ikoyi Lagos that their lifelong strings forgoing years of being stretched, twisted and tangled finally united. by Kaylyn Eshesimua Read entire love story below…
Date of Wedding: 10-10-10 Location: Ciragan Palace, Istanbul, Turkey (a Kempinski Hotel) Bride’s Name: Kiki Kamanu Groom’s Name: Noble Ekajeh
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[tab title=”Love Story”]By Kaylyn Eshesimua
Kiki and Noble In ancient China, it was believed that an invisible red string of love connected those who are destined to be together. For power couple, Kiki Kamanu and Noble Ekajeh, this romantic folklore held true to its word. Ironically, having both lived in Paris, went to school in the Massachusetts area and have residences in the same neighborhood in Lagos, Nigeria, their strand of enchantment always held them nearby. It was until a fateful introduction from a mutual friend at the Bogobiri House Hotel lounge in West Ikoyi Lagos that their lifelong strings forgoing years of being stretched, twisted and tangled finally united. From that moment on, a whirlwind relationship ensued. Initially beginning their relationship as wholesome and strictly business, it quickly blossomed and grew beyond their wildest dreams. There was no doubt that the next step was not toward a romantic engagement but indeed a marriage. The commitment to a loving and happy life together was made when the couple, after nine months of knowing each other, secretly eloped to Istanbul in March of 2010 and then announced it on Facebook an hour later! “This was a shock to everyone because all of our friends and family thought they were just business partners, “said Kiki. Deemed as one of the top innovative international fashion designers, and with five years of experience as an events and conference planner for Harvard, Kiki was more than ready to take full charge in planning their special day once again in Istanbul for everyone to experience. Already having settled on a wedding date of 10-10-10, Kiki began her work by creating over thirty outfits for the bridal train. “This was an obstacle because everyone was spread out over four continents,” said Kiki. The couple’s ceremony took place at the former Ottoman Palace, ornately decorated with marble staircases and massive chandeliers. “The Christian ceremony was the most important,” said Kiki. “We wanted to ensure that the guests were able to have a spiritual experience according to our church in Lagos, The House on The Rock. This was skillfully carried out by our pastor Paul Adefarasin.” With her keen eye for fashion, Kiki indulged in making their wedding event the talk of the century by creating a New York Fashion Week theme. The ceremony featured a red carpet that ran between the aisle and velvet ropes that sat along the pews. The wedding brochure was styled like a Vogue magazine and titled 10.10.10, Istanbul Edition complete with fashion photos of the couple. “The guests were also specifically told not to wear black but to experiment with color” said Kiki. Her bridesmaids wore gowns uniquely different from each other and were full of eye popping colors and lace imported from Dubai, while the groomsmen wore multi-colored embroidered Indian silk kaftans designed by Kiki herself. While they both agreed elegance and style were an important tone of their celebration, the couple also wanted to pay respects to their Nigerian heritage by sharing some traditional aspects with their guest as well. With that in mind, Kiki’s father, Dr. Kamanu invited everyone to partake in the breaking of the kola nut, an Igbo tradition seen throughout Nigeria. “As we were planning the event, the staff at the Ciragan Palace were so awed that they begged us to have the main Turkish Television station cover it. It was aired several times on Turkish TV and primetime TV, and it made instant celebrities out of us and our guests as we were recognized on the streets!” said Kiki. Once the couple said their “I do’s” Kiki and Noble’s guests, followed by the Turkish Television station knew they would be in for a treat as they moved into the reception area. At each table, tall cylindrical fishbowls with real gold fish were placed on two mirrored trays, surrounded by tiny frosted glass vases with tea lights; all while a slideshow filled with the couple and their family partaking in various fashion poses beamed in the background. In addition to serving a menu filled with the couple’s favorite authentic Turkish dishes, guests also were able to experience a broad range of music and Turkish belly dancers throughout the evening. Kiki recounts, “We did not want the guests to feel like they were in a typcial wedding. All the rules were changed!” Upon departure, each of the 150 guests received a special customized favor made by Kiki. For Kiki and Noble, their mission in creating a newsworthy once in a lifetime event together was complete; however, their journey had only just begun. [/tab]