Featured in MunaLuchi Bride Issue No. 25, Rebecca and Theo’s royal culture fusion wedding in New Jersey was truly a celebration of love and culture.
The college sweethearts got engaged in front of family and friends in the summer of 2018, almost 10 years after their first date!
When they started wedding planning, they knew they had to find creative ways to honor their Haitian and Nigerian roots. Rebecca shares, “We were very intentional about the incorporation of culture in our wedding. Our outfits, as well as the outfits for our entire wedding party, spoke to the Nigerian cultural royalty. Also being of Haitian descent, we incorporated some elements from Haiti as well. Our favors were Kermes, a well-known Haitian liquor, traditionally given out at celebrations.”
Their wedding decor mixed lush red roses with textured gold leaves and candelabras to create an ambiance of regal luxury. But most importantly, Rebecca and Theo’s wedding had an atmosphere of love and happiness. Rebecca reminisces, “The moment after our second entrance, right after changing into our second outfits, we felt an overwhelming amount of love as everyone came to the dancefloor to celebrate with us. The mix of music from both cultures played at the right time created this sense of joy and celebration that stayed with us long after the wedding.”
- Couple: Rebecca Chery & Theo Emenuga
- Occupations: Bride – Public Health Advisor; Groom – Doctor of Physical Therapy
- Wedding date: 11/02/20
- Wedding location: The Estate at Florentine Gardens
- What gifts did you give to your bridesmaids and groomsmen: Prior to the wedding, we did customized proposal boxes for the entire wedding party, to officially ask them to be part of our journey and big day. The bridesmaids had customized wine glasses with their names and titles, and custom mini wine bottles with labels asking them to be in our wedding. The groomsmen’s gifts included custom cigars, custom shot glasses, and drinks. All the boxes also had picture collages of us with each of them. We also gifted them the fabric we purchased in Nigerian for their outfits.
- Gifts for one another: We opted not to do gifts for one another, we decided we were each other’s most priceless gift.
- Ceremony entrance song: “You are the Reason” By Calum Scott
- First dance song: “True Love” By Yemi Alade
How they met…
We met during the summer of 2007 at Montclair State University. This was through a program going into our Freshman year and we became good friends during that program. We started dating in 2008 and made our relationship official in 2009.
Rebecca: Everyone was in on the proposal with the exception of me. In the summer of 2018, right before we left for a trip to Texas, our family and close friends wanted to throw a celebration for an aunt who had been ill. Upon our return from Texas, I started getting suspicious of everyone just based on the level of preparation that was going into what was supposed to be a small family gathering.
Everyone seemed to be in exceptionally high spirits as the day approached. I tried to extract whatever information out of my aunt and my mom without any success. They could barely contain their excitement yet did not reveal anything. On the day of the event, once everyone arrived and the party was in full swing, Theo walked up to the gazebo at the house and called me up. With my suspicions confirmed, all I could think of doing was hiding, and after much cajoling from family I made my way to the gazebo and Theo got down on one knee and proposed.
Their first look…
I wanted my wedding dress to be a representation of me. Jean Ralph had always been on my radar and when my photographer Nana mentioned she was going to be doing an event at his studio, I went ahead and scheduled an appointment with him. I described what I wanted in a dress and he sketched it out to perfection. My dress was a long sleeve mermaid style with thumb holes. It had a high neck and a deep cut at the back, but with a lace covering that made it look sexy yet classy.
My second dress was a fitted gold number that spoke to the glitz, glam and royalty feel we were going for in the overall look of our wedding. The dress had a bit of a train and was the perfect accent to Theo’s second outfit.
Theo’s first outfit which he wore for the ceremony was a representation of a custom European style fit that also embodied his traditional Nigerian roots. This outfit spoke to his Nigerian culture in every way. He wanted something that represented the “it” look of Nigerian royalty. The outfit was accented with a cane and his traditional Nigerian beads to complete the look.
Wedding shopping experience…
The shopping experience was fantastic. We traveled to Nigeria to shop for accessories as well as the fabrics we wanted our entire wedding party to wear. Shopping for the rest of my accessories to go with my dress became a bonding experience with my mom. We went to the mall and pretty much found everything else we needed.
We were very intentional about the incorporation of culture in our wedding. Our outfits besides my wedding gown, as well as the outfits for our entire wedding party spoke to the Nigerian cultural royalty.
Also being of Haitian descent, we incorporated some elements from Haiti as well. Our favors were Kermes, a well-known Haitian liquor, traditionally given out at celebrations.
We also made sure to pull up both the Nigerian & Haitian flags during the dance session of the reception to fully represent both cultures.
Best wedding day memory…
The moment after our second entrance, right after changing into our 2nd outfits, we felt an overwhelming amount of love as everyone came to the dancefloor to celebrate with us. The mix of music from both cultures played at the right time created this sense of joy and celebration that stayed with us long after the wedding.
Cutting the cake…
Advice for other engaged couples…
I would advise couples to plan plan plan and be sure to budget and save up well in advance.
Couples should also research and make sure they pick the right vendors with who they can establish a relationship and who will come through for you on the wedding day.
I would also advise couples to definitely consider having marriage counseling. It will help them to get centered amidst all the activity around them. It is very easy to get lost in the planning process and being able to focus on the two of you during the process is necessary.
Looking for more royal culture fusion wedding inspiration?
- Event Coordination, Design & Florals: Pretty Posh Events @prettyposhdesign
- Photography: Nana Annan Photography @NanaAnnanPhotography
- Videography: Dexterity Productions @Dexterityproduction
- Venue: The Estate at Florentine Gardens @Florentinegardensnj
- Officiant: Serenity Ceremonies @revorsellaofficiant
- DJ: DJ Cali Cal @Djcalical
- Stationery: Truly Engaging by Magnet Street @truly.engaging
- Calligraphy: Pix Market Designs @Pix.Market
- Acrylic Card Box: The Quinn & Company @thequinnandcompany
- Bridal Gown: Jean Ralph Thurin @Jeanralphthurin
- Bride’s hair: Tyra’s Hair Experience @tyrashairexperience
- Bridesmaids’ hair: Talented Beauty Galore @talentedbeauty_galore.salon
- Bride’s Makeup: Talented Beauty Galore @touchedbykassexperience
- Bridesmaids’ makeup: I Glam Dollz @iglamdollz
- Bride’s Shoes: Christian Louboutin @louboutinworld
- Bride’s accessories: OAK Bridal Accessories @oakbridal_llc
- Bridal Party Fans: Nene Jewelry & Craft @nenejewellryandcraft
- Bride’s 2nd Dress: Mr. David Obazee
- Bridesmaids Dresses: Mr. David Obazee
- Groom & Groomsmen outfits: Mr. David Obazee