Love was in the air when Funmi and Ryan met for the first time. They met on a flight from Tampa to Atlanta, Ryan was seated in the middle and Funmi at the window. “It was a Friday evening flight and I arrived at the gate prior to boarding and decided to grab a smoothie before boarding my flight. The smoothie run lasted longer than I expected so by the time I returned to the gate everyone had boarded but me. So of course as I make my way to aisle19 the other passengers were giving me dirty looks as though I held up the plane (I wasn’t technically late),” Funmi shares. Once she got to her row realized that she had too many things in her hands and boldly asked the man in the middle seat if he’d hold her purse and her smoothie as she put her bags in the over head bins a few rows dowm. With a confused look on his face, Ryan kindly obliged. After getting back to her seat, the flight crew began their emergency flight presentation giving Funmi an opening to speak to Ryan once more. “I had been on a few flights that month and for some reason I turned to Ryan (I didn’t know his name at this point) and I said ‘By the way, if this plane goes down, don’t look to me for help because I never really pay attention to this’ we both laughed because it was so random but funny,” she says. It was then that they both realized they were seated next to an attractive person.
They began talking and realized they had something very unique in common, they’d both just gotten out of relationships with single parents. They bonded over the challenges of dating a single parent, building chemistry that even caught the attention of their flight attendant. The flight attendant made a sarcastic remark to Ryan about their undeniable chemistry, in which Ryan quipped “you never know we might be engaged by the end of this flight.” About 5 minutes later the PA system comes on and their flight attendant announces to the entire plane that the couple in aisle 19 just got engaged. The entire plane began to clap and congratulate them, with the exception of the woman seated next to them because she knew they’d just met. Funmi turned to Ryan and said, “Well if you are my fiancé then I probably should know your name.” They’d been talking for an hour and didn’t even know each other’s names, it took a fake engagement announcement for the two to finally introduce themselves. Funmi was headed to Atlanta to visit her family and Ryan was on his way to Philly to surprise his mom for her 60th birthday. “Ryan’s flight was delayed due to snow so I offered to keep him company while he waited to board his next flight. I had such a great time chatting on the plane that I really didn’t want to leave,” she shares. The couple had drinks at the Budweiser restaurant as Ryan waited for his flight, having such a great time that he almost missed it. They exchanged numbers and had their first date the following week on Oct. 31st.
The pair had a gorgeous wedding at The Cruz Building in Coconut Grove, FL. Funmi’s half Nigerian/Ghanaian heritage fused with Ryan’s American roots for a sophisticated affair. Paying homage to the first time they met, the travel themed wedding seated guests all over the world. Take a look at their beautiful wedding in Florida with photography by Ambrosio Photography.
Bride: Funmi Taiwo
Groom: Ryan Sprague
Wedding location: 05/18/2015
Wedding date: The Cruz Building, Coconut Grove, FL
Describe your wedding dress. How was your shopping experience?
I went dress shopping with my mum. I had planned on a big trip to Kleinfelds in New York with some of my bridesmaids in the summer but I thought it would be special to just check out gowns with my mum at a local boutique in Tampa that carried Lazaro. I came with a few dresses I liked mostly mermaid, fit and flare but I wanted to be open minded so I included 2 ball gowns. I never thought I was a ball gown bride because I thought ball gown was for the bride that wanted a more traditional princess moment. I tried on 3 mermaid gowns by Lazaro, all gorgeous of course. Then my bridal consultant brought a ball gown that had a 1940’s inspired look, I was shocked that I liked the gown but that wasn’t the one. I still had my mind on the mermaid/organza tulle dress from his Fall 2012 line. My consultant then brought the 2nd ball gown I printed. My consultant assisted me in this dress, lots of organza, Italian tulle and hand beading and I looked up at myself and thought “WOW.” My mother began to tear up (the first time). And she said I reminded her of my Grandmother in her wedding dress. I at that moment knew this was my dress. I was so close to my grandmother who had passed 13 years prior from breast cancer so I was stunned. I still had the original gown I loved on my mind but I couldn’t get this ball gown out of my mind. I thought what would mean the most to me when I look back at why I chose my wedding dress. I thought when will I ever get a chance to wear such a dress/silhouette and more importantly to even have a chance to resemble my Grandmother-so I said “Yes to that dress.” I tried on 5 gowns and left with my wedding dress so we didn’t have to go to Kleinfelds after all. Even though it would have been fun to have my sister and girlfriends with me, I believe it happened as it should have happened. I purchased my Lazaro gown from CC’s Botique in Tampa/St. Pete.
How was culture incorporated in your wedding?
Ryan is Caucasian American and I’m half Nigerian/Ghanaian. My African heritage is important to us both. Ryan embraces my culture, which is one of the reasons I love him so much. We did the Western wedding ceremony with his Hugo Boss suit and my Lazaro gown at the Coral Gables Congregational Church and then during our reception we changed into our traditional Nigerian wear along with some of our friends and family. It’s tradition to invite close friends and family to wear a chosen lace which each person had made in the style of their choice during the reception. Ryan and I came out in a different lace just for the bride and groom. We came out in a processional with a few of our wedding party and family where we did the traditional money dance. Guests join us on the dance floor and ‘spray’ us with cash for our wedding gift or just to show us support in the beginning of our lives together. This is a traditional dance that occurs in Nigerian weddings.
What are your favorite memories from your wedding day?
We had a lot of memories that we will never forget. We wanted our reception to be a party, not another stuffy and typical wedding. We wanted our guests to really enjoy and celebrate with us, so there were a few areas that mattered the most. We believe if the food, music and bar is on point, guests will have an amazing time. So we hired Joy Wallace Catering. We held the reception at The Cruz Building in Coconut Grove because the venue was honestly one of the most beautiful and unique venues that provided privacy that hotels can’t offer. We had the best time on the 3rd floor of our reception. We had a live Cigar roller, a photo booth, a dessert bar with some of our favourite desserts and great music to name a few. I loved taking photos and dancing with all of our friends and family and I couldn’t believe the night ended as quick as it did even though we had a 6 hour reception. Our wedding Planner Mayrelis of Elite Planning did an amazing job with her team. Ryan and I never went to the bar once because Elite Planning knew Ryan’s and my drink of choice and catered to us all night. We wanted to be guests at our own wedding and Elite Planning managed to deliver that experience.
What advice would you give to our brides-to-be?
There are a lot of little things I could suggest but here are the 2 I think will make a big difference in any brides day. Regardless of your budget or size of your wedding I think one of the best decisions we made was deciding to hire a wedding planner. People tend to think that’s a luxury but Ryan and I are two working professionals and we didn’t have the time or experience to pull off such an event so we decided that investment was more important than even our flower budget. We met and researched a few before deciding because we needed to know our planner understood our vision and could deliver day of wedding. Lastly, the bride and grown should get a good nights rest. Our wedding was a destination wedding so we had a lot of friends and family to entertain but after our rehearsal dinner we should have called it an early night. We were so excited that we both didn’t sleep until past midnight so the morning of the wedding we were both tired. It’s important to be well rested because it happens so quickly. Once in a lifetime event and sleep is your best tool to feel your best day of.
Wedding Dress: Lazaro Bridal
Wedding Salon: CC’s Boutique of Tampa/St.Pete
Bridesmaid Dresses: Nicole Bakti
Shoes: Christian Louboutin
Hair & Makeup : Makeup & The City
Ceremony Location: Coral Gables Congregational Church
Reception Location: The Cruz Building, Coconut Grove, FL
Photography: Stacy Ambrosio, Ambrosio Photography
Wedding Planner: Elite Planning Firm
Florist: Vivian’s Petals
Cake: Elegant Temptations
Catering: A Joy Wallace Catering
Lighting: Event Factor