Tanya Annie Mutaboyerwa and Eke Okorie-Onwuchekwa’s story reminds us all that, indeed, “mother knows best.” Tanya was persuaded by her mother to give Eke a chance and the growth and beauty of their relationship has proved her right. Tanya and Eke, you two owe her ;).
On their First Encounter….
“We met at…a Washington, D.C. lounge on April 18th, 2009. It was [my] first time [there]. I was there with my younger sister Tamara…[we] were not dressed up in our nines that night but I wanted to stop by any place nearby to hear some music after a great meal. We had passed several places but stopped at Jin since the outside bouncers told us it was free admission…We decided to go since it was “free.” :) An hour into being there a guy sneaked up from behind me [and] introduced himself…He was there that night with a few of his friends… My sister and I knew that we were only going to stick around to have one drink but deep down inside I wanted to stay longer because Eke and I were having a great conversation getting to know each other, finding out that he’s Nigerian and I am from Tanzania. I told him that my step-father is Nigerian and my folks lived 5mins from him! Although I was having a fabulous time talking I had to tell him I was leaving for the night. Of course he asked for my number but I told him I do not give out my number. [Instead,] I asked for his business card…I only gave him my business card in return. That next week, on Monday, Eke emailed me at work. Since I am super-duper close to my Mom, I told her how I met a nice guy over the weekend and forwarded what Eke wrote to me to her. I was skeptical about contacting him back because even though Eke and I had a great time talking that night, my experience with other Nigerian guys in the past were not good…long story. [However], she convinced me to email him and to give him a chance. I guess “mothers know best” [because] the rest is history. Here we are two years later – still together.” –Tanya
Eke truly had to be exceptional for Tanya to give him a chance in spite of her previous negative experiences. To her, he clearly is because she had this to say about why she fell in love with him…
“What made me fall in love with Eke immediately was his big heart, his integrity, intelligence, modesty and of course his persistence. I love that Eke and I come from different sides of Africa…Eke is Nigerian [from the] Igbo tribe and [I am] from Tanzania, [a] Kichaga and Kihaya tribe mix. We have so much in common in the little things we like from music, food, and love of family to our humility and kind-heartedness.” -Tanya
On knowing Eke is the one for her….
“I knew Eke was the one when he saw me for me. He did not [only] have to see me dolled up to compliment me. Seeing Eke with my family is a beautiful thing every time. I love that he is worldly, open-minded, and culturally aware about so much.”
On Eke’s surprise proposal….
“Eke proposed to me on June 28, 2010. We were vacationing on a cruise to seven different Caribbean islands and on our first island stop in St. Thomas we visited their small shops for souvenirs. We also stopped at several jewelry stores along the way…Of course, I love looking at diamonds whether it is earrings, rings, bracelets, etc. There was this one ring that I really liked and kept pushing and tugging him to get for me. So there he is looking at the ring and he said, “well, if I get you this ring you have to agree that when you walk out with this ring you will agree to be Mrs. Okorie” and I was like “WHAT??” with my mouth all open. He got down on one knee and said “I want you to be my wife, be the future Mrs. Okorie. Will you marry me?” [With] tears rolling down my eyes I said, “YES, yes I will”. I later found out he had planned on buying the ring while we were on the cruise.”
Absolutely beautiful…the vacation romance many women dream of! For their engagement session, the couple wanted it to be “as natural as possible. We wanted to show all of the things we love and enjoy doing on a typical weekend in DC. So we had our photographer follow us around in Georgetown and DC.”
On finding their incredible photographer…
“My fiancé’s former co-worker and friend referred us to our photographer, Derick Marquez, who actually did her wedding photos. Derick is still fairly new but his work looks like he’s been doing it for years. And he is amazing to work with! Thus far he has captured everything we have wanted.”
The couple has decided to go a slightly different route for their wedding.
On the theme for their wedding…
“The theme for our wedding is classic with a little Victorian. The groom and groomsmen will be wearing bowties. My dress is quite traditional with cap-sleeves that have lace champagne embroidery. Our venue is old Victorian with hard wood floors and chandeliers. So it will have a classic look to it.” –Tanya
Sounds like fun! When there are different cultures to incorporate into a ceremony, sometimes, some juggling is necessary. On how they plan to incorporate both cultures into their special day…“We do plan to incorporate each of our cultures into the wedding with little things in the food, clothing and music. For the cocktail hour, we will have some traditional Tanzanian finger foods and during dinner, it will be Nigerian. I
have a party favor to hand out to the women in the crowd. It is a traditional cloth worn by Tanzanian women called kanga which is worn a lot today in the fashion industry. I do see a lot of designers actually making dresses with them. It is almost like Nigerian ankaras. I do believe my fiancé will have something to hand out to men from his Igbo culture.” –Tanya
Even with such incredible ideas, planning the wedding hasn’t been a piece of cake.
The most difficult thing about the planning process has been…“timing. We are both sticklers for [time] when planning parties; so, of course, we are trying not to do too much at the last minute. [However] no matter what, life’s other priorities [pop up] everyday…while trying to work, plan, and have a life, it’s hard to set things sometimes. A friend of mine who recently got married says, “No matter what, things won’t come out PERFECT…so do you what you can do on time! Breathe and remember to have fun!” And this has been Eke’s and my motto as we are drawing closer to our special day! :)”
Eke and Tanya are keeping things in just the right perspective with that motto. Of course, they are enjoying a few things about planning their big
“The most exciting part in planning has been visiting the vendors like the food tasting, the shopping and getting all the attention from family and friends!” –Tanya
The best thing about planning a wedding is knowing that there is so much to look forward to. For the excited couple, they look forward to….
“the ceremony just knowing that we will have our closest family and friends witnessing our joyous occasion as we become one in front of God, and knowing that there will be a celebration (reception) in our honor later. We are also excited about our families coming in from Tanzania and Nigeria that we have not seen in years. But most of all we are really looking forward to relaxing during our honeymoon in Dominican Republic and our safari later in Tanzania.”
Tanya and Eke, may you always say to each other, “Afurum gi n’anya”(“I love you” in Igbo) and “Naku panda” (“I love you” in Kiswahili). May ifunaanya (“love”) never depart from your home!