Last month I had the wonderful opportunity of meeting this powerhouse couple during their Urban Engagement Session. Go check out Esther and Ayo’s Session Here.
Their Wedding Day was every bit as magical. These two have the best style. Just look at his Vintage inspired bowtie and ivory jacket with black lapels. And Esther had two dresses that each absolutely exuded 1940’s old Hollywood. Modern interpretations, of course, but incredibly stunning.
Once each of them were ready, they asked for a photo of their Bridesmaids and Groomsmen praying for them, which was quite touching. Everyone was so supportive of this marriage and just genuinely enjoyed all of the day. We started with the Groomsmen Portraits in order to give the Ladies a little more time to get ready. Portrait time moved pretty quickly until we were at The First Look. The clouds parted allowing beautiful sunlight to stream through the bare trees and backlight Esther as she walked towards Ayo. As if she couldn’t have glowed any more. Once Ayo turned around, he glanced, then gathered his emotions and started running to Esther. The moment was just perfect and I hope it’s one they will remember forever.
Following the rest of Couples and Bridal Party Portraits we drove to the Antioch Baptist Church about 10 minutes away. It took a little while for all the family and friends to make it since google tries to send people a different way. This was also the first time someone laughed and said, “Welcome to a Nigerian Wedding.” in gest. I think most weddings run behind schedule so I was going to do my best to make up the lost time, which ended up being 35 minutes.
The Families were all wearing traditional Nigerian clothing. Their robes were so colorful and the Ladies head wraps were all twisted into such intricate designs. I actually thought for a few moments that I was in a chapel in Nigeria. The Sermon was strongly preached and the congregation seemed to be in tune with his every “Amen”. There were a few funny instances though. When the Pastor asked if there was any reason why these two shall not be joined in holy matrimony, speak now or forever hold your piece. Esther gave her family a strong, but playful look. And then Ayo did the same for his side. Rings were exchanged and Ayo really played to the camera again. During the Recessional they took their time and posed for all the cell phone cameras along the way. But once they got to the front doors of the church, they were all mine! This shot was requested by the couple and I love how it turned out. They look so happy and in the moment.
Following their timeline, Family Formals were up next. There’s always a bit of confusion during this time. Guests don’t really want to leave for the reception because they think they’re going to miss something. Family try to take cell phone pics and that slows down the whole process. But despite some challenges we made up the time we were behind. I took all of the Bride and Groom’s requested family photos, which I had scheduled would take about 30 minutes, and did it in 15 minutes. Boom! We all left for the Reception at the scheduled time!
During the reception each family was announced and they made an entrance. It was incredible! The entire family from each side entered to traditional African drumming music that the DJ played. It was amazing to watch the celebration from each family member as they slowly and deliberately danced their way into the reception. The Bridal Party made their entrance, immediately followed by the Bride and Groom. Esther had changed her dress into a stunning 40’s inspired gown that she could easily dance in. Then they just had fun with a dance routine that was unexpected and surprised everyone.
Lots of sentimental toasts were made, well wishes, and words of wisdom were shared from friends and family. Esther’s brother was the MC and he kept the evening’s events moving along.
Esther and Ayo had their first dance and were just stunning. They were just surrounded by so much love in the room and for each other, it was undeniable.
Ayo danced with his Mom followed by Esther dancing with her Dad and then the happy couple danced together. During the Nigerian Money dance guests come and shower the couple with small bills that symbolize their hopes for good fortune. And let me tell you, the dance floor was covered.
Venue: The Piedmont Club – Morgan Stevens – 703-753-5922 ext. 2208
Photographer: Lydia Teague Photography – Lydia@LydiaTeague.com
Florist: Sam’s Club
Bride’s Dress: Azazie
Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Azazie
Groom’s Suit: The Black Tux
Groomsmens’ Suits: The Black Tux
DJ: DJ Kloong
A big thank you to Esther and Ayo for choosing me to document your special day! I appreciate you trusting me and inviting me into your culture. It was such a blast and a wedding that I will cherish.
If you are interested in having me shoot your wedding, feel free to reach out to me at Lydia@LydiaTeague.com