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A Traditional Love: Festive Nigerian Wedding in Maryland

Toyin and Seyi’s traditional love story began at church with an instant connection.

From the moment Seyi locked eyes with Toyin, he knew he found the woman that would ultimately become his bride and ever-lasting love. Brought together through a mutual friend, these two lovers knew it would become their fate to join each other in an eternal union. Determined to make their love last through dedication and faith, these two lovers know their love only has room for growth.

Read all about Toyin & Seyi’s love story, proposal, and experiences in their festive and traditional wedding in Maryland – featuring wedding and event design by Statuesque Events and captured by Dotun Ayodelji Photography

Bride & Groom: Toyin & Seyi
Occupations:   Nurse & IT/Real Estate
Wedding date: 8/10/18 – 8/11/18
Wedding location:  College Park, Maryland

Tell us how you met.
Seyi: We met at our church (RCCG Restoration Assembly Albany, NY)Toyin was in her last year of undergrad preparing to move to ATL to live with her brother and pursue nursing. I had just completed my masters at NJIT and jumped started my career at a small company as a network engineer. One Sunday, she was ministering through liturgical dance and that’s when I first noticed her then. We had a mutual friend, so I asked him to provide me with her Instagram handle. I instantly followed and sent a direct message. At that time, because Toyin didn’t know who I was she didn’t respond. Finally, the following Sunday, I approached her after service and let her know, “I was looking for friends in the area” and wanted to hangout. I notified her that it was me who messaged her on IG. She was shocked because I looked completely different in person and was quite embarrassed knowing that I knew she ignored his message. Afterward, we exchanged numbers and things kicked off then.

How did you know they were “the one”? Toyin: I knew that Seyi was the one because he checked off everything on my list that I prayed for. I was at a point in my life where I wanted to solely focus on my relationship with God, myself, and my career. One day in my room I got on my knees and spoke to God one on one. I listed what I wanted in my husband and how I wanted him to have a personal relationship with God. I promised God that it didn’t matter how long it took but to bring my husband when He felt I was ready. Honestly did not think he would come so soon. He came literally a month after I prayed. I remember I showed my mom a picture of him during my winter vacation (nothing serious) And my mom started crying and stated, “Toyin this is going to be your husband.” I laughed at her because in my mind I thought I was too young, I haven’t completed my degree, and I was ready to move to ATL to live my best life. But I guess God had other plans and he answered my prayer.

Seyi: I knew Toyin was the one when I first saw her. There was something about her and I could not point my finger on it. What I loved about her is that she is beautiful, sweet, outgoing, the life of the party, and loves God. I had a relationship with God since I was young because I grew up in a Christian home. When I met Toyin, my relationship grew because we would pray, fast, go to church and worship together. She supported me and never gave up on our relationship.

Tell us about the proposal. Seyi: The proposal took place on October 8, 2016. Toyin was going to nursing school at George Washington University at the time and I moved down to Northern VA to be closer. It was around Toyin’s birthday so I planned a nice dinner. I told her, just look your best because it was going to be a fancy dinner. We got ready and drove to DC to go to the Spirit Cruise to have dinner. However, we were not dining alone. I invited Toyin’s closest family and friends from New York, Rhode Island, New Jersey, and Maryland to witness this special day. The host was in on the proposal and seated us at an isolated corner of the boat and started to serve us drinks. Then another host approached us and told us we were at the wrong table. As we walked to our newly assigned table Toyin’s friends shouted SUPRISE! She was in complete shock. At the moment, it was time to make my move.

Toyin: Chills ran down my spine because I never expected that day to come. I had no clue, I just thought we were going to a nice restaurant in DC since Seyi is good for taking me to nice restaurants. I had no idea why everyone was there. As I was greeting everyone and trying to piece everything together, I looked over at Seyi and noticed that he was on one knee with a ring. He then popped the big question and asked me to marry him and I said yes! Our friends and family, along with other guests, screamed for joy and congratulated us. It was a wonderful day full of friends, fun, and laughter.

What was wedding shopping like for you? Toyin: For the traditional attire we had two outfits, both were made in Nigeria. One was a fully beaded rose gold aso oke, with the gele. Our jewelry was made with coral and gold beads. That is the traditional first gown for the bride. I wanted it to be fully beaded and clean and to be customized. I was not seeking to look completely different, I just wanted to enhance my look. The second outfit was a gift from the groom’s mother; she got it tailored by her personal tailor. It was a gold mermaid gown. I absolutely loved it and it fit me perfectly. As for my non-traditional wedding gown, it didn’t take much to find. Honestly, I never really envisioned what I wanted my wedding gown to look like. except that it must be a mermaid gown with a long train. I went to Betsy Bridal Collection and they showed me a dress designed by Eve of Milady. I fell in love and knew it was the perfect dress. The big challenge was finding the bridesmaids’ dress style. Everyone had their own taste and budget. I didn’t want to break their pockets. I wanted them to feel comfortable and at the same time look great on my big day.

Seyi: I had no problem with my suit or the groomsmen’s suits. It was
custom made by a Nigerian based tailor in Nigeria. I’ve worked with him before when I was a groomsman for one of my friends who happens to be a groomsman in the wedding. I just gave him a call and the job was done.

Culture: Did you incorporate any culture into your wedding? If yes, tell us more. Our culture was the focus of our wedding. Seyi was born and raised in Nigeria. My father is an immigrant from Nigeria, and my mother is from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. For our wedding, we incorporated a lot of our traditions. We had our traditional wedding which included our outfits made in Nigeria. Our MC for the traditional and white wedding was Nigerian. Our live band was Nigerian. One tradition we had is when the family of the bride welcomes the family of the groom, then the family of the groom pays a bride price for the bride. Which of course the bride’s father would not accept because his daughter is not for a price. Another tradition we had was when the groom prostrates in front of the bride’s parents and family as a sign of respect. The parents on both sides pray for the couple and more. The whole wedding was based on tradition. We had Alaga iduro and Alaga ijoko on our traditional day. Both are the master of ceremonies for the evening. We incorporated so much of our culture in our wedding but these were a few examples.

Wedding Party Gifts:

  • Bridesmaids: Bottle of Pink Moscato, Bubas from Dubai, Earrings for the big day, Rose Pink floral robes.
  • Flower girls: Pink Floral robes, earrings for the big day.
  • Mothers of the Couple: Bubas from Dubai, earrings, and necklace for the big day and pink floral robes.
  • Groomsmen: Matching socks.

First Dance Song: Halo by Beyonce
Favorite item on the menu: Toyin: Fish roll. Seyi: Fried rice and desserts

Memories: What is your best memory from your wedding?
Toyin: One of my best memories of the wedding was getting ready with my mother
and bridesmaids and having their support. Second, was my dad walking me down the aisle. I have always dreamed of that since I was a young girl and I was so grateful to have that privilege because many don’t. I am forever grateful. My best moment was
walking down the aisle and seeing my husband tearing. That was never expected.

Seyi: One of my best memories was the first look. When I got to see my bride, I could
not resist. She was so beautiful and I was so grateful to know that she was my bride.
Other great memories were getting ready with my groomsmen. Another funny memory was my brother giving the toast. My brother was so turnt that he forgot to finish his speech with the toast. His words of wisdom will always stick with me.

What is the best wedding advice you can give to engaged couples?

  • 1. If you are a believer continue to put God first in your relationship and marriage. God is your marriage’s foundation.
  • 2. Enjoy every single second of your wedding. It is one of the best days of your life, invest in a videographer if you can to capture those memories. Photos are great however they capture only so much. The video brings the pictures to life and brings back the memories.
  • 3. Don’t overwhelm yourselves and your budgets. Everyone wants a dream wedding but remember it is just one or two days. You have a life to build afterward, the world to see, children to raise, and retirement to plan. Budget wisely. Suggestion: If you want the customize dream wedding get a decent venue that won’t break your pocket but invest in a great décor, lighting, and design team who will bring it to life.

Vendors:
Planning: Statuesque Events
Photo: Dotun Ayodeji
Video: D2tography  
Floral & Decor: Beau Decors
Lighting: The LightSource Company
Cake: Wholly Sweets Bakeshop
Sweets Table: Bouche
Bride’s Makeup: Marquia James
Bridesmaid Makeup: Makeup by Pnang
Dress Boutique: Betsy Robinson Bridal
Dress Designer: Eve of Milady
2nd Dress: Tai Adeboyeku
Bride’s & Groom Trad Fabric by Abisola Ajide 
Bridesmaids Fabric by Toyin 
Groomsmen Fabric by Tosin Miles
Bride & Bridesmaid’s Traditional Gele: Gele by Jay 
Groom & Groomsmen Attire: King Hakbal 
Ceremony Venue: UMD Memorial Chapel
Reception Venue: College Park Marriott Hotel & Conference Center
Photobooth: Spixebooth
Catering: Kingsway 
Stationary: Minted
Wedding DJ: DJ Afoo
Traditional DJ: DJ Donn
Traditional Band: Latunde Silva

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About Stefanie

Storyteller with an eclectic mind and creative spirit. You can find me stalking library shelves or adding my touch of life to anything I see! We’re all meant to live in our purpose, and I’m doing so one story at a time.

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