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Multicultural Nigerian and Jewish Wedding in Oakland, CA

Cynthia and Nathan’ s love story started as a short lived teenage love affair.

Nathan asked Cynthia to their Winter Formal, she agreed. Their courtship lasted about 8 weeks. It turned out that, as teenagers, neither was mature enough for a relationship, but they remained friends.

About nine years after they first meet, Nathan returned to the states from his tours with the U.S. Army in Germany and Afghanistan. He asked on Facebook if any of his friends were in the Boston area, and fate would have it that Cynthia had just finished her third year of medical school at Tufts. They met for brunch and soon realized a new spark existed between them.

It was the beginning of a beautiful relationship that led to their stunning multicultural nuptials. Their wedding was a three-day celebration of love and culture, including a traditional Nigerian wedding, a Catholic and Jewish wedding, and a Jewish Sunday brunch. There were many memorable moments but the most special moment for Cynthia was being able to experience her wedding day with her father right before he passed away. She shares, “The best memory from my wedding was the ability for my father to walk me down the aisle. He had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer exactly one year prior to the wedding, but, also being a physician himself he didn’t want to tell anyone about the diagnosis besides my brother, my then fiancé, and I so as not to worry anyone. We were so happy that he was still alive to make it to the wedding and had the energy to greatly enjoy himself and have a reunion with all of his family and friends- with a happy mood instead of a sad one.”

Read more of the Swire’s love story and see all of the photos from their beautiful multicultural weddings below.


  • Couple: Cynthia Omoge Akagbosu and Nathan Putney Swire
  • Occupations: Cynthia- Physician, Nathan-lawyer
  • Wedding date: Traditional Nigerian Wedding May 24th, 2019; Catholic and Jewish wedding on May 25th, 2019; and Jewish Sunday brunch on May 26th, 2019
  • Wedding location: Oakland, CA

Quick Facts

  • Bridesmaids and groomsmen gifts: The bridesmaid gifted pink getting ready robes, earrings, necklaces, and African head ties. The groom gifted monogrammed utility knife sets.
  • Gifts for one another: Cynthia gifted Nathan a Fossil watch and Nathan gifted Cynthia beautiful earrings.
  • Ceremony entrance song: The entrance song for the Catholic wedding was Ave Maria sung by the church cantor.
  • First dance song: “Can’t Help Falling in Love” by Elvis Presley, sung by the best man Jesse Swire and his then-girlfriend actress June Pieske.

How did you meet?

In September of 2007, it was the week after the Outing Club Trips, at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, USA, and after getting back from dancing the Salty Dog Rag in the mountains of New Hampshire, Nathan and Cynthia were enjoying meeting the other freshmen. When a mutual friend introduced them, neither thought much of it, just another new face among many. But over time they realized they had a mutual attraction, and when Nathan asked Cynthia to Winter Formal, she agreed.

That lasted about eight weeks.

It turned out that, as teenagers, neither was mature enough for a relationship. But they remained friends; they even spent a week sightseeing around Morocco while studying abroad, and found that they were great traveling partners, even if nothing else.

About nine years after first meeting, Nathan returned to the states from his tours with the U.S. Army in Germany and Afghanistan and asked on Facebook if any of his friends were in the Boston area. Cynthia had just finished her third year of medical school at Tufts, and they met for brunch, both glad to see an old friend. But they both realized a new spark existed between them.

Their first real date was a whirlwind around Boston – the Harvard Art Museum, Harpoon Brewery, dinner with mutual friends, and finally the midnight exhibitions at the Museum of Fine Arts. They discovered that they shared a love of travel, art, and music, and one date turned into many more. This time it lasted longer than eight weeks.

Tell us about the proposal.

Cynthia’s engagement ring was burning a hole in Nathan’s pocket for over a month, but with her busy schedule as a resident at Boston Children’s, it was difficult to find the right opportunity! Finally, the two of them went to the Arnold Arboretum for the annual Mother’s Day Spring Lilac Festival. In the middle of the gardens, with one of Cynthia’s friends secretly photographing, Nathan went down on one knee. Cynthia said yes before he even had a chance to ask!

Describe your wedding style.

Cynthia wore the traditional Edo tribe outfit of coral beads and a red wrapper for the Traditional Nigerian wedding with the beads imported from a local market in Benin, Nigeria where her now late father is from. She then changed into a gold lace Nigerian outfit for the re-entrance for when the husband and wife re-enter as married in the traditional Nigerian way. The next day on the white Christian wedding day, her first outfit was a beautiful gown from Hayley Paige. Cynthia then changed into a beautiful magenta and gold. The wedding shopping experience was tough since we were trying to get Nigerian clothes for ourselves, family, bridal party, and all of our guests without having to go to Nigeria! Luckily, our wedding planner knew of a tailor in the Bay Area who was able to coordinate the colors, measuring, and styles virtually for hundreds of guests. We wanted to make sure that the guests on the traditional wedding day all had the same matching “ankara” or African print which they were able to achieve, and the parents all wore purple as an implication of their royalty.

What is your best memory from your wedding?

The best memory from my wedding was the ability for my father to walk me down the aisle. He had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer exactly one year prior to the wedding, but, also being a physician himself he didn’t want to tell anyone about the diagnosis besides my brother, my then fiancé, and I so as not to worry anyone. We were so happy that he was still alive to make it to the wedding and had the energy to greatly enjoy himself and have a reunion with all of his family and friends- with a happy mood instead of a sad one.

Exactly one week after the wedding, he suffered a massive stroke from the complications of the pancreatic cancer that had spread to his liver- he died shortly thereafter leaving my brother and I orphan since our mother passed away from complications of lupus in 2016. When we were picking our wedding venue, we knew that my father was an avid Catholic and wanted to be buried at the Cathedral of Christ the Light were, therefore, we insisted that that would be our place for the wedding. We even had the Jewish Ketubah ceremony down in the mausoleum where my father was laid to rest shortly after the wedding. A beautiful circle of life, if you will.

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

The wedding planning process is definitely stressful trying to please your significant other, family members, and friends- but the most important thing is not the wedding itself but the privilege and joy to join two lives into one, to have someone to embark on this journey that we call life forever.

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