Marissa and Anthony’s gorgeous Hudson Valley wedding was infused with elements from the bride’s Nigerian culture. A truly stunning wedding full of love and cultural traditions that’ll make you say “yes” to incorporating your own cultural traditions into your wedding. We wanted to learn more about the Nigerian culture, especially Nigerian wedding traditions, and so we asked Marissa to tell us a little about her wedding and how she met her husband, Anthony.
How did you meet?
We met in January 2013. Anthony’s friend and my brother worked for the same company and their co-worker was having a party that they invited us to. At one point in the night, Anthony and I played against each other in a game of beer pong. We were kind of flirty with one another while we were playing, nothing too serious. Right before he left, though, Anthony asked me to put my number in his phone, which I did. I remember I told him to text me so I can save his number and the first thing he texted me was “Hey beautiful.” We’ve been inseparable since.
What was your engagement like?
Anthony is a HUGE Patriots fan and at that point in his life he had never been to a Patriots game, so I decided to change that. As a Christmas gift, I got us tickets to a Pats Vs Jets game, which was on December 21, 2014. We planned to stay overnight at a hotel in the city after the game and have a nice romantic dinner. We had reservations at 8:00 pm so I made sure I had enough time to get ready. As I’m getting ready, I hear Anthony talking to himself, so I look over and realize he was recording a video of the beautiful view from our room. He then walks over to me as he’s filming. I asked him what he was doing he said he was bored and wanted to record me. I told him to finish getting ready because we have reservations, to which he replied: “We can’t leave yet.” I looked at him confused, and asked “What? Why not?” that is when he said, “We can’t go until I ask you to marry me.” Then got on one knee and pulled the ring out from behind him. I, of course, started crying and it took me about 7 minutes to finally stop and say “YES!” We went out to dinner and it was a very intimate setting, so I thought it was perfect. One of the best days of my life!
Did you have a wedding theme?
No, we did not have a theme. But our colors were chosen as a tribute to my Mom who passed away. Her favorite color was purple and I always wanted turquoise as my color so we made it both.
How did you choose the Hudson Valley for your wedding?
We lived in the area and so did our family. We wanted a venue that wasn’t too far for our families.
I love how you incorporated your culture into your wedding. Can you tell us a little about the Nigerian traditions you incorporated into your day?
I am half Nigerian so I wanted to make sure my culture was involved in some way on the biggest day of my life. In the Nigerian Culture, the immediate family wears the same pattern/print so all guests know they are the immediate family of either the bride or groom. My stepmother picked out the family print which is the yellow and purple print that you see in the pictures.
As for my dress, as I previously mentioned our colors were purple and turquoise. Our Bridal Party wore purple so I thought the turquoise would be perfect!
We did incorporate traditions during our reception. Before we did our first dance, I asked my dad to do a “Kola Nut Blessing.” In Nigeria, the Kola Nut is a sign to welcome someone. If you are not offered a Kola Nut, then you are not welcomed. So I had my Dad and Uncle bless it and welcome all of our guests.
Midway through our reception is when we did our outfit change and re-entered to traditional Nigerian music and were joined by the women of my family. We walked to the dance floor and that is when we had our “dollar dance.” This is another tradition where your guests spread dollar bills on the new couple, pretty much saying congratulations and showing their blessings.
So, now that you’re a newlywed, what advice do you have for couples who are currently planning their wedding?
My advice about planning is: This is your wedding, do not let anyone try and take over or have any input on how your day should be. Do not stress, it’s not worth it. Have fun planning, because the day goes by super fast! Anthony’s advice is to not stress every little detail, be patient planning and listen to each other’s opinions and suggestions.
What was the most memorable moment for you and Anthony from your wedding?
Anthony’s memorable moment was when he cried while I walked down the aisle. My most memorable moment was honestly introducing my new family and our friends to the Nigerian culture.
Photo credit: Chosen Photo