A First Hand Account of A two Person Wedding Ceremony from my Brother. I am breaking my wedding rule for this one, its pretty special in my opinion.. Enjoy the pictures and Video, it might change your mind on how to get married or help you plan a vow renewal. Enjoy. Its possibly my favorite wedding after mine of course.
I consider myself extremely lucky to have a spouse who tolerates some of my more outrageous ideas….. think along the lines of scuba diving with sharks #YOLO. I have the benefit of being one of 3 males in my family, so no special position of occupancy like only daughter or first boy, none of that. When my better half and I decided on getting married, we did our small court thing (which is what truly matters in my opinion) and decided to do our wedding some time further down the line as work was taking me overseas for the next year or so.
My wife began the planning. I did my rough budget, my wife has a FAMILY. I don’t mean your cousins that show up from the village you haven’t seen, but a family that lives in the same locale; Brooklyn, NY. That brought up the number of guests to 150 instantly. I don’t have a massive pool of friends, but 100 of those with loose acquaintances, colleagues (don’t want to make anyone mad right?) where are we now? 250? Add in the 150 friends of my aunts, uncles, my wife’s friends and her peoples people. 400.
Americans do not have large weddings, 150 is considered quite excessive. And exclusion of some be damned, I was trying to accommodate. I had been to enough of these things to understand how they turned out. Anyone who has been to more than 5 Nigerian weddings in America can attest to certain commonalities; lack of food, food was packed 10 minutes after it showed up, fighting/begging for food, overcrowding…the list is endless. I inherited from my mother the absolute need to do things right at my events i.e. everyone must eat and be comfortable. I skyped with my wife, we put our spending at 50-60K USD (about 8-10million Naira) and we would be paying the vast majority of it.
My wife went out to look at a hall that we thought could house our circus. On her way out she had some car trouble….. the world works in wonderful ways. She says to me “babe, I really don’t think I am up for doing a real wedding, the stress doesn’t seem worth it.” Being a man and not really caring to dance to P square entering into a dirty catering (think public secondary school) hall in Brooklyn, I concurred. I started my research, I wanted to do something special because even after saying she didn’t want a wedding, this woman demanded NOTHING. She had mentioned a while back, before we were married, that when she was 17, she had seen a picture in magazine of an island in the south pacific, French Polynesia to be exact.
Bora Bora? Don’t you mean Tora Bora (where Osama and his cronies hid post 9/11)? “No, Bora Bora.”
I started my search with simple phrases (it was going to be a surprise for her) ‘Bora Bora Wedding.’ I happened to stumble on the webpage of an amazingly talented photographer- Helene Havard – I emailed Helene and she listed the hotels she was contracted with one of which was the St.Regis. I figured, I am not blowing $50-$60k on a wedding, may as well go all out and enjoy this. St.Regis was billing at $1700 a night, with the wedding costing around $6k (flowers, photographer, videographer, traditional Polynesian dancers- I am a Half Yoruba man and like dancing) Dress, airfare , hotel, wedding, other enjoyment costs put me right around about half of what i would have spent in New York.
“A wedding with two is no wedding at all”-Family Member
To paraphrase a comment made to me by a family member (thankfully not an immediate one). I considered a few things 1.) I would be shouldering ALL of the financial burden. 2.) My wife was perfectly fine and at peace with the idea. 3.) When the lights dim, there are two people who ultimately exist in the marriage, me and her. That being said, I made all my preparations by email (remember, it was a surprise.)
Being New Yorkers, we had to fly to LA first with a follow up flight to Papeete (Tahiti) and then an inter island transfer to Bora Bora. Flying into the tiny airport, I’m sure it doesn’t even have a name, you get an amazing view of the tiffany blue (I think thats the only color that describes it) water, dotted with overwater bungalows. On arrival, everyone split up for their respective hotels (they all sit on water), Hilton, Intercontinental, Le Meridien and of course the St.Regis. Immediately I saw what I had paid for; private boat ride from the airport to the hotel, check. On docking, hotel manager 2 butlers with warm towels, champagne and some sort of candy. The a** kissing was in full effect.
The pampering is second to none, really, you like your ass kissed? Seriously, stay here! The stress of the day? It rained earlier and our wedding planner had asked us a simple question, “do you want to do this thing tomorrow?” The ease of making that decision without worrying about 400 people! No we said, we will go ahead and do it today. No problem. She picked up my wife at 2pm and took her to the spa, she would be getting ready there while I got ready and drunk, in our room. I was taken to the spa, and this is where I saw my bride for the first time in front of a picturesque lake that they had somehow managed to channel there.
Took some pictures, went to the stone bridge, took more pictures overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Wedding time. I walked my wife down the aisle, or rather we walked down it together. We met up with our town chief (what would a Yoruba wedding be without a chief)? Chief said some words and the ceremony lasted about 15 minutes or so if I recall, it was beautifully unique. Our dancers and drummers went into effect. We danced and took some more pictures. After our pictures we went back to our room for some more pictures. At which point we decided we would jump off our deck into about 15 feet of water….. that’s the infamous picture. After our immersion, we changed out of our clothes and dined by the beach.
Thus ended my wedding day, I felt not one ounce of stress, I didn’t have anyone come tell me they hadn’t eaten, the fire marshal didn’t show up and threaten to close up my party because of over occupancy (yes I have seen it happen), the owner of the hall did not extort money from me to keep the party past a certain time. The Wedding turned out to be the best surprise I have ever planned, and also got in return. We really did jump into the Pacific Ocean.. check out the video.
You can watch the video here.
PS: I am “trekking” into cyberspace to announce last week’s winner. I will do it by Wednesday at the latest I promise.