• Anwuli Anyah

Wedding Day - Celebrating Our Love Story

Updated: Jul 26, 2019


How do I begin describing the best day of my life? Not sure, so I'll just jump right in. I was too excited to sleep the night before. I finally drifted off to sleep at 4am and woke up to my 7am alarm, in time to have breakfast with my bridesmaids and start getting ready.

I was so fortunate to be able to get ready at home with a hair and make-up team on site.

My husband and I had decided to go the traditional route of not seeing each other before the wedding. I was so looking forward to walking down the aisle and seeing him there, waiting for me.


It was a morning of peaceful, blissful anticipation.

I was quite surprised by how calm I felt the morning of the wedding. Everything was going as planned. I was able to relax with my bridesmaidsI was even able to spend some time with my mom. She came to help me get into my wedding dress.


My husband and his groomsmen got ready at the J.W Marriot in downtown Grand Rapids.

After getting into my big tulle Hayley Paige dress and my Auriel Taub cathedral length veil, we journeyed down the long hallways of our building, down the elevators, stairs and into the beautiful vintage car, and soon I was on my way to marry the love of my life.

My two favorite accessories were the car and my pearl necklace. Thanks to my husband for helping me feel like a princess.

Arriving at church, the Cathedral of St. Andrew, and stepping out of that car was truly a Cinderella moment. I felt so beautiful and lucky.

I've always known that I would wear a veil. It is the most bridal of all things.

This is the most special I have ever felt, hidden underneath my veil, waiting to see my husband.


Brides, if you are ever on the fence about whether to wear a veil or not, my advice, wear one. It is the only time in your life that you will be able to. Trust me, you will not regret it.

I love this shot by our super talented photographer. Tulle, is the prettiest of fabrics. I wanted a lot of it on my dress, and I got it.


We felt so lucky and humbled to have our family and friends from all over the world come witness our union. It made our day all the more special.

To prevent Patrick, from seeing me when I arrived at church, he and his groomsmen were kept in a holding room while I got out of the car and into the church through the side door. We managed to squeeze in time for a few bridal pictures, of course!

My bridesmaids are the best. They were so supportive and helpful, all while looking incredibly beautiful. I couldn't have asked for a better team.

Seeing my groom waiting for me at the end of the aisle was the most beautiful sight. The look in his eyes as he anxiously waited for me to complete my walk was just the best feeling.

For first processional, the bridal party walked to Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring. And for the second Processional,

I walked to Canon in D. I have always wanted this to be the song that accompanies me down the aisle.


My son Tobe, eventually settling down after throwing a tantrum, on his walk down the aisle.

Technically, he was the ring bearer but he really didn't do much. Not surprising for a two year old. When I watched our wedding video, it was hilarious hearing Tobe wailing as his sister, Leia, carried him down to aisle. Our wedding was right around his nap time so that didn't help matters. But he looked great in this shot while his nanny held him!


Enjoy some pictures of beautiful summer blooms we had in our wedding flowers. Be sure to click through the gallery.

I walked halfway down the aisle by myself. This was symbolic because my initial journey to meet my husband was alone.

Then my parents completing the the walk with me signifies them supporting me in this decision to become one with my husband.

I am so happy my parents were able to be here with me. Although I missed having my sister and brother be a part of the wedding festivities, I am thankful for those who were able to be there.

A very emotional part of the day was the exchange. My dad took my blusher off and handed me to my husband. Hugs were exchanged. This marked the beginning of the wedding ceremony proper.

I am so happy we had the full mass celebrated at our wedding. It is the greatest prayer and nothing better than to receive the sacrament of holy matrimony in the sacrifice of mass.

Our family and friends were present to participate in the sacrament with us and bear witness to our union.


Patrick's close friend, his aunt and sister-in-law did the readings and prayers of the faithful.

The first reading was from Song of Songs 2:8-10, 14, 16a, 8:6-7a. The Responsorial Psalm was Psalm 128. The second reading was from Romans 12:1-2, 9-18. The gospel acclamation was the Celtic Alleluia and the gospel was from John 2:1-11.


Of course, the best part of the day was saying our vows. We went with traditional vows. There is a good reason they have been around for a while.

Each song and reading from the mass was carefully selected by Patrick and I. Our parents participated in the mass by bearing and presenting the Eucharistic gifts. The hymn for the presentation of gifts was What Wondrous Love is This. Eucharistic acclamations was Mass of Creation by M. Haugen. For communion, we went with the hymn Without Seeing You by David Haas.


We walked out of that church to Fanfare by J.N. Lemmens. Once outside, the cathedral bells were rung in celebration. We were greeted with cheers from our guests.

Here are a few of my favorite couple portraits.




I love this picture of our family, complete, on the day we officially all became one.

Even before I had a son, I have imagined a mother-son capture like this one. He liked my puffy dress.

There is never a day off from being a mama. After the mass, Tobe insisted I carry him. So I did! Tall heels, puffy dress, toddler in hand.

He just wouldn't let go. It was all so sweet. I have to admit, I enjoyed seeing him want my attention like this.


There is only so much a toddler can accommodate when you take away his nap time. When family portrait time came around, Tobe was officially done. It took a lot of work to get a few more shots with him in it before sending him off with the nanny.

Me and my mom. I will forever cherish this memory.

And of course, me and my dad. My mom has always said that I am a daddy's girl. I agree.

I seriously have the best little brother. He does so much for me and he loves and cares for Tobe so deeply. I am so blessed to have him in my life. I am thankful that I had one of my siblings with me on my wedding day. I wish all three of them were there but I had Peter. I am grateful for that.

Patrick has some very cute pictures with his parents. He and his mom look so much alike.

And, some more bridal portraits!

Documenting such an important day with family pictures is essential. I loved seeing how two families and two cultures merged.



And here is our classic bridal party shot. We are so lucky to have such amazing family and friends.


Scroll through the gallery below for a few of my favorite pictures with my bridesmaids.

And Patrick's groomsmen...

And here is a fun bridal party pictures.

Taking a walk with my new husband, after all the post-ceremony pictures.

Riding in this 1961 Rolls Royce, with my new husband was a lot of fun.


You know you have the correct amount of dress when it spills out the windows.

After the ceremony and pictures, Patrick and I rode the car to the Anway Grand Hotel in the downtown area. This was where we had our wedding night room. We checked in and spent some time freshening up before returning to the wedding reception.


Patrick was such a sweet and doting groom. He helped me bustle my dress and even helped me put on my second pair of shoes.


During this break, I traded my veil for a hair pin. I also swapped my heels for some comfortable wedges. I took my sash off to expose the stones on my dress.


He paid such deliberate attention and showed so much care for me. The funny thing is that everyday of life with Patrick is like this, but it was just so extra special on this day that I became his wife. I felt like the luckiest woman in the world.


A few times my bustle fell out and my sweet husband fixed it.

Patrick and I took a walk around the downtown area while the guests arrived at the reception. Our reception was held at the Grand Rapids Art Museum in downtown Grand Rapids

Upon arriving at the reception, guests were greeted by the band playing.

Our escort card display was a floral installation. Guests found their escort cards among the beautiful blooms. It was all so romantic.

I loved every aspect of our wedding but the feature that was dearest to my heart were all the flowers.

I loved how intentional we were at placing lots of romantic blooms everywhere. From the bar, to the plush sitting areas, to even the bathrooms. You can never have too many flowers.

I loved our pre-reception stroll. It was quality time together before diving back into the festivities. We hit some of our favorite downtown Grand Rapids spots, including the coffee shop.

I seriously have the most handsome husband. I loved that he went with a classic, clean look. I felt so giddy seeing the new ring on my husband's finger.

It's no wonder couples end up with thousands of wedding pictures. It's a day when everything is so beautiful.

My husband looking as handsome as ever.


This one of us by the waterfall is almost playful.

We headed into our reception after our guests were seated.

We opted out of dancing in with our bridal party. Patrick and I are not big fans of the wedding tradition. Having the bridal party mingle with their family and friends was beneficial to everyone because they also helped us welcome and entertain guests prior to our arrival.

We walked into our reception while Waves by Mr Schulz played.

We decided not to have a head table. We had a place at the table just like other guests. It was intimate dinning so close to our loved ones. Our bridal party was also sitted amongst the guests, with their family and friends.

After prayers were said, my husband started off speeches by reading a letter that my sister wrote me. This was the most emotional part of the wedding. My sister Josephine, who is also my maid of honor, was not granted a visa by the American Embassy so she couldn't make it to the wedding.

Josephine and I had dreamed up this day together so it was gut wrenchingly disappointing that she couldn't make it. A copy of her letter to me can be read on a A Sister's Love blog post. Her letter to me brought everyone to tears.

Next, my dad gave an endearing speech. He delved into his story about how I left home at 18 in search of a better life. It was so emotional listening to my story from his perspective.

Lots of cheers and drinking champagne, as it should be at a wedding. Scroll through the gallery below for more pictures.


It was such a perfect day. It was so beautiful and even smelled amazing from all the blooms that surrounded us. I am intoxicated by the memory of that day.

Joseph, my brother-in-law and best man gave his speech next. It was a complete opposite of my dad's, lengthwise.


Cheers! Cheers! Cheers!


Patrick gave the final speech. It was the most beautiful words he has ever said to me. It was his love letter to me. Given that we did traditional vows, this was his outlet to say all the additional things he wanted to say to me. His love for me was so eloquently and beautifully described. I am truly the luckiest woman alive to have found this man.



After the toasts, I went to change into my reception dress. It was time to mingle with the guests and my huge tulle gown would have made that challenging.


Patrick and I snuck out for more pictures in my new dress. I also changed my shoes to a pair that had the 1920s flair to go with my dress. They were also super comfortable and great heels for dancing.


Then we went back to visit with our guests, making our rounds from table to table while guests had dinner.

After dinner came time to cut the cake.

It was delicious.

We got a drink at the bar, got a picture with our aweosome bar tender and just hung out with friends. At this time, the band had started playing again and guests had begun to wander into the auditorium adjourning the dinning room for the dancing portion of the evening.

Our first dance was to Sweater Weather by The Neighborhood.

Father/Daughte dance was to - Lullabye (Goodnight, My Angel), by Billy Joel.

Mother/Son dance - Superman (Its not easy) by Five for Fighting.

Then the floor was opened up to everyone else for dancing. Scroll through the gallery for more pictures.

Hugs from my sweet step daughter, Leia.

Then Tobe, who was not at the reception showed up with his nanny. He actually danced for like fifteen minutes and was throwing some serious moves that I unfortunately do not have pictures of. At one point, the saxophonist came off the stage to play for Tobe while he danced. It was amazing.

My dad's hat ended up on Patrick's head at one point.

Taking a break with my ladies.


Little Isabella, in the blue dress, caught the bouquet. Take My Breath Away by Berlin was the song that played for the bouquet toss. Then Patrick did the garter toss. It is such a fun but weird tradition. Smooth by Santana Feat Rob Thomas played for the garter toss.

The thoughtfulness of our guests was so evident in the messages left in our guest book.

We ended the night with a sparkler exit. I can't seem to find any pictures but it was as great as I imagined.

My bridesmaids decorated our getaway car with cans. It was so fun making all that noise as we left the reception.


We drove to the Amway Grand Hotel where we spent the night. The next morning we had our wedding brunch at Rendezvous, then headed straight to the airport to Nantucket for our honeymoon.



A detailed wedding planning description with information on our vendors can be seen on this blog post.



Details on other parts of our wedding festivities including getting ready, rehearsal dinner can be found via the embedded links.


This link to the Martha Stewart article about our wedding


Please enjoy the wedding highlight video below.



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