Afro Chic Haitian and Nigerian Fusion Wedding in Washington
A wedding should be a reflection of what you love the most, and Kat Noel-Wokoma and Tonye Wokoma ensured that their adoration for their loved ones and each other was the driving force of their nuptials. Kat shares, “Our wedding and relationship theme is ‘full circle love’ because we dated in college for 8 months, broke up and were married almost 7 years later…. Throughout our lives our loved ones have played a very large roll in shaping who we are, so we wanted a wedding celebration where they were encouraged to be active participants.” The couple rented the Tierra Retreat Center in Leavenworth, WA and invited their friends and family to join them for fun activities in the days leading up to their wedding. Everyone enjoyed Zumba and Chicago Step classes, and the night before the wedding they gathered for a bonfire complete with s’mores.
The Wokoma’s nuptials were a true celebration of love and nature’s glory. Kat recalls, “I called my wedding style ‘afro, earth, glam.’ I wanted it to represent some of the layers of who I am.” Kat looked beautiful in her ceremony gown which was silk, with a plunging back, an asymmetrical strap, and touches of crystal around the waist and shoulder. She also carried a unique and personalized bouquet down the aisle. Kat shares, “I’m not that into flowers but I definitely wanted something to hold while walking down the aisle that represented our love story. One night, I randomly thought up the idea of having a bouquet made out of paper, with old letters and Gchat conversations between me and Tonye….The bouquet is made out of archival paper and will last forever, just like our love.”
Guests were inspired by their ceremony which was filled with culture and tradition. Kat’s family is from Haiti, and Tonye is Nigerian and African-American, so the couple infused both of their backgrounds into their wedding. Guests were lead into the ceremony space by Senegalese drummers, and Kat’s mother prepared delicious stewed goat for the reception. The beautiful pictures that Holly Arie Photography captured of this spirit filled wedding will surely touch your heart and reaffirm your belief in true love.
- Wedding Date: 08/31/2013
- Wedding Location: Tierra Retreat Center – Leavenworth, WA
- Wedding Theme: Full Circle of Love
- Color Scheme: Purple, Turquoise, Cream
- First Dance Song: ”Mo’ Better” – Raheem Devaughn
- Wedding Cake Flavors: Lemon blueberry
- Wedding Menu Favorite: My mother’s stewed goat
Our wedding and relationship theme is “full circle love” because we dated in college for 8 months, broke up and were married almost 7 years later. Our inspiration was our community. Throughout our lives our loved ones have played a very large roll in shaping who we are, so we wanted a wedding celebration where they encouraged to be active participants. The site of our wedding celebration was Tierra Retreat Center in the mountains of Leavenworth, WA. We rented the retreat center for several days and invited our loved ones to join us. We enjoyed Zumba, yoga and Chicago Step classes and had a bonfire, complete with S’mores the night before the wedding. It was wonderful spending time reconnecting and having our wedding serve as the culmination of time together.
I called my wedding style “afro, earth, glam”. I wanted it to represent some of the layers of who I am. My ceremony dress is from Adrienne’s Bridal in Manhattan. It was the fourth dressed I tried on and when both my sister and the boutiques owner, Maryann Greco, gasped, I knew it was the one. The dress was 100% silk with a plunging back, asymmetrical strap and slight mermaid fit. Maryann was a miracle worker! Three weeks before the wedding, I experienced a horrible bike accident that left me with a fractured ankle. I ended up having to wear a walking boot. Maryann worked her magic and somehow the boot wasn’t visible at all under my ceremony dress. My reception outfit was made by Andrea Pitter an incredible NY-based designer of her own bridal line, Pantora. We both collaborated on a reception look that incorporated Guinea brocade fabric and sex appeal. Working with Andrea was a dream! She even gifted me a pair gf gorgeous earrings that she made herself and I ended wearing for our wedding. I was absolutely IN LOVE with both dresses! I felt gorgeous! My favorite wedding accessory, was my bouquet. I’m not that into flowers but I definitely wanted something to hold while walking down the aisle that represented our love story. One night, I randomly thought up the idea of having a bouquet made out of paper, with old letters and Gchat conversations between me and Tonye. I searched on Etsy and found Katie Antonson, a paper flower maker who owns Lille Syster. Without ever meeting in person, Katie was able to create my vision. The bouquet is made out of archival paper and will last forever, jus tike our love.
Incorporation of Culture
My family is from Haiti and they have Christian, Western traditions. Tonye’s father is Nigerian and his mother is African-American and adheres to West African traditions. We wanted to infuse our wedding celebration with both of our backgrounds. For example, our guest were lead to the ceremony space by Senegalese drummers and my mother prepared stewed goat for the reception.
Most Memorable Moment
My first fond memory was when Tonye walked up the aisle to meet me and my parents. Through the tears streaming down his face, I could see all the love in his heart. At that moment, I took a deep breath and felt absolutely ready to spend my life growing with my best friend. My second favorite moment, was Tonye’s grandmother saying a prayer during our wedding ceremony. She is the matriarch of his family who has taught him so much. Her blessing of our union is invaluable to us because it is her marriage to Tonye’s grandfather that has served as the example of what he has always wanted in a relationship.
My only advice is to make your wedding celebration everything you dreamed it to be. It’s you and your partners day and you should feel like everything that goes into reflects the both of you and your love.
Watch their lovely wedding highlight video here:
- Day-of Event Planner – Kendra Jimenez from Cherished Occasions
- Wedding Dress – Adrienne’s
- Reception Dress and earrings – Pantora
- Make-up – Teme Wokoma ‘
- Hair – Thema Taylor – Natural Edgez
- Wedding & Reception Location - Tierra Retreat Center Leavenworth, WA
- Maid of Honor Dresses- Pantora
- Wedding cake – Cake Chic Studio
- Rentals – All Seasons Events
- Bouquet – Lille Syster
- Videography – Design 4 Life
- Photography – Holly Arie
- DJ – Jay Battle Drummer – Thione Diop
- Groom and Groomsmen attire – Bola International Boutique