Once upon a time, in Hampton University, VA, two students were destined to be together but had absolutely no idea. They had mutual friends, but never crossed paths until one fateful day when their paths would cross-never to be separated again.
Chinyelum “Chi Chi” Umejei and Ifeanyi “Ify” Michael Olele have a beginning that reads like a tale in a storybook. Their love for each other has stood the test of time and truly cemented their relationship. Their unique and personal engagement session was captured by the creative genius that is Keith Cephus. You absolutely have to check this guy out!
On the couple's First Encounter...
“Even though we were at the same school (Hampton University) and had mutual friends we didn’t know of each other. We met via Facebook when I added him as a friend...by typing common Nigerian names and Ifeanyi accepted the friendship and sent me a message with his number. That night, we spoke from 10pm-8am and found out that his father and my uncles knew each other and went to the same high school in Nigeria.” -Chinyelum
Wow! Talk about a relationship written in the stars. What’s even more heartwarming is that their love is punctuated with reality: they appreciate beautiful and practical things about each other.
Love birds..The couple reminisce on what made them fall in love with each other..
[pullquote3 quotes="true" align="center" variation="pearl" cite="Ifeanyi"]I was intrigued with Chi-Chi from the first time I met her. She is God-fearing, career-oriented, classy, nurturing, fierce, and compassionate. Those are the reasons why I fell in love with her.[/pullquote3]
[pullquote3 quotes="true" align="center" variation="teal" cite="Chinyelum"]I fell in love with Ify’s moral character and honesty. He has a big heart and doesn’t just say something unless he truly means it. Ify has a gentle soul and complements me in areas where I am weak.[/pullquote3] ”
With such great traits, it probably wasn’t too difficult for the couple to realize that this was it. On how they both knew they had found “the one”.....
“When we became long distance 2 months after dating, I always felt empty inside whenever we would part ways and it intensified over the years; but I knew she was the one when my close friend was dying of cancer and she was my rock in that dark period of my life.” -Ifeanyi
“I knew Ify was the one when he had my back through pharmacy school encouraging me to keep going and stay on track even though he had his own load with medical school.” -Chinyelum
The best love stories are those in which there is a true friendship, sacrifice and a willingness to support each other. Ifeanyi and Chinyelum seem to have that down to a science. I hope they never lose that!
On Ifeanyi’s surprise proposal to his sweetheart....
“Ifeanyi was visiting me in Arizona at my place. While I was at work, he called and told me to let him know when I was heading home so he [could] start making dinner. When I got home, I had to knock on the door since he had my key. When he came to the door, he told me to look at the laptop with the Facebook homepage and asked me what it meant to me. I answered "This was how we met." He then took me to different stations in the house that he created depicting our lives over the years. He does romantic things like that sometimes so it wasn't unusual; but at
this point, since I had just come back from work, still in uniform, and hungry (which by the way I didn't smell any food at this point), I was thinking "he must have had way too much time on his hands today." When we finally got to the [last] station, he told me to close my eyes. When he had me open them, he was on one knee with the ring box open. All I could do was scream really loud "OH MY GOD!!!" over and over again. He had to tell me to quiet down before the neighbors thought I was being attacked. I was totally caught off guard because it is hard to surprise me. <Lol> When I finally calmed down, I said "Yes, I will!”
Awwww...a perfect surprise proposal! Now happily engaged, the couple decided to have an engagement session and have fun doing it.
On choosing to work with Keith...
“We wanted someone that could capture both our culture and love in a story; so we contacted Keith Cephus Photography because he is a genius and we were impressed with his quality of work and he is a photographic artist. He knows how to capture the emotions of the couple on film. That is a God-given talent.” -Chinyelum
The inspiration behind the theme of the e-session....
“We wanted to have a unique engagement session that depicted our culture, the fact that we are both from the same state in Nigeria and that we are both in a fraternity and sorority. For the beach shots, I wore the blue shirt to represent Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. and Ifeanyi wore the gold polo to represent Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. The white cloth with coral beads “akwa ocha” is the traditional attire for the Aniocha LGA, Delta State. So we went for looks that we hadn’t seen in other Nigerian engagement sessions in order to tell our story.”
I’m sure you’ll agree that their theme was fabulous,unique, and creative while also being very personal and reflecting their heritage. They are carrying their lovely concept into their wedding.
Here' more about the theme of their wedding....
“We love the theme of royalty and elegance using coral and gold with accents of gray. The Nigerian culture is so rich and beautiful. Our motherland is home to many kings and queens. In essence, we want the theme to resonate throughout the wedding. We want this to be a classy affair for our guests.” -Chinyelum
Planning the wedding has been somewhat challenging for the beautiful couple. The most difficult aspect of the planning process has been, “Not being in [Virginia] to meet with the vendors face to face. I like to know who I am working with on projects, and that fosters an atmosphere to really bounce ideas off each other. Another issue was my medical school requirements which took a huge chunk of my time in wedding planning.” -Ifeanyi
“The time zone difference made it difficult for me to discuss business matters; the long trips home from [Arizona] to [Virginia] and instead of hanging out, the short trip is packed with numerous wedding appointments.” -Chinyelum
It hasn’t been all bad though. On the most exciting thing about the wedding planning, the couple said, “We loved creating our website because we had the opportunity to relive some of memories through photographs and our stories of how we met and the proposal.”
The bottom line is that planning a wedding is a means to an absolutely beautiful end-the joining of two individuals and their families together
What they look forward to most...
“All our family and friends in the United States and outside of the country meeting and interacting with each other. These are people who have supported us over the years in all our successes and failures.”
Congrats to the lovely couple and best of luck on your upcoming wedding. View more engaged couples here.