Grecian Inspired Wedding with Yoruba Traditions for College Sweethearts Agnes + Stephen in Houston, TX

Text by Demara White / As seen in the Fall/Winter Issue. Purchase a copy here

Upon laying eyes on Stephen, Agnes thought he was handsome - but, of course, she didn’t tell him that. Eventually, she spied him on campus again, and he asked her to hangout with him among a group of friends. But love wasn’t a part of the syllabus for the focused Agnes, who aspired to attend a top-tier law school after graduation. However, a persistent Stephen wouldn’t take no for an answer; and following that day, the pair began to grow a friendship and a mutual enjoyment for each other’s company.

After their first official date, the two became joined at the hip: if you saw Agnes on campus, you just knew that Stephen would never be too far behind, and vice versa. They were truly smitten with each other.

Several years later, in 2012, during the pair’s traditional yearly vacation, Stephen found himself ready to pop the question. “On Christmas day, Stephen left our cabin at six a.m. and told me he was going to get coffee. I did not think anything of it, because Stephen loves coffee and he always starts his day off with coffee. But when his coffee run took three hours, I began to worry,” shares Agnes.

But unbeknownst to Agnes, Stephen was running mad around their Caribbean cruise ship, talking with crew members to determine the perfect proposal space and finalizing his post-proposal arrangements. And once the cool Stephen arrived back to their cabin, he informed Agnes that his extended coffee run was due to him making plans for their fun-filled day in Jamaica. Following their amazing day, the pair shared an intimate candlelit dinner; and later, Stephen insisted that they take a stroll along the ship’s outer deck to close out the night. “I told him that I didn’t want to, because the waves were crashing against the sides of the ship and water was splashing on the deck. I can laugh about it now, but I was really concerned about my hair getting wet!” says Agnes.

Eventually, a reluctant Agnes agreed to go. Once they reached the bow of the ship (cue the famous “I’m the king of the world” Titanic scene), trailed up the stairs, and sat on it’s single white bench the two began to reflect on their then-eight year relationship and their unbreakable bond. As Stephen poured his heart out, reveling in all the things he loved about Agnes, she sat there in tears of happiness. And before she could speak, Stephen rose from the bench, got on one knee and asked her to spend the rest of her life with him.

They swapped “I do’s” on October 3, 2015 in an ethereal, Grecian-inspired ceremony space filled with stunning ivory florals, draped Roman pillars, candles complimented by gold accents and, of course, the breathtaking crystal-filled chandelier. Incorporating culture into their ceremony was also an important aspect to the couple, whom also held a traditional Nigerian Yoruba engagement prior to wedding day. Additional cultural elements included the bride’s parents dressing in "Aso Oke," (hand loomed cloth worn in the Yoruba culture), the "Aso Ebi" ("family clothes" in Yoruba) in which family and friends of the couple wear identical colors and fabrics to the event as a symbol of solidarity, and the custom of the parents of the bride and groom dancing into the reception with the collective community that helped to raise their children.

“Over the last ten years, I have been blessed to call him my best friend. He has helped shaped me into the woman I am today, and, for that, I am forever grateful. I can honestly say that I cannot imagine spending the rest of my life with anyone else. Stephen is truly the one God kept for me” shares Agnes.

Bride: Agnes Doyle
Groom: Stephen Doyle
Occupations: Bride - Commercial Litigation Attorney / Groom - Nuclear Engineer
Wedding Date: October 3, 2015
Wedding Location: Houston, Texas.

Favorite Item on the Menu: "Tonga" Coconut Shrimp with Spicy Mango & Sweet Chili Dipping Sauce

Bridesmaids/Groomsmen Gifts:

Bridesmaid Gifts - Royal Blue Personalized/Monogrammed Silk Robes; crystal teardrop earrings for the day of the wedding, and a Swarovski single pearl initial goldleaf necklace / Groomsmen Gifts - Personalized/Engraved Whiskey Decanter

First Dance Song: Kem - I Can't Stop Loving You
Mother/Son Dance Song: The Spinners - Sadie
Father/Daughter Dance Song: Stevie Wonder - Isn't She Lovely

Memories: There were so many memorable moments from our wedding day from incorporating the Aggie War Hymn into our wedding reception, blending our families together, listening to heart-felt speeches, to witnessing our guests having an amazing time on the dance floor. Our wedding day by far was the best day of my life.

My best wedding memory was walking down the aisle to meet Stephen and exchanging our vows. When I saw him, a feeling of peace came over me, and I knew that I was making the best decision of my life. I could not contain my emotions because I was so grateful that I was getting the opportunity to spend the rest of my life with my best friend. Even though we exchanged our vows in front of all of our family and friends, that moment was so intimate to me. In that very moment, it felt as if Stephen and I were the only people in the room.

Help out a Bride-to-be! The best advice that I can give to an engaged couple is to remember that the most important thing is your marriage not the wedding. Start with a solid foundation going into your wedding day because once all of the guests have gone, the flowers have withered, and the music has stopped, it is you and your spouse. The wedding is just a bonus, and the marriage is what truly matters.

Simply put "do you!" Remember that your wedding should be about the two of you and no one else. As a couple, you should sit down and discuss what you envision for your wedding day. While it is important to get input from your family and friends, ultimately the decisions regarding your wedding should be made by the two of you as a couple.

Set a budget and stick to it as best as you can. In other words "cut your coat according to your size." Remember that you have to live after the wedding. Be honest with yourself and vendors because you do not want to fall in love with something that you cannot afford.

I would definitely recommend that you get as "qualified" planner. A planner will think of things that will not even cross your mind when you are planning your wedding. However, all planners were not created equal. A trustworthy planner will have your best interests in mind and will do everything he or she can to ensure that your wedding day goes off without a hitch. Our wedding planner by far was the best investment we made.

Vendors

Bride's accessories: LaReve Bridal Couture (veil)
Brides dress: Allure Couture
Brides dress alterations: Kristen Johnson of Kristen Johnson Bridal
Brides reception dress: Terani Couture
Bridesmaid's dresses: White by Vera Wang
Cakes/desserts: Edible Designs by Jessie
Catering: Royal Sonesta Hotel
Ceremony: Royal Sonesta Houston Galleria
Chairs: Décor to Remember
Dance floor: Mike’s Dance Floors Rentals
Dance floor monogram: Laced Vinyl Shoppe
Event decor: A Memorable Event
Event planning & design:  Dure Events
Entertainment: DJ Tunes
Favors: Discount Mugs
Flowers: A Memorable Event
Flower girls dresses: David’s Bridal
Groom's attire: Calvin Klein
Groomsmen attire: Vera Wang Black
Groom's Ring: Zales
Harpist: Laura Witt Smith
Brides hair: Sean Dapper
Bridesmaids hair: UnBleavable Hair
Bride’s nails: Ly of Grand Nails Bar
Bride's Rings: Bova Diamonds
Linens: Décor to Remember
Lighting: DJU Productions
Officiant: Minister Richard Bright
Master of ceremony: Dulo
Makeup: IrieJade Beauty
Photo booth: Just Say Cheese Photo Booths
Photography: Rhphotoarts
Reception venue: Royal Sonesta Houston Galleria
Stationery: Isabella Invitations
Videography: AB Motion Video

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