International Love: Kristina + Maurice’s Multicultural Russian Orthodox Wedding in London
We’re kicking off a new regular feature here on Munaluchibridal.com entitled, International Love. With daily visits from brides and wedding enthusiasts from across the globe, we felt it was only right to showcase the beauty of love…globally. The celebration of love and culture is beautiful, sacred and has no boundaries. We hope you enjoy this weekly feature, and it inspires you to incorporate something different and fresh into your next celebration. If you’d like to share your love story with us, fill out the submission form here.
First up is a couple wildly in love and as creative as ever. Kristina Chernova and Maurice-Bankole Banjoko live in Russia, but Maurice is originally from Nigeria. The pair met at a Jazz Club in Soho, London on salsa night, and after one dance, they were inseparable. Their gorgeous wedding, which included up to 250 guests, was pulled off in less than six months! Some highlights from the wedding included Russian folklore dancing, a Russian cabaret, African drummers and Nigerian and European dishes all photographed artistically by Chris Legg Photography. Enjoy the images below and check out the full gallery here.Bride: Kristina Chernova Groom: Maurice-Bankole Banjoko Wedding date: 2.12.2012 Location: Russian Orthodox Cathedral in Knightsbridge, /London, United Kingdom
From the groom:
[I] took charge of the wedding organisation with daily briefings(very early mornings) with Kristina. Having only just secured/confirmed the wedding date of 12 February 2012 in October 2011, time was impossibly tight! We had two windows of possible dates presented to us and the second window was too far away for us! We had no choice but to meet the earlier date. It seemed like mission impossible. How do you put together a classy wedding for around 250 guests including children in just under six months?! Meticulous, resourceful and a very organised creative, [I] had to summon everything within and without. God help us!
Mitigating in our favour was the fact that most couples prefer a summer wedding so we believed contractors and vendor`s could meet very short notice lead times for first week in February.
Late nights and early dawn risings! Kristina and two of her girl friends miraculously expertly acquired the wedding gown with one of the leading designers. Ring bands were chosen and ordered (Thank you, Tiffany`s) [my] family fast tracked the crafting together of his princely traditional Nigerian(yoruba) attire in Abuja, Nigeria. The cathedral was booked and rehearsals planned. (We even had the honour of having two priests conduct the wedding ceremony). The reception venue was secured in record time. Catering arranged (with endless amending of menu!). Wedding cake set in motion (same baker who made Madonna`s wedding cake!). Flowers sorted (Phew!…thanks to [my] sister-in-law’s events planning business) Entertainment, speeches, cancelled flights!… Panic attacks! Wedding vehicles etc. We made it on time.
Attention to detail was particularly challenging as [I] belong to a big family of seven siblings (all mostly married with children). Furthermore, [our] family and friends were flying in from various parts of the world. Russia, Nigeria, Germany, South Africa, France.
The pre-wedding photo shoot was held in St James Park (opposite Buckingham Palace). This location was of particular sentimental significance to us. We met for the first time (after our initial meeting at the jazz club during Kristina`s holiday and after she had gone back to Germany ) on the foot bridge over the ornamental lake in St James Park and I was, of course! a bit late!
Multicultural grandeur…“Our wedding was a grand display of multi-culturalism and tradition. Russian and Nigerian(yoruba)
The most important aspect of the day, the solemnisation of the wedding was conducted in the magnificent Russian Orthodox cathedral, Knightsbridge, London. (Kristina and [I] had together embarked on a close affinity with the Christian Orthodox faith much earlier in [our] courting period)
Being a prince of the Obalufe lineage of Ijebu Ife, Southern Nigeria, [I] was adorned in the traditional Nigerian(yoruba) ceremonial attire known as “aso oke”.
The presence of the Nigerian entourage clad in their exotic outfits in the prime Russian Orthodox church in England caused quite a stir! The service was quite regal and evocative with fragranced incense wafting in the air, celestial chanting by the choir and opulent crowns placed on the heads of the bride and groom.
[I] had pin pointed the perfect reception venue. A huge glass domed conservatory as a sun/moon natural light filled, palm tree filled tropical surprise for [my] Russian bride. A little bit of Africa on a cold (but sunny!) wintery February in London.
At the onset of the reception event, Kristina`s mother engaged us, at the entrance of the hall, in an ancient Russian “bread and salt” eating ceremony which was customarily significant and symbolic. Bread representing the basis and staple platform of commitment and reliability upon which the spice flavour of romance and variety of salt is built. We fed each other bits of bread with salt sprinkled on. Immediately after this, we danced to an uptempo Nigerian song, leading a procession to our dining table.
The sumptuous menu was adapted to suit core Nigerian and European palates. The chilliness had been toned down for the comfort of our more conservative family and friends! We had special Russian delicacies and typical Nigerian dishes.
There was much folk lore group singing and dancing, a live Russian cabaret, live African drumming and solo classical piano renditions.
There was even a “bride kidnapping” event! Yes, completely as a delightful surprise to Kristina and I and my family, Kristina`s friends orchestrated her kidnapping. She was discreetly spirited away to a secret chamber (where she re-touched her make up and was attended to by her ladies-in-waiting). Meanwhile, [I] had to sing a song impromptu to the guests as a “ransom” for [my] bride. Panic struck!…. but the song “I wanna dance with somebody” by Whitney Houston popped into [my] head and saved the day! It was all the more poignant as the legendary diva had just tragically passed away in the early hour`s of that same day, Sunday 12 February 2012.”
Their Best Memory... “The moment we both said “I DO” and also the joy and laughter that radiated through everyone throughout the whole day.”
Tell us one thing he loves most about you… Her sweetness. Tell us one thing you love most about him…His charm.
- Wedding dress: White Mischief
- Shoes: MiuMiu
- Make Up: Ryan at Bare Minerals, Harvey Nichols, London
- Hair: Nadya Borovikova. firstname.lastname@example.org
- Ceremony Venue: Russian Orthodox Cathedral of the Dormition, London
- Reception Venue: The Millenium Gloucester Hotel, South Kensington, London
- Florist: Prestige Occasions
- Event designer: Prestige Occasions
- Cake: Little Venice Cake Company – Couture Cakes
- Photography: Chris Legg Photography.
- Videography: High Definition Bride.
- Wedding Cars: Gold Car Services
- Wedding Rings: Tiffany & Co.
- Catering: Big Mummy`s Kitchen