"Starting a relationship wasn’t easy for Irene and Steve. When they first met online they lived over 6,000 miles from each other. After seeing her photos on Instagram, Steve decided to take a chance and send Irene a message. It took several months of liking and commenting on her pictures before Irene realized she couldn’t resist Steve’s charm any longer...."
Continue reading all about Irene & Steve's love story, surprise proposal, and experiences in their elegant modern romance wedding in New Orleans - featuring bridal wear by MunaLuchi Coterie member Ese Azenabor. View the entire vendor list below, and see the complete selected gallery here.
Bride & Groom: Irene & Steve
Location of Wedding: New Orleans, Louisiana
Date of Wedding: November 4, 2017
Starting a relationship wasn’t easy for Irene and Steve. When they first met online they lived over 6,000 miles from each other. After seeing her photos on Instagram, Steve decided to take a chance and send Irene a message. It took several months of liking and commenting on her pictures before Irene realized she couldn’t resist Steve’s charm any longer. Soon their Instagram messages turned into hour long phone conversations. Irene was skeptical of their budding romance because Steve lived all the way in Nigeria and she thought there was no way they could be together. One of them would have to completely sacrifice their life for a chance at love. Steve on the other hand was certain God had a plan for them. As fate would have it, after a year of long distance dating, Steve was accepted into a Masters program and moved to the United States.
Fast forward to October 14th 2016, Irene and Steve were flying to Atlanta, Georgia to attend a family member’s wedding. They had taken separate flights because Steve was coming from another city. Little did Irene know, Steve had spent two months planning a proposal to take place on that very day. He knew it had to be completely unique and unexpected. As Irene was coming down the escalator in the Atlanta airport she was greeted by a crowd of people all holding signs that said “Irene, will you marry me?” At the end of the escalator stood Steve holding flowers in one hand and a ring in the other. Irene was completely overwhelmed but she composed herself enough to reply “Yes!”
Irene knew steve was “the one” because of the way he looks at her, “He makes me feel like I am the most amazing woman on earth.” During her trip to Nigeria, Steve held her and didn’t want to let go. From that moment on she’s felt the love they share. She realized he always has her back and she can always count on him.
Steve knew Irene was “the one” when he first came across her pictures on Instagram. She had all of the qualities he was looking for in a wife and more, “She is Nigerian but has American culture. She’s the best of both worlds. She is intelligent, spontaneous, and she is ALWAYS smiling.”
For her wedding dress, Irene knew she wanted something unique. She enlisted Ese Azenabor to design a custom dress. It was embedded with Swarovski crystals, pearls, and beautiful custom lace. The dress also included a luxurious taffeta ivory detachable train which allowed for the bride to have the option of both a princess and mermaid style. A stunning handcrafted crystal vine headpiece completed the bride’s wedding day look.
Irene and Steve’s elegant modern romance themed wedding incorporated Nigerian, American, and Southern cultures. They hired both an American and a Nigerian DJ to ensure guests were always on their feet and having a good time. During the second half of the wedding, the bridal party changed into traditional Nigerian outfits and performed cultural dances in honor of the newly married couple. Family members of the bride and groom also dressed in Aso Ebi and wore the same color fabrics to represent the blending of the two families.
Best memories: “There were so many amazing memories. It’s really hard to pick which one was the best. I guess I would have to say, our ‘first look.’ It was so intimate. It was just Steve and I. I could remember my heart pounding as I walked down the courtyard to touch Steve’s shoulder so that he could turn around to see me. The smile on his face when he saw me for the first time in my wedding dress was pure bliss! I can replay the emotions in my head from that moment so vividly. I also can’t forget our first dance! Steve dropping to the floor while “Can You Stand the Rain” was playing was so unexpected!” - Irene
“I would have to say my best memory was Irene walking down the aisle during the ceremony. I had already seen her during our first look, but there was something extra special when she came down the aisle. I also enjoyed our first dance.” - Steve
Advice for engaged couples: “Take the time to enroll in premarital counseling with your church. Marriage is one of the most challenging experiences which is why it is the most rewarding. It’s very important to take the time to not only plan for your wedding, but plan for your marriage. The months leading up to your wedding can be stressful, but you will enjoy the process more if you equally commit the same amount of energy into building your foundation for your marriage as you commit to planning your wedding day.”
Quick facts from the bride:
Wedding flowers: Rounded textured garden style bouquet with white peonies, ivory spray roses, white hydrangeas, white ranunculus, and Sahara roses.
Favorite item on menu: Macaroni and Cheese with lobster and the Crawfish beignets
Bridesmaids/groomsmen gifts: The bridesmaids received custom bags, robes, cups, Coach bags, and other intimate details. The groomsmen received luxury custom bow ties, lapel pins, and other accessories.
First dance song: “Can you Stand the Rain” by New Edition
Advice for brides: I think it is very important to establish with your husband to be your vision for your wedding. The amount of guests, the budget, whether you want it to be lavish or modest. Whatever it may be, make sure you decide together what your vision is, so that it will eliminate any unnecessary miscommunication that can happen in the process. I also strongly advise getting a good wedding planner. A good planner will make this process exactly what it should be—fun! Also, know that this is a big event, but what you’re preparing for is even bigger---your marriage! Take the time to enroll in premarital classes and make sure while you are planning your wedding, you are also planning your marriage. On the day of your wedding, I advise taking ten minutes out in the morning to call your groom on the phone and pray with him prior to the start of wedding day. Try to relax on the day of, and live through the moment. Embrace it. The day will go by fast, make sure you enjoy it. Psalm 37:4
Bride's dress: Ese Azenabor
Bride’s shoes: James Ciccotti
Bride’s headpiece and/or veil: Bella Tiara LLC, New York, NY
Bridesmaids dresses: Dollhouse Bridesmaids
Cakes/desserts: Chasing Wangs
Catering/Venue: Loews Hotel New Orleans, LA
Event decor/design: Elegance by ACE
Entertainment: King Drewsky of Wowo Boyz // DJ IKE & DJ Dapo
Event planner: Elegance by ACE
Florals: Bella Blooms Floral
Groom's attire: Kimono Kollection
Bow Ties: Wayne Willis//Well Groomed Man
Groomsmen attire: Dobell Menswear
Hair: Jordan Washington with True Royalty Hair
Makeup: Makeup by Jess
Photography: Iris Manning Photography
Rentals: Chairs by Chair Couture NOLA
Stationery: Parchment by Dami
Videography: 1216 Studio