Although their families were friends, and Joke's brother grew up as a childhood friend of Eliyas, it wasn't until later in life that Joke and Eliyas' love story would begin during her brothers' birthday celebrations. It was the first time Joke and Eliyas began to truly get to know each other, and the mutual attraction was immediately apparent. Still, their communication for the next eight months remained social media casual. Until, with a little guidance from his mother, Eliyas congratulated Joke on her recent graduation from dental school. They exchanged phone numbers and from that point on "...they've been in each other's lives ever since."
During a day of casual mall shopping, the lovely couple decided to look at rings. Joke fell in love with a particular ring that she knew was the one for her. Making a mental note of it, Eliyas would secretly return to purchase Joke's dream ring, holding it for over a year before deciding on the perfect proposal.
With the help of friends, they turned what began as Joke's 26th birthday dinner into an engagement dinner. To Joke's joyful surprise she would receive the greatest birthday gift of all, a proposal of marriage from the love of her life with the ring of her dreams. As she puts it, "it was an amazing day and affirmation of the fact that we are both committed to forever."
Read all the details of Joke & Eliyas' stunning and resplendent engagement session, and check out the complete gallery here!
Bride & Groom to-be: Joke Alesh & Eliyas Adelaja
Occupations: Bride - Dentist, Groom - Electrical Engineer
Wedding date: September 30, 2017
Wedding location: Worcester, MA
Location of Engagement shoot: Providence, RI
Tell us how you met and all about the proposal:
How we met: Our family’s are both Nigerian and live in RI. Although our families knew each other, Eliyas and I were never really close. Eliyas and my brother, Wale, are childhood friends. In July 2012, Wale had a birthday outing at a drive-in movie theater. We got there early so we could get a good parking spot. We got a chance to get to know each other a little bit throughout the day. We even ended up in the same car for the movie, which could have been romantic if Eliyas hadn’t slept through the whole thing! At Wale’s birthday cookout the next day we sat next to each other and enjoyed each other’s company. After the cookout, Joke decided that she would “bag” Eliyas and Eliyas had become interested in Joke. Eliyas spontaneously decided to move to Baltimore. Over the next 8 months we remained interested in each other but didn’t communicate outside the casual Facebook “like”. Joke’s mom even suggested Eliyas as a possible partner for her. Joke had her dental school white coat ceremony and went back to her mosque to thank the community for their support over the years. Eliyas’ mom was there and called Eliyas in Baltimore and advised him to call and congratulate Joke. He sent Joke a congratulatory Facebook message highlighting the fact that he didn’t have her number. Joke gave him her number and they started texting. They’ve been in each other’s lives ever since.
Proposal: We randomly decided to look at rings as we were walking through the mall one Saturday. Joke fell in love with a particular ring and just knew that that was the one! We left the mall with Eliyas saying he was still exploring his options about where to get her ring. Unbeknownst to Joke, Eliyas went back the same day and purchased the ring (over a year before the proposal!). He hid the ring and continued to torture Joke acting like he didn’t remember her dream ring.
Joke decided to have a casual birthday dinner with friends in NYC 3 days before her 26th birthday. Eliyas and Joke’s friends decided to plan her a surprise proposal dinner. As Joke was planning the birthday dinner, Eliyas and her friends were reversing her efforts and instructing the restaurant and other guests not to listen to her. On the day of the dinner, Joke arrived to Madiba, a South African restaurant in Harlem, and started greeting the guests. All of sudden a slew of bright camera lights began and Eliyas, Wale, and Eliyas’ sister, brother-in law, and best friend were all walking towards her. She was in shock. Eliyas immediately got down on one knee and said a bunch of beautiful things neither of us can remember. Of course Joke accepted his proposal and they enjoyed the evening with some of their closest friends and family. It was an amazing day and affirmation of the fact that we are both committed to forever.
Describe your engagement session: In lieu of an engagement party we decided to have a glamorous engagement photo and save the date video shoot that included our entire wedding party. The theme was enchanted forest and Black excellence to match our wedding themes. We wanted to highlight the fact that, with the support of our family & friends, we were both accomplished individuals on our own, but now as a couple we are "better together". All the bridesmaids wore white floor length gowns and groomsmen wore suits. We wanted to showcase young people of color in a positive light when there are often so many depictions of us to the contrary.
What did you do on your first date? We played mini-golf, had dinner at Capital Grille, and went to see a movie. It was long day, with the date lasting over 8 hours, but we didn't want it to end!
What's your favorite thing to do as a couple? We love to binge watch shows on Netflix together.
How has wedding planning been so far? Wedding planning has been great. As a bride with a wedding & events planning business, I'm very organized and I started very early with the plans. It's been nice to see how supportive my friends and family are. It is also helpful to have our wedding planner Emma to advise us and to put out fires before they start.
Tell us what you're looking forward to most on the wedding day:
Joke: I'm most looking forward to walking down the aisle and seeing the expression on Eliyas' face.
Eliyas: I'm looking forward to spending time with friends and family and the jollof rice at the reception.
An E-session featuring the Couple and their Bridal Party
Coordination: Prestige Affairs Events Production
Concept & Design: Primary Weddings & Events
Photography: DeRonn Kidd Photography
Groom's Suit: Copa Menswear
Bride's Dress: Zoe Ark
Bride's Crown: Whichgoose
Bride's Hairstyling: Hair by Sem
Bride's Makeup: Beaudee MUA
Graphic Design: Yemi Onipede