Naa and Ifiok's love story almost never began at all, as both of them had no intention of attending the networking happy-hour in which they would initially find each other. Still, even after a phone number exchange, it would be some months before reaching out. That first conversation opened more than just their eyes to the potential they had together, it also opened their hearts...
Read all about Naa & Ifiok's love story, romantic surprise proposal, and experiences in their beautiful monastery garden wedding in Washington DC. View the vendor list below.
Bride & Groom: Naa & Ifiok
Occupations: Epidemiologist & Strategy Consultant
Wedding date: September 3, 2016
Wedding location: St. Francis Hall- Washington, DC
Tell us how you met and all about the proposal. We went to an African professionals networking happy-hour on Friday, October 4, 2013, that neither of us had any intention of going to. Ifiok spotted Naa's corny dance moves from across the room and joined the fun. Ifiok thought Naa was out of his league and with a fear of being rejected gave her his phone number, instead of asking for hers. The next week Naa left for an internship in Switzerland for a couple months. Four months later, in a vigorous spring cleaning effort, Naa was purging contacts from her phone and saw Ifiok's name and number in there and googled him. One month later, she got up the nerve to text him (for the first time since getting his number five months ago),"Hello, Stranger," and somehow Ifiok, who had no idea who was texting him, didn't think she was crazy and entertained her conversation. They called each other every day, their first date was one week later, and they have been together ever since...
Ifiok had been suggesting for months a trip back to the site of our first date, the National Portrait Gallery museum in DC, so it didn't seem out of the ordinary when the proposal day came. Naa has always lived in the DC area and therefore had never stayed in a hotel in DC. Ifiok suggested a date weekend by staying at a hotel next door to the National Portrait Gallery. After retracing the steps of our first date and viewing some of the same installations, we went back to the suite where Ifiok popped open a bottle of champagne and ended up giving a toast that turned into the proposal.
Describe your wedding dress? Classic with a bit of sparkle.
Did you incorporate any culture into your wedding? Naa’s Family is from Ghana and Ifiok’s is from Nigeria. Though Naa and Ifiok grew up stateside, it was important to incorporate their culture into their wedding. They included the following:
1. They made sure to hire the best DJ in the DMV area who specializes in African
music among many other types.
2. For the reception, Naa and Ifiok changed into traditional outfits made from kente
cloth, which is hand-woven on a loom by a master weaver in Ghana
3. While dancing to west African traditional music, their family and friends tossed
dollar bills at them to wish them good fortune in their new marriage. The more
vigorous the dance moves, the more dollar bills.
4. A close friend of Naa’s family served as the Chairman, which is a highly regarded
role in Ghanaian celebrations.
Quick Facts: Ifiok is a proud alum of Williams College, a trained salsa dancer, favorite movie is The Godfather, and is a poet/rapper with an album on iTunes/Spotify (The Bowflex). Naa is not nearly as cool as Ifiok, but loves traveling and culture, is an avid karaoke enthusiast, her favorite movie is the Sound of Music, and can often be found tap-dancing in the aisles of the supermarket.
Bridesmaids/Groomsmen gifts: Groomsmen were all given Lucien Piccard Gold watches along with dress socks of their favorite sports team. Bridesmaids were all given custom made Ankara in the design of their liking
Favorite item on the menu: The wedding cake from Cakes Plus: They make a DELICIOUS almond cake with almond buttercream frosting.
First dance song: "For the Love of You," Pts. 1 & 2 by The Isley Brothers.
What is your best memory from your wedding? Groom: It started at 4am with me laying in a hotel bed too excited to sleep and too nervous to eat. I couldn’t wait to marry my best friend but I was nervous about everything working as planned. Once I linked up with my groomsmen, all was right in the world as we joked and laughed. By the time of the wedding ceremony, I was fully aware on how blessed and highly favored I am to be able to have the most beautiful bride by my side.
Bride: I was calm and cool and my normal silly self through the weeks leading into the wedding day. I got a full night’s sleep and everything! My lovely bridesmaids came over the next morning and we prepped with music and mimosas. Ifiok and I had our first look, which was a joyous moment (he’s so cute!). It wasn’t until I started walking down the aisle to Adele’s “To Make You Feel My Love” when the first tear fell. I was very emotional throughout the ceremony—with each vow from the reverend, a long pause followed as I tried to catch my breath from choking back tears and there wasn’t a dry eye in the house.
What is the best wedding advice you can give to engaged couples? When the reception starts, after your first dance, consider playing a couple of fun songs to get everyone up out of their seats and on the dance floor with you. We did this and it really set the tone for the rest of the evening. People were up on the dance floor during dinner—they couldn’t’ wait to party!
Ceremony location: St. Francis Hall
Reception location: St. Francis Hall
Bridal gown: Carolina Herrera
Bride Shoes: Jimmy Choo
Bridal party attire: Holliex Kate, Etsy
Groom’s tux: Combatant Gentleman
Groom’s Shoes: Johnston and Murphy
Cake: Cakes Plus, Laurel Maryland
Caterer: Savory Gourmet
Favors: Small potted Succulents from JIIMZ Nursery in California
Wedding planners: Self-planned
Photography: Lola Snaps Photography
Music: DJ Kweks, Afropolitan
Hair and makeup: Gwendolyn Owens
Makeup: Caitlin Durney
Flowers: Le Petit Bouquet