Nigerian and African-American Wedding by Paper Heart Weddings: Adebola + Thomas

Imagine a beautiful college-sweethearts love story - from best friends freshmen year to dating senior year to tying the knot after graduation.  That is what this lovely couple have. Adebola and Thomas met at Duke University during their freshmen year and coincidently lived in the same dorm building.  Due to all the fun memories they shared on campus, they decided to have their wedding on campus.  While they were taking pictures after the ceremony, Adebola remembers, "a couple of Duke freshmen girls walked by and asked 'Did you guys go to Duke?' After hearing our response that we had, the girl exclaimed to her friend 'See! There is hope!' I know the odds of meeting your future husband in your freshmen dorm are slim so perhaps her hope was a bit optimistic, but it was really cool to reflect on how lucky we both are to have found each other that way."

Their lovely wedding was photographed by Jameka Autry of Paper Heart Weddings.  We also shared this lovely wedding with our partners over at BellaNaija Weddings + lots more in the full gallery here.

Bride: Adebola Falae
Groom: Thomas Stratton
Occupations: bride - Ob/Gyn Resident Physician; groom - Oil & Gas Project Manager
Wedding date: April 20, 2013
Location: Duke University, North Carolina, USA

How they met

"During our first semester at Duke, we became best friends. We spent almost every waking hour together. As our friendship grew, our relationship evolved. Thomas began wanting something more than a friendship and I was initially hesitant because I was scared of losing such a close friend. Towards the end of our time at Duke though, we started dating, and the rest is history."

Wedding details

"When Thomas and I began thinking of places we wanted to have our wedding, we naturally gravitated towards the place where our friendship and relationship started as college freshmen at Duke University. We spent that entire year in the same dorm on the same floor and became best friends. Because of this history, Durham was definitely the front-runner for our wedding location and after a couple trips decided to choose Duke Chapel for our ceremony site and the Cotton Room for our reception.

Our friends and family were also integral in our planning process. During the wedding we wanted to incorporate several things that were personal and important to us. My friend/co-resident bought us a beautiful family bible that we had our guests sign and highlight their favorite verses in at the ceremony site. Instead of a traditional guestbook, we made maps and pin flags so guests could place a pin indicating from where they traveled.

During the planning process, the conventional point of view is that a wedding is a celebration of love between two people. What we found through this journey and our wedding day was that the celebration extended beyond the love between Thomas and I. Our wedding was truly a testament to and a celebration of the love and effort our families and friends have heaped onto us. We thank God daily for bringing the two of us together and feel so blessed to have such amazing people in our lives."


"Thomas is African American and I am Nigerian so we definitely had a mix of cultures throughout our wedding. We ended up having a traditional Yoruba ceremony the night before our wedding. There was Nigerian food, music, and attire on full display. That color and spirit carried over into our wedding day as all of the members of my family showed up in full Nigerian attire."

You make loving you so easy

From him... "Thomas always tells me that he loves me. What I have discovered after years of trials and tribulations with Thomas is that his love is more general and inclusive than any one thing. It isn't dependent on things I've done or anything specific, he loves me unconditionally."

From her... "The thing I've found that I love most about Thomas is his devoted commitment to us. No matter what is going on with me, what we're struggling with, or what's gong on in our outside lives, Thomas is always steady, unwavering, and fully devoted to our relationship. That commitment makes me feel so loved, secure, and confident in everything I do because I know that he will always be there supporting me and protecting our relationship."

View more in the full gallery here. 


PhotographyPaper Heart Weddings 
Second Shooter: DaJuan Jones 
Wedding Dress Designer: Lis Simon
Wedding Dress Salon: La Raine's Bridal Boutique
Bridesmaids Dresses: The Dessy Group
Hair: Lavish Hair Spa
Makeup: Tiwa Lawrence
Shoes: Jimmy Choo - Saks Fifth Avenue
Wedding Ceremony: Duke Chapel - Planner Blanche Williams
Wedding Reception: The Cotton Room - Planner Ad Bernstein
Florist: Tre Bella Flowers
Cake: Cinda's Creative Cakes
Wedding Invitations: Wedding Paper Divas
DJ: Dare Kumolu-Johnson
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