Lisa and Anyenda

Lisa and Anyenda

📷: Stacy Smith Studios

May 6–7, 2017

This fun-loving couple had a two part-bash, with an African ceremony on May 6, 2017 followed by an American ceremony and reception the next day.

The Meet-Cute

Though a mutual friend had tried to play matchmaker between Lisa and Anyenda for about a year, the two didn’t meet until that mutual friend solidified their own love story. “I saw Anyenda at their wedding — he’s an amazing dancer so he was easy to spot — and I was like, ‘Oh, so that’s the guy I’ve heard so much about.’” Lisa says. “I thought he was cute and fun, so I talked to him and we hit it off. It was much more natural than getting set up!”

Photography by Stacy Smith Studios

The Proposal Story

“I knew it was going to be nerve-wracking no matter what,” Anyenda says of realizing that he wanted to ask Lisa to marry him. “So, I decided to try and make it fun and special.” That’s when he turned to the guys from his former step team. “We formed it right after college and we’d perform at various places across Boston. Now, all of them are scattered all over the country but I got them to come back for this arts marathon that our former company, Onstage Dance Company, had planned.” He then fooled Lisa into thinking the reunion was solely for the performance. That day, she watched blissfully unaware as the boys danced to MoTown’s “Sugar Pie Honey Bun” and “My Girl.” “The theme was love, so it fit very well with what I was trying to accomplish that day; we just altered the routine so I could propose at the end,” Anyenda explains. The best bit? “A lot of our family and close friends were there for the show, so we all went out and celebrated after!”

The Two-Parter

They decided to hold a wedding weekend rather than a singular wedding day so that they could better incorporate Anyenda’s Nigerian roots into the celebration. “It’s tradition that you start with the African wedding and do the ‘church wedding’ afterwards. We wanted to space them out, so we held the African ceremony in Boston on the sixth followed by the American ceremony and reception at the Publick House on the seventh,” he says. “It was a great way to put a spotlight on the elements we know and love from both cultures.”

Photography by Stacy Smith Studios

The African Ceremony

Day one had no shortage of traditions and fun. This included colorful, handmade clothing from Nigeria, pot-luck style meals from their community members, celebratory processions by both the bride and groom into the ceremony space and guests honoring the newlyweds by “spraying” money at them throughout the event. They also participated in a Nigerian “disguised brides” tradition that is specific to Anyenda’s mother’s tribes. “After I entered the ceremony, two of Lisa’s friends approached me wearing veils. As they lifted the veils, someone would ask, ‘Is this your bride?’ and I would say ‘no,’” Anyenda explains. “When they finally brought Lisa over and I said, ‘yes, this is my bride,’ everyone cheered. It’s meant to signify that I won’t ever be tempted to stray.”

Photography by Stacy Smith Studios

The Dancing

The couple’s guests were not surprised when Anyenda pulled out some moves during the couple’s first dance at the Publick House to an epic mashup (put together by the groom himself) of songs like Lauryn Hill’s “Too Good To Be True” and Barry White’s “You Are The First, My Last, My Everything.” “But when they saw Lisa — who had never stepped before — stepping in her wedding dress and heels, the crowd went crazy,” he says.

The Highlights

“Our first dance at the American ceremony was really fun, but I loved the whole thing. It was a two-day whirlwind.” — Lisa

“I’m going to cheat and say everything was my favorite, too. A lot of planning went into it, so seeing everything come together and seeing all of our friends and family in one place was awesome.” — Anyenda

The Aftermath

“Marriage is good; I like it! I feel like after we got married, everyone was like, ‘How is it different?’ I felt like people were looking for this profound thing, but we had been living together for awhile by then so there weren’t necessarily any surprises now that the government recognizes us as married. At least, the way that I tend to view marriage in general, is it’s an affirmation and a celebration of what is already there.” — Anyenda

“Marriage is wonderful so far. It isn’t too different from being engaged, but there is one thing that’s changed: We’re expecting!”— Lisa

The Details

First Ceremony: St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church // Second Ceremony, Reception, Catering and Cake: The Publick House in Sturbridge, MA // Second Ceremony Music: The Cape Cod African Dance and Drum // Reception Music: DJ Martika // Hair and Makeup: ModMakeup // Bride’s and Bridesmaids’ Dresses: David’s Bridal // Groom’s Suit: Men’s Wearhouse // Florals: Christine Lana (Mother of the Bride)

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