This Couple Honored Their Blended Heritage With a Vibrant Two-Day Nigerian-American Wedding in Richmond, Virginia

When Matthew Rickert first matched with Fatimah Ogungbade on Bumble, he jumped at the opportunity to meet her for dinner--even though he had been in t

When Matthew Rickert first matched with Fatimah Ogungbade on Bumble, he jumped at the opportunity to meet her for dinner--even though he had been in the middle of his own. "Not wanting to pass up the opportunity to meet such a cute lady, I quickly said yes and stashed my leftovers," Matthew recalls. Their connection was immediate and undeniable. As Fatimah puts it, "We decided to meet again for a proper date. Neither wanted that meeting to end, so we decided to extend the date by having lunch. Then we extended the date again, and again and again…"

When the time came, Matthew, with the blessings of Fatimah's parents, embarked on a heartwarming mission to plan the perfect proposal, enlisting the help of his beloved's closest friends. "Sitting in the sculpture garden, with my friends hidden behind some flowers and a photographer inconspicuously in the area, Matthew popped the question!" Fatimah reminisces. Overwhelmed with happiness and love, she said yes, and her friends emerged to celebrate the magical moment. But the surprises didn't end there. In a touching culmination of the day, Fatimah and Matthew headed to their favorite restaurant, The Broken Tulip. Unbeknownst to Fatimah, a final surprise was waiting. "Upon entering the restaurant, I was surprised to find both my and my new fiancé's families waiting there to celebrate with us!"

As they started planning, Fatimah and Matthew had a clear vision: their wedding would be an amalgamation of their cultures, a vivid tapestry of both Nigerian and American spirits. "Family is important to us," Fatimah muses. "As part of our wedding, it was necessary for us to celebrate Nigerian culture." The couple decided on a two-day affair – a Yoruba Engagement Ceremony, bursting with Nigerian traditions on Friday, followed by a more Western American wedding on Saturday.

The color palette for the Yoruba ceremony was chosen to be "vibrant and extravagant, with rich shades of purples, burgundy, blues and white." Matthew and Fatimah wanted to stand out but also blend beautifully with the colorful assemblage. The aso ebi (Yoruban clothing) attire for guests, the rhythm of Yoruba music and the traditional elements like the spraying of cash, which Fatimah described as "done by all guests at the wedding to show how much love and joy they have for the newly engaged couple," were meticulously planned to create an authentic Nigerian experience.

Their fashion choices for both days were thoughtfully selected. For the Yoruba ceremony, their outfits exuded tradition and symbolism. "The focus was on being colorful and extravagant," the bride details. Their attire was adorned with intricate beading and complemented with traditional fila and gele headpieces. Fatimah's additional gold jewelry and Matthew's cufflinks made of Naira added personal touches to their ensembles.

As the wedding day dawned, guests gathered, awestruck by the grandeur of the venue and the ornate cultural additions made by the couple in a rich tapestry of colors. Fatimah fondly remembers, "The entire day was personalized. The Yoruba Engagement Ceremony is all about the family." The eru iyawo, designed by Matthew's mother, added an element of DIY charm to the occasion. Flowers were added sparingly, as the pair wanted each symbolic decor piece to speak volumes from every corner of the room. "The ceremony itself has a number of important cultural components. These include the presentation of the families, the presentation of the groom-to-be and the presentation of the bride-to-be," Fatimah explains. "The entrances by each of these groups incorporate song, dancing and celebration, with the entrance of the bride and groom being accompanied by all who wish to celebrate with them."

Saturday unfolded with a serene and elegant vibe. The ceremony, led partly by Fatimah's father, was a blend of tradition and personal touch. Matthew donned a light grey suit, exuding spring sophistication, while Fatimah, in her Martina Liana A-line Mikado Silk ivory dress with lace and floral accents, was the epitome of timeless elegance. "I wanted my look to be timeless and elegant, fitting for the long and beautiful ballrooms," she shares.

Following the vows, cocktail hour was a testament to their journey, with trivia of the bride and groom on cocktail napkins and a family photo table. The reception was a lively celebration. The newlyweds swayed to "Strawberries" by Caamp for their first dance. "We always knew we were going to have that be our wedding song."

The new Mr. and Mrs.'s decision to repurpose the bridesmaids' bouquets for the reception centerpieces reflected their commitment to sustainability and budget-friendliness. As the night drew to a close, the couple had some pearls of wisdom to share with future brides and grooms. "Our wedding planning advice is to plan together!" Fatimah advises. "We made every decision together, from the color scheme to the invitation looks, even down to the florals. It made the two-year planning process so fun and less stressful!"

Black-and-White Photo of Bride Getting Yoruba Gele Headwrap On
Bride in Teal Yoruba Wedding Attire With Bridesmaids in Purple Outfits, Gele Headwraps
Groom Getting Teal Yoruba Fila Head Cap Pit on Before Nigerian Wedding
Golden, Heart Framed Marriage Proposal, Yoruba Nigerian Tradition
Engagement Gift Display for Yoruba Wedding
Women in the Bride's Family, Yoruba Nigerian Gele Headwraps Holding Printed Marriage Proposal
Bride's Yoruba Nigerian Family Members, Parents in Blue, Traditional Ceremony
Groom's Family and Leader Kneeling Before Bride's Family at Traditional Yoruba Engagement Ceremony
Bride's Father Embracing Groom's Mother, in Traditional Blue Yoruba Nigerian Attire
Groom and Friends, Wedding Party Lie Down to Prostrate at Yoruba Bride's Family Feet, Asking Blessing
Yoruba Nigerian Bride in Traditional Teal Dress, Gele Headwrap Doing Money Dance With Bridesmaids
Yoruba Bride Under Teal Veil, Ade, Kneeling Before Her Parents in Blue at Traditional Nigerian Ceremony
A bride and groom in traditional Yoruba Nigerian wedding attire in teal with orange accessories cut into a single-tier wedding cake atop a descending stand of cupcakes at their traditional Yoruba engagement ceremony.
Bride and Groom in Traditional, Blue-and-Gold Yoruba Nigerian Wedding Attire Dancing
Simple, Elegant Invitation Suite With Blue Details, Blue Illusion Heels, Accessories
Pearl and Gold Rosary With Cross, Elegant Catholic Accessory
Light Blue Ring Box With Yellow GOld Hidden Halo Engagement Ring, Studded Band
A bride with drop earrings and a low, intricate updo hugs her pastor father while holding a bouquet of white, blush and yellow flowers during the getting ready process for a classic ballroom wedding.
Bride Reading Written Vows to Groom in Ballroom Setting, Father Pastor Officiant
Bride and Groom Starting Recessional in Hotel Ballroom, Altar Arrangements on Pillars
Bride's Bouquet, Blush Garden Roses and Flowers, Small Yellow and White Blooms, Greenery
Ballroom Reception, Navy Blue Linens and Low Centerpieces, Large Crystal Chandelier
Bride in White Wedding Dress, Father in Taupe Yoruba Attire Doing Father-Daughter Dance
Groom Lifted by Guests, Crowd Surfing at Lively Ballroom Wedding Reception
Bride's Parents, Wearing Traditional Yoruba Attire, and Groom's Parents Dance Together
Two-Tier White Wedding Cake With Frosting Ridges, Live Greenery, White and Blush Flowers