Guamanian, Nigerian and Military Traditions Filled This Wedding at Lansdowne Resort in Leesburg, Virginia
Vanessa and Joe’s wedding at Lansdowne Resort in Leesburg, Virginia, was inspired by all the things that mean the most to them as a couple. The duo threaded Guamanian and Nigerian cultural elements throughout the wedding to honor their heritage. They also included many military traditions as an homage to Joe’s service in the Armed Forces.
Not only was the couple's wedding visually beautiful, but it was packed with amazing meaning and beautiful traditions as well. The couple shares that they honored Vanessa's Nigerian and Igbo heritage by having many loved ones wear "aso-ebi, meaning the same fabric styled into different outfits person." The couple also had "the traditional Nigerian traditions of money spraying on bride and groom and offering of Kola Nuts from the bride’s family to groom’s family." Additionally, the couple paid homage to Joe's Guamanian and Chamorro culture by hiring "dance performers, Rasan Acho Latte, who traveled in all the way from Guam. We also provided shell leis for everyone to wear at the reception and we had money pinning." They go on to share that they "provided Savannah and Chamorro snacks and treats in the welcome bags." Lastly, the couple also layered in Military traditions to honor the groom's service and the service of 18 of his family members.
Additionally, family is central to both Vanessa and Joe and they wanted to honor that meaningfully in the event. Although Vanessa’s mother passed away before the big day, she was able to be part of the event thanks to Vanessa’s brother carrying a framed photo of her during the ceremony processional. "My mother passed away a few months before Joe and I met," says Vanessa. "I wanted to make sure that she was represented and remembered even though she wasn’t physically here with us. My brothers carried a picture of her down the aisle, along with our family dog, and saved a chair for her next to my dad in the front row.”
When it came to decor for the wedding, the aesthetic was a little bit glam and a little bit classic. "From day one I wanted an emphasis on greens than flowers," says Vanessa. "I also wanted gold accents, so when our planner suggested gold spray-painted leaves, I had to have something similar." The gold leaves, and metallic linens, accented the traditional red roses beautifully. To mirror the lush greenery-filled bouquets and arrangements at the wedding, the couple had a custom dance floor wrap installed that also featured a greenery motif. "It was important for us to make the Estate Table for us and the bridal party the focal point of the ballroom instead of a sweetheart table," adds the couple. "Additionally, it was important to us to finish everything with lighting, draping, and a wrapped dance floor." All in all Vanessa and Joe’s Virginia was beautiful, cultural, meaningful and just plain memorable!