Rena and Uche’s wedding was full of firsts for us: our first wedding in Calgary, our first Jewish wedding, our first Kola nut ceremony (Nigerian tradition) and our first weekend away from our son (who turns 1 this week!)
Rena and Michael grew up together, and their families have been great friends for a long time.Â Rena’s parents Gail & Eli were guests at our wedding and we were honoured to be able to celebrate Rena’s wedding with them.
We first met Uche several months ago.Â We heard the story of how Rena and Uche first met – they went to high school together and Rena had a crush on Uche.Â At a high school basketball game, Rena was quietly admiring Uche’s rippling muscles as he dunked the ball.Â She yelled in front of everyone “Dunk it again, Uche!” (and he did!).Â They didn’t date during high school, they didn’t evenÂ really know each other.Â They reconnected two years ago, and have been together ever since.Â
Rena & Uche had a late ceremony and they met ahead of time at Rena’s parents’ house.
The out of town guests were treated incredibly well at this wedding.Â An entire Italian restaurant was reserved for a fabulous dinner the night before the wedding (hosted by the community), and when we arrived at our hotel we were greeted by this:
A gift box with treats and traveller’s items such as toothbrushes and toothpaste (fitting, since Rena’s dad is a dentist!)
Rena requested photos on Stephen Ave in downtown Calgary.Â We loved the chance to shoot in a new location, and we could have spent all afternoon exploring.
A beautiful private lakefront park is adjacent to the Newport Grill where the ceremony and reception were held. In between hail storms, the sun came out for Rena & Uche.
The Jewish wedding ceremony was beautiful, both visually and in the words that the Rabbi spoke about Rena & Uche.Â They are unquestionably made for each other.
The chuppah was a blend of Jewish tradition and Nigerian culture – the roof was made from Nigerian cloth, to reflect Uche’s heritage.Â The chuppah represents the home that Uche & Rena have created together – it is open on all sides to represent that their home will always be open to family and friends.
The wedding ring is placed on Rena’s right index finger as it is believed to be connected directly to her heart.
My favourite of the Jewish wedding ceremony traditions – the breaking of the glass.Â “As the glass shatters, so may our marriage never break.” Mazel Tov!
During the reception, Uche’s parents explained the Nigerian Kola nut ceremony.Â The ceremony involves the offering of Kola nut pieces to the guests. The more pieces the nut is broken into, the more prosperity for the guests.Â The nut is offered as a sign of friendship.
Lake, sunset, gorgeous couple. Sigh…
The first dance…
…with a twist!Â A Nigerian tradition is to place money on the heads of the couple dancing.Â It was really cool to watch.
The Jewish first dance – the hora – was amazing!Â We could barely move in the crowd, watching Rena & Uche and their parents being hoisted into the air on chairs.
Rena & Uche – thank you for sharing your love and your cultures with us.Â We hope to welcome you into our home in Edmonton soon!
PS: Uche – if you have any questions about your new sound system, just give Michael a call…