Google+ Details: Ama + Charles - Southern Weddings

Southern Weddings

Happy February! In honor of Black History Month, we wanted to share this beautiful and simple African wedding.  Ama + Charles are both of Ghanaian origin and planned to have a traditional Akan marriage ceremony.  Read Ama + Charles’ interview to learn what this entailed and more.  All of Ama + Charles invitations were created by Nura Abdul-Karim of {Region} with the Akan Adinkra symbol for marriage.  When {Heartistic Foto} submitted this wedding, we instantly fell in love with the couples’ smiles.  To see more, check out the Heartistic Foto {Blog}.

How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. Ama: We met through a mutual friend named Vivian who goes to Wharton with me. One day after Christmas break Vivian asked me if I had met any guys over the holiday. I was surprised by the question. At the time, I was still getting over a prior relationship that had been devastating and I was not in the dating mood. I told Vivian that I just wished that I could just find one really good solid guy. Surprisingly, she said that she knew a really good guy that I should meet. Vivian and I went to a study room with a computer so I could look him up on Facebook and then I sent him a friend request. In the request, I sent him a short note introducing myself. Then Vivian called him on the phone to tell him about me and to advise him to accept my friend request. Charles accepted the request and he must have had a hunch that something good was to come because he wrote back saying that he loved my message and that it had the quality of a “gestation”. We started to talk on the phone and then we went on our first date a few weeks later.
Describe the proposal: Charles: On Friday May 9th I proposed at Striped Bass, a restaurant in Philly. I got the ring from a California based conflict-free /fair trade diamond company. At dinner, we wound up having a deep conversation. In the middle Ama’s moment of sad reflection a waitress showed up with a plate of flowers with a strawberry in the middle. She was so confused until she noticed the diamonds in the middle of the strawberry. A moth fluttered by and the waiter said that in his decade of working there he had never seen one so it was a good omen. We both knew that wonderful things must be in store.
What attracted me to my husband was: His build, not fat but not skinny, not flabby but not overly muscular.
Why do you love your husband? I love my husband for many reasons. I appreciate the fact that at his very core he loves me unconditionally. His sense of humor brings joy to all of my days. His kindness and generosity inspires me.
What attracted me to my wife was: Her tush.
A date we went on that we’ll always remember: Ama: We went to Zoma, an Ethiopian restaurant in Harlem. This was our first in date and first in person meeting. The food was delicious and the Tej wine was amazing. But what we joke about is my mean attitude. Charles asked me if he could touch my sisterlocks and I said no. A lady at the next table overheard our exchange and gave Charles a sympathetic smile. Thank God he was not too turned off and we continued dating.
The weather on our wedding day was: Beautiful. It was a bright and sunny summer day. The sky was clear; we could not have asked for a prettier day.
What was the design inspiration for your wedding? The event was largely influenced by Akan traditional marriage ceremonies, with a touch of outside-the-box creativity. We’re both of Ghanaian origin, particularly of the Akan ethnicity. According to Akan marriage customs, the man’s family has to go to the woman’s family’s home to ask her hand in marriage. The man’s family has to present gifts (pieces of traditional cloth, alcoholic beverages, etc) and pay a bribe price in exchange of the woman. This is purely symbolic and bears little resemblance to a transaction. Our invitations, napkins, and favors all bore the Akan Adinkra symbol for marriage.
Favorite design element of your big day: Charles: Our favorite design element was the invitation. It was such a collaborative design effort. The invitation design was based on one of Charles’ paintings. The invitation folds into a picture of a man and woman embracing. Ama’s best friend from highschool, Nura Abdul Karim, is a graphic artist and she modified the design, created the color scheme, and produced the finished piece.
Tell us about finding your wedding dress:. Fortunately, I have excellent designers and seamtresses in my family, so the process went smoothly. My mom picked out white lace cloth and the color lining for me. My Aunt, Grace Karikari, designed and sewed my dress for my ceremony. My twin cousins, Payin and Krakra Tsiquaye, designed and sewed my dress for the reception. I did not have any idea of the final product until shortly before the wedding when I went for fittings. They came out beautifully.
Describe your wedding cake: We had a simple selection of vanilla and chocolate cakes and homemade red velvet and carrot cake.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? The biggest challenge was figuring out the scale of the events. Ghanaian customary marriages are typically small events at home and that is what we had originally envisioned. But we both have a good number of family members and friends so keeping the number of invitees down became challenging. Before we knew it, the event had evolved from a small family event at home to much larger event at a hall.
Were there any special family traditions you included in the wedding? Ama: The event consisted of both traditional and modern rituals. The ceremony entailed negotiating the bride price, presenting the bride price, pouring libation, and receiving advice from the elders on marriage. The reception included libation, drumming, and spraying money which are all of West African in origin. The ceremony was almost entirely in Akan, which is the dominant native language of Ghana. I, Ama, was born in and grew up in New York and never learned Akan so I missed out on the proverb-laden language of the ceremony.
Scariest moment? Ama: We rented a hall but did not obtain catering services from the hall. That said, my family had to set up all of the tables and the food in only one hour. I was at home while my friends, sister, aunts, and cousins went to the hall to set-up. The scariest moment was when my sister kept on calling me to say that they could not find items for set-up. Meanwhile, some guests had arrived early and were waiting outside. In addition, the drummer arrived later than we expected, throwing off the schedule. But it all worked out in the end.
Funniest moment? We said our wedding vows but got excited and kissed before the reverend told us that we could. So after our kiss, he told us to calm down because that part had not come yet. The audience broke out in laughter.
The most unexpected event on our wedding day was: Ama: I had to go back to school the day after the customary marriage for law recruiting so we could not plan a honeymoon. We did not know where we were going to sleep that night. The event was in Queens, New York. Charles had two roommates at his apartment in Manhattan. Our home is in Philadelphia. I was not excited about having to spend our first night as a married couple in his apartment with roommates. Fortunately, one of his friends gave us a night at the St. Regis hotel in Midtown Manhattan as a gift. The suite was beautiful and the night was magical!
Three adjectives that describe the day are: Intimate, Family-Oriented, and Fun
What advice would you give to someone planning their wedding? For minimal stress, go with your gut feelings and enjoy the planning process. Stress gets in the way of creativity.
Best advice or most memorable comment someone made to you during the wedding celebration. My close friend Nura told us that the most important thing about the wedding day is that we end the day married. Excellent advice.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you looking forward to in the future? We’re looking forward to a life together. We’re planning a western style wedding.

Congratulations to Ama + Charles. We wish you a lifetime of joy and happiness!

Written with love by Southern Weddings
  1. avatar Melanie reply

    Absolutely gorgeous wedding post. From the details to the photographs, I loved reading about the couples journey of love. Kudos to SW for bringing your readers a beautiful display of Black Love!

  2. avatar Frank C reply

    great photography. vibrant colors, emanating with love…great story to go with it.

  3. avatar Claudia Munson reply

    Trust SW to dig up amazing stories. I love the couples even though I don’t know them from Adam. Phenomenal photography

  4. avatar Nicole R. reply

    Love these photographers… awesome people!

  5. avatar B. Johnson reply

    pure and simple beauty

  6. avatar Mike Goodman reply

    beautiful couple, existing story, great photography. well done.

  7. avatar A. Simmons reply

    Beautiful!! I wish you the best of luck and many blessings!!!

  8. avatar JK reply

    lovely presentation, in every sense. congrats

  9. avatar ph reply

    what a beautiful couple.wishing you a long and lasting love

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