A Traditional-Yet-Fierce Look for This West African Bride

The wow-worthy gele. The statement, coral beads. The glamorous, gold heels. The absolutely flawless makeup. Ladies, today’s Bride looks fierce, and we know you’re going to be just as obsessed as we are. Aleeka Events conceptualized this luxe, London wedding editorial, which showcases the meaningful, traditional, and clearly beautiful wedding attire of the Nigerian Yoruba tribe. Dupe Gele and Nikita Baffour are just two of the talented artists that collaborated on this shoot, captured through the lens of Amy O’Boyle. And let me just say, it is sure to inspire.

Captured by the amazing Amy O’Boyle, the inspiration for this editorial derived from wanting to showcase the rich colors and glamour that one typically sees at a traditional West African wedding (also known as the traditional engagement), while contrasting this against the rustic aesthetic of the African landscape.

West Hampstead is a small picturesque village located in the hustle and bustle of London. However, it’s not just another London borough. This one is home to a rather special, yet hidden, gem. The Hill Garden and Pergola served as the perfect location as it boasted faded opulence, serenity, and stunning hillside views.

The traditional wedding is a colorful and significant ceremony that requires both the Bride and Groom’s families’ involvement. It is also filled with many different traditional elements such as prayers, the exchange of gifts and money, and a lot of bantering back and forth. Whether it is the food, music, or clothing, for many West African couples living in the UK, infusing their traditions and culture into their wedding day is a must.

For this editorial, we focused on the traditional clothing of a Nigerian Yoruba Bride and Groom, and the intimacy, love, and closeness between a Bride and Groom on their special day. The couple wore the most beautiful coordinating aso-oke (a hand loomed cloth woven by the Yoruba tribe of western Nigeria), completed with coral beaded jewelry, which represents power, wealth, and royalty.

All for Love, an award winning boutique florist in London, created the beautiful hand-tied bouquet and centerpiece. Both arrangements were quite loose and natural, with unique textural elements and luscious blooms. Lola and Blush created a modern stationery suite with gold calligraphy, African patterns, and a custom crest featuring a tribal mask. This is a great way for any couple to personalize their special day. Also included was a marriage acceptance letter, which by the time the wedding actually happens, the couple have already agreed that they will marry. Therefore, the letter simply marks the occasion and expresses the good will of the families to each other. Other details included a ‘Thank You’ gift basket and a two-tier textured cake by Monannie Cakes. We put a modern spin on the gift basket and incorporated popular snacks such as chin chin and plantain chips, cooking utensils and spices, fruits, and African brewed beverages.

Photography: WOOKIE Photography | Event Planning + Design: Aleeka Events | Floral Design: All For Love London | Cake: MonAnnie Cakes | Invitations: Lola and Blush | Makeup: Nikita Baffour | Venue: Hampsted Heath | Female Model: Jhenelle Green | Gele: Dupe Gele | Male Model: SKIN London | Rentals: Hire Love | Rentals: Wedhead