I’ve been so excited to share this delicious wedding with you.
Meet Cameroon beauty Ahone and handsome groom, Ibrahima of Swiss-Guinea heritage, who had a beautiful wedding in May this summer in Geneva, Switzerland.
Ahone and Ibrahima chose to marry at the beautiful Chateau de Coppet, in a small village on the outskirts of Geneva where Ahone went to high school. With all their lifelong high school friends present, it made for quite a sentimental affiar. A place where they both grew up, where they first met, where it all began and where their happily ever after continues.
They had a modern reception with an industrial feel at Cercle des Bains
Ahone and Ibrahmia asbolsutely captured the hearts of their photogtrapher Isabelle from 2 Brides Photographer who spoke so fondly of them when she submitted this wedding to me and I asked her to tell me why…
This wedding has a special place in my heart, for many different reasons, but most of all because this couple pour everything they had into this wedding, literally. The groom, Ibrahima made and hung ALL the flowers in the roof for their wedding reception dinner. They did have somewhat help from family and friends but mostly they made everything by themselves, from invitations through to the floral design. AND poured a big deal of their budget into flying us over, from Sweden to Geneva.
I loved the relaxed down to earth mood the whole day. Just honest joy, no fussing. Their attitude and generousity was a red thread throughout the entire event.
Over to Ahone for more!
We had recently moved into our current flat, our first home together. Ibrahima surprised me one day after work. In hindsight I should have suspected he was up to something as he kept keeping tabs on my every move that day to find out when I would be arriving from work. Unfortunately for him, I had scheduled an appointment for a new hair due the following day so I came back from work earlier than usual to undo the braids I had on, leaving him less time to prepare his surprise.
As I arrived I met him on the terrace of the café downstairs drinking a coffee, alone. I did find that a little odd but still didn’t suspect anything. He then asked me to wait 10 minutes before coming upstairs while he went up to our flat to prepare a surprise for me. Given that we had just moved in, I was afraid he was going to surprise me with a new piece of furniture.
Little did I know what was coming my way…
I finally went upstairs to discover what surprise he had in store for me. As he opened the door I noticed he had changed outfits, I curiously walked into our flat but could barely see anything because the whole place was dark although it was broad daylight outside. Ibrahima had shut all the stores yet I noticed a warm glimmer of light emanating from the dining room. It was only at the moment that I finally realized what was going on. He then revealed his surprise by opening the door to the dining room – it was covered in candles and my favorite flowers, I couldn’t hold my tears back, it was truly magical. He popped the question and in the midst of all my sobbing and sniffing I managed to utter the word – yes! After the proposal he brought out my favourite dish, Poulet yassa, which he had spent all day preparing, along with a bottle of champagne to toast.
In light of all the excitement and emotion, I thought it was best to cancel my hair appointment scheduled for the next day but then Ibrahima offered to help me undo my hair, and I accepted. It was a first in our relationship, a very symbolic way for me to let him in completely, reaching a new level of intimacy. And that is how we spent the rest of our engagement night.
We wanted our wedding day to represented us. The mere fact that we decided to get married in Geneva, the city in which we both grew up in and where we met for the first time was very sentimental to us. Subsequently all the venues we chose for our wedding were close to our hearts.
The underlying theme was industrial chic. The African touch was brought by the food, music and dancing, which are for me some of the best facets of our cultures!
My main source of inspiration was social media and blogs. I discovered the wonders of Pinterest as I started searching for inspiration for my wedding.
I spent endless number of hours online browsing for wedding gown inspiration. I saw many lovely dresses but quickly noticed that I rarely came across models that looked like me in the dresses that I liked.
I then discovered certain blogs that catered to brides of color, however, in comparison to all the wedding material I feel they are still very scarce.
That pushed me to create my own Pinterest board where I could save images of beautiful brides of colour every time I would come across an inspiring image of them.
We chose 2 Brides Photography to capture our day. The wedding photography was a very important factor for me, so much so that I extended my search to the rest of Europe in order to find exactly what I wanted. I knew that I wanted a film photographer and it was hard to find one in Switzerland. I’m sooo happy I chose 2 Brides photography as they delivered exactly what I expected. Our wedding photos matched the quality and work that we had seen in their portfolio.
We are so thrilled with our wedding photos. I never get sick of looking at them! We were also touched to see the pride 2 Brides photography shared on social media about the work they did for us. I believe that in that respect they treat all their clients equally.
We chose the videographer from The Quirky mainly for the cinematic look of his wedding videos. He did a good job in trying to portray the mood of the wedding. It’s a bit unsettling at first to see your wedding day from someone else’s perspective but once you’ve managed to get past that you can enjoy reliving the fondest moments of your wedding day over and over again!
My wedding gown ended up being the first one I tried on although I tried on several. I bought my dress in Canada. My sister had just recently relocated to Vancouver and I was helping her with her move. Because she wasn’t going to be around for the preparations I decided to go wedding dress shopping with her but it was more for fun, I wasn’t expecting to actually find my dress. It was my first bridal fitting. I had some ideas of what I wanted my wedding dress to look like. I knew I wanted it to be figure hugging, I wasn’t decided on whether I wanted something sleek or with embellishments/lace but I knew I wanted some form of sleeves. I had also seen several two-piece gowns that I liked, but wasn’t comfortable about the idea of showing skin. The Wedding gown I found responded to all the above criteria! It was a two piece inspired dress with lace inset connecting the top and bottom. I immediately liked how it fit and how I felt in it. All the other dresses I tried on after only confirmed my initial choice.
Ibrahima bought a made to order suit. Because he usually wears suits to work, he wanted to go for something fancier, so he chose a black tux with a shawl lapel. We talked about going for the stylish tieless look but then Ibrahima had the great idea to make a custom made bow tie out of a traditional Fulani cloth in homage to his Guinean roots.
We hadn’t rehearsed at all, so the order of the procession didn’t really go as I had imagined. Unfortunately my dad couldn’t make it to the wedding because of Visa issues so my Mum walked me down the aisle alone. I remember how firmly she held my hand. I could sense the pride she felt and that really touched me.
Seeing all those familiar faces. Realising that every single person in that room was important to me and feeling all the love and happiness from our friends and family as I walked down the aisle was overwhelming.
I felt as if my heart was going to burst of joy. I remember telling myself “Oh my god this is it”! That was my peak point of emotion.
During the ceremony Ibrahima’s Dad made a very moving speech. It was the first time I saw Ibrahima show his emotions, when I noticed a tear run down his cheek I couldn’t fight back my own tears, it was our most favourite moment.
For our reception we wanted to go for a lush organic look to contrast with the industrial setting.
The choice of the industrial style reception venue was more in tune with our personalities. We wanted something less conventional with no fuss which we could personalise and that felt inviting for people to let loose and party!
The Reception took place in a venue in downtown Geneva called Cercles des Bains. An industrial style loft located at the Museum of Modern and Contemporary art of Geneva (Mamco) just a block away from our flat. The urban setting was a contrast with the calm pastoral scenery of the Reception venue. We liked the idea of throwing our reception party in our own neighbourhood. Made the event even more personal.
Our first dance was unconventional according to western wedding standards. We opened the dance floor with a traditional Bakossi dance called Ngone performed by my family who had changed outfits for the occasion. It’s a rite symbolic for welcoming Ibrahima into our tribe. (Nu Bride: Yes, just yes!) They wrapped us in the traditional loin cloth and danced around us in a circle. The music and dancing was so inviting the guests were quick to join. It was the first time a lot of our friends and certain members of Ibrahima’s family had witnessed a ceremonial African dance and were completely subjugated. It seemed to be the highlight for most of the guests. People still talk about it up until today.
Challenges and Triumphs
Biggest challenge and triumph at the same time was the fact that it was a wedding a la carte! Meaning that it was one of a kind and really reflected us but which also meant that it entailed a lot of logistics. E.g. the food was prepared by a family friend so we had to find a kitchen big enough to cook for 170 people, rent chafing dishes and all the other table-wear which would normally be provided by your regular caterer.
That’s just one of many examples.
We hand-picked several different vendors and small businesses but then we were left to coordinate all the different bits and pieces ourselves that is where we would have benefited from the help of a wedding planner. Never the less we managed to pull it off with the help of our friends and family and despite a few quirks here and there it was amazing to see how everything came together beautifully in the end thanks to the collective effort.
Tips for Other Couples
Until you’ve organised a wedding yourself I think people always under-estimate how much work it entails, I can now speak from experience!
Hire a wedding planner especially if your wedding is taking place in two different venues because it’s like organising two separate events!
Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful and joyful day with us. Congratulations to you both!
Photographer: 2 Brides
Cinematographer: The Quirky
Bride’s Fashion: Dress / outfit: Nicole Miller gown from Blush bridal boutique, Vancouver
Accessories / Jewellery: Bracelet Swarovski. | Pearl necklace: gift from God mother, origin Japan.
Makeup: brides own
Hair: Le bal des créateurs
The Girls Bridesmaid Outfits: Tailor made Skirts by Mo12 retouches
Bridesmaid Shoes: ASOS
Flower Girls outfit: Zara Kids
The Guys Groomsmen Suits: Unknown
Pageboy outfit: Zara kids
Personal Touches: Cake: Petra Cakes
Flowers and Décor: Flowers: Akshay Sungkur (Friend), Décor: Sophie Shiraishi and Anais Wirz
Food: Family friend
Stationery: Invites, menus, seating plan, placement cards: handmade by the bride, the welcome board with our names was done by a friend of a friend!