After a traditional Catholic ceremony at a jaw-dropping cathedral, this couple celebrated their marriage with a reception that incorporated the bride's Nigerian heritage.
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When Anwuli Anyah chose a two-week sublet in Dayton, Ohio, in June 2014, she assumed she'd be leaving with a better idea of the future of her career—she was auditioning for an ENT residency. But when she ran into Patrick Kindt on his way back from the laundry room, a chance meeting turned into a lifetime commitment. "We immediately hit it off, talking about a wide range of topics, from music to aliens," says Anwuli. They spent much of the next two weeks together, and unwillingly said goodbye when it was over. By August they had decided to take their relationship long-distance, with Anwuli placed in a residency program in Grand Rapids and Patrick offered a full-time job in Dayton.
A little more than a year later, Patrick moved to Michigan to be with Anwuli, then proposed on a secluded Hawaiian beach in January 2016. He popped the question with a ring from DeVries Jewelry that was "exactly what I wanted," says Anwuli, "a classic cut on a classic band." For Patrick, the diamond was a momentous purchase. "I had just quit a great job because I could not bear being away from her," he says. "I cashed in my savings and bought her a ring. I was broke, but it was the best decision I've made." Together, they planned a Catholic wedding ceremony with a reception at the Grand Rapids Art Museum for 84 guests on July 28, 2018. Friends and family traveled from all over the U.S. and from Nigeria, where Anwuli's family lives, for a celebration that the bride describes as "a testament to the coming together of two cultures and families."
They incorporated Nigerian outfits, food, and music into a flower-filled wedding and set the tone with a color palette of soft summer pastels. "I was able to showcase my culture but still keep the soft, romantic features of an American wedding," says Anwuli. Patrick agrees: "It was special because it reflected both of us as individuals and as a couple," he says. "And because it was ours, it was us."
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The couple's invitation suite from Prairie Letter Shop tied together all the main elements of the wedding's décor. "The inspiration for our colors were romance, summer, and soft watercolor hues," says Anwuli, which translated to ivory, soft blush pink, ballerina pink, peachy orange, sage green, rose, and metallic gold. After Anwuli told wedding planner Rhiannon Bosse how much she loves watercolor art, the pro had the designer paint an original floral design for the invitation and the envelope liner.
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Anwuli and Patrick planned a Catholic wedding ceremony at the Cathedral of Saint Andrew in Grand Rapids. "Our faith is very important to the both of us and our families," Anwuli says. "Being from different parts of the world, we were amazed by the cultural similarities we shared because of the common lifestyle of both of our families through our church.
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A Dream Come True
Anwuli had been imagining her dream wedding dress since she was a teenager, and the bride was so sure about what she wanted that she acutally ordered her gown before Patrick even proposed. The Hayley Paige dress she chose had the tulle skirt and hard-to-find dropped waist that Anwuli wanted, and she had the designer customize it with additional tulle layers and buttons down the back.
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Diamonds and Pearls
To complement her wedding dress, Anwuli chose timeless pearl jewelry. "I love pearls! I wear them everyday, and I love the organic bridal look," she says. "I am thankful that Patrick let me splurge on a three-tier cultured pearl necklace. It gave my outfit a glamorous side—and my mom loved it." She paired her engagement ring with an eternity band to match the stones on either side of her center stone.
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The bride liked the formality of an updo, so she trusted the pros at Pomp and Artistry to bring her vision to life. "I had to depend on a good hairstylist to incorporate detail into my updo," she says. "I have very curly hair naturally, and it was a lot of work straightening it before the wedding, but it was worth it." After the ceremony, she traded her cathedral-length Ariel Taub veil for a sparkling Abrielle hair comb, and her traditional pearl earrings for crystal drops from BHLDN.
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The bride carried a bouquet of blush, peach, and ivory blooms—including roses, sweet peas, peonies, and lisianthus—with soft green accents that conjured images of a summer garden in full bloom.
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Mother Knows Best
The couple incorporated Anwuli's Nigerian heritage throughout their ceremony, including in the outfits Anwuli's parents wore—like her mother's rose-and-beige ensemble, which coordinated with the light summer colors in the floral scheme. "She helped me get ready," says Anwuli of her mom. "Her advice was to fight for and always hold onto my husband and family, no matter what."
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Patrick chose a black tuxedo—a timeless look that was a little harder to find than the couple expected. "In researching formalwear and visiting local stores, many of the selections were technically dark suits—single vents and notch lapels instead of peaks or shawls and double vents that a tuxedo should have," says Anwuli.
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The bridal party included both the bride and groom's brothers, his sister, and the couple's friends from college, medical school, and law school. The mother-of-the-bride actually chose the Palomino lace and chiffon bridesmaids' dresses from Dessy. "I loved how light the color was and how it complemented my gown so well," says Anwuli.
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Mother and Son
The couple's son, Tobe, served as the ring bearer. "He had just turned two," says Anwuli. "It was crazy planning a birthday party a week before and juggling my busy schedule as a surgical resident!"
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"Growing up, I always dreamed of getting married in a cathedral and walking down the aisle in a big, beautiful white dress," says Anwuli. As Pachelbel's "Canon in D" played, she walked halfway down the aisle on her own and then met her parents, who escorted her the rest of the way. Seeing his bride for the first time was one of Patrick's favorite moments of the day. "After a year of anticipation, she looked more beautiful than I could have imagined," he says. "I will admit to getting choked up in that moment."
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A full Catholic mass was performed by Father Mike Hennessey. "We got to become friends during the marriage preparation process," says Anwuli. "He recently graduated from seminary and this was his first wedding mass. It made it extra special for us." The service included readings the couple chose from Song of Songs, Romans, and the Gospel of John.
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A Vintage Ride
The cathedral bells rang as the newlyweds left the church, cheered on by their friends and family. Anwuli and Patrick then rode together in a 1961 Rolls Royce they'd brought in from Detroit Classic Car Rentals. "Everyone wants a vintage car for their wedding!" says Anwuli. "It just represents preserved timelessness. We all want our relationships to be like a vintage car in our old age."
Then it was off to the Grand Rapids Art Museum for their reception.
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A Place at the Table
Ivory seating cards with names in gold calligraphy from Prairie Letter Shop were mounted on a gold frame with fresh blooms. "She envisioned flowers coming out of the ground holding the escort cards, like a garden in the museum," says Anwuli. "I loved the escort card display. I have never seen anything like it."
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Rectangular tables dressed with marbled blush-and-peach linens were set up in the museum's atrium. Anwuli and Patrick entered the reception using the stunning glass staircase before joining their guests for dinner, dancing, and toasts—including an especially emotional one from Patrick to his bride. "It was about our life together and our journey as a couple," says Anwuli, but then Patrick surprised her by reading a letter from her sister who hadn't been able to get a visa in time for the wedding. "I cried so hard that my eyelashes fell off," says Anwuli, "and so did a majority of our guests!"
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The Gold Standard
Gold vases held arrangements of roses, peonies, lisianthus, and sweet peas offset by white-and-green variegated leaves. "We had five centerpieces per table," says Anwuli. "We literally couldn't fit any more flowers because we needed space for the place settings!" Elegant white china with gold trim was paired with gold flatware to bring a hint of metallic to the reception. The printed menus offered guests a choice of New York strip steak, roasted game hen, or herb-roasted eggplant—all with a side of Nigerian fried rice.
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After the toasts at the reception, Anwuli snuck out to change into her second dress of the evening: the Jazz Age-inspired beaded Jacinda blouson gown from Va Et Vien. "I'm a huge fan of 1920s fashion so this was a dream dress," Anwuli says. "It was such an easy choice." She also traded her footwear for T-strap heels from Rachel Simpson—a pair that made it easy for the bride to dance all night.
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Simple white buttercream icing and fresh flowers adorned the outside of the four-tier confection from Connie's Cakes. Guests had their choice of the vanilla cake with raspberry filling or the lemon cake with strawberry filling that was hidden inside.
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Anwuli and Patrick skipped the old standbys when they were choosing their first dance song, instead turning to a new favorite that the Bluewater Kings Band performed: "Sweater Weather" by The Neighborhood. "We listened to this song while we were dating and it was our song," Anwuli says. "We liked that we chose a song from our generation, very relevant to us." At the end of the evening, guests lit sparklers provided by the couple and lit up the night as the newlyweds said goodbye.
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Photography, Kelly Sweet Photography
Event planning and flowers, Rhiannon Bosse Celebrations
Catering, Yo Chef Catering
Videography, Second Mile Video
Officiant, Father Mike Hennessey
Stationery and Calligraphy, Prairie Letter Shop
Cake, Connie's Cakes
Music, Bluewater Kings Band
Hair, Pomp and Artistry
Makeup, Allison Bower
Bridesmaids' dresses, Dessy
Groom's suit and Menswear, The Black Tux
Transportation, Detroit Classic Car Rentals
Engagement ring, DeVries Jewelry