Sometimes you meet someone, and you’re just struck by the way that they not only hold themselves, but the selfless, thoughtful way that they treat others– and for Kim & Ojirese’s San Diego Botanic Garden wedding, it’s one another’s character that made them shine just a little brighter to one another.
It was just over a decade ago when Kim and Ojirese first met in college at Howard University; while they had seen one another on campus, it wasn’t until they both went on an outreach trip to New Orleans the year after Hurricane Katrina devastated local communities. With Kim and Ojirese working closely together, it wasn’t long before Kim noticed the way that Ojirese managed to think of nearly everyone before himself; offering water, food, and snacks to their team as they worked together to assist those who had been affected by the Hurricane.
After knowing each other for a bit, Kim and Ojirese finally decided to take the next step and start dating– and thirteen years later living in New York? As they grew together, they found that they made each other better; while Kim liked to focus on the details and plan experiences they would remember years later, Ojirese brought spontaneity and spur of the moment plans that would become incredible stories.
Throughout their relationship, they grew and challenged one another intellectually as they pursued their dreams; as Ojirese studied and went through medical school, Kim chose to take a step away from her fashion merchandising major and into education, wanting to change how racial injustice was systematic throughout the country’s education system.
And as they grew? Kim and Ojirese realized the way that they supported one another throughout adversity and joyful moments was something that neither wanted to live without. The way they were able to make one another laugh and understand one another was something special. So when Ojirese proposed? It wasn’t even a second before Kim said yes.
When it came to their wedding, both Kim and Ojirese knew that they wanted to include their heritage and things that were especially important to them to make this celebration even more special. Whether it was including aso ebis for their family and bridal party for their Nigerian wedding ceremony at the Luce Loft, including their line brother and sisters in their wedding, getting the perfect music and decor, or including African American traditions in their wedding, they wanted it to reflect them and what they valued at both their San Diego Botanic Garden and Luce Loft Nigerian weddings.
The night before their San Diego Botanic Garden wedding, Kim and Ojirese’s family and friends gathered together for their Nigerian wedding ceremony, an homage to Ojirese’s Nigerian heritage and the traditions that accompanied such a major event. One incredibly special part of this celebration were the traditions that they chose to include, from the money spray that wished financial fortune and blessings to the KolaNut, that when broken into smaller and smaller pieces represented the increasing prosperity of their relationship.
As valuing tradition is something that is a tenet of our brand and our staff’s beliefs, one of the most incredible parts of our job is getting to see all of the various cultural and familial traditions that our couples bring into their wedding– and Kimberly and Ojirese’s Luce Loft Nigerian wedding was one that we feel SO lucky that we got to photograph. Being able to capture these moments and traditions for them to be able to treasure and have for both themselves and their families was something that we wouldn’t pass up for the world.
With Kim & Ojirese’s bridesmaids and groomsmen dressed in aso ebi to represent their friendship, and their cooperation, camaraderie and solidarity in celebrating this wedding, the pair entered into the beginning of their married life surrounded by love, well wishes, and more– and got ready to celebrate once again the following day.
The next night, we got to see the second half of Kim and Ojirese’s celebrations; their San Diego Botanic Garden wedding. Even the little details of this wedding were perfectly planned and organized by the couple and Elle Houston; from the gorgeous natural wood decor and white drapery to the stunning natural yet perfectly structured floral designs by Raphael’s Event Works being set up while Kim and Ojirese got ready for their wedding. As they stepped out of their cars at the venues, perfectly prepped by Breezo Makeup and dressed to the nines, everything just seemed to fall into place for the perfect day.
And another wedding filled with traditions? Sign us up, please! During the ceremony at their San Diego Botanic Garden wedding, Kim and Ojirese chose to jump the broom, an indication of sweeping away the psat and a time when Black people in America could not be married. Seeing the look of complete and utter joy as they finished their second ceremony and jumped over the broom was a beautiful moment; both Kim and Ojirese absolutely radiated joy, love, & happiness knowing that they were finally husband and wife through both ceremonies.
When we got to the reception of this San Diego Botanic Garden wedding, the party began and was started off by some music made just for Kim– a heartfelt rap by Ojirese. As he rapped about her and their relationship, there was barely a person who If you’re familiar with the Divine Nine, you might have noticed that the colors of Kim’s bridal party were those of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc; the oldest Greek letter organization founded by Black women in 1908 at Howard University. When Kim and the bridesmaids in Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc walked onto the floor to do their hymn and stroll, they were joined by not only Kim’s sisters, but her mother and grandmother and other wedding guests. Getting to see Kim joined by so many members of her family and friends was incredible, and something that we often don’t get to see celebrated.
It wasn’t just Kimberly and the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc sisters who strolled; Ojirese also got to sing the hymn and stroll with his Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc brothers at the wedding; a fraternity founded in 1914 by Black men at Howard University. With “Culture For Service and Service For Humanity” being Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc’s motto and “Service for All Mankind” being Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc’s, it was no wonder that Kim and Ojirese have continued to not only pursue their own dreams, but continue to better the communities that they live in. Getting to see the two of them embrace and celebrate their Greek identity with it at this San Diego Botanic Garden wedding was such a special occurrence.
To Kim and Ojirese; the two of you are incredible and inspiring in the way that you lead your life to help others, whether it is Kimberly in academics, or Ojirese with medicine. We feel so extraordinarily lucky that you chose us to capture your wedding weekend, and that we were able to photograph these incredible ceremonies for you. From the way that you honored Ojirese’s heritage to the way that you created a weekend that was the epitome of naturally glamorous and simple elegance, this was a celebration that we know that we’ll hold close to our hearts for a long time. We hope that every day of your marriage is filled with just as much joy and happiness as this weekend was– and as many heartfelt raps and songs as you have anniversaries!
Wedding Photography : Clove and Kin | Nigerian Ceremony Location : Luce Loft | Ceremony & Reception Location : San Diego Botanic Garden | Wedding Planner : Elle Houston | Event Designer : Raphael’s Event Works | Makeup Artist : Breezo, Makeup Artist | Desserts and Baked Goods : Sweet Cheeks Bakery | Other Rentals : Raphael’s | Transportation : Men in Black transportation | Catering : Terra Catering | Calligrapher : Miller Makers