The Okoli’s Wedding at Calgary’s Coast Plaza Hotel
A High Energy Wedding Celebration
Edu and Jamie Getting Ready
The Guys Getting Ready at the Couples Home
We started the day bright and early at 8am, when we headed over to Edu and Jamie’s house. We met the groom and his parents Samuel and Catherine, who had flown in a month before the wedding from Nigeria. They are planning to stay in town until December, provided they can warm up to the cold! His brother CJ was also visiting from Nigeria.
Upon arrival the sight of the beautiful three-tiered wedding cake that Edu’s brother CJ made greeted us. Back home CJ works as a cake artist, and this massive cake took him a whole two days to make. To give some perspective on the size of it: on the counter it stood higher than us! We briefly thought about moving it for photographic advantage, but decided against it, as moving it probably would have been near impossible! CJ did such a beautiful job with the cake; it was truly a sight to see!
We shot some of the details with Edu, his best man Mohammad, and groomsman Keron. We took photos of the guys fastening their cufflinks and got several shots of the rings. We then photographed Edu’s watch, which for some reason took three of us to get on his wrist. Finally Mohammad came to the rescue and fastened it! He was an incredible best man, and was so helpful to everyone all day.
Edu and his father secured his bowtie, and then his mother pinned on his boutonniere. Throughout the day his boutonniere took a bit of a beating, but it was promptly fixed with a bit of green floral wire.
The Girls Getting Ready at the Bride’s Parents House
Next we headed over to the bride’s parent’s home, where she was hosting family from all over the world. People were visiting from Toronto, Pakistan, India, and Dubai! It was wonderful to have all these family members out for the wedding. A few of them hadn’t seen each other since their children were babies, and now those children have babies of their own!
Upstairs we hung the dress up on a nice ‘Bride’ hanger, and took shots of it against the window. We took some photos of Jamie under her veil, and a few of her and her bridesmaids and mother. Jai Basi from The Studio did Jamie’s beautiful makeup, and Beautiful Calgary Brides did the other girls. Many gorgeous bouquets from Misty Meadow Flowers lined the room. We did some shots of the details, including Lana fastening Jamie’s jewelry. Bangles covered Jamie’s right wrist, and on the other wrist her mother gifted her with a beautiful gold bracelet. Jamie got into her dress, and had someone specifically come to fasten the back, because it was very intricate.
After she got into the dress, finished putting on jewelry, and putting on her shoes, she came out for the blessing. The whole family participated in the blessing at the altar, including her father Joseph, who is suffering from Alzheimer’s. He was able to come out and give her a blessing, which was an emotional moment for the whole family.
Their Ceremony at St. David’s United Church
We headed out to St. David’s United Church for the ceremony. The church is absolutely gorgeous, featuring beautiful stained glass windows and high wooden ceilings. Above the ceremony was a balcony that gave us a great vantage point for wide shots of the entire room.
Reverend Peggy McDonagh officiated the ceremony and contributed several readings. One unique aspect of the ceremony was the addition of a tree planting ceremony. Both Edu’s mother and Jamie’s mother added soil into the pot to symbolize their cultures coming together through their children. Jamie and Edu finished off the ceremony by watering the soil.
The Family Photos at St. David’s United Church
After the ceremony we did a giant group shoot in front of the altar of everyone in attendance and afterwards we remained in the church for the family photos.
The Creative Formals at Heart Building on SAIT’s Campus
Then it was off to SAIT’s aptly named Heart building. Built in 1921, it is essentially the heart of the campus. From here there are beautiful views across the soccer field onto downtown Calgary. We absolutely had to use these sweeping views as our backdrop. We then put the newlyweds in an amazing row of trees for some more intimate photos.
Back in front of the Heart building we took shots of the whole party: Edu, Mohammad, Keron, Jamie, Elaine, and Janelle. We then headed down the hill along 10th street to Senator Patrick Burns Rock Garden, a green space in Riley Park in northwest Calgary. It was built in the 1950’s, with flagstones from the mansion of Senator Patrick Burns, one of the founders of the famous Calgary Stampede. We placed the newlyweds into a beautiful grove of trees along a cobblestone path. People honked as they drove by, and Jamie and Edu were even celebrated by a police car as it drove past, whooping the sirens for a quick second.
The Okoli Reception at the Coast Plaza Hotel
We then headed to the hotel for the reception. That evening, the Coast Plaza Hotel was hosting two other weddings, so there was a lot of amazing positive energy going around. Cocktail hour began at 4:45pm. Appetizers were an amazing family style buffet of East Indian food such as samosas and tandoori chicken wings. The room was full of energy, and this high energy continued throughout the whole night.
We headed in and took shots of the details on the tables and around the space. The décor was absolutely stunning. Their colors were navy and gold, and the theme was formal. There were golden trees and beautiful paper flowers behind the head table. To top it off, each guest was given a cupcake as a favor, wrapped gently in a birdcage-like box.
The awesome emcee’s made announcements, and the wedding party headed in. Speeches kicked off right away, including speeches by the parents, the maid of honor, and the best man. The best man’s speech was awesome. He shared with us the story of the first time he ever met the groom. He and several coworkers were sitting in the break room, when suddenly a distant music broke the silence. At that moment the reception DJ interjected with the opening theme from the Lion King. It was a hilarious moment.
The bride and groom then got up to do their speech, and in it they included thank you’s to not only everyone there, but to each other. Edu thanked Jamie by saying “I just want to thank my wife for loving me for who I am, and for marrying me today”! They shared a kiss in a very tender moment. It was unique and touching that they chose to thank each other in front of the reception. At 8pm the massive buffet kicked off, and the food was incredible. The newlyweds then cut the huge, beautiful cake.
Games followed dinner. Edu and Jamie played the shoe game, and then played a game where Jamie had to identify Edu blindfolded, solely by his biceps! Other guys lined up, but she was able to positively identify Edu quickly! She definitely knows who her husband is! After the bicep game we played our same day reception slideshow for the room.
Dancing the night away to the sounds of DJ 1On
The dances began immediately after the slideshow. Edu and Jamie kicked it off with their first dance to ‘Hero’ by Enrique Iglesias. Then Jamie’s dad got up to dance with his daughter in a touching moment. Then the party began courtesy of Tega of DJ 1On. The guests all tore up the dance floor, and packed it from wall to wall.
We grabbed Edu and Jamie to do a couple of late night shots with the LED lights around the place. Then began the 90’s dance portion of the evening, which honored the dance parties Jamie and her mom used to have in the kitchen.
The party continued long after we left, and we are fairly certain they partied until they shut the place down! It was a fun, high-energy day, and we were happy to be a part of it.
An online gallery of all their images is available for the next 30 days. From the online gallery you are able to favourite images, order prints and share the gallery with your family and friends. The gallery can be accessed via the link below and you can contact Jamie and Edu directly for their secure password.
The Okoli Wedding Day Slideshow
Above is the beautiful Wedding Slideshow that came with Jamie and Edu’s wedding package. It was created from a selection of their best photos captured on their special day, mixed to their wedding song Hero by Enrique Iglesias.
We are so fortunate to have had the opportunity to share Jamie and Edu’s special day with them and we wish them many years of happiness together.
Some of my Favourite Photos from Jamie and Edu’s Wedding
The Okoli Wedding Credits
Date | 8.20.16
Officiant – Reverend Peggy McDonagh
Ceremony Location – St. David’s United Church
Reception Venue – Coast Plaza Hotel
Hair and Makeup – Jai Basi with The Studio by Jai Basi
Florist – Misty with Misty Meadow Flowers
DJ – Tega with DJ 1On
Photography by Jeremy Martel & Amy Cheng’s
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