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“The Sacred Flow of Our Union!” We love Chidiogo Akunyili and Andrew Parr’s Unconventional Wedding

BellaNaija Weddings

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When Chidiogo and Andrew‘s wedding happened, a lot of amazing things stood out with the couple. Their unconventional look to their white wedding, the pure love and excitement that enveloped the couple, the bride’s gorgeous look and a lot more. For us at BellaNaija Weddings, the couple’s love drew us closer.

We are so excited to have the beautiful bride Chidiogo share all about their love journey with us! You will love this.

By The Bride, Chidiogo

Leading up to our white and traditional wedding ceremonies, my father hired rainmakers who, contrary to their name, were to keep the rain away. On the Friday before the big day, in a pre-celebration filled with culture and dance, I had a chance to experience these mysterious spirits that can hold and unleash the rain. The masquerade in question was small and unassuming, but powerful. Saturday, in stark contrast to its neighbouring Friday and Sunday, was dry without a drop of rain in sight.

This magic was just one example of how the day was infused with the mystical protection of spirits. We felt guided every step of the way as potential dramas were averted, the dress came together, a men’s tailoring disaster was saved at the final moment, all while well-wishers were holding our hands every step of the way. Notable amongst these saints was the first lady of Anambra State, Her Excellency, Chief Mrs Ebelechukwu Obiano (Osodieme). She went above and beyond, consciously stepping in like a mother would, and all for the love she had for my mother Dora. Our most sincere gratitude to
her and her husband, His Excellency Chief Willie Maduabuchukwu Obiano.

On Saturday, as Andrew and I walked down the aisle, I was transported to our first walk together. It was a hot September Saturday afternoon in the desert of Nevada at the event of the festival known as Burning Man. That I was at the festival in itself is another testament. I was, as with so many miracles of my life, following an intuition. The message had been clear and came via many voices to ‘go to Burning Man’. Little did I know that it was to meet him. The one I prayed for with these very words, just a few months before:

“Monday, 8 Feb 2016. Geneva – I seek a partnership with a strong man, mind, body and spirit. I seek a partnership with a man who will cherish, love and honour me and the life we build together, supporting each other through the journey with kindness, love, a smile and words that put difficulties in perspective. He will not be away from home all the time but have a career that allows for him to assist strongly and sometimes wholly in building a home for us and for the children. He will be conscious and inspire us to grow in consciousness. He will be full of kindness and have a depth of love that leaves us inspired by what two people can achieve together. He will hold me and we will give gratitude. He will be flexible. He is adventurous/open to new experiences. He is happy in himself and together we share happiness in God and Love.”

And true to the magic of manifestation, he appeared before me with these words, “Hi, My name is Andrew, I would like to get to know you, how would it feel to get to know me?” 

We loved each other from the moment we met. It was as if we had known one another in another realm. Having spent the week of the festival prior to our meeting in intentional spaces of exploration, meditation and expansion, it was much easier to see this connection for the true love that it was. We embraced the beginning of a destiny that is still revealing itself.

When we are in flow, magical things begin to happen. Take for example, the gentleman who happened to have a powerful camera that captured our first moments of love in the desert. Or the woman who walked up to us on the night of the ‘temple burn’, just a day after we met. She took my hands and painted around my gold ring. She then took Andrew’s hands in turn and painted on his ring finger, looked us both in the eye and said, “Now you are married”. Neither of us laughed it off, nor denied the truth of her words.  Somehow, we knew it to be true.

I was living in Geneva at the point in my life working at the World Economic Forum leading the Global Shapers Community across Africa and the Middle East. Andrew was based out of Canada, supporting professional athletes. We shuttled between our two countries as we built on our bond and with it, the consciousness of the future we wanted to create.

The intentionality of our relationship has been our greatest strength. It has helped us navigate misunderstandings, pain-points, triggers, anxieties, fears, hopes, dreams and everything in between. The foundation of this work for me was the knowing that I had a man who is “not afraid of [my] darkness”. I didn’t have to be afraid of not being enough, of being too much, too little, and instead could focus on being and becoming. The certainty of being on the journey together gave me and us wings.

Easter 2017, and I was visiting Canada for the first time. It was a full moon and we stood in the evening chill holding hands in a silent meditation contemplating the beauty of the moon. I was bathed in the magic of the moment including that of sharing so much in common with my soul’s companion, even in silence. I turned to him and with no premeditation asked, “Will you marry me?” I was only half serious, but then I watched his eyes light up as he responded, “Do you know what you are asking?” A voice in my head whispered, “Does this mean you could have asked all this time? Can you actually be the one that asks?” I stood straighter in a new acceptance of a power I had unknowingly abdicated myself of and said, “Yes, I do. I know what I am asking. Andrew. Will you marry me?” His eyes narrowed with emotion and this time he responded saying, “I cannot imagine anything I would rather do.” I slipped off my finger my favourite silver bound round shaped jade ring which I bought in Mexico having been deeply inspired by the Chinese and Mayan reverence to Jade. I had worn it for 4 years prior without ever taking it off. The stone felt like a part of me. But, a voice in my head reminded me that, ‘he is a part of us’ and that it is his, meant that the mystical connection with the jade continues to be ours. I slipped the ring on his finger as we smiled and laughed and hugged and laughed some more.

And so it was that we were engaged just a few months after we met.

We returned to Black Rock City September of 2017, exactly one year since we met in the same desert space where the Burning Man festival is held every year. This time I was not alone as with the first year but surrounded by new friends and my love. It was in this time and space we came up with a mantra — a sentence that inspires us mind, body, spirit — of ‘sacred flow’. With this mantra in mind, we had an anniversary ceremony under a man-made tree of Ténéré. It was there he gave me my ring. He had cut the jade in half, using the cherished stone to design the ring that is now my most prized possession. The second half he keeps with him at all times.

During the magical ceremony that marked a year since we met, we stood in the centre of a circle of friends under the tree. He cried, I cried, we promised to always love and hold each other up knowing that to go far is to go together. I felt like I did the Saturday of our recent wedding, the forces of my ancestors with me. Sacred flow activated. It was a blessed day beyond our wildest imagination.

We had spent the last months together thinking of the future. I knew it was time to make a professional change. Tuning in deeply to intuition of inner guidance and in the full trust of flow, I left my job at the World Economic Forum to explore a life of my own creation, anchored in writing a book about the woman and the legend that is and was my mother with a vision of the power of stories to inspire and propel.

I have found guidance by living life in dialogue with my spirit. I find that all key moments of deep connection to myself start with space. Space to be in balance — mind, body, spirit — to listen, and to hear. In hearing, I seek strength to turn my knowing into action.

A sentence that encapsulates my internal fears and the courage of the time came from a guide who shared saying, “you keep getting that same message… What are you afraid of giving up my sister? The fear will always come in. When you see it, walk through it, so that you may be free, so that you might know what it feels like to be free falling from a cliff. Can we feel that alive in every moment? Only then can we be free and inspire others to be free.”

Since then, we have been on a journey of connecting with our passions and calling. Highly recommended!  I wrote about it in a blog post titled My Truths. This path has led me to start a movement and organization called She ROARS – Reimagining Our Africa Rising dedicated to empowering women to connect with and unleash their full potential. Moreover, it has led me on an incredible journey of discovering myself in telling my mother’s story and the richness of all that had to happen that she be Dora.

This same calling has led Andrew to explore hidden talents as a Naija Rap Star. It has taken us on incredible journeys.

Through it all, our mantra remains ‘sacred flow’. We are rooted in a trust in this flow and our branches are daily strengthened to reach towards our greatest purpose.

None of this would be possible without the patient guidance of my now husband, my best-friend, my greatest guide. I remember the first day he said “Ahuru m gi n’anya”. We were standing in front of the temple at Burning Man, it was our one-year anniversary. I felt my entire being expand to hear these sentiments of love spoken in a tongue familiar to my ancestors. All of me bloomed in love, in healing, in oneness of the blessing was. The blessing that is. I am reminded that ‘A hurry m gi n’anya’, the Igbo expression for ‘I love you’ literally translates into ‘I see you in the eyes’.

We are so happy to celebrate our love with you with the knowing that it is the seeds of our healing and strength. We rejoice that you see us in the eye and we you.

White Wedding


Traditional Wedding


Credits
Bride @chidiogo_oo
Groom @andrewparr
Photography @lucasugoweddings
Makeup @leauzuri
Dress @wangerayu
Groom’s Outfit  @Zainasricky
Planner
 @vibeeventsng
Video @grandepicfilms

35 Comments

  1. Marsala

    June 11, 2018 at 7:30 am

    Ahhhhhhhh! I felt it! Every word you wrote, took my into a realm of understanding of what your love is about. You too are blessed and have a love, a partnership so rare! You will stand the test of time. Thank you for sharing your magnetic story with us. No n’udo!!!!

    • Fleur

      June 12, 2018 at 1:03 am

      Chidiogo, your pictures say you are beautiful, witty, and in love. Your husband’s pictures say “she is the one.” Unua torom uto. I am so thirsty for this type of love but I am past that stage. Enjoy yourselves. You are both authentic (as revealed by your choices for your weddings). Stay authentic and never be defined by anyone, space or circumstance. Keep defining your environment and you will keep soaring in love and happiness. Love is sweet when I see these kinds of pictures and notes. Your mom will be happy.

  2. EBELE

    June 11, 2018 at 9:15 am

    This is absolulety beautiful. They smiled all through, gosh, they are so beautiful. i wish them both all the best.

  3. Temi Tope

    June 11, 2018 at 9:17 am

    SHE IS ABSOLUTELY BEAUTFUL WITH AN AMAZING SKIN TONE.. WOW.

    MAY GOD BLESS THIS MARRIAGE.. AMEN

  4. nene+

    June 11, 2018 at 9:39 am

    Lovely by all means. Hmmmm while we all scrimmage for western best suit and gown for our weddings these western ones are teaching us how to use OUR OWN shior! This couple fine no be small……enjoy your marriage Chidiogor and Andrew. Your chemistry is palpable.

  5. Chibaby

    June 11, 2018 at 9:45 am

    What a refreshing read! There is something about mature, intentional love, that comes from a place of total wholeness and total acceptance of self & significant other. My God. I pray i find this sort of Love.
    I do however fear that the pressures that come with being a Nigerian woman in Nigeria, makes it all too easy to leap before you look in marriage. What is connection? What is depth? What is acceptance of darkness? A woman being allowed to be free and comfortable in her own skin & imperfections? All that one is Mills and Boons in these parts.
    He has a good job, right tribe, right religion, ‘decent family’ and he is ready to marry you, its almost criminal in these parts to turn down such a suitor. It has even become mental. Once you meet a guy that ticks the basic boxes, you automatically start seeing him as your potential husband, convincing yourself that whatever baggage he comes with, pales in comparison to the assurance that he will marry you. May God help us.
    I envy Nigerians in the diaspora in this particular area. Its easy to focus on being whole, at peace and finding someone you actually connect with on a deeper level, when your entire family and church is not assisting you in watching your biological clock.

    • Corolla

      June 11, 2018 at 11:51 pm

      This!

    • Right

      June 16, 2018 at 3:15 pm

      My sister! That’s another reason why I want to run away from this country before I settle for nonsense and become another Nigerian wife who has accepted mediocrity.
      “Well he cheats but at least he pays school fees and doesn’t beat me”.
      God help me.

  6. WIA

    June 11, 2018 at 9:58 am

    Your story is so profound and your pictures show how much love you both have for each other . May your love, joy and happiness continue to grow.

  7. Anon

    June 11, 2018 at 10:20 am

    All shades of beautiful. Congrats.

  8. Cassie

    June 11, 2018 at 10:27 am

    I love the way she writes about their love. There’s an openness and depth about it that makes me want to say,”I’ll have what she’s having”. LOL. Happy married life, Chidi and Andrew and keep living life fiercely and on your own terms

  9. Comment

    June 11, 2018 at 10:27 am

    She is stunning. Her skin and her smile are everything. Wishing them all the best

  10. Nky

    June 11, 2018 at 10:41 am

    What an incredible story of love and self discovery. Dont be afraid to create a path, follow your truth and live a life that is patterned and unique to your inner beliefs. Dare to take risks and the responsibilities that come with it. Conformity is not for everyone.

    In the end you will love and accept yourself enough to attract genuine love

  11. Oge

    June 11, 2018 at 11:31 am

    Jesus! This is so so magical! Always believe in your inner spirit, always! Happy married life, nnem.

  12. ijele

    June 11, 2018 at 12:25 pm

    Chidiogo just like your parents you are very intelligent. i know you will make a great partner and wife. Happy married life

  13. Hotchick

    June 11, 2018 at 1:10 pm

    I had to; I’m sure your mother was proud of you and would have been so proud on your special day. Absolutely lovely, free flowing and real — congratulations!

  14. Lilo

    June 11, 2018 at 2:11 pm

    The bros is fine sha.

  15. Cocolette

    June 11, 2018 at 5:20 pm

    Her skin and smile are so beautiful ?… I want to be as happy as she looks on my wedding day…

  16. iHeart

    June 11, 2018 at 8:25 pm

    Kai! God bless this couple over and over and over again

    Just imagining how they’ll raise their kids. The substance no go be here. Let me package Goan trading my own so my kids can marry theirs. Hehe

    Lol

  17. Aare farmland

    June 11, 2018 at 9:17 pm

    May God bless their union.

  18. nnenne

    June 11, 2018 at 11:37 pm

    Happy married life ndi nkem! Love transforms all.

  19. OA

    June 12, 2018 at 3:31 am

    Oyibo boys can look really good in Naija traditional sha!

  20. Chichi Abel

    June 12, 2018 at 5:18 am

    Beautiful love story. they remind me of a T.V series I use to watch as a child titled Mixed blessings. God bless your marriage Chidiogo and hubby.

  21. BlueEyed

    June 12, 2018 at 6:37 am

    This is how a bride should be on her wedding day, they smiled all through! Look genuinely in love, this people understand what they are getting into and they make a very fantastic couple!The bride is gorgeous and her smile is infectious, looking at her face in those photos is pure bliss! The groom! The guy did his home work, he came prepared and he genuinely enjoyed the experience(peep the shaku shaku moves lol) , and boy he gat moves too! One white man that has rhythm. I wish them a lifetime of happiness, they deserve it.

  22. Cherie

    June 12, 2018 at 2:09 pm

    Sigh. A few things.
    – Good for her taking charge of her life and proposing to him.
    – Love the spirituality that guides them and her comfortable mix of traditional and neo spiritual beliefs.
    – But love is not as magical as we think, we fall in love within the pool our socioeconomic class allows us. It’s not a miracle that two well traveled, pedigreed people fell in love with each other.
    – At some point we as Nigerians will stop glorifying mixed marriages, they are not immune to the troubles of marriage. Nigerians travel all over the world, they are bound to find love abroad. Get over it.
    – That rap video is mega cringe.
    – Why fall in love with a non-Nigerian then proceed to do everything to make them Nigerian?

    • Right

      June 16, 2018 at 3:16 pm

      Quite cynical are we? Just wish them well and move on.

  23. T

    June 12, 2018 at 8:37 pm

    It’s a beautiful story of love. I love love. I am not judging but the vibes of zen, ancestors and spirits makes me wonder what religion she practices or if any? Again NOT JUDGING just wondering…..

  24. adelegirl

    June 13, 2018 at 3:28 am

    Beautiful! I was enthralled by the story of their love as told by the bride. They’ve got something deeply special and spiritual and that’s so rare these days. The couple’s happiness is so infectious and radiates through the pictures. The bride is such a stunning melanin queen (just check out the beautiful glow of her skin!) and the groom looks like he could have stepped off a GQ page. Love the choices they made with their outfits and I love that they did the church and traditional wedding on the same day. Sending them love and light and my best wishes for a beautiful lifetime together! ?

  25. Beeboo

    June 13, 2018 at 6:44 am

    I smiled all through as I looked at the pictures. Their love is so obvious.
    The bride has got one of the best smile that I’ve ever seen. This is a wholesome woman and that is rare in today’s world. Andrew and his buddies are stunners too!
    Happy married life!

  26. Ijay Okris

    June 20, 2018 at 2:53 pm

    A very beautiful couple in every way. I can just feel the undeniable real love. Their story, authentic and heartfelt. There is nothing more precious and fulfilling like going though this journey called life with your soulmate. Chidiogo and Andrew, I’m happy you both found each other, I wish you all the best married life has to offer. Congratulations!!

  27. Stuz

    June 25, 2018 at 8:59 am

    Wow, this is lovely. I smiled all through. Chidiogo was my classmate in Primary School and even then as a little girl, there was something deep, different and mature about her. Happy married life!

  28. Yori

    July 7, 2018 at 7:48 pm

    Absolutely gorgeous!!
    Skin bleachers aka fanta and coke skin….you have been warned..men have no time for women that cannot love the skin they are in!

  29. Ada

    July 8, 2018 at 8:58 pm

    God…. She just echoed my deepest desires. Her prayers were answered within months: God ooo, how far na?? I am not even asking for much, just a man I can hold an intelligent conversation with, and allows me to be myself without feeling threatened or having the need to control. Mind you I am neither domineering, crazy or even rich. Just a woman who knows what she wants, and that nothing else will do. Living in Nigeria does not help matters at all. Like the commenter above said, if a man has a job, attends church, from your tribe, and not from a family of serial killers, then what on earth do you possibly want again??? But it’s more than that, it really is. I want our hearts to beat as one. I want to soar with him. I refuse the mediocrity I see in lots of marriages. Even God had better plans for marriage. So God, in front of Bellanaija people, I beg you again, pick my up my call.

  30. Noni

    August 8, 2018 at 11:12 pm

    Congratulations and wishing both of you blessings and love in abundance. As I was reading the story I thought to myself that the bride should be a writer and so glad she followed her passion and purpose

  31. Glassz

    January 23, 2019 at 4:23 pm

    Am elated!!!

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