If there’s anything we cannot get enough of, it is love! As far as we are concerned, there is nothing as beautiful! Today, we get to take in all that beauty, thanks to Helen and Brendan.
For Helen and Brendan, their love story began at church. However, it wasn’t exactly love at first sight. Helen and Brendan went on a slow, steady pace of friendship that has now bloomed so beautifully into #LoveHxB! The pair said yes to forever with each other and we’re super stoked for them.
They tied the knot in a colourful traditional wedding where Helen’s beautiful Bwatiye/Bachama culture of Adamawa state was finely blended with the Ngoni culture of Malawi, where Brendan is from. The beautiful display of culture at the trad wedding has us absolutely thrilled and we can’t get enough of the love that it exudes. Helen gives us an insight into the fusion of the cultures – keep scrolling to enjoy it all. Helen was such an exquisite bride in her two looks for the day and Brendan came through dapper as well.
After their beautiful traditional wedding, they went on to celebrate their love in grand style with a beautiful wedding reception. Helen was such an exquisite bride in her two looks for the day and Brendan came through dapper as well.
Enjoy their love story and beautiful wedding photos below.
How We Met
By the bride, Helen:
I never thought I’d be the girl to say this, but Brendan and I met at our church in Dublin, in July 2017. (Cue for “God when?” lol!) I was chatting to a mutual friend of ours after service when he said hello to her while trying to make his way to his seat for the second service. This introduction wasn’t the most spectacular, pleasant or romantic one, because it was crowded and noisy as people were trying to leave/enter the church. My friend was congratulating him on a performance that he had been a part of, so I chimed in and asked what his name was so I could look him up. He disputes this next bit, but I kid you not, he was glaring at me, like I was wasting his time, as I asked that he spelled his name. Lol. I took it down, and he bolted.
After that chance meeting, we ended up being in a group that organized the Christmas service, so we kept bumping into each other randomly for months. One Sunday after the service, I was sitting alone, when he pulled a chair behind me and said hello. He was unable to make it to one of the meetings, so he wanted to catch up on what he had missed. I can’t really explain what happened next without sounding a bit crazy, but I physically felt something change in the air and felt myself getting rattled and nervous. I didn’t quite understand what was going on so I interrupted him and asked “How old are you?”, “What do you do?”- so rude. I was just trying to figure out whether I should treat him like a church brother or a church uncle. Lol. He asked for my number so we could ‘keep in touch about church meetings’ lol. I can be quite traditional with these things, so I didn’t take his number down. I waited for a whole week, and he didn’t text. Imagine that!
When I saw him the next Sunday, I walked right up to him and said “You were meant to text me”! He got flustered and responded, “I’m sorry. Let me confirm your number, and I’ll text”. After confirming that he had the right number, I left swiftly. Lol. I waited again for four whole days, but I knew it would come. We haven’t stopped talking and texting since then. However, it took a year of friendship and lots of prayers to intentionally choose to date.
We spent a lot of time in our first year of knowing each other going on ‘friendly dates’ lol. We knew instantly that we had lots of chemistry, a shared love of God, and similar interests and that we were well-suited. I mean, I’m a doctor and he’s an accountant turned engineer (every African parent’s dream lol), but we wanted to do things right. I was in my late 20s, and he was in his early 30s, so we wanted to be as intentional as possible with the relationship. We are both Christians who were intentionally working on building our spirituality and had both been in relationships that didn’t work, so we had many deep and honest conversations about what we wanted from the connection. In my prayers, I kept hearing that I needed to wait; coincidently, he was getting the same messages/instincts. After a year of waiting, we actually spent some time apart and didn’t speak for a few months. However, even at that time, we both knew we had something special.
I guess we were all prayed out and all talked out when he reached out again and we decided to give it a real go. In the 2 years after, when we dated, we had the best time just getting to know each other and making memories. We did lots of activities, dinners and staycations. We nurtured and grew our love steadily. Rather than fizzling out, we’ve had an upward trajectory of a deep and kind love and partnership. I have loved getting to know more about Malawi, and my guy is all about amala and pounded yam. The goal was to get married- not just for the sake of a fun wedding, but for a God-ordained and successful marriage.
Helen’s insight into the fusion of both cultures:
Brendan is Ngoni, from Malawi, and I am Bachama/Bwatiye from Adamawa state. We honoured both traditions by conducting the marital rights of both tribes. The Ngoni and Bachama wedding began with the Bwatiye requirements for the Groom’s family to present several dowry items, such as mats/taburme (in Hausa), and cash tokens for each parent, a cash token for the bride’s wedding ring, fabrics for relatives and food items. In the Ngoni tradition, similar items are presented as a token to symbolise that the groom’s family has the intention of protecting and caring for the bride; the items include a farming hoe, panga knife, axe, dengu basket, cooking pots, traditional Ngoni attire, etc.
Ngoni marital rites
Following the presentation of items, the groom’s representatives read out a proposal/declaration of intention to marry which emphasized their commitment towards welcoming the bride into their family whole-heartedly. This was then followed by a symbolic Ngoni marital rite whereby the representatives from both families exchange chickens. The groom’s family presents a Cockerel to the bride’s family, while the bride’s family presents a hen to the groom’s family. The symbolizes the acceptance of the bride and groom into both families. A whole chicken is then roasted and shared between the family representatives as a symbol to confirm that all joys and issues will be shared and settled collectively.
Bwatiye marital rites (Lokai):
Lokai is a significant and symbolic procession of gifts and decorated calabashes from the bride’s home to her new matrimonial home. However as the ceremony took place in Abuja, this was carried out at the Bride’s parent’s home. The decorated calabashes and pots, which were filled with flour, dry okra, bukute (stew ingredients), etc, were carried by the bride’s friends and relatives. A cow was also slaughtered. The women in the procession sang and danced, and punctuated with nzo-koombe (women’s ululations). On reaching the groom’s home, the best man and the groom’s friends engage in negotiations with the bride’s relatives to release the bride to him. This is done in a very animated and lively manner and followed by dancing and games.
For more weddings, love stories, pre-weddings, and wedding planning tips & inspo,
Photography: @khaleegraphy of @khaleegraphyweddings | @mickie_pictures
Bride and Groom’s Bwatiye outfits: @shadiat_alasooke
Bwatiye Inspired Cap: @visual_hats
Bride’s shoes: @katmaconie
Groom’s shoes: @walklondonshoes
Wedding dress @elizabethandlacebridal
Shoes @rainbowclubuk via @laceandfavour
Photography @kunle_laniyan for @kunle_laniyanweddings
Lighting and Special Effects @focusdigitalsabuja
Small Chops @startersmallchops
Ushers and Coordinators @lushbee_ushersandevents